Archive for December 14th, 2008

Toronto Raptors sign Jake Voskuhl

The Toronto Raptors announced Sunday they have signed free-agent centre Jake Voskuhl. Per team policy, financial details were not disclosed.

Voskuhl, 31, is an eight-year NBA veteran. He has played for Chicago, Phoenix, Charlotte and Milwaukee, averaging 4.3 points, 3.6 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in 412 regular season games. He has also made 92 career starts. He has recorded career bests of 20 points (April 6, 2002 at Minnesota) and 16 rebounds (January 20, 2004 versus San Antonio).

The 6-foot-11, 255 pounder was selected 33rd overall in the 2000 NBA Draft by the Chicago Bulls. He was acquired by Phoenix in October 2001 and spent four seasons with the Suns. He posted career highs of 6.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, 24.3 minutes and 43 starts in the 2003-04 campaign.

Voskuhl participated in his lone postseason action in 2002-03 as a member of the Suns, where he averaged 6.0 points, 3.7 rebounds and 16.3 minutes in six games. He shot .706 (12-17) from the field and .923 (12-13) from the free throw line.

The native of Katy, Texas averaged 6.3 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 138 career games at the University of Connecticut. He helped the Huskies capture the 1999 NCAA Championship.

The Raptors play host to the New Jersey Nets on Monday at Air Canada Centre. Game time is 7 p.m.

Nets-Raptors observations editor Jeff Lenchiner shares his unedited thoughts on the New Jersey Nets and Toronto Raptors from Friday night. The Raptors visited the Nets and won in convincing fashion, 101-79.

Quick summary: The Raptors led 24-18 after the first quarter. Both teams scored just 16 each in a quiet second quarter. The Raptors tore away in the third quarter (31-19), and kept things going in the fourth for a convincing win. New Jersey shot just 31.3%. They had 20 offensive rebounds, compared to just 5 for the Raptors, but barely converted anything.

It’s pointless to say anything about Vince Carter today. He had a miserable game, shooting 0-of-13 and hitting 3-of-4 free throws for just three points, four rebounds and three assists (but three turnovers). The Raptors played very good defense, but Vince being off like this obviously isn’t normal.

Toronto also defended Devin Harris very well, holding him to 4-of-10 shooting for 14 points, five rebounds and five assists (but four turnovers). Are teams starting to figure Harris out? Hopefully not, for the Nets sake.

What I didn’t like about the Nets today is that as Harris struggled, very few other Nets seemed to try to help him out. As Harris had the ball in three-point range up top, Brook Lopez was the only Net to consistently set a real screen for him in an effort to free Devin up. Other Nets stood around watching. Now, usually Harris uses his super-quickness to create out of nowhere, but when it isn’t happening, guys should move and help a bit.

I’m extremely impressed by Brook Lopez. He’s the real deal and is very strong, agile and basketball-smart on both ends of the floor. The young center is a stud and will have an impressive NBA career.

I still don’t know what to make of Yi Jianlian, other than that he’s agile and has a sweet-looking jumper.

The arena’s sound system sounded especially muffled today.

As for the Raptors, Jermaine O’Neal is moving slowly and not the player he was before, but he has a high basketball IQ and uses his size more effectively than shows on the stat-sheet. Only a little, though.

Chris Bosh didn’t do anything special today, but he didn’t really have to.

Jason Kapono took 15 shots, more than any other Raptor, hitting just six, four of which were three-pointers, finishing with 16 points and five rebounds.

Joey Graham is having a great stretch and has played good basketball for the last few weeks. He looks confident. Graham came off the bench to play almost 30 minutes, shooting 5-of-8 for 16 points.

Andrea Bargnani was a starter this season, but now comes off the bench, and showed very little today, shooting just 2-of-10. That’s obviously worse than usual, but I’m still not sure how good he’s going to get. He’s shown in the past that he has the ability to become a starter-quality player on a winning team, but he isn’t that, yet.

Keep an eye on the Raptors as they learn to play under new head coach Jay triano.

Dec 13: Clippers 95, Rockets 82

The AP reports: The Los Angeles Clippers needed back-to-back 30-point efforts from newly acquired Zach Randolph to win consecutive games for the first time this season. Randolph had 30 points and 13 rebounds Saturday night in a 95-82 victory over the Houston Rockets. Friday night at Portland, he had 38 points and 11 boards in a double-overtime win… Yao Ming had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Rockets, who had beaten the Clippers in seven consecutive meetings and 19 of the previous 22. Tracy McGrady scored 19 points on 5-for-17 shooting in his second game back after missing the previous seven because of a sore left knee… Al Thornton scored 26 points and Camby added 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Clippers, who got double-digit scoring from all of their starters. Baron Davis, who had 23 points and eight assists against the Rockets in the previous meeting at Houston despite a case of food poisoning, had 13 points and nine assists in the rematch.

Dec 13: Knicks 114, Kings 90

The AP reports: Al Harrington made five 3-pointers and scored 33 points Saturday night, helping the Knicks beat the slumping Sacramento Kings 114-90. “(Harrington) is a guy who’s a shot-maker and plays solid defense,” said teammate David Lee, who dominated the inside with 17 points and 19 rebounds… Although the Knicks only used seven players for much of the game, it was so one-sided in the fourth quarter that even Jerome James earned playing time… After missing seven of the past eight games with a strained groin, point guard Nate Robinson had 19 points for the Knicks, who won their second straight and moved within a game of .500 at 11-12. Tim Thomas scored 11 points and Chris Duhon added 10 points and eight assists.

Dec 13: Magic 103, Jazz 94

The AP reports: Could Dwight Howard be going from Superman to super sub? The All-Star center missed the first game of his career Saturday night, and coach Stan Van Gundy joked he might not get his starting spot back after the Orlando Magic used a dominating third quarter to beat the Utah Jazz 103-94… Rashard Lewis scored 27 points and Hedo Turkoglu added 22 for Orlando (18-6), which improved to 9-3 on the road this season… Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams each scored 17 points for Utah (15-10), which committed 22 turnovers, its second-highest total of the season.

Dec 13: Nuggets 123, Warriors 105

The AP reports: The Denver Nuggets didn’t need another 33-point third quarter from Carmelo Anthony. Fourteen was enough to put away Golden State. Anthony had 27 points and nine rebounds, Chauncey Billups added 16 points and 11 assists, and the Nuggets beat the Warriors 123-105 on Saturday night… Kenyon Martin, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sprained left wrist, had 15 points for the Nuggets, who had six players score in double figures. Jamal Crawford scored 25 points and Rob Kurz had 20 points and seven rebounds for the Warriors, who have lost 11 of their last 13.

Dec 13: Mavs 103, Thunder 99

The AP reports: Dirk Nowitzki had one of the best scoring nights of his career, Jason Terry put up another 20-point game and the Dallas Mavericks shot better than 50 percent from the floor. Despite those performances, the Mavericks still needed a late rally to fend off the struggling Oklahoma City Thunder. Nowitzki scored a season-high 46 points, Terry added 28 and Dallas won for the 11th time in 13 games, beating the Thunder 103-99 on Saturday… Jeff Green scored 25 points and Kevin Durant added 22, but none in the fourth quarter. Rookie Russell Westbrook chipped in with 19 points and eight rebounds.

Dec 13: Bulls 113, Nets 104

The AP reports: Ben Gordon and the Bulls knew Vince Carter would come out firing after the worst shooting performance of his career, but they overcame that with their depth. Gordon scored 29 points and Derrick Rose had nine of his 22 in the fourth quarter to lead Chicago to a 113-104 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday night… Chicago got help from its young front line, who had been inconsistent all season. Tyrus Thomas scored 16 points and Joakim Noah added seven points and eight rebounds for the Bulls, who improved to 8-3 at home… Devin Harris finished with 22 points and seven assists. Carter and Harris were a combined 24-of-25 from the free throw line.

Dec 13: Bucks 121, Pacers 103

The AP reports: Michael Redd scored 27 points and Andrew Bogut had 20 points and 20 rebounds to lead Milwaukee. Charlie Villanueva added 26 points, 24 in the first half, to equal a season high and help the Bucks snap a three-game losing streak. Jefferson had 20 points, 10 in the fourth quarter. T.J. Ford had a season-high 27 points for Indiana… Rookie Brandon Rush, the 13th pick in the draft out of Kansas, had 16 off the bench for the Pacers. Danny Granger, coming off a career-high 42 points in a loss to the Detroit Pistons on Friday night, added 14.

Dec 13: Sixers 104, Wizards 89

The AP reports: It had been 18 years since Tony DiLeo paced the sideline as a coach—and that came in another country. Though he couldn’t revel in the circumstances of his elevation to coach of the Philadelphia 76ers because of his close relationship with Maurice Cheeks, the experience didn’t seem any different. Elton Brand scored a season-high 27 points, leading Philadelphia to a 104-89 victory over the struggling Washington Wizards on Saturday night in DiLeo’s coaching debut with the 76ers… Lou Williams added 15 points, Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala each had 14, and Willie Green scored 13 for the Sixers, who snapped a three-game losing streak and improved to 10-14… The Sixers had lost their previous five home games. Samuel Dalembert pulled down 17 rebounds and Andre Miller had a season-high 12 assists.

Dec 13: Hawks 97, Cavs 92

The AP reports: Mike Bibby scored 24 points, Marvin Williams hit the clinching free throws, and Atlanta snapped the Cleveland Cavaliers’ 11-game winning streak with a 97-92 victory Saturday night. LeBron James had 33 points and nine assists for the Cavs, who overcame a 14-point deficit in the third quarter to take a 70-68 lead early in the fourth on Mo Williams’ layup… Cleveland was playing its second straight game without injured starting center Zydrunas Ilgauskas. Anderson Varejao’s 11 points and eight rebounds weren’t enough to compensate on the front line with Ben Wallace going scoreless on just two shots from the field.

Dec 13: Pistons 90, Bobcats 86

The AP reports: Allen Iverson and the rest of the Detroit Pistons starters retreated to the end of the bench to start the fourth quarter. Taking advantage of the ragged debut by Charlotte Bobcats newcomers Boris Diaw and Raja Bell, the Pistons led by 22 points and the regulars were certain their night was over… Hamilton added 18 points, and Rodney Stuckey had 13 points and 10 assists in his third straight start at point guard for the Pistons, who won their second straight game with their new, smaller lineup despite being outscored 30-12 in the final period… Gerald Wallace had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Bobcats in his return after missing three games following the death of his grandmother. Wallace’s father also died on Thursday, and he may miss another game next week.

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