Ilgauskas explains why he returned to Cleveland

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In a move that very few people found surprising, Zydrunas Ilgauskas officially signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers this week and played for them against the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night. Ilgauskas has never played an NBA game for a team other than the Cavaliers. He was traded at the deadline for forward Antawn Jamison, but was promptly bought out by the Wizards and re-signed with the Cavaliers as soon as he was eligible. Ilgauskas did have other teams that were interested in signing him, but he ultimately chose to return to the team that originally drafted him out of Lithuania. 

In an interview with ESPN 850 WKNR’s Michael Reghi, Ilgauskas explained why he returned to Cleveland:
“I just felt like I had unfinished business here in Cleveland.  I felt like I was leaving, not only a lot friends, but a lot of guys that I consider like a family to me.  Everything happened so sudden and when everything settled down, I had a chance to look at my options and think about it and I really couldn’t pull myself away.  If I wasn’t going to come back and this team would win a championship, I don’t think I would forgive myself for not being there.  That was the biggest thing.  I just wanted to be a part of it.”

Although he’s never been a superstar in the NBA, Ilgauskas is a beloved figure in Cleveland who will likely have his number retired after he retires. He owns several important Cavalier records, has spent as much time with one team as almost any player in a major sport, and has strong ties to the Cleveland community. About all that Ilgauskas has left to accomplish in Cleveland is win a championship, and he knows it. Now he just has to do what he can to help his team try to actually win it. 

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?