Archive for May 9th, 2009

The AP reports: LeBron James scored 47 points in his best game yet of these playoffs, leading the Cavaliers to the brink of their second straight postseason sweep with a 97-82 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night. Back home after two blowout losses in Cleveland, the Hawks put up their best fight of the series. It didn’t matter… The Hawks were only down 47-46 at the halftime, and they surged back into their first second-half lead of the series with a 13-0 run in the third quarter. But Zaza Pachulia foolishly got ejected for arguing a foul call—acting as though he might attack the officials—and Atlanta faded away down the stretch… Indeed, while James was a virtual one-man show, he kept his teammates involved by dishing out eight assists. If that wasn’t enough, he led Cleveland to a dominant performance on the boards, 46-23, with 12 rebounds—more than anyone else on the court… Joe Johnson, who didn’t decide until game time that he was healthy enough to play, led the Hawks with 21 points. Josh Smith added 18 and Flip Murray 17.

Joel Litvin, NBA President, League and Basketball Operations, issued the following statement regarding the final seconds of Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Denver Nuggets and the Dallas Mavericks:

“At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony’s three-point basket.”

Yao Ming out injured for rest of NBA playoffs

Rockets center Yao Ming has been ruled out for the remainder of the 2009 NBA Playoffs after further diagnostic procedures conducted today revealed a small hairline fracture in his left foot.  The finding is in addition to the earlier diagnosis of a left ankle sprain that he sustained during Friday night’s 108-94 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals playoff series.  While no surgery is needed, the expected recovery timeline is between eight to 12 weeks.

“Yao Ming had an initial test taken in the early morning hours on Saturday following the game,” said Rockets Team Physician Dr. Tom Clanton.  “The original diagnosis of the left ankle sprain was based on the results of that test.  Further diagnostic procedures performed later in the day, revealed a hairline fracture on the top of his left foot.  In order for the bone to heal properly, Yao will need to immobilize the foot by wearing a walking boot.  No surgery is required and he should be able to resume his regular workout routine sometime between the next eight to 12 weeks.”

Fan discussion of the Yao Ming injury news is in this forum topic.

carmelo anthony

The Denver Nuggets Saturday evening got 32 points from Chauncey Billups and 31 from Carmelo Anthony, beating the Mavericks in Dallas to take a 3-0 lead in their second round NBA playoffs series.

The final and biggest shot of the night came with one second left from Nuggets star small forward Carmelo Anthony, who nailed a big three-pointer from the left side of the court.

There was controversy, as just before Melo took that shot, Mavericks swingman Antoine Wright bumped Anthony, intentionally trying to foul him. The bump wasn’t very hard, though, and no call was made. Melo didn’t stop and nailed the shot anyway.

Wright’s bump on Melo was close. It was a “touch-bump,” if you will. It probably should have been called, but it was not a clear “must-call.” It wasn’t a particularly hard bump and it didn’t really affect Melo. Wright probably should have just grabbed him or something.

As for the game, it was close most of the way through. The Nuggets led 48-45 at halftime. The Mavericks led 80-79 after three-quarters.

STAT BREAKDOWN

In the win, Billups (9-of-16) had 32, but just 3 assists. Anthony (just 9-of-24, but 11-of-14 free throws) had 31, plus 8 rebounds and a pair of steals. Kenyon Martin (5-of-6) had 12, but just 4 rebounds. J.R. Smith (just 3-of-10) had 10 with 6 rebounds off the bench.

In the loss, Dirk Nowitzki (9-of-19, 13-of-15 free throws) scored 33, with 16 rebounds and 2 blocks. Jason Terry (5-of-12) had 17 with 4 rebounds off the bench. Brandon Bass (2-of-5) fought hard and earned 14 free throw attempts for 16 points and 5 rebounds. Josh Howard (just 5-of-15) had 14 points, 7 rebounds and more turnovers than assists. Jason Kidd scored 13 with 5 rebounds, 5 assists.

Both teams shot badly (though the Nuggets were slightly better from three-point range), and spent much of the night on the free throw line, with Dallas connecting on 40-of-49, and Denver hitting 32-of-40.

Denver controlled the ball, committing only 7 turnovers. The Mavericks had just one steal (Josh Howard).

THE AFTERMATH

The Mavericks boiled over with frustation after the loss, with several players yelling at anyone nearby who would listen. Passionate team owner Mark Cuban stormed down the sideline of the court and shoved aside the off-arm of a cameraman who was nearly in his way. I didn’t see if any Mavs players did anything crazy after the game, aside from letting off a lot of steam.

Fan discussion of the game took place in this forum topic.

-Jeff

alvin gentry

The Phoenix Suns today announced that the club has reached an agreement with interim head coach Alvin Gentry to retain him as the 14th head coach in franchise history.  Gentry and Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr will be available to the media on Tuesday, May 12.

“Alvin is the right man to lead our team into the future,” said Kerr.  “Our players have great respect for him and the job he did last season, and he’ll provide the continuity we’ll need going into next year.  I’m excited for Alvin and his family, and for our organization. This is a great fit.”

Originally promoted to the role of interim head coach on Feb. 16, Gentry’s 31-game tenure with the Suns in 2008-09 saw him compile the highest winning percentage of any interim coach in the NBA last season (.581).  Gentry’s  18-13 record at the helm of the Suns included both the club’s longest overall win streak of the season (six games) and longest home win streak (nine games), despite playing without leading scorer and All-Star starter Amar’e Stoudemire for all but two of those games, and without Steve Nash and Leandro Barbosa for a combined 10 games.

Gentry returned the Suns to the franchise’s high-scoring roots as Phoenix averaged an astounding 117.7 points following his promotion, raising its overall scoring average five full points in just 31 games to 109.4 points for the season, tops in the NBA.  The Suns opened Gentry’s tenure with three-straight 140-point efforts, the first time the NBA had seen such prolific scoring since the 1990-91 campaign.  Among the most impressive scoring feats achieved by Gentry’s Suns’ in his 31-game term: six scoring efforts of at least 130 points, more than any other NBA team managed in 82 games; and, a string of 10 consecutive 30-point quarters, the longest streak of its kind in 17 seasons.

Gentry helped lead the club to a 46-36 finish, the second-most victories for a non-playoff team in the 25-year history of the NBA’s 16-team playoff format.  The Suns, which were 14-3 (.824) at home under Gentry, closed the season by winning nine-straight games at US Airways Center, registering wins over playoff teams Philadelphia, Denver, Utah and Houston.

A 30-year coaching veteran, Gentry originally joined the Suns’ staff as an assistant on June 1, 2004, and served in that position the last four-plus seasons before earning the midseason promotion in 2008-09.  Gentry is at the helm of his fourth NBA team after stints with the Los Angeles Clippers (2000-03), Detroit Pistons (1997-2000) and Miami Heat (1995).  Gentry’s 1998-99 Pistons earned a playoff berth.  In 2001-02, his second season with the Clippers, he guided Los Angeles to an improbable 39-43 (.476) record, the team’s highest win total in nearly 10 seasons, a season after leading the club to a 16-win improvement in 2000-01, his rookie campaign with the club.

In 21 seasons in the NBA, Gentry has worked alongside or under some of the game’s most respected coaches, including Larry Brown, Kevin Loughery and Doug Collins.  The 54-year-old Gentry received his first assistant coaching job in the NBA under Brown with the San Antonio Spurs in 1988-89 after serving under Brown with the 1988 NCAA Champion Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team.

Ron Artest foul downgraded

The AP reports: Ron Artest will play in Game 4 of Houston’s Western Conference semifinal against the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday. The NBA ruled Saturday that Artest’s hard foul on Pau Gasol(notes) late in the Lakers’ 108-94 win on Friday did not merit a one-game suspension… League spokesman Tim Frank said Saturday the foul was downgraded to a flagrant one.

InsideHoops.com expected this would happen.

Fan discussion of the news is in this forum topic.

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in the Lakers’ 108-94 victory in Game 3 on Friday night that gave them a 2-1 lead in the series… Lamar Odom had 16 points and 13 rebounds and reserve point guard Jordan Farmar had 12 points and seven assists in place of the suspended Derek Fisher, who was ejected from Game 2 for a hard hit on Luis Scola when he set a pick. Artest, who scored 25 points, was ejected for a flagrant foul on Pau Gasol in the final minute, the only carryover of the rough play that turned testy in Game 2.. Yao Ming added 19 points and 14 rebounds for the Rockets but he was bothered by a sore left foot in the final minutes and was limping as he left the court… The Rockets had a 56-43 edge in rebounding.

The AP reports: Into the stands. Off the backboard or in another player’s face, Dwight Howard sent Boston Celtics’ shots everywhere. Howard had 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks to lift the Orlando Magic to a 117-96 victory over the Celtics on Friday night and a 2-1 series lead in their Eastern Conference semifinal… Rashard Lewis had 28 points, and Hedo Turkoglu scored 24 for Orlando, which played without starting point guard Rafer Alston. He was suspended by the NBA for slapping Eddie House in the back of the head in Game 2. Paul Pierce broke out of his series slump to score 27 points, and Rajon Rondo added 15 for the defending champion Celtics, who trimmed a 20-point deficit to seven before the Magic regained control… Anthony Johnson had 13 points in place of Alston.

Chuck Daly dies

chuck daly dies

The Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment mourn the passing of Hall of Fame Coach Chuck Daly.  The 78-year-old, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in February, passed away this morning in Jupiter, Florida on May 9 with his family by his side.  Funeral arrangements are pending, but services will take place next week in Jupiter/Tequesta, Florida.

“The Daly family and the entire Detroit Pistons and Palace Sports and Entertainment family is mourning the loss of Chuck Daly,” family spokesman and Pistons Vice President of Public Relations Matt Dobek said.  “Chuck left a lasting impression with everyone he met both personally and professionally and his spirit will live with all of us forever.”

Daly, who coached the Detroit Pistons to NBA Championships in 1989 and 1990, was dubbed by his Pistons’ players as “Daddy Rich,” for his dapper wardrobe.  Daly also served as head coach of the Dream Team, the 1992 Gold-Medal winning USA Basketball Olympic Team, which has been acknowledged by many as the greatest basketball team ever assembled. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994 and the number 2 (for those 2 NBA Championships) was retired in his honor by the Detroit Pistons in 1997.

The Kane, Pennsylvania native coached the Pistons for nine seasons and is the winningest coach in franchise history with a record of 467-271 (.633).  He also coached Detroit to a franchise record 71 playoff wins during his tenure (71-42, .628).  Named head coach on May 17, 1983, Daly finished his first year with a 49-33 mark and a postseason appearance.  The Pistons reached the NBA Playoffs in each of his nine seasons, advancing to the Conference Finals five times with two Eastern Conference Championships (1989, 1990).

In 1990, the Pistons set the top two winning streaks in franchise history.  During the months of January, February and March, the club won 13 games and then 12 in a row with only one loss in between.  The 25-1 streak was the third-best streak in the history of the NBA during that time.

In addition to his Pistons coaching career, Daly also made NBA head coaching stops with the Cleveland Cavaliers, New Jersey Nets and Orlando Magic.

His 30-plus years of coaching success at all levels carried over into his Pistons position.  Prior to joining Detroit, Daly spent four-plus seasons as an assistant to Billy Cunningham and the Philadelphia 76ers.  The Sixers went 236-104 in the regular-season during those four-plus years, winning two division titles and finishing second twice.

In his six seasons (1971-77) as the head coach of the University of Pennsylvania, he compiled a 125-38 (.744) record and won four Ivy League titles.  Daly led Penn to more NCAA berths and Big Five titles than any previous head coach in school history.  He was the head coach at Boston College for two seasons (1969-71) and served as an assistant coach at Duke University for seven years (1963-69).

A graduate of Bloomsburg University, after starting his collegiate career at St. Bonaventure, Daly earned a Master’s Degree at Penn State and began his coaching career at Punxsutawney High School.

Daly is survived by his wife, Terry, his daughter, Cydney, and grandchildren Sebrina and Connor.

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