Archive for May, 2009

Kyle Korver has minor wrist surgery

kyle korver minor wrist surgery

Utah Jazz guard/forward Kyle Korver underwent successful minor surgery Monday to remove scar tissue from his right wrist, Jazz general manager Kevin O’Connor announced today.  The procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Weiland in New York City.

Korver’s wrist will be re-examined by Weiland in two weeks at which point a timeframe for his recovery will be provided.

Originally acquired by the Jazz from Philadelphia on December 29, 2007, the six-year NBA veteran appeared in 128 regular season games with the Jazz over the past two seasons, averaging 9.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 23.0 minutes per game.  Korver averaged 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds in 78 games during the 2008-09 season.

Tom Penn, the Trail Blazers assistant general manager for the past two seasons, has been promoted to Vice President of Basketball Operations, General Manager Kevin Pritchard announced today.

Penn joined the Trail Blazers in 2007 after a seven-year stint with the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies, where he served as assistant general manager/legal counsel.

“I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to continue to work with Mr. Allen, Kevin Pritchard, Larry Miller and the entire Trail Blazers organization,” Penn said.  “We are blessed with a dynamic, talented team, terrific basketball and coaching staffs and a first-class organization.  We will do all that we can to improve our team and build toward our ultimate goal of an NBA championship.”

Penn, tapped by the Trail Blazers for his extensive knowledge of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and salary cap, will continue to work with Pritchard on managing day-to-day aspects of the team’s basketball operations, including contract negotiations, talent evaluation, personnel acquisition and player/agent relations.

“When we talk about team chemistry, it extends to our staff and the role everyone plays in creating a winning culture here,” Pritchard said. “Tom has had a huge hand in our success, and I’m pleased that he will remain and continue to help us build this franchise.”

Penn, 41, worked as a criminal defense attorney after completing studies at the University of Notre Dame and University of Illinois law school.  He later worked as a player agent, gathering his first NBA experience as a member of the acquisition team during Michael Heisley’s pursuit of the Vancouver Grizzlies.

Mark Cuban, Kenyon Martin feud

Yeah, so as you know, during the NBA playoffs an angry Mark Cuban, who was engaging with some fans, let Kenyon Martin’s mom know that her son was a thug.

Obviously Martin wasn’t too pleased about it. And since then, Cuban apoligized, on his blog,

Cuban had also reportedly attempted to say sorry to Martin in person, though for whatever reason it didn’t happen.

Anyway, the latest reports are that Martin doesn’t really accept the apology.

And, really, that’s about it. So Martin isn’t a Cuban fan. And probably never will be. But maybe someday the two will meet and chat for a second. And then maybe the two will like each other more. It’s really not a particularly fascinating story. The world will still revolve around the sun, even if these two never fully resolve their differences.

If additional stuff develops in the near future, I’ll address it here in this blog, or quote it on the NBA rumors page.

I see little reason to care a lot about the latest developments of this story. It makes sense to care that an owner is saying some things he shouldn’t say. That’s worth discussing. But that the player who was being talked about, and the owner, don’t like each other, shouldn’t really be such a surprise. Cuban, on his blog, at least, took the high road and said he was sorry. Martin is apparently still pissed off. And there doesn’t appear to be more to it than that.

Pau Gasol ready for Kenyon Martin

The Los Angeles Times (Broderick Turner) reports: As Pau Gasol walked down the Staples Center hallway Sunday, stopping every so often to sign autographs, to take pictures, to accept congratulations on his 21-point, 18-rebound effort against the Rockets, he answered every question about Kenyon Martin’s behavior like a man not going to be intimidated at all. “You play through it,” Gasol said. “You raise your aggressiveness level. You’ve got to try to be smart. At the same time, you’ve got to play through it.” Many remember last season’s NBA Finals, when the Boston Celtics’ Kevin Garnett seemed to back Gasol down, when all the Lakers seemed to wilt. Martin tries to be as hard-edged as Garnett is. Martin is a good defender, Gasol acknowledged. But Gasol didn’t sound like someone who would back down against Martin in the best-of-seven series. “He’s kind of like their post-up stopper,” Gasol said. “You’ve got to play hard. Don’t back down. Don’t expect any calls. Try to play through it and be aggressive.”

The AP reports: Dwight Howard and Hedo Turkoglu helped dethrone the defending champion Boston Celtics on Sunday night and gave Orlando a chance to bring a crown to the Magic Kingdom. Howard had 12 points, 16 rebounds and five blocked shots, and Turkoglu had 25 points with 12 assists in Game 7 on Sunday night, leading Orlando into the Eastern Conference finals, 101-82. Orlando trailed for just 36 seconds and built a lead it couldn’t squander to earn the right to play LeBron James and the Cavaliers for a spot in the NBA finals. Game 1 is Wednesday in Cleveland; Orlando won the season series 2-1… Ray Allen scored 23 points for Boston, and Paul Pierce had 16 before they were taken out of the game for a courtesy cheer with 2:30 left and the Magic up 99-78. The other member of the new Big Three, Kevin Garnett, awaited them on the bench, where he watched the whole series in street clothes with a right knee strain.

Lakers rout Rockets 89-70 in Game 7

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant, Pau Gasol and the Los Angeles Lakers emphatically silenced the doubters and the Houston Rockets, winning Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals 89-70 on Sunday. With Gasol scoring 21 points and grabbing 18 rebounds, the Lakers looked like the conference’s top-seeded team, not the maddeningly inconsistent one that was pushed to the decisive final game by the undermanned Rockets. The Lakers dominated the paint on both ends, forcing the Rockets into turnovers and bad shots, and owning the backboards. They had an 8-0 lead a few minutes in and widened it to 25 points on Gasol’s jump hook shortly before halftime… Trevor Ariza scored 15 points while Bryant and Andrew Bynum 14 apiece. Bryant added five assists and seven rebounds. Aaron Brooks scored 13 and Luis Scola 11 for Houston. Ron Artest (seven points) and Shane Battier (three) were non-factors.

J.J. Redick shooting bricks

The Boston Globe (Tim Povtak) reports: Magic shooting guard J.J. Redick is mired in one of the worst shooting slumps of his life - making three of his last 25 shots - so the advice he received from coach Stan Van Gundy during his off day was a little surprising. Van Gundy told Redick not to come near the practice floor Friday. “He told me not to touch the ball,” Redick said after a light practice yesterday. “Usually, throughout the playoffs, I’ve been taking extra shooting practice. This time I did nothing but watch some film. Maybe that will work.”

Andrew Bogut cleared to work out

andrew bogut health update

Milwaukee Bucks General Manager John Hammond released today the following statement on the injury (incomplete stress fracture - lower back) to center Andrew Bogut (7-0, 260).

“Earlier this week, Andrew underwent further testing on his back in Australia.  We’re extremely happy to report that the results of the scan showed Andrew’s injury to be healed and his doctors have cleared him to begin his off-season workouts.”

“This day couldn’t come soon enough for me,” said Bogut.  “I’m looking forward to a productive summer in the gym and being in top form for training camp and the 2009-2010 season.”

In 36 games this season, Bogut, 24, averaged 11.7 points, 10.3 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 blocked shot in 31.2 minutes per game.  At the time of his injury, Bogut was one of 11 players in the league averaging double-figures in both points and rebounds, and one of 13 players in the NBA that was averaging a double-double for the season.

The New York Times (Charles V. Bagli) reports: An hour after learning that a state appeals court had dismissed a major challenge to his long-delayed Atlantic Yards development project, the developer Bruce C. Ratner said he planned to break ground by October on an $800 million basketball arena for the New Jersey Nets in Brooklyn. The 20,000-seat arena is only one piece of a proposed 22-acre development at the intersection of Flatbush and Atlantic Avenues that would include an office tower and more than 6,000 apartments, including as many as 2,250 for low- and middle-income families. Given the anemic economy, the housing and the commercial building may have to wait for some time. But Mr. Ratner said he planned to complete the design for the arena, obtain final government approvals and issue the bonds for the project by fall.

NBA rescinds Kobe Bryant technical foul

The Orange County Register reports (via blog): Kobe Bryant got a break from the NBA on Friday when league officials rescinded the technical foul he was assessed in the second quarter of Thursday’s loss against the Houston Rockets. The Lakers had petitioned the league, according to Phil Jackson. Rockets guard Ron Artest and Bryant collided near the top of the arc as the Lakers star was attempting to slip by Artest without the ball shortly before halftime. Artest was called for a foul, while Bryant was hit with his fifth technical foul of the playoffs, bringing him to within two of being suspended for one game.

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

The AP reports: The Houston Rockets came up with one more stunning victory to set up a final showdown with the Los Angeles Lakers. Aaron Brooks scored 26 points, Luis Scola added 24 points and 12 rebounds, and the scrappy, undermanned Rockets pushed the top-seeded Lakers to the brink in their Western Conference semifinal series with a 95-80 win in Game 6 on Thursday night. Reserve Carl Landry scored 15 as the Rockets built another huge lead in the first half, then fought off a Lakers rally to force Game 7 on Sunday at the Staples Center. Kobe Bryant scored 32 and Pau Gasol added 14 for Los Angeles, which lost for only the third time in the last 18 games when it has a chance to close out a series… The Rockets came out dominant instead of demoralized on Thursday night. They put together a near carbon copy of the first half of Game 4, when they seemed to hit every open shot, smothered the Lakers on defense and built an 18-point halftime lead… The Rockets hit their last eight shots in the third quarter and took a 75-65 lead to the fourth. Landry drove down the lane for a one-handed dunk with 6:56 left to put Houston up 81-71 and Bryant checked in after a long rest. But Bryant missed four of his next six shots and Brooks scored eight points over the next five minutes to secure another surprise over the Western Conference’s top seed.

NBA Playoffs conference finals schedule

In the 2009 NBA Playoffs, the Nuggets will play the Lakers in the Western conference finals. And the Cavaliers will play the Magic in the East. Here are the updated schedules:

Nuggets vs Lakers Schedule

Game 1 - Tue  May 19 Denver at L.A. Lakers     9:00PM ET ESPN/R
Game 2 - Thu  May 21 Denver at L.A. Lakers     9:00PM ET ESPN/R
Game 3 - Sat  May 23 L.A. Lakers at Denver     8:30PM ET ABC/R
Game 4 - Mon  May 25 L.A. Lakers at Denver     9:00PM ET ESPN/R
Game 5 * Wed  May 27 Denver at L.A. Lakers     9:00PM ET ESPN/R
Game 6 * Fri  May 29 L.A. Lakers at Denver     9:00PM ET ESPN/R
Game 7 * Sun  May 31 Denver at L.A. Lakers     8:30PM ET ABC/R

Cavs vs Magic Schedule

Game 1 - Wed  May 20 Orlando at Cleveland    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 2 - Fri  May 22 Orlando at Cleveland    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 3 - Sun  May 24 Cleveland at Orlando    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 4 - Tue  May 26 Cleveland at Orlando    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 5 * Thu  May 28 Orlando at Cleveland    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 6 * Sat  May 30 Cleveland at Orlando    8:30PM ET TNT/R
Game 7 * Mon  June 1 Orlando at Cleveland    8:30PM ET TNT/R

*The final three games of each series are “if necessary.”

Magic beat Celtics 83-75 to force Game 7

magic beat celtics in game 7

Behind 23 points and 22 rebounds from center Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic beat the Celtics in Boston 83-75 to win Game 6 of their second round NBA playoffs matchups. The series-deciding Game 7 will be Sunday in Boston.

Orlando shot just 36.6% and only hit 6-of-23 (23.1%) three-pointers. They struggled at the free throw line as well, hitting just 17-of-31. But the Celtics struggled as well, shooting 41.6%, a disgustingly awful 3-of-18 (167%) from three-point range, and they only managed 13 free throw attempts, hitting just 8.

The Celtics also grabbed five more rebounds than the Magic, and dished five more assists.

But Boston turned the ball over 19 times, while the Magic only had 9 turnovers.

For the Magic, Howard also blocked 3 shots. Rashard Lewis (7-of-18) scored 20. Hedo Turkoglo struggled all game, shooting 3-of-13, but hit a big three-pointer in the closing minutes. Rafer Alston scored 11, only had 3 assists, but added 3 blocks and 2 steals. Mickael Pietrus added 11 points and 2 steals off the bench.

Howard did his usual and struggled from the free throw line, connecting on 5-of-12.

J.J. Redick, starting at shooting guard for the Magic, was 0-of-7.

For the Celtics, Rajon Rondo (8-of-19) carried the load in every way imaginable, with 19 points, 16 rebounds, 6 assists (but 5 turnovers) and 4 steals. Paul Pierce (6-of-14) had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists. And center Kendrick Perkins (7-of-11) stepped up on the offensive side of the floor with 15 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks, though he had 1 assist and 5 turnovers.

The problem for Boston was, no one else did anything. Ray Allen was an awful 2-of-11 and missed all 7 of his three-point attempts. He did grab 7 rebounds, but had 4 turnovers with 1 assist. Glen Davis was pretty invisible and had 6 points and little else in 25 minutes.  Brian Scalabrine came off the bench and received 33 minutes, contributing little more than 7 points and a few rebounds. Eddie House, who woudl have helped the team’s three-point shooting, received just 15 minutes and scored 6.

The game was fairly close from start to finish. It was a three-point Boston lead after one quarter, and a one-point Boston lead at halftime. Both teams scored just 16 points each in a quiet third-quarter. But while Orlando scored 22 in the fourth, Boston totally fell apart and managed just 13.

Darius Miles charged with pot possession

The AP reports: Memphis Grizzlies forward Darius Miles, who was suspended last season for violating the NBA’s anti-drug program, was free on bond Thursday after being charged with possession of marijuana. The 27-year-old Miles was alone in his car Wednesday night in suburban Fairview Heights, Ill., when an officer pulled him over for allegedly failing to use a turn signal, police Sgt. Steve Evans said. During a search of the car, Evans said police found a small amount of marijuana in a plastic bag in the passenger compartment. Miles was ticketed for driving with a suspended license and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession because the amount of the drug was less than 2.5 grams, which would have been a felony. He was later freed on $100 bond.

Useful playoff stats and info

This will be the Lakers 46th Game 6. The Lakers are 26-19 in Game 6 (any round) all-time. In series that go at least six games, the Lakers are 33-12 all-time (28-12 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis). When winning Game 6, the Lakers are 23-3 all-time (20-3 Los Angeles, 3-0 Minneapolis). When losing Game 6, the Lakers are 10-9 all-time (8-9 Los Angeles, 2-0 Minneapolis). When leading a series 3-2, the Lakers are 30-4 (any round) all-time (25-4 Los Angeles, 5-0 Minneapolis).

So far, there have been 14 playoff games decided by three or fewer points. All time, the most games decided by three points or less in an entire postseason were 19 in 2006.

Boston’s Glen Davis is averaging 16.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 37.8 minutes during the playoffs after averaging 7.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 21.5 minutes during the regular season’

The Nuggets have advanced to the Western Conference finals for the third time in franchise history and the first time since 1985.

Chauncey Billups is going to the conference finals for the seventh consecutive postseason. Only four other players since 1970 have advanced to seven or more consecutive conference finals (Magic Johnson, Michael Cooper, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Kurt Rambis — all Lakers). He is 17-4 all-time in close-out games in his career.

Dirk Nowitzki finished the series with Denver averaging 34.4 points, 11.6 rebounds and shot 53.4 percent from the floor. He is the fifth player since the merger (1976-77) to average 30-plus points, 10-plus rebounds and shoot 50-plus percent and lose a best-of-7 series.

In Houston’s two playoff series, the team that has led after the first quarter has now won all 11 games.

Cleveland is 8-0 this postseason, winning every game by at least 10 in sweeping both the Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. The only other team to sweep the first two rounds of the playoffs since the NBA went to an opening best-of-seven format in 2003 is the 2005 Miami Heat. The Cavs have also won each of their eight games by 10 or more points, setting the NBA postseason record for consecutive playoff wins by double digits, surpassing the 2004 Indiana Pacers streak of six games. The Cavaliers have outrebounded their playoff opponents in every game, have never trailed at halftime and have not surrendered 100 points yet in the postseason.

–NBA News

History favors Lakers, Celtics tonight

With history’s good angel perched comfortably on their shoulders, the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers have to feel pretty good about their chances of advancing to the conference finals as they enjoy 3-2 series leads.

The Celtics can close out their series tonight in Orlando against the Magic (7 p.m. ET, ESPN), while the Lakers look to advance in the second game as they visit the Houston Rockets (9:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

All time in best-of-sevens, the team with a 3-2 series lead is 122-102 (.545) in Game 6. Overall, the team with a 3-2 lead is 192-32 (.857) in those series.

The last team to advance after trailing a series 3-2 was the San Antonio Spurs in last year’s Playoffs. The Spurs were down to the New Orleans Hornets 3-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals before winning Game 6 at home and clinching on the road.

The Celtics are a perfect 32-0 in series in which they’ve led 3-2. Since the assemblage of the Big Three in Boston, the Celtics have posted a 2-3 record in Game 6s, going 2-2 in last season’s run to banner No. 17. Both Game 6 setbacks, however, came on the road: at Atlanta, 103-100, in the first round; and at Cleveland, 74-69, in the conference semis.

The Lakers, for their part, have had recent success in these types of situations, winning their last four “close-out” games in the playoffs, and 15 times in their last 17 opportunities dating back to 2001. Overall, under head coach Phil Jackson, the Lakers are now 20-10 in close-out games. The Lakers have won 25 of their last 26 series when holding the opportunity to close out at any point. Their last series loss when having a close-out game came in 2006 when the Lakers squandered a 3-1 series lead against the Phoenix Suns. Prior to that, the Lakers had not lost a series when having a close-out game since the 1993 First Round vs. Phoenix in which they led 2-0 before losing the next three.

–NBA News

The AP reports: The state Senate approved a bill Tuesday that would authorize Delaware to become the only state east of the Mississippi River to offer sports betting, sending it to Gov. Jack Markell for his promised signature. The Senate passed the bill 17-2 without a committee hearing, suspending its rules before voting. The decision came on the first day back in session after hours of closed-door negotiations. “I’m pleased they acted so quickly,” said Markell, who fought to resurrect the bill after an initial House defeat last Tuesday. Markell and other administration officials negotiated for hours last Thursday with House Republican leaders who had led early opposition to the measure and were finally able to reach a compromise. Because of a brief unsuccessful experiment with a sports lottery in the 1970s, Delaware is one of only four states, along with Nevada, Montana and Oregon, exempted from a 1992 federal law banning sports gambling. As the only state east of the Mississippi River that can offer sports betting, Delaware has a distinct edge against slot machine competition in neighboring states.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer (Mary Schmitt Boyer) reports: Former Cleveland center Brad Daugherty thinks his Cavs teams would beat the current edition. Writing on ESPN’s Media Zone Water Cooler, Daugherty, now an ESPN NASCAR analyst, said, “It’d be very difficult matching up and defending LeBron, much like the problems we had to guard Michael Jordan. LeBron continues to groom his outside shot, being able to make 15- to 18-footers, and that’s what’s making the difference in him being the player he is today as opposed to the player he was three years ago. “If we played them, and he started making 18-foot shots consistently, he’d be a problem. But I think we could have altered some of his shots, and we could have thrown a couple of really top-notch defenders at him. Larry Nance could guard out on the perimeter, he could guard a 3 or a 4, and Hot Rod Williams was an excellent defender. When you got past them to go to the basket, the game was still on because they could come from behind you and block your shot.”

Sacramento Kings lay off dozen staffers

The Sacramento Bee (Melody Gutierrez ) reports:  Jim Kozimor, with his energetic personality and warm smile, was one of the Kings’ most recognizable faces. Now he’s a personification of the Maloof family’s financial troubles. The TV and radio broadcaster was one of about a dozen Maloof Sports and Entertainment staffers laid off Tuesday as the Kings grapple with the weak economy and a disappointing NBA season that led to poor attendance at Arco Arena. Adding to the Maloof money woes, the family is heavily invested in areas now taking hits from the recession. Las Vegas, where the Maloofs own the Palms Casino Resort, has been hurt by declines in gambling and tourism revenues.

Nuggets eliminate Mavericks in five games

Wednesday night in Denver the Nuggets, behind 30 points from Carmelo Anthony and 28 from Chauncey Billups, beat the Dallas Mavericks 124-110 to win their second round playoff series 4 games to 1.

The Nuggets advance to the Western confernce finals, where they will face the winner of the series between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets

Denver was unguardable tonight, shooting 58.5% from the field and nailing 11-of-26 three-pointers.

Melo (13-of-22, 4-of-7 three-pointers) had 30 points and five rebounds.  And Billups (10-of-16, 3-of-6 threes) was everywhere, contributing 28 points, 7 rebounds and 12 assists (just 2 turnovers).

Also for the Nuggets, J.R. Smith (5-of-13) had 18 points, 5 rebounds and 6 assists off the bench. Starting center Nene shot 8-of-10 for 17 points and 7 rebounds. Kenyon Martin added 14 with 4 assists.

For the Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki (9-of-17, 12-of-12 free throws) scored 32, with 10 rebounds and 7 assists (but 5 turnovers). Jason Kidd (6-of-10, 5-of-9 threes) had 19 points and 9 assists (but 5 turnovers). Brandon Bass (5-of-9) was terrific off the bench with 17 points and 7 rebounds. Josh Howard, playing hurt, had 14 points and little else. Jason Terry (just 4-of-13) started at shooting guard and scored 11.

Denver lead 34-27 after one quarter and 69-55 at the half. The two teams both scored the same amount of points in the third and fourth quarters.

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