The 2011 ESPY Awards - Show

Mark Cuban goes to Dyckman… for about thirty seconds before lockout rules made him leave

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DyckmanPark has been as much of a hangout for NBA players opening classrooms on streetball courts as anywhere else. So much so that Mark Cuban decided to make a pit-stop by the place to see some basketball.

For about thirty seconds.

From ESPN.com:

The standing-room only crowd showed Cuban love as he entered with security flanking his every step. Cuban shook hands with the fans that were lined up behind a bench and the scorers table. The owner of the defending NBA champions posed for pictures and sat for a few minutes in a beach chair before departing.

As he was escorted out, the game’s emcee told the crowd on hand that because of NBA rules, Cuban was not allowed to stay any longer.

“I love anywhere where there’s basketball. Anywhere where there’s people coming out and having fun is always a good thing, man,” Cuban said as he exited the park. “I’m glad Greg (Marius, CEO of the EBC) brought me out to be apart of it. I wish I could stay.”

via Mark Cuban made an appearance at the Dyckman League in Washington Heights on Friday. – ESPN New York.

So, it’s really great that Cuban’s making an appearance and promoting basketball and willing to cross the line to where he knew there would be NBA players, even he was forced to leave.

Except…

Thing is, there have been published reports on how Cuban is part of the contingent of owners who have pushed hardest for the lockout, the relatively new owners who want to guarantee profitability by shifting the league’s course in terms of player salary structure to a hard cap and essentially enact nuclear winter to get what they want. The NBA’s official position, of course, is that the system is simply not sustainable and that a roll-back of the 57% BRI under the previous deal is part of what they have determined is necessary to stop the bleeding. Even if Cuban’s not part of that contingent, that’s the leading force from the owners, of which Cuban is a part of. So in the boardroom Cuban’s pushing to keep the players locked out and consequently the game on hold from the fans, and in front of the cameras, he’s hanging out with the Mavericks at the ESPY’s and making appearances at Dyckman Park before leaving as if it’s not his choice and he’s just doing what he’s told.

Listen, no one thinks more of Cuban as an owner than I do. He’s a smart, engaging personality that has pumped millions of dollars into the Mavericks to make them a winner. Seeing him with the trophy at the Finals in Miami after Game 6 was a highlight, it was validation to everyone who supports things like sports psychologists, advanced metrics, and entertaining owners who have their eye on the future. But Cuban seems to want to play both sides. The, pardon this, maverick owner who plays by his own rules and flirts with fines because of how close he is with his players, and the billionaire owner looking to kill a season in order to get what he wants, which is what he feels is a fair share of the pie.

If the reports are off, and Cuban’s not a part of that contingent, if he thinks the league should back off its hard line and settle a deal in the middle with the players, then this is totally off. But we’ll never know that because we don’t know where the owners stand. Transparency weakens their position, and it’s not something they should engage in. But that obtuseness comes with a price, and that price seems to be Cuban looking a little hypocritical.

But hey, I’m sure the hot dogs were nice.

(HT: IAmaGM.com)

C.J. McCollum on Warriors: ‘They set a lot of illegal screens’

Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum, center, reaches for the ball between Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, top, and forward Andre Iguodala during the second half in Game 1 of a second-round NBA basketball playoff series in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, May 1, 2016. The Warriors won 118-106. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
AP Photo/Jeff Chiu
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Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts accused Anderson Varejao of being dirty on a particular play.

C.J. McCollum says the Warriors cross the line much more regularly.

via Jason Quick of CSN Northwest:

“They set a lot of illegal screens,’’ Blazers guard CJ McCollum said Tuesday at the team’s shootaround at The Olympic Club. “They are moving and stuff. That’s the respect you get when you are champions, you get a lot more respect from the referees. You have to figure out a way to get around those screens and make it difficult.’’

One underappreciated element of the Warriors’ success is their excellent screening. Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut are two of the NBA’s best. Even the diminutive Stephen Curry wreaks havoc with his screens, leveraging his shooting ability to befuddle defenders.

Do the Warriors sometimes set illegal screens? Yup. Do they do so more than other teams? Yup. Do they do so more than every other team? Anecdotally, probably, though I’d love to see numbers.

But that’s part of Golden State’s strategy. The Warriors screeners so often straddle the line, they move it. It’s a fine line between a good legal screen and an illegal one, and Golden State dares the refs to blow the whistle.

McCollum can campaign for that to change, and his statements might cause the league to instruct referees to watch Warrior screens more closely. But even if Golden State has to harness its movement and arm extensions on picks, the team is more than capable of setting quality clean screens.

Anderson Varejao responds to Terry Stotts’ ‘dirty play’ charge: Not intentional

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Golden State backup big man Anderson Varejao insists he didn’t deliberately trip Trail Blazers guard Gerald Henderson in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal playoff series.

Yet after watching the replay, he understands it sure looked like he did it on purpose – which is what Henderson thought. Varejao said it looked worse than it was.

“When I looked at the play, I was like, `Oh, it looked like I was trying to do that,”‘ he said. “How can I try to do something like that? I’m going down and my foot got stuck. That’s all.”

Portland coach Terry Stotts on Monday called it a “dirty play.” Then Tuesday, the NBA ruled it a Flagrant 1 foul on Varejao.

Game 2 of the best-of-seven series was set for Tuesday night at Oracle Arena, and both players involved seemed to be ready to move forward.

The 33-year-old Varejao, a 12th-year NBA veteran from Brazil, said in response to Stotts that he isn’t a dirty player.

“It’s a playoff game, we all know it’s going to be like that. I don’t know exactly what he’s talking about. I just thought it was a physical play,” Varejao said after the morning shootaround. “Got hit in my back, I was going down, my feet got stuck somewhere and all of a sudden, someone else fell. I’m sorry that that happened. Do you think I’m looking for guys to take them out? No. I know how it is to be hurt. I’ve been hurt enough.

“I would never try to hurt anybody, I would never do that.”

He and Henderson were ejected late in the third quarter of Sunday’s game after receiving their second technical fouls. Both were hit with a technical at the 3:29 mark of the third when Varejao tripped Henderson after they collided. Henderson jumped up, pointing a finger at his opponent’s face. They kept jawing a few minutes later and were tossed with 15.1 seconds left in the period.

Stotts was still steamed about it a day later.

“Varejao made a dirty play. It was a leg-whip and I thought it was a dangerous play,” he said. “I thought Gerald’s reaction to being tripped like that was appropriate. Otherwise, no one would have seen it. It was unfortunate that he got tossed on the second, but you have to defend yourself – especially when somebody makes a dirty play.”

Henderson said after the game that he believed Varejao thought the Blazers guard ran into him on purpose.

“I hit him. I bumped him good. But I didn’t, I wasn’t trying to hit him,” Henderson said, calling it “a little excessive” to have Varejao go at his legs.

Varejao said Tuesday he was initially surprised Henderson came at him.

“But looking at the play, he had the right to do it. I understand why he came back at me the way he did, which is OK, guys. It’s a playoff game,” Varejao said. “It’s going to be physical. It’s fun when it gets like that.”

Raptors starting Norman Powell over Patrick Patterson against Heat

Toronto Raptors' Norman Powell (24) runs back up court after the Raptors scored against the Indiana Pacers during the second half of Game 5 of an NBA first-round playoff basketball series, Tuesday, April 26, 2016 in Toronto. (Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press via AP
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Raptors coach Dwane Casey got a taste of changing his starting lineup.

Now he can’t stop.

Matt Devlin of Raptors.com:

Norman Powell replaces Patrick Patterson (who replaced regular-season starter Luis Scola in the first round). This makes the Raptors smaller and increases their ability to switch among their three starting wings – Powell, DeMarre Carroll and DeMar DeRozan.

Luol Deng gave the Hornets plenty of trouble as a stretch four in the last round. Toronto countered that advantage before falling victim to it.

The key will be the Raptors holding their own in the paint, rebounding and defending, and maintaining a reserve advantage that boosted them all season.

Stephen Curry wins Magic Johnson Award

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 29:  TNT report Craig Sager interviews Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors after their game against the Washington Wizards at ORACLE Arena on March 29, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
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NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Curry has won the Magic Johnson Award, given by the Professional Basketball Writers Association to an NBA player who combines excellence on the court with cooperation with the public and media.

Curry led the NBA with 30.1 points per game and a record 402 3-pointers in leading the Golden State Warriors to a 73-9 record, best in league history.

The reigning MVP beat out teammate Draymond Green, Portland’s Damian Lillard, New York’s Carmelo Anthony and Atlanta’s Paul Millsap on Tuesday in voting by the PBWA, made up of approximately 175 writers and editors who cover the league on a regular basis.

The award was created in 2001 and named for Hall of Famer Earvin “Magic” Johnson, whom the PWBA regards as “the ideal model for the award.”