First Cup: Monday

  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian: The much-anticipated return of Brandon Roy to the Rose Garden will not happen this week after the Minnesota guard and former Trail Blazers legend has scheduled a right knee surgery for this week, The Oregonian has learned. The arthroscopy will be the seventh of his career, dating back to high school, and the fifth since he has been a professional. It is unknown how long Roy will be sidelined. A three-time All-Star and former Rookie of the Year for the Blazers, Roy left Portland in December of 2011 when he medically retired because of arthritic and degenerative knees. The Blazers later used the league’s Amnesty Clause to waive Roy, a move that allowed Roy to be paid the remaining $63 million of his contract, while exempting him from their salary cap.

  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News: BOWLING? Are you kidding me? Bowling? On Sunday, Sixers center Andrew Bynum said he does indeed believe that he injured his left knee while bowling a week ago Saturday - thus confirming what was first reported by ESPN via Twitter just before midnight on Saturday. Injured the left knee, I point out to you - not reinjured the right knee that has kept him from practicing even once since being acquired in August. … I know that in situations like this, people want answers and set timetables, and when that isn't given, speculation can sometimes get out of control. But I'll disagree with anyone who is beginning to say that Bynum simply doesn't want to play. I believe that Bynum is more frustrated than anyone that he has not been able to return to the court. I think he is starting to have serious concerns about what's going on with his knees and the long-term implications. If Bynum's good knee suddenly goes bad after a night of bowling, how are both knees going to hold up once he returns to the rigors of NBA play?

  • Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: Kyrie Irving’s popularity has exploded in recent months, begging the question why? Was it the Rookie of the Year award or the popularity of the Uncle Drew character Irving created for Pepsi Max? Rovell never hesitated. “Uncle Drew by a mile,” he said. “The Rookie of the Year is OK. At some point, you need to be good on the court and the Rookie of the Year proves you’re the best rookie out there, but I doubt people are saying, ‘He’s the Rookie of the Year, that’s why we want him.’‚ÄČ” Industry leaders who follow sports marketing didn’t believe Irving could brand himself this well, particularly so soon. He was drafted to an awful team in a small market days before the lockout began. Expectations regarding his marketing appeal were pretty low. … Irving created the Uncle Drew character himself and based it off another viral video he watched of an elderly man in a skate park who takes a skateboard out of his briefcase and begins doing stunts. The old guy showing up the young buck theme has been tackled before, but Irving’s catch phrases (“young blood,” “I get buckets”), his demeanor and his rare gifts on the court made it an instant sensation. Now the word is out and Irving is one of the hottest commodities among young players in the NBA.

  • Elliott Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News: The Lakers ran the Houston Rockets off the court Sunday night, scoring with remarkable flair in a 98-87 victory. All five starters scored in double figures, the team shot a scalding 60.3 percent (38 for 63) and committed only nine turnovers. Wait what? That was after only three quarters? You mean there was a fourth quarter, too? Yes there was, and the Lakers hardly paused en route to an eventual 119-108 victory over the Rockets at Staples Center, their second consecutive resounding win since Mike D'Antoni was hired to replace Mike Brown as coach. To be accurate, D'Antoni hasn't actually made his debut on the Lakers' bench. He spent his second game in a row in their locker room, watching on TV and undergoing therapy after having recent knee replacement surgery. Bernie Bickerstaff improved his record to 4-1 as the Lakers' interim coach.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Lakers center Dwight Howard knew of the Rockets’ obsession with acquiring him and said he wouldn’t have minded joining them. However, they were not his preference, and in the long term he intended to play for one of his preferred teams. “I didn’t have a problem with it,” Howard said. “At the same time, there were two places that I would have rather (gone) to, and I’m here at one of them. I’m happy. If I would have gone to Houston then I would have went and played as hard as I could for the Rockets. I’m glad it so happened I came to the best organization in the history of the NBA.” After facing the Rockets on Sunday, Howard will play the team that was his other preferred destination with the Nets paying a visit Tuesday. Howard said the Nets would have been an intriguing option, saying Brooklyn would have been a place he could “start fresh.” “I expressed that,” he said. “I made it clear, if they were an option. But everything happens for a reason. There is a reason why I didn’t go to Brooklyn. There is a reason why I’m here in L.A.”

  • Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe: Rajon Rondo managed to extend his consecutive streak of 10 or more assists to 34 games. Perhaps down the road it won’t matter that Rondo needed until 51 seconds left Sunday at the Palace of Auburn Hills to reach his 10th assist. And maybe it won’t matter that the Celtics were trailing by 21 at the time, making it apparent that Rondo was on the court for the express purpose of extending the streak. Assistant coach Mike Longabardi asked the Celtics broadcasting team of Mike Gorman and Tommy Heinsohn early in the fourth quarter how many assists Rondo had. The answer was six. So coach Doc Rivers reinserted Rondo with 8:40 left in the fourth quarter and the Celtics trailing, 79-65. He played 8:24 before leaving with 16.1 left, having reached the mark. Rivers freely admitted after a listless performance in his team’s 103-83 loss, the primary goal was to extend the streak. “Yeah, why not?” River said … Rondo is three games behind John Stockton, who amassed 37 games of double-digit assists over the 1988-89 and 1989-90 seasons. Magic Johnson holds the record of 46 that began at the end of the 1982-83 season and ran into 1983-84.

  • Vincent Goodwill of The Detroit News: All the signs were there for the Pistons and the memories of Palace fourth-quarter collapses had to be fresh in their minds. Playing against the vaunted Boston Celtics, it would've been understandable for many to think another disaster was not only in store, but improbable. At night's end, though, the only drama remaining was for the Celtics trying to keep an individual streak going, as the Pistons closed the door with a resounding 103-83 win Sunday night at the Palace, their second win of the season. For the first time the Pistons got to play "Celebration" as confetti rained down on the floor, as the frontcourt and defense led the way. Greg Monroe had 20 points and 13 rebounds, while Jason Maxiell's energy got them going early when they seemed to be a little flat.

  • Steve Zipay of Newsday: Rasheed Wallace's formula for the Knicks ' second-teamers is pretty straightforward. "We just try to outshine the first unit," Wallace said with a grin Sunday after the Knicks' bench contributed 33 points in an 88-76 win over the Pacers at Madison Square Garden. "No, really, we're just trying to pick up where they left off," said Wallace, who had nine points, seven rebounds and a blocked shot in 16:35. "That was an intense game, coming off this hard road trip. They got us off to a good start, and it's up to us to add on to that. If we go out there and the lead gets chopped in half, or we're out there turning the ball over, we just know it's going to be more minutes for them, and that's something we definitely try to prevent." … Now the Knicks (7-1) have won five games in which they've limited opponents to fewer than 90 points. Wallace wouldn't draw direct comparisons to that tough group of the mid-1990s, but he likes the current defensive mind-set.

  • Mike Wells of The Indianapolis Star: Being a fan-friendly player is nice and all, but doing that doesn’t get more victories in the win-loss column. The wait is over. It’s time for Roy Hibbert to help the Pacers win some games. It’s inexcusable for the way he’s played this season. The big fella is 119th (that’s not a typo) in the league in field goal percentage (37 percent). There’s no way in hell that a 7-2 center should be shooting below 50 percent from the field. He came up with 30 tickets for Sunday’s matinee game at the Garden. Those 30 friends and family members saw him go 3-of-10 from the field and commit six turnovers against the Knicks. Sunday marked the fourth time this season that Hibbert did not attempt a free throw in a game. I give Pacers coach Frank Vogel credit for not throwing Hibbert under the bus (we all remember what happened to Hibbert when Jim O’Brien drove the bus over him countless times). Vogel likes to remind the media that Hibbert routinely goes through shooting slumps each year. Come on now, the season is 11 games old and Hibbert is still shooting and missing. The Pacers didn’t agree to fork over $58 million to Hibbert to go through extended shooting slumps.

  • Doug Smith of the Toronto Star: It could be that the only tonic needed to turn Andrea Bargnani into the impact player he has the potential to be is the enigmatic Roman’s longest-serving Raptors teammate, a savvy 31-year-old with a knack of knowing what buttons to push. Bargnani, while hardly brilliant, was as energetic and aggressive Sunday as he’s ever been, a fact chalked up the intelligence of point guard Jose Calderon, and knowledge gleaned over seven years of playing together that getting Bargnani going is often as simple as feeding him early and often. And Calderon knows that better than almost anyone connected with the team. “Sometimes, you just have to give them just easy shots at the beginning to start feeling comfortable, to start getting confidence,” said Calderon after he dished out a season-high 18 assists in Toronto’s 97-86 win over the Orlando Magic at the Air Canada Centre on Sunday. “With Andrea, he was struggling a little bit with his shots, we all know, but he came out really aggressive from the beginning and played the basketball he used to play.”

  • Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel: J.J. Redick sat out Sunday's game because he was sick, team officials said. The Magic missed him, especially in the fourth quarter, when they made just five of 19 shots and turned the ball over five times. "It affects us in scoring, ball movement, leadership," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said. "We didn't know if we were going to have him or not. He was feeling sick and the decision was to not play him." Vaughn said the team will see how Redick feels today before a decision is made about Redick's availability for Monday night's game against the Atlanta Hawks in Atlanta.

  • Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman: Thunder coach Scott Brooks said he currently has no plans to insert Kevin Martin into the starting lineup but left the door open for that to change down the line. “At this moment, no, I don't see it changing,” Brooks said. “You never know. It's a long season. A lot of things can happen. But we have a pretty good track record with our starters. They understand their role and they do a good job. Kevin, we're building him to be that guy off the bench that can give us what we need that particular game.” Brooks for the first time this season on Friday altered his substitution pattern slightly, subbing out Kevin Durant late in the first quarter before bringing him back to start the second quarter. It's since become a change designed at getting more productivity from the second unit. But Brooks said an all-out change to the rotation is unwarranted. “You can change things up without being so drastic,” Brooks said.

  • Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: One of the bright spots Sunday was the play of rookie Draymond Green, who registered arguably his best game as a pro. He scored a season-high nine points to go with five rebounds and a steal (and multiple deflection). Jackson is growing more comfortable playing Green because of his size, versatility and basketball IQ. But Sunday, Green pulled out the offense. Taking advantage of being matched up against Martin, whom the Warriors successfully attacked all night long, Green made three straight baskets late in the first quarter to power a Warriors run that sent them into the second quarter down just 26-25. "I definitely want to bring defense, rebounding, bring energy off the bench," the former Michigan State star said.

  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: The Brooklyn Nets have players with All-Star experience. But for a stretch that began with 2:17 left in the first quarter and extended into the third quarter Sunday, you might have thought backup big man Andray Blatche was their best player. Blatche made his first 10 shots and hit 11 of 12 overall for his team-high 22 points. So while the Kings might have been happy that Joe Johnson and Deron Williams combined to shoot 5 of 22, Blatche picked up the slack in the Kings' 99-90 loss to Brooklyn at Sleep Train Arena. … According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last player to make at least 10 shots in a row was center Andrew Bynum. He made 12 in a row for the Los Angeles Lakers against Utah on March 18, 2012. The last Net to make at least 10 consecutive shots was center Brook Lopez. He made 10 in a row on March 26, 2010.