Archive for December, 2008

Dec 26: Jazz 97, Mavs 88

The AP reports: Running out of forwards and centers, the Utah Jazz turned to rookie Kosta Koufos and seldom-used Kyrylo Fesenko. Both came through with career high scoring nights and anchored a patchwork lineup as Utah beat the weary Dallas Mavericks 97-88 on Friday night. Koufos scored 18 points and Fesenko added eight points as the short-handed Jazz pulled ahead early and never gave up the lead, ending Dallas’ three-game winning streak… With Utah missing its top three scorers and rebounders in Carlos Boozer (quad), Paul Millsap (knee) and Mehmet Okur (back), Koufos made his sixth career start and had his best game since leaving Ohio State after his freshman year… Koufos was 8-for-11 and also had eight rebounds and the Jazz outscored the Mavericks 52-34 in the paint and topped his previous career high of 12 points… Reserve Jason Terry led Dallas with 26 points. Nowitzki had 17 points and eight rebounds before he was tossed for backhanding Matt Harpring with 9:48 left in the game after Fesenko scored on an offensive rebound.

Dec 26: Grizzlies 108, Pacers 105

The AP reports: Trailing by 17 points early, the Memphis Grizzlies refused to fold. O.J. Mayo scored 18 points, including two key free throws with a second left, and Memphis rallied past the Indiana Pacers 108-105 on Friday night to snap a four-game slide… Hakim Warrick paced Memphis with 21 points off the bench, one of seven Grizzlies in double figures. Darko Milicic scored a season-high 14 before leaving with an injury early in the second half. Marc Gasol matched Milicic’s 14 points, Rudy Gay finished with 13 and Mike Conley had 12 to go with three steals. Mayo added eight rebounds and a career-high seven assists. Marquis Daniels led the Pacers with a season-high 28 points, including 12 in the fourth quarter as Indiana tried to stay close. Danny Granger scored 26 points before colliding with teammate Jarrett Jack with 10:08 to play. Granger went to the locker room with a concussion and did not return… Roy Hibbert had 15 points for Indiana, hitting all seven of his shots before getting into foul trouble.

Dec 26: Hornets 88, Rockets 79

The AP reports: Chris Paul and his Hornets teammates had a lousy Christmas, so they took it out on the Houston Rockets. Paul had 26 points and 10 assists, and New Orleans snapped a two-game skid with an 88-79 victory over Houston on Friday night. David West added 23 points and Rasual Butler 13 for the Hornets, who took an early lead and never trailed, mindful of their dreadful, 88-68 loss in Orlando on Christmas Day… Yao Ming had 19 points and 12 rebounds for Houston, which dropped its second straight game. Tracy McGrady was held to 11 points, missing nine of his 11 shots from the field… Tyson Chandler had 14 points and 12 rebounds, including a crucial tip-in with 2:32 left and a late offensive rebound on a tip-out to Paul that helped seal the victory.

Dec 26: Pistons 90, Thunder 88

The AP reports: A week after passing up a chance at a winning shot against the Utah Jazz, Allen Iverson hit an off-balance runner with 0.2 seconds left to give the Detroit Pistons a 90-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night… Iverson led the Pistons with 22 points, and Tayshaun Prince added 16 points and 11 rebounds. Kevin Durant had 26 points and eight rebounds for the Thunder. The Pistons looked sluggish for most of the first three quarters. Oklahoma City shot 39 percent through three periods, but trailed only 66-63 heading into the fourth.

Dec 26: Wolves 120, Knicks 107

The AP reports: Kevin McHale turned to prayer, though it wasn’t really needed. The combination of Al Jefferson inside and some sizzling 3-point shooting was more than enough. The Timberwolves snapped a 13-game losing streak and won for the first time this season under McHale, getting a season-best 23 points from Rashad McCants in a 120-107 victory over the New York Knicks on Friday night… Jefferson added 21 points and 15 rebounds in the Timberwolves’ first victory since beating Oklahoma City on Nov. 28. They had dropped their first eight games under McHale, who took over when Randy Wittman was fired Dec. 8… Sebastian Telfair finished with a season-high 20 points in his hometown and Randy Foye had 19 for the Wolves, who overran New York by using the Knicks’ primary weapon, the 3-pointer… Nate Robinson and Al Harrington each scored 26 points for the Knicks, who lost their fifth straight. Wilson Chandler scored 19, but New York allowed its highest point total ever against Minnesota.

Dec 26: Bobcats 95, Nets 87

The AP reports: A little more than two weeks after acquiring Boris Diaw and Raja Bell from the Phoenix Suns, the Charlotte Bobcats are showing signs that they can be a good team. Raymond Felton scored 22 points, Emeka Okafor added 21 and the new-look Bobcats won for the fourth time in five games with a 95-87 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Friday night… Boris Diaw, who finished with 16 points and eight rebounds, drove the lane for a basket with 3:01 to play after the Nets’ Devin Harris hit a layup to cut the Charlotte lead to 83-81… Vince Carter had 19 points to lead the Nets, while Lopez and Harris added 14 apiece… New Jersey is now 5-11 at the Izod Center this season.

Dec 26: Heat 90, Bulls 77

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade scored 28 points, Daequan Cook hit three big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter as Miami pulled away, and the Heat eclipsed last season’s win total by dominating the second half and beating the Bulls 90-77 on Friday. Mario Chalmers had 16 points and six assists while Beasley—the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft, after the Bulls chose Derrick Rose—scored eight of his 14 in the fourth for Miami (16-12), which won its fourth straight and surpassed the dismal 15-67 mark of a season ago… Ben Gordon had 15 points for the Bulls, who shot just 37 percent. Larry Hughes scored 13 for Chicago and Derrick Rose finished with only 10 on 3-for-14 shooting… Udonis Haslem tied a season-high with 14 rebounds, while Cook scored 12 points for the Heat. Aaron Gray had 12 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls. Chicago lost forward Luol Deng to a sprained left ankle with 7:52 left in the third quarter.

Paul Millsap out 7-10 days

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz forward Paul Millsap, who injured his left knee in the first half of the game at Milwaukee on December 23.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests conducted on Millsap’s left knee on Wednesday showed that Millsap suffered a sprained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).

Millsap will not play in Friday’s game vs. Dallas, marking the first game he has missed in his NBA career.  His streak will end at 194 straight games played, which was the seventh-longest active streak in the NBA.  Millsap will not travel with the team to Houston for tomorrow night’s game at the Rockets and is expected to miss seven to 10 days of action.

Damon Jones to join Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks and Damon Jones have mutually decided that he will join the team effective immediately.  Jones is scheduled to be with the Bucks Saturday night when they take on the Detroit Pistons at 7:30 p.m. at the Bradley Center.

Jones, 32, has been inactive for all 30 games of the Bucks season to date.

Jones (6-3, 195) was acquired from Cleveland on August 13, 2008, in a three-team deal that also included Oklahoma City.  Milwaukee also received Adrian Griffin and Luke Ridnour from the Thunder, the Cavaliers added Mo Williams, while Oklahoma City acquired Joe Smith and Desmond Mason.

Rockets assign Joey Dorsey to D-League

Houston Rockets forward Joey Dorsey was assigned to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ NBA Development League affiliate, it was announced Friday.  Dorsey is the 14th player to be assigned from an NBA team to the NBA D-League this season.

Originally selected in the second round, 33rd overall, of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Portland Trail Blazers, Dorsey was traded to Houston  on Draft night and appeared in three regular season games for the Rockets, scoring two points and grabbing one rebound.  In four preseason games, Dorsey averaged 3.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists.

Dorsey, 6-8, was a four-year contributor at Memphis, where he averaged 6.7 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.8 blocks during his NCAA career.  For his efforts, he earned First Team All-Conference USA honors as a junior and Second Team honors during his senior season.  He was also named Conference USA  Defensive Player of the Year and earned league All-Defensive Team honors during his final two years at Memphis.  Dorsey finished his collegiate career as Conference USA’s all-time leader in rebounding (1,209), which also ranks second all-time in Memphis history.  Additionally, Dorsey ranks as the school’s all-time leader in field goal percentage (.614, 400-of-641), and is second all-time in school history in blocked shots (265).

Spurs assign Malik Hairston to D-League

San Antonio Spurs forward Malik Hairston on Friday was assigned to the Austin Toros, the Spurs NBA D-League affiliate, it was announced today.  Hairston is the 13th player to be assigned from an NBA team to the NBA D-League this season.

Originally selected in the second round (48th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns, Hairston was traded to San Antonio where he spent 2008 training camp.  In six preseason games with the Spurs, Hairston averaged 5.3 points and 4.5 assists.  Hairston was waived by the Spurs on Oct. 26 before spending 11 games with the Toros and earning a Call-Up to San Antonio on Dec. 22, and has not seen regular season action with Spurs this season.

Hairston started in 11 Toros games this season and where he averaged 19.5 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals.  He twice scored a career-high 33 points, originally on Nov. 29 and again on Dec. 18 and was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week for games played during the week of Dec. 15.

A four year starter at Oregon, Hairston finished his NCAA career averaging 14.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists, while earning Honorable Mention All-Pac-10 during his sophomore and senior seasons.

Suns assign Alando Tucker to D-League

The Phoenix Suns Friday assigned second year forward Alando Tucker to the team’s NBA Development League affiliate Iowa Energy.  Tucker is the  12th player assigned from an NBA team to an NBA D-League affiliate this season.

The 6-6, 205-pound Tucker was originally selected by the Suns with the 29th overall selection in the 2007 NBA Draft and played in six games for Phoenix during his rookie season, averaging 3.7 points and 1.3 rebounds.   Tucker has yet to make an appearance with the Suns this season after missing the first 22 games due to injury, including 19 following arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in November.

No stranger to the NBA D-League, Tucker was assigned to the Albuquerque Thunderbirds from Phoenix last season, when he appeared in 21 games and averaged 27.7 points and 6.0 rebounds.

Grizzlies are kiddies

The Indianapolis Star (Jeff Rabjohns) reports: Memphis has eight players 23 or younger and is one of only four teams in the league with at least four rookies. The Grizzlies’ starting lineup in 15 games — Mike Conley (21), O.J. Mayo (21), Rudy Gay (22), Darrell Arthur (20) and Marc Gasol (23) — averages 21.4 years old. Last year’s University of Memphis team that was the NCAA runner-up had a starting lineup that averaged 21.6 years old. “After you’ve been through a year, you understand the wear and tear, the grind and the level you have to play at, night in and night out,” Conley said. “It’s something I’ve gotten used to. “It’s a matter of putting all the things you’ve worked on every day in the offseason into games. You definitely have more responsibility as a second-year player.”

Nene feeling grind of season

The Denver Post (Chris Dempsey) reports: Nene just can’t seem to feel 100 percent. He swears he has been fighting a cold for the past couple of weeks. “After the cancer, I don’t know,” Nene said. “I’m hard to get sick, you know? But now I get sick all the time.” That’s not all. Nene will play his 30th game tonight, which is nearly double last season’s workload. While he’s held up just fine, there is a wear-and tear factor that warrants keeping an eye on the 6-foot-10 Brazilian as the season progresses. Nene acknowledges the difficulty of his nightly tasks and says he is doing all he can to stay healthy and in game shape. One of those things is letting the coaches know when he needs a breather. He has signaled the bench more often of late to remove himself from games to grab rest. When he has been on the court, his level of exhaustion is obvious. On his way back down the defensive end of the court, he walks the first few steps, gradually trots and then runs.

Candace Parker: Bro vs husband game

The Sacramento Bee (Melody Gutierrez) reports: Candace Parker may not be rooting for the Kings tonight. With her brother, Anthony Parker, on the Raptors, and her husband, Shelden Williams with the Kings, the WNBA star will have her allegiances tested. Anthony and Candace Parker became the first brother-sister duo to represent the NBA and WNBA after the Los Angeles Sparks drafted Candace in April. “It will be like a family reunion,” said Williams, who joined Kings teammates and Monarchs players in handing out turkey dinners Tuesday to 200 families.

Don Nelson on sinking ship

The Sacramento Bee (Scott Howard-Cooper) writes: Don Nelson has the look and sound of someone trying to get fired. This comes as no surprise to those who know him well: thrive in the underdog role, scuttle the ship when people get excited for a genuine payoff. Except that, now, the timing is curious even by his standards. He signed a two-year, $12 million extension in October, set to begin after the current deal expires with $5 million due this season. One of Nellie’s closest friends, Larry Riley, was moved from the bench to the front office to handle personnel matters in place of titular head Chris Mullin. Nelson is entirely in position to be at the intersection of everything that goes on with the Warriors, without having to get bogged down in management minutiae. There is no such thing as shocking in the Nelson world, but quitting and walking away from $12 million would qualify. No one expects that to happen. Moving himself into the line of fire to become the seventh coach to get the ax, that’s another story. He would get a sizable payoff and the freedom to swing a new deal elsewhere, if he suddenly feels tough enough again.

Fan Blog: Coach firings, Wolves and more

The Goose Juice: A look around the league from NBA fan “The Goose”

It’s tough to argue with the firing of Maurice Cheeks given the Sixers’ start to the season. It’s kind of tough to argue with the firing of Sam Mitchell given the Raptors’ start. But would a coaching staff of Phil Jackson, Red Auerbach and Coach K be able to squeeze even 18 wins out of the Oklahoma City Thunder?

- Big shout out to Andrew Bogut who donated some of his own money last week to help keep Australian professional basketball team the Sydney Spirit from going under mid-way through the season. All 29 Spirit fans were said to be ecstatic.

- Another big shout out, this time to rookie Timberwolves power forward Kevin Love. In Sunday’s loss to the Lakers, Love had only 20% of his shot attempts rejected, a new career low!

- Speaking of the Minnesota Timberwolves, anyone seen the numbers OJ Mayo and Brandon Roy have been putting up lately? The one good transaction Kevin McHale made in recent memory was stepping down as VP of Basketball Operations, and even that came with the trademark “McHale Catch” as he named himself Head Coach.

- I don’t care if they beat the Cavaliers. I just don’t think I’ll ever again get used to the idea of an Atlanta Hawks team that doesn’t suck. It’s been one of the most consistent things in recent NBA history, along with D’Antoni teams not playing defense, Don Nelson starting two guards in his frontcourt, and Ricky Davis missing jumpshots.

Pistons want to limit McDyess minutes

The Detroit Free Press (Chris Lau) reports: Ideally, Pistons coach Michael Curry would like to play veteran forward/center Antonio McDyess in the second and fourth quarters only, and keep him in during crunch time. McDyess is the leader of the second unit. He’s valuable because he’s the primary scoring option off the bench, a strong defensive presence and a calming influence on teammates. He’s also 34, so Curry wants to limit his playing time now to preserve him for the playoffs. That hasn’t happened of late. In Tuesday night’s 104-98 win over Chicago, McDyess played 26 minutes, 34 seconds, including the final 8:53 of the third quarter.

Dec 25: Mavs 102, Blazers 94

The AP reports: Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 of his 30 points in the first half, and Jason Terry had 19 to help the surging Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 102-94 on Thursday night. Nowitzki was 12-of-18 from the field and scored on power moves and jumpers despite playing the second half in foul trouble. Josh Howard added 15 points for Dallas, 15-4 in its last 19 games after opening 2-7. Portland’s Brandon Roy had 22 points, but went scoreless in the fourth quarter. Steve Blake added 14 points and seven assists, Travis Outlaw and Rudy Fernandez had 13 points each, and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 12… Josh Howard was ejected after picking up a flagrant foul and two technical fouls in the third quarter.

Dec 25: Cavs 93, Wizards 89

The AP reports: Trailing by eight to woeful Washington, the Cavaliers scored 11 straight points in the final 1:33 to preserve their perfect home record with a 93-89 win Thursday night. Mo Williams scored 24 points, and LeBron James and Delonte West had 18 apiece for the Cavs, who at 15-0 are the NBA’s lone unbeaten team at home. Cleveland trailed 89-82 before storming back with three free throws by James, a 3-pointer by Williams and five more foul shots in the last 26 seconds. Antawn Jamison scored 28 points, and Mike James 26 for the Wizards, who dropped their eighth straight and continue to find new ways to lose… Overmatched because of injuries to All-Star guard Gilbert Arenas (knee) and center Brendan Haywood (wrist), Washington is off to the worst start in franchise history and has already had a coaching change before the end of the calendar year.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I thought several lousy calls greatly benefitted the Cavaliers in the final few minutes of this game. But, the Cavs were the more aggressive team in the clutch, and that always helps draw calls. Still, I thought the Wizards got slightly robbed here.

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