Archive for April 27th, 2008

Josh Howard likes to smoke marijuana

The AP (Jamie Aron) reports: Hours before the Dallas Mavericks’ biggest game of the year, forward Josh Howard went on the radio Friday to talk about something else — his fondness for marijuana. It was quite a follow-up to teammate Jerry Stackhouse calling opposing coach Byron Scott “a sucker in my book” on local airwaves. Howard’s comments are more serious because marijuana use is illegal and eligible for punishment from the NBA. It’s a topic he’s addressed before, but never so publicly, so close to tipping off such an important game, the Mavericks down 0-2 in their first-round series against the New Orleans Hornets. “Most of the players in the league use marijuana and I have and do partake in smoking weed in the offseason sometimes,” Howard told The Michael Irvin Show on the local ESPN affiliate. “I mean, that’s my personal choice and my personal opinion, but I don’t think that’s stopping me from doing my job.”

The San Antonio Express-News (Mike Monroe) reports: Boris Diaw said he has a good “book” on how to defend his friend [Tony Parker]. “I think it does help a little bit because I’ve seen him play a lot,” Diaw said. “I kind of know sometimes when he wants to go to his floater, when he tries to go for his jump shot, or when he is looking to pass. But the main thing is trying to stay close to him and bother the pass or the shot.” Parker was willing to heap praise on Diaw’s offense, if not his defense. The Suns’ forward was just two rebounds shy of a triple double, with 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Parker’s praise was offered with a caveat.

Apr. 27: Pistons 93, Sixers 84

The AP reports: Tayshaun Prince scored 23 points and made all but one shot from the field, and Detroit played with a purpose and dominated the second half to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 93-84 on Sunday night, tying the best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series at 2-2… All the euphoria the Sixers created after a 20-point win in Game 3 only grew as they raced to a 14-point first-half lead. The younger, faster, confident Sixers were taking it to the aging, slumping Pistons yet again. Then those 59-win Pistons showed up in the third quarter… The Pistons picked up the defensive pressure and forced seven turnovers in the third. Detroit played like the 76ers did in Game 3, with active hands in the lane and pressure up top that rattled the upstart home team.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Sixers shot better than the Pistons did from the field, but the Pistons took 80 shots, the Sixers just 67. Credit Pistons hustle to getting those extra attempts. Neither team was impressive from three-point range. Both teams made 19 free throws, but the Pistons did it on fewer attempts. Rebounding and assists were close. For the Pistons, Tayshaun Prince shot 11-of-12 for 23 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals. Rasheed Wallace (4-of-7 three-pointers) had 20 points, 10 rebounds and too many turnovers. Chauncey Billups shot a miserable 4-of-16 but got free throws for 18 points, 6 rebounds and 7 assists. And Richard Hamilton shot just 7-of-22 for 18 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Antonio McDyess shot 5-of-8 for 10 bench points. For the Sixers, all five starters scored between 12 and 15 points, and Louis Williams had 10 off the bench. Samuel Dalembert had 12 rebounds.

Apr. 27: Suns 105, Spurs 86

The AP reports: A Frenchman put Phoenix on the brink of elimination, another brought the Suns back to life. Boris Diaw fell two assists shy of a triple-double Sunday and the Suns avoided a first-round sweep at the hands of San Antonio with a 105-86 rout of the Spurs. Diaw, starting in place of injured Grant Hill, had 20 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in one of the best playoff performances of his career… Diaw also played tough defense on his good friend and fellow Frenchman Tony Parker, who scored 18 points after a career-high 41 in San Antonio’s 115-99 victory Friday night in Game 3… No one was more aggressive than Raja Bell, who scored 21 of his 27 points in a dominant first half to help Phoenix bring a one-sided end to the defending NBA champions’ nine-game playoff winning streak. The Suns were 11-0 in the regular season when Bell scored at least 20… The Suns won in a blowout even though Amare Stoudemire scored just seven points and Steve Nash had four assists. Nash and Leandro Barbosa scored 15 apiece for the Suns. Shaquille O’Neal had 14 points and 12 rebounds. D’Antoni drew two technicals and was ejected with 3:38 to play and his team up 104-80… San Antonio was 4-for-19 shooting with six turnovers in the first two quarters. The Spurs cut it to 12 three times in the second quarter, the last at 49-37 on Ginobili’s 15-foot bank shot with 4:55 to go. Phoenix, though, scored the next 12—six on free throws by Bell—to go up 61-37 on Diaw’s layup with 1:33 left in the half.

Apr. 27: Cavs 100, Wizards 97

The AP reports: At game’s end, LeBron James was just as collected, drawing waves of Washington Wizards defenders before dishing to Delonte West for a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 5.4 seconds left. That shot, along with James’ 34 points and 12 rebounds, led the Cavaliers to a 100-97 victory on Sunday and a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference playoff series… James got help Sunday from more than just West, whose career playoff-high 21 points included five 3-pointers. Daniel Gibson made four 3s, and Ben Wallace had 12 rebounds—part of a remarkable 51-31 edge on the boards for Cleveland. One small sequence that epitomized things: At the end of the third quarter, Joe Smith’s three-point play followed two offensive rebounds and gave the Cavaliers an 80-73 edge. Wizards coach Eddie Jordan was succinct: “We didn’t rebound.” Antawn Jamison led Washington with 23 points and 11 rebounds, while Caron Butler added 19 points. But it was Stevenson who was at the center of the key play. LeBron vs. DeShawn had been mainly an off-court rivalry, prompted in part by Stevenson calling James overrated, and extending to involve rap megastar Jay-Z and one-hit wonder Soulja Boy. James’ pal Jay-Z created a song dissing Stevenson that was played at a D.C. club this weekend.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Wizards shot a bit better than the Cavs from the field, but the Cavs nailed 13-of-28 (5 from Delonte West, 4 from Daniel Gibson and 3 from LeBron James) while the Wizards hit a respectable 7-of-19. But the Cavs dominated rebounding, 51-31 and dished 23 assists, the Wizards 18. For the Cavs, James had 34 points, 12 rebounds and 7 assists. Delonte West (7-of-12, 5-of-8 threes) had 21 points. Gibson had 12. Ben Wallace had 0 points and 12 rebounds. For the Wizards, Antawn Jamison had 23 points, 11 rebounds and 3 steals. Caron Butler had 19 points and 4 assists. Brendan Haywood had 16 points and 6 rebounds. DeShawn Stevenson had 13 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Gilbert Arenas wasn’t good, shooting 3-of-8 for 10 points, two steals, but more turnovers than assists.

Apr. 26: Jazz 86, Rockets 82

The AP reports: Mehmet Okur can expect to get something nice from teammate Deron Williams. Okur bailed out Williams when he missed two free throws with 7.3 seconds left, then Okur made two from the line to seal an 86-82 win over the Houston Rockets on Saturday that put the Jazz up 3-1 in the best-of-7 series. “Memo saved my butt. I ought to give him something. I ought to buy him a car or something,” Williams said. Okur had 18 rebounds, Carlos Boozer added 14 and the Jazz made up for some dismal outside shooting by controlling the lane… Williams scored eight of his 17 points in the fourth quarter, starting an 8-0 run after Houston had trimmed a 16-point lead to just one with 10:39 left… Tracy McGrady, who is 0-6 in playoff series, scored 23 points to lead the Rockets. McGrady was taunted with the chant “Over-Rated!” when he went to the foul line late in the game. He scored just four points in another quiet final quarter… McGrady also led Houston with eight assists and 10 rebounds, but the Rockets were outrebounded 48-41… Andrei Kirilenko added an exclamatory block as the buzzer sounded and the Jazz left the court one win away from advancing. Kirilenko scored 11 and Ronnie Brewer had 12 points and two blocks as all five Utah starters scored in double figures.

Apr. 26: Hawks 102, Celtics 93

The AP reports: Give Josh Smith a perfect 10 in his personal dunking contest. And give the Atlanta Hawks some credit: The team that was supposed to get swept by big, bad Boston in the opening round of the playoffs pulled off a win that was nine years in the making. The high-flying Smith scored 27 points and the Hawks earned their first playoff victory since 1999, beating the Celtics 102-93 Saturday night to cut Boston’s lead in the series to 2-1… “We’re not satisfied,” said Joe Johnson, who added 23 points for Atlanta… The Hawks took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Celtics 28-18 and limiting Boston to 5-of-21 shooting. Atlanta went on to its first playoff win since May 16, 1999, a Game 5 clincher over the Detroit Pistons… Rookie Al Horford was a force on the inside. He had 17 points, 14 rebounds, six assists and showed he wasn’t afraid of the mighty Celtics, jawing with Paul Pierce in the final minute. Kevin Garnett led Boston with 32 points, but the NBA’s youngest playoff team had him kneeling over, looking totally exhausted, by the end of the game.

Apr. 26: Lakers 108, Nuggets 84

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant led a balanced offense with 22 points and the Los Angeles Lakers took a 3-0 lead in their first-round series, routing the flustered Nuggets 102-84 on Saturday… Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson shot a combined 10-for-38 and finished with 16 and 15 points, respectively… Iverson sat out all but 1:11 of the fourth quarter, when Nuggets coach George Karl emptied his bench, prompting Anthony to accuse the team of quitting… Luke Walton added 15 points off the bench for Los Angeles, and Pau Gasol and Fisher each scored 14. … Lakers F Ronny Turiaf, who lost 11 pounds and missed Game 2 with tonsillitis, was scoreless in three minutes. … Nuggets C Marcus Camby was held scoreless in a playoff game for the first time since 2000.

Apr. 26: Magic 106, Raptors 94

The AP reports: Jameer Nelson scored 12 of his 19 points in the final period, including 10 straight at one stretch, and the Orlando Magic beat the Toronto Raptors 106-94 on Saturday to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series… Rashard Lewis added 27 points and 13 rebounds, and Dwight Howard added 19 points, 16 boards and eight blocks for the third-seeded Magic, who host Game 5 of this first-round series Monday night. Chris Bosh set a career playoff-high with 39 points and added 15 rebounds for the Raptors, while T.J. Ford had 12 points and 13 assists… Toronto stayed close until back-to-back 3-pointers by Hedo Turkoglu and Lewis gave the Magic a 100-92 lead with 1:31 remaining. Turkoglu had 18 points and nine rebounds. Keith Bogans scored 12 points for Orlando… Jason Kapono and Anthony Parker each scored 12 for the Raptors, who were just 2-for-15 from 3-point range. Bosh finished 16-for-26.

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