Archive for December 9th, 2008

Martell Webster out 4 weeks

Trail Blazers guard/forward Martell Webster will be sidelined for approximately four weeks after experiencing acute pain in his left foot Sunday at Toronto.

Webster experienced pain Dec. 7 against the Raptors, his first game back after undergoing surgery to repair a stress fracture in his left foot on Oct. 9. An X-ray taken Monday revealed that the fracture has regressed from an X-ray taken late last month.

“The good news is that Martell is not experiencing pain at the fracture site,” said Kevin Pritchard, Trail Blazers General Manager.  “He is, however, experiencing pain in his little toe joint (head of the fifth metatarsal bone).  While it’s an unfortunate setback for Martell, we feel putting additional stress on the foot at this time is not conducive for complete healing.”

Webster will be placed in a walking boot for two weeks at which time he’ll be reevaluated and an updated treatment plan will be implemented.

A fourth-year Trail Blazer, Webster initially incurred the injury in an Oct. 7 preseason game vs. Sacramento.

Webster, 22, has career averages of 8.1 points, 3.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists while averaging 37.2% (279-for-750) from 3-point range in 219 games (115 starts) with the Trail Blazers.

The Knicks have two players who may not be with the team in the near future. Point guard Stephon Marbury is the ongoing subject of buyout talks. Shooting guard Cuttino Mobley, who has yet to play for the team, is undergoing heart tests and could retire.

Before being traded, Renaldo Balkman was a useful, energic garbageman off the Knicks bench. Hoping to fill that role has been Patrick Ewing Jr. He appears to literally be waiting around to get signed by New York, and there’s reason for him to believe it’ll happen, eventually. The New York Daily News (Frank Isola) reports:

Patrick Ewing Jr. is expected to begin training with the Knicks’ D-League affiliate in Reno this week, the Daily News has learned, and could eventually re-join the NBA club once the futures of Cuttino Mobley and/or Stephon Marbury are resolved. Ewing, who was released by the Knicks prior to the start of the season, has attended several Knicks games and has been a frequent visitor to the team’s training center in Greenburgh, N.Y.

Ewing seems like a fringe NBA player. He’s gotten a lot of attention considering it’s not clear that he’s actually good enough to stay in the league. Assuming he does eventually join the team, we’ll see if he justifies all this ink.

Knicks-Nets rivalry is gone

The New Jersey Nets were a very good team for a few years.

The New York Knicks haven’t been a very good team in quite a while.

Although the two teams are in different states, the drive separating the two teams is just 15  minutes. Maybe 30 or even 40 minutes if it’s rush-hour.

But the two squads have gone through such big roster changes lately, the players on the two sides have barely battled on the court against each other while wearing their current uniforms.  The Bergen Record (Al Iannazzone) reports (via blog):

There is no animosity anymore. Vince Carter doesn’t dislike anyone. Tim Thomas might be the only Knick who doesn’t like the Nets and that’s because they traded him on draft day and hurt him in the 2004 playoffs. But both are eon’s ago. This could be the start of a rivalry – maybe. Both have young teams and both have cap money in 2010 when both will be competing for the same players. But the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Nets still have the best player in the rivalry (Carter), and as well as Knicks point Chris Duhon is playing, he’s not the best point guard in the area. He’s not even the best one on his team, Marbury is. The best in the area still belongs to the Nets. Harris is playing like an All-Star and has helped the Nets to nine wins in their last 12 games.

It’s hard to predict that the team teams will develop anything resembling a real rivalry anytime soon, because there’s no telling who will be on either team’s roster in the next season or so.

It is nice that, win or lose, both teams are much better to watch now than they were just a season ago.

Pistons sign Antonio McDyess

Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has signed free agent forward/center Antonio McDyess.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

McDyess played in the team’s first two regular-season games this season before being sent to Denver along with Chauncey Billups and Cheikh Samb as part of a trade for Allen Iverson.  He was bought out of his contract in Denver and placed on waivers on November 6, 2008.  In his two games this season, the former NBA All-Star averaged 7.0 points and 4.0 rebounds in 19.0 minutes off the bench.

The Quitman, Mississippi native has led the Pistons’ bench in scoring in each of his four seasons with the club and finished fourth in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting in 2005-06.  McDyess was an NBA All-Star in 2001, earned All-NBA Third Team in 1999 and NBA All-Rookie First Team honors in 1996.

36 players in China lied about age

The AP reports: A crackdown on “age shaving” has found 36 players in China’s professional basketball league were older than they originally stated, the official basketball association announced Tuesday. No individual players were named in a report published in the Sports Ministry’s official newspaper, China Sports Daily. Officials have turned over the data to world basketball’s governing body, FIBA, and the Asian Basketball Association in hopes of “winning their understanding,” said Liu Xiaonong, the head of the association’s Communist Party committee. “In the future we will take whatever measures to strictly monitor player registrations,” Liu said.

Dec 8: Magic 95, Clippers 88

The AP reports: “It was a weird game, but we’ve got to learn how to close things out,” said Orlando’s Dwight Howard, who had 23 points, 22 rebounds, six blocks and four assists… Orlando took a big lead early, fell behind, then came back in the fourth quarter. Baron Davis, who finished with 27 points, hit a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in the third quarter to give the Clippers a 75-66 lead, their biggest margin of the game… Rashard Lewis added 18 points for Orlando and Jameer Nelson had 15. Zach Randolph had 21 points and 12 rebounds for Los Angeles, and Marcus Camby had 17 rebounds.

Dec 8: Grizzlies 109, Rockets 97

The AP reports: O.J. Mayo and the Memphis Grizzlies used a quick start to put away the injury-depleted Houston Rockets. Rudy Gay scored 20 points, Mayo and Hakim Warrick had 18 points apiece, and The Grizzlies scored the first 10 points Monday night in a 109-97 win over the Rockets, who were without two of their top three scorers as Tracy McGrady and Ron Artest sat out with injuries… Kyle Lowry had 11 points and five assists, while Mike Conley and Marc Gasol each had 10 points. Gasol and Warrick had eight rebounds apiece for Memphis. Luis Scola had 16 points and 15 rebounds, and Rafer Alston had 16 points and eight assists for the Rockets. Von Wafer added 15 points, and Yao Ming and Aaron Brooks finished with 14 apiece. Carl Landry had 12 points.

Dec 8: Warriors 112, Thunder 102

The AP reports: Playing without two of their top scorers, Andris Biedrins had 17 points and 21 rebounds as the Warriors ended a nine-game skid with a 112-102 victory over the lowly Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday night… Kevin Durant scored a season-high 41 and almost brought the Thunder all the way back from a 21-point fourth-quarter deficit, but Oklahoma City ended up losing its fourth straight and dropping to 2-20. Stephen Jackson (20.1 points per game) and Corey Maggette (19.1) sat out with injuries but it didn’t slow the Warriors. Jamal Crawford scored 19 points, and Brandan Wright and Anthony Morrow each had 15 as Golden State (6-15) shot 50.6 percent from the field.

Dec 8: Heat 100, Bobcats 96

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade scored 41 points, 10 in the final 8 1/2 minutes to lead the Heat back from a seven-point deficit for their fourth straight win—extending Miami’s longest streak since the 2006-07 season… Wade scored 41 points, 10 in the final 8 1/2 minutes to lead the Heat back from a seven-point deficit for their fourth straight win—extending Miami’s longest streak since the 2006-07 season… Mario Chalmers scored 15 points and Marion finished with 13 for Miami. Jason Richardson scored 24 for Charlotte, but missed two free throws that would have tied the game with 32.3 seconds remaining. Okafor added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Bobcats, who were without their second-leading-scorer Gerald Wallace, who was in Alabama to mourn the death of his grandmother.

Paul Millsap has game

With a record of 13 wins and 9 losses, the Utah Jazz are playing fairly decently considering they’ve suffered constant injuries all season. Carlos Boozer has played 12 games; Deron Williams just 9.

While D-Will is currently active, Boozer remains out. But there’s been a bright spot in the frontcourt. The Deseret News (Tim Buckley) reports:

Paul Millsap has started Utah’s last nine games in Carlos Boozer’s place and has had scoring-rebounding double-doubles in each of his past eight. During those 10 games Boozer has been absent, in fact, Millsap has averaged 16.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks. That’s exactly double the points and nearly the double the boards he averaged last season, his second after being taken from Louisiana Tech in the 2006 NBA Draft’s second round. At eight, it’s also double the number of double-doubles Millsap had all of last season.

Millsap has proven that at the very least he can be a prime backup on a winning team. He should have a successful NBA career for years to come.

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: Some argue that Amare Stoudemire, who has a 32-inch waistline, can’t get as solid of a base as the NBA’s top rebounders. Porter said Stoudemire’s build reminds him of his former San Antonio teammate, David Robinson, who weighed the same as Stoudemire but is 7-1. “You really have to be down and engaged in those situations to maintain your balance,” Porter said. “He’s got to be low and have a thrust.” Stoudemire prefers to maintain broad shoulders and a narrow waist. “I don’t want to be big and bulky,” he said. “My advantage is quickness when it comes to rebounding. A lot of guys I cover are a lot bigger in the post. I can’t push them off the post, so my best thing to do is use my quick feet to get around them or don’t let them get the ball. Quickness helps on offense. Guys can’t guard me.”

Bucks rookie better at home

Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward Luc Richard Mbah a Moute has turned out to be a better basketball player than most observers expected. Playing 27.4 minutes per game, he’s putting up 8.6 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.09 steals, and contributing in ways that don’t show up on the stat sheet.

Sure, the Bucks haven’t played very good basketball this season, but at least Mbah a Moute’s turned out to be a decent contributor.

At home, at least.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Tom Enlund) reports:

The most glaring contrast in Mbah a Moute’s home and road statistics is his field-goal percentage. He is shooting 49.2% at home and 40.0% on the road. He is scoring 8.8 points per game at home and 8.5 points on the road. He is rebounding better on the road, 7.2 per game compared with 5.9 at home. On a recent four-game trip to Charlotte, Orlando, Atlanta and Detroit, Mbah a Moute averaged 6.5 points on 37.5% shooting and 6.2 rebounds. On a trip to Denver and Utah, he averaged 9.5 points on 40.0% shooting and 5.5 rebounds. “I’ve been struggling a little bit on the road,” he said. “The teams we’ve been playing the last couple weeks have been really good teams. All those teams are good teams and you go against those teams it’s always going to be hard.”

Charlie Villanueva is still the better player, though the team wants him to keep improving his basketball IQ and remember to hustle every second he’s on the floor, at both ends of the court.

Suns improving

The East Valley Tribune (Jerry Brown) reports: In the last two games, Steve Nash has gone back to holding the ball longer, breaking down the defense and finding more space to operate. The Suns had more fast-break points (18) than turnovers (17), put up 21 3-pointers and went to the line 40 times as Amaré Stoudemire (22 points, 20 rebounds) and O’Neal (15 points, 10 rebounds) each had a double-double and the team collected a season-high 54 rebounds vs. the Jazz. “Our flow and rhythm is improving and there are some positive signs offensively,” Nash said. “I think we’ve gotten to a better place spacing and tempo-wise, where I can penetrate, be a nuisance, get in the paint and make plays. “Those are obviously strengths of mine, so the more I get to do that the better I’m going to feel, and I think it’s better for the team.”

Rodney Stuckey now a starter

The Detroit Pistons have been pretty unimpressive recently, and head coach Michael Curry is making a change. The Detroit News (Ted Kulfan) reports:

Rodney Stuckey is moving into the Pistons’ starting lineup. After strongly hinting of a change after Sunday’s loss in New York, coach Michael Curry announced the move Monday after practice at the Verizon Center. Stuckey and Allen Iverson will start in the backcourt, with Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince at forward and Rasheed Wallace at center tonight when the Pistons take on the Wizards.

Coming off the bench, young Stuckey hasn’t quite burst into stardom as many hoped he would. That’s not a knock on him, though. We’re only a month and one week into the new season. He’s good, contributing 9.2 points, 2.6 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game, but has shot just 41.1% and an awful 22.2% from three-point range.

Stuckey’s future is bright. I’m not sure he’s ready to explode just yet, even with a bigger role. But he has the ability to. You can’t say that for most young point guards.

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