Archive for December 24th, 2008

A Spike Lee Jordan documentary?

Big-time basketball documentaries that get national attention don’t come out too often. When they do, I make sure to watch. Gunnin’ for that #1 Spot, on HS ballers, was very good. So was Through the Fire, the Sebastian Telfair one. The Year of Yao, on Yao Ming, wasn’t quite as good, but still at least worth the time to watch.

But if the following item actually materializes, myself and everyone who loves basketball would definitely catch it. The New York Post (Page 6) reports:

Spike Lee has found his next muse. The director was overheard “discussing his upcoming project, a documentary on the life of Michael Jordan,” during a birthday dinner for Aymeric Clemente at West 13th Street eatery Bagatelle the other night.

That’s a gossip page, which means the info isn’t set in stone. Page 6 is one of the most proven gossip pages around, but it’s still just a rumor until proven otherwise.

I hope it happens.

Nielsen NBA ratings for Christmas games

Nielson.com reports: Since ABC obtained NBA broadcasting rights in 2002, the network’s Christmas Day games have averaged a 4.1 rating and 6.9 million viewers nationally. The highest mark came in 2004 when the Lakers and Heat (featuring a much-anticipated reunion between Kobe and Shaq) pulled a 7.3 rating and 13.2 million viewers. The San Antonio Spurs and Phoenix Suns officially tip off ABC’s broadcast season at 2:40pm ET Christmas Day.  Last year, the NBA on ABC averaged a 2.2 national rating, up 10% from 06-07.

InsideHoops.com says: Looking at the Nielson ratings for NBA Christmas games, Phoenix at LA Lakers in 2007 was seen by 5,985,000 people. LA Lakers at Miami in 2006 was seen by 5,464,000 viewers. Miami at Cleveland in 2006 was seen by 5,020,000 people. San Antonio at Detroit in 2005 was viewed by 6,011,000 people. LA Lakers at Miami in 2005 was seen by 8,063,000 viewers. Miami at LA Lakers in 2004 was seen by 13,182,000 people. Dallas at Sacramento in 2003 was seen by 5,030,000 people. Houston at LA Lakers in 2003 was seen by 7,187,000 people. Boston at New Jersey in 2002 was seen by 3,957,000 people. And Sacramento at LA Lakers in 2002 was seen by 7,484,000 viewers.

Jordan Farmar out 8 weeks after surgery

Lakers guard Jordan Farmar underwent successful surgery today to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee, it was announced by the team.

The surgery, which took approximately 30 minutes, was performed by Dr. Clarence Shields of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Group.  Farmar is expected to be out approximately eight weeks.

Farmar suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Lakers game at Miami on Friday night.  He is averaging 7.9 points and 2.4 assists in 19.6 minutes this season.

Rockets trade Steve Francis to Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies reacquired its 2009 second-round draft pick from the Houston Rockets and also received guard and former Grizzlies draft selection Steve Francis, and cash considerations in exchange for a 2011 conditional second-round pick, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Fans are discussing the trade here. Join in and share your opinion.

Houston originally received Memphis’ 2009 second-round pick along with the draft rights to Donté Greene (28th overall pick) in exchange for forward Darrell Arthur (27th) in a draft night trade on June 26, 2008. Arthur, a 6-9, 235-pound forward, ranks in the top 10 among NBA rookies in rebounds (4.6, 9th) and blocks (0.81, 7th) and is also averaging 5.8 points in 19.6 minutes in 26 games (21 starts) in 2008-09.

Francis, a three-time All-Star (2002, 2003, 2004), has averaged 18.1 points, 5.6 rebounds and 6.0 assists 37.6 minutes in 576 career games (543 starts) in nine NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic and New York Knicks.

The 6-3, 210-pound guard was originally selected in the first round (2nd overall) of the 1999 NBA Draft by the Vancouver Grizzlies, but his draft rights were traded by the Grizzlies to Houston on August 27, 1999 in a three-team, 11-player deal.

The 31-year-old, who rejoined the Rockets as a free agent on July 20, 2007, has yet to appear in a game with the Rockets this season. Francis averaged 5.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 10 games (three starts) in 2007-08, but underwent successful season-ending surgery to repair a torn quadricep tendon in his right knee on Feb. 26, 2008.

The Grizzlies’ roster now stands at 14 players.  Memphis will next host the Indiana Pacers at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 26 at the FedExForum.

The Memphis Grizzlies have recalled center Hamed Haddadi from the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

Haddadi posted 6.0 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.55 blocks in 17.7 minutes in 11 games (seven starts) with the Wizards.  Memphis assigned the 7-2, 280-pound center to the Wizards on Nov. 24.

Signed by Memphis on Aug. 28, the Ahvaz, Iran native has yet to make his NBA debut.

Suns sign Dee Brown

The Phoenix Suns have signed free-agent guard Daniel “Dee” Brown to a contract, the club announced today.

A two-year NBA performer, Brown was originally selected by the Utah Jazz with the 46th overall pick (second round) in the 2006 NBA Draft.  The 6-0, 181-pound guard spent his rookie season in Salt Lake City where he appeared in 49 regular season games off the bench and eight more in the playoffs.  The 24-year-old played in Turkey for Galatasaray Café Crown in 2007-08 where he averaged 12.3 points during the regular season and 14.7 points, 3.8 assists and 2.5 rebounds during postseason play. Brown signs with the Suns after appearing in 17 games (11 starts) and seeing 13.7 minutes of action with the Washington Wizards to begin 2008-09.  He now owns career averages of 2.0 points, 1.0 rebound and 1.8 assists in 68 NBA contests.

Brown’s stellar career at the University of Illinois was highlighted by his 2006 win of the Bob Cousy Award as the nation’s top point guard in his senior season.  The Illini standout led the Big Ten in assists (5.8) and ranked 18th in the nation overall.  Brown posted those numbers while leading his team in scoring average (14.2), steals (1.61), minutes (35.8) and free-throw percentage (.757) and leading the team in scoring in 15 of 33 games.

Nicknamed “The One Man Fastbreak” in college due to his quickness, Brown was selected the Sporting News’ National Player of the Year and named the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.  Most notably, he became the first consensus First Team All-American at Illinois since 1952 after helping to lead the Illini to a 29-0 start and a berth in the national title game.

Brown is a graduate of Proviso East High in Maywood, Ill., the same high school attended by Celtics coach Doc Rivers and San Antonio Spurs guard Michael Finley.

Chris Andersen block party

The Rocky Mountain News (Chris Tomasson) reports: Denver Nuggets reserve big man Chris Andersen ranks third in the NBA in blocked shots, but that’s just a start. He has an overwhelming NBA lead in blocks per minute. Andersen is averaging 2.3 blocks, putting him behind Orlando’s Dwight Howard (3.65) and the Clippers’ Marcus Camby (2.83). But Andersen is averaging 6.36 blocks per 48 minutes, well ahead of second-place Howard’s 4.84. “I’ve always been a real good shot blocker,” said Andersen, thanking coach George Karl for having the “confidence” in him to “roam on defense a little bit.”

Wu Tang Clan NYC show

Tuesday night, December 23, 2008 in New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom, located in midtown Manhattan close to Madison Square Garden, legendary rap group Wu Tang Clan put on a show that was very good, but very quick.

InsideHoops.com was in the building.

The evening opened a bit after 8PM ET with famous NYC DJ Mister Cee, wearing a white “I love New York” shirt that had a red Wu Tang logo in place of where the red heart would normally be, playing quick cuts of rap music’s most famous songs.

As is required by law, Mister Cee shouted out New York’s boroughs, plus Long Island, New Jersey, and even Connecticut. Yet unless I simply missed it, he didn’t mention The Bronx. Was it on purpose? Maybe some local hip-hop guru knows.

Cee likes it dark on stage and in the crowd, and made multiple requests to the light guys to keep it dim.

At 8:53 p.m, some rock/rap group came out that I never caught the name of. It was two rappers, a guitarist, bass player and drummer, rapping over live hard rock. They sang some song where the main chorus was “I’m a rock star, baby.” The crowd wasn’t feeling it. They were only on until a minute or two past 9pm — barely 10 minutes.

At 9:16 p.m. a multi-member rap group called Ice Water floods the stage. No instruments this time, they’re a normal rap crew with a DJ and a big stack of members, plus a cameraman on stage, and a dozen or so friends just off stage off to the side. Hitting hard as hell, they tried to tear it up, but had almost no shot at impressing the crowd. Fans were there to see the Wu Tang Clan, and unless an opening act was someone legendary it was going to be next to impossible to win support from the audience.

But, it’s easier to win fans when the sound system works. Towards the end of the first song, which the crowd wasn’t feeling at all anyway, the music from the DJ booth shut off. Booing starts.

“We were supposed to be up here for 15 minutes” angrily yells one of the lead rappers. So he unleashes a short freestyle. Something about “They call me the guitar man.” Fans boo.

Then, another member starts talking about New York. And that was the running theme for the next 15 minutes or so. As the sound quickly functioned again, they did more songs, got no love, and in-between each track they mentioned about a thousand times how this is their home, New York is the place, they represent New York, etc. Over and over. They were mostly rapping over their own pre-recorded voices from the DJ track, which didn’t impress people either.

The truth is, Ice Water wasn’t that hot, but fans were so anxious to see the Wu Tang Clan that even if they were, they’d probably have gotten no love.

By 9:38 p.m. they’re off the stage.

Somewhere around 10 p.m. (give or take 5-7 minutes) the Wu Tang Clan finally takes the stage. Almost everyone from Wu was there.

Wu made sure to perform a bunch of their most well-known hits, including  “C.R.E.A.M.,” “Method Man,” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit.”

As I heard he tends to do, Method Man made sure to crowd-surf for a while.

The group also shouted out Old Dirty Bastard. And ODB’s mom was at the show and came on stage, saying hello to the crowd for a second. They also did a bit of  “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.”

I was busy enjoying myself at the show, which is why I’m not being too specific about which songs they did other than the ones I mentioned above. I’ve heard every album they’ve done, and every key song they’ve released, but don’t know a lot of the actual song names. If I find a listing of what they did, I’ll update this page and link to it here on InsideHoops.com.

But as for the show, it was damn good. Loud to the point of a lot of the words being muffled by the high volume, but damn good.

The only official InsideHoops.com complaint: It was too short. By 11:09 p.m. Wu finished.

The Wu Tang Clan represented properly, but with all those members, they could have stretched the performance out longer. Even though it’s a Wu show, why not let a whole bunch of the dudes rip some solo songs, giving other guys a chance to chill out, catch their breath, and make the show last longer?

Still, a good night. I’m definitely glad I saw what is basically the best rap group in a very long time.

Dec 23: Blazers 101, Nuggets 92

The AP reports: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 22 points, Brandon Roy added 19 and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 101-92 on Tuesday night. Joel Przybilla had 19 rebounds and 10 points, going 4-of-4 on free throws in the final 2:40 to help Portland (18-11) tie the Nuggets atop the Northwest Division… Linas Kleiza had 20 points, including five 3-pointers, for the Nuggets, who lost three in a row before beating Portland 97-89 on Monday night in Denver. Nene had 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Chauncey Billups added 17 points on 4-of-12 shooting.

Dec 23: Mavs 100, Grizzlies 82

The AP reports: The Dallas Mavericks don’t need their ‘A’ game to beat the Memphis Grizzlies. Dirk Nowitzki scored 21 points, Jason Terry added 17, and the Mavericks stretched their winning streak against the Grizzlies to 13 games with a 100-82 victory on Tuesday night. Josh Howard added 14 points, and Erick Dampier contributed 13 points and nine rebounds for the Mavericks, who have won 14 of 18… Hakim Warrick had 17 points, and Rudy Gay added 16 points and nine rebounds for Memphis. Kyle Lowry scored 15 points for the Grizzlies, coming off a nine-point home loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Dec 23: Spurs 99, Wolves 93

The AP reports: Tony Parker keeps finding ways to hurt the Minnesota Timberwolves. Manu Ginobili just keeps getting hurt. Parker scored 36 points on 13-of-17 shooting to lead the Spurs to a 99-93 victory over Minnesota on Tuesday night, handing the Timberwolves their 13th consecutive loss. Ginobili, who missed the first 12 games of the season because of left ankle surgery, limped slightly to the sideline with about four minutes left. He returned two minutes later and played until 15 seconds remained in the game… Tim Duncan added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs (18-10), who have won nine of 11 and head into a Christmas day matchup against the Suns in Phoenix… Al Jefferson led the Timberwolves with 28 points. Randy Foye added 26 points and a career-high 16 rebounds.

Dec 23: Lakers 100, Hornets 87

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 20, and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 100-87 on Tuesday night. The performance was more dominant than the final score indicated and precisely what the Lakers needed after stumbling through much of a four-game road trip… Chris Paul finished with 17 points and 10 assists for the Hornets, who had won 11 of their previous 13 games and were looking to move closer to the Lakers in the Western Conference… Andrew Bynum scored 13 points for Los Angeles, which also got 11 points from Derek Fisher and 10 from Trevor Ariza. Butler scored 17 points for New Orleans. Morris Peterson added 16 and David West 13 on 5-of-15 shooting.

Dec 23: Bucks 94, Jazz 86

The AP reports: The Milwaukee Bucks shot 1-of-16 from 3-point range and 39 percent from the field. That probably would have meant a blowout loss not long ago. Not anymore. Michael Redd scored 27 points Tuesday night to lead the surging Bucks to their third win in a row and fifth in six games, 94-86 over the Utah Jazz. “It’s huge for us,” said Luke Ridnour, who had 11 points, 11 assists and six steals… Reserve Andrei Kirilenko scored a season-high 22 for Utah. Deron Williams added 17 points, eight assists and eight rebounds, but had seven of Utah’s 24 turnovers… The Jazz were playing without center Mehmet Okur, who sat out with back spasms, and forward Carlos Boozer, who missed his 18th straight with a strained left quad tendon.

Dec 23: Pistons 104, Bulls 98

The AP reports: The Detroit Pistons traded Chauncey Billups because they believed Rodney Stuckey was ready to become a big contributor. On this night, he showed they were right. Stuckey scored a career-high 40 points Tuesday to help the Pistons overcome an injury to Allen Iverson in a 104-98 victory over the Chicago Bulls… The Pistons are 11-11 since Iverson joined the team, but they didn’t need much from him against Chicago… Tayshaun Prince had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Detroit. Richard Hamilton scored 14, while Antonio McDyess added 10 points and 11 rebounds off the bench… Larry Hughes led the Bulls with 19 points, while Andres Nocioni and Ben Gordon had 18 each before fouling out. Derrick Rose also fouled out, with 10 points.

Dec 23: Heat 96, Warriors 88

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade had 32 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, Daequan Cook scored 15 of his 20 points to spark a second-quarter comeback, and the Heat matched last season’s win total by beating the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors 96-88 on Tuesday night. Udonis Haslem scored 16 points and Shawn Marion finished with a Heat season-high 16 rebounds as Miami reached the 15-win mark in 27 games—55 fewer than it needed to get there last season as the NBA’s worst team… C.J. Watson scored 18 points for Golden State, which has lost 16 of 19. Kelenna Azubuike scored 16, Brandan Wright added 12 and Anthony Randolph finished with 10 for the Warriors, who got within four points in the final minutes but simply couldn’t stop Wade, who delivered four points and a big assist to Marion with the game on the line.

Dec 23: Celtics 110, Sixers 91

The AP reports: Winning streaks are nice and all, but Kevin Garnett prefers something more tangible—like a championship ring. “Unless you win it all, it’s pretty much steam in the air: You see it, and then it evaporates,” Garnett said after scoring 18 points to lead the Boston Celtics to a franchise-record 19th consecutive victory, 110-91 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night. The Celtics will go for 20 in a row against the Los Angeles Lakers on Christmas Day in a rematch of last spring’s NBA finals, which Boston won in six games for its unprecedented 17th league title. The crowd couldn’t wait, chanting “Beat L.A!” with 5:27 left to play against the Sixers… Rajon Rondo also scored 18, Kendrick Perkins had eight points and 11 rebounds, and Ray Allen had 16 points as the Celtics starters watched from the bench while reserves Leon Powe and Eddie House helped expand the lead in the fourth quarter. Boston improved to 27-2—the best start for a two-loss team in NBA history.

Dec 23: Bobcats 80, Wizards 72

The AP reports: The Washington Wizards have had many identities. They started in Chicago as the Packers, then were called the Zephyrs. They moved to Baltimore as the Bullets, kept the name when they went to Washington, then started calling themselves the Wizards a decade ago. But until Tuesday night they had never been this bad, not by any name. Emeka Okafor had 29 points and 18 rebounds, and the Charlotte Bobcats pulled away in the fourth quarter for an 80-72 victory, sending a team that had reached the playoffs the past four seasons to depths never seen in its 48-year history: 4-22. Caron Butler’s 31 points weren’t enough for woeful, injury-plaged and poor-shooting Washington, which fell to its worst record after 26 games in franchise history.

Dec 23: Nets 108, Pacers 107

The AP reports: Devin Harris’ jumper from the top of the key as time expired gave the Nets a 108-107 victory over the Pacers on Tuesday night. The point guard finished with 29 points and 11 assists as New Jersey snapped a two-game losing streak… Danny Granger led the Pacers with 26 points in his first game back after missing two with a viral infection. Brandon Rush scored a career-high 22 points, and Jeff Foster added 12 points and 14 rebounds… The game was close throughout the second half before Jarvis Hayes hit a baseline jumper, Josh Boone made a putback and Harris connected on a pair of free throws to give the Nets a 96-88 lead, their largest advantage of the game.

Dec 23: Cavs 99, Rockets 90

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 27 points—18 in the second half— and made one of the defining defensive plays of his career by pinning Yao Ming’s shot against the backboard in the fourth quarter as the Cavaliers remained the NBA’s only undefeated team at home with a down-and-dirty 99-90 win Tuesday night. Mo Williams scored 23 and Daniel Gibson made two big 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Cavaliers, who improved to 23-2 in their last 25 games and 14-0 at home… Rafer Alston scored 20 points in his first game back after missing four with a strained hamstring and Yao, who spent most of the night in foul trouble, had 19—he was 13-of-13 on free throws—for the Rockets, who had their four-game winning streak stopped. Tracy McGrady scored just four points for Houston, which was playing its fourth game in five nights.

Dec 23: Hawks 99, Thunder 88

The AP reports: If only Joe Johnson had hit a few more jump shots. Maybe a higher percentage from the field would’ve left him satisfied after his second career triple-double. Johnson had 20 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists for his first triple-double in nearly three full seasons, and Marvin Williams scored 21 points in the Atlanta Hawks’ 99-88 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night… Kevin Durant scored 28 points for the Thunder, who have lost 10 of 11. Oklahoma City fell to 1-13 on the road and 3-26 overall despite a combined 26 rebounds by Jeff Green and Chris Wilcox… Jeff Green tied a career high with 14 rebounds and finished with 18 points. Wilcox, in 24 minutes, had 19 points and a season-high 12 boards.

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