Archive for May, 2008

Danny Ainge, who got Ray Allen from the rebuilding Sonics and Kevin Garnett from the rebuilding Timberwolves, has won the NBA Executive of the year award.

He beat Mitch Kupchak of the Lakers, who was handed Pau Gasol from the rebuilding Grizzlies, and Jeff Bower of the Hornets, who didn’t steal any players quite on the level of the guys above.

I’d say Ainge deserved the award. The Celtics went from an absolutely awful team to the league’s top game-winner.

More info is here.

Bucks name assistant coaches

New Milwaukee bucks coach Scott Skiles, the head coach most resembling a bulldog, has named officially hired his assistant coaches.

Jim Boylan, Lionel Hollins, Kelvin Sampson and Joe Wolf will join Scott Skiles’ coaching staff as assistants. Skiles’ staff for the 2008-09 season also includes Bill Peterson, assistant coach/player development, who joined the Bucks prior to the 2007-08 season.

More info about each guy is here.

Knicks owner now owns NY Newsday

The New York Times (Richard Sandomir) reports: When there is news in his Cablevision empire, shouldn’t Jim Dolan be there? He is America’s newest newspaper mogul — Cablevision agreed to buy Newsday on Monday — but he was absent Tuesday when his Knicks introduced Mike D’Antoni as their coach.  Now that he is buying Newsday’s ink, I was hoping he would pop in, wearing a fedora with a card saying “Press” tucked into the hat band, schmooze with the Newsday sportswriters in the Wamu Theater’s lobby and tell us how much he loves freedom of the press. You know, that John Peter Zenger sort of stuff. Dolan is an unlikely newspaper owner. The best you could say is that he could live without the news media, unless he owns an outlet, like the MSG Network. The worst you could say is that he loathes the news media enough to have promulgated a restrictive policy in 2003 (revealed last month by The Daily News) that outlined the ramifications of unfair and objectionable coverage. More than that, it reeked of institutional paranoia.

May 13: Hornets 101, Spurs 79

The AP reports: Back pain couldn’t keep David West from taking the court with aggression. The San Antonio Spurs couldn’t stop him from dominating… West had career playoff highs of 38 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots, lifting New Orleans to a 101-79 victory over the Spurs on Tuesday night and a 3-2 series lead… Chris Paul had 16 of his 22 points in the second half and added 14 assists for the Hornets, who’ve never advanced past the second round of the playoffs in the franchise’s 20-year history. Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 20 points and Tony Parker had 18. The Hornets held Tim Duncan to 10 points, though Duncan was a force on the glass with 23 rebounds… Guarded mostly by Tyson Chandler, Duncan was 5-of-18 shooting, but Chandler left the game early in the fourth quarter with a bruised left foot. Meanwhile, a trainer put an ice pack on West’s back after he left the game in the final minutes as the Hornets All-Star forward grimaced in pain… While Stojakovic managed only nine points, he recognized who had the hot hand. His pass to the corner set up Peterson’s fourth 3, which put the Hornets ahead 68-54. Paul then added two free throws, giving him 12 for the quarter, and West scored his 30th point of the game on a jumper over Parker, giving the Hornets a 72-58 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Stat Notes: The Hornets shot 44.7%, the Spurs 37.7%. The Hornets nailed 8-of-15 three-pointers, the Spurs were also good, hitting 9-of-23. The Hornets also hit 25-of-33 free throws, the Spurs just 12-of-18. The Hornets rebounded better, had a few more assists, a few less turnovers, and won the steals category 8-1.

For the Hornets, David West (16-of-25) had 38 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals and 5 blocks. Chris Paul (just 6-of-18, but 9-of-11 free throws) had 22 points and 14 assists. Morris Peterson scored 12, Jannero Pargo 10. Peja Stojakovic only scored 9, but somehow managed to grab 11 rebounds.

For the Spurs, Manu Ginobili (just 5-of-15) had 20 points and 7 assists. Tony Parker (7-of-14) had 18 points and little else. Tim Duncan (awful 5-of-18 and just 0-of-1 free throws) had 10 points, an awesome 23 rebounds, but little else. Bruce Bowen (4-of-5) scored 10. Kurt Thomas was an awful 1-of-6. Mike Finley was also 1-of-6. Brent Barry went 1-of-4.

May 13: Pistons 91, Magic 86

The AP reports: Detroit set an NBA playoff record with just three turnovers and made just enough shots and stops to advance to their sixth straight Eastern Conference final with a 91-86 win Tuesday night over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the second-round series. Richard Hamilton scored 31 points, made victory-sealing free throws late in the game and Tayshaun Prince had a key block to help Detroit eliminate Orlando. The Pistons are the first franchise to play in six conference finals in a row since the Los Angeles Lakers went to eight straight in the 1980s… The Pistons were 28-of-32 at the line and didn’t turn the ball over once after the first quarter even though Rodney Stuckey was filling in for Billups. Orlando made just 16 of 28 free throws and had a playoff-high 21 turnovers, which turned into 34 points for Detroit… Detroit led by 10 with 3:49 left, but was clung to a 85-84 lead with just under a minute left after Hedo Turkoglu made back-to-back shots. Stat Notes: The Magic shot 48.4%, the Pistons just 36.1%. But Detroit took 83 shots, Orlando just 64. Orlando was better from three-point range. But Detroit made 28-of-32 free throws, Orlando just 16-of-28 (Dwight Howard’s free throws were a miserable 6-of-15). But the big story was turnover: Detroit had an amazing 3 for the entire game, while Orlando had 21.

For the Pistons, Richard Hamilton (just 7-of-20, but 16-of-16 free throws) had 31 points and 4 steals. Antonio McDyess (6-of-9) had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Rodney Stuckey (5-of-10) had 15 points and 6 assists. Rasheed Wallace (just 7-of-20, 0-of-6 threes, no free throw attempts) had 14 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals. Tayshaun Prince (just 4-of-13) had 10.

Fo the Magic, Hedo Turkoglu on 15 shots had 18 points, 9 rebounds, 7 assists, but 5 turnovers. Dwight Howard (4-of-8, awful free throw shooting) had 14 points, 17 rebounds and 3 blocks. Rashard Lewis (awful 4-of-13) had 14 points, 7 rebounds, just 1 assist with 6 turnovers. Jameer Nelson (6-of-7) had 14 points and 4 assists. Maurice Evans scored 11.

All-Rookie teams announced

Atlanta Hawks center Al Horford, the runner-up for the 2007-08 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year award, was the only unanimous selection on the 2007-08 T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie Team, the league announced today. Horford received 58 votes, while Seattle’s Kevin Durant, winner of the 2007-08 T-Mobile Rookie of the Year award, received a total of 57 votes.

InsideHoops has to ask: How could a voter not have picked Durant as one of the top five rookies?

Rounding out the NBA All-Rookie First Team are Houston’s Luis Scola (53 points), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Al Thornton (48 points) and Seattle’s Jeff Green (43 points).

The T-Mobile NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of former D-League player, Jamario Moon of the Toronto Raptors (38), Memphis’ Juan Carlos
Navarro (24), Philadelphia’s Thaddeus Young, (23), Detroit’s Rodney Stuckey (22) and Houston’s Carl Landry (18).

The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position.  Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

May 12: Cavs 88, Celtics 77

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 21 points, delivering a devastating dunk over a defenseless Kevin Garnett in the final two minutes, as the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the homesick Celtics 88-77 in Game 4 on Monday night to tie the best-of-seven series at 2-2. Still stuck in a shooting slump, James dominated down the stretch and finished with 13 assists—four in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers, too, showed that they can play stingy defense, holding the Celtics—the NBA’s best defensive team—to just 12 points in the final period… Boston dropped to 0-5 on the road in the postseason, a stunning slip for a team that went 31-10 outside their home floor during the regular season… Garnett scored 15 points, but only two in the second half, as Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao harassed Boston’s All-Star all night. Allen had 15 points and Pierce 13, but the Celtics’ Big Three were only a combined 16-of-40… USC star O.J. Mayo, alleged to have accepted money from a sports agency, sat courtside. Stat Notes: The Cavs shot 45.5%, the Celtics just 38.6%. While the Cavs were just 6-of-17 from three-point range, the Celtics were an awful 2-of-14. The Cavs had the edge in rebounds and assists. Both teams committed very few turnovers.

For the Cavaliers, James shot 7-of-20 for 21 points, 6 rebounds, 13 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Wally Szczerbiak scored 14. Daniel Gibson had 14, 6 points and 4 assists. Anderson Varejao shot 6-of-8 for 12 points and 6 rebounds.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Rajon Rondo on 14 shots had 15 points and 2 steals. Ray Allen (4-of-10) had 15 points and 6 rebounds. Paul Pierce was just 6-of-17 for 13 points and 5 rebounds. P.J. Brown came off the bench to shoot 4-of-4 for 8 points and 6 rebounds. James Posey, Sam Cassell, Leon Powe and Glen Davis all combined to shoot 0-for-10.

The AP reports: On the subject of the NBA’s infatuation with pre-game pyrotechnics, smoke and noise, commissioner David Stern was loud and clear: He’s had enough. “I think they’re ridiculous,” Stern said Monday before Game 4 of the Cavaliers-Celtics second-round playoff series. “I think that the noise, the fire, the smoke, is a kind of assault that we should seriously consider reviewing in whether it’s really necessary given the quality of our game.” His comments came just a few minutes before Cleveland’s over-the-top player introductions, which include fire - hot enough that fans can feel the heat in the stands - shooting out of four swords on the scoreboard.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Marie Rohde) reports: A River Hills house belonging to former NBA star Latrell Sprewell was foreclosed on Monday after he failed to show up in court to contest the action brought by a bank that held his mortgage. The holder of the mortgage, RBS Citizens Bank, told Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge David Hansher that Sprewell owed $320,284. According to River Hills records, the house is assessed at $610,000 and has an estimated fair market value of $667,980. Sprewell bought the house in 1994 for $405,000.

Duquesne point guard Kojo Mensah, who was one of the team’s five players to get shot last year, has informed he signed with an agent, meaning he now cannot return to school.

The full story is here.

On Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET the New York Knicks will introduce Mike D’Antoni as the team’s new head coach.

D’Antoni is an interesting hire, because he’s famous for the run-and-gun Suns style of play, which wouldn’t work quite as well if big players like Zach Randolph and Eddy Curry will be involved.

I think people are making a bigger deal out of that then they need to. D’Antoni is obviously smart enough to know that a style that works for one team won’t necessarily work for another. I’m sure he’ll adapt to the roster, and hopefully get them to adapt to a style of play that’ll work for them and make the team better as a whole.

Hurting Kobe says he will play Game 5

The Los Angeles Times (Steve Springer) reports: Kobe Bryant left no doubt after the Lakers’ practice today that he’ll be on the court Wednesday for Game 5 against the Utah Jazz at Staples Center in the Western Conference Semifinals. Bryant said his lower back, which he injured in Game 4 on Sunday in Salt Lake City, was “sore, tight and stiff.” “I’ll play [Wednesday]. I can’t imagine it’ll be any worse than it was last night. It was pretty bad,” he said. Bryant will undergo round-the-clock treatment the next two days involving electrical stimulation, ice, heat, massage and stretching exercises.

The Detroit Free Press (Krista Jahnke) reports: Magic coach Stan Van Gundy told the Orlando media Monday that he’s asked the league for an explanation of the no-call on the final play of Game 4. As he took a shot in the lane with 2.5 seconds left, forward Hedo Turkoglu collided with Pistons forward Jason Maxiell, who was set and said afterward he thought he’d drawn a charge on the play. Examining video, though, and you can see that Maxiell’s left foot was on the line of the restricted circle under the basket.

May 11: Spurs 100, New Orleans 80

The AP reports: Tim Duncan had his best game of the series against New Orleans—22 points, 15 rebounds, four blocks—to lead the San Antonio Spurs to a 100-80 victory over the Hornets on Sunday… Tony Parker added 21 points for the Spurs, who are assured of a Game 6 back in San Antonio. Game 5 is Tuesday in New Orleans… The Spurs led by as many as 27 and were ahead nearly the entire game. They shot 51 percent (39-of-76), while the Hornets were cold when it counted. They shot 37 percent through three quarters and finished 33-of-82 (40 percent) from the field… San Antonio scored 40 points in the paint. New Orleans’ plan to keep Parker out of the lane didn’t work, as he knifed his way through heavy traffic or found openings to get to the rim, and hit jumpers… In the third quarter, when the Hornets were so dominant in the first two games, the Spurs kept up their hot shooting and New Orleans got worse. Stat Notes: The Spurs shot 51.3%, the Hornets just 40.2%. Both teams struggled from three-point range. The Spurs got to the free throw line a bit more, but shot a bit worse. The Spurs had the rebounding edge, and a huge 27-12 assists edge. Turnovers were even.

For the Spurs, Duncan (10-of-13) had 22 points, 15 rebounds and 4 blocks. Tony Parker (8-of-12) had 21 points, 6 rebounds and 8 assists. Manu Ginobili (just 5-of-13, 2-of-7 threes) had 15 points and 8 assists. Ime Udoka (5-of-8) came off the bench for 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 steals.

For the Hornets, Chris Paul (10-of-16) had 23 points, 6 rebounds, but just 5 assists with 4 turnovers, and 3 steals. David West (awful 4-of-15) had just 10 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals and 3 blocks. Jannero Pargo scored 11 off the bench. Peja Stojakovic was awful, taking 9 shots for 6 points and literally almost nothing else. Tyson Chandler was invisible with 2 points and 4 rebounds.

May 11: Jazz 123, Lakers 115

The AP reports: Andrei Kirilenko blocked Kobe Bryant twice in overtime and converted a three-point play with 35 seconds remaining as the Utah Jazz beat the Los Angeles Lakers 123-115 on Sunday, tying the Western Conference semifinals at 2-2. The Jazz went 8-for-8 from the foul line in overtime and outscored the Lakers 15-7 in the extra 5 minutes. Deron Williams had 29 points and 14 assists, while Carlos Boozer scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds. Mehmet Okur added 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Kirilenko finished with 15 points and five blocks — stuffing Bryant twice as the Lakers tried to rally in overtime… Los Angeles rallied from a 12-point deficit in the final four minutes to force overtime. Derek Fisher scored 10 straight for the Lakers and blocked a shot by Williams just before the end of regulation with the score tied at 108. The Lakers struggled in overtime and didn’t score until a layup by Bryant with 1:10 remaining cut Utah’s lead to 112-110. Stat Notes: The Jazz shot 52.5%, the Lakers 47.4%. But the Lakers took 97 shots, the Jazz just 76. Three-point shooting was close, but the Jazz had 37-of-45 free throws, the Lakers just 14-of-25. Rebounding was even but the Jazz won the assists category 32-20. Turnovers were almost even.

For the Jazz, Deron Williams on just 13 shots (9-of-13, 3-of-4 threes) had 29 points, 14 assists and 2 steals. Mehmet Okur had 18 points, 11 rebounds and 5 assists. Andrei Kirilenko only only 4 shots (4-of-4) had 15 points and 5 blocks, though 0 rebounds and more turnovers than assists. Carlos Boozer (just 5-of-15) had 14 points and 12 rebounds. Kyle Korver scored 14 plus 2 steals, and Matt Harpring had 12.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (just 13-of-33) had 33 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists. Lamar Odom (10-of-18, just 5-of-10 free throws) had 26 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. Pau Gasol (terrific 11-of-16) had 23 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists. Derek Fisher (5-of-8, 4-of-5 threes) had 15 with 2 steals. Sasha Vujacic (4-of-6, 3-of-5 threes) scored 11.

May 10: Cavs 108, Celtics 84

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 21 points on another off-shooting night, but Delonte West scored 21, Joe Smith had 17 and the Cavaliers raced to a large, early lead in Game 3 in a 108-84 victory Saturday night over the road-challenged Boston Celtics to pull within 2-1 in their playoff series… James was only 5-of-16 from the floor, but his teammates stepped it up, going a combined 32-of-54 (59 percent). Cleveland roared to a 32-13 lead after one quarter, led by 17 at half, 16 after three and easily withstood a few Boston counter punches… The Cavs played a nearly flawless first quarter. They shot 65 percent (13-of-20), had 11 assists on those field goals and didn’t commit a turnover. Beyond that, Cleveland didn’t rely on James to carry them, as six other Cavs combined for 27 of the club’s 32 points… The Cavaliers were leading 39-17 in the second quarter when this series had its first moment of tension. As he was driving to the basket, James was grabbed around the neck by Posey and fell awkwardly in the lane. He laid face down on the floor as both teams exchanged angry words and Anderson Varejao and Posey earned technicals for their exuberance. Stat Notes: The Cavs shot 53.6%, the Celtics just 40.5%. The Cavs nailed 10-of-19 three-pointers, the Celtics just 5-of-16 (Ray Allen 0-of-5 threes). The Cavs got to the free throw line more, rebounded a bit more, and won the assists total 29-18. Turnovers and steals were around even.

For the Cavs, LeBron James (5-of-16) had 21 points, 5 rebounds, 8 assists, 4 steals and 3 blocks. Delonte West (7-of-11, 4-of-6 threes) had 21 points, 5 rebounds and 7 assists. Joe Smith came off the bench to shoot 7-of-8 for 17 points and 6 rebounds. Wally Szczerbiak took 10 shots for 16 points. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 12 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett (8-of-13) had 17 points, 9 rebounds and little else. Paul Pierce (just 3-of-8) had 14 points and 5 assists (but 4 turnovers). Kendrick Perkins (4-of-8) had 12 points, 7 rebounds and 2 blocks. Ray Allen was just 4-of-12 for 10 points, 4 assists and 3 steals. Sam Cassell shot 0-of-6 and Eddie House shot 0-of-3 off the bench.

May 10: Pistons 90, Magic 89

The AP reports: There is a reason the Detroit Pistons have been to five consecutive Eastern Conference finals. They proved it on Saturday, even without their All-Star point guard to hold things together in front of a hostile crowd. Richard Hamilton scored 32 points and Hedo Turkoglu missed a layup with time running out as the Pistons beat the Orlando Magic 90-89 to take a 3-1 lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Pistons became the first team to win on the road in the second round this postseason, and can clinch their sixth consecutive conference finals appearance when this series returns to Detroit on Tuesday. All of it happened with Chauncey Billups watching in a sport coat on the bench after straining a hamstring in Game 3… Tayshaun Prince scored 17 for Detroit, including an 11-foot runner for the go-ahead basket with 8.9 seconds left. Antonio McDyess added eight points and 14 boards. The Pistons controlled the tempo in the second half after falling behind by 15 in the third quarter, deflated the Magic transition game that gassed up its Game 3 win and pounded Dwight Howard in the paint. Stat Notes: Both teams shot a similar FG% (46%, give or take a percent) but the Magic nailed 10-of-18 three-pointers, the Pistons just 4-of-13. But the Pistons got a few more shot attempts, and made a few more free throws. The Pistons had a slight rebounding edge and an 18 to 13 assists edge. And Detroit barely turned the ball over, though Orlando controlled it pretty well, too.

For the Pistons, Hamilton had 32 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals. Tayshaun Prince had 17 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists (but 4 turnovers). Rasheed Wallace needed 15 shots to get 16 points, 8 rebounds and 3 steals. Antonio McDyess had 8 points and 14 rebounds as a starter. Jason Maxiell was surprisingly quiet off the bench.

For the Magic, Hedo Turkoglu had 20 points but just 2 rebounds and one more turnover than assist. Jameer Nelson, Maurice Evans and Rashard Lewis each scored 15. Dwight Howard (3-of-12, only 2 free throw attempts) had a miserable 8 points, 12 rebounds and little else.

I’m watching Game 3 of the Celtics-Cavaliers series, in Cleveland, and as the Celtics came up the court Kevin Garnett got called for an offensive foul call, as he bumped into Delonte West but possibly appeared to shove him in the process, causing West to fall down. It possibly should have just been a no-call. It certainly wasn’t a charge.

Anyway, mere seconds after the call, referee Bennett Salvatore called a technical foul on Celtics coach Doc Rivers. I absolutely hate that sort of call, when a tech comes that quickly. Players and coaches should be allowed to vent for a few seconds, or even longer, without fear of the ref responding by doing something that hurts their team and possibly gets them thrown out of the game.

This all came at around 3:42 in the first quarter with the Cavs enjoying an early 18-8 lead.

New Knicks coach is Mike D’antoni

The New York Daily News (Frank Isola) reports: The Knicks gave their head coaching job to ex-Suns coach Mike D’Antoni on Saturday. D’Antoni built an offensive powerhouse in Phoenix with two-time MVP Steve Nash and now replaces Isiah Thomas on the Knicks, inheriting his mess in the process. Mike D’Antoni averaged 58 wins over his last four seasons with the Phoenix Suns and was the architect of one of the NBA’s most exciting offensive teams. Of course, he also had Steve Nash, Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion executing his game plan. Now, he’ll presumably be working with Stephon Marbury, Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph.

Keon Clark still in legal mess

The Toronto Sun  (Frank Zicarelli) reports:  Of the many characters to play in Toronto, few could match Keon Clark, whose demons continue to haunt him. On Thursday, Clark was convicted on a misdemeanour weapons charge stemming from a March 2006 incident at his Danville, Ill., home. He faces a year in prison. The ruling follows Clark’s bench trial for possession of a firearm without a valid card. Yesterday, he was scheduled to stand trial on disorderly conduct for filing a false police report in January 2007; criminal damage to property over $300 US in September and three driving infractions stemming from two incidents in March 2007 and one in July.

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