Thursday, May 1, 2008

Pressing Playoff Questions: Keeping Loose and Hospitality.

Posted By on Thu, May 1, 2008 at 11:29 PM

by Alejandro de los Rios

click to enlarge mo pete and reporters 2

FULL DISCLOSURE: That picture above is of Morris Peterson being interviewed yesterday after his miracle bank shot — the one that made it to SportsCenters Top Plays. But I'm using it now because it has a lot to do with what went on with practice today (including at the end when he kept me hostage for 15 minutes as he looked into my camera, said "SportsCenter, this is for you" and proceeded to miss a dozen full-court heaves).

When they let the reporters in, the team was wrapping up a full-court 5-0n-5 scrimmage, the most noteworthy aspect of which was the players' jovial nature about it all — you'd a thought these players were getting ready for a mid-January game, not Game 1 against the defending champs. When practice ended, players scattered about with a handful heading to the far basket to repeat Mo Pete's bank shot.

A couple, though, stayed on the near court. Among them, Peja Stojakovic, Tyson Chandler, Jannero Pargo, and Peterson. Chandler stepped up to the free throw line and started to take free throws in a businessman-like way — clearly he was doing work. But Mo Pete and Peja weren't having it. They started to try and hit Mo's Bank (!) on the same basket Tyson was shooting on.

Chandler weathered the storm for a moment, then asked if the two could move down the court. Peja laughed, chucked up a shot that bounced off the wall, the top of the shot clock and right at TC. The Ceiling Fan Repairman then picked up the ball and chucked it down the court. One thing led to another, a ball cart came out and suddenly there were balls flying everywhere and Peja, smiling like an eight-year-old in a snowball fight, running off and on the court trying to pelt Jannero while dodging shots from Chandler.

All while Byron Scott was doing his press conference.

"I think we're a little tense," he said.

/Peja runs by followed by a basketball-sized orange blur

"We might be a little tight," Scott said again.

Byron, it seems, was having some fun too.

"We've been doing this all year," Chris Paul said later, referring to the horsing around in practice. "There's no need to change anything now. It's the playoffs and all that but you gotta keep some sense of normalcy."

Well, not everything stays the same. Paul — who is noted for hosting opposing players in his house when their teams came to play — said he might take Tony Parker out to dinner. But will the San Antonio point guard be sleeping over at CP3's place?

"Doubt it," Paul said.

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