Shaq doesn’t care for the Pelicans name, might not know what a pelican is

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Shaquille O’Neal is not overly fond of the Pelicans nickname. This is not an uncommon opinion. Shaq’s reasoning for not liking the new name, though? Pretty spectacular.

“It’s a terrible name. I told Charles on TNT, I don’t think I’ve seen a Pelican before. Pelicans, are they that big white bird? I would had named them Tigers, Crawfish or something. Pelicans — no. But I wish them well.”

Via John Reid on NOLA.com

So many questions for you, Shaq. You really haven’t seen a Pelican before? It’s Louisiana’s state bird. You went to LSU. They were in Finding Nemo. You have children. Come on, Shaq. You yelled about Birdman for the entire postseason and now you know nothing about birds? Nice try. Are you undercover again?

Seriously, though, man. Crawfish? That’s your suggestion? Something cool like Tigers, or maybe crawfish? Pelicans could probably eat crawfish, bro. I don’t know if that’s true or not because I haven’t watched the Discovery channel in a really long time, but you don’t go down the food chain in search of a better nickname. You just don’t.

That’s alright, though. Nicknames are hard, you’ve wasted your ammo on yourself over the years, and now you’re spent. All good. New Orleans fans have plenty of reasons to be happy though, right? Bright future, yes?

I’ll be anxious to see how many jerseys they sell. Hopefully one day they’ll get some marquee players and fill the arena up because it’s a town that wants to support something good. Louisiana, in general, if you give them a good product, they’ll get in their RVs and drive and they will support you. Hopefully, one day we’ll get two or three good players that people would want to spend their money on.

I suppose the thought of hearing, “Nice Pelicans jersey!” could push someone with Ornithophobia away from a purchase, even if the name on the front says New Orleans. As for the names on the back? Anthony Davis, Jrue Holiday, Eric Gordon, Ryan Anderson and Tyreke Evans are pretty good players, but are they “fire up the RV” good?

But again, we need to two or three marquee players. I mean you can’t charge the prices that we charge and not give them a good product. So hopefully the first pick, Anthony Davis, and Doc Rivers’ son (Austin Rivers) hopefully have the same impact the ‘Splash Brothers’ (Golden State guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson) had last season.

So New Orleans fans, it sounds like Shaq thinks your new nickname stinks, you might not sell many jerseys, you don’t have good players that are worth spending money to watch, and your hopes of making a big impact rest partially with Austin Rivers, of all people.

But, you know, other than that? Go big white birds!

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.