Rip Hamilton's birthday cake

Monday And-1 links: Rip Hamilton has a heck of a birthday cake


Here is our regular 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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than old critics like slamming Seth McFarlane.

• Richard Hamilton may have had the best birthday cake I’ve ever seen. That’s it to the right (he tweeted the photo). It is real and it’s spectacular.

• Former NBA player Robert Swift had his home foreclosed, now he is just squatting there and refusing to leave.

• Former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley suffered a stroke recently after being at the NBA All-Star Game. We wish him the best.

• Raptors fans have taken to booing Andrea Bargnani. Who should be blamed for that? Try Andrea Bargnani.

• J.J. Redick admits he cried when he was traded.

• LeBron James and Kobe Bryant today are not surprisingly your Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week. LeBron averaged 23.5 points, 9.3 assists 7.8 rebounds and 2.25 steals a game for the Heat’s four games (all wins) last week. The Lakers also were undefeated also were undefeated last week and Kobe averaged 31.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6 assists a game.

• How well is LeBron playing. Watch him make a one-handed, left-handed three-point bank shots just for fun.

• Great story on the best NBA gambler walking the face of the earth (he’s a great twitter follow, too).

• Here is another example of Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak saying they plan to keep Dwight Howard and make him the face of the franchise in a few years.

• Markieff Morris talks about getting to play with his brother now in Phoenix. It’s Jayhawk West.

• The league will not be suspending Carmelo Anthony for his hit on Spencer Hawes, according to reports out of New York.

• According to another report, the Sixers are still considering signing Chris Smith, J.R.’s brother. This seems a long shot.

• Bradley Beal chipped a couple of teeth last week.

• Playboy founder (and playboy) Hugh Hefner talks about his friend the late Lakers owner Jerry Buss.

• The Suns have cut loose Luke Zeller.

Ben Gordon goes vegan for a stint, notices improved energy

Orlando Magic v Golden State Warriors
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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ben Gordon ate avocados any time of day for their healthy fat, and also fueled his workouts with oatmeal and different juices or nutrient-rich smoothies.

Gordon went the vegan route – no dairy or meat – for a stretch a few months back.

“With that diet you have to kind of be creative,” the new Golden State guard said. “At that time I had a chef so it was a little bit easier.”

Gordon is back to a more “normal” diet as the season gets underway and he looks to play a part on the defending NBA champions.

He is eating meat again to gain back some of the weight he lost as a vegan for about the final six weeks of the season last spring and several weeks of the offseason. He needed a bit more strength to handle the rigors of an NBA schedule, yet his energy increased on the diet and he felt “a lot lighter and faster.”

The 6-foot-2 Gordon got down to his high school weight of 185, but noticed he wasn’t quite as strong and built himself back up to his typical playing weight at around 200 pounds.

“I experimented with that this summer and throughout the end of last season,” he said. “As you get older you try to see different things that work for you. I’m not doing it right now but I kind of use it functionally depending how my body feels. But with all the running, protein is hard to come by sometimes when you’re doing the vegan thing. I just like to mix it up.”

The 32-year-old Gordon, a London native and the third overall pick by Chicago out of Connecticut in 2004, averaged 6.2 points last season with Orlando. He enters his 12th NBA season looking to give Golden State another reliable shooter coming off the bench – something the Warriors have wanted.

Gordon wanted to be part of a winning situation, and he got that all right.

“You always have to prove yourself,” he said. “With this team, they won a championship so for me it’s just trying to mesh with the guys and not try to do too much. The league is so much about being in the right situation, being with the right group of guys that mesh with your talents and skills. This team here, the style of play is just a lot of ball movement and unselfish play, and they’re not shy about shooting so I think that’s right up my alley. They don’t have a guy on the bench who shoots a high arc from the 3-point line.”

Sure, committing to be a role player might be considered a risk for a guy who has long been a starter, yet Gordon is confident he will find his place on the defending champions and, he hopes, help the Warriors make another special postseason run.

“He’s been around a long time but he’s still got gas in the tank,” coach Steve Kerr said prior to taking a leave of absence last week to fully recover from back surgery. “He’s a good shooter, good scorer. You don’t have to have a traditional point guard in that role because Shaun (Livingston) and Andre (Iguodala) off the bench handle the ball. So he would be a good fit.”

Gordon played all 82 games in four different seasons, including three times in his initial five years with Chicago and again for Detroit in 2010-11. Yet Gordon has played as many as 75 games just once since with Charlotte in 2012-13 and averaged only 14.1 minutes last season with the Magic.

Not that anybody’s counting.

“I think he’s going to use this year to get another long deal,” said swingman and Finals MVP Iguodala, who made his pitch to Gordon to join Golden State while in Las Vegas this summer.

With the Warriors’ up-tempo style, Gordon plans to be patient and knows shots will find him given the way Golden State moves the ball.

“The last few years for me have been tough, but I think I fit in well here,” he said. “I’m taking my chances here. I’m not shy about this opportunity. It’s a great one.”

Oh, and he can’t wait to engage in some regular shooting competitions with NBA MVP Stephen Curry.

“It’s great to be out there with another great shooter,” Gordon said. “Just to see the way he works, how hungry he is. Even though I’m a vet, a few years older, I’m still picking up things and learning as I’m going along.”

Khris Middleton dunks, Jimmy Butler can’t stop him (VIDEO)

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Khris Middleton has more expectations and more pressure on him after a breakout season in Milwaukee, followed by him getting him PAID this summer.

Well, he looked pretty good on this play against the Bulls, making the steal then throwing down despite Jimmy Butler‘s efforts to stop him.

Middleton finished with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting for the Bucks. However, Butler had the last laugh as he went off for 23 points on 12 shots and led the Bulls to the (meaningless) preseason win.