Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:57 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm

George Karl addresses Kevin Garnett's cancer talk

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl, who has battled cancer, responds to alleged cancer-related trash talk by Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett, togeorge-karl Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva. Posted by Ben Golliver Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl has been through a lot this year. Karl was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent grueling treatment for the disease that forced him from the bench during the stretch run and the playoffs.  The details of his treatment, as documented by ESPN's Rick Reilly, who shadowed Karl for a day, are incredibly difficult to read.
With only three of his torturous six weeks of treatment done, and the inside of his mouth looking like he just took 100 bites out of a lava-hot pizza slice, and his head throbbing and his eyes hollow, Karl looks like a guy who should be on a stretcher, not an NBA bench.
"George, this is only going to get harder," a nurse tells him. "You're not going to feel like working." Clearly, she's never met George Karl.
Suddenly, the huge gray machine whirs like a giant Transformer, turning sideways, first this side, then that, as though it's trying to decide how to eat him. Then it zaps his throat and neck lymph nodes, ravaging them. It gives him a radish-red rash that's covering his face, chest and back. I know. He shows me. He shows me many things I don't want to see. He's doing it because he wants people to know exactly what it's like. Wants to take the fear and mystery out of it for people.
While Karl had trouble speaking and watched his Nuggets bomb out in the first round of the playoffs to the Utah Jazz, he maintained his commitment to returning to the bench throughout the summer, and he made it back. His Nuggets currently sit at 2-1 and, while embroiled by Carmelo Anthony's ongoing drama, things could be a lot worse.
That brings us to Tuesday night, when Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva posted a number of messages on Twitter, stating that Boston Celtics forward Kevin Garnett called him a "cancer patient" during Tuesday night's game between the Pistons and the Celtics. Villanueva suffers from a condition called alopecia universalis, which has rendered him hairless. Alopecia is not cancer, so Villanueva's baldness is no more similar to someone who has undergone radiation treatments than it is to someone that simply has male pattern baldness. Clearly, Garnett's alleged statement was not only medically inaccurate, it was also way over the line of common decency, even by NBA trash talking standards. You probably wouldn't be surprised at the level of vitriol during heated exchanges on the hardwood -- it's astonishing how many claims are made regarding opponents interacting sexually with other people's mothers -- but there are limits. Racist comments, references to the Holocaust and cancer or other life-threatening disease talk are rightfully still off-limits, even given the competitive, charged atmosphere of an NBA game.  The NBA existence isn't like everyday "real life," but it's not completely divorced from reality either. And that goes for the pain of cancer, given that just about everyone has either dealt with the disease personally or through a family member or friend. In that vein, Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post sought Karl's response to Garnett's taunts today. Here's what Karl had to say. 
“My initial response is – it’s disappointing and crossing the line. I don’t know if cancer is an epidemic in our country, but we accept it as a problem and it’s a very dangerous part of life for everybody. Making fun of it, that’s part of (some people’s) sarcastic side of trash talk. … Sometimes, responsibility comes from knowing when to argue when not to – when to cross the line and when not to cross the line. So philosophically, if Kevin and I were close friends, I’d probably call him up and say, ‘I don’t think that’s right (what you said).’ But I also believe that competition makes us do things when we don’t have our total mental morality in line. We act like children at times, even coaches.”
While a generally accepted code of silence among NBA players (what happens on the court, stays on the court) was broken by Villanueva, his online outburst is understandable. As for Garnett?  There's no defending his alleged statements, not as an attempt to gain a competitive edge, not as "just part of the game."  On this one, Garnett is not pushing the envelope like he has many times during his career, he's way off the ethical cliff. And it shouldn't take a phone call from Karl to help him understand that.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 11:03 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Game Changer 11.3.10: The Wiz find a way

John Wall dances during introductions, gets his first win as a pro and nearly notches a triple-double, Rajon Rondo does something that hasn't been done in more than three years, Cartier Martin goes hero status, and a bunch more. Posted by Ben Golliver

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.


In a night that was otherwise filled with double-digit victories around the NBA, the Washington Wizards staged one heck of a comeback to steal a 116-115 win at home against the Philadelphia 76ers.  The Wizards, who blew a lead earlier in the fourth quarter, started fouling repeatedly in the last minute of regulation to extend the game. Up three in the game's closing seconds, Philadelphia elected not to foul, and Washington used a side inbounds play to set up a top of the arc 3-point attempt for forward Cartier Martin, who appeared to be the third option on the play. Whether he was meant to take the shot or not, Martin, who has attempted just 86 3-pointers in his 53 game NBA career, buried an off-balance, lean-in attempt in front of 76ers forward Andre Iguodala. He then joined a group hug celebration in front of the Wizards bench, before they all realized they still had to play five minutes of extra time.  In the tightly-contested overtime period, Wizards rookie point guard John Wall was the difference, scoring four points, dishing out an assist to Andray Blatche and making two key defensive plays during the extra period, on his way to an eye-popping stat line: 29 points, 13 assists and 9 steals (which tied a franchise record) . But it was Blatche who provided the winning margin in a 116-115 come-from-behind victory, hitting a pair of clutch free throws with seven seconds left. The Sixers really stumbled down the stretch with some sloppy late-game execution. Jrue Holiday was the biggest culprit, finishing with six turnovers on the night, but multiple times in the closing minutes, they struggled to inbounds or outlet the ball in the backcourt under full court Wizards pressure. With the ball and seven seconds left on the block in overtime, the Sixers could only manage a difficult, contested, off-balance jumper for Iguodala. If not for yeoman's work from Lou Williams at the free throw line (15-17), it would have looked even worse. Philadelphia stays winless on the season and this one undoubtedly stings the worst, given the circumstances. Kate Fagan of Philly.com sums it up nicely in her discussion of Martin's game-winner...
It seems swingman Andre Iguodala gets caught for a second on the screen set to free Martin. Iguodala trails Martin -- as he's supposed to -- but he's too far behind to keep Martin from catching at the three-point line, and Iguodala is just not in a good position to take a good foul on Martin. There's no lack of effort from Iguodala (in watching the replays), it just seems like the kind of play that continually haunts the Sixers.
And so they remain winless.
Philly joins the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers as the only 0-4 teams in the NBA, and the bad news gets worse. After the late Tuesday loss, Philly must return home for a rematch with the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. While Philly is playing the away-and-home back-to-back, the Pacers have enjoyed two days off since defeating the Sixers in Indiana on Saturday.


Rajon Rondo:  9 points, 3 rebounds, 17 assists, 4 steals, 0 turnovers on 3-7 shooting in 36 minutes. According to Basketball-Reference.com , the last time an NBA player had 17 or more assists and 0 turnovers in a regular season game was April 14, 2007. The man who did it? Steve Nash, point guard for the Phoenix Suns. Honorable Mention goes to... John Wall:  29 points, 2 rebounds, 13 assists, 9 steals and 8 turnovers in 45 minutes on 9-16 shooting.

Wall was just one steal shy of a triple-double in his third game as a pro.  Michael Lee of the Washington Post notes on Twitter that "is just the second player in NBA history to get at least 70 points & 30 assists in his first 3 games. The other? Oscar Robertson."


After losing to the Celtics in their opening game, the Heat have now won nine straight halves of basketball. Last night, they blew out Minnesota 129-97.


The Knicks and the Magic were scheduled to play Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, but asbestos intervened . Surely Knicks center Eddy Curry can be blamed for this somehow. In way less sketchy news, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is in for the 2012 Olympics in London .  Also, Miami won big again, thanks to 20 points and 12 dimes from LeBron James, who was reportedly playing through a minor leg injury.


Washington Wizards point guard John Wall reacts with glee as the Wizards win their home opener in overtime at the Verizon Center on Tuesday night. Wall was huge, nearly notching a triple double, and his night began with care-free exuberance too: he danced "The Dougie" during his pre-game introduction . john-wall



No single play led to Wall's joyous reaction more than a last-second 3-point shot by Wizards forward Cartier Martin, who leaned in on 76ers forward Andre Iguodala before burying the trey to force the game into overtime.

Mike Prada notes over at BulletsForever.com  that the heroics are a new thing for Martin, who was surprised to learn the media wanted to get his post-game reaction to burying the triple.


As of 2 a.m. Eastern Wednesday morning, former Cleveland Cavalier, New Jersey Net, Phoenix Sun, New York Knick and Portland Trail Blazer center Chris Dudley, he of the 45.8% career free throw percentage, was in a dead heat  in his Oregon gubernatorial bid. Dudley is running as a Republican, facing Democrat John Kitzhaber, who has served as Oregon's governor twice previously.

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 2:54 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Charlie Villanueva Twitter rant on Kevin Garnett

A late-night rant about Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett appeared on the Twitter account of Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva. Posted by Ben Golliver Between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. on Wednesday morning, multiple messages appeared on the Twitter feed of Detroit Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, who goes by @CV31 on the social networking site.  Villanueva is a regular Twitter user, but these messages were different, as they were extremely negative and directed anger and frustration at Boston Celtics power forward Kevin Garnett. A first message read, "KG talks alot of crap, he's prob never been in a fight, I would love to get in a ring with him, I will expose him." Shortly thereafter, two additional messages appeared on the account, "KG called me a cancer patient, I'm pissed because, u know how many people died from cancer, and he's tossing it like it's a joke ...  I wouldn't even trip about that, but a cancer patient, I know way 2 many people who passed away from it, and I have a special place for those." Screenshots of the tweets are visible below. charlie-villanueva The Pistons played the Celtics on Tuesday night in Detroit, and Villaneuva and Garnett were both issued technical fouls after a minor confrontation late in the game. Villanueva has dealt with jokes about his appearance for years, as this 2006 SI.com article by Andrew Lawrence makes clear. Villanueva suffers from "a mysterious skin disease known as alopecia universalis," writes Lawrence, "which would slowly make him hairless." NBA players have had their Twitter accounts hacked in the past, most memorably Celtics guard Ray Allen, whose account had explicit messages posted on it. It's not immediately clear whether Villanueva was posting the messages or if his account was hacked, although shortly before the Garnett-related tweets were posted, the following message was posted: "Just landed in the ATL, we must win tomorrow, we will turn this around, I'm a believer." The Pistons, who are one of only two teams in the league that are 0-4 on the season, along with the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers, play the Hawks in Atlanta on Wednesday night.  Update (Wednesday): ESPN's Justin Verrier confirms that the tweets were written by Villanueva himself.
Posted on: November 3, 2010 1:01 am
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:23 pm

Video: Cartier Martin hits last-second 3-pointer

Washington Wizards forward Cartier Martin hit a last-second 3-pointer against the Philadelphia 76ers to send the game into overtime, where the Wizards eventually won. Posted by Ben Golliver What a wild night in Washington, where the Wizards defeated the Philadelphia 76ers in overtime to win their home opener at the Verizon Center, 116-115.  Wizards forward Cartier Martin sent the game to overtime by nailing a step-in 3-pointer in the last second of regulation over Sixers forward Andre Iguodala. John Wall led the way for Washington, nearly notching a triple-double with 29 points, 13 assists and nine steals. For more on the game, head over to CBSSports.com's GameTracker.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 10:44 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:23 pm

Kobe Bryant commits to Team USA for 2012 Olympics

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has committed to playing for Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London. Posted by Ben Golliverkobe-bryant After winning NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant is looking for another back-to-back: Olympic gold medals.  Bryant, a key member of the 2008 USA men's national team that took home gold in Beijing has committed to play for Team USA in the 2012 London Olympics. Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times with more.
The Lakers' shooting guard green-lighted another run at the Olympics, committing to it Tuesday on Mike Krzyzewski's Sirius XM radio show. Krzyzewski coaches Team USA and Duke.
"You guys want me there, I am there and I'm ready to defend," Bryant said of the London Games. "And then when you guys need me to put some points on the board I'll do that too."
Bryant was a major force for Team USA in Beijing, making up a triumvirate of stars with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and then Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James. Bryant finished with 20 points, including a number of big shots down the stretch, to lead the USA past Spain in the gold medal game. The early commitment is big news for Team USA, which is also expected to add Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant to the 2012 team. Durant led a watered-down Team USA to a gold medal in the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey, in the absence of Bryant, Wade and James. Bryant's presence may help influence other big-name stars to re-up on their national team commitments, which requires a significant time investment during the off-season.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:23 pm

Michael Beasley suffers hip injury, leaves game

Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley suffered a hip injury against the Miami Heat on Tuesday night. Posted by Ben Golliver Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley, who recently said he played for the "worst team in the NBA," was off to a hot start Tuesday night before suffering a hip injury that forced him from the game. Beasley, who was making his first return trip to Miami after being traded by the Heat to the Timberwolves over the summer, scored 11 points in 11 minutes of action. At roughly the eight minute mark of the second quarter, Beasley was fouled and fell to the ground, injuring his left hip. He left the court to receive medical attention and, by league rules, was not eligible to return to game action because he was not able to attempt a free throw he had been awarded on the play.  Beasley then received an X-ray in the arena during the game. Jerryd Zgoda of the Star Tribune reports on Twitter that the X-rays came back negative and that the team was calling the injury "a left hip contusion." It's not immediately clear whether the injury will force Beasley to miss any time. For more on the injury, click here.
Posted on: November 2, 2010 7:18 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:24 pm

John Wall dances the Dougie during introductions

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall does "The Dougie" dance prior to his team's home opener against the Philadelphia 76ers. Posted by Ben Golliver Before the Washington Wizards home opener against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, rookie point guard John Wall did a spirited, extended version of "The Dougie" during player introductions, much to the enjoyment of his teammates and the announcing crew. "Once he gets over his shyness, he's going to be something else," joked Steve Buckhantz, Washington's television play-by-play announcer, as Wall joined his teammates for a pre-game huddle. "He's so reserved," cracked Phil Chenier, Washington's television analyst. Wall, the No.1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, is no stranger to recognition for his boogying abilities. He made headlines last fall for the "John Wall Dance" during his only season at the University of Kentucky. The "Dougie" dance was popularized by hip hop group Cali Swag District's hit single "Teach Me How To Dougie ."
Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:48 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:22 pm

Al Horford, Hawks agree to 5-year extension

The Atlanta Hawks have reportedly agreed to terms with Al Horford on a 5-year contract extension. Posted by Ben Golliveral-horford
Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports on Twitter that the Atlanta "Hawks and Al Horford agree to terms on 5 year $60 million contract extension. Incentives still to be negotiated." Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports confirms the contract details on Twitter. Horford, 24 years of age and currently in his fourth year with the Hawks after attending the University of Florida, has established himself as a solid, talented young big man in the NBA. Taken with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2007 draft, behind Greg Oden and Kevin Durant, Horford has averaged right at nine rebounds per game during all three of his NBA seasons. He's also increased his scoring average from 10 points to 11.5 points to 14.2 points during those three years. The reported contract is similar in size to one signed earlier this fall by Horford's former teammate at Florida, Joakim Noah, who agreed with the Chicago Bulls on a 5-year, $60 million deal. Two comparable deals from last year: No. 2 overall pick in the 2006 draft, LaMarcus Aldridge ($5 years, $65 million) and No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft, Andrea Bargnani ($5 years, $50 million).   Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that Noah's deal may have influenced Atlanta's decision to extend Horford.
Horford joins only Kevin Durant and Joakim Noah among high-profile 2007 draft picks who will be getting extensions. Horford's deal marks a philosophical shift for Hawks GM Rick Sund, who has almost without exception declined to do such extensions in the past. Given uncertainty over a new collective bargaining agreement, few teams are extending their 2007 picks before the deadline. Sources say the Hawks' hand was forced by the Bulls' decision to give Noah a five-year, $60 million extension. 
Given that Horford has yet to enter his prime, has averaged nearly a double-double for three straight seasons and has missed only 17 games in three years, the deal represents great value for the Hawks. They certainly won't be panned by the critics for this one, like they were after re-signing Joe Jonson to a 6-year, $119 million extension this summer. Update: The Hawks have officially announced the deal in a press release to the media. Some quotes and notes from the release are excerpted below.
“From the moment he arrived in Atlanta, Al has been a large part of our success,” said Hawks GM Rick Sund.  “The winning tradition he brought to the franchise as a rookie out of Florida has extended to three consecutive playoff seasons in a Hawks uniform.  In addition, he was deservedly recognized as an All-Star last year, and we certainly look forward to his continued development as we move forward.” Eighth in the NBA in field goal percentage, Horford was also among the league’s leaders in rebounding (10th), offensive rebounding (tied for ninth) and blocks (26th).  He recorded a team-leading 39 double-doubles (11th in the NBA) and posted 12 20-point games and a career-high 31 on February 7 at the Los Angeles Clippers. Having reached the postseason in every one of his three seasons, he has averaged 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 27 games, with a 20/10 performance in his playoff debut (the first Hawk to do so) – 20 points and 10 boards against the Boston Celtics.
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