Archive for January 15th, 2009

No suspension for J.R. Smith

The AP reports: The NBA said Thursday that Denver Nuggets guard J.R. Smith won’t be suspended for throwing an elbow that angered Dallas Mavericks coach Mark Cuban. The excitable owner might still face punishment for going onto the court to voice his displeasure with Smith. NBA spokesman Tim Frank told The Associated Press on Thursday that Smith has been cleared of any wrongdoing and “Cuban is still being reviewed.” Cuban took offense when Smith threw an elbow that barely missed Mavericks forward Antoine Wright late in the first half of Dallas’ game at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday night.

Here is Washington Wizards interim head coach Ed Tapscott:

On Nick Young’s recent play (25.8 ppg, .717 fg% in last four games): “Nick has hit a spot where he’s got his rhythm back and he feels good about what he’s doing.  He knows we’re going to run some plays for him so he doesn’t feel pressed and he knows he’s going to get minutes.  When all of a sudden you get minutes and plays called for you, you can be selective, and better shots mean more minutes.  People now are going to game-plan for him.  He has to be prepared for one of those games where they have someone trying to deny him, and instead of getting 33 points he gets 16 and still feels like he has a good game because he helped open up the floor for other people.”

On last night’s game versus the New York Knicks: “The Knicks try to make you play fast, and like I said last night they did a better job of imposing their play-style on the game.  We played well offensively.  We scored a lot of points.  Normally 122 points wins you a lot of basketball games, but we didn’t play very well defensively.  They imposed their style of play on the game much more effectively than we did.”

On today’s practice: “Today we decided to go with more of a mental practice than anything physical because we’re going to play the same team (tomorrow night).  With their pace, you want rested legs.  Now the real key is figuring out how to impose our style of play on the game with more effectiveness.”

Hers is Wizards small forward Caron Butler:

On last night’s game versus the New York Knicks: “It was a lot of up-and-down fast tempo play.  It was a tough loss obviously, but hopefully we can redeem ourselves tomorrow night in our building.”

On Nick Young: “He’s on a roll.  He’s scoring at a rapid pace.  Scoring 33 points in three quarters is unbelievable.  Just to come out and be aggressive the way he has, assert himself early and establish a rhythm is unbelievable, and it shows a lot about him as a player.  Now you’re seeing him explore with his ability.  He’s getting the ball and he’s being real creative.  He’s doing some stuff on the fly, and that’s what makes a special player.”

And here is Wizards guard Nick Young:

On his recent play: “I’m feeling good.  The difference has been my confidence level.  Coach is running plays for me, and seeing my shot go in is always good.  Gil (Arenas) has been staying after practice with me, so I’ve been getting extra shots and working out with him.”

On if teams will start game-planning for him: “The more Antawn and CB (Caron Butler) get going (other teams) are not going to worry about me (as much).  If we get them going early, I can come in and be that spark off of the bench.”

Warriors re-sign Jermareo Davidson

The Golden State Warriors have signed forward Jermareo Davidson to a second 10-day contract, the team announced today.

Davidson, who signed his first 10-day with the Warriors on January 5, has appeared in one game with Golden State, logging four minutes at Portland on January 10.  Davidson began the season with the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, where he averaged 16.1 points and 10.8 rebounds in 15 games.  At the time of his call-up, the 6’10’’ forward ranked first in the D-League in double-doubles (10) and third in rebounding (10.8).

Thunder have new sponsor

The Oklahoma City Thunder have a new major corporate partnership.

One part of the deal will be that the sponsor get naming rights for the team’s practice facility.

The Thunder will announce full details Monday afternoon.

New season of 24 on Fox

The new season of the Fox TV show 24 began a few days ago, and in terms of nonstop action and plot twists it’s just as fun as ever.

I was recently a bit disappointed by a two-hour 24 special called “Redemption,” but fortunately that was a one-time thing.

Fox put multiple back-to-back episodes together, so after just two days of shows they’re already four episodes deep into 24. The fifth episode is on January 19.

What makes it a fun show is how quickly the story changes. Constant drama. Almost every minute is entertaining.

24 is on Monday nights.

Heat want big-man for Marion

Miami Heat forward Shawn Marion is at the end of his contract, and the team would happily trade him for someone who fits in better. Here’s the Miami Herald (Israel Gutierrez):

So the only lingering question is what the Heat could receive in return for a player whose stock is plummeting and whose most attractive feature is his $17 million expiring contract. The Heat’s goal in moving Marion is to get back a quality big man with a contract that expires in the 2010 offseason. Makes enough sense. Not only would it fill the Heat’s biggest glaring need (Joel Anthony and Jamaal Magloire have filled in admirably, but no one’s convinced they can be the sole answers to the Heat’s height deficiency), but it would set up the Heat brilliantly for a run at the 2010 free agent class. Imagine how satisfying it would be for Pat Riley to steal the Knicks’ thunder by retaining Wade and signing Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire, putting together a duo that would rival any combination New York and its bags of money can purchase.

This season Marion is averaging just 12.1 points with his 9.2 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.41 steals and 1.06 blocks per game on very good 47.2% shooting, though he’s connecting on just 19.4% of his three-point attempts.

Daniel Gibson getting his groove back

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Brian Windhorst) reports on Cavaliers guard Daniel Gibson: Overall, this has been a choppy season for Gibson, statistically the poorest of his career. He’s making just 35 percent of his 3-pointers, a steep decline from last season. His scoring, assists and even minutes are down, too. It should be easy to explain. He had a rather severe shoulder surgery last May, which knocked him out of the playoffs early. Then ankle surgery in June, which wasn’t major, but it kept him from doing his normal shooting work for a month.  When he finally seemed to be getting back to the dead-eye spot-up shooter that turned him into a fan favorite in mid-December, he suffered a toe injury that ruined his rhythm and forced him to learn how to shoot without tweaking it when he returned after a 10-day absence. Over the last couple of weeks, though, Gibson again seems to be getting back into the groove he was establishing in December. Over the last five games, Gibson has made 10 of 14 3-pointers.

Kobe Bryant commits to Team USA

The Orange County Register (Kevin Ding) reports: “The best player on the planet,” as Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called Kobe Bryant late Wednesday night, can’t wait to make the Earth move some more in 2010 and ‘12. Bryant said Wednesday night he is willing to commit to play for USA Basketball in 2010 at the FIBA World Championship in Turkey in an attempt to qualify for the 2012 Olympics in London, where Bryant expects to go for the gold again. “The chance to represent your country, that’s not even a thought-process for me,” Bryant said Wednesday. “If they want me to be on it, I’m all game.” Bryant’s words should stabilize the U.S. ship at a time when many of Bryant’s teammates from the 2008 Olympic gold-medal team are choosing to be future international men of mystery.

Nenad Krstic already helping Thunder

The Oklahoman (Darnell Mayberry) reports: It’s taken Nenad Krstic only five games to show Oklahoma City how much better he makes the Thunder. Krstic recorded his first double-double in Wednesday night’s 114-93 win over the Utah Jazz, scoring 14 points with 11 rebounds in a season-high 32 minutes. He added two blocked shots for the fourth time in five games, continuing to contradict his critics who have labeled him a defensive liability. “He’s a great addition,” said Kevin Durant, who scored 21 points with nine rebounds. “He’s getting used to everybody. Any player would take a couple of games, but he’s getting used to it quick. He’s learning quick, and he’s doing well.” Because of his relatively cheap three-year contract at just less than $16 million, Krstic was a low-risk addition when Thunder general manager Sam Presti lured him away from his Russian club team.

The AP reports: The goal is 50 wins and home-court advantage in the opening round of the NBA playoffs. The Atlanta Hawks are determined to make it happen. Josh Smith scored 26 points, Joe Johnson added 21 and Atlanta beat the Clippers 97-80 on Wednesday night to end a four-game losing streak and hand Los Angeles its 12th straight loss… Ronald Murray added 17 points for the Hawks, who avoided a season-high fifth consecutive loss by beating up on the Western Conference’s second-worst team… Al Thornton scored 25 points, and rookie Eric Gordon added 18 for the Clippers, who haven’t won since a 117-109 double-overtime victory at Indiana on Dec. 19. They fell to 3-16 at Staples Center this season. Marcus Camby had 12 points and 18 rebounds.

Kings hold off Warriors 135-133 in 3 OTs

The AP reports: John Salmons hit a 17-footer with 1.6 seconds remaining in the third overtime and the Kings held on to beat the injury-depleted Golden State Warriors 135-133 on Wednesday night, ending a 12-game road losing streak dating to Nov. 19 at New Orleans. Salmons finished with 25 points, a career-best 14 rebounds and seven assists for Sacramento, which earned consecutive victories against the Warriors for the first time since taking 15 in a row in the series from 2000-03… Brad Miller had a season-high 30 points and a career-high 22 rebounds for Sacramento, but was whistled for a technical with 2:17 remaining in the initial OT that could have been costly. .. Jamal Crawford scored the first four points in the first overtime on the way to 35 points after missing the potential winner at the end of regulation. Crawford also stripped Kevin Martin as he attempted a final shot to end the first extra period.

The AP reports: The San Antonio Spurs made it clear to the Los Angeles Lakers that they’re still a major player in the Western Conference. Roger Mason hit a jumper with 10 seconds left and made a free throw after being fouled by Derek Fisher, and the Spurs beat the Lakers 112-111 on Wednesday night in the first meeting between the teams since the Western Conference finals… Manu Ginobili led San Antonio with 27 points, and Bryant had 29 for Los Angeles. He added 10 assists. Both teams are 10-2 in their last 12 games. Bryant was double-teamed on the Lakers’ last play, so he swung the ball to Ariza. But Ariza was called for traveling… Tony Parker and Tim Duncan each added 20 points for the Spurs. Duncan also had 10 rebounds and eight assists. Pau Gasol scored 21 points for Los Angeles after hitting eight of this first nine shots.

The AP reports: Facing triple-double master Jason Kidd, Chris Paul nearly did him one better. With 33 points, 11 assists, 10 rebounds and seven steals, Paul narrowly missed a rare quadruple double, but it was still enough to pull the New Orleans Hornets to a 104-97 victory over the slumping Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night… Paul also guarded Jason Terry in the second half. Terry had 18 points before Paul took over, 10 after… Peja Stojakovic and David West each scored 16 points for New Orleans, and Devin Brown had 12. It was the Hornets’ first regular-season victory in Dallas since Jan. 24, 1998. The skid was 13 straight, although they won a playoff game here last spring. “We really didn’t want to double-team (Paul) that much and leave all the shooters open and he used that freedom and killed us,” said Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki, who had 20 points and 13 rebounds.

Thunder beat Jazz for 7th win

The AP reports: The presence of big man Nenad Krstic is beginning to pay off in a big way for the Oklahoma City Thunder. In just his fifth game since being signed away from a Russian league, Krstic had 14 points and 11 rebounds Wednesday night in helping the Thunder beat the Utah Jazz 114-93. Nine of his rebounds came at the defensive end as Oklahoma City outrebounded the Jazz 48-26… Jeff Green scored 23 points, Russell Westbrook added 22 and Kevin Durant had 21 for the Thunder, which won for just the seventh time this season but the fourth time in the past eight games… Deron Williams scored 25 points for the Jazz, which had a four-game winning streak ended. All of those came at home; this was the team’s fifth straight loss on the road. Kyle Korver had 14 points, but just two in the second half.

The AP reports: Reserve Daequan Cook wasted no time redeeming himself. A night after teammates questioned if he’d even played in Miami’s win at Minnesota following an 0-for-3 performance, Cook hit his first six 3-pointers en route to a career-high 24 points in the Heat’s 102-99 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday night… Wade finished 5-for-20 and had 17 points, contributing by distributing 13 assists to help the Heat improve to 3-2 on a seven-game trip… The Heat went on a 9-0 run to start the second half and had an 84-74 lead with 10:57 to play, but the Bucks, who overcame a 12-point second-half deficit in Washington on Monday night, nearly came back in this one thanks to 25 points by Luke Ridnour and 16 by Michael Redd.

Lee helps Knicks roll past Wizards

The AP reports: David Lee had 30 points and 10 rebounds, reserve Al Harrington scored 27 points, and the Knicks handed the Wizards their sixth straight loss with a 128-122 victory Wednesday night… Quentin Richardson added 26 points for the Knicks, who have piled up the points in the first three meetings with the Wizards this season and can complete a season sweep for the first time since 2003-04 by grabbing the back end of a home-and-home series Friday in Washington… Chris Duhon finished with 17 points and nine assists for the Knicks, who scored 114 and 122 points in their two earlier victories over Washington—which fired Eddie Jordan two days after the second one… Washington’s Nick Young scored 33 points, establishing a career high for the third time in four games, and Caron Butler added 25. Mike James had 20 points, but the Wizards stumbled when he had to leave with five fouls.

Pierce leads Celtics past Nets

The AP reports: Paul Pierce brought the Boston Celtics to the midpoint of the season with their third straight win and with hope that they’ve regained the rhythm that produced a 27-2 start. Pierce shook off a cold first half and scored 18 points in the third quarter by going 5-for-5 on 3-pointers to lead the Celtics a 118-86 win over the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night… Pierce led Boston with 22 points two nights after getting a season-high 39 in an overtime win over Toronto. The Nets also won in overtime that night, beating Oklahoma City… Kevin Garnett scored 20 points for the Celtics. The Nets were led by Devin Harris with 17 points, while Keyon Dooling and rookies Ryan Anderson and Brook Lopez had 13 each. Anderson made his second consecutive start in place of injured Yi Jianlian after sitting out the previous four games.

Granger leads Pacers past Pistons

The AP reports: For once, overtime was a good time for the Indiana Pacers. Danny Granger scored 24 points and made the tying shot late in regulation in the Indiana Pacers’ 110-106 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night. It was Indiana’s first overtime win in five tries this season… T.J. Ford scored 23 points, and Troy Murphy added 18 points and 13 rebounds to help the Pacers snap a three-game losing streak. Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 30 points, Allen Iverson had 23 points, and Rasheed Wallace added 17 points and 15 rebounds. The Pistons have lost three in a row, including a two-point loss at home against Charlotte on Tuesday night.

The AP reports: Derrick Rose’s big fourth quarter and Joakim Noah’s block gave the Chicago Bulls a rare road victory. Rose scored 17 of his 25 points in the fourth, and Luol Deng had 16 points and 14 rebounds in his return to the starting lineup in the Bulls’ 102-98 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Wednesday night… Andres Nocioni added 16 points, Kirk Hinrich had 12 and Ben Gordon 10 for Chicago, which had lost eight of 11 coming in… Andrea Bargnani had a career-high 31 points and finished with 10 rebounds for Toronto, which has lost three straight. Bosh scored 25 points, and Anthony Parker had 15.

The AP reports: Andre Iguodala scored a season-high 29 points, and Lou Williams had 14 to lead Philadelphia to its fifth straight victory, 100-79 over Portland on Wednesday night. Iguodala made four of Philadelphia’s season-high 11 3-pointers and just missed becoming the first Sixers player to score 30 points in a game this season… Thaddeus Young made three 3s and finished with 11 points, and Andre Miller scored 12 points. Brandon Roy led Portland with 27 points, and LaMarcus Aldridge had 15 points and nine rebounds. Portland was without Rudy Fernandez (foot), and coach Nate McMillan said the rookie will likely miss Thursday night’s game in New Jersey. Steve Blake left in the first half because of a separated right shoulder.

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