Posted on: December 23, 2010 4:10 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2010 4:13 pm

Video: NBA teams try and say Happy Holidays

Posted by Royce Young

I think the video production departments for NBA teams will look for any excuse to put players in a video doing something silly. That's why the holiday season is a perfect opportunity to get these really tall people to sing badly, put on silly hats and do weird dances. Nothing says Merry Christmas like J.J. Barea not knowing any of the words to "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer."

A good number of teams have put out a "Happy Holidays!" video. Here's four of the best (I'm not sure if "best" is actually the right word) ones out there:

Chicago Bulls

The Bulls sang (or spoke) the "12 Days of Christmas" with a hilarious basketball twist. Instead of four calling birds, Carlos Boozer gives us "four pick and rolls." And of course Joakim Noah finishes with "a basketball in a pear tree." The first time, funny. Second time, still kind of funny. Third not, not so funny. Eighth time, moving on.

Detroit Pistons

The Pistons put a spin on "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" doing the whole change-the-words-to-basketball-stuf
f thing. You can tell that it took Chris Wilcox more than one take to get "With tales of hot dogs and other good eats," just right. I also like how awkward Jason Maxiell does his line, especially with the through-the-nose laughing at the end.

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks are the best in the league at making funny/creative videos with their players. It helps to have Dirk Nowitzki because anything he does is pretty much awesome. He should host Saturday Night Live or something. But their rendition of "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" is no exception. It's of course excellent, with Dirk stealing the show (why is he wrapped in lights?).

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets tried the funny costume routine with a bad rap added in. If you're not paying attention, you'd have no idea this had anything to do with Christmas. It's like they tried to do a "Super Bowl Shuffle" but add in The Birdman's neck tattoo and mohawk, plus some oversized clocks and big glass on Chauncey Billups. Success, I guess.
Posted on: December 22, 2010 7:05 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2010 7:06 pm

NBA Drive: Orlando's moves and on renting Melo

Posted by Royce Young

On this week's edition of NBA Drive, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger talks about Orlando's big moves, has some news on Carmelo Anthony (of course) and even rants a bit.

On the Magic's move, Berger says that it will take some time for Orlando to integrate in the new pieces, but mentions how this is really a victory for Washington in moving on from Gilbert Arenas' contract.

As for what's happening with Anthony, the Nuggets have placed negotiations on hold for the time being with Carmelo dealing with a death in the family. But Berger also talks in depth about how Dallas has entered in to the Melo talks and is potentially looking to "rent" Anthony.

That means the team wouldn't have to give up as much and would only happen if the Nuggets can't find a suitable deal with the Nets. It's not a likely scenario, but as Berger notes, Mark Cuban isn't afraid of taking risks so he might not be opposed to renting Carmelo for a championship run.

Posted on: December 19, 2010 1:46 pm

Video: Gilbert Arenas talks on the trade to Magic

Posted by Royce Young

If the Orlando media learned anything today when they spoke with Gilbert Arenas for the first time as a member of the Magic, it's that media availability is going to be a little more fun than usual now.

Arenas was his usual candid self talking about why he didn't feel like he fit in with the Wizards, how this is a new beginning for him and how he's fine coming off the bench.

"I think it was more of a confidence thing with me in that I knew I wasn't the man there any more," Arenas told reporters. "So I guess I was just docile. But now that Otis says you're going to be a main role and just play and be you, I was like OK. So I came out here working out and I feel good."

As far as how he felt like he was the odd man out, he put in a subtle dig at the Wizards.

"I sensed something when I was coming off the bench and the excuse was they needed scoring off the bench and I was like 'where's the scoring from the starting five'?", he said. "But from there I figured they were probably shipping me out because I was playing well and somebody was going to have an interest in me.

"This is a new beginning for me. This is a true new beginning. Going back and changing my number was a new beginning, this is a real new beginning. New city, new people, new team... I get to start fresh."

One thing that was interesting was that Arenas said he complained to Orlando general manager Otis Smith about "coming to get him." Arenas has spent a lot of time in Orlando and even said he grew up a Magic fan, mainly because of Penny Hardaway. And Arenas is going to wear No. 1 because of that.

Despite there apparently being no more Agent Zero because of the number change, Arenas seemed to be a little of his old self in the first interview.

Posted on: December 17, 2010 12:17 pm
Edited on: December 17, 2010 12:18 pm

Video: Karl talks cancer, 1000 wins and Carmelo

Posted by Royce Young

Ken Berger of CBSSports.comtalked with Denver Nuggets coach George Karl this week and among a number of outstanding things discussed of course was Carmelo Anthony's future in Denver.

Karl said, "I think there's so much fluff, so much gossip, so much inneundo to the scenarios. I don't like playing that game or being involved in that arena. The realness of I think what's good for Melo, what's good for Denver and what's good for George Karl is that he would stay in Denver. I said that in the very beginning and I still stand by it. Fortunately, we've won enough games where we've kept most the BS out of the game and off the court. As long as we keep winning, I think we'll be OK."

Of course Karl recently became the seventh coach ever to win 1,000 games. Karl talked about how it's a "celebration" and something he never expected to see happen for himself. And with Karl's two-time battle with cancer, hitting that mark is something even more special for him and his family.

Karl has an important "PET" scan coming soon that's part of his routine checkups. It's right before Christmas and Karl admitted it'll be a tough couple days. But he says he feels good and feels confident.

George Karl is truly one of the gems of the game and one of the greatest ever. Not just in patrolling the bench as a top coach, but as one of the game's greatest human beings and ambassadors.

Posted on: December 15, 2010 10:19 pm
Edited on: December 16, 2010 10:40 am

Video: Paul Pierce game winner... kind of

Posted by Matt Moore

UPDATE 10:41 p.m. EST:
A league spokesman for the NBA informs CBSSports.com that there was no "trigger" that occurred which would allow a review of Pierce's game winner, which meant that it stood as called. So that explains that. We'll have more on the trigger rules later.

UPDATE 11:22 p.m. EST: For what it's worth, a New York  (yes, I hear you Celtics fans) media producer says he timed Amar'e Stoudemire's shot and it came out to .68 seconds . He claims that Pierce's shot was through at .7 as well.

It may not be a rivalry yet, but it's well on its way.

Paul Pierce nailed the game winner over the outstretched arms of Amar'e Stoudemire with .4 seconds left to give the Celtics their run-of-the-mill tough, relentless win 118-116. It was Paul Pierce, coming off a Ray Allen screen, forcing the Knicks to switch, getting Pierce with space on the right elbow, his sweet spot, against Amar'e Stoudemire (who was a beast from the first quarter on). Pierce pushed a little deeper than his favorite spot at the elbow, to the right wing, rose, fired, and...

Kaboom. Knicks lose. A heartbreaker, but that's what the Celtics do. With only .4 left on the clock, the Knicks got the ball to Amar'e Stoudemire for a prayer three. It was, amazingly, good, but after the buzzer. 


Go back to the Pierce shot. When exactly did that ball go all the way through the net, as the NBA rulebook says it must for it to count?

That would be .6. At least. You might be able to make the argument that it landed at .8.

And if you're interested in the clock on the shot clock? Courtesy of @TheYankeeU on Twitter. 

Couple things:
  • It is well within Boston fans' right to contest that Amar'e still wouldn't have gotten the shot off in time. Trying to match up the times would be nearly impossible, but it was firmly cradled in his hand when the buzzer sounded. Would another.2 to .4 matter?
  • It's also easy to make the argument that Boston might have defended differently (less concern about the lob) with .6 or .8 versus .04. Everything changes with that time differential. There's something in here about chaos theory and parallel universes, but we don't want to go there. 
  • The Knicks still very much had every chance to win this game and Boston took it from them.
  • It's also possible this was a production issue with the network carrying the game, but we're willing to give them the benefit of the doubt here. 
But it is a pretty interesting development that at home, in a situation where review is pretty much required, it would certainly appear as if things were amiss in Madison Square Garden.

Great win for Boston, but this shows just how tough of a loss it was for New York. 
Posted on: December 10, 2010 5:05 pm
Edited on: December 10, 2010 5:10 pm

Video: Wesley Matthews on family and contracts

Posted by Royce Young

Portland's Wesley Matthews recently sat down with Ken Berger to discuss everything from his new contract to his father's temper. Matthews might be following in his father's footsteps by playing in the NBA, but he's writing his own legacy.

One interesting thing Matthews said was when talking about his big contract with the Blazers when Berger asked if he was worth it. Matthews said, "I don't even know if I can make a case. Overpaid, underpaid, whatever they want to say. Paid correctly. I don't know. The only claim I can really state is that I work."

It's true too. As a guy that was undrafted out of Marquette, Matthews made a huge impression in a role with the Jazz last season and ended up being in the unique situation to be a restricted free agent last summer. But as someone that was overlooked and then criticized, Matthews has become a vital part to the Blazers' future.

Posted on: December 9, 2010 4:28 pm

This turned out to be a pretty important call

Posted by Royce Young

In case you missed it, the Lakers beat the Clippers by a point last night on a last-second Derek Fisher layup. A lot of things contributed to that, including rookie Eric Bledsoe not stopping the ball at all and completely relying on a help defender to bail him out.

But what if Fisher's layup was just to tie the game instead? Well, there was that possibility. Instead, because of a call in the middle of the fourth quarter, the Lakers were gifted with an extra point. Watch:

Now of course I'm not so dense to think that things couldn't have changed throughout the game. But it's not like the call swung momentum or anything. Basically, it was a simple, free point gifted to the Lakers. It was the second delay of game call against the Clips, which is an automatic technical. Shannon Brown walked to the other end, hit the free throw and the Lakers led 75-73 instead of 74-73. And of course, the Clippers lost 86-85.

Griffin was guilty too. By the rule, he's supposed to give it right back to the official. He didn't. He chucked up another free throw. Phil Jackson in all his Phil Jackson-ness complained, and got the call. (Watch him pop right up off the bench and start hollering at the official for the call. The official thinks for a moment and then whistles Griffin. Interesting how influential coaches can be.)

But how many times could delay of game be called throughout a typical NBA game? Ten times? Fifteen? Fifty? Kevin Garnett made goaltending a jumper after the whistle famous, but the guy that took the jumper should be nailed with a delay, right? Isn't that basically what Griffin did?

Again, no denying what it was. Griffin should know better. Chalk it up to a rookie mistake if you want, but really, every player does it. I've seen guys pull exactly what Griffin did a hundred times with no whistle. Most times they don't go all the way through and throw the ball back at the iron though. I guess the credit goes to Phil Jackson for making the officials aware that he was aware.

In the end, that point was costly. Maybe Fisher's layup sends the game into overtime instead of the Lakers to victory without it. Maybe not. But regardless, I'm sure this was a nice little lesson for Griffin. And one that the master, Phil Jackson, taught him.
Posted on: December 8, 2010 2:13 pm
Edited on: December 8, 2010 2:29 pm

Wesley Matthews loves his mom, but ...

Wesley Matthews isn't sure his mom is totally accurate about her supposed 50-50 game in high school, but he loves her anyway. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Wesley Matthews is the new hope of Blazers nation as Brandon Roy struggles to stay on the floor with significant knee injuries. His ability to close games has been especially impressive and if there is a bright spot in the Blazers' season, it's Matthews. 

My mom can't play basketball. At all. But if my mom said she dropped 50 points and 50 rebounds in high school, I'd believe her. She's my mom. Wesley Matthews? He's got a much more fierce devotion to the truth. 

If you ever wonder if players are really changed by the money and change of circumstances that come with being an NBA player, listen to Matthews describe being able to support his mother after she worked multiple jobs when he was a child to make ends meet, now that he signed a five-year contract with the Portland Trail Blazers. "It's the best feeling in my life," Matthews tells CBSSports.com's Ken Berger. "Being able to let my mom relax. She's still not relaxing, she's trying. She's not very good at relaxing yet. She doesn't have to get up and go to work. All she's doing is helping take care of my business, what's going on with me, and she loves doing that. It's been a blessing, being able to do that for her."

Watch Matthews talk about his mom's big stat night and what his new contract has meant to his family in this preview of Ken Berger's video interview with Wesley Matthews. 

The full interview with Ken Berger and Wesley Matthews will be here on CBSSports.com tomorrow. 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com