“What’s not right is using it as a tool to basically shame players into showing up. Which, incidentally, seems particularly insensitive when the next round of CBA negotiations is about to screw over the players like never before. Then again, while they’re supposed to be thankful to America for a labor situation that might screw them, when it comes to Colangelo, they’re only supposed to remember the good times.” [Bethlehem Shoals on LeBron and Team USA]
“O’Neal is still a decent player, even at age 38, with the odometer threatening to quit. Shaq has said he’d like to play a couple more seasons, and as one of the most recognizable athletes in the world he’ll get interest. And why not? He’s still a frequent scorer (18 points per 36 minutes) and a strong rebounder. Who cares if his pick-and-roll defense looks like a penguin mating dance and his famously awful free throw stroke has devolved further? It’s Shaq!” [Tom Ziller on the Top Free Agents]
“In fact, he’s one of the most frustrating opponents in the league for good post players because he’s so active, progressing far beyond the flopping vaudeville act of years past into a truly elite defensive performer.” [John Hollinger on Varejao for All-Defensive Team]
Jeremy (Mentor OH): If the Cavs reach the Finals…..is there any team that you can comfortably say will beat them in a 7 game series….other than the Lakers?
Chad Ford: No. And any more, I’m not sure the Lakers will beat them either. The irony is that the East may be the tougher road for them. Magic and Hawks in particular more dangerous right now to Cavs than No. 2-6 in the West.
“Though the Cavs are not publicly talking about it, the belief within the locker room is that team doctors could clear O’Neal to play within a week. He’s five weeks off his thumb surgery now, which is ahead of the 6-8 week window the team placed on the injury. But recent tests have indicated O’Neal’s thumb has healed quickly and well.” [Brian Windhorst on The Benefits of Clinching Early]
“Personally, I don’t mind that the Cavaliers and Celtics don’t like each other. I agree with LeBron: It’s good for the game. Back in my day, teams didn’t get along like they do now. Now, because of AAU, players grow up with each other. They know each other from being little kids. We didn’t have that in my day. I didn’t like the Celtics. They weren’t my favorite team then and it continues to this day. And that’s just the way it is.” [Austin Carr on Rivalries]
“I spoke to one Pistons source who tells me that practice yesterday turned in to a bit of a bickering-fest, with players and coaches involved (not unusual) and John Kuester even got some[sic] frustrated that he allegedly punted a basketball.” [From Need4Sheed.com]
Tweets To The Present: (follow me @tompestak)
“Your athlete-only puppy names: Mookie Blaylock, Randy Johnson, Mad Dog Mark Madsen, Don Barksdale, Coco Crisp, Glenn Robinson …” [JE Skeets]
“Tonight it sounds like LeBron will play and Varejao is a gametime decision. But there’s a chance both could sit.” [Brian Windhorst]
“Hayward was THIS close to hitting the greatest shot in basketball history… and that’s not an exaggeration.” [Colin Zvosec]
“Duke does it again I thought dat last shot by butler was good.” [Shaq]