Archive for April 20th, 2009 (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 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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.

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