Archive for December 8th, 2008

Gold Coast Blaze import Justin Bowen has taken out the National Basketball League (NBL) Player of the Week award for Round 12 after guiding his team to an upset victory over the Perth Wildcats.

Bowen exploded for a round-high 35 points for the Blaze in their emphatic 129-97 victory over the Perth Wildcats at the Gold Coast Convention Centre on Sunday afternoon. The 201cm forward had 20 points in the third period alone, helping the Blaze to a game-winning 45-17 edge in the quarter.

The former Illinois-Chicago University standout also racked up five rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. He shot the ball at an amazing 71% from the field (12-of-17), 75% from the three-point line (3-of-4) and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line.

The win was just the third for the cellar-dwelling Blaze this season, who improved to 3-13 with the victory, and came against a much higher-seeded opponent in the Wildcats (currently 9-9; fifth).

Bowen edged out Adelaide’s Luke Schenscher for the weekly honours. Schenscher was remarkable for the 36ers as they recorded an upset 102-94 win over the third-seeded Melbourne Tigers. The redhead had 17 points and an astonishing 22 rebounds, despite matching up against reigning league Most Valuable Player and fellow seven-footer Chris Anstey.

Others in consideration for Player of the Week included Kirk Penney (New Zealand), Luke Whitehead (Gold Coast), Chris Anstey (Melbourne), James Harvey (Gold Coast), Shawn Redhage (Perth), Julius Hodge (Adelaide), Alex Loughton (Perth), Matthew Knight (Sydney), Mark Worthington (South), Brad Hill (Adelaide), David Gruber (Sydney), Joe Ingles (South) Rod Grizzard (Melbourne), Brad Williamson (Townsville), Larry Abney (Cairns) and Glen Saville (Wollongong).

Australia: Cairns Taipans in trouble

The National Basketball League (NBL) released the following statement from interim Chief Executive Officer Scott Derwin in response to the announcement by the Cairns Taipans that the club had been placed into voluntary administration.

“I received a call from Cairns Taipans majority owner, John O’Brien late last night informing us that he had placed the club into voluntary administration,” said Derwin.

“The decision to hand the club over to administrators has come as a shock to the League as it had received no previous indication from the Taipans that the club was experiencing extreme financial difficulties.

“There was also no prior indication from the club that it intended to take this course of action when the recent issues surrounding the Sydney Spirit were being addressed, which is disappointing.”

“The League understands that John O’Brien is acting in a responsible and ethical manner by appointing an administrator, choosing not to run the risk of trading while insolvent,” said Mr Derwin.  “We are confident the appropriate administrator has been appointed to make sound business decisions regarding the financial viability of the club.

“I will be meeting with the administrator today to determine the extent of the club’s financial situation and to explore all possible options for the Taipans to continue to play in the NBL.  However, it is the administrators, which will ultimately decide the future of the club.

“We remain hopeful that a way can be found for the club to play out the rest of the season.”

Derwin stated that the recent issues surrounding the financial viability of some NBL clubs highlighted why basketball in Australia was undergoing significant reform.  “Basketball now has a unified national governing body to run the sport with a revised management structure focused on delivering strong commercial and community benefits for the sport.

“The need for greater accountability and commercial viability will see the introduction of a more stringent criteria for the ‘New NBL’, in terms of ownership guidelines and financial guarantees, when it is launched next season.”

Derrick Rose OK after rolling on knife

Chicago Bulls rookie point guard Derrick Rose is having a great rookie season and appears good at everything, including injuring himself while lying around at home eating fruit. The Chicago Tribune (K.C. Johnson) reports:

Rose missed Monday’s practice after he needed 10 stitches to close a gash suffered when he said he rolled onto a knife while eating an apple in bed. “It was a silly incident,” Rose said. “I was cutting up some food and I laid on a knife getting lazy in bed. I went to go get a bottle of water, came back, forgot the knife was there, then sat down and sliced my arm. “I panicked when it first happened and called my trainer. It was painful but I should be alright.”

Rose told the Tribune he’ll have stitches in his arm for 10-14 days.

Along with OJ Mayo of the Memphis Grizzlies, Rose is one of two early-season favorites to win the Rookie of the Year award.

Malik Allen is day-to-day

Milwaukee Bucks forward Malik Allen left yesterday’s game against the Lakers with a sprained rib and did not return. He is listed as day-to-day.

Allen this season in 11.6 minutes per game is averaging just 3.0 points and 2.1 rebounds per game.

The Bucks have 9 wins and 13 losses this season and are currently in 12th place out of 15 Eastern conference teams.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor seems religiously devoted to Kevin McHale. This trend continues today as the Timberwolves have fired coach Randy Wittman. Who will take over? An experienced, proven coach? Nope. McHale!

Click that link for the full story.

As for Wittman and the Wolves, I can’t say that I have a firm grasp of how good a coach Wittman is. He hasn’t had much success in the brief stretches of time he’s spent running a team.

But the Wolves roster is so limited, it’s hard for any coach to succeed with it. I’d say they’re doing about as well as could be expected, so even if Wittman isn’t one of the league’s better head coaches, it’s doubtful anyone else could have done much better.

Maybe a little. A few more wins, perhaps.

But there isn’t much to work with on the roster.

Al Jefferson is playing well. Mike Miller should be shooting more. Kevin Love hasn’t had the instant impact Minnesota was hoping for. Other than that the team is mostly bench guys.

How many wins should such a roster have?

Dec 7: Lakers 105, Bucks 92

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant had 20 points and a season-high eight assists, Derek Fisher added 19 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat Milwaukee 105-92 on Sunday, improving their record to 17-2 and equaling the best 19-game start in the franchise’s 61-year history… Andrew Bynum, who had a career-high 17 rebounds against the Bucks last Jan. 11, grabbed 14 boards and scored 14 points. Pau Gasol had 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Joe Alexander had a team-high 15 points for the Bucks, who have lost 15 of their last 17 against the Lakers in Los Angeles. Beleaguered coach Scott Skiles got only 18 points from his staring lineup, and the team shot a collective 38 percent from the field… Richard Jefferson, who averaged 22.2 points over his previous six games, scored three during a foul-plagued 9 minutes.

Euroleague Week 6 MVP: Lior Eliyahu reports: The best individual performance until now in the 2008-09 Euroleague came at the perfect time for his team and crowned forward Lior Eliyahu of Maccabi Electra the MVP for Week 6 of the regular season. Maccabi Electra needed nothing less than Eliyahu’s best in order to outlast Cibona for a crucial 88-83 home victory in Group A, the team’s first since head coach Pini Gershon returned. Eliyahu was a one-man wrecking crew all game long, piling up 24 points on 10-for-14 two-point shooting and pulling 17 rebounds. Eliyahu added 6 assists and 8 fouls drawn for a performance index rating of 42, the highest in the Euroleague so far this season. He was followed in second place by Paulius Jankunas of Zalgiris, who shined despite his team’s home loss to Panathinaikos.

Sun Yue makes debut

Los Angeles Lakers rookie Sun Yue, also known as “the Chinese Magic Johnson” because he happens to be a tall point guard (and Chinese), got his first NBA regular season minutes late Sunday night in garbage-time as the Lakers were blowing out the Milwaukee Bucks.

He’s committing foul after foul. But then, daylight.

With around 90 seconds left in the game, Sun Yue passed the basketball to Chris Mihm at the right corner, just inside the three-point line. Mihm caught the pass, handed the ball back to a cutting Yue and set a pick. Yue then pulled up for a contested, high-arc jumper over Bucks center Francisco Elson. The shot hit nothing but net, exciting the fans still remaining in the stands.

A play later, Sasha Vujacic fired a nice long bounce-pass to a cutting Yue for an open layup.

Next play, Yue got a bit carried away, and drove into a pair of defenders, getting called for an offensive foul.

Mihm, meanwhile, got to get some aggression out with a hard slam dunk.

That’ll due it. The Lakers win 105-92. Yue played over 5 minutes, finishing 2-for-3 for 4 points, 4 fouls and 2 turnovers.

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