Archive for November 14th, 2008

Steven Hunter out at least 12 weeks

Nuggets C Steven Hunter underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today at the Steadman-Hawkins Clinic in Vail, Colo. Hunter will be sidelined a minimum of 12 weeks.

Both Denver-area newspapers recently reported that Hunter may be considering retirement if it appears his knee will continue to be a major problem.

I’d assume Hunter will rehab and focus on regaining his health first, and then examine his status and future.

He hasn’t played this season. For his career he averages 4.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 15.4 minutes per game, with 56.4% shooting.

Heat arena has tons of empty seats

I’m flipping around NBA league pass, and stopped by the Wizards at Heat game. Miami has an early 14-9 lead. Nothing worth reporting about the game yet, and I’ll probably head to another game in a few minutes.

But it has to be said, judging by TV, the expensive seats look at least 66% empty. The red seats stand out in a big way on television.

I’m a bit surprised that it’s this bad.

The team supposedly gets over 16,000 fans per game so far this season. That’s what’s listed, at least. And, the Wizards aren’t exactly a particularly hot opponent. Still, someone has to get Heat fans into the arena. The team has holes at point guard and center but is still worth watching.

Dwyane Wade is healthy and himself again, even if he’s still getting used to his teammates and new coach. He’s putting up 28.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game on 49.0% shooting. That alone should attract plenty more fans.

Michael Beasley has been a good scorer, but he isn’t rebounding as much as expected. His defense is lacking and a serious work in progress. But he’s good and fun to watch, especially as he grows into a refined player.

Shawn Marion isn’t himself yet. Udonis Haslem is playing decently as a vastly undersized center.

The point guards and centers aren’t worth mentioning at this point.

Still, the team is fun and decent. Heat fans, go see your team!

The Golden State Warriors have assigned guard DeMarcus Nelson to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

Nelson, 23, has appeared in eight games this season (five starts), averaging 5.4 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 14.6 minutes per contest.  The 6-4 guard became the first undrafted rookie to appear in the starting lineup on Opening Night for the Warriors since the team moved to the West Coast in 1962.

Nelson now joins Warriors teammate Richard Hendrix on the Jam roster.  This marks the first time that Golden State has had two players on assignment in the NBA Developmental League at the same time.

Nash, Barnes, Alston suspended for fight

The AP reports: The NBA has suspended Steve Nash and Matt Barnes of Phoenix and Rafer Alston of Houston for their roles in a fight. Alston and Barnes were suspended for two games without pay and Nash for one. The league also fined Shaquille O’Neal $35,000 and Tracy McGrady $25,000 on Friday for their actions during the Rockets’ 94-82 win in Phoenix on Wednesday.

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: The scuffle broke out in the final seconds of Wednesday’s third quarter, just as Houston opened its biggest lead of 19 on a McGrady 3-pointer. On the shot, Alston set a high screen on Barnes, who lowered his shoulder hard into Alston. After the shot went in, Alston ran up on Barnes, prompting Nash to race from several feet away toward Alston and Barnes. Once he got close, McGrady shoved him to the ground and more players came to the scene with O’Neal shoving McGrady to the ground and pushing Alston and Yao Ming.

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: “It’s just overblown,” Barnes said. “They went above and beyond the call of duty here. They didn’t call a foul in my situation. We got in a little pushing match and I get suspended for two games? Rafer gets two games and Rafer threw two punches at Steve. Basically, what they’re saying is you might as well throw two punches because you got the same suspension as someone who threw two punches. Steve comes and tries to break it up and gets thrown to the ground and he gets suspended and T-Mac (McGrady) doesn’t get anything. Ridiculous.”

Fans are reacting to the suspensions here in this topic.

Wade talks to InsideHoops

Opening night in Madison Square Garden, InsideHoops.com and a few other reporters talked to Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade.

The interview was just posted today (don’t worry, we’re almost caught up on the older Q&A’s from a week or two ago) and is worth a skim-read. Hit it here.

The Golden State Warriors have assigned forward Richard Hendrix to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

Hendrix, 21, has been on the inactive list for each of Golden State’s first nine games during the 2008-09 regular season.  The 6-9 forward was selected by the Warriors with the 49th selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.

Euroleague Week 4 MVP is Mike Hall

Euroleague.net reports: His team was on the verge of one of the biggest upsets of the season, but when it didn’t happen, Armani Jeans Milano got the consolation prize of seeing Mike Hall earn MVP honors for Week 4 of the regular season. One of the great rivalries in European basketball history lived up to its tradition as Real Madrid won at home against Milano 70-69 on Lou Bullock’s intrepid layup with 3.8 seconds remaining. Hall had helped Milano stay close all game and made his team’s go-ahead free throws just before the final minute started. He would finish the game with a game-high 21 points and team-high 9 rebounds, making 3 of his 4 two-point shots, 3 of 6 from the three-point arc, and all 6 of his free throw opportunities. It all added up to a performance index rating of 28, best of the week among all Euroleague players. Following him was none other than Igor Rakocevic, the Week 3 MVP, who posted a 27 index rating while scoring 21 of his 23 points in the second half of a losing effort against Lottomatica Roma.

Examining the lousy Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are 2-6 to start the new season. It’s too early to write what should be a quality team off, but so far they’re a mess.

Dirk Nowitzki is scoring 22.1 points per game but not shooting well, and not doing much else aside from scoring. Josh Howard is playing decently but also not shooting particularly well. Jason Terry, at 16.6 ppg, is tossing up bricks. The only Maverick playing well and actually making shots is Jason Kidd (11.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 8.4 apg, 47.9% shooting). Gerald Green has also been a nice surprise, scoring 9.4 ppg on good shooting. Erick Dampier is rebounding. Jerry Stackhouse is old and washed up. And Antoine Wright hasn’t impressed. Here’s the Dallas Morning News (Eddie Sefko):

The Mavericks are disjointed. It seems they haven’t figured out anything about coach Rick Carlisle’s system. But the rest of the NBA has certainly figured them out. Put your best defender, whether he’s big or small, on Dirk Nowitzki. Hound him as much as you can. And sooner or later, the Mavericks wilt. It happened for the second consecutive game as the Chicago Bulls hassled Nowitzki into a 5-for-17 shooting night.

Remember, they’re under a new coach, Rick Carlisle. And he deserves the benefit of the doubt. Give the team another two weeks before making a definitive statement about how good they really currently are.

–Jeff

Lindsey Hunter talks Bulls

Point guard Lindsey Hunter, who is so old he first started playing basketball before Earth’s ice age ended, signed with the Chicago Bulls yesterday. Here, he talks about it:

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports: “I’m kind of a Chicago guy,” Hunter said before Thursday’s game against Dallas. “So I’m pretty familiar with it. I spend a lot of time here in the summer.” Hunter is in relatively good shape because he trained with his 13-year-old son, Lindsey, a middle school cross-country runner. Then when asked why bother playing again after 15 years in the NBA, Hunter pointed to his father. “My Dad (another Lindsey) worked at General Motors for 30 years,” said Hunter, a native of Mississippi. “He talks to me every day about if you get a chance to play, you should play. He said, ‘I worked at a plant for 30 years, and you get to play basketball. So, if you can do that, you do it.’ I thought about that and was like, OK.” The Bulls signed the 6-foot-2 Hunter to provide help at point guard while Kirk Hinrich recovers from surgery to reattach a ligament in his right thumb. The Bulls expect Hinrich to be sidelined until mid-February.

3 Jazz stars out tonight

The Deseret Morning News (Tim Buckley) reports: Usual starting point Deron Williams, starting center Mehmet Okur and sixth man Andrei Kirilenko all will not play when the Jazz visit the Charlotte Bobcats tonight. Williams said his sprained left ankle is just too sore to go, and he probably won’t play Saturday night in Cleveland either. “I can’t do anything,” said Williams, who played in two games after missing the start of the season because of the ankle. “I can’t push off of it, I can’t move like I want to. So, there’s no reason to play.”

Sixers fans not going to games

The Philadelphia Daily News (Paul Vigna) reports: Empty seats have been a chronic problem for the Sixers even before Allen Iverson left town. Now, even off last season’s playoff run and the offseason signing of Elton Brand, those low numbers are creeping back into the picture. Through four games, the Sixers are averaging 12,601 in attendance, ranking them 28th out of 30 NBA teams. That they started by losing five of their first seven hasn’t helped. Neither did that shadow the size of Yao Ming cast by the Phillies and their world championship.

Barbosa`s mother dies

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports: The Suns won’t have Leandro Barbosa tonight and likely for up to a week after he left the team Thursday bound for his home in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Early Thursday afternoon, Barbosa received word that his mother Ivete had passed away. The relationship between Barbosa and his mother is a very close one. She visited Arizona every spring for an extended visit and the two talked by phone at least a half-dozen times a day. She survived a bout with cancer a few years ago but had been hospitalized in poor health for months. Barbosa lost his father to cancer in 2005.

Spurs assign Ian Mahinmi to D-League

The San Antonio Spurs announced today that they have assigned center Ian Mahinmi to the Austin Toros, the NBA Development League team owned and operated by the Spurs.

Mahinmi is currently recovering from a sprained right ankle.  He will use this assignment to the Toros as an opportunity to get back into basketball shape and complete his rehabilitation.

The 22-year-old Mahinmi is entering his second season with the Spurs. He split the 2007-08 campaign between San Antonio and Austin.  Mahinmi started the season in San Antonio, appearing in six games with the Spurs, averaging 3.5 points in 3.8 minutes, before being assigned to the Toros on 11/21.

Mahinmi was named to the 2008 All-NBA Development League First Team. In 46 games with the Toros, he averaged 16.8 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.70 blocks in 29.6 minutes while shooting .615 (276-449) from the field and .766 (219-286) from the line. Mahinmi ranked 19th in the D-League in scoring, second in field goal percentage, eighth in rebounding and ninth in blocks. For the season Mahinmi posted 16 double-doubles.  In four games in the 2008 D-League Playoffs, Mahinmi averaged 18.3 points, 10.8 rebounds and 3.50 blocks in 38.3 minutes.

Mahinmi was selected by the Spurs in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft with the 28th overall pick. He was signed by the Spurs on 8/23/07 after spending the previous four seasons in the French A League.

Lousy Iverson shooting stands out

Allen Iverson has made a career out of being a big-time scorer (27.7 points per game).

But he’s also always shot a low field goal percentage (career 42.6% and a lousy 31.4% three-pointers).

Typically, when a team shoots under 43% for a game, they tend to lose.

Now, Iverson does make up at least partially for his low shooting percentages by drawing so much defensive attention that opportunities get created for teammates that don’t necesarily show up on a stat-sheet, but still, ideally he’d have taken fewer shots per game over his career and hit around 5-7% more of them.

Last night, the Pistons edged the Warriors 107-102, and Iverson’s vast talents were on display as he scored 23 points, grabbed 5 rebounds and dished an impressive 9 assists. But he shot 8-for-23. The team won in spite of his shooting, not because of it.

When his career eventually winds down, “The Answer” will be known as an awesome offensive force, a super-quick, ultra-tough little scoring guard, but also as a player who took a lot of shots and missed too high a percentage of them.

Nov 13: Pistons 107, Warriors 102

The AP reports: Rasheed Wallace tipped a ball into the wrong basket at one end and missed two free throws at the other. Just when it seemed like his fourth-quarter mistakes might doom Detroit, Wallace hit back-to-back 3-pointers that gave the Pistons the lead for good and sent them to a 107-102 victory over the Golden State Warriors on Thursday night… Richard Hamilton scored 24 points and Allen Iverson added 23 as the Pistons won for the second straight time to open their four-game road trip after losing their first two games with Iverson… Wallace finished with a season-high 19 points and 11 rebounds. Prince grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds… Andris Biedrins had 17 points and 19 rebounds for his 16th straight double-double for the Warriors, who are still seeking their first back-to-back wins of the season. Watson and Stephen Jackson also scored 17 points apiece.

Nov 13: Bulls 98, Mavs 91

The AP reports: They barely had time to work up a sweat before the Chicago Bulls found themselves trailing by 19 points Thursday night against the Dallas Mavericks. And less than six minutes into the game, the boos started rolling across the United Center… And that’s what the Bulls did. They turned up the defense, started running the floor, then caught up and passed the Mavericks for a 98-91 victory, sending Dallas to its fourth straight loss… “They were attacking us with transition and they put us on our heels early,” said Ben Gordon, who led the Bulls with 35 points… Derrick Rose, who shot 1-for-8 in the first half, was 6-for-7 in the third quarter, when he scored 14 of his 16 points. Luol Deng added 20 points… Josh Howard, returning after missing two games with sore wrist, led Dallas with 21 points and added 11 rebounds. Erick Dampier scored 16 and pulled down 18 boards… Dirk Nowitzki scored only 12 for the Mavs, shooting 5-for-17.

Nov 13: Cavs 110, Nuggets 99

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 22 points, most of them coming with good buddy Carmelo Anthony guarding him, and Williams scored a season-high 24, making a critical 3-pointer with James on the bench, as the Cavaliers improved to 5-0 at home and beat the Nuggets for the first time since 2005… Daniel Gibson snapped out of a shooting slump and added 15 points for the Cavaliers, who held the Nuggets to 18 points in the fourth on 39 percent shooting… Chauncey Billups scored a season-high 26 points — 16 in the first quarter — Carmelo Anthony had 18 and Kenyon Martin 12 with 10 rebounds for Denver. Martin, who had missed the previous two games with a sprained wrist, was ejected with 55 seconds left after he was called for a flagrant-2 foul for slamming his shoulder into Cleveland forward Anderson Varejao… Cleveland’s Ben Wallace had a season-high 11 points but sat out the fourth with a bruised left knee.

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