Morning Shootaround — Jan. 13


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Jan. 12

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Players only meeting works for Kings | Conley at crunch time in Memphis | Teletovic pokes LeBron | Blazers not one of the Bynum 8

No. 1: Kings players-only meeting works wonders – Three straight wins in most places isn’t worth going crazy over, not during the marathon that is an 82-game NBA season. In Sacramento, however, it’s definitely going to raise eyebrows. A players-only meeting has worked wonders for the Kings, who routed Cleveland Sunday to polish off their season-best win streak. Is this potentially a turning point for a Kings team that has dealt with adversity and distractions for months now? Time will tell. But as Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee notes, an epic beatdown of the Cavaliers is a good place to start:

The victory margin equaled a 44-point win over Denver on Dec. 12, 1992, and trailed only a 56-point win over Philadelphia on Jan. 2, 1993 and a 58-point victory over Dallas on Dec. 29, 1992.

The Kings led by 46 points, their biggest advantage of the season, and tallied season highs in points, 3-pointers (15) and blocked shots (eight).

Defensively, the Kings (13-22) held Cleveland to 11 points in the third quarter and 30 points in the second half, both season lows by a Sacramento opponent. The 80 points were also a season low, bettering the 83 the Kings gave up against Orlando on Friday.

In the third quarter, the Cavaliers (13-24) made only four shots and shot 20 percent, both season lows for a Kings opponent.

“This young team is growing and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Rudy Gay said. “We can become a really good team. It takes hard work and we’re working hard, and coach has been great. As long as we keep going on that same path, we should be a good team.”

The defensive numbers are what pleased coach Michael Malone. After allowing 32 points in the first quarter, the Kings began to defend better, leading to the dominant second half.

“Consistency is a word we’ve used a lot,” Malone said. “It’s something we haven’t shown we can (accomplish) most of the season, but in our last three games I think the defense has been consistent, the communication has been consistent, the effort’s been there. We had breakdowns without a doubt, but our breakdowns are happening less often at the moment, and that’s a step in the right direction.”



VIDEO: Isaiah Thomas wins his duel with Kyrie Irving and his Kings get the win

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No. 2: Conley is the man at crunch time for Grizzlies – Whether you realize it or not, Mike Conley has become a stabilizing force for the a Memphis Grizzlies team that sorely needed one. Even with the likes of Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph and Tony Allen on the roster, the young point guard emerged from a humbling start to his career to evolve into the sort of floor leader that pushes the pile the way he did against the Atlanta Hawks Sunday night.  Conley is on a tear right now that suggests he might be ready for even bigger and better things, writes Ronald Tillery of the Commercial Appeal:

Conley continued arguably the most productive week of his NBA career in leading the Griz with 21 points, 13 assists and four steals. He posted 30 or more points in each of the two previous games.

The Griz blew a 13-point lead with Conley on the bench. The Hawks began connecting on 3-pointers and used a 16-0 run that bridged the third and fourth quarters to wrestle away the momentum and take an 80-77 lead.

The game was tied at 77 when Conley returned to replace rookie reserve Nick Calathes with 10:38 left. About 20 seconds later, Conley whipped a pass to James Johnson out of a pick-and-roll and Johnson finished the play with an emphatic slam dunk. The basket was the start of a 16-4 run that allowed the Griz to regain the lead for good.

Conley set up Courtney Lee and Mike Miller for 3-pointers, Zach Randolph for a point-blank shot, and created his own scoring opportunities by zipping past defenders and into the paint.

“Once (the Hawks) started making a little bit of a run, from the bench, I noticed that we weren’t getting to the paint,” said Conley, who had eight points and six and six assists in the final period. “We weren’t getting to the rim, to the free throw line or making plays at the rim. It shows our aggressiveness when we are going in-and-out of the paint. We got just little bit too lax in that stage of the game. I just wanted to come in and act on that.”

Conley is averaging 27.3 points in his last three games, which have resulted in an overtime loss to San Antonio and wins over Phoenix and Atlanta.

“He has really taken responsibility, not for running the team but really as a leader for the team and defining whether we are successful or not,” [Grizzlies coach Dave] Joerger said. “He has taken the steps to say, ‘I’m going to be up front, and not pushing from within. I’m not going to be facilitating. I’m going to be out front and be a leader and those who follow will follow and those who don’t will get left behind.’ He is so much more assertive in his approach and our guys feed off of that.”

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No. 3: Teletovic pokes the LeBron bearIn the event that the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets meet in the postseason (yes, still months away but work with us here), Mirza Teletovic might want to be careful with his poking of LeBron James. He’s still having a little fun at LeBron’s expense in the aftermath of their dust-up during the Nets win over the Heat last weeek in that TNT showdown. His good hard foul on LeBron, when he went around the neck to prevent an uninterrupted layup attempt, prompted plenty of bickering and back and forth about not only the foul and LeBron’s immediate reaction. Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald went so far as to suggest that LeBron’s long-term response will have an impact in the playoffs:

Teletovic went high around James’ neck, yes, but it appeared on replay that Teletovic was only trying to prevent James from completing a three-point play. Teletovic didn’t grab James, but James took exception and lunged at Teletovic following the play. Michael Beasley and others restrained James while Nets players rushed in to hold back Teletovic, who reacted to the sequence by flashing a smile.

“Not a basketball play” was James’ constant complaint during the 2013 playoffs, especially during the series against the Chicago Bulls. Bulls center Nazr Mohammed was ejected during Game 3 for shoving James to the ground during a fast break.

For years, the postseason scouting report on James has called for opponents to rough up the MVP in the hopes of knocking him off his game.

Although hard fouls are nothing new for James, Teletovic defended himself after the game and then had a little fun with the incident on Twitter.

“It was just a foul,” Teletovic said. “I just tried to make a foul, and he was coming down the court. He shouldn’t be reacting like that. It’s just basketball.”

Teletovic then did something he might come to regret. The European needled James on Twitter when he posted a screen shot of the scuffle and wrote, “Five in a row…Go @BrooklynNets :) lol ;)” Teletovic then changed the background of his Twitter page to a large picture of the incident.

https://twitter.com/Teletovic33/status/421920903006789632


VIDEO: Mirza Teletovic and LeBron James scuffle

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No. 4: Count the Trail Blazers out of the Andrew Bynum sweepstakes – The Andrew Bynum 8 — the reported eight teams interested in pursuing the big man’s services for the remainder of this season — does not include that surprise outfit in Portland. Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com reports that the Trail Blazers, true contenders this season in a loaded Western Conference playoff chase, have not registered any legitimate interest in Bynum:

The Portland Trail Blazers could use an extra big man on their bench, but if they did decide to make a play for one between now and the trade deadline, it won’t be for center Andrew Bynum.

CSNNW.com was informed by a well-placed league source that Portland is not one of the reported eight teams interested in Bynum. Another source backed it up saying, “Portland has not inquired” about the services of the 7-foot free agent Bynum.

This revelation isn’t much of a surprise.

There are a couple of reasons why Portland opted not to take such a risk: the concern regarding Bynum’s character and how he would fit inside a locker room that has gelled seamlessly, had to have been a huge road block. Bynum has had his share of knee problems, a road Portland is reluctant to travel down.

The other obstacle is Portland is already carrying 15, the maximum amount of players allowed on a roster. If they were thinking of adding a player such as Bynum, someone would have to be released.

And being that every Trail Blazer on the roster has a guaranteed contract for this season, if Portland did decided to waive a player to make room for a free agent, they would have to eat the contract of that released player.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner claims there might be film of Wilt Chamberlain‘s 100-point game … Deron Williams will not make the trip to London with the Brooklyn Nets … Lakers on the verge of getting injured shooting guard (Xavier Henry not Kobe Bryant) back this week … Speaking of the Lakers, GM Mitch Kupchak says “taking” is never discussed in Lakerland.

ICYMI of The Night: Who, you ask, is Jeff Ayres? He would be the former Jeff Pendergraph of the San Antonio Spurs, the same man you here getting his Dunk of the Night on in a win over the Minnesota Timberwolves:


VIDEO: Ayres throws it down over the Timberwolves

42 Comments

  1. kobeballhog says:

    plenty of haters here i bet most of you are kobe fanboys who got nothing to cheer about this season since the greatest ballhog is already on the way out of the league lol. at the end of the day hate all you want about lebron he is still a 4 time mvp, 2 times champion, whatever the hype before he came into the league he smacked it all to your faces haters lmao.

  2. LeBron should not have reacted like that. Yes, the Heat is the team to beat, but this was just a good hard foul to prevent a 3 point play. This is NOT a flagrant, and a foul like that would not have even been considered a flagrant in the 90′s. Since LBJ reacted like this to THIS foul, there is no doubt that LBJ wouldn’t be able to play in the era of Dominique, Dr. J, or Jordan. If you drive to the lane, expect to get hit. It’s basketball.

  3. okc2014 says:

    Lebron James is a strong guy. Imagine if he would of thrown a punch? Teletovic would have been knocked clear out the arena! Wow!

  4. say what says:

    King James is the King of basketball…yall cool off..Teletovic is nothing in NBA…until he made the foul…he wants his name to be heard…so that’s the only way he can do…foul someone hard…someone who is…the best now…The only way to be known in the NBA is to get a flagrant foul on King James…IF you foul hard on someone else..pftftft…its not gonna be heard…

  5. AkronsBig Mike #1 fan of LBJ says:

    It’s a shame that the game of basketball is coming to some as to thanking who can eat another player up. Basketball is a game smart technalcality and not a boxing ring or hockey rank. Labron had good reason to exspress himself, because he get more than his share of rough house tactics. I thank God that he is tough enough to handle whatever is thrown at him. On the other hand he is human.

  6. say what says:

    King James is the King of basketball…yall cool off..Teletovic is nothing in NBA…until he made the foul…he wants is name to be heard…so that’s the only way he can do…foul someone hard…someone who is…the best now…The only way to be known in the NBA is to get a flagrant foul on King James…IF you foul hard on someone else..pftftft…its not gonna be heard…

  7. victor says:

    lbj the big flopper in nba all the time he just shows that he never learn to play ball at all times

  8. Lebron says:

    I wonder what LeBron is gonna write when the Heat beat the Nets. Teletovic is lucky that the Heat held Lebron back.

  9. Gage Yakovich says:

    I love Teletovic is bragging about it on Twitter instead of to LeBron’s face, but then again who has 2 rings and who has none?

    • dd def says:

      yeah because surely they have time to meet for coffee and have a go at ridiculing each other. besides, aren’t you kind of doing the same thing right now?

  10. fabrice says:

    LOL funny

    teletovic will destroy lebron

  11. Mike says:

    LeBron James is a big spoiled baby.

  12. dustydreamnz says:

    Was that it? Teletovic hardly did anything, LBJ is known for his over reacting.
    The Blazers don’t need to consider Bynum, Lopez has been great this season.
    The Kings are a hard team to follow, every time I back them to win they lose and vice versa. Pistons are the same.

  13. Miami_Heat_Fan17 says:

    Keep smiling…cause you’ll be watching us this summer…

  14. Hunte says:

    Really Teletovic! You want to go there? What is the Nets standings? 9…& what? Heat’s what? Get real. By the way who are you? “Scrub”

  15. Grievous56 says:

    I have to say that Lebron really needs to toughen up. I don’t see how that foul was dangerous, As for Teletovic – he showed he has guts and that he isn’t afraid of even the best players in the league.

  16. arenee says:

    Mizra didnt do anything wrong in my opinion. Lebron didn’t receive a technical foul for running up towards Mizra after the incident was over and he escalated the incident.

  17. www says:

    what kind of name is Mirza? its sounds like a girl name.

  18. EZap says:

    James is one of the biggest babies in the NBA. He shoulda got a technical for charging the guy. It was good to see him foul out, he commits an offensive foul every time he touches the ball. But because he’s the NBA’s big money maker, he gets the benefit. Ask him how many times he flagrant fouled Rondo over the years.

  19. Blazers all the way. How can you go wrong?

  20. Teletovic Did Wrong.. He Thinks He’s Back in His Home Country Or In Europe.. Where He Can Commit Fouls Like That and It Isn’t Called A Flagrant.. He’s In Brooklyn, New York, United States.. Where All Hard Fouls Are Called Flagrant Fouls..
    he Should’ve Known That The Flagrants Are Gonna Be Called.. Mirza Should Be Fined after Posting That Picture to Twitter and Saying it was just a foul.. He has to Admit he commited a Hard Foul..

    • jOLAN says:

      It wasn’t that hard of a foul, but when you look at it from LeBron, it probably seemed like the guy punched him the way he swung his arm around to wrap him up (it wouldn’t of been so bad if it was around his arms). It was a hard foul, and it wasn’t a basketball play at all. He made a play for his head and that’s worth getting upset about. I don’t care what it was like “back in the day”, there are to many fouls where guys are just trying to wrap a player up, make the foul for the ball, don’t just try to tackle the guy. and to all the people saying he’d never do that to MWP or who ever else, all those guys are respected players, this guys is a nobody yet, still trying to prove himself, then to go on twitter after, maybe he should learn something about respect, you may hate LeBron, but he is the best player right now, and he has achieved a lot, so he does deserve more respect.

  21. ImJusSayin says:

    LBJ Plays better mad? Examples please.

  22. josh says:

    whats funny is he looks like an idiot in the pic so good for you…..your not even close to his level so say what you need to, to sleep at night,

  23. Mr Me says:

    you cant poke fun at Lebron if your stat line is worth about 3 minutes of Lebrons total output. lets be clear unless you are a Brooklyn fan you didn’t even know about this guy.

    no problem with the foul, but don’t start taking jabs at a guy who the next time you play might just show you why he is 4x MVP and 2x Champ and 2x final MVP.

    • dd def says:

      i’m not a brooklyn fan and i knew about him.

    • underdog says:

      Not a BKN fan but I know him.. I sing the Teletubbies tune in Teletovic everytime he makes a 3.. and btw 2x Champ and 2x final MVP was given, not earned.. and another one.. Miami loses when Wade is out.. but wins even if LeBron is out..

  24. kellogs says:

    who IS justin ayres??? And good on Mirza!

  25. Bosna says:

    Mirza would eat lebron, lebron is just puffed up, Mirza is bosnian, he got that lenghty 6-9 bosnian srength, dont even bother trying to argue with me cuz u dont know about that.

  26. Think about it says:

    I don’t think the author not the people commenting on this understand Teletovic’s joke of posting that picture. Read the nicknames behind the jersey. Lebron is riled up and you have Beasley next to him trying to restrain him. It reads “B-Easy. King James.” The irony is funny.

  27. urinal mint says:

    just ignore bynum, don’t even look at him.
    he would be a liability to any team.

    • rich says:

      THANK YOU !!! I really wish no team will inquire on this bum ! I want his stocks to go down even below the ground. It’s time to show this guy that he can no longer play teams who wastes a lot of money on him and in the process loses opporunity to get better. PLEASE – DO NOT SIGN THIS BUM ! LET HIM BEG FOR A MINIMUM CONTRACT !

  28. Flex says:

    I wish more players would foul Lebron like that. He gets the red carpet rolled out for him too many times when he’s driving to the rim. He’s one of the greatest in the game and has improved since coming to Miami, but I still maintain – Play him just as physical and take away those lanes, make him a jump-shooter and he’s no where near as effective.

  29. Amir says:

    Lebron is dumb! Just because certain people get into his face or faul him hard, doesnt mean EVERYBODY is like that! Kirilenko flopped on the play before that…but just like Van Gundy said: 1) That was not a flagrant foul. Just good hard faul that was intended to prevent a 3 point play. 2) Just because he’s King James, Teletovic shouldnt be there having to take on Lebron yelling in his face and provoking him and saying who knows what! Yes. he’s the best player in the NBA, but under no circumstances is he privileged to yell and go at anyone (especially after lame stuff like that) without getting penalized for it! If Jordan had done this to Charles Oakley, Reggie Miller, Dennis Rodman or any other dude in the 80′s, you know the other side would have retaliated!
    The author of this articles talks about Teletovic’s grin and twitter page like its some kind of provocation or insult! Pfff PLEASE!!!! Teletovic was the bigger man! Instead of creating a big deal like some other dummies do, he took the high road and chose to laugh at the stupidity in front of him. He laughed at the childless behavior of the so called “king of the NBA”.

    Another thing…Lebron gets fouled WAAAAAAY harder on nightly basis! But I bet my house on it he would never go up against Metta World Peace and other dudes like him! Why? Because he knows those dudes would send him home with a busted nose, a suspension and a couple of grands of fines!!!

    Granted…to all you Lebron lovers…Lebron IS the best player in the world…but the NBA is not his! He should take a lesson or two from the likes of Kevin Durant ;)

  30. spermspray says:

    he got guts to wrap around lebron, there are a lot of players in this era too scare to do that.

  31. Jacob Linkous says:

    I don’t see how telly should be worried about what he tweeted. The European knows where he stands in the NBA. He’s out there doing his dream (playing in America) he’s out there just having fun, which lately has shown to get the better of King James. The shots fired on twitter were not childish but were connectors to a possible rival match-up. We always like watching rivals playing each other. Especially if they met in the playoffs it should be an excellent series. Telly is just trying to fuel the fire to get things going. I defend telly in this, even if he was childish for taking the “hard foul” to twitter.

  32. Celtics Fan says:

    Sorry Teletovic if you’re not a top 5 player or in a top team in the NBA you don’t get calls

    • Witness says:

      GET CALLS??? Wow. yea sorry he wasnt gona get a call there when he clearly wrapped his arm around LBJ neck/head. Not sayin it was intentional but uh yea he fouled him wth

      • Celtics Fan says:

        It’s not just about the apparently “flagrant foul”, every game Refs are favoring the top players and teams