Morning shootaround — Jan. 1


VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 31

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Anthony backs Fisher | Rondo ready for Boston return | Reports: Cavs get $4.9M disabled player exception | Westbrook mum on ejection

No. 1: Anthony gives big vote of support to Fisher — The first half of the New York Knicks’ season has gone about as bad as could be imagined. After yesterday’s drubbing in L.A. against the Clippers, they have lost nine straight games and closed out the 2014 portion of the season at 5-29 (the second-worst record in the league). While some New Yorkers may be questioning if coach Derek Fisher is the right guy to lead the team, superstar Carmelo Anthony says the team would be worse off if Fisher were not the coach. ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Ramona Shelburne has more:

“I think if it was anybody else in his position, I think this probably would’ve crumbled already,” Anthony said after scoring 19 points in 29 minutes. “I think he’s doing a great job of keeping everybody focused on the task at hand and believing in what we’re trying to do.”

This season, Anthony said, has “definitely (been) a test for me.” The Knicks already have had losing streaks of 10, nine and six games this season. Some of that can be blamed on injuries — they’ve been without key players like Anthony, J.R. Smith, Amare Stoudemire, Andrea Bargnani, Jose Calderon, and Iman Shumpert — for large stretches of the season. Some of it has been difficulty adjusting to the culture change Fisher and new Knicks president Phil Jackson have tried to instill in New York. Some is a lack of depth and talent on the roster as a whole.

Whatever the case, the losing has been awful for everyone involved to endure.

“I don’t really like doing the New Year’s resolution, but I just want 2015 to be better than 2014,” Anthony said. “We’ve got to find a win. We can’t be thinking about the turnaround. We’ve got to find a win first and see what happens from there.”

Anthony has been dealing with a sore left knee for most of the season. He has openly speculated he might eventually have to shut it down for an extended period if the pain grows worse. Earlier this week, he admitted he might not even make it to the All-Star Game, which is in New York this year.

“It’s tough. Some days you’re able to do some things, some days you’re not,” Anthony said. “Some days it’s tough to even run around and cut and jump. And then other days I come in and I don’t really feel it.

“I’m playing because I love to play and I want to play. I know what I can tolerate and what I can’t tolerate. The games I feel like I can’t tolerate it, I’m not going to play.”

Anthony has said surgery is a “last resort” and that he’s hoping to avoid anything of that nature until after the season. Asked if he’d considered the Orthokine treatments that Los Angeles Lakersstar Kobe Bryant has regularly flown to Germany to have performed on his knee as he aged into his mid-30s, Anthony smiled and said, “I’ve had multiple conversations with multiple people. Regular people, people who have had similar situations as me, and everybody has their own opinion. I take everything in stride and when that time comes, I’ll take it into consideration.”


VIDEO: Derek Fisher talks after the Knicks’ blowout loss to the Clippers

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No. 2: Rondo looking forward to Boston return — So far, point guard Rajon Rondo has spent two weeks with his new team, the Dallas Mavericks. Before that, he spent eight-plus seasons with the Boston Celtics. Friday marks his return to Boston as an opposing player and he’s hoping not to get overly emotional about the whole ordeal. ESPN.comDallas’s Tim MacMahon has more:

Rajon Rondo is bracing for an emotional return to Boston. It will come two weeks after Rondo, the four-time All-Star point guard who spent the first eight-plus seasons of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics, was traded to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs face the Celtics at TD Garden on Friday night, and Rondo wistfully looks forward to a warm reception from a crowd he called “one of if not the best fans in sports, period.”

“Hopefully I won’t be too emotional, try not to cry a little bit, but I’m very excited to go back,” Rondo said. “Those fans are amazing there. If I do [tear up], hopefully the camera isn’t on me too much. I’m going to try to blink a lot.”

Rondo experienced extreme highs and lows during his tenure in Boston. He began his career as a 20-year-old rookie on a team that lost 18 consecutive games at one point. He was the starting point guard on an NBA championship team the next season, after the Celtics acquired Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen to form a “Big Three” with Paul Pierce.

The title season started a five-year span during which the Celtics were legitimate contenders. That run effectively ended when Rondo tore the ACL in his right knee in January 2013. After a first-round playoff exit, the Celtics entered a rebuilding stage that summer with the departures of Garnett, Pierce and coach Doc Rivers, leaving Rondo as the last remaining member of the 2008 title team before he was dealt to Dallas.

“That’s where I started. That’s where I got molded,” Rondo said. “That’s where everything happened for me. The best years are still ahead of me, but I was an All-Star four times, won a championship in Boston. I can’t thank the fans enough.

“Even when we were losing 18 in a row the first year, the fans still showed a lot of support. They came to every game. When I was out on the streets, they didn’t kill me or heckle me. It was always supportive. They’re true fans. They’re not fair-weather fans, when you’re losing, they’re gone. They ride it out and be a Celtic for life.”

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No. 3: Reports: Cavs granted disabled player exception — Injuries have been a problem of late for the Cleveland Cavaliers as starters LeBron James, Kevin Love and Shawn Marion have all been sidelined of late. Their injuries come after the team lost Anderson Varejao for the season on Dec. 23 with an Achilles injury. Some good news was in order for Cleveland and it got that, according to both the Northeast Ohio Media Group’s Chris Fedor and ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. The Cavs have been granted at $4.9 million disabled player exception for Varejao:

The Cleveland Cavaliers have been enveloped in drama recently, but they got a bit of good news on Wednesday night before losing to the Milwaukee Bucks.

https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/55043391955718553

It’s a little boost to a team that lost Anderson Varejao on Dec. 23 to a season-ending Achilles injury. Without him, the rotation has been tweaked and the team’s frontcourt has been weakened.

The disabled player exception gives the Cavs another asset in their search for frontcourt reinforcements, which has been unsuccessful so far. They can use the DPE, which expires on March 10 to sign one player or trade for a player on a one-year contract whose salary does not exceed that amount.

The Cavs also have another trade exception valued at $5.3 million, which came from a three-team September deal involving Keith Bogans.

Memphis Grizzlies’ center Kousta Koufos is one of Cleveland’s targets. Denver’s Timofey Mozgov has also been on the team’s radar for months, but the Nuggets seem reluctant to move him.

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No. 4: Westbrook has little to say about his ejection — If you missed last night’s Thunder-Suns game from OKC, it was a dandy that included a thrilling fourth quarter and OT finish. It was also a pretty heated game and right before the end of the second quarter, Russell Westbrook got tossed after receiving a controversial second technical for taunting the Suns’ bench. While the Thunder went on to win the game, Westbrook went the route of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch in answering questions about his ejection. Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman has more:

when Westbrook was asked about the ejection postgame — and the sequence leading up to it, which included his first technical for a scuffle with Suns center Alex Len — he basically ignored all questions.

He went the Marshawn Lynch route, adopting the answer-every-question-the-same-way style made popular lately by the Seahawks running back, ignoring the actual inquiry. Here’s a quick transcript of Westbrook’s media session. Questions in bold, followed by his answers.

Did you get an explanation on the play you were ejected?

It was a big win for us.

How did it start?

Good win for us tonight. Good win.

What were your emotions like seeing that victory in overtime and watching your guys pull through?

Great win for us. We did a good job of sticking together and coming through with a win.

Kevin had 44 points in his first game back. What does his return mean to you?

It was good. Big. He came out aggressive, like he never lost a step.

You’ve been in so many close games. What does this do for you pulling this one out?

Big. Big win for us against a tough team. Good for us to win.

You think one of the Morris twin should have been ejected if they gave you that second technical?

Good win for us.

What did it mean to see Ish Smith step up, A-Mo step up, some of those guys?

That was big for us. We did a good job of trusting everybody, giving big minutes.

Would you have been more pissed about the ejection if it wasn’t a good win for us?

It was a good win for us.

You had 20 when you left the game. Feel like this could have been a career night?

Big win for us.

Would you say this was a bad win?

(Silence)

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: The stats suggest that, yes, defenders do try harder in the fourth quarter … Bucks coach Jason Kidd says Kenyon Martin “looked good” during his workout for the team … Indiana Pacers guard Chris Copeland got a rare technical foul yesterday … The Boston Celtics just can’t seem to decide on a starting point guard in their post-Rajon Rondo world

ICYMI OF THE NIGHT: Pretty nifty pass there, Chris Bosh …  


VIDEO: Chris Bosh goes behind his back and Hassan Whiteside finishes with a jam

30 Comments

  1. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    i can tell just by these Westbrook comment’s who know’s old school bball or just the last 10 years of ball….. LOL

  2. Lovins says:

    LOL at Westbrook going the Popovich route in his interview. That was hilarious.

  3. dustydreamnz says:

    You gotta look at the rules these days now though and the less leeway the refs give players, they can’t say as much as the old days because if they do, the punishments are bigger. You also can’t get away with as many actions eg The Mutumbo finger shake.

  4. marlo says:

    both those cats put on quite a show for an spectator that is watching, but at the same time I want then to really go at it see who is weak and who is not.

  5. Jose says:

    I think the Knicks Players could really not perform the Triangle well… maybe Phil should invite some of his former Lakers & Bulls retired Players to teach the young guys individually in performing the Triangle.. Scottie Pippen should be one of them he can teach melo

  6. Forreal says:

    Good to know that Anthony likes Fisher and none of that New Year’s resolution( if you are going to do something, just do it the day you decide to do it) junk. But truthfully, the pathetic Knicks have crumbled and for the most part of the last 40 years (except one trip to the finals with Ewing and that doesn’t doesn’t make your team a dynasty) have stunk up the gym.

  7. XIn says:

    Guys, len shoulda ggot dat foul do

  8. Phil Christopher says:

    The Truth: I didn’t see a big white guy and a small black guy in the highlight. I saw two professional basketball players not ready to give the ball up and the shorter of the two lost the keep away. What price did the multi-millionaire short guy pay?

  9. harriethehawk says:

    Westbrook is the best guard in the NBA. He can d or say whatever he wants. So what if he pumps his chest when he scores? I find it refreshing. Nothing like him and Durant. Men!

  10. Dacre says:

    I can see that if Westbrook answered the questions in the manner that the media asked him, he very well could have coped a fine from Hi-Ho Silver!? It’s interesting that the powers that be want these guys to play the game without coasting, want them to entertain the media too with their unending rigmarole but if that’s done in the heat of honesty – bam! Fine….
    …I would probably get a fine too if I was under contract?!? And I’m a raging Suns fan!!!

    • TheTruth says:

      That’s where the old days of the NBA are going to be missed. Back then, players could take jabs at other players during interviews and it would all be part of the game. Now every player has the same fixed phrases “It was a team effort” and “The other team played great but we really locked in on defense and brought it home”. Where is the intensity??

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    Westbrook has always been a hothead, Len simply took the rebound, agree with winter 48.
    The Cavs are teetering, with some teams improving in the East like the Nets, Pacers and Pistons they better be careful.

    • TheTruth says:

      You both need to watch replays of Larry Bird and MJ and re-evaluate your statements about unsportsmanlike behaviour. LB has an entire documentary on him about how he was one of the biggest trash talkers in the game.

  12. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    CJ Miles was put’n up buckets on the Heat, Copeland was too.

  13. winter48 says:

    And there are some who will try and justify Westbrooks behavior by saying it is his competitive spirit…..total BS. Michael Jordan was competitive, Kobe Bryant is competitive, Magic Johnson was competitive, Larry Bird was comptetitive….none of them behave like Westbrook does on the court. You don’t have to punctuate a dunk or 3-pointer with a face that spells “Booyahhh….F#$* you all…none y’all can stop me!!!” That is just not sportsmanlike. If you want to play and act like a thug….go play streetball. The world doesn’t need your antics televised for aspiring athletes to one day emulate. If you are uber-good and uber-talented already…just let your game speak for itself…cut out the in-your-face-take-that!!! espressions. That is the type of behavior not deserving of EVER being considered for GOAT or even hall of fame nomination.

    • TheTruth says:

      Are you kidding me?

    • TheTruth says:

      All four of those players are known to be some of the biggest trash talkers in the game. How can you say Larry Bird and MJ did not behave in unsportsmanlike behaviour?

    • daddycardona says:

      Are you serious have you have to go on youtube and find some stuff on these guys like LB whom was the worst trash talker and he fought in the NBA ask Dr. J you just have no idea what you talking about LOL

  14. OKC says:

    People are still butt hurt about Durant not playing in FIBA? Maybe I would care if it were the olympics or if the US wasn’t light years ahead of every other country.

  15. Connor says:

    This is old news. The Celtics have decided on a starting point guard and his name is Evan Turner.

  16. Athanasia Columbus says:

    Russell Westbrook very smart not to say anything about ejection and talk only about the Win!!

    • TheTruth says:

      You know he was only being coy. Even though he didn’t say it explicitly, he was basically saying the SUNS are a bunch of sissies.

  17. Jay8 says:

    No. 1 – Melo really meant the opposite..

    No. 2 – ‘Cause Rondo has some things left that he need to bring back to texas..

    No. 3 – If you’re not winning, try to grab some rebates while you keep your least valuable starter sit out the rest of the season even when he’s fine.

    No.4 – LENSANITY!!!

    • TheTruth says:

      No. 1 – Melo is overrated and overpaid, and wants to point the fingers at somebody else.

      No. 2 – Boston would not have been able to successfully rebuild around Rondo even if he stayed.

      No. 3 – Great, more excuses to the Cavs lackluster performance thus far this season.

      No. 4 – White guy with over a foot advantage knocks down black guy, and black guy pays the price. I love AMERICA!!

  18. Ruggerman says:

    While I like Westbrook, an aggressive player (like him) is going to get himself ejected and possibly injured (again). Kevin Durant is afraid of getting injured because of what happened to Paul George. Durant QUIT the USA Team because he was afraid of getting hurt.

  19. harriethehawk says:

    ….It was refreshing to see Kevin Durant back as the “Daily Leader” on the front page of nba.com!

  20. harriethehawk says:

    Rajon Rando, if he even cries, those will be tears of joy, trust. I need Russell Westbrook to ease up on his “I hate You Tour” You will make it, have patience.