Archive for March, 2009

Shaq tells Robin Lopez to get tough

Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal gave teammate/backup Robin Lopez a severe talking to on Sunday. The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: “Put somebody on their (expletive) back,” Shaquille O’Neal said he told Robin Lopez. “Don’t let anybody oopsy-doopsy layup on you and be laughing at you. Have you ever seen me get dunked on? No, because I put (expletive) on their backs. Period. “If you’re going to be a big man, be a big man. Don’t be out there (expletive) around. Lay somebody on their (expletive) back. Period. Wilt (Chamberlain) told me that. Bill Russell told me that. Hakeem (Olajuwon) told me that. All the great big men told me that. . . . That’s what I’m trying to teach him, instead of just being out there like a loose tree blowing in the wind. Do something.”

Celtics shut Kevin Garnett down

The NBA champion Boston Celtics aren’t a championship team without star power forward Kevin Garnett. And with KG’s right knee still giving him some issues, they’re playing it safe. The AP reports:

Coach Doc Rivers announced after practice Tuesday that the team would be ’shutting down’ their star forward after Garnett experienced continued soreness in the knee, first injured on Feb. 19 at Utah.

The Celtics are currently just behind the Orlando Magic in the Eastern conference standings. There is no danger of them falling any lower than their current #3 seed. The Atlanta Hawks are a distant #4 seed and are 12.5 games behind Boston for #3. So, the Celtics could lose every remaining game, and it wouldn’t affect their home court situation in the East playoffs. The Finals homecourt situation is another story. But getting back to the championship round would be infinitely harder without Garnett, so they are correctly making sure he gets healthy for the post-season.

NBA Development League President Dan Reed announced today at a press conference at the Basketball Hall of Fame that HWS Basketball, LLC will be bringing an NBA D-League team to Springfield, Massachusetts for the 2009-10 season.  The team will play at Springfield’s MassMutual Center.

The new team will be owned and operated by Michael Savit who is the managing partner of HWS Basketball, LLC, a group of local investors.  Savit brings with him to Springfield and the NBA D-League a wealth of minor league operational and sports business experience, including time as Senior Vice President at the Cleveland-based International Management Group (IMG) and as the managing partner of minor league baseball teams in the South Atlantic League, Midwest League, Southern League, California League, Coastal Plain League and New York-Penn League.

Savit and his group have been awarded the right to relocate the NBA D-League team currently playing in Anaheim, California to Springfield.  While the local ownership group will have the option to retain rights to current Anaheim Arsenal players, they will announce a new name, colors, and a mascot for the Springfield team later on this spring.

“As the NBA D-League continues to move east, we’re very excited to bring a team to a place that not only has rich basketball history, but also boasts an impressive ownership group, strong civic leadership and community support,” said Reed.  “We’re thrilled to welcome such a well-respected and experienced operator in Mike Savit to our ownership ranks, and look forward to not only bringing our unique brand of affordable, family-friendly, and NBA-caliber basketball to Springfield, but becoming a vital part of the greater Springfield community.”

Today’s announcement featured Reed, Savit, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, University of Massachusetts men’s basketball head coach and Springfield native Derek Kellogg and George Ramirez, the deputy director and general counsel of the Department of Business Development, Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.   Rooney served as a master of ceremonies for the event.

“Today is an exciting day for Springfield!” said Savit.  “I’m thrilled to be a part of the group that brought professional basketball back to the game’s birthplace and I can’t wait to contribute to this city’s great basketball history and become part of the fabric of the community.”

“The National Basketball Association, Springfield and the MassMutual Center are a powerful combination,” said Rooney of the MCCA, which owns the venue. “The entire Pioneer Valley will undoubtedly embrace our new pro team, and we plan to be worthy partners with our top-tier service and state-of-the-art amenities.”

The team in Springfield will be affiliated with two NBA team parent-clubs, which will be able to assign their first and second year players to the club up to three times during a season. Thus far, the 2008-09 NBA D-League season has had 30 NBA players assigned on 39 occasions to NBA D-League affiliates to continue to develop their games. An announcement regarding Springfield’s NBA team affiliations will occur during the offseason.

Nuggets recall Sonny Weems from D-League

The Denver Nuggets have recalled G/F Sonny Weems from the Colorado 14ers of the NBA Development League, team Vice President of Basketball Operations Mark Warkentien announced today.

Weems, who was re-assigned to the 14ers on March 6, has averaged 20.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.9 apg and 1.05 spg in 19 outings during two separate stints for Colorado this season. His second stint with the 14ers was highlighted by several big games, including a 36 point (15-22 FG), nine rebound outburst at Erie on March 27.

Weems was selected by the Chicago Bulls in the second round (39th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft before being traded to Denver for a 2009 second-round draft pick. In 10 games for the Nuggets this season, Weems has averaged 1.3 ppg in 4.1 mpg.

OKC Thunder sign Shaun Livingston

The Oklahoma City Thunder have signed guard Shaun Livingston to a multi-year deal, Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not announced.

Livingston, 23, is being called-up from the NBA Developmental League’s Tulsa 66ers, where he averaged 9.5 points, 6.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 29.4 minutes in 11 games (10 starts). At the time of his call-up, the 6’7’’ guard ranked seventh in the D-League in assists (6.0). He scored a season-high 22 points on March 27 at Rio Grande Valley Vipers and dished out a season-best 11 assists against Iowa Energy on March 12.

Originally selected by the L.A. Clippers in the first round of the 2004 NBA Draft (#4 overall), he has appeared in 149 NBA games with L.A. Clippers and Miami.  The Peoria, Illinois native owns career averages of 7.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.1 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per contest.

Livingston, who will wear jersey #14 with the Thunder, becomes the 19th Call-Up of the 2008-09 season and the 137th player since the league began play in 2001.

Thunder recall D.J. White from D-League

Oklahoma City Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced today that the team has recalled forward D.J. White from the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League.

White was assigned to Tulsa for the second time this season on March 29.  During his most recent stint, White appeared in one game and recorded six points, one rebound, one assist, one steal and a block in 11 minutes.  Overall, he’s seen action in four games D-League contests averaging 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 30.8 minutes.

The AP reports: O.J. Mayo scored 24 points and had a career-high 10 assists, Rudy Gay added 21 points and the Grizzlies rallied from nine points down in the fourth quarter to beat the short-handed Warriors 114-109 on Monday night.. Memphis (19-54) did it behind Mayo, Gay and seldom-used reserve Hamed Haddadi, who came off the bench to score all of his career-high 10 points in the fourth quarter when the Grizzlies overcame a 90-81 deficit to win going away behind a late 25-5 run… Mike Conley added 21 points and six rebounds for the Grizzlies (19-54), who won for just the fourth time in 22 games. Monta Ellis had 29 points for Golden State, which suited up just eight players for the second straight game and lost its fifth in a row.

The AP reports: Utah led by 24 early in the fourth quarter, but for the second game in a row watched a big lead slowly erode into a deficit… Deron Williams had 24 points and 13 assists and Carlos Boozer added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Jazz, who are becoming consistent in some very bad ways… Al Harrington scored 24 to lead the Knicks before getting ejected with two technicals for arguing a foul call with 22 seconds left… David Lee had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Nate Robinson and Jared Jeffries scored 11 each for the Knicks. Paul Millsap had 12 points and seven rebounds and Ronnie Brewer scored 17 for the Jazz, who survived another defensive collapse.

The AP reports: Richard Jefferson had 29 points and 10 rebounds against his former teammates and the Milwaukee Bucks snapped a season-high, five-game losing streak with a 107-78 victory over the reeling New Jersey Nets on Monday night. Charlie Villanueva added 20 points for the Bucks, who kept their slim hopes for a playoff berth alive by snapping a seven-game road losing streak and sending the Nets to their fifth straight loss, matching their season high… Chris Douglas-Roberts had 14 points and Brook Lopez added 10 points and 10 rebounds for New Jersey, which suffered its second embarrassing loss in 24 hours. Minnesota snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating the Nets on Sunday… Nets guards Vince Carter and Devin Harris sat most of the second half, combining for 19 points on 6-of-22 shooting.

The AP reports: On the night Miami retired Alonzo Mourning’s number, Orlando’s big man wrecked the party. Dwight Howard scored 22 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, passing Wilt Chamberlain as the youngest NBA player to reach the 5,000-board mark, and the Magic kept their grip on the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference by beating the Heat 101-95 on Monday night. Rashard Lewis scored 21 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:32 remaining for Orlando (55-18), which stayed five games behind Cleveland and percentage points ahead of defending champion Boston in the East race… Dwyane Wade scored 13 of his 42 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat (39-35), whose edge over Philadelphia for the East’s No. 5 seed was trimmed to one game, despite the lift that came from seeing Mourning’s jersey being retired… Backup point guard Luther Head broke his left hand during the game and will miss four to six weeks, meaning there likely will be no way he’s available for Miami’s first-round playoff series.

James Posey out 3 games

Forward James Posey will miss the next three games with a sprained left elbow. The injury occurred during Friday night’s road game in New York. Posey will be re-evaluated on Saturday once the Hornets return home from the three-game road trip. He will travel with the team on the trip.

The Charlotte Observer (Rick Bonnell) reports (via blog): Bobcats coach Larry Brown made it clear Monday that Adam Morrison is no longer here because he didn’t want to be here, and couldn’t handle the pressure associated with being chosen third overall in the 2006 draft. “I was happy Adam got to leave because he was never comfortable here. You were hoping it would be a new lease on life for him. I still think it can be,” said Brown of the Feb. 7 trade that dealt Morrison to the Los Angeles Lakers. Brown said the other factors — the glut at shooting guard and small forward and Morrison’s recovery from a knee injury that cost him the previous season — were secondary to how expectations rattled Morrison.

Cavs want homecourt in playoffs

The Akron Beacon Journal (George M. Thomas) reports:  Rest is the last thing on the Cavaliers’ minds. With nine games left in the season, the Cavs have the league’s best record at 60-13. They are pushing for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, an edge that many observers believe the team needs to win its first NBA title. While it would be nice to sit out an occasional fourth quarter, Cavaliers forward LeBron James says he can’t. ”We’re fighting for a No. 1 seed and trying to continue to get better,” he said. ”You got to be careful with trying to get rest and things when you’re playing so well. You take someone out of the lineup when everything is going well — you may do it for one game or two games — it can mess up the whole thing.”

Hornets hold off Spurs, 90-86

The AP reports: Chris Paul found an unconventional way to deliver a knock-out blow to one of the better defensive teams in the NBA. With New Orleans clinging to an 87-86 lead over San Antonio, Paul split two defenders on the dribble and heaved up a wild, inaccurate shot from behind well behind the 3-point line as he was being fouled by Manu Ginobili. The result was three free throws for Paul, who calmly made them all with 7.1 seconds left, helping the depleted Hornets hold on for a 90-86 victory over the Spurs on Sunday night… Paul finished with 26 points and West scored 23 points to go with 16 rebounds. West made all 11 of his free throws and Paul made all nine of his… Tony Parker led San Antonio with 20 points. Tim Duncan had 19 points and 15 rebounds and Ginobili added 17 points.

The AP reports: Jason Thompson had 21 points and Spencer Hawes added a career-high 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Sacramento Kings in a 126-118 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night. Steve Nash scored 31 points for Phoenix which went 0-3 on it road trip and trails Dallas by four games for the eighth and final spot it the Western Conference playoff race. The Suns have eight games remaining, including four of their final six on the road. Andres Nocioni and Francisco Garcia each had 19 points for the Kings, who had lost seven of their eight previous games. Kevin Martin scored 17 and Beno Udrih added 16 points and seven assists. Shaquille O’Neal had 24 points and nine rebounds, Grant Hill 19 points, Jared Dudley had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Jason Richardson added 16 points for Phoenix.

The AP reports: Boston Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss scored it as the first, unofficial triple-double in Glen “Big Baby” Davis’ career: 19 points, 10 rebounds—and 10 stitches. The Celtics power forward left in the third quarter after being elbowed in the head and returned after getting stitched up to score 15 points in the final 10 minutes and lead Boston to a 103-84 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night… “Baby’s a bleeder,” said Paul Pierce, who scored 27 points… Eddie House scored 14 of his 16 in the second half—nine of them during an 11-1 run in the third quarter when the Celtics took the lead for good. Reserve Mikki Moore scored 12 with 11 boards and Rajon Rondo had 12 assists to help the Celtics win their sixth out of seven despite missing Garnett for the 15th time in 19 games… Russell Westbrook scored 23 points and Kevin Durant added 21 for the Thunder, which lost their third straight and fifth of six.

The AP reports: Brandon Rush is finally giving Indiana more than one consistent scoring option. Starting his third straight game, the Pacers rookie continued his late-season tear with 29 points and 10 rebounds Sunday night in a 124-115 victory over the Washington Wizards… Danny Granger finished with 31 points for the Pacers… Jarrett Jack added 19 points for the Pacers. Washington was led by Caron Butler with 31 points and 13 rebounds and Antawn Jamison with 29 points. Javaris Crittenton added a season-high 19 points for the Wizards… As expected, the Wizards’ Gilbert Arenas did not play… Indiana’s Troy Murphy, who sprained a knee ligament in a shootaround on Wednesday, also did not play for the third straight game.

The AP reports: Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points, Rodney Stuckey added 16 points and Allen Iverson returned from a back injury to help the Detroit Pistons beat the Philadelphia 76ers 101-97 on Sunday and gain ground in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Iverson, who missed 16 games, scored eight points in 22 minutes as Detroit pulled within 1 1/2 games of Philadelphia for sixth place in the conference. Philadelphia’s Samuel Dalembert left in the first quarter with a leg injury and didn’t return. Richard Hamilton had 14 points and seven assists for the Pistons, and Antonio McDyess scored 13. Andre Iguodala had 24 points and Thaddeus Young added 22 for the 76ers.

The AP reports: Chris Bosh didn’t panic after watching the Chicago Bulls erase Toronto’s 17-point lead and send the game to overtime. He just helped the Raptors win in the extra period. Bosh had 31 points and 15 rebounds, Andrea Bargnani scored 28 points and the Raptors beat the Bulls 134-129 Sunday. Chicago’s Ben Gordon had 37 points, including a buzzer-beating jumper over Bosh that sent it to overtime… Jose Calderon had 22 points and a career-high 19 assists, Shawn Marion scored 16 points and Pops Mensah-Bonsu added 13 as the Raptors set a franchise-high for points and extended their winning streak to a season-high four games… Chicago rookie Derrick Rose had 23 but the Bulls failed to get their first five-game winning streak since Dec. 11-19, 2006.

The AP reports: Playing more aggressively than he has in months, Mike Miller had 22 points, 10 rebounds and five assists to help the Minnesota Timberwolves snap a seven-game losing streak with a 108-99 victory over the fading Nets on Sunday. Ryan Gomes scored 21 and Kevin Love added 16 points and 11 boards for the Timberwolves, who had lost 18 of their last 20 games. “It’s just unacceptable,” said Nets guard Vince Carter, whose 36 points and eight rebounds weren’t enough to offset New Jersey’s general malaise… Devin Harris had 19 points and five assists in his second game back from a shoulder injury for the Nets, who have lost four in a row.

Basketball blog