Kevin Love 2

Love says players want compromise but will not roll over

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The players are not winning the public relations battle with the lockout. Frankly, they can’t. The average sports fan knows the owners are ultra-rich, but they don’t relate to 20-somethings making millions. The players tend to get blamed for a lockout, no matter whose not budging.

The NBA players realize they are going to come out of these negotiations with less than they had going in, like almost everyone in this economy.

But they are not going to submit and tap out. And that means games will be lost. For an ide of how the players view things, check out these quotes from Kevin Love, who spoke with Andy Katz of ESPN.

“We all know we’ll have to sacrifice but something has to be done,” Love told ESPN.com Tuesday night. “It has to be sooner than later. We have to get the ball rolling. We can’t wait around until October or November and then nothing gets done. The owners will keep stalling and obviously they have more means than us to lock us out.”

“I want to play basketball,” Love said. “I want us — the players — to sign a great deal. I want us to make a compromise with the owners but not sign what they’re proposing. We’ll play hardball if we have to. I want there to be an NBA season but it’s also apparent that we’re going to miss games.”

Games are going to be lost. And that is going to hurt the NBA more than the owners and players seem to realize. A lockout in this economy is going to anger fans and it is going to be a long time before they come back.

But please guys, no urgency in meeting. Take your time.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.