From Comcast SportsNetSEATTLE (AP) -- Boston manager Bobby Valentine insisted he wasn't serious Wednesday when he threatened to punch a talk-show host in the mouth.Hours later, his Red Sox put up little fight at the plate.Valentine said he made it clear he was kidding when he made the comment during an interview on Boston radio station WEEI with hosts Glenn Ordway and Michael Holley."Didn't I go, Ha, ha?'" the embattled Valentine asked before his fourth-place team lost 2-1 to the Seattle Mariners. "I don't think physical violence is necessary for 60-year-old people."Ordway, sighting a newspaper report that Valentine arrived later than normal for a game last week in Oakland, asked if the manager had "checked out" on the season.Valentine responded on the air:"What an embarrassing thing to say. If I were there right now, I'd punch you right in the mouth. Ha, ha," he said. "How's that sound? Sound like I checked out? What an embarrassing thing. Why would somebody even, that's stuff that a comic strip person would write. If someone's here, watching me go out at 2 o'clock in the afternoon, working with the young players, watching me put in the right relief pitchers to get a win, putting on a hit-and-run when it was necessary, talking to the guys after the game in the food room -- how could someone in real life say that?"Meeting later with reporters in Seattle before the game, Valentine acknowledged he took offense to Ordway's question and explained that he arrived at the Coliseum in Oakland later than usual -- but still 3 hours before the game -- because he had picked up his son from the airport and got stuck in traffic."If anyone in this room or any other room I've been in in my life wants to question my integrity, I will ask someone to referee that situation," he said.Valentine added that if a writer "thought that was important and wanted to write seriously about it, they could have asked what the situation was and I would have been happy to tell them. No one asked the reasons."He went on to describe them.Valentine said he picked up his son from the San Francisco airport in the morning for his first visit on the road during "this lousy season." The plane was late, then he had to return to his San Francisco hotel to pick up his game information before driving over the Bay Bridge to the Coliseum."That was a mistake," Valentine said. "There was traffic around the hotel and an accident on the freeway. I got there a little later than normal, not late. My workday starts at 4:30 p.m., in my opinion. I got to the stadium at 4:04 p.m."He said he had called in that night's lineup at 2 p.m. and had checked with the trainer on the condition of injured players."To see my son for a couple more hours," he said, "is more than worth the trade-off of sitting around in my underwear in the clubhouse for two hours."Just ask me the question. Don't think everyone in the room is smart enough to figure out what I meant. That's not my fault."Valentine said he told his coaches he would be a little late, and he called in to say he was delayed in traffic on his way to "the stupid Oakland Coliseum.""For someone to say that I was late is an absolute disgrace to their integrity if they have any," he said.During the radio interview, Valentine went on to say that his first season as Red Sox manager has been "miserable."Asked to clarify later, he said: "The last two weeks have been very trying. Lots of obstacles in my way and I thought I've jumped them, and sometimes you get knocked down by them."It's turned out to be not what I expected. It's been a little misery, yeah," he said. "I'm not sure it's 247, but I would think after a loss I'm miserable. ... It's been adventurous, challenging."Valentine signed a two-year deal last winter and has said he wants to return in 2013. Red Sox management has maintained that no decision will be made until after the season is over.The last few weeks have not gone well. Boston went 1-8 on a brutal road trip for the club's worst West Coast swing since a 1-8 debacle in September 1989."This was not a good road trip, obviously," Valentine said. "One of the worst I've ever experienced."The Red Sox are 10-24 since Aug. 1."I'd like us to play together and show that we've got a lot of pride," Valentine said. "I think we do and I think we'll grind it out, be a spoiler along the way. That would be fun, too."
Ian Mahinmi, who has appeared in just one game for the Wizards this season because of injuries to both knees, will get another MRI on his right one Friday, league sources tell CSNmidatlantic.com.
Mahinmi was the Wizards' most expensive offseason acquistion this summer and set to back up Marcin Gortat in the middle. However, he required surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee before the season tipped and then developed soreness -- believed to be tendinitis, league sources told CSN -- in the right knee after playing just 14 minutes vs. the San Antonio Spurs on Nov. 26. Mahinmi signed a four-year deal worth almost $64 million.
As a result, Gortat, at 32 the oldest on the roster, has had to play a career-high 35.4 minutes per game for Washington. Daniel Ochefu, a rookie who signed as a free agent, hasn't been deemed ready by coach Scott Brooks to log any meaningful minutes.
Mahinmi has yet to go through a series of full practices to get back on the court, though he has gone partial and done individual work.
If Mahinmi's knee turns out to be more serious than expected, that would put the Wizards (8-13) in a tough spot as they try to dig out of this hole with 61 games left in the regular season.
Changes occurred Thursday, and they took shape with defense as the Wizards overcame a shaky first half to hold the Denver Nuggets to 33 points in the second half of a 92-85 victory.
Bradley Beal led all scorers (26 points, 3 rebounds), followed by Markieff Morris (15 points, 4 assists). John Wall, who set a career-high Tuesday with 52, had a relatively quiet evening (15 points, 5 assists, 7 rebounds).
But it was how they defended after the intermission that proved to be the difference.
Nikola Jokic (17 points, 11 rebounds) led the Nuggets followed by Danilo Gallinari (14 points), Jusuf Nurkic (13 points, 7 rebounds) and Will Barton (11 points).
--Morris hasn’t played well defensively in a while, and the way he started the fourth helped Denver regain the lead. Marcin Gortat had to help Trey Burke slow down Jamal Murray from turning the corner on a screen and had to run back to get in position on Nurkic. Morris, however, released him prematurely which allowed the easy pass and the dunk before the center could recover. Then Gallinari converted a three-point play on a reach-in from Morris the next time down.
-- Wall spent a lot of plays in half-court sets off the ball while Beal ran the offense, including at the end of the first half, and it produced. He was able to attack off the dribble on the ball reversal and get into the paint either from the corners or the slot. It didn’t necessarily lead to baskets for Wall but the ball movement was better and it took advantage of Denver for committing so much attention to Beal on the strongside. When Beal tied the score at 62, it was with Wall off ball getting the ball back to him for an open 3. And Beal ended the third quarter the same way – handling the ball and running the offense. He drew a foul.
-- Nurkic picked up his fourth personal foul early in the third quarter when he set a screen that wiped out Wall. Wall retaliated after getting knocked out of bounds to receive his fifth technical foul of the season. That’ll cost him another $2,000.
--Kelly Oubre (8 points, 5 rebounds) entered the game midway through the first quarter for Morris and applied ball pressure that helped the Wizards with deflections and added energy that they’d been missing at the start. He also ended the game while Morris sat as his energy grew contagious.
--Burke, again playing ahead of Tomas Satoransky, is at least finding his shot much better not having as many ball-handling responsibilities. He had six points in seven minutes of the first half, shooting 3-for-4.
--The second unit, which has been under fire all season for lackluster performances on both ends of the floor, did its job in the first half. Oubre, Jason Smith, Marcus Thornton, Andrew Nicholson and Burke all were on the plus side of the plus-minus rating. All five starters were in the minus.
--Turnovers fueled Denver’s offense. They forced eight from the Wizards in the first quarter alone to get out to a 14-point lead and enter the second ahead 29-18.