Stephen A. Smith: Not Making Friends

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iverson.jpgESPN’s hearsay column — Player X, where an anonymous NBA player writes about what people are saying around the league, so you know it’s all true — had some interesting third-hand information this week:

NBA players are ticked at Stephen A. Smith for his recent writings about Allen Iverson’s drinking and gambling problems (the piece is behind the Insider firewall at the WWL).

Now, everyone in the league knows Allen has been a big partier his entire career. Crazy thing is, he actually drinks a lot less than he used to. I know there was talk because Allen was at some party on a night he was supposed to be playing. But right now NBA players are just talking about how they can’t believe Stephen A. chose to write that column now, when Allen’s partying is way, way tamer than it used to be. We all think the timing is suspicious.

I haven’t talked to Allen, so I don’t know how he feels about all this. But guys around the league think Stephen A. took a cheap shot, that he kicked a man when he was down.

“Player X” goes on to say he has heard some of the Sixers want to confront Smith next time he walks in the team locker room.

Iverson is an icon among younger players — better players on the Sixers deferred to him on the court even though it was not the best basketball decision. No shock that they would stick up for him and defend him. But as for the level of Iverson’s drinking — does anyone not named Allen Iverson really know how bad it is?

Phoenix council postpones vote on Suns arena renovation

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PHOENIX (AP) — The City Council has postponed a vote on a proposed $230 million renovation of the Talking Stick Resort Arena that would keep the Suns in downtown Phoenix.

The council agreed unanimously Wednesday to postpone a decision until Jan. 23 so residents can attend five public meetings to be held around Phoenix to discuss the project.

Suns owner Robert Sarver reportedly threatened to move the franchise to Seattle or Las Vegas if not given enough public funding.

Suns President and CEO Jason Rowley says the organization looks forward to the public discussions and to answering any questions about the proposed renovation.

The deal would revamp the nearly 30-year-old arena, the oldest in the NBA that is not currently being renovated.

The Suns agreed to a 40-year lease in 1992, but the deal included a provision for the team to opt out at 30 years.

Final minute of Celtics-Wizards featured five-possession, 10-point, no-stoppage stretch (video)

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Crunch time of a close NBA game is awesome.

It’s exponentially better when nobody calls timeout.

The Celtics and Wizards finished with a flourish tonight, Boston coming out ahead in a frenetic final minute. The last minute included two Kyrie Irving 3-pointers (one tightly contested, one extremely deep) and a sharp drive by John Wall (who had just returned to the game from an injury).

After a flow-killing foul in the final few seconds, the Celtics won, 130-25.

More games should be like this.

Jeremy Lamb hits game-winner despite Bismack Biyombo, others Hornets prematurely running on court to celebrate

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The Hornets sure were excited for Jeremy Lamb‘s game-winner against the Pistons tonight.

Too excited.

After Lamb hit a jumper to put Charlotte up two with 0.3 seconds left, several Hornets ran onto the court. Bismack Biyombo was nearly at halfcourt as Detroit tried to inbound! He was so far onto the court, I’m not even sure officials noticed him when dinging Malik Monk – closer to the bench –for the violation.

Ashley Holder:

The Pistons made a technical free throw to cut their deficit to one, but they still had to inbound from under their own basket. Their desperation pass was intercepted, and Charlotte held on for a 108-107 win.

Several Hornets were certainly relieved.

Crazily enough, this isn’t the first time we’ve seen this.

Suns’ T.J. Warren fined $15k for inappropriate language toward official following ejection (video)

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Everyone on the Suns seems frustrated.

In Phoenix’s loss to the Clippers on Monday, T.J. Warren got ejected. And his outburst will cost him extra.

NBA release:

Phoenix Suns forward T.J. Warren has been fined $15,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a game official following his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

This wasn’t a lengthy exchange. Warren didn’t linger on the court complaining. He must have said something extremely harsh to warrant two technical fouls and a fine that quickly.

(Despite confusion, the foul preceding the ejection was called on Deandre Ayton, not Warren.)