NBA General

Around the Rim: Dishing Out a Different Kind of Rock

Long term contract

1. Happy Housewife
You might as well get his finger size now because this summer Tony Parker will receive his third ring since becoming a Spur. And he doesn’t even have to win the NBA Finals to get it. That’s because the guard will be marrying his long time girlfriend and Desperate Housewives hottie, Eva Longoria. While Parker is referred to as the student in the relationship’s more intimate of moments, he certainly taught the world how to properly squash a rumor. Not too long ago, these two were reportedly done with one another. Now, after two years of dating, it looks like Parker has finally learned the importance of having a good teacher.

2. Not Up His Alley
Allen Iverson failed to make a team function on Wednesday at, of all places, a bowling alley. Understandable, considering his history of bowling brawls. It’s not clear as to why Iverson failed to show but Maurice Cheeks said that he will be fined accordingly. If I had to guess, he probably didn’’t want to wear those hideous, thirty year-old shoes infested with foot fungus that have grown so powerful they are immune to the alley’s heralded “sterilizing” Lysol bath. Sure he upset a few fans and a few sponsors by not showing up, but in the end, what are we talking about? We talking about bowling, man. I mean, how silly is that?

3. All in a Quarters Work
Wow, Kobe Bryant did it again. Everybody knows that he can go off and any moment; last night he proved why you can never take your eyes off of him, not even for a quarter. The defensive minded Jazz got torched by Bryant for 52, including 30 in the third quarter alone. That’s a ridiculous total when you consider that only three players in the entire league average 30 for a full game. In the third, Bryant was nine of nine from the floor and ten of ten from the free throw line. The entire repertoire was on display last night; powerful slashing dunks, fade away jumpers, outside set shots, driving pull-ups, it was all there. While Kobe has serious competition for the title of best overall player in the league, there is no question that he is the NBA’s most explosive scorer.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Kobe Bryant vs. Utah Jazz 34 min, 52 pts (FG: 19-26, 3FG: 2-3, FT: 12-15), 4 reb, 3 ast, 1 blk

Friday’s Game to Watch: Sacrament (8-5) @ Dallas (11-4) Somebody has to beat Dallas eventually, right? The Mavericks have ripped off 11 straight victories after losing the first four games of the year. The Kings are on a winning streak of their own, although it’s not as impressive. After dropping three in a row to some tough competition, including San Antonio and Utah, Sac-Town has won three straight and could use a victory over an elite team to gain some serious confidence. Despite leaving the last game early because of blurred vision and then missing the following practice, Dirk Nowitzki is expected to start.

Buzzer Beater: Bozi Wells has consistently been an inconsistent player and a volatile element everywhere he has gone. Controversy has followed him throughout his career and now, Houston has to deal with his shenanigans. Apparently, Wells is simply too out of shape to get any playing time. Not injured, just fat. As a third option on the Rockets, this was Wells best opportunity to have an important role and be on a winning team, but he can’t even get conditioned well enough to set foot on the floor. Wells has always been conceded and selfish but now his raw talent can’t overshadow his behavior. What an embarrassment.

NBA General

Around the Rim: West Coast Players

Soon to be Road Warriors

1. Home Cookin’
What ever happened to those purple jerseys the Lakers use to wear? Or the blue ones that the Warriors wore? Well, those are LA’s and Golden State’s road uniforms and they’ve been collecting dust for most of the season. With ten home games already in the books, Golden State leads the league, just ahead of Los Angeles’ nine. So far, the Lakers have taken advantage of the circumstances, going 8-1 at the Staples Center. The team opens the season with 17 home games compared to only seven on the road, with one “road” game being against the in-city rival Clippers. However, after that span, the Lakers get to rack up the frequent flyer miles with 20 of the next 28 games coming on the road. The Warriors are in a similar situation by starting the season with 16 of their first 23 in the Oracle Arena, followed by ten of the next 13 on the road. Looks like those dark colored jerseys will get some use after all.

2. Statement Game
Orlando took a three game win streak and the best record in the Eastern Conference into Salt Lake City on Monday night; they left with a victory and dealt the Jazz their first home loss in the process. It was just the third loss of the season for Utah but their second in a row. The Magic led at the end of every quarter behind the output of the young kid with veteran skills, Dwight Howard. Howard put up another double-double with 21 points and 16 rebounds. The Magic are the surprise team in the East this year and already sits four games ahead of second place Atlanta in a struggling Southeast Division. And early on, it sure appears as if the Eastern Conference really has only three true Finals contenders; Orlando, Detroit and Cleveland. The health of Grant Hill will prove to be critical for the Magic organization this season, more than ever, as another ankle injury could end his career. As far as Howard goes, if he keeps up at this pace he’s going to be a rebounding champion, legitimate MVP candidate and possible conference champion before he turns 22.

3. Triple-Double
While it’s still early in the season and there are still months to go, Jason Kidd is coming awfully close to averaging a triple-double. Who knows if this could be maintained over the entire season, but in 13 games, Kidd is averaging 12.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 9.2 assists. The scoring should remain constant; the assists could easily top ten with the firepower on the Nets. The toughest obstacle for Kidd is going to be improving his rebounding average by two boards a game. His current average is a career high and that is 1.6 rebounds higher than his career average. There is no comparison should Kidd replicate the feat performed by Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 when he averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 boards and 11.4 assists. Regardless, to average any triple-double would be one of the most spectacular seasons in the history of the game, and just having the talent to even come close to such an accomplishment is amazing in itself.

4. Double-Double
While nine out of the top ten scorers in the league are guards or small forwards, don’t be fooled into thinking that the big men aren’t ballin’ this season. According to the statistics, this is the best crop of big men in, at least, six years. This year there are 11 players that average a double-double in points and rebounds. Seven of the 11 have numbers better than 20 points and 10 rebounds per game. When compared to past seasons, the increased production from the paint patrollers is undeniable. In 2005-06, six players averaged double-doubles while only three pulled down at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. 2004-05: seven 10/10; two 20/10. 2003-04: nine 10/10; five 20/10s. 2002-03: five 10/10; three 20/10s. 2001-02: six 10/10; two 20/10s. 2000-01: nine 10/10; six 20/10s. Carlos Boozer and Kevin Garnett currently lead the way with 11 double-doubles each, followed closely by Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Dwight Howard with ten each and Chris Bosh with nine. Am I the only one seeing double now?

5. See-Saw Battle
Thanks to a 45 point game by Allen Iverson at Miami on Monday night, the NBA now has a new scoring leader. The effort put Iverson at 31.7 points per game for the season, six-tenths of a point ahead of Denver’s Carmelo Anthony. AI has put up quite a three game streak, starting with 46 against Chicago, followed by 31 versus Cleveland and now dropping 45 on the Heat. But don’t get too comfortable with Iverson’s status, Anthony has a game tonight against Memphis and Melo has put up nine games of 30 or more in his last ten contests. It’s likely Iverson will return to second on the list by tomorrow.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Dwyane Wade vs. Philadelphia 45 min, 33 pts (FG: 10-18, 3FG: 0-1, FT: 13-14), 7 reb, 13 ast, 1 stl, 2 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Minnesota (6-7) @ Houston (9-4) Houston is shaping into one of the elite teams in the western conference thanks to a dominating season by Yao Ming. It finally seems that Tracy McGrady is content to lower his numbers in order to improve Yao’s production, and it’s paying off in the win column. The Rockets are currently 5-1 at home. Kevin Garnett has the Timberwolves’ hopes and dreams sitting squarely on his shoulders, again. Minnesota has to get more help for KG if they are going to make it to the post season. But for tonight, you can expect another box score busting at the seams for Garnett, who leads the team in every major statistical category except assists.

Philadelphia 76ers

Iverson is a good guy

There are so many negative stories involving athletes that it’s good to point out these good guy stories every once in a while. Even though we make fun of Allen Iverson a lot (the practice?! video is really funny), he is one of our favorite athletes. Sure he’ll get arrested over a trumped up charge and his boy will get fined for parking his Bentley in a handicap spot, but then he’ll turn around and do something like this:

Allen Iverson will pay for the funeral of a man who died three years after he was shot in southwest Philadelphia because he refused to hand over his Iverson jersey to a group of teens.

The shooting left Johnson paralyzed, in a wheelchair and eventually on a ventilator. Last week, the ventilator failed, and Johnson suffered irreparable brain damage. The family chose to take him off it.

“If they were that serious about that jersey I would have given them 100 jerseys if they wanted it,” Iverson said. “It was just tough, just to see somebody die for something senseless like that, over a jersey, over something material.

[]: Iverson offers to pay for funeral

Philadelphia 76ers

Allen Iverson plays all 48 minutes

In a new autobiography, Carmen Bryan, the Pamela Des Barres of hip hop (Jay-Z and Nas), reveals that Allen Iverson was the best she ever had in bed. You can go read the sordid details at the NY Post but we couldn’t help but imagine an exchange between AI and Carmen:

I mean listen, we sitting here talking about foreplay, not sex, not sex, not sex, but we talking about foreplay. Not sex that I go out there and die for and have sex like it’s my last but we’re talking about foreplay man. How silly is that?

Now I know that I’m supposed to lead by example and all that but I’m not shoving that aside like it don’t mean anything. I know it’s important, I honestly do but we’re talking about foreplay. We’re talking about foreplay man. We’re talking about foreplay. We’re talking about foreplay. We’re not talking about sex. We’re talking about foreplay. When you come to the bedroom, and you see me play, you’ve seen me play right, you’ve seen me give everything I’ve got, but we’re talking about foreplay right now!

[The Big Lead]: Allen Iverson, the NBA’s Pablo Neruda (More Romance, Less Writing)

[The 700 Level]: Rumored Tale of Iverson with Nas’ Woman

NBA General

Around the Rim: Drama in Dallas

I got your money Nellie!

[Editor’s Note: Around the Rim is a new daily NBA blog written by Clay Whittington.]

1. Cuban Millions Crisis
On Monday, Don Nelson returned to Dallas as coach of a different team, but he still had the same old relationship with his former boss Mark Cuban. And that is, none at all. The two no longer speak to one another and according to Nelson, Cuban still owes him $6.6 million. Apparently, the relationship turned sour after a bitter negotiation over Nelson’s last contract, prompting the two to cease any personal association with one another. Nelson was named as a consultant but once personnel moves were being made without Nelson’s involvement, he decided it was time to leave. Cuban has been quiet about the situation, “I have nothing to say at all. He coaches the bad guys now.” Has Cuban turned over a new leaf? Are we seeing a more reserved, more mature Mark Cuban? Unlikely.

2. Cuban Conspiracy Theory
Cuban raised eyebrows on opening night when he decided not to unveil the team’s western conference championship banner against rivals San Antonio. Cuban played the move off as a gesture to the fans, allowing them to enjoy both an opening night and a championship celebration. Now, with the emergence of Nelson in Golden State, the picture is becoming clearer. Cuban, who is known for his brash behavior, simply passed up an opportunity to rub his success in the faces of the Spurs for an opportunity to rub his success in the face of his former coach. The ceremony was to serve as a reminder to Nelson of the achievement gained upon his departure. With David Stern cracking down on “whining” in the league, these types of nonverbal gestures could prove to be more advantageous for the calculating business guru. Cuban will always get the last word in whether it’s spoken or not. Don’t mistake a quiet Cuban for a changed Cuban.

3. It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
It’s only the first week of the season but Allen Iverson is already having a great season. With 34.0 points a game, he is leading the NBA in scoring, but the points aren’t surprising. What is, however, is the accuracy with which he gets them. A career 42 percent shooter, he’s currently shooting 49 percent from the field and an eye-popping 55 percent from behind the three point line. And don’t try to call him selfish anymore. His assists are up to 9.7 per game, another career high. The injury prone Iverson continues to put his body on the line for his team, leading the NBA in minutes per game and free throws attempted. On the flip side, one of Iverson’s signatures has always been his turnovers and this year is no different as he dubiously leads the league in that category as well with 5.33 per game. Will any of these numbers hold over a full season? Time will tell, but with A.I. in MVP form and his team jumping out to a 3-0 start for the first time in six seasons things are definitely looking brighter for Philly fans.

4. Second Home Coming
The New Orleans/Oklahoma City Hornets will have their second home opener of the season tonight. The team brings a 3-0 record to their home away from home as they play Golden State in Oklahoma City. Chris Paul led the team to a victory over Houston in New Orleans on Sunday. David Stern emphasized over the weekend that the Hornets will return to The Big Easy full-time next season. Over the past two seasons, Oklahoma City has proven to be hungry for professional sports and their commitment to the Hornets franchise has created an opportunity for the NBA to set up shop in the Heartland. Coincidentally, the Seattle Sonics were recently purchased by an Oklahoma City-based ownership group; an acquisition that has Sonic fans sleepless in Seattle.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Zach Randolph @ LA Clippers 38 min, 35 pts (FG: 11-17, FT: 13-15), 13 reb, 1 ast, 2 stl, 3 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Minnesota (2-2) @ LA Lakers (3-1) The Lakers are perfect at home on the year as former MVP, Kevin Garnett, comes to town. Kobe Bryant has been quiet in the two games he has played this season, taking only 25 shots total, but he will look to explode against the T-Wolves after losing in Seattle. Lamar Odom has been sporadic since Bryant’s return and appeared more comfortable as the lead role in the opening game that Bryant missed.

Philadelphia 76ers

Allen Iverson is not a lottery ticket

Jackie Chiles can get you $600,000

Four guys are suing Allen Iverson and his manager for negligence because they got their asses kicked by security personnel. The four plaintiffs contend that Iverson and his manager negligently hired “dangerous individuals” known as “The Horsemen” for security at an event.

According to the lawsuit, two of the four plaintiffs, Priest Brown and Robin Isman, were attacked by The Horsemen as they left the club, and the other two were assaulted while dancing. They are suing for $600,000 each. Man, it pays to get your ass kicked every once in a while.


[]: Iverson sued over security team’s actions

New England Patriots

We talkin’ bout practice!

As you might have heard, Tom Brady has missed two days of practice. Belichick won’t say why and somehow this is national news. In honor of this story, here is the classic Allen Iverson video.