Archive for May 17th, 2008

Mutombo wants to play next season

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: Dikembe Mutombo said Thursday he would instruct agent David Falk to negotiate with the Rockets on a contract for another year. Having Mutombo back for an 18th NBA season would not seem to be progress on change. It would be. Mutombo, at this stage of his career, is insurance. His return would allow the Rockets to spend their summer allowance on the perimeter, rather than on a Mutombo successor. Big men are expensive. The Rockets did not want to empty the mid-level bank account on a guy that - again, assuming the Yao-McGrady foundation to be sound - would only play 12 to 14 minutes a game at most behind Yao.

May 16: Lakers 108, Jazz 105

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, 12 in the fourth quarter, and Los Angeles held off a furious rally by the Utah Jazz for a 108-105 victory Friday night in Game 6, putting the Lakers in the Western Conference finals for the first time in four years. It was the only win by the visiting team in the series and kept the Lakers from having to host a Game 7 on Monday… Utah trailed by 19 points at halftime and 16 after three quarters, but got within two in the final minute… Utah was 5-for-8 on 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and had a chance to tie it just before the buzzer, but Mehmet Okur and Deron Williams both missed from beyond the arc in the final seconds and Utah’s season was over… Reserve Paul Millsap added 15 points for Utah and led the Jazz on a 14-5 run early in the fourth quarter that set up the thrilling finish. Stat Notes: The Lakers shot 50.0%, the Jazz just 38.1%. But the Jazz took 97 shots, the Lakers just 70. The Jazz hit a respectable 9-of-24 three-pointers, the Lakers a terrific 7-of-11. As usual the Lakers took way more free throws, going 31-of-38, the Jazz 22-of-25. The Jazz owned the boards, and dished a few more assists.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (9-of-19) had 34 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists (but 5 turnovers). Pau Gasol on an inefficient 17 shots had 17 points, 13 rebounds and 4 blocks. Derek Fisher on an amazing 5 shots managed 16 points and 3 steals. Lamar Odom (4-of-8) had 13 points and 9 rebounds. Vladimir Radmanovic (5-of-7) had 12. Sasha Vujacic (5-of-7) also had 12.

For the Jazz, Deron Williams on an inefficient 21 shots had 21 points and 14 assists. Mehmet Okur (just 6-of-18) had 16 points and 10 rebounds. Ronnie Brewer scored 13. Carlos Boozer (awful 5-of-16) had 12 points and 14 rebounds, and fouled out. Andrei Kirlenko also scored 12, with 3 steals.

May 16: Cavs 74, Celtics 69

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 32 points—19 in the second half—and the Cavaliers forced a decisive and fitting finale to this home-sweet-home playoff series with a 74-69 victory Friday night over the Celtics, who have gone from regular-season road kings to postseason road kill… James, whose jump shot has mysteriously been missing in this series, made two key baskets midway through the fourth quarter to slow a Boston comeback, Wally Szczerbiak hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 remaining and Joe Smith dropped two free throws with 14 seconds left as the Cavs moved the series back to the East Coast… Leading by nine at halftime, the Cavs quickly extended the lead to 51-36. But just when it appeared the Celtics were in major trouble, they responded behind Garnett, who scored eight points in a 13-0 spurt that pulled Boston within three. James finally ended Cleveland’s offensive lapse with a layup and the Cavs got a tip-in and fling-in from Anderson Varejao for a 59-50 lead entering the fourth. Garnett’s jumper pulled the Celtics within 65-60 before James scored on a drive, and the All-Star hit an off-balance 17-foot jumper to make it 69-60. Eddie House made a 3-pointer for Boston, but Szczerbiak, who missed his first five 3-pointers, finally got one to go down, giving Cleveland a 72-63 lead. Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 39.7%, the Cavs just 32.9%. Both teams missed threes. The Cavs had 21-of-25 free throws, the Celtics just 11-of-13. The Cavs controlled the boards but only had 10 team assists.

For the Cavs, LeBron James (9-of-23) had 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists (but 8 turnovers) and 2 steals. Delonte West (4-of-7) had 10 points, no assists and 4 turnovers. Wally Szczerbiak (absurd 2-of-11) had 9, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (awful 3-of-11) had 7 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks. Joe Smith had 9 points and 5 rebounds off the bench.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett (11-of-21) had 25 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. Paul Pierce (lousy 5-of-15) had 16 points and 6 turnovers. Ray Allen (3-of-8) had 9 points and 6 rebounds. Eddie House (3-of-5) came off the bench for rare minutes to score 8.

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