Archive for March 22nd, 2009

The AP reports: Andre Iguodala made his first 10 shots and scored 27 points, and the Philadelphia 76ers never trailed in beating the Sacramento Kings 112-100 Sunday night to end a two-game skid. Thaddeus Young scored 22 points for the 76ers, who shot nearly 60 percent and never let their lead fall below double digits after taking a 17-5 lead midway through the first quarter. Louis Williams scored 18 points, Marreese Speights had 15 points and Willie Green added 10 for Philadelphia. Francisco Garcia made six 3-pointers and scored 24 points for the Kings, who outscored the 76ers 26-17 in the fourth quarter but couldn’t get closer than 11. Spencer Hawes had 17 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists to narrowly miss first career triple double. Kevin Martin scored 16 and Jason Thompson had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Paul, West lead Hornets over Warriors

The AP reports: New Orleans held Golden State to 13 field goals while opening a 20-point first-half lead and then coasted to a 99-89 victory Sunday. “We came out with the right mind-set,” said David West, who scored 23 points. “We were prepared for them defensively and didn’t allow them to get any control of the game.” Chris Paul scored 27 points as the Hornets pulled within 1 1/2 games of the Southwest Division-leading Houston Rockets. They trail the San Antonio Spurs, who lost to the Rockets earlier Sunday, by a game… Stephen Jackson led Golden State with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Kelenna Azubuike added 16 points after missing his first eight shots.

Cavs win 9th straight, beat Nets 96-88

The AP reports: LeBron James had 30 points and 11 rebounds, and the Cavaliers won their ninth straight game, beating the New Jersey Nets 96-88 on Sunday night to tie a franchise record with their 57th victory. Ilgauskas added 18 points as the Cavaliers improved the NBA’s best record to 57-13… Vince Carter had 25 points and nine rebounds, but without injured All-Star point guard Devin Harris the Nets simply lacked the firepower to hang with the NBA’s toughest defensive team. .. James finished two assists shy of a fifth triple-double during the winning streak on a night where he was content to let his big men handle the scoring load early. Anderson Varejao finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds, helping Cleveland outrebound New Jersey 46-37.

The AP reports: Knocking the Spurs from first place in the Southwest Division for the first time since January, Houston capped a furious fourth-quarter rally when Yao Ming fired a perfect pass to Luis Scola underneath with 11.9 seconds left to stun San Antonio 87-85 on Sunday. Ron Artest scored 24 as Houston won its fourth straight and headed to Utah with a half-game division lead over the Spurs. Not since Christmas have the Rockets enjoyed at least a share of first place… Tim Duncan scored 23 points and Tony Parker had 22 and 12 assists for the Spurs, who had appeared to start pulling away midway through the fourth before the Rockets embarked on a 10-2 run.

The AP reports: The Toronto Raptors gave Chris Bosh an early birthday present: a rousing win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Bosh had 16 points and 13 rebounds, Shawn Marion added 14 points and 13 boards and the Raptors routed the struggling Clippers 100-76 Sunday… Jose Calderon scored 15 points, including a rare dunk, and Joey Graham added 13 for the Raptors, who have won five of six against the Clippers… Zach Randolph scored 20 points and Baron Davis added 12 for the Clippers, who have won just two of their past 12… Randolph shot 10-for-17 while the rest of the Clippers combined to go 19-for-58. Davis shot 3-for-15, rookie guard Eric Gordon was 3-for-10 and Marcus Camby finished 2-for-6.

Durant leads Thunder past Wolves 97-90

The AP reports: Kevin Durant had his best game since returning to the Oklahoma City lineup after missing seven games with a bum ankle. But it wasn’t Durant’s 30 points that caught the eye of his coach. “Like I told him before our last game, ‘Kevin, you can fill up the stat sheet, but you don’t have to worry about your points to help us win,”’ Thunder coach Scott Brooks said after the Thunder beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 97-90 on Sunday… Durant had eight rebounds and five assists, and Jeff Green added 17 points for the Thunder, who jumped on the lethargic Timberwolves early to make up for a humiliating, 42-point defeat the last time they visited Minnesota… Craig Smith scored 19 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota and Bobby Brown fueled a late Wolves run with 12 points in the fourth quarter.

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade scored 39 points in the first 47 minutes Sunday. In the final minute, he turned into a defensive specialist. Wade blocked two shots in the final 22 seconds and Udonis Haslem scored six points in the last 6.3 as the Miami Heat rallied for a 101-96 victory over the short-handed Detroit Pistons… Detroit was missing three key players—Richard Hamilton (groin), Rasheed Wallace (calf) and Allen Iverson (back)—but took a 96-95 lead on Walter Herrmann’s 3-point shot with 13 seconds left… Stuckey led the Pistons with 24 points, while McDyess had 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Sunday evening in New Jersey the Nets are hosting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Before the game, LeBron spoke with InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and other reporters.

Dwyane Wade was brought up and it was mentioned (by our main man Ken Berger of CBS) to LeBron that as long as both he and Wade are in the Eastern conference the two can never meet in the Finals.

“I don’t know… it doesn’t matter,” said James. “Whatever happens, we go against each other. Maybe… we’ll play against each other in practice. I don’t know. That’d be fun, wouldn’t it?”

Now, LeBron paused after that “maybe” before the practice statement, as if he was thinking carefully about what he was going to say next, knowing full well media members lik me would relay it back to the entire fan world aned cause about a billion discussions to break out.

After the interview was over, LeBron yelled over to an inquisitive reporter that he did not say that he said he is headed for Miami, but then said that he is not saying Wade is coming to Cleveland.

Then, he left.

Enjoy discussing this, NBA fan world.

More Cavs stuff late tonight here on InsideHoops.com.

John Salmons rocking with Bulls

The Arlington Heights Daily Herald (Mike McGraw) reports (via blog): John Salmons continues to be almost shockingly efficient. In the last four games, he’s averaged 28.0 points and shot 63.1 percent from the field. Some people figured he averaged 18 points in Sacramento only because he got so many opportunities with a horrible team, but he’s been even better with the Bulls. His assist total is minuscule, but I don’t see that as a problem right now. Rose, Gordon and Kirk Hinrich spend so much time handling the ball that when Salmons gets it, it’s usually time to make something happen before the shot clock runs out. The best thing about Salmons is he’s had an almost even mix of outside shots and drives to the basket. He’s got a quick first step and finishes very well near the hoop. Tough to complain about his game. He outscored Bryant and Paul Pierce in games this week.

One of Michael Jordan’s sons had a good basketball day Saturday. The AP reports: Marcus Jordan, son of the Bulls’ six-time champion, scored a game-high 19 points yesterday to lead Chicago Whitney Young to a 69-66 victory over Waukegan in the Illinois Class 4A high school championship at Peoria.

Utah Jazz big-man Kyrylo Fesenko is like a giant kid. I mean that in a good way. Each time I’ve talked with him, he just seems happy. But that doesn’t mean he’s going to stick around with the Jazz or even the NBA in the future. The Deseret News (Tim Buckley) reports:

Though he continues to toil with the Jazz’s NBA Development League affiliate Utah Flash, big man Kyrylo Fesenko isn’t out of mind with the Jazz brass. Asked if the verdict still remains out on Fesenko — the Jazz must decide shortly before the upcoming June NBA Draft whether to exercise their third-year contract option on the 2007 second-round pick — coach Jerry Sloan suggested it was. “He has the ability to play. It’s just what he does with that ability,” Sloan said late last week. “You know, you can talk and work with him, (but) he has to be the guy that comes out and does the work every day and gets in great shape so he can do those things. “But there’s no question he has skills to play.”

In 18 Jazz games this season Fesenko has averaged 2.4 points and 1.8 rebounds, playing just under 8 minutes per outing.

NBA hopes to avoid lockout

ESPN.com (Marc Stein) reports: NBA commissioner David Stern expressed cautious optimism this week that he can eventually broker a new labor agreement that pre-empts any threat of a work stoppage after the league’s current deal with its players expires in June 2011, telling ESPN.com that he and NBA Players Association chief Billy Hunter will meet as early as May or June for “substantive” talks… NBA owners have the right to extend the current collective bargaining agreement through the 2011-12 season, but are widely expected to reject that option either on or before the deadline of Dec. 15, 2010. There is growing dissatisfaction among many owners with issues such as contract lengths, average salary — roughly $5.4 million — and the 57 percent annual share of revenues guaranteed to the players during the most crippling worldwide economic slump in 80 years.

Phil Jackson to coach Lakers next season

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson will keep coaching the team at least through 2009-2010. The Orange County Register (Kevin Ding) reports (via blog):

Jackson has usually backpedaled away from all questions about his future, citing a year-by-year policy and even dismissing his contract status as largely irrelevant. This time, he added: “I still have a year left on my contract.”

Nothing crazy here. Jackson is already signed to coach next season. He just seems OK with mentioning it, now.

The Arizona Republic (Paul Coro) reports: After surgery, two weeks of bedrest, a lot of reality television shows and “Daddy Day Care” with his three kids, Amare Stoudemire said he should be 100 percent in one to two months. When he does return to the court, it will be with protective eyewear - for good this time. “Absolutely, seal the deal,” he said. “I’m wearing goggles from here on out. It’s funny I talked to my trainer when I was about to put those Oakley goggles down. I said, ‘What are the odds of me getting poked in the eye again if I didn’t wear these goggles?’ ” His surgeon, Pravin Dugel, said the “ragged tears” in Stoudemire’s eye indicated that the retinal tear was caused by trauma but that it was new and old trauma. Stoudemire had been poked in the eye during camp by Boris Diaw and also by Al Thornton in his final game this season.

The Akron Beacon Journal (Marla Ridenour) reports: With his fifth point of the game, the first of two made free throws this afternoon in a 102-96 victory over the Atlanta Hawks, Zydrunas Ilgauskas became the fourth player in Cavs history to score 10,000 points. A 10-year veteran from Lithuania whose career almost ended before it began because of fractures in both feet, Ilgauskas joined LeBron James, Austin Carr and Brad Daugherty in that exclusive club. During the next timeout, the Cavs saluted Ilgauskas and the sellout crowd of 20,562, which included Browns quarterback Brady Quinn, rose to its feet. Ilgauskas stepped onto the court at Quicken Loans Arena and raised his index finger, perhaps to salute back.

Shaq twitters at halftime

The AP reports: Halftime “tweets” seem to be the latest NBA fad. Suns center Shaquille O’Neal posted a note on his Twitter feed before a home game against Washington on Saturday night, suggesting he planned to post to the popular social networking Web site during halftime. And sure enough, a brief message was posted on Shaq’s feed before the third quarter. “Shhhhhhh,” it read. It was the same message O’Neal delivered when asked about his Twitter plans before the game. When told Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry already knew about it, O’Neal bent over, leaned against the locker-room wall and groaned loudly, saying his plans were blown.

The AP reports: Shaquille O’Neal scored 13 in the Phoenix Suns’ 128-96 victory over Washington on Saturday night to pass Moses Malone as the No. 5 scorer in NBA history with 27,411 points… Jason Richardson responded with 35 points, 17 in the third quarter, Phoenix extended its winning streak to a season-high four games… Steve Nash added 17 points for the Suns, who pulled with 3 1/2 games of idle Dallas for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West with 13 to play. Stromile Swift had 10 points and 12 rebounds in his best game since joining Phoenix on March 4.

Bryant leads Lakers over Bulls, 117-109

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 28 points, Pau Gasol added 23 and the Lakers rallied for a 117-109 victory Saturday over the Chicago Bulls in the first of a season-high, seven-game trip. The Lakers trailed by 16 in the second quarter and 14 at the half, but came roaring back in the third, pulling within one… Despite the high point total, he shot just 10-for-25. Even so, the man who once said he wouldn’t mind playing in Chicago got serenaded with “MVP! MVP!” chants… Gasol grabbed 10 rebounds. Trevor Ariza scored 18 points, Lamar Odom added 16 and Jordan Farmar had eight of his 13 in the decisive run for the Lakers, who have won five of six… John Salmons scored 30 and Derrick Rose 25 for the Bulls, who had tied a season high with three straight wins, but their luck ended against the Western Conference leaders. So did their seven-game home win streak.

Roy leads Portland past Milwaukee, 96-84

The AP reports: The young Portland Trail Blazers are showing more proof of growing up. Brandon Roy had 30 points, eight rebounds and seven assists to lead the Trail Blazers to a 96-84 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday night. Steve Blake added 21 points and tied his season high with six 3-pointers as Portland, playing its fifth game in seven nights, came alive in the second half… ilwaukee opened the game with a 9-0 run capped by a dunk by Charlie Villanueva, who had 26 points.Outlaw, playing for the injured Nicolas Batum, scored 17 for Portland which has been out of the postseason since 2002-03.

The AP reports: With Kevin Garnett playing limited minutes and Paul Pierce scoring limited points, Glen Davis stepped up for the best scoring night of his career. Davis had a career-high 24 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and the Boston Celtics pulled away in the second half for a 105-87 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday night… Ray Allen added 20 points and six assists, while Eddie House contributed 15 points as the Celtics won their third straight overall and fifth in a row over the Grizzlies. Garnett, still playing limited minutes in his second game back from a right knee injury, scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds in 17 minutes… Hakim Warrick scored 20 points for Memphis, which dropped its sixth straight at home and fourth in a row overall. Rudy Gay finished with 15 points on just 5-of-15 shooting, while O.J. Mayo and Mike Conley scored 12 apiece.

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