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First Cup: Wednesday

  • Frank Dell’Apa of The Boston Globe: "Celtics coach Doc Rivers returned to the team yesterday, two days after a biopsy on his throat. Rivers said the results of the test were negative. 'I do it every year, for the last three years,’ Rivers said. 'I think most coaches should, because we yell and use our throat a lot. It makes you more susceptible. I’m glad I did it now.’ Rivers said he went for a checkup three weeks ago. 'They found a spot and had to do a biopsy,’' he said. 'They had to make sure there was nothing there, and it was nothing, so I’m good. I can’t talk a lot, and that’s good. I’m going to be around for a little while, looks like, I’m sure that disappoints everyone.' Rivers said he was following the recommendation of former Celtics coach Jim O’Brien. 'He suggested it two or three years ago,’ Rivers said. 'He said every coach should do it. I’ve been telling coaches for years they should do it. Again, I’m glad I did it.’ "

  • Kate Fagan of The Philadelphia Inquirer: "The 76ers' first significant setback of this grueling NBA season, which is still one week from tip-off, appears to be a lingering head injury to coach Doug Collins. Still bothered by a concussion he suffered months ago, Collins returned to Philadelphia before Tuesday's preseason game against the Cleveland Cavaliers to see a neurologist about his dizziness and headaches. Collins, who suffered the concussion over Memorial Day weekend, flew home before the team's morning shoot-around at U.S. Bank Arena, the Sixers said Tuesday morning. In Collins' place, associate head coach Michael Curry coached the team in a 111-95 loss to the Cavaliers. 'He had a spill this summer out in Arizona, and I think he got a concussion from it,' said Collins' son, Chris, an assistant coach at Duke University. 'And since then, he's had some dizzy spells.' Collins, 59, also has had some distinct lifestyle changes, including working 12-to-14-hour days with the Sixers. 'We didn't expect it; we didn't know it,' Curry said of Collins' ailment. 'You go up and down with your fatigue, but we didn't know he was having pain with his headaches and stuff like that.' "

  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel: "As Jeff Van Gundy said on ESPN’s preseason conference call Tuesday, perhaps it’s a good thing the season is almost here, since it might actually mean an end to all the nonsense. But because next Tuesday can’t get here fast enough, issues remain. For his part, LeBron James chose to Tweet: 'Today is Hater Day. Everyone please let them get their 2 mins of fame and light! I Love You Haters. Continue to make me proud of u guys! LOL' Trouble was, it didn’t take long for racial epithets to enter the equation, James perhaps re-tweeting to make a point. Later, James tweeted, 'U see world how people feel! Just use it as extra motivation in whatever u do best! No one can stop your dreams from becoming reality!' "

  • Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald: "Throughout the preseason, the NBA has ordered referees to strictly enforce guidelines for technical fouls. Up in arms about a debatable call? That's a technical foul. Acerbic attitude? Technical. Voice inflection of vehemence? Technical. Rush a ref? Prepare to be greeted by'Mr. T.' It's all about an image of respect and civility for the NBA, which has instructed players that posturing comes with a price. Fines for technical fouls begin at $2,000 apiece (up $1,000 from last season) but can increase to $5,000. One-game suspensions for repeat offenders are an added deterrent. The league cited a research study before implementing the policy. According to the NBA, fans get turned off when players start popping off. Demonstrative displays have been dealt with uniformly this preseason. On Monday, Chris Bosh raised his arms after being called for a foul and quickly received a technical from veteran referee Dick Bavetta. Bosh, known as a respectful player, pleaded his case and then smiled. According to Bosh, Bavetta explained that the technical foul was called for raised hands, which is now being interpreted as an overt gesture. 'I just went to him and said, 'you know, I think we've been knowing each other better than that,' ' Bosh said. ' 'I didn't come at you disrespectful.' And he called a technical on me.' "

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: "He travels between Los Angeles and West Virginia these days -- with an eye on Memphis. When Jerry West says he watches every Grizzlies game, he talks in a high-pitched voice and with unbridled passion. 'I watch more Grizzlies games than Lakers games,' West said. 'It's very important to me that they win. I'm a fan.' West used to be the Grizzlies' president of basketball operations. He served Memphis in that role for five years, ending in 2007. Quibble if you will about West's personnel moves but he undoubtedly made the Grizzlies relevant mainly because he orchestrated the best of times in team history. The Griz earned three consecutive trips to the NBA playoffs with West at the helm. The Griz hadn't sniffed success before and it's been a struggle to reclaim the glory years since West's departure."

  • Tom Enlund of the Journal Sentinel: "As general manager John Hammond would say, point guard Brandon Jennings is a gym rat. Jennings loves to spend time in the gym. Jennings has demonstrated that regularly during the preseason, staying on the court after practice to work on his game. And apparently, he’s been conducting some after-hours workouts at the team’s training center also. 'I’ve been going a little bit late at night,' he said after Tuesday's practice. A grinning Jennings declined to disclose how late in the evening he returns to the practice facility. 'I really don’t like telling nobody what time,' he said. 'It’s in the evening. It might be when you are asleep, you never know.' Regardless of when he is working out on his own, it clear that Jennings is being vigilant about improving his game this season."

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "Shannon Brown is tired of being just a highlight show. So tired that he subjected himself to 'The Hotbox' this summer, logging hour after hour at the stifling Proviso East High gym in his home state of Illinois, where the air conditioning was an afterthought at best on sweltering July and August days. He had his reasons. 'I want to definitely let the world, let everybody see that I'm more than just a dunker,' Brown said. 'It's what I'm known for, but I definitely have a lot more aspects to my game.' He worked on his ball-handling skills and his outside touch, necessary improvements if he hoped to surpass the 8.1 points and 20.7 minutes a game he averaged last season. He shot only 42.7%, a little low for a player who finished with as many dunks as he did. Thus, the Hotbox."

  • Haley Mick of the Globe and Mail: "On a recent Toronto Raptors road trip, the cool kids had settled into the back of the bus when, to their surprise, a seven-foot interloper ambled into their midst. 'All of a sudden we look, and here comes Andrea [Bargnani], sitting at the back of the bus,' said guard Sonny Weems after practice on Tuesday. 'We’re like, ‘Where you going, to the bathroom or somethin’?’ But he just sat right down.' The Raptors say there’s something different about the big forward this season, and it’s not just where he sits. The old Bargnani was quiet, unassuming, a little bit of a mystery. The new Bargnani is a prolific texter; someone who might join in on a FIFA video-game session, or even weigh in on his team’s weak performance. 'Dre’s definitely growing,' said Reggie Evans. 'I can’t say he was shy or whatever, but I think he feels more comfortable with this team here and I think he is a lot more relaxed with what we have here. It’s really starting to show and he’s really starting to open up a lot.' When the Celtics were burying the Raptors last week, Evans -- a 30-year-old forward who doesn’t shy away from making his feelings known -- heard an unfamiliar voice pipe up. '[Bargnani] said some stuff on the bench … about something he didn’t like during the game, which was good. He voiced it. We were like, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’ ' "

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: "Adonal Foyle, 35, is settling into his new job as the Magic's director of player development. He helps his former teammates prepare for life away from basketball, serves as a confidante to them and assists the basketball operations department. 'I like the idea that you can make it a lot easier for guys on the floor by helping them navigate some of the things off of it,' he says. 'If a guy does well, naturally it helps the whole league. It is in the best interest to help guys navigate things that they might not have been exposed to. I feel very excited about that part: talking to them about their hopes and their aspirations, of course, within the context of basketball.' Foyle seemed like the natural choice for the job. He spent 13 seasons as an NBA center, 2½ of them with Orlando. By the end of his professional career, he had risen to first vice president of the players' union and had earned his teammates' trust. 'He was like a father or like a brother to me who was teaching me what I was supposed to do on the floor, off the floor,' current Orlando center Marcin Gortat says. 'He was teaching me all kinds of things about business, about the NBA, about being a professional player.' Magic President of Basketball Operations Otis Smith calls Foyle "one of the brightest people" in basketball. The past few weeks have reinforced Smith's opinion. Smith watches every team practice, shootaround and game, and Foyle often sits there with him, takes notes and asks questions."

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: "Ish Smith accepted the congratulations of teammates on the happy news. But being a rookie with the usual abundance of questions, Smith did have one more that he had to ask. He naturally wanted to know what they were talking about. 'I just said, 'What happened?'?' Smith said. '?'Congratulations for what?'?' The Rockets had released four players on Monday. Smith was not among them. 'I just came into practice, got taped like a regular day,' Smith said. 'Guys were like, 'Congratulations, man.' I didn't know what was going on. I thought it was a regular practice day. I guess that's how I got the news, when I didn't get any news. I guess no news is good news.' The Rockets still could trim their roster again, but since they have so often openly gushed about Smith's play and seem certain to carry 15 players heading into the season, Smith did not have reason to concern himself with the roster decisions that came on Monday. ... Smith turned down several offers, coming closest to signing with the Pistons, before committing to play for the Rockets' summer league team in the days after the draft. The Rockets' interest in Smith, however, dates back much further than the night the NBA draft came and went without Smith's name being called. 'B.J. (Rockets personnel scout Brent Johnson) first came to me raving about Ishmael when he was a freshman at Wake Forest,' Rockets general manager Daryl Morey said. 'Eventually, most of our staff became a big fan of his over time. When he came in for his pre-draft workout, B.J. took the lead on selling him about the Houston Rockets and how he fit in here. As soon as he went undrafted, B.J. was immediately on the phone working with his agent (Raymond Brothers) to convince him that our summer league team would be the best situation for him.' "

  • Shaun Powell of NBA.com: "When a former NBA player is diagnosed with leukemia, is given a 25-percent chance of living, spends 109 days in a cancer center and 18 of those locked in a self-induced coma, what's going on inside of him? Besides the cable of tracheotomy tubes running down his throat? 'The first thing I did, after I lost faith for a bit and broke down and cried,' said Dwayne Schintzius, 'was think, what did I do in my life to deserve this? I just started thinking about all the bad stuff I did in my lifetime. Was I such a bad person?' ... When he emerged from his coma, he'd lost 50 pounds. His hair -- once famously worn long in the back and coiffed on the top, his trademark "lobster" cut -- was gone. As were his fingernails, some of his skin and lots of his strength. He watched basketball on TV. The NBA Finals, Celtics and Lakers. That got him through the long hospital stay, the chemo, everything. Basketball. And then he was released, first to a halfway house for two months, then home. 'I'm just glad I'm alive,' he said. 'I'm ready to start living. I survived a drastic and traumatic change in my life. Every day is a struggle. I'm not going to lie. But I get up, strap my shoes on and get out there and face it.' He does public relations in Tampa for Crawford Ker, a former Cowboys lineman who owns sports bars in Florida. What he really wants to do is fish. And watch the sunset. Simple stuff. He hopes cancer won't pay him another visit. But if it does, and he's lying in a hospital, he won't think about who he was anymore. Just who he is."