Archive for March 7th, 2009

The Tulsa 66ers announced today they have acquired the fourth overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, point guard Shaun Livingston.

Livingston, at 6 foot 7 inches, has played in 149 regular season NBA games, including 60 starts for the Los Angeles Clippers from 2004-07. He played in four games for the Miami Heat earlier this season. He has career averages of 7.3 points, 4.7 assists, 3.1 rebounds while shooting 44 percent from the field and 71 percent from the free throw line.

The Peoria, Illinois native led Peoria Central High to Class AA state titles in both 2003 and 2004 and was named Illinois Mr. Basketball as a senior in 2003-04, while also named to the 2004 McDonald’s All-America Team. Livingston became the fourth Illinois Mr. Basketball to jump directly from high school to the NBA, joining Darius Miles, Kevin Garnett and Eddy Curry.

Livingston will wear jersey number 14, and will be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. In order to make room on the roster for Livingston, the 66ers released guard Derrick Dial due to an injury.

The Chicago Tribune reports on Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas: The third-year forward set a franchise record Friday night by blocking at least one shot in his 24th consecutive game. The previous record of 23 had been shared with  Ben Wallace (Jan.-March 2007) and  Jawann Oldham (March-April 1985). Thomas set the mark with a second-quarter block of Luc Mbah a Moute’s layup attempt. During the streak, Thomas, who had two blocks Friday, has 49 overall.

There were rumors in the past that Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith and coach Mike Woodson have a bit of a problem. Nothing crazy, but things flare up every now and then. That’s become clear recently, especially Friday in Charlotte.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sekou Smith) reports:

And Hawks coach Mike Woodson benched starting power forward Josh Smith after halftime, the result of a heated disagreement between the two in the locker room during the break. Smith refused to comment after the game, and Woodson said it was a “coach’s decision” and that Smith’s status for tonight’s game against Detroit would be determined later. “That was coach’s call,” Hawks captain Joe Johnson said. “This is coach’s team. Whoever he wants to play plays, and if he doesn’t want you to play, you don’t play.” … “Josh played well in the first half,” Mo Evans said. “It didn’t have nothing to do with his basketball playing abilities. It’s the off-the-court, internal stuff that causes all the drama.”

Eddy Curry returns to practice

The New York Post (Marc Berman) reports:  Knicks center Eddy Curry was back on the practice court for the first time in nearly two months yesterday, but Mike D’Antoni made it clear he likely won’t be back in the rotation. Curry, who last practiced Jan. 9 in Houston because of a lack of conditioning and two sore knees, has played two minutes and 38 seconds this season. He could suit up tonight versus the Bobcats. But his role now - and for the forseeable future - is to play garbage time as the Knicks immerse themselves in a playoff race, two games out of eighth place in the Eastern Conference. They have no time to experiment with their 6-foot-11, 300-pound former franchise player, who has become an albatross - by far Isiah Thomas’ worst personnel move.

The AP reports: Some nights, it’s about nothing more than just getting through the game for the Los Angeles Lakers. That was certainly the case Friday, when Kobe Bryant scored 23 points, Pau Gasol added 21 and the Lakers beat the slumping Minnesota Timberwolves 110-90 to become the first NBA team to reach 50 victories… Ryan Gomes scored 20 points and rookie Kevin Love added 18 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota, which dropped its eighth in a row and fell to 10-20 on the road. Sebastian Telfair had 18 points after missing the last two games with a sore right groin… Mbenga tied his career high with five of the Lakers’ 14 blocked shots. They also had eight steals against a Minnesota team that is missing Al Jefferson and got zero points from Mike Miller in nearly 33 minutes.

Williams rallies Jazz past Nuggets

The AP reports: Trailing Denver by 19 points, the Jazz were a mess—turning the ball over repeatedly and making just half of their foul shots until something sparked Utah just before halftime. Utah scored 17 straight points over the end of the second period and beginning of the third and rallied for a 97-91 victory over the Nuggets on Friday night… Deron Williams scored 12 of his 25 points in the third quarter and also had 11 assists, his 11th straight game with 10 or more… J.R. Smith led Denver with 27 points. Carmelo Anthony was in foul trouble much of the game and finished with 20. Chauncey Billups added 12 points for the Nuggets, who knew they blew a great chance to win a division game on the road.

The AP reports: Forget Yao Ming vs. Shaquille O’Neal. Aaron Brooks and Steve Nash put on the real show in Houston on Friday night. Brooks scored a career-high 30 points and drove past O’Neal for the winning basket in the Rockets’ 116-112 win over the Phoenix Suns. Nash shook off a poor first half to score a season-high 32 points, but the Suns dropped their fourth straight road game. O’Neal scored 17 on his 37th birthday for Phoenix, which slipped three games behind Dallas in the race for the No. 8 playoff spot in the West… Nash went 1-for-10 from the field in the first half and said he was bothered by the sprained right ankle that kept him out three games. He went 13-for-17 with nine assists in the second half, single-handedly keeping Phoenix close.

Gooden sits as Spurs roll over Wizards

The AP reports: Drew Gooden left the Chicago Bulls and their losing record last month before spending a couple weeks in woeful Sacramento. Watching his first game with the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night, Gooden said he can get used to this kind of winning. Tony Parker scored 19 points, Michael Finley had 12 and the Spurs treated Gooden to a dominant performance in a 100-78 victory over the Washington Wizards while San Antonio’s newest power forward sat on the bench in street clothes… Ime Udoka scored 13 points and reserve George Hill had 12 for San Antonio. The Spurs are more likely to have their hands full Sunday against Phoenix, and Thursday when they host the Los Angeles Lakers in the final meeting of the West’s top two teams.

The AP reports: Ben Gordon got his shot going from the outside and Derrick Rose spent most of the night driving to the basket. The result was a 117-102 victory for the Chicago Bulls over the Milwaukee Bucks and sole possession of eighth place in the East… John Salmons added had 21 points for Chicago. Richard Jefferson led the Bucks with 27 points, Luc Mbah a Moute added a career-high 21 with 11 boards and Ramon Sessions had 20 points and 11 assists. Charlie Villanueva had 19 points and 12 rebounds.

The AP reports: Paul Pierce scored 29 points, reserve Leon Powe had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Celtics beat Cleveland 105-94 to move within percentage points of the East-leading Cavaliers in the race for home-court advantage through the conference finals… Mo Williams scored 26 for Cleveland and LeBron James had 21, shooting just 5-of-15 from the field to go with 9-for-12 from the line. He spent the last 87 seconds of the game on the bench after the Cavaliers fell behind by 15 and couldn’t make a run.

The AP reports: With an important game in the playoff race looming, the Detroit Pistons took care of business quickly Friday night. Richard Hamilton scored 22 points and Detroit beat the short-handed Golden State Warriors 108-91 for its fourth straight victory. Jason Maxiell had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Tayshaun Prince also scored 16 for Detroit, which got points from all 12 players. Rodney Stuckey had 14 points and eight assists… Jamal Crawford scored 25 points for Golden State, which lost for the fifth time in six games. Anthony Randolph added 17 in a career-high 47 minutes. His previous high was 28 minutes.

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade had 42 points, eight assists and six rebounds, and the Miami Heat beat Toronto 108-102 on Friday night, snapping a six-game losing streak against the Raptors… Michael Beasley scored 12 points and Udonis Haslem, Mario Chalmers and Chris Quinn had 10 as Miami won back-to-back games for the first time since a three-game streak from Jan. 24-28. The Heat had not beaten Toronto since a 92-89 home victory on April 3, 2007. Chris Bosh scored 34 points and Andrea Bargnani had 23 for Toronto, which has lost four straight.

The AP reports: The Orlando Magic are getting back in a groove, and just in time. Dwight Howard had 26 points and 15 rebounds, and the Magic rallied to beat the New Jersey Nets 105-102 on Friday night. Up next: Sunday at Boston, which is second in the Eastern Conference and three games ahead of Orlando… Rashard Lewis added 21 points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 13 for the Magic, who won their third straight game and fourth in their last five. Devin Harris had 25 points and nine assists, and Vince Carter had 19 points for the Nets, who went 1-for-8 over the last 6:16.

The AP reports: The Charlotte Bobcats are playing their best basketball of their brief history. The Atlanta Hawks are floundering, bickering and perhaps on the verge of collapse. Two teams going in vastly different directions were on display Friday night, with the Bobcats getting 21 points from Gerald Wallace and using a near-perfect first quarter to build a big lead and beat the dysfunctional Hawks 98-91 for their franchise record-tying fifth straight victory… Emeka Okafor added 17 points and 11 rebounds, Raymond Felton had 17 points and 10 assists, and Boris Diaw had 13 points and 13 assists as the fifth-year Bobcats matched their longest win streak set late last season—when they were long out of the postseason picture… Al Horford scored 15 points for the Hawks, who fell behind 36-21 after the first quarter, and saw their lead over Miami for in the race for home-court advantage in the first-round of the playoffs sliced to a half-game.

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