Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers

Thursday And-1 links: Kobe talks about passing Shaq


Here is our daily 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).

Kobe Bryant on passing Shaq on the all-time scoring list (he’s just 69 points back): “It was inevitable.” Sorry, but that feud was more than just Phil Jackson.

A big part of the problem in Orlando — Stan Van Gundy doesn’t have a lot of good players to coach.

DeShawn Stevenson will be out at least a couple weeks for the Nets due to knee issues.

The New York Times did a fascinating in-depth look at the NBA and China. The league is losing its grip a little.

The 76ers need some depth along the front line, but they are not going after Chris Kaman.

Steve Nash just became the Suns all-time assists leader Wednesday. My first thought: He wasn’t already?

Monta Ellis for Joakim Noah? This rumor is out there in the Bay Area, but there is no chance — zero, nada — that the Bulls would do it. Dr. Who couldn’t find a world where that trade happens.

Paul Pierce tells Kevin Garnett he should shoot more threes.

The Magic have waived Larry Hughes. He’s free to sign with anybody… if they want him.

Thinking, Fast and Slow, about the NBA. (Really interesting read about how we view players.)

Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and the Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio are your Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month for January (and December, they threw those five days in). The Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau and the Thunder’s Scott Brooks were named the Coaches of the Month.

Wizards coach Randy Wittman complains that his young team does not get a fair shake from the referees. He’s right to a degree, the Wizards are a young team and so tend not to get calls. More importantly, that’s not really the problem in Washington.

Tickets are on sale for the Broadway production of Magic/Bird.”

Casey Jacobsen writes for SLAM about his best and worst teammates in the NBA (and more). Chris Andersen comes off well, Darko and J.R. Smith not so much.

Speaking of the gunner. J.R. Smith hit 14 threes and dropped 60 points in a game in China. And no, his family did not get into any fights in the stands.

The Cavaliers recalled Luke Harangody from the D-League.

The Magic are about to call up Ish Smith from the D-League to provide some help in the back court.

RIP well known D1 college coach Charlie Spoonhour.

LeBron James calls Cavs’ players’ only meeting after loss to Raptors

LeBron James
Leave a comment

Yes, the Cavaliers are 11-4 on the season and on top of the East. Yes, they are outscoring teams by 6.7 points per 100 possessions, which is fourth best in the NBA. They have the third best offense in the league. All that without their starting backcourt (Kyrie Irving and Iman Shumpert). There are reasons to be optimistic.

But the Cavaliers have a middle-of-the-pack defense and their efforts have been up and down. Wednesday night was a down, they lost on the road to Toronto, dropping the Cavs to 3-4 outside Quicken Loans Arena, with all those losses to teams in the East.

It was enough for LeBron James and James Jones to call a players-only meeting, reports Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

Following a 103-99 road loss to the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, the Cleveland Cavaliers held a players-only meeting during which LeBron James and James Jones got on the team for its inconsistent play through the Cavs’ 11-4 start to the season, multiple sources told ESPN.com….

“It’s all mindset,” James said after the game, still visibly frustrated. “It comes from within. I’ve always had it; my upbringing had me like that. It’s either you got it or you don’t.”

When asked whether fatigue was a factor, James said, “No. It’s not an excuse.” When another reporter asked whether injuries were to blame, James repeated, “It’s not an excuse.”

Injuries and fatigue did play a role, this was a team without four regular rotation players and that puts more of a burden on everyone else. Players can’t look at it that way, but ijuries are a reality.

LeBron is trying to set a tone, one he learned in Miami and is now trying to instill in the Cavaliers. It’s about effort, it’s about attention to detail, it’s about building good habits over the course of a season so they can pay off in the playoffs. The Cavs are winning, they look clearly like the best team in the East once healthy, and yet LeBron rightfully isn’t convinced they could beat Golden State or San Antonio right now. The good news is they don’t have to beat them right now, but they need to beat them eventually. The building blocks for that are laid during the season. He wants that building to start going up.

But getting guys healthy would solve a lot of those problems.

Jason Kidd ejected; shoving match ensues between teams after Kings beat Bucks

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd is going to miss a game or three (and some dollars to go with it), and he could not be the only guy in trouble with the league after a tension-filled end to the Kings’ win over the Bucks Wednesday.

There wasn’t a ton of drama at the end of the contest itself. The Bucks played a “defense optional” game that led to 36 points for Rudy Gay and 13 dimes for Rajon Rondo, and the Kings won their first game this season without DeMarcus Cousins (back issue). That frustrated the Bucks to no end.

Jason Kidd expressed that frustration by slapping the ball out of referee Zach Zarba’s hands, a move that rightfully earned him an instant ejection.

You can be sure a suspension is coming for Kidd — the league can’t let that slide. This was not a Budenholzer incidental bump. After the game here is what Kidd had to say.

After Kidd had gone to the showers, there was a little jawing on the court between Cousins (in street clothes) and the Bucks’ O.J. Mayo. That spilled over after the final buzzer into the tunnel, where there was at the very least some jawing, maybe a little shoving, and a lot of security stepping in before anything serious happened.

Whatever happened in the tunnel is going to be a lot harder for NBA disciplinarian Kiki Vandeweghe (technically the vice-president of basketball operations for the NBA) to sort out. Who started what, and did it rise to the level it calls for a fine or more, is going to be tricky, especially since this was out of site of the arena cameras.

Cavaliers stand in middle of Raptors dancers’ routine (video)

1 Comment

The Cavaliers were ready for their game against the Raptors tonight, and Toronto’s dance team wasn’t going to change that.

The last time I remember something like this happening, Grizzlies guard Tony Allen walked through the Warriors’ kid dancers. This video doesn’t show how the Cavaliers got to that point, but they might have the defense of being there first. Allen definitely didn’t have that.

Wizards score six fourth-quarter points in loss to Hornets

Cody Zeller, Ramon Sessions
Leave a comment

Gary Neal made a jumper with 10:12 remaining in tonight’s Wizards-Hornets game.

That was Washington’s last basket.

Jared Dudley made a pair of free throws on the Wizards next possession, and Neal added two more free throws with 23 seconds left.

And that was all the Wizards scoring in the quarter.

Washington, which entered the final period up seven, lost 101-87 after its 1-for-20 final-period shooting.

The six fourth-quarter points were the fewest by an NBA team in a quarter since Cavaliers scored six third-quarter points in a Jan. 26, 2014 loss to the Suns. Last time a team scored so few in a fourth quarter: Nov. 13, 2012, when the Raptors had five against the Pacers.

At least Neal’s late free throws spared the Wizards further shame. Nobody has scored four or fewer points in a quarter since the Warriors managed just two in a Feb. 8, 2004 loss to the Raptors.

As it stands, this is one of only 44 times in the shot clock era a team has scored so few points in a quarter.