Archive for February 15th, 2008

Live Rookie Challenge game coverage

Live NBA Rookie Challenge game notes are being posted.

The Sophomores are leading, and their story has been the great outside shooting of Daniel Gibson.

For the Rookies, a bright spot has been the strong, quick and intelligent inside play of Al Horford.

Raptors local TV ratings soaring

The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that their local television ratings for the 2007-08 season have increased by an average of 22% over this same time last year.

Rogers Sportsnet has enjoyed a 46% lift in audiences in its first seven of 12 Raptors televised games, averaging 157,000 viewers per game. The Score is averaging 122,000 viewers per game, a 20% increase in audience size from November to January of last season. The channel has aired 19 of its 30 Raptors games so far this season. TSN’s average of 158,000 viewers per game represents a 6% increase, with 9 Raptors games remaining on its schedule.

The largest ratings gain was recognized by Raptors NBA TV which saw a 197% increase in ratings for its Raptors broadcasts. The basketball-themed sports network also added 700,000 new households to its subscription base from last year.

“The Raptors’ success on the court is starting to translate into success off the court in virtually all areas of our business, and certainly the significant growth in television audience reflects the ever-increasing interest in the team,” said Tom Anselmi, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment executive vice-president and chief operating officer.  “Our broadcast partners have done a great job of showcasing the tremendous excitement of Raptors basketball. We’re confident these numbers will continue to grow even more.”

Melo talks West trades

Denver Nuggets All-Star forward Carmelo Anthony spoke on Friday:

Q: What are your thoughts on all of the trades that are taking place in the West?

Carmelo Anthony: I’m just waiting for my phone to ring and see what we are going to do. The West is getting back to the way it used to be. The Western Conference race is tough right now even for us because we are in the ninth spot I think, so we are trying for eighth. It’s going to come down to the last game in the season I can tell you that. Every team in the West has a chance to make the playoffs. We might do something before the deadline and we might not. If we don’t, I’m going to roll with what we’ve got. Right now I love the team that we have. I think anything we get will be a plus. I think with the team we have right now we can do a lot of things.

Also, Melo is picking Rudy Gay to win the Slam Dunk contest, but possibly only because Gay is from Baltimore, so it may just be a biased pick.

More from Carmelo Anthony here.

Terrell Owens suddenly joins Celeb Game

With Team New Orleans down to Team Hornets by nine points late in the second quarter, a new player is suddenly being added to this game. Football superstar Terrell Owens has suited up and joins Stephen A. Smith’s team, outraging Bill Walton. is posting live notes from this ridiculous game here.

Floyd Mayweather playing Celeb game

Boxing great Floyd Mayweather is playing on Team ‘Hornets’ in the 2008 NBA Celebrity Game.

I hadn’t seen him previously listed as being involved.

The kid from American Idol should challenge him to a fight.

Anyway, this game is always silly, but fun in its own ridiculous way. In the past I used to write full notes about it, but this time I’ll just record the highlights. They’ll be added to the game page, linked above.

It’s Friday and the NBA’s stars, including Jason Kidd, are in New Orleans for 2008 All-Star Weekend. Friday afternoon, Kidd met with the media and discussed the possible trade that would send him to the Dallas Mavericks. As of now the deal is currently on hold, since Devean George, a small piece of the puzzle, is using a provision in his contract to block his involvement.

Here’s part of what Kidd said today:

Q: You don’t feel like it was an opportunity or a chance that you could still go?

Jason Kidd: I haven’t talked to anybody. I spent last night with my family and just trying to enjoy the All Star festivities today. That’s it. You know, I’m a Net until I’m told otherwise, that I’m a Mav or something else.

Q: What’s been the toughest thing, Jason, about dealing with some of the uncertainty in your situation?

Jason Kidd: This isn’t the first time I’ve been traded, so I don’t think there’s anything that really bothered me. It’s just we’ll find out here soon if there’s a trade or not. Either way, the game of basketball doesn’t change, it’s just in a different city, maybe.

You must read the rest. It’s here.

Dirk speaks on possible Kidd trade

Friday at All-Star weekend, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki had a few things to say on the possible trade that would send Jason Kidd to his team. Here’s a piece of it:

Dirk Nowitzki: “Yeah, it’s been definitely a weird couple of days. Everything kind of hanging in the air, and nobody really knew what was going on. And when they basically said the deal was done, then all of a sudden it wasn’t, the team said okay. They didn’t know if they were going to dress or not, and then they ended up playing. So it was definitely a weird feeling. But we as a team made the best out of it. We tried to stay focused and tried to keep the group together. I mean, it’s really all you can do. Once everybody goes in their own direction, then the chemistry’s going to get messed up, and we won’t win anything. We want to make sure we keep everybody together. And whoever puts the uniform on will give it their best.”

There’s a bit more worth reading, here.

At Friday’s media avilability at 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend, a stack of reporters were interviewing Kobe Bryant, but one in particular who I won’t identify kept interrupting valid questions to try to ask Kobe if he would record a voicemail message for him. It was ridiculous, listening to real reporters ask Bryant about his injured finger and about All-Star in general, only to have one fringe reporter keep busting in asking Kobe things like “Will you record a voicemail message for me on my phone?”

Now, sure, that stuff could be entertaining, and there’s a time and a place for that, but people wanted to know the latest on if Kobe was definitely playing, and if the NBA world will be without him in the event he does decide to have surgery.

Anyway, Kobe said that as of today he does still plan on trying to play through the injury and avoid having surgery during the season.

Lynn Greer wins weekly overseas honor reports: Another solid all-around game gave one of the highest-rated performers all season the Week 1 Euroleague MVP award in the Top 16 - even if he would have preferred a victory for his team. Lynn Greer of Olympiacos scored 26 points on 5-for-7 two-point and 7-for-8 free-throw shooting, but couldn’t prevent a 67-75 home loss against Maccabi Elite Tel Aviv on Thursday. Greer added 2 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal and 10 fouls drawn to amass a performance index rating of 31. Following him with the second-best performance this week was Drew Nicholas of Efes Pilsen, who paced his team to a major 74-64 home win against Panathinaikos. Nicholas scored 29 points, making 6 of 7 two-pointers and 5 of 12 three-pointers to go with 2 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals for a 29 index.

Rockets to unveil Olajuwon status

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets plan to unveil a monument honoring former star Hakeem Olajuwon on April 11 outside the team’s arena. Organizers said they worked hard to ensure that the monument complied with Olajuwon’s Islamic beliefs. Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis told The Associated Press that details about the monument had not been released.

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