Hedo Turkoglu, Paul Pierce

Paul Pierce still considers Hedo Turkoglu a difficult matchup

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Even though the rest of the known world may use Hedo Turkoglu as a punchline, Paul Pierce — Turkoglu’s positional matchup in today’s game between the Celtics and Magic — still seems to have enormous respect for the man. From Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel (via Evan Dunlap):

“Hedo is going to be great for ’em because he already knows the players, he knows the system, he knows the coaches,” said Boston small forward Paul Pierce. “I’ve always said he’s one of the more difficult matchups for me, personally, at that position because of the way he shoots the ball, the way he handles and play-makes. And it doesn’t hurt for him to be 6-10, so it’s hard for me to get to his shot.”

Turkoglu has certainly looked more at home back in Stan Van Gundy’s offense than he ever did in Phoenix or Toronto, but this is still high praise from a tremendous competitor who isn’t quick to dole out undeserved praise. Pierce doesn’t seem the type to laud without reason, and even though he’s prone to hyperbole (lest we forget, he once ordained himself the greatest player in the world), the fact that he still thinks this much of Turk means something.

Of course, that something could simply mean that Pierce doesn’t watch much League Pass nor soak up his scouting report, but it’s Christmas. Good will toward all men; we’ll give Pierce the benefit of the doubt, just as Pierce is giving Turkoglu a hell of a holiday compliment.

C.J. McCollum ejected for flagrantly fouling Gordon Hayward (video)

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I’m not sure C.J. McCollum meant to grab Gordon Hayward‘s neck. The 6-foot-8 Hayward elevated, and the 6-foot-4 McCollum just might not have been able to get high enough to make a play on the ball.

But McCollum did grab Hayward’s neck.

It was a dangerous and unnecessary play, especially in the preseason.

Report: Mavericks may be team interested in Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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The Dallas Mavericks are looking for a center— desperately at times, they brought JaVale McGee into training camp to get a look. They will start Zaza Pachulia and behind him it’s probably Samuel Dalembert once he gets healthy.

Which is why Dallas may be the team interested in Larry Sanders — Mark Cuban is a guy known for giving second chances in the league. But there have been no talks, yet, reports Tim MacMahon at ESPN.

Larry Sanders has been out of the game since his buyout last February trying to deal with his personal demons and may well not be ready to return. He may never return.

His couple seasons with the Bucks were filled with drama and issues. There was the nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. There were the charges of animal cruelty. There was a five-game drug suspension. There was missed time for personal reasons. There was the 10-game suspension for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there) — then that suspension was extended past the 10 games. In the end, he agreed to a buyout to get space away from the game to deal with his personal issues.

He may or may not be ready to return from that. He may or may not ever be ready. But if he decides to give it a try, NBA teams will be waiting. Maybe Dallas.