First Cup: Wednesday

  • Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times: "OK, so undrafted rookie guard Anthony Morrow is no fluke. Not because he followed Saturday's record-breaking 37-point performance with a game-high 25 points on Tuesday in the Warriors' 111-106 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers at Oracle Arena. But because he is changing the way the Warriors play basketball. Morrow was a game-changer in leading the Warriors (5-6) to their first winning streak of the season. But he also convinced his coach and his teammates that the Warriors are simply better when he is on the floor, when he is getting the ball. 'I told the squad in practice yesterday that I think this is the way that we're going to have to play to max out what we have,' Warriors coach Don Nelson said. 'To be the best team we can be, the smaller lineup seems the way to go, and Anthony Morrow kind of made that happen. I gave him an opportunity to fit in with a small team and he made the whole thing work.'"

  • Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: '"He's the real deal,' Don Nelson said after Morrow made 8 of 12 shots, 4 of 5 from three, and scored his 25 points very, very efficiently in 36 huge minutes. ... Here's what's happening: Morrow is now the main man at the 2, which has totally energized the Warriors offensive flow. That allows Nelson to play Corey Maggette at the 4, where Maggette is a very tough cookie (ask LaMarcus Aldridge, who looked befuddled against the smaller man for all 19 of Aldridge's terrible minutes tonight)."TrueHoop First Cup

  • Frank Isola of the New York Daily News: "The days of being pushed around and embarrassed by their arch rivals are coming to an end. No, the Knicks still can't beat the Boston Celtics, even with Kevin Garnett serving a one-game suspension. But at least they showed a willingness to fight back and not be bullied by the defending NBA champs. 'I don't really care if we got respect,' Quentin Richardson said. 'They respect us, whether they said it or not. Some guys don't like other guys. As long as they are in the league and we are in the league, it's going to be that way.'"

  • Barbara Matson of The Boston Globe: "The fans have been calling out his name for three seasons, and Brian Scalabrine usually ignores them, or turns away, or buries his head in a towel. When the crowd chants, 'Scal-a-bri-ne,' it's because they want to see one of the last men on the Celtics bench get in the action; Scalabrine, though, doesn't want to be singled out. But when coach Doc Rivers called his name yesterday, Scalabrine was thrilled. 'when Doc said, 'You're going to start,' I was excited,' said Scalabrine, who took the place of the suspended Kevin Garnett against the Knicks. 'It's been a while, and you don't always get those opportunities. On the other hand, with Kevin getting the suspension, that was going to be big shoes to fill. I didn't get a good nap today. I was anxious to get out there.' The 6-foot-9-inch redhead played 20 minutes 54 seconds and scored 8 points, including a pair of 3-pointers late in the game that brought some roars from the sellout crowd at TD Banknorth Garden."

  • Martin Frank of The Journal News: "When the 76ers play the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight, they'll see Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth on the other bench. They'll know that Minnesota also has one of their future first-round draft picks. The Sixers only have a conditional second-round pick to show for that July trade. Yet Sixers president and general manager Ed Stefanski loves the deal because it enabled him to clear enough salary cap space to sign free agent Elton Brand from the Clippers. A few hours after the trade with the Timberwolves was completed, Brand agreed to a five-year, $82 million contract. 'Minnesota got what they wanted from us, and we got what we wanted,' Stefanski said. 'I'm happy for them, and I'm happy for us. Because of the cap situation, you have to make trades like that. For Minnesota, it was a very lucrative deal for them, but we had other issues.'"

  • Jimmy Smith of The Times-Picayune: "Hornets All-Star guard Chris Paul has been surpassing records and milestones as fast as autumnal leaves fall, and each time he collects a steal in the next 12 games, he draws closer to the NBA mark for thefts in consecutive games. The record is held by former San Antonio Spurs guard Alvin Robertson, who had 105 consecutive games with a steal from Nov. 6, 1985, to Dec. 29, 1986. Paul ranks second with at least one steal in 93 games in a row. He passed Michael Jordan (77) in the final weeks of last season, and looks to build on the streak in tonight's game against the Sacramento Kings at the New Orleans Arena. Through nine games this season, Paul has 27 steals -- an average of three per game -- both best in the NBA. ... 'I hear people talk about it every now and then,' Paul said of his defensive prowess. 'But that's one thing I've always done since high school, just knowing the game, knowing what teams are running and understanding where guys are trying to pass the ball. I really pride myself on when I get a deflection not to let the other team come up with it. I like to steal the ball.'"

  • Chris McCosky of The Detroit News: "All the talk about Orlando residents Shaquille O'Neal and Grant Hill someday owning an NBA franchise -- Orlando's on top of that list -- didn't sit too well with current Magic ownership. 'While we certainly appreciate Shaq and Grant and they will always hold a special place in our heart, our family is looking forward with great anticipation to owning the Magic in the future,' said Magic president and chief executive officer Bob Vander Weide . 'Without doubt our team is not for sale.'"

  • Don Seeholzer of The Pioneer Press: "When it comes to shooting the ball, Mike Miller has a green light. More often than not this season, though, he has decided to proceed with caution. Timberwolves coach Randy Wittman would like to see that change, even if it means being a little less unselfish. After watching Miller take a season-low four shots, and make three, Sunday night in the Wolves' 90-84 loss at Denver, Wittman said he would like his shooting guard to start pulling the trigger more often. 'Sometimes you get into turning down shots to make the extra pass,' Wittman said Tuesday. 'Mike does all the right things, but at times he's got to be a little selfish, too, when he's got an open shot. I wouldn't want anybody else taking an open shot. Every time he shoots it, I think it's going in.'"

  • Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times: "The Lakers had their players' association meeting Monday at the team training facility in El Segundo, much of it about planning for the future -- finances, taxes and 401(k) plans. As the players listened intently, they also wondered when they would receive licensing checks, which are expected soon. They will
    each get about $25,000, no matter if it's a star like Kobe Bryant or a role player like Mark Madsen. 'Thanks, Kobe Bryant. Thanks, LeBron James,' Luke Walton said, laughing. 'You open the mail and have a check you don't even count on, that's beautiful.' Derek Fisher, the president of the players' association, said dues were raised from $5,000 to $10,000 per player. Fisher said the idea was to share equally."