Archive for November 13th, 2007

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager Larry Harris announced today that forward Michael Ruffin (6-8, 248) sustained a left wrist fracture during Sunday’s game against the San Antonio Spurs.  He is expected to miss four-to-six weeks of action.

Ruffin, 30, has appeared in all six games for the Bucks this season and is averaging 1.0 rebound in 7.7 minutes per contest.

The Washington Wizards have started the 2007-08 season with one win and five losses. Here’s head coach Eddie Jordan:

On the Wizards’ offense: “As much as people say we can score, we’ve got to execute.  We want to score with efficiency.  We don’t want to take a lot of bad shots that lead to fast breaks, or take bad shots that are not in harmony with the team concept.  You have to play as a team and share the ball.”

On the recent players-only meeting: “What I liked about our team meeting was that it was short.  The short ones are pretty concise and to the point, then let’s go to practice.  There are some that last too long, and it’s just a whole lot of talk.  I felt good when the team said they were going to have a meeting and they came back out in less than 15 minutes.  That was a good sign.”

On leadership: “Coaches appreciate leaders who are consistent every day.  When something needs to be said in the locker room, bus, plane, but certainly in practice and in games, coaches want captains that lead by example and through professional communication.  That’s what we want to see.”

On the play of Gilbert Arenas: “He’s quarterbacking the team and he’s talking.  He’s defending better.  I think it’s because of the emphasis we put on individual and team defense.  He’s getting over screens, he’s helping, he’s in good position, and he’s always in a defensive stance, which is a lot of strain on the legs.”

On the team’s community service event at Andrews Air Force Base: “Our guys have always been out in the community and I think we’ve got terrific character guys.  It’s nothing new and nothing different for us.  It’s not just something they have to do; they do it on their own.”

Tracy McGrady has a new baby daughter

Please welcome Laycee Aloa McGrady, daughter to the proud parents of Tracy and CleRenda McGrady.

Laycee arrived this afternoon at 4:10 p.m. measuring in at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and 19½ inches long.

Tracy will remain with the team and is expected to play tonight against the Grizzlies.

Through five games, Al Jefferson is leading the Wolves with averages of 19.6 points (49.4% FG%) and 12.4 rebounds per game. He has registered point/rebound double-doubles in all five contests. Rashad McCants’ 15.0 ppg ranks second on the Wolves in scoring. The third-year pro is shooting the ball at a 51.1% clip from the field, including 50% (8-for-16) from the three-point line. Center Theo Ratliff is averaging a team-best 3.5 blocks per game. The veteran from the University of Wyoming swatted a season-high six blocks against Sacramento on Saturday night. Sebastian Telfair is leading the Wolves with 4.6 assists per game.

Through the first five games, Minnesota center Theo Ratliff leads the league in blocks per game, averaging 3.5 per game.  Wolves Forward Al Jefferson ranks eighth in the league in rebounds per game (12.4).  Third-year guard Rashad McCants ranks amongst the league leaders in three-point shooting, connecting from long range 50% (8-16) of the time.  Wolves 2006-07 second-round draft pick Craig Smith ranks 17th in the NBA in field-goal shooting percentage at 55%.

Early season Pacers notes

The Pacers scored 46 points in the first quarter of the game vs. Denver, Nov. 10, and that was the most the team had ever scored in the first period of an NBA game.

In the game against the Nuggets, the Pacers had three players register double-doubles for the first time this season. In his first start of the season, Troy Murphy led the Pacers with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. Jermaine O’Neal scored 15 points while hauling in a team-best 12 boards and Jamaal Tinsley had 11 points and a season-high tying 10 assists.

In games at Charlotte, Nov. 9, and vs. Denver, Nov. 10, Shawne Williams collected a total of five steals. Those two games were the first of his career with more than one steal.

After starting the season 3-8 from the floor (.375) vs. Washington, Oct. 31, Jeff Foster has shot 13-22 (.591) in the last five games.

Mike Dunleavy has shot 27-50 from the field in the last four games, after shooting 7-17 in each of the season’s first two games.

The Pacers have forced their opponents into an average of 19.83 turnovers per game, which is the highest rate in the league.

Shawne Williams ended the week with double-digit points in consecutive games with 14 at Charlotte, Nov. 9, and a bench-high 12 vs. Denver, Nov. 10. That was the first time this season, and the third time in his career, that he has had 10+ points in two straight games.

Is acting in Dwyane Wade’s future?

D-Wade may get into entertainment, specifically acting and/or producing, in the future. Here’s Sports Business Journal reporting:

The William Morris Agency has signed NBA star Dwyane Wade for marketing work — including representing him in international endorsements surrounding the Beijing Olympics — and for entertainment work, including possibly acting and producing.

“It is a really big deal for us,” said WMA President Dave Wirtschafter, who will head up the team of agents representing Wade at the Hollywood talent agency. “In addition to being a superstar on the court, Dwyane radiates a charisma and accessibility that resonates with audiences across all areas of entertainment.”

Henry Thomas, Wade’s on-the-court agent and head of basketball at sports management and marketing firm CSMG, will continue to represent Wade, and CSMG will work in a partnership with WMA on marketing deals for Wade.

Wade has bigger issues to worry about first, however, Like getting healthy, helping the awful Heat win some games, and getting into Charles Barkley’s Five.

Upon seeing the story in the Daily News hinting at Marbury’s possible departure from the Knicks, I decided to try to see what I could get for him by using the ESPN Trade Machine

Here are the successful results and the reality:

1 - Marbury to Washington for Antawn Jamison. Marbury gets to play with Gilbert Arenas for two years and that pushes DeShawn Stevenson to the bench while making Andray Blatche the starting power forward. On the Knicks side of the equation, a Marbury departure will make Nate Robinson the starting point guard or push Jamal Crawford there and Quentin Richardson to the starting shooting guard. If they put Jamison into the starting five, it makes him the small forward.

2 - Marbury to Sacramento for Ron Artest and Mike Bibby. Marbury becomes the point guard in Sacramento and Bibby becomes the point guard for the Knicks. As for Artest’s role he becomes the starting small forward and Quentin Richardson becomes the sixth man. Back in Sacramento, Francisco Garcia becomes the starting small forward.

3 - Marbury to Portland for Raef LaFrentz and Darius Miles - That’s a total unrealistic deal for both sides at least I think it. LaFrentz barely plays and Miles is coming back from major knee surgery and a lot of money.

4 - Marbury to Phoenix for Shawn Marion - Another unrealistic trade but if Phoenix ever offered this, I’d do this quickly. Marbury probably in this instance supplants Raja Bell as the shooting guard while Alando Tucker maybe moves to replace Marion. Marion slides over to small forward in New York, Crawford the point and Richardson the two-guard.

5 - Marbury to New Orleans for Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson. Another unlikely one but Marbury gets to be the two-guard alongside Chris Paul. Bobby Jackson becomes the starting point guard, Richardson goes to the bench and Stojakovic starts at small forward

(Note this thing also said I could trade him for Jason Kidd, obviously that’s not happening)

6 - Marbury for Michael Redd and Dan Gadzuric. In theory not a terrible trade but both players have four years remaining. Gadzuric becomes Eddy Curry’s backup while Redd becomes the starting shooting guard and Crawford moves to the point. Marbury becomes Milwaukee’s starting shooting guard.

7 - Marbury for Kobe Bryant. Both players have similar salaries but Bryant has a no-trade clause. Should this happen, both would simply be the starting two-guards.

8 - Marbury for Cuttino Mobley and Corey Maggette - Marbury plays with Sam Cassell while Mobley becomes the starting two-guard and Maggette the three, pushing Crawford to the point and Richardson to the bench.

9 - Marbury for Jermaine O’Neal - The money is similar and so are the years remaining. The Knicks essentially would play with two power forwards alongside Curry while the Pacers use Marbury as the point or in reserve role.

10 - Marbury for Baron Davis - Money is similar and so are the years. Both players become the point guard. Another doubtful trade.

11 - It also says you can get Allen Iverson straight up for Marbury but that is as likely as George Karl and Isiah Thomas having a meal together.

Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge announced today that the team assigned rookie forward Brandon Wallace to its NBA Development League affiliate, the Utah Flash.

The 6-9 South Carolina native signed with the Celtics as a free agent on July 10 following a stint with the team during the 2007 NBA Summer League, where he averaged 4.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 22.4 minutes per game.  Wallace also saw action in three preseason games for the Celtics, averaging 1.2 rebounds in 4.7 minutes per game.

During his final season at the University of South Carolina, Wallace averaged 9.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game and was an Associated Press All-SEC Honorable Mention.

Wallace, 22, is the fourth NBA player assigned to the D-League this season, and the second assigned to the Flash, along with Kyrylo Fesenko who is on assignment from the Utah Jazz.  He will join the team in Orem, Utah on Tuesday.

Connections and Storylines for a Tuesday

Boston @ Indiana - The last time Boston was 6-0 was way back on November 15, 1987. They reached that point with a 103-98 win at Market Square Arena. Larry Bird scored 11 of his 24 points in the first quarter and the Celtics made 10 of their 13 shots.

But of more recent history is that they’ll be facing the last coach that won a playoff series for the Celtics and that was Jim O’Brien, who in 2003 guided the Celtics to the Eastern Conference semifinals. O’Brien stepped down just as Danny Ainge took over and dealt away players such as Antoine Walker and Eric Williams for the likes of Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis.

As for the present, the 5-0 start has seen the Celtics win by an average of 16.6 points - a figure that would be larger if not for a three-point win in Toronto. They have had six quarters in which they have outscored the opponent by double digits.

As for the Pacers, their present three-game losing streak makes that 3-0 start seem like a thing of the past. They were last seen coughing up a 25-point lead and losing 113-106 to the Nuggets and they’ve also seen Danny Granger’s drop as he is 18-of-50 and 0-of-13 from three-point range in his last three contests. The loss to Denver came a night after they blew an eight-point lead and gave up 20-2 run in Charlotte.

Seattle @ Orlando - If the Sonics had been able or wanted to re-sign Rashard Lewis, they might have had a win or two. They take an 0-7 mark into this and have never been 0-8. So what do they plan on doing to combat the losing, especially after coming within four points of the Detroit Pistons Sunday night. I do not know just yet but from someone who saw the game, the Sonics played well enough against teams not named the Pistons. Five of Seattle’s seven losses have been by single digits so maybe the laws of statistics could be in their favor.

As for Orlando, the Magic are 5-2 with Lewis, who is averaging 20.2 points and one of the many long-range shooters that pace a team that has four games with at least 10-pointers. Their defense is far from being perfect as Stan Van Gundy said it was a bunch of things, especially pertaining to the low post the other night in New York when I asked him.

Another thing to expect if you’re defending the Magic is that they will keep shooting. If 10 misfire, they figure the 11th will go in and chances are Dwight Howard will grab a majority of those misses although he might have some problems if Chris Wilcox and Nick Collision are on the court on the same time. They make the Sonics one of eight teams with two players averaging eight rebounds .

Miami @ Charlotte - Now that Miami has won for the first time since April 13, they can begin the season. Taking this back-to-back with Charlotte and Seattle might be very important because a back-to-back with Boston and New Jersey is next. The Heat are the worst team in the league when it comes to scoring at 84.5 points but if they can get the Bobcats to cave into the slow, plodding halfcourt style they can and probably win this. That’s among the things they did in New York in a 75-72 win. They also came back from six down in the final six-plus minutes, holding the Knicks to one basket and no points in the final 2 1/2 minutes. They also have been getting the big time blue collar effort from Udonis Haslem, who resembled many of the players that Pat Riley used to coach in New York with his 16-point, 16 rebound showing. That’s my unscientific analysis of the Heat, here’s some scientific analysis

As for Charlotte, they’ve never been this good this late in a season. Last year it took the Bobcats 14 games to get to four victories, in 2005-06 it was 12 games and in 2004-05 it was also 14. They already have an 90-88 win over Miami and that was a game they nearly lost. But of course like many teams that have yet to consistently win, late-game execution can be a problem like it was in Sunday’s 85-82 loss to Houston. They were up five heading into the fourth and up seven with 6:05 remaining. The teams like the Pistons, Spurs, Suns usually expand that lead to double-digits while the losing or inconsistent teams blow it or make it tough and that’s what happened. They allowed the Rockets to hang in there and they eventually took the lead and the superstar got the call when Tracy McGrady got a call against Gerald Wallace in the waning seconds.

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Kidd an assists king

NBA News: New Jersey’s Jason Kidd is averaging 10.5 assists, second only to New Orleans’ Chris Paul (11.1 apg). Kidd has ranked in the top five in assists 12 straight seasons, making him one of only two players in NBA history to finish the season ranked in the top five in at least 12 straight campaigns (Bob Cousy finished in the top five in assists 13 straight times from 1950-51 to 1962-63). Kidd has led the league in assists five times.

Several NBA sophomores are stepping up

NBA News: The top three vote-getters in last year’s Rookie of the Year balloting are acquitting themselves quite nicely during the early going of their sophomore campaigns.

Portland’s Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year, is pacing the Trail Blazers in scoring (20.7 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg).

Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani has converted 15 of 30 three-point attempts and is averaging 13.4 points to go along with 4.6 rebounds.

Memphis’ Rudy Gay is averaging a team-high 20.6 points, nearly doubling his rookie average (10.8 ppg).

Other notable second-year performers include, but are not limited to: Roy’s teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 19.2 points and 7.7 rebounds; Golden State’s Kelenna Azubuike, who is averaging 18.8 points and shooting .531 from the field; Utah’s Ronnie Brewer, who is shooting .580 from the field, .429 from beyond the arc and .828 from the line in averaging 15.3 points; Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson, who is shooting .528 from three-point land while averaging 12.4 points; and Gay’s teammate Kyle Lowry, who is averaging 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Rockets defense has been terrific

The Rockets are still dealing the defense this season, holding their opponents to under 40 percent shooting in consecutive games: .381 (32-84 FG) vs. Milwaukee (11/9/07) and .397 (31-78 FG) at Charlotte (11/11/07). Through Nov. 11, Houston ranks third in the NBA in points allowed per game (89.4) and seven in field goal percentage defense (.425). The Rockets have yet to allow more than 88 points in a home game this season.

Houston has now opened the 2007-08 campaign with a mark of 6-1, which stands as the best start to a season since the 1996-97 Rockets began 6-1.

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