Archive for December 3rd, 2008

The Oklahoman (Mike Baldwin) reports: Under interim coach Scott Brooks, smaller has been bigger, production-wise. Since “going small” two weeks ago when Brooks replaced P.J. Carlesimo, the Thunder is averaging almost 10 more points a game. “We’re creating a lot of mismatch problems for other teams,” said Jeff Green. “Against Memphis it forced them to take out (Marc) Gasol and Darko (Milicic). Hopefully we can continue to play well and create more (matchup problems).” … After Carlesimo was fired, Brooks immediately made changes. He inserted Damien Wilkins in the starting lineup, moved Kevin Durant to small forward and Jeff Green to power forward. Last Saturday, he flip-flopped point guards. Russell Westbrook is starting. Earl Watson is coming off the bench. Center Johan Petro is sitting the bench. Nick Collison’s playing time has been reduced.

Wolves starting Kevin Ollie tonight

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (Don Seeholzer) reports: The Timberwolves will make some changes to their starting lineup for tonight’s game at Orlando, inserting Kevin Ollie at point guard, with Randy Foye moving to shooting guard and Mike Miller going to small forward. “I thought Kevin came in and really gave us some good energy,” coach Randy Wittman said, referring to Monday night’s 100-90 loss at Charlotte.

Raptors fire Sam Mitchell

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo announced Wednesday that Sam Mitchell has been relieved of his duties as the team’s head coach. Assistant coach Jay Triano will assume the position of interim head coach. The remainder of the coaching staff will continue in the organization.

InsideHoops.com readers are discussing the news here. Join in.

“This is a difficult but necessary step the franchise must take,” said Colangelo. “We appreciate all that Sam has done for the organization, applaud him for his successes and wish him nothing but the best with his future in basketball.”

Mitchell was named the sixth head coach in Raptors history June 29, 2004. He posted a 156-189 (.452) record in his four-plus seasons at the helm of the Raptors. He garnered the Red Auerbach Trophy as the NBA Coach of the Year for the 2006-07 season. He also captured The Sporting News 2007 NBA Coach of the Year honours in a vote among his head coaching peers. In January 2007, Mitchell became only the second coach in Raptors history to earn Eastern Conference Coach of the Month honours.

Jay Triano is in his seventh season as a member of the Raptors’ coaching staff. He became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he served as an assistant coach to Lenny Wilkens during the 2002-03 season.

A native of Niagara Falls, Triano was the head coach of the Canadian men’s national team from 1998-2004 posting a 52-42 (.553) record. He led Canada to a semifinal berth in the 2003 FIBA Americas Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Puerto Rico and to a 5-2 record, second best to the United States, in the 2000 Olympics. He has also served as an assistant coach of the USAB Select Team (2007 and 2008), the head coach of the NIKE Skills Academy in Vancouver (2006) and Toronto (2007), and for the past six years as a coach at the prestigious EURO CAMP in Treviso, Italy.

Triano served as interim head coach for one game last season when Mitchell was away for a personal family matter. The Raptors defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves, 105-82, on February 10 at Air Canada Centre.

Triano’s first game as interim head coach will be Friday when the Raptors visit the Utah Jazz. Game time is 10:30 ET. The game will be broadcast live TSN and The FAN 590.

Jazz injury update

The Utah Jazz continue to be struck by injury as they host the visiting Miami Heat Wednesday night.

Carlos Boozer (strained left quad tendon) and Andrei Kirilenko (right ankle inflammation) are both out and won’t play this evening.

Matt Harpring and Deron Williams are both game-time decisions.

The Jazz have 12 wins and just 7 losses, good for the 8th best winning percentage in the NBA this season. They’ve done well, considering Williams, their star point guard, is shooting just 41.7% in the 6 games he’s played. He’s been a play-maker as expected when on the court, and that’s more important than missing a few more shots than usual.

Boozer has had a terrific season when out on the court and not on the sideline. He’s shooting 55.9% for 20.5 points, 11.7 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game.

Dec 2: Jazz 99, Kings 94

The AP reports: Kyle Korver scored 15 points and Deron Williams had two key baskets in the final minute to give the Utah Jazz a 99-94 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night. After Beno Udrih scored to put the Kings ahead by one, Williams, who had 14 points, responded with a layup and a jumper, putting Utah ahead 93-90. The Jazz made six free throws in the final 13 seconds to secure the victory, their third in four games. Ronnie Brewer scored 14 points and Paul Milsap had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Morris Almond added 13 points for the Jazz, who committed 25 turnovers… Brad Miller had 18 points and nine rebounds, Udrih scored 17, Spencer Hawes had 14 points, and Francisco Garcia added 11 for Sacramento.

Dec 2: Nuggets 132, Raptors 93

The AP reports: Chauncey Billups had 24 points and 14 assists in Denver’s 132-93 rout of the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night in a game that was out of reach by halftime… Jermaine O’Neal returned from a sprained left ankle that had cost him three games and he scored 12 points to go with Chris Bosh’s 24, but they couldn’t keep the Raptors from being routed.

InsideHoops.com Notes: Carmelo Anthony shot 9-of-19 for 23 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks. Nene shot 8-of-9 for 19 points, 11 rebounds and 2 blocks.

Dec 2: Sixers 103, Bulls 95 OT

The AP reports: Andre Miller scored nine of his season-high 28 points in overtime Tuesday night and the Philadelphia 76ers ended their four-game losing streak with a 103-95 victory over the Chicago Bulls. Andre Iguodala added 25 points and Elton Brand had 22 points and 14 rebounds as the Sixers avenged a loss to the Bulls two days ago in Philadelphia. Derrick Rose led Chicago with 24 points and Ben Gordon added 18. Tyrus Thomas had 14 points and 13 boards.

Dec 2: Mavs 100, Clippers 98

The AP reports: Jose Barea hit the go-ahead 3-pointer in the final minute, Dirk Nowitzki scored 29 points and the Dallas Mavericks rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 100-98 Tuesday night. Barea capped Dallas’ closing 18-4 run with a long-range jumper with 50.2 seconds left that gave Dallas its only lead of the game. After the teams exchanged empty possessions, the Clippers had a chance to win. Baron Davis missed a 3-pointer with just over a second left and Nowitzki grabbed the rebound as time expired… Jason Terry scored 26 points for the Mavericks, who moved over .500 for the first time this season. Barea chipped in with a season-high 15 points, and Brandon Bass added 14. Zach Randolph had 27 points and 10 rebounds, Al Thornton had 23 points and Davis added 22 points for the Clippers, who didn’t score in final 2:55.

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