Any NBA talk yesterday started with Paul Pierce and whether or not his Game 1 knee injury was legit. We can see where those accusing P-Double of faking are coming from; Pierce was hollering in agony and slapping the floor when he first went down, he had to be carried off the court and wheel-chaired to the locker room, but then five minutes later he was skipping out of the tunnel and ready to play. It does smell slightly fugazi, but why would Pierce take himself out of an NBA Finals game when he was just heating up, knowing full-well his team could go into the tank without him and fall into an insurmountable hole, simply to create some drama in a series that creates its own drama? We’re not buying that it was fake. Pierce has been a warrior for the Celtics for a decade, playing through pain and enduring too many losing seasons to play some self-indulgent trick in the biggest moment of his career. If anything, he probably freaked out and overreacted when he thought he’d blown out his knee, then got into the locker room and sucked it up before going back out. If that had been Michael Jordan or Allen Iverson, we’d all (even L.A. fans) be raving about how tough he is … And what if this is actually the opposite of what people are saying, and Pierce is really hurt worse than we know? What is this is another instance of Grant Hill‘s ankle/foot injury from the 2000 playoffs, and by continuing to play Pierce is putting the rest of his career on the line? Unfortunately for the Lakers, Pierce might be reading and hearing all these accusations of faking and preparing to take it out on L.A. for those questioning his integrity … In other injury news, Andrew Bynum is still a month away from jogging. With the way the Lakers got dominated on the boards in Game 1, now is when the Lakers realize how valuable he could be in this series … When the Celtics competed the Big Three with the Kevin Garnett trade, who knew Ray Allen‘s biggest contribution in June would be on the defensive side of the ball? Ray was a big part in the Celtics’ scheme that kept Kobe out of the paint and shooting jumpers, leading to a 9-for-26 night for Mamba. Nothing revolutionary on Ray’s part; he just stayed in front of Kobe and got his hands up to challenge shots. If Ray can keep it up in Game 2 and beyond, Boston is in good shape moving forward … Sam Cassell‘s next stop? It could be Denver. Cassell is a free agent this summer and said he “definitely will talk” to the Nuggets, and said he almost signed with Denver after the Clippers let him go during the season. We all know Sam is going to be a coach somewhere someday, and he’ll have a guaranteed spot on his man George Karl‘s staff (assuming Karl sticks around long enough) whenever he wants one. That would be an ideal situation for Cassell to cut his coaching teeth, as he’d be working with Carmelo Anthony, who respects the hell out of Sam as a Baltimore legend … In case you care who Rick Fox is pulling for, the ex-Celtic and ex-Laker told the Boston Globe, “My loyalties lie with my rings.” Surely a crushing blow for C’s fans … Doug Collins has pulled his name out of the running for the Bulls head coaching job, opening the door for remaining candidates like Dwane Casey and Chuck Person. (“The Rifleman” coaching a team with Ben Gordon on the roster? BG’s right arm might fall off from launching so many threes.) Apparently GM John Paxson had decided on Collins, but team chairman Jerry Reinsdorf hadn’t yet given his approval, so Paxson continued to interview other guys. We’ve already been over this, but why are the Bulls so terrible at handling such business? After firing Scott Skiles mid-season they botched something as simple as naming an interim head coach, then this happened after someone in the organization sprang a leak. What’s gonna happen when it’s time to negotiate with Luol Deng and Gordon? … The Suns haven’t been making a lot of noise with their coaching search, but word is Terry Porter is the front-runner. When Porter (or whoever) takes over, will they run a bastardized version of Mike D’Antoni‘s system — essentially leaving Steve Nash as a player-coach — or will they change things up? And since so many people have called Nash a “system player” for so long, how will a new system impact his effectiveness? Nash is already on the decline; at least that’s what it looked like when Tony Parker was destroying him in the playoffs … Given a second chance to choose between Iverson and Kobe in the ’96 Draft, who do you think the Sixers would take now? Check out our 1996 Draft Do-Over to see where A.I., Kobe, Nash and Steph could have ended up … LeBron‘s LRMR Marketing team signed its latest client: O.J. Mayo, beefing up a lineup that includes ‘Bron and Ted Ginn Jr. of the Miami Dolphins. LeBron and O.J. have been cool since O.J. was coming up as a high schooler in Cincinnati and ‘Bron was in Akron … You know the Sonics can’t stay away from those 7-foot stiffs when it comes to NBA Draft time. Seattle’s pre-draft workout schedule includes appointments with Kosta Koufos, Roy Hibbert and Nathan Jawai, who played in the Australian pro league this season … We’re out like Collins …
Smack / Jun 7, 2008 / 12:31 am
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