Archive for April, 2009

Luke Walton injures ankle

Lakers forward Luke Walton, who suffered a sprained left ankle in Saturday night’s Game 3 at Utah, had an MRI exam this morning.  Results of the test show a partial tear of the deltoid ligament.

Walton will be out indefinitely and his status will be re-evaluated in approximately one week.

Pistons may overhaul team this summer

The Detroit Free Press (Vince Ellis) reports: The Pistons will likely undergo a major roster overhaul in the off-season. Besides Antonio McDyess, Rasheed Wallace, Kwame Brown and Allen Iverson are unrestricted free agents. Iverson is gone, Wallace is likely to leave and McDyess is a question mark. It’s Brown’s option whether he will stay or not, but with a $4-million contract guaranteed, it’s hard to see him finding that kind of deal anywhere else. Walter Herrmann and Will Bynum are restricted free agents. It’s hard to see Herrmann back, but it’s the team’s option on Bynum and he’s expected to return. As for Michael Curry, it appears he will return for a second season. He has two years left on the $2.5-million-a-year deal he signed last year.

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets are one win away from finally escaping the first round. Yao Ming had 21 points and 12 rebounds and the Rockets took a 3-1 lead in their playoff series with Portland, beating the Trail Blazers 89-88 on Sunday night. Luis Scola scored 17 points and Shane Battier added 14 points and six assists for the Rockets, who snapped a six-game losing streak in Game 4s, coinciding with their 0-6 record in first-round series since 1998. Game 5 is Tuesday night in Portland. Brandon Roy scored 31 points and went 13-for-13 from the free-throw line for the Blazers… LaMarcus Aldridge scored 19 points and Outlaw had 14 for the Blazers.

The AP reports: Hedo Turkoglu nailed a 3-pointer over Thaddeus Young with 1.1 seconds left to lift the Orlando Magic to an 84-81 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, evening their Eastern Conference first-round series at two games apiece… Dwight Howard had 18 points and 18 rebounds, and every Magic starter scored in double figures. Turkoglu and Rashard Lewis each added 17 points. Andre Miller led the Sixers with 17 and Young had 15… After a hard-fought, physical first half that ended in a 36-all tie, the Magic came out firing in the third quarter. Orlando hit its first seven shots and briefly pulled away with a 10-0 run early in the quarter.

The AP reports: LeBron James had 36 points, 13 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 99-78 victory over the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, sweeping the Eastern Conference first-round series… Mo Williams scored a career playoff-high 24 and Delonte West had 12 points for the Cavs… In the final game of what was a miserable season, Detroit’s Antonio McDyess had 26 points to tie a career playoff high, Will Bynum scored a career playoff-high 22 and Rodney Stuckey had 14… Rasheed Wallace was scoreless, missing all seven of his shots, in what was probably his last game with the Pistons unless they make a stunning move and re-sign him as a free agent.

The AP reports: Ben Gordon scored 22 points, hitting the tying 3-pointer in the first overtime, and the Bulls beat the defending champions 121-118 in double overtime Sunday to tie their first-round series at two games apiece. The teams split two tight games in Boston, before the Celtics blew out the Bulls in Game 3. This time, they stretched the drama into a second overtime… Derrick Rose added 23 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists. John Salmons scored 20 points after a slow start, hitting four free throws in the final 26 seconds of the game and blocking Paul Pierce’s tying 3-pointer… Boston’s Ray Allen buried a 3-pointer with 9.8 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 96 before Rose missed a potential winning fadeaway in the closing seconds. Gordon came through with 4.5 seconds left in the first overtime, hitting a 3-pointer over Pierce to tie it at 110, and the Bulls never trailed in the second OT.

Bryant huge, Lakers beat Jazz 108-94

The AP reports: It took Kobe Bryant only a few minutes to end his shooting slump. Bryant scored Los Angeles’ first 11 points and once his teammates joined in, the Lakers overwhelmed the Jazz 108-94 on Saturday night and moved within one game of advancing to the second round. “It was important for me to come out and be a little more assertive,” said Bryant, who scored 38 two nights after one of his worst shooting games in years. Bryant went 16-for-24, erasing any memories of his 5-for-24 night Thursday in the Lakers’ only loss of the series. “We never could get close enough to guard him,” Utah coach Jerry Sloan said. “I think he put everyone on his back and got them off to the way they wanted to play.” He scored in double figures in each of the first three quarters and more than doubled his scoring from Game 4.

The AP reports: Dwyane Wade swished a 3-pointer, then turned and shook his hand like it was burning. Yep, Wade and the Miami Heat are that hot right now. Wade finished with 29 points and eight assists, Jermaine O’Neal added 22 points and 10 rebounds, and the Heat extended Atlanta’s decade-plus road playoff drought, beating the Hawks 107-78 Saturday night in Game 3 of their Eastern Conference first-round matchup. It was over early: Atlanta missed 17 of its first 19 shots, and a 25-6 Heat run to end the first half pushed the lead to 50-29. “We knew there would be a lot of energy in the building, so we played off that early,” Wade said. “And defensively we came out very tough.” Josh Smith, Al Horford and Mike Bibby scored 13 apiece for Atlanta, which is 0-12 in road playoff games since May 8, 1997, losing all but one by at least 10 points.

The AP reports: Tony Parker was exhausted, having done everything the San Antonio Spurs wanted him to by aggressively taking the ball to the basket. When Parker wasn’t scoring, Tim Duncan was while bouncing back from the worst playoff game in his long career. That still wasn’t enough to save the Spurs from the brink of an unusual early playoff elimination against the Dallas Mavericks. Josh Howard scored 28 points, seven in an early second-half spurt that put Dallas ahead to stay in a 99-90 victory Saturday. The Mavs gained a 3-1 lead in their first-round Western Conference series, putting them on the verge of ousting a Spurs team that has little beyond Parker and Duncan. “It’s obvious that that’s what we need to do. Those guys have to have the ball as much as possible,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “Sure, we hope that other people step up and make shots and make plays. It didn’t happen enough.”

The AP reports: In a relieved New Orleans locker room, Chris Paul and James Posey chatted about all the hard fouls, all the flying bodies that more than anything defined the Hornets’ first win of this postseason. “This is the fun part of the playoffs, all the contact, all the flagrant fouls,” Paul said. “You never want anyone to get hurt, but after it’s all said and done, you smile about it because that’s the nature of the sport.” Playing a grueling 46 minutes and shaking off a hard foul committed against him, Paul had 32 points and 12 assists, helping New Orleans hold on for a 95-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday in Game 3 of their first-round series. The Hornets cut Denver’s lead in the series to 2-1, with Game 4 on Monday night. Posey, who sprained his right knee in the first quarter but returned before halftime, had 13 points and nine rebounds, none more important than his last, which came after Carmelo Anthony’s jumper for the lead bounced out with under 5 seconds left.

Nuggets recall Sonny Weems from D-League

nuggets sonny weems

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

Weems was assigned to the 14ers for his third stint on April 10 and has averaged 20.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg and 3.0 apg in 22 appearances with Colorado, while helping the 14ers capture the D-League championship.

Weems has averaged 1.6 ppg in 12 games with the Nuggets this season.

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.

The Los Angeles Times (Bill Plaschke) reports: Sasha Vujacic grabbed. Adam Morrison screamed. Vujacic grabbed harder, playing defense with handfuls of jersey. Morrison screamed louder, warning Vujacic to keep his hands to himself.  Vujacic shrugged. Morrison surged. The team converged. The men were separated. During this final scrimmage of a Friday afternoon practice at EnergySolutions Arena, some Lakers were wincing. Sitting on the baseline, Kobe Bryant was smiling. “I wasn’t even going to move,” he said later. “A lot of meowing going on out there. The claws coming out. A good thing.”

The Orange County Register (Kevin Ding) reports (via blog): Vujacic and Morrison were guarding each other in the Lakers’ 4-on-4 halfcourt practice, and Morrison loudly and angrily told Vujacic that he was sick of Vujacic’s grabs and elbows. Vujacic argued that Morrison was the one who initiated the problem by wrongly using his knee. The two argued for several minutes despite teammates and coaches trying to intervene, and when play resumed the two continued to go at each other with Morrison grabbing Vujacic’s jersey and the arguments sparking anew several times later.

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets got away with another quiet night from Yao Ming because they forced Brandon Roy into one, too. Luis Scola scored 19 points and the Rockets bottled up Roy in an 86-83 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night that gave Houston a 2-1 lead in the first-round series. Yao scored only seven points on 2-for-7 shooting, but Shane Battier scored 16 points as Houston beat the Blazers for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings at the Toyota Center. Game 4 is Sunday in Houston… Roy, who scored 42 points in Portland’s 107-103 win in Game 2, had 19 points, but went 6-for-18 from the field. Even when he broke free from Battier or Artest, Houston’s defense seemed to converge on him in the lane… Steve Blake scored 16 and had 10 assists, and Rudy Fernandez sank five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points for the Blazers, who trailed by 17 in the second half before rallying in the final quarter.

The AP reports: Thaddeus Young’s driving layup with 2 seconds left lifted Philadelphia to a 96-94 victory over the Orlando Magic on Friday night, giving the 76ers a surprising 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference first-round series… Dwight Howard had 36 points and 11 rebounds for the Magic, who won 59 games during the regular season. Andre Iguodala led the Sixers with 29 points, though he missed two free throws in the final minute. Andre Miller added 24 and Young had six… Courtney Lee, coming off a career-best, 24-point effort in Game 2, didn’t score until 3:25 remained in the first half. The rookie finished with six. Turkoglu, still slowed by a left ankle sprain, had 11 on 2-for-12 shooting. He struggled against Iguodala on the defensive end.

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 11 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter, lifting the Cleveland Cavaliers to a 79-68 victory Friday night over Detroit and a 3-0 lead in the first-round series… The Pistons, whose collective heart was questioned by one of their players, played hard for three-plus quarters before being rendered helpless by James… James had 11 rebounds and nine assists. He said he learned he was just short of a triple-double after looking at the stat sheet… Joe Smith had a career playoff-high 19 points and 10 rebounds, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas scored 13 points… Richard Hamilton had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Rodney Stuckey contributed 12 points and five assists.

Legendary Utah Jazz broadcaster “Hot” Rod Hundley will call his last Jazz game at the end of the 2009 season.  Until then, Hundley can be heard on 1320 KFAN and Jazz Radio Network affiliates.  Hundley is currently in his fourth season as the radio voice of the Jazz after 31 years as the play-by-play voice of Jazz radio/television simulcasts.

The only member of the original New Orleans Jazz staff to remain with the team all 35 seasons, he joined the organization prior to the expansion team’s inaugural season in 1974-75 and moved with the team when it relocated to Salt Lake City in 1979-80.

“The retirement of ‘Hot’ Rod marks the end of an era for the Utah Jazz,” said team President Randy Rigby.  His famous sayings, as well as his voice, are as well known in the community as the musical note logo and marquee players such as Stockton and Malone.  Hots will be truly missed by so many of our loyal fans as well as our players, coaches and front office staff.  We wish him only the best as he goes on to enjoy his family, friends and retirement.”

Hundley entered 2008-09 having broadcast 2,964 of a possible 2,978 Jazz regular season and playoff games over his first 34 years, and has called well over 3,000 NBA games overall.  Now in his 42nd season as an NBA broadcaster, Hundley calls games with a distinctive voice and unique play-by-play style that has made him instantly recognizable to audiences nationwide.

“Retiring was a tough decision for me to make,” said Hundley.  “But after 42 seasons of broadcasting, countless miles on the road, hotel rooms and airplanes, I have decided that spending quality time with my daughters and grandchildren is what I want to do.  I am grateful to Larry and Gail Miller for their support over the years and have nothing but fond memories of my time with the Jazz organization.  I would also like to thank all of the fans in Salt Lake City and throughout the great state of Utah for all of your support over the years.  It has truly meant the world to me.”

Hundley moved to radio only prior to the 2005-06 season, marking a return to the Hall of Famer’s roots, back when he called Los Angeles Lakers games with the legendary Chick Hearn.

In 1994, he won the NBA’s Distinguished Broadcaster Award, an honor given only twice previously. “Hot Rod” called his 2,500th Jazz game on February 19, 2003, against the Lakers, and received the 14th Annual Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during Enshrinement Weekend, on September 5, 2003, in Springfield, Mass.  He is the first former player and the first broadcaster from Utah to be enshrined in the writer/broadcaster wing of the Basketball Hall of Fame.  He was inducted into the Utah Broadcaster Hall of Fame in June of 2004 and on June 16, 2005 he was inducted into the Utah Summer Games Hall of Honor.

Prior to becoming the voice of the Jazz, Hundley worked two seasons for the L.A. Lakers alongside Hearn, and five seasons for the Phoenix Suns including a stint with Suns’ legend Al McCoy.  While working for the Lakers and Suns, Hundley called the college game of the week on TVS alongside Dick Enberg.  He announced five years for CBS-TV calling the NBA game of the week, including four All-Star Games, and called two All-Star Games on ABC Radio.

A native of Charleston, W.V., Hundley was a three-time All-American at West Virginia University, where he earned the nickname “Hot Rod” for his flamboyant playing style.  Hundley was made the first pick in the 1957 NBA College Draft by the Cincinnati Royals and was immediately traded to the Minneapolis Lakers.  He played six seasons for the Minneapolis and Los Angeles Lakers, earning All-Star honors in 1960 and 1961, and averaging 8.4 points, 3.4 assists and 3.3 rebounds in 431 career games before retiring following the 1962-63 season.

The AP reports: After struggling with his shot all night, Deron Williams found his touch just in time. Williams’ fadeaway jumper with 2.2 seconds left lifted Utah to an 88-86 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, getting the Jazz back in the first-round playoff series they opened with two losses. Williams took the shot instead of passing to Carlos Boozer on the Jazz’s staple pick-and-roll, hitting just his third field goal of the night and reviving Utah’s postseason hopes. “I just wanted to make up for it a little bit on that last shot,” said Williams, who finished with 13 points and nine assists. Boozer led the Jazz with 23 points and tied a franchise playoff record with 22 rebounds as Utah dominated the boards 55-40… The Jazz played again without Mehmet Okur, who has been out with a strained right hamstring, but survived without their second-leading scorer and outlasted the Lakers in a wild one. notes: The Jazz shot 44.0%, the Lakers just 36.8%. Both teams were unimpressive from three-point range and awful from the free throw line… Utah had 55 rebounds, Los Angeles 40… For the Jazz, Carlos Boozer shot 9-of-17 for 23 points and 22 rebounds. Deron Williams was just 3-of-7 for 13 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists. Ronnie Brewer scored 12 but on 12 shots, plus 7 rebounds. Off the bench, Kyle Korver scored 11 (but on 13 shots) and Matt Harpring had 10… For the Lakers, Lamar Odom (10-of-17) had 21 points, 14 rebounds off the bench. Pau Gasol had 20 with 9 rebounds. Kobe Bryant shot a miserable 5-of-24 for 18 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists.

Mavericks rock Spurs 88-67, take Game 3

The AP reports: During a timeout early in the third quarter, Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and the rest of the San Antonio Spurs starters headed to the bench. They never returned. Humiliated since the opening tip, coach Gregg Popovich decided Game 3 of a first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks was a lost cause. Instead of hurting the Spurs with hard fouls—like Mavs center Erick Dampier threatened to do—Dallas slapped around San Antonio with tight defense, the return of Dirk Nowitzki’s shooting touch and the energy of their home crowd, producing an 88-67 victory Thursday night and a 2-1 lead in their first-round series… The Spurs’ backups weren’t much better, resulting in their fewest points ever in a playoff game. notes: Dallas shot 47.2%, San Antonio just 32.1% and hit a disgustingly awful 2-of-17 three-pointers. Dallas had more rebounds, and double the assists San Antonio did… For the Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki (8-of-12) had 20 points and 7 rebounds, Josh Howard (6-of-12) had 17 points, 8 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks… For the Spurs, Tony Parker shot just 5-of-14 for 12 points and not much else. Francisco Oberto had 10 off the bench. No other Spurs even reached double digits. Tim Duncan shot 2-of-9 and did nothing.

The AP reports: Willing to defer in the first two games, Paul Pierce took the initiative and the Boston Celtics seized control. Pierce scored 24 points, Rajon Rondo added 20 and the defending champions beat the Chicago Bulls 107-86 on Thursday night to take a 2-1 lead in their first-round playoff series. The teams split two dramatic games in Boston, but this one never really was in doubt. The Celtics led by 11 after one quarter and 22 at the half on their way to an easy win behind Pierce and Rondo. Particularly Pierce… Rondo looked just fine for most of the night after spraining his right ankle in Game 2 and missing practice Tuesday. He hit eight of 15 shots, grabbed 11 rebounds, dished out six assists and collected five of Boston’s 16 steals, but afterward two teammates helped him down the hallway afterward. Even so, he insisted he’s OK… Ray Allen added 18 points after scoring 30 and hitting the tiebreaking 3-pointer to lift the Celtics to a 118-115 victory in Game 2 on Monday. Glen Davis chipped in 14 points, nine rebounds and six steals. And Boston hit 12 of 21 3-pointers—four by Pierce and three by Allen. notes: The Bulls only shot 37.5%, while the Celtics shot 48.1% with an awesome 12-of-21 three-pointers… The Bulls dished just 14 assists for the game… Chicago had 22 turnovers, Boston just 13… The high scorer for Chicago was Ben Gordon, who had 15 on just 5-of-13 shooting. John Salmons had 14, and Kirk Hinrich had 14 off the bench… Derrick Rose shot just 4-of-14 for 9 points, just two assists and an awful seven turnovers.

Michael Redd says he still has game

michael redd

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel (Charles F. Gardner) reports: Michael Redd wants to dispel any doubts as he makes the long comeback from surgery on his left knee. The Milwaukee Bucks guard is already three weeks ahead of schedule, according to team doctors, and Redd is keeping his customary positive outlook as he enters the offseason and prepares to spend time at home in Columbus, Ohio. After all, it doesn’t do much good to dwell on the two freak incidents that limited him to 33 games during the season. “The one thing I get out of it, I land on Luke’s foot and twist my knee, and Nate Robinson jumps on my ankle,” Redd said. “My body’s not breaking down. I just had these freak accidents, man.” … Redd said he was not worried about any long-term effects when he returns for his 10th pro season, all with the Bucks, next fall.

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