Archive for November, 2009

Spencer Hawes missing shots early

Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee reports:

No one can say Spencer Hawes looks at his performance through rose-colored lenses.

When asked to assess his progress nine games into his third season, the Kings center was blunt.

“Not terribly excited,” Hawes said. “But I think that has mostly to do with offensive stuff, shooting the ball. But the other things I’m feeling pretty good about.”

While the other things – rebounding, defense and setting screens – have drawn praise from the coaching staff, Hawes has been inconsistent on offense.

Hawes has made just 41.8 percent of his field-goal attempts. One of Hawes’ strengths is his outside shooting, but the 7-foot-1 center is 0 for 12 on three-point shots. Hawes, however, is second on the Kings with 7.2 rebounds per game and tied with Jason Thompson for the team lead in blocked shots, averaging 1.3.

Despite this, the Kings are off to a better than expected start to the season, even with super-scoring, shooting guard Kevin Martin injured.

Marreese Speights out 6-8 weeks with knee injury

Philadelphia 76ers forward Marreese Speights underwent an MRI of his left knee this morning, which was reviewed and evaluated by team Physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy of Main Line Health.

Dr. McPhilemy reports that Speights has a partial tear of the Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL) and will be out approximately six to eight weeks.

Speights injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of Saturday’s game at Chicago.

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

Brandon Jennings scores 55 points

Brandon Jennings scores 55 points

Brandon Jennings has made Milwaukee Bucks history.

Saturday night, led by their rookie point guard, the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Golden State Warriors, 129-125. Jennings shot 21-of-34 (7-of-8 three-pointers, 6-of-8 free throws) to finish with 55 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists (though, four turnovers).

All of Jennings’ points came in the final three quarters. He was scoreless in the first.

The 55 points sets the Bucks team record for most points in a game by a rookie. The previous record was held by Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

Both teams shot extremely well in this game. Milwaukee hit 52.7 percent of their shots, while Golden State connected on 56.1 percent. The Bucks hit 14-of-24 three-pointers; the Warriors 8-of-20.

Jennings’ counterparts on the Warriors, Monta Ellis and Stephen Curry, had great shooting nights themselves. Ellis made 11-of-19 shots for 26 points, while Curry came off the bench of to hit 6-of-9 for 14.

Still, the night belonged to Jennings, who played like a star.

BRANDON JENNINGS 55-POINT GAME NOTES

Brandon Jennings scored a career-high 55 points, surpassing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s (Lew Alcindor) rookie record of 51 points, which was set on Feb. 21, 1970.  Jennings is only the second Bucks’ rookie, and the third Bucks player (joining Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Redd) to score 50 points in a game. Jennings’ 55-point game marks the 13th 50-point game in Bucks history.

Brandon Jennings’ 55 points are the most by an NBA rookie since Earl Monroe had 56 on February 13, 1968. They’re also the second-most by a player under 21. The most was 56 scored by LeBron James on March 20, 2005.

Brandon Jennings scored 29 points in the third quarter on 12-of-13 from the field, including 4-of-5 from three-point range. The 29 points were the most points for an opposing player against Golden State in a quarter. On Dec. 3, 2003, Voshon Lenard of the Denver Nuggets scored 26 against the Warriors.

Jennings was just two points shy of tying the Bucks’ record for most points scored in a game by a single player. Michael Redd holds the record with 57 against Utah on Nov. 11, 2006. He scored zero points in the first quarter, 10 in the second, 29 in the third and 16 in the fourth quarter.

The last rookie who scored 30 points back-to-back for the Bucks was Glenn Robinson in 1995. On Feb. 8, he scored 37 against Minnesota and on Feb. 14, he scored 30 against Miami.

The Bucks have won four in a row to improve to 5-2. They’ve also  won three of the last four home games against Golden State. Their home record against the Warriors has improved to 44-16 all-time.

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

Kelenna Azubuike injures knee

Warriors guard/forward Kelenna Azubuike suffered a left patellar tendon injury at the 9:03 mark of the first quarter of tonight’s game at Milwaukee.  Azubuike left the game and did not return.

An image of his left knee taken at the Bradley Center revealed the patellar tendon injury.

Azubuike will not play in either of the team’s remaining games on this road trip (Tuesday at Cleveland and Wednesday at Boston). He will return to the Bay Area tomorrow to consult with team orthopedic physician Dr. Frank Chen for diagnosis and treatment.

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

Grizzlies sign Jamaal Tinsley

Grizzlies sign Jamaal Tinsley

The Memphis Grizzlies signed free agent guard Jamaal Tinsley, an original draft pick of the club in 2001, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are pleased to add a veteran playmaker with Jamaal’s credentials to the team,” Wallace said.  “He will add experience and high-level passing ability.”

One of the NBA’s most prolific playmakers over the last decade, Tinsley ranks seventh among active players and 24th in league history in assists per game (7.0).  In his last NBA season, the 6-3, 195-pound guard averaged a career-high 8.4 assists in 39 games with the Indiana Pacers in 2007-08.

Tinsley, 31, is expected to bring his playmaking abilities to a Grizzlies team that finished 30th in the NBA in assists (17.4) in 2008-09 and ranks 21st in the category this season (18.8).  The Brooklyn, N.Y. native holds career averages of 10.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 1.66 steals in 30.2 minutes in 398 games over seven seasons (2001-08) with the Pacers. He was waived by Indiana on July 22, 2009.

Originally selected by the Grizzlies with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2001 NBA Draft, Tinsley’s draft rights were traded in a draft-night deal to the Atlanta Hawks along with Shareef Abdur-Rahim in exchange for the draft rights to Pau Gasol (No. 3 overall), Brevin Knight and Lorenzen Wright on June 27, 2001. Tinsley’s rights were acquired later that night by the Pacers for a future first round pick.

Tinsley had an immediate impact in his rookie season with Indiana, posting a triple-double (19 points, 11 rebounds, 23 assists) in his 14th career game on Nov. 22, 2001 vs. the Michael Jordan-led Washington Wizards.  Tinsley’s 23-assist performance established a new Pacers record and was two shy of the NBA rookie record, shared by Tinsley’s then-head coach Isiah Thomas (1981-82) and Ernie DiGregorio (1973-74).  Tinsley was named the Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month twice (Nov. 2001, March 2002) and earned 2001-02 All-Rookie Second Team honors.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Now the Grizzlies should sign Stephon Marbury, Dennis Rodman and J.R. Rider. But seriously, this Tinsley signing suggests that Allen Iverson probably isn’t ever coming back to Memphis. Anyway, it’s curious and a bit questionable that the team would choose to add another player with a reputation as a malcontent. The Pacers wanted literally nothing to do with Tinsley anymore. And, his last NBA action was 39 games in the 2007-08 season. Still, if Tinsley works hard and focuses on being a good teammate, he can help them a little.

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

Jerryd Bayless sprains ankle

Jason Quick of the Oregonian reports (via blog):

Trail Blazers guard Jerryd Bayless sprained his left ankle about an hour before tip off of Saturday’s game in Charlotte as he was returning to the locker room.

Bayless rolled his ankle on a disguised step that is hidden by carpet. The six-inch drop off is in a dimly lit area just outside the tunnel that leads from the court to the Blazers locker room.

Bayless was carried by Rudy Fernandez and Dante Cunningham the remaining 20 yards to the Blazers’ training room, where he was despondent on the training table.

Rockets waive Pops Mensah-Bonsu

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced Friday, November 13 that the team has waived forward Pops Mensah-Bonsu (MEN-sa BON-sue).

“Pops did a great job while he was here with us at the Rockets,” said Morey. “This move is only being done to give us some roster flexibility in case of an injury or a potential call up from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. With the way Coach Adelman currently has the rotation set up, this will also allow Pops an opportunity to explore options for more playing time.”

Mensah-Bonsu (6-9, 235, George Washington) averaged 1.3 points and 1.0 rebound in four games with the Rockets this season. He originally signed as a free agent with Houston on Sept. 3, 2009. Mensah-Bonsu also played in 34 prior NBA games with Dallas, San Antonio and Toronto.

Chris Paul sprains left ankle

John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports:

Injured Hornets point guard Chris Paul did not travel with the team for tonight’s game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Paul severely sprained his left ankle during the third quarter in Friday’s 86-78 loss to the Portland Trail Blazers at New Orleans Arena and could be sidelined for up to two weeks, though the Hornets have not given an update on his status.

NOVEMBER 16 UPDATE

An MRI performed on Hornets guard Chris Paul confirmed a left ankle sprain. He is out indefinitely. Paul will be re-evaluated on a regular basis and his status will be updated as necessary.

Paul suffered the injury with 40 seconds left in the third quarter of Friday’s game against Portland when he came down on Joel Przybilla’s ankle.

In 10 games this season, Paul is averaging 23.8 points (10th in the NBA) on 59 percent shooting (6th in the NBA), 9.2 assists (3rd in the NBA) and 1.7 steals (15th in the NBA) in 34 minutes of play. In addition, he leads the NBA in three point percentage (.655).

Knicks off to worst start ever

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

If LeBron James is crazy enough to take the leap this summer, he must realize he could join the worst team in Knicks history — Team Titanic version 3.0.

The franchise was born in 1946. Last night, the deplorable 2009-10 Knicks set the mark for worst start in franchise history. The pitiful Knicks fell to a humiliating 1-9 after another loss, 121-107, to the dysfunctional Warriors, after which they got booed leaving the Garden court.

No Knicks team has ever been as bad as 1-9 after 10 games. They genuinely appear on the way to post the worst record in franchise history. Afterward, coach Mike D’Antoni called his team “zombies.”

Even if LeBron James doesn’t come in 2010, the Knicks objective — to clear the roster out and start the team anew — makes sense and needed to be done. So, as bad as this season looks, the team is now bad for the right reasons.

The AP reports:

LeBron James may persuade NBA players to give up their No. 23s, but a leaguewide retirement of Michael Jordan’s number seems unlikely.

James said on Thursday that he is considering switching his number next season and wants other players to do the same in honor of Jordan, the Hall of Famer who is often regarded as the league’s best player ever.

Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 and the NHL did the same with Wayne Gretzky’s No. 99, but that hasn’t been done in the NBA. Spokesman Tim Frank said on Saturday that ”retiring a player’s number is a decision that has been made by the teams” and not the league.

The following statement was issued by Deron Williams on Friday:

“I would like to thank Mrs. Miller, Greg Miller and Coach Sloan for allowing me to return to Utah to be with my wife and children today.  Yesterday, one of my daughters underwent a procedure in the hospital to address some health concerns.  There are still unanswered questions and the doctors have been running more in-depth tests throughout the day today.  My daughter’s health is very important to my wife and I and it is important I remain in Salt Lake City as we monitor the situation.  We both appreciate the support of the fans, the Jazz organization and my teammates.  I will return to the court as soon as possible.”

Rockets assign Joey Doresey to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has assigned forward/center Joey Dorsey to the team’s D-League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

“Joey had a strong offseason and a solid training camp for us, but in continuing to focus on his development, we believe that at this point of the season the Rio Grande Valley Vipers offer him the best option for his basketball progression,” said Rockets Vice President of Player Personnel/General Manager of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers Gersson Rosas. “In determining Joey’s assignment, we were also encouraged by the fact that because of our single-affiliation partnership with the Vipers, we can offer him a valued opportunity to develop on a more active basis in terms of his ability to play. We know that Joey will be in good hands with Head Coach Chris Finch and his staff, as well as having all the resources necessary for him to be productive during his time in the D-League. This is one of the primary reasons for our single-affiliation partnership and we look forward to reaping the benefits of it through these development opportunities.”

Dorsey (6-8, 268, Memphis), who has yet to see game action with the Rockets this season, averaged 9.7 points and 9.0 rebounds in seven games (five starts) with Rio Grande Valley in 2008-09.

LeBron James may change jersey number

Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports:

LeBron James may change jersey number

Basking in the glow of a victory over the Heat, Cavs superstar LeBron James looked over at his idol sitting in the stands at AmericanAirlines Arena on Thursday night and made a command decision.

Out of respect to Michael Jordan, who sat courtside and watched James score 34 points, James said he is planning on switching his number after this season from No. 23 to No. 6. It just sort of came out, but it was obvious he’s been thinking about it for a while.

And James wants to lead a movement to get every player who wears No. 23 in the league to give it up as a tribute to Jordan.

It sounds like LeBron is still merely thinking of doing it, so it isn’t guaranteed to happen. And as for the move, I’m not sure how I feel about it. I’m as big a Jordan fan as anyone else, and I definitely think of Jordan when I hear “23,” but years more of LeBron would also make me think of him, too. And I’m not sure that would diminish any aspect of Michael Jordan. It would just diminish the number.

Thing is, I’ve never been a big jersey number guy. Others care about it more. So to me it’s no huge deal.

And, of course, LeBron switching numbers would also result in a lot more new jersey sales. But let’s not think about that right now.

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports (via blog):

Warriors coach Don Nelson stormed out and a red-faced, frustrated Monta Ellis couldn’t be consoled by teammates. So ended Thursday’s practice in New York City.

As the players cooled down from a practice at the Reebok Sports Club and prepared for the bus ride to the London hotel, Ellis called Nelson over to the bench.

Sitting between Stephen Jackson and Acie Law, Ellis asked, “Coach, why do I get blamed for everything?”

Then, the coach and player had this heated dialogue:

Nelson: “What have I ever blamed you for?”

Ellis: “For everything. Everything. People not knowing their plays. I didn’t do this. I didn’t do that.”

The two best Warriors players are Stephen Jackson and Monta Ellis, and both are very unhappy with coach Don Nelson. Jackson wants off the team, for sure. Ellis hasn’t demanded a trade but would probably most likely be happier elsewhere. I wonder if firing Nelson would solve these problems or if issues would linger. Probably the latter.

Raptors release Quincy Douby

Raptors release Quincy Douby

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have released guard Quincy Douby.  Douby had been on the inactive list since October 28 and did not appear in any regular season games. He averaged 3.0 points, 1.7 assists and 10.5 minutes in six preseason outings.

Douby joined the Raptors on March 24, 2009 when he signed a 10-day contract. He appeared in seven games with the Raptors in the 2008-09 season, averaging 4.4 points, 1.0 assists and 10.4 minutes. The four-year NBA veteran has averaged 4.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 10.7 minutes in 143 games.

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced that center Al Jefferson has left the team to tend to a family member’s illness in Florida. Jefferson will miss the next two Wolves games - Friday, Nov. 13 vs. Dallas and Saturday, Nov. 14 at Memphis. He will re-join the team early next week.

This season, Jefferson in nine games is averaging 15.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.44 steals per game and is shooting just 43.0% from the field. He’s not quite himself yet and still coming back after being injured.

Hornets fire coach Byron Scott, replace him with GM Jeff Bower

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have relieved Byron Scott of head coaching duties. Scott will be replaced by General Manager Jeff Bower.

“I want to thank Byron for the hard work he has put in during his time with the Hornets,” said Hornets Owner George Shinn. “I’ve hired Jeff Bower to take over the coaching reign. He knows this team better than anyone, has the respect of the players and in basketball circles, is regarded as one of the best basketball minds in the business. This is our best opportunity to reach our goals this season.”

Bower, who has spent his 14-plus seasons with the club, has been an invaluable asset for the Hornets at all levels in basketball operations.  He began his tenure with the Hornets as an advance scout from 1995 to 1997 before earning a promotion as the team’s director of scouting.  In addition to his scouting duties during the 1998-99 season, Bower joined the coaching ranks as an assistant after Paul Silas was named interim head coach on March 7, 1999 (and helped him lead the Hornets to a 22-13 record).  After serving as the assistant general manager for the 2000-01 season, Bower was promoted to general manager in June of 2001 and has since held that position.  He returned to the bench as an assistant coach under Floyd in 2003-04. Bower’s years of experience working at all levels in the Hornets’ basketball operations department culminated with his appointment to the current post of general manager just prior to the start of the team’s 2005-06 training camp.

“Accountability was our theme this past summer,” said Hornets Vice President of Basketball Chad Shinn. “We talked about the fact that everyone on our staff is held to a certain standard of performance and we didn’t feel this was happening at the head coach level. We feel like we still have an opportunity with our nucleus to get to where we want and Jeff is the right guy, right now to move us in that direction from the bench.”

“As we look at our long-term coaching plans, it’s not about who the head coach is, it’s about the role of the head coach to get the team to perform to their capabilities and reaching our potential this season,” said Bower.

Prior to joining the Hornets, Bower enjoyed an impressive career at the collegiate level.  He spent three years as an assistant coach at Penn State University from 1983-86 before moving to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.  After first serving as an assistant coach from 1986 through 1990, he was promoted to associate head coach, a position he held for five years.  Bower helped lead the Red Foxes to an NCAA Tournament appearance in 1987 after winning the Northeast Conference.

In a related move, Tim Floyd has been hired as the top assistant coach.

Floyd served as head coach of the Hornets for the 2003-04 season, leading the team to a 41-41 record. Most recently, Floyd served as the head coach at USC from 2005-2009, leading the Trojans to a 85-49 mark and three NCAA appearances during his tenure. In the 2007 NCAA Tournament, Floyd led USC to a Sweet 16 appearance. The team’s 25-12 record that season set a record for most wins in school history. The Trojans advanced to the second round of the 2009 NCAA Tournament before falling to eventual runner-up Michigan State. Floyd also coached for the Chicago Bulls, Iowa State, the University of Idaho and Texas-El Paso. Floyd is a native of Hattiesburg, Miss., and a 1977 graduate of Louisiana Tech.

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

Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reports:

Brian Scalabrine angry at injury-causing cameraman

As you can imagine, “The People’s Choice” is more than a little frustrated. But he’s not cursing bad luck. He’s ticked at the person who began this entire mess. The ankle was sprained when he went to make an inbounds pass after a Knicks hoop and stepped on a cameraman whose foot was over the designated line at Madison Square Garden.

“This is the first time I’ve ever sprained my ankle in my entire life,” Scalabrine said. “I watched the film. He was 6 inches over the line, 6 inches that I needed to take the ball out of bounds.

“We’re trained to use the space that we are allowed. I’ve taken the ball out of bounds probably 10,000 times in my life, and as long as you’re behind that line I won’t hit you. But if you’re over that line, we’re trained to use that space. I went back to pivot and go, and as I went back, his foot was right there.”

That really is too bad, and I feel sorry for Scalabrine.

In general, I have always thought that basketball courts are too crowded. There’s very little space between three-point range on the sides and the out-of-bounds line. And near the basket, photographers and camermen are very close to to the players.

I’d be cool with about 3-5 feet being added on all sides, giving the players a bit more breathing room as they come close to the edges of the court.

The AP reports:

Frustrated by the repeated questions about his future, LeBron James said Wednesday that he won’t talk about his possible free agency next summer until after this season.

The Cleveland star and reigning NBA MVP said before the Cavaliers’ game against Orlando that all the talk is “getting old.”

“This free agent talk is getting old. It’s getting old and I think I’m going to stop. Tonight will be the last time I answer any more free agent questions until the offseason,” James said.

“I think I owe it to myself, and I owe it to my teammates. It’s just getting old. I’m focusing on this season, and this is going to be a really good season for us. I don’t want anymore distractions for my teammates, for my organization, for my family. This will be the last time I answer a free agent question for the rest of the year.”

The official InsideHoops.com opinion is that it’s most likely LeBron winds up re-signing with the Cavs in 2010. Talk of him going to the Knicks, or maybe the Heat or elsewhere also could be legit. But there’s no reason to think LeBron knows for a fact where he’d go. It makes sense to wait until the time comes and see the roster situation on all these teams before having a sure opinion. He’d probably love to star in New York’s Madison Square Garden, but only if he’ll be surrounded by real ballers, not fill-in guys that drag him down.

Washington Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Earl Boykins and waived C/F Paul Davis.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released. We’ll post contract details this evening. It’s probably a very short, nonguaranteed deal.

“Earl is a proven veteran point guard who will provide us with leadership and stability off of the bench,” said Grunfeld.

Boykins has career averages of 9.4 points and 3.4 assists (2.8 to 1 assist to turnover ratio) in 520 career games over 10 NBA seasons.  Undrafted out of Eastern Michigan, Boykins has also played for New Jersey, Cleveland, Orlando, L.A. Clippers, Golden State, Denver, Milwaukee and Charlotte.  His best season as a professional came during the 2006-07 campaign when he averaged 14.6 points and 4.4 assists while shooting .898 (220-245) from the free throw line in 66 contests with Denver and Milwaukee.  Boykins played for Virtus Bologna of the Italian A League in 2008-09.

Davis appeared in two games for Washington this season and averaged 2.5 points and 1.5 assists in 4.0 minutes per game.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Boykins is actually shorter than a regulation size NBA basketball. To check into a game he has to stand on top of the scorer’s table so referees even see that he’s there.

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