Archive for May 22nd, 2008

Wade still hopes to play in Olympics

The Miami Herald blogs the following: Dwyane Wade said he recently updated national team coach Mike Krzyzewski on his conditioning. Wade said Tuesday the goal is still to work his surgically-repaired knee into shape in time for USA team training camp in July in advance of the Beijing Olympics. There is a chance that Wade could be replaced on the 12-man roster in favor another player - possibly Chris Paul - if his knee is not ready in time. “I’m meeting with Jerry as soon as I get back from here, and I’ve talked to Coach K. already,” Wade said. “His main thing is my health and to make sure I’m doing good. He also talked to my trainer, Tim Grover in Chicago, and we’re all on the same page. All I can do is continue to get stronger and leave the decision up to them.”

Nuggets once traded Kiki Vandeweghe

The Denver Post (Terry Frei) reports: The Nuggets not only listened to offers for Kiki Vandeweghe after the former UCLA star averaged 29.4 points in 1983-84, they took one. They broke up the entertaining Alex English-Dan Issel-Vandeweghe triumvirate, sending Vandeweghe to Portland in June 1984 for Fat Lever, Calvin Natt and Wayne Cooper, plus first- and second-round draft choices. As I remember it, in announcing the deal, Nuggets GM Carl Scheer kept saying: “But wait! There’s more!” And the press release disclosed that the Trail Blazers even threw in a nifty set of steak knives. Vandeweghe’s stunning first step and move to the basket, coupled with a deadly pull-up jumper, seduced Portland into believing he could be a difference-maker. In part because of back problems, he wasn’t.

Will LeBron ever leave Cavs?

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Bill Livingston) blogs: James is not going to be leaving for Milwaukee, San Antonio or even Detroit. The challenge will come, I think, from the New York Knicks. Many believe the biggest pitch will be made by the New Jersey Nets when they relocate to Brooklyn, N.Y., in time for James’ free agency year. James is a personal friend with Nets part owner Jay-Z, the rap artist. The Nets also might trade for James’ pal Carmelo Anthony. But offensive mastermind Mike D’Antoni is the Knicks’ new coach. He will put in a fluid system that could let a player like James average almost unheard-of numbers. The Knicks are the big team in the media capital of the country, and they will be clearing salary-cap space for the next two years. The Lakers wooed Shaquille O’Neal away from Orlando by challenging him to match Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s legacy and restore the Lakers’ greatness. Orlando did everything it could to no avail.

Bulls coaching search continues

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw) reports: This week figures to be important, with four interviews scheduled. Paxson plans to meet with Utah assistant Tyrone Corbin, former Minnesota coach Dwane Casey, part-time Utah assistant Jeff Hornacek and Sacramento assistant Chuck Person. Paxson also acknowledged that he has spoken to some candidates whose teams still are alive in the playoffs. According to a league source, ex-Bulls coach Phil Jackson worked out a time for Paxson to visit Los Angeles in recent days, where he most likely spoke to Lakers assistants Brian Shaw and Kurt Rambis. Among the teams playing in the conference finals, other candidates for the Bulls’ job include Boston’s Tom Thibodeau, Detroit’s Michael Curry and Terry Porter, along with San Antonio’s Mike Budenholzer.

The AP reports: NBA coach of the year Byron Scott, who has the right to buy out the remainder of his contract and go to the highest bidder next season, showed little interest in leaving the Hornets on Wednesday. “I expect to be here,” Scott said. “In my mind right now I hope to be here unless something crazy happens.”

May 21: Lakers 89, Spurs 85

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored all but two of his 27 points after halftime, including a go-ahead, 10-foot jumper in the lane with 23.9 seconds remaining, and the Lakers rallied from a 20-point deficit to beat the Spurs 89-85 on Wednesday night in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals… Bryant’s jumper put the Lakers ahead for good after two free throws by Manu Ginobili with 1:22 remaining and a follow shot by Tim Duncan with 41 seconds left tied the game at 85. After Bryant’s game-winner, Ginobili missed a 3-pointer and Sasha Vujacic made two free throws with 7.3 seconds to go, completing the scoring… The Lakers outscored the Spurs 24-13 in the fourth quarter, when San Antonio shot 3-for-21, including 1-for-9 from 3-point range… The Spurs outscored the Lakers 14-2 to start the third quarter for a 65-45 lead, drawing groans from the crowd of 18,997 at Staples Center, where the Lakers haven’t lost since March 28. Suddenly, the Lakers came together, scoring 14 straight points in a span of 3:05 to draw within six. Bryant had seven points and two assists during the run.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Lakers shot 43.2%, the Spurs 40.5%. But the Lakers shot a respectable 4-of-10 three-pointers while the Spurs were just 5-of-20 (Mike Finley went 0-of-5). Free throws were close, but the Lakers were a bit better. Rebounds, assists and turnovers were fairly close.

For the Lakers, Bryant (shot 11-of-21) had 27 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists. Pau Gasol (9-of-16) had 19 points, 7 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks. Vladimir Radmanovic (5-of-5) had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Sasha Vujacic on 8 shots had 10 points and 5 rebounds. Lamar Odom (3-of-12) and Derek Fisher (1-of-9) had bad games, though Odom had 8 rebounds and 2 blocks.

For the Spurs, Tim Duncan (12-of-25) had 30 points, 18 rebounds, 2 steals, 4 blocks, but more turnovers than assists. Tony Parker needed 17 shots for his 18 points, 10 rebounds (yup) and 6 assists. Bruce Bowen (5-of-8) scored 12. Manu Ginobili (just 3-of-13) had just 10 points, 4 rebounds and more turnovers than assists. Mike Finley shot 0-of-5 for no points. Ime Udoka had 7 of the Spurs 9 bench points.

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