By Ben Golliver
"I was out six months. It takes time to get back," Howard said. "It wasn't like I worked out during those six months. I'm not in terrific shape, and it takes a while. You try not playing for six months and having back surgery and coming back playing. It's not something easy.
"I wasn't supposed to be playing until January. What do you expect?"
"I'm a bit of a psychopath," he told Smith. "I don't expect my teammates to have that level of concern. But I hope that they're feeling determined and not discouraged. This moment is where you have to dig deep and become more determined and say by any means necessary we're going to get this thing done, we're going to turn this thing around."
• Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy, who recently underwent yet another knee surgery, denied a report that he considered retirement this season, the Star-Tribune reports.
“No,” he said when asked about reports that he’d considered leaving the game again. “A few people asked me that, and I don’t pay attention much to the media. I don’t really read that stuff. But I don’t know where that could have come from. But no, I never thought about walking away. It was, for me, just do I want to go through another procedure or do I want to play through it. that was more my question than walking away.”
The vibe at the Air Canada Centre on Thursday morning after the conclusion of the Toronto Raptors practice was an odd one. With the team sitting at 4-19, there is a feeling that something is about to happen. Tension was in the air and words were carefully considered before being spoken.
According to multiple sources, a meeting of the Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment board took place on Thursday to discuss the state of the team.
DeMarcus, you have a real gift – you're one of the very select people in this country who get paid millions to play a game you love. So it's time to decide: Do you want to be remembered for how well you played the game – or for cheap shots, technicals, verbal outbursts and whining? If you were one of our 14-year-old twins, we'd take away your laptop, Xbox 360, cellphone and 3DS and make you do yard work every day until you changed your act.
Pachulia on flop warning: “It’s a rule so you have to respect the game, respect the rules. Honestly, my first reaction because I saw the elbow coming was just to try to get out of the way because I was so close. I wasn’t trying to flop there but if you look at the film it’s obvious it looks like I was flopping. I was just trying to get out of the way. If the elbow came, I would rather take the $5,000 fine than a broken jaw.
• Dan Devine at Ball Don't Lie ranks a bunch of game-winners and somehow "electricity" tops them all. • The Basketball Jones' Trey Kerby points out the brotherly love between Tyler Hansbrough and kid brother Ben after a minor on-court incident.