Archive for April 3rd, 2008

The NBA commercial starring Kevin Durant removing his career worth of jerseys will become reality for one lucky fan on Friday, April 4 after the Sonics take on the Houston Rockets. Fans will have the chance to bid on the Rookie of the Year candidate’s game-worn jersey from Friday, and receive it directly from Durant at the conclusion of the game.

The jersey auction is part of the Sonics’ third annual “Jerseys Off Our Backs” fundraising initiative. Bidding for the Durant jersey will begin at 6 p.m. outside of aisle 118 on the concourse level of KeyArena. The winning bidder will be escorted to the player tunnel following the game and receive Durant’s jersey during a personal meet-and-greet. Durant will also autograph the jersey and be available for a photo with the winner.

All auction proceeds will benefit the Sonics & Storm Foundation’s community outreach initiatives. The “Jerseys Off Our Backs” program was founded during the 2005-06 Sonics season and allows fans to bid on game-worn Sonics jerseys during home games. Last year, the program raised more than $14,000 for the Foundation.

The Seattle Sonics announced today that the team has assigned center Mouhamed Sene to the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League. This marks Sene’s second assignment to Idaho this season. In 27 games with the Stampede (12/23/07 – 3/13/08), Sene averaged 12.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.

Under the affiliation system with the D-League, NBA teams can assign up to two players who are rookies or in their second season to their D-League affiliate. Players can stay with the D-League team for as long as the team wishes, and be recalled back to the NBA at any time. A player can only be sent to the D-League a maximum of three times during the season.

The Stampede, the D-League affiliate for the Sonics and the Portland Trail Blazers, are coached by Bryan Gates, who worked as an assistant for the Sonics during summer league play in Las Vegas and Salt Lake City last July.

Here’s what Washington Wizards shooting guard DeShawn Stevenson said to local media today:

DeShawn Stevenson on tomorrow’s game: “I’m going to try to play. I haven’t missed a game, but my ankle is really hurting right now. I got treatment today and it actually didn’t swell up. I’m going to try to play tomorrow but we will have to wait and see.”

Stevenson on injuries: “It seems like whenever we get our whole team back, someone else gets hurt. Antawn (Jamison) got hurt. I got hurt. It is difficult, every time you get your team back something else happens.”

Stevenson on Antawn’s injury: “It would be tough to play without Antawn because he has been our leader all year. He has been the veteran that has played every game. He has been awesome this year. He was an All-Star this year, so I want to see him be able to play all 82 games.”

Stevenson on Gilbert Arenas: “It was wonderful to see him back out there and knocking down his first shots. He had a smile on his face. Yesterday he was really focused so I knew he was coming back.”

Stevenson on Gilbert’s return: “Everybody expects that from him. You just overlook it. For some teams that would probably be a distraction but we just overlook it. When Gil comes on the court he is ready to play so I think that is why nobody really pays attention to it.”

Stevenson on his birthday party: “The party was great. Everybody came. We had a good time dressing up.”

Sonics General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has signed Ronald Dupree to a 10-day contract.

Dupree has played in nine games for the Tulsa 66ers in the NBA Development League this year, averaging 17.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists per game. The 6-7 forward also appeared in one game with the Detroit Pistons earlier this season.

Dupree has appeared in a total of 150 NBA games over five seasons, averaging 3.7 ppg and 2.2 rpg during that span.

In a related Sonics roster move, the 10-day contract of Eddie Gill expired and he was not re-signed.

Rocky Mountain Revue to happen in 2008

The Deseret Morning News (Tim Buckley) reports: Despite facing competition for entrants from a well-attended summer league in Las Vegas, Jazz officials said after last July’s Rocky Mountain Revue that they hoped — and planned — for the long-running league to be held again in 2008. And now they know for sure that it will be. “We will have a league,” Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor said. O’Connor had no other details, including how many team will participate.

Fiba.com reports: Denmark coach Allan Foss admits his country is a long shot to be awarded the 2014 FIBA World Championship. The Danes, along with Spain, France and Russia have also expressed an interest in bidding for the event. Foss, whose team was relegated to EuroBasket Division B last year, said to FIBA: “Well, clearly it is a long shot, but it would really mean something to (improve) the knowledge of basketball in Denmark.”

Apr. 2: Lakers 104, Blazers 91

The AP reports: Pau Gasol had 10 points, six rebounds and seven assists in his first game in nearly three weeks, and the Lakers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 104-91 for their second straight win after a pair of losses to two of the NBA’s weaker teams. Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 36 points in the fourth quarter, and also had 13 rebounds and seven assists for the Lakers (51-24), who trail New Orleans by 1 1/2 games and San Antonio by one game in the Western Conference standings… Derek Fisher scored 13 points, Lamar Odom had 12 points and eight rebounds, and Vladimir Radmanovic and Jordan Farmar added 10 points each for the Lakers, who have been without Andrew Bynum since he injured his left knee Jan. 13 against Memphis… Travis Outlaw and Martell Webster scored 23 points each for the Blazers. Steve Blake added 12 points and 10 assists and Aldridge had 11 points and 12 rebounds, but shot just 4-of-15. Brandon Roy, averaging a team-leading 19.3 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.9 assists, missed his third straight game because of a strained right groin.

Apr. 2: Clippers 102, Sonics 84

The AP reports: Elton Brand made his long-awaited season debut on Wednesday night, scoring 19 points and leading the Clippers past the Seattle SuperSonics 102-84. His stat line looked like so many others Brand has posted over the last few years—7-of-15 shooting, five rebounds, three assists, one block, and most importantly, 13 points in the fourth quarter… Down 70-69 to start the fourth, the Clippers went on a 13-2 run and took an 82-72 lead on Brand’s leaning jumper in the lane with 7:09 left… Al Thornton led the Clippers with 21 points and Corey Maggette added 20. Los Angeles had lost 11 of 12 entering Wednesday night… Kevin Durant led Seattle with 30 points, but the struggles only continued for the lowly SuperSonics… Jeff Green added 17 points and Nick Collison had 12 points and 17 rebounds for Seattle, which was outscored 33-14 in the fourth quarter.

Apr. 2: Mavs 111, Warriors 86

The AP reports: Dirk Nowitzki was back, scoring 18 points in his unexpected start Wednesday night, and the Mavericks posted a 111-86 victory over the Golden State Warriors that could have big implications in a tight Western Conference playoff race… “There was already a sense of urgency. … And then seeing Dirk out there, it was very inspiring,” said Jason Terry, who matched a season-high with 31 points… Stephen Jackson had only two points on 1-of-11 shooting, and Al Harrington was 1-of-9 with six points. Monta Ellis led the Warriors with 27 points, while Baron Davis had 20… Josh Howard added 28 points for the Mavericks, while Kidd had a season-high 17 assists with 11 rebounds and five points.

Apr. 2: Jazz 117, Wolves 100

The AP reports: Mehmet Okur made four 3-pointers and scored 22 points, leading the Jazz to a 117-100 win over Minnesota. He scored 19 of points and made three 3-pointers in the second half… Okur credited guard Deron Williams for Utah’s stellar play in the second half. The Jazz scored 38 points in the third quarter and shot 62 percent from the field after the break. Williams had 19 points and 14 assists for his 49th double-double of the season… Utah won for the 24th time in 25 home games and improved to 34-4 at EnergySolutions Arena this season… Marko Jaric led Minnesota with 18 points and eight rebounds. Reserve Rashad McCants had 17 points.

Apr. 2: Grizzlies 130, Knicks 114

The AP reports: Hours after owner James Dolan introduced Donnie Walsh as New York’s new president of basketball operations, rookie Javaris Crittenton scored a season-high 23 points, Rudy Gay added 21, and the Memphis Grizzlies had their best offensive performance this season in a 130-114 victory Wednesday night over the Knicks… Michael Conley added 18 points, Juan Carlos Navarro had 16 and Mike Miller 15 as eight Grizzlies reached double figures… Zach Randolph led New York with 27 points, and Crawford added 24. David Lee had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Renaldo Balkman had 11.

Apr. 2: Hornets 106, Heat 77

The AP reports: Tyson Chandler was 10-for-10 from the floor, and his 20-point, 10-rebound effort helped the Hornets remain atop the Western Conference standings with a 106-77 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. David West scored 22 points and Chris Paul added 14 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who finished 5-1 on their six-game road trip through the East. It was also the 25th road win for the Hornets, topping what was the franchise record set 11 seasons ago… Chris Quinn finished with 18 points, nine assists and seven rebounds for Miami, which lost its fifth straight… Blake Ahearn scored 15 points and Daequan Cook added 12 for Miami. Joel Anthony added a career-best 12 rebounds for the Heat.

Apr. 2: Bucks 110, Wizards 109

The AP reports: With Gilbert Arenas back on the floor, the Washington Wizards fell apart in too many ways to count in the fourth quarter. Forget all his dramatics: Agent Zero had the show stolen by a rookie making his first NBA game-winner. Ramon Sessions hit a 19-foot jumper at the buzzer Wednesday night to give the Milwaukee Bucks a 110-109 victory over the Wizards, who left the game with severely bruised egos and new injuries to Antawn Jamison and DeShawn Stevenson… Charlie Villanueva had 24 points and 12 rebounds for the Bucks, whose celebration took some of the sting from the news that they were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs by Atlanta’s win over Toronto… Butler and Jamison scored 18 points apiece for the Wizards, who missed a chance to clinch their fourth consecutive playoff berth.

Apr. 2: Celtics 92, Pacers 77

The AP reports: The Boston Celtics reached two milestones—matching the NBA record for best single-season turnaround and winning 60 games for the first time in 22 years… The Celtics also added a dominant player in the offseason, Kevin Garnett, who had 20 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday… The Pacers were led by Danny Granger with 14 points, and Mike Dunleavy and Jermaine O’Neal with 12 each. O’Neal came off the bench for the second game since missing 33 straight with a bone bruise on his left knee. Ray Allen had 15 points and Leon Powe had 14 with nine rebounds for the Celtics… Troy Murphy had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Indiana.

Apr. 2: Hawks 127, Raptors 120

The AP reports: Mike Bibby hit a tying 3-pointer in regulation, Smith made two in overtime, and the Hawks beat the Toronto Raptors 127-120 on Wednesday night for their fifth straight victory… Chris Bosh had 24 points for Toronto, and T.J. Ford finished with 23 points and 13 assists. Rasho Nesterovic scored 21 points and reserve guard Jose Calderon handed out 10 assists for the Raptors. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 28 points. Bibby had 26 and Josh Smith finished with 24. Bibby and Johnson combined for 23 assists. Al Horford pulled down 11 rebounds.

Apr. 2: Cavs 118, Bobcats 114

The AP reports: Entering the night, LeBron James had been disqualified twice in 417 games in his five-year career. But after scoring 29 points, James was called for his sixth foul when he reached in on Charlotte’s Jason Richardson at the top of his drive to the basket with Cleveland leading 104-101 with 3:56 left… Devin Brown finished with 20 points, Anderson Varejao made eight of nine shots and added 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 16 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland… Jason Richardson had 31 points, Emeka Okafor matched a season high with 25 and Gerald Wallace scored 21 for the Bobcats, who lost their second straight game amid questions of coach Sam Vincent’s future.

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