George Bush jacks Kendrick Perkins, Rasheed’s changing his game, and how good is Portland?

By: 09.20.08
Paul PiercePaul Pierce, Dime #5

The Celtics made their White House visit yesterday, presenting George W. Bush with a #43 jersey; because he’s the 43rd President, not because he’s a huge Kendrick Perkins fan. Bush gave Paul Pierce props for playing hurt (surely giving Lakers’ fans still in the “He faked it” camp a headache), and said, “For baby boomers like me, [the Finals] was a reminder of a great basketball rivalry. Boston fans were screaming, ‘Beat L.A.!’ at the top of their lungs, and that’s exactly what this team did in six hard-fought games.” Hard-fought? GW must have missed Game Six … Gilbert Arenas pulled back on that early-December return date he initially gave, writing on his blog that it’ll be more like sometime between mid-December and early-January. Given the huge investment the Wizards made in him, Arenas would do everyone a favor by not rushing a comeback this time, but we also know it’s gonna kill him if he can’t play in that big Wizards/Cavs national TV game on Christmas Day. If you were getting paid Arenas’ kind of money, would you be more likely to push it to come back ASAP or more inclined to take your time? … For years, everyone has wanted Rasheed Wallace to spend more time on the low-block and less time hanging 25 feet away from the basket. Michael Curry tells the Detroit Free Press he’s going to put ‘Sheed in the post more often, but that ‘Sheed needs to do his part by getting in better shape to handle the physicality. We like the idea, but we also see this possibly ending badly for Curry if ‘Sheed isn’t fully on-board. Ask Flip Saunders what it’s like when ‘Sheed hasn’t bought in to what you’re trying to do as a coach … Just how good are the Blazers? We previewed Brandon Roy, Greg Oden and Co. yesterday, and while they’ve definitely got potential to make the playoffs and even advance a round, there’s also a decent chance they end up back in the Lottery. While the team is talented on paper, they don’t have any postseason experience and they have to get some kind of chemistry with so many newcomers. A couple weeks ago we told you about Travis Outlaw‘s comments about getting more touches, and now Sergio Rodriguez is saying he needs more PT. “I like Portland a lot. But if I continue playing so little, it’s clear I would like to leave,” Spanish Chocolate told a Spanish newspaper. Rodriguez obviously wasn’t too thrilled, then, when he found out about the Blazers’ interest in Shaun Livingston, because he’s already got a huge hurdle in front of him named Jerryd Bayless … If you missed Dwight Howard throwing out the first pitch at Thursday’s Rays/Red Sox game, you can see it HERE. Nothing special either way about the pitch, but one of the Tampa announcers did mention that Dwight had on “the biggest baseball jersey I’ve ever seen.” … Remember Jumaine Jones? He’s been barred from playing in Europe for one year by FIBA because he signed two contracts with two different teams at once, Ural Great (Russia) and Armani Jeans (Danilo Gallinari‘s old team in Italy). Did Jumaine realize what he was doing or was it an accident? Either way, the whole thing sounds like the setup to a bad episode of “Hang Time: The College Years” … Oklahoma City is excited to have an NBA team. Maybe too excited. There was an entire article in the Oklahoman yesterday about the guy under the Sonics’ former “Squatch” mascot and the fact that he’s moving to OKC to suit up as the Thunder’s as-yet-unnamed mascot. The guy, Marc Taylor, was also the WNBA Seattle Storm mascot “Doppler,” and earlier in his career dressed up as the Ram mascot when attended Colorado State University, and was the mascot when he was in high school. So what exactly are the Thunder gonna trot out on gamedays? The Warriors already have a mascot named “Thunder” — the Blue Man Group-looking dude with the cape — so what will OKC have: Lightning? A dangerous-looking cloud? A comical weatherman? … Have you seen the commercial for Righteous Kill where the narrator bills the movie as Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro being “together at last” on-screen? So apparently we’ve all decided that Heat never happened, is that it? … We’re out like Jumaine …

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