Archive for April, 2009

Rockets advance, beat Blazers 92-76

The AP reports: For the first time in 12 years, the Houston Rockets advanced in the NBA playoffs. Ron Artest scored 27 points, Yao Ming had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Houston reached the second round for the first time since 1997, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 92-76 in Game 6 on Thursday night. Aaron Brooks scored 13 points and Shane Batter tied a career playoff-high with nine rebounds as the Rockets won for the first time in their last seven first-round series. They lost Game 6s the last two seasons, both to Utah. Houston put this one away with a big second quarter and moves on to play the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night at the Staples Center. The Lakers won all four meetings in the regular season. LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points and Brandon Roy had 22 for the Blazers, who were making their first playoff appearance since 2003. Portland improved 13 games from last season and reached its highest win total since 1999-00.

Magic eliminate 76ers with 114-89 win

The AP reports: On a night the suspended Dwight Howard recorded a double-double in blog and Twitter posts from his hotel room, the Magic advanced to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, beating the Philadelphia 76ers 114-89 in Game 6 on Thursday… Playing without Howard and injured guard Courtney Lee, the Magic thumped the Sixers from the start… Rashard Lewis scored 29 points and Rafer Alston had 21 to help the Magic win for the second time this series in Philadelphia. The Magic’s decisive run came early when they made 12 of their first 19 shots… Alston hit two 3-pointers during the Magic’s fast start that put them up 15 and quickly negated the home crowd. J.J. Redick made all three 3-point attempts in the first half and ably filled in for Lee… Andre Miller scored 24 points and Andre Iguodala had 20 for the Sixers, who were eliminated in the first round for the second straight season and face a cloudy offseason.

The AP reports: One more thriller, and now, the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics will play a decisive seventh game. Derrick Rose scored 28 points and blocked Rajon Rondo’s potential game-winner, John Salmons scored 35, and the Bulls beat the defending champions 128-127 in triple overtime Thursday night to tie the first-round series at three games apiece. Ray Allen scored a career playoff-high 51 points for the Celtics, but the series will go back to Boston for Game 7 on Saturday after another classic battle in a series that had already seen its share of drama. Three of the first five games went to overtime, including one that needed two extra periods. Another came down to the wire in regulation, but this easily trumped them all. Rondo penetrated and pulled up on the left block with 8 seconds left and turned, only to be rejected by Rose. The rookie of the year then missed two free throws with 3.2 seconds remaining, before Rondo launched a harmless heave from beyond midcourt. That ended the game. The series, however, continues.

More on this game later tonight.

Jerry Sloan has knee surgery

Utah Jazz head coach Jerry Sloan underwent successful right knee replacement surgery today, Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced.  The surgery was performed by Dr. Russell Nelson in Salt Lake City.

The longest-tenured head coach in NBA history, Sloan recently completed his 21st season at the helm of the Jazz and ranks as the NBA’s fourth-winningest coach all-time with a career record of 1,137-751 (1,043-630 with Jazz).  Sloan was also selected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Class of 2009 where he will be inducted in September.

Rick Welts has been named President and Chief Executive Officer of the Phoenix Suns, as announced today by Suns Managing Partner Robert Sarver. Welts joined the Suns in July 2002 as President and Chief Operating Officer.

“During Rick’s seven years with the Suns he has distinguished himself as one of professional sports best operators.  Our creativity and success in areas such as marketing partnerships, technology, branding, customer service and this year’s NBA All-Star events have all been a result of Rick’s leadership,” said Sarver.

“I am very proud of what we have built here. Robert Sarver, Sam Garvin and our ownership partners have given this team the resources, confidence and support to be not just a good, but a great organization,” said Welts. “I have the best job in sports because of the extraordinary group of talented people I get to work with every day who are committed to being leaders in our industry and delivering our fans a great experience every time they visit US Airways Center.”

Welts’ NBA career started in 1969 as a ball boy for the Seattle SuperSonics.  He remained with the Sonics for 10 years in several different capacities, including director of public relations when the Sonics won their lone NBA Championship in 1979.

He joined the NBA league office in New York City in 1982, and when he departed in 1999, he was serving as the league’s executive vice president, chief marketing officer and president of NBA Properties. Welts helped guide the revitalization of the league and its image through strong marketing initiated by the NBA and is credited with the creation of the NBA All-Star Weekend concept in 1984. He was responsible for the 1992 Olympics “Dream Team” marketing program as the agent for USA Basketball.  In 1998, Brandweek magazine named Welts “Marketer of the Year,” for his role in creating and launching the WNBA together with WNBA President Val Ackerman.

In addition to his Suns responsibilities, Welts oversees the club’s interests in the Phoenix Mercury (WNBA) and US Airways Center.

Draft early entry list is up

Click here to see the official list of players who have declared early entry for the 2009 NBA draft.

Note that they can still pull out within the given deadline as long as they haven’t signed with an agent or otherwise ruined their eligibility with their college.

The AP reports: Behind Carmelo Anthony’s 34 points and the floor leadership of Chauncey Billups, the Denver native who came home this season and galvanized a city and a team, the Nuggets advanced to the second round of the NBA playoffs, 107-86 over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night… Billups had 13 points and 11 assists, and J.R. Smith scored 15 of his 20 points in the second half to fuel Denver, which needed just five games to go from traditional first-round fodder to a playoff success story… Playing without Tyson Chandler but with a pride and passion unapparent through most of the series, the Hornets made the Nuggets sweat. It was tied at 62 midway through the third period before Denver went on a 24-4 run to ice it. David West led the Hornets with 24 points and Chris Paul toughed out a bum knee to get 12 points and 10 assists.

The AP reports: The Hawks kept up the theme of this matchup between division rivals—no game has been close—but there were several subplots after a night of hard fouls and staredowns left the Heat feeling as though Atlanta rubbed it in a little too much in a 106-91 victory Wednesday. Joe Johnson scored 25 points in his first big game of the series, which the Hawks now lead 3-2, and Flip Murray added 23 from a bench that has taken on an increasingly important role. They already were without one injured starter (Marvin Williams) and lost another when Al Horford hobbled off the court with a sprained right ankle… Wade scored 29 points but didn’t get going until the game had been decided. The NBA’s leading scorer already was bothered by back spasms, and he was feeling even worse after colliding with Josh Smith late in the first quarter and banging the back of his head on the court… The Hawks made 13-of-16 from the field in the second quarter, including their last 12 attempts, to push a 24-20 lead to a commanding 63-40 lead by halftime.

NBA team notes swine flu

I generally talk almost entirely about basketball, occasionally touching on fun stuff in entertainment, and avoid discussing anything nasty in the world, but today, an NBA team located down near Mexico has sent a reaction to the current swine flu issue.

The Houston Rockets, showing that they’re on top of things, took a positive step to state that they’re aware of the swine flu’s existence and are monitoring the situation and making sure everyone is safe. I think they’re the first NBA team to say something about the issue, though they didn’t actually mention it by name in the release they sent out.

Here’s what the Rockets said:

“We are aware of the situation and concerned for all involved.  We have been working with city health officials and the mayor’s office, as well as monitoring the situation from state and regional authorities.  At this time, Toyota Center has been advised to continue its normal operations pertaining to Rockets and Aeros playoff games as well as concerts.  We will continue communicating with the various agencies and will keep our fans apprised if any operational changes are implemented based on the directives we receive from local authorities.”

Until there’s reason to do so, I’ll probably not mention the issue again. Good for the Rockets, for being proactive.

Now, back to focusing on the playoffs!

dwight howard suspended

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for elbowing Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert in the head, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 9:15 remaining in the first period of Orlando’s 91-78 victory over the 76ers in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round at Amway Arena last night.

Howard will serve his suspension Wednesday night (April 30) when the Magic faces the 76ers in Game 6 at Wachovia Center.

Here is a video of the Dwight Howard elbow of Salembert:

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

The AP reports: Brandon Roy had an IV before Game 5, then went out and scored 25 points to help the Trail Blazers stave off elimination with an 88-77 victory over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday night. LaMarcus Aldridge also had 25. The Rockets, who have not advanced out of the first round of the playoffs in six tries since 1997, hold a 3-2 advantage in the series going into Thursday night’s game back in Houston… Luis Scola led the Rockets with 21 points. Yao Ming had 15 points and 12 rebounds… Portland went on a 17-4 run in the first quarter, taking a 23-13 lead on Aldridge’s 18-footer. But Houston’s Scola hit seven of nine shots from the floor and ended the quarter with 15 points, and the Rockets cut the deficit to 29-26 to start the second quarter.

The AP reports: For the first time since 2006, the Mavericks are moving past the first round. And for the first time since 2000, the San Antonio Spurs are not. Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points in his first breakout game of a lopsided series, and the Mavericks won a playoff series for the first time in three years by eliminating the Spurs in five games with a 106-93 victory on Tuesday night… Tim Duncan scored 30 and Tony Parker had 26 but again got little help—the story of the series for the two-dimensional Spurs. Predictions that the Spurs were doomed while Manu Ginobili sat out the playoffs with a bum ankle appeared largely validated, as San Antonio never got anyone to step up in his absence.

The AP reports: Dwight Howard did so much damage to the Philadelphia 76ers he set off a coaching feud. Howard had 24 points and a career playoff-high 24 rebounds, a dominating performance that powered the Magic to a 91-78 victory over the Sixers on Tuesday night and gave Orlando a 3-2 series lead. Afterward, Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo said Howard should have been called for 3 seconds in the lane several times and asked the league to look into an elbow from Howard on Samuel Dalembert… Rashard Lewis snapped out of his playoff slump with a series-high 24 points, and Rafer Alston scored 14 for the Magic. But it was Howard’s fourth career playoff game with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds that carried the Magic. Andre Iguodala scored 26 points and led a second-half charge that fizzled fast, and Andre Miller added 17 points for Philadelphia.

Celtics survive OT thriller vs Bulls

The AP reports: Kevin Garnett was in street clothes. Ray Allen fouled out. The Boston Celtics’ Big Three was down to one, and Paul Pierce was ready. The MVP of last year’s NBA finals scored 26 points, hitting one jumper to tie the game at the end of regulation and three more in the final 77 seconds of overtime on Tuesday night to help the Celtics beat the Chicago Bulls 106-104 and take a 3-2 lead in their best-of-seven playoff series… Rajon Rondo scored 28 points with 11 assists and eight rebounds, and Kendrick Perkins had 16 points, 19 rebounds and seven blocks for Boston. The Celtics could finish the Bulls off in Chicago on Thursday in Game 6; if not, the decisive seventh game would be in Boston on Saturday. Ben Gordon scored 26 and Joakim Noah had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Chicago, but Brad Miller missed the potential game-tying free throws with 2 seconds left in overtime after Rondo fouled him to prevent an easy layup.

Jose Calderon has finger surgery

jose calderon finger surgery jose calderon hand surgery

The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday that guard Jose Calderon underwent surgery this morning to repair ligament damage and capsular laxity to the ring finger of his left hand. Recovery time is expected to be six to eight weeks.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Brent Graham at Toronto Western Hospital.

This past season, Calderon averaged career highs of 12.8 points, 8.9 assists (fourth in the NBA) and 34.3 minutes in 68 games (all starts). He led the NBA in assists-per-turnover ratio (4.21) for a second consecutive season. He also established an NBA single-season free-throw percentage record of .981 (151-for-154).

Jamario Moon to have hernia surgery

jamario moon surgery hernia

The Miami HEAT announced today that forward Jamario Moon will undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia on Thursday, April 30.

The procedure will be performed by Dr. David Edelman at Baptist Doctors Hospital in Miami. Moon will rest for a period of two weeks and then be re-evaluated. He will travel with the HEAT to Atlanta for Game 5.

Moon was acquired by the HEAT in a February 13, 2009 trade. He appeared in 80 games (60 starts) during the 2008-09 season, averaging 7.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 1.08 steals in 25.9 minutes per game.

The AP reports: With Kobe Bryant making everything from 3-pointers to a fadeaway jumper while falling on his backside, the Lakers ran away from the Utah Jazz on Monday night, winning 107-96 to finish the opening-round series in five games. Bryant scored 31 points and Lamar Odom had 26 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who earned several days of rest before meeting the winner of the Portland-Houston series… Paul Millsap led Utah with 16 points while Andrei Kirilenko and Williams had 14 apiece. Gasol had 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Ariza 12 points for the Lakers.

Nuggets destroy Hornets, 121-63

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored all of his 26 points in the first three quarters, and Denver thoroughly dismantled New Orleans 121-63 on Monday night to take a commanding 3-1 series lead… The New Orleans Arena was mostly empty by the end of the third quarter, when Denver led 89-50 on its way to matching the most lopsided victory in NBA playoff history. The Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75 in 1956. Looking twice as quick as New Orleans on both ends of the court, the Nuggets stifled Hornets All-Star Chris Paul, whose four points and six assists amounted to one of the worst games of his career… Denver shot 57 percent (33-of-58) through the first three quarters, when Chauncey Billups scored all of his 17 points. Nene added 13 points and Dahntay Jones 12. David West was the Hornets’ high scorer with 14 points, while James Posey had 12.

Hawks stifle Wade, tie series with Heat

The AP reports: Mike Bibby scored 15 points, Pachulia had 12 points and 18 rebounds, and Atlanta frustrated an ailing Dwyane Wade endlessly to beat the Miami Heat 81-71 Monday night, tying the first-round Eastern Conference series at two games apiece… Joe Johnson added 14 and Josh Smith 13 for the Hawks. Wade scored 22 points, shooting 9-for-26 and wincing from back spasms that started at the morning shootaround, flared in the first quarter and continued from there. Jermaine O’Neal scored 20 points and James Jones added 19—10 of them coming in a spectacular first-half spurt—for the Heat, who shot 38 percent and never led.

Chicago Bulls guard Ben Gordon injured his left hamstring yesterday (Sunday, April 26) in the second quarter of Game 4 versus the Boston Celtics.  He was evaluated by team physician Dr. Brian Cole of Rush University Medical Center and found to have a strain to his left hamstring.  An MRI this morning confirmed the diagnosis.  He is listed as day-to-day for Game 5 on Tuesday, April 28 in Boston.

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