Archive for November 12th, 2008

NBA kills pre-draft camp

The NBA pre-draft camp is apparently ceasing to exist, which is a shame because although the quality of play was pretty lacking, it was still a great event to see lots of players and it was also fantastic for networking. Almost everyone who matters in the NBA went there not just to see players but to get face time with others in the business.

But, the Charlotte Observer (Rick Bonnell) reports: I just confirmed a story, originally reported by The Sporting News, that the NBA pre-draft camp is no more as we knew it.          There will no longer be games or practices for draft candidates. Mass physicals will still take place, and those physicals will likely move back to Chicago from suburban Orlando, where the camp was held the past two years at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.          Here’s the deal: The quality of player participating had deteriorated so badly the past few years that it became a sham. Twenty years ago, just sure-bet lottery picks passed on playing in the games. Recently, if two guys who played in Orlando were among the 30 first-round picks, it felt like a small victory for the league.

Greg Oden set to return

The Miami Herald (Michael Wallace) reports:  The Miami Heat spent Wednesday’s shootaround preparing for Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden to make his return from a foot injury that has kept him out since the season opener. Oden doesn’t plan to disappoint Miami (4-3) when the Blazers (4-3) arrive for Wednesday night’s game at AmericanAirlines Arena. ”I’m ready. I’m excited,” Oden said after Portland’s shootaround Wednesday. “I’ll hopefully play the full game. It was my decision and it depends on how I feel. And I feel good.” Oden, the No. 1 pick in the 2007 draft, hasn’t played since he sustained a right mid-foot sprain after playing just 13 minutes in the Blazers’ Oct. 28 loss to the Lakers. He was initially expected to miss as much as a month. It has been another disappointing start to the season for Oden, who missed all of last season after knee surgery.

Charlotte Bobcats guard Jason Richardson this morning underwent an exploratory arthroscopic procedure after suffering from right knee inflammation.  The test revealed no structural damage to Richardson’s knee.

Richardson will not play in Charlotte’s game against the Utah Jazz on Friday and is doubtful for Sunday’s game against the Orlando Magic.

James Posey talks Kobe

The Orange County Register (Janis Carr) reports — James Posey: “You can’t stop Kobe because he does so much. He scores, he shoots the 3-ball well, he has a nice in-between game, he knows how to get to the free-throw line, he attacks the basket. It’s tough. He’s one of the guys who has the ball a lot, and a lot of attention needs to be directed toward him. You can’t stop him, you just try to control him, just try to make him work for everything,” Posey said. “Sometimes even that isn’t enough.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: I could shut Kobe down. He knows it. He’s scared. Same with LeBron. None of these dues could score on me. But I like them and don’t want to hurt their feelings, so instead of signing with an NBA team and doing it, I’ll just continue to run InsideHoops.com.

Joel Anthony name games

The Palm Beach Post (Chris Perkins) reports: Center Joel Anthony was so low-key as a rookie last season many fans don’t even know how to pronounce his first name. It’s Jo-elle. And judging from his performance in Monday’s 99-94 victory over New Jersey (four points, four rebounds, one block), he might be ready for more minutes at Mark Blount’s expense.

InsideHoops.com editor says: If Joel wants his name to be pronounced “Jo-elle” he should consider adding a dash in the actual word. By the way, please now pronounce my name as “Jay-eff” rather than Jeff.

Amare ditches his goggles

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Amare Stoudemire’s goggles didn’t last a month. He had worn protective eyewear since he returning from a torn iris four weeks ago but ditched the pair for Monday’s game. “A little uncomfortable with the goggles,” he said. “They get a little blurry on me. There’s a lot of adjusting, so I’ll try to go without them.” The goggles seemed fine in a 49-point game last week. “Well, I had 50 without them,” he said of his career high in 2005.

Nets helping unemployed fans

In the midst of this challenging economy, the Nets will give unemployed fans a break by providing free tickets for five select Nets home games, as well as offering résumé placement with Nets sponsors, and providing access to a Career Fair.

As part of the new Nets Employment Program, fans that are seeking jobs can sign-up at www.njnets.com and should email their résumé, former employer, contact information, and career field of interest to the Nets Job Bank at jobbank@njnets.com. The Nets would then release 300 tickets per game on a first-come, first-serve basis for fans that enroll in the Program. In addition, the team would send the résumés received to Nets sponsors and season ticket holders with businesses that are involved in the Program.

The Nets are also hosting a Career Fair before their game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the IZOD CENTER on Saturday, November 22.  Job-seekers will gain access to many top employers featuring sports teams, businesses, and Nets partners such as UPS, Haier America, TD Bank, Emblem Health, Coca-Cola Enterprises, and Valley Health System.

“Unemployment is on the rise in the metropolitan area, so we want to offer our fans that are between jobs some help in finding a job, as well as a chance to relieve some stress by coming to a Nets game,” said Nets CEO Brett Yormark.  “We are committed to investing in our fans now, and hopefully they will invest in us when times are better.”

Bruce Bowen comes off bench

The San Antonio Express-News (Mike Monroe) reports: For the first time since he arrived in San Antonio in 2001, Spurs forward Bruce Bowen did not start a game for which he suited up. Bowen’s response: His best game of the season. Bowen replaced starter Ime Udoka, who started in his spot, with 2:22 remaining in the first period. By the end of Tuesday’s 92-80 victory over the New York Knicks at the AT&T Center, he had scored a season-high 13 points, making all three 3-point attempts in almost 28 minutes on the floor. Bowen, who had started all 555 of his games as a Spur, accepted his removal from the starting unit with equanimity. “As a competitor, you may not want it to happen,” he said. “It’s a matter of just being as professional as you can, and not allowing those things to affect you from the standpoint of not withdrawing from the team.”

Nov 11: Warriors 113, Wolves 110 OT

The AP reports: Stephen Jackson tied the game late in regulation and scored six of his 30 points in overtime, leading the Golden State Warriors back from a poor fourth quarter to beat the hapless Minnesota Timberwolves 113-110 on Tuesday night. Jackson hit a 3-pointer with 2:16 left in the extra session and the Warriors sent the Timberwolves to their sixth straight loss… Al Jefferson had 25 points and 12 rebounds for Minnesota, which seemed in control when it led by 10 with 7:06 left. The Timberwolves missed their first five shots in overtime before Randy Foye’s basket with 1:07 to play… Golden State’s Andris Biedrins finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds before fouling out in overtime, recording his 15th straight double-double dating back to April. Kelenna Azubuike added 22 points and eight rebounds. Azubuike’s two free throws at the 1:21 of regulation got Golden State within 106-104.

Nov 11: Pistons 100, Kings 92

The AP reports: Allen Iverson had 30 points and nine assists to win for the first time with his new team, leading the Detroit Pistons to a 100-92 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. Tayshaun Prince added 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who had lost their first two games since acquiring Iverson from Denver last week for All-Star point guard Chauncey Billups, key reserve Antonio McDyess and Cheikh Samb… Spencer Hawes scored 19 points and Udrih added 18 for the Kings, who had won the first three games on their four-game homestand after starting the season 0-4 on the road.

Nov 11: Lakers 106, Mavs 99

The AP reports: Trevor Ariza turned an offensive rebound into an emphatic, go-ahead dunk early in the fourth quarter and added an equally emphatic block in the final minute to help the Lakers pull out a 106-99 victory over the Mavericks on Tuesday night… “Nobody panicked,” said Bryant, who scored nine of his 27 points in the fourth quarter. “We just kept at it.” … Ariza scored a season-high 13 points and Lamar Odom added 12. That was a nice supplement to the 27 points from Bryant and 22 from Gasol. Gasol also had 11 rebounds. Andrew Bynum had 11 points and 10 rebounds… Jason Terry scored 21 points and Kidd got the 101st triple-double of his career with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists. Jerry Stackhouse scored a season-high 17 points and played some tough defense on Bryant, while Dampier had 11 points and 16 rebounds, including a franchise record-tying 12 on the offensive end. Ironically, it was Nowitzki who let Dallas down, scoring 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting.

Nov 11: Spurs 92, Knicks 80

The AP reports: Even without Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the San Antonio Spurs were too much for the New York Knicks. Tim Duncan had 23 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists to lead San Antonio to a 92-80 victory over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night in the Spurs’ first game without Parker… “They’re a tough team regardless,” said Knicks guard Jamal Crawford, who led New York with 28 points… San Antonio held New York to just 38 percent shooting and outrebounded the Knicks 60-48… Rookie George Hill started in place of Parker and scored a season-high 12 points.

Nov 11: Hawks 113, Bulls 108

The AP reports: On a night when leading scorer Joe Johnson had trouble with his shot, Al Horford scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked six shots to lead a 113-108 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday night… Mike Bibby added 22 points, hitting three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter to fend off a Bulls rally. The Hawks had six players in double figures, including Johnson, who finished with 17—eight below his average. He shot 4-for-16. Atlanta got a lift off the bench from Maurice Evans, who scored 17 points including two late 3-pointers in the final quarter… Rookie Derrick Rose led the Bulls with 26 points to match his career high and had a career-best 10 rebounds and stayed in the game, despite pulling a muscle in his back in the first quarter. Andres Nocioni chipped in 20 points.

Nov 11: Nuggets 88, Bobcats 80

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half, while Billups directed a steady offense and had a key three-point play late in the Nuggets’ 88-80 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Tuesday night that left Denver 3-0 with their new guard in the lineup… Billups had 16 points and five assists, and provided the veteran leadership down the stretch that helped squash Charlotte’s comeback… Jason Richardson scored 23 points and Adam Morrison added 16, but the Bobcats settled for 27 3-point attempts as they struggled to get it inside despite Denver’s depleted front line… Sean May started the fourth quarter and missed a jumper 13 seconds later. He went to the bench with no points or rebounds two minutes later and didn’t return.

Nov 11: Jazz 93, Sixers 80

The AP reports: Deron Williams played for the first time this season to lead the Utah Jazz past the Philadelphia 76ers 93-80 on Tuesday night. He had seven points and nine assists after missing the first six games because of a sprained left ankle he suffered in a preseason game Oct. 18 against Chicago… Carlos Boozer led Utah with 19 points and 16 rebounds. Andrei Kirilenko and Ronnie Brewer added 16 points apiece for the Jazz, who improved to 6-1 and lead the Northwest Division. Brewer scored all of his point in the fourth quarter after missing his first nine shots… Andre Miller scored 25 points, Andre Iguodala had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Elton Brand added 13 for the reeling Sixers, who lost their third in a row and fell to 2-5… Samuel Dalembert and Thaddeus Young each added 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who shot just 38 percent from the field.

Nov 11: Cavs 99, Bucks 93

The AP reports: LeBron James supplied the Cleveland Cavaliers with a double dose of 40. James matched a season-high with 41 points in a season-best 43 minutes and Mo Willams scored 16 against his former team, leading the Cavaliers to their fifth straight win, 99-93 over the Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday night… Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 15 points and Anderson Varejao had 13—8 on 4-of-4 shooting in the fourth quarter—with 10 rebounds for Cleveland, which didn’t put Milwaukee away until the final four minutes… Richard Jefferson scored 19 and Luke Ridnour 17—14 in the third—to pace the Bucks, who were again without leading scorer Michael Redd. He missed his fourth straight game with a sprained right ankle.

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