Archive for May 7th, 2008

May 7: Magic 111, Pistons 86

The AP reports: Rashard Lewis, Orlando’s big offseason acquisition, scored a career playoff-high 33 points and the Magic beat the Detroit Pistons 111-86 on Wednesday night to gain a little momentum in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Detroit still leads the series 2-1, though they suffered a tough injury. All-Star guard Chauncey Billups strained his right hamstring early in the first quarter and didn’t return. The Pistons were hopeful he could play in Game 4 Saturday in Orlando, but planned to re-evaluate him again Thursday… Richard Hamilton scored 24 points for Detroit and Tayshaun Prince had 22, while Rasheed Wallace scored 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting. With Billups out, rookie Rodney Stuckey stepped up big for the Pistons. He scored 19 points—nine in the second quarter—but he didn’t bring the same floor presence as Billups, Detroit’s steady leader and clutch 3-point threat. Billups was averaging 17.5 points in the postseason and had 28 against the Magic in Game 2… Detroit failed to score a field goal in the opening 4:27 of the fourth quarter until Hamilton made a layup. By then the Magic were ahead 87-73—helped by a Lewis 3-pointer and putback—and the Pistons would get no closer. Stat Notes: The Magic shot 53.8%, the Pistons just 40.3%. And the Magic nailed 11-of-24 three-pointers (Lewis hit 5, Hedo Turkoglu hit 3), the Pistons just 2-of-10. The Pistons had a slight free throw edge. The Magic had a slight rebounding edge and dished 18 assists, while the Pistons only had 12 (no Piston had more than 3 assists).

For the Magic, Rashard Lewis had 33 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 steals. Dwight Howard (8-of-13) had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals and 6 blocks. Jameer Nelson had 18 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Turkoglu (just 7-of-18) had 18 points, 4 rebounds and 6 assists. Keyon Dooling scored 10 off the bench.

For the Pistons, Richard Hamilton took 20 shots for 24 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists, but 6 turnovers. Tayshaun Prince (8-of-14) had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists. Rodney Stuckey (5-of-13, 9-of-9 free throws) scored 19 off the bench. And Rasheed Wallace (awful 4-of-15) had 11 points and little else.

NBA suspends Marvin Williams

The NBA has suspended Hawks forward Marvelous Marvin Williams one game for his excessive foul on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, which took place in the third quarter of their first round Game 7.

For more info, click here.

The Hawks were getting beaten down in a blowout, and Williams decided to introduce Rondo to a big can of Whoop-Ass.

Since Atlanta was eliminated in that game, Williams will miss the first game of next season.

David Archuleta, a finalist on American Idol, will perform the national anthem prior to the Utah Jazz home game this Friday night, May 9, at EnergySolutions Arena. The game is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

However, if David is voted off of American Idol tonight, his Utah Jazz pregame performance won’t happen. It’s a contract thing.

I’ve never been an American Idol viewer but actually have seen most of this season, and I don’t think he’ll be voted off tonight. I predict that the kid with the dredlocks who sang Bob Marley and Bob Dylan last week is probably the one to go. Marley and Dylan are two of my favorite singers ever, but the kid couldn’t really pull it off.

Steve Francis picks up contract option

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that guard Steve Francis has elected to pick up the player option on the final year of his current contract. Francis, who signed his original deal with the Rockets on July 20, 2007, averaged 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 10 games (three starts) in his sixth season with Houston. He underwent successful season-ending surgery to repair a torn quadricep tendon in his right knee on Feb. 26, 2008.

Pacers name their general manager

The Pacers, wanting to keep it in the family, have promoted senior vice president of basketball operations David Morway and named him the team’s new general manager. For more info on Morway, click here.

Despite looking competitive for chunks of last season the Pacers need to rebuild. They lack a future superstar, however. Danny Granger had a breakout season and can be a key player on a winning team. Mike Dunleavy can also help a winner. Troy Murphy has uses, too. But Jermaine O’Neal and Jamaal Tinsley are too permanently banged up to count on.

With just a simple move or two, and some health, the Pacers could make the playoffs in the East, but not go past the first round. Morway has a lot of work to do if he wants to turn the Pacers into a somewhat average East squad into a team that has a legit chance at competing for a championship.

As of July 1, Hawks general manager Billy Knight will be available for hire. He and the club will part ways just as free agent negotiations begin.

For more info, click here.

It’s interesting that, as of now at least, Knight will be gone, but coach Mike Woodson will be there. Still, there’s plenty of time fo the team to part ways with Woodson as well, and I’d guess there’s a 50 percent chance of that happening. Taking the Celtics to seven games in the first round of the playoffs may suggest to the owners that Woodson is worth keeping around. We’ll see.

May 6: Celtics 76, Cavs 72

The AP reports: “This was two heavyweights, just body-punching,” said Kevin Garnett, who scored 28 points to make up for an off night for the rest of Boston’s Big Three. “There was no finesse, no jabs, just an all-out, beat-down, defensive fight.” Boston held James to 12 points on 2-for-18 shooting; only once in his career has he made fewer baskets. He missed three drives and a 3-pointer in the final minute, including the potential game-tying finger roll with 8.5 seconds left… Paul Pierce and Ray Allen of the Celtics weren’t doing any bragging, either. Pierce scored four points on 2-for-14 shooting, and Allen was 0-for-4 from the field for his first scoreless performance in his last 852 games since 1997… Sam Cassell made two free throws to tie it 72-72; James missed again, but this time Ilgauskas was there to tip it in and tie the game. Garnett moved across the lane to give Boston back the lead, 74-72 as Cleveland called a timeout with 22 seconds left. James dribbled at the point before finding a lane to the basket, but his shot wouldn’t fall and James Posey was fouled after grabbing the rebound. He hit both free throws. Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 42.6%, the Cavs just 30.7%, but the Cavs took 7 more shots and had 22-of-26 free throws, the Celtics 14-of-18. Both teams were similarly miserable from three-point range. Rebounding, assists and turnovers were all fairly close.

For the Celtics, Garnett shot 13-of-22 for 28 points, 8 rebounds and 2 steals. Rajon Rondo (5-of-8) had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists (but 4 turnovers). Sam Cassell (4-of-8) scored 13 off the bench. Paul Pierce had 4 points and more turnovers than assists. Ray Allen was scoreless with 4 turnovers compared to 1 assist.

For the Cavaliers, aside from Ilgauskas’ 22 points, 12 rebounds and 2 blocks, Wally Szczerbiak (just 5-of-14) had 13 points and little else. LeBron James shot 2-of-18 for 12 points, 9 rebounds, 9 assists and 10 turnovers (yes, ten). Ben Wallace rebounded well. That’s about it.

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