Good morning. Let's basketball.
NO MO-TOWN: The Pistons canned Mo Cheeks on Sunday as Detroit sat at 21-29, just outside the East's playoff bracket. Woj reports that owner Tom Gores had lost patience with Cheeks in recent weeks and pushed for a change. GM Joe Dumars wanted, apparently, to give his coach more time.
John Loyer is the interim head coach and will finish out the season. He joined the Pistons under Lawrence Frank, and had previous caddied for Cheeks in Philly and Portland. Vincent Goodwill looks at six potential coaches Detroit could consider in the offseason, headlined by Lionel Hollins.
Detroit Bad Boys argues that since Dumars is clearly on his way out, Gores should have finished the job and fired him now. On Sunday I explained why the Pistons are so underwhelming with a focus on Dumars' dicey moves.
It appears that the Pistons' players found out about the firing on Twitter. Brandon Jennings' reaction is, to be honest, particularly amusing.
MARCUS SMARTING: Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart -- who possibly would have gone No. 2 in last year's draft if he'd declared -- shoved a fan who allegedly dropped a racist remark on him on Saturday. Smart got suspended three games. Of course, this led folks to reporting whether it will affect Smart's draft stock this June. The answer, as with all things really: maybe.
SACTOWN RISING: The Kings are still down around the bottom of the league standings, but Paul Flannery goes deep on why the future is bright for his Sunday Shootaround. Some great quotes from GM Pete D'Alessandro and coach Mike Malone. Plus, all your Shootaround favorites like the Viewing Guide, The List and more.
MIDDLE FINGER GUNZ: Another GIF for the Lakers Fan Pantheon.
WELCOME BACK, CP3: Chris Paul returned from his shoulder injury on Sunday. He and Blake Griffin decided to make up for all of the lost highlights with some totally absurd alley-oops. L.A. beat Philly by 45.
MAGICAL WEEKEND: On Friday, Tobias Harris snuck in a buzzer-beating dunk to lift Orlando over the Thunder. On Sunday, the Magic came back from 11 down in the fourth to beat Indiana. That involved totally shutting down Paul George's game-winning attempt at the buzzer. Orlando Pinstriped Post's Evan Dunlap has more on the shocking comeback. OPP also sat down with former Magic GM John Gabriel to talk about the franchise's history of rebuilds.
QUOTE OF THE INDETERMINATE TIME PERIOD: Joakim Noah, after hitting a big jumper to help lift the Bulls over the Lakers. "Because I know that my jump shot is so ugly that when I knock it down it's demoralizing to the other team. It was a big jump shot for me." Golden.
DEADLINE COMING: NBA trade rumors galore! The latest: the Hawks want Jeff Green, the Suns asked if they could have Zach Randolph ("no") and the Pacers want another bench scorer.
JOE IN N.O.: How Joe Johnson can steal the show at All-Star Weekend, by Eddie Maisonet. No, seriously.
HERO DOG: Remember the guide dog who jumped down onto the subway track after his blind owner fell in? And how they both survived? The Knicks gave the dog, Orlando, their monthly heroism award. It was awesome.
THREE CHEERS: Blazer's Edge is sending 1,100 kids to a Portland game thanks to fan donations. Incredible work by Dave Deckard and the crew.
Happy Monday. See you next time.