Archive for December 7th, 2009

Dakota Wizards (D-League) guard Maurice Baker has been suspended one game for striking Idaho Stampede forward Cedric Simmons in the shoulder/face, it was announced today by Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA Development League.

The incident occurred at the 11:00 minute mark of the fourth quarter on Saturday, Dec. 5, in Boise, Idaho.

Baker will serve his suspension tonight when the Wizards play the Utah Flash in Orem, Utah.

Julius Hodge stomps on rival court logo in Australia

The National Basketball League (NBL) will not be proceeding with charges against Melbourne Tigers’ import Julius Hodge for his post-game actions following his team’s match against the Adelaide 36ers on Saturday night.

Hodge drew the ire of the 5,984-strong crowd at the Distinctive Homes Dome in Adelaide after celebrating the Tigers’ 87-84 overtime victory over his former team by twice stamping on the Brett Maher Court logo.

NBL General Manager Chuck Harmison determined that the actions of Hodge, whilst immature, did not constitute a breach of the NBL’s Code of Conduct.

“Whilst it is clear that Julius Hodge’s actions on Saturday night were ill-conceived and juvenile, we do not consider them to be a breach of the NBL’s Code of Conduct,” said Harmison.  “With no formal report lodged by either the 36ers or the game officials over the incident, Hodge will therefore face no sanctions from the league.

“It is disappointing that a game which was an absolute thriller, that went to overtime, and which drew the biggest NBL crowd of the season thus far, should be remembered for one player’s distasteful actions rather than the fantastic basketball played.  That being said, NBL basketball is always exciting and emotional, and we understand that sometimes our athletes get carried away with their celebrations after a win.  Clearly however Hodge went over the top and underestimated the high esteem in which the Adelaide crowd, and indeed the rest of the basketball community, hold Brett Maher.”

Harmison said Hodge’s allegations of racial taunts from the Adelaide crowd would be investigated thoroughly and warned that any fans who were found to have acted inappropriately would face potential bans from future NBL matches.

“Hodge’s allegations of racial taunting following the game are a serious concern and we will work closely with the 36ers and venue security staff to identify any individuals who may have used racial slurs against Hodge,” said Harmison.  “There is absolutely no place for that sort of behaviour in the NBL or indeed in our society.”

The NBL will also undertake an overall review of the way the 36ers handled the post-game events on Saturday.

“We will be working closely with the club to undertake a thorough review of Saturday’s game-day operations as well as the actions of both the 36ers staff and venue security personnel on the night to ensure that appropriate procedures were followed,” said Harmison.  “Our number one priority must always be the safety of our players, team personnel and fans, so it’s important that the club and the league learn from this incident.”

Have an opinion? Talk world hoops on the InsideHoops international basketball forum.

Nate McMillan has surgery

Portland Trail Blazers Head Coach Nate McMillan underwent successful surgery Monday to repair a ruptured right Achilles tendon.

He is expected to make a full recovery and return to the bench for the Trail Blazers’ Dec. 15 game vs. Sacramento. The injury occurred during a Dec. 4 practice.

Dr. Jay Crary performed the surgery at Southwest Washington Regional Surgery Center in Vancouver, Wash.

Lead Assistant Coach Dean Demopoulos will serve as the team’s head coach in McMillan’s absence, starting tonight at New York.

The Phoenix Suns have assigned rookie forward Taylor Griffin to the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Suns President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Steve Kerr.

The 6-7, 238-pound Griffin was selected by the Suns with the 48th overall pick (second round) of the 2009 NBA Draft and has appeared in two games this season for Phoenix.  The Oklahoma product is expected to appear in both of the Energy’s home games this Friday, Dec. 11 and Saturday, Dec. 12 against the Dakota Wizards.

The Suns (15-6) return to action Tuesday night, taking on the Dallas Mavericks (14-7) at American Airlines Center at 6:30 p.m. Phoenix time.  The game can be seen locally on My45 and heard on Sports 620 KTAR.

Pacers still finding their rotation

With 6-12 record, the Indiana Pacers aren’t off to the best of starts. Star Danny Granger is having a very good season, though he needs to raise his 40.1% field goal percentage. But he simply doesn’t have much help. And head coach Jim O’Brien is still searching for the best player combinations to help turn things around.

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

Jim O’Brien has used many starting combinations. Dahntay Jones replaced Brandon Rush at shooting guard and O’Brien has used both Roy Hibbert and Jeff Foster at center.

O’Brien may also want to take a look at point guard. T.J. Ford didn’t do anything to earn the confidence of teammates during the trip.

Ford had a total of 10 assists and 11 turnovers in four games. O’Brien went with Earl Watson in Ford’s place for most of the second half against Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers last week.

The Pacers must have stability at point guard if they expect to win.

O’Brien hopes to eventually settle on a nine-man rotation.

Considering the limited roster, Mike Dunleavy being hurt until just five games ago, Troy Murphy missing some games, etc., I’d say the Pacers are doing about as well as expected.

Bulls offense is struggling

The Chicago Bulls, whose super-scoring guard Ben Gordon is now with the Detroit Pistons, are struggling to put points on the board.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

The Bulls’ offense is so bad that the notoriously long-winded Hubie Brown, who was the color analyst forFriday’s game in Cleveland, ran out of talking points.

The Bulls’ offense is so bad that it rivals the above lame attempts at one-liners. Rim shot, please, indeed. Anything better than the boring, predictable high screen-and-roll and slow ball reversal that, lately, has resulted in air balls.

Let’s get the ugly numbers out of the way first:

The Bulls score 90.4 points per game, 28th in the league. They shoot 43.2 percent, 27th in the league. They rank 24th in 3-point shooting at 31.1 percent and only Utah and Memphis take fewer 3-pointers than the Bulls’ 11.8 per game.

The Bulls have surpassed 100 points and shot 50 percent just once in 18 games.

On the bright side, the Bulls (unofficially) lead the league in heavily contested long 2-pointers jacked from just inside the 3-point line.

Chicago has lost seven of their last eight games, and many of the losses haven’t even been close. A shakeup could take place soon if this continues.

Have an opinion? Share it on the InsideHoops Chicago Bulls forum.

Spurs need to show improvement

With a 9-8 record, the San Antonio Spurs sit in the middle of the Western conference pack. If the regular season ended today, they’d qualify for the playoffs, but just barely — via a tie-breaker with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Will the Spurs soon raise the level of their game?

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express News reports:

After back-to-back homecourt losses to the Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets, the Spurs head to the scene of one of their worst losses of the season with a sense their season has reached an early turning point.

The Jazz’s motivation is much simpler. They need a victory over any team to erase the embarrassment of Saturday night’s loss to Minnesota. The Timberwolves had won only two games before coming from 14 points down to beat a Jazz team that coach Jerry Sloan says didn’t defend in the second half.

The Spurs, 9-8 after back-to-back losses, approach tonight’s game with a fair amount of optimism. But they also understand that this revamped roster — one which many hoped would position them for a title run — needs to begin showing results, and soon.

“This stretch of games right here is really good for us,” Spurs captain and leading scorer Tim Duncan said. “We need to turn a corner and learn things about ourselves and become a better team.”

Right now, it’s hard to take the Spurs seriously as a championship contender. Perhaps that’ll change in the near future.

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