Archive for December 30th, 2008

Blazers score with six players on court

Tuesday night in Portland the Trail Blazers are hosting the Boston Celtics and late in the second quarter were losing to the visitors 44-38. But they got a late first half basket using six players on the court.

A video clip of this has been added below (scroll down).

With 10 seconds left in the half, Portland took a 20-second timeout. A Blazers substitution brought Jerryd Bayless into the game. Greg Oden was supposed to leave the game, but he didn’t.

So, after the timeout, Bayless inbounded the basketball to Steve Blake. With time ticking down, Blake lobbed it down to Oden outside the left paint near the rim, who quickly flipped it to Travis Outlaw on the right side of the paint, who threw down an open dunk.

LaMarcus Aldridge and Rudy Fernandez were also on the court for the Blazers, giving them six players versus Boston’s five.

At this point I’m leering at the 200-inch 1080P 120mhz home office HD LCD television (valued at $75,000) and laughing.

On the court for the Celtics was their starting lineup: Rajon Rondo, Ray Allen, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Kendrick Perkins

Before Blake threw the pass, Kevin Garnett was guarding Aldridge at the left free throw corner. Oden was unguarded behind KG near the basket just outside the left paint. When Garnett spotted Oden he yelled/motioned for help (or was yelling that there are six Blazers men on the floor). Perkins, who was around the right side of the paint, responded.

Perkins switched over to guard Oden as Blake lobbed it inside, so Oden quickly flipped it to the now wide-open Outlaw, who crammed home the easy dunk with 3 seconds left, making it 44-40. is 95 percent certain it was Oden who should have come out.

The Celtics went wild protesting. But the amazing result was that the referees, who did not notice the problem until after the dunk, actually counted the basket for the Blazers but issued a technical foul on them, putting Ray Allen on the line for a free throw, which he hit, putting Boston up 45-40, the score going into halftime.

Is this the rule? Did the referees handle this correctly? If so, the Blazers actually benefitted from this!

What if a team intentionally put six men on the floor, almost always scored as a result, and only gives up a single technical foul free throw each time. Right? Of course, that would only work if they managed to score before the refs noticed there were too many players on the court, so they’d have to get it done very quickly before the tech gets called. It could work, for a few plays every now and then!

This was wild.

– editor Jeff Lenchiner

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

Blazers sideline reporter needs a hug

I’m watching the Boston Celtics at Portland Trail Blazers game on NBA League Pass right now.

Boston is up big early in the second quarter, up 25-13. I think it was their worst first quarter of the season. Not sure, though.

They’re playing without Brandon Roy, and clearly still adjusting to it.

A very key observation: The Blazers sideline reporter is Rebecca Haarlow, a beautiful young blond woman who has done a perfectly good job so far.

But one thing: She seems bummed out! Maybe it’s that Brandon Roy is out. But even early in the game when it was close, she sounded a bit too low-key. Pick up the enthusiasm, Rebecca!

As for the Blazers, they’re getting pushed around and look all shook up. The Celtics are assassins out there.

I’ll be glued to the game for the evening.

Carlos Boozer needs knee surgery

Utah Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer is a key part of the team, but like so many other players on the squad this season, injury has been his worst opponent. So far in 2008-08 Boozer has played just 12 games, and he hasn’t played since November 19.

It appears he’ll be out longer, probably for another month,  possibly longer. The Deseret News (Tim Buckley) reports:

Jazz All-Star power forward Carlos Boozer will undergo arthroscopic surgery sometime next month on his injured left knee. No specific date for the operation is set, but the team is targeting Jan. 9… A timetable for Boozer’s continued absence will not be released until sometime after the surgery, though O’Connor said he expects Boozer to be out at least another month.

With 19 wins and 14 losses, the Jazz have actually done fairly well considering the amount of injuries they’ve suffered. If the season ended today they’d just only miss the 8th spot of the playoffs by virtue of a tie-breaker that they’d lose to the Phoenix Suns.

Rockets re-sign Dikembe Mutombo

Aside from center Yao Ming and power forward Luis Scola, the Houston Rockets are pretty short up front. Carl Landry is strong but a modest 6′9″, and Chuck Hayes is listed at just 6′6″. But now Houston has brought back the Cookie Monster. The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports:

The Rockets reached an agreement with veteran center Dikembe Mutombo on Tuesday, Rockets GM Daryl Morey said. Mutombo was signed for the remainder of the season at a pro-rated veteran’s minimum contract… “I almost haven’t touched a ball in six months. I shoot the ball in the park with my kid. I am not a shooter anyway,” said Mutombo, a career 52 percent shooter. “As long as I can rebound and block shots, that’s what’s important.”

Mutombo played 39 games for Houston last season, averaging 3.0 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.2 blocks on good shooting in 16 minutes per game.

It’s a good move for the Rockets. Mutombo can come in, take up space, rebound, wave his arms around, defend, and talk funny.

Krstic joins Thunder, Steven Hill waived

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team’s acquisition of center Nenad Krstic has been finalized. The Thunder originally signed Krstic to an offer sheet on Dec. 22nd. The transaction was finalized today when the New Jersey Nets declined to match the Thunder offer.

“We are pleased to be able to add Nenad to our organization,” said Presti. “He is someone that we feel helps this team both in the short and long term. We are excited that he will be a part of the Thunder as we continue to build our team here in Oklahoma City.”

Krstic (7-0, 213), the 24th overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft by the Nets, played four seasons in New Jersey appearing in 226 games. During that time he averaged 11.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27 minutes per contest.

The Serbian national had his best year in 2005-06 when he started 80 games for the Nets as a second year player. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. Krstic had his 2006-07 season cut short by a torn ACL in his left knee. Prior to the injury he was averaging 16.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists per contest.

Krstic signed a contract with Triumph Lyubertsy of Russia’s Superleague A on July 29, 2008. In seven Superleague A games with Triumph he averaged 10.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.0 block in 21 minutes per contest.

Prior to his move to the NBA, Krstic played four seasons for Partizan in Yugoslavian League where he averaged 10.6 points and 5.2 rebounds.

Krstic will wear uniform #12.

At the same time the team announced that it has waived center Steven Hill. Hill appeared in one game for the Thunder scoring two points and grabbing thee rebounds in two minutes.

Mavericks hot but defense lacking

The Dallas Morning News (Eddie Sefko) reports:  The Mavericks are 16-5 since the first 17 days of the season. But that crummy start still mars their overall record. At 18-12, they are on pace to win 49 games – not too shabby, given the 2-7 start.  They have shown they are a good road team, with 10 wins already. They have embraced coach Rick Carlisle’s everybody-plays style, and the offense has gotten more fluid as the season has progressed. But if there’s one stamp on the Mavericks that is a sure-fire measure of success, it’s their defense. Yes, their defense.

No back-to-backs for McGrady

The Houston Chronicle (Jonathan Feigen) reports: Rockets guard Tracy McGrady returned to the court Monday after missing Saturday’s game, but said he and the team have agreed he will not play both games when the Rockets play two games in as many nights. After struggling in New Orleans on Friday, McGrady sat out Saturday’s game against the Utah Jazz. “Me and coach talked about it, and I think when we do have back-to-backs, we’ll really have communication to decide which game I should play and which game I should sit out.

Rashard Lewis the ironman for Orlando

The Orlando Sentinel (Brian Schmitz) reports:  Rashard Lewis continues to be the Magic’s Ironman. Lewis remained the only member of this season’s original starting lineup to play every game. He was on the floor on Monday night against the Pistons despite sitting out the morning shootaround because of a bone bruise on his left ankle. Lewis said he was injured after being kicked during the Magic’s game Saturday night in Minneapolis against the Minnesota Timberwolves. “I’m going to play if I have to drag my leg out there,” laughed Lewis before the game.

The AP reports: Marco Belinelli, C.J. Watson and the Golden State Warriors returned home just long enough to pick up a change of clothes, a victory over Toronto and two new nicknames. Stephen Jackson scored 30 points, Belinelli added 23 and the Warriors held off the road-weary Raptors on Monday night. Their 117-111 victory wasn’t safe until the whisper-thin Watson floated into the lane and hit a clutch jumper over Chris Bosh, the 6-foot-10 All-Star, in the final minute… Kelenna Azubuike added 18 points for the Warriors, who won for just the third time in 11 games… Bosh had 30 points and 14 rebounds for Toronto, hitting a 3-pointer with 3:29 left to pull the Raptors within two points. Jose Calderon added 21 points and 16 assists, but the Raptors missed several open 3-pointers in the final minutes, perhaps finally running out of energy after 12 days on the road.

The AP reports: Deron Williams got out of bed Monday feeling his best and made sure the reeling Philadelphia 76ers knew it. He scored 27 points to help the short-handed Jazz beat Philadelphia 112-95… With two of Utah’s top three scorers out with injuries and Mehmet Okur limited with a sore back, the normally unselfish Williams made 11 of 18 shots, including four 3-pointers. He has battled ankle and calf injuries since the preseason… Andrei Kirilenko, filling in for injured power forwards Carlos Boozer and Paul Millsap, had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and changed a number of shots in the lane. Andre Iguodala and Thaddeus Young each scored 17 points for Philadelphia, which dropped its fourth straight and is winless on its six-game road trip with three more remaining.

The AP reports: Caron Butler was out, Antawn Jamison was hurting and the lowly Washington Wizards were still able to beat the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Jamison scored a season-high 30 points, Andray Blatche added 16 points and eight rebounds and the Wizards snapped a five-game road losing streak with an 89-87 victory… Nick Young added 14 points as the Wizards ended a seven-game losing streak to the Rockets and won in Houston for the first time since 2001… Ron Artest scored 20 points, but also had six turnovers for the Rockets, who had a seven-game home winning streak snapped by the worst team in the Eastern Conference.

The AP reports: When his two-time MVP left the game with back spasms, Phoenix Suns coach Terry Porter ran his offense through another former MVP nearly twice the point guard’s size: Shaquille O’Neal. O’Neal moved into ninth place on the NBA’s career scoring list with 28 points and 12 rebounds, and the Suns overcame the loss of Steve Nash to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 110-102 on Monday night…. Jason Richardson scored 20 points and reserve Matt Barnes had 19 for Phoenix, which snapped a four-game road losing streak. Phoenix held Oklahoma City scoreless for the first 5 minutes of the fourth quarter and forced eight of the Thunder’s 15 turnovers in the final period to put away the game… Rookie Russell Westbrook scored a career-high 31 and Jeff Green 22 to lead Oklahoma City, which fizzled after a hot start.

The AP reports: With all eyes on O.J. Mayo and Kevin Love, it was Al Jefferson who stole the show. Jefferson scored a season-high 38 points, including nine in overtime, and grabbed 16 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 108-98 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night… Mayo had 23 points and Kyle Lowry finished with a career-high 12 assists, but Memphis lost its second consecutive overtime game and sixth in its last seven overall… Minnesota started the game 10-for-11 from the field, but missed 19 of its next 22 shots and entered halftime trailing by seven. The Wolves managed only one field goal in the second quarter, a franchise low. Their eight second-quarter points and 32 first-half points were both season lows.

The AP reports: Allen Iverson grinned as he looked at the boxscore after the Detroit Pistons’ 88-82 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday night. “I’m not used to seeing myself with 15 points and knowing that I had a good game,” he said. “Before, even if I only had 20 points, I didn’t think I was doing my job.” Iverson was Detroit’s fourth-leading scorer on a night when no Pistons player reached 20… Detroit has now won four in a row, the last two without Richard Hamilton (groin)… Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 19 points, while Tayshaun Prince and Rasheed Wallace each added 16. Antonio McDyess came off the bench with 11 points and eight rebounds despite a fourth-quarter rib injury… Rashard Lewis led the Magic with 23 points while Dwight Howard added 18 points and 18 rebounds.

The AP reports: Derrick Rose doesn’t remember what he was doing on April 17, 2001. “I was in grammar school, probably in the sixth grade,” Rose said after leading the Chicago Bulls to their first victory in New Jersey since that date, 100-87 over the Nets on Monday night. The No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft had 21 points and a season-high 13 assists, while Ben Gordon scored 24 points… The Nets continued their poor play at home, falling to 5-12, the second-worst mark in the Eastern Conference. The Nets (15-16) are 10-4 on the road… Andres Nocioni and Larry Hughes each added 17 points for the Bulls (14-17), who won for only the fourth time in 18 road games this season. It was Chicago’s first win in New Jersey since 2001, snapping a 13-game losing streak. Carter scored 31 points and Devin Harris added 26, 18 in the second half.

The AP reports: Joe Johnson scored 25 points and the Hawks beat the Denver Nuggets 109-91 on Monday night to close out the homestand with a long-awaited milestone. The Hawks (20-10) reached 20 wins before New Year’s Day for the first time since the 1987-88 season, when second-year center Al Horford was 1… The Hawks, bolstered by their strong start, are shooting for their first 50-win season since 1997-98… The Hawks made 12 of 23 3-point attempts, including 5-of-6 by Mike Bibby, who had 20 points and nine assists… Carmelo Anthony, who scored 32 points in the Nuggets’ 117-110 victory at the New York Knicks on Sunday, had only half that total with 16 points on 4-for-17 shooting from the field.

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