Kurt Helin

Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers

Happy birthday Shaq. Remembering when he dropped 61 on Clippers on his B-Day.


Happy birthday to Shaq, who turns 43 today.

The Big Aristotle/Shamrock/Cactus/Daddy had one of his best games ever on his birthday, dropping 61 on the Clippers. Shaq shot 24-of-35 from the floor and was a respectable 13-22 from the free throw line. Oh, he pulled down 23 boards, too (which was more points than Kobe Bryant had that day, 22). Obviously, this was the year Phil Jackson took over the Lakers and they won a title (thanks more to their defensive improvement than the triangle).

Enjoy the Friday trip down memory lane, complete with the voice of the best ever at the mic, Chick Hearn.

Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.


LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers did not like the hard foul Jonas Valanciunas gave the Cleveland star the other night. After being the target of a couple flagrant fouls recently, LeBron said he needs to stick up for himself more.

Kendrick Perkins is willing to do it for him.

Which feels a little odd considering the rivalry Perkins’ former team the Celtics had with LeBron over the years, but Perkins is now a Cavalier. Perkins told Cleveland.com he would play enforcer, that essentially he would be the Marty McSorley for Wayne Gretzky (that’s not a perfect analogy, but live with it).

“(There are) time and places that you could get one off,” said Kendrick Perkins, the Cavs’ newly acquired backup center who is a card-carrying, on-court enforcer. “You’ve got to make sure it’s the right time. At the end of the day you have to make sure you go out and play basketball.

“Obviously (Valanciunas) was trying to send a message because he had been getting beat all day on the pick-and-roll, and it happens, but it’s just bull(crap) and it ain’t cool.”

Like the league is not going to be watching now.

You can tell the playoffs are approaching because play is starting to get a little chippy around the league. Games have something on the line a lot of nights now and that leads to more intense — and often physical — play. And that makes Perkins feel right at home, regardless of the color of his uniform.

(Hat tip to the legendary Matt Moore Eye on Basketball)


After Matthews injury, Portland tries one more time to woo Ray Allen. No such luck.

Ray Allen

Sometimes you’ve just got to make the call.

That’s pretty much where Blazers GM Neil Olshey found himself Friday morning. Wesley Matthews — Portland’s starting two guard, top perimeter defender and key to their offensive spacing with his three-point shooting — was lost for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon. Arron Afflalo can step in as a starter and provide quality minutes, but who plays behind him now?

How about Ray Allen? Sure, Allen said earlier in the week he was going to sit out the season, but Olshey made the call anyway, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

Blazers general manager Neil Olshey made a call to agent Jim Tanner on Friday morning on the chance that Allen might reconsider his decision to sit out the 2014-15 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Nevertheless, Tanner informed the Blazers that Allen, 39, remains intent on sitting out the season and wouldn’t consider the possibility of joining Portland – or any other team, sources told Yahoo Sports.

It was worth a shot. To quote Wayne Gretzky, you don’t score on every shot you don’t take.

With the trade deadline and ensuing buyout market in the past, the Blazers are going to have to dance with what they have. That lack of depth and shooting hurts their title contending chances.

Royce White says he’s not done playing basketball

Royce White

The equation was pretty straightforward: Royce White the on-the-court player wasn’t worth the accommodations required for Royce White off the court. Teams will not phrase it that way, it may not be fair, but it’s the reality of his situation.

White was battling an anxiety disorder that includes a fear of flying, and he wanted accommodations to help him adjust. Teams felt the couldn’t, or they wouldn’t. As one executive told Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN in talking about Larry Sanders — the Bucks star dealing with depression and anxiety issues — team’s don’t deal well with handling of mental issues.

White’s potential as a 6’8″ point forward had him drafted No. 16 by the Rockets — it was his honesty about his mental condition that saw him fall that low back in 2012 — and talent intrigues. When the story of Sanders stepping away to get himself right before signing another contract came out White tweeted that he would like to keep playing (hat tip to D.J. Foster at Fox Sports).

A return for White would be a process, one that would take time, but there is a path. It would start in the gym working on a training program, and then would jump to a Summer League roster. Then he can build off that with a stint in the D-League. Then go from there.

It wouldn’t be easy, but it’s far from impossible. NBA teams will give talented players numerous chances. White just has to show on the court he is worth another chance.

Wesley Matthews expresses “disbelief” about torn Achilles, speaks to media (VIDEO)

Portland Trail Blazers v Sacramento Kings


That was the Blazers’ Wesley Matthews words to describe what happened to him a couple hours before on Thursday night, a ruptured Achilles that will sideline until some point next season. Maybe it’s not Kobe Bryant sinking a free throw before he walks off the court, but Matthews speaking to the media so soon after the trauma was impressive in its own right.

The other interesting comment was that Matthews admitted his Achilles had been bothering him, but he thought he had been taking care of it. Portland was on the second night of a back-to-back, and whether or not that was part of the cause it will be part of the discussion going forward.