Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Thunder’

Morning shootaround — Dec. 22

VIDEO: Highlights from games played Dec. 21


LeBron’s influence rubs off on Waiters | Jordan goes above and beyond for the Clippers | What happens when attack mode goes wrong for Westbrook, Thunder?

No. 1: LeBron rubbing off on Waiters? — A few weeks ago, folks questioning whether or not the Cleveland Cavaliers as presently constituted could reach its full potential this season. How quickly that narrative changes when things go well, and when LeBron James spreads his gospel of playing the right way to the likes of Dion Waiters and others. LeBron’s influence on Waiters, one of the targets of criticism when things go awry in Cleveland, was on full display in a win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Joe Vardon of The Northeast Ohio Media Group has more:

Waiters contributed 13 points in the fourth quarter, doing so one game after he didn’t play a single minute in the second half of a win Friday.

“I mean, he’s learning every day,” James said of Waiters. “He’s a young guy. He hasn’t experienced much in this league. For him to have a game like he did today, we needed it. We needed a spark off the bench. He was aggressive, he was decisive with what he wanted to do, and it was a huge, huge boost for our bench.”

In typical Waiters fashion, when the 23-year-old was approached after the game by reporters, he was several feet from his locker and on his way out of the locker room with the hope that he wouldn’t have to talk after the game.

When James’ prediction about being a scapegoat was brought up to Waiters Sunday, he said: “I don’t remember all that, though. I remember that but I don’t remember that.”

As only Waiters could.

Waiters, the former No. 4 overall pick for Cleveland in his third season, has gotten himself in trouble for wanting to shoot too much off the dribble instead of getting shots within the flow of the offense.

He’s been dinged for not paying attention defensively. He landed in hot water by skipping the national anthem in early November and originally citing his Muslim faith as the reason, then clumsily clarified his reason a few days later.

Sources said that Waiters was unhappy on Dec. 11 in Oklahoma City when Blatt chose to start Matthew Dellavedova in place of the injured James.

In Cleveland’s 95-91 win over Brooklyn Friday night, Waiters scored four points in seven minutes; Blatt left him out in the second half to ride the hot hands of Mike Miller and Shawn Marion.

It’s been a season of adjustments for Waiters, who was moved to the bench in favor of Marion after just three games.

“I was really happy to see what Dion did tonight, and believe me, it had very little to do with the points that he scored,” Cavaliers coach David Blatt said Sunday. “When he’s engaged and when he is playing freely and when he’s not allowing himself to be disturbed by other things, Dion can really play basketball and I thought he did a great job tonight.”

Waiters’ locker at The Q is next to James’ locker.


Chocolate Thunder Still Wants Big Bang

RENO, Nev.Lovetron is now a distant world in a faded memory, and the interplanetary funkmanship of Chocolate Thunder has been in mothballs since the days of disco.

But the larger-than-life presence of Darryl Dawkins can still fill up an arena, even if there is less of it these days.

Credit zoomba, a popular and highly suggestive dance exercise that Dawkins says has enabled him to drop 50 pounds in the past 10 months.

“I always had the moves,” he said. “It was just time to use them to get rid of that extra size.”

Yet size, strength and aggressiveness are exactly what Dawkins — now a scout/consultant for both the 76ers and Nets — was hoping to see at the NBA D-League Showcase.

“The word that I got coming in here was that there were some big men who could play,” said Dawkins, who was 6-foot-11, 265 pounds when he jumped straight from high school as an 18-year-old to the Sixers in 1975. “My question is, when people say a big man can play these days, do they mean he’s out on the wing shooting jumpers like a ‘4’ or really playing the way a big man should?

“Look, I’m not running down the league or game in any way, but I think it would all be a lot better if we developed some big men who would take control of the lane on defense, take down all those little guards who want to drive through the lane, and would be able to finish on offense with dunks.”

It was, of course, the dunks that made Dawkins famous during his flamboyant 14-year NBA career. He rattled rims, bent imaginations and most notably brought down the house with his Chocolate Thunder Flyin’, Robinzine Cryin’, Teeth Shakin’, Glass-Breakin’, Rump Roastin’, Bun Toastin, Wham, Bam, Glass-Breaker I Am Jam that shattered the backboard at Kansas City’s Municipal Auditorium on Nov. 13, 1979.

“An accident, an old building, old rims, old glass,” he still insists with a sheepish grin.

Dawkins’ duties on Wednesday included serving as a judge for the Showcase Slam Dunk Contest.

“I’m telling these boys going in that they better not try to win without bringing something special,” he said. “I don’t go for plain dunks.”

Not when his repertoire included his self-named collection: Yo Mama, Spine Chiller Supreme, Rim Wrecker, Dunk You Very Much and Sexophonic Turbo Delight.

Dawkins, who’ll turn 56 on Friday, misses what he calls the days when the NBA was less about the business side and more about the simple fun. But it is the lack of dominant big men and the lack of consistent low post play that drives him crazy.

“I hear people saying that the game has changed,” he said. “Why’s that? Because big men grow up these days trying to just shoot like guards or small forwards. I watch teams like Miami where nobody has a real position and they’re able to win the championship. Look, LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are great players. I’m not denying that.

“I listen to people say the game now is all about cutting and motion and moving — that’s getting back to the fundamentals. But I’m saying if you put guys like Moses Malone and Charles Barkley and Kevin McHale out there, you’re not just gonna dump that ball inside and beat everybody up to win games?

“Everybody’s here at the Showcase looking for talent. I want to see big men, the old-fashioned kind.”