Archive for December 13th, 2008

Bonzi Wells signs in China

Xinhau reports: Former Houston Rockets’ guard Bonzi Wells arrived China on Friday afternoon to join Shanxi Zhongyu of the Chinese Basketball Association league, the club confirmed on Friday. The 32-year-old agreed a one-year contract with the club and the details of the contract were not disclosed. The club manager Zhang Beihai denied a rumour of 80,000 U.S.-dollar salary for the former teammate of Yao Ming, the most famous Chinese basketball player in the NBA, saying Well’s salary is around half of the amount.

Sixers fire coach Mo Cheeks

The AP reports: Maurice Cheeks was fired Saturday as coach of the Philadelphia 76ers, who are slumping at 9-14 a year after making the playoffs. Assistant general manager Tony DiLeo was appointed interim coach. The moves were confirmed by a person familiar with the decision who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because an announcement had not been made. The team scheduled an afternoon news conference with general manager Ed Stefanski Cheeks was one of more the popular players in 76ers history and was starting his fourth season as coach. Stefanski had given Cheeks two contract extensions in the past season, but the slow start was enough to cost him his job.

Update: Full official firing announcement here.

InsideHoops.com editor says: It’s wild how so many of the league’s coaches who just 1-3 seasons ago got pretty nice attention for overachieving and taking their squads to a better than expected record have gotten the axe. Cheeks didn’t work any miracles in Philadelphia, but last season’s Sixers did win a few games more than expected. Anyway, more on this in the next hour or so. Reload this page later in an hour or two, and also check our front page.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Grizzlies sign Darius Miles

The Memphis Grizzlies announced today that they have signed free agent forward Darius Miles. Terms of the deal were not disclosed per team policy.

“Darius has been an active, productive player in the past,” said Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace. “He did a good job with the Celtics in preseason and we look forward to working with him.”

The third overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Los Angeles Clippers, Miles played six NBA seasons (2000-06) with Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers. The 6-9, 235-pound forward averaged 10.6 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.15 blocks in 27.7 minutes in 412 career games (190 starts).

Miles, 27, missed all of 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons while recovering from microfracture surgery on his right knee, but recently attempted a comeback with the Boston Celtics. After signing a free-agent contract with Boston on Aug. 22, 2008, he appeared in six preseason contests, averaging 1.8 points and 1.3 rebounds in 10.4 minutes. He was waived by the Celtics on Oct. 20.

The Bellville, Illinois native became the first player in league history drafted straight out of high school (East St. Louis High School) to earn All-Rookie honors when he averaged 9.4 points and 1.54 blocks per game for the Clippers in 2000-01.  In his last NBA season in 2005-06, Miles posted career highs in points (14.0) and minutes played (32.2) per game with the Trail Blazers.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Dec 12: Lakers 112, Kings 103

The AP reports: The Lakers didn’t look like world beaters, but were good enough to beat the Kings this time. Avenging their loss at Sacramento three days earlier, Los Angeles survived a late charge to hold off the Kings 112-103 on Friday night. “We did better playing against them tonight,” said Kobe Bryant, who led the Lakers with 32 points… Pau Gasol had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who built sizable leads several times only to have defensive lapses that let Sacramento back into the game… John Salmons, who led Sacramento with 26 points, expected Bryant to be determined in the rematch.

Dec 12: Rockets 119, Warriors 108

The AP reports: Tracy McGrady tested his sore left knee during a recent practice, pronounced himself fit and then produced one of his best offensive nights of the season. McGrady just missed a triple-double in his return to the court, Yao Ming had 19 points and 14 rebounds, and the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors 119-108 Friday night… McGrady, who missed the last seven games with soreness in his left knee, had 24 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Rockets improved to 15-8, their best record after 23 games since the 1996-97 team started 21-2. Luis Scola had 19 points and Carl Landry scored 18… Andris Biedrins had 18 points and 12 rebounds in his ninth double-double in 10 home games for the Warriors, who had their two-game winning streak snapped. Anthony Randolph had his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. C.J. Watson added 17 points.

Dec 12: Clippers 120, Blazers 112 2OT

The AP reports: Zach Randolph doesn’t harbor any bad feelings toward his former team. He just doesn’t want to lose to the Trail Blazers. Randolph scored a season-high 38 points to lead the Los Angeles Clippers to a 120-112 double-overtime victory over the Blazers on Friday night. Randolph, who was booed at times by the Portland crowd, also had 11 rebounds… The Clippers (5-17), with the second-worst record in the Western Conference, sure did. Baron Davis contributed 27 points and made a 3-pointer that sent the game into overtime. Brandon Roy scored a career-high 38 points, but the Blazers (15-10) dropped their third straight game. Rookie Greg Oden had 15 points and 15 rebounds.

Dec 12: Suns 113, Magic 112

The AP reports: Grant Hill had two thoughts as he ran the baseline in the closing seconds: Would he receive the pass, and should he dunk the ball? Hill settled for a reverse layup with 2.7 seconds left to lift the Phoenix Suns to a 113-112 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night… Jason Richardson scored 21 points in his Phoenix debut, Stoudemire also scored 21 and Steve had 21 points and 10 assists for the Suns, who have won six in a row against Orlando… Dwight Howard scored 19 points in 22 minutes for Orlando before leaving with 8:36 left in the third quarter because of a sore left knee.

Dec 12: Spurs 98, Wolves 86

The AP reports: Every season the San Antonio Spurs start off a little bit slow, leaving many to wonder if the four-time champions have finally run out of steam. They never really do, of course. It just takes a little bit longer these days for Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the Spurs to get the engine revved up. Parker didn’t have another 55-point night in him, so his Spurs relied on their defense to notch their fifth straight victory, 98-86 over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night… In his first game back at Target Center since that career night on Nov. 5 that also included 10 assists, Parker managed 17 points and nine assists… Al Jefferson had 29 points and 13 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who have lost eight in a row and three straight since Kevin McHale took over as coach on Monday.

Dec 12: Celtics 94, Hornets 82

The AP reports: James Posey got his championship ring before the game. The Boston Celtics walked away with all the spoils after it. Paul Pierce scored 28 points and Kevin Garnett had 19 points and 10 rebounds on Friday night to lead the Celtics to their 14th consecutive victory, a 94-82 win over their former teammate and the New Orleans Hornets… Chris Paul had 20 points and 14 assists for the Hornets, while David West had 23 points and 14 rebounds. Posey scored seven points with seven rebounds and a steal while committing five fouls and contributing to a defense that forced the Celtics into 17 turnovers that led to 25 points… Kendrick Perkins had nine points, 13 rebounds and three blocked shots, and Eddie House hit two of his three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.

Dec 12: Grizzlies 103, Bulls 96

The AP reports: In a game featuring the NBA’s top scoring rookies, it was a couple of Memphis veterans who carried the offensive load. Rudy Gay scored 29 points and Hakim Warrick added 21, both matching their season highs, as the Grizzlies won their third straight with a 103-96 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Warrick’s 12 points in the fourth quarter kept the Bulls at bay, snapping Chicago’s two-game winning streak. The win marked the first time the Grizzlies won three straight under Marc Iavaroni, in his second season as their coach… Darko Milicic had a season-high 13 points and 11 rebounds, while Marc Gasol scored 11 for Memphis. Conley had nine points, a career-high 10 rebounds and seven assists. Ben Gordon led the Bulls with 26 points, while Luol Deng had 19. Drew Gooden had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Dec 12: Pistons 114, Pacers 110

The AP reports: The Detroit Pistons thought they were going to do it again. After leading the Indiana Pacers by 10 points late in the third quarter, the slumping Pistons found themselves down 103-101 in the final four minutes. But instead of losing after they led by double digits for the third time in four games and taking their fifth loss in six games overall, the Pistons rallied to beat Indiana 114-110. “It was like deja vu all over again,” said Allen Iverson, who finished with 17 points and 12 assists… The Pistons needed to overcome a career-high 42 points from Danny Granger, but gave the Pacers a fifth straight loss when Tayshaun Prince got a fingertip on T.J. Ford’s attempt at a game-tying jumper in the final seconds.

Dec 12: Raptors 101, Nets 79

The AP reports: The worst shooting performance of Vince Carter’s career allowed interim coach Jay Triano to see more positive signs from the Toronto Raptors. Chris Bosh scored 18 points and Toronto capitalized on Carter’s 0-for-13 night against his former team to beat the New Jersey Nets 101-79 on Friday, the Raptors’ second straight win under Triano… Jason Kapono, with four 3-pointers, and Joey Graham each had 16 points for the Raptors, who were outrebounded 50-37. Jose Calderon scored 13 as the Raptors improved to 2-3 under Triano, who replaced Sam Mitchell on Dec. 3. Yi Jianlian and Devin Harris led the Nets with 14 apiece, while Bobby Simmons had 12.

Dec 12: Hawks 87, Heat 73

The AP reports: The Miami Heat got off to their best start of the season, an 11-0 blitz that had Atlanta guard Mike Bibby slamming the ball down in disgust. From there, nearly everything went the Hawks’ way. Joe Johnson scored 21 points, Bibby and Josh Smith each added 15, and Atlanta shook off that woeful beginning to beat Miami with ease Friday night, 87-73… Dwyane Wade had 21 points and eight rebounds for Miami, which lost for the first time in five games. The Heat missed nine straight shots during one second-half lull, plus were outscored 23-4 in fast-break points and were a mere 4-for-10 from the foul line, compared with Atlanta’s 24-for-32.

Dec 12: Cavs 88, Sixers 72

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 28 points and Anderson Varejao added 17 in his first start this season as the Cavaliers, despite missing two key components, matched a club record with their 11th straight win, 88-72 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Friday night… Varejao filled in for Ilgauskas, who is expected to miss several games, and the frizzy-haired Brazilian and rookie Darnell Jackson, playing a season-high 24 minutes, did a nice job holding their own inside against Philadelphia’s big men. Varejao had seven rebounds, and Jackson, a second-round pick from Kansas added eight… Willie Green led the Sixers with 19 points, Andre Iguodala had 16 and Elton Brand 11 and 11 rebounds in his second game back after sitting two with a sore hamstring.

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