Archive for December 11th, 2008

Thunder recall Steven Hill from D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has recalled center Steven Hill from the Tulsa 66ers of the National Basketball Development League.

Hill, who was assigned to Tulsa on November 21st, averaged 9.6 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks in 25.6 minutes per contest. Hill appeared in five games, including three starts, for the 66ers.

Hill will practice with the Thunder tomorrow.

New Lakers radio deal

The Los Angeles Lakers today announced a new, multi-year radio broadcasting agreement with 710 ESPN beginning in the 2009-10 season.

As the flagship station for the Lakers’ radio coverage, 710 ESPN will carry all 82 regular season and any playoff games, as well as pre- and post-game coverage and preseason games.

“This is an exciting but somewhat bittersweet announcement for the Lakers organization,” said Jeanie Buss, Executive Vice President of Business Operations.  “KLAC has been a wonderful partner for more than three decades and we greatly respect and appreciate everything they have done.  At the same time, we feel strongly that the time is right for this move to 710 ESPN.”

Buss said the decision was influenced by strength of the ESPN brand and the substantial investment the company has made in the L.A. market.  710 ESPN, for example, plans to broadcast pre- and post-game coverage from the new state-of-the-art ESPN studios at L.A. Live across the street from STAPLES Center.

“It’s hard to imagine two groups better suited to working together than the Lakers and ESPN,” said Jim Pastor, SVP, ESPN Radio Station Group.  “The move to L.A. Live and the vast resources of both organizations provide an incredible opportunity to serve Lakers fans for years to come.  We couldn’t be prouder to call 710 ESPN their new home.”

The Lakers radio broadcasting team of play-by-play announcer Spero Dedes and color commentator Mychal Thompson will move with the team to the new station.

In addition to game coverage, 710 ESPN will broadcast additional Lakers-themed programming, including hourly team news reports, regular remote broadcasts from Lakers community events and a new weekly Lakers “insider” program.  Details of these and other initiatives will be released prior to the commencement of 710 ESPN’s broadcasts next season.

The Lakers’ commitment with the current rights holder, AM 570 KLAC, expires at the end of the 2008-09 season.

Ilgauskas sprains ankle

Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas suffered a left ankle sprain with 9:39 remaining in the fourth quarter in last night’s game in Philadelphia. He did not return to the game. He was examined by Dr. Richard Parker at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health today.  X-rays were negative and a moderate left ankle sprain is confirmed. He is listed as OUT for tomorrow’s game versus Philadelphia and his status will be updated as appropriate.

Chris Wilcox out 10-14 days

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Chris Wilcox left last night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies at 5:35 of the first quarter with a dislocated ring finger on his left hand.

He was taken to McBride Hospital where team physicians were able to reset the dislocation.

Wilcox is expected to miss the next 10-14 days.

This season he’s playing 22.5 minutes per game and averaging 9.0 points, 5.5 rebounds and little else on 47.7% shooting.

Sixers are struggling

The Philadelphia 76ers were somewhat of a surprise last season, winning 40 of their 82 games, which although unspectacular was better than expected.

In the offseason they made a huge signing, adding free agent power forward Elton Brand, a respected star who was coming off injury but has proven to be a force at his position.

The move seemed even better when considering the fact that Philly had a wide open hole at the four-spot.

Now, a month and a half into the 2008-09 season, the Sixers are still struggling to find their way. And their fans are starting to vocalize their frustration. The Philly Burbs (Tom Moore) reports:

The natives are growing a little restless. By the time Elton Brand missed a short jumper two-thirds of the way through the third quarter to make him 2-for-9 with the 76ers behind the Cavaliers by 18 points, the Wachovia Center fans’ boos and catcalls became louder. “Brand, you stink,” called out one. “Brand, do something,” said another. “Do something, (Maurice) Cheeks,” chimed in a third. The fans certainly didn’t think the Sixers, who were projected to win 45 to 50 games after signing Brand to an $82 million contract, would be 9-13 with five straight home losses. “Of course, they deserve to be restless,” Brand said. “They pay their hard-earned money and they expected a lot of us. We just need to step it up.”

Brand has played pretty well, averaging 16.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 1.5 blocks, though he’s shooting just 44.2%. The team’s struggles aren’t his fault, even if isn’t performing quite on the high level expected of him just yet. Samuel Dalembert, Elton’s partner in the starting big-man department, is scoring just 5.8 ppg, grabbing a somewhat respectable 7.9 rebounds, but not doing a whole lot else.

Andre Iguodala also started the season in pretty quiet fashion.

Philly also can’t make three-pointers. This has been a known problem, and it’s going to continue.

I expect them to improve, simply because on paper they should. Watch them over the next few weeks. If things still look disappointing, trades could be on the way.

–InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner

Dec 11: Lakers 115, Suns 110

The AP reports: Pau Gasol scored 28 points, Bryant had seven of his 18 in the last 6 1/2 minutes, and the Western Conference-leading Lakers struggled to a 115-110 victory Wednesday night. Andrew Bynum added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Sasha Vujacic scored a season-high 15 points and Derek Fisher had 13 for the Lakers (18-3), who were coming off a lethargic 113-101 loss at Sacramento on Tuesday night and didn’t clinch this victory until the final minute. The Suns (13-10) played without Raja Bell, Boris Diaw and rookie Sean Singletary, traded to Charlotte earlier Wednesday for Jason Richardson, Jared Dudley and a 2010 second-round pick. Phoenix also was without former Lakers star Shaquille O’Neal, whose 92-year-old great-grandmother died this week… Matt Barnes had season-high totals of 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Phoenix. Grant Hill scored 23 points, Amare Stoudemire had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and Leandro Barbosa added 18 points for the Suns. Steve Nash shot 2-of-12 and was held to seven points and nine assists.

Dec 11: Warriors 119, Bucks 96

The AP reports: Marco Belinelli’s achingly perfect jumper from behind the backboard just rubbed it in for the Milwaukee Bucks. They couldn’t keep up when the Golden State Warriors finally played their beautiful game in the fourth quarter. Stephen Jackson scored 21 points, C.J. Watson added 19 and the Warriors won their second straight after a nine-game losing streak, 119-96 over the slumping Bucks on Wednesday night… Andris Biedrins had 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Warriors, who pulled away with a 22-5 run to begin the fourth after leading just 82-81 entering the period… Michael Redd scored 27 points for the Bucks… Richard Jefferson scored 17 points, and Luke Ridnour added 13 for Milwaukee in another meeting between the clubs that played two preseason games in China in October.

Dec 11: Nuggets 116, Wolves 105

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony matched George Gervin’s NBA record with 33 points in the third and finished with a season-high 45 points in the Denver Nuggets’ 116-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night… Chauncey Billups added 24 points in Denver’s eighth straight win over Minnesota. After the game, he was still in awe of Anthony’s performance… Al Jefferson had 26 points and 12 rebounds, and Randy Foye also scored 26 points for Minnesota, which has lost seven straight games and two in a row since Kevin McHale took over as head coach on Monday.

Dec 11: Spurs 95, Hawks 89

The AP reports: Sometimes Manu Ginobili enjoys the thought of coming off the bench. It looks as if Wednesday was one of those nights. Ginobili scored 27 points in a return to his sixth-man role to help the San Antonio Spurs beat Atlanta 95-89 for their fourth straight victory. Ginobili, the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year last season, scored 14 points in the fourth quarter… Tim Duncan, playing in his 1,000th NBA game in the regular season and playoffs, added 19 points and 11 rebounds. Joe Johnson led Atlanta (12-9) with 29 points on 13-of-20 shooting from the floor. Ginobili was 8-of-12, including 5-of-7 from the 3-point line, and made six free throws without a miss.

Dec 11: Hornets 105, Bobcats 89

The AP reports: Chris Paul had 15 points and 15 assists, and the Hornets led by as many as 23 points in the first half on the way to their seventh victory in eight games… Rookie D.J. Augustin scored a career-high 28 points to lead Charlotte, which took the floor with a depleted lineup shortly after a multiplayer trade that sent leading scorer Jason Richardson to Phoenix… Alexis Ajinca scored 12 points, and Matt Carroll 10 for Charlotte. David West and Peja Stojakovic each scored 17 points for New Orleans. Chandler had 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Hornets, who had a new look, too. They wore the white, red and black throwback uniforms of the old New Orleans Buccaneers of the ABA.

Dec 11: Cavs 101, Sixers 93

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 29 points, Mo Williams added a season-high 27 and the Cavaliers cruised to their 10th consecutive victory, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 101-93 on Wednesday night… Anderson Varejao added 15 points, and Ben Wallace had 10 rebounds for the Central Division-leading Cavaliers, 18-1 in their last 19 games, 19-3 overall and 7-3 on the road. They are one win shy of tying the franchise record of 11 straight wins set during the 1988-89 season… Center Zydrunas Ilgauskas limped to the locker room with 9:39 left in the fourth with a sprained left ankle. He did not return… Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 27 points for the 76ers. Andre Miller added 22, and Lou Williams had 13 of his season-high 22 in the fourth for Philadelphia. The 76ers have dropped two straight and seven of nine to fall to 9-13.

Dec 11: Grizzlies 108, Thunder 102

The AP reports: Rudy Gay had 22 points, and Mike Conley scored 14 of his season-high 16 points in fourth quarter to help the Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-102 on Wednesday night for their first winning streak of the season… Mayo added 18 points in the first three quarters to pass Magic Johnson for the third longest streak of double-figure scoring games to start a career at 22. Only Dan Issel (27) and Bobby Jones (24), who played for the Denver Nuggets in the franchise’s first season in the NBA in 1976, had longer streaks. Kevin Durant scored 28 points, Russell Westbrook added 15 and Jeff Green had 13 for Oklahoma City, which got one of its league-low two wins at Memphis on Nov. 29. Desmond Mason, Nick Collison and Joe Smith also scored 10 apiece.

Dec 11: Knicks 121, Nets 109

The AP reports: Al Harrington scored a season-high 39 points, fellow New Jersey high school star Tim Thomas also had his best game of the season, and New York rallied to beat the Nets 121-109 on Wednesday night… Harrington was a point shy of his career high, while Thomas scored a season-high 26… But they got by with huge efforts from their newcomers and a steady one from Chris Duhon, who finished with 10 points and 10 assists. Wilson Chandler added 24 points for the Knicks, who rebounded from a 105-100 loss in Chicago on Tuesday night and won for just the second time in six games. Devin Harris scored 32 points for the Nets, but he couldn’t sustain his blistering start and New Jersey was denied a third straight victory. Vince Carter had 18.

Dec 11: Raptors 101, Pacers 88

The AP reports: Raptors forward Jermaine O’Neal scooped up the game ball as the final buzzer sounded, not to remember a victory over Indiana, his former team, but to give new coach Jay Triano a memento from his first win. Jason Kapono scored a season-high 25 points, Chris Bosh added 21 points and 10 rebounds and the Raptors snapped a five-game losing streak with a 101-88 victory over the Pacers on Wednesday night… Jamario Moon also had a season high with 17 points for Toronto, including a putback dunk on O’Neal’s miss in the third quarter. Joey Graham had 12 points, and Jose Calderon added 11 points and 14 assists… Danny Granger led Indiana with 22 points, Murphy had 20 points and 20 rebounds, and Marquis Daniels finished with 21 points. The Pacers have lost four straight and nine of 11.

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