Updated: Nov. 9, 2005, 2:09 PM ET

Brown's Peculiar Sub Ways

By Chris Sheridan
ESPN Insider

NEW YORK -- Act II of Larry Brown vs. Stephon Marbury has begun, not with a haymaker but with an exchange of jabs.

After the Knicks' 83-81 home loss to the Golden State Warriors, Marbury couldn't help himself from knocking the willy-nilly nature of Brown's substitution patterns, which haven't really been patterns at all, in losses to Boston, Washington and Golden State.

"Consistency is always the best teacher," Marbury said. "I guess coach does stuff differently."

For instance, the Warriors led 80-75 with 53 seconds remaining when Brown reinserted sparkplug Nate Robinson.

Seconds later, the 5-foot-7 rookie had the ball swiped from him near midcourt by Baron Davis (Robinson claimed Davis fouled him), ending the Knicks' final chance.

"I felt bad for Nate," Brown said. "That last turnover, he shouldn't have been in that position. We pick up the dribble and throw it to him ..."

Let the record show that it was Marbury, who did not get along with Brown when the two were paired on the 2004 Olympic team, who picked up his dribble and passed the ball to the Robinson.

Which means that fateful turnover was actually Marbury's fault, Brown seemed to be saying.

Another example of Brown's quirky sub patterns: After falling behind 74-73 with 4:35 remaining, the Knicks' next six shots were jumpers, all of which missed. Through it all, Eddy Curry sat and watched.

If he was simmering afterward, he wouldn't let it show. Curry refused to take the reporters' bait, striving not to say anything negative despite being benched for the final 15:16.

"With coach Brown things are liable to change at any moment. You never really know," Curry said. "If you're not playing hard or he feels you're not doing the right thing, he's going to get you out. It's ultimately up to him to decide who he wants in the game."

Said Marbury: "Whenever you've got an inside presence, it makes the game extremely easy."

Golden State coach Mike Montgomery also was surprised that Curry sat. Curry had been nearly impossible for the Warriors to contain in the early going, and Montgomery held Adonal Foyle out for much of the second half awaiting the return that never came.

"Larry knows his team and he knows where he has to go and what he has to do, and I'm sure he's got all the right reasons for doing what he did," Montgomery said diplomatically.

See the full column by Chris Sheridan Insider

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Dimes Past: November 3 | 4

No Ankles Attacked
AP Photo/Jessica Kourkounis
Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy stepped into a nest of Hornets during a dispute Saturday. Like old times, assistant coach Patrick Ewing was on the scene. There were no ejections.

If The Playoffs Started Today . . .

It's way early, but it sure looks like we know the Elite Eight in the East.

The conference standings tell most of the story, though of course we expect the Heat to overcome their tough first week -- including Shaq's twist and shout -- and replace those fiesty Bobcats in the standings (and displace the Wizards at the top of the Southeast Division).

So far, it certainly looks possible that the loaded Central Division can put all five teams in the playoffs, which would be unprecedented.

The West looks much wilder, with three teams projected to be competing for the second best record in the conference struggling along at a combined 3-6 -- Houston (now without T-Mac), Denver (no Nene) and Sacramento.

Meanwhile, if it were time to print up playoff tickets. New Orleans/Oklahoma City (2-1), Utah (2-1) and the West-leading L.A. Clippers (3-0) would be in.

But take it all with a grain of salt. Remember, the Jazz looked like a title contender at this point a year ago.

Royce Webb | Conf. standings | Current playoff matchups

NBA Intelligence Report

Payton Wants Team To Change Tactics
"In the wake of Saturday's loss, Gary Payton questioned some of the offensive tactics of coach Stan Van Gundy. 'If I was the coach, I would do it a different way,' Payton said. He made his comment while addressing Van Gundy's preference for constant ball movement instead of playing directly to a hot hand." -- South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Losing Is Like A Funeral
"Veteran Jalen Rose said the worse thing about being on a struggling team is the way opponents around the league 'hug you and act like they're coming to your funeral" when the games are over.'" -- Toronto Sun

Vlad Not Happy With Lack Of Playing Time
"Vladimir Radmanovic is not being utilized the way he was told he would be utilized, and the situation, if it remains the same, soon will become an issue. 'Does it matter? Of course it matters,' Radmanovic said. 'I am here to play the game, not sit on the bench. Especially after all summer of negotiations when they told me they need me and how important I am to this team.'" He will be a free agent next summer after turning down a six-year, $42 million contract from the Sonics. -- Tacoma News Tribune

Earl Will Play ... Eventually
"After hearing the Earl Watson question that has become standard with each day this season, Nuggets coach George Karl wanted to set something straight. Just because Watson sat out Denver's first two games does not mean Karl doesn't like him as a player. Asked what he said in the meeting, Watson replied, 'It's a challenging situation. I don't like to use negative words, but I'm a professional.' Watson did not play against the Lakers on Sunday." -- Denver Post

Dickau Now Ahead Of Green
"Dan Dickau stayed patient when he was passed by Orien Greene on the Celtics' point guard depth chart, knowing another opportunity would come. Now, apparently, it is Greene's turn to take that approach. According to Doc Rivers, Dickau may well be Delonte West's backup." -- Boston Herald

More NBA news

No Fall Of Troy
AP Photo/Matt A. Brown
Timberwolves guard Troy Hudson's potential game-winner missed Saturday against the Clippers. Elton Brand and Co. aim for 4-0 in tonight's rematch in Minneapolis.

Extreme Behavior

Weekend's Best
Dirk Nowitzki, Mavericks forward: The good news was he dropped in 34 as Dallas dropped the defending champs by 19 points on Saturday night. The bad news was he got hit with a $1,000 fine for a flagrant foul on Matt Harpring on Wednesday.


Weekend's Worst
Tyson Chandler, Bulls center: Tallies one point, misses all four field goal attempts and fouls out after 27 minutes on the floor Saturday. Bulls lose by one in Jersey. This does not qualify as "picking up the slack" for departed Eddy Curry.


Quote of the Weekend
"He's an extremely smart player on the floor, and that translates very well with our players. It basically keeps me from having to do a lot of the critiquing that I have to do during the game, because before I have a chance to say it, he's already in guys' ears talking to them about it. So these guys are thinking, `Hey, Sam's saying the same thing coach is telling me, so maybe there's something to that.' So it's a real positive."
-- Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy, on point guard Sam Cassell.

Can't spell Cleveland without "D"

Mike Brown must not only get his starters to play defense but also his reserves. LeBron, Hughes (2004-05 All Defensive First Team), Snow, Gooden and Ilgauskas will be able to use their athleticism, toughness and length to get the job done.

However, the challenge will be to get non-defensive players such as Damon Jones, Donyell Marshall and Aleksandar Pavlovic to be able to come into the game and keep up the same intensity.

John Carroll | Complete Cavs report Insider

Baron: A Question Of 'Truss'

While I love Baron Davis' game -- he's easily one of the league's top five point guards -- I don't feel comfortable trusting him to stay healthy. Entering this season, he had missed 83 games the last three seasons due to injury.

And last year, some believe he may have sat out of spite. Upset with the franchise that had given him max dollars, Davis shut it down after just 18 games for the New Orleans Hornets. Yet as soon as he was traded to the Warriors in February of 2004, he was suddenly healed, able to leave the IL and work his wizardry in the Bay Area.

When I was making my preseason predictions, I put his track record together and concurred with Public Enemy's inimitable Chuck D -- Can't Truss It. Thus, I left the Warriors out of the playoffs.

Chris Broussard | Full blog entry Insider

The Dime Dozen

Here's a look at the 12 rookies getting the most run after a handful of games. The first pick in the draft is also first in rookie MP. (These dozen are all ahead of perennial Pistons pine guy Darko Milicic, who is playing 9.3 mpg this year in three games -- much better than his 6.0 mpg career average.)

Player Team GM Min. Avg.
Andrew Bogut MIL 3 100 33.3
Chris Paul NOK 3 96 32.0
Jose Calderon TOR 3 93 31.0
Charlie Villanueva TOR 3 86 28.7
Marvin Williams ATL 3 85 28.3
Deron Williams UTAH 3 70 23.3
Daniel Ewing LAC 3 67 22.3
James Singleton LAC 3 66 22.0
Channing Frye NYK 2 41 20.5
Salim Stoudamire ATL 3 59 19.7
Joey Graham TOR 3 55 18.3
Jarrett Jack POR 3 51 17.0

Beyond the Dime Dozen: Rookie minutes

Elias Says

Devin Harris scored 20 points in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks' 103-84 win Saturday over the Spurs. As an NBA rookie last season, Harris had never scored more than 17 points in a game, and hadn't had more than 12 points in any quarter.

Elias Sports Bureau | More from Elias Insider


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