Archive for February 11th, 2009

A Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) test conducted today on Houston Rockets guard/forward Tracy McGrady at the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute revealed no change in his left knee from prior diagnosis. McGrady is expected to seek additional medical opinions in the coming days. He is not expected to play tonight for precautionary reasons. McGrady’s status will be re-evaluated when the team returns from the 2009 NBA All-Star Break.

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Mo Williams has been selected to replace injured Orlando Magic guard Jameer Nelson (torn right labrum ) in the 2009 Playstation® Skills Challenge to be held on Saturday, Feb. 14 at US Airways Center in Phoenix.

The PlayStation® Skills Challenge will be televised live nationally as part of the NBA All-Star Saturday Night, which will also feature the Foot Locker Three-Point Shootout, Sprite Slam Dunk and Haier Shooting Stars. TNT and ESPN Radio’s national coverage will begin at 8 p.m. EST from US Airways Center. The NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15, will air live on TNT, ESPN Radio and in more than 215 countries and territories in 44 languages.

Pacers notes

Positive-leaning Indiana Pacers team notes:

A leading candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award, Danny Granger is on course to become the first player in NBA history to improve his scoring average by at least five points a game in three consecutive seasons. Granger is fifth in the NBA this season with an average of 25.5 ppg, which is nearly six points per game more than his average (19.7) of a season ago.

Including 4-5 on his way to a team-high 18 points vs. Cleveland, Feb. 10, Troy Murphy has shot 24-45 (.533) from 3-pt range in his last nine games. Murphy has made a career-best 99 3-pt field goals this season.

With an average of 11.5 rpg, Murphy is fifth in the NBA, and he is the only player ranked in the top 20 in both rebounds and 3-pt field goal accuracy. Murphy’s 43.0 percent from long range is 13th best in the NBA.

With their win over Cleveland on Tuesday, Feb. 10, the Pacers became the first team in the NBA this season to post a win against each of the four teams (Boston, Cleveland, the Lakers and Orlando) with the best winning percentages in the NBA.

The only Indiana player with more steals than turnovers, Travis Diener has accumulated 14 steals and committed just 10 turnovers in his 33 appearances this season. Diener leads the team in assists-to-turnover ratio with 77 assists and 10 miscues (7.70:1).

This weekend Danny Granger will not only make his first appearance in the NBA All-Star game on Sunday, but he will also participate in the 2009 Foot Locker 3-pt Shootout during All-Star Saturday in Phoenix, Feb. 14. Granger joins the NBA’s all-time 3-pt field goals king, Reggie Miller, as the only Pacers’ players to participate in the 3-pt Shootout. Miller took part in the long distance shooting competition five times, finishing second in 1990 and 1995.

InsideHoops talks to Q-Rich

With the arrival of Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni in New York, people all around the organization knew positive changes were coming. Nobody welcomed those changes more then Quentin Richardson. After playing a season under D’Antoni’s fast-paced offense in Phoenix, Quentin found himself being traded to New York and making the best of a tough situation. Randy Zellea of InsideHoops.com recently caught up with Q and talked to him about the move to New York from Phoenix, the direction of the Knicks, the atmosphere of world famous Madison Square Garden, and his free-time activities.

Read the Quentin Richardson interview.

Rockets-Kings team connections

Rockets Head Coach Rick Adelman stands as the winningest coach in Kings history, recording a 395-229 (.633) mark in eight seasons (1998-2006) as head coach of Sacramento.

Elston Turner also spent six seasons as an assistant coach on Adelman’s staff in Sacramento.

T.R. Dunn joined the Rockets coaching staff after three campaigns as an assistant coach for the Kings.

Rockets Assistant Coach R.J. Adelman served five years as a scout for Sacramento, including the final three seasons as assistant video coordinator.

Houston forward Chuck Hayes, who was born in San Leandro, California, attended Modesto Christian High School.

The Rockets acquired forward/guard Ron Artest from Sacramento in a trade that included guard Bobby Jackson and forward Donté Greene on Aug. 14, 2008.

Kings President John Thomas is a former Senior Executive Vice President with the Rockets.

Sacramento forward Kenny Thomas was drafted by Houston in the first round (22nd overall) of the 1999 NBA Draft, playing the next three-and-a-half seasons with the Rockets.

Robert Horry is tall, old, good at three-point shooting and making clutch shots, and if you only see him from the neck on up you can pretend you’re talking to Will Smith, which would be neat and stuff.  The Sacramento Bee (Scott Howard-Cooper) reports (via blog):

Robert Horry wants to play again this season. That much is obvious after talking with him in advance of the Kings arriving in his adopted hometown of Houston and in the aftermath of the Sam Amick report that the Spurs weighed a bid for Brad Miller or John Salmons and could use Horry in a sign-and-trade for salary-cap purposes. The important league-wide development is that Horry rates the Spurs and Celtics as his most-likely landing spots. Both understandable. San Antonio is a contender and familiar from the past five seasons there and close to Houston, an important consideration to stay near his family. Boston is the defending champion and has kept him on the radar all along as a potential stretch-drive signing.

I’m not sure how much game he has left. At this point Horry should probably only be considered useful as a bench contributor to come in, play five minutes per half, fire three three-pointers, hit one or two of them, and sit down.

The Indianapolis Star (Mike Wells) reports: The NBA’s Players Association took the first step in trying to resolve point guard Jamaal Tinsley’s situation when it filed a grievance on his behalf Tuesday against the Indiana Pacers. Tinsley’s agent, Raymond Brothers, said last week they planned to file the grievance because he wants the Pacers to trade, release or buy out his client. Tinsley was barred from the team before training camp. He will make more than $14 million in the final two years of his contract, which expires in 2010-11. Pacers president Larry Bird said they have no intention of buying out Tinsley’s contract.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant showed no lingering effects from the flu, scoring 34 points and becoming the youngest player in NBA history to reach 23,000 in the Los Angeles Lakers’ 105-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday night. Pau Gasol had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Lamar Odom had 12 points and a season-high 18 boards for the Lakers, just back from a 6-0 trip they concluded with wins against Boston and Cleveland… Kevin Durant finished with 31 points, his fifth 30-point game in a row, and 10 rebounds in the loss. Russell Westbrook had 17 points and nine rebounds.

Warriors rout defenseless Knicks 144-127

The AP reports: Stephen Jackson had a season-high 35 points, 10 assists and six rebounds, and Jamal Crawford added 21 points against his former team in the Golden State Warriors’ third straight home victory, 144-127 over the defenseless Newe York Knicks on Tuesday night. Kelenna Azubuike had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Warriors obliterated their previous season-high for points with almost no defensive opposition from the Knicks, who lost their fifth straight—and lost three players to injuries as well. Al Harrington had 24 points and nine rebounds amid constant boos from the Oakland fans who embraced him just two years ago… David Lee had 27 points and 11 rebounds, and Nate Robinson scored 30 points for the Knicks, whose defensive inadequacies were made even worse by a rash of injuries.

The AP reports: Antoine Wright scored 23 points, his best scoring game in nearly three months, Josh Howard also had 23 points, and the Mavericks won 118-100 over Sacramento on Tuesday night to make the Kings the first NBA team guaranteed to have a losing season… Dirk Nowitzki added 21 points, Jason Kidd had 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Erick Dampier had 16 rebounds. J.J. Barea, the primary fill-in for Terry, had 10 points and four assists without a turnover in 25 1/2 minutes… Kevin Martin had 18 points, though he missed nine consecutive shots at one point for Sacramento. John Salmons had 16 and Shelden Williams 15.

Gordon leads Bulls over Pistons, 107-102

The AP reports: Ben Gordon then buried the free throw to complete the go-ahead four-point play, Derrick Rose and Tyrus Thomas made strong contributions late, and the Chicago Bulls rallied to beat the Detroit Pistons 107-102 on Tuesday night… The Pistons were without Allen Iverson, who had the flu. Even so, they appeared to be in good shape… Richard Hamilton, who scored 30, was at a loss to decipher this one, too… Rose, who finished with 23 points, scored nine in the final 4 minutes and started that 9-0 run with two free throws… Tyrus Thomas, who finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds, added a put-back basket and blocked a layup by Stuckey during that spurt.

No Charles Barkley in Phoenix All-Star

The East Valley Tribune (with wire reports) reports: Charles Barkley will sit out TNT’s coverage of All-Star weekend in Phoenix after his arrest in Scottsdale on suspicion of drunken driving. Barkley was expected to return to the air sometime in the second half of the season. Barkley took a leave of absence from his TV responsibilities last month, the day tests showed that his blood-alcohol level was at .149, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 in Arizona.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press (Brian Murphy) reports: With star center Al Jefferson sidelined indefinitely because of a knee injury, the Timberwolves improvised an offensive scheme Tuesday that will be sketched in pencil the rest of the season. Rebounding savant Kevin Love absorbed more responsibilities as the 20-year-old rookie replaced Jefferson against the Toronto Raptors at Target Center. Sliding into Love’s power forward position was Ryan Gomes. That reopened a spot in the rotation for sharpshooter Mike Miller, who was plagued by a sprained ankle and shooting slump that forced him to come off the bench the previous 19 games… “We’re not dead. We’re not out. Everybody just needs to step up,” Love said. “We’ve all stepped up our game a little bit, but it’s going to have to be more. Different productivity from different players, including myself.”

Shaq says Kobe is better than LeBron

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Jodie Valade) reports: If Sunday’s Cavaliers-Lakers game wasn’t enough evidence, take Shaquille O’Neal’s word for it. Kobe Bryant is better. LeBron James? He’s pretty good, too. But Kobe is the best the Big Diesel has ever played with. “Kobe’s probably a 10,” O’Neal said Tuesday night. “LeBron’s a 9.7, 9.8. He’s a fabulous player who does it the right way and gets everybody involved. Those guys [Cavaliers] are playing at a very, very high level right now because of him.”

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