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Mark Cuban says Jason Collins story is ‘no big deal’

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Mark Cuban traveled with his Mavericks to New York to see them take on a struggling Knicks team at Madison Square Garden on Monday, and as he often does in major media markets, he met with reporters briefly before the game to discuss the news of the day.

In this case, the story of Jason Collins being signed to a 10-day contract by the Nets and becoming the first openly gay active professional athlete to play in one of the four major sports leagues is what’s dominated NBA headlines for the last 24 hours.

Cuban, however, didn’t seem to see what all the fuss was about.

From Ken Berger of CBSSports.com:

“I think it’s no big deal and that’s exactly the way it should be,” Cuban said before the Mavericks played the reeling Knicks at MSG. “He’s been playing in the league forever. The guy’s known. As long as they get their ass kicked in the playoffs, that’s all I care about.”

On the Collins phenomenon, Cuban continued, “At some point it becomes something to talk about, and now there’s nothing to talk about. Moving on.” …

“That’s just the way it works,” Cuban said. “It was [a big deal] until it isn’t, and now it’s not. Next. Nothing more to talk about. I mean, I don’t give a [expletive] about a guy’s sexuality. Period, end of story.”

Cuban’s comments come off as dismissive in print, but you can see what he was getting at.

It’s a huge step forward for an openly gay athlete to be accepted into what has traditionally been an overly-aggressive culture in professional sports that has, on the surface, seemed less than tolerant of different lifestyles.

Cuban was trying perhaps a bit too hard to prove a point that this shouldn’t be such a hot topic for discussion, and maybe the next time the NBA finds one of its athletes in the same situation, it won’t be. But it’s a bit disingenuous to pretend that the Collins signing isn’t a “big deal,” because it is — and it’s something worth celebrating.

Watch Kyle O’Quinn throw alley-oop to Carmelo Anthony

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Carmelo Anthony isn’t young anymore, but he had the bounce to go get this one.

These were your two best players for the Knicks in their win over Miami Tuesday. Kyle O'Quinn was forced into action earlier than expected when Joakim Noah went on a fouling spree in the third quarter, but O’Quinn played well in the role. ‘Melo dropped 35 on 27 shots — he’s not as efficient as he once was, but he can still get some buckets.

The Knicks picked up a needed win, because they play a back-to-back Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers and a ticked-off LeBron James (New York will pay the price for Phil Jackson’s “posse” comments with a motivated LeBron Wednesday).

Grizzlies’ Troy Williams hits falling, stumbling circus shot (VIDEO)

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Just like coach David Fizdale drew it up.

The shot of Tuesday night went to Troy Williams, the starting Memphis guard who didn’t have a great night in the Grizzlies win over the Sixers but did hit this stumbling, falling, one-handed shot.

By the way, the Grizzlies are now 4-1 since Mike Conley‘s injury with this win. Didn’t see that coming.

Zach Randolph receives standing ovation in first game back after mother’s passing

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AP
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Zach Randolph was away from the Memphis Grizzlies and its fans for seven games to deal with the passing of his mother, Mae. When he returned to the floor, something special was waiting for him.

During Z-Bo’s arrival against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, fans at FedEx Forum gave Randolph a standing ovation in support of his difficult time.

From ESPN NBA:

Randolph dropped 12 points, collected 14 rebounds, and added an assist as the Grizzlies beat the Sixers, 96-91, in a game that went down to the wire.

Teammates of Randolph — like Marc Gasol — were glad to have him back and let Randolph know he was being thought about during his absence.

Gasol even took to Twitter after the game in a heartwarming gesture:

Cavs’ J.R. Smith sidelined with hyperextended left knee

JR Smith
AP
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CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers starting shooting guard J.R. Smith will miss at least one game – and probably more – with a hyperextended left knee.

The Cavs said an MRI taken on Smith’s knee on Tuesday did not reveal any structural damage, but he will sit out Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks. Smith got hurt in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win in Toronto on Monday night.

While his teammates flew to New York, Smith returned to Cleveland to undergo tests. The team said he is day to day while he receives additional treatment.

Smith’s knee buckled after he dropped a short shot in the lane in a 116-112 win over the Raptors. He had been bothered by soreness in his knee for the past week, and that may have contributed to his slow start this season.

Smith, who did not report to training camp before signing a four-year, $57 million contract before the opener, is averaging just 7.8 points and shooting a career-worst 31 percent from the floor. He’s shooting only 19 percent (8 of 42) in his last six games.

It’s not clear who will take Smith’s spot while he’s out. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has several options, including veterans Mike Dunleavy and Richard Jefferson. On Monday, Lue gave more playing time to DeAndre Liggins, who scored five points as the Cavs beat the Raptors for the third time this season.