Archive for January, 2008

Wizards-Bucks team connections

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld was the Bucks General Manager for four years prior to joining the Wizards; a stint that included three playoff berths and the drafting of current Bucks guard Michael Redd with the 43rd overall pick in the second round of the 2000 NBA Draft…Bucks forward/center Michael Ruffin played three seasons in Washington from 2004-07…Bucks swingman Awvee Storey was with the Wizards during the 2005-06 NBA campaign…Bucks forward Bobby Simmons was a Wizard from 2001-03.

Jerry Stackhouse out 1 week

Jerry Stackhouse had an MRI today that revealed he has a mild right hamstring strain. He will miss approximately one week of action.

In 38 games with two starts, Stackhouse has averaged 9.9 points, 2.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 24.4 minutes this season. The 12-year pro suffered the injury at Charlotte on January 23, 2008.

Brent Barry out 3-4 weeks

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that a MRI had revealed that Brent Barry suffered a grade II strain of the medial head of his gastrocnemius muscle in his left calf. The injury occurred during the third quarter of the Spurs-Miami Heat game on 1/24. He is expected to miss three-to-four weeks.

Barry had previously torn the plantaris muscle in his left calf on 12/26 against Chicago. He missed nine games due to the injury.

Jazz assign Morris Almond to D-League

Utah Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today that the team has re-assigned rookie guard Morris Almond to the Utah Flash of the NBA Development League (D-League). Almond joins fellow rookie Kyrylo Fesenko, who is already on assignment with the Flash.

Almond, a 6-6, 225-pound guard out of Rice was selected by the Jazz in the first round (25th overall selection) of the 2007 NBA Draft. He has appeared in six games for the Jazz, totaling three points, one assist and one steal in 25 minutes of action. He appeared in two games for the Jazz during his most recent stint with the team, averaging 1.5 points and 0.5 assists in 7.0 minutes per game.

Almond was previously assigned to the Jazz’s D-League affiliate from December 6 - January 8 and appeared in 10 games (all starts) for the Flash, averaging a league-leading 29.8 points, along with 3.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.1 steals in 37.6 minutes per game. He was named D-League Player of the Week (Dec. 17-23) after averaging 43.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.0 steals while shooting 32-of-68 (.471) from the field. During that week, Almond scored a D-League record-tying 51 points in a win over the Austin Toros on December 21.

Almond will join the Flash for its game vs. Sioux Falls tonight.

Sasha Pavlovic may be out 2 months

The start of the Cavaliers season was a mess due to injuries and unsigned players. Now, one of the two key guys who rejoined the team after the season had already started may be gone for a while. The AP reports:

Cavaliers guard Sasha Pavlovic could miss up to two months because of a sprained left foot, a blow to the defending Eastern Conference champions, who are playing their best ball this season. Pavlovic got hurt during the third quarter of Wednesday night’s win over Washington.

The Cavs have played great basketball over the last month. This hurts their flow.

Starters were announced for the 2008 All-Star game (see full results here) and Denver Nuggets guard Allen Iverson will start on the West. Here’s what he had to say about it:

How does it feel to be named a starter?

Allen Iverson: “It’s a good feeling. I think it’s a tribute to my teammates and coaching staff because without those guys none of that would be possible. But most of all I just want to thank the fans for appreciating what I go out and do on the court night in and night out. That’s the best feeling of all this…the people that make us who we are picked me to be their starter.”

Are you surprised that you caught Tracy McGrady?

Allen Iverson: “I was kind of surprised because two weeks ago I was behind him by like 80,000 votes, so I was surprised that I caught him so fast. And to be able to catch somebody with that much talent and fan-base says a lot about the Allen Iverson fans out there.”

Are you excited to be starting alongside your Nuggets teammate, Carmelo Anthony?

Allen Iverson: “Melo is a great basketball player and a great teammate. I start beside him all the time and then to have a chance to start beside him in a big game like the All-Star Game is just a blessing.”

This is your ninth selection. Does it ever get old?

Allen Iverson: “Never…never…this will never get old. This time feels like the first one. It’s just a great feeling and an honor, and I’m just looking forward to trying to play the best that I can play for the fans.”

CARMELO ANTHONY QUOTES

How does it feel to be named a starter?

Carmelo Anthony: “It feels great. It feels like I’m over the hump now and people are starting to realize the hard work that I put in to get here. It’s all because of the fans. They’re obviously liking what they’ve been seeing out of me and the production that I’m giving out there on the court this season. And like I said it’s finally starting to pay off.”

Are you excited that you’ll be starting alongside Iverson?

Carmelo Anthony: “It’s just going to feel like normal, like we’re here with the Nuggets. But I’m happy that I’m a starter and I’m happy that he’s a starter. You know, anytime you get two guys starting in an All-Star Game, or even just being named to the team, it’s an honor.”

The Charlotte Bobcats have assigned rookie forward Jermareo Davidson to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.  Davidson is expected to see his first action on Friday, January 25, against the Utah Flash.

The 6-10, 230-pound forward has appeared in 16 games this season with averages of 2.7 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.1 minutes of action.  His draft rights were acquired by the Bobcats along with guard Jason Richardson from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Brandan Wright, whom the Bobcats selected with eighth pick in the 2007 NBA Draft.

Davidson, the 36th overall selection in the June draft, played four seasons at the University of Alabama and averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.7 blocks in 126 collegiate games. He was named All-Southeastern Conference Second Team in 2006-07 by the league’s coaches and Honorable Mention All-SEC by The Associated Press.

As a senior, he ranked second on the team in scoring, averaging 14.0 points, ranked first in total blocks with 70 and ranked second in rebounding (8.2).  He also reached double-figure scoring 25 times and posted 11 double-doubles on the season.

Basketball Without Borders India in July

The National Basketball Association (NBA) will stage its first-ever event in India with Basketball without Borders, the league’s global basketball development and community outreach program.  A series of activities will be held in New Delhi July 3–6, the NBA, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) and the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) announced today.

The Basketball without Borders camp uses basketball to influence positive social change and features dozens of current and former NBA players and team personnel working as camp coaches.  Top young basketball players (ages 19 and under) from across Asia will come together in New Delhi to take part in basketball instruction and competition.  They will also participate in motivational and life-skills seminars that promote education, leadership, character development and healthy living.

“We look forward to hosting this most prestigious basketball camp,” said Harish Sharma, BFI Secretary General. “This will be an extraordinary opportunity to work with both the NBA and FIBA to help promote basketball in India.”

“The NBA is pleased to partner with BFI and FIBA to stage the league’s inaugural camp in India,” said Heidi Ueberroth, NBA President, Global Marketing Partnerships and International Business Operations. “We look forward to working together on the first of many activities to target basketball participation.”

Weekly Pacers team notes

The Pacers tied a franchise record with 14 3-pt field goals made at Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 21. That was the fifth time in their NBA history that the Pacers have hit that figure, but it was the first time ever on the road. Prior to Monday, the last time Indiana made 14 3-pt field goals was in a double-overtime loss to Dallas, Feb. 5, 2002.

In the last four games, Danny Granger has averaged 24.3 ppg, and scored 20 or more points three times. He scored 20 or more points just three times in the previous 18 games and averaged 15.1 ppg in that span.

Including a team season-best 12-12 vs. Golden State, Jan. 16, Granger has made 35 of his 38 free throws (.921) in the last six games.

In his last six appearances, Shawne Williams has averaged 9.8 ppg and shot 22-39 from the floor (.564). He shot 5-12 3-pt FGS (.417) and 10-13 from the foul line (.769) in those six games.

Jeff Foster has come off the bench to lead the Pacers in rebounds in each of the last three games. In those three games, he has averaged 12.0 rpg and has accumulated an average of 5.0 offensive rebounds per game. Foster tied a season-high with eight offensive rebounds vs. Sacramento, Jan. 19. Foster is 12th in the league this season with 124 offensive rebounds

Foster’s three offensive rebounds at Philadelphia moved him past Rik Smits into fifth place on the Pacers’ all-time career list with 1,534 offensive boards.

Including his season-high 25 points at Philadelphia, Kareem Rush has scored 10+ points in 14 of the last 20 games. In those 20 games, he has averaged 12.6 ppg and shot 99-215 from the (.460), including 43-97 from 3-pt range (.443). In his first 19 appearances, Rush averaged just 3.2 ppg and scored in double figures once. In the first 19 games, he shot just 23-74 FGS (.311) and 9-34 from 3-pt range (.265).

Travis Diener has averaged 9.0 ppg and 3.3 apg in the last six games. In that time frame, he has scored a career-best 19 points at Sacramento, Jan. 12, and handed out a career-best six assists twice–vs. Golden State, Jan. 16, and at Philadelphia, Jan. 21. He committed just seven turnovers in those six games for an assists-to-turnover ratio of 2.86:1.

The Pacers had assists on 35 of their 41 field goals against the 76ers at Wachovia Center on Monday and 35 assists are a season-high. The Pacers have had 30 or more assists four times this season, but just once in the last 20 games.

Having posted their 10th road win of 2007-08 at Philadelphia on Monday, Jan. 21, the Pacers are one of just five NBA teams that have more wins on the road than they do at home. The Pacers are 9-10 at home.

Rockets-Sonics team connections

Rockets Assistant Coach Jack Sikma joined Houston after spending four seasons on the Seattle coaching staff … Sikma, who was selected by the Sonics with the eighth overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft, had his jersey #43 retired by Seattle during a halftime ceremony of a Sonics vs. Detroit Pistons game on Nov. 21, 1992 … Houston Assistant Coach R.J. Adelman worked as an NBA advance scout for the Sonics before coming to Houston … Rockets guard Aaron Brook is a native of Seattle, leading Franklin High School to the Washington 4A State Championship as a senior … originally chosen by the Sonics in the second round (31st overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Houston obtained the draft rights to forward Carl Landry from Seattle on June 28, 2007 … Scott Brooks, an assistant coach with the Sonics, played three seasons with the Rockets (1992-95) … Seattle Assistant Coach Mark Bryant also played one season with Houston (1995-96).

Warriors weekly notes

Golden State passed the halfway point of the season last week with a 24-17 record, marking the team’s best record at the turn since the 1992-93 season when they were 28-13.

After going 3-1 on last week’s Midwest trip, the Warriors have now posted winning records on all four of their extended road trips this season (trips of three games or more).

The Warriors are scheduled to play 12 of their next 15 games at ORACLE Arena (team is 11-4 in last 15 home games).

Golden State, which ranks 2nd in the NBA in steals (9.14 spg), recorded an NBA record 12 steals in the first quarter at Indiana last Wednesday before finishing the game with 18 steals.

The Warriors are 25-12 in their last 37 games after starting the season 0-6.

Baron Davis:

-  Was named Western Conference Player of the Week after averaging 26.3 points, 7.0 assists, 5.0 rebounds and 4.50 steals in four games (all road games, 3-1 record).

- Tallied a career-high-tying 40 points at Chicago last Friday, including 28 in the second half of 119-111 victory.

- Notched seven steals at Indiana on Wednesday, the most in the NBA this season.

- In 43 games this season, is averaging 22.2 points (11th in NBA), 8.1 assists (7th in NBA), 4.7 rebounds and 2.44 steals (2nd in NBA) in 39.0 minutes (12th in NBA).

Luol Deng out 1-3 weeks

Chicago Bulls team captain Luol Deng will be sidelined one to three weeks due to left Achilles tendinitis.

To date, Deng (6-9, 220) has missed a total of four games because of the injury, sitting out Jan. 5 – 11 and again on Jan. 19. He has also missed three games this season due to lower back pain (Nov. 18 – 24).

In his fourth season, Deng has appeared in 33 games, including 32 starts, and averaged 17.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg and 2.4 apg in 34.7 mpg. He has shot .478 from the floor, including .400 from three-point range, and .762 from the free throw line.

Larry Brown says Knicks spied on him

The AP reports: Coaching the New York Knicks made Larry Brown feel like he was being watched. Brown accused the Knicks of having “spies throughout the arena” during his one season with the team in a story in the February issue of “Philadelphia” magazine. Brown also complained about the way he was treated by the organization. “Imagine when you get to work, they don’t talk to you,” he said. “They had security people standing close to me in press conferences, and spies throughout the arena.”

Przybilla talks with InsideHoops

After Orlando Magic defended home court Saturday night by beating Portland 101-94, InsideHoops.com had a chance to catch up with Joel Przybilla, who is doing more than just holding down the center position until Greg Oden returns next season. The 7-1, 255-pound Przybilla is averaging 7.3 rebounds a game in just 21 minutes per contest for the Blazers who have won 20 of their last 24 games.

The interview is here.

Shaq out at least 2 weeks

The Miami HEAT announced that center Shaquille O’Neal underwent an MRI today which revealed acute left hip and quadriceps inflammation. He will be sidelined two weeks before being re-evaluated and will continue with treatment during that span.

O’Neal, currently in his 15th NBA season, has appeared in 32 games (all starts) for the HEAT this season, and has averaged 14.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.66 blocks in 28.5 minutes per game while ranking sixth in the NBA in field goal percentage (.581).

Jamison, Butler explain Wizards success

The Washington Wizards are playing terrific basketball lately. Here’s what Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison have to say about it:

Antawn Jamison on the team’s improved defense: “The majority of it has been the mindset.  We were tired of being talked about as a bad defensive team.  Certain individuals, including myself, were not getting it done on defense.  I think we got fed up with it.  We want to do everything possible to make it work. Sometimes we didn’t feel like it was the right thing to do, but we did it.  We bought into the system.  We were struggling with it those first few games, but we continued to believe in it and eventually we did a complete 180.  That’s the gratifying thing about it…to know you believed in it from day one, you bought into what the coaching staff was trying to do, and now to see the rewards from it.  You are starting to see what kind of team we can be, defensively.”

Antawn Jamison on Caron Butler: “I don’t see him just starting to do it…he has been doing it.  A lot of people wonder where this is coming from, but the guy has been doing this since he got here.  Caron is not doing anything different.  He isn’t surprising me, or the rest of his teammates, or the coaching staff at all.  Caron has been doing this since day one.  I’m glad he is getting the recognition he deserves.”

Antawn Jamison on the team’s attitude: “We are having fun.  Defensively we are in sync.  Offensively, we are great.  Right now we feel like, no matter who we play, if we come out and get in plays that we have practiced, we put ourselves in a good position to win games.  I think this team has had more fun than we have had in a long time.  We have a good amount of confidence.  We still have a lot of room for improvement.  We realize that you can’t get too high when things are going your way and you can’t get too low when they are not.  Right now things are going in the direction we want them to go in, but we still have a long ways to go.  We still have the second half of the season to play and hopefully we can get some key guys back and take it from there.”

Caron Butler on the keys to tomorrow’s game against Cleveland: “We need to continue to play good basketball.  We need to protect the paint and go out there with a lot of energy.  Those are the keys to our success: to protect the paint, to make defensive stops, and to get out on transition to create some good offense for us.  Whenever we hold teams to under 90 points is usually when we have a great opportunity to win.  We have to go out and supply a lot of pressure tomorrow night.”

Caron Butler on the team’s defense: “If we aren’t making shots, we need to get stops.  Our defense has been our offense lately.  If we aren’t getting into the flow of our half court offense, somehow we are attacking the paint and getting out on the floor in transition.  Good defense has been the key to our success.”

Caron Butler on LeBron James: “LeBron is a great player.  He knows how to make the supporting cast around him better, and that is what great players do.  He is doing a good job of that.  He is a great facilitator.  He knows when to pick and choose, when to support, and when to be aggressive.  We need to apply pressure.  We aren’t going to stop him, but we need to make things real difficult for him.”

Caron Butler on the Wizards’ recent ‘big’ wins: “We don’t have anything to lose.  Everyone keeps telling us we shouldn’t be beating these people.  We know what the perception is, so we just go out and play loose.  We get fired up and we win games and prove those doubters wrong.”

Wizards-Cavaliers roster connections

Cavaliers guard Larry Hughes appeared in 189 games for the Wizards from 2002-05…  Wizards guard Antonio Daniels and Cavs forward Ira Newble were teammates in San Antonio in 2000-01…  Daniels attended high school at nearby Saint Francis DeSales in Columbus, OH…  Wizards center Brendan Haywood was originally drafted by Cleveland with the 20th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft…  Wizards assistant Phil Hubbard averaged 10.6 points per game as a player with the Cavaliers from 1981-89…  Wizards Head Coach Eddie Jordan was drafted by Cleveland 33rd overall in the second round of the 1977 NBA Draft.

Rockets notes

Yao Ming finished with 30 points (12-19 FG), 17 boards and three blocked shots vs. Seattle (1/21/08). Overall, it marked Yao’s seventh 30-point outing of the season and his fourth 30-13 game (points-rebounds) of 2007-08: 30 points, 15 boards vs. Dallas (11/21/07); 31 points, 13 rebounds at Phoenix (11/28/07) and 30 points, 16 rebounds vs. New Orleans (1/13/08)… Houston reached the 41-game mark with a record of 22-19 after a 96-89 win vs. Seattle (1/21/08), moving the Rockets to 14-1 this season when holding an opponent to less than 90 points. The Rockets now enter the second half of the season as winners of seven of their last nine games. Houston also holds an active run of three consecutive wins away from Toyota Center (1/4/08-1/9/08), which stands as its best road winning streak of the season.

Nene did have cancer but should be OK

Results of a biopsy performed on a small testicular tumor found on Nuggets F Nenê indicate the tumor was malignant.  Further test results show that the cancer was isolated and did not spread.  Nenê underwent surgery to remove the tumor on Jan. 14.

The tumor was discovered in the very early stages and the recovery rate is extremely high.  In addition, the odds of a recurrence are very small.

Nenê is doing well and is recovering in Denver.

There remains no timeline for his return to the court.

Hawks suspend Zaza Pachulia

The Atlanta Hawks have suspended center/forward Zaza Pachulia for tomorrow night’s game at Denver for conduct detrimental to the team, according to Executive Vice President and General Manager Billy Knight.

Pachulia’s absence from the team will only pertain to Wednesday’s game against the Nuggets, and he will be available to play at Seattle on Friday, January 25.

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