Archive for April, 2008

Apr. 22: Spurs 102, Suns 96

The AP reports: Tony Parker scored 32 points to lead the Spurs to a 102-96 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday night after the Suns gave away another double-digit, first-half lead… On Tuesday, the Spurs were down by as many as 14 in the first half before outscoring Phoenix 27-11 in a breakout third quarter… Amare Stoudemire led the Suns with 33 points but struggled after halftime, when he shot 2-of-11 from the field. The Spurs went up by as many as 17 points in the fourth quarter after taking control in the third. But Steve Nash led a 10-0 run to bring Phoenix within 96-91 with 2:44 left on the clock… Tim Duncan, who finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds, had a monster dunk with 1:47 to play and Parker followed with a bucket to put San Antonio back up 101-93… Nash had 23 points and 10 assists for the Suns. Shaquille O’Neal had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Manu Ginobili, who won the NBA’s sixth man award on Monday, scored 29 points for San Antonio.

Apr. 22: Magic 104, Raptors 103

The AP reports: Two playoff games, two 20-point, 20-rebound outings for Dwight Howard. This time there was no question he was the difference maker. Orlando’s 3-point touch evaporated, but Howard’s 29 points and 20 rebounds powered the Magic past the Toronto Raptors, 104-103, Tuesday night for a 2-0 lead in their first-round playoff series… Chris Bosh had 29 points and 10 rebounds for Toronto, but missed a 19-footer with 1.9 seconds left that could have won the game. Jason Kapono scored 20 points, Jose Calderon had 18 and Carlos Delfino added 16 for the Raptors… Jameer Nelson and Rashard Lewis each scored 18 for Orlando. Hedo Turkoglu made the go-ahead layup and finished with 12 points and nine rebounds. Orlando won despite shooting 9-of-31 from 3-point range—including a combined 0-of-13 for Turkoglu and Lewis. The Raptors made 11 of 29 3s, four by Kapono.

Apr. 22: Hornets 127, Mavs 103

The AP reports: Chris Paul had 32 points and a franchise playoff-record 17 assists, leading New Orleans to a 127-103 victory over the Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday night that gave the Hornets a 2-0 lead in their first-round series… David West scored 27 points and Peja Stojakovic 22 for New Orleans, which took a double-digit lead in the second quarter, led by as much as 25 in the third and never looked back. Tyson Chandler had his second double-double of the series with 10 points and 11 rebounds, despite playing with foul trouble. Morris Peterson added 12 points and reserve guard Jannero Pargo had 10 for New Orleans, which was 10-of-18 on 3-pointers, with Stojakovic hitting 5-of-7… Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 27 points, but spent most of the night looking frustrated, yelling at no one in particular after he threw one pass out of bounds. Brandon Bass was another bright spot for Dallas, muscling inside for 19 points. Reserve Jason Terry added 16 points and Josh Howard scored 10… The Mavs hoped Jason Kidd would be a bigger factor in this game, but he finished with only seven points and eight assists.

The NBA announced today that Kevin Garnett of the Boston Celtics is the recipient of the 2007-08 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Kia Motors.

The 6-11 forward led the Celtics in rebounds with a 9.2 average (7.3 defensive rpg), to go along with 18.8 points, 1.2 blocks and 1.4 steals. He recorded a team season-high seven blocks against Chicago on Dec. 12.

Garnett received 493 points, including 90 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Denver’s Marcus Camby, who won the award last season, finished second with 178 points and Houston’s Shane Battier finished third with 175 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

More info about the results will be posted on insidehoops.com’s front page and awards section shortly.

Apr. 21: Cavs 116, Wizards 86

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 30 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16, and the Cavs played their best game since the Feb. 21 megatrade, blowing out the Washington Wizards 116-86 to take a 2-0 lead in an opening-round playoff series oozing with bad blood. The 30-point margin of victory was the largest in Cleveland’s 112-game postseason history, and the Cavaliers’ performance was perhaps their finest 48 minutes since November… The Wizards hardly bothered James, who finished with 12 assists and nine rebounds, barely missing his third career postseason triple-double. James went to the bench with 6:12 left… Wally Szczerbiak added 15 points for the Cavs, who have struggled with injuries and inconsistency since GM Danny Ferry dealt half his roster at the trading deadline… Gilbert Arenas went 2-for-10 from the field and Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison were both 4-of-13 as the Wizards’ Big Three combined for 28 points. The trio spent much of the fourth quarter sitting and thinking about what happened and the task ahead.

Apr. 21: Jazz 90, Rockets 84

The AP reports: Deron Williams shrugged off an ankle injury and scored 22 points and Mehmet Okur added 16 points and 16 rebounds as the Jazz beat the Rockets 90-84 on Monday night to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series… Tracy McGrady, a seven-time All-Star who has never advanced past the first round of the playoffs, had 23 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists to just miss his first postseason triple-double. But he went 0-for-4 from the field and scored only one point in the final quarter as the Rockets lost to the Jazz for the eighth time in the last 10 meetings… Bobby Jackson rebounded from a 3-for-15 effort in Game 1 to score 18 points… Carlos Boozer added 13 points and Deron Williams had five assists for the Jazz, who closed the game with a 14-8 run.

Important Ginobili question

Manu Ginobili has won the league’s Sixth man of the year award. And he deserved it.

My question is, when he’s handed the award, is he going to flop backwards in an effort to draw a charging foul on whatever league official hands it to him?

I’m just kidding, of course. He’s a fantastic player. Who just happens to flop a bit more than a lot of other fantastic players.

Bucks name Scott Skiles head coach

General Manager John Hammond announced today that Scott Skiles has agreed to a multi-year contract to become the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks.  Skiles becomes the 11th head coach in the history of the franchise and comes to Milwaukee with eight seasons of NBA head coaching experience. “Scott is a proven NBA head coach who has shown an ability to win,” said Hammond.  “He was a passionate player at all levels of the game and that thirst for success has served him well as a coach.  We look forward to what he will bring to this franchise and we welcome him and his family to Milwaukee.”

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has hired Scott Perry as Vice President of Basketball Operations.  “We are pleased to welcome back Scott Perry to the Pistons basketball operations staff,” said Dumars.  “Scott is familiar with the culture of our team and understands our goals we have as an organization.  Given his past experience with the club, I feel the transition will be seamless.” Perry, 44, re-joins the Pistons after serving as assistant general manager for the Seattle Supersonics for the 2007-08 campaign.  He first joined the Pistons organization as a college scout during the summer of 2000 and was promoted to director of player personnel in June of 2002.  Perry will be responsible for directing day-to-day operations of the basketball operations department, handling player personnel issues and assisting in roster development.

Ginobili named best Sixth Man

Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs is the winner of the NBA Sixth Man Award presented by Kia Motors as the league’s best player in a reserve role for the 2007-08 season, the NBA announced today. Ginobili received 615 out of a possible 620 points, including 123 of a possible 124 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns finished second with 283 points and Jason Terry of the Dallas Mavericks finished third with 44 points.

The Indianapolis Star (Mike Wells) reports: Danny Granger has set the bar as high as possible. “My goal is to be like Kobe (Bryant) because he scores and he locks people down on defense,” Granger said. “That’s my ultimate goal. I’ve never really created with my dribble. I need to become the isolation player where coach can come to me and I get a bucket for the team.” Granger carries himself like an emerging force who is ready to take the reins that Reggie Miller and Jermaine O’Neal have held for many years. It doesn’t hurt that he scored 30 or more points in three of the final four games. Basketball is more than offense, of course, and that’s what coach Jim O’Brien reminded him. “I think Danny will be an All-Star if he becomes a complete player,” O’Brien said. “A complete player being a guy that will be our best defensive player, that people know he’s our best defensive player. A guy that can absolutely shut the best player down.”

Apr. 20: Celtics 104, Hawks 81

The AP reports: Ray Allen scored 18 points and Kevin Garnett had 16 as the two newcomers who led the Boston Celtics to the NBA’s best record sparked them to a 104-81 win Sunday night in their playoff opener against the Atlanta Hawks. Garnett stopped a 14-3 Hawks run with a jumper, starting a six-point Boston surge that made it 35-27 in the second quarter. And Allen scored 10 straight Celtics points midway through the third that extended a 13-point lead to 67-48 with 5:39 left in the period… Eighth-seeded Atlanta, which ended the NBA’s longest playoff drought with its first appearance in nine years, was led by rookie Al Horford with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Joe Johnson added 19 points… Paul Pierce scored 16 for Boston and Rajon Rondo had 15.

Apr. 20: Sixers 90, Pistons 86

The AP reports: Andre Miller scored 20 points and Willie Green had a career playoff-high 17, helping the 76ers stun Detroit 90-86 Sunday in Game 1 of their first-round series. Sixers forward Reggie Evans smiled when told the Pistons were shooting the breeze with Flip Murray during breaks in the game… Rasheed Wallace took the blame for the loss—despite having 24 points, nine rebounds and matching a franchise playoff record with seven blocks—but didn’t think blowing a big lead had anything to do with talking to Murray… Andre Iguodala Iguodala made two free throws with 7 seconds left to seal the win… Iguodala finished with a career playoff-high 16 points after a slow start, Evans had a career playoff-high 11 points and 14 rebounds and Thaddeus Young scored 10 for the Sixers in his postseason debut. Billups scored 14, Richard Hamilton had 13 points on 5-of-17 shooting, Maxiell contributed 12 points and a career playoff-high 11 rebounds and Prince added 12.

Apr. 20: Lakers 128, Nuggets 114

The AP reports: Pau Gasol established career playoff highs with 36 points and eight assists, and he also had 16 rebounds and three blocked shots Sunday as the Los Angeles Lakers took command in the third quarter and beat the Denver Nuggets 128-114… Kobe Bryant, who said he made himself a decoy through most of the game, scored 18 of his 32 points in the final 8 minutes to keep Los Angeles safely ahead. Lamar Odom had 17 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and Luke Walton added 16 points for the Lakers, who entered having won eight of their last nine regular-season games to earn the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference… Carmelo Anthony had 30 points and 12 rebounds for the eighth-seeded Nuggets. Allen Iverson also had 30 points before picking up two technical fouls with 2:10 remaining, calling for immediate ejection. Linas Kleiza scored a career playoff high 23 points and J.R. Smith added 15 before fouling out with 3:14 left.

Apr. 20: Magic 114, Raptors 100

The AP reports: Dwight Howard was in high school the last time the Orlando Magic won a playoff game. On Sunday afternoon, he made sure Orlando didn’t have to wait any longer. Howard had 25 points and 22 rebounds and blocked five shots, and the Magic defeated the Toronto Raptors 114-100 in the opener of their first-round series. Jameer Nelson added 24 points for Orlando… Anthony Parker had 24 points and 8 rebounds for Toronto, Chris Bosh scored 21 and Rasho Nesterovic had 16 points and 8 rebounds. Jason Kapono scored 18 off the bench. The Raptors, who trailed by 20 points after the first quarter, drew within five with 10:24 left in the fourth on two quick 3-pointers by Kapono and a Parker jumper. But Toronto went scoreless for the next 3:16 as Orlando pulled away.

As I said in my last post, the Magic needed a big second half from Dwight Howard in order hold of the Toronto Raptors and that’s exactly what they got.

Howard finished with 25 points, 22 rebounds and five blocked shots, and almost single handedly put away Toronto in the fourth quarter.

Howard had only seven points and nine rebounds at the half, and had only shot one free throw. In the second half Howard had 18 points, 13 rebounds and went 8-of-10 at the free throw line.

While the Magic won the game fairly easily, they’ll need more of the same from Howard to win the series.

Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh go way back

Chris Bosh and Dwight Howard have been buddies for years, but now they’re facing each other in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Here’s what Howard said about their relationship, as reported by Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun:

“We’ve really grown closer this past year, but for now we have to be enemies,” Howard said. “I just can’t wait to get it going. We’ve been talking about playing each other since the summer before last. We were around each other for the Olympic team (last year) and we were always talking about how his team would do against us and how my team would do against his.”

Hornets owner feels love in New Orleans

The Charlotte Observer (Tom Sorensen) reports: George Shinn, who owns the Hornets, is almost as beloved in New Orleans as he once was in Charlotte. And you might recall that he was once so popular here that his fans urged him to run for governor. And he considered it. You know the story. The Hornets, who came to town in 1988, were our first big-league team. Oh did we fall for them. We were beautiful in our naivete. We gave them everything. For years, they gave us everything they had. “The whole situation in Charlotte will never be duplicated in any city in any sports league,” Shinn says as he walks through the Quarter. “It was an incredible love affair. And I owe all of my knowledge and experience and drive and everything else I have to what happened to me there.” The relationship ended poorly, of course, and Shinn was the culprit. We felt he had turned against us, so we turned against them. By the time he left for Louisiana, almost nobody cared. Shinn admits he made mistakes. He says he committed no crimes, but he committed sins. He paid dearly. He grew up in Kannapolis and the family of his wife, Susan, still lives here. Our town was his town and his team was our team. “I love Charlotte and I always will,” Shinn says.

The AP reports: Several Denver Nuggets players were stranded on the highway for about a half hour Sunday when the team bus broke down on the way to Staples Center for a playoff opener against the Los Angeles Lakers. The bus left the team’s hotel about 2 1/2 hours before tipoff as scheduled, but experienced problems about 15 minutes into the trip, club spokesman Eric Sebastian said. Players and staff had to wait on the Santa Monica Freeway.

The Orlando Magic had one of the best first quarters in NBA playoff history, but a lackluster second quarter effort has the Raptors within 13 points at the end of the first half.

The Magic led by as much as 23 in the second quarter, but finally started to miss some shots from behind the arc, just as Jason Kapono of the Raptors started to heat up.

The Magic scored 43 points in the first quarter, a team playoff record, and shot 9-for-11 behind the arc, which set an NBA record for 3’s made in the first quarter of a playoff game.

Unfortunately for Magic fans, who have definitely had in impact in the first half, the Magic managed just 17 points in the second quarter.

The Raptors appear to have weathered the Magic storm, and if Orlando can’t establish an inside game with Dwight Howard in the second half, Toronto could come back and win this game.

As for the marked advantage that Toronto was supposed to have at the point guard position, it has yet to materialize as Jameer Nelson and Keyon Dooling have outplayed T.J. Ford and Jose Calderon in the first half. Nelson had eight points and four assists in the first half, Dooling added eight points in just seven minutes off the bench. Ford had two points and four assists, but shot just 1-for-7 from the field. Calderon had four points and three assists.

As for my second half prediction, I expect the Magic to hold on and win by double digits.

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