Archive for May 1st, 2008

May 1: Pistons 100, Sixers 77

The AP reports: The Philadelphia 76ers got the Detroit Pistons’ attention. Then they got steamrolled. The Pistons powered into the second round of the playoffs by crushing Philadelphia 100-77 on Thursday night, winning the series 4-2 and again demonstrating how good they are when they feel they need to be. Detroit convincingly won the last two games of a series that wasn’t expected to last this long. The Pistons will host the Orlando Magic, who eliminated Toronto in five games, on Saturday in the opener of the Eastern Conference semifinals. The teams split four meetings this season… Richard Hamilton hit his first five shots during Detroit’s overpowering start and finished with 24 points, 13 in the decisive first quarter when he outscored the 76ers by himself. Chauncey Billups added 20 points and Tayshaun Prince had 12 for the Pistons, who reached the second round for the seventh straight season… Andre Iguodala scored 16 points and Andre Miller had another quiet game with 11 for the Sixers, who outplayed the heavily favored Pistons for the first 3 1/2 games of the series but never really had a chance after that… Fans booed as the Sixers walked off the court trailing 79-51 after three, but this should go down as a good season for a team that was widely expected to finish at the bottom of the Atlantic Division. Stat Notes: The Pistons shot 58.2%, the Sixers just 33.8%. The Pistons nailed 9-of-16 threes, the Sixers just 3-of-13. The Sixers drew hoards of fouls and got 36 free throws, but they only hit 24; the Pistons hti 13-of-16. Rebounding was fairly close, but Detroit dished 28 assists, Philly just 12. The Sixers did get 11 steals, but only 4 for the Pistons. Andre Miller shot just 4-of-16 in the loss.

Eddie Jordan talks playoffs

Here’s Wizards coach Eddie Jordan, talking about his team’s first round playoff series against the Cavaliers, who lead the series 3 games to 2.

Eddie Jordan on playing without Gilbert Arenas in Game Five:

“Our guys responded well.  I felt that we got better as the game went along.  We took care of the ball in the second half.  We withstood their run and we withstood their crowd.  It was a great effort and we got it done.”

On sustaining momentum:

“We have to keep the momentum.  It’s how you play and how you execute.  It’s how you rebound.  You can’t allow them to have highlight plays.  Now we have to stay poised.  We want to keep attacking and playing defense well and keep our offense going.”

On winning a close game:

“It was great.  Finally, we got one.  It’s what we had talked about.  They hadn’t missed (in that type of situation).  Whether it was someone in the corner, or somebody at the top, or LeBron (James)…over the years, we hadn’t experienced a miss.  Hopefully, we can play better defense so he doesn’t get to that point again.”

On the game plan without Gilbert Arenas:

“It’s a different flow for us.  We had the highest scoring trio in the league when Gilbert was playing and healthy.  We were the best team in the Eastern Conference (last season with Arenas).  Now there will be a lot more post-ups.  We try to get more pick-and-rolls for our big guys and for Antonio Daniels to get to the basket.  We depend on our jump shot last.  We try to get Caron (Butler) his opportunities in his sweet spots at the top of the key and off the pick-and-rolls.  He wouldn’t have those volumes of opportunities if Gilbert was here because Gilbert has those great drives and great threes.”

More on the team:

“We are trusting the defense and trusting the offense, as opposed to doing too much.  We said from the beginning that we have to channel all this emotion, anticipation, excitement and bravado.  We said from the beginning of the series that we need to channel that into being organized and it’s finally happening for us.”

The National Basketball Association announced today that 91 players, including 69 players from U.S. colleges and institutions and 22 international players, have filed as early entry candidates for the 2008 NBA Draft.

Players wishing to renounce their remaining intercollegiate eligibility and enter the 2008 NBA Draft were required to submit a letter to the NBA to be received no later than Sunday, April 27. Players who have applied for early entry have the right to withdraw their names from consideration for the Draft by notifying the NBA of their decision in writing no later than 5 p.m. ET on Monday, June 16.

Here is the list of players, both from U.S. colleges and overseas, who have applied for early entry into the 2008 NBA Draft, which will be held Thursday, June 26, at the WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City:

The Boston Herald (Steve Buckley) reports: Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce yesterday insisted that a gesture he flashed during a playoff game was “misinterpreted” as a gang sign, as the embattled forward attempted to quell criticism from a prominent local clergyman irate over the three-fingered salute. “I don’t want to take the focus away from the playoffs. In sports, emotions run high and playing 10 years in Boston, I think Celtics fans know I am a passionate player. I 100 percent do not in any way promote gang violence or anything close to it,” Pierce said in a statement released prior to last night’s showdown against the Atlanta Hawks at TD Banknorth Garden… The hand signal - in which he maneuvered his right index finger and thumb into a circle and raised his three other fingers together - is consistent with a gang sign used by the Piru Blood in Pierce’s hometown of Inglewood, Calif. It’s also similar to the “three’s up” or “B” hand symbol used by Boston teens to represent the Hub.

Apr. 30: Celtics 110, Hawks 85

The AP reports: Takedowns and menacing gestures. Double technicals and flagrant fouls. And the Boston Celtics are heading to Atlanta to try to deliver the knockout punch. Paul Pierce scored a playoff-high 22 points, and Ray Allen turned back the final Hawks’ charge with three 3-pointers in a three-minute span of the third quarter on Wednesday night to help Boston beat Atlanta 110-85 and take a 3-2 lead in the best-of-seven series. The first five games have all gone to the home team, with Game 6 in Atlanta on Friday night… Kevin Garnett scored 20 and Allen had 19 to put the Celtics within a victory of advancing to the second round. Boston got a huge lift from its bench in the second quarter, when Sam Cassell scored nine points and Leon Powe had seven with five rebounds while holding Al Horford to a pair of baskets… Joe Johnson, who erupted for 35 points in Game 4—20 of them in the fourth quarter—scored 21, and Horford had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Atlanta. Mike Bibby continued to struggle in Boston, scoring six while recording one assist for the third straight road game… The Celtics took a 58-43 halftime lead, holding Atlanta without a field goal for more than seven minutes before Horford’s putback dunk with 1:05 left in the second quarter. Pierce drove for a layup to start the second half, then Atlanta scored the next 11 points to pull within 60-54. Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 53.6%, the Hawks just 40.6%. Boston nailed 9-of-20 threes (Ray Allen 5 threes), the Hawks just 4-of-13. The Hawks spent plenty of time shooting free throws, hitting 25-of-29 to Boston’s 11-of-15. Boston controlled the boards and dominated the assists category (Mike Bibby had just 1 assist). For the Celtics, Paul Pierce had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Kevin Garnett had 20 points, 5 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 blocks. Ray Allen (5-of-8 threes) scored 19. Sam Cassell (6-of-8) scored 13, and Rajon Rondo had 12 points, 4 rebounds and 7 assists. For the Hawks, Joe Johnson had 21 points but little else. Josh Smith had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals. Al Horford (7-of-11) had 14 points, 10 rebounds and a team-high 5 assists (but 3 turnovers). Marvin Williams had 12 with little else. Mike Bibby shot 2-of-8 for 6 points and more turnovers than assists.

Apr. 30: Wizards 88, Cavs 87

The AP reports: Caron Butler made a layup with 3.9 seconds left and the Wizards held their breath as LeBron James missed a potential series and season-ending layup at the horn, giving Washington an 88-87 victory Wednesday night and adding at least one more game to this overheated NBA playoff series… Butler scored 32 points and DeShawn Stevenson had 17 for the Wizards, who played without guard Gilbert Arenas and got only eight points from the normally reliable Antawn Jamison. Arenas announced before the game that his season was over because of a bothersome knee. His absence figured to be the decisive blow for the Wizards, but they fought to the finish and, at least for now, prevented the Cavs from ending their season… James scored 34 points—24 in the second half—but was unable to make the final shot in traffic that would have sent the Wizards, who began talking trash weeks ago and haven’t stopped, quietly into the summer… James added 10 rebounds and seven assists, becoming the first player to score at least 34 points with 10 rebounds and seven assists in two straight playoff games since Larry Bird in 1984. Stat Notes: The Wizards only shot 40.8%, but the Cavs hit just 36.0% Three-pointers and free throws were fairly close. Rebounding was almost even, but the Cavs dished more assists. Turnovers and steals were also close. For the Wizards, Caron Butler (11-of-22, 4-of-8 threes) had 32 points, 9 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. DeShawn Stevenson (5-of-14) had 17 points and 5 rebounds. Antonio Daniels scored 12. No other Wizards scored in double-digits. Antawn Jamison had 8 points with 11 rebounds and 2 blocks. For the Cavs, LeBron hit just 8-of-21 but had 15-of-18 free throws for 34 points, 10 rebounds, 7 assists (but 5 turnovers) and 2 blocks. Zydrunas Ilgauskas (8-of-11) had 19 points, 6 rebounds and 2 blocks. Delonte West scored 12.

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