The Spurs erased a 14 point halftime lead en route to last night’s 92-84 win over Houston, but attention was still focused on Bruce Bowen’s funny habit of provided nice, soft feet for opposing jump shooters to land on, writes the San Antonio Express News’ Johnny Ludden.
When Bruce Bowen’s phone rang Sunday afternoon, he didn’t need to look at caller ID to know who was on the other end of the line: Stu Jackson, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball operations ” otherwise known as the league’s czar of discipline.
“With him,” Bowen said, “I have a bat line.”
Jackson told Bowen he wasn’t going to be fined for last week’s play involving New York’s Steve Francis. But he told Bowen a foul should have been called and he warned Bowen to watch his feet in the future.
The league has instructed officials this season to make sure players are allowed to “alight” or land after they shoot.
Jackson “said because of the things that have happened with me, I really need to be aware of the space I’m giving guys to come down,” Bowen said. “I said, ‘So, if they come down close to me, is that still an infraction on my behalf?’ He said no, but it’s a foul if they come down on top of you.
“I have no problem with that, but my only concern is if somebody comes close. What if somebody says, ‘Owww!’ Now do I get a foul?”
Houston coach Jeff Van Gundy (above) said he doesn’t think the plays in question were committed with malice.
“If he says that’s unintentional, who am I to question him?” Van Gundy said. “Some players, any time a guy competes hard against him, the first word they use is ‘dirty’. Because you know they don’t want to put as much effort into the game as a guy who competes hard.
“John Stockton, I always heard, was dirty. And I thought he just out-competes people. You have the little whiners who are running for cover anytime the game gets tough.”
Van Gundy couldn’t possibly have been referring to Stevie Franchise.
Declaring this year’s rookie crop as perhaps “the worst ever,” the New York Sun’s
Comic Book Guy John Hollinger, sighs “soon we abandon the idea of finding a rookie who can be the Next Jordan, because none of them even look like the next Otis Birdsong.”
Top overall pick Andrea Bargnani, despite arriving with solid pro experience gained in Italy, has played sparingly for the Raptors and done little to inspire confidence in his few minutes. Heading into yesterday’s games, he’s averaging 4.3 points a game and shooting 42.3%; he’s also played pitiful defense. In a recent Raptor game when fouls forced coach Sam Mitchell to go to the bench down the stretch, he opted for journeyman Kris Humphries and left Bargnani on the pine.
The no. 2 overall pick, LaMarcus Aldridge of the Blazers (above), was almost immediately discounted as a possible impact rookie after the team watched him over the summer. He missed the first five games following a shoulder injury and figures to spend most of the year caddying for Zach Randolph.
Third overall pick Adam Morrison’s shooting percentage is even uglier than his grooming, and that’s saying something. He’s at 32.4% from the floor and his secondary contributions ” 1.8 boards, 1.3 assists ” are embarrassingly low considering he’s averaging 30.3 minutes a game.
Fourth pick Tyrus Thomas had a nice dunk in the opener against Miami, then broke his nose and has done little since. He has nearly as many turnovers (4) as field goals (6) and is having trouble finding minutes on the deep Bulls roster.
Fifth pick Shelden Williams has a spot in Atlanta’s starting lineup, but only because Marvin Williams broke his hand. He’s been a disaster offensively, averaging 3.7 points a game and taking two free throws the entire season, but his muscle has at least helped one of the league’s weakest front lines.
If Peja Stojakovic went kind of insane last night against Charlotte, it’s not entirely unexpected. But what-the-fuck is going on in Salt Lake City? Not only have Utah gotten off to a 7-1 start, but last night’s beatdown of the Clips was accomplished on the backs of household names Paul Milsap, Ronnie Brewer, C.J. Miles and Deron Williams. Well, that and a combined 49 points from Matt Harpering and Mehmet Okur.