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A push in the back proves costly for Trail Blazers' Andre Miller

By Tom Enlund

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Published: Saturday, Dec. 11 2010 9:18 p.m. MST

San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker looks to be back on track after admitting his game had been affected by "some things" off the court.

Parker, who is going through a high-profile divorce from actress Eva Longoria, played so poorly in a recent two-point outing against the Clippers that coach Gregg Popovich benched him for most of the second half. Parker followed that with solid performances against Minnesota, New Orleans and Golden State.

"I've had a stretch of games not being myself," he said. "Obviously for some reasons, I was not playing good basketball. I just wanted to be aggressive and make stuff happen for myself and for my teammates and get back to how I was playing at the beginning of the season."

Fast breaks

Cleveland's Gibson, on speculation that some of the Cavaliers don't want to be in Cleveland: "If you don't want to be here, then go." . . .

Minnesota coach Kurt Rambis said he would like all players — not just those in their first and seconds seasons — to be eligible to go to the D-League to rehab from injuries. . . .

The Nets' Johnson, on still being friends with Dallas owner Mark Cuban : "That's why he still gets one of my beautiful Christmas cards." . . .

Kevin Love's 22-point, 21-rebound game against Oklahoma City was his fifth 20-20 game of the season. . . .

Spurs forward Richard Jefferson on the team's recent 12-game winning streak: "There was nobody really talking about it."

DOWN THE LANE

THIS WEEK IN THE NBA

Dallas continues a six-game home stand that doesn't require it to play on consecutive nights against Milwaukee, Portland and Phoenix. "We've still got a lot to prove at home," said Dallas coach Rick Carlisle. "We've had some good games recently, but in the big picture, it's an area where we need to get better." Said guard Jason Kidd: "If you're going to be an elite team in this league, you've got to protect home." The Los Angeles Lakers, who continue their seven-game trip with stops in New Jersey, Washington, Indiana and Philadelphia, are hopeful that injured center Andrew Bynum will make his season debut Tuesday in Washington. "These are important times for us," said Lakers coach Phil Jackson. "Things are starting to matter." Orlando wraps up a four-game trip against the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver, while Portland concludes a four-game trip against San Antonio, Memphis and Dallas. Guard Jonny Flynn is expected to return when Minnesota plays four games in five nights on its six-game Western trip.

GAMES OF THE WEEK

Who needs Barnum and Bailey? The New York Knicks will be staging their own media circus at Madison Square Garden this week as Carmelo Anthony — the subject of trade rumors involving the Knicks — and the Nuggets visit the Big Top on Sunday, followed by Boston's Big Three on Wednesday and Miami's Big Three on Friday.

BUCKS WEEK

The Bucks venture into two-thirds of the dreaded Texas Triangle to play San Antonio and Dallas, two of the hottest teams in the league and both enjoying six-game home stands. The Bucks have lost seven straight in Dallas. Visiting the Bradley Center on Saturday will be the Jazz, which beat the Bucks on Nov. 29 in Utah and is one of the better road teams.

QUOTE

"I'm breaking out in hives in here."

—Washington guard and former USC player Nick Young, joking with his teammates as he scratched himself vigorously while entering the court at UCLA's student activity center for practice on the day before their game with the Lakers.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK

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