Archive for April 10th, 2008

Andrew Bynum not returning yet

Lakers center Andrew Bynum was examined yesterday in New York by knee specialist Dr. David Altchek and has not been cleared to progress to full practices or contact drills, it was announced today.

“This should not be seen as a setback in any way,” said Altchek. “Andrew will continue with his therapy program and workouts with the Lakers’ training staff and will continue to be monitored until he can return to playing status.”

There is no target date for Bynum’s return.

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports: The Magic will win 50 games this season, plus a few more, and they should get it Friday night against the woeful Minnesota Timberwolves at home. Reaching 50 would mean the Magic have made at least a 10-game improvement since last season’s 40-42 record — a significant bump by league standards. It represents a 14-game bump from the back-to-back 36-46 seasons the previous two years. They can become just the fourth Magic team to win 50, and the first since the exalted 1995-96 team of Shaq and Penny. Coach Stan Van Gundy said 50 wins separates a team from mediocrity, providing instant respect. Sort of like breaking 90 on the golf course. It took the Magic a long time to put this thing back together — and they tried — after Shaquille O’Neal’s departure in 1996 started a rapid decline.

Bosh wants louder support from home fans

The Toronto Sun (Mike Ganter) reports: At one point midway through the second quarter after the Raptors had taken the lead and the Bucks took a timeout, Chris Bosh angrily gestured at the fans to get off their hands and show a little support. “I was just saying it was quiet,” Bosh said. “I’m just saying: ‘I’m excited’. I don’t know if anyone else is excited but I’m excited. I’m not waiting for next week. I’m trying to do it right now and that’s the mentality we have to take as an organization.” And as for the fans. “If the crowd just reacts, it’s a tough place to play,” Bosh said. “We go to places like Dallas and Utah, Cleveland and Detroit and it’s loud. It really makes a difference and really gives them an advantage.”

Nets need a true No. 1 option

The Bergen Record (Al Iannazzone) writes the following on his blog: The Nets will never admit this, but this is my feeling, you’re not going to win when Richard Jefferson is your No. 1 option. He’s not even one of the top five small forwards in the East. I rank in no order Paul Pierce, Andre Iguodala, LeBron James, Hedo Turkoglu and Caron Butler ahead of Jefferson, and I may be missing someone. Carter’s contract and his ability to carry a team make him valuable to the Nets, so I expect him back. They’re not going to trade Harris, the point guard they acquired for Jason Kidd, unless somehow the Nets wind up in the top three in the draft and have the opportunity to take a Derrick Rose. What they probably will do, however, is look to move backup Marcus Williams, instead.

Cuban would like age minimum to be 22

Mark Cuban, on BlogMaverick, writes: “If it were up to me, I would raise the age limit to 22 or when your class graduates from college. Why ? It’s not because there are not 18 or 19 year olds who can’t play in the NBA. There always have been, and there always will be. Doing what is right for the NBA is about far more than basketball talent. My logic is simple. If a kid is NBA ready to play at 18 or 19, he will be NBA ready at 22. They don’t forget how to play basketball and they don’t get worse. What does change considerably between the ages of 18 and 22 is the maturity level of the kids. Ask any 22 year old in college if they are more “worldly” and better prepared to deal with life post college than they were when they were 18 or 19.”

Cuban continues: “From the perspective of an NBA owner, maturity is far harder to qualify than talent. Can he manage the personal side of his life ?When friends, relatives and hangers on are coming out of the woodwork asking for something. I know that when I first started making great money, it was difficult for me, in my late 20s to deal with who to say no to. How is a 19 year old going to say no to people who he has grown up around and are still his close friends ? How is he going to deal with the gold diggers ? A 1 or 2 week “Scared Straight” class by the NBA isn’t going to do the job.”

Heat sign Lasme for rest of season

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward Stephane Lasme for the remainder of the season. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Lasme, a 6’8”, 215-pound forward, has appeared in 11 games for the HEAT averaging 4.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 1.55 blocks and 1.00 steals in 19.7 minutes of action. He scored a career-high eight points at Detroit on Mar. 27, grabbed a career-high seven rebounds at Indiana on Mar. 31 and blocked a career-high three shots on two occasions, first at Charlotte on Mar. 22 and then in his next game vs. Milwaukee on Mar. 24.

Lasme, the 2007-08 NBA Development League Co-Defensive Player of the Year, was originally signed to a 10-day contract with the HEAT on Mar. 21 and was then re-signed to a second 10-day contract on Mar. 31.

It’s not shocking at all to learn that the new Sonics owners seemingly planned all along to move the team to their base, Oklahoma City. From an owner perspective, it makes sense to keep the team in Seattle if things are going well financially. But if the ability to make money using the current arena is going to be a permanent problem, it makes sense to move the squad, especially to where the new owners have lots of business connections and can easily land good sponsorships… I hadn’t paid attention to this but some Sonics fans emailed InsideHoops saying that when the Hornets were playing in OKC, a lot of the ticket prices were at a very reduced price, so the high attendance there isn’t a lock to be repeated when prices go back to normal when the Sonics get there. I haven’t looked into that myself, though… A lot of John Calipari’s college success is based on recruiting, not coaching. Now, I’m not saying he’s a bad coach. But there’s no guarantee his coaching will translate to the NBA a second time around… Just as I was typing this, Bruce Bowen showed up out of nowhere and elbowed me in the back while falling down. I think it was just an accident, though I’m not sure how he got in without me hearing him… The Knicks need to smile to Isiah Thomas this summer, thank him very kindly for his efforts, and completely part ways… The NBA MVP is going to be Kobe or CP3, I say (and lots of others are saying this as well, of course)… I was excited to share that the Knicks are giving free food and beverages to fans for the last home game, and that’s still cool, but now it’s reported the Cavs are going to give $1 million in prizes away. I wonder what the prizes are, and what percentage of the fans will win something… Just as I was typing something else, Bruce Bowen somehow got in here again and for some weird reason stuck his foot under mine. I better be careful when I stand up, or I might twist an ankle… The thing about the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is, virtually no first round picks are playing there, and only a handful of second rounders, and you learn more about these players over the full NCAA season than you do seeing them play three or four games with teammates they aren’t familar with… Go Inside Hoops every day… More NBA rumors stories during the day as they develop… Talk to you tomorrow.

This is from the InsideHoops NBA Rumors page, the web’s single most must-read daily roundup of hot stories. Hit the page.

Apr. 9: Suns 96, Spurs 79

The AP reports: Amare Stoudemire led six Suns players in the double digits on the way to a 96-79 victory over the defending champions on Wednesday night… Shaquille O’Neal had eight of his 16 points in the decisive fourth quarter and grabbed nine rebounds for Phoenix. Nash scored 12 points—including eight in the fourth quarter—and had 10 assists… Tim Duncan scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who have now lost seven at home this season, and Tony Parker added 20 points… Spurs forward Bruce Bowen ran into Stoudemire in the fourth quarter, upsetting the Suns center. “Bruce came elbow first. Elbowed me right in my rib cage,” Stoudemire said.

Apr. 9: Rockets 103, Sonics 80

The AP reports: Rafer Alston scored 18 points as the Rockets, playing without Tracy McGrady, got 48 points from their reserves to easily beat the Sonics 103-80. McGrady sat out with a sore left shoulder that’s bothered him for more than a week, but the Rockets didn’t miss him, handing Seattle its 11th staright road loss. Rookie Luis Scola had 13 points and 12 rebounds, Luther Head started for McGrady and scored 16 and sharp-shooting reserve Steve Novak added a career-high 17 points as Houston kept pace with first-place New Orleans in the tightly packed Western Conference playoff race… Former Texas star Kevin Durant scored 26, Nick Collison grabbed 15 rebounds and Earl Watson added 16 points and eight assists for the Sonics, who’ve lost seven straight meetings with Houston and 18 of their last 20 games overall.

Apr. 9: Hornets 122, Wolves 90

The AP reports: Chris Paul helped the New Orleans Hornets stay atop the Western Conference and set a team record for wins, too. Paul had 19 points and 16 assists, and the New Orleans Hornets bounced back to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 122-90 Wednesday night. Peja Stojakovic scored 24 points and David West had 22 for the Hornets, who scored just 66 points in a loss to Utah on Tuesday and looked sluggish through the first half against Minnesota… Rashad McCants had 23 for the Timberwolves, who have lost six straight. Randy Foye scored 20 points for Minnesota, but just four of those came in the final three quarters. The win gave the Hornets a franchise-best 55 wins, beating the record set in 1996-97.

Apr. 9: Knicks 109, Bobcats 107

The AP reports: Fred Jones made the go-ahead 3-pointer with 3:47 left and scored 15 points, and the Knicks beat the Charlotte Bobcats 109-107 on Wednesday night to match a season high with their third straight victory… Wilson Chandler added 12 points and Nate Robinson had 11, joining Jones to give the Knicks a huge advantage off the bench. New York’s reserves outscored Charlotte’s, 54-14… Jamal Crawford scored 18 points for the Knicks, who seemed in control after an 18-0 spurt in the second quarter, but blew all their lead before pulling back ahead to win three straight for only the second time this season, having also done it from Jan. 13-16… Jason Richardson scored 25 points, and Raymond Felton and Emeka Okafor had 24 apiece for the Bobcats, whose franchise-record four-game road winning streak was snapped. Okafor missed a jumper at the buzzer that would have tied it.

Apr. 9: Raptors 111, Bucks 93

The AP reports: Chris Bosh did his part to end Toronto’s slump. He would like the fans to do theirs. Bosh had 32 points and 11 rebounds and the Raptors ended a three-game losing streak with a 111-93 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday night. Anthony Parker added 18 points for the Raptors, who have struggled despite clinching a playoff spot last week. Toronto lost 15 of its previous 21 games. Fans booed the Raptors after their last home loss and didn’t make much noise Wednesday night. “It was quiet. Could you hear yourself talk?” Bosh asked reporters… Former Raptor Charlie Villanueva had a season-high 38 points and a career-high seven 3-pointers. He scored 25 of Milwaukee’s first 29 points.

Apr. 9: Magic 115, Bulls 83

The AP reports: To the rest of the Eastern Conference playoff field, a note: It’s going to take more than a knock to the head and a fat lip to slow down Dwight Howard. Playing with six stitches in his upper lip after a day after a practice collision with 6-foot-11 reserve Marcin Gortat, Howard had 30 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Magic past the Chicago Bulls 115-83 on Wednesday night. It didn’t affect Howard’s game, but “it is affecting my modeling career,” the All-Star said. “Just for a couple days.” Kirk Hinrich led Chicago with 19 points, while Ben Gordon and Aaron Gray each scored 13. Tyrus Thomas tied a career high with five blocks… Rashard Lewis finished with 21 points and seven rebounds for Orlando, Carlos Arroyo had 13 points and six assists and Hedo Turkoglu had 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds.

Apr. 9: Cavs 104, Nets 83

The AP reports: So much for LeBron James’ aching back. After missing two days of practice because of back spasms, James scored 33 points as the Cleveland Cavaliers overcame a 14-point deficit to defeat the New Jersey Nets, 104-83, Wednesday night… He was 11-of-21 from the field, made 10-of-13 from the line, grabbed seven rebounds and had eight assists… Zydrunas Ilgauskas 13 for the Cavaliers. Daniel Gibson and Delonte West scored 12 apiece. Carter scored 19 points and Richard Jefferson added 15 to lead New Jersey, which won the first three meetings this season against Cleveland.

Apr. 9: Wizards 109, Celtics 95

The AP reports: After sitting out two games with a sprained right shoulder, Jamison returned to score 27 points as the Wizards ended Boston’s seven-game winning streak and became only the second team to win the season series against the Celtics. Jamison left no doubt that he was again full throttle by making 8 of 17 field goals, grabbing 11 rebounds and ramming home a one-hander over Garnett to cap a 10-0 run that gave the Wizards the lead for good early in the third quarter… Caron Butler had 13 points, 10 assists, seven rebounds and seven turnovers for the Wizards, who handed the Celtics’ their second-worst loss of the season. Washington, which beat Boston in back-to-back games in January, joined Orlando as the teams to win the season series against the Celtics. Paul Pierce scored 28 points, and Kevin Garnett had 22 points and 14 rebounds for Boston, which had 21 turnovers and allowed the Wizards to shoot 51 percent.

Apr. 9: Sixers 101, Pistons 94

The AP reports: Having locked up the No. 2 seed in the East, the Pistons once again gave their reserves significant minutes. On the other hand, the game was a meaningful one for the Sixers, who remained in the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, a game ahead of Toronto and a game behind Washington, who both won Wednesday night… Andre Iguodala scored 25 points, hitting a season-high four 3-pointers, and Samuel Dalembert added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia. Willie Green scored 15 and Lou Williams had 12 points and 7 assists off the bench… Chauncey Billups had 18 points to lead Detroit, which already has locked up the No. 2 seed in the East and again gave its reserves significant playing time. Tayshaun Prince, Antonio McDyess and Rasheed Wallace all played fewer than 30 minutes and scored in single digits. Richard Hamilton (hip) missed his fifth straight game.

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