Paul Pierce Won’t Pay $10,000 Wager With Hawks?

Remember how contentious that first-round series was between Atlanta and Boston in the 2008 playoffs? Yapping, thugging, mean-mugging all over the place, and eighth-seeded Atlanta taking the eventual champs to seven games before Boston casually dispatched the underdog with a roughly 40,000-point beating in the pivotal game.

Al Horford Giving Paul Pierce The Business
(”Where’s the damn money, Paul?! WHERE’S MY MONEY?”)

We mention this, of course, because we always like dragging up 18-month old news. No no, we kid. That’s not true. No, the real issue is that apparently, that trash talk between Al Horford and Paul Pierce at the end of Game Three might have been over a cool $10,000 - a bet that, according to Henry Abbott, is outstanding to this day.

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Is Charlie Villanueva’s Mother A Security Threat?

We really wish we’d known this going into the whole deal, but apparently, the FIBA Americas tournament going on down in Puerto Rico is seriously bad-blooded. That whole deal with Mexico and Uruguay* going Bobby Knight on each other? That wasn’t entirely an isolated incident, it appears.

Charlie Villanueva and mother
(How are you going to mess with this woman? Honestly, people.)

The latest incident wasn’t nearly as violent, but that’s only because cooler heads prevailed. The incident, after all, had the makings of the worst kind of fight: the one that participants take personally. After all, you do not mess with Charlie Villanueva’s mother. You. Just. Don’t.

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Speed Read: Lakers & Hawks(!) Are Still Unbeaten

I guess it’s not that surprising that the Los Angeles Lakers have started off the NBA season undefeated - they return all the pieces from the Western Conference champions, with a healthy Andrew Bynum to boot. But the Atlanta Hawks? Really? In its own way, it’s almost as improbable as when the Houston Rockets went on that 22-game winning streak last season.

Al Horford

Clearly, it has to end at some point, and you would think sooner rather than later. But there the Hawks were last night, going into Chicago and taking out the Bulls 113-108 behind a career-high 27 points and 17 rebounds by Al Horford. And their starting PF Josh Smith isn’t even playing!

Kobe Bryant vs Mavericks

Of course, tonight is a bit of a litmus test, since they are playing the defending champion Boston Celtics. Win that game, and then we’ll really have something. As for the other undefeated team, the Lakers matched the Hawks (who often do you read that?) by beating the Mavericks 106-99. Meanwhile, Phil Jackson is so thrilled that he’s thinking about not coming back next season.

Other live, local and late-breaking sports news:

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Blog-O-Rama: Sharapova’s First Success On Clay

• The FLORIDA TIMES-UNION serves up news that Maria Sharapova is back in championship form, as she wins her first-ever title on clay.

Maria Sharapova holding trophy

And Maria’s prize - a lovely crystal 7-11 Big Gulp cup, good for one free refill.

• Speaking of a dirtier kind of Clay - with the Sonics having possibly played their last game in Key Arena, NOTTEN THIS LIFE looks to see where most Seattle fans fall in the Five Stages of Grief.

Darren Rovell of CNBC has an idea who Derrick Rose’s NBA agent will be - and it’s not LeBron’s bud.

• USA TODAY’s GAME ON combs through their 5 favorite NHL playoff beards.

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Stephen A. Smith Socked By Heckling Puppet At NBA Draft

STEPHEN A. SMITH SOCKED BY FANS’ SILLY CINEMATICS: FAN IQ finds a fun video made at the NBA Draft featuring ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith - in sock puppet form!

Stephen A. Smith sock puppet

A group billing itself as “The Stephen A. Smith Heckling Society of Gentlemen” came to the Big Apple to take a bite out of His Quite Frankness, via a dingy sock puppet.

The laundry-day escapee called out his cotton-mouthed comments to the draftees as they escaped down a corridor. Some of the grandiose gems:

To Al Horford: “Some people say you’re the best forward since Slava Medvedenko!

Slava Horford

Why hasn’t my praise changed your life, Brandon Wright?

Because he’s been such a man of the people, and because his hair is so long, I hereby dub thee Joakim Noah, the People’s Princess!

Joakim Noah Princess

I’m Stephen A. Smith! Every thing I say is important!

The video also has a little bonus at the end, starring another member of the Worldwide Leader’s crew:

Stuart Scott booty call

That would be Stuart Scott checking out his new ESPN Mobile - or maybe placing a booty call.