The AP reports: C.J. Miles scored a career-high 29 points and the Utah Jazz set a team record with 15 3-pointers in a 129-87 rout of the short-handed Washington Wizards on Monday night. Deron Williams had 12 points and 16 assists, despite resting most of the fourth quarter, and Mehmet Okur returned from a stomach virus with 16 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Carlos Boozer added 19 points and Kyle Korver scored 15, making all six of his shots. Utah outrebounded Washington 40-23, had 40 assists on 50 field goals and shot almost 60 percent (50-for-84)… They were also resting Caron Butler’s strained left hamstring instead of playing him back-to-back nights. Antawn Jamison led Washington with 22 points.
I’m watching the Suns and Nuggets, and several plays in a row now Carmelo Anthony has gotten the ball around the right elbow, with Kenyon Martin around the free throw line. And when Melo got double-teamed, Martin immediately cut to the rim, caught a feed from Melo, and scored.
But now, for a play or two in a row, the Suns aren’t doubling Melo, and backed off of Martin, letting him shoot from just outside the free throw line instead of slashing at the rim, and it’s worked for Phoenix.
The AP reports: Josh Smith had 26 points, eight rebounds and six assists as the Atlanta Hawks built an early lead before and beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-99 on Monday night. Atlanta led by 38 in the third quarter and seemed to be coasting to the victory. However, Memphis opened the fourth with 13 consecutive points, part of a 23-4 run that made the game more interesting, and forced Atlanta to put its starters back in the game… Al Horford and Joe Johnson scored 19 points apiece for Atlanta, and Mike Bibby had 17, Josh Childress 14 and Marvin Williams 12. Johnson also had eight assists and Bibby seven. Smith shot 11-of-13 from the field, part of Atlanta’s 56 percent effort on the night. Rudy Gay led Memphis with 29 points, while Juan Carlos Navarro and Kyle Lowry finished with 17 each.
The AP reports: Jermaine O’Neal scored nine points after sitting out for more than two months with a knee injury, and the Indiana Pacers beat the Miami Heat 105-85 on Monday night. O’Neal shot 3-for-4 from the field and 3-for-4 from the free-throw line in 18 minutes. He had missed 33 straight games with a bone bruise, and the Pacers went 12-21 during that stretch. Danny Granger led Indiana with 23 points and Mike Dunleavy added 18 as the Pacers won their second straight and their sixth of eight to remain contenders for an Eastern Conference playoff spot. Indiana entered the game three games behind Atlanta for eighth place in the East. Daequan Cook led Miami with 16 points and Kasib Powell and Chris Quinn both scored 15.
The AP reports: Chris Bosh scored 32 points and the Toronto Raptors remained alone in sixth place in the Eastern Conference with a 104-100 win over the Charlotte Bobcats on Monday night. Bosh hit 13 of 16 free throws and added eight rebounds and five assists for the Raptors, who won for the third time in four games to pull a game ahead of idle Philadelphia in the playoff race… Anthony Parker added 20 points and T.J. Ford added 15, including the clinching free throw with 1.9 seconds left for the Raptors, who bounced back from a home loss to New Orleans on Sunday. Jason Richardson scored 18 of his 26 points in the first half, Gerald Wallace scored 20 points and Emeka Okafor had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, whose faint playoff hopes took a hit.
The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed guard Blake Ahearn and forward Stephane Lasme to second 10-day contracts. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not disclosed.
Ahearn, a 6’2”, 190-pound guard, has appeared in six games for the HEAT averaging 5.7 points, 2.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 15.0 minutes of action. He scored a career-high 15 points at Detroit on 3/27 and his 94.7 percent (18-of-19) from the free throw line currently leads the team.
Lasme, a 6’8”, 215-pound forward, has appeared in six games for the HEAT averaging 5.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.00 blocks and 1.00 steals in 21.5 minutes of action. He blocked a career-high three shots on two occasions and has recorded 12 blocks in his six games with the HEAT.
The Charlotte Bobcats’ Jason Richardson and the Denver Nuggets’ Carmelo Anthony today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 24, through Sunday, March 30. More info here.
J-Rich is playing well but it’s too little, too late for the Bobcats, who need a miracle to make the playoffs and may be having issues with head coach Sam Vincent, who several newspapers recently reported may not be kept around next season.
As for Melo, all recent talk was that they might miss the playoffs, as they were sitting in 9th place in the West for a while, but as of today they’ve jumped up to 7th, but only by virtue of a tie-breaker with the Mavericks and Warriors. I think Denver may stay in there.
Anyway, the Western conference playoff race is awesome. Even if you’re a fan of an East squad, watch the West closely, because that’s where it’s at.
Fiba.com reports: Spanish backcourt phenom Ricky Rubio is almost certain to be headed to the world champions’ pre-Olympic training camp with a chance of making the team for the Beijing Games as a back-up point guard. Pepu Hernandez, the Spain coach, indicated earlier this season that the DKV Joventut star would join up with the senior squad and that likelihood has become even stronger with Rubio enjoying an outstanding campaign with his club.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune (Jerry Zgoda) reports: The Wolves lost eight of the first 13 times they led going into the fourth quarter this season. They now have won the past four games in which they led after three quarters and are 10-4 in that category since winning at Golden State on Jan. 21, the demarcation line in a season they started 5-34. “We’ve grown up,” Wolves center Al Jefferson said. They won seven games in March, are 14-19 since that Jan. 21 game, and Sunday’s victory was their second over the Jazz at home in five weeks. “We’re getting better and better,” Jefferson said. “To win like this two times in a row over them at home says a lot.”
For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (just 7-of-24) had 26 points and 13 assists, Sasha Vujacuc (6-of-9, including 6-of-8 three-pointers) had 20, Vladimir Radmanovic (7-of-11, including 4-of-7 threes) had 18, and Derek Fisher (6-of-12, including 3-of-6 threes) scored 17.
For the Wizards, DeShawn Stevenson (9-of-15, including 8-of-12 three-pointers) had 27, Nick Young (10-of-16, including 3-of-4 threes) had 27, Caron Butler (6-of-17) had an awesome 17 points, 12 rebounds, 12 assists and 2 steals, and Antawn Jamison (6-of-15) had 19 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists. The two teams combined for 31-of-57 from three-point range.