Archive for April 9th, 2008

The New York Knicks, making a very smart PR move, are rewarding their long-suffering fans by giving free food and non-alcoholic drinks to everyone who attends the team’s final home game of the season, against the Celtics on April 14. That’s pretty awesome.

“Knicks fans are among the most passionate in sports, and we wanted to thank them for their loyalty and dedication to the team,” said Howard Jacobs, senior vice president, marketing, MSG Sports Teams. “Today’s announcement stems from our desire to find a meaningful way to show our fans our appreciation. We hope they enjoy themselves and we look forward to seeing them in the arena.”

More info here.

The Los Angeles Daily News (Elliot Teaford) reports: Kobe Bryant then suggested it might be time to alter the playoff format in order to reward the Western Conference, which has proved again this season to be deeper and more competitive than the Eastern Conference. Bryant likes the idea of taking the top 16 teams regardless of their conference affiliation, although he admitted the travel might be difficult if the Lakers had to face the Atlanta Hawks or the New Jersey Nets in the first round. “It would make for a more exciting playoff matchup,” he said. “I just think there’s been such a power shift to the Western Conference, with these great teams. The Eastern Conference has a lot of catching up to do.”

The Toronto Star (Dave Feschuk) reports: Yesterday, coach Sam Mitchell mentioned that video viewing of an ongoing three-game losing streak has revealed too many instances where Raptors who should know better have caught the ball on the perimeter with straight legs. This is a grade-school no-no, of course. In a game of bang-bang reaction, it’s a posture that says: “I’m no threat.” A straight-legged offensive player doesn’t have time to be a threat. By the time he bends his knees and assumes the proper offensive stance – the so-called triple-threat position – he has lost whatever edge he once had. Mitchell demonstrated. “If I catch it like this” – and here the coach got into the classic triple-threat position, his knees bent to drive, his wrist cocked to shoot or pass – “you don’t know if I’m going to shoot, pass or dribble. You’ve got to catch the ball in triple threat.”

Cuban wants Sonics to stay in Seattle

The Tacoma News Tribune (Eric D. Williams) reports: He may be the only NBA owner who votes this way come April 18, but Dallas Mavericks owners Mark Cuban reiterated Tuesday evening before his team’s game against the Seattle SuperSonics that his preference is for the team to stay in Seattle. “My prejudice is against having a Dust Bowl division in this part of the country because I don’t think in the big picture that helps the NBA,” Cuban said. “I think the big market helps the NBA.” Seattle is in the 14th largest TV market in the country, while Oklahoma City is in the 45th largest TV market. If new information shows the Sonics’ move to Oklahoma City serves the league well, he could be swayed, Cuban said.

The Charlotte Observer (Jefferson George and Rick Bonnell) reports: Tuesday night’s Charlotte Bobcats game aired on Fox Sports Net South, the team’s new cable TV home. Game tickets listed the venue’s new name, Time Warner Cable Arena. Those were the first visible results of two deals announced Tuesday that give Charlotte’s NBA team two things it has lacked since its inception: wide TV exposure and a corporate sponsor for the uptown arena. Time Warner Cable released the Bobcats from a TV contract that kept games out of many Charlotte-area homes, allowing the team to make a deal with Fox Sports Net South, which is available on cable and satellite TV systems across the Piedmont. In return, Time Warner Cable got the naming rights to the arena, which has carried the Bobcats name since opening in 2005. Executives with the Bobcats, Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports Net South all declined to discuss the money and years involved in the deals, saying only that they were “long-term” and “multiyear.”

Apr. 8: Warriors 140, Kings 132

The AP reports: Baron Davis had 33 points and nine assists, Stephen Jackson added 20 points and the Warriors stayed in a tie with Denver for the West’s final berth in their highest-scoring game of the season, a 140-132 win over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Andris Biedrins had 17 points and 17 rebounds for the Warriors (47-31) as they kept pace in the power-packed West, where one club is certain to end up with the best record in NBA history for a non-playoff team… Al Harrington scored 17 points and Monta Ellis had 16 as Golden State scored 39 first-quarter points and never trailed in its third win in four games against its Northern California rivals—but the Warriors’ shoddy defense never allowed them to open a big lead, either… Francisco Garcia matched his career high with 31 points and Kevin Martin had 29—but just two in the fourth quarter—for the Kings, who matched the Warriors’ frenetic pace for much of an entertaining night.

Apr. 8: Nuggets 117, Clippers 99

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored 36 points to give him 121 in the last three games, and the Nuggets routed the injury-plagued Los Angeles Clippers 117-99 Tuesday night to remain tied with Golden State for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth. They meet Thursday night in Oakland… Anthony, the NBA’s fourth-leading scorer, shot 13-of-17 from the field and 9-of-12 from the foul line in 33 minutes… Allen Iverson added 21 points, seven rebounds and nine assists, Linas Kleiza scored 15 points, and Marcus Camby had 13 points and 18 rebounds for the Nuggets (47-31), who snapped a two-game losing streak to teams already out of postseason contention… Cuttino Mobley led the Clippers (23-54) with 25 points. Elton Brand, playing his fourth game after missing the season’s first 74 while recovering from surgery on his torn left Achilles’ tendon, added 17 and Quinton Ross scored 10.

Apr. 8: Blazers 112, Lakers 103

The AP reports: Brandon Roy scored 23 points and matched his career high with 12 assists for Portland, which snapped a five-game losing streak. LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and 11 rebounds. Channing Frye, starting in place of injured center Joel Przybilla, had a season-high 22 points and 11 rebounds… Kobe Bryant finished with 34 points, while Pau Gasol had 21 points and 13 rebounds. It was the Lakers’ sixth straight loss at the Rose Garden.

Apr. 8: Mavs 99, Sonics 83

The AP reports: After a rousing come-from-behind victory in their last game, the Dallas Mavericks avoided a misstep against the struggling Seattle SuperSonics. Jason Terry scored 22 points, Josh Howard added 17, and Dallas crept closer to a playoff berth with a 99-83 victory over Seattle on Tuesday night… Brandon Bass scored 13 off the bench for the Mavericks, and Dirk Nowitzki chipped in with 11 points and 12 rebounds in his fourth game since returning from knee and ankle injuries… Earl Watson had 22 points and eight assists for Seattle. Kevin Durant added 16 points, and Jeff Green and Nick Collison each had 11.

Apr. 8: Suns 127, Grizzlies 113

The AP reports: Amare Stoudemire (10-of-13) had 28 points and 11 rebounds, and Phoenix beat Memphis 127-113 on Tuesday night as Shaquille O’Neal sat out with a right hip contusion… “This would have been a big loss if we lose it,” said Suns guard Steve Nash, who had 16 points and eight assists… Raja Bell scored 18 points for Phoenix, while Grant Hill had 17. Leandro Barbosa had 16 points and Gordan Giricek added 14. Boris Diaw scored 12. Rudy Gay matched his career high with 36 points for Memphis. Mike Conley finished with 19 points and five assists before fouling out in the closing minute, and Kyle Lowry had 13 points off the Memphis bench.

Apr. 8: Celtics 107, Bucks 104 OT

The AP reports: Sure, Doc Rivers could have summoned his Big Three off the bench to reclaim the big lead they’d built earlier in the game. All three Boston Celtics stars certainly wanted to get back on the floor. But Rivers didn’t want to play them in the first place on Tuesday, so he decided to let his reserves handle what suddenly had become an unexpectedly close game. It took overtime, but Boston’s bench managed to beat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-104… Bucks center Andrew Bogut provided some comic relief from what has become a lost season for Milwaukee, joking about his triple-double Tuesday—points, rebounds and turnovers. “My offense was terrible,” Bogut said. “I felt like a little kid out there.”

Apr. 8: Jazz 77, Hornets 66

The AP reports: Mehmet Okur kept up his recent strong play, even during a defensive struggle in which the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Hornets held each other to season lows in scoring. Okur had 22 points and 17 rebounds to help Utah clinch its second straight Northwest Division and snap the Hornets’ 11-game home winning streak, 77-66 on Tuesday night… Deron Williams had 16 assists and outplayed Chris Paul as the Jazz took a 20-point lead early in the fourth quarter and cruised from there… Peja Stojakovic scored 15 points for New Orleans, which shot a woeful 3-of-14 on 3-pointers and 37 percent overall as its five-game winning streak ended. David West had 14 points.

Apr. 8: Knicks 98, Pistons 94

The AP reports: Wilson Chandler scored all of his 19 points in the first half, helping the Knicks built a huge lead, and New York held off a late charge from the Detroit Pistons in a 98-94 win Tuesday night… Against an uninspired team, the Knicks led 57-34 at halftime and 79-60 after three quarters… Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince each scored 11 points for the Pistons, who had won five straight… Jamal Crawford scored 16 for New York, which has won two straight after losing 10 of 11 games.

Apr. 8: Heat 95, Bulls 88

The AP reports: Back in the NBA, Kasib Powell gave the Miami Heat the type of effort they’ve lacked most of the season. Powell scored a career-high 18 points, leading the Heat to a 95-88 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night that snapped a seven-game losing streak. Ricky Davis and Chris Quinn each added 16 points as five players scored in double figures for the Heat, the day after coach Pat Riley was elected to the Hall of Fame… Luol Deng led the Bulls with 25 points, 19 of which came in the first half. Ben Gordon and Joakim Noah each added 16 points.

Apr. 8: Bobcats 121, Wolves 119

The AP reports: The Charlotte Bobcats nearly blew an 18-point lead, missed key free throws and had a strategy decision backfire. The Minnesota Timberwolves roared back behind their new star, only to have a key turnover and a missed shot at the buzzer… Behind Jason Richardson’s 36 points and some good fortune down the stretch, the Bobcats overcame their near collapse and a big night from Al Jefferson to hold off the Timberwolves, 121-119… Jefferson matched a career high with 40 points and had a chance to force overtime, but his open 19-footer bounced off the rim as time expired… Raymond Felton, who had 15 points and 11 assists, missed two free throws with 13 seconds and Charlotte leading 120-119. After Foye’s turnover, Matt Carroll, who scored 22 points, hit his first free throw, but Vincent told him to intentionally miss the second with 1 second left.

Apr. 8: Pacers 112, Hawks 98

The AP reports: Mike Dunleavy scored 28 points, and the Pacers beat the Atlanta Hawks 112-98 Tuesday night to avoid elimination from the playoff race. The Pacers have won three straight and nine of 12 to pull within two games of the Hawks for the eighth playoff slot in the East with four games left… Flip Murray had 20 points and 10 rebounds, Granger scored 16 points and Marquis Daniels added 15 for Indiana. Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 30 points. Josh Smith had 25 points and 13 rebounds, and Josh Childress added 16 points and 12 rebounds for Atlanta.

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