Archive for April 5th, 2009

The AP reports: Kelenna Azubuike had 30 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and the Golden State Warriors hung on to beat the Sacramento Kings 105-100 on Sunday night with just seven healthy players in uniform. Jamal Crawford had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Anthony Morrow and C.J. Watson scored 18 points apiece for the Warriors in their third straight victory, including two wins in five days over their closest geographical rivals… Bobby Jackson had 17 points to lead seven players scoring in double figures for the NBA-worst Kings, who lost their fourth straight and 11th in 13 games. Beno Udrih scored 16 points and Jason Thompson added 14 points and 11 rebounds before fouling out for Sacramento, which also lost starting center Spencer Hawes late in the first half to double vision after he was poked in the eye.

The AP reports: Vince Carter scored 15 points and the Nets kept their playoff hopes alive for a couple more days by handing the Philadelphia 76ers their worst loss of the season, 96-67 Sunday night… The Nets (32-45) were pushed to the brink of elimination while their game was being contested when the Detroit Pistons (37-40) beat the Charlotte Bobcats 104-97. New Jersey and Detroit each have five games left. New Jersey will miss the postseason for the second straight year if it loses one or the Pistons win one… Sixth man Lou Williams had 14 points to lead the Sixers, who looked drained a day after beating Detroit to clinch a second straight playoff berth… Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller combined for 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

The AP reports: Danny Granger scored 24 points, Troy Murphy added 22 points and nine rebounds, and the Pacers kept their slim playoff hopes alive with a 117-99 win against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday night… Roy Hibbert added 17 points, Jarrett Jack scored 14 and Brandon Rush had 13 points for the Pacers as all five starters reached double figures. T.J. Ford also had 12 points off the bench… Kevin Durant led Oklahoma City with 25 points and Nick Collison scored 15. Rookie D.J. White added 14 points in his NBA debut after missing the first five months of the season following jaw surgery.

The AP reports: Ronnie Brewer scored 23 points, and Utah earned a spot in the postseason while completing a convincing season sweep of the New Orleans Hornets with a 108-94 victory on Sunday night. “It’s a great way to start this road trip, give us a lot of confidence and realize that if we play like that every night, we can beat anybody,” said Jazz guard Deron Williams, who had 21 points and 11 assists… David West had 23 points and 12 rebounds for New Orleans, which could have clinched a playoff spot with a victory, but instead lost its second straight game. Chris Paul had 19 points and 12 assists, but also had four turnovers and was limited by foul trouble… Andrei Kirilenko, starting for Utah because C.J. Miles was out with a dislocated left index finger, scored 16 points.

Rockets beat Blazers 102-88

The AP reports: Houston beat Portland 102-88 on Sunday night, just hours after the Trail Blazers got their first playoff berth since 2003 when Dallas beat Phoenix 140-116… Yao Ming led the Rockets with 21 points and 12 rebounds in the win which moves Houston ahead of Portland into fourth place in the Western Conference with five games left in the regular season… Luis Scola added 16 points, Ron Artest had 15 and Aaron Brooks added 14 for the Rockets. LaMarcus Aldridge had 22 points and nine rebounds, but was slowed significantly by the dogged defense of Chuck Hayes. Hayes was his constant pest when he was in the game, helping limit him to 7-of-15 shooting.

The AP reports: Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Denver cruised to its seventh win in a row, beating the Timberwolves 110-87 on Sunday night. Thanks to San Antonio’s loss to Cleveland earlier in the day, Denver quietly extended its lead to two games over the Spurs for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference… The game was essentially over by halftime, and it was a laugher by the fourth quarter with Anthony Carter lobbing alley-oop attempts to Sonny Weems. Anthony, who has scored at least 20 points in nine of his last 10 games, sat out the fourth… Sebastian Telfair had 18 points to lead the depleted Wolves. Already without regulars Randy Foye (hip) and Craig Smith (calf), Minnesota also had to make do without star rookie Kevin Love and his strong inside presence thanks to a nasty flu bug.

The AP reports: Will Bynum scored a franchise-record 26 points in the fourth quarter to lead Detroit to a 104-97 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Sunday that put the Pistons a step closer to locking up the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Bynum scored the final 13 points for the Pistons and finished with a career-high 32 points, and also had seven assists. He made all six of his field-goal attempts and went 14-for-16 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter… Bynum picked up the scoring load for Richard Hamilton, who led Detroit with 13 points before he was ejected at the end of the third quarter when he picked up his second technical foul… D.J. Augustin led Charlotte with 22 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. Raymond Felton added 18, while Boris Diaw and Emeka Okafor added 14 points each. Okafor pulled down 16 rebounds. Prince added 14 points for Detroit, while Kwame Brown and Antonio McDyess each grabbed nine rebounds.

The AP reports: The New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors ensured there won’t be playoff basketball in either city this year. Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, David Lee added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the Knicks beat the Raptors 112-103 on Sunday night, eliminating Toronto from the playoffs. It came one day after the Knicks saw their postseason hopes end with a 102-95 home loss to the Raptors… Quentin Richardson scored 16 points, Jared Jeffries added 14 and Nate Robinson scored 13 for the Knicks, who snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the first time in six tries on the road. Chris Bosh had 31 points and 14 rebounds for Toronto, whose season-high six-game winning streak came to an end.

The AP reports: Wilson Chandler scored 17 points, David Lee added 16 points and 10 rebounds and the New York Knicks beat Toronto 112-103 on Sunday night, eliminating the Raptors from the playoffs. New York, itself eliminated from playoff contention in Saturday’s home loss to the Raptors, ended a nine-game losing streak in Toronto. The Knicks had not won north of the border since a 109-103 victory on March 5, 2004. Quentin Richardson scored 16 points, Jared Jeffries added 14 and Nate Robinson scored 13 for the Knicks, who snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the first time in six tries on the road. Chris Bosh had 31 points and 14 rebounds for Toronto, whose season-high six-game winning streak came to an end.

The AP reports: Jason Kidd had 19 points, a season-high 20 assists and a major career milestone— all in just three quarters—sending Dallas to a 140-116 victory over Phoenix on Sunday, virtually assuring the Mavericks of grabbing no worse than the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Dallas owns a four-game lead with five games left. Because the Mavs won the season series, they hold the tiebreaker over the Suns, so Phoenix must finish 5-0 and Dallas 0-5 for the teams to trade places in the standings… The 81 points at halftime was easily the most of the season for the Mavericks, and it included a 24-3 burst after Phoenix got within 46-45… Dirk Nowitzki made 10 of 12 shots and scored 28 points for Dallas, marking his 20th straight game with at least 20 points. Howard had 24 points after missing the Memphis game with a flare-up of his pesky ankle problem. Having two days off before facing the Jazz should help him remain in the lineup. Jason Terry hit his first four 3-point tries and scored 18 points. Brandon Bass added 14 points and J.J. Barea had 12.

InsideHoops.com notes: The Mavs shot 60 percent for the game, as well as 60 percent (15-of-25) from three-point range, and nailed 23-of-25 free throws. Dallas dished 34 assists, the Suns 21.

The AP reports: Back to basics. Back to winning. The Cleveland Cavaliers didn’t need long to remember what’s made them so good. Locked into attack mode from the start, LeBron James scored 38 points—18 in the first quarter—and Mo Williams and Delonte West added 22 apiece as the NBA’s best home team avoided its first three-game losing streak by beating the San Antonio Spurs 101-81 on Sunday… James, Williams and West shot a combined 33-of-51 for the Cavs, who are the 38th team in league history to win at least 62 games… Tony Parker scored 24 but got no help from Manu Ginobili (four points) or Tim Duncan, who had just six in 27 minutes and didn’t score after the 2:56 mark of the first quarter. Duncan quickly left the arena without speaking to reporters. Drew Gooden had 15 for the Spurs, who are in a six-team scramble for playoff position in the wide-open West.

Andrew Bogut won’t rush back

When a really good player (or even a not-so-good player) is injured, the season is close to ending, and the team isn’t making the playoffs, it makes no sense for that player to rush back and try to get some games in. It’s smarter to stay out and continue to heal.

And that’s what Andrew Bogut is doing. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

Despite the favorable medical reports received by center Andrew Bogut last week, coach Scott Skiles said that there just weren’t enough games left to try and work Bogut back into rotation to play in a game or two before the end of the season. Bogut has been out since Feb. 3 with an incomplete stress fracture in his lower back.

With 32 wins and 46 losses the Bucks are currently tied with New Jersey for 11th in the Eastern conference. They’re five games behind the 8th place Detroit Pistons.

Philadelphia 76ers notes

*  With their win vs. Detroit yesterday, Philly clinched a spot in the Eastern Conference Playoffs… the Sixers would be the fifth seed if the playoffs started today… Philly was the seventh seed in 2007-08 and have not been higher than the seventh seed since being fourth in 2002-03.

*  The Sixers have won three straight and 10 of their past 14 games… Philly is 40-35 this season after being 13-20 at one point… the Sixers were 18-30 through the first 48 games last season but went 22-12 the rest of the way… in 2006-07, Philly was 17-36 entering All-Star break, but went 18-11 over the final 29 games.

*  Over the past 42 games (which is just over half a regular season), the Sixers have a winning percentage of .643 (27-15).

*  Under Head Coach Tony DiLeo, the Sixers are 19-8 at home after starting the season with a 5-7 mark (24-15 overall)… Philly went 22-19 at home in 2007-08 and has won at least half of its home games in 11 straight seasons (including 2008-09)… there are two home games remaining (4/10 vs. CLE and 4/14 vs. BOS).

*  Philly has 24 wins at home this season, surpassing their total of 22 in 2007-08… the Sixers have not won more than 25 home games since picking up 29 wins in 2000-01… Philly could finish with as many as 26 home wins this season.

*  The Sixers are 14-14 over their past 28 road games after starting the season 2-6 away from home (16-20 mark overall)… five of Philly’s final seven games are on the road… the Sixers would need to go undefeated over their remaining road schedule to finish above .500 on the away from home for the first time since the 2002-03 season.

*  Philly finished its five-game road trip from 3/17-3/23 with a 3-2 mark… the last time the Sixers played at least five consecutive road games and posted a winning record was an eight-game span from 12/22/04-1/7/05, in which they went 5-3.

*  The Sixers finished the month of March with a 9-6 mark… over the past three years, Philly has compiled a 29-16 (.644) mark in March… last April, the Sixers went 3-5… April is the only regular season month in which the franchise has a winning percentage lower than .500 (.497; 151-153).

*  The Sixers are five games over .500 for the first time since the end of the 2002-03 season (48-34 mark)… Philly must finish the season with at least a 2-5 mark to have a final record above .500 for the first time since 2004-05.

*  Philly is 6-11 in the second games of back-to-backs this season after going 13-9 in 2007-08… the Sixers are 13-5 in the first games of B2B’s this season after going 7-15 in 2007-08… tonight is the second part of a back-to-back for the Sixers… they have two B2B’s remaining (at CHI on 4/9 and vs. CLE on 4/10; vs. BOS on 4/14 and at CLE on 4/15).

*  The Sixers went 16-14 against teams from the Western Conference this season… the last time Philly had a winning record against teams from the West was 2005-06 (16-14 mark)… last season, the Sixers went 15-15 against the West and were one of just four Eastern Conference squads to go .500 or better vs. the West.

*  Philly is 29-11 when leading or tied through three quarters of play this season after going 30-6 in 2007-08… Philly is 11-24 when trailing at the start of the fourth this season after going 10-36 in 2007-08… the Sixers are 30-13 in games in which they led by 10+ points this season (30-8 in 2007-08).

*  The Sixers have lost 7 games by one or two points this season, including three buzzer beaters (Tony Parker at SA on 1/3, Dirk Nowitzki vs. DAL on 1/19, Devin Harris at NJ on 2/23) and four other game-winning shots in the final seconds (Rashard Lewis with 4.8 seconds left vs. ORL on 11/26, T.J. Ford with 3.7 seconds left vs. IND on 12/20, Brook Lopez with 16.8 second left vs. NJ on 1/31 and Ray Allen with 0.5 seconds left vs. BOS on 2/5).

*  Philly has won the past two games it has played that have been decided by 3 or fewer points in after starting the season 3-7 in those games… two of the past three wins have been by double-digits after just once just one of the previous 11 wins were by 10+ points.

*  The Sixers won in overtime at Portland on 3/23, marking just their second overtime game of the season (win at Chicago on 12/2)… Philly has yet to play an overtime game at home after having just one last season… the last time the Sixers went without an overtime game at home was in 1995-96… the last season in which Philly played fewer than three overtime games was 2001-02… the Sixers had just three OT games last season (1-2 mark).

*  In the 52 games under Head Coach Tony DiLeo, the Sixers have scored 100+ points 25 times (99.5 ppg; 5172 total) compared to six times the first 23 games of the season… Philly is 25-6 when scoring 100+ points this season (25-8 in 2007-08)… over the past 20 games, the Sixers are averaging 101.3 ppg (2026 total) after averaging 94.3 ppg the 13 games prior.

Cavaliers finally release Eric Snow

The Cleveland Cavaliers have made the medically necessary release of Cavaliers guard and Canton-native Eric Snow, it was announced today by Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry.

Snow suffered, what ultimately became, a career-ending injury to his left knee immediately prior to the start of the 2007-08 NBA season. He has not practiced or played during the current 2008-09 NBA season.

“We appreciate all that Eric has done for the Cavaliers both on the basketball court and in the community. Eric is a tremendous competitor. He had a very successful playing career and I look forward to watching his broadcasting and coaching careers unfold,” said Ferry.

Snow enjoyed a long, successful and notable NBA career, the last several seasons of which were with the Cavaliers. During Eric’s final full season of play (2006-07) wearing the Wine and Gold, the Cavaliers won their first-ever Eastern Conference Championship and made their first-ever trip to the NBA Finals.

“It was a great privilege and dream come true, not just to play for my hometown team, but to finish my career in front of the fans who have given me so much support throughout my career.  I loved the role offered to me of being a veteran the younger players could rely on, as the organization was rebuilding this franchise into a winner.  The Cavaliers have done it the right way and I am proud to be a part of a new and re-energized winning tradition,” said Snow.

Snow, a second round pick (43rd overall) in the 1995 NBA draft by the Milwaukee Bucks, was acquired by the Cavaliers from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Kedrick Brown and Kevin Ollie on July 20, 2004. In four seasons with the Cavaliers, Snow played in 267 games (147 starts) and averaged 4.0 points, 3.9 assists and 2.1 rebounds in 24.1 minutes per game. Snow played in all but one regular season game from the 2004-05 through the 2006-07 seasons.

The 2005 recipient of the J. Walker Kennedy Citizenship Award presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association, Snow was a true champion in the community and worked hard to make a positive impact with local fathers and their children. His work included the popular Full Court Fathers program, which brought a father/child duo to every home game for a special pregame meeting with Snow, as well as his annual father/son basketball clinic.

Snow was also very active with a number of team and individual community programs, such as annual holiday toy drives and the construction of the Eric Snow Reading and Learning Center at the Ed “Peel” Coleman Community Center in Canton, Ohio. He hosted an annual fundraising golf tournament and summer basketball camps in support of his Shoot for the Moon Foundation. Snow made charitable donations to local non-profit agencies promoting positive father/child relationships for his steals and assists on the court. He also received the 2005 National Basketball Players Association Community Contribution Award at the 2005 NBA All-Star Game.

Andrew Bynum’s recovery continues

The Los Angeles Times (Broderick Turner) reports: It was another step in Andrew Bynum’s recovery as he attempts to play in a game before the regular season ends. Bynum played in five-on-five competition with his Lakers teammates at practice Saturday, the first time that has happened for the center since he tore a medial collateral ligament in his right knee Jan. 31. This came on the heels of Bynum’s three-on-three session at Thursday’s practice and working on drills before Friday night’s game. Lakers Coach Phil Jackson was asked after the workout how soon Bynum would be back playing again. “What’s soon?” Jackson countered.

The AP reports: J.R. Smith’s scintillating 34-point performance off the bench sparked the Denver Nuggets’ 120-104 win over the short-handed Los Angeles Clippers Saturday night for their 11th win in 12 games… Anthony added 18 points for the Nuggets. Zach Randolph led L.A. with 22 points, and DeAndre Jordan added 21. Smith scored 21 points in just 12 first-half minutes as the Nuggets raced to a 66-47 halftime lead… The depleted Clippers were missing Marcus Camby (ankle), Mardy Collins (foot), Ricky Davis (knee), Al Thornton (foot), and Chris Kaman (flu), and Dunleavy had no choice but to play Steve Novak, who scored nine points in 22 minutes on a tender ankle.

The AP reports: Powered by Rudy Gay’s 26 points—including a windmill dunk that inspired a kid sitting courtside to holler, “Rudy! That was nasty!”—the Grizzlies beat the Milwaukee Bucks 107-102 on Saturday to win their fourth straight game, tying a season high… Marc Gasol scored 19 points and had 10 rebounds for Memphis. Mike Conley added 17 and was 4-for-6 from 3-point range, saying afterward that the Grizzlies were “making the game fun again.” Richard Jefferson scored 24 for the Bucks, who remain mathematically alive— just barely—for the playoffs but now would need to win their final four games and wind up in an unlikely multiteam tie for the final spot to get in.

The AP reports: Dwight Howard scored 21 points and tied a season high with 23 rebounds, helping the Magic beat the Atlanta Hawks 88-82 on Saturday night to pull within a half-game of tying for second place in the Eastern Conference. The 6-foot-11 center’s performance marked the ninth time this season, and 23rd of his five-year career, that he’s had at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game… Joe Johnson scored 21 points for the Hawks, who have dropped three straight and six of eight. Atlanta dropped to 29-10 at home, where it has lost three of four… Rashard Lewis finished with 16 points, and Rafer Alston had 14 for the Magic, who improved to 13-2 overall and 7-1 on the road against the Southeast Division.

The AP reports: Three long jumpers in less than 2 minutes, and a one-point lead was up to nine. Soon Michael Beasley, Dwyane Wade and Yakhouba Diawara joined the fun, contributing to a Miami Heat mark for 3s in a quarter in Saturday night’s 118-104 victory over the Washington Wizards… The Heat went 8-for-13 from 3-point range over the final 12 minutes and 14-for-32 for the game… Wade scored 33 points, including three 3-pointers in the fourth, as the Heat remained a game behind the fifth-place Philadelphia 76ers in the jostle for postseason seeding in the Eastern Conference… Jermaine O’Neal and Diawara each added 16 points for the Heat. Miami played without forward Udonis Haslem, who cut his right thumb in Friday night’s win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Caron Butler scored 27 points, and Antawn Jamison had 23 to lead the Wizards, who were without Gilbert Arenas as part of the three-time All-Star’s plan to play in selected games during his comeback from knee surgery.

The AP reports: Wanting to clinch a playoff berth at home, Philadelphia coach Tony DiLeo relied on Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, and they came though for the 76ers in a 95-90 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Playing the entire second half, Iguodala scored 16 of his season-high 31 points, and Miller added a triple-double with 21 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds, and the 76ers advanced to the playoffs for the second straight season… Rodney Stuckey scored 23 points for Detroit, and Kwame Brown added a season-high 15 in the loss, which combined with Chicago’s win over New Jersey, put the Pistons a half-game behind the Bulls for the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference.

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