Archive for December 1st, 2008

Tracy McGrady likely out week or so

Rockets G Tracy McGrady was evaluated by Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, AL this afternoon.  Dr. Andrews confirmed the initial medical assessment of Rockets Team Physician Tom Clanton that McGrady is suffering from general soreness in his left knee related to his continuing rehabilitation from off season surgery.

McGrady will continue his current rehab program designed to alleviate the discomfort in his knee.  He will likely be out for the next week and will continue to have his playing time restricted upon his return in order to lessen the stress on the injured knee.

Rockets G Brent Barry, who missed the last two games with a calf injury, was seen by Clanton this morning at Memorial Hermann—Texas Medical Center and diagnosed with a small tear in the Plantaris muscle on his right leg.  The injury will require him to rest for approximately the next two weeks before resuming his on court practice activities in preparation for a return to game action.

East player of month: LeBron James

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James was named today as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in the month of November.

In 15 games during the month, James averaged 28.6 points on .497 shooting, 7.1 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game. James has now won the award eight times in his career: for the first time this season; two times during 2007-08, once in 2006-07, twice in 2005-06 and twice during the 2004-05 campaign.

During November, James ranked second in the NBA in points per game (28.6) and ranked sixth in assists (6.2) and steals (2.1) among Eastern Conference players.  James led his team to a 13-2 record during the month, which tied for the most wins in a month in franchise history and was their best November record ever.  James also won Eastern Conference Player of the Week twice during the month (for weeks ending November 9th and 16th).

With his second steal at Dallas on November 3rd, he became the youngest player (23 years, 308 days) and fastest (395 games) to reach the following milestones in five statistical categories: 10,000 points, 2,500 rebounds, 2,500 assists, 700 steals and 300 blocks.

During the month of November, James scored 41 points three times and became the first player since Michael Jordan in 1991 to reach the 40-point mark at least three times in his team’s first eight games of a season.  James scored 41 points twice against Chicago (November 5th and November 8th), becoming the first player to have consecutive games with 40 or more points versus Chicago since Rick Barry (1974-9175) and he has now scored 30 or more points against the Bulls in seven straight games. He joins Nate Archibald (9 games from 3/10/72-10/10/73), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (8 games from 2/13/71-2/20/72) and Oscar Robertson (7 games from 12/2/67-11/9/68) as the only players to accomplish that feat.  In the Cavs’ next game on Nov. 11th, he scored 41 points versus Milwaukee on 16-24 shooting (.667) and added six assists and three steals. With James’ 13th point in the first quarter at New Jersey on November 18th, he became the youngest player in NBA history (23 years, 324 days) to score 11,000 points, surpassing Kobe Bryant who reached the plateau at 25 years, 99 days.

The New Orleans Hornets’ Chris Paul was named the Western Conference Player of the Month.  Other nominees for Eastern Conference Player of the Month were New Jersey’s Devin Harris, Orlando’s Dwight Howard and Toronto’s Chris Bosh.

West player of month: Chris Paul

The NBA announced today that New Orleans Hornets point guard Chris Paul was selected as the Western Conference Player of the Month presented by Kia for games played from the start of the season (Oct. 28) through November. The honor is the third of Paul’s career (December, 2007 and March, 2008). He becomes the first Hornet to win the award three times.

“It is an honor to receive this award, especially with how many great players are in this conference,” said Paul. “I have to give a lot of credit to my coaches and teammates, we are all striving towards one collective goal, a championship.”

Paul averaged 20.3 points, 11.6 assists, 5.7 rebounds and 2.8 steals in guiding the Hornets to a 9-6 mark since the start of the season. Paul’s start included collecting an NBA-leading two triple-doubles and 12 double-doubles. He also scored 20-plus points in 10 of the 15 games and had 10 games of 20-plus points and 10-plus assists. In addition, Paul had a steal in every game during the season to extend his steals streak to 99 straight games, just six short of the NBA record set by Alvin Robertson (Nov. 16, 1985-Dec. 29, 1986).

“Chris is a special player and deserves all the credit and awards coming his way,” said Hornets Head Coach Byron Scott. “He is one of the best players in our league and the leader of our team.”

Paul had 24 points, 15 assists and one steal in a 104-92 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Nov. 1. He collected 30 points, 13 assists, seven rebounds and four steals in a 86-93 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Nov. 12. On Nov. 22, he had 29 points, 16 assists, 10 rebounds and three steals to secure his first triple-double of the season in a 109-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. Paul had his second straight triple-double against the Los Angeles Clippers on Nov. 24, garnering 14 points, 17 assists and 10 rebounds in a 99-87 win. He collected 22 points to go along with 10 assists and three steals in a 105-101 win on Thanksgiving night on TNT at Denver.

Paul ranks first in the NBA in assists, steals and triple-doubles, while ranking second in double-doubles and 21st in scoring.

The Chicago Bulls’ Derrick Rose and the Memphis Grizzlies’ O.J. Mayo today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played from the start of the season (Oct. 28) through November.

Rose is ranked first among all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring average (18.4), assists per game (6.0) and minutes per game (38.0). He has scored in double-figures in all but one game and has led his team in scoring six times and in assists 13 times. He became the first Bulls rookie since Michael Jordan, in 1984-85, to score 10 or more points in the first 10 games of his rookie season. His nine assists in his NBA debut tied for the second-most by a No. 1 pick in his pro debut since the common draft began in 1966.

Mayo leads all rookies in scoring with 21.9 ppg, the highest scoring average for a first-year player since Allen Iverson (23.4 ppg) in 1996-97. He ranks in the Top 10 among rookies in seven major categories, including scoring average, minutes, assists, steals, field goal percentage, three-point field goal percentage and free throw percentage, and is the first rookie to have four 30-plus point games within his first 17 career games since Allen Iverson (five) in 1996-97. In addition, Mayo is on pace to become just the fifth rookie since the 1996-97 season to average over 39.0 minutes, joining LeBron James, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and Shane Battier.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference T-Mobile Rookies of the Month were Charlotte’s D.J. Augustin, Memphis’ Marc Gasol, Miami’s Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers, Milwaukee’s Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, New Jersey’s Brook Lopez, Portland’s Rudy Fernandez, Sacramento’s Jason Thompson and San Antonio’s George Hill.

The New Jersey Nets’ Devin Harris and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Brandon Roy today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 24, through Sunday, Nov. 30.

Harris averaged a league-best 30.0 points on .535 shooting and added 6.8 assists and 4.3 rebounds as New Jersey went 3-1 on its West Coast trip. On Nov. 30, Harris led the Nets to their first win at Phoenix since 1993 by scoring a career-high 47 points to go along with eight assists and seven rebounds. In that game, Harris set a franchise record for consecutive free-throws made (17-17). On Nov. 26, the 6-3 guard hit the game-winning shot in overtime as the Nets beat Sacramento 116-114.

Roy led the Trail Blazers to a 4-0 record, averaging 20.0 points, 6.0 assists and 5.3 rebounds. On Nov. 28, Roy recorded his first double-double of the season with 25 points and 10 assists in a 101-86 win over New Orleans. Roy has scored 10 or more points 17 times this season, including 12 games with 20 or more points, and leads the team in scoring (20.9 ppg), assists (5.3 ppg) and minutes (36.3).

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Cleveland’s LeBron James, Dallas’ Jason Terry, Houston’s Yao Ming, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, New Orleans’ Chris Paul, Orlando’s Dwight Howard and Toronto’s Chris Bosh.

Euroleague.net reports: A player who has withstood a roller-coaster career by means of his strong character, Sani Becirovic of Lottomatica Roma, has been chosen the MVP for November by Euroleague Basketball. At age 27, Becirovic has already seen the highs and lows of Euroleague competition this decade, scoring more than 20 points per game as a teenager, losing two seasons to a career-threatening injury, and returning to become a continental champ with Panathinaikos in 2007. Having arrived to the Italian capital this season with the role of veteran floor director, Becirovic filled it to perfection in November. Whether going home to Slovenia to face his old club, Union Olimpija, challenging one of the Euroleague’s historically toughest home teams, Tau Ceramica, or squaring off for first place against Fenerbahce, Becirovic was consistently the right man in the right place at the right time for Roma. He finished the month averaging 19 points, 3 rebounds and 4.6 assists in almost 27 minutes per game.

Corey Brewer out for season

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that forward Corey Brewer will miss the remainder of the season after suffering a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his right knee. A magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study done this morning revealed the extent of the injury, which occurred during Minnesota’s game vs. Denver on Saturday night. The date for surgery has yet to be determined.

“This is a tough situation for Corey and we feel for him,” said Timberwolves VP of Basketball Operations Kevin McHale. “Corey has worked extremely hard on his game. He was starting to really feel comfortable on the floor and was playing well. We’ll miss his energy, defensive mindedness and toughness moving forward.”

Brewer is still learning to play NBA basketball. Although versatile, athletic and a good defender, he’s not particularly skilled at any one thing yet. Unfortuantely, his development will have to wait.

In 20.5 minutes per game this season Brewer was shooting just 41.1% and averaging 6.2 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals per game.

Nov 30: Lakers 112, Raptors 99

The AP reports: Pau Gasol had 24 points and nine rebounds, Kobe Bryant had 23 points and a season-high seven assists, and the Lakers beat the Toronto Raptors 112-99 on Sunday night for their seventh straight victory… Bynum scored seven of his 18 points during the pivotal rally, including an alley-oop dunk off a pass from Sasha Vujacic, and another alley-oop play in which he guided in Jordan Farmar’s lob above the rim. Bynum shot 8-for-13 and grabbed 10 rebounds despite a bone spur in his right foot, which he’s had since landing on Vince Carter’s foot during last Tuesday’s game against New Jersey… Anthony Parker led Toronto with 19 points and five teammates also scored in double figures. Jermaine O’Neal missed his third straight because of a sprained left ankle. The Lakers held leading scorer Chris Bosh to 12 points on 4-for-13 shooting.

Nov 30: Nuggets 104, Rockets 94

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony’s right elbow was so sore, he couldn’t shoot, pass or dribble. Heck, he couldn’t even lift his toddler son, Kiyan, after the game. Good thing the Denver Nuggets have Chauncey Billups on their side now. Making up for Anthony’s absence—along with ‘Melo’s usual double-digit performance—Billups had 28 points and 10 assists to lead the Nuggets past Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets, 104-94 on Sunday night… Anthony scored just two points, halting his NBA-best streak of consecutive games in double figures at 222. That honor now goes to LeBron James, who has scored in double figures 134 straight times… Yao led Houston’s balanced production with 18 points but he was just 5-for-12 from the floor as Martin, Nene and Chris Andersen played terrific defense on the big man… Nene had 17 points and 10 boards for the Nuggets, who took a 48-44 halftime lead thanks to two 3-pointers from J.R. Smith in the closing minutes of the first half. Smith, who has been in and out of coach George Karl’s dog house for lapses in play and professionalism, finished with 19 points.

Nov 30: Nets 117, Suns 109

The AP reports: Devin Harris was on the attack and the Phoenix Suns had no defense for him. Harris scored a career-high 47 points, including 21 in the fourth quarter, and the New Jersey Nets ended their 14-game losing streak at Phoenix by rallying to beat the Suns 117-109 Sunday night… Harris, whose previous high was 38, hit 14 of 25 field goals and 17 of 17 free throws in a dazzling performance… Vince Carter added 28 points for New Jersey, Yi Jianlian had 14 and Brook Lopez 12. Steve Nash, who missed Friday’s game because of a thigh contusion, led the Suns with 26 points and nine assists. Amare Stoudemire had 25 points and 12 rebounds before being ejected with his second technical foul—for arguing with an official—with 3:24 remaining and Phoenix leading 100-98. Matt Barnes had 18 points.

InsideHoops.com note: Harris also had 7 rebounds and 8 assists.

Nov 30: Bulls 103, Sixers 92

The AP reports: Derrick Rose seems unfazed by the rigorous NBA schedule. In the final stop on a seven-game, 12-day road trip which began Nov. 18 in Los Angeles against the Lakers, the 20-year-old No. 1 overall pick in the draft still had plenty of energy. Ben Gordon scored 21 points, Drew Gooden had 20 points and 12 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls rallied from an early deficit for a 103-92 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday. Rose contributed 18 points and 10 assists and reached double figures in assists for the first time this season. Reserve Larry Hughes had 16 points for the Bulls (8-9), who won for only the third time in 10 games on the road… Elton Brand had 21 points and 12 rebounds, and Thaddeus Young added 17 points for the reeling Sixers, who have lost four straight to fall to 7-10. Andre Miller had 15 points and 10 assists, and Willie Green chipped in with 12 points.

Nov 30: Blazers 96, Pistons 85

The AP reports: While the Pistons are 10-2 during the rest of the week, they have been outscored by an average of 17 points while losing all four Sunday games. Portland’s young starting lineup dominated Detroit’s first five, outscoring them 74-52… LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 27 points, while Brandon Roy added 19 and Greg Oden finished with 10 points and a career-high 13 rebounds in the Blazers’ fourth straight win… Richard Hamilton had 18 for Detroit, but Allen Iverson finished with only nine on 2-of-9 shooting. The Pistons fell to just 6-6 since Iverson joined the team… Tayshaun Prince, who had played at least 30 minutes in every game this season, saw just 22 minutes of action Sunday.

Ike Diogu loves video games

Lots of guys love video games. (And, plenty of girls do, too.) Personally, I didn’t have a video game system for years, but got myself a Playstation 3 earlier in 2008 and play it pretty regularly.

I only have a few current games: Grand Theft Auto 4, NBA 2K9, NBA Live 09, and NCAA Live 09. Being a pro basketball guy, I tend to mostly play the two NBA games. The college one just came out recently, but still, I see myself sticking more with what I know, the pros.

Trail Blazers power forward Ike Diogu loves video games, too. But on a whole other level. The Oregonian (Joe Freeman) reports:

Diogu now owns three video game consoles — PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii — and estimates that he owns more than 1,000 video games. And his love of gaming extends well beyond simply playing. Diogu’s college major is digital art and he continues to pursue a bachelor’s degree each offseason at Arizona State, with the goal of getting into the video game industry after his NBA career. Diogu is five classes (15 credits) short of his earning his degree.

Needless to say, next time I run into Diogu I plan on challenging him to a game of Pitfall on Atari 2600.

–Jeff 

Mavs quit Princeton offense

The Dallas Morning News (David Moore) reports:  The Princeton offense has come and gone. The idea that the Mavericks would generate the majority of their shots out of movement instead of sets has been scrapped. “That whole Princeton stuff was a great idea, but it’s tough to determine shots out of there,” forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “We run it a little less than we did at the beginning of the year and are calling more plays where guys are more comfortable. “Maybe we aren’t a team that is just running and slicing and dicing and cutting. Maybe we weren’t really meant for that. Maybe we’re not smart enough. I don’t know. “But it’s been good. We know the sets. We know the go-to plays. We’ve just got to keep on working.”

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