First Thursday Cup of Coffee

  • Doc Rivers tells Marc J. Spears of The Boston Globe that he respects Al Skinner: "Rivers said he has an 'amazing amount of respect' for Boston College coach Al Skinner for developing three NBA players: Charlotte rookie forward Jared Dudley, New Jersey rookie forward Sean Williams, and Timberwolves forward Craig Smith. Dudley made his Boston pro debut last night. 'All of the guys that go in come out to be players,' Rivers said. 'It's not a coincidence. There are schools that are clear to me, in my opinion, that turn out to be, because of the way they play and the way they are coached, that have an upper hand with their players. Al plays rough, tough defense like the NBA. They're physical and he's a big coach on execution. One of the things a lot of players struggle to do on this end is execute and read. [BC players] seem to all know how to do that.'"

  • According to Steve Simmons of the Toronto Sun, the Raptors aren't the same without Jorge Garbajosa: There is a large photo on the wall of the media centre at the Air Canada Centre that, without words, says much about this rather unimposing Raptors season. In the photo, Jorge Garbajosa is diving for a loose ball, his mouth open, his expression pained, his effort level captured impressively. It isn't just that Garbajosa is lost for this season. It's what he brought to the Raps that seems lost, also."

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News says last night's performance by Baron Davis is the reason why he won't be an All-Star: "He was incredible in the San Antonio victory. Almost a perfect game, except for some bad defense. He set himself up for laurels, he led his team, he just needed one more huge effort to put himself back on the All-Star landscape. Then this. Steve Nash doesn't hit the bottom like this. Kobe doesn't. Tony Parker, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Iverson, Carmelo, Marion ... Tonight, Baron gave nothing. Other coaches have gotten disgusted with Baron about this kind of stuff -- just shutting it down when things get tough fast. Baron hasn't done much of it as a Warrior. He has been a great Warrior, as I've said often and recently. The greatest since Rick Barry. But he shut it down tonight."

  • Tim Buckley of the Deseret Morning News reports the Utah Jazz are offering hot dogs for All-Star votes: "The Jazz are enticing fans to stuff the ballot box for the upcoming NBA All-Star Game by promising a free $1 hot dog for every 10 ballots filled out and submitted during tonight's game. Four Jazz players are on the ballot, though based on partial returns none stand a chance of being named a starter for the Feb. 17 game in New Orleans: Okur and Carlos Boozer, each chosen to play last year; Deron Williams, still seeking his first appearance; and Kirilenko, a 2004 participant."

  • Kurt Kragthorpe of The Salt Lake Tribune writes that Kyle Korver lives to help others: NBA-sponsored humanitarian efforts have taken the Jazz's newest player to China, South Africa and Brazil in recent summers. Yet nothing resonates within him like his experiences with those inner-city kids in Philly, where he lived and played for 4 1/2 seasons before being traded to Utah two weeks ago. Korver misses them 'grieving' is the word his father uses. He hopes his relocation will not end those relationships or his efforts to provide recreational opportunities in a neighborhood where he and his friends met them while throwing a football around before their weekly Bible study at a mission house. 'Hopefully, those things will still happen, because I do still care about Philly and those kids,' Korver said."

  • John DeShazier of The Times-Picayune writes that fans of the Hornets need to put up or shut up: "There is nothing absurd or unreasonable about 14,735 fans turning out to see a playoff-caliber NBA team. And if it can't be done, why would New Orleans argue that it wants one? That's the average attendance the Hornets need to draw, in a time frame that began Dec. 1 of this season through the conclusion of the next, to render moot the opt-out clause that exists in the lease extension that was agreed upon by the Hornets and Louisiana on Wednesday. And there's nothing supernatural about it."