Archive for March 24th, 2008

Sonics General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has signed Eddie Gill to a 10-day contract.
 
The 6-0 guard appeared in 13 games, including one start, with the New Jersey Nets earlier this season.  Gill has played in 32 games for the Colorado 14ers in the NBA Development League this year, averaging 18.8 points, 8.4 assists, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.25 steals per game.
 
Gill has appeared in a total of 180 NBA games over six seasons, averaging 3.1 points per game during that span.

Bulls fine Andres Nocioni

The Chicago Tribune (K.C. Johnson) reports: Andres Nocioni and Jim Boylan literally kissed and made up Monday, with the Bulls’ interim coach hamming it up for the TV cameras and kissing the forward he fined on the head as Nocioni addressed the media. The Bulls fined Nocioni an undisclosed amount on Monday for berating Boylan after he got pulled from a short stint in Saturday’s home loss to the Pacers.

Charlie Bell out at least two weeks

The Bucks woes continue. A bad season gets even worse with the following:

Milwaukee Bucks Director of Player Personnel Dave Babcock announced today that Charlie Bell suffered a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee during the Bucks win over Cleveland on Saturday, March 22.

Bell will be out for at least two weeks, at which time his knee will be re-evaluated by Bucks orthopaedic physician Dr. John Heinrich, M.D.

More info here.

Donnie Walsh leaving the Pacers

Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh is leaving the team. The Knicks, and possibly the Bucks, reportedly have interest in his services.

The Indianapolis Star (Mike Wells) reports: Indiana Pacers CEO Donnie Walsh announced today he is leaving the franchise. Walsh’s departure means team president Larry Bird will be the sole decision maker in the Pacers’ front office. Walsh, who has been with the Pacers since 1984, has already had conversations with New York about being the Knicks next president if Isiah Thomas is fired. His name has also been linked to the Milwaukee Bucks about their newly vacated general manager position. Walsh voluntarily backed away from day-to-day involvement with the Pacers, leaving Bird in charge of all player personnel moves last summer.

Full info is here.

Euroleague.net reports: Only twice before this season had teams ever started the Top 16 with two defeats and still made the Euroleague Playoffs. This month, Partizan Igokea became the third such comeback playoff qualifier in large part because of the trust placed in – and rewarded by – starting point guard Milt Palacio, Euroleague Basketball’s choice as MVP for March. In his debut Euroleague season, Palacio found consistency at the perfect time to help Partizan go deeper into the competition than it has all decade. When the month started, Partizan was tied for last place in its Top 16 group and faced three must-win survival tests against superpower opponents. Its first victim was eventual group winner Montepaschi Siena, which had been undefeated to that point. Next, came Partizan’s only road win of the round, against Efes Pilsen. However, those first two victories merely set the stage for a game that fans in Belgrade, Serbia will remember a long, long time. In a winner-take-all classic, Partizan ended the Euroleague reign of defending champion Panathinaikos with an impassioned display of great basketball in the Top 16 finale. At the center of it all was Palacio, averaging 20.3 points, 4 rebounds and 2 assists while making 74% of his two-point shots, 55% of his triples and 88% of his free throws during March.

The Dallas Morning News (Tim MacMahon) reports: It’s not fair to point the finger solely at Jason Kidd for the Mavs’ 0-8 record against winning teams since his return to Dallas. There have been too many factors to put all the weight of the losses on his 35-year-old shoulders. But Kidd’s play has been one of the primary factors. Simply put, he hasn’t performed anywhere close to his Hall of Fame standards against playoff-caliber teams. Kidd’s stats in the eight losses: 8.3 points, .353 FG, 5.9 rebounds, 7.8 assists and 2.8 turnovers. His plus-minus over the eight games is a minus-37.

Raymond Felton not rising yet

While young point guards like Chris Paul and Deron Williams are taking over the league, Raymond Felton of the Bobcats has been used inconsistently — but also played inconsistently and not shot well, and doesn’t look like a star just yet.

The Charlotte Observer (Rick Bonnell) reports: If Raymond Felton continues to shoot the way he has the past five games, he’ll finish the season below 40 percent from the field. Felton is 18-of-63, or 28.5 percent, in that span. More telling, still, is Felton’s 3-point shooting in those games: 1-of-11. I don’t think Felton has been coached well this season; he’s been jerked around between the point and shooting guard positions, and no one performs his best with a murky job description. However, he has to do better than he’s done of late, and that should start with more drives and fewer long jump shots.

Suns on impressive roll

Suns.com (Bob Adlhoch) reports: What a difference a couple of weeks can make. The Suns have not just won 7 straight, but have won them in a multitude of impressive ways. They beat the Evil Empire two weeks ago in a playoff-style slugfest that has become the Spurs’ calling card, holding Duncan and Co. to a measly two points over the final 5:30. A few nights later the Suns outran the fastest team in the league, pasting the Warriors with a 10-0 3rd quarter run that Golden State never recovered from. Mixed in with those wins were a couple of boat races that were over by halftime – the Suns led Memphis and Sacramento by 31 points (each) at the intermission. Are you kidding me? I know Memphis is having a rough season, but Sacramento just beat the Lakers in LA and it is unbelievably difficult to post a 30-point lead in the NBA.

Isiah Thomas gets all inspirational

Cue up some Rocky theme music and get inspired as the Westchester Journal News (Mike Dougherty) quotes Isiah Thomas from Knicks shootaround this morning: “Anytime you’re losing like this and you’re having as tough a year as I’ve had personally and professionally, it’s definitely tough,” Thomas said. “However, you persevere, you overcome, you gain strength, you move on, you knuckle under and you continue fighting. You get your tail kicked and you get back up. My strength and my resolve, if anything, I definitely know that I’m tough enough to take it now. I still feel strong and ready to go out and compete, but I guess there comes a time when you always have to get tested, and the only way you get tested is to really get knocked down. We definitely got knocked down, and I’m strong enough to get back up. If there’s one thing you can be sure of, I’ll never quit and I’ll keep coming back.”

Players of Week are Garnett, Paul

The Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett and the New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 17, through Sunday, March 23. This is the second Player of the Week nod for both players this season.

Garnett led the Celtics to a 3-1 week, as Boston became the first team since the Sacramento Kings in 2001 to sweep the Texas Triangle (Dallas, Houston and San Antonio). The last time Boston accomplished the feat was in 1987. Garnett had 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals in Boston’s 94-74 win over the Rockets, snapping the team’s 22-game winning streak. For the week, Garnett averaged 20.5 points, 11.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

Paul led the Hornets to a 3-0 week, averaging 25.7 points, 10.0 assists and 3.0 steals. Paul has scored 20-plus points in 15 of the team’s last 19 games. In a 113-106 win over the Celtics, New Orleans came back from a 15-point deficit as Paul scored seven of his 19 points in the final 2:12 of the game. The Celtics were 36-0 when leading by 15 or more. Paul had 37 points, 13 assists and three steals in a 108-97 victory over the Bulls. He recorded 16 fourth-quarter points to help the Hornets finish the game on a 24-4 run.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Joe Johnson, Boston’s Paul Pierce, Cleveland’s LeBron James, Indiana’s Mike Dunleavy, L.A. Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Phoenix’s Amaré Stoudemire and Washington’s Antawn Jamison.

Around the league

Teams are averaging 99.6 points through games played March 23. Last year to date, teams were averaging 98.7 points. Teams have averaged triple-digit scoring each of the last five weeks. The last time the league had five straight weeks with an average of at least 100 points was the start of the 1995-1996 season.

Phoenix has won seven straight games, the longest active win streak in the NBA. During that stretch, Phoenix has held its opponents to a combined .423 field goal percentage while shooting .557.

On the season, Philadelphia is averaging 96.5 points on .460 shooting. Over the past 22 games (17-5), however, the Sixers are averaging 102.0 points on .483 shooting from the floor.

Denver is averaging 118.6 points during its last 14 games (9-5), which includes a non-overtime franchise record 168 points vs. Seattle March 16. Denver tallied 663 total points in five games (March 14-)21, the highest point total in five straight games since Chicago scored 668 points over a five-game span in 1990.

Houston’s Rick Adelman has 799 coaching victories. He could record win No. 800 vs. his former team when the Rockets host the Sacramento Kings tonight. Adelman coached the Kings to a franchise-record 359 wins (1998-2006). Adelman (799-513, .614), the sixth-winningest active coach (behind Don Nelson, Pat Riley, Jerry Sloan, Phil Jackson and George Karl) is looking to become only the 13th coach in NBA history to win 800 games.

Adelman, who is on pace for his 10th 50-win season as a head coach, oversees a Rockets roster that contains six players with D-League experience, the second-most D-League-laden roster in the league. The six Rockets with D-League experience are: Rafer Alston, Aaron Brooks, Mike Harris, Chuck Hayes, Steve Novak and Loren Woods. The Miami Heat has eight players with D-League experience.

LeBron James became Cleveland’s all-time leading scorer after netting 29 points in Friday’s 90-83 win over Toronto. James, who now has 10,443 points, surpassed the franchise mark held by Brad Daugherty. Daugherty finished his Cavs career with 10,389 points.

- NBA News

The Indiana Pacers are having a major press conference today at 3:30 p.m. local time. Pacers Co-Owner Herb Simon, CEO/President Donnie Walsh and President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird will all be there.

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star filed a quick report stating that the conference is to announce Walsh is leaving the franchise.

Could this mean he’s being hired by the Knicks? The Bucks? Someone else?

Bucks to honor Oscar Robertson March 28

On Friday, March 28, during halftime of the Bucks/Magic game at the Bradley Center, the Milwaukee Bucks will continue their season-long, 40th anniversary celebration of the franchise’s greatest players when they honor Oscar Robertson and re-dedicate his #1 retired jersey banner. The Robertson recognition will be part of the Bucks 40th Anniversary celebration honoring the Bucks 40th Anniversary Team as selected by the fans in online balloting.

Robertson came to the Bucks prior to the 1970-71 season and helped the Bucks to the 1971 NBA Championship. Milwaukee won the title just three seasons after the franchise’s birth, the fastest any expansion team has won a championship. In 14 postseason games, Robertson averaged 18.3 points, 8.9 assists and 5.0 rebounds.

“The Big O” was acquired from the Cincinnati Royals in exchange for Flynn Robinson and Charlie Paulk. A 10-year veteran and 10-time All-Star with the Royals, Robertson played four seasons and appeared in 288 games with the Bucks. He averaged 16.3 points, 7.5 assists and 4.9 rebounds in those games and earned two All-Star appearances. Robertson’s 668 assists in 1970-71 are second in franchise history and stood as the record until the 1999-00 season. He ranks among the franchise leaders in points (4,701, 19th), assists (2,156, 6th) and free throw percentage (.842, 9th).

Though his regular season numbers are impressive, Robertson also led the Bucks to the postseason in each of his four years as the team won the championship, reached the conference finals, the conference semifinals and the NBA finals in his four years, respectively. The Bucks were 31-16 in the playoffs during his tenure with Robertson averaging 16.0 points, 8.5 assists and 4.6 rebounds in those 47 games.

In terms of playoff leaders, Robertson is 8th in points (751), 10th in scoring average (16.0), 6th in minutes played (1,845), 7th in field goals made (297), 8th in free throws made (157), 5th in free throw percentage (.822) and T-1st in assists (401).

The only player in franchise history to wear #1, Robertson was the first Milwaukee Buck to have his number retired on October 18, 1974. Robertson’s ceremony is the sixth out of seven on the season: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Nov 21), Sidney Moncrief (Jan 19), Junior Bridgeman (Feb 9), Bob Lanier (Feb 20), Brian Winters (Mar 18) with the Jon McGlocklin ceremony to be held on April 4 when the Bucks play the Pacers.

Bosh rocks but Nuggets handle Raptors

The AP reports: Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony kept Denver’s offense in high gear, but it was Kenyon Martin’s defense that had coach George Karl talking. Iverson had 36 points, Anthony added 33 and Martin shut down Toronto all-star Chris Bosh late as Denver rallied to beat the Toronto Raptors 109-100 on Sunday afternoon… J.R. Smith scored 14 points and Marcus Camby had 15 rebounds as Denver rallied from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to win for the fifth time in seven games… While he faded in the fourth, Chris Bosh shone through the first three quarters, finishing one assist shy of a triple-double. Bosh had 17 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high nine assists, but Toronto still lost for the seventh time in eight games.

Nowitzki hurt as Spurs beat Mavs

The AP reports: Dirk Nowitzki was injured on an ugly looking fall in the third quarter of Dallas’ 88-81 loss to the San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, but left the arena without knowing how bad it is. The team termed it a “lower left leg injury” and said more details would come Monday. “I fell awkwardly and my left leg got caught underneath of me,” Nowitzki said in a statement. “I am going to get re-evaluated in the morning and I hope to have more information then.” Nowitzki went down after running and jumping to block a shot late in the third quarter. With Nowitzki writhing on the court, Tim Duncan grabbed the loose ball and scored, putting San Antonio ahead for the first time in the second half. It came during a 19-0 run that took the Spurs from 12 points down to in control the rest of the way.

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