Archive for November 20th, 2008

Wizards change starting lineup

The Washington Wizards are banged and long-term injuries to starters Gilbert Arenas and Brendan Haywood mean some rotation alterations don’t really mean much in the big picture, but with that said, they’ve made some changes. The Washington Post (Ivan Carter) reports:

The final result was familiar — a loss — but the look and feel were different for the Wizards on Wednesday night against the Atlanta Hawks, and that is something Coach Eddie Jordan believes his team can build upon. Jordan typically gives his a team a day off after playing on back-to-back nights, but he held a practice yesterday. Jordan said he was leaning toward sticking with a starting lineup that includes Dee Brown at point guard and rookie JaVale McGee at center when the Wizards (1-8) host the Houston Rockets (7-5) tonight at Verizon Center. Brown and McGee started in place of Juan Dixon and Etan Thomas, respectively.

With one win and eight losses the Wizards have been awful this short season. Caron Butler (20.8 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.67 spg) and Antawn Jamison (18.6 ppg, 8.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 1.22 spg) have been very good, but they’ve gotten almost no help. Other than Nick Young’s 14.1 ppg no one is scoring 9 points per game. But their problem is defense: Wizards opponents are scoring 101.4 ppg on 47.4% shooting. The Wizards are also bricking their three-pointers in extremely ugly fashion. They’re being out-rebounded and out-assisted. Other than that, everything is great!

Agent to be Kings assistant GM

The Sacramento Bee (Sam Amick) reports:  The Kings will add a piece to their front office next month, when attorney and agent Jason Levien is expected to join the team as assistant general manager. The move, which sources within the organization and close to the team say should be official in the coming weeks, marks a rare addition to the Kings’ management team that Geoff Petrie has headed for 15 years. And with an on-court rebuilding and youth movement already in effect, the franchise also is taking the same approach upstairs.

Vinny Del Negro keeps it positive

The Bulls have been sorta somewhat OK so far this season. With 5 wins and 7 losses they have the potential to improve a bit and eventually become a .500 squad, which by their recent standards would be a big success. The Bulls bright spot in 2008-09 has been the great play of rookie point guard Derrick Rose, who has star quality.

Former Bulls coach Scott Skiles has a reputation of saying whatever is on his mind, which from a media and fan standpoint is terrific, because he creates lots of good conversation thanks to blunt honesty. That’s no longer the case with the team’s new coach, however. The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw) reports:

Vinny Del Negro has demonstrated one constant, sometimes maddening, behavior so far this season. The first-year Bulls coach absolutely refuses to criticize his players in the media. This is quite a change from Scott Skiles, who was brutally honest when describing the state of the team. One often-repeated story is Skiles’ response when asked what Eddy Curry could do to improve his rebounding numbers. “Jump,” was the reply. Of course, some of Skiles’ comments helped escalate the turmoil last season when the Bulls went in the tank. He probably figured he was on the way out when he offered the “Tyrus Thomas has never run the floor once” rant during last year’s circus road trip… Del Negro will talk about what the team as a whole needs to do better. But when asked about poor individual performances, the coach tends to point the finger at himself.

I remember one day in New York when Eddy Curry was a fairly new member of the Knicks, and local NY reporters were trying to get coach Skiles to say something positive about the big center. Skiles wouldn’t bite. I thought that was terrific. More coaches need to be like him and Warriors coach Don Nelson in the “tell it like it is” department.

–Jeff

Thunder fans are booing

The Oklahoma City Thunder are living up to expectations, and losing. A lot. Here’s Thunder swingman Damien Wilkins talking tot The Oklahoman on hometown fan boos: “I’ve been hearing it. When you’re sitting you’re hearing it all. So I’ve been hearing it. It’s really not a whole lot you can do. You can’t go apologize to all 19,000 people. The only thing you can do is really just give a better effort. It’s embarrassing really. It’s embarrassing for us. It’s embarrassing for I know my family, I can’t speak for everyone else but I’m sure it is. To hear those boos after the excitement that was built up in this season, for us to come out and play like we played recently is just not acceptable. And some how some way we’ve got to turn this thing around.”

Nov 19: Blazers 116, Bulls 74

The AP reports: When Greg Oden entered to a standing ovation, the Blazers had a 23-7 lead. Oden didn’t wait long to contribute, dunking 21 seconds after coming off the bench. Playing 17 minutes, the 2007 first overall draft pick had 11 points, 10 rebounds and blocked three shots. Oden played in Portland’s season debut in Los Angeles, then missed the next six games because of a foot injury… Brandon Roy scored 20 points to help Portland improve to 6-2 in its last eight and 7-5 overall. Chicago has lost four of its last six to fall to 5-7… Oden overshadowed the performance of Joel Przybilla, who scored a season-high 14 points and had nine rebounds and three blocks.

Nov 19: Jazz 105, Bucks 94

The AP reports: Ronnie Price played the entire second half and scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter when the Jazz outscored the Bucks 31-18… Carlos Boozer added 20 points and 11 rebounds before leaving because of a strained left quadriceps that wasn’t expected to sideline him long… Andrei Kirilenko, who played point guard at times for the depleted Jazz, had 16 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four blocks to help the Jazz stay undefeated at home and extend their mastery of the Bucks to eight straight games… Richard Jefferson scored 25 points, and Andrew Bogut had 16 points and 20 rebounds for Milwaukee, coming off a loss in Denver on Tuesday night. Charlie Bell and Ramon Sessions had 15 points each for Milwaukee.

Nov 19: Nuggets 91, Spurs 81

The AP reports: Chauncey Billups made big shots and the Denver Nuggets got plenty of key stops. Billups scored 22 points, Carmelo Anthony added 21 and the surging Nuggets cruised to a 91-81 victory Wednesday night over the injury-riddled San Antonio Spurs. Kenyon Martin added 18 points and Nene had 16 to round out a balanced attack by the Nuggets (8-4), who have won four straight and seven of eight overall since Billups joined the lineup following a blockbuster trade that sent Allen Iverson to Detroit… Still playing without All-Star guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili, the Spurs (5-6) failed to move above .500 for the first time this season. They shot 39 percent from the floor and were led by rookie George Hill’s 20 points. Michael Finley had 13.

Nov 19: Wolves 102, Sixers 96

The AP reports: Al Jefferson scored six of his 25 points in the final 3 1/2 minutes to lift Minnesota to a 102-96 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night, snapping an eight-game losing streak… Elton Brand had 19 points and 13 rebounds for Philadelphia, which committed 16 turnovers and missed eight free throws while losing for the first time in four games… Craig Smith scored a season-high 21 points and matched a career best with five assists, and Mike Miller had 10 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Wolves, who won for the first time since the season opener against Sacramento… Andre Miller finished with 20 points and six assists.

Nov 19: Mavs 96, Rockets 86

The AP reports: The way Jason Terry was shooting, the Dallas Mavericks hardly needed Josh Howard on Wednesday night. The Houston Rockets, meanwhile, sorely missed Yao Ming. Terry scored 31 points, and Dirk Nowitzki added 24 points and 12 rebounds in the Mavericks’ 96-86 victory over the Rockets. Howard, the Mavs’ second-leading scorer, was inactive because of a left ankle injury. Yao, Houston’s top scorer, missed the game because of a sore left foot… Jason Kidd had eight points, nine rebounds and seven assists for the Mavericks, who have won three in a row and 11 of the last 14 meetings with their in-state division rivals. Tracy McGrady scored 16 points and Ron Artest added 14 for the Rockets, who shot 37 percent (29-of-78) from the field, including 6-for-25 from 3-point range. McGrady and Artest, both nursing injuries, each went 5-for-14 from the field.

Nov 19: Kings 105, Hornets 96

The AP reports: For three quarters, Bobby Jackson did nothing to make the New Orleans Hornets pay for trading him last February. Then he showed them exactly what they were missing in the fourth. John Salmons scored 29 points, and Jackson had all eight of his points in the final 5:10 to help the injury-depleted Sacramento Kings surprise the New Orleans Hornets 105-96 on Wednesday night. Jackson hit a 3-pointer to give the Kings the lead for good at 90-88. He followed with a baseline jumper and a steal that led to Salmons’ layup, then finished off the Hornets with another 3-pointer from the corner that made it 99-91 with 3:08 left… David West scored 22 points, and Chris Paul added 20 points and 15 assists for New Orleans. The Hornets, coming off three days off, fell to .500 (5-5) for the first time since the end of the 2006-07 season.

Nov 19: Clippers 108, Thunder 88

The AP reports: Cuttino Mobley had a season-high 23 points and a career-best seven steals. Kaman scored a season-high 25 points and had 14 rebounds. Al Thornton scored 20, and Baron Davis and Marcus Camby 14 each. Mobley scored six points during a 14-2 run that saw the Clippers (2-9) cut a 15-point second-quarter deficit to three at halftime. He stayed hot in the third quarter, with 12 points coming during a 23-4 spurt that put Los Angeles in front by 15. The Clippers weren’t threatened after that… Kevin Durant had 18 points for the Thunder and Damien Wilkins added 17.

Nov 19: Raptors 101, Heat 95

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade did something the NBA hadn’t seen in more than 31 years. It still wasn’t enough to take down the sharpshooting Toronto Raptors. Andrea Bargnani scored a season-high 25 points, Jermaine O’Neal added 16 points and 17 rebounds, and the Raptors were 8-for-8 on 3-pointers in the second half to overcome Wade’s huge effort and beat the Miami Heat 101-95 on Wednesday night. Wade finished with season highs of 40 points and 11 assists, plus added a career-best five blocks. Since blocks became an official stat, the only other player to have a 40-10-5 effort was Alvan Adams of the Phoenix Suns, who had 47 points, 12 assists and five blocks against Buffalo on Feb. 22, 1977, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Nov 19: Pistons 96, Cavs 89

The AP reports: Allen Iverson scored 23 points, and Rasheed Wallace had 10 of his 21 points during a fourth-quarter surge that gave Detroit a 96-89 victory over Cleveland on Wednesday night that ended the Cavaliers’ eight-game winning streak. Detroit handed the Los Angeles Lakers their only defeat, beating them by double digits Friday night on the road… “It’s not like we set out and said, `Oh, these are the NBA’s hottest teams.’ We’re just trying to make ourselves better,” said Wallace, who had a season-high 15 rebounds… LeBron James was 8-of-21 and missed all four of his 3-point attempts, but made enough free throws to finish with 25 points to fall just five below his league-leading average… Detroit’s Richard Hamilton scored 15 points, reserve Rodney Stuckey and Tayshaun Prince each added nine points. Cleveland’s Mo Williams scored 25 points, Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 13 points and Delonte West added 11.

Nov 19: Hawks 91, Wizards 87

The AP reports: Marvin Williams hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 26 seconds left and matched his career high with 14 rebounds, and the Hawks overcame Caron Butler’s 32-point effort to beat the Washington Wizards 91-87 on Wednesday night… Williams scored 21 points to help the Hawks snap a four-game losing streak. Hawks coach Mike Woodson noted Williams also defended Washington’s Antawn Jamison, who had 18 points… Mike Bibby led the Hawks with 25 points, including 15 in the third quarter… Joe Johnson, who had 19 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, answered with a 3-pointer for Atlanta with 57 seconds left to cut the lead to a point… Zaza Pachulia, who filled in for Horford at center, scored only four points but set a career high with 18 rebounds.

Basketball blog