Archive for April, 2009

Chris Andersen a master blocker

The Denver Post (Benjamin Hochman) reports: The Nuggets” Chris “Birdman” Andersen finished ninth in the voting for the NBA’s defensive player of the year Tuesday, not bad considering he was the highest-ranking reserve and second-highest center (behind the award winner, Dwight Howard of Orlando).

Rockets-Blazers team connections

Connections: Rick Adelman still ranks as the second winningest coach in Trail Blazers history behind Jack Ramsay, racking up a record of 291-154 (.654) in the regular season and a 36-33 (.522) mark in the postseason … Adelman twice coached the Trail Blazers into the NBA Finals, qualifying Portland for the playoffs in all six of his seasons … Elston Turner also served as an assistant coach with Portland … T.R. Dunn was drafted by Portland with the 41st overall pick of the 1977 NBA Draft, spending his first three NBA campaigns with the Trail Blazers … R.J. Adelman was a four-year letterman in basketball at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon … Pat Zipfel joined Houston after serving three seasons as an advance scout with Portland … Rockets guard Aaron Brooks was an All-Pac-10 standout at the University of Oregon … in the 2008 NBA Draft, Houston traded the draft rights to Nicolas Batum (25th overall pick) to Portland for the draft rights to Darrell Arthur (27th overall pick) and Joey Dorsey (33rd overall pick) … Rockets guard Von Wafer played eight games with the Trail Blazers in 2007-08 … Houston guard/forward James White was originally selected by Portland in the second round (31st overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft before having his rights traded to Indiana … Portland center Joel Przybilla was selected by Houston in the first round (9th overall) of the 2000 NBA Draft before Milwaukee acquired his draft rights.

Dwight Howard of the Orlando Magic is the recipient of the 2008-09 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award, the NBA announced today.

The 6-11 center led the NBA in rebounds and blocks, averaging 13.8 boards and 2.92 blocks. He also averaged 20.6 points on .572 shooting from the floor. Howard recorded nine 20-point/20-rebound games while leading the team in scoring 39 times and in rebounds on 69 occasions.

Howard, a three-time NBA All-Star, helped the Magic to its second consecutive Southeast Division title (59-23), including a 32-9 record at home. The Magic held opponents under 100 points 54 times this season — compiling a 43-11 record — including a season-low 68 points allowed by New Orleans on Dec. 25. Orlando allowed 94.4 ppg (7,737 points), which ranked sixth in the NBA, and overall the team was in the NBA’s top 10 in seven defensive categories.

Howard became the fifth player in NBA history to finish the season leading the league in rebounding and blocks (1973-74 was the first season blocks were kept as an official statistic). The select group includes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (L.A. Lakers, 1975-76), Bill Walton (Portland Trail Blazers, 1976-77), Hakeem Olajuwon (Houston, 1989-90) and Ben Wallace (Detroit, 2001-02).

Howard received 542 points, including 105 first-place votes, from a panel of 119 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Cleveland’s LeBron James finished second with 148 points and Miami’s Dwyane Wade finished third with 90 points. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote received.

Finishing fourth was Shane Battier, fifth was Ron Artest, sixth was Chris Paul, seventh was Kobe Bryant, eighth was Kevin Garnett, ninth was Chris Andersen and 10th was Rajon Rondo.

Leon Powe out with major knee injury

The Boston Celtics announced today that forward Leon Powe suffered an ACL tear and a meniscus tear in his left knee during Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls in the First Round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs.

Powe will miss the remainder of the playoffs.  A surgery date will be determined at a later date. This injury is unrelated to the right knee injury that he suffered on March 17. Powe is expected to make a full recovery from his surgery.

The Celtics are already without star power forward Kevin Garnett in the playoffs as they try to defend their championship. This latest injury things out their frontcourt in devastating fashion.

The AP reports: Tony Parker walked off the court with 38 points, a comfortable lead and a roaring Spurs crowd cheering him back to the bench with a Game 2 victory minutes away. Unlike the first game, Dallas was unable to pester Parker and the Spurs breezed to a 105-84 blowout over the Mavericks on Monday night. It evened the series and handed Dallas one of the worst losses in the history of the playoff rivalry… Parker had 27 points in the first half and finished 16-of-22 from the floor. It was a marked difference from Game 1, when the Mavs let Parker score 24 but made him a non-factor in the second half, when he made just two field goals… Jason Terry had 16 for Dallas, and Dirk Nowitzki and Jason Kidd had 14 points. Josh Howard scored just seven points after torching the Spurs for 25 in Game 1… Tim Duncan had 13 points and 11 rebounds, and Drew Gooden had 13 for the Spurs.

The AP reports: Ray Allen landed the final blow in a memorable duel with Ben Gordon on Monday night, shooting the Boston Celtics back into their first-round series. Allen made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 seconds left and finished with 30 points, leading the Celtics a 118-115 win over the Chicago Bulls. Gordon nearly carried Chicago to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series. He scored with 12.3 seconds left to tie it, the final hoop of his playoff career-high 42 points. Then Boston set up a play for Allen, who took a pass from Rajon Rondo and connected from the right side. Allen scored 28 points after getting some advice from coach Doc Rivers at halftime. “Doc said going into the half, ‘Be aggressive, but let it come to you,”’ Allen said… Davis had 26 points for second-seeded Boston, passing his career high of 24 points on March 21, and Rondo had a triple-double—19 points, 16 assists and 12 rebounds. Pierce added 18 points and Kendrick Perkins contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds. John Salmons had 17 points and Brad Miller scored 16 for Chicago.

ESPN.com (Chad Ford) reports: Ricky Rubio, the Spanish point guard sensation that has been compared to everyone from Pete Maravich to Steve Nash will declare for the 2009 NBA draft, his agent, Dan Fegan, told ESPN.com from Barcelona Monday afternoon. Rubio will have until June 15 to withdraw his name from the draft. However, his agent sounded confident that he’s staying in. “Ricky will be in the 2009 draft,” Fegan said. Fegan has been in Barcelona this week meeting with Rubio and his family trying to come to a decision. Rubio is the starting point guard for DKV Joventut in Spain and is widely considered the best young international player in the world.

InsideHoops.com editor says: According to multiple sources, including one of mine, Rubio has a massive buyout from his current overseas team; close to $9 million US dollars. NBA teams can only pay $500,000 of a buyout. So, he’ll have to find his way out of that contract if he wants to enter the NBA draft.

Mike Brown named Coach of Year

Cleveland’s Mike Brown is the recipient of the Red Auerbach Trophy as the 2008-09 NBA Coach of the Year, the NBA announced today.

Brown totaled 355 points, including 55 first-place votes, from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Coaches were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

In his fourth season at the helm in Cleveland, Brown guided the Cavaliers to a franchise- and NBA-best 66-16 (.805) season, marking only the 12th time an NBA team has won at least 66 games. Cleveland started the season with a franchise-best 23-straight wins at Quicken Loans Arena and finished with the best home record in the league at 39-2. Cleveland is the sixth team in NBA history to record 39 home wins and the first to do so since the 1996-97 Chicago Bulls. The Cavaliers’ 21-game improvement over last year’s 45-37 record tied the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the second biggest improvement all-time among teams with at least 45 wins in the previous season.

Brown was named NBA Coach of the Month for December, February and March. At the All-Star break, Cleveland owned the highest winning percentage in the Eastern Conference (36-9, .800), earning Brown the spot as head coach for the East in Phoenix. It was Brown’s first appearance as an All-Star head coach and the second in franchise history (Lenny Wilkens, 1989).

Brown led the Cavaliers to at least 45 wins in each of his first three campaigns, marking only the second time Cleveland won that many games in three consecutive seasons (1991-92 to 1993-94). With a combined regular season record of 211-117 (.643) in four seasons, Brown has the highest winning percentage of any head coach in franchise history. In each of his first three seasons in Cleveland, Brown has led the Cavaliers to the playoffs, amassing a franchise-best 26-20 (.565) postseason record. In 2007, he led Cleveland to its first trip to The Finals.

Brown joined the Cavaliers after two seasons as associate head coach for the Indiana Pacers. Prior to that, Brown served as assistant coach for three seasons in San Antonio, helping guide the Spurs to the 2003 NBA championship. Brown began his coaching career with the Washington Wizards, where he spent two seasons as an assistant coach under Bernie Bickerstaff.

The Coach of the Year Award is named after legendary coach and Hall of Famer Red Auerbach who guided the Celtics to nine NBA Championships. In 1996, Auerbach was honored as one of the Top 10 Coaches in NBA History as the NBA celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Houston coach Rick Adelman finished second in the voting with 13 first-place votes and 151 total points.

Orlando Magic coach Stan Van Gundy finished third with 13 first-place votes and 150 total points.

Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan finished fourth with  15 first-place votes and 127 total points.

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl finished fifth with 11 first-place votes and 117 total points.

The next five coaches to receive some votes were Jerry Sloan, Erik Spoelstra, Mike Woodson, Phil Jackson and Doc Rivers.

Philadelphia 76ers forward Donyell Marshall is about 83 years old, and most fans forgot he even existed. But he stepped up nicely Sunday.

The Philadelphia Daily News (Marcus Hayes) reports: Donyell Marshall’s 11 points in the first 11 minutes of the fourth quarter helped the Sixers complete a comeback from an 18-point deficit to win, 100-98, in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series against the Magic. He entered facing a 14-point hole. He hit three of four three-pointers. He made it happen. He had played as many minutes five times this season, most recently 10 games ago. He looked fresh. “He turned the game around,” coach Tony DiLeo said. “He spread the floor for us offensively. Guys could not help as much. I am not surprised. He’s a professional. He’s always ready to play.”

Danny Ainge out of hospital

The Boston Herald (Mark Murphy) reports: Danny Ainge was sent home from Mass. General yesterday, two days after sustaining a minor heart attack and having arterial surgery. The chances of Ainge attending Game 2 at the Garden of the Celtics’ first-round playoff series against the Chicago Bulls, however, are slim.

The AP reports: Chauncey Billups scored 36 points and made a career-best eight 3-pointers in leading Denver to a 113-84 rout of the New Orleans Hornets, the second-biggest blowout in the Nuggets’ playoff history. Capitalizing on their first home-court edge in a playoff series in 21 years, the Nuggets nearly bested their previous biggest margin of victory, a 141-111 wallop of San Antonio back in 1985. Billups sank four of his 3s in the third quarter, when the Nuggets began to turn a tight game into a laughter. At one point, they led by 34. Denver used a 21-0 run spanning the third and fourth quarters to build a 95-69 cushion, a run that was highlighted by Billups’ seventh and eighth 3s.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Nuggets shot 50.7%, the Hornets just 37.2%. Both teams were excellent from three-point range. The Nuggets rebounded well… For Denver, Carmelo Anthony shot just 4-of-12 for 13 points and 7 rebounds - a quiet night… Denver simply had more contributions from across the board. Very few Hornets stepped up.

Hawks destroy Heat 90-64 in Game 1

The AP reports: With Josh Smith delivering one rim-shaking dunk after another and plenty of teammates chipping in, the Hawks made Miami look like a one-man team, running Dwyane Wade and the Heat ragged for a 90-64 blowout in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference series Sunday night… “We can’t worry about what anyone else is doing,” Joe Johnson said. “We’ve got to control our own destiny.” For one night at least, they did just that by holding Wade to 19 points—11 below his NBA-leading average—and allowing only one other Miami player to reach double figures… The Hawks tied a franchise record for fewest points allowed in a playoff game. Wade spent much of the night on his backside or complaining to the referees, his frustration growing as the Hawks raced to a 20-point lead by halftime in the opener to the best-of-seven series.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Heat shot just 36.6%… Both teams were lousy from three-point range… The Hawks had 50 rebounds, the Heat 35. The Hawks had 23 assists, the Heat 12… All five Hawks starters scored 10 or more points, plus Zaza Pachulia had 10 with 10 rebounds off the bench… Wade had 19 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals but 8 turnovers.

The AP reports: Andre Iguodala made a 22-foot jumper with 2.2 seconds remaining, and the Sixers rallied from an 18-point deficit to beat Orlando 100-98 in Game 1 of their opening-round playoff series Sunday… Iguodala had 20 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and Louis Williams scored 18 to help the Sixers beat the Magic for the first time in four tries this season—and when it mattered most. Hedo Turkoglu’s fadeaway 3-pointer missed at the buzzer, and Magic fans stood in disbelief before filing out quietly… Dwight Howard had a career playoff-high 31 points and 16 rebounds, and rookie Courtney Lee scored 18 for the Magic. It was the biggest lead the Magic blew all season, topping the loss on Oct. 31 to Memphis when they were ahead by 15 points. Game 2 in the best-of-seven series is Wednesday night in Orlando.

InsideHoops.com notes: This game was pretty even. The Sixers were better from outside, but rebounds, assists, turnovers, steals, blocks and fouls were all extremely close… Willie Green and Sam Dalembert only played 17 minutes each… Lou Williams shot 7-of-11 for 18 points off the bench… Donyell Marshall, who many fans forgot existed, came off Philly’s bench to shoot 4-of-5, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, for 11 points in just 11 minutes.

Lakers beat Jazz 113-100 to win Game 1

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 24 points, Trevor Ariza added 21 and Pau Gasol 20 as the Lakers pretty much had their way against the eighth-seeded Jazz. They led by 22 points at halftime and then answered resoundingly both times Utah got within nine in the second half… Carlos Boozer led the Jazz with 27 points and Deron Williams added 16 points and a career playoff-high 17 assists. Both were in foul trouble, with Boozer getting his third just before halftime when Williams already had two… The Jazz sorely missed Mehmet Okur, who sat out with a mild right hamstring strain. He averages 17 points and 7.5 rebounds and gives Utah a much-needed inside presence against the Lakers’ twin 7-footers, Andrew Bynum and Gasol.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Lakers shot 55.6%, the Jazz just 39.1%. And the Lakers nailed 7-of-15 three-pointers, the Jazz just 3-of-13. Bryant had 24 points and 8 assists, but 6 turnovers. Ariza shot 8-of-10 for his 21 points. Gasol shot 7-of-11 and also had 4 blocks. Boozer shot 11-of-16.

As the Philadelphia 76ers now lead their series 1-0 over Orlando, fans will bring some extra KRYPTONITE against “Superman” Dwight Howard when the Sixers return home this Friday (April 24) and Sunday (April 26).

Fans attending Game 3 at the Wachovia Center on Friday, April 24 at 8 p.m. will receive a free lime-green Kryptonite T-Shirt (image attached).  Fans attending Game 4 on Sunday, April 26 at 6:30 p.m. will receive free Kryptonite Green Glow Sticks.

Anthony Johnson dunks in game 1

Sunday afternoon the Orlando Magic are hosting the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the 2009 NBA playoffs round 1.

And at the very end of the first quarter, Magic guard Anthony Johnson, who is about 93 years old, saw an opening, drove right down the middle of the paint and threw down an enthusiastic one-handed slam. And he did it despite big, tall, shot-blocker Theo Ratliff running over to help.

Magic bench player Marcin Gortat was so excited, he ran a few feet onto the court in celebration, until coach Stan Van Gundy grabbed and pulled him away from a potential technical foul situation.

76ers need more home fan support

I’m looking at attendance stats for the 2008-09 season, and notice that the Philadelphia 76ers had the lowest average home attendance of any team that qualified for the playoffs.

The Wizards and Clippers, who were absolutely awful this season, had more fans at their home games than the Sixers did.

With 41 wins and 41 losses, Philly was good enough to land them the 6-seed in the Eastern conference playoffs. They’re a good, fun team that deserves more filled seats at home.

Post your opinion in this forum topic.

Fans predict first round playoff results

InsideHoops.com posted a poll two days ago asking fans to predict the results of the 2009 NBA playoffs first round.

In the East:

325 fans picked the Cavaliers to beat the Pistons. Just 29 picked Detroit.
321 fans picked the Magic to beat the 76ers. Just 20 picked Philadelphia.
258 fans picked the Celtics to beat the Bulls. 87 picked Chicago.
And in the East’s only fairly close result, 183 fans picked the Heat while 155 picked the Hawks.

As expected, other than the Lakers-Jazz series, the voting was pretty close in the West:

336 fans picked the Lakers to beat the Jazz. Just 17 picked Utah.
241 fans picked the Nuggets to beat the Hornets. 113 picked New Orleans.
224 fans picked the Spurs to beat the Mavericks. 122 picked Dallas.
198 fans picked the Trail Blazers to beat the Rockets. 152 picked Houston.

The AP reports: The 7-foot-6 Yao Ming scored nine of Houston’s first 11 points and finished with 24 in the Rockets’ 108-81 victory over the Trail Blazers on Saturday night. It was the opener of their first-round playoff series… Yao scored all of his points in the first half, and added nine rebounds. He hit all nine of his attempts from the field and all six of his free throws… Aaron Brooks added 27 points for the Rockets, who haven’t advanced out of the first round of the playoffs since 1997. Brandon Roy had 21 points for the Blazers in their first playoff appearance since the 2002-03 season. Portland embraced the young team this season, and some 10,000 fans showed up at a downtown rally earlier in the week in support of the team… Luis Scola finished with 19 points, and Artest had 17.

Mavericks beat Spurs 105-97 in Game 1

The AP reports: In a giant Game 1 road victory for the Mavericks, who hadn’t won a road playoff game or postseason series since going to the NBA finals in 2006, Josh Howard scored 25 points and Dallas stole the home-court edge in 105-97 victory Saturday night… Tim Duncan scored 27 points, and Tony Parker had 24 for the Spurs… Jason Terry scored 12 points for the Mavs, including two 3-pointers. But the NBA’s leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year took a backseat in the fourth to Barea, whose floating runner with 5:31 left made it 93-83.

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