VIDEO: Highlights from Monday’s games
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Cavs deny lack of composure in loss to Jazz — The Cleveland Cavaliers entered Salt Lake City on a roll, having won three straight on the road as they closed out a four-game West coast road swing. With news that the Jazz would be without leading scorer Gordon Hayward (plantar fasciitis) on Monday, the Cavs were seen as even bigger favorites to win. Yet Cleveland couldn’t contain Rodney Hood and Derrick Favors as Utah won 94-85 in a chippy game at times. Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com says although things got physical in Salt Lake City last night, the Cavs do not feel they lost their composure at any point:
A quick glance at the Cavs’ 94-85 loss to the Utah Jazz, and it would seem some composure issues surfaced.
- The Cavs were whistled for three technical fouls, including two on Channing Frye. The third was on, you guessed it, J.R. Smith.
- Frye headbutted and took a quasi-swing at Utah’s Trey Lyles with 3:57 left in the game and the Cavs trailing by 11. Lyles probably deserved it – he elbowed Frye in the groin and, like Frye, was also tossed from the game.
- Frye refused to address reporters afterwards.
- LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were bickering at each other during a timeout with 10:07 left in the third quarter. Some defensive miscues allowed the Jazz to go up by nine, and Irving missed a 3-pointer. He was 3-of-12 shooting at that point.
- The James-Irving session carried on for several seconds, and both sides had their say.
- Irving, who shot 7-of-23 for the game, went back onto the court here for about 30 minutes of extra shooting.
When it was all over, as in, the game, the Cavs’ three-game winning streak, this four-game trip out West, and Irving’s apparent therapy session, there were mostly shrugs from the Cavs.
“I don’t look at it as a step back,” said James, who led the Cavs with 23 points and 12 rebounds. “I’ve always said we’ve still got room to improve, and this is another example of it. I don’t think it’s a step backwards.”
Of Frye’s aggression toward Lyles, James said “I loved it.” This was perhaps more interesting because Lyles, a rookie, is represented by agent Rich Paul, James’ agent. James typically doesn’t speak ill of the family.
“It’s nothing personal against Trey, it’s the game and (Frye) being able to stick up for himself,” James said. “But I love that side.”
Last season, Irving scored 34 points but registered zero assists in Cleveland’s game at Utah. That kind of box score infuriated James. On Monday, Irving tallied three assists.
“We want him to be aggressive, for sure,” James said. “We want him to read and react, and however he’s feeling, we want him to be aggressive and take his shot when he has it. I know he had a lot of great looks tonight. I know he doesn’t like his performance and he’ll be better.”
Irving said the dust-up with James was really a defensive “miscommunication between me and Mozzy (Timofey Mozgov).”
“That’s it,” Irving said. “Me and ‘Bron were talking about it.”
VIDEO: LeBron James talks after the Cavs’ loss in Utah
No. 2: Bogut sounds off on ‘dirty’ player labels — Golden State Warriors center Andrew Bogut is one of the NBA’s best rim-protectors as well as one of its smartest passers and most physical screeners. Yet he has been tagged by some as “dirty” for his style of play and went off on that notion to the Bay Area News Group’s Diamond Leung. He also addressed the recent injury to teammate Andre Iguodala, which came as the result of a play in which the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard dove after a loose ball and took Iguodala down on the play:
Warriors center Andrew Bogut explained his cryptic tweet about the play that left teammate Andre Iguodala injured by asking a question.
“What do you think if a different guy did that like a (Matthew) Dellavedova?” Bogut asked about his Australian countryman and friend who played college basketball at Saint Mary’s.
Both Bogut and Dellavedova have been labeled “dirty” players in the past and most recently in January when a Los Angeles Times poll of 24 anonymous coaches, assistants and players gave the two multiple votes for being among the dirtiest.…
“It seems like certain guys – predominantly international – that are the dirty guys in the league,” Bogut said. “That would have been a national outrage if it was somebody else. It goes back to I don’t think Damian did it on purpose. I don’t think he did it on purpose. I don’t think he tried to hurt Andre. But the be-all end-all, it’s a reckless play. No matter how you look at it. I don’t think he tried to hurt him, but at the same time, you dove for a loose ball through someone’s legs. That’s what happens, and that’s just unfortunate, but like I said, they’d be calling for his head (if it was somebody else).
“There’s a huge double standard, a massive double standard. And I’m not saying Damian should get in trouble. Nothing like that…It’s more like the perception afterwards of the double standard. Like if it’s a big 7-foot international guy, all of a sudden, ‘Oh yeah, he’s not as skilled or talented.’ An All-Star does it, ‘You know, he was just hustling.’ Which is a disappointing thing.”
Dellavedova, Steven Adams from New Zealand, Bogut, Matt Barnes, and the Congolese-Spanish player Serge Ibaka received the most votes for dirtiest players in the Los Angeles Times poll.
Bogut pointed out that while he has been labeled dirty, he has never injured another player – unlike what happened Friday when Lillard got tangled up with Iguodala in the third quarter as the Warriors led 106-83.
“People straight-away say that I’m dirty,” Bogut said. “I’ve never put a guy out. I’ve screened guys hard. I’ve hard-fouled guys. I’ve never put a guy out.
“People, they’re going crazy at me because I’m supposed to be a dirty player, and it’s like, that’s fine. But if you check in my 11-year career, I’ve never fouled somebody or been physical with somebody, and they’ve missed the next game or been injured. Period.”
Bogut said he doesn’t actually care that he is seen by some as dirty.
“At the end of the day, I’m not going to go and eat dinner with guys I’m playing against,” Bogut said. “I’m not going to be friends with them. When I’m not playing basketball, I’m not going to be there while in Australia. So I really don’t care. If they hate playing against me, that’s a good thing. But I’m not going out there trying to hurt people. I am going out there to try and nail guys on screens to get my teammates open. A hundred percent. You can quote me on that. I am going to be physical and throw my weight around and take the hard fouls. That’s what is expected from me.
“I’ve never taken anyone’s legs out. Go back on record and have a look.”
“It was cool to see him back out there,” guard Dwyane Wade said following the Heat’s 124-119 victory over the Denver Nuggets at AmericanAirlines Arena, with Bosh not made available for comment. “I didn’t know he was coming out. When he came out it was a surprise for everybody.”
Bosh previous had spent game nights watching in the Heat locker room.
“He is getting closer and closer into what we are doing,” Wade said. “He started slowly and now he is getting into it. That just makes us feel good to see him there and supporting his team and giving us his IQ of the game when we come to the bench. Certain things he sees helps us big time.”
Last week, after Bosh issued a statement about a hope of returning this season, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “When we get back, we’ll be able to do some workouts with him.”
Asked Monday, before the Heat faced the Nuggets, whether there had been such workouts, with the Heat returning early Sunday morning from their three-game trip, Spoelstra said, “There’s no new updates. He’s working out almost daily, but there’s nothing new.”
Spoelstra declined to specify whether Bosh also has been working out with Heat players.
“That’s it for now,” he said. “There’s no new updates. I mentioned before that he had worked out with us at times, but there’s no new updates.”
Bosh’s presence around the team included a backpack, food, bottled water, sneakers, and a game plan at his locker before the game.
“I love Chris. I love having him around,” Spoelstra said after Monday’s game. “You guys know how I feel about C.B. He always has an intuitive feel of what I’m thinking, what needs to be relayed, and he’s an example of leadership at all levels.”
No. 4: Anthony: Knicks ‘gotta do something’ in free agency this summer — The New York Knicks entered last summer’s free-agency period flush with cash as well as hopes of landing one of the big fish (LaMarcus Aldridge, Greg Monroe, etc.) on the market. By the end of the player movement season, though, New York didn’t meet its goal. And while New York added some quality veteran pieces — such as Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo and others — it hasn’t drawn a superstar free-agent to the Knicks in years. Forward Carmelo Anthony knows his time and chances to win are winding down and issued an ultimatum of sorts to the team’s front office, writes Ian Bagley of ESPN.com:
Carmelo Anthony says he had a “good” conversation with Phil Jackson about issues surrounding the New York Knicks earlier this week, but he sounds like a player eager to see what Jackson and the front office do to upgrade the roster this summer.
“It’s in their court. The ball is in their court,” Anthony said. “They have an opportunity, we have an opportunity to do something this offseason. We gotta do something. It’s there.”
The Knicks will have at least $18 million in cap space this summer, and Jackson expressed confidence Friday that the club would have success in free agency. He also said he hopes to add more than one player this summer, which would be difficult to do if the Knicks plan to sign a free agent to a max contract.
“It’s kind of an even playing field, so you’ve just got to hit the ground running,” Anthony said.
Anthony, who plans to be involved in recruiting free agents this summer, hinted last week that he believes the Knicks can be a destination for elite point guards such as Mike Conley or Rajon Rondo. Jackson, though, said recently that he’s not going to obsess over finding an elite point guard, in part, because his triangle offense hasn’t required one.
Anthony declined to discuss any specific issues that he discussed with Jackson. The All-Star and the executive met in Denver earlier this week when the Knicks were in town to play the Nuggets. Anthony called it an “open dialogue.”
“I thought it was good timing for us to sit down and talk,” he said, adding that Jackson requested the meeting. “… I won’t go into the details of [questions he asked Jackson], but it was just good for me to get it out there, talk about it, get his response, get his feedback, and that was that.”
He later added: “I got some answers that I was looking for, and I’ll leave it at that.”
Anthony, 31, has three years remaining on his $124 million contract, which contains a no-trade clause. There has been speculation that Anthony will waive his clause and ask for a trade this summer if the Knicks don’t improve.
But he’s said several times that he has no plans to leave the Knicks. Jackson says he got the same impression from their conversation in Denver.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Former MVP Allen Iverson has nothing but praise for Golden State Warriors star (and reigning MVP) Stephen Curry … Detroit Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy unleashed a classic/epic Van Gundy-type rant after his team’s loss Monday … LeBron James‘ partnership with Warner Bros. is about a lot more than just filming “Space Jame 2” one day … Overall, Channing Frye is pretty happy he landed in Cleveland … New York Knicks guard Arron Afflalo isn’t sure if he’s going to opt in with the team this summer … Seattle native Jamal Crawford says if the team were still around, he would have signed by now to play for the SuperSonics … The Warriors’ stars and coaches have a lot of love for former assistant coach Alvin Gentry …