Tag:Ben Golliver
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:39 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Vegas odds on Jeremy Lin / Kim Kardashian date

Run away, Jeremy, run away. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver   

Las Vegas thinks there's a decent chance that Jeremy Lin is fronting when it comes to his interest in reality star Kim Kardashian.

The New York Knicks guard turned global sensation said in an interview aired on Monday's Good Morning America that the two are not a likely romantic match. USAToday.com has the quote.
"Stuff about me dating Kim Kardashian, I mean, I have no idea where that came from and all these other rumors," said Lin, adding he doesn't think they're each others "type."
Gossip website MediaTakeOut.com reported last week that Kardashian, 31, thought Lin, 23, was"cute" and that she was interested in going on a date with him. Kardashian, of course, divorced New Jersey Nets forward Kris Humphries after just 72 days of marriage back in October. Kim's sister, Khloe, is married to Dallas Mavericks forward Lamar Odom.

The speculation surrounding Kardashian and Lin has led gambling website Bovada.LV to post odds on whether Lin and Kardashian go on a date, settling the line at 5/1. For the bet to pay, the pair must go on a date prior to the conclusion of the 2012 NBA Finals.

This is not the first time Lin has attracted attention from Vegas oddsmakers. Last week, we noted that Lin's strong play as a starter improved New York's odds at winning the 2012 NBA Finals from 40/1 to 18/1. Lin is also 40/1 to win the 2012 NBA MVP award.

Go ahead and take a shower. After reading this post, you've earned it.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 3:09 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 3:18 pm
 

NBA announces All-Star Skills Challenge field

Posted by Ben Golliver  

Russell Westbrook shows off his skills during the 2011 Skills Challenge. (Getty Images)

Wow! Did you just see him dribble around that cone?

On Monday, the NBA announced the field for its annual Skills Challenge, a pointless and confusing event in which players dribble and their pass their way around the court in a timed competition. The Skills Challenge annually serves as a prelude to the Three-Point Contest and Slam Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night. This year's group is made up entirely of point guards, including three All-Stars, Tony Parker (San Antonio Spurs), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) and Deron Williams (New Jersey Nets), two participants in the Rising Stars Challenge, Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers) and John Wall (Washington Wizards), and defending champion Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors).

Here's the full explanation of how this event works.
The Taco Bell Skills Challenge was introduced at NBA All-Star 2003 in Atlanta and features six players competing in a two-round timed “obstacle course” consisting of dribbling, passing and shooting stations. All players must observe basic NBA ball-handling rules while completing the course. The three players with the fastest times from the first round advance to the finals with the order of competition determined by inverse order of the first round times. At the discretion of the referee, television instant replay may be consulted for clarification of rules compliance.

The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Coverage will begin at 7 p.m. EST from Amway Center in Orlando.

The key components to winning the Skills Challenge are precision and actually giving a (bleep). That tends to favor the younger guys.

Last year, Curry finished first, Westbrook finished second and Wall finished fourth. Williams won the Skills Challenge in 2008. None of the other participants are past champions.

One interesting note: this year's field includes the NBA's top-3 turnover-generating players: Westbrook, Wall and Williams. Irving is No. 13, Curry is No. 18 and Parker is No. 37. 

Handicapping this thing is the definition of a fruitless exercise, but a repeat performance from Curry or a debut victory from Irving would probably be this year's least shocking results.
Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:31 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 1:44 pm
 

Greg Oden to undergo 5th knee surgery on Monday

Greg Oden will undergo yet another knee surgery. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's been just under five years since the Portland Trail Blazer made center Greg Oden the No. 1 pick in the 2007 NBA Draft. On Monday, Oden is set to undergo his fifth knee surgery during those five years.

The Blazers announced on Monday that Oden will undergo an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee in Vail, CO. Oden has not appeared in an NBA game since December 2007 and there is no timetable for his return.

Monday's surgery was expected. Back on Feb. 3, Oden underwent the same arthroscopic procedure on his right knee and Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said at the time that doctors wanted to address his left knee as well.  

"He's still considered out indefinitely," Buchanan told CBSSports.com at the time. "Having this procedure on the right knee and the possibility of his left knee doesn't increase the likelihood of him playing soon."

This procedure and marks the third time Oden will have surgery on his left knee. He had left knee surgery in Dec. 2009 after fracturing his patella and he had microfracture surgery in Nov. 2010 to address an injury suffered during his rehabilitation process. 

Prior to undergoing the arthroscopic procedure on his right knee earlier this month, Oden had microfracture surgery on that knee in Sept. 2007.
 
In a statement posted on Facebook earlier this month, Oden said he would continue his rehabilitation.

"I'm sure you've all heard the news by now that I'm having a scope on my knee today," the statement read. "Unfortunately after months of intense rehab and training, the doctors discovered that a scope is necessary at this time. Thankfully this should be a quick recovery and I'll be back to training soon. I'm committed as ever to doing everything and anything to get back on the court and be a part of the team's success." 

Oden, 24, has played in 82 career NBA games, averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

Posted on: February 20, 2012 12:44 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2012 5:15 pm
 

Rajon Rondo suspended 2 games for ref ball toss

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Chucking the basketball at the chest of an NBA referee while angrily disputing a call: It's one of those things that you just can't do without hearing from the NBA league office.

Boston Celtics All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo was ejected from a Sunday night game against the Pistons in Detroit for throwing the basketball at referee Sean Wright after he did not receive a foul call on a drive to the basket. The ejection -- prompted by two back-to-back technical fouls -- came in the third quarter of a 96-81 loss to the Pistons.

The NBA announced on Monday that Rondo would be suspended for two games without pay for "throwing a ball at an official and striking him in the chest."

Rondo will serve his suspension during road games against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday and Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday. He will be available again after the All-Star break, during a Feb. 28 game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland.

The no-call that incensed Rondo involved a hard drive into the middle of Detroit's defense that ended with Pistons center Greg Monroe contacting Rondo as he fell. Monroe's knee and leg hit a falling Rondo as he attempted to contest Rondo's shot. Contact was clearly made and Rondo lay on the ground after absording the blow, but no foul was assessed.

CSNNE.com reports that the ejection is "under review" by the league office.

In March 2011, Phoenix Suns point guard Aaron Brooks was suspended one game for throwing the ball at an official. In January 2012, Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors was fined $25,000 but not issued a suspension after being ejected for throwing the ball towards the opponent's bench.

Here's video of Rajon Rondo getting ejected after tossing the ball at an official via YouTube user CyberChicken181


Posted on: February 20, 2012 1:58 am
Edited on: February 20, 2012 2:06 am
 

Kobe Bryant: Pau Gasol trade limbo must end

Kobe Bryant pushes Lakers management to make a decision on Pau Gasol's future. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

It's time for the agonizing waiting game and endless trade rumors to end, according to Kobe Bryant.

Following a double-digit Sunday night loss to the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers All-Star guard ramped up his recent public comments aimed at his team's management, stating clearly that it was time for the Lakers to make a decision regarding the future of big man Pau Gasol.

ESPNLA.com reports that Bryant summed up the situation bluntly: trade Gasol or publicly acknowledge that his future will be in Los Angeles.

"Basketball is such an emotional game, you got to be able to have all of yourself in the game and invested in the game. We didn't have that," Bryant said after Gasol had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Suns. "Pau, it's hard for Pau because of all this trade talk and all this other stuff, it's hard for him to kind of invest himself completely or immerse himself completely into games when he's hearing trade talk every other day. I wish management would come out and either trade him or not trade him."

"I talked to (Gasol) a little bit about it," Bryant said. "It's just tough for a player to give his all when you don't know if you're going to be here tomorrow. I'd rather them not trade him at all. If they're going to do something, I wish they would just (expletive) do it. If they're not going to do it, come out and say you're not going to do it. This way he can be comfortable, he can go out, he can play and he can invest all of himself into the game."

On Saturday, Bryant said that ongoing trade rumors were affecting Gasol's play and that the Spanish center had his support.

"Personally I don't understand that crap," Bryant said about the rumors, according to the Los Angeles Times. "But it is what it is. It's important for him to know we support him. I support him especially. I just want him to go out there and play hard and do what he does best for us."

Those comments came a little more than a week after Bryant said he was "sure" the Lakers would make roster moves prior to the trade deadline.

Gasol, 31, was not named to the Western Conference All-Star team for the first time since 2008. His numbers this season -- 16.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.3 blocks per game on 49.5 percent shooting -- aren't terrible, but his scoring average is currently a career-low and his shooting percentage has dipped a few points since last year.

Of course, Gasol was nearly traded to the Houston Rockets back in December as part of a 3-team blockbuster that would have sent New Orleans Hornets All-Star point guard Chris Paul to the Lakers. That deal was nixed, and Paul wound up with the Los Angeles Clippers, while Gasol remained in Los Angeles, his future uncertain. The rumors including Gasol have been fairly steady since December, with a potential trade scenario involving the Minnesota Timberwolves surfacing last week

While still one of the league's most productive and versatile big men, Gasol has a monster contract. He's on the books this year for $18.7 million and has a 2012-2013 salary of $19 million and a 2013-2014 salary of $19.2 million, according to StoryTellersContracts.com. That figure, combined with Gasol's age, limits the Lakers' potential trade partners to teams that are serious about making a playoff run immediately. Otherwise, what's the point?

It goes without saying that public pressure from a superstar on management is less than ideal for the Lakers, who dropped to 18-13 with the loss on Sunday. Bryant seems to be giving his endorsement to Gasol and seeking the same from Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, an action which would essentially handcuff the Lakers at next month's trade deadline. Other than Gasol and franchise center of the future Andrew Bynum, there's not a true trade asset on the roster, although the Lakers do possess a trade exception generated by the Lamar Odom dump to the Dallas Mavericks.

In other words, a definitive public statement on Gasol's future would really paint the Lakers into a corner. It's a nice thing for Bryant to say and it might make Gasol feel better, but there are two dualling goals here -- getting Gasol comfortable and doing whatever it takes to upgrade the Lakers roster -- and it's impossible for Lakers management to do both right now.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 9:23 pm
 

LaMarcus Aldridge (ankle sprain) set to return

Posted by Ben Golliver 

Portland Trail Blazers All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge is set to return on Saturday night after missing two games with a sprained left ankle.

Aldridge suffered the sprain during the first quarter of a Tuesday night loss to the Washington Wizards at the Rose Garden. He missed a Wednesday night win over the Golden State Warriors in Oracle Arena and a Thursday night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers at the Rose Garden. The Blazers host the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Aldridge, 26, was named to his first All-Star game last week and is in the midst of a career year. He is averaging 22.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game this season. Prior to spraining his ankle, Aldridge had missed just six games due to injury since the beginning of the 2008-2009 season.

Portland enters Saturday night with a record of 16-15.
Posted on: February 18, 2012 12:52 am
Edited on: February 18, 2012 1:03 am
 

Shannon Brown putback dunk vs. Lakers video

Posted by Ben Golliver

A former member of the Los Angeles Lakers got in a late highlight against his old team in the closing minutes of a Friday night game at Staples Center.

Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown threw down a big putback dunk against the Lakers with a little more than four minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Brown crashed the boards untouched by Lakers big men Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum, sneaking in to snare the ball with his left hand before clutching it with both hands to throw it down with two hands.

Brown, 26, is averaging a career-high 9.0 points and 2.0 rebounds in 21.1 minutes per game after signing with the Suns in December. Long known as a high flier, Brown competed in the 2010 Slam Dunk Contest. 

The Lakers went on to win, 111-99. Brown finished with 15 points and 1 rebound on 6-for-11 shooting in 20 minutes for Phoenix.

Heres' the video of Phoenix Suns guard Shannon Brown throwing down against his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Posted on: February 17, 2012 11:09 pm
Edited on: February 18, 2012 1:20 pm
 

Report: LeBron denies camp contacted Dan Gilbert

Posted by Ben Golliver 

LeBron James reportedly denies that he or his camp have made overtures to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert. (ESPN)

On Thusday, Miami Heat All-Star forward LeBron James opened up a pandora's box for rumors, acknowledging that he would consider returning to play in Cleveland for the Cavaliers at some point in his career. 

"I don't know. I think it would be great," James said, according to the Associated Press. "It would be fun to play in front of these fans again. I had a lot fun times in my seven years here. You can't predict the future and hopefully I continue to stay healthy. I'm here as a Miami Heat player, and I'm happy where I am now, but I don't rule that out in no sense."

On Friday, Yahoo! Sports reported that it wasn't just an idle thought, that James had actually reached out through backchannels to Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert about a potential return.
This was no accident, no misspeaking, nothing out of context. Before mentioning Thursday his openness to playing in Cleveland again, James months ago had an emissary or two carry that message to the Cavaliers’ front office, league sources told Yahoo! Sports. His camp wanted the message delivered to owner Dan Gilbert, sources said, but so far, the response has been silence.

“He has started to lay the groundwork, and he’s waiting to see what Dan Gilbert’s reaction to it is,” one league source with direct knowledge told Yahoo! Sports.

The Heat, of course, were in Cleveland to face the Cavaliers on Friday night at Quicken Loans Arena, a game they won easily, 111-87. James finished with 28 points, 5 rebounds, 5 asssists, 1 steal and 1 block on 11-for-19 shooting in 30 minutes.

After the game, James denied that that he and his camp had reached out to Gilbert.

"It's not true, it's not true at all," James said, according to the Sun-Sentinel.

When James announced he was headed to Miami during a nationally-televised special called "The Decision," Gilbert publicly accused James of disloyalty and betrayal, guaranteeing that the Cavaliers would win an NBA title before the Heat.

On Thursday, James said that was all water under the bridge and admitted that he didn't handle his departure in the proper manner. 

"I don't hold grudges," he said, according to ESPN.com. "I hold them a little bit but I don't hold them that long. He said what he said out of anger. He probably would want to take that back, but I made a mistake, too. There's some things I'd want to take back as well. You learn from your mistakes and move on."

The Plain-Dealer has reported that Gilbert will not respond to James' comment for fear of receiving a fine from the NBA league office.

James' current contract runs through the 2015-2016 season. He has an early termination option for 2014-2015 and a player option for the final year of the deal, according to StoryTellersContracts.com. He will be 31 years old when the entirety of the deal is completed.

James, 27, spent his first seven NBA season with the Cavaliers. He is averaging 28.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 36.9 minutes per game this season, and he's a leading NBA MVP candidate.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com