Archive for December 3rd, 2007

Knicks may soon use Jerome James

The New York Post reports: With Eddy Curry turning into a November disappointment on both ends of the court, Knicks coach Isiah Thomas is - believe it or not - eyeing center Jerome James’ return with anticipation.  Though James is at least one month away from returning, The Post has learned he had a heart-to-heart talk with Thomas after James’ foot surgery to remove a cyst-like growth. Thomas told James he is still in Thomas’ plans, and that the coach hopes to go get James into the rotation.

Jerry Sloan signs extension

The Utah Jazz announced today the decision by Jerry Sloan to return as head coach through the 2008-09 season which will mark his 21st season at the helm of the Jazz.

“Jerry has led the Jazz franchise for the past 20 years and I wouldn’t want it any other way,” said Jazz Owner Larry H. Miller. “He teaches the game the way it ought to be played.”

Sloan has been Utah’s head coach since assuming the reins from former head coach Frank Layden on December 9, 1988. Sloan is the franchise’s winningest coach (953-573) and has the longest active tenure with one team of any coach in major professional sports. With 47 more wins, he will achieve the status as the only coach in NBA history to win 1,000 games with the same franchise.

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No S.Nash for Team Canada

The Associated Press reports: Canada still has a chance to play in the Olympics, but shouldn’t expect any help from Steve Nash. The Phoenix Suns star said Sunday night he probably would not play for the Canadians next summer even if they land a spot in the Beijing Games.

Nash hasn’t played for Team Canada in several years, since becoming a Phoenix Sun.

The Charlotte Observer reports: Primoz Brezec is out and rookie Jared Dudley is in. Charlotte Bobcats coach Sam Vincent is making that shift in the starting lineup against the Toronto Raptors tonight. It’s a move that makes the Bobcats smaller, but likely better defensively. Vincent confirmed the change at shootaround Monday, saying “when you lose five games, you look at something different.” Brezec, a 7-foot-1 Slovenian and an original Bobcat, has struggled throughout this season.

Tim Duncan back soon

The Associated Press reports: Tim Duncan most likely will miss no more than a few games after injuring his ankle and knee. The San Antonio Spurs star was hurt against Portland on Sunday, and the team said his MRI came back negative Monday.

The Lenovo +/- Stat

NBA News - The Lenovo Stat shows the power of teamwork. It’s a way of showing the best-engineered/best combination of players on the court. The Lenovo Stat is a plus/minus statistic that looks at the point differential when players are both in and out of the game, to see how the team performs with various combinations. The Lenovo Stat can look at a variety of combinations including the best two player, three player and even five player combinations for each game.

Josh Smith blocking and stealing

NBA News - Atlanta’s Josh Smith ranks among the league’s best in blocks and steals. Smith, who leads the NBA in blocks (3.6 bpg) and is tied for sixth in (1.9 spg), is only player in the top 10 of both categories.

Magic match best start ever

NBA News - Orlando is 15-4 in its first season under coach Stan Van Gundy, matching the best start in the franchise’s 19-year history. The Magic had the same record to begin the 1994-95 campaign and matched that the following season. Just four years ago, they opened 1-18. Orlando also is 11 games over .500 for the first time since finishing the strike-delayed 1998-99 season 33-17, and leads the NBA with a 10-2 road mark.

Raptors swishing from line, outside

NBA News — Toronto ranks first in the NBA for both three-point and free throw shooting. The Raptors are shooting .426 from behind the arc and have three players ranked among the NBA’s top-20 three-point shooters. Anthony Parker ranks sixth (.509), followed by Jason Kapono (.500) and Andrea Bargnani (.452). No other team in the NBA has three players ranked among the top 20 in three-point shooting. At the charity stripe the Raptors have made 263-of-312 (.843) for the year. T.J. Ford leads the team’s qualified players with a .889 shooting percentage, followed by Chris Bosh at .876. The Raptors have six players shooting over .800 at the free throw line.

Players of Month: D.Howard, Boozer

The Orlando Magic’s Dwight Howard and the Utah Jazz’s Carlos Boozer today were named Eastern Conference and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played from the start of the season (Oct. 30) through November.

Howard averaged 23.8 points on .618 shooting and a league-high 15.0 rebounds while leading the Magic to a 14-4 record. The 14 victories tied for the league high for wins in November with San Antonio. Howard recorded an NBA-best 15 double-doubles and scored 30 or more points six times, including a career-high 39 in a 110-94 win on Nov. 28 in Seattle.

Boozer ranked third in scoring (25.4 ppg) and tied for eighth in rebounds (11.2 rpg) while helping the Jazz to an 11-5 start. Boozer’s .577 field goal percentage was the sixth-best mark in the league. Boozer scored at least 30 points six times and posted 12 double-doubles, including six straight to open the season.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Detroit’s Tayshaun Prince, Houston’s Tracy McGrady, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Kaman, New Jersey’s Richard Jefferson, Phoenix’s Steve Nash, and San Antonio’s Tony Parker.

Coaches of Month: Rivers, Popovich

The Boston Celtics’ Doc Rivers and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in October and November.

Rivers guided the Celtics to a 13-2 (.867) record last month, including eight straight wins to open the season. Boston outscored opponents by a 13.7 ppg margin while holding teams to a .410 field goal percentage. The Celtics recorded a perfect 8-0 mark at TD Banknorth Garden, besting the opposition at home by 21.6 points over that stretch. Owners of the NBA’s top record at month’s end, the Celtics enjoyed the franchise’s best November since 1985-86 when Boston opened 13-1.

Popovich led the Spurs to a 14-3 (.824) record in October and November, tying the franchise record for best start after 17 games, last accomplished in 2005-06. San Antonio, which won five straight from Nov. 16 through Nov. 25, was a perfect 9-0 at AT&T Center. The Spurs committed a league-low 12.0 turnovers per game, including setting a franchise record low with three turnovers in a 128-110 win over Orlando on Nov. 21.

Other nominees for the Coach of the Month were Dallas’ Avery Johnson, Detroit’s Flip Saunders, Houston’s Rick Adelman, Orlando’s Stan Van Gundy, Phoenix’s Mike D’Antoni and Utah’s Jerry Sloan.

Rookies of Month: Durant, Horford

Sonics guard Kevin Durant today was named the Western Conference Rookie of the Month for games played from the start of the season (Oct. 30) through November.

Among rookie qualifiers, Durant ranks first in the league in scoring with 20.4 points per game, fifth in rebounding with 4.4, and first in assists with 2.1.  He is also ranked second in the league in free throw percentage with .816 and third in steals. In addition, Durant also posted a pair of career highs in points with 35 and blocks with three on Nov. 30. vs. Indiana.

The Atlanta Hawks’ Al Horford was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played from the start of the season (Oct. 30) through November.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference T-Mobile Rookies of the Month were Houston’s Luis Scola, Milwaukee’s Yi Jianlian, New Jersey’s Sean Williams, Toronto’s Jamario Moon, and Washington’s Nick Young.

Gabe Pruitt back to D-League

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned rookie guard Gabe Pruitt to their NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash.  Pruitt is the team’s third assignment to the NBA Development League this season and the second time for Pruitt.

Pruitt was averaging 2.0 points and 1.3 assists in 6.0 minutes per game at the time of the assignment.  The 6’4 guard had appeared in one game since his recall from the Flash on November 26, 2007.  Pruitt played in 13 minutes against the New York Knicks on November 29 scoring two points, grabbing one rebound and recording four assists.

Marbury’s father dies

The Associated Press reports: Stephon Marbury played the second half of New York’s loss to Phoenix on Sunday night unaware his father had been taken to a hospital, where he died before the game ended. Don Marbury was taken from Madison Square Garden to St. Vincent’s Hospital and Medical Center during halftime, reportedly because of chest pains, but a family member advised a Knicks official not to inform Stephon Marbury at the time. Stephon Marbury learned of his father’s death from a family friend minutes after the game. “It’s a terrible thing that happened to him and his family last night,” Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said Monday after practice. “For any parent watching their son or daughter perform, and to have something like that happen, anyone who has kids would sympathize with the son and you also sympathize with the family.”

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