« December 2009 | Main | February 2010 »

January 29, 2010

Cap'n Jack meets the press

This was not your typical Charlotte Bobcats game-day shootaround. There were five television cameras, which is five more than usually show up, and five or six additional print reporters.

There was never a question as to why: This was Bay Area media's one opportunity pre-game to ask ex-Warrior Stephen Jackson about forcing his way out of Golden State. Prior to that, the only interview he gave about tonight's game was with me Tuesday, following the victory in Phoenix.

Jackson's comments Friday:

-- He absolutely believes the $200,000-plus he was fined for publicly asking for a trade was money well-spent (although he says he's still trying to get some of it back on appeal).

-- He doesn't mind being booed by Warriors fans tonight, but he wishes people better understood his motivation:

"When I retire, that's when it will stop,'' Jackson said of being booed in most NBA arenas. "I still get booed in Detroit (over the brawl). I get booed  in Indiana (over the strip-club incident). The only place I play where don't get booed is San Antonio (where) we won a championship.

"Everybody is not going to love you and a lot of people don't understand this business. If they understood the reason I wanted to leave, I think they would take a different outlook. I want to win, that's my whole attitude. It was no disrespect to the city, no disrespect to the team or the fans. I love it here. But I wanted to be somewhere where I could have a full worth of my game. I don't want to be out here giving my all, playing hurt, when winning is not the main objective.''

-- He has no beef with Warriors coach Don Nelson (he calls Nelson his "white father'') and plans to give Nellie a big hug tonight.

-- He thinks Warriors guard Monta Ellis was ripped off, not being named a Western Conference All-Star, but he understands it's hard to draw the coaches' vote if you're on a losing team.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 29, 2010 at 01:47 PM | Permalink | Comments (13)

January 28, 2010

Late Night with Dell Curry

Watching Steph play basketball might be the most natural thing Dell Curry does. But this time it will be different. This time he's obliged to pay just as much attention to the other nine players.

“It’s definitely going to be odd,'' Dell said Wednesday, when asked what it will be like to call Friday's Bobcats-Warriors game as a TV analyst. "It will be my fourth game watching him live (in the NBA). I tend to watch him, as opposed to watching the (whole) game. I won’t do that with a broadcast. But it’s going to be very difficult. I’ll be as professional as I can, but it’s my son. That would be tough for anybody.’’

There will be one distinct difference in Dell's on-air approach:

“Normally when I call a game, I call the opposing (players) by their last names. I’ll still call him Steph.’’

While the Bobcats stayed in Phoenix Wednesday and Thursday before flying on to the Bay Area, Dell flew ahead to Oakland to stay with Steph. I hung out with both of them for part of Wednesday to do a story for Friday's Observer.

Dell and Sonya Curry have been putting in some late nights this season, watching Steph's games, mostly on the West Coast.

“When I’m doing a broadcast in Charlotte. I’ll run home and usually catch the middle of the (Warriors') first quarter,'' Dell described. "I’ll watch the rest of the game and then I’ll go back (to watch what he originally missed). And then I can’t go to sleep (because) I’m all fired up. It makes for late nights and early mornings.

“And then, if we’re on the road, I’ll tape it and when I get home at 1:30 in the morning, I’ll watch the game. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.’’

Posted by Observer Sports on January 28, 2010 at 05:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

Wallace Bobcats' first All-Star

I just confirmed a Yahoo! report that Charlotte Bobcat Gerald Wallace has been selected by the Eastern Conference coaches to be an All-Star reserve. The Bobcats are still in Phoenix, practicing, but they'll hit the ground in San Francisco early-evening Eastern time, right about the time of TNT's official announcement.

I'll have plenty of Wallace quotes in tomorrow's Observer, along with a long profile of Charlottean Steph Curry as a Golden State rookie.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 28, 2010 at 03:28 PM | Permalink | Comments (53)

January 27, 2010

Bobcats' Jackson ready for boos

Charlotte Bobcat Stephen Jackson forced his way out of the Golden State Warriors, so he's not deluding himself about how he'll be treated in his return to Oakland Friday.

 "I know I'm going to get booed,'' Jackson told the Observer Tuesday night. "I was booed while I was playing there, so I know I'm going to get booed. But I won't pay any attention; I get booed in 15 (NBA) arenas. This won't be any different to me.''

Jackson pushed for a trade because he felt the Warriors weren't committed to winning. Wouldn't the fans understand that with all that's gone on since the Warriors upset the Dallas Mavericks in the playoffs a few seasons ago?

"Just some people are bitter. But that's part of the game,'' Jackson said. "It's not really going to be a factor of what the outcome of the game will be. This is about us being focused.'

"I'll be happy to see some of my old teammates -- my little brother Monta and coach (Don) Nelson. I'm there to get a win because that's what my team needs more than anything.''

Posted by Observer Sports on January 27, 2010 at 10:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (20)

January 26, 2010

Hill out, Dudley to start

Phoenix Suns small forward Grant Hill (bruised heal) will miss tonight's game against the Charlotte Bobcats and ex-Bobcat Jared Dudley will start in Hill's place, Suns coach Alvin Gentry just confirmed.

Dudley isn't as versatile or athletic as Hill, but he's one of the league's best 3-point shooters this season, making 46.7 percent of his attempts. Dudley came to the Suns in a trade last season, along with Jason Richardson, in the deal that acquired Bobcats power forward Boris Diaw.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2010 at 08:13 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

A sampling of Karl candor

 I wish George Karl was still in the Eastern Conference, just so I had more opportunity to talk basketball with him. He said some really interesting things in the pre-game media availability Monday, and they're worth passing on:

-- On the difficulty coaching J.R. Smith (who nearly was suspended for a bad attitude): "He can just light a team up. From the bench, very few teams have that.''

(So what's the problem?)

"Thinking he can play against three guys and then turning it over...Great players make the simple play 100 percent of the time. Great players make great plays, but greatness is in the consistency.''

-- On how, if you had a 15-year-old basketball prodigy, the best thing you could do is move him to Europe: "We're bankrupt (in the AAU system) in the fundamentals of skills.''

-- On how the game changed so dramatically when the NBA chose to strictly enforce the no-hand checking rule: "Steve Nash should send (David) Stern a kickback check. He's gone from a damn-good player to a Hall-of-Famer.''

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Brown sends a message to players

 Coaches, particularly at the major-league level, tend to be results-oriented. How many times have you heard Carolina Panthers coach John Fox hand out that "Stats are for losers'' line whenever his team lucks into a sloppy victory?

Larry Brown is different. He's process-oriented, figuring winning over time is a natural result of proper preparation and execution. That means there are times after losses when he'll defend his team and times after victories when he'll call them out.

Monday he called them out after a loss; to be precise, their third straight loss. It isn't three losses that bothers Brown so much as the patterns that have emerged. They look sloppy and selfish at both ends of the court. They're not passing like they were a week ago and they sure aren't playing the same team defense that made them look so much better collectively than they are individually.

Brown has an interesting way of sending messages sometimes. In his post-game comments, he complimented Nuggets coach George Karl for how well he's established a sense of team. Brown said it's easy to presume the Nuggets' success is all about talent when really their greatest strength is how willingly they give up the ball to each other.

I'm sure Brown meant that as a sincere compliment to Karl. I'm also sure Brown hoped those comments got back to his players and sent this message:

The Nuggets didn't just out-talent you, they'll out-thought you. Extract your heads from your butts.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2010 at 12:57 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

January 25, 2010

Chandler says he's pain-free

Charlotte Bobcats center Tyson Chandler says he's pain-free from the stress reaction in his left foot that has caused him to miss the last 15 games.

Chandler told me he hopes to practice sometime this week and there's at least an outside chance he could play at the end of the road trip or at least sometime next week. I'm sure he'd love to be back for the home game versus his former team, the New Orleans Hornets, Feb. 6.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 25, 2010 at 08:11 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)

Ajinca back to Bobcats? Maybe

I asked Charlotte Bobcats coach Larry Brown whether the team would revisit leaving Alexis Ajinca in the Development League, considering his two strong games of late.

Brown said they'd give some thought to that, but that he didn't want Ajinca sitting in Charlotte, versus playing for the Maine Red Claws. Brown indicated if Tyson Chandler (stress reaction in his left foot) is ready to play soon, that would impact whatever minutes might be available to Ajinca.

Ajinca has had two head-turning games of late -- a triple-double versus Austin (26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 blocks), followed by 27 points and 10 rebounds versus Bakersfield. Brown said assistant coach LaSalle Thompson would likely check in on Ajinca soon to monitor his progress

Since the D-League came up, I asked Brown if he had thought any about sending rookie Gerald Henderson for a stint there. Brown indicated Henderson wasn't particularly receptive to that option, but that the lottery pick is understanding about his limited playing time, behind Stephen Jackson and Flip Murray.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 25, 2010 at 07:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (17)

January 24, 2010

Melo says he's out versus Bobcats

Carmelo Anthony said Sunday he won't play against the Charlotte Bobcats, due to an ankle sprain suffered versus the New Orleans Hornets.

That's a huge break. I'm not sure anyone in the NBA gives the Bobcats more trouble than Anthony.

Posted by Observer Sports on January 24, 2010 at 09:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)