First Cup: Tuesday

  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Daily News: Why can't Spencer Hawes, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young be part of the organization's long-term plan for rebuilding? With the Sixers looking to maximize their prospects for the 2014 draft, the assumption has been that at some point Hawes, Turner and Young would be traded for more draft picks and/or salary-cap space. But why does that have to be the primary option, especially if the veteran trio continues to perform the way they have early in the season? At this stage of the game, the Sixers need one of these players to add to the mix, and a top-4 selection would guarantee that. With the Golden State Warriors slapping the Sixers back to reality with a 110-90 victory last night at the Wells Fargo Center, that is still the most likely outcome. Still, one player, no matter how talented, does not make a NBA championship team by himself. Even Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Shaquille O'Neal needed quality teammates to help them get fitted for their first diamond-encrusted title rings. So even if the Sixers hit pay dirt and land the rights to Wiggins, who is being called the best prospect since James, he's going to need help.

  • Marcus Thompson II of The Oakland Tribune: Point guard Stephen Curry recorded his second career triple-double, but the star of the show in the Warriors' 110-90 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Monday was Andre Iguodala. He had his breakout performance as a Warrior against his former team, totaling 32 points in just over 32 minutes. He made a career-high seven 3-pointers and dazzled the sparse crowd with some highlight-reel plays. It was the first time Iguodala has scored at least 30 points since being traded by the 76ers to the Denver Nuggets in August 2012. "It's no secret. You want to kill 'em," Warriors coach Mark Jackson said of the mindset when playing former teams. "You say all the right things beforehand just in case it doesn't work out. But the mindset is to make a statement. He's a heck of a basketball player." Iguodala said: "I got a good look or two, and confidence started flowing. I wasn't even thinking about scoring. It just kind of happened liked that." The Warriors couldn't have started the four-game trip better. Not only did they get the win, but their third blowout of the season also allowed the starters to sit out the fourth quarter. They should be well rested as the challenge picks up Wednesday in Minnesota.

  • Phil Collin of the Los Angeles Daily News: The highest-scoring team in the NBA came to the bench after the first quarter after scoring 42 points and building a 17-point lead. And they were annoyed. “Even thought we scored 42 in the first, we gave up 25,” Clippers point guard Chris Paul said. “So instead of us being so happy we scored 42, we were upset about the 25. So it shows we’re focused on the right thing and going in the right direction.” More like soaring in the right direction, and even if the defense remains a work in progress, they have the comfort in knowing that at times, the offense can be their defense. That was on display Monday night when the Clippers never trailed in a 137-118 win over Houston in Dwight Howard’s return to Los Angeles. But from the outset, it was clear that this would be more than a battle in the paint. It was the Clippers’ highest-scoring game since hitting 140 against the New York Knicks in 2009 and while they’re not exactly griping about the offensive output, they’re intent on shoring up the other end of the court. In other words, a lot has changed since the early days of preseason camp when Coach Doc Rivers said the defense was ahead of the offense. “I was delusional,” Rivers said, drawing laughs.

  • Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle: Kevin McHale’s low-post lessons for Dwight Howard have only just begun, but the coach started close to home — his home. The dedicated Minnesota Vikings fan cited the play of All-Pro running back Adrian Peterson. “Just staying low,” Howard said of McHale’s direction. “He always refers to Adrian Peterson and how he runs through different holes in the game. He runs real low. He was saying I have the ability to do the same thing: use my quickness and my speed to get around guys. I have to get low to be able to do it.” McHale does have more in store. “We’re just getting started together,” McHale said. “It’s a whole new offense for him. We’ve worked, but not as much as we will work.” The Rockets have posted up Howard only sporadically, but he said he was unconcerned about that. “I think it’s going to get better as the season goes,” Howard said. “Right now, the whole team is in that transition period, looking in the post and making plays out of the post. It’s an adjustment on my end and theirs. … As the season goes, we’ll all get better.”

  • Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon-Journal: Rookie Anthony Bennett looks like a mess, and the Cavs might need to consider shutting him down for a couple games and letting him clear his head. He missed three more shots and is now 0 for 15 to start his career. Two of the three shots he took were again 3-pointers, making him now 0 for 8 on 3s. His teammates keep telling him to drive to the basket, but so far he isn't really listening. They keep telling him he's one of the most athletic players on the team, but he's reducing himself to just a 3-point shooter. The amazing thing is defenses continue to guard him like a dangerous 3-point shooter. The Timberwolves kept defenders right in his face Monday, which should make it easier for him to beat guys off the dribble. So far, however, he hasn't taken advantage of it. Bennett, unfortunately, looks like a lost soul right now. He tweeted after the game he was going "ghost" for a little while, which is another way of saying he's going off the grid. That's probably not a bad idea. Bennett was one of the last guys off the court following shootaround Monday morning and he said he was going in during Sunday's off day to get more shots up, so a lack of work isn't the problem. He just has no confidence in anything he's doing. A couple of days to clear his head could be just what he needs.

  • Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer: Andrew Bynum offered his most candid comments yet about the state of his knees before the Cavaliers faced the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night at The Q. Preparing to play his third game of the season, Bynum acknowledged that he had experienced "little, sharp pains" and said he wasn't sure his explosiveness would return. He's still working on his conditioning and timing. At the same time, he said he was looking forward to increased minutes and playing in both halves. Of the pain, he said, "Nothing too bad." Asked about having to change his game if his explosiveness doesn't return, he said he would rely on footwork and skills instead of athleticism.

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: Monday’s game brought Love back together with Cavaliers All-Star guard Kyrie Irving. Or rather it brought back “Wes” with “Uncle Drew,” the soft-drink commercial pairing featuring both players made old by the powers of makeup for a playground shoot against various young bloods. Love and Irving starred in the second “Uncle Drew” episode. Lynx star Maya Moore and Denver’s Nate Robinson are featured in the just-released third installment. “She was great,” Love said of Moore, turning film critic. “Her accent was down pat. She had a lot of mannerisms down. I respect her in more way than one, I guess.” ... Love again was something of an Internet sensation Monday with a GIF that shows him slapping hands with Knicks superfan Spike Lee when Love ran by after he made a clutch, tough bank shot late in Sunday’s victory in New York. “I forget what he was yelling,” Love said. “If I’m not mistaken, I thought it was pro-Timberwolves so I reached out. I saw the opportunity and went for it. You don’t get too many opportunities like that, especially in Madison Square Garden against a good team.”

  • Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald: For all their greatness and the fact they’ve had non-refundable Hall of Fame reservations for years, neither Paul Pierce nor Kevin Garnett is Bill Russell. But their combined absence is having an effect on the Celtics similar to Russell’s retirement. The current crew remained winless, falling to the Grizzlies, 95-88, last night. They have opened the season 0-4 for the first time since the autumn of 1969, just months after Russell took his 11th championship and walked away from the game. The struggling and mismatched reconstruction project in green did well to seriously threaten one of the better Western Conference teams, holding a fourth-quarter lead. But extracting a victory was beyond the C’s present reality. Jeff Green scored 22 points, and Jared Sullinger added 16, but Jerryd Bayless had all 15 of his in the fourth quarter to save the Grizzlies. The Celtics looked like they were ready to be pushed over the edge as the third quarter wore on. But as we’ve learned with this team through four games, looks can be deceiving.

  • Ronald Tillery of The Commercial-Appeal: Grizzlies guard Tony Allen left the man he was supposed to be guarding and ran over to help Mike Miller. Boston’s Jeff Green was backing down Miller but only for a second. Allen stepped in and just ripped the ball out of Green’s grasp midway through the final period. Like in every game so far this season, it was another fourth quarter the Griz entered without a lead. And, for the second time, the Griz found a way to wrestle away the game and put it in their favor — this time, with a 95-88 win over the Boston Celtics Monday night in FedExForum. A Jerryd Bayless 20-foot shot tied the score at 82 with 5:30 remaining. From there, the teams exchanged baskets until Bayless buried a 3-pointer that gave Memphis a lead for good. Bayless’ shot put the Griz ahead 87-86 with 4:19 left. Zach Randolph’s two free throws later padded the Griz advantage to three points, and the cushion was large enough. The Celtics scored just one field goal in the last four minutes.

  • Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News: Backup point guard Patty Mills has been warned for flopping, the NBA announced Monday. The incident in question took place early in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 91-85 victory over the Lakers on Friday, as Mills was attempting to defend Jordan Hill near the rim. Minnesota’s Kevin Love and Corey Brewer, and Milwaukee’s Zaza Pachulia were also warned. A second offense will draw a $5,000 fine, with increasing penalties after that. The NBA cited 24 players for flopping last season, according to the Associated Press. Five earned fines for further violations.