Morning Shootaround — Feb. 27

Missed a game last night? Wondering what the latest news around the NBA is this morning? The Morning Shootaround is here to try to meet those needs and keep you up on what’s happened around the league since the day turned.

The one recap to watch: When we turned on League Pass last night at the home office and saw the Warriors-Pacers game on the dockett, we knew we had our pick for game of the night early on. Turns out, we were right. Although the final score reflects a bit of a one-sided affair, Indiana-Golden State turned out to be a dandy. Nothing like seeing two teams who are good-if-not-great at what they do: the Warriors on offense (with their No. 9 overall rated crew on that end) and the Pacers on defense (they’re No. 1 in defensive rating). Though a late Roy Hibbert-David Lee-Steph Curry scuffle became the storyline here, we enjoyed watching the Pacers take on one of the NBA’s best offenses and use its size and length to fluster anything the Warriors did around the basket.

.

News of the morning

LeBron may end pregame dunk routines | Lopez delivers down stretch for NetsBucks suspend Dalembert | Buss once helped save Jazz | Rookie Cunningham may miss rest of season

LeBron’s dunking exhibitions may endAside from Harlem Shake videos, perhaps one of the bigger growing viral trends around the web are the pregame dunking exhibitions that Heat star LeBron James has been putting on. As he and his Miami comrades have — like the L.A. Clippers – been showing off their acrobatics in the warm-up lines, James often steals the show. Just check out this one he pulled off on the visiting Cavs two nights ago:

James isn’t too happy, though, with the flak he’s catching from those wondering why he won’t participate in the Slam Dunk Contest if he can pull off moves like this, writes Michael Wallace of ESPN.com:

James has been executing contest-worthy dunks during warmups, but has been unwilling throughout his career to participate in the league’s dunk contest during All-Star Weekend despite pressure from fans and former players.

“Maybe I should stop because it’s making a lot of people mad about what I do,” James said after he scored a season-high 40 points and had a career-high 16 assists in Tuesday’s double-overtime win against Sacramento. “They’re like, ‘Well, if you can do it in warmups, why don’t you (want to) be in the dunk contest? Stop it.’ “

James was in the act again before Tuesday’s game, when he lobbed the ball into the air, caught it off the bounce and shifted the ball between his legs before slamming it through the rim. The Heat have a reputation for late-arriving crowds, but more fans have filled into the arena’s lower bowl before games with cell phones or video recorders in hand waiting for James to take the court before games.

The Heat have started to stream video of James’ pregame dunks on the team’s official website, and owner Micky Arison has used Twitter to encourage fans to arrive to games early if they want to see the show James puts on.

James said Tuesday he wasn’t aware of how popular the routine has grown, because it’s something he’s always done. More Heat players have gotten involved, including Chris Andersen, Mike Miller, Ray Allen, Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers, who has been James’ stiffest competition of late.

“I’ve been hearing about it,” James said. “But I don’t really watch TV or go on the Internet too much. As a team, it’s kind of our new thing. I’ve had some good ones, but (Chalmers) doing a 360? That’s impressive. We have a little epidemic right now. It’s kind of like the Harlem Shake.”

Nets’ Lopez delivers in clutchNets coach P.J. Carlesimo has taken flak of late for his tendency to pull All-Star center Brook Lopez down the stretch of games. He changed things up last night and kept Lopez in the game down the stretch and the All-Star came through, hitting several clutch baskets to salt away the Nets’ win over the Hornets. It was a matchup of NBA brothers to boot as Brook Lopez took on his brother, Robin, in a game where the Lopez twins’ mother found rooting interest hard to come by, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:

“I’ve kept my confidence through this entire week,” Lopez said after finishing with 20 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four blocks. “It’s definitely good to get a win like this, but I try not to put too much stock into one game. … It is a marathon and not a sprint.”

Perhaps it just took facing off against his twin brother Robin, the starting center for the Hornets, to get him back on track.

“It’s always fun,” Brook Lopez said of facing off against his twin, who finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. “[Robin’s] always very physical. Playing against him is enjoyable. … How many other people in the world get to experience something like this?”

The two brothers had a large cheering section in the stands, as their mom, Debbie Ledford, was cheering them on alongside their older brother, Alex, and his family.

Brook had said before the game his mom would be wearing either a Nets hat with a Hornets shirt or vice-versa, and she did exactly that, wearing a black Nets hat to go with a black Hornets T-shirt.

“It’s difficult, because they play the same position, they play the same minutes,” Ledford told The Post. “So, if anything happens, they kind of cancel out each other out. … One is successful at the expense of the other.

“All I hope is that they both have good games, but it’s difficult. You can’t choose which team you want to win.”

Bucks’ Dalembert suspended vs. MavsThis hasn’t been the best season in veteran big man Samuel Dalembert‘s career. On the court, he’s averaging his lowest scoring (7.0 ppg), rebounding (5.8 rpg) and minutes average (16.7 mpg) since his rookie season. Off it in Milwaukee, he dealt with an icy relationship with former coach Scott Skiles (read more here). Maybe his problems can’t be traced solely to Skiles, though, as he was suspended last night for a pattern of behavior, writes Charles F. Gardner of the Journal Sentinel:

Bucks general manager John Hammond announced Dalembert was suspended for one game without pay due to a violation of team policy.

Bucks coach Jim Boylan said the suspension was due to a pattern of behavior rather than one specific incident.

“Everybody on the team, players, coaches, staff, they have certain responsibilities to the team,” Boylan said in his pre-game remarks. “When those responsibilities aren’t met, there are consequences.

“So Sam has not met some of those and the consequence is he is suspended for tonight’s game.”

Dalembert has been serving as the primary backup to starting center Larry Sanders.

Boylan said “it’s more of a pattern” when referring to the reason for the suspension. “It reached a point where something needed to be done, so we decided this was the appropriate action to take,” he said.

Former Bucks coach Scott Skiles benched Dalembert in the Nov. 24 home game against Chicago due to a lateness issue and started Przybilla at center. Dalembert did not play at all in the game but returned to the lineup when the Bucks played in Chicago two nights later.

Dalembert said later it was a “misunderstanding.”

“Coach said there were certain times to be there, and I was in the building,” Dalembert said in November. “I thought it was a little harsh. My team could have used me out there.

“That was the punishment. Nobody told me nothing before the game. So I found out the next day. If there’s a miscommunication and a misunderstanding … everybody misunderstands stuff but we communicate.

Lakers’ Buss helped Jazz stay putBack in the mid-1980s, the Utah Jazz were a mostly fledgling franchise whose future in Salt Lake City seemed iffy. In fact, the city of Miami was interested in buying and moving the team there in 1985. That year, nine different owners were in line in Salt Lake City to buy the team from Sam Battistone, with one of the potential owners being the late Larry Miller. Miller was the Jazz’s owner from 1985 until his passing in 2009 as Utah experienced tremendous success during the John Stockton-Karl Malone era. But had it not been for Lakers owner Jerry Buss during a 1985 NBA Board of Governors meeting, writes Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune, the Jazz might have been Miami’s team:

According to the late Larry Miller, Buss played an undeniable role in keeping the Jazz from moving to Miami in 1985.

When Miller wanted to buy 50 percent of the team, Buss stood up for him during a Board of Governors meeting in New York City.

Without the support, the board might have rejected Miller’s ownership bid, which would have left the door open for a buyer from Miami to purchase the franchise.

Nine groups, apparently, stood in line to buy the franchise from owner Sam Battistone before Miller joined the battle to keep it in Utah.

Battistone was seeking limited partners, but Miller didn’t think that approach wouldn’t work.

He believed Battistone needed one partner, not several, and stepped forward with an $8 million offer to become co-owner.

Even though Miami bid $20 million for the franchise, Battistone accepted Miller’s offer because he also wanted the team to remain in Utah.

At that point, Miller went to the Board of Governors, seeking approval for his ownership bid. Atlanta’s Ted Turner attended the meeting. So did Jerry West, Red Auerbach and David Stern, the NBA’s new commissioner.

When Miller began his presentation, San Antonio’s Angelo Drossos quickly emerged as a skeptic.

Drossos started questioning Miller, often interrupting before he could finish his response.

“After the fifth interruption, Buss, who I had never met, interrupted Angelo,” Miller recalled. “He said, ‘Angelo, why don’t you shut up and let him answer a question?’ “

Then, Buss “started asking questions that led to a discussion of my numbers. … Within half an hour, Jerry said, ‘I’m satisfied. Let’s go with him.’ “

After Buss’ endorsement, Miller quickly became co-owner of the Jazz.

“Jerry saved me that day,” Miller wrote.

Mavs’ Cunningham may be done for seasonRookie Jared Cunningham has only appeared in just eight games for the Mavericks this season, spending much of 2012-13 as a member of Dallas’ NBA D-League club, the Texas Legends. He’s suffering from tendinitis in his knee and is already setting his sights on playing again in 2013-14, writes Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News: 

The No. 24 overall pick said Tuesday that he’s suffering from tendinitis in his right knee and is going to be out “for a while.” He said his sights already have been set toward the 2013-14 season.

“My goal is to be completely ready for summer league,” Cunningham said. “I want to get my body back to the way it was in college so I have my athleticism.”

Coach Rick Carlisle said it was critical that Cunningham get healthy.

“I wouldn’t call it a lost season,” Carlisle said. “He’s gotten a lot of work in, and he’s gotten a fair amount of experience and he now understands what an NBA season is about. But we’re going to do the right thing. We’re going to make sure he gets healthy. And we’ll go from there.”

The Oregon State product’s start in the NBA was derailed when a hamstring kept him out of the summer league. From there, a thumb injury and knee issue flared up.

Now, Cunningham will stay with the Mavericks and work on conditioning his right knee. He was walking with a slight limp after shootaround.

“It’s best that I stay here and take advantage of everything they have to help my rehab,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a tough year. But I’m looking forward to getting right for the summer.”

ICYMI of the night: This Chris Paul-to-Blake Griffin alley-oop is only No. 4 on our nightly Top 10 countdown, but it’s No. 1 in our hearts around here …:

43 Comments

  1. ody says:

    The issue here is you people in north america don t apreciate things that happens in a court with a player that has not a ball in his hand or playing for his team, attracting attencion, making better his mates. Otherwise, The all star is business, nothing to apreciatte with it. Said this, and talking about the real game, lebron is the best far away, let s watch the games not like we are playing in a playstation

  2. bri says:

    I don’t how that guy was who jumped with him but he got Mosgov’d.

  3. esteve says:

    Its doesnt matter. People like Lebron and whatever he do some people dont like him. If he join then most probabaly he win and people will see its bias because his Lebron. How about just leave the guy alone. Let him dunk or make a pregame for the heat fans or people who like him. If your not interested then turn off your television and turn in back on when its 4th quarter. By the way Lebron will be more than Kobe. Lebron is unstopable and KOBE never.

  4. Poohdini says:

    lebron james is a freak of nature who does nothing the normal way,he does extra ordinary things,

  5. KiNG 6 says:

    LOL these comments are hilarious. LeBron scared of a dunk contest? Obiously he can win it with his eyes closed hahhaha like if he owes anybody anything.

  6. lebroncoward says:

    do that in slam dunk contest not in a pregame . LeBron can’t handle the pressure .

  7. D.Allen says:

    That is pure love of the game energy. Takes me back to my college days before football games. The energy…the feeling of doing what you love. Going up for one hand catches on the WR easy up drill. Pregame is all about frolicking around in anticipation. The calm before the storm….showing out a little for the crowd.Thats all LeBron is doing people!!! Enjoying the game!!! Its nothing like pregame warm ups. But I forget …..half of the most of the sportswriters and people speaking about this issue have not played the game…so they really don’t know/understand.

  8. common sensei says:

    Well Lebron is a better basketball player than anyone leaving comments right now so i can’t see why you can talk. let’s see one of you try to play 82 games in the NBA. and deal with everyone always talking trash.

  9. Ricardo says:

    Lebron is a great player but he fears pressure and critics from fans, media and other players. The video proves he’s the best dunker on his team and the fans would love to see him in a dunk contest that if MJ, D Wilkins, Kobe, Vince Carter and Blake Griffin all did for their team why can’t lebron do it? oh that’s right the spotlight is on him and he don’t want to fail then get criticize that’s why he claims he’s getting old and don’t want to injure himself yet he’s in each all star games dunking left and right smh how do you explain that heats and lebron fans? Melo and Durant aren’t flashy dunkers beside they got better dunkers on their team then them so that’s why they don’t participate. Spudd Webb and Vince Carter are always remember for winning the dunk contest not championships. LBJ get criticized for not taking the last shot in close game whereas Kobe, Melo or Durant takes the GWS …..Lakers all day everyday

  10. SO AMAZIN NELL IGB says:

    why is evryone of you talkin like ya know him person?None of you guys met this man before so how the he.. ya know hes scared? please let me know.everyone want to talk down on someone but never give them the credit they deserve. To me he dont care about winning a slam dunk contest,win or lose it not nothing you can brag about or get remember for. You get remember for winning championships, and thats priority first for him. dunk contest is about fun but u guys making it a must and must win for him. In which he don’t care too much about…but in the end i love to see him in the dunk contest!

    • mettaWORLDpeach says:

      blah blah blah! whats next if he win slam dunk contest? be contented people! what ever he does is not enough! next is? next what? im getting sick this! gotta have rings and slam dunk contest and three point blah blah and skills blah blah and everything lebron lol

  11. richbasa says:

    Dunk contests are for ball players try to promote their brand. Real NBA stars who got game do not need to enter these stupid contests. When you are as good as Lebron who makes 50 mil a year on and off the court don’t have to.

  12. Isaaac says:

    lebron doesn’t play ball to compete in the slam dunk contest. he plays to win. he owes you nothing and the sooner you get that into your head, the better off you are. just leave the dude alone and let the greatest baller in the world today do what he does best. is it really that difficult?

  13. SJM says:

    Anyone notice that lebron through it off the backboard between his legs not looking at the net? than took ONE STEP from the free throw line and threw it down..

  14. Ferdinand says:

    He has done that thing 2 years ago.

  15. Realist says:

    LBJ can’t handle the heat? LBJ is a coward?…. LOL. You Lebron haters out there will jump at him any chance you get. Stop joining the bandwagon of the topics which discredits him. Okay, to all the LBJ haters out there, put MJ and Kobe aside. Can you say right now “Lebron is a great basketball player”?? Can you? Can you? Hurts doesn’t it? A player you hate so much, you find yourself not being able to admit the truth. Is Lebron a great player?? .

  16. Jp says:

    When Lebron complains
    “They’re like, ‘Well, if you can do it in warmups, why don’t you (want to) be in the dunk contest? Stop it.’ “
    How about it’s your job, earn the money people pay. Honestly Lebron is the worst face of the league, just hope Thunder or Spurs win it this year.

    • Game Time says:

      The worest? Oh yeah the guy who was on trial for rape is just a poster boy of a role model.

    • BIGMatta23 says:

      Im failry certain that LBJ is earning every penny of what he is paid by his owner. What does that have to do with All-Star weekend? Nothing,

  17. Gameon says:

    all I have to say is Miami fans are tacky and triffling how in the world are that many of you late to the games and your team is world champs, seriously the owner has to entice you with LBJ pregame dunks wow.

  18. kman says:

    Are you guys serious?!?!?!?! the between the legs dunk has been done to death. There was nothing amazing about that dunk that we haven’t seen in every other dunk off. J Rich did a between the legs reverse, everyone hyping it up because it Lebron.

  19. W/E says:

    Its crystal clear that Lebron is a coward, he will never participate in a dunk contest cause he cant take the pressure, thats the truth LBJ fans ur boy is scared of competing in the NBA dunk contest..

  20. SoFlySmitty says:

    LeBron doesn’t HAVE to do the Dunk Competition…but in my opinion he owes it to the NBA and he owes it to his fans. All the greats did it…they didn’t have to do it either, but they did it to prove that they were the best, period. I think it’s not only an insult, but a slap in the face to us TRUE NBA fans that this goof is out there doing all of these high quality dunks in WARMUPS, knowing full well that fans and other players WANT TO SEE HIM in the Dunk Competition. I saw one other comment saying to appreciate what he has and will do…the NBA is a different game compared to when MJ and a younger Kobe played. I agree with the comment above saying that the game is softer…it is. Back in the day, you drive the lane unabaited, you FOR SURE gonna catch an elbow or shove…dudes were tough as hell. Now all these guys cry about little wuss fouls…LeBron is leaps and bounds above the rest because the level of competition and toughness of the game has completely been removed. If “Prime” MJ played in today’s NBA, he would DESTROY teams on his own….but hey, just my opinion.

  21. S.H. says:

    Why would anyone find a negative angle of perspective on Lebron’s pregame dunks? After seeing the allstar dunk comps ride a rollercoaster of varying quality post-VC I can understand why Lebron hasn’t competed in one during his career. It seems like he does great stuff on an almost nightly basis so stop criticizing, get some tickets, get there early and go and see it (in your city) for yourself. Oh, and NBA.com, this is a terrible story, cover something a little more worthwhile.

  22. MV3 says:

    the man has won many awards including big ones like 3 MVPs, Finals MVP.. arguably the best all around player of all time and you sit there to tell me he can’t take the heat to participate dunk contest or he has to do it ? i mean look how pathetic you sound. You think dunk contest is more heat than going to the playoffs after failing the last one and everybody was on his shoulder ? and why even bring MJ to here. He’s Lebron. He will go down as one of the greatest and be known as the only only Lebron just like MJ, Bird or Magic. So quit crying and whining about him not going to dunk contest and enjoy his greatness every game

  23. moron says:

    wait a minute… so why is he quitting again?

  24. dattebayo says:

    Do we need to criticize everything he does, that has nothing to do with playing basketball? Winning a dunk contest doesn’t mean ANYTHING. Gerald Green, Nate Robinson and Jeremy Evans have won the Slam Dunk Contest and most people don’t even know which teams they are playing for. Evans averages 5.3 minutes for the Jazz, Robinson only plays because Rose and Hinrich are injured and Green has fallen out of the rotation. Also, I haven’t seen Wade, Melo, Durant, Harden, Westbrook or Rose in a Dunk Contest, why is nobody criticizing them?

    Let him tweet and if he doesn’t want to participate in the lame dunk contest, so be it. He doesn’t have to do anything, so get over it.

    • W/E says:

      these guys u mentioned most probably dp not have anything great to show in a dunk competition or they are just scared and cant take the pressure of the Dunk contest’s bright lights like Lebron…

  25. kenny bell says:

    mario chalmers 360? i wanna see that

  26. Clinton says:

    People keep saying he is afraid to enter the Dunk contest. i know this may sound hard to believe but its actually true. see the thing about Lebron his, he sees himself as a winner and as great as he his, he think to himself but “what if i don`t win” and that “what if” i think his what`s keeping him from entering. because as much as he knows he can win it, he also know there is a chance he can mess up and lose. so basically it all comes down to “Pride” for him.

  27. Look out for the Bleh Bleh Bleh says:

    Lebron discredits himself. He truly is a good athlete and need to act like it. Why quit in something you’re good at?

  28. nba says:

    laugh thats funny you have to win the slam dunk contest lol….really thats good humor.

  29. Bstarr says:

    Why he won’t Lebron participate in the Slam Dunk Contest…..that is very easy to answer.

    Doing dunks during warmups is not that tough at all. There is no pressure on Lebron at that moment. But patricipating in a Slam Dunk Contest when everybody expects him to show them something is a whole different ballgame!

    If you ask me….Lebron cannot stand the heat so he is staying out of the kitchen called Slam Dunk Contest because he is afraid to fail.

    I don’t agree that often on MJ comments but by saying that Kobe is better then Lebron he had it right! Kobe not only has more rings but he can deliver when the pressure is huge! Lebron has improved a lot but I can still remember how he could not deliver in the 3rd & 4th quarter of the play offs in 2011.

    Any way: if you want to compete with MJ or Kobe….you must have rings and win a Slam Dunk Contest.

    Just my opinion

    • ene be a says:

      Hey , look, lebron can win the dunk contest easy , but what if he injured on a dunk contest?… he has allways having something more important and that’s WIN, stay whitout ingures, and allways play well and he has been the best teammate in the history of the nba….

      • Nish says:

        How the heck can he get injured in a Dunk contest? WHEN HAS THAT EVER HAPPENED BEFORE??? That is simply the excuse of a coward if you ask me

    • HARDHOOPER says:

      @Bstarr, you (and most other nba fans) dont seem to get it. LEBRON IS NOT TRYING TO BE LIKE MJ OR KOBE!!! He is simply the best all around player the game has EVER seen. He doesnt have to do something he doesnt want to. Let the man live and just appreciate him for what he actually has done, is doing and will do.

      • TWizz says:

        MJ was a better all around player. Period. Lebron has it easy now days. The game has been softened up for people like him.

    • rod says:

      well. talking of championship rings and Slam dunk contest. How about MVP? Lebron has 3 MVPs. This year would be his 4th MVP.. and more MVP to come. – from AIM small MISS small.

    • jhbh says:

      the dunk contest is boring and pointless, why risk an injury for something stupid

    • GREGORY BROWN says:

      I agree with you 100 percent. you know basketball

  30. Max says:

    I gotta admit that dunk by Lebron was sick..