Tag:Dallas Mavericks
Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:52 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 6:00 pm
 

Andrew Bynum caught parking in handicapped spot

Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum has allegedly been caught parking in a handicapped spot. Posted by Ben Golliver.

andrew-bynum-parking

Surprise, surprise.

Who would have guessed that a big man best known for spearing smaller guys out of the air would have the audacity to illegally exploit one of the rare benefits afforded to our society's most vulnerable citizens? (Allegedly.)

Yes, that's correct. Los Angeles Lakers center Andrew Bynum, who made headlines this season when he knocked Minnesota Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley and Dallas Mavericks guard J.J. Barea to the floor with hard fouls, has reportedly been caught parking in a spot reserved for handicapped or disabled persons. 

NBCLosAngeles.com reports and displays photos allegedly showing Bynum parking illegally while shopping at a Bristol Farms Market in Playa del Rey, a beachside area of Los Angeles near the Lakers' practice facility in El Segundo. 
The photos, provided exclusively to NBC4, were taken by an LA Parking Enforcement official at the upscale Bristol Farms Market in Playa del Rey. NBC4 questioned Andrew Bynum, 23, about the alleged incident as he was getting into his car recently. He slammed his car door and drove off without comment.

“It’s a terrible image and perception when something like this happens,” said Vito Scattaglia, DMV deputy chief, after NBC4 showed him the pictures. 

The photos show Bynum loading groceries into a dark BMW convertible that is double-parked in a clearly marked handicapped area. Multiple available parking spots for non-disabled drivers and passengers are pictured in the near background, just yards away.  

Shake. My. Head. 
Top image via NBCLosAngeles.com.

Hat tip: LakersNation.com.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 5:54 pm
 

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Posted by Royce Young



With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to add a disclaimer that the lockout could very well wipe out all of these games. So with the 2011-12 schedule being released, I suppose it's realistic that this might just evolve into the 2012-13 schedule if things go bad.

But if you're an optimist in these negotiations, you've got 2011-12's lineup, which means you have to start getting ready. Clearing your schedule on a holiday isn't really a challenge and you're most definitely not going to miss opening night, but what about the can't-miss, super-showdowns littered throughout the schedule? Here are 20 games you absolutely cannot miss.

Nov. 2: Cleveland at Boston
And thus kicks off top pick Kyrie Irving's NBA career. Too bad for him it comes in Boston against one of the best defensive teams in the league. It might not be a pretty start for young Kyrie, but it'll definitely be a learning experience. And a quick welcome-to-the-NBA moment.

Nov. 2: Houston at Sacramento
Jimmer Mania will finally get off to its NBA start and the league was kind enough to let it begin at home. You can be sure Sacto will be buzzing but not just over Jimmer. There could be a little optimism for the Kings are Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and company might have a little something brewing this season.

Nov. 2: Atlanta at Minnesota
Before there was Jimmer Mania, there was Rubio Fever. Kevin Love will finally be able to believe what he sees as the floppy-haired Spaniard takes the floor with the Timberwolves for the first time against the Hawks.

Nov. 2: Memphis at Clippers
The Blake Show returns. Enough reason to be excited about this one.

Nov. 3: Orlando at Miami
The first showdown. It could be Dwight Howard's beginning to his farewell tour and one a few games against the Heat he has left. But there's never any love lost between these two Florida squads and with an early leg-up at stake, you can be sure this game will be intense.

Nov. 16: New York at Denver
Melo returns. It won't be near as monumental or should I say, angry, as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but you can be sure that Nugget fans will be ready for it. Carmelo made it very clear that he didn't want to be in Denver and I'm sure fans there don't appreciate that. Plus a bonus: Unlike the Cavs, the Nuggets shouldn't suck.

Nov. 18: Miami at Cleveland
LeBron returns, again. It's the third time he's played in Cleveland since "The Decision" and some of the sting certainly has worn off, at least in that fans won't be buying tickets ONLY to yell at LeBron. But you can be sure that an unusual amount of Maverick blue will be littered throughout Quicken Loans Arena.

Dec. 1: Miami at Boston
LeBron and Wade return to the scene of one of their greatest crimes. The Heat opened the season in Boston and took an embarrassing, humbling loss at the hands of the Celtics but got revenge in the postseason, besting the Celtics in five with the final game coming on the parquet. It's not exactly a rivalry, but the Heat don't enjoy the Celtics and the Celtics certainly don't enjoy the Heat.

Dec. 8: Lakers at Miami
I'm not totally sure, but I think Kobe is still in American Airlines Center shooting. Kobe loves beating LeBron and you know the feeling is mutual. Two of the league's biggest, most visible teams with the two biggest, most visible stars. If you aren't watching, I have to wonder what the heck you could possibly be doing.

Dec. 23: Oklahoma City at Miami
LeBron and Kevin Durant. Two of basketballs most enjoyable, explosive talents that are always easy on the eye. The Thunder have always been painted as the anti-Heat, but the young kids from OKC don't care about making a statement for the little guy. There may be a good storyline, but it's more about a really good Eastern team versus a really good Western team.

Dec. 27: Clippers "at" Lakers
By no means have the Clippers caught up to the Lakers, but there is a chance that this team could be pretty decent. After a horrific start to last season, the Clippers put together a solid last four months of the season. Some might be looking at this game as a changing-of-the-guard type of affair -- which it's not -- but the Clippers could definitely raise some eyebrows.

Dec. 29: Dallas at Oklahoma City
The first Thunder opportunity for payback and redemption comes almost two months into the season. It’s a long time to wait, but you can be sure the Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center will be amped about this one. The last time the Mavericks were in Oklahoma City, they broke the Thunder’s heart with that ridiculous 15-point comeback. No way Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder fans have forgotten.

Jan 14: New Jersey at Utah
It'll certainly be more unceremonious as Melo's return to Denver which was more unceremonious as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but Deron Williams coming back to Utah will definitely have the attention of Jazz fans. There's some that still blame Jerry Sloan's retirement on Williams and that whole situation didn't sit well in Salt Lake. Williams will likely feel some anger from Jazz fans, even if it's not entirely deserved.

Jan 19: Chicago at Miami
A rematch of the Eastern Finals. Derrick Rose's last memory of the Heat is LeBron and Wade storming back in Chicago and stealing Game 5 when the Bulls had it all but won. These two teams will likely be the class of the East and with this being the first meeting of the season, somebody's going to make a statement.

Jan. 29: San Antonio at Dallas
The old champs versus the new ones provides a new twist to an old rivalry. These two Texas titans have never gotten along and have had some pretty awesome games over the past decade or so. You can be sure that for once, Dirk and the Mavs will have a bit more swagger in Dallas as the Mavs take the floor against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Funny how a ring can do that.

Feb. 12: Chicago at Boston
It's the Thibodeau Bowl. The Celtics might be aging but you know they aren't going to just hand the East over. The Bulls are rising and you know they want to rub last year's triumph over the Celtics in the regular season in their face.

Feb. 17: New Orleans at New York
Take a good look at Chris Paul and wish, Knicks fans. You know he's a free agent in 2012 and you know he'd look pretty nice alongside Amar'e and Melo. But he's on the other side right now and there's a pretty good chance he's going to drive you crazy, at least on this night.

March 11: Boston at Lakers
It's the league's best rivalry, maybe sports' best rivalry. Every Celtics-Lakers game is an event. I don't think I even need to give you reasons why this game is huge.

April 1: Memphis at San Antonio
It was stunning at the time, but after watching the Grizzlies rip through the Spurs before bowing out to the Thunder in seven-game, it felt like we should've seen this coming. And this was with the Grizzlies missing their best scorer in Rudy Gay.

April 8: Lakers at Oklahoma City
The Lakers visit the Thunder Nov. 23 for the first time, but go almost four months between trips as they return with just a week left in the season. That’s a bummer, but there’s a chance this game could have major Western playoff seeding implications. The Lakers always bring out the best in Thunder fans, but if the stakes are raised, it’ll just be that much better.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 5:16 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 5:54 pm
 

2011-12 schedule breakdown: 20 can't-miss games

Posted by Royce Young



With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to add a disclaimer that the lockout could very well wipe out all of these games. So with the 2011-12 schedule being released, I suppose it's realistic that this might just evolve into the 2012-13 schedule if things go bad.

But if you're an optimist in these negotiations, you've got 2011-12's lineup, which means you have to start getting ready. Clearing your schedule on a holiday isn't really a challenge and you're most definitely not going to miss opening night, but what about the can't-miss, super-showdowns littered throughout the schedule? Here are 20 games you absolutely cannot miss.

Nov. 2: Cleveland at Boston
And thus kicks off top pick Kyrie Irving's NBA career. Too bad for him it comes in Boston against one of the best defensive teams in the league. It might not be a pretty start for young Kyrie, but it'll definitely be a learning experience. And a quick welcome-to-the-NBA moment.

Nov. 2: Houston at Sacramento
Jimmer Mania will finally get off to its NBA start and the league was kind enough to let it begin at home. You can be sure Sacto will be buzzing but not just over Jimmer. There could be a little optimism for the Kings are Tyreke Evans, DeMarcus Cousins and company might have a little something brewing this season.

Nov. 2: Atlanta at Minnesota
Before there was Jimmer Mania, there was Rubio Fever. Kevin Love will finally be able to believe what he sees as the floppy-haired Spaniard takes the floor with the Timberwolves for the first time against the Hawks.

Nov. 2: Memphis at Clippers
The Blake Show returns. Enough reason to be excited about this one.

Nov. 3: Orlando at Miami
The first showdown. It could be Dwight Howard's beginning to his farewell tour and one a few games against the Heat he has left. But there's never any love lost between these two Florida squads and with an early leg-up at stake, you can be sure this game will be intense.

Nov. 16: New York at Denver
Melo returns. It won't be near as monumental or should I say, angry, as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but you can be sure that Nugget fans will be ready for it. Carmelo made it very clear that he didn't want to be in Denver and I'm sure fans there don't appreciate that. Plus a bonus: Unlike the Cavs, the Nuggets shouldn't suck.

Nov. 18: Miami at Cleveland
LeBron returns, again. It's the third time he's played in Cleveland since "The Decision" and some of the sting certainly has worn off, at least in that fans won't be buying tickets ONLY to yell at LeBron. But you can be sure that an unusual amount of Maverick blue will be littered throughout Quicken Loans Arena.

Dec. 1: Miami at Boston
LeBron and Wade return to the scene of one of their greatest crimes. The Heat opened the season in Boston and took an embarrassing, humbling loss at the hands of the Celtics but got revenge in the postseason, besting the Celtics in five with the final game coming on the parquet. It's not exactly a rivalry, but the Heat don't enjoy the Celtics and the Celtics certainly don't enjoy the Heat.

Dec. 8: Lakers at Miami
I'm not totally sure, but I think Kobe is still in American Airlines Center shooting. Kobe loves beating LeBron and you know the feeling is mutual. Two of the league's biggest, most visible teams with the two biggest, most visible stars. If you aren't watching, I have to wonder what the heck you could possibly be doing.

Dec. 23: Oklahoma City at Miami
LeBron and Kevin Durant. Two of basketballs most enjoyable, explosive talents that are always easy on the eye. The Thunder have always been painted as the anti-Heat, but the young kids from OKC don't care about making a statement for the little guy. There may be a good storyline, but it's more about a really good Eastern team versus a really good Western team.

Dec. 27: Clippers "at" Lakers
By no means have the Clippers caught up to the Lakers, but there is a chance that this team could be pretty decent. After a horrific start to last season, the Clippers put together a solid last four months of the season. Some might be looking at this game as a changing-of-the-guard type of affair -- which it's not -- but the Clippers could definitely raise some eyebrows.

Dec. 29: Dallas at Oklahoma City
The first Thunder opportunity for payback and redemption comes almost two months into the season. It’s a long time to wait, but you can be sure the Arena Formerly Known As The Ford Center will be amped about this one. The last time the Mavericks were in Oklahoma City, they broke the Thunder’s heart with that ridiculous 15-point comeback. No way Durant, Russell Westbrook and the Thunder fans have forgotten.

Jan 14: New Jersey at Utah
It'll certainly be more unceremonious as Melo's return to Denver which was more unceremonious as LeBron's return to Cleveland, but Deron Williams coming back to Utah will definitely have the attention of Jazz fans. There's some that still blame Jerry Sloan's retirement on Williams and that whole situation didn't sit well in Salt Lake. Williams will likely feel some anger from Jazz fans, even if it's not entirely deserved.

Jan 19: Chicago at Miami
A rematch of the Eastern Finals. Derrick Rose's last memory of the Heat is LeBron and Wade storming back in Chicago and stealing Game 5 when the Bulls had it all but won. These two teams will likely be the class of the East and with this being the first meeting of the season, somebody's going to make a statement.

Jan. 29: San Antonio at Dallas
The old champs versus the new ones provides a new twist to an old rivalry. These two Texas titans have never gotten along and have had some pretty awesome games over the past decade or so. You can be sure that for once, Dirk and the Mavs will have a bit more swagger in Dallas as the Mavs take the floor against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. Funny how a ring can do that.

Feb. 12: Chicago at Boston
It's the Thibodeau Bowl. The Celtics might be aging but you know they aren't going to just hand the East over. The Bulls are rising and you know they want to rub last year's triumph over the Celtics in the regular season in their face.

Feb. 17: New Orleans at New York
Take a good look at Chris Paul and wish, Knicks fans. You know he's a free agent in 2012 and you know he'd look pretty nice alongside Amar'e and Melo. But he's on the other side right now and there's a pretty good chance he's going to drive you crazy, at least on this night.

March 11: Boston at Lakers
It's the league's best rivalry, maybe sports' best rivalry. Every Celtics-Lakers game is an event. I don't think I even need to give you reasons why this game is huge.

April 1: Memphis at San Antonio
It was stunning at the time, but after watching the Grizzlies rip through the Spurs before bowing out to the Thunder in seven-game, it felt like we should've seen this coming. And this was with the Grizzlies missing their best scorer in Rudy Gay.

April 8: Lakers at Oklahoma City
The Lakers visit the Thunder Nov. 23 for the first time, but go almost four months between trips as they return with just a week left in the season. That’s a bummer, but there’s a chance this game could have major Western playoff seeding implications. The Lakers always bring out the best in Thunder fans, but if the stakes are raised, it’ll just be that much better.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 3:57 pm
 

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

Posted by Royce Young



With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to put the disclaimer on it that the lockout could very well wipe out all of these games. So with the 2011-12 schedule being released, I suppose it's realistic that this might just evolve into the 2012-13 schedule if things go bad.

But if you're an optimist in these negotiations, you've got 2011-12's lineup. You can start planning your evenings around big games, TNT double-headers and of course, the NBA's showcase games which come on opening night, Christmas (only three games!) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Let's take a look at those.

OPENING NIGHT
Chicago at Dallas (8:00 ET, TNT)
The champs will be handed their rings against the MVP and the Bulls to kick off the 2011-12 season. Honestly, the Mavs' ring ceremony may be better entertainment than the game. Mark Cuban has hinted at doing something bigger than just rings, so we'll see what he has in store, if anything. It'll be an emotional night in Dallas as the Mavs raise their first championship banner into the rafters as Dirk, Cuban and Jason Kidd all soak it in and get handed a ring.

Houston at Utah (9:00 ET)

Not a marquee game and it's really just kind of filler, but it'll be our first look at the remade Jazz with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks against the Rockets without Yao. Not necessarily a game full of stars, but it's two teams looking to get off to a good start on the path to a playoff push.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)
The young Thunder travel to L.A. to take on the veteran Lakers to finish up opening night. It's Kendrick Perkins versus Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Kevin Durant against Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook against whoever the Lakers try and stick on him. The Thunder and Lakers always play entertaining games as evidenced by their opening round series in 2010. Maybe there's a chance that either Durant or Kobe will catch fire and push Michael Jordan's opening night record of 54 points. At least that could be in play with these two terrific scorers facing off.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Boston at New York (12 ET, ESPN)
It's not Christmas Day basketball without the Knicks. Actually, I don't know if that's totally true, but it's somewhat of a tradition to kick things off after present opening wraps up with a day game at Madison Square Garden. This one features a rematch of the opening round of the playoffs last season with the Knicks hosting the Celtics. The Knicks have a bunch of star power and should be improved from last season. The Celtics are the Celtics and will be good. There's a chance that this game could reasonably feature two of the top three or four teams in the East. Which of course would make Christmas afternoon at MSG that much more fun.

Miami at Dallas (2:30 ET, ABC)

Feels like these two teams have a history or something. Did they play recently? The league loves to come back with a Finals rematch on Christmas and not only is this going to be a good game featuring two good teams, but these organizations really don't care a lot for each other. It's in Dallas which is an edge, but it'll be the first time LeBron steps on the floor with Dirk after the wrenching defeat in Miami in six games.

You can be sure that both teams will approach this game almost as if it were more important than just a late-December regular season game. It's bigger than that. Maybe just in terms of pride, but for two teams that aren't keen on each other that just finished up facing off for the title, Dallas against Miami on Christmas could be one of the NBA's premier games this season.

Chicago at Los Angeles Lakers (5:00 ET, ABC)
The reigning MVP taking on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in what'll certainly be a majorly hyped showdown. Both teams will be at or near the top of their respective conference and both teams might be looking at the other as a potential Finals opponent. The Lakers have had a history of big letdowns on Christmas, but Kobe said emphatically last season that the Lakers need to get up more for those games. Well, here's another chance, this time against the suffocating Bulls and their MVP point guard.

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
Chicago at Memphis (1:00 ET, ESPN)

Completely fitting for the game to be in Memphis. Honestly, I think it should become league traditional that the showcase game in the afternoon happens there. But not only will it be a special day in Memphis, it'll have two pretty darn good teams. The surging Grizzlies will host the Bulls in a game featuring two terrific front courts and a couple of scrappy defensive teams.

Oklahoma City at Boston (8:00 ET, TNT)
Two contenders, yes, but the hook to this one honestly might be that it's Kendrick Perkins' return to Boston. He was adored by fans, coaches, player and the front office, so no doubt it'll be emotional. Then once that's out of the way, we'll have a game with two really good, fun teams.

Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)

One of the West's most underrated rivalry games closes it all out. Late last season, the Mavs and Lakers scuffled a couple of times which led people to assume the Mavericks were soft as the Lakers pounded them in an important game. Didn't matter obviously in the end, but no doubt the Mavs haven't forgotten.
Posted on: July 19, 2011 2:51 pm
Edited on: July 19, 2011 3:57 pm
 

2011-12 schedule breakdown: The big ones

Posted by Royce Young



With everything regarding "next season" in the NBA, you've got to put the disclaimer on it that the lockout could very well wipe out all of these games. So with the 2011-12 schedule being released, I suppose it's realistic that this might just evolve into the 2012-13 schedule if things go bad.

But if you're an optimist in these negotiations, you've got 2011-12's lineup. You can start planning your evenings around big games, TNT double-headers and of course, the NBA's showcase games which come on opening night, Christmas (only three games!) and Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Let's take a look at those.

OPENING NIGHT
Chicago at Dallas (8:00 ET, TNT)
The champs will be handed their rings against the MVP and the Bulls to kick off the 2011-12 season. Honestly, the Mavs' ring ceremony may be better entertainment than the game. Mark Cuban has hinted at doing something bigger than just rings, so we'll see what he has in store, if anything. It'll be an emotional night in Dallas as the Mavs raise their first championship banner into the rafters as Dirk, Cuban and Jason Kidd all soak it in and get handed a ring.

Houston at Utah (9:00 ET)

Not a marquee game and it's really just kind of filler, but it'll be our first look at the remade Jazz with Enes Kanter and Alec Burks against the Rockets without Yao. Not necessarily a game full of stars, but it's two teams looking to get off to a good start on the path to a playoff push.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)
The young Thunder travel to L.A. to take on the veteran Lakers to finish up opening night. It's Kendrick Perkins versus Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, Kevin Durant against Kobe Bryant and Russell Westbrook against whoever the Lakers try and stick on him. The Thunder and Lakers always play entertaining games as evidenced by their opening round series in 2010. Maybe there's a chance that either Durant or Kobe will catch fire and push Michael Jordan's opening night record of 54 points. At least that could be in play with these two terrific scorers facing off.

CHRISTMAS DAY

Boston at New York (12 ET, ESPN)
It's not Christmas Day basketball without the Knicks. Actually, I don't know if that's totally true, but it's somewhat of a tradition to kick things off after present opening wraps up with a day game at Madison Square Garden. This one features a rematch of the opening round of the playoffs last season with the Knicks hosting the Celtics. The Knicks have a bunch of star power and should be improved from last season. The Celtics are the Celtics and will be good. There's a chance that this game could reasonably feature two of the top three or four teams in the East. Which of course would make Christmas afternoon at MSG that much more fun.

Miami at Dallas (2:30 ET, ABC)

Feels like these two teams have a history or something. Did they play recently? The league loves to come back with a Finals rematch on Christmas and not only is this going to be a good game featuring two good teams, but these organizations really don't care a lot for each other. It's in Dallas which is an edge, but it'll be the first time LeBron steps on the floor with Dirk after the wrenching defeat in Miami in six games.

You can be sure that both teams will approach this game almost as if it were more important than just a late-December regular season game. It's bigger than that. Maybe just in terms of pride, but for two teams that aren't keen on each other that just finished up facing off for the title, Dallas against Miami on Christmas could be one of the NBA's premier games this season.

Chicago at Los Angeles Lakers (5:00 ET, ABC)
The reigning MVP taking on Kobe Bryant and the Lakers in what'll certainly be a majorly hyped showdown. Both teams will be at or near the top of their respective conference and both teams might be looking at the other as a potential Finals opponent. The Lakers have had a history of big letdowns on Christmas, but Kobe said emphatically last season that the Lakers need to get up more for those games. Well, here's another chance, this time against the suffocating Bulls and their MVP point guard.

MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY
Chicago at Memphis (1:00 ET, ESPN)

Completely fitting for the game to be in Memphis. Honestly, I think it should become league traditional that the showcase game in the afternoon happens there. But not only will it be a special day in Memphis, it'll have two pretty darn good teams. The surging Grizzlies will host the Bulls in a game featuring two terrific front courts and a couple of scrappy defensive teams.

Oklahoma City at Boston (8:00 ET, TNT)
Two contenders, yes, but the hook to this one honestly might be that it's Kendrick Perkins' return to Boston. He was adored by fans, coaches, player and the front office, so no doubt it'll be emotional. Then once that's out of the way, we'll have a game with two really good, fun teams.

Dallas at Los Angeles Lakers (10:30 ET, TNT)

One of the West's most underrated rivalry games closes it all out. Late last season, the Mavs and Lakers scuffled a couple of times which led people to assume the Mavericks were soft as the Lakers pounded them in an important game. Didn't matter obviously in the end, but no doubt the Mavs haven't forgotten.
Posted on: July 18, 2011 8:39 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 8:49 pm
 

Celtics-Knicks, Bulls-Lakers on Christmas?

Two more Christmas Day NBA games have reportedly leaked. Posted by Ben Golliver.

derrick-rose-kobe-bryant

On Sunday, we noted that one of the five NBA games scheduled for Christmas Day had leaked in advance of Tuesday's unveiling. The Miami Heat will reportedly face the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals.

On Monday comes word that two more of the five games have leaked.

First, Newsday reports that the New York Knicks will host the Boston Celtics in Madison Square Garden.

Then, the Los Angeles Times reports that the Los Angeles Lakers will host the Chicago Bulls at the Staples Center. 

So far, no major surprises, as all six teams that have leaked were shoo-ins to play on Christmas due to either their major starpower, big market geography, or both. That the Bulls and Lakers face off in an inter-conference rivalry is a nice twist, but nothing to write home about.

The Orlando Magic -- led by Dwight Howard -- and Oklahoma City Thunder -- led by Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook -- are also virtual locks to play on Christmas Day, and both made it last season as well. The Los Angeles Clippers didn't play on Christmas last year but are a very likely candidate, thanks to the league's up-and-coming marketing monster, Blake Griffin.

That makes nine spots -- five from the Eastern Conference and four from the Western Conference. The big question remains who is the 10th team. If the Magic face the Thunder, then the last team will need to host the Clippers because the Lakers will be occupying the Staples Center. In recent years, the fifth and final Christmas Day game has been a Pacific time zone affair, meaning the Portland Trail Blazers, Golden State Warriors or Sacramento Kings could host the Clippers if Orlando and Oklahoma City do face off. Selecting any of those three teams would also provide a balance between teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences.

OK, OK, enough speculation. We'll know the full schedule tomorrow.
Posted on: July 17, 2011 1:04 pm
Edited on: July 18, 2011 12:04 am
 

Heat-Mavs rematch possible for Christmas Day

The Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat will reportedly have a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals on Christmas. Posted by Ben Golliver.

lebron-dirk-big

Assuming NBA commissioner David Stern doesn't turn into the Grinch who stole Christmas, the NBA reportedly has firmed up at least one match-up for its annual winter showcase. The Miami Herald reports that there will be a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals on Christmas Day.
According to a league official, one of the two Heat-Mavericks games is being planned for Christmas in Dallas, likely at 2:30 p.m. The schedule will be announced shortly, though labor problems could shorten the season.
Scheduling a rematch of one of the most-watched and enjoyed NBA Finals in recent memory on Christmas is a no-brainer. It's a great reward for the winner to play host during one of the league's most-watched days of hoops.

Last year's slate of five games looked like this.
Without a doubt, seven of those 10 teams (including the Heat) need to play on Christmas again in 2011 from a marketing standpoint. You can pencil in the Bulls (Eastern Conference Finals, Derrick Rose), Knicks (Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, Madison Square Garden), Lakers (Kobe Bryant, Staples Center), Thunder (Western Conference Finals, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook), Magic (Dwight Howard) and Celtics (The Big 3).

If you add the Mavericks into the mix, that leaves only two open spots. One of those two spots surely needs to go to Blake Griffin and the Los Angeles Clippers. History has dictated that the late game takes place in the Pacific time zone, meaning the Clippers could play either the Trail Blazers, Warriors or Sacramento Kings. Given their uptempo style and new coach Mark Jackson, something makes me think the Warriors will get the nod.

Here's how I would lay out the Christmas Day schedule:
  • Orlando Magic at New York Knicks: League's best big man, with free aency rumors swirling, showcased in the NBA's biggest market and facing two All-Stars that recently made it home.
  • Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls: Balanced Eastern Conference powers who both excel on defense and have a playoff history to boot.
  • Miami Heat at Dallas Mavericks: The rematch.
  • Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers: An obvious new guard vs. old guard match-up in the Western Conference.
  • Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors: Mama, there goes that Blake Griffin highlight package.
All of this, of course, is dependent upon a labor agreement being reached without a prolonged work stoppage.
Posted on: July 15, 2011 2:49 pm
Edited on: July 15, 2011 2:58 pm
 

Mavs coach Rick Carlisle violates NBA gag order

Posted by Ben Golliver. rick-carlisle

Imagine winning an NBA title and not being able to soak in all the adulation. 

That's the predicament facing the Dallas Mavericks, who won the 2011 NBA Finals over the Miami Heat in June and then promptly saw the league enter a lockout July 1. With the lockout came a gag order and a threatened fine of $1 million on any team employee who mentions current players in public.

Thankfully, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban was able to get around the gag order during a recent awards ceremony, in which the NBA pre-cleared him to appear along with his players to accept an award.

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, however, may not be so lucky.

During an innocuous interview with 750 AM The Game in Portland, ESPNDallas.com notes that Carlisle discussed multiple members of the Portland Trail Blazers by name and made reference to a few of his own players as well.

What happened next?
The interview continues with neither party thinking gag-order violation flags were being thrown in New York. And so the conversation meandered on and at about 11 minutes in, as Carlisle is talking about how changes to NBA rules over the last decade have enhanced the game, he finishes a rambling thought by suddenly detouring to, "John, I'm sorry, I've got to run. I've got something I've got to do here." 

And that was that. 

Carlisle's abrupt exit spawned a new conversation about why he bailed so quickly. Was NBA Big Brother listening? 
Here we have another clear violation of the NBA's gag order policy just a few days after Minnesota Timberwolves president David Kahn discussed multiple members of his team at a press conference that announced the firing of coach Kurt Rambis.

The NBA has yet to issue a true comment publicly and has not yet levied a fine for either violation. A rule -- even a dumb one -- is only as good as its enforcement. The only conclusions we're left to reach are that either the NBA realizes its own rule is overly Draconian and is letting people slide or the hammer has yet to drop.  Either way, the silence and delay make the NBA look unorganized and unfocused.

Those are not words you want attached to your negotiating position during a labor negotiation.

As for Carlisle, you feel for the guy. This is unquestionably the pinnacle of his career. If any of us were in his shoes, we'd be doing 10 radio shows a day, soaking in all the congratulations and recounting our favorite moments from the dream ride. Those are the spoils that go to victors. Instead, he could very well have to write a check to the NBA for acknowledging the players who helped him get there. Brutal.
 
 
 
 
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