Archive for April 22nd, 2009

Lakers 2009-10 preseason schedule

The Los Angeles Lakers have announced the preseason schedule for the 2009-10 season along with ticket purchase information. The preseason line-up includes games against the Denver Nuggets, the Golden State Warriors, the Sacramento Kings and the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Lakers will kick off the 2009 preseason on October 7 when they take on the Warriors at the Honda Center in Anaheim. The Pacific Division opponents will face each other again on October 20 at the Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.  Los Angeles will travel to Las Vegas on October 15 where they will play the Sacramento Kings at the Thomas and Mack Center.

The Lakers will host their annual shoot-out at STAPLES Center on October 17 and 18.  In addition to Los Angeles, teams scheduled to participate in the shoot-out are the Charlotte Bobcats, the Utah Jazz and the Los Angeles Clippers.

The Lakers will wrap up their preseason when they face the Northwest Division champion Denver Nuggets in back-to-back games on October 22 at the Honda Center in Anaheim and October 23 at the San Diego Sports Arena in San Diego.

Below is the complete 2009 Los Angeles Lakers preseason schedule:

Oct. 7  Golden State Warriors  Anaheim, CA (Honda Center)  7:00 pm
Oct. 15  Sacramento Kings  Las Vegas, NV (Thomas and Mack) 7:00 pm
Oct. 17  Charlotte Bobcats   Los Angeles, CA (STAPLES Center) 7:30pm
Oct. 18  LAC or Utah   Los Angeles, CA (STAPLES Center) 7:30pm
Oct. 20  Golden State Warriors  Ontario, CA (Citizens Bank Arena) 7:00 pm
Oct. 22  Denver  Nuggets  Anaheim, CA (Honda Center)  7:00 pm
Oct. 23  Denver Nuggets  San Diego, CA (Sports Arena)  7:00 pm

The New York Times (Pete Thamel) reports: Jeremy Tyler, a 6-foot-11 high school junior whom some consider the best American big man since Greg Oden, says he will be taking a new path to the N.B.A. He has left San Diego High School and said this week that he would skip his senior year to play professionally in Europe. Tyler, 17, would become the first United States-born player to leave high school early to play professionally overseas. He is expected to return in two years, when he is projected to be a top pick, if not the No. 1 pick, in the 2011 N.B.A. draft. Tyler, who had orally committed to play for Rick Pitino at Louisville, has yet to sign with an agent or a professional team. His likely destination is Spain, though teams from other European leagues have shown interest. A spokesman for Louisville said the university could not comment about Tyler.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has named Flip Saunders as head coach.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

The Associated Press reports that the deal was for four years and $18 million.

“We’re very proud to bring a proven winner like Flip Saunders on board as our head coach,” said Wizards Chairman Abe Pollin.  “After going through what was a very difficult season, I know our fans share in my anticipation of what we can accomplish with new leadership, a healthy roster and a renewed commitment to excellence.”

Saunders, who becomes the 22nd head coach in franchise history, owns a 587-396 (.597) record over 12-and-a-half seasons with Minnesota and Detroit.

“We clearly identified Flip as the top candidate for the job and were happy to find that our situation proved to be a good fit for him as well,” said Grunfeld.  “We were able to move quickly as a result and we’re confident that this is a major step towards putting this team back among the Eastern Conference contenders.”

Saunders achieved seven 50-win seasons, led his teams to the playoffs 11 times and reached the Conference Finals on four occasions during his tenures with the Timberwolves and Pistons.  He is one of only six coaches to be named head coach of the All-Star team in both the Eastern and Western Conferences and currently ranks seventh among active coaches in winning percentage (12th all-time) and eighth among active coaches in total wins (21st  all-time).

“There were many factors that led to this being the right situation for me, but the most intriguing was the commitment of Mr. Pollin and Ernie to win a championship,” said Saunders.  “I look forward to enjoying the great support and homecourt advantage from Wizards fans that I’ve always seen from the opposing sidelines and to making each game at Verizon Center an exciting event.”

Saunders comes to the Wizards after leading the Pistons to three straight 50-win seasons, three straight division titles and three straight appearances in the Conference Finals from 2005-06 to 2007-08.  He finished with an overall record of 176-70 (.715), the highest winning percentage for any coach in franchise history.  Saunders began his NBA coaching career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he compiled a 411-326 (.558) record from 1995-2005 and became the winningest coach in franchise history.  He guided the Timberwolves to eight consecutive playoff appearances from 1997-2004, culminating in a trip to the 2004 Western Conference Finals.

Saunders began his professional coaching career in the Continental Basketball Association, where he won two CBA championships (1990 & 1992) and was twice named CBA Coach of the Year (1990 & 1992).  He ranks third all-time in the CBA with 253 career victories (253-137, .649) during stops with the Rapid City Thrillers (1988-89), La Crosse Catbirds (1989-94) and Sioux Falls Skyforce (1994-95).

Derrick Rose wins Rookie of Year

Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls is the recipient of the Eddie Gottlieb Trophy as the 2008-09 NBA Rookie of the Year, the NBA announced today.

Rose received 111 first-place votes (574 points) from a panel of 120 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Memphis’ O.J. Mayo finished second with 246 points and New Jersey’s Brook Lopez finished third with 127 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.

Finishing fourth was Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City), fifth was Eric Gordon (L.A. Clippers), sixth was Kevin Love (Minnesota), and seventh was Michael Beasley (Miami).

Selected with the first overall pick in the NBA Draft 2008, Rose led first-year players in assists (6.3 apg) and was second among rookies in scoring (16.8 ppg), to go along with 3.9 rebounds in 37.0 minutes. Rose shot .475 from the field and .788 from the free throw line. He started 80 of 81 games (missed one game due to injury on March 24), and finished the season in the top three in several categories all-time among Bulls rookies, including total points (3rd, 1,361), scoring (3rd, 16.8 ppg) and assists (3rd, 6.3 apg).

A three-time Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month selection (Nov., Dec., March), Rose scored in double digits 71 times including 32 games of at least 20 points. Rose represented Chicago at All-Star Saturday Night in Phoenix, becoming the first rookie to win the PlayStation® Skills Challenge with a time of 35.3 seconds. A participant in the 2009 Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam, Rose finished with four points and a team-high seven assists. Rose is the third Bulls rookie to win the award and the first since Elton Brand in 1999-00 (co-winner with Houston’s Steve Francis).

The Eddie Gottlieb Trophy is named in honor of Eddie Gottlieb, one of the NBA’s founders who coached the Philadelphia Warriors to the NBA championship in 1946-47.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Dikembe Mutombo, 42, was carried away on a stretcher in the first quarter of the Rockets’ 107-103 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 with what he said was a career-ending left knee injury. “It’s over for me for my career,” said Mutombo, who will be examined by team doctors when the Rockets return to Houston today. An eight-time NBA All-Star and four-time Defensive Player of the Year, Mutombo is one of the game’s great humanitarians and had a distinguished 18-year career with Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York and Houston.

More Dikembe quotes from the Chronicle: “It’s not something that I planned,” Mutombo said. “All I can say right now is I had a wonderful run of 18 years and stayed injury-free. I thank God a lot for all this blessing and putting such great people around me for all of my career in the NBA. I’m just happy. “I have to go out with my head high and not be disappointed and have no regrets. I have so many things I can be so thankful for over my 18 years.” note: Mutombo was banging for position against Blazers center Greg Oden, who has had several early-career knee injuries himself, when he suffered the injury.

Read fan discussion of Mutombo’s career in this forum topic

Rockets players imitate Mutombo’s voice:

The AP reports: The Utah Jazz played better and it still didn’t matter. Kobe Bryant scored 26 points, Pau Gasol added 22 and Lamar Odom had 19 off the bench in the Lakers’ 119-109 victory over the Jazz on Tuesday night, giving Los Angeles a 2-0 lead in the best-of-7 first-round Western Conference playoff series… Deron Williams scored a career playoff-high 35 points and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Jazz, who head home for Game 3 on Thursday. They again played without injured center Mehmet Okur… The Lakers stretched their lead to 96-81 early in the fourth. The Jazz relied mostly on Williams, and he scored six in a row to get his team to 105-99 with 5:22 remaining.

The AP reports: After winning their first playoff game in six years, the Portland Trail Blazers couldn’t help but be a little amazed with their victory over the Houston Rockets. “We kind of laughed about it, `Man, it’s hard winning games in the playoffs. It takes a lot of work,”’ said Brandon Roy, who had 42 points in Portland’s 107-103 victory Tuesday night. The playoff series, now even at a game apiece, moves to Houston for Game 3 on Friday. Aaron Brooks led a late charge and finished with 23 points for Houston, which has not made it out of the first round since 1997. Von Wafer came off the bench to add 21. LaMarcus Aldridge had 27 points and 12 rebounds for Trail Blazers, who had never dropped the first two games of a playoff series at home and played one of their most physical games of the season… Rockets center Dikembe Mutombo injured his left leg in the first quarter and left the court on a stretcher.

The AP reports: Up by 29 points in the fourth quarter, the Cavaliers blew most of their big lead against Detroit’s reserves and LeBron James had to go back in and restore order as Cleveland held on for a 94-82 win on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series. For three quarters, the Cavs were at their basketball best… James, showing no regard for a defensive plan Detroit spent three days preparing for him, scored 29 and Williams added 21 as the Cavaliers withstood a stirring comeback by the Pistons, who used a 27-5 run to close within seven on Antonio McDyess’ jumper with 3:51 left… Delonte West scored 20 and Zydrunas Ilgauskas 12 for the top-seeded Cavs, who led 79-50 in the first minute of the fourth and were embarrassing the Pistons. But Detroit dug down and gave Cleveland and its raucous crowd a scare the Cavs may never forget… Richard Hamilton scored 17 and Rodney Stuckey 14 for the Pistons, who are going home down 0-2 with their starters searching for positives.

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