Archive for June 18th, 2008

Raptors pay Jorge Garbajosa to go away

The Toronto Raptors announced Wednesday they have released forward Jorge Garbajosa. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“After a long, difficult and sometimes emotional process stemming from a traumatic injury to a key player, it was concluded that parting ways was the best thing for both Jorge and the Raptors organization,” said Bryan Colangelo, president and general manager of the Raptors. “We wish Jorge nothing but the best with his basketball future.”

Garbajosa was limited to seven games last season after suffering a dislocated left ankle joint with ligament tear and fractured fibula March 26, 2007 at Boston. He had surgery to repair the ankle and fibula March 27, 2007 and surgery on his left ankle December 11, 2007.

The native of Madrid, Spain was signed as a free agent July 21, 2006 following seven seasons in the Spanish pro league and four in Italy.  He finished the 2006-07 season fifth among rookies in rebounds (4.9 rpg) and posted a 1.22 steals-per-turnover ratio. He started 60 of his 67 games, contributing 8.5 points (eighth among rookies) in 28.5 minutes (third) en route to earning T-Mobile All-Rookie First Team honours.

The team also announced that a settlement had been reached with the Spanish Basketball Federation regarding the claim filed by the Raptors in connection with the non-payment of insurance proceeds related to Garbajosa’s injury. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

“We are pleased that an acceptable resolution was reached and we can finally put this behind us,” said Colangelo.

The East Valley Tribune (Matt Paulson) reports: The Suns began the interview process in their search for assistant coaches on Tuesday, bringing in former Chicago Bulls head coach Bill Cartwright. Buck Williams, an ex-teammate of new coach Terry Porter, will interview today. One of the Suns’ top priorities in filling out Porter’s staff is hiring a former All-Star big man known for being strong defensively and a good rebounder — a coach who can help bring along Amaré Stoudemire’s development… Also on the Suns’ list are Alvin Gentry and Jay Humphries, holdovers from former coach Mike D’Antoni’s staff. Suns TV color analysts Dan Majerle, who played with Porter in Miami, and Eddie Johnson are expected to interview, along with former player Jeff Hornacek.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant knew all along the Celtics were going to force someone besides him to beat them, and there was nobody else in purple and gold up for the job. Bryant finished with 22 points, but shot only 7-of-22 from the field and was quiet after a sizzling start for the second straight game. The Lakers needed an MVP performance from Bryant. Bryant needed help… And there was no one else to pick up the slack. Lamar Odom didn’t have a field goal until the fourth quarter, when the Lakers were already down by 29 points. Pau Gasol took only seven shots and finished with 11 points—and he was their second-leading scorer until deep in the fourth quarter, when Odom went to work against the reserves who played the last few minutes while Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen were busy celebrating on the sideline.

The AP reports: The Celtics’ 39-point margin in Tuesday night’s championship clinching win is the largest in a decisive NBA finals game. In fact, Boston now has four of the six biggest margins in games that clinched titles…  Ray Allen set a record for most 3-pointers made in a finals series with 22. The previous mark of 17 was set by Dan Majerle with Phoenix in 1993 and matched by Derek Harper with New York in 1994. Allen’s seven 3-pointers Tuesday night tied the finals record shared by Houston’s Kenny Smith and Chicago’s Scottie Pippen. And Boston’s 52 baskets from 3-point range erased the finals mark of 51 set by San Antonio in 2005… The Celtics also put on a record-setting defensive performance Tuesday with 18 steals, eclipsing the single-game finals mark set by Golden State against Washington in 1975.

The AP reports: Light up one more for Red. Some fans wore green Celtics jerseys with the name “AUERBACH” in white capital letters on the back. Others puffed victory cigars—an understandable disregard of anti-smoking laws on a special night—just as the team’s late patriarch often did. After all, Boston did more than just win its first NBA championship in 22 years with a 131-92 rout of Los Angeles on Tuesday night. The Game 6 victory kept Lakers coach Phil Jackson from breaking a tie with Auerbach for most titles by an NBA coach. Each has nine. “This win is for Red Auerbach,” owner Wyc Grousbeck said. “Red believed in our ownership group and got it done.” Grousbeck’s group took over the franchise on Dec. 31, 2002. Auerbach, who was president at the time, died on Oct. 28, 2006, at the age of 89.

Road to Celtics 17th championship

Ticker reports: Their odyssey to a league-record 17th crown began long before being stuck on the tarmac on their charter jet late Sunday night in Los Angeles. It began after they finished the 2006-07 season with just 24 wins. It continued when they failed to land one of the top two picks in the draft and had to settle for the fifth pick last summer. But their fortunes started to turn when director of basketball operations Danny Ainge traded that pick, along with Delonte West and Wally Szczerbiak to Seattle for Ray Allen. Then, Ainge pulled off the blockbuster deal with former teammate and current Minnesota Timberwolves basketball chief Kevin McHale. Ainge acquired Kevin Garnett and had a new “Big Three” in place. The team didn’t disappoint. That’s not to say there weren’t scares along the way. Seven-game series with the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers had fans and experts questioning the 66-win season. But the Celtics finally won a road game against the Detroit Pistons and eliminated them in six games in the Eastern Conference finals.

The AP reports: Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis says up to 30 people have been arrested during the Celtics championship celebration, most for disorderly conduct. Several storefront windows were damaged near the TD Banknorth Garden after the Celtics’ 131-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA Finals.

InsideHoops.com joke: It was all Brian Scalabrine. He’s responsible for every alternation that resulted in all 30 arrests.

Celtics rally scheduled for Thursday

The AP reports: Boston Mayor Tom Menino told WBZ-AM radio Wednesday that a “rolling rally” to honor the NBA champion Boston Celtics will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday. The rally is expected to start at the TD Banknorth Garden, where the Celtics clinched their 17th crown on Tuesday night with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

June 17: Celtics 131, Lakers 92

The AP reports: With Russell and Havlicek sitting courtside, and Red surely lighting up a victory cigar somewhere, these Boston Celtics returned to glory like the great teams before them. Dominant in every way. On a new parquet floor below aging championship banners hung in the rafters two decades back, the Celtics won their 17th NBA title and a first one—at last — for Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen—their Big Three for a new generation. After 22 long years, the NBA has gone green. Lifted by ear-splitting chants of “Beat L.A.” early and cries of “Seven-teen” in the closing seconds by their adoring crowd, the Celtics concluded a shocking rebound of a season with a stunning 131-92 blowout over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 on Tuesday night… Garnett scored 26 points with 14 rebounds, Allen scored 26 and Pierce, the finals MVP who shook off a sprained right knee sustained in Game 1, added 17 as the Celtics, a 24-win team a year ago, wrapped up their first title since 1986. Rajon Rondo had 21 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and six steals as the Celtics, who built a 23-point halftime lead and obliterated the Lakers, who were trying to become the first team to overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals… Bryant, the regular season MVP, finished with 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting… With Garnett scoring 17 points and Pierce adding 10, Boston built a 58-35 halftime lead, and unlike Game 2 when they let the Lakers trim a 24-point lead to two in the fourth quarter before recovering, the Celtics never stopped.

Ticker reports: Holding a four-point lead after the first quarter, the Celtics embarrassed the Lakers, outscoring their archrivals, 34-15, in the second period en route to a 58-35 lead at halftime. The half ended with a bang thanks to Garnett, who completed a three-point play by banking in a circus shot while parallel to the floor - practically on his back - to highlight a 26-6 run to close the opening half. And that’s where Los Angeles spent most of the night - belly up. The Lakers shot just 27 percent in the first half and failed to grab a single offensive rebound during that span. Not only did they fail to execute, but their spirit seemed irrevocably broken. “The last two minutes of the second period buried the team emotionally, and we went into the locker room at halftime and tried to get our guys back on bearing and really couldn’t turn the momentum around,” Lakers coach Phil Jackson said. League MVP Kobe Bryant, who completed a lackluster series, scored just 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting for Los Angeles, which was outscored, 73-57, in the second half with the game already decided.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Celtics shot 49.4%, the Lakers 42.2%. But the Celtics took 87 shots, the Lakers just 64. Boston hit an awesome 13-of-26 threes, Los Angeles a good 10-of-27. Both teams shot almost the same free throw attempts but Boston hit a few more. The Celtics dominated rebounds, 48-29, and dominated assists, 33-16. And the Lakers had 19 turnovers, the Celtics just 7.

For the Celtics: Kevin Garnett (10-of-18) had 26 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals. Ray Allen (8-of-12, 7-of-9 threes) had 26 points, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Rajon Rondo (8-of-20) had 21 points, 7 rebounds, 8 assists and 6 steals. Paul Pierce (just 4-of-13) had 17 points, 10 assists and 2 steals. The Celtics bench was incredible, scoring 39.

For the Lakers: Kobe Bryant (awful 7-of-22) had 22 points and more turnovers than anything else. Lamar Odom (awful 2-of-8, 10-of-14 free throws) had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 5 assists. Jordan Farmar (3-of-5, 3-of-4 threes) had 12 points but 4 turnovers off the bench. Pau Gasol (4-of-7) had 11 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 turnovers. No other Lakers did much of anything.

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