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Ron Artest Reportedly Confronted Phil Jackson Over Public Embarrassment

The Lakers have been struggling recently, losing the Christmas day warmup game to the Bucks, getting hammered by the Heat, and getting spanked by the Spurs and gasp! Grizzlies. Phil Jackson’s coaching methods that typically are termed “genius” when the team is winning have now been deemed problematic since the team is losing. One such person who has struggled with Phil’s coaching style is Ron Artest, who has complained about being publicly embarrassed by his coach dating back to last season. Artest has admitted to being lost in the team’s offense, and it’s clear his fragile psyche is not responding well to Jackson.

According to a recent story at Yahoo! Sports, “at a recent practice, league sources said, Artest loudly confronted Jackson. As he tried to fit into the defending champions a season ago and earn his way, Artest grudgingly went along with Jackson’s public floggings. This season, Artest has less tolerance for it. Essentially, Artest told Jackson that if he wants to coach him, coach him. Just stop embarrassing him in public.”

The message is the same as last year, but the report that Artest loudly confronted Jackson suggests the situation has escalated. It’s information like this that confirms what Artest’s brother recently suggested about Ron’s future with the team. As for the Lakers, they’ll likely turn things around, but it’s hard to say they’re better than Boston, Miami, or San Antonio. Another three-peat seems unlikely at this point, but not out of the question.

Allen Iverson Is a T.G.I. Friday’s Regular in Istanbul, Loves the Cheesesteak

It was announced in October that former NBA MVP would be taking his talents to Turkey after running out of interest from teams in the States. In typical Iverson fashion, the man missed his flight, so his rock-star like welcoming had to be put on hold for a few days. There were reports that Iverson was not enjoying his time in Turkey and wanted to come home, but that hasn’t happened. According to EuroBasket.com, Iverson has played nine games with his Besiktas team, averaging almost 14 points per game in Turkish league play.

Being in Turkey, Iverson is clearly displaced and out of his comfort zone. In order to help feel at home, he apparently has been dining at T.G.I Friday’s every single day, ordering up the Philly cheesesteak on the regular. Not ribs, not ribs, but cheesesteak. He says he tried it once, never previously realized how good it was, and that he’s returned every day to check it out. Apparently he’s tried to work out some sort of endorsement deal through their corporate office but nothing has happened. Given the way the people in Turkey love their Iverson, it might not be a bad business move for the restaurant chain.

Darko Milicic Will Never Be an All-Star, Sorry David Kahn

Minnesota Timberwolves center Darko Milicic was infamously picked second overall in the 2003 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, ahead of superstars like Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Detroit GM Joe Dumars pulled the trigger on Darko ahead of even Chris Kaman, David West and Mo Williams — all solid contributors who have made All-Star teams. Milicic has career averages of 5.9 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game, or the elusive career triple-single. During Monday’s Timberwolves-Celtics game, Minnesota President of Basketball Operations David Kahn had this to say about Milicic’s future:

There’s no way. While Milicic is having a “career” year, that’s not saying a lot. This season he’s averaging career highs in points, blocks and assists per game with 9.3, 2.3 and 1.9 respectively. He’s only 25, but in his eighth year in the league it seems like he is what he is — a bust. He’s not the first high draft pick not to pan-out and won’t be the last, but he’s never shown anything to the contrary.

This also isn’t the first time Kahn has made ridiculous statements about Milicic. Kahn and former NBA superstar Chris Webber had an interesting conversation about Milicic last summer, and Kahn was not very happy about it.

Thanks to YouTube user blazersedgeben for the video.

Derrick Rose is an MVP Candidate, Just Ask Him

According to ESPNChicago.com, Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose believes he should be in the discussion for NBA MVP this season. Rose’s stats aren’t eye-popping, but they’re very good. He ‘s averaging 23.9 points, 8.5 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game. His numbers are certainly solid enough to put him in the conversation during a season in which no one has established themselves as a clear-cut front-runner.

Two-time reigning MVP LeBron James’ numbers are down slightly from the last two seasons, though still impressive. He’s currently averaging 24.4 points, 7.3 assists and 6.7 rebounds per game, but it would be hard to argue that James means as much to the Heat as Rose does to the Bulls, which for many is the number one criteria for the award. The same goes for James’ teammate, Dwyane Wade. His numbers are MVP caliber, but Wade is surrounded with top talent which makes it tougher for him to stick out.

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant leads the league in scoring with 28.3 points per game. His 6.3 rebounds per game are solid, but he’s averaging just 3.1 assists. Durant is a definite candidate mainly because of his scoring, but like Rose he has the advantage of being the driving force behind a team’s success.

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Tyreke Evans Hits Half-Court Game Winner Against Grizzlies (Video)

I think it’s safe to say Tyreke Evans has officially redeemed himself after having his ankles broken by Derrick Rose earlier in the season.  Are NBA teams spending more time in practice working on half-court and full-court shots or something?  We already showed you this 75-foot shot by Chauncey Billups that was waved off for traveling and this one from Gilbert Arenas that didn’t count because it bounced of the shot clock.  Evans finally gave us one that counted on Wednesday night in a win over the Grizzlies.

With 1.5 seconds remaining in the game, it looked like O.J. Mayo would be the hero of the night after he hit a ridiculous fadeaway jumper from just inside the three-point line to give Memphis a 97-96 lead.  That was when Evans decided he didn’t want the game to end like that in his house.  Check out the video of Tyreke Evans’ half-court game winner:

Bravo, Tyreke.  Bravo.

Have Spurs, Tony Parker Improved Since Eva Longoria Divorce?

The San Antonio Spurs are fresh off a 15-point win over the Lakers and have the best record in the NBA. They’re 27-4 and have enjoyed winning streaks of nine and 12 games throughout the season. Point guard Tony Parker has had one of his best years, averaging a career high in assists and steals while shooting extremely well. His strong play, coinciding with the team’s impressive play, is especially surprising given the turmoil in his life.

Parker and soon-to-be ex-wife Eva Longoria filed for divorce, with each side suspecting the other of cheating. In light of the team’s stellar season, LBS contributor Big Daddy wondered if Parker and the Spurs have been playing better since the divorce. The hypothesis was so intriguing we had to investigate.

PRIOR TO EVA LONGORIA DIVORCE

    > Spurs: 9-1 record (.900 winning percentage)
    > Parker: 18.6ppg, 7.6apg, 2.8rpg, 52.4 FG%, 80.9 FT%

SINCE EVA LONGORIA DIVORCE

    > Spurs: 18-3 record (.857 winning percentage)
    > Parker: 17.6ppg, 6.8apg, 3.3rpg, 51.7 FG%, 69.5 FT%

Parker’s numbers were stronger pretty much across the board prior to the divorce, but both he and the Spurs have played so well the entire season it’s hard to say the Longoria news played any role in their season. The only question is if they’ll be able to stay healthy and keep up their strong year during the playoffs. With Parker playing as well as he is, they sure can.

Dwight Howard Makes Fun of LeBron’s Chalk Toss in Cleveland (Video)

Dwight Howard has become quite the joker this season.  We’ve always known Superman had a sense of humor, but he’s even funnier now that he has made a habit of personally ragging on other athletes.  First, Dwight tooled on Derek Anderson for his “I wasn’t laughing” rant.  On Tuesday night, D-Howard decided to make fun of LeBron James by impersonating his chalk toss to the Cleveland crowd.  Check out the video of Dwight Howard making fun of LeBron James’ chalk toss:

What would have made this bit funnier is if the Cavs fans appreciated it.  Is it just me, or do they not look enthused?  Howard was trying to get a rise out of them, but he wasn’t taking into consideration that they all suffer from PTSD and were probably having horrific flashbacks while he was doing it.