Boston Celtics

Around the Rim: Kevin Garnett is almost ready for his close up

1. Welcome back?
Kevin Garnett cares about one thing and one thing only – winning. The Big Ticket missed the Celtics last nine games in addition to sitting out the All-Star game with an abdominal strain, but he appears to be almost back to his normal self which makes Boston far above average once again.

I’m trying to play Tuesday,” Garnett said from NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans, according to The Boston Globe. “It’s been miserable. To be honest, miserable. But I’m in a good place mentally. I’m dealing with it.

The Celtics are in Denver tonight and Garnett said how he felt after Monday’s practice would play a big role in whether he takes the court or not. While the entire franchise is dying for Garnett to get back on the floor, they’re not stupid enough to rush it at this point. After all, they’ve won five consecutive games and own a 7-2 record since losing the big fella.

2. Agent 0 to the rescue

The Wizards got some terrific news on Monday, learning star guard Gilbert Arenas was cleared to participate in light, non-contact drills after having knee surgery last season. Arenas proved to be one of the most explosive scorers in the league, racking up 50 and 60 point games like clockwork. There’s no timetable for his return, but just hearing of his comeback has to energize Caron Butler and Antwan Jamison who have been carrying the load since Gilbo went down. Another piece of good news for the Wizards came in the form of Etan Thomas getting the nod to practice for the first time since undergoing open-heart surgery. Again, no definite timetable, but definitely good news.

3. Dare we say it? Jason Kidd is on his way to Big D
After a little tweaking, it appears that the Jason Kidd to Dallas trade will go through. However, before we go off analyzing the nuances of this trade, we’re going to wait for the official word to get dropped from NBA headquarters. Until then, we’ll stick with the major player – Kidd. Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard are going to love having this guy around and Mark Cuban isn’t even going to know who to cry over anymore. Not only will he have the sweetest shooting big man in the game on his roster, but he’ll also own the only player in the league who can completely change a game without scoring a single point. The only immediate drawback we can think of for Dallas is that the city is going to get sick of seeing Kidd’s big-headed kid on the tube every five minutes.

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Orlando (33-21) @ Detroit (39-13)
Now that the All-Star festivities are over and behind us, it’s time to forget all about Dwight Howard’s spectacular collage of throw-downs and start focusing on what’s important which is the race to the playoffs. Before the break, Stan Van Gundy `motivated’ Howard back to peak performance and with the wave of momentum currently underneath him, the Pistons might end up facing a snarling beast tonight. Of course, the Pistons have several proud All-Stars on its squad who will look to end Superman’s high flying act. And if you’re lucky, Rasheed Wallace might just jack up another lefty trey.

Buzzer Beater: Cedric Ceballos finally did something more embarrassing than his ridiculous blindfold slam dunk from a bunch of years back. The former Sun and current Suns on-court announcer was arrested on Sunday for driving with a suspended license. Turns out California had a warrant out for Ceballos and he got caught at a Cali gas station after an attendant called the cops because he tried to pay for gas with a bunk credit card. It was a quick in-and-out of the pokey for Cedric whose hearing is scheduled for March 18.

Philadelphia Phillies

Kyle Kendrick would have probably prefered a shaving cream pie to the face

So the Phillies went balls to the wall, pulling out all the stops in order to pull a fast one on Kyle Kendrick and it worked like a charm.

The ol’ `traded to a Japanese baseball league’ gag works every single time.

Phoenix Suns

Shaq stars in "Plays of Our Lives"

Until Shaquille O’Neal takes to the court for Phoenix and proves he’s got a little Kareem in him like everybody seems to think, there are going to be plenty of doubters who feel the Suns got raw-dogged in the deal. But, for better or worse, the deal is done. We just didn’t realize exactly how much drama went into getting Shawn Marion to South Beach and Shaq into the desert.

Did Marion just say “I’m a man“??

New Jersey Nets

Around the Rim: Jason’s still a Net, no Kidding!

1. Devean George is not a Jersey kinda guy
The Dallas Mavericks were just about to give away half their roster for Jason Kidd, but then Devean George decided to go `Kobe’ on the league and nix the trade. As it turns out, George has a loop hole in his contract giving him ultimate approval of any trade. This doesn’t mean the deal that would send Devin Harris, Jerry Stackhouse, DeSagana Diop, Maurice Ager and George (plus $3 million and two future first-round picks) going to New Jersey for Kidd and Malik Allen is completely done, but it will need to be tweaked. According to reports, the Mavs might replace George with Eddie Jones and Nick Fazekas or Jones and Juwan Howard. The Nets were so sure this deal was done they sat Kidd against Toronto on Wednesday. And as fate would have, they lost big.

2. Never doubt Dwight Howard

Stan Van Gundy called out his star player for wanting to score more than play defense. Against the Nuggets, Dwight Howard proved he can do both. Howard exploded for 23 points, 24 rebounds and a pair of blocks in a 109-98 Magic victory in the Magic Kingdom. Rashard Lewis threw in 25 for Orlando while Hedo Turkoglu and Brian Cook added 18 points apiece. The Nuggets were in the game for about a half; unfortunately, it was the first half. Carmelo Anthony scored 32 points before fouling out in the fourth and Allen Iverson put in 21 points on a horrible 5-of-16 shooting performance.

About a month ago the Cavaliers got a measure of revenge against the Spurs, winning a close one in San Antonio after being swept out of last year’s Finals. On Wednesday, the Spurs returned the favor, beating Cleveland 112-105 on their home floor. And they didn’t even miss Tony Parker thanks to an outta-his-mind performance by Manu Ginobili. The Argentinean drilled a career-high eight 3-pointers en route to a season-high 46 points with eight assists, five rebounds and three steals. Ginobili was money in the final period, connecting on all four 3-point attempts for 18 points in the period. For the game, San Antonio shot 12-for-20 from behind the arc. Oh, and according to the box score, there were a couple of All-Stars on the court as well. Tim Duncan did his usual double-double thing, scoring 23 and grabbing 13 while LeBron James had himself a humdinger of a contest with 39 points, six rebounds and nine assists.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Manu Ginobili @ Cleveland 40 min, 46 pts (FG: 15-20, 3FG: 8-11, FT: 8-9), 5 reb, 8 ast, 3 stl, 1 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (35-17) @ Phoenix (36-16)
We know Jason Kidd won’t be in the lineup for the Mavericks and it’s doubtful that Shaquille O’Neal makes his Suns debut against Dallas, but there are still plenty of reasons to watch. It’s always a track meet when these two hook up and it usually goes down to the wire. Dirk Nowitzki should love not having to deal with the pesky Shawn Marion in this rivalry anymore, but Steve Nash is still around and so is some young stud named Amare Stoudemire. It should be interesting to see how the Mavs react with a roster full of players they tried to cut ties with less than a day before.

Buzzer Beater: Gilbert Arenas is thinking about changing his last name to East after realizing the fashionable perks it would bring.

That’s going to be the coolest jersey ever though … that David West jersey for being a Western Conference All-Star … West on the front, West on the back. That’s going to be the bomb jersey.

Philadelphia 76ers

A.I. reminiscing on the good ol’ Philly days

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary since Allen Iverson left Philadelphia for Denver. So, now that some time has passed, why don’t you tell us how you really feel about the trade A.I.

I know they didn’t get enough”” Iverson, 32, said. “In my heart, they know they didn’t get enough. The fans in Philadelphia know they didn’t get enough. . . . (The 76ers) just wanted me out of there.”

“If I was still in Philadelphia, I don’t think they would be in the predicament that they’re in right now,” Iverson said. “The way the East is, I would think that we would be right there in the hunt. . . . I look at (Philadelphia’s) games right now, and it looks like a rec league game or an AAU game when you see the attendance there. It just looks dull.”

“I always said I wanted to end my career as a Sixer,” Iverson said. “And I wanted that so bad for my fans. . . . We had lost a lot of games. . . . I came into a meeting and I told them that I didn’t think, the way we were going, we could win. And I voiced my opinion on what I thought we could do to help us win. And they didn’t care what I thought.”

Wait, didn’t get enough? What’s next? Are you going to try and tell us the Minnesota didn’t get enough for Kevin Garnett either? There was no way to replace the Answer on that team. Philly could have received 10 players in return for A.I. and they still wouldn’t have the same heart.

And since we mentioned K.G., we’re still not over the fact that Minnesota let Iverson slip through their fingers when Garnett and the Timberwolves were their lowest low. We love watching the Celtics and the Nuggets with their new faces, but, damn, Garnett and Iverson would have been a match made in heaven.


[]: Denver, Philadelphia remodeled by Iverson deal

LA Lakers

NBA Basketball is back and so is the Chuckster’s big ol’ mouth. Yippee!

After news broke of Kobe Bryant and Phil Jackson’s little spat the other day, it was just a matter of time before the Round Mound of Rebound weighed in on the situation. Especially considering that the season tips off tonight and Sir Charles just happens to have his weekly forum back. You’re going to have to tune in to TNT to see what he says live, but we already have a pretty good idea of what it might be.

What Phil Jackson said yesterday, that was like they’re at the point of no return now. There’s a point where you know you can make a marriage work, but what Phil Jackson said yesterday, that was the end of it,” Barkley said at a luncheon with fellow studio analyst Kenny Smith.

“That’s the one thing I respect most about Kevin Garnett. Even though he played on terrible teams, there is not a player in the last 10 years who played harder than Kevin Garnett. And that’s the one thing that disappoints me. Phil said that Kobe’s just going through the motions. … And if your coach tells you you’re just going through the motions, that’s pretty much the end of the straw.

“The end of the straw”??? Charles, have you been hanging out with Emmitt Smith again?

But Barkley wasn’t done with the drama in La La Land just yet.

Smith said Bryant broke “etiquette rules” by publicly criticizing teammates during his trade demand. Barkley was harder on Bryant’s actions since camp opened. Bryant skipped practices and games – Barkley called it a “sabbatical” – after Buss said he would consider trading his star, and Barkley blames both of them for creating the situation.

“When Jerry Buss comes into training camp and says they’re going to trade Kobe, Kobe says, All right, I’m going to take a week’s vacation,’ ” Barkley said.

“Jerry shouldn’t have said that. Wasn’t no doubt in my mind (Bryant) was just blowing off games and practice because he was (mad) about what Dr. Buss said. They shouldn’t have said that. He should have went to Kobe Kobe you want to be traded, we’ll try to make it work.’ But the guy’s skipping practices, going through the motions.

Okay, we haven’t even started the season yet and we’re officially sick of the Lakers. Can we just skip the games and go straight to `Where We At?


[]: Barkley calls out Kobe

Boston Red Sox

Even Man Ram knows this is a stupid deal

Listen, we understand that there’s nothing better than taking in the World Series atmosphere live and in person, especially when it’s favorite team playing for all the marbles. Likewise, we know that times are tough and money is tight. But get it through you’re head desperate Rockies fans, nobody wants your crap!

We told you about the guy who’s trying to swap a year’s worth of Mexican food (Pepto-Bismol not included) for a couple tickets to the Series. Well, he’s not the only one who’s looking for a flea marketesque bargain on some stubs.

Little league baseball coach Bobby Padilla just wants to take his son to a World Series game, so he’s carted up from his basement boxes full of 25 years worth of Playboy magazines, not a missing month, in mint condition. He bought the magazines nine years ago for $200 as a favor to a friend.

He said it’s because he struck out mixing a lineup of at least 10 computers trying to buy tickets online. He said nobody has inquired about the magazines yet.

Really, wonder why? Could it be because nobody in their right mind would fill their house with boxes and boxes of Playboy bunnies? We’re not saying that people wouldn’t mind having `em; hell, we’d like to relive some of those Bo Derek and Shannon Tweed days ourselves. We’re just saying that nobody is stupid enough to give you World f’n Series tickets for them.

Well, we take that back. There is one man. A shoe man.


[]: Man Will Trade 25 Years Of Playboys For Tickets

Colorado Rockies

If you like Mexican food and have a World Series ticket then we just might have a deal for you

Now that we know who the participants in the World Series are, the only question left is how the heck are getting into a game? Well, if we were the owner of a hole-in-the-wall Mexican food restaurant in Colorado then we’d offer up all the burritos and tacos we could spare. Kinda like this guy.

Ben Martinez is a huge Rockies fan and the owner of El Jardin Mexican restaurant in Commerce City, but he doesn’t want to pay scalper prices for tickets. So he’s making an offer for two free meals a week for one year at his restaurant for anyone who gives him two tickets to any of the games at Coors Field. Martinez said it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Two meals a week for a year at El Jardin or tickets to the biggest baseball event of the year? Hmmm, tough choice. We guessing that anyone with WS tickets is probably going to choose to spend a whopping $10.47 for a years worth of Taco Bell and keep the stubs instead of forking `em over to you and getting a clockwork case of Montezuma’s revenge for next 48 weeks.

Listen, man; if you want to go to the World Series then you’ve got to show more desire then just unloading a bunch of chips and salsa. That just isn’t going to cut it. Dare we say it; if you want to go see your precious Rockies then you’re going to have to go all out and pay Dr. Steve-O a visit.

Take a sledge hammer to the package or light your head on fire and then we’ll talk.


[]: Restaurant Owner Offers Free Meals For Rox Tix

LA Lakers

Is Kobe in or out? Will someone fill us in please?

We’re not even into the NBA season yet and we’ve already heard a variety of stories involving Kobe Bryant.

First, Jerry Buss opened his big, fat mouth after a lot of the summer frenzy died down and told reporters that he “would certainly listen” to any trade offers made for Bryant. Then some crazy LA news outlets started yapping about how Kobe had already cleaned out his locker. Now, we get to actually hear from the Mamba on the situation and we’re more confused than ever about this whole mess.

I don’t know, talk to Mitch and Mr. Buss about that,” Bryant replied when asked if he had played his final game for the Lakers, referring to general manager Mitch Kupchak and the team’s owner. “I’m just getting ready. If I’m here, I’m ready to strap it up.”

My job is to play the game and get ready to play the game,” he said Tuesday. “That’s what I’m doing. I guess people are just intrigued by what’s going on around here. I understand that. I have a job to do. One thing I said at training camp was that I didn’t want this to be a distraction.”

When asked whether he was unsettled by recent events, Bryant said: “It’s our understanding not to bring up the situation and not talk about it. We just wanted to keep things quiet and go about our business. It kind of caught me off guard a little bit.

“We’ve just got to get back to basics and get ready and go from there. It’s my job to play basketball. It’s not my job to worry about what management is doing or this, that or the other thing. I’m going to be ready and let them do their jobs.

Bryant has been sitting out the last couple of practices which is apparently what has all the rumors flowing, but this is getting ridiculous. When Kobe wants out, the Lakers want him to stay. Then the Lakers start talking trade and Kobe wants to play. Geez, we haven’t seen this much contrast in one place since Charlie gave life to Night Man and Day Man.


[]: Kobe sits out again, denies cleaning out locker

Indiana Pacers

Jermaine O’Neal is basically banging on Jerry Buss’ door

In case you’ve been living under a rock for the past year or so, Jermaine O’Neal wants to get the heck outta Indiana soon.  And of course, he wants to play on a team that can contend for a championship.  After all, Kevin Garnett is finally getting a solid shot at a ring and taking postseason suckers like Paul Pierce and Ray Allen along with him.  But, unlike Garnett who remained quiet and pessimistic about being traded, O’Neal is letting the whole world know that he wants to be wearing the purple and gold next season.

I love L.A.,” O’Neal said. “I normally train here every summer. The last two summers I haven’t trained here because I got hurt, but I love it here. My daughter loves it. My wife loves it. This is one of the prime places that if I were to be traded, I would allow Indiana to trade me here.

Hmm, sounds like he loves L.A.  But the biggest selling point about L.A. is Kobe Bryant and O’Neal didn’t forget to start buttering up the bitter superstar with hopes of rings and “missing piece” dreams.

I think Kobe’s in a position right now where he understands that he needs some help,” O’Neal said. “He needs some help to get to the position where he wants to be. I think he’s the best player in the NBA and the world, but obviously no player can do it by himself. He has a nice group around him, but he needs some help and I can give him some support.

Of course, O’Neal has to be healthy in order to contribute which is something he hasn’t been able to do over the past several seasons.  However, O’Neal is claiming to currently be at 100 percent.  And just to be sure that he didn’t put all of his eggs in one basket, O’Neal lobbed up a distant second choice as he gushed over the Lakers.  

Los Angeles and New Jersey would be my top two teams,” O’Neal said. “I think L.A.’s a real possibility and I think New Jersey’s a possibility too.

What, no New Jersey lovefest?  


[]: California dreamin’