SH Blog: Pau won’t be benched when he comes back

  • Howard Beck of the New York Times writes this bit to kick off his excellent piece about Reggie Evans of the Nets (click through, it’s worth it!), one of the league’s most notorious floppers, as well as a hard-nosed rebounder: “Reggie Evans is a brawny, feisty rebounding machine who loves a good collision. It takes a lot to make him cringe. A brief exchange with Commissioner David Stern might have done it. Evans was warming up for the Nets’ Nov. 3 opener at Barclays Center when he spotted Stern near the court. He ambled over to congratulate the commissioner on his pending retirement. Stern said thanks, then hit Evans with a two-word retort that nearly knocked him over: “Don’t flop.” … “He’s like, ‘Stop flopping,’ ” Evans recalled with a rueful grin in an interview last week. “David Stern told me that. I laughed. He was laughing.” “
  • While the Sixers are currently in playoff position in the East, they’re doing it without the guy they gave up Andre Iguodala for, as Andrew Bynum is still out with a pair of knee injuries. Tom Moore of PhillyBurbs.com writes about how Philadelphia coach Doug Collins might be starting to get a little frustrated with the lack of Bynum on the court: “Collins’ public mindset seemingly began to change Nov. 18. Before that night’s home game against the Cavaliers, Collins didn’t say a word and shook his head in the negative when asked if he had anything to add after Bynum admitted to the media that he suffered a bone bruise in his left knee while bowling (Bynum already had a bone bruise in his right knee). Then, prior to a Nov. 24 home date with the Thunder, Collins was asked about not having Andre Iguodala to guard other teams’ top perimeter scorer. “Andre’s one of the better defenders in the NBA,” Collins said. “We knew that. Giving him up, we thought we were going to have one of the best post defenders (Bynum).” Zing.”
  • Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman has a piece up on the Thunder’s excellent offense of late. Here’s a Nick Collison quote from that piece: “The Thunder through Friday ranked second with an Oklahoma City-era best 111.1 points per 100 possessions, just 0.1 points behind league leader New York. When searching for what gives with the offense, the answer begins with maturity. ‘I think it’s the growth of our players,’ said Nick Collison. ‘Our guys are making better decisions. We’re not having those long stretches where we don’t get good shots like we used to have at times. I just think it’s a maturity and growth of our team.’ “
  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star has a long reader Q&A session up, the highlight of which is maybe this tidbit on rookie big Jonas Valanciunas: “Dwane actually mentioned this week the possibility of having him work with Olajuwon this summer and as long as someone write a check big enough, it’ll happen. Guess it can’t hurt. And I’m not sure what’s up this summer for the Lithuanian team outside of qualifying for the 2014 worlds but I’m sure Jonas will be part of that team.”
  • Nothing is going right for the Wizards. Even with the big win over the Heat this week, they’ve still got just two wins on the year, and now they’ve lost AJ Price as well. Michael Lee of the Washington Post reports: “Right hand covered by what looked like a duffle bag of ice, A.J. Price walked from the locker room, in uniform and a warm-up jacket, to the Wizards’ bench to sit with his teammates for the finish of their 101-97 loss to the Golden State Warriors. Price was well aware that his hand was broken, and that the injury would keep him sidelined for four-to-six weeks, but that wasn’t the point. ‘It was important in my eyes to let the guys know my morale wasn’t down,’ Price said. ‘Even though I was injured and I’ll be out, I’m still with them 100 percent – as I know they would be for me if the shoe was on the other foot.’ The Wizards are already without Trevor Booker (right knee), Trevor Ariza (left calf) and point guard John Wall, whose continued absence 10 weeks after his diagnosis with a stress injury in his left knee has raised concerns.”
  • Corey Brewer might not have lived up to his #7 overall pick status since being drafted, but it seems like he’s found a good situation with the Nuggets, writes Lang Greene of HoopsWorld: “Before the start of the 2012 campaign, the Mavericks shipped Brewer to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for a 2016 second-round pick. In Denver, Brewer has thrived and finally been able to find his niche playing under Nuggets head coach George Karl. Brewer will be an unrestricted free agent next summer and figures to be one of the more coveted wings due to his strong ability to defend the perimeter. However, Brewer’s first choice is to sign a multi-year deal with the Nuggets and remain with the franchise long-term. … Brewer is playing the best basketball of his pro career, averaging 11 points and three rebounds per game this season. The forward quickly credits Karl with his on-court development and helping him to carve out his role in the league. ‘I love playing under Coach Karl,’ Brewer admitted. ‘He has helped me expand my game. He just lets me play. This was the first opportunity I had to actually run up and down the court and play basketball like I did in college.’ “
  • Jeff Miller of the Orange County Register explains why Lamar Odom has turned it around from his awful 2011-12 season: “The talk concerning him now is more about L.O., less about lbs. After a 117-99 victory over Phoenix on Saturday, Vinny Del Negro was asked what has changed with Odom lately. ‘Have you looked at him?’ he answered, but only because it would have been rude to respond with ‘Well, duh.’ “He’s lost 12 pounds,” the coach continued.”
  • Jason Quick of the Oregonian takes a good look at Wesley Matthews, who might have his consecutive games streak ended if he can’t play in the Blazers’ game Monday: “Wesley Matthews was hurt. That Matthews would let anyone see that, let alone write it, says a lot about the status of the Blazers’ starting shooting guard and resident Iron Man. Matthews, who has never missed an NBA game in his four years, said he heard his left hip flexor pop during the fourth quarter of Saturday’s 99-80 home loss to Sacramento. That came after the same hip was hobbled a quarter earlier when John Salmons kneed him. He said if the Blazers had to play Sunday, he would have to sit out, ending his string of 250 consecutive appearances. It’s the second longest active streak in the NBA to Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (332 games). The Blazers next play Monday at home against Toronto. Matthews said he would get electric stimulation throughout the night, rest during Sunday’s practice, then try to play Monday. While he admits his streak of games played means something to him – he even has the game operations staff play Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” during his introduction – he says his desire to play through pain is for more than a note in his bio.  ‘It’s done not only out of stubborness, but out of sacrifice for the team,’ Matthews said. ‘It’s not just an individual thing,I’m doing this so my team knows I’m going to fight for them regardless. As long as I can compete, I’m going to compete.’ “
  • Utah State’s Danny Berger is recovering in the hospital after going into cardiac arrest on the court during practice Wednesday. He might not be there if it wasn’t for former NBA player Ryan Gomes, according to NESN.com: “Gomes has also partnered with a charity called Hoops for Heart Health, which is where Berger comes in. Gomes once saw a teammate pass away during a game, an event that may have been prevented had a defibrillator been available. Since then, Gomes and the charity have been donating defibrillators to teams and recreational centers around the country. In fact, the defibrillator that helped save Berger’s life was one directly donated by Gomes, according to USUStats.com The Hoops for Heart Health website contains a message from Gomes that reads in part: ‘If we can save just one life, it makes all of our efforts worthwhile.’ Mission accomplished.”
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