ESPN.com reports: Los Angeles Lakers point guard Shannon Brown is being sued in civil court for an alleged sex-related incident with a woman in Denver, Brown’s agent, Mark Bartelstein confirmed to ESPN’s Shelley Smith on Sunday. Bartelstein said the suit stems from an incident when Brown was playing for the Charlotte Bobcats, who played in Denver on Jan. 30. Brown was traded to the Lakers on Feb. 7. Bartelstein said that within 24-48 hours after the woman filed a police report, Denver police fully investigated her claims and “did not even pursue it. Prosecutors found nothing to pursue.”
InsideHoops.com editor says: Remember, folks, always assume these sort of claims are total nonsense, until really, truly proven otherwise. So, until there’s reason to think anything different, Brown didn’t do it.
The AP reports: Overlooked and begging for respect all season, the Orlando Magic can no longer be ignored. After 14 frustrating years, they’ve returned to the NBA finals. Dwight Howard dominated inside for 40 points, Rashard Lewis added 18 and the Magic, a team that can make 3-pointers drop from thin air, hit 12 in a 103-90 victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals on Saturday night. The Magic will be making their first finals appearance since 1995, one year before Shaquille O’Neal bolted as a free agent for Los Angeles, leaving this Florida franchise in ruins… James scored 25 in his worst game of the series, but the 24-year-old was magnificent for most of it, adding to a legacy still in its infancy. But the league MVP had to do most of it alone, as Mo Williams lost his shooting touch and Cleveland’s bench was badly outplayed by Orlando’s reserves. Delonte West added 22 and Williams 17 for Cleveland, which went 0-5 in Orlando.
The Denver Post reports: With a cast covering his left forearm, Nene had a hard time getting dressed after the game. The Nuggets center fractured his arm late in the fourth quarter and left the game with 6:13 to play. Afterward, the Brazilian would not talk to the media about the injury or how it happened.
InsideHoops.com editor says: It obviously must be awful to get eliminated while also getting injured. After Nene has a few days to relax and cool off, I hope he realizes how proud of himself he should be, coming back from illness, rising up to improve as a basketball player, and having a terrific season.
The AP reports: Kobe Bryant had 35 points and 10 assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers back to the NBA finals with a 119-92 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night. Bryant got plenty of scoring help from Trevor Ariza, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom as the Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field to avoid having to play a Game 7 back at the Staples Center.
InsideHoops.com notes: The Lakers outscored the Nuggets by 5 in the first quarter, 8 in the second, 3 in the third and 11 in the fourth. Los Angeles shot 57.3% for the game, Denver 43.8%. Both teams were hot from three-point range, but the Lakers were awesome, nailing 9-of-16 from outside the arc. Trevor Ariza had three of those 3-pointers.
For the Lakers, Bryant had 35 points, 6 rebounds and 10 assists (just 1 turnover). Pau Gasol (8-of-12) had 20 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals. Lamar Odom had 20 points and 8 rebounds. Trevor Ariza (awesome 7-of-9) scored 17. And Luke Walton (5-of-7) scored 10.
The Lakers hit a perfect 24-of-24 free throws, and outrebounded the Nuggets 38-27.
For the Nuggets, Carmelo Anthony (6-of-17, 12-of-15 free throws) had 25 points but little else. J.R. Smith (10-of-17, 4-of-9 threes) had 24 and little else. Kenyon Martin had a quiet 13 points and 5 rebounds. Chauncey Billups got shut down, shooting just 2-of-9 for 10 points and 9 assists (but 5 turnovers). Dahntay Jones, Nene and Chris Andersen did little, though the Birdman blocked 3 shots.
Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that Eddie Jordan has agreed in principle to become the next head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The rumor is that it’s a three-year deal. More info later today.
“I saw first-hand the immense impact Eddie Jordan had in helping the Nets reach two NBA Finals and as the head coach in Washington, he consistently put his teams in a position to win on a nightly basis,” Stefanski said. “He embodies all the qualities I was looking for in the next head coach of the Sixers and we are very excited to have him in Philadelphia.”
In June of 2003, Jordan was named the head coach of the Wizards. Under his leadership, Washington made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons from 2005 through 2008. During that four-year span, the Wizards posted a combined regular season winning percentage of .521. In 2005, Jordan guided Washington to a first-round upset of the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference Playoffs.
Jordan has been a head coach in the NBA for over 500 games across eight seasons with Washington and Sacramento. His first stint as a head coach came with the Kings at the tail end of the 1996-97 season. Following his time with Sacramento, Jordan served as the lead assistant coach for New Jersey, helping the Nets capture back-to-back Eastern Conference Championships in 2002 and 2003.
As a collegian, Jordan led Rutgers to the 1976 NCAA Final Four in his Junior year, and was named East Regional MVP. In his senior season, he was named honorable mention All-America, while setting Rutgers all-time career records in assists and steals. Jordan went on to play seven seasons in the NBA, averaging 8.1 points, 3.8 assists and 1.82 steals and was a member of the Los Angeles Lakers Championship team in 1982.
Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake underwent successful arthroscopic shoulder surgery, the Portland Trail Blazers announced today. His recovery time is expected to be 6-8 weeks.
Blake separated his right shoulder trying to fight through a screen in the second quarter of Portland’s game at Philadelphia on January 14, sidelining the guard for five games. He returned to action on January 26 at the Los Angeles Clippers and re-aggravated the injury in the second quarter, forcing him to miss an additional eight games.
Dr. Neal S. ElAttrache performed the surgery at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.
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The Dallas Morning News (Brendan W. Case) reports: Last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission sued Mark Cuban. Now Mark Cuban is suing the SEC. The billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks is seeking a court order to make the nation’s securities cop turn over documents related to its insider-trading investigation of him. Cuban filed a request for the records in December under the Freedom of Information Act.
The AP reports: With Cleveland’s wondrous season on the line, LeBron James had 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and Mo Williams, who boldly predicted his team would come back and win this tight-as-can-be series, added 24 points in the Cavaliers’ 112-102 victory over the Orlando Magic in Game 5 on Thursday night… James scored 21 points in the second half—17 in the fourth quarter—and had a hand in 29 of Cleveland’s 34 points in the final 12 minutes. Hedo Turkoglu scored 29 to lead Orlando, and Dwight Howard had 24 and 10 rebounds before fouling out with 2:22 remaining when he was called for his sixth personal foul while trying to stop James on a drive.
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Dallas Mavericks guard Jose Juan Barea underwent successful arthroscopic surgery to repair a cartilage injury to his left shoulder. The surgery was performed in Dallas by Dr. Richard Levy of Texas Sports Medicine. A timetable for his return has not been set.
In the 2008-09 NBA season, the 6-0, 175-pound guard averaged 7.8 points and 3.4 assists in 20.3 minutes per game.
If history were grading Orlando’s chances of advancing to The Finals, it would give the Magic an A. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, all time in the postseason there have been 187 best-of-seven playoff series in which a team has taken 3-1 lead. That team has advanced to the next round 179 times or 96 percent. Orlando has won five games on the road during the playoffs, the most wins away from home during a single postseason in team history (previous high was four in 1995). The Magic clinched its first round series with a win at Philadelphia in Game 6, and advanced to the conference finals with a Game 7 victory in Boston, marking the fourth and fifth times that Orlando won a series-deciding game on the road. All time in the playoffs, however, Cleveland, is 42-25 (.627) at home, including winning of eight of its last nine playoff games at The Q. Orlando is responsible for the lone loss, besting the Cavaliers in Game 1. Since the 2006 postseason, the Cavaliers are 21-7 (.750) at home, which accounts for the second most home wins in the postseason over that span behind San Antonio (22-7).
The Los Angeles Lakers took another step towards advancing to their second straight Finals by defeating the Denver Nuggets 103-94 in Game 5 yesterday to take a 3-2 series lead. Teams with a 3-2 lead are 193-33 (.854) all time, with 122 of those series ending in six games. Of those 122 Game 6 wins, more than half (69) came on the road. The last team to win a series after trailing 3-2 was the San Antonio Spurs, which defeated the New Orleans Hornets in last year’s conference semifinals.
Notable: There have been 20 games this postseason decided by three or fewer points, surpassing the previous high of 19 (2006). Orlando has played in seven of those games, winning three.