By Ben Golliver
A lawyer for a woman who says Michael Jordan fathered her teenage son has withdrawn her paternity suit, but left open the possibility that it could be refiled. Attorney Randall Kessler said Monday that Pamela Smith "stands by the facts alleged in her original filing.'' Kessler says the lawsuit was withdrawn Friday without prejudice, meaning it can be refiled.
The fast-breaking Nuggets lead the NBA with 57.6 points in the paint, scoring 60 or more 27 times. In the NBA this season, the six-highest paint-point totals all came from the Nuggets, with 78 as their season-high. I’ve written this before, but it’s a fun fact to share again — Denver could very well finish with the highest average of paint points since the league started keeping that stat in 1996-97. Currently, the record is 54.1 by the 97-98 Lakers.
• Hawks guard Dahntay Jones continues to say that he meant no harm on a controversial play that saw Kobe Bryant wind up with a sprained ankle. His latest comments to The Dan Patrick Show via SportsRadioInterviews.com.
His take on the play that injured Kobe Bryant:
“It’s the same take as it was after the game. I just tried to make the best basketball play possible. At that point in time, my role was to try to get a stop for our team and I just tried to get close enough to contest the shot and try to make him see a body instead of having a wide open look at the basket.”
On his history with Kobe Bryant:
“We really don’t have a history. We had two incidents that happened in a playoff series but there have been many games in between there where nothing has happened, period. I have a lot of respect for him, his career and what he’s done. I don’t have any problems with him at all.”
It sounds like there is a little more to this with Kobe talking about revenge, doesn’t it?
“He’s a competitor and I guess in this situation he feels like he was wronged and he is upset about it. There’s no bad blood and there haven’t been any situations where we have gotten into it in any manner, except for the one incident in the Western Conference Finals.”
• There's been lots of booing lately -- Dwight Howard in Orlando, Carmelo Anthony in Denver, Raymond Felton in Portland -- over the last week. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban got into the act when Derek Fisher, who asked out of Dallas earlier this season and later signed with Oklahoma City, returned to the American Airlines Center on Sunday. ESPNDallas.com with the details.
"I'll just boo him like hopefully everybody else," Cuban said before the game.
Mavericks fans were on board, too. They booed Fisher when he entered the game with 1:45 left. They then cheered loudly 10 seconds later when the reserve guard was called for his first foul in Oklahoma City's eventual 107-101 win.
"My personality is to try to help somebody, particularly somebody that I thought one thing about, even if it didn't turn out to be that way," Cuban said. "So I was just trying to be nice and help. Usually when you help somebody, you expect at least some semblance of loyalty back. When you don't get it, then it's more disappointing. With his history, I shouldn't have been surprised what happened."
After being diagnosed a year ago, while playing abroad for Olin Edirne, a Turkish team about 125 miles from Istanbul, Wright came home and spent four months recovering and finding the right combination of medicine and treatment. He has been symptom-free since the initial attack, which often happens with so-called "relapsing/remitting" MS sufferers, and with continuing treatment, Wright may experience a partial or complete recovery where the disease does not progress any further.
"I was at practice, and I was running sprints," Wright said. "I was trying to touch the baseline. And I slipped. And I thought it was just, I must've tripped or did something. And as I was walking I felt that I was losing sensation [in his leg], and I had a little pain in my foot. So I went home that night, and my foot started ... it was like your foot going to sleep. And it just constantly felt like that. And I was getting pain from it. So I was like, whatever, and I just played it off. The next day, I got up, and I went in early to shoot, and I lost sensation, basically, on the whole right side of my body. I couldn't feel anything."
I’m pleased to report that the Raptor mascot, a top-five overall mascot, had a special all-green costume for St. Patrick’s Day and produced his usual home-run video skit. This one involved the Raptor encountering an annoying Heat “fan” in a couple of different situations and then committing some hilarious act of violence against that man. Scene one: Heat fan, wearing a Wade jersey, was holding a lit sparkler and blaring Queen’s “We Are the Champions” from a boom box when the Raptor happened along with an aluminum baseball bat. The Raptor then smashed the boom box with the bat, Office Space–style.
Scene two: The same Heat fan, wearing the same Wade jersey, happened to be in the Raptor’s yoga class (the Raptor goes to yoga in costume, naturally), and the fan had an irritating habit of sighing out his exertion/pleasure really loudly as he hit every pose. The Raptor expressed his annoyance with some exaggerated gesturing, but the Heat fan would not quiet down. In the next shot, the Raptor’s yoga mat was empty and a giant exercise ball suddenly flew from off camera and smacked the Heat fan in the face.
It can’t be said enough: Mascots are delightful.
Over the 22 games since Rondo went down, Pierce has grabbed 21.9 percent of all available defensive rebounds, while posting a staggering 7.2 defensive rebounds per game. That number puts him in the NBA’s top 20 for defensive rebounds per game since Jan. 27.
Those aren’t just elite small forward rebounding numbers. Those are elite numbers for any player in the league. In fact, over that stretch, Pierce has bested All-Stars like LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Durant, Chris Bosh and even LeBron James on the defensive glass.
“I just try to do what I can to help the team win. Whether it’s scoring, my rebounding, or my passing, I have ability. I try to be consistent with it every night I go out there,” Pierce said.
Now the league is in the business of public apologies on a somewhat regular basis. This ex-coach believes that does more harm than good. That’s in part because we live in a time when every fan base believes it’s ripped off by referees.
Remember that picture from a Halloween party, of San Antonio Spurs Tim Duncan and Tony Parker pointing toy guys at a Joey Crawford impersonator? That’s what makes this ex-coach queasy about the merits of the NBA reminding fans how fallible the referees are.
To use one of commissioner David Stern’s favorite words, it has a “corrosive” effect on the referees’ credibility. As an advocate for transparency, I’d love to give that ex-coach a counter-argument of my own. But I couldn’t. And that’s telling.
• Zach Harper of CBSSports.com pushes Marc Gasol for All-NBA first-team at center.
One big key is the durability. Could [Tim] Duncan play more minutes and not miss so many games with mysterious ailments that might incur a fine? I bet he could. The Spurs are very intelligent with how they manage their guys' minutes and, therefore, Duncan's durability gets put into question (possibly unfairly). Gasol is out on the court a lot more than Duncan is, and that definitely factors into everything for me.
However, the biggest reason why I'm giving Gasol the nod is his impact on the floor since the Grizzlies traded away Rudy Gay. Since Jan. 30, the Grizzlies have an offensive rating of 98.1 and a defensive rating of 109.3 when Gasol is on the bench. When he's in the game, the offensive rating improves to 105.1 and the defensive rating is a ridiculous 94.7. That's a net differential swing of 21.6 points per 100 possessions.
So the notion that the Bulls, playing without Rose most of the season, were going to get him back in February or March and magically challenge Miami was naïve and unrealistic to the point of being preposterous. It's something you would, well, stupidly believe in a bygone era, say the 1950s, when a great team could only be enjoyed by word of mouth or by reading the box score in the next day's newspaper. The Bulls, healthy and whole, couldn't beat Miami two seasons ago and the Heat are a demonstrably better and smarter team than they were two seasons ago.• Stephon Marbury will reportedly take an assistant coaching position for the Beijing Ducks during an upcoming intra-China tournament.