<
>

First Cup: Wednesday

  • Jason Reid of The Washington Post: The best point guards in NBA history — Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas — were masterful at keeping their teammates involved early in games and then taking over during what Johnson called “Winnin’ Time.” That’s the point in every game in which one team makes the plays that result in victories. Do the Wizards expect Wall to be Hall-of-Fame great? No. But Wall said he deserved a maximum contract. It’s fair to evaluate him on that basis. The likelihood is Wall may never be a strong closer because of his poor shooting. And when you’re shooting 35.7 percent from the field, it’s probably best to let others take shots late in games. But if Wall gets his head in the right place and keeps it there, he still has a chance to be a big-time player for a successful team. Wittman has no doubts. “Sometimes you put your head down [and] feel sorry that you’re not playing the way you’re capable of playing,” he said. “But you’ve got to do the exact opposite: Turn it up another notch to fight through it. One day, it could change on a dime.” The Wizards can only hope it happened Tuesday for Wall.

  • Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune: Five years after he coached a rookie named Kevin Love, you almost could have sworn you heard Washington coach Randy Wittman yell the same thing as he did long ago every time the Timberwolves now two-time All Star attempted a three-pointer Tuesday night at a very quiet Verizon Center: No! “I’m past that now,” Love said Tuesday. “That was a long time ago.” Love made three of four three-point attempts and scored 16 points in Tuesday’s first quarter alone on his way to a 25-point, 11-rebound night in a 104-100 Wizards victory. Love entered Tuesday’s game third in the NBA in scoring (26.8 ppg) and second in rebounding (13.6 rpg). “You can’t ever predict the numbers like that,” said Wittman, who coached Love for his rookie year and the first six weeks of his second season. “But you knew the basketball IQ was there from the beginning. At this level, if you have the physical tools and then the mental part that goes with it, you can take that a long way. We’ve seen that with Kevin. He’s very adept at understanding how you’re playing him, and he adjusts to it. That’s what makes him so difficult

  • Anthony Rieber of Newsday: After the Knicks fell to 3-7 with a 92-86 loss to the Pistons Tuesday night, a frustrated Carmelo Anthony was asked to assess just what the heck is going on. "I don't know," Anthony said. "We're losing. It's a messed-up feeling. A hurt feeling. Got to figure it out. That's the only thing I can say about this. We've got to figure it out quick." How quick? By about 7 p.m. would be nice. That's when the 9-1 Indiana Pacers will be at the Garden, where the Knicks are 1-5 this season. The Pacers, as you recall, knocked the Knicks out of the playoffs last season. "I think right now it's just a matter of wanting it more," Anthony said. "We've got to want it more [Wednesday night], especially on our home court. There's some bitter feelings, knowing that they knocked us out of the playoffs last year, so hopefully that gives us some momentum, some energy, some confidence and some anger to go out there and play with." On Tuesday night, the Knicks fought with the referees as much as they did the Pistons. Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire were whistled for technical fouls for arguing calls. "We kind of lost our composure a little bit," coach Mike Woodson said

  • Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press: Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks made a point to mention Rodney Stuckey at his introductory news conference over the summer. It caught reporters a little off guard – mainly because you could have found many takes if you wanted to bet Stuckey would even be on the roster come the regular season. It was a natural conclusion after six seasons of not living up to his potential and feuding with coaches. But through 10 games Stuckey has been one of the most consistent Pistons and maybe – just maybe – the Pistons have found the coach to unlock Stuckey’s potential. His team-high 21 points was sorely needed Tuesday as the Pistons (4-6) beat the Knicks 92-86 at the Palace. ... “He’s so versatile,” Cheeks said of Stuckey. “He plays a full game. He’s an old-school kind of game where he has a mid-range game. Nowadays you see a lot of guys either shoot the three or go all the way to the rim.”

  • Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald: First came the best-selling book about being a dad, and now the Heat’s Dwyane Wade plans to be an executive producer of a sitcom based on his life as a professional athlete and single father of two sons. Wade and his new production company, ZZ Productions, recently sold a television sitcom to Fox based on Wade’s life and his book, A Father First. The book shares Wade’s experiences as a single father and also touches on his childhood and rise to basketball stardom. The show will be called Three the Hard Way, and is pegged as a comedy. According to a news release, the show will center around a main character named Daryl Wade, who, along with “his entourage of eccentric friends, find themselves parenting by committee, when [Wade] gets full custody of his two young sons. It’s a recipe made for disaster, but no matter how misinformed, misguided, or unfit Team Wade may be, they have a trump card that can’t lose. It’s called love.” Of course, the most important question on Tuesday was who would play Wade in his sitcom. “I haven’t figured that out yet,” Wade said. “But I’m sure it will be someone very handsome.” Ray Allen, already an accomplished actor, said he would not be available to try out for the part.

  • Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: There is work to be done — and plenty of it. The Hawks went up against the two-time defending champion Miami Heat and were soundly drubbed 104-88 on Tuesday night at AmericanAirlines Arena. If this was a measuring stick of where the new-look Hawks stand, they are staring at a big hill to climb. The Heat forced the Hawks into more than 20 turnovers en route to their eighth consecutive win against their division opponent. The average margin of victory for the Heat has been 11 points. The Hawks (6-5), who had a two-game win streak snapped, were led by Mike Scott with 15 points. Al Horford had 12 points, seven rebounds and seven turnovers. ... Kyle Korver extended his streak to 84 consecutive games with a 3-pointer. He is five shy of the NBA record set by Dana Barros.

  • Adam Wexler of CSN Houston: On a night when the Houston Rockets rolled past the Boston Celtics, 109-85, center Omer Asik's return to the lineup was essentially a non-story. After missing the last two games as he was frustrated with his role on the team, Asik was not called upon until there was just 6:49 left in the game. He entered the game, with cheers easily outweighed a small number of boos, and then went about his business as he did for the first year and change he was in a Rockets uniform. "We got a game again tomorrow night," Rockets head coach Kevin McHale. "We'll see where it goes. Everybody out there is playing (well), we'll see where the time goes with Omer." Terrence Jones delivered a career-high 24 points against Boston and added nine rebounds. He also made his first eight shots from the floor and contributed two of the Rockets ten blocks. Houston has 54 blocks over their last five games since Jones has taken Asik's spot in the rotation. They blocked 25 shots in the previous five games.

  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England: Brad Stevens is clearly a good coach and the players for the most part seem to like him. But things are starting to unravel with this team before our very eyes. The one thing that they have been able to deliver this season is a brand of competitiveness that gave them a shot every night. Tuesday's loss was their fourth straight, but second in a row that they were beaten soundly. The challenge for Stevens now is to keep this group focused and energized by the big picture and not get too consumed with Tuesday night's loss.

  • Jason Jones of The Sacramento Bee: Suns guard Eric Bledsoe played a season of college basketball at Kentucky with Kings center DeMarcus Cousins. Bledsoe said he’s noticed Cousins is doing better in one area that isn’t measured by statistics. “I think he’s doing a great job controlling his temper a little bit,” Bledsoe said. Cousins has two technical fouls this season. The first was for taunting and the second Cousins expects will be rescinded by the league after review. Cousins led the NBA in technical fouls last season.

  • Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic: Having two starting point guards is proving valuable when it has become frequent that only one is available to play. After all of Goran Dragic’s early-season health issues, it was fellow Suns point guard Eric Bledsoe’s turn to need a night off for injury. Bledsoe knocked shins with teammate P.J. Tucker while trapping teammate Ish Smith toward the end of Sunday’s practice and suffered a bruised left shin. He was questionable to play Tuesday morning but was still limping as he entered Sleep Train Arena on Tuesday evening. One of Tucker’s collisions also sidelined Dragic at the end of a game when the two banged heads as they chased a loose ball. Bledsoe is leading the Suns in points per game (20.4), assists per game (6.8) and minutes per game (34.8) while shooting 50 percent from the field. Miami’s LeBron James, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Denver’s Ty Lawson and Portland’s Damian Lillard are the only other NBA players averaging at least 20 points, six assists and four rebounds per game. “A scoring point guard is what they called him, but then when we first got him, we saw that he can really see the floor well,” Suns coach Jeff Hornacek said.