Archive for February, 2009

Dwight Howard mocks Anthony Johnson

Wednesday night in New York the Orlando Magic are visiting the Knicks and superstar center Dwight Howard is full of energy.

In Orlando’s locker room before the game, Howard was loudly mocking Anthony Johnson. Specifically, his age. Dwight kept yelling how AJ is the oldest player in the NBA.

Johnson (born October 2, 1974), while this was going on, was eating pizza, using the locker room seat as a table, with his back to Howard.

“He saw the real Joe Louis fight!” declared Howard.

“You’re going to make me come over there,” threatened Johnson, still sitting down eating with his back turned to Howard and everyone else. “Don’t make me come over there.”

“Oldest player in the league! Oldest player in the league!” responded a non-fearful Howard.

This was all in fun, of course. Though, I didn’t see Johnson laughing. He probably was, on the inside. Hopefully.

Dwight’s pumped. Let’s see how he performs in MSG this evening.

Spurs forward Tim Duncan was examined by team medical personnel today where it was determined he has right quad tendonosis.  Duncan will not play in tonight’s Spurs-Trail Blazers in San Antonio.  He is considered day-to-day.

Spurs center/forward Fabricio Oberto suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left thumb during last night’s Spurs-Mavericks game.  He will be fitted with a split and is expected to play in tonight’s game.

Scott Brooks Thunder layup drill

The Oklahoman (Darnell Mayberry ) reports: Oklahoma City Thunder coach Scott Brooks has implemented a layup drill he calls “Daily Dozen,” an exercise in which Thunder players must make six layups on each side of the basket — an overhand, underhand, reverse left hand, reverse right hand, baby hook shots and a pull-up jumper inside the key. Brooks said the team has performed the drill consistently in the last week, but he wanted to focus on the drill Wednesday after seeing the Thunder miss several layups against Los Angeles on Tuesday night. “We definitely need to improve on shots right around the basket,” Brooks said. “We’re going to try to get it in three or four times a week.”

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed free-agent forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu to a 10-day contract.

The 25-year-old Mensah-Bonsu had most recently been playing with the Austin Toros, the Spurs NBA D-League affiliate.  In eight games with the Toros, he averaged 26.6 points, 13.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.50 blocks in 39.8 minutes.  His best game with the Toros came on 2/22 vs. Colorado where he had 39 points and 18 rebounds in 47 minutes.

Mensah-Bonsu was signed by the Dallas Mavericks after going unpicked in the 2006 NBA Draft.  During the 2006-07 season he appeared in 12 games with the Mavericks, averaging 2.4 points and 1.0 rebounds in 5.9 minutes.  That season he also appeared in 26 games for the Fort Worth Flyers of the D-League, averaging 15.8 points and 10.4 rebounds in 30.7 minutes.  Mensah-Bonsu was selected to the 2007 D-League All-Star Game where he captured MVP honors after scoring 30 points and grabbing 7 boards.

The 6-10, 240-pound forward was born in London and played collegiately at George Washington University.  He spent four years with the Colonials finishing his career second on the school’s all-time blocks list (141) while earning Atlantic-10 All Conference First Teams honors during his senior year.

Mensah-Bonsu will wear uniform #54.

Read basketball fan reaction and post your own comments in this forum topic.

Udonis Haslem still rocking cornrows

The Miami Herald (Michael Wallace) reports: With Allen Iverson’s recent decision to cut his hair and do away with braids after 12 years, Heat forward Udonis Haslem might have taken over as the NBA’s king of cornrows. Haslem has sported the look for the past eight years, which dates even before he entered the league in 2004. ”I might be the last man standing with them,” Haslem said Tuesday before the Heat faced Iverson’s Pistons. “If I ever do cut them, it won’t be during the season. It’ll be in the summer. I’d have to wait to see how my head is shaped. So if it’s messed up, I have all summer to grow it back.”

NBA D-League expands to Portland, Maine

The NBA Development League has awarded an expansion team to Portland, Maine for the 2009-10 season, NBA D-League President Dan Reed announced today at a press conference at Portland High School. The team, which is the first expansion franchise awarded for the 2009-10 season, will play at the Portland Expo Center.

The franchise will be owned and operated by Maine Basketball, LLC, which is principally owned by Bill Ryan Sr., the chairman of TD Banknorth Group and Bill Ryan Jr., who owns and operates Oxford Plains Speedway. Jon Jennings, a partner in Maine Basketball, LLC and former Boston Celtics assistant coach, will serve as the team’s president and general manager.

Today’s announcement, the NBA D-League’s first foray into New England, was held in front of the school’s student body while featuring Reed, Celtics Team President Rich Gotham, the Celtics Dancers, and a speech by the Portland High Student Body President Brian Furey.

“Expansion to Portland is another example of the health and growth of the NBA D-League,” said Reed. “We are very pleased to add Bill Ryan Sr., Bill Ryan Jr., and Jon Jennings to our ownership ranks, as they bring a wealth of business, sports operations, and basketball experience on behalf of the team and the community.  I’m confident that fans throughout the state of Maine will enjoy our world-class level of basketball featuring current and future NBA players, as well as appreciate the team’s family-friendly environment, affordable prices, and positive impact on the Portland and Maine community.”

“I’m overjoyed to bring NBA D-League basketball to Portland,” said Jennings.  “We’ve already established strong relationships with the people of this community, and we can’t wait to get underway next season.  I know that this team will have a long and exciting future in Maine.”

Portland will be affiliated with two NBA team parent-clubs, which will be able to assign their first and second year players to the club a maximum of three times during a season. Thus far, the 2008-09 NBA D-League season has had 22 NBA players assigned on 24 occasions to NBA D-League affiliates as players continue to develop their game. An announcement regarding Portland’s NBA team affiliations will occur during the offseason.

The AP reports: All the focus was on the return to Phoenix of Raja Bell and Boris Diaw. Instead, Steve Nash, Shaquille O’Neal, Jason Richardson and their teammates spoiled the party. Nash scored 22 points before leaving with an ankle injury, O’Neal and Richardson each had 20, and the Suns beat the Charlotte Bobcats 112-102 Tuesday night, spoiling the return of Diaw and Bell to US Airways Center… Diaw finished with a season-high 27 points, along with nine rebounds and six assists. Bell scored 23 with three rebounds and three assists. The Suns, however, had more balanced scoring. Leandro Barbosa added 17 points and Matt Barnes 14.

The AP reports: Playing for the first time this season without Tim Duncan, who sat out with a sore right knee, Tony Parker had 37 points and 12 assists as the Spurs crushed Dallas 93-76 on Tuesday night in the worst offensive effort to date for the Mavericks… Spurs forward Michael Finley scored 16 against his former team, and Josh Howard led the flat-looking Mavericks with 19 points… Dirk Nowitzki scored 14 points for the Mavericks, who are also still without one of their biggest offensive weapons, Jason Terry. The standout sixth man missed his sixth game with a break in his non-shooting hand.

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets got a validating victory on Tuesday night to continue climbing up the Western Conference standings. Ron Artest scored 21 points, Aaron Brooks had 20 and the Rockets moved past Portland in the West with a 98-94 victory over the Trail Blazers. Luis Scola had 15 points and 11 rebounds—his fifth straight double-double — for the Rockets, who came in trailing Portland by a half-game for fourth place in the conference… Brandon Roy scored 24 and LaMarcus Aldridge added 21 points with eight rebounds for the Blazers, who’ve lost nine of their last 10 games in Houston.

New-look Bulls ease by Magic

The AP reports: Just about everything went right for the Bulls in this game. Derrick Rose scored 22 to lead the Bulls, who got strong efforts from their three newcomers in a 120-102 victory over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night. The three Bulls acquired at the trade deadline combined for 37 points in their home debuts. Tim Thomas scored 17 points, John Salmons 11 and Miller had nine points, seven rebounds and five assists. All three came off the bench and each played more than 20 minutes… Dwight Howard led Orlando with 26 points and 12 rebounds. Hedo Turkoglu had 16 points and Courtney Lee 14… Ben Gordon scored 20 points and Joakim Noah had 14 points and eight rebounds for the Bulls.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 10 of his 36 points in a 3-minute span of the fourth quarter to stave off the Thunder’s comeback bid and lead the Lakers to a 107-93 victory on Tuesday night. He didn’t emerge from the Lakers’ training room until about 40 minutes after the game, but he was in a good mood when he did… Kevin Durant scored 32 to lead Oklahoma City in its sixth straight loss. It was his ninth time scoring at least 30 points in the last 10 games, and the 13th time in 17 games, during a surge that’s landed him right behind Bryant in fourth place in the NBA in scoring. Rookie Kyle Weaver followed his career-best 19-point outing by scoring 16, and Russell Westbrook finished with 14 points for the Thunder.

The AP reports: Not only did Dwyane Wade continue his run of career highs, he sent the Detroit Pistons to a new low. Wade scored 31 points and set a personal best with 16 assists, leading the Miami Heat to a 103-91 win Tuesday night and handing the Pistons their seventh straight loss—Detroit’s longest slide in more than seven years… Daequan Cook scored 16 points, Jermaine O’Neal added 14 and Jamario Moon had 12 for the Heat, who took control with a 22-8 run to close the third quarter. Allen Iverson scored 22 points and Tayshaun Prince added 18 for the Pistons (27-28), who fell under .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2000-01. Antonio McDyess shot 8-for-10 and scored 17 for Detroit.

The AP reports: Playing short-handed is nothing new for the Cleveland Cavaliers. With starting shooting guard Delonte West inactive two days after returning from the right wrist fracture that sidelined him for 16 games, the Cavaliers relied on a team effort to beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 94-79 on Tuesday night. Daniel Gibson scored 19 points and Mo Williams added 18. The Cavaliers never trailed, making for a relatively easy night for LeBron James, the NBA’s second-leading scorer. James scored 15 points in 30 minutes and didn’t play the fourth quarter, thanks to Cleveland’s big lead throughout the game. Rudy Gay and Hakim Warrick scored 13 points apiece for Memphis, which lost its fifth straight.

The AP reports: Chris Bosh knows there’s no place for politeness in an NBA playoff drive. Bosh and Andrea Bargnani each scored 26 points, Anthony Parker had 24, and the Toronto Raptors beat Minnesota 118-100 on Tuesday, their 10th consecutive victory over the Timberwolves. Jose Calderon had 15 points and 13 assists for Toronto, with Jason Kapono adding 11 points and Shawn Marion 10… Randy Foye scored 25 and Ryan Gomes had 23 for the Timberwolves, who have lost 11 of 13.

Knicks waive Stephon Marbury

The New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury have officially parted ways.

The following is a joint statement on behalf of the Knicks and Marbury:

“A comprehensive agreement was made this afternoon between the New York Knicks and Stephon Marbury. Under its terms, the grievance has been resolved and the Knicks have requested waivers on Stephon. No additional terms will be disclosed.”

InsideHoops.com will post more on this later tonight.

Marko Jaric married Adriana Lima

People.com reports: An engagement ring on her birthday and a secret marriage on Valentine’s Day – who knew jocks could be so romantic! Adriana Lima, a Brazilian supermodel and a Victoria’s Secret Angel, eloped with NBA star Marko Jaric on Feb. 14 in Jackson Hole, Wyo., in a small, private civil ceremony, PEOPLE confirms exclusively.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I was going to marry her but instead I chose to grab some pizza. Still, congrats Marko!

Boston Celtics sign Mikki Moore

The Boston Celtics announced today that the club has signed free agent center/forward Mikki Moore. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“Mikki’s length, energy, skill and experience, along with his enthusiasm to come to Boston, will be a great boost for us.” said Danny Ainge, Celtics President of Basketball Operations.

Moore, a 7’0”, 225lb center/forward, is in his 11th NBA season.  Moore has posted career averages of 5.9 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 54.8 percent from the field.  This is Moore’s second stint with the Celtics after he spent a portion of the 2002-03 season with the team.  The former Nebraska Cornhusker has posted career playoff averages of 10.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 15 games.  He also shot 54.5 percent from the field in those 15 games.

Moore will wear #7.

Carlos Boozer returns

The Deseret News reports: They hit 70.7 percent from the field in the first half, their best opening-half shooting success 10-plus years. They led by as many as 26, and rolled in the second half. They had five scorers in double figures, two with double-doubles. They beat Atlanta 108-89 Monday night at EnergySolutions Arena, extended their winning streak to five, improved to 8-1 in February — and did it with all of their 15-man roster intact and healthy for the first time this season, including even starting power forward Carlos Boozer. The Jazz, in other words, had it together — and, accordingly, have head coach Jerry Sloan fretting over a new problem altogether. “Just trying to decide who to play and how to play ‘em — that’s going to be the toughest thing,” said Sloan, who got 58 points from his suddenly deep bench, including 16 apiece from Paul Millsap (who also had a game-high 12 rebounds) and Kyle Korver and 15 from Matt Harpring.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:  Boozer, meanwhile, had two points and five rebounds in 21 minutes, going 1 for 5 and missing two free throws. He was originally injured Nov. 19, underwent surgery Jan. 9 and missed 44 games in all, with the Jazz going 25-19 in his three-month absence. Boozer said his knee felt great, estimated it would two weeks to get back in rhythm and was encouraged by the victory. “When we get to the playoffs, if we’re hitting our stride at the right moment, we could be a dangerous team,” he said. The Jazz took a 31-24 lead into the second quarter, then outscored the Hawks 17-8 with Williams on the bench to build a 19-point lead. Such is the strength of their second team with Boozer back, anchored by Paul Millsap, Andrei Kirilenko and Harpring.

Clippers beat Warriors 118-105

The AP reports: Eric Gordon had trouble finding his shot in the first half, so the rookie talked himself out of repeating those woes the rest of the game. Zach Randolph had 27 points and 11 rebounds, Gordon also had 27 points and the Los Angeles Clippers snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Golden State Warriors 118-105 on Monday night. Gordon had a career-high six 3-pointers and has scored 21-plus points in each of his last five games for the Clippers, who beat the Warriors for the first time since Nov. 2, 2007… Baron Davis, a former Warrior, added 25 points and 10 assists for the Clippers, who were without starter Al Thornton, missing his second game of the season with a right foot injury… Stephen Jackson had 28 points and C.J. Watson added 16 for the Warriors.

Paul leads Hornets past Kings 112-105

The AP reports: Rejected after failing a physical that nullified a trade to Oklahoma City last week, Tyson Chandler enjoyed a nice welcome back party Monday night with his New Orleans teammates. It was Hornets point guard Chris Paul making sure Chandler’s return was a happy occasion. The all-star point guard had 27 points and 13 assists for the Hornets, who held off a fourth-quarter rally by the Sacramento Kings in a 112-105 victory… David West had 24 points and nine rebounds for the Hornets, who had lost two straight and eight of 12. Stojakovic had 18 points, James Posey made four 3-pointers and scored 13, and Rasual Butler contributed 12 points. Kevin Martin scored 24 of his 32 points in the fourth period for the Kings, setting an Arco Arena record for points in a quarter and was one point short of tying Mitch Richmond’s 25-point effort that is a Sacramento-era mark. Andres Nocioni scored 19 points, Francisco Garcia had 17 and Spencer Hawes added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

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