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Five best lefty NBA players of all time

April 19, 2014 | 07:21 PM ET Update

This marks the second time in less than two months that the NBA's drug program has drawn unwanted attention, as U.S. Anti-Doping Agency CEO Travis Tygart told ESPN in early March that it was "not at all" difficult to beat. Buchanan, in an interview with USA TODAY Sports, discussed his polar-opposite tenor of the unsatisfactory reviews and defended the league's system. "If you measure (the program) by the list of substances that we banned, the number of times that we test (six annually), the percentage of a season that you miss if you're penalized under the program, the labs we use, the processes we use, all that stuff is as good or better than the programs in the other leagues, but we've kind of been given a bit of a hard time about that," Buchanan said by phone. "And then we have a positive (testing) situation, and a penalty, and the questions then go in another direction, which is, 'Gee, isn't this harsh?...We can't seem to catch a break." USA Today Sports

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson said he didn't regret his now-famous "bull in the china shop" quotes regarding Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin said on a San Francisco radio station earlier this week. "At this point I don't really care. No regrets, it's fine," Thompson said Saturday before Game 1 of their first-round series at Staples Center. "When you step through those lines, nobody really cares what you said before. If you go out there and perform, that's all that really matters." ESPN.com

Much has been made of playoff experience in this series with the upstart Raptors whose starting lineup had played in a combined 22 playoff games before Saturday. Pierce and Garnett have played in 22 playoff games in a season before, and this was Pierce's 137th career playoff game. "I've been in those situations a number, number of times," Pierce said. "I don't get rattled in the fourth quarter down the stretch of playoff settings. I've been in pretty much every playoff situation that you can imagine. I just try to stay calm and bring my calmness to the game. "I think it's more gratifying than at home. I love those moments." USA Today Sports

Ujiri, the NBA's reigning executive of the year, apologized in a brief news conference at halftime, saying he'd made the "wrong choice of words" and was "just trying to get our fans going." Asked if the profanity represented his feelings about the Nets, who have been accused of tanking in order to face Toronto in the first round, Ujiri said: "You know how I feel. I don't like them, but I apologize." Macon Telegraph

Nets coach Jason Kidd, meanwhile, claimed not to have heard about either the controversial comments or Ujiri. "I don't even know who the GM is," Kidd said. Macon Telegraph

Waiters said the firing of Cavs General Manager Chris Grant the first week in February really affected him. “That’s a guy who took a chance on me, a young kid like myself coming from where I come from,” he said. “He made my dream come true. You never want to see (anybody) get fired. He’s got a family. You’ve got to feed your kids. What could we have done differently? Did it take him getting fired for us to start playing the way we did? You never know. I know I took it hard because if we’d have been taking care of business like we were supposed to the beginning of the season, he would still be here.” Morning Journal

The Virginia Beach metropolitan area is one of the largest in the country without a major professional sports team, and numerous attempts to lure one here have repeatedly left sports fans in the area disappointed. The area's most recent flirtation with the NBA was rebuffed just last year after a deal to get the Sacramento Kings to relocate fell apart after plans to build them an arena and pay for their moving expenses didn't come to fruition. WTVA

Blake Griffin fouled out of today’s Warriors-Clippers game, and he had a legitimate right to be upset about at least the last two foul calls. In his incredulity, he raised his arms and splashed his cup of water all over the Golden State fan sitting in the first row behind him. It’s probably going to remain a mystery for the rest of time as to whether or not the incident was intentional. The Big Lead

After driving Dwight Howard’s white Ferrari to Saturday’s practice, and having thoroughly enjoyed the ride, Chandler Parsons was willing to go along with the deal to stay behind the wheel. Parsons joined several Rockets teammates Omri Casspi, Troy Daniels and Howard in getting what Jeremy Lin called “half Mohawks.” Howard, however, noticed — and Parsons agreed — that Parsons’ cut really was not very different from what he has worn before. “Dwight wanted everybody to get Mohawks. Somehow I snuck away and got the same exact haircut I’ve had all year. He’s going to make me do it shorter.” Houston Chronicle

Howard quickly corrected the assumption that he was giving away cars and did not say if other teammates would be driving Dwightmobiles. Parsons’ SUV was in need of repairs after a driver ran a red light and hit his car outside Toyota Center last week. (The driver also asked for his autograph). “I didn’t give away a car,” Howard said. “I just let him borrow my car for the playoffs. I didn’t actually buy Chandler a Ferrari for a Mohawk. That would be crazy. Not that nice. I love Chandler to death, but I worked hard for that car. “They got to get (the haircut) like James’ to be considered a Mohawk. Chandler has to get his closer to Birdman.” Houston Chronicle

“Everyone in the league knows about her,” said Caron Butler, a 12-year N.B.A. veteran who stayed at the Skirvin many times before he joined the Thunder this season. “Hopefully, she’ll haunt all the teams that come for the playoffs.” The legend holds that Effie was a housekeeper during the early years of the Skirvin, a luxury downtown hotel, before its 10 brick floors were expanded to 14 in 1930. W. B. Skirvin, the hotel’s widowed owner, supposedly had an affair with Effie and, when she became pregnant, ordered her to stay locked inside a room on an upper floor, even after she had the baby. At some point, the story goes, Effie went crazy, grabbed the baby and jumped, killing herself and the child. New York Times

Large men unafraid of attacking the lane, diving headfirst into the seats or lobbing pressure-packed shots shudder at the mere thought of Effie. More important, perhaps, they lie awake the night before a game, their prescribed rest undone by phantom pains. Is it any wonder that the Thunder had the league’s second-best home record? In the past few seasons, the Knicks blamed creaks and groans for a sleepless night before a loss. A Bulls player could not explain why his bathroom door slammed shut. A member of the Phoenix Suns woke to find his bathtub filled with water. New York Times

“I don’t think Effie exists,” said Steve Lackmeyer, a reporter for the newspaper The Oklahoman who co-wrote a book, “Skirvin,” about the hotel’s colorful history. That past includes the mysterious death of its first general manager, but years of research have found no record of a housekeeper named Effie, or of any housekeeper who leapt to her death, with or without a baby. “If you had a maid suffer a bloody ending, it would not have been kept quiet,” Lackmeyer said. “This was a small town.” New York Times

His teammate Eddy Curry said he slept just two hours one night. He was the only player assigned to the supposedly spooky 10th floor, and he spent most of his time in Nate Robinson’s room, afraid to be alone. “I definitely believe there are ghosts in that hotel,” Curry told The Daily News, which illustrated its article with a photograph not of the Skirvin but of the Bates Motel. New York Times

Weeks later, Chicago’s Taj Gibson said that his bathroom door at the Skirvin had slammed in the middle of the night for no reason. His teammate Derrick Rose was among the Bulls who heard strange bangs and bumps and became a believer. “It was scary last night,” Rose said. New York Times

Employees know all about the legend, though, greeting inquiries with a smile. (The hotel is known for its service, after all.) Some laugh it off as nothing but a story; others insist it is true. One banquet worker said she sometimes heard a crying baby, mostly in the basement or on the 10th and 14th floors. It is not scary, she said, because it is something she only hears, not sees. New York Times

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE? USA TODAY Sports Images

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

April 19, 2014 | 04:36 PM ET Update

Regardless of how this series turns out for the Bobcats, what’s the upside for this team considering the salary cap room, the number of draft picks and securing a head coach in Steve Clifford? A: I would say the future is bright and I think it started with the Al Jefferson deal, a deal a lot of people questioned. He’s given them an anchor on their front line offensively, especially on a team that doesn’t shoot it well. I like Kemba Walker. I think he’s definitely a guy that he will be a guy you can rely on to be the starting point guard for many years to come. Charlotte Observer

The regular season is in the books and the Nets are ready to start their expedition to a championship for the second straight year. Through all the agony and doubt in the early season due to poor play, to the rejuvenation of this Nets team in the year 2014, we've finally made it to game one of the NBA playoffs. Who better to play in the first round, than the Atlantic Division-champions, Toronto Raptors. The Nets began this best of seven series, Saturday afternoon against the Toronto Raptors, winning 94-87, in a tightly contested battle the entire way. The game was tied in the fourth quarter, but on the backs of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, and some big shots from Paul Pierce, the Nets notched a huge road victory. NetsDaily

On Wednesday, the coach said he'd like a resolution on whether he will return next season as soon as possible. "I think it's been enough said about my job all year with you guys," he said. "Hopefully, soon I'll know my destination in terms of where I'm going to be." Earlier Friday on "SportsCenter," ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Woodson would prefer that Jackson reach out to his agent if he's going to fire him rather than having a face-to-face meeting to inform him that he's being let go. ESPN.com

The opening game of the NBA playoffs was meant to display the best the league has to offer. Instead, it ended up with a goofy technical malfunction that turned the end of Saturday's Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and Brooklyn Nets into a goofy scene. Approximately halfway through the third quarter at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, both shot clocks malfunctioned and turned off, forcing a stoppage in play. Arena workers and technicians attempted to install portable clocks at the corners of the court, but those didn't work either. So, with the break in play stretching on, they decided to resort to a decidedly more analog solution. Public address announcer Herbie Kuhn informed the players and crowd when the shot clock had reached 10 seconds, then five seconds, and then counted down to zero from there. Except, when the shot clock expired, there was no horn — he just said "horn." Yahoo! Sports

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April 19, 2014 | 02:49 PM ET Update

Casey will be on the shortlist of candidates for coach-of-the-year for helping the Raptors pull out of what looked like a fatal nosedive early in the year and earn the Raptors home court in the first round. A big factor was his ability to connect with Lowry, of course the Raptors point guard had to be willing after clashing with coaches at Villanova University, the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets and even last season under Casey at times. ”I was a young kid, a stubborn kid, a hard-headed kid, very closed, never opened up to anybody, a kid who never thought he needed help from anyone,” said Lowry, who turned 28 last month. “And I was wrong. I grew up.” SportsNet

The points were driven home at a sit down on the eve of training camp with MLSE minority shareholder Larry Tanenbaum, president and chief executive officer Tim Leiweke and general manager Masai Ujiri. “Everything got put on the table, to be honest,” says Lowry. We all showed our hands, spoke honestly and that was that. “I told him I could play for him and he could coach me. That was a big thing for both of us: he coaches, I play and that’s it.” SportsNet

According to the Mayo Clinic's website, Tamoxifen blocks the effects of the estrogen hormone in the body and is commonly used to treat breast cancer in men and women. In the sports world, it's more commonly used to reduce the side effects of steroids. In June of 2012, free agent outfielder Marlon Byrd was suspended 50 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for Tamoxifen. But Calathes, who is filing a grievance on the ruling, said in a statement to USA TODAY Sports that he didn't take the substance to gain any sort of edge. "I deeply regret my actions and apologize to my teammates and the organization for my poor judgment," Calathes said by phone. "Let me be clear: I never took any medication whatsoever for a performance-enhancing reason. I don't agree with this outcome, and I will come back a better player and person when I return." USA Today Sports

Andray Blatche said the other day he knows what the competition will be like for the Philippines at the FIBA World Cup in Spain on Aug. 30-Sept. 14 and no matter the odds, the 6-11 center promised to leave it all on the floor for Gilas. “I’m excited,” said Blatche who’s averaging 11.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 22 minutes for the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA this season. “I can’t wait to visit the Philippines. I’m looking forward to training camp. I can’t believe how many Filipinos have come up to me asking about the national team. I’ll do my best out there. I know Marcus (Douthit). I also know the guys we’ll be playing against like (Manu) Ginobili and (Luis) Scola of Argentina. I expect to be ready to play in Spain.” philstar.com

One of Loyer's bigger challenges internally was keeping point guard Brandon Jennings engaged after Cheeks was fired. Jennings regarded Cheeks as a father figure and as he failed to adapt after the change, Loyer found himself turning more to backup Will Bynum, one of several Pistons who later ended the season injured. Booth Newspapers

Loyer said he ultimately went to Jennings to encourage the guard to rediscover joy in the game. He said he appreciated how Jennings responded. "Any time you have a coaching change, any time you have a management change, it's going to affect different guys in different ways," Loyer said. "It's your job as a coach to kind of figure out who it's affecting, either adversely, or whether it's someone you need to help a little bit to get back on path. "There are some guys who are affected by both things (the Cheeks firing and, earlier this week, the reassignment of former team president Joe Dumars), so you try to get them back on path. I thought Brandon, the path he has taken is a winning-type path, and I've really enjoyed coaching him." Booth Newspapers

Accordingly, we learned yesterday that Tulsa businessman, and certified billionaire, George Kaiser has been approved by the NBA Board of Governors to become a new partner in The Professional Basketball Club, LLC, the limited partnership which owns the Oklahoma City Thunder. The Chairman and CEO of the team Clayton I. Bennett made the announcement today. Kaiser is buying out the ownership interest of a selling partner, Thomas Ward. “We are honored to welcome George Kaiser as a member of the ownership group of the Oklahoma City Thunder,” Bennett said. “George is a well-respected and important Oklahoma business leader, as well as one of the state and nation’s top philanthropists. His commitment to successful business and community leadership is in true alignment with that of the Thunder.” Jewish Business News

Raptors general manager Masai Ujiri made an appearance at the team’s “Party in the Square” outside Air Canada Centre on Saturday as Toronto prepared to host the Brooklyn Nets in the team’s first playoff game since 2008. Thousands gathered in Maple Leaf Square to celebrate and watch the 12:30 p.m. game between Brooklyn and Toronto on the ACC’s giant outdoor screen. Ujiri, hired in May 2013 to lead the Raptors back to respectability following a long post-season drought, was not mincing words when addressing the feverish crowd. National Post

Ujiri addressed the media at halftime. “I apologize. I used wrong choice of words out there. This thing is really not about me. It’s about the players and the playoffs. So, just trying to get the crowd out there rattled. Wrong choice of words. I apologize to kids out there and to the Brooklyn guys. Nothing against them. Trying to get our fans going, that’s it.” For The Win

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE? USA TODAY Sports Images

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

April 19, 2014 | 10:03 AM ET Update

Charlotte shooting guard Gerald Henderson, who played with him at Duke, observed what makes McRoberts' approach distinctive. "When most players hear, 'Participate in the offense,' that means score," Henderson said. "With Josh, it's about figuring how we can all perform better at that end of the court. He could score more, but that's not a priority. He knows what he's good at and he practices that very well." ADN.com

Casey worked for Kentucky basketball coach Joe B. Hall during some of his summers, something that wouldn’t be allowed by today’s NCAA rules but was permitted in the 1970s. “I would work on coach Hall’s tobacco farm, cutting tobacco, putting it on sticks, and hanging it in the barn,” Casey said. “I had to find work. I knew I wasn’t getting money from home.” Toronto Globe & Mail

The Pistons went on to win their first NBA championship that season, then repeated the feat in 1990, and the rest was history – or was it? “That was 25 years ago, yet you sound today just as angry as you were 25 years ago,” Dery told Dantley. “Is that accurate?” “Well yeah; I mean, It’s not that I’m angry, it’s just that there’s no need for me to get involved with that,” Dantley responded. “Yes, I guess you could say that I’m just the way as I was 24 or 26 years ago.” Boston Herald

In the “Bad Boys” documentary, Jack McCloskey, the Pistons’ general manager at the time, denied that Thomas had a say in moving Dantley to Dallas. Dantley argues he did. “Of course (McCloskey’s) going to say what he had to say,” Dantley told Dery, then later said: “If I was kissing Isiah’s ass, I would have never got traded.” Boston Herald

Later in the radio interview, Dery jokingly asked Dantley if he thought Thomas should be the next Pistons president and general manager after former “Bad Boys” teammate Joe Dumars stepped down as president of basketball operations earlier this week. “Con man,” he replied. “He has a way of tricking people, and he tricked a lot of people.” Boston Herald

BUZZ METER: WHO'S TRENDING IN THE NBA TWITTERSPHERE? USA TODAY Sports Images

Who's the man of the minute in the NBA Twittersphere? Find out here who's getting the most mentions at any given moment.

   

April 19, 2014 | 06:12 AM ET Update

After the NBA suspended Memphis Grizzlies guard Nick Calathes for 20 games because of a positive test for a banned substance, the players union's acting director called the banishment "a true injustice." The banned substance -- Tamoxifen -- was part of an athletic supplement that Calathes had been using, sources said. "This discipline is a true injustice," NBPA acting executive director Ron Klempner told Yahoo Sports late Friday night. Yahoo! Sports

"Our collectively bargained program failed this player and this case will certainly be recalled when we return to the bargaining table," Klempner told Yahoo Sports. "In the meantime, we'll file an appeal and allow the process to run its course." NBA lab results found no traces of synthetic testosterone or performance-enhancing drugs, and as one source told Yahoo Sports, "There was no intent, nor advantage gained here." Tamoxifen is also on the Major League Baseball and International Olympic Committee's banned substance list, because it has shown to be a masking agent that reduces the side effects of steroid use and increased testosterone production. The drug is generally used in treatments for breast cancer in women. Yahoo! Sports

Two days after Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson called out Clippers star Blake Griffin for flopping and playing out of control, L.A. coach Doc Rivers said he wants Griffin to keep doing what he's been doing this season, even if that includes flopping. "That's Klay's opinion; I don't really care," Rivers said Friday. "I just keep looking at what Blake's done. If he's flopping, then keep doing it because those numbers look awful good to me. So flop on. That's the way I look at it. Whatever he's done this year, I want him to keep doing exactly that. When the votes come for MVP, he'll be in the top three. "I'm good with anything anybody says. Blake, you just keep doing what you're doing. What's happening is Blake is kicking a lot of people's butts and they need something to say about him." ESPN.com

Griffin didn't want to get into a war of words with Golden State but acknowledged it would be impossible to leave his emotions behind when the Clippers and Warriors open their Western Conference first-round series Saturday. "I don't think you can leave the emotions behind," Griffin said. "I think both teams need that to a certain extent. You can't be too emotional where it's affecting your play, but you have to play with some emotion. You can't take that out of the game." ESPN.com

To understand the impact and influence Tyrone Green had on Joakim Noah, just go back to Noah's 2007 draft night. Wearing seersucker, a bow tie and an exuberant smile, Noah, minutes after he shook then-Commissioner David Stern's hand and walked offstage, ignored a question on live TV to get serious. "I just want to thank Mr. Green, who has been my mentor," Noah said that night. "I love you to death, Mr. Green." Green, an influential figure in New York youth basketball for 35 years, died unexpectedly last week at 63. Chicago Tribune

Noah missed Bulls practice on bereavement leave and coach Tom Thibodeau was hopeful Friday Noah would be back Saturday. Sources, however, said Noah's leave is open-ended and it's up to him how long he needs to grieve. A source close to Noah said he won't miss Sunday night's playoff opener against the Wizards at the United Center. Chicago Tribune

From his Twitter account, Lawrence wrote that a Jazz executive confirmed that the organization is “ready to pull the plug on Tyrone Corbin and go for a new coach.” He didn’t name any potential replacements. The Jazz and Corbin’s camp vehemently denied the validity of Lawrence’s report. “Not accurate. No discussion,” Jazz President Randy Rigby wrote in a text to the Deseret News while in New York for the NBA Board of Governors’ meeting. Deseret News

Dolan, who told staffers on the eve of the season that he felt the Knicks could contend for an NBA title, told the players on Wednesday that he was “disappointed by the season, that he had higher expectations,” the player said. “He said we left the fans wanting more,” the player said. The player said Dolan added the Knicks "have to start thinking about a championship and he told us that it starts [Thursday]. It was a great speech." Woodson was in the room for the speech, according to the player. But his future with the Knicks is unclear. ESPN.com

How does Chris Bosh get fired up for a game? He doesn’t. Bosh prefers to play classical music or jazz while he is buried in a book before games. It does not get his blood pumping any faster, but it does help settle his mind and prepare him for the mental challenge ahead. When Miami opens the playoffs at home against Charlotte on Sunday (3:30 p.m., ABC), Bosh plans to prepare himself by starting in on “The Art of War” because “it’ll put me in the mood for this time of year.” Palm Beach Post

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS
IN NUGGETS HISTORY
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Carmelo Anthony is way up there, but can't beat two legends from the run-and-gun teams of the 80's.

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