DA's Morning Tip

Morning Tip Mailbag: Your questions on the Washington Wizards, Wilt Chamberlain and more

David Aldridge answers reader questions.

David Aldridge

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ all the leads. The answer is blowin’ all the leads. From Stephen Powers:

Will Scotty Brooks figure out the rotations, play calling, and clock management in the fourth quarter so Wizards start winning games they should not be losing?

Washington’s a disappointment so far, to be sure, Stephen, but I don’t fault Brooks because his team can’t hold onto double-digit leads — five blown ones so far this season. Everybody coughs up a game now and then, but that’s way too many for a veteran team. These aren’t rookies and kids; they’ve been in a million playoff games the last four years and they should know how to stop an opponent’s run. If the Wizards take care of business and secure just three of those five losses, they’d be 15-8 and we wouldn’t be having this conversation. My only issue with Brooks’ rotation is that he keeps saying he needs to find time for Jason Smith, who provides energy and spaces the floor, but Smith never gets on the court.

Perhaps an afternoon in the stockade will learn ya, Javie. From Sean Eldridge:

Why are referees not fined for blatantly bad/missed calls. I had this question for a while but I’m watching this Cavaliers at Philly game and there are way too many phantom foul, obvious fouls, etc. being missed as the refs are staring the plays down. As a fan, it is very frustrating watching these types of missed calls, but as a player I’m sure they are livid. Especially since the players are fined if they say the slightest bad thing about the refs. If I made these kinda mistakes at my job, I’d be fired!

I would not want to work where you work, Sean. As to your main point, believe me, most players share it. But, referees are occasionally fined and/or suspended by the league for egregious violations of conduct. The difference is, of course, that the NBA takes those actions privately. The league maintains that the Last Two Minutes reports point out, dispassionately, when referees make errors at the ends of games, and that referee assignments for the playoffs tell you without making it overt which officials have done the best job over the course of a season. Whether or not any of us agree, the NBA feels the above is public admonition enough.

Word Police on Line 3, sir. They sound agitated. Or, perhaps, unsettled. Or, stressed. Or … From Theadora Pollack:

Nothing cartoonish about the game of the Big Dipper. He remains the most dominant force to ever set foot on a b-ball court. 30 ppg, 22 rpg, led the league in assists one year, blocked countless shots while NEVER fouling out of a game. And like the wise dad of Simmons, Wilt wanted to learn to play on his own terms. He left college early and toured with the Globetrotters for a year. A condition of his joining Saperstein’s band of merry travelers was he play guard. So please do not demean his dominant statistics by applying a qualifying adjective.

For goodness sake, I wasn’t being critical of Wilt by referring to his numbers as “cartoonish.” That adjective points out how outsided and incredible Wilt’s averages were compared to everyone else who ever played the game. It meant: these numbers are so much bigger than everyone else’s, they don’t seem real. Emphasis on “seem.” It was a compliment of his amazing stats, not a disparagement of them.

Send your questions, comments and other sad post-television developments for cartoon rodents (meanwhile, Bullwinkle is living high on the hog) to daldridgetnt@gmail.com. If your e-mail is funny, thought-provoking or snarky, we just might publish it!


(Last week’s averages in parenthesis)

1) James Harden (34 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 9 apg, .531 FG, .900 FT): Through a quarter of the season, his lowest scoring output was 20 points against Memphis in October.

2) LeBron James (27.3 ppg, 8.5 rpg, 9 apg, .597 FG, .750 FT): You have part of my attention — you have the minimal amount.

3) Giannis Antetokounmpo (28.3 ppg, 9 rpg, 5 apg, .510 FG, .744 FT): Leading the NBA in PER.

4) Kyrie Irving (24.3 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.7 apg, .510 FG, .813 FT): Would you rather have the ball in anyone else’s hands in the fourth quarter?

5) Kevin Durant (26 ppg, 4 rpg, 6.3 apg, .544 FG, .846 FT): Bounced back rather well after missing three games with a sprained ankle.


3 — Write-in votes for mayor of New York City received by New York Knicks forward/center Kristaps Porzingis, per the officially certified election results released last week. Porzingis received one official vote with his name spelled correctly, and received two others for “Kristaps Porzinais” and “Kristops Porzingis.” Among other write-in candidates: President Trump (six votes); former Secretary of State and 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (129 votes); former President Barack Obama (22 votes, with another write-in vote for “Barrack Obama”); singer Barbra Streisand (one vote); Beyonce (two votes, with another going to her married name of Beyonce Knowles Carter); former Knick Charles Oakley (one vote); quarterback and social activist Colin Kaepernick (one vote); film director Spike Lee (one vote); songwriter Stephen Sondheim (one vote); WFAN radio host Mike Francesca (one vote) and Obi Wan Kenobi (one vote).

7 — Retired jerseys in Denver Nuggets history, after the franchise retired guard Fat Lever’s No. 12 Saturday. Lever joins Hall of Famers Alex English (2), David Thompson (33), Dan Issel (44) and Dikembe Mutombo (55) in the rafters of Pepsi Center, along with forward Byron Beck (40) and longtime Nuggets Coach Doug Moe, represented by the number 432 — the number of his regular season coaching victories in Denver.

61,983 — Attendance at the Pistons’ game against the Celtics on Jan. 29, 1988, at the Pontiac Silverdome, the NBA single-game record for attendance. The Pistons also set the league’s single-playoff game record for attendance at the Silverdome, drawing 41,732 there for Game 5 of the 1988 Finals with the Lakers. Detroit played 10 years (1978-88) in in the Silverdome, also the home of the NFL’s Lions, before moving to the Palace of Auburn Hills in 1989. With both teams long gone to new digs, the old stadium, built in 1975, was scheduled to be torn down via controlled demolition Sunday morning. It did not go as planned.


1) Please don’t tell me that local TV people — play by play, analysts, sidelines, studio — have to be sycophantic homers to be good at their jobs. You can break down what the home team does, praise them when they deserve praise — hell, you can root for them, which is understandable. But be honest when they stink out the joint. Antonio Daniels, rightly, brought the wood to the Oklahoma City Thunder Wednesday. And good for him.


2) This could be among the best things ever.

3) A world with Tiger Woods back playing competitive golf is one in which I’ll be in front of a big screen TV again on Saturdays and Sundays.

4) This will take about a half hour of your time. It will be worth that time. It’s a great read.


1) My God, it’s been 20 years since Latrell Sprewell choked P.J. Carlesimo.

2) Hate to see this; Ben was one of the best scorers in the league not too long ago, and this shouldn’t be what his post-playing career should be about.

3) This doesn’t bother me as much as it fascinates. I don’t have an opinion on what doctors should do in this situation, but it’s nonetheless sad.

4) Must’ve had the Hurricanes over Clemson.


— JaVale McGee (@JaValeMcGee34), Thursday, 8:33 p.m., explaining why he is wearing spring colors in the dead of fall.


“As I travel around the league, there’s that one school of thought, ‘guys have got to make their free throws.’ But then at the end of the day, we are an entertainment property, and it’s clear that when you’re in the arena, that fans are looking at me, shrugging their shoulders with that look saying, ‘aren’t you going to do something about this?'”

— Commissioner Adam Silver, to USA Today’s Jeff Zilgitt on Zilgitt’s weekly podcast, indicating he expects further significant change in the current “Hack-A” rules that still encourage intentional fouling of bad free throw shooters. As Bruce Willis said in the only “Die Hard” that mattered: “welcome to the party, pal.” No one pays half a week’s salary to watch Ben Simmons shoot free throws in the fourth quarter instead of doing what he’s worked his whole life to do — be a dynamic, exciting basketball player. And, for the billionth time: you can foul anyone you want to shoot free throws. Just do it why you’re both actually playing basketball, and you’ll never hear a peep out of me.

“It was a culmination of a couple different acts. Immediately after the no-call, he turned and threw an air punch directly at me and then he aggressively charged at me and then he used vulgarity in my ear a few times.”

— Referee Kane Fitzgerald, to a pool reporter, on why he decided to eject LeBron James during last week’s Cavaliers-Heat game, even though he only gave James one technical foul during the encounter. It was the first ejection of James in his 14-plus NBA seasons.

“At first I was a little confused. I was like, what is this? A horse with a ponytail? What does it mean? But then they explained it to me. What he tried to say was that I am a unique player. It was nice to hear him say good things about me.”

Kristaps Porzingis, on “The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon”, explaining why he initially didn’t take to Kevin Durant’s nicknaming him “Unicorn” in describing his game.

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Longtime NBA reporter, columnist and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer David Aldridge is an analyst for TNT. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here andfollow him on Twitter.

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