Archive for April 29th, 2008

Mark Cuban denies having brush with fan

The Dallas Morning News reports: After Chris Paul tumbled into the baseline seats late in Game 4, he got into an exchange with a fan. Despite what some reports said, owner Mark Cuban did not have a brush with the fan. “He is a friend of mine,” Cuban said. “He wasn’t goading, nor was he trying to create a confrontation in talking to Paul. I was right there. When Paul fell in his lap, he said something, and Paul matched and bettered him with a comment of his own. [Referee Steve] Javie then came over and kicked out the fan.”

Cavs owner`s company has new partner

The Detroit News (Daniel Howes) reports: Quicken Loans Inc. Chairman Dan Gilbert’s “Detroit 2.0″ initiative is getting new help from an unlikely source — General Motors Corp. Matt Cullen, the 29-year GM veteran who personified its downtown redevelopment push at the Renaissance Center and the riverfront, is leaving the automaker to become president and chief operating officer of Rock Enterprises, a new holding company formed to coordinate and integrate Gilbert’s growing portfolio of companies and investments. The move comes amid fears that the widening scandal engulfing Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick could stall redevelopment and reverse Quicken’s decision to move its headquarters downtown from suburban Livonia. Hiring Cullen, who will spearhead Quicken’s Detroit development projects, is Gilbert’s watch-what-we-do rebuke to that kind of speculation.

Shaq supports Mike D’Antoni

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Suns players are trying to take the public heat off their coach, Mike D’Antoni. “I’ve been around a lot of guys, a lot of coaches,” Suns center Shaquille O’Neal said. “I think he’s the right guy. He really is. He’s an excellent, excellent man. He has a great relationship and a great rapport with the players. It’s our job to make him look good. They’ve been looking good the last few years before I got here. They just could never get over the hump but there are a lot of teams that have never got over the hump. “Mike D is the excellent guy for the job. Luckily, I’ve been on four championship teams with some great Hall of Fame coaches. I’ve got to put Mike D in that category. It’s never the coach. It’s always the players.”

Will Robinson passes away

The AP reports: Will Robinson, the first black basketball coach at a Division I school and a Detroit Pistons scout who discovered Joe Dumars and Dennis Rodman, died Monday. He was 96. Robinson died at a Detroit hospital, Pistons spokesman Matt Dobek said. Robinson had been sick for 15 months and in a nursing home for more than a year, Dobek added. Robinson broke a racial barrier in the 1970s when he coached Illinois State. He joined the Pistons as a scout in 1976, and the additions of Dumars and Rodman were keys to Detroit’s 1989 and 1990 NBA championships. Those teams were coached by Chuck Daly, who took the job after Robinson declined former general manager Jack McCloskey’s offer.

The Globe and Mail (Mike Grange) reports: One game after delivering his best postseason performance, Chris Bosh gave one of his worst. It didn’t matter, the results were the same. The team built around him, the Toronto Raptors, lost last night 102-92 to the Orlando Magic — and they also fell in their best-of-seven first-round NBA playoff series 4-1. It marked the end of a confounding season that started in preseason in Italy with high hopes and ended in Orlando with a heavy dose of NBA reality: The Raptors aren’t good enough. Bosh had a strong series, but a weak finish. His signature moment last night was a fade-away fourth-quarter jumper that he finished on his bum, the ball well short. At the other end it was the Magic’s young franchise player, Dwight Howard, gobbling up rebounds and dunking them home like something out of a Japanese monster movie, Bosh helpless to stop him. Bosh needs help, as this series has proven, more than previously thought. The Raptors’ other pillar — stellar point guard play — appeared shaky, too, as for the fourth time in five games the Magic’s Jameer Nelson was the best quarterback on the floor. His three-pointer with three minutes remaining left the crowd at the Amway Arena roaring and the Raptors down 10, with no sign of a pulse.

Pat Ewing to coach Magic summer squad

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports: Magic assistant coach Patrick Ewing has accepted a head coaching job this offseason — coaching the Magic’s summer-league team in July. “You think that’s the only [head-coaching] job I can get?” laughed Ewing, the former New York Knicks star who has not been contacted about the Knicks’ opening. “Actually, I’m looking forward to coaching these guys this summer. It will be a good experience.”

Apr. 28: Lakers 107, Nuggets 101

The AP reports: The Denver Nuggets finally gave the Los Angeles Lakers a good fight. No surrender on this night. No frustration fouls filling up the fourth quarter of another blowout. No matter. The Lakers dispatched the tempestuous Nuggets anyway. Kobe Bryant scored 14 of his 31 points over the final 5 1/2 minutes Monday night, leading the Lakers to a 107-101 victory and a sweep of their first-round series… Pau Gasol led the way early, scoring 18 first-half points, and Bryant took over in the waning minutes, scoring nine straight points in every way—a turnaround jumper, a 3-pointer, a driving layup and a 15-foot floater—to give the Lakers a 97-96 lead… Marcus Camby’s first points since the series shifted to Denver came on a 3-pointer from the left corner with 33 seconds left, cutting the Lakers’ lead to 103-101, but Gasol maneuvered underneath for a dunk, and Bryant added two free throws with 18 seconds left… The Nuggets couldn’t keep Los Angeles out of the lane for easy layups and dunks and they made the silly mistakes that the Lakers avoided, like the missed dunks by Nene and Anthony, who blew an alley-oop rim-rattler that bounced out of bounds at halfcourt in the third quarter.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Lakers shot slightly better than the Nuggets from two-point range, and hit 8-of-22 threes while the Nuggets only made 4-of-21. The Lakers only hit 19-of-30 free throws; the Nuggets 19-of-24. The Nuggets had a slight rebounding edge. Assists were tied. For the Lakers, Bryant (12-of-24, 3-of-8 threes) had 31 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists (6 turnovers), 3 steals and 2 blocks. Gasol (7-of-15) had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 blocks. Lamar Odom (5-of-11) had 14 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals. Vladimir Radmanovic took 13 shots for 12 points. For the Nuggets, J.R. Smith (7-of-12, 3-of-7 threes, 9-of-9 free throws) had 26 points, 3 assists and 2 steals off the bench. Allen Iverson took 22 shots for 22 points and little else. Carmelo Anthony (just 8-of-20) had 21 points and 11 rebounds. Marcus Camby only scored 3 but grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 4 shots. Anthony Carter shot 1-of-6 for 2 points and 6 assists.

Nene was absolutely awful in the final minute for the Nuggets in Game 4 against the Lakers. After a wide open Marcus Camby shot and made an unexpected three-pointer from the left corner, Nene was guarding Pau Gasol, and as Gasol was near the basket Nene, for no reason at all, started running away from him, leaving Gasol open to catch a pass and throw in an open dunk. A play later, Nene had the ball, up in three-point range, tried to hand the ball to J.R. Smith, but instead had it stolen right out of his hands by Kobe Bryant. During the turnover, Nene fouled Bryant, who made both free throws, putting the Lakers up 107-101 with 18 seconds left, essentially guaranteeing a Nuggets loss.

The final score was 107-101, and the Lakers win the first round series 4 games to 0.

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