Friday morning And-1 links (formerly one liners)

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New name, same drill. This is our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Snoop Dogg is no Pau Gasol fan. (Language NSFW or family Christmas gatherings. The spelling is bad, too.)

A really fascinating read about how Heat coach Erik Spoelstra learned about the Oregon football spread offense and looked for ways to bring it to the NBA.

Another fascinating read: Jonathan Abrams of Grantland got fantastic access to the Nets for a week as they prepare for the season off a truncated training camp.

Quote of the day goes to Lakers coach Mike Brown, to his designated sixth man Metta World Peace after a couple of exhibition games, “ “If you’re going to shoot that much, you’ve got to make ‘em.”

J.R. Smith’s team in China faced off against Wilson Chandler’s, and Smith went off for 51. And his team still lost.

Manu Ginobili admits he is not yet in game shape. You can bet he’s not alone. Which is too bad because games are starting anyway.

Interesting thoughts about the Dallas Mavericks rotation.

A Memphis fans’ ridiculous lawsuit against Kobe Bryant has been given new life.

What is on your team’s NBA holiday wish list?

Talking about the absurdity of the NBA’s compacted schedule.

Amare Stoudemire says the Knicks are going to do some hunting in South Florida, and Dwyane Wade responds.

Then Stoudemire took another swipe at the Heat, saying the Maverick’s thrown is too high for them.

What Chris Bosh has learned in life.

The Memphis Grizzlies have rescinded their $2 million qualifying offer for center Hamed Haddadi. He currently remains in Dubai with visa issues.

The Pistons new locker room is sweet. Probably not as nice as the one for the Oregon Ducks football team, though.

Marcus Thornton was back on the court for the Kings on Thursday after missing a few days due to kidneys stones. Yes, kidney stones.

Marcus Camby tweaked his left knee, which turns out not to be serious but he is listed as day-to-day.

Reggie Evans signing with the Clippers is official. Great get.

Watch Wizards owner Ted Leonsis talk about his team.

Terrance Williams of the Rockets can dunk. Big time.

Tyrus Thomas is questionable for the Bobcats opener Monday. As of Thursday he was still in a walking boot.

Tying Mark Twain and Nene together.

In case you missed it, the Hawks paid the toll on a road in Atlanta for a day. And they lined the road with cheerleaders.

Watch Sasha Vujacic get ejected from a game in Spain for doing something very Vujacic.

Underdog Cavs insist they have plenty of bite for Finals

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INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — They are defending champions and decided underdogs.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, however, say they aren’t using any snubs to get ready for the NBA Finals.

Set for a third straight championship matchup against Golden State, the Cavs are ignoring the Las Vegas odds makers and others who don’t think they have a shot at beating Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant & Co.

Cavs coach Tyronn Lue doesn’t feel his team needs the underdog label for inspiration, saying being in the NBA Finals is “enough motivation alone.”

Kevin Love was reminded that Warriors forward Draymond Green said earlier this season that he wants to “destroy and annihilate” the Cavs in the Finals. Says Love said: “He wanted us, and he has us starting next Thursday.”

 

Check out Kawhi Leonard’s highlights from this past season (VIDEO)

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Russell Westbrook and James Harden were putting up the bigger numbers, they were drawing more attention. And while MVP is a regular season award, nobody has boosted their MVP credentials more in the postseason than Kawhi Leonard.

He had a really impressive regular season, too. Since we’re on a long break between games, enjoy the highlights of Leonard’s season. He may enter next season as the MVP favorite.

Kevin Love on Cavaliers: “I don’t feel like we’re underdogs”

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Kevin Love and Las Vegas bookmakers do not see things the same way.

In Vegas, the Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the title — bet $100 on them to win and you get back $41.7 (or less). Cleveland is a heavy underdog.

Love sees a confident team that is the defending NBA champions, as he told Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

“The whole underdog thing is funny to me, because, yeah, at the end of the day we are defending our title,” Love said Saturday after the Cavs’ first practice in preparation for the Warriors since clinching a spot in the Finals. “We’re trying to repeat, which is so hard to do. I think we will use it as fuel, we will use it as motivation, but the idea of playing into it? It’s tough for me to say that is the case. I don’t feel like we’re underdogs. We match up well with them, and I think they’d say the same about us.”

What else was he going to say?

More than any other team in the league, the Cavaliers are built to give Golden State trouble. The Cavaliers can exploit mismatches, be physical on defense, and they have LeBron James, Love and Kyrie Irving. Three NBA stars.

Is that enough against four NBA stars is the question.

Mike Brown still waiting on Tyronn Lue to pay up overdue bet

AP Photo/Ronald Cortes
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Mike Brown is ready for Tyronn Lue to pay up on a nearly two-decade-old bet. Yep, Lue owes him $100 and Brown plans to accept it at long last – perhaps even during the NBA Finals when they see each other.

All this time Brown never wanted the money he earned by beating Lue in a shooting contest when the Cavaliers coach was an NBA newcomer, yet Golden State’s acting coach – who spent two stints leading Cleveland – joked how Lue can surely afford it these days.

“I’m glad he finally admitted that he owes me money because for many years he wouldn’t admit that he owed me money. He does owe me $100 and since he got his new deal hopefully he can afford to pay me now,” Brown said Saturday post-practice. “I asked him many time for it but he’s denied it. He’s denied that the game ever took place.”

Lue insists he has tried to pay up – time and time again, to no avail.

“Mike, I owe him $100 from when I was a rookie. That’s all I ever know about Mike,” Lue said Saturday. “I tried to pay him and he wouldn’t take the money so he says I always owe him. He’s always been a great guy.”

The 40-year-old Lue was rewarded with a contract extension after the Cavs’ championship run last June for the city’s first major sports title in 52 years. Cleveland overcame a 3-1 Finals deficit to the Warriors, and now the teams are preparing to face off for a third straight year.

“I think what it has to do with, it has to do with the fact he’s got a nice, long, fat contract with the Cavs and he realizes that he can finally afford to pay me the money that he owes me for the shooting game back in 2000 or whenever it was,” Brown said with a grin.

Brown acknowledged he cannot recall any other details such as how many shots each man made, saying: “I don’t even remember, that was back when I was in shape and a good shooter. He’d kill me now”

“Yeah, he was with the Spurs and I was with the Lakers and we had a little shooting contest and I lost,” Lue said. “He wouldn’t take the money so from now on 19 years in a row always says, `You owe me $100.’ He won’t take the money. Always been close to Mike and I like Mike a lot, respect him a lot.”