Shaq says new technical rules make refs stars, “you might as well start selling their jerseys at Footlocker”


Why do you go to basketball games? The players? The passion and emotion? The skills?

Shaquille O’Neal is on board with all that and he thinks the NBA’s new crackdown on complaints and handing out of technicals gets in the way of all that, as he told Holly McKenzie of The Score (via Trey Kerby). Shaq said fans want the emotion and the players to be the focus — unless you’re serious about making the referees stars.

“I just think that if you give those guys that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys at Footlocker. This is an emotional game. I know when I pay the money to different arenas and I take my sons and my daughters, I want to see everything. I want to see them talking smack, I want to see it all. You can’t try to just cut off an emotional game — expect people not to have emotion.

“[I’ll] say that you can probably cut out the secondary and the third emotion, but if you hit me with this mic right here, like this, I’m gonna at least go, ‘Whoa, what you doing?’ I can’t just let you hit me with the mic and just keep talking, ‘Yeah, everything’s good, I love Toronto,’ you know what I’m saying? I’ve got to at least have that, ‘What are you doing?’ I think they [should] give us room to respectfully react once, sometimes maybe twice. Matter of fact, just keep it like the way it was.”

“The other night, I don’t think KG did anything to get tossed out. Like I said, [you’re] going to give them that much control you might as well start selling their jerseys. Might as well make them stars.”

The new rules tell referees to call a technical on any overt expression of displeasure with a call, or any discussion of a call with a referee that goes on too long. That led to four techs in 16 seconds the other night in the Boston/New York game. Soon it will change the outcome of games. And right now, the problem — well, one of the problems — is the consistency. Amare Stoudemire yelled at a referee about a no call just minutes before KG got tossed the other night. Different standards. It’s like that everywhere.

We said it before — problem number one with the NBA’s new technical foul enforcement is you put the referees right in the spotlight. In an ideal game they blend into the background, this forces them front and center.

But Shaq really said that better than we could have.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.