Archive for November, 2008

Allen Iverson skips practice

The AP reports: Allen Iverson apparently chose family and food over practice — and he’ll be fined for it. Iverson was the only player who didn’t show up when the Detroit Pistons worked out on Thanksgiving.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I think practice should be optional on the select few major family-oriented holidays each season. But, naturally that’s the decision of the team/coach, not an individual player.

Jarron Collins out 6+ weeks

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz center Jarron Collins, who has appeared in only two games this season due to right elbow inflammation and triceps tendinitis:

After meeting with Jazz team physician Dr. Lyle Mason, Collins has opted to take a non-surgical approach to the injury.  He will allow the elbow to heal for the next six weeks through triceps strengthening, shooting and cardiovascular work.

Collins will be re-evaluated on January 3, at which point a further update will be provided.

Now in his eighth season with the Jazz, Collins has appeared in two games this season (one start), totaling one rebound and one block in 16 scoreless minutes.  He was originally selected by the Jazz in the second round (53rd overall pick) of the 2001 NBA Draft and owns career averages of 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 456 games (204 starts).

Kendrick Perkins leading league in techs

The Boston Globe (Julian Benbow) reports: The first thing you should know about technical fouls is that they’re not cheap. They’re $1,000 a pop, and that’s just the first five. The next five go for $1,500. Five more and you’re looking at $2,000 plus a warning letter from the league after No. 12. The 16th is the suspension ceiling, where every other technical costs you a one-game suspension. They also cost you $2,500 each. Kendrick Perkins has eight techs in about a month… “This is what I’m trying to explain to y’all,” he said. “I’m not trying to be out there getting techs. It’s just something, you get caught up in the heat of the moment. It’s something I can’t control, but I’m not trying to get techs. I’m not trying to let them take a thousand dollars out my pockets every time.”

Nov 25: Lakers 120, Nets 93

The AP reports: When Pau Gasol made his Lakers debut back in February following his trade from the Memphis Grizzlies, he led Los Angeles to a 15-point victory at New Jersey on a night when Kobe Bryant had the lowest-scoring game of his MVP campaign. Things looked eerily similar against the Nets on Tuesday night in the rematch at Staples Center. Gasol had 26 points and eight rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the defending Western Conference champions overcame Bryant’s shooting woes in a 120-93 rout that improved the NBA’s best record to 12-1… Bryant had difficulty with Vince Carter’s defense, going 5-for-17 from the field in 28 minutes and finishing with 12 points in the Lakers’ fifth straight victory… Devin Harris had 21 points and six assists for the Nets, who again played without Stromile Swift (back), Josh Boone (bruised left ankle) and Chris Douglas-Roberts (right knee strain). Eduardo Najera, who has an injured back, did not make the trip. Yi Jianlian had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Nets, who shot only 34.5 percent and went 3-for-19 in the fourth quarter while getting outscored 30-17.

Nov 25: Mavs 109, Pacers 106

The AP reports: The Dallas Mavericks were missing No. 2 scorer Josh Howard, and Dirk Nowitzki was getting extra attention from Indiana’s defense. So Jason Terry and Jason Kidd came to the rescue. Terry scored 16 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter and Kidd hit a pair of key 3-pointers to help the Mavericks rally from a 13-point second-half deficit for a 109-106 victory over the Pacers on Tuesday night… Nowitzki added 24 points and 12 rebounds and Antoine Wright scored a career-high 24 for the Mavericks, who played without Howard for a third straight game because of a left ankle injury… Kidd finished with 11 points and 13 assists as Dallas won its second consecutive home game after dropping the first four… Danny Granger’s 22 points and Troy Murphy’s 21 points and 14 rebounds led the Pacers. Brandon Rush added 18 points off the bench and ex-Maverick Marquis Daniels contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds for Indiana, which has lost three in a row and five of six.

Nov 25: Suns 99, Thunder 98

The AP reports: Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns went back to basics to win without Shaquille O’Neal and spoil Scott Brooks’ home debut as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s head coach. Nash switched into pre-Shaq mode to guide Phoenix back from a 12-point deficit in the fourth quarter, and Matt Barnes finished it off by hitting the game-winning 3-pointer from the left wing with 25.7 seconds left as the Suns beat the Thunder 99-98 Tuesday night… Amare Stoudemire finished with 22 points, Nash had 20 points and 15 assists and Barnes scored 16. Kevin Durant scored 29 points and Chris Wilcox added a season-high 18 as Oklahoma City (1-14) led by 16 as late as the final 2 minutes of the third quarter. Still, the Thunder dropped their 12th straight game.

Nov 25: Cavs 119, Knicks 101

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 26 points before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers quickly took a charged-up New York crowd out of the game in a 119-101 victory Tuesday night… Delonte West added 16 points and Wally Szczerbiak had 15 for the Cavaliers, who led by as many as 34. They rang up their highest point total of the season and put seven players in double figures, showing they may have more help than ever for James, the NBA’s leading scorer… Quentin Richardson scored 22 points and newcomer Tim Thomas had 16 for the Knicks, who lost for the fourth time in five games and fell to 7-7… Cleveland scored the first eight points of the period, and after Thomas made two free throws, the Cavs followed with a 13-2 spurt to make it 55-26 on Szczerbiak’s 3-pointer with 7:20 left in the period.

Nov 25: Wizards 124, Warriors 100

The AP reports: The Wizards notched season highs in points, rebounds (54), matched their season high in assists (27), and forced a season-high 20 turnovers as Tapscott experimented with different lineup combinations and ran more isolation plays and less of Jordan’s Princeton-style attack. Butler scored a season-high 35 points, Jamison had 25 points and 11 rebounds, and rookie center JaVale McGee added a season-high 14 points as the Wizards improved to 2-10, avoiding the worst 12-game start in franchise history. The biggest surprise was Andray Blatche, Washington’s Mr. Inconsistency, who had season highs with 25 points and 11 rebounds and also matched career highs with five blocks and five steals… Corey Maggette scored 17 points to lead the Warriors, who have lost three straight.

Andrew Bogut out 7-10 days

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond announced today that center Andrew Bogut will miss approximately 7-10 days of action with a bone bruise to his left knee.  An MRI taken today in Atlanta, GA, revealed the injury.

Bogut sustained the injury in Monday’s loss at Orlando.  In 16 games this season, Bogut is averaging 11.4 points, 10.9 rebounds (4th in NBA), 1.9 assists and 1.0 blocked shot in 31.6 minutes per game.

Cavs at Knicks game notes

Tuesday night in Madison Square Garden the New York Knicks hosted LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. The arena is packed with stars. Here are raw, totally unedited game notes taken from the arena:

In the first quarter the Cavs mostly did it at a team. LeBron James was content to mostly sit back and let his team show they are legit. But he did nail a pair of three-pointers along the way.

It was later in the first that LeBron started operating solo in isolation up top, and each time he drove it looked like a mismatch. Too easy. Even when the play didn’t go as planned he was clearly dominant.

End of first quarter: Cavs 34, Knicks 22. King James had 11 points and three rebounds. Delonte West scored nine. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had six. For the Knicks Chris Duhon had eight on good shooting. The Knicks had just one free throw attempt.

Second quarter:

Bill Bradley is in the house. He received some polite applause.

At 10:12 in the second quarter the Cavs got inside. JJ Hickson, Wally Szczerbiak and Anderson Varejao got easy buckets near the rim and made it 42-22 Cavs, leading to a Knicks timeout and scattered boos from the fans.

After Wilson Chandler got called for traveling the fans booed a bit more. But a play or two later th Cavs kept rolling with LeBron on the bench and a Szczerbiak three made it 55-26.

The Knicks wake up a bit and a Nate Robinson fast break layup over several defenders cuts it to 35-57. But Natev wound up limping off the court to the locker room.

A Cavs fast break resulted in Delonte West throwing down a nice uncontested dunk, hanging on the rim as a defender passed under him. Cavs up 59-35. Mike D’Antoni lashed out at a ref, I am guessing due to no tech being called on West, and the ref handed a tech to the Knicks coach.

The Cavs keep rolling, and LeBron is barely having to do anything. Cleveland guards keep penetrating and creating at will.

The Knicks defense is totally asleep. No energy.

At the end of three quarters the Cavs lead 95-66.

No more game notes from me today. It is a blowout. I will write more later tonight.

Kings hire Jason Levien as assistant GM

The Sacramento Kings today announced the hiring of Jason Levien to their Basketball Operations staff as Team General Counsel/Assistant General Manager, effective December 15, 2008, according to President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie.

Levien’s primary responsibilities include drafting and management of players, coaching and management contracts, assisting in salary cap planning and analysis and overseeing team compliance with all NBA rules and procedures. He will also assist in scouting and report directly to Petrie and Vice President of Basketball Operations Wayne Cooper.

Levien, a former NBA player agent, represented more than a dozen NBA players over the past decade, guiding his clients through their careers which included navigating the NBA Draft process, free agency and contract negotiations. His clients included Luol Deng (Chicago Bulls), Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat) and the Kings’ Kevin Martin. In addition to negotiating Martin’s long-term extension with Sacramento in 2007, Levien negotiated the largest contract in Bulls’ history in July 2008.

“Jason brings a breadth of experience and expertise which will enhance the Kings Organization,” explained Petrie. “He is bright, knowledgeable and has an established network of resources which are valuable.”

Having traveled the globe evaluating basketball talent, Levien represented a number of international players drafted into the NBA and professional basketball players in more than 15 countries. He developed a reputation for finding talented players that were either overlooked or flew under the radar.

“I’ve known Geoff Petrie for the better part of a decade and there’s nobody in the basketball world that I respect more than him,” said Levien. “Geoff, combined with what I think of the ownership in the Maloof’s, who are incredible owners, passionate basketball fans and successful business people, made this opportunity unique and attractive. I’m looking forward to contributing in any and every way. This team has a lot of young, talented pieces and to be a part of the future was something that was very attractive and exciting to me. To go from the agent side of representing players to being a part of a team and organization is sort of an out of the box move, but it’s something I’m thrilled about.”

Levien has also spent time working in politics, including serving as the speechwriter for the Keynote Address at the 2000 Democratic National Convention and in The White House.

Levien is a graduate of Pomona College in Claremont, where he was a member of the basketball team. He served as an editor of the Michigan Law Review while earning his law degree and master’s in public policy from the University of Michigan. Levien was later awarded a fellowship at Harvard Law School.

The New York Knicks recently traded power forward Zach Randolph to the Los Angeles Clippers. Randolph is an excellent scorer and rebounder, but the rest of his game often gets criticized as not being particularly effective. Meanwhile, Philadelphia 76ers power forward Elton Brand has an excellent reputation, though like Randolph, Elton’s teams in the NBA haven’t been particularly successful. The Los Angeles Daily News (Ramona Shelburne) reports:

Zach Randolph seemed generally pleased to be in Los Angeles and playing with the Clippers, despite their woeful start to the season, and even more tumultuous offseason. Asked whether he was comfortable trying to fill the shoes left by Elton Brand, Randolph laughed, then confidently said, “Shoot, he ain’t better than me. He ain’t better than me.” The Clippers certainly could have used Randolph on Monday night. Hornets power forward David West went off for 27 points on 12-of-21 shooting and point guard Chris Paul had a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 17 assists. The loss, and uncertainty surrounding the trade, overshadowed what ended up being a breakout game for Clippers rookie Eric Gordon who scored 25 points in his first career start.

Randolph was playing well with the Knicks this season under new coach Mike D’Antoni. He’ll be worth watching on the Clippers, at least initially to see how he plays alongside the mess of big men (Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby) and star point guard Baron Davis.

Suns notes

Matt Barnes is averaging 11.7 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists in 28.7 minutes on the season.

Shaquille O’Neal made his impact felt in the Suns last home game with 19 points (8-12 FG) and 17 rebounds in 36 minutes against the Trail Blazers.

Raja Bell is averaging 9.8 points and 2.6 rebounds and 1.4 assists while shooting .450 (27-60) from behind the arc in 32.8 minutes.

Amare Stoudemire had 17 points, nine rebounds, two blocks, two steals and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the free throw line against Portland on Nov. 22.

Steve Nash is averaging 13.5 points, 7.6 assists, 2.7 rebounds and is shooting .492 from the field and .442 from three point range in 33.2 minutes. Nash had 16 points (6-7 FG, 2-2 3FG, 2-2 FT), seven assists and three rebounds in his last game against the Blazers.

Next Suns opponent: Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Suns on Tuesday, November 25, in the first regular season meeting between the clubs since moving from Seattle. Phoenix swept the series last season and has won 11 of the last 15 meetings. The Suns are 115-85 all-time against the team and have a 75-25 record at home.

The Suns take on Al Jefferson and the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center in the first meeting between the clubs this season on Wednesday, November 26. Phoenix has lost the last two matchups in Minnesota but has won 10 of the last 14 games in the series. The Suns are 20-16 in games played in Minnesota.

With wins in four of the last five meetings at USAC between the teams, Phoenix welcomes Dwyane Wade, Michael Beasley and former Sun Shawn Marion on Friday, November 28. On January 6, 2006, Steve Nash dished out a franchise-record 12 assists in the first quarter en route to a 111-93 win at home. Overall, the Suns are 30-10 in the series with a 16-4 record in Phoenix.

The Suns face Vince Carter, Devin Harris and Brook Lopez – twin brother of Suns center Robin Lopez – of the New Jersey Nets on Sunday, November 30 in Phoenix. The Suns swept the season series last year, and opened the season this year at the IZOD Center with a 114-86 win. Phoenix has won fourteen consecutive meetings at US Airways Center. On Dec. 7, 2006, Phoenix nabbed a season-high 161 points in a double overtime win, 161-157, in New Jersey.

The Suns head to New Orleans to face Chris Paul, David West and Tyson Chandler of the New Orleans Hornets at New Orleans Arena on Wednesday, December 3 for the first time since the Hornets stole the Suns’ home opener on October 30, 108-95. The 8-5 Hornets have won three straight games, and sit in second place in the Southwest division. The Suns have lost five-straight to the Hornets following a stretch during which Phoenix won 11-of-12 matchups. The Suns are 3-1 this season in the front end of a back-to-back set.

The Suns take on Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center on Thursday, December 4 for the first matchup between these two teams this season. The Suns have an advantage in the all-time series record, 69-49. Dallas has won four-straight games, tied with the Los Angeles Lakers for the West’s longest active win-streak. Phoenix has won five of the last nine games in the series and has split the last 14 meetings with Dallas.

UPCOMING MILESTONES

* Grant Hill is three steals away from 1,000 for his career.
* Steve Nash is 31 assists away from passing Guy Rodgers for 14th on the NBA’s all-time assist list (currently 6,880).
* Nash is also just 32 assists from recording 4,000 career assists as a member of the Suns. It would make him just the third player in franchise history with 4,000 or more assists.
* Shaquille O’Neal is seven blocks from passing Tree Rollins for seventh place on the NBA’s all-time blocks list.

The Memphis Grizzlies assigned center Hamed Haddadi (pronounced ha-MED ha-DAHD-dee) to the Dakota Wizards, their NBA Development League affiliate, General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

“The Dakota Wizards are a tremendous organization which the Grizzlies are fortunate to have as our affiliate,” Wallace said. “We are eager to watch Hamed’s development under coach Duane Ticknor’s tutelage. This assignment will be a positive experience for Hamed.”

Signed as a rookie free agent on Aug. 28, Haddadi averaged 1.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes in six preseason games.  The 7-2, 280-pound center has yet to make his NBA regular season debut.

A native of Ahvaz, Iran, Haddadi represented his country last summer in the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China, where he averaged a double-double (16.6 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) in Olympic competition, playing five games for the Iranian National Team.

The 23-year-old also posted 14.0 points, 11.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 25.5 minutes in two contests for the Iranian National Team at the 2008 Rocky Mountain Revue in Salt Lake City last summer.

Slated to become the first Iranian to ever play in the NBA, Haddadi is the Grizzlies’ first assignment to the D-League since the club assigned Alexander Johnson to the Arkansas RimRockers on March 1, 2007.  The 23-year-old is the seventh NBA player (sixth rookie) to be assigned to the Development League in 2008-09.

Haddadi, who will wear jersey No. 50, is expected to make his D-League debut in the Wizards’ regular season opener vs. Iowa Energy on Saturday, Nov. 29 at the Bismarck Civic Center in Bismarck, North Dakota.

The Miami HEAT announced today that Dorell Wright underwent successful surgery this morning to clean loose bodies his left knee. The 45-minute follow-up surgery was performed by team physician Dr. Harlan Selesnick at Doctors Hospital in Coral Gables. Wright originally had surgery to repair a meniscal tear in his left knee on Mar. 3, 2008. He injured the knee with 9:40 remaining in the second quarter of a game at Sacramento on Mar. 2, 2008. Wright is expected to resume court activity in three weeks.

Wright has appeared in one game this season, totaling two points in 5:53 of action against Sacramento on Oct. 31. Currently in his fifth NBA season, Wright has appeared in 134 games (55 starts) for the HEAT and has averaged 6.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 19.1 minutes per game.

Nov 24: Hornets 99, Clippers 87

The AP reports: Chris Paul recorded his sixth career triple-double, getting 17 assists, 14 points and 10 rebounds for the New Orleans Hornets, in a 99-87 victory on Monday night. West scored 27 points, including a pair of jumpers that diffused a rally by the Clippers midway through the fourth quarter…  Peja Stojakovic had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who won their third straight following a home-and-home sweep of Oklahoma City. Forward Morris Peterson did not play because of pain in his right knee, but backup point guard Devin Brown was back in the lineup, scoring 11 points after spraining his right ankle in Saturday’s 109-97 win. Eric Gordon scored 25 points to lead the Clippers despite spraining his ankle early in the first quarter. Baron Davis had 19 points against his former team and Chris Kaman added 14 points for the Clippers, who have lost seven straight to the Hornets and four in a row against them at Staples Center.

Nov 24: Blazers 91, Kings 90

The AP reports: Greg Oden returned to the starting lineup for the first time since Portland’s season opener, against an opponent the Blazers had beaten on the road by 21 points four days ago. An easy night’s work? Not even close. Brandon Roy scored a season-high 28 points and the Portland Trail Blazers rallied during the final six minutes to beat the Sacramento Kings 91-90 on Monday night. Joel Przybilla added 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Steve Blake had 12 points for the Blazers… Oden, the first pick of the 2007 NBA draft, had three points, six rebounds, and four turnovers in 19 ineffective minutes. Sacramento had some of its best stretches on offense when Oden was on the floor in the second half… John Salmons led Sacramento with 20 points and had a chance to win the game, but his drive to the basket with two seconds remaining came up short of the rim… Brad Miller added 18 points and Beno Udrih had 17 for Sacramento.

Nov 24: Bulls 101, Jazz 100

The AP reports: Even when he missed, Derrick Rose was on target. The Chicago rookie tied his career high with nine assists and accidentally set up Larry Hughes’ game-winning shot as the Bulls beat the Jazz 101-100 on Monday night, giving Utah its first home loss of the season. With Chicago trailing 100-99, Rose took an 18-foot jumper that bounced high off the rim and right to Hughes, who beat the buzzer and the Jazz from 22 feet away. “We needed that win and we didn’t care how we got it,” said Rose, who scored 10 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter… Mehmet Okur had 26 points and nine rebounds for the Jazz, who outscored the Bulls 30-19 in the third quarter, but didn’t have enough to hold off Chicago down the stretch… Drew Gooden had 18 points and Ben Gordon scored 15 for the Bulls, who improved to 2-3 on a seven-game road trip… Paul Millsap had 21 points and 10 rebounds in his second start for Boozer before fouling out with 1:18 left in the game.

Nov 24: Spurs 94, Grizzlies 81

The AP reports: Manu Ginobili returned from his offseason left ankle surgery, and the San Antonio Spurs celebrated with a victory. Ginobili, who missed San Antonio’s first 12 games, scored 12 points to help the Spurs beat the Memphis Grizzlies 94-81 on Monday night… Rookie George Hill scored 20 points and Roger Mason added 18 to lead the Spurs. Tim Duncan added 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks for San Antonio, which has won five of its last six games. O.J. Mayo scored 23 of his 26 points in the second half to lead Memphis, which has dropped seven of its last eight. Rudy Gay scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Darko Milicic had 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Nov 24: Rockets 107, Heat 98

The AP reports: Ron Artest is difficult to please. After seeing Yao Ming shake off waves of defenders in a 28-point, 12-rebound effort that helped the Houston Rockets beat the Miami Heat 107-98 on Monday night, someone asked Artest to assess his center’s performance. “I thought he could have played better,” Artest said… Artest scored 20 and Rafer Alston added 14 points for Houston, which finished with six players in double figures and outrebounded Miami 51-35. Luis Scola had 11 points and 13 rebounds, while Carl Landry and Aaron Brooks each scored 11 for the Rockets, who finished off a 3-0 road trip against East teams. Dwyane Wade scored 23 points for Miami, doing so on 7-for-23 shooting, which prompted another quick line from Artest. “He played really bad tonight,” Artest said. “He didn’t play like I’m used to seeing him play.” Mario Chalmers added a career-best 23 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Heat, who also got 17 points from Shawn Marion, 14 from Beasley and a season-high 12 from Yakhouba Diawara.

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