SH Blog: George Karl explains Nuggets success, Michael Jordan promises off-season changes

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GeorgeKarlErik Spoelstra may be hunting for the greatest winning streak of all-time, but there is probably no one having more fun with his job than Denver Nuggets coach George Karl these days.

Sure, a 14-game winning streak is no 24-game winning streak, but the reigning champions were supposed to be this good at some point this season. Not a whole lot around the league expected Denver to play this big of a role in the Western Conference. After the improbable 101-100 victory against the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday, it stands alone at a league-best 31-3 at home.

Here is a detailed look at the mindset of a very happy coach about why his team has been so successful and how important homecourt advantage would be in the playoffs, from Sam Amick of USA Today

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SH Blog: Kobe and Nash show great promise against Warriors, Howard wants to be “Iron Man”

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In Sunday night’s preseason game between the Lakers and the Warriors, we witnessed something that may take a while to get used to: Steve Nash was running the floor alongside Kobe Bryant in a Lakers uniform. If you’re not a Lakers fan, what we saw was bad news because Nash – as he always does – made the game look so darned easy for everyone else. The Warriors actually blew the game open for a 110-83 victory and showed promising signs of their own, but the glimpse of what the Lakers could do, even without their prized center Dwight Howard, was the intrigue of the night. See what Bryant had to say about his new backcourt mate, along with your daily news from Monday below:

  • Bryant feels joy from playing with Nash. The bond between the two is already obvious, according to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports: “Yes, it was just a preseason game for these new-look Los Angeles Lakers. But the first Nash-to-Bryant assist also showed all the promise that could await them this season. ”He just makes the game easy,” Bryant said later of his new point guard. “It’s a joy for me. I’ve had to facilitate and score my entire career. I don’t have to do that now and I’m pretty happy about it.” In Nash’s first game with the Lakers, he and Bryant looked comfortable from the opening tip. The Lakers hope their relationship only continues to improve. In previous seasons, the Lakers too often watched as Bryant dribbled out the shot clock before taking a tough, contested shot. Nash also should be able to keep L.A.’s big men happy – or at least happier than they were when the offense ran only through Bryant’s hands. Bryant can now spend his energy trying to get open, knowing that if he does, Nash will find him.”
  • How did the Lakers look in Sunday’s preseason game against the Warriors? Mark Medina of Los Angeles Times noticed fluidity on offense: “The Lakers also ran the revamped offense that includes elements of the Princeton system with fluidity. Rarely did they ever go into isolation sets. Each player appeared intent on following Nash’s lead and finding the open player for a shot. Bryant, who posted 10 points on two-of-seven shooting and three assists, appeared intent on facilitating. The Lakers set strong screens and actually played off them. They routinely covered for one another on defense. The floor spacing gave plenty of room for Metta World Peace to operate outside and score 10 points on three-of-six shooting. It’s fair to say that this reflects how much calmer and easier it’s been for the Lakers to absorb Brown’s teaching concepts with more time and a solidified roster. As a result, the Lakers look a lot more exciting and fluid on offense than last year.”
  • Klay Thompson displayed his full arsenal against Kobe Bryant and the Lakers, from Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area: “It didn’t take long for Klay Thompson to unveil a little more of his game. Thompson, primarily an outside shooter in his rookie season, went to the bucket three straight times early in the game on Bryant, and finished on two of them. Thompson was the Warriors’ best offensive player on Sunday night, finishing with 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting. “I was taking what the defense was giving me,” Thompson said. “If they were playing up on my shot, drive. Kobe can’t move his feet as much as he used to so I got into the paint and made some plays.” Would Thompson have done that a year ago? “Not as effectively, no,” he answered. “But I’ve gotten stronger, worked on my quickness. I would have tried but I wouldn’t have gotten those results.”
  • Here are some highlights from the Lakers-Warriors game. Fast forward to 0:45 for Jarrett Jack’s forgettable moment:

Everybody chill I tripped on pau foot
Even tho I tripped only thing I was thinking was please don't fall or @ will never let me hear the end of this hahahaha
  • Dwight Howard apparently wants to be known as Iron Man now, according to Mike Prada of SB Nation: “Dwight Howard gave a mid-game interview with the Los Angeles Lakers’ broadcasters during the team’s preseason game against the Golden State Warriors. During the interview, Howard declared that he is now “Iron Man,” not “Superman.” Which is funny, because: 1. Superman would probably kick Iron Man’s ass. 2. Howard was not playing because he’s still recovering from a back injury.”
  • Deron Williams is impressed with Barclays Center, according to Howard Beck of The New York Times: “It’s built for basketball,” point guard Deron Williams said, drawing a sharp contrast with the Newark arena, which he disdained. “It’s not built for hockey; it’s not built for soccer. It’s built for basketball. Like I said, when they thought about it, they thought about everything. They thought about the crowd reacting, and it’s just got a great feel. It’s almost like there’s no bad seats in the arena.” The Nets will use stage lighting — just as the Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers do — enhancing the feel of intimacy and putting the focus squarely on the court. Johnson described it as “that Broadway feel.”
Deron Williams elaborated on choice of Nets over Mavs. Says Mark Cuban's absence at meeting helped cinch decision.
Howard Beck
  • Nikola Pekovic has become leaner and stronger in the offseason, which had Rick Adelman gushing about the big man’s many talents. Jerry Zgoda of Star Tribune has the story: “He’s slimmed down, but he’s stronger,” Adelman said. “You just watch him. Guys in the scrimmages just want out of there. They don’t want to go against him. He’s going to be crucial for us. If we have a guy who has to be our Iron Man, it’s Pek. When we have him out there, he’s such a force around the basket. It makes everybody else better.”… Adelman praised Pekovic’s passing, of all things, after Thursday’s practice, saying the big guy is seeing plays unfold and making passes that he didn’t see from Pekovic all last season. Adelman also wants Pekovic to expand his offensive game, which apparently means shooting the ball from beyond 2 feet. ”He can really shoot the ball from 15, 16 feet, he just never looks for it,” Adelman said. “I offer him the three-pointer every time I talk to him about it, and he has not accepted that yet.”
  • Tyreke Evans will rely on his jump shot- something he has tirelessly worked on – this season. DeMarcus Cousins and Keith Smart have noticed the difference in Evans, according to Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: “Evans has a key to the Kings’ practice facility and got in a lot of late-night shooting sessions, earning him the nickname “Cat Burglar.” He focused on his form. That meant not leaning back and kicking out his leg on jump shots. ”I just try to go straight up and down,” Evans said. “Every time I’d go and lean back, I’d just think to myself to go straight up.” Evans’ dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed. ”He’s way more focused,” said DeMarcus Cousins. “He’s in good shape, and he’s ready to turn things around. He wants to get this thing turned around as well.” A more mature Evans is a good thing for the Kings…”(Evans has) always been a guy who wanted to (improve), but you had to give him a plan and a staff that won’t leave until the last person leaves the building,” Smart said.
  • Allen Iverson played in an exhibition game in China and showed he still has the deadly crossover in his arsenal:

  • Amare Stoudemire is excited about displaying his new abilities in the post and blamed Mike D’Antoni’s system for never having developed a post game, from Marc Berman of New York Post: “I’m ready to step into a new era of my career,’’ Stoudemire vowed. “It’s going to benefit my career and I’ll become more of a complete player, having an all-around game.’’… Stoudemire didn’t know a single move before the summer. He blames it on being attached to former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni’s speedball game. “I’m a player who adapted to the system I played in,’’ Stoudemire said. “I’ve been under D’Antoni for seven, eight years. Post-up wasn’t a factor for us. We were such a high-octane, up-tempo team where speed and quickness was to our advantage. I’m now allowed to develop a post game where my speed and quickness will still be used to my advantage but add a lot of [post] skill.’’
  • Dwyane Wade will ignore the questioning of his age from reporters moving forward. It’s safe to say that the question ticks him off, according to Shandel Richardson Sun Sentinel: “The whispers will turn into yells if he has any sort of problems recovering from offseason knee surgery that is expected to keep him out most of the preseason games, which begin Sunday at the Atlanta Hawks. So, will Wade struggle early? It’s unlikely, considering Wade kept a log of the “old man” articles from last season. He actually viewed it as an energy drink, an extra boost heading into his 10th season. Did the premature retirement party tick him off? You bet. ”Any time someone questions you, it’s going to bother you if you have any kind of competitive nature,” Wade said. “It fuels you. You want to see what you’re made of in a sense. You want to come back and not only answer the bell, but do a little bit more than expected.”
  • Kevin Durant wants you to stop blowing his workouts with LeBron James out of proportion, from Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: “Kevin Durant wants to clear up something about his offseason workouts with LeBron James. “A lot of people blew (it) out of proportion,” the reigning three time scoring champion said. “It was just one day.” Still, some had a problem with Durant recently traveling to Ohio for the second consecutive summer to train with James. Durant, though, doesn’t see the big deal. “I’m a competitive guy,” Durant said. “I’m sure you guys have seen that in me. I just wanted to work out. That’s what it was all about. I’ll work out with anybody. I would have worked out with Kobe Bryant. I would have worked out with Carmelo (Anthony). I just wanted to work out and get better.”
  • Although David Stern likes NBA jerseys the way they are now, he won’t interfere with advertisements if that is the preference, according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE: “And while he recognizes the upside of such a decision – increased revenue – Stern likes the league’s jerseys as they are now. ”As a personal matter, I am not in favor of it, but I’m not standing in the way of it,” Stern said. “If my board wants to do it, we’ll do it.” It is clear that Stern’s opposition to having ads on jerseys has more to do with tradition than anything else. ”Of all the leagues in the world, the NBA is the only one that has its own logo on it,” Stern said. “No information of the manufacturer and no sponsor, and that is something that I have worked hard to preserve for many decades. But I understand that the team may have to come to consider it. So we’re going to let the Board of Governors decide what to do.”
  • Stern hopes to see a new team in Seattle within the next five years, according to Gary Washburn of Boston Globe: “Commissioner David Stern offered this little nugget on the future of basketball in Seattle, which is just approved a new arena plan when talking to reporters in Milan, Italy. “It would be my hope that within the timeframe that you mentioned, five years, that if everything works out perfectly, there would be a new arena and new team in Seattle. That’s always, for the board of governors, but I know that many governohrs are favorably inclined.”
  • Andrew Bynum’s teammates firmly believe in the abilities of the center, according to John Mitchell of The Inquirer: “The Sixers I’ve talked to are firmly in their teammate’s camp. This includes Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner, Dorell Wright and Jason Richardson (who has played with Howard). One of them even went as far to say that Bynum, who will be their first option rather than the third, as he was in Los Angeles, could average 25 points this season. The good thing about this is that, as far as the Sixers are concerned, what’s being said by others outside of their locker room hasn’t altered their opinion about their teammate, which should help them this season… Speaking of Bynum, he looks to be in great condition. He’s trim. He’s engaging his teammates and coaches. And if they were playing games right now, Bynum would be out there.
  • Anthony Randolph will look to renew his career with the Denver Nuggets this season, and his first preseason game was encouraging, according to Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post: “So there’s this player. He’s only 23 years old, a lanky, leaping 6-foot-11 pogo stick who can seemingly touch this high ceiling everyone talks about him having the potential to reach. Then there’s this player who has been on four NBA teams since 2008, arguably a vagabond bust, cursed by his potential. Well, it’s the same dude. Anthony Randolph is a Nugget now. The team took a gamble on the big man this summer, hoping he’s more potential than unfulfilled potential. And in the Nuggets’ preseason opener Saturday night in Las Vegas, Randolph had the team’s best plus-minus rating (plus-11) against the Clippers and finished with eight points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots in 18 minutes.”
  • Doc Rivers hopes to change the fragile mind of Darko Milicic, from Washburn: “You can see that he gets frustrated easy,” Rivers said. “So we’re trying to eliminate those episodes. Our thing right now with Darko is to play forward. From being around for a short time, as a coach I can probably feel he’s played his career backwards. He lives in the past a lot and we’re trying to get him to live in the future. I told him (Friday), the only time I’ll take you out is if you make a mistake and make another mistake because you’re thinking about the last mistake. I won’t take you out for making a mistake. So hopefully that works.”
  • Why did the Bucks struggle with their defense last season? The small backcourt was part of the issue, according to Dan Sinclair of Brew Hoop: “The Bucks’ other big problem was an inability to keep opponents away from the basket. They allowed the 5th-most attempts at the rim per game last season at over 26 per. The only thing that saved Milwaukee from disaster in that regard was their ability to contest close shots; the Bucks were 6th-best in opponent FG% at the rim, likely a testament to their many shot blockers. The obvious targets for blame here are Milwaukee’s perimeter players. Jennings has left his early reputation as a plus defender behind, becoming more gambler than stopper. Adding Monta Ellis hardly helped, and Beno Udrih has a poor defensive reputation as well.”
  • Rodrigue Beaubois will miss Tuesday’s preseason game, according to Dwain Price of Star-Telegram: “Dallas Mavericks guard Rodrigue Beaubois will not play in Tuesday’s game in Barcelona, Spain, against FC Barcelona Regal. Beaubois sprained his left ankle in the third quarter of this past Saturday’s 89-84 preseason-opening victory over Alba Berlin in Berlin, Germany. After the game, Beaubois wore a protective boot. However, he is no longer wearing the boot, which is a sign of progress. ”Twisted ankles are just part of the game,” general manager Donnie Nelson said. “No major setback at all.”
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks Shaquille O’Neal is delusional:

SH Blog: D. Howard hopes to have long career in L.A., Lin studies Duhon

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This topic has been covered before, but Dwight Howard once again spoke of his unwillingness to fully commit to the Lakers for contractual reasons. The way he speaks about the team and the city though, all signs indicate that he hopes to be in Los Angeles for the long haul. See what’s on his mind, what point guards Jeremy Lin studies to help improve his game, why Tim Hardaway thinks Derrick Rose should sit out for an entire season before returning and plenty more below:

  • Dwight Howard stopped short of making any commitment to the Lakers, but he hopes to have a long career in L.A., according to Joe McDonnell of Fox Sports West: So, while DH12 has had a lot of time to rehab, get used to his new home city and think about the risk he took in forcing a trade, there’s one thing hasn’t changed in Howard’s life — he’s nowhere close to signing a contract extension with the Lakers. ”I think the best thing to do is talk about it at the end of the year,” Howard said confidentially despite seeing his basketball mortality up close a few months ago with the spinal surgery. “We just went through that last season, basically, and I don’t want to go through it again or see anyone have to go through it. ”This is going to be my decision, and I’m going to wait till the end of the year. But I’m happy to be in L.A. This is a great place. I love the coaching staff and I love the organization for everything they’ve done for me since I got traded here. ”Hopefully I’ll have a long career here in L.A.”
  • Who does Jeremy Lin watch to help improve his game? Many players, including Chris Duhon, from Jason Friedman of “JL: I’ve watched everybody and some of the names might be shocking, but the thing is every point guard does something better than me, so the key is learning from whatever that is. Players that I’ve watched – the obvious ones: Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Steve Nash, John Stockton, Gary Payton. And then you can go on to the ones who have very specialized skills: Juan Carlos Navarro and then Chris Duhon and Raymond Felton. They do things that are really, really good and better than me that other people might not see.”
  • Tim Hardaway believes Derrick Rose needs to take his time before returning from his ACL tear, from Jared Zwerling of ESPN: “Hardaway thinks Rose should sit out the entire 2012-13 season. ”I’d just rather have him take his time, so he can be 100 percent, because he’s like me, running and jumping,” Hardaway told on Thursday. Hardaway pointed out that his injury was similar to Rose’s, a freak, non-contact injury on a routine play. Hardaway was going up for a layup on March 3, 1993 against the Los Angeles Lakers when he tore his left ACL, and he missed the entire next season. Rose jump-stopped to shoot his trademark floater in the fourth quarter of Game 1 in the first round of last season’s playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers. Hardaway remembers the months after the incident, thinking over and over again, ‘Am I going to come back the way I want to come back?’ But he overcame any doubt and stayed the course, relying on faith, confidence, his family and new eating habits, and he was able to return in 1994-95 and didn’t have to deal with the ACL again — even after his career. “
  • Coach Rick Carlisle believes the time for Rodrigue Beaubois to shine is now, from Earl K. Sneed of “Roddy is a kid that we all know has a lot of ability,” Carlisle said last week after taking a few questions about Beaubois during the introduction of the Mavs’ off-season signees. He added: “He’s done a lot of good things over a three or four-year period, and this is the year that he’s gonna put it all together. He’s had to battle through injury issues two out of his three years, and it’s been something that’s hindered him. But, you know, he’s another guy that can play the 1 and can play the 2, and often times when you look on the floor with our team you’re gonna see two guards out there that can both handle the ball and can both play off the ball.”
  • Who is Mark Jackson going to start at small forward for the Warriors? Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area believes it could be Richard Jefferson:  ”But after more review, I think Jefferson figures in the equation, and could be the starter. Here would be the thinking behind that … It’s possible that Barnes isn’t ready to start right off the bat, and Warriors coach Mark Jackson prefers to bring Rush off the bench. That wouldn’t be hard to see, considering Rush often provided a spark last year as a leader of the team’s second unit. Under that scenario, it makes sense to start Jefferson, who shot 42 percent from 3-point range last season and brings much-needed experience to the team. One potential issue with starting Jefferson, though, is how then would Jackson find playing time for both Rush and Barnes? That won’t be easy. A few weeks back, Jackson acknowledged that the small forward position was wide option.”
Had a good talk with Andrew Bogut today. Doing light drill work, looking at some action in camp, aiming for 1 or 2 preseason games...
Tim Kawakami
Marquis Daniels has agreed to a guaranteed deal with the Milwaukee #bucks. Daniels played with the #celtics the past few seasons.
gary washburn
  • Mikhail Prokhorov, as he said since taking ownership of the Nets, is expecting a championship for the team within the next three years, according to Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York: “Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov’s goal is to win a championship — and he expects do so within the next three years. ”Every team has a grand plan, and we’re moving slowly, step by step, because it’s easy to make a strong team, but it’s very difficult to make a championship team. So we are on the right way and I’m expecting our championship within three years now,” Prokhorov told reporters Friday morning after participating in a ribbon-cutting with partner Bruce Ratner and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, marking the ceremonial opening of the $1 billion Barclays Center in downtown Brooklyn… ”For me there is only one place: No. 1,” Prokhorov said. “And I’ll do my best in order to reach a championship.” Prokhorov confidently said he believes King will be “GM of the Year,” and he doesn’t care how much money he has to pay in luxury taxes. ”You can add it up. I don’t want to do your job, but for me it’s most important to have a championship,” he said.”
I asked Prokhorov if #Nets were a playoff team and would he guarantee it. His response? "For sure."
Rod Boone
  • The 76ers tried their best to acquire Nuggets general manager Masai Ujiri over the summer, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: “Before widening their search for a general manager this summer, the Philadelphia 76ers aggressively pursued Denver Nuggets GM Masai Ujiri, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. The 76ers were granted permission to talk to Ujiri earlier in the summer, but he ultimately resisted what would’ve been a lucrative package to replace Sixers president and GM Rod Thorn, sources said. Ujiri has emerged as a rising star among league front-office executives and had been the 76ers’ primary target along with new Atlanta Hawks GM Danny Ferry, sources said.”
  • Watch K.C. Johnson of Chicago Tribune discuss the Bulls situation heading into the season with coach Nick of Bballbreakdown:

  • Eric Gordon said it would be a process for his young team, but still expects them to be in the playoffs, from Rachel Whittaker of The Times- Picayune: “And Gordon can’t wait to be a leader, though he acknowledged the journey will be a work in progress.”We have a lot of young talented players who will be very good for us,” Gordon said. “This is a long-term process; it’s not a year or two where we’re going to be a championship caliber of team. I’m just looking forward to being in the playoffs this year and many more years of possibly getting a championship.”
  • The Magic will miss at least three players when training camp starts, according to Brian Schmitz of Orlando Sentinel: “Point guard Ish Smith and rookie forward Maurice Harkless will miss the Magic’s training camp and the early portion of the regular season while they recover from offseason surgeries. Forward Al Harrington, recovering from knee surgery, is expected to miss at least part of camp if he participates at all.”

Kevin Love expects to make playoffs

Brandon Roy admits “lift” is not what it used to be

Tonight’s best game: Houston at Dallas

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The Dallas Mavericks are clinging to the seventh seed in the cramped Western Conference playoff race.

mavs small logoA loss tonight would inch them closer to being the first team since the 1997-1998 Bulls to miss the playoffs after a championship season. Relating further to those Bulls, the Mavericks are also working with a shortened lockout season.

Dallas (34-28) looks to avoid that dubious feat and snap a two-game skid as they try to sweep the season series against the Houston Rockets for the second consecutive season in Wednesday’s best game.

The last time the two teams met back on March 28, the Mavericks won 90-81 and were tied for the fifth seed while the Rockets were 1/2 game behind the Nuggets for the eighth seed. They fight for playoff positioning for the final time this season.

Houston hasn’t won a home game since March 30, losing four straight at the Toyota Center. But Dallas has looked nothing like the road warriors of last season, where they shared the best overall road record in the league with the Miami Heat.

They finished last season with a 28-13 road record, but are just 13-18 away from home this season.

Things didn’t get any better in the last game, when they lost 123-121 in a triple overtime game against Utah despite 40 points from Dirk Nowitzki.

The team plays two more games at home, starting tonight, before playing its remaining two games on the road against Chicago and Atlanta.

Rodrigue Beaubois is set to return after missing the last two games.

Houston (32-29) has lost four consecutive games for the third time this season after winning four straight on the road, leaving them percentage points behind Phoenix for the eighth seed.

They will have to shore up a defense that has allowed 105.3 points during the four-game losing streak.

rockets small logoThe Rockets have gone undefeated in 18 games when they allow less than 90 points.

Former starting point guard Kyle Lowry has struggled with his new role off the bench since returning from a bacterial infection. In six games, he has averaged 8.8 points on just 37.8 percent shooting in 20 minutes.

Marcus Camby missed the previous game due to a sore back and is doubtful for tonight’s contest.

James Park is a regular contributor to You can follow him on twitter @nbatupark.

Warriors retire Mullin’s jersey; Bulls have historical night, humiliate Magic

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It was Chris Mullin’s jersey retirement night in Oracle Arena. A long time coming for the Warriors legend that wore No. 17, it should have been a joyous time for him, his family, the organization and the fans.

And then owner Joe Lacob stepped in and all hell broke loose.

After hearing rousing cheers from the fans for Mullin’s speech during halftime of the Warriors game, Lacob grabbed the mic to conclude the night when suddenly, the fans started to boo him.

Loudly and wildly.

Lacob stood confused, stunned and silenced until Mullin stepped back in to inspire the crowd to be more positive. They cheered again, but once Mullin stepped off, the boos returned.

It got to a point where another Warriors legend, Rick Barry, had to grab the mic to lecture the crowd about what it meant to have class.

The boos for Lacob, however, never stopped.

So ended what turned out to be a circus scene rather than a celebration of one of the greatest Warriors player of all time.

From Marcus Thompson II of San Jose Mercury News: “The ceremony to retire Mullin’s No. 17 jersey — held at halftime of Golden State’s 97-93 loss to Minnesota on Monday night — was interrupted as fans mercilessly booed Lacob. ”What I feel bad about is it kind of ruined a night that was very special,” Lacob said. “I feel bad for Chris more than anything else.— Mullin became the sixth player in franchise history to have his jersey retired — joining Rick Barry (24), Wilt Chamberlain (13), Al Attles (16), Nate Thurmond (42) and Tom Meschery (14)… The ceremony started so smoothly, too. Mullin got several ovations. Several of his friends — including Tolbert, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Sarunas Marciulionis and coach Don Nelson — were on hand and offered kind words. A video tribute reminded fans of his Hall of Fame career. ”This is where it all started for me as a pro,” Mullin said. “I came in as a young man. I made mistakes. I worked hard to redeem myself. And by the grace of God I am here today. I grew up right here in front of you. You, the Warrior fans, were a huge part of my success… In 13 seasons with Golden State, Mullin made five All-Star teams and four All-NBA teams — including first team in 1992-92. He is the second player in franchise history to average 25 points per game for five consecutive years (Chamberlain was the other). Mullin ranks top 10 all-time in franchise history in several categories. He’s first in games played (807) and steals (1,360), second in free throw percentage (86.2), fourth in points (16,245) and assists (3,146) and 10th in scoring average (20.1).”

Although there was no clear explanation of why the fans were so animated, there were certainly reasons to speculate.

From Matt Steinmetz of CSN Bay Area: “Perhaps it was for trading fan favorite Monta Ellis last week to the Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe it was because he promised the fan base that the Warriors would be a playoff team in 2011-12, but they’re 18-25 and going in the opposite direction from the postseason. Perhaps it had something do with previous ownership of Chris Cohan and the years of frustration of only one playoff appearance in 17 – soon to be 18 – seasons. Or maybe it was because the Warriors played an awful first half. Most likely, it was a combination of all those things. But whatever the cause, it made for an awkward end to a celebration of one of the greatest Warriors of all time. “Knowing him, knowing his commitment, his passion … the day is going to come where he’s truly appreciated around here,” Warriors coach Mark Jackson said. “I’ve been around a lot of owners and a lot of teams and he’s all about winning.” Maybe so, but apparently Warriors fans don’t believe that. Not right now.”

Perhaps it had something to do with this promissory note  as well.

Whatever the reasons may be, it is clear that the fans’ decision to boo the night away was ill-timed given the ceremony that was taking place. Either way, Lacob does not plan on hiding away as previous owner Chris Cohan did.

From Tim Kawakami of San Jose Mercury News: “It will never be forgotten–surely not by Lacob, not by Mark Jackson, not by the Warriors staffers who all seemed stunned, not by the handful of players who were on the court at the time. It will be filed away like the time Chris Cohan was mercilessly booed off the same court during the 2000 All-Star Game. And though it surely wasn’t the intent of the hundreds or thousands fans who were doing the booing, this night shapes up as a stand or fall moment for Lacob. Either he has the stuff to move past this sea of rage, and beat it back… or he doesn’t. Cohan didn’t have anything close to the stuff to survive that. The crowd decided that it’s time for Lacob to show it now. “Obviously, probably has something to do with the recent trade and some of the fans being upset with that,” Lacob said after the game. “But I think that they will love us, the ownership group, that is, when we win. And we will win.” The initial indication: Lacob did just fine. He didn’t quail. He got visibly mad, but he didn’t duck for cover. He went back out to his courtside seat in the second half. He kept clapping and cheering for all to see. He was joking about it not long after the game. Heroic? No. But stern and determined. OK, yes, Lacob probably shouldn’t have chosen that moment to speak; he was again grabbing center stage when it was better left to others, and I believe that led to some of the crowd’s anger. But Lacob didn’t deserve THAT treatment–he’s not Cohan, and if fans were torturing him for the Monta Ellis, he really didn’t deserve that, because it’s a good far-sighted trade.”

Meanwhile, a game was going on as the Warriors looked to snap a four-game losing streak to no avail against Minnesota, which had lost five of their last six games. Kevin Love dominated the game with 36 points and 17 rebounds.

The Timberwolves are 1 1/2 games behind the Rockets for the eighth seed, while the Warriors are slowly fading away.

Back in the East, Tom Thibodeau and the Bulls broke some records and in the process, humiliated the Magic on their own home floor.

From K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune: “Thibodeau broke Avery Johnson’s NBA record for the fastest coach to 100 victories thanks to the Bulls’ 85-59 victory over the Magic on Monday night at Amway Center. That ran Thibodeau’s mark to 100-30, eclipsing Johnson’s record set with the 2006 Mavericks by one game. The Bulls also improved to 19-6 on the road and 10-4 without Derrick Rose, who sat again with a strained groin. They did so with a team effort that featured 24 points from Carlos Boozer, 20 from John Lucas III and defense that forced 19 turnovers and 35.3 percent shooting. Oh, and allowed the fewest regular-season points in franchise history, besting the 62 points the Bucks scored on Dec. 5, 1997. There’s a record Thibodeau likes. ”I want to beat Orlando,” Thibodeau said. “That’s the only thing that matters. All that other stuff, meaningless. Stuff like that, it’s more a reflection of the team and organization. We have good players, great management, great ownership.” Whether Thibodeau admits it or not, the Bulls have a great coach too. Just ask Magic coach Stan Van Gundy. ”There are a lot of great coaches in this league and a lot of people have done great jobs both last year and this year,” Van Gundy said. “But nobody — nobody — has done a better job than Tom has. And he’s probably doing even a better job this year than he did a year ago. ”With all the injuries they’ve had, they just keep rolling along. I said to my assistants the other day, they could probably have all five starters out and they’d still beat everybody. ”To me, they’re the best team in the league as far as a team collectively playing together, being unselfish, being committed defensively.”

Elsewhere …

  • Dirk Nowitzki continued his dominant run in March as the Mavericks rolled past the Denver Nuggets 112-95 for their fourth consecutive victory while snapping a seven-game road skid — the longest streak in more than 13 years. Averaging 24.8 points this month, Nowitzki was rolling on all cylinders as he had 33 points on 12-of-19 shooting, 11 rebounds and six assists while Vince Carter and Rodrigue Beaubois chipped in with 14 points apiece. Dallas won the season series and moved 1 1/2 games above the Nuggets who lost Andre Miller to a bruised shoulder but more importantly lost Danilo Gallinari to a fractured left thumb. He will likely miss about a month, which made the debut of Wilson Chandler that much more crucial. Center JaVale McGee dressed but did not play.
  • After going through the motions in the first half, Philadelphia stepped up its defense to blow past the league-worst Charlotte 105-80. The Bobcats shot 29% from the field after the first half  and were outscored 59-36. Jrue Holiday and Thaddeus Young scored 20 points apiece while Louis Williams added 19 points. The Sixers snapped a three-game losing streak and remain 1 1/2 games above the Celtics.
  • An ugly shooting game unfolded between two defensive-minded teams but Boston came out on top against the Atlanta Hawks 79-76 to snap a two-game losing streak. Despite some struggles and ugly bumps along the way, the Celtics are a respectable 3-3 during the current road trip. The score was 51-50 after the first three quarters before both teams poured it on in the final period. Ray Allen led Boston with 19 points and Rajon Rondo had 10 points, 13 assists and six steals.
  • Two rookies stepped up as Cleveland visited and defeated the Nets 105-100 to end a three-game losing streak. Tristan Thompson — in just his second start of the season — had a career high 27 points with 12 rebounds while fellow rookie Kyrie Irving had 26 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Deron Williams had 28 points, eight assists and did this to the rookies while Gerald Wallace had his first breakout game for his new team and matched Thompson’s 27 points and 12 rebounds. After losing five of their last six games, Williams was visibly upset and avoided reporters for the first time this season.

James Park is a regular contributor to Follow him on twitter.