Anderson Varejao, Ekpe Udoh, Doron Lamb

Anderson Varejao saves the day for two stranded travellers


Imagine you, like me, speak only English. You’re visiting family in a foreign country where nearly nobody speaks English. When it’s time to fly home, the airport can be a scary place. Your family can go only so far with you before reaching an area only for ticketed passengers. But with very specific and detailed instructions from your family before parting, you can probably reach your gate and board the plane with minimal trouble.

Then what happens if your flight is cancelled?

That’s the predicament (with the languages reversed) a pair of Brazilians found themselves in while visiting Cleveland recently. Thankfully, a 6-foot-11, curly haired Portuguese-speaking Clevelander emerged to save the day.

Brendan Bowers of Stepien Rules (hat tip: Kelly Dwyer of Ball Don’t Lie):

The pair of Portuguese speaking travelers were the mother and brother of a Cleveland resident they had been in town visiting.

According to a source close to the family, neither person spoke English and they were left stranded at the airport after their connecting flight to Miami had been canceled.  

Eventually, they found a person who offered to help translate Portuguese to English at the American Airlines desk in order to get them onto another flight. 

This person turned out to be Anderson Varejao, who also helped the pair of travelers get into a Miami hotel where they eventually stayed overnight before catching the second leg of their flight home to Brazil the following day. 

Varejao has become a somewhat forgotten man in Cleveland after he missed most of each of the last three seasons due to injury and the Cavaliers developed Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller, drafted Anthony Bennett and signed Andrew Bynum.

But I know at least one Clevelander holds Varejao in the highest regard.

Stan Van Gundy rips ‘selfish’ Pistons

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The Pistons had just 19 assists – to 22 turnovers – in their 93-83 loss to the Nets last night.

Stan Van Gundy was none too pleased.

On offensive problems:

I told them in there – that was the first thing – we’re not playing together at all. I thought it was a very selfish performance, and guys wouldn’t just pass the ball to open men. They wanted to see if they could take one more dribble to get their own shot, so the passing angles were gone. I just thought we forced play after play after play. We’re not willing to move the ball

On Reggie Jackson, who scored seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six assists and six turnovers, and was coming off Achilles soreness:

He was not good at all. He was forcing everything.

On injuries to point guards – Jackson, Brandon Jennings and Steve Blake – hindering the team’s flow in practice and that carrying over to the game:

We could probably make a lot of excuses for our guys, but we were selfish.

Van Gundy is clearly trying to send a message, and the preseason is the best time to do it.

But it’s somewhat troubling he had to do it after this game.

Eight of the 10 Pistons who played against Brooklyn project to make the regular-season rotation. Joel Anthony played over Aron Baynes, and once healthy, Blake could challenge Spencer Dinwiddie to become back up point guard – at least until Jennings is ready. Otherwise, Detroit – with Jackson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Marcus Morris, Ersan Ilyasova, Andre Drummond, Jodie Meeks, Stanley Johnson and Anthony Tolliver – looked similar to its opening-night lineup.

Van Gundy is blunt, but he doesn’t tell the media things he hasn’t already directly told his players. They appreciate that.

He’d appreciate them getting this message.

Report: Dwight Howard didn’t have offseason surgery

Dwight Howard
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Dwight Howard said he played with a torn MCL and meniscus in the Western Conference finals – pretty shocking news that few knew what to make of.

So, um, did he have offseason surgery?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Howard obviously feels great about his health now, so maybe this was the right course.

We’ll never how Howard would have performed if fully healthy, but he averaged 14.4 points and 14.4 rebounds in 35.1 minutes per game against the Warriors during the conference finals. How bad could the injuries have been?