Archive for March 9th, 2009

UPDATE: Portland G Rudy Fernandez sustained a soft tissue injury to his right upper chest and side area in the third quarter of Monday night’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.  X-Rays and CT scan were both negative.  Fernandez will be kept overnight at an area hospital for observation.  He is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s game vs. the Dallas Mavericks.

INITIAL NOTES:

Monday night in Portland the Trail Blazers were hosting the Los Angeles Lakers. Enjoying a late third quarter 83-55 lead, it was Portland’s night.

Pau Gasol had been the only Laker playing well, shooting 7-of-12 for 18 points and 13 assists. His teammates, including Kobe Bryant (8-of-22, 16 points) were struggling.

With just 0.8 seconds seconds left in the third, a Blazers fast break resulted in Rudy Fernandez catching a pass going right down the middle of the paint. As he jumped at the basket to score, Lakers swingman Trevor Ariza swooped in from behind and swung his right arm sideways in very broad fashion, hitting Rudy’s arms and the back of his head near the neck area.

Ariza really followed through on the swipe, and snagged Rudy’s wrist in the end.

Fernandez totally lost his balance due to the contact and slammed down hard on the court, landing on his back while slightly twisted onto his right side, and crumbled over.

Both teams immediately rushed over, grabbing and pushing each other right in front of the Lakers bench, but I didn’t see any actual punches thrown.

An angry Brandon Roy yelled furiously at Ariza. Others jawed as well. Ariza was yelling stuff at other Blazers, too. He’s out of line here.

It appears that Lamar Odom left the Lakers bench, very briefly, just a few feet away. I’m not sure how far he went. He barely went anywhere.

A flagrant-2 was called on Ariza, which means he’s ejected.

A stretcher has been brought out to safely remove Fernandez, who is lying on his back, from the court. He’s been put down on the stretcher, covered with a blanket, and strapped down onto it securely, which is always an extremely scary sight to see.

Aside from the flagrant-2 called on Ariza, technical fouls were called on Blazers LaMarcus Aldridge, Travis Outlaw and Laker Josh Powell.

Later in the game it was reported by Blazers television that Fernandez has chest pains and is being taken to a hospital.

I’m guessing Ariza could be suspended one game. But that’s no guarantee. But Odom could be suspended for leaving the bench, though I didn’t see if he went far enough away from it to warrant such an action.

Here’s a video of Ariza’s foul on Fernandez:

–Jeff

The Charlotte Bobcats have assigned rookies Alexis Ajinca and Sean Singletary to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Ajinca and Singletary are expected to see their first action with the Skyforce on Friday, March 13, against the Reno Bighorns.

A 7-0 center from France, Ajinca has averaged 2.3 points, 1.0 rebound and 0.2 blocks in 5.9 minutes in 31 total games this season. Ajinca was selected by the Bobcats as the 20th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. In the two years prior to joining the NBA, Ajinca played professional basketball in France.

In 2007-08, Ajinca averaged 5.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 10.8 minutes with Hyeres-Toulon in France. Ajinca averaged 7.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocked shots as a member of the French national team that won the Bronze Medal at the 2007 Under-19 World Championship. In 2006, he averaged 6.9 points and 7.5 rebounds to help lead France to the Gold Medal in the Under-18 European Championship.

Singletary, a 6-0 guard from the University of Virginia, has played in 24 games for the Bobcats since being acquired along with Raja Bell and Boris Diaw in a trade with Phoenix in exchange for Jason Richardson and Jared Dudley in December 2008.  In 37 total games with the Bobcats and Suns, he is averaging 2.4 points, 0.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists, and 0.3 steals in 8.2 minutes.

Singletary was initially selected by Sacramento as the 42nd overall pick of the 2008 NBA Draft before being traded to Houston and later to Phoenix.  He played four seasons at the University of Virginia, averaging 16.9 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists in 123 career games. A three-time All-ACC First Team selection, Singletary finished his career as the only player in ACC history with 2,000 points, 500 assists, 400 rebounds and 200 steals.

Josh Howard out two games

Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard has a sore left ankle, will remain in Dallas and will miss the next two games in order to have more specialized testing done.

The Mavs don’t play tonight but begin a four-game road trip Tuesday night in Phoenix.

After facing the Suns they’ll visit the Trail Blazers, Warriors and Lakers, so this is a tough time for any key players to be unavailable.

Howard this season in 32.3 minutes per game is averaging 18.0 points (third on the team), 4.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists, shooting 45.6% from the field, with very few steals or blocks.

Al Harrington on MTV Cribs

New York Knicks forward Al Harrington and his house were recently featured on a new episode of MTV Cribs.

The 6,800 square foot house in Las Vegas, Nevada has five bedrooms and 6 bathrooms.

Harrington introduced himself at the door alongside his fiance, Michelle.

It was a true Cribs type of house: extremely large, insanely perfect, and absurdly beautiful, with perfect furnishing, an amazing pool, truly a dream home.

Harrington also introduced his personal chef, Jay Gross.

Al went out of his way to plug Protege basketball. He was wearing a Protege t-shirt. And when he opened his fridge to show what food and drinks were stored in there, his Protege basketball sneaker, the A3H, was sitting inside, in front of the food. Al, of course, kidded around, pretending to be surprised it was there, and then declared that “it’s so hot, I got to leave it in the Fridge.”

Elsewhere in the house, Harrington’s cousin, NBA player Dahntay Jones, was in a red-walled video game room.

The majority of the crib appears to have yellow, beige and off-white walls.

Amazing place. It looks exactly like a much smaller version of the InsideHoops.com guest house.

As is a Cribs tradition, Harrington also showed his cars: His everyday car, a white 2008 S5-50 Mercedes with tinted windows. And a blue 2009 Rolls Royce that he just got last week.

Rough life, but someone has to live it.

Warriors waive Marcus Williams

The Golden State Warriors have waived guard Marcus Williams, the team announced Tuesday (March 10).

Williams appeared in nine games this season, averaging 1.3 points and 1.4 assists in 6.0 minutes per game. Despite being healthy, he hasn’t played since January 25, when he received four minutes. The previous game he received one minute.

The Warriors roster now stands at 14 players.

I think Williams can find another NBA job as a backup point guard. But he also could be in danger of falling out of the league in the next season or two (or even now) if he and the next team or two he’s with don’t turn out to be a good fit.

This season was a wasted one for Williams. The Warriors barely used him.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum thread.

–Jeff

The Golden State Warriors are an interesting basketball organization. On the positive side, the team is extremely fun to watch. Their fans are amazing. And the San Francisco Bay Area is beautiful. But on the negative side, the team loses constantly. Key front office members reportedly don’t see eye-to-eye. Chris Mullin is the team’s general manager yet multiple media outlets have said no one actually listens to him and he’s been pushed aside in negotiations. Coach Don Nelson likes to use players out of position, unleash wacky rotations, and he recently decided it would be fun to sit key guys out of entire games for no reason at all. And the Golden Warriors PR staff recently released a statement about star guard Monta Ellis that Ellis himself now says is totally false.

Comcast SportsNet (Matt Steinmetz) reports:

Monta Ellis hasn’t played since scoring 14 points in a 133-120 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Feb. 21. After that game, the Warriors announced that Ellis would be shut down for one to two weeks because of lingering stiffness in his left ankle. Turns out, that might not have been the case. On Monday, Ellis said the ankle is fine and that it always has been fine. “There’s nothing wrong with my ankle,” Ellis said. “I went to see my mom. … It had nothing to do with that. I went home to see my mom. My mom was sick. I went to see her. That’s why I took the time off. It had nothing to do with my ankle.”

The Warriors PR staff aren’t usually off like this.

Ellis and the Warriors need to hug it out this summer and start fresh in 2009-10.

Greg Oden bummed out

The Oregonian (Jason Quick) reports (via blog): In Greg Oden’s world, everything, and everyone, is seemingly against him. “It’s like, dang, can I ever do anything right?” Oden says. His body has been besieged by injuries during his two seasons in Portland, the most prominent setbacks to his knees. His right knee required microfracture surgery in September 2007, forcing him to miss all of his first season. Now, his left knee is threatening to put an end to this season. On Feb.12, in what seemed like an innocuous collision near the free throw line with Golden State’s Corey Maggette, Oden suffered a chipped left kneecap. Since then, everything has been a mess. The Blazers admit they misplayed the injury, announcing Oden’s status was day-to-day, when in fact, team doctors and trainers knew from the start they were dealing with a potential long-term injury.

Chicago Bulls scoring guard Ben Gordon will be a free agent this summer. The team reportedly offered him a reasonable, generous contract that Gordon didn’t want to accept.

But as is the case every off-season, only a small handful of teams will have salary cap space to offer anything more than the mid-level exception. And I see no reason to think that any of the squads that will have money available will offer Gordon a better deal than the Bulls did.

It’s very possible he winds up staying in Chicago.

Here’s the Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw):

Oklahoma City and Memphis are two teams that will have the ability to chase free agents. But as two of the league’s smallest markets, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if both teams decided to sit tight and spend little. Also, Gordon makes no sense for the Grizzlies since they have O.J. Mayo at two guard and the Thunder might have greater need for a point guard, depending on how they see rookie Russell Westbrook fitting in.

One team that figures to be planning a significant makeover is Detroit, which can create about $20 million in cap space by letting Allen Iverson and Rasheed Wallace walk away as free agents. With Wallace and possibly Antonio McDyess leaving, the Pistons’ top priority is a big man, with Carlos Boozer or Lamar Odom possible targets.

The Bulls see Gordon the same way they always have, as a scorer who still needs to improve other aspects of his game.

New Zealand Breakers star shooting guard Kirk Penney has been named the winner of the Andrew Gaze Trophy as the National Basketball League’s Most Valuable Player for the 2008/09 season, becoming the first New Zealander ever to win the NBL’s top award.

Penney registered 92 votes to narrowly take out the award from Sydney Spirit big man Matthew Knight on 90.  Melbourne Tigers’ Nigerian import Ebi Ere came third with 89 votes, while Mark Worthington of the South Dragons (87) and Shawn Redhage of the Perth Wildcats (86) rounded out the top five in an extremely tight race.

Penney, who previously played for the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Clippers in the American NBA, averaged 24.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 28  regular season games for the Breakers in 2008/09.  He shot the ball at 45.6% from the field, 37.3% from three-point territory and 80.4% from the free-throw line.

The Tall Blacks star also led his team to their best-ever season, helping the Breakers to the Semi-Finals for the first time in club history.

Whilst Penney was delighted with the award, he was also disappointed that the Breakers’ season ended with a 2-0 sweep at the hands of the Melbourne Tigers.

“We, the players and coaches, definitely had a bit of a sour taste in how we lost to the Tigers. We felt like we should have played better and had a chance of winning the series,” Penney said of the award.

“I guess it is a little [bittersweet] because you want to win a championship, and they’re the memories that never leave you. But as a personal accolade it’s just a huge honour.”

Voting for the MVP award is conducted following each regular season game by the coaching staffs of each team, with the player amassing the most votes at the end of the season being declared the winner.

The NBL’s MVP award is named after Melbourne Tigers great Andrew Gaze, with the trophy being a specially commissioned sculpture of Gaze in action.

Kings step up, beat Nuggets 114-106

The AP reports: Kevin Martin had 26 points, seven rebounds and eight assists Sunday night for the Sacramento Kings, who never trailed in defeating the slumping Nuggets 114-106. Entering the game tied with Utah and clinging to a half-game lead over Portland in the Northwest Division, the Nuggets were in desperate need of a road win… “You really have to impose your will on the Nuggets before they get out and run on you,” said Spencer Hawes, who had a career-high 20 points and added eight rebounds… Martin connected on five 3-pointers for the Kings, who tied a season high, making 14 3-pointers. Andres Nocioni had 23 points, and Francisco Garcia had 19 points… Carmelo Anthony had 32 points and seven rebounds for Denver. Chauncey Billups had 22 points and eight assists, J.R. Smith scored 19 and Nene added 14 points and nine rebounds.

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets got the easy win they needed before the challenging week to come. Yao Ming had 24 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks and the Rockets extended their home-court winning streak to 12 games with a 93-83 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday. Luis Scola added 18 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets, who inched ahead of Utah and New Orleans for fourth place in the Western Conference. Now comes the hard part, with games this week against Denver, the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio… Rudy Gay scored 21 points and Marc Gasol added 18 for the Grizzlies, who’ve lost 10 of 11 and seven of their last eight road games. O.J. Mayo, the Grizzlies’ leading scorer, had only 10 points on 4-for-13 shooting after scoring 32 in Memphis’ 104-93 win over Houston on Feb. 4… Kyle Lowry, the Grizzlies’ first-round draft pick in 2006, had nine assists for the Rockets.

The AP reports: Malik Rose set season highs with 14 points and seven rebounds, and Nenad Krstic added 20 points as the Thunder continued their strong play without their two leading scorers, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 89-74 on Sunday night… Oklahoma City has won four of five without Kevin Durant (ankle) and three of four without Jeff Green (back)… Andre Miller and Thaddeus Young led Philadelphia with 20 points apiece. Miller has scored at least 20 points in five straight games for the first time in his career. Andre Iguodala, who was averaging a team-best 18.1 points, was limited to nine on 3-for-11 shooting and committed six of Philadelphia’s 21 turnovers. The 76ers were held to their second-lowest scoring total of the season.

The AP reports: No way the New Jersey Nets could lose another close one. Not the way the New York Knicks bungled away the closing minutes. Devin Harris had 35 points and 10 assists, and the Nets ended a frustrating stretch of narrow defeats by edging the Knicks 106-101 on Sunday. Vince Carter added 25 points for the Nets, who had lost three of four, failing to pull out tight games against New Orleans, Boston and Orlando. This time they made the plays down the stretch, while the Knicks melted down amid an ugly combination of missed shots and turnovers in the final 2 1/2 minutes… David Lee had 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks, who opened a five-game trip with their fifth loss in six games. Nate Robinson scored 17 points and fellow reserve Danilo Gallinari added 15.

Basketball blog