Archive for December 20th, 2009

The Houston Chronicle reports:

Rockets guard Chase Budinger on Sunday was ruled out for two to three weeks with a sprained right ankle, following an MRI. Budinger turned the ankle on a drive in the second quarter on Saturday.

Budinger is averaging 8.2 points and three rebounds, making 40.9 percent of his shots.

The Rockets are not expected to add a player to their open roster spot with Budinger out.

Lakers beat writers stranded in New York

A huge snowstorm struck the Northeast United States on Saturday, and as a result beat writers covering the Los Angeles Lakers were all unable to make it to Detroit for Sunday’s Lakers at Pistons game (6 p.m. ET start time).

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports (via blog):

Phil Jackson has cited the drain of travel distance to road cities being one reason why it’d be harder for the Lakers ever to go 72-10 the way the center-of-the-country Chicago Bulls did.

Well, here’s a reminder that cold-weather teams such as Chicago (and everyone else in the Eastern Conference who has to go more regularly to cold-weather cities) have travel issues brought on by snow and ice that the warm-weather Lakers rarely encounter.

The Lakers made it from Newark, N.J., to Detroit (or more accurately, they flew into Pontiac, Mich., to be closer to the arena in Auburn Hills) in the wee hours of Sunday morning despite an incredible snowstorm that began Saturday and grounded pretty much all commercial planes in the Northeast. It wasn’t an easy feat, and the club had booked hotel rooms in Newark for the night with the expectation that their plane might not be able to get in the air amid the still-descending snow.

None of the writers who travel separately from the team plane will make it to cover the Lakers-Detroit game, which is pretty much a historic development. Personally, I’ve never not been able to get to the next city because of weather.

I assume the reporters will still write game articles today, but from hotel rooms for a change.

The New York Knicks recently signed forward Jonathan Bender, who had fallen out of the NBA due to injury problems and was not expected to be heard from again.

But in Bender’s first game as a Knick he looked like a perfectly solid backup, playing 14 minutes and finishing with nine points, two rebounds and an assist.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

On his first possession, with the Clippers on a 16-0 run, Bender snaked in from the perimeter on a drive and made a nifty layup over Marcus Camby.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Walsh who, while with the Pacers, made a trade for Bender soon after he was drafted with the fifth overall pick by the Raptors out of high school as an 18-year-old. “After that I said, ‘OK, that’s what I remember.’ “On his next touch, Bender drilled a left-corner 3-pointer. He also made an emphatic block of a Baron Davis’ floater — the cleanest block by a Knick this season. And he committed a flagrant foul on Eric Gordon, battering him to the floor as Gordon drove for a layup. The tough display was a rarity for a Knicks big man.

Bender said that would not have been a flagrant foul four years ago.

“Definitely not,” Bender said. “When Gordon goes to the rack, he bumps into you. I just put my arm out.”

One game doesn’t mean much, but Bender does look like an NBA player again, and that’s a success story all by itself.

Nets struggles continues

Fred Kerber of the New York Post reports:

All the tortures of a season of misery returned for the Nets. There was the mandatory lousy shooting (.378), a requisite injury as Chris Douglas-Roberts sprained his right ankle with 4:47 left, and the near-obligatory loss, though one far easier to accept with the effort but a loss all the same, the Nets’ seventh straight.

“We have to try to find a way to bring it every night. It’s as simple as that. For whatever reason, we aren’t,” said Douglas-Roberts, (20 points), who went for X-rays (negative) and was able to walk afterwards, which he found encouraging. “We don’t have the luxury to turn it on and off.”

Especially against the likes of the Lakers, who got a big night from Kobe Bryant, celebrating his waiting-to-be-signed extension with 29 points, 10 rebounds and five assists amid chants of “MVP” from a storm-thwarted announced crowd of 17,190. Pau Gasol (whose own three-year deal should be done before Bryant’s) had a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double.

The Boston Celtics announced today that guard Lester Hudson has been recalled from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League. Hudson appeared in three games for the Red Claws averaging 16.3 points, 6.0 rebounds and 4.7 assists per game.

Hudson, a 6’3” guard, has appeared in 13 games for the Celtics this season and registered season-highs of six points and three assists against Philadelphia on November 3.

Matt Bonner breaks hand

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Matt Bonner breaks hand

At some point late in the first quarter of Saturday’s Spurs-Pacers game at the AT&T Center, Matt Bonner broke the fourth metacarpal — the bone in the meaty part of the hand that leads to the ring finger — on his right hand.

X-rays taken at the arena showed a partial fracture, and the initial diagnosis does not appear to indicate a need for surgery to repair the bone. Bonner will be re-examined on Monday before a final timetable for his return is announced, but he is certain to miss a significant number of games. He is optimistic his hiatus will last no more than a month.

“It’s not broken all the way through, so it should heal itself in about four weeks,” he said. “That’s about it.”

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