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Tuesday’s Morning Mashup: Lakers’ Kobe Bryant mocks rumors of infighting with Dwight Howard 01.08.13 at 8:01 am ET
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Welcome to Tuesday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA: Lakers at Rockets, 8 p.m. (NBA TV)
College basketball: Northeastern at Drexel, 7 p.m. (CSNNE)
College basketball: Baylor at Texas Tech, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
College basketball: Clemson at Duke, 7 p.m. (ESPNU)
College basketball: Alabama at Missouri, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Ohio State at Purdue, 9 p.m. (ESPN)
College basketball: Pittsburgh at Georgetown, 9 p.m. (ESPNU)
College hockey: Notre Dame at Minnesota (NESN)


‘™¦ On the same day it was revealed that Dwight Howard has a torn labrum and will join Pau Gasol (concussion) on the sideline for at least a week, Lakers star Kobe Bryant tried to downplay rumors of discontent on the team.

Responding to a report that he and Howard did not get along and almost got into a fistfight, Bryant on Monday tweeted a picture of the two pretending to square off in the trainer’s room with coach Mike D’Antoni smiling between them.

“Obviously, there are fake stories coming out, somebody has something against our team,” Howard said. “Me and Kobe don’t have a problem with each other. We’re not beefing. So for somebody to come out with a random story and say me and him got into a fight? It’s ridiculous.”

Said Bryant: “It’s not true. We all try to be professional about what we do. I guess some [journalists] skate around that a little bit.”

The Lakers are 15-18 and in 11th place in the Western Conference.

‘™¦ The Jets made a move to their coaching staff Monday, parting ways with quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh. A former Patriots backup QB (1978-82), Cavanaugh spent four seasons on the Jets staff, and his contract expires in a few weeks.

There has been speculation that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano also will not be retained, following his one season with the team. He has two years remaining on his contract.

Coach Rex Ryan and owner Woody Johnson are scheduled to meet with the media Tuesday for their overdue season-ending press conference.

‘™¦ ESPN “First Take” panelist Rob Parker, who is serving a 30-day suspension for his racially charged comments about Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III, appeared on a Detroit TV show and insisted that his comments were taken out of context.

“It was just a conversation that’€™s had in the black community when athletes, or famous entertainers or whatever, push away from their people,” said Parker, who previously apologized on Twitter. “And that’€™s really what it’€™s about. You saw it with O.J. Simpson, and some other people, where they say, ‘€˜Well, I’€™m not black. I’€™m O.J.’€™ So it’€™s more about that, not about RGIII and what’€™s going on. It’€™s more about this thing that we’€™ve battled for years and why people have pushed away from their people. It’€™s more about that.”

Added Parker: “The whole thing is, and I want to make this clear, I wasn’€™t saying that he wasn’€™t black enough. And so, when people say that, it’€™s just not true. I was saying these are the conversations that take place once a guy pushes away. It was never aimed at him, or I was calling him that. I’€™m saying, these are the conversations that take place.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On Jan. 8, 1944, which Bruins forward was leading the NHL with 53 points in just 26 games when he injured his shoulder during a 12-3 loss to the Maple Leafs, causing him to miss all but 10 games the rest of the season — and finish with 71 points, two points short of the league’s single-season record?

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Read More: Dwight Howard, kobe bryant, Matt Cavanaugh, Rex Ryan
Monday’s Morning Mashup: Jets QB coach question’s Mark Sanchez’s ‘decision-making’ 05.14.12 at 7:46 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

NBA playoffs: 76ers at Celtics, 7 p.m. (TNT; WEEI)
NBA playoffs: Lakers at Thunder, 9:30 p.m. (TNT)
NHL playoffs: Devils at Rangers, 8 p.m. (NBCSN)
MLB: Mariners at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WRKO)
MLB: Cubs at Cardinals, 7 p.m. (ESPN)


‘™¦ Another day, another controversy from Jets headquarters. Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh (a former Patriots QB) talked to the New York Daily News about Mark Sanchez‘ inconsistent 2011 season and questioned Sanchez’ “decision-making.”

‘€œThere were turnovers that were not his fault that were credited to him,’€ Cavanaugh said. ‘€œBut there were enough that playing that position he needs to cut some of those down. Most of them came from just poor decision-making.

“So I spent a lot of time with him talking about ‘€˜Let’€™s get focused on managing the game,’ ” Cavanaugh added. ‘€œTaking the big plays when they’€™re there [and] understanding that … even though it’€™s drawn up to be a touchdown, not every play has to be a touchdown. Not every play has to be a completion. Sometimes throwing it away is a good thing. Sometimes taking a sack is better than throwing an interception.’€

Cavanaugh suggested that the Jets’ success the previous two seasons might have made is more difficult for Sanchez to be more introspective.

‘€œSometimes when you have quote-unquote the success that he had the first two years, maybe it doesn’€™t hit home,’€ Cavanaugh said. ‘€œMaybe it’€™s like, ‘€˜Hey, I thought I was playing pretty good. Yeah, I threw some picks and some of them were bad decisions, but we still got to the AFC championship game.’€™ [Last] year, I think he became much more aware [that] it’€™s a fragile business.’€

‘™¦ Metta World Peace is back after his seven-game suspension for elbowing Thunder guard James Harden in the head, but the controversial Laker already is stirring up trouble heading into Monday’s Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals against Oklahoma City.

World Peace said Saturday night, after a first-round Game 7 victory over the Nuggets, that he won’t shake Harden’s hand because, “I don’t shake substitutes’ hands.” World Peace, who never apologized directly to Harden, went on to complain about some Thunder players’ lack of pregame courtesy, mainly targeting former Celtic Kendrick Perkins.

“I’ve been playing against Kendrick forever,” World Peace said. “Kendrick, he’ll never shake your hand, so I’d have to go and find Kendrick and shake his hand. In Boston, every game I’d have to go to him and say, ‘Hey,’ and then tap him on the butt. He don’t touch my hand. But I’m getting tired of making that walk.”

‘™¦ Prior to Monday’s Celtics game, Boston Mayor Tom Menino will announce the winning artist who will get to design the long-awaited Bill Russell statue planned for the city. In Beijing, they move much more quickly. Less than two months after leading the Beijing Ducks to their first Chinese Basketball Association championship, Marbury was on hand Sunday outside the team’s MasterCard Center for the unveiling of a life-sized statue of the one-time Celtic.

“I don’t have words to describe this,” Marbury said, according to news accounts from China. “Beijing has given me so much, I want to return the favor to the people here. I love Beijing, I love Beijingers.”

ON THIS DAY TRIVIA: On May 14, 1981, the Celtics captured their 14th NBA title with a 102-91 victory over the Rockets in Game 6. Who was named finals MVP?

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Read More: Mark Sanchez, Matt Cavanaugh, Metta Workd Peace, Stephon Marbury