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As often happens, an alert fan gets all the credit.
Debbie Leaper sent this e-mail to me on Feb. 22:
...I'm wondering if you can answer a question I can't find an answer to. Where the heck is Steve Javie? I've not seen him referee games in months. Yes, I have the NBA ticket so I watch/peruse games regularly. And since I've been a fan since 9 years old (I'm a 53 y.o. female), I know/notice a few things. I appreciate your response. You probably know off the top of your head. Me, I probably missed that particular ESPN/TNT broadcast.
Actually, Debbie, I had no idea, either. As it turned out, after checking box scores throughout the month of January, it turned out you were exactly correct. Where the heck was Steve Javie -- who has, at 55, established himself as one of the best, if not the best, officials in the league?
Though fans never seemed to get over Javie's early years, when by his own admission he was a bit of a hothead (yes, he did work a game when Hoops, the Washington Bullets' mascot, was asked to leave a 1991 game, but Javie didn't throw Hoops out, which few people have gotten right over the years -- I know because I was the Bullets' beat writer at the time -- and Javie explains what really happened below), most coaches and GMs would acknowledge that Javie was now at the top of the game.
But ever since early December, Javie has not worked a game. And he may never work an NBA game again.
Javie's right knee is just about out of cartilage. Three days a week, he's rehabbing near his Philadelphia-area home, trying to coax a couple more years of running up and down the court out of it. But it's not getting any better. And if there isn't any improvement by the summer, the 24-year veteran who's done 18 Finals games and 190 playoff games will call it a career.
A knee injury could mean the end of Steve Javie's lengthy career as an NBA ref.
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images"It's tough," Javie said by telephone Friday; the league, which normally does not allow its referees to do interviews, made an exception, letting Javie talk about the last four-plus months he's spent on the sidelines.
"The regular season's one thing, obviously," Javie said. "With the rigors of the travel, by April, you're kind of, 'oh, my God.' But the playoffs are always that rejuvenation. It is tough. I watched a game like (Thursday) night in Boston, and you see the fans going crazy, and you just wish you were there. You're so used to that. And when Garnett throws that elbow up at Quentin Richardson (in Game 1 of the Celtics-Heat first-round series), you want to be in the mix.
"And that's the juice that we got ... the more intensity, the more times you want to be there. Sometimes it can be hard to watch because you wish you were there, but other times you just sit there and take it all in. I think you kind of appreciate it more when you don't have it there."
Several other veteran referees -- Mark Wunderlich (microfracture surgery), Joe Forte, Violet Palmer and Olandis Poole -- are out of the playoffs as well. But Javie's absence is the most obvious. He and Joe Crawford, his mentor, are at the top of the ref list, along with Finals veterans Danny Crawford, Ken Mauer and Joe DeRosa.
Javie's knee has been bothering him for the last few years; he's had it scoped a couple of times. The last two years, he's gotten it drained two times and gotten coritzone shots to get him through the postseason.
"Toward the end of last year, in the playoffs, it really started bothering me," he said. "I really couldn't wait until the end of the playoffs just to give it some rest. And I did give it rest at the end of the playoffs. But then when I started to work out again, it wasn't as good as it had been in the past, getting ready for this season. And it only took a couple of weeks before it really blew up again. Not only was it swelling up a lot, the pain was there too, where it was tough just getting off the elevator and getting to my hotel room."
An MRI determined that, like many players who've spent years running on hardwood, Javie's knee was almost bone on bone, in arthritic condition. He saw specialists in Philadelphia and New York. He looked into cartilage replacement from cadavers, but that would mean eight to 10 months of rehab, and Javie is only going to do this for another year or two even if he gets back on the court next year.
"There really isn't much they can do," he said. "There's nothing you can do arthroscopically, of course, because there's nothing to scope. And a couple of people suggested replacements of some sort. But once you have a replacement, whether it be partial or even a full one, they don't recommend running on it to the rigors of our job. So if I ever got a replacement it would be like the end of the road for me."
He's walking now, but the real test will come next month, when Javie will start running again, using an unloader knee brace that is designed to help keep the bones in the knee from rubbing against one another, which lessens the pain. The plan is to go every other day and see if the knee holds up. He wants to inform the league by mid-summer one way or another, so it can plan to replace him if he has to hang up his whistle.
During his rehab, Javie has maintained contact with the Philly Wing of the referee fraternity -- Crawford, Wunderlich, Ed Malloy and Mike Callahan.
"Joey's great," Javie said. "I think Joe is more devastated by this injury than I am. We joke about it, but it's like, 'Joe, can I do anything to make you feel better?' I try to console him instead of him consoling me. But it's the guys reaching out, either texting or calling, just asking how you're doing and so on. It means a lot."
Sitting in the bar, or on the 19th hole, or in his living room like the rest of us, Javie hasn't missed a call in four months. But watching on TV only amplifies what referees always say: it's all about the angles. The referee on the court doesn't have a look straight down into the basket via a camera placed on top of the backboard to determine whether there was offensive basket interference; they don't have five monitors of replays to look at over and over again. Nor do they have the benefit of time.
"My dad never criticized another official," Javie said. "He just said, 'you didn't have the angle this guy had.' He's making a judgment from the angle he has on the court. And that's what makes it so challenging. I'm not complaining about it. That's what gets us going, the fact that it's such a challenging job, and we're under such scrutiny, and I know sometimes we don't like the scrutiny. But that leads to even more of a challenge, to be as perfect, or as good as you can get every night."
That march toward perfection has sometimes left Javie walking things back. He's had celebrated run-ins with Pat Riley, and Allen Iverson, among others, over the years. (You ref for 24 years, you're going to have a few dustups.) The most infamous was early in his career, five years into his NBA job (he'd started as a baseball umpire after a nascent career as a pitcher stalled in the minors, then shifted to basketball, working his way up through the CBA). In April, 1991, Javie was working a Washington-Portland game at the old Capital Centre in the fourth quarter with officials Don Vaden and Bill Spooner when, as then-Blazers coach Rick Adelman said afterward, "all hell broke loose."
As Javie allows now, "I don't think we (the three referees) had 10 years between us."
It started when Bullets guard Darrell Walker argued a non-call in the fourth quarter, screaming at Javie -- who threw him out with one technical. Soon after, Washington center Pervis Ellison caught the ball as it was coming out of the basket after a Portland field goal and tossed it toward Spooner. Hard. Spooner had no reaction, but Javie came crosscourt and tossed Ellison. That brought Washington coach Wes Unseld onto the court; Javie T'd him up twice and ran him, making four techincals and three ejections in the span of one minute, 14 seconds.
Here's where Hoops came in. The Bullets called timeout, and during the break, Hoops, the team's mascot during its Bullets days, spent that time gesturing to the crowd, egging it on to rain abuse down upon the officials -- which it gladly did.
"Donnie Vaden called me over and said 'Steve, the mascot's making fun of us behind your back,' " Javie said. "It was late in the fourth quarter. And I walked over to Dolph (Sand, the Wizards' game-night host) and I said 'Dolph, can you do me a favor' -- I'm grabbing a drink of water -- I said 'can you just make sure that the mascot doesn't come on the floor any more tonight?' Just like that. It wasn't like I threw him ... and all of a sudden, Dolph's getting security, saying 'he's outta here, get him out,' and I'm looking at it going 'holy (bleep), what the hell is happening now?'
"It went from I'm trying to be as subtle as I can to now, I threw him out. I'll never forget what Joey said. He said 'you know what, Steve? This might be the best thing that ever happened to you. These players think you're crazy now.'
"The next night, Reggie Miller, in the warmup line, looks at me and said 'a mascot?' I just shrugged my shoulders and said 'what can you do?' "
The son of an NFL back judge -- Stan Javie, who worked 29 years and made four Super Bowls, working Super Bowl XIV in 1980 in his next-to-last season -- Steve Javie would like to go out while it's still his decision, like his dad.
"The league still wanted him to go another couple of years," Steve Javie says. "I think he was always thinking more about his ability to officiate, that he would lose it in a couple of years. He wanted to go out while he still could officiate. We all know how it is. You see it: 'he stayed too long,' and 'when are you going to get rid of him?' I think if you have any kind of pride in yourself, in your job, you don't want people talking that way about you at the end, that you're just lingering on just to collect a paycheck."
If this is the end for Javie, he would like to stay affiliated with the NBA in some capacity, but wherever he winds up, he hopes it's a place where he can help train younger officials, just as Jack Madden and Jake O'Donnell and Darrel Garretson and Crawford did for him when his career was getting started. And he hopes his valedictory as a referee is a simple one.
"I guess the main thing, and Joey's the one that instilled this in me, and my father instilled it in me, too, was the fact that when I walked on the court in a big game, that both coaches looked at me, and the players, and said 'we have a fair shake tonight,' " Javie said. "That's the key. I'm not there to be liked. Sometimes, that's the problem. As a human being, we all want to be liked. But I'd rather be known as the official that went out there, and everybody out there said 'I have nothing to worry about. I'm getting a fair shake whether home or away. Let's just play the game.' "
Top O' the World, Ma!
(Second round/conference finals playoff edition)
1) Boston (3-0): Biggest turnaround in public perception in Beantown since the Big Dig ended. Doesn't hurt that the Bruins went off a cliff, either.
2) Phoenix (DNP-sweep): Having Robin Lopez back will be huge against the Lakers, but the Suns need Stoudemire to play as big against Los Angeles as he did against San Antonio.
3) L.A. Lakers (1-0): Red flag to a repeat: Bynum says his knee got worse during a week when Lakers didn't play.
4) Orlando (1-1): Cavs fell to pieces when they faced adversity against Boston. Let's see if the Magic is a little tougher mentally after getting slapped around Sunday.
5) Utah (0-1): Gone Fishin', but the Jazz have a lot of different directions they can go in this summer. I wouldn't worry about Utah as long as Kevin O'Connor and Jerry Sloan are still in charge.
6) Cleveland (0-2): Gone Fishin', and who knows what this franchise will look like on opening night next fall?
7) Atlanta (0-1): Gone Fishin', and looking for a new coach.
8) San Antonio: Gone Fishin', and committed to one more year of paying luxury tax, so Spurs can be as active in trades as they want to be this offseason.
9) Chicago: Gone Fishin', but the Bulls move up on LeBron Speculation.
10) Oklahoma City: Gone Fishin'.
11) Denver: Gone Fishin', but George Karl tells the Denver Post he's hopeful he'll be back on the bench next season.
12) Portland: Gone Fishin'.
13) Dallas: Gone Fishin'.
14) Milwaukee: Gone Fishin'.
15) Charlotte: Gone Fishin'.
16) Miami: Gone Fishin', but drops a spot as Chicago becomes a primary opponent for James.
Team of the Week
(Second round/conference finals playoff edition)
Celtics (3-0): Masterful in their planning, astonishing in their execution against Cleveland, and that effort and intensity carried over to Sunday's Game 1 win in Orlando. Every teams knows how it wants to defend James; make him a jump shooter, build a wall, blah, blah, blah. It's a little harder to carry out when he's in front of you with the ball. But Boston pulled it off, with Kevin Garnett seemingly everywhere. Boston's old heads beat the Cavaliers to just about every loose ball, and Rajon Rondo controlled the series. Sunday was more of the same -- great defense on the ball, great help, great rotations -- against the Magic, as Kendrick Perkins and Rasheed Wallace played outstanding low-post defense against Dwight Howard.
Team of the Weak
Cavaliers (0-2): The light and heat of the playoffs is searing, but illuminating. Antawn Jamison had a target on his back all series, attacked by Garnett, Wallace, Glen Davis and anyone else the Cavs tried to hide him on defensively. Mo Williams got off the deck in Game 6 but lost a lopsided decision to Rajon Rondo. J.J. Hickson piled up DNPs; Anderson Varejao was MIA. Mike Brown's adjustments were way too late. LeBron? Who knows? It's telling that the most consistent Cleveland player -- not the best, but the one whose performances didn't fluctuate wildly -- in the series was 38-year-old Shaq, who's been in a postseason game or two (hundred and fourteen). Nobody died when the Cavs lost, but an entire city is paralyzed.
Nobody Asked Me, But ...
How tough is it when you're not a Lottery pick?
We all know that Tuesday will determine the order of the top 14 picks in next month's Draft. For those players, their lives should be set; they'll make millions of dollars and have the chance to make millions more if they play to their perceived capabilities. But there are a couple hundred seniors and underclassmen who are Draft-eligible, and there are only 60 slots available. With most teams starting their workout schedules this week, the next month and a half will be a blur for the vast majority of college players that are hoping to catch one team's eye.
"I really had trouble sleeping last night," University of Maryland forward Landon Milbourne said last week, after his first workout for the Wizards. Milbourne was one of six players Washington brought to Verizon Center for a two-plus hour workout; like most teams, the Wizards brought in a couple of guards, a couple of wing players and a couple of big men so that each would have someone to work against.
Milbourne has long odds to be drafted by an NBA team. He's making the transition to being a perimeter player again after he played inside for Maryland the past two years. His Terrapins teammate, guard Greivis Vasquez, the ACC's Player of the Year, is likely to be drafted, as is his training partner, Louisville forward Samardo Samuels. But Milbourne, like so many others, has had the NBA dream since he first started playing, more than a decade ago. It's hard to give up.
"In the locker room, I just couldn't keep still," Milbourne said. "I just kept going to the bathroom, trying to stretch, whatever. Just trying to do something. I couldn't stay still. It was a pretty good experience and I'm glad I got this one under my belt. I went to sleep at like 2 and I woke up at like 5:30. I didn't really get that much sleep. Hopefully it didn't affect my play. But I was really excited."
Learning a new position, or mastering an old one, is one way that borderline guys can show teams they're versatile enough to take a second look.
"Just being able to show teams that I am an NBA point guard," said Donald Sloan, a first-team All-Big 12 selection from Texas A&M who had to play most of this past season at shooting guard when the Aggies started running out of bodies. Most mock drafts don't have Sloan being selected, but he is determined to prove them wrong.
Texas A&M guard Donald Sloan is trying to prove to NBA brass he's a capable floor general.
Jamie Squire/Getty Images"I can run a team," Sloan said. "I can run sets. I can do this. That's pretty much the only thing that I really think that I'm coming into these workouts to do. They know everything else that I can do, finishing, creating ... you get in situations where you're playing three-on-three, and you have to make good decisions. I think that's pretty much what they look at. Then you have things like Portsmouth (Invitational Tournament) that they go and look at. You have all these different drills and techniques they kind of critique you at, to see if you're pretty much an NBA visionary point guard. I felt pretty good about those things. I think I did pretty well."
Many of the pre-Draft tournaments and workouts favor guards, because they handle the ball so much, and because there's just more good guards than there are bigs. Sloan took advantage with a strong performance at the PIT, where his team took the championship.
"I'm meeting with all these agents," Sloan said, "and they're like 'you're under the radar. Teams know what you can do. They think you're a second-round guy and you can do this to help yourself, but you're really going to have to play well at Portsmouth.' I really didn't want to have to go to Portsmouth. But at the same time I wanted to go just to prove it to everybody. Getting there and seeing all the high-caliber college players that were there, I was like, 'if I get in here and stink it up, that's it. I might as well just go sit down.' But the first game I played with a lot of confidence. And I had a great team. Those guys really bought into winning three games."
The highest prospect at the Washington workout was probably South Florida junior guard Dominique Jones, currently projected as a late first or early second-round pick (the Wizards have the last pick in the first round from the Antawn Jamison trade and the fourth pick, 34th overall, in the second round). Jones bulled his way onto the NBA radar with a couple of huge Big East games, scoring 47 against Providence and 29 at Georgetown in an upset of the Hoyas. He finished second in the conference in scoring (21.4 per game) and got the Bulls close to the NCAA Tournament.
"People look at me as a scorer," he said. "I'm going to bring a team more than just scoring. Coming from the one (point guard), getting other guys involved, getting assists, rebounding, playing good defense. I'm going to bring a team more than just being a scorer...people are talking about first-round bubble. Before they was talking about not even being drafted, Europe, things like that. I want to be in the top 15. That's just where my motivation has taken me. I'm always confident and I'm never satisfied."
Jones worked out for the Celtics last week, was going to San Antonio Saturday, to Chicago on Sunday and Indiana on Monday. Such is the life of a non-Lottery prospect. Have itinerary, will travel.
"In the long run, I'm going to be a great player," Jones said. "You're going to look back, 10 or 15 years from now, and be like, 'you know, that Dominique Jones was the steal of the draft.' "
... And Nobody Asked You, Either
In Athens, they say "It's all Latin to me." From Nikolas Melissaris:
...I am reading your articles since 2005 and i think of you as one of the most well-informed columnists. I guess, though, you need to do a bit more searching on Greek basketball. Olympiacos hasn't won a national title since 1997, while its arch rival, Panathinaikos, has won 13 championships in the last 14 years and four European titles during that span. In total, Panathinaikos counts 30 national titles while Olympiacos counts the grand total of ... nine.
My mistake, Nikolas. You are absolutely correct about the dominance of Panthinaikos; I was referring to Olympiacos's appearance this season in the Euro Final Four when I said they were Greece's top club team. I didn't mean historically, though that's obviously how it sounded. My bad for not making that clearer.
Do you remember "The Odd Couple?" From Brian Caughel:
How do you see Ricky Rubio fitting in on the current Minnesota roster (assuming it stays the same)? I think Johnny Flynn could be running the point quite well by then .... will they share the job?
Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty ImagesDavid Kahn insisted last year that Ricky and Flynn could play together. I doubted it then, and I doubt it now, even though Rubio has improved his jumper this season in Barcelona, and his team went on to win the European Final Four championship. And what if the Wolves get the first pick in Tuesday's Lottery? Can they afford not to take John Wall, even though Evan Turner is going to be a great player and probably a better fit for their team? Still a lot of questions in 10K Lakes.
I also misplaced my wedding ring and the coupons for half-off entrees at TGI Fridays. From Avaas Sharif:
In your playoff MVP watch, I think you forgot to list Rondo. His team is still in the hunt for a ring and he's convincingly leading his team with about 18 points, seven rebounds and 11 assists a game. Those are some solid numbers to be averaging through a series-and-a-half. You should probably put him fourth behind LeBron, Kobe and Dwight. Deron Williams, despite his nastiness, needs to get bumped off cuz clearly hes not getting the W's.
You complain, I react. See below, Avaas.
As always, send your column critiques, draft questions and snark to email@example.com. If you write it (first and last name, please), and we like it, we just might print it. You've been warned.
Playoffs MVP Watch
1) Kobe Bryant (1 game: 32 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, .478 FG, .833 FT): Can only imagine that a week off and the prospect of getting back to the Finals -- plus having to again explain that inexplicable Game 7 performance against Phoenix in '07 -- has made Bryant healthy and ornery. A bad combination for the Suns.
2) Rajon Rondo (3 games: 15 ppg, 3 rpg, 9 apg, .541 FG, .400 FT): Dominant against the Cavs, controlilng the pace and tempo of four of the six games, knowing when to get others involved and when to take over himself. Magic got into him more on Sunday, but he still hit a couple of those back-breaking scoops in the second half.
3) Dwight Howard (2 games: 13 ppg, 10 rpg, 4.5 bpg, .533 FG, .556 FT): A sublime 21 and 13 average in the sweep of the Hawks, which wasn't even really competition. But on Sunday, against Perkins and Wallace, Howard got pushed off his favorite spots and spent too much time complaining to the referees instead of re-setting himself in the post and going to work. He has to play through the contact.
4) LeBron James (2 games: 21 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 8.5 apg, .314 FG, .750 FT): They may write books about exactly what happened to James against the Celtics. And we may never really know. All we do know is that the James that ran roughshod through the regular season and won his second straight MVP award was not present in the crucial Game 5, and couldn't get out of his own way (nine turnovers!) in the decisive Game 6. So now...we all wait.
5) Steve Nash (DNP-sweep): At least the Nasty One's eye is looking a lot better.
Dropped out: Deron Williams
By the Numbers
127 -- Number of regular season games won by the Cavaliers the past two years, tied for the most in NBA history (along with the 2005-07) for a team that failed to win a championship in a two-year period.
29 -- Number of appearances, including this year, that the Lakers have made in the Western Conference finals since moving to Los Angeles in 1960. The longest the franchise has gone since its inception in Minneapolis in 1948 without a conference finals appearance is six years (1992-1998); by contrast, the Celtics have gone as long as 14 years, from 1988 to 2002, between conference finals appearances.
$55,000,000 -- Amount of money, according to a study released last week, that local businesses in Indianapolis would lose if the Pacers left town. The study was commissioned by the county board that owns Conseco Fieldhouse where the team plays; the Pacers are hoping to change the terms of their agreement with the city that calls for them to make an annual $15 million payment. If the existing deal isn't altered, the board has suggested that the team could move.
I'm Feelin' ...
1) I criticized LeBron when he walked off the court last year without congratulating the Magic after the Cavs lost the Eastern finals, and then didn't acknowledge the next day that he made a mistake. And so I give him major props for staying on the floor after losing the series to the Celtics and congratulating player after player. That is the mark of a champion -- not just soaking up the plaudits when you win, but standing tall when you lose. It's hardly a consolation, no doubt, but good for him.
Give LeBron James credit for atoning for one mistake in last season's playoff ouster.
Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images2) Jackie MacMullen, the longtime author and writer for the Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated, has been the gold standard for NBA reporters for 20 years. Joe Tait, the longtime radio voice of the Cavaliers is, without question, the second-biggest star in franchise history. They were named recipients of the Curt Gowdy Media Award last week by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which will be bestowed in August. There are not two more deserving people.
3) Tony Allen had a pretty doggone good series guarding the two-time MVP. Pretty good for a guy that was an afterthought in Doc Rivers's rotation at the start of the season. And pretty good for a guy that's going to be a free agent this summer, with one last chance to cash in before 2011.
4) Somebody needs to get off the dime and thin our analyst ranks at TNT by hiring Doug Collins and Mike Fratello ASAP. You know who they are and you know what they do and you know how much they'll cost. Stop negotiating and make it happen. They're too good to sit on the sidelines another year.
5) Ditto Dwane Casey, who deserves a chance to run a team that has a real chance to win this time. Atlanta would be good. But so would Chicago.
6) Thank you, Law and Order, for a great two-decade run. TV won't be the same without...well, you know.
7) Whenever Gary Smith writes about anything, stop what you're doing for a half hour and read it.
Not Feelin' ...
1) Of all people, I am aware that the demise of the Cavaliers and what it means for LeBron's future is a big, big story. (See above.) But aren't we all blowing this just a wee bit out of proportion? The Celtics' run to the conference finals is a tremendous story in its own right and has barely been mentioned in the last three days; the Suns aren't even on the radar. Somebody needs to save us from ourselves.
2) This was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek, I guess.
3) It's not so much that Mike Woodson got fired; six years is a great run these days in the NBA, and the Hawks were awful against Orlando. It's that his job security was always tenuous. He never had the kind of clout that comes with the salaries that even middle-of-the-road head coaches have been getting in recent years. That should have happened when he was extended two years ago.
4) Maybe the Heat isn't as certain about D-Wade's return as it says.
5) Couldn't this guy find a run somewhere on South Beach (video of the not-teenage phenom here)?
6) So, while BP, in the middle of the worst global economic freefall since the Great Depression, was raking in $14 billion in profits last year, there was no one in the company saying 'maybe we should think about what we're going to do if one of our rigs blows up, or is subject to a terrorist attack, or gets knocked over by a tsunami. 'Cause, you know, that never could happen. We're too smart to be surprised by acts of man or God. Our technology is too advanced http://www.oilrigdisasters.co.uk/ to have a disaster recovery plan in place. No one could possibly imagine such a thing happening today. Why would we possibly think a rig could explode ?
7) Sad to hear that the Pistons have parted ways with one of the longest-tenured, and best, PR guys in the league, Matt Dobek, who was very close to the late Chuck Daly and handled things for the family last year after the coach's death. Hope everything turns out okay for Matt and for the Pistons.
Tweet of the Week
What's good tweets!!So everybody is talking bout Lebron today..I'm telling u NOW that he's going to drag this out.He's not signing til AuGust.
-- Suns forward Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) -- our first repeat Tweeter of the year, I think -- Friday, 4:45 p.m., making a prediction that will not sit well with NBA reporters if it comes to pass.
They Said It
"I made it easy. I told her, 'you better root for the one you go home with.' "
-- Cavaliers guard Anthony Parker, taking his sister Candace, the star forward of the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks, off the hook of having to decide who to cheer for in the Cleveland-Boston series -- her older brother, or her husband, Sheldon Williams, the Celtics' reserve forward.
"Loyalty is something that hurts you at times because you can't get youth back."
-- Kevin Garnett, when asked if he understood what LeBron James is about to go through in free agency, having had to make a similar decision while in Minnesota. Garnett added that if he had it to do over again he would have forced a trade from Minnesota much sooner than he did, 13 years into his NBA career. Ouch.
"The best coach in the league, Gregg Popovich, didn't have a problem with it last week."
-- Steve Nash, firing back at Phil Jackson after Jackson said that Nash gets away with carrying the ball when he dribbles up court. Classic.
Longtime NBA reporter and columnist David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here and follow him on twitter.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting.