Archive for April 16th, 2008

Apr. 16: Nuggets 120, Grizzlies 111

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game since getting arrested on a drunken driving charge, and the Denver Nuggets reached 50 wins for the first time in 20 years with a 120-111 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday night… Denver’s starters all watched the fourth quarter from the bench after taking a 99-84 lead with unusually deep rotations. Allen Iverson led Denver with 21 points. Kenyon Martin logged the most minutes among the starters, collecting 11 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes… Kyle Lowry led the Grizzlies’ starters with 22 points, and Hakim Warrick added 19. Reserve Andre Brown also scored 19.

Apr. 16: Rockets 93, Clippers 75

The AP reports: Luis Scola had 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets locked up the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a 93-75 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night. Backup point guard Bobby Jackson added 15 points and five rebounds, and Tracy McGrady made up for a 2-for-11 shooting night with 11 assists as the Rockets improved to 22-2 in their last 24 home games… Jackson started for the second straight game in place of Rafer Alston, who strained his right hamstring against Denver on Sunday. Alston said he would likely miss Houston’s first two playoff games. Corey Maggette scored 22 points and Elton Brand added 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Clippers, who’ve lost five straight to Houston and 17 of the last 20 meetings.

Apr. 16: Bulls 107, Raptors 97

The AP reports: The Toronto Raptors will be in good shape if T.J. Ford shoots this way in the playoffs. While Ford finished with 18 points in 18 minutes, Tyrus Thomas scored a season-high 26 to lead Chicago to a 107-97 victory over Toronto on Wednesday night in what might have been interim coach Jim Boylan’s last game with the Bulls… Ford made the most of his time, hitting 7 of 9 shots—and 6 of 8 while scoring 16 in the first quarter. Chris Bosh finished with eight points in 15 minutes… Andrea Bargnani came off the bench and scored 13, while Kris Humphries added 14 points for the Raptors (41-41)… While Thomas finished one shy of his career scoring high, rookie Aaron Gray set career-highs with 19 points and 22 rebounds. But Chicago’s core players— Luol Deng, Kirk Hinrich and Ben Gordon—did little as a woeful season came to a merciful end.

Apr. 16: Wolves 110, Bucks 101

The AP reports: Randy Foye scored 10 of his career-high 32 points in overtime to help the Minnesota Timberwolves finish a forgettable regular season on a winning note, 110-101 over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday. In what might have been the end of Larry Krystkowiak’s only full season as coach, the Bucks blew a 16-point third-quarter lead and let Foye and the Wolves blow by them in extra time. Milwaukee (26-56) closed by losing eight straight and 12 of 14… Bogut had 24 points and 15 rebounds, and rookie Ramon Sessions scored a career-high 25 points to go with 14 assists… Al Jefferson finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds in the game.

Apr. 16: Heat 113, Hawks 99

The AP reports: Jason Williams scored 17 points, Mark Blount and Daequan Cook each added 16 and the Heat ended their disappointing season with a 113-99 victory over the playoff-bound Atlanta Hawks. Miami finished 15-67, matching the 1988-89 expansion team for the worst record in franchise history… The Heat had seven players in double figures, including Ricky Davis (15 points, nine assists, seven rebounds), Earl Barron (13), Stephane Lasme (12) and Chris Quinn (11)… Josh Smith scored 20 points for Atlanta, which got 17 points and five assists from Mike Bibby. Zach Pachulia and Salim Stoudamire each scored 14 for Atlanta.

Apr. 16: Celtics 105, Nets 94

The AP reports: Second-stringer Leon Powe scored a career-high 27 points, adding 11 rebounds for his sixth career double-double, while Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and the rest of the Boston starters rested up for the playoffs. With their NBA-best 66 wins, the Celtics had already clinched the top seed in the Eastern Conference and a matchup against the Atlanta Hawks in the first round… Tony Allen scored 18 for Boston, which won its fourth straight game and the 11th of its last 12. Richard Jefferson scored 24 points, and Nenad Krstic scored 13 with a season-high 12 rebounds. The Nets ended up 34-48, missing the playoffs for first time since 2001.

Apr. 16: Bobcats 115, Sixers 109

The AP reports: Jason Richardson scored 29 points and the Charlotte Bobcats recovered from blowing a big lead to beat Philadelphia 115-109 on Wednesday night, sending the 76ers to the playoffs on a four-game losing streak… Willie Green scored 27 points and Andre Iguodala scored 24 for Philadelphia. They were the only starters to play more than 24 minutes… Richardson was 3-of-7 on 3-pointers to finish with 243 this season, the fourth-most in NBA history. But it was one of few bright spots for the Bobcats, with first-year coach Sam Vincent facing an uncertain future after Charlotte’s fourth straight season out of the playoffs. Emeka Okafor added 24 points and nine rebounds in his final game before becoming a restricted free agent for the Bobcats, who finished 32-50.

Apr. 16: Pacers 132, Knicks 123

The AP reports: Isiah Thomas gave new Knicks president Donnie Walsh a few more reasons to fire him. Mike Dunleavy tied a career high with 36 points, and the Indiana Pacers beat New York 132-123 on Wednesday night. The Knicks allowed their highest point total of the season and tied a franchise record with 59 losses… Jamal Crawford, who led New York with 25 points, said the season has been disappointing, but he’s not counting Thomas out yet… Zach Randolph had 23 points and 15 rebounds, while former Pacer Fred Jones added 20 points for the Knicks. Danny Granger scored 26 points, just missing his fourth consecutive 30-point game. Troy Murphy added 19 points and 12 rebounds as Indiana reached a season-high point total. The Pacers swept the Knicks for the first time in franchise history.

Apr. 16: Mavs 111, Hornets 98

The AP reports: Jason Kidd had the 100th triple-double of his career and sparked a 30-8 stretch that sent the Dallas Mavericks past the New Orleans Hornets, 111-98 Wednesday night, and set up a first-round showdown between these teams. Kidd had 27 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his first triple-double since rejoining the Mavericks, the team he was with when he broke into the NBA and began piling up the stats… Dirk Nowitzki shot just 4-of-16 and had 12 points. Howard scored 19 and Bass had 13 points and 12 rebounds. Kidd shot 9-of-14, hitting 5-of-8 on 3-pointers. David West scored 26 points and Chris Paul had 20 points and 10 assists. Peja Stojakovic scored 17 and Bonzi Wells had 16 for New Orleans, which ends the season having lost three of four and four of five.

Apr. 16: Magic 103, Wizards 83

The AP reports: The Orlando Magic paid more attention to the guy trying to make a half-court shot for $100,000 than their coach during a third-quarter timeout Wednesday night…  J.J. Redick scored a career-high 18 points and Marcin Gortat had a career-high 12 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Magic to a 103-83 victory in a meaningless regular-season finale for two playoff-bound teams. Both teams rested their stars… Andray Blatche led Washington with 20 points and 11 rebounds, while Nick Young scored 14. Darius Songaila, Roger Mason and Oleksiy Pecherov each scored 10 points for the Wizards, and Pecherov had a career-high 10 rebounds… Lewis had 15 points in 17 minutes. Redick, a Magic fan favorite who rarely gets off the bench, was 0-for-5 from the field to start, but finished 7-for-14. Turkoglu scored 11 points and Keith Bogans added 10.

Apr. 16: Pistons 84, Cavs 74

The AP reports: With its reserves playing most of the minutes, Detroit closed the regular-season Wednesday night with an 84-74 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that beat the Pistons four straight times last season and denied them a trip to the NBA finals… Rookie Aaron Afflalo scored 15 points, Jason Maxiell had 13 and Rodney Stuckey 12 for the Pistons, who will meet the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round starting Sunday. Wally Szczerbiak, who has struggled to find his shooting touch since coming to Cleveland in a trade, scored 18 points to pace the Cavaliers. Delonte West, another of the newer Cavaliers, added 11 points and Dwayne Jones had 10 rebounds. Not wanting to risk injury to James or center Zydrunas Ilgauskas, Cavaliers coach Mike Brown didn’t activate his two best players so they’d be ready for the Wizards.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed guard Billy Thomas for the remainder of the season and playoffs and for the 2008-09 season.  He was signed to a 10-day contract on February 22 and to his second 10-day contract on March 3.  Thomas has played in six games with the Cavaliers this season.

Thomas is often called a shooting guard due to his height, but he’s got the strength and weight of a small forward. He’s not your average NBA player. Decent addition.

Suns sign Linton Johnson for playoffs

The Phoenix Suns signed forward Linton Johnson for the remainder of the season, the team announced today.  Johnson is eligible to be on the Suns’ 2008 NBA Playoff roster.

The 6-8, 205-pound Johnson returns to Phoenix after signing two separate 10-day contracts on Feb. 22 and March 3 earlier this season.  Johnson appeared in six games in his first stint with Phoenix, averaging 2.5 points and 2.2 rebounds in 8.8 minutes.  The 27-year-old also signed a 10-day contract with the Toronto Raptors on March 27, 2008 and appeared in two games, scoring six total points in 10 minutes.

In 141 career games (27 starts), Johnson owns averages of 4.1 points and 3.4 rebounds in 14.6 minutes.  The four-year NBA veteran enjoyed his best career season in 2005-06 with the Hornets, posting averages of 5.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 18.1 minutes in 27 games.  Johnson signed his first NBA contract with the Bulls on Sept. 29, 2003.

The Suns roster now stands at 14.  An updated roster is attached.

Lakers win top spot in West

The Los Angeles Daily News (Elliot Teaford) reports: Purple-and-gold streamers and confetti fell on a roaring sellout crowd after the Lakers clinched the top spot in the Western Conference and secured home-court advantage for the first three rounds of the playoffs with a 124-101 victory over the Sacramento Kings. “Now we’re in the No. 1 spot, but it doesn’t mean anything unless we move forward and take care of business,” guard Derek Fisher said. Added forward Lamar Odom: “It feels great. We’ll get something to eat and talk about it a little bit and then we’ll move on. We really came together at the end of the season, and we found ourselves in first place.”

Only Heat trainer ever is retiring

The Miami Herald (Sarah Rothschild) reports: Ron Culp’s 3,001st game will be his last. The only head trainer the Heat has known in its 20-year history is retiring. Culp, who also serves as travel coordinator, is leaving after Wednesday’s season finale. It will end his run of a record-setting 37 seasons on the job. He started with the 1970-71 Cleveland Cavaliers expansion team and went to Portland in 1974, where he was part of the 1977 championship team, and arrived in Miami for its inaugural season in 1988… Culp is a three-time winner of the NBA trainer of the year award and has two championships on his résumé (including 2006 with the Heat), but his devotion to the players is as much his legacy as his decades of service.

Raptors pimpin dat dancer booty

The Toronto Star (Dave Feschuk) reports: In their insatiable quest to fatten the bottom line, the crude capitalists who run the Raptors hit below the belt this year: specifically, they sold advertising space on the backsides of the resident scantily clad dance troupe. In doing so, they gifted the lecherous among their courtside seatholders a handy excuse. Something like: “But I was looking at her ad, honey.” Branded heinies are but one of the relatively new developments casual observers might have missed in Raptorworld this season.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I support anything that gives me an excuse to look even more closely at the dancers.

Chris Paul making big MVP noise

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram (Jan Hubbard) reports: Chris Paul has been a nightmare for the entire league, because if opponents try to double-team him to limit his scoring, he is such a great passer that he will find the open man. “He’s really a mature player for his age, and he can do it all, ” Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said. “He can shoot the 3, he can penetrate, he gets steals, he’s very, very confident. “He’s very heady, very knowledgeable of the game, can beat you in between, at the basket, he gets to the free-throw line, just causes havoc. And if you have to play against him in a seven-game series, I don’t think the opposing head coach is going to get much sleep.”

The Star-Telegram continues: Much was expected from Paul, who goes by the nickname “CP3,” which is the first letter of his first and last name and his uniform number and has nothing to do with Star Wars. Paul was the fourth player taken in the 2005 draft behind Andrew Bogut, Marvin Williams and Deron Williams. But he has exceeded even high expectations, which is why he is getting considerable support for the Most Valuable Player award this season. Kobe Bryant is the favorite, but Paul has gained momentum. If he doesn’t win it, he’s likely to finish second, ahead of Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Cleveland’s LeBron James.

Apr. 15: Lakers 124, Kings 101

The AP reports: Pau Gasol had 22 points, leading MVP candidate Kobe Bryant added 20, and the Lakers beat the short-handed Sacramento Kings 124-101 Tuesday night to clinch the No. 1 seed in the West and home-court advantage throughout the conference playoffs… Lamar Odom added 15 points and 12 rebounds, Vladimir Radmanovic scored 14, Jordan Farmar added 13 points, and Ronny Turiaf had 10 points and six assists for the Lakers, who went strictly with reserves in the fourth quarter. Quincy Douby led the Kings (38-44) with a career-high 32 points. Beno Udrih scored 22 points, Francisco Garcia added 15 and Sheldon Williams had 12 points and a season-high 11 rebounds… The Kings played their final game of the season without their top three scorers: Kevin Martin, Ron Artest and Brad Miller.

Apr. 15: Blazers 113, Grizzlies 91

The AP reports: Brandon Roy had 16 points and 11 assists for the Blazers (41-40) who play their final game of the season Wednesday at Phoenix. Portland has not finished with a winning record since the 2002-03 season. James Jones hit six 3-pointers to lead Portland with 20 points. Jarrett Jack scored 18 points and Channing Frye added 16 for Portland… Hakim Warrick led Memphis with 17 points and 14 rebounds. Rudy Gay and Andre Brown each added 16 points… The Grizzlies were without veteran guard Mike Miller because of back spasms, and guard Javaris Crittenton, who has a sprained right thumb.

Apr. 15: Hornets 114, Clippers 92

The AP reports: The New Orleans Hornets gathered in front of their bench, wearing ball caps and T-shirts commemorating the first division championship in the franchise’s 20-year history… David West scored 32 points and Chris Paul had 12 during a decisive run in the third quarter as the Hornets beat the Los Angeles Clippers 114-92 on Tuesday night… Chris Paul finished with 22 points and 12 assists, while Chandler added 11 points and 11 rebounds. Rookie Julian Wright scored all 14 of his points in the fourth quarter, including a thunderous dunk. Rookie Al Thornton led the Clippers with 26 points. Corey Maggette contributed 13 off the bench.

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