Phil Jackson is the king of the smart-ass, “Did he just insult me?” sneaky insult; Stan Van Gundy is good for more blatantly throwing you under the bus and making it work; Gregg Popovich will scream at you in front of 20,000 people but never lose your respect; and Mike Brown will get himself ejected in a minute going to bat for you — so long as your name is LeBron James. But you have to love the way Jerry Sloan gets it done: No games, no tactics, just telling it like it is whether he’s in a closed locker room or in front of a crew of reporters … Watching the Nuggets spend all night at the free throw line (41-of-49 FT) in Sunday’s win over Utah, most coaches would blame the refs. Sloan wasn’t going there. He blamed his players for failing to realize that if you force a right-handed player like ‘Melo (37 pts, 11-12 FT) to go right, you’re asking for a long night. “We had the inability to recognize if a guy is right-handed or left-handed and know which side of the floor to play him,” Sloan said. “That’s something you would learn as you advance in basketball and by the time you get to this level. We usually give them a sheet that has the players we play against and you’d think they could remember that.” … It wasn’t even that bad, though. The Jazz cut a 15-point deficit in the third quarter down to two in the fourth, and despite Chauncey Billups and Carmelo’s free-throw parade, were in it until Chauncey (29 pts, 17-19 FT) hit the dagger three with under a minute to go … Nice to see Ty Lawson back on the court, but after watching the Nuggets lately and watching North Carolina over the weekend, it’s clear UNC needs him like 200 times more than his pro team. Roy Williams and George Karl are tight; any chance they can work out some kind of loaner system? … OK, so nobody here expected Sundiata Gaines to parlay one game-winner into a starting job, but damn — TWO minutes of burn? … Do the Raptors schedule these weekend early afternoon games to get an advantage? If anybody feels like doing the research, we’d love to know Toronto’s record in Saturday/Sunday home games — they have to know just like everybody else that NBA players are creatures of habit, and no other team is accustomed to regularly waking up that early to play … The Mavs caught the Raps on one of their lunchtime tip-offs and got 20-pieced. Everything the Raps threw up was going in. Chris Bosh (23 pts, 13 reb) was on fire, and Andrea Bargnani (22 pts) was dropping H-O-R-S-E shots from 28 feet. Third quarter, Jarrett Jack drove the middle of the lane and got off a reverse layup from an impossible angle that put the Raps up by 14 after the and-one, and when Dirk Nowitzki got called for a tech on the other end and took a seat, that was pretty much it. By the fourth quarter, the Raptors were dancing on the bench like the Cavs … Looking a little light at the wing positions — with Michael Redd‘s busted knee and Joe Alexander‘s, um, being a bust — the Bucks are reportedly close to a deal with Jerry Stackhouse. The last time you probably heard from Stack, he was getting bought out by the Grizzlies over the summer. The last time you probably saw Stack, he was getting hammered on by John Wall. Can the 35-year-old actually bring something to the table for Milwaukee, or should Scott Skiles give Jodie Meeks a little more run and see what he can do? … We’re out like Romo …
Smack / Jan 18, 2010 / 6:35 am
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