D’Antoni says Thomas: “Might be a few pounds overweight”

Ouch.

When the Knicks acquired Tim Thomas as part of the Zach Randolph trade, it was assumed that Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni liked Thomas because of the success they had together in Phoenix.

He might still like him just fine, but a few pounds less of him would be preferable, according to an article in the New York Post.

D’Antoni said both Harrington and Thomas have to get in better shape.

“[Thomas] might be a few pounds overweight,” D’Antoni said.

Thomas, who came with Mobley from the Clippers, did not argue with D’Antoni’s assessment. He said it has been three years since he played D’Antoni’s speedball system.

“It’s going to be difficult for Cuttino also,” Thomas said. “I have to continue to get in shape for this system. It’s up and down, and in L.A., it was run when you have the opportunity. The last couple of years, it’s been that way. I know how to get myself right. I’ve played it before. It will take me a week and I’ll be ready.”

Quick injury update

Jason Hart and Brian Skinner are OK after missing Wednesday’s game with the flu. Chris Kaman is officially questionable with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. Ricky Davis is doubtful with a sore left knee.

Kaman will likely be a game-time decision while he waits to see how his foot responds to the cortisone shot he got on Wednesday night. My understanding is that it generally takes 48-72 hours for the shot to have its greatest effect so Kaman is still within that window.

BDs mood

I’m not always big into trying to read guys moods from what they saw and how they act. Any NBA player who has been in the league for a few years is pretty good at saying and doing the right things when the media is around.

But I will say, Baron Davis’ mood seems to have brightened considerably in the last week. Basically, as soon as the Randolph trade went down, and about the same time Eric Gordon and Mike Taylor have gotten it going. BD seems to really enjoy mentoring the rookies.

Tonight after the close loss to the Nuggets, Baron went around the locker room giving fist taps to all the guys and wishing everyone a happy Thanksgiving. He’s social on other nights, but this was by far the most I’d seen him reach out to the team after a tough loss.

The other day we had a chance to ask him about mentoring the young players. Here’s what he said:

“With Mike it’s a little different because he is a point guard so it’s like a lot of times you have to do more coaching,” Davis said. “You have to tell him, `that’s not a good play, that’s not a good pass, you gotta pass the ball to him.’ I’m a little harder on Mike than I am on Eric because they play two different positions. We have a great relationship though.

“When I come off the court and sit on the bench, he’s in my ear. And I respect that because he knows what I can do out there and he’s making sure I’m doing everything that I possibly can, it’s another set of eyes. He has good eyes and Jason Hart is the same way. We all kind of communicate to each other and try to help each other out there.”

What happened on the last play?

So the Clippers came down the court, down 106-105 with 9.9 seconds to go, having already decided to play it through and not call a timeout.

Why?

“I did not want to call a timeout. I don’t believe in that,” assistant coach Kim Hughes said. “I’m kind of like Jerry Sloan in that. I think it’s to your advantage to go in transition, without allowing them to get in a set defense.”

OK, so then what happened?

“I thought Baron had a wonderful opportunity to penetrate, he chose not to, which is fine. Marcus was open. I don’t think it was a great shot. I’m sure he doesn’t think it was a great shot. Eric Gordon was wide open up top,” Hughes said. “You can look back, and remember that you didn’t call a timeout. If it was a situation where we should’ve called a timeout, I’ll take the heat for that. But I don’t believe in that.”

And so the Clippers ended up with the ball in Marcus Camby’s hands about 22-feet out with about two seconds left on the clock.

Camby’s not really a 3-point shooter, though he can make them.

“It was right there on line. It just came up short,” Camby said after the game.

What if it would’ve gone in and Camby would’ve beaten his former team?

“I guess that’s just fitting the way our season has gone,” he said. “We had this team last time up 18 at halftime and we let them come back and win the ballgame. I thought the effort was good. We were missing a lot of players. We had two guys sick. Kaman went down. We were without Mike today. His father in law passed. We had a lot of things stacked against us. But I thought the effort was definitely there.”

Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Kim Hughes

On another wild night in Clipperland, one of the most entertaining parts had to be our pre-game press conference with assistant coach Kim Hughes, who was filling in for Mike Dunleavy tonight.

Hughes is a smart guy with a dry sense of humor. With all the crazy developments taking place before Wednesday’s game –Jason Hart and Brian Skinner coming down with the flu, Chris Kaman taking up until game time to decide whether his painful left arch would allow him to play, Ricky Davis potentially shutting it down for two weeks with a sore left knee — that sardonic wit really took the edge off of things.

I’ll try and convey just how funny, wry and engaging Hughes was in this account.

Q: How many times have you been the head coach?

KH: “This is the second time. The other was February of last year in Madison Square Garden. We got lucky and won.

Q: So if you win tonight, and go 2 for 2, think Mike will let you do it more often?

A: This isn’t about me, this about us getting a win.

The last time; Mike was sick and (TV announcer) Ralph Lawler said to me on the bus, are you nervous and I said, `About what?’ and he said, `You’re coaching.’

I said, `Oh really?’ That was about 4:30 in the afternoon.

“I thought I’d be really nervous and I wasn’t. It’s not that much different than people think. And … the power is a rush.”

Q: Did you ride the refs?

KH: “No, I don’t do that. My father refereed college basketball for 25 years and he said he’d break my neck if he saw me doing it. I’ll talk to them. I think it’s more effective to talk to them under your breath and talk to them like a man. I think you can milk calls a lot better (that way) than embarrassing them. I’m upset with them, but if you’re yelling they’re not listening to you.

Q: Will you stand up as much as Mike?
KH: “I’m not even comparing it to Mike. In the second half I won’t have to stand as much because they’re in front of us. I’ll stand in the first half because the defense is away from us and try to transfer the calls to our guys. We’ve got a situation where a couple of our guys don’t know our plays, actually, more than a couple. So we have to make it as simple as possible.

Q: How much will Zach play?

KH: That will depend on the status of Chris Kaman. He may not be able to play.

Q: What’s wrong with him?

KH: Do you have like an hour to talk about it?

Oh, physically you’re saying. He’s got a strained arch and I don’t know what the chances of him playing are. He’s in the training room getting treatment right now, he didn’t participate in shoot-around, he didn’t practice yesterday.

He’s actually been struggling with it for five games. If you notice he can’t jump any more. He’s been fighting through it. He’s missed a lot of short layups because he can’t finish at the rim. He’s been fighting it, he sat out two days, and he’ll get a cortisone shot tonight, which he’ll do either at halftime if he’s not playing or after the game if he’s playing.

He had a bone bruise in his ankle. This is a diferent injury. It’s on the bottom of his foot and its really more pain than injury. But it’s limiting his jumping and he thinks it affects his movement.

Q: Does this game being against Denver (where Hughes spent five years as an assistant) have any extra meaning?

KH: No not at all. I loved my time in Denver. I had a really bad last year, where I wasn’t able to work. But I lived in Denver 28 years and it was a good time for me. I liked George Karl, I loved Nene. A lot of their players are gone from when I was there.

But when I left I always told Mike you need to go get Marcus Camby because he’s so good, he’s so smart.

This is not a vendetta (game).

Our whole focus is: We’ve got to get better, we’ve got to find our chemistry, we’ve got to guard dribble penetration and we’ve got to be tougher.

Q: What happened in Denver in that last year?

KH: I was told by management that the coachign staff didn’t want me there. But a lot of the players would come up to me and ask me questions. Jeff Bzdelik told me, `I really want you on staff but I’m not able to’ and I believe Jeff. I think Jeff was being very honest with me.

And I don’t begrudge them because in all honesty I wanted Larry Harris to be the GM before Kiki (Vandeweghe) got there, so why would Kiki want me around. And I like Kiki, but why would he want me around if I wanted Larry Harris to be the GM. You want your own people and I fully understand that.

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Kaman update

Clippers center Chris Kaman played just 12 minutes before leaving Wednesday’s game with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. The injury has bothered Kaman for about five games, but has gotten progressively worse.

Kaman said he’ll get a cortisone shot in his foot after the game.

“I’ve been playing a lot of minutes,” Kaman said. “Right now it’s pretty sore. Hopefully once I get this injection it should be good in two or three days. Basically I (was) trying to get through today because we have a couple of days off and then Thanksgiving.”

He’s listed as day-to-day.