Kurt Helin

Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers

Shaq tells Suzy Shuster he, Kobe Bryant could have tied Jordan’s six titles

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Kobe Bryant went on the Shaquille O’Neal podcast this week and both men admitted regret letting their egos get in the way and acting immaturely at the time, breaking up a dynasty with the Lakers that had already won three titles.

But how many could they have won if they had checked their egos at the door?

Shaq thinks six, he told Suzy Shuster, who was the guest host on The Rich Eisen Show.

“I think we could have probably tied Mike, or surpassed Mike. I guess six. Everybody talks about Bill Russell’s 11; no player will ever come along that will win 11 championships unless they reduce the league to 10 teams. So you shouldn’t even bring Bill up. So now Mike, when you talk about the pinnacles of championships you always gotta go with Mike. So Mike has six. I think we could have either tied that or got that.

“But if “if” was a fifth we’d all be drunk, Susan.”

It’s just speculation, but could a non-bickering Lakers squad have beaten the Pistons in 2004? The Spurs in 2005? Reached the Finals and defeated Dwyane Wade’s Heat (without Shaq) in 2006? We can go on and on here, but six sounds reasonable.

Then again, I’m playing around with an “if” fifth of Jefferson’s Presidential bourbon here.

Dwight Howard tried to take loaded gun through airport security, will not face charges

Houston Rockets v Golden State Warriors - Game Five
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I’m not sure exactly how someone leaves a loaded Glock in their carry-on bag they send through an airport security screener, but that’s exactly what Dwight Howard said he did, according to police in Houston.

And while he got pulled aside for a while for it, he is not going to face any charges.

The incident happened at George Bush International Airport in Houston and TMZ was first with the story (which has since been confirmed by the Houston police department and the Rockets).

TMZ Sports has learned the NBA superstar was stopped at George Bush Airport in Houston on August 28th … when Dwight put his carry-on bag through the scanner, and a TSA agent noticed a LOADED GLOCK inside!!!

Law enforcement sources tell us … a further inspection revealed the gun — a Glock 26 9mm — was LOADED with one round in the chamber. We’re told Dwight said he simply forgot the gun was in the bag.

The Rockets released a statement saying they are aware of the incident and are gathering more information.

Because this is Texas — a state with rather permissive gun laws — Howard was allowed to give the gun to an associate who took it back to his house, then Howard boarded the plane, according to police. While the district attorney was called, no charges were pressed. This is not uncommon; few charges are filed in incidents where guns are found in security screenings in Houston, according to police.

Howard was fortunate not to do this in California or New York, where the laws are more restrictive. He has not yet commented on the incident.

Mavs’ Chandler Parsons just taking to court after knee surgery, says he’ll be ready opening night

Houston Rockets v Dallas Mavericks
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Back in April, Chandler Parsons had knee surgery that may or may not have been microfracture (but probably was). He’s spent his summer rehabbing that injury — and recruiting, but we won’t talk about that — trying to get back on the court. He was at the an unofficial workout Wednesday in Dallas but did not participate.

He’s just now getting back on the court at all.

But he told Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com he expects to be on the court opening night.

He’s been shooting jumpers for a couple of weeks but is just starting to do some dribbling and other drills.

We can safely bet the rent money that the Mavericks are going to error on the side of caution here, they are not going to rush Parsons back. They don’t need him in November, they need him in April (and beyond, if they plan to advance past the first round).

If this was microfracture surgery the expected return date for an average recovery would be right around the start of the season. It could happen. But why rush it? While there is a legitimate concern about defense and depth — who is backing him up at the three, Justin Anderson? — it’s something Rick Carlisle can work around for a while.

That said, Parsons says he’ll be back. And it’s his knee.

Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas: “I wanna be the best little guy to ever play the game of basketball”

Boston Celtics v Cleveland Cavaliers- Game Two
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Isaiah Thomas is one of the most entertaining players in the NBA. He is fearless, a little guy (5’9″) driving and scoring among the trees in the NBA — he finishes well, a career 65% inside the restricted area. He plays hard all the time. He’s once and always the Pizza Guy. He was the No. 1 scoring option for the Celtics when he arrived, a time when the team’s offense was in flux last season. He’s a guy Celtics fans are pumped to see back.

Thomas likely comes off the bench behind Marcus Smart — which is the perfect role for him. He’s not a good enough defender to start, but as a scoring spark plug off the bench that changes the game he’s perfect.

Just don’t expect him to be happy with that role — he has much bigger aspirations for himself. That’s what he told Jay King of MassLive.com.

You have to love his confidence. But the little guy mountain is a tough one to climb.

If we define “little guy” by NBA terms to mean 5’11” or under, then who is the best ever in the NBA?

I think Calvin Murphy sets that bar. The Hall of Famer and All-Star was a 5’9″ point guard who averaged 17.9 points a game in his 15-year NBA career, all with the Rockets. He had a career PER of 18.  It’s an impressive resume. (For the record, Allen Iverson was officially 6’0″ and “Tiny” Archibald was 6’1″.) Even the best player 5’11” and under in the NBA right now is Ty Lawson, not Thomas.

But I wouldn’t expect anything less of him than to try to climb that mountain.

Watch Luis Scola drop 35 and 13 to lead Argentina past Canada at FIBA America

BASKET-WC-2014-SEN-ARG
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Raptors fans had to feel conflicted.

On one hand, they got to see their new power forward show that he still has a lot in the tank. There are questions about how the Raptors rebuilt their roster this summer, but if he plays like this Luis Scola can answer a few of them.

On the other hand, those Raptors fans are Canadians excited about their strong young national team — and Scola just torched them.

Score one for the old guard as Scola and Argentina beat Canada 97-84 behind 35 points and 13 rebounds from Scola Tuesday. He did it with his deliberate, physical, crafty, below-the-rim game.

Canada’s athletic young team — led by Andrew Wiggins, who had 13 in the game — looked a little tentative in their first game as potential favorites on a big stage. The top two finishers at FIBA Americas get a berth in the 2016 Rio Olympics, and there is an expectation Canada will land one of those slots.

Argentina came out with an intensity and desire Canada did not match. Argentina has been on the big stages before — they are the 2004 Olympic gold medalists — and it showed.

Canada can right the ship Wednesday against Cuba (a game Canada should win handily). From there they should be able to get the wins to get to the knockout stage, and then they just need to play more like Scola and Argentina to advance.