Archive for April 21st, 2009

Hawks more than a one-man team

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sekou Smith) reports: “I know we’ve been cast as a one-man team in the past,” Hawks forward Josh Smith said, referring to captain and All-Star Joe Johnson. “But the truth is, that’s never really been the case. Never. “And that’s really the beauty of our team, when you think about it. We’ve got six or seven guys that can get going at any time and change the game for us. You never know who it’s going to be.” In Sunday’s Game 1 romp over Miami, it was Smith serving as the catalyst on both ends of the floor. He finished with a game-high 23 points, 10 rebounds and three steals in the Hawks’ 90-64 win. “The beauty behind that is Joe Johnson doesn’t care. Mike Bibby doesn’t and Flip Murray doesn’t and Mo Evans doesn’t and Zaza Pachulia doesn’t,” Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. “That’s how you build a team. When guys could care less about who’s going to get the glory and just pass the baton around, it makes winning the top priority.”

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.

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