Archive for February 20th, 2010

Behind huge games from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, Saturday night in New York the Oklahoma City Thunder topped the Knicks 121-118 in overtime. Durant (10-of-25, 14-of-15 free throws) scored 36 points, while Westbrook (13-of-23) was dominant with 31 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists.

For the Knicks, tonight marked the debut of new squad members Tracy McGrady, Eddie House and Sergio Rodriguez. And although victory narrowly eluded them, the results were more positive than anyone could have expected.

While Rodriguez provided a much bigger spark than his five points and six assists suggests, the Knicks were carried by David Lee’s 30 points (12-of-16), 10 rebounds and six assists, McGrady’s 26 points and five assists, and Eddie House’s 24 points and five rebounds off the bench.

Here’s what Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni said after the game about McGrady and House:

“I thought it was really, really good. Just their intensity. Just the little things, getting the ball here and there. Talking in the timeouts. Talking going on the floor, understanding who they got. Just all the intangibles that they’re bringing. It’s something that we really work on, in a sence, that’s pretty good. As soon as they get used to each other a little bit better, Tracy gets his legs a little bit more. He kind of ran out of gas toward the end. Foul shots were tough, you saw it. But, not having played all year, a couple of years, almost, 26 points, not bad against a team that defends really well. They’re long and athletic. They’re palying well.”

More D’Antoni thoughts on McGrady:

“His basketball IQ is way up. He does that. He makes the soccer pass or the hockey pass, whatever you want to call it. Butu he does that. Obviously, he can score. He’s very intelligent on defense. He’s pointing and talking. The guy has been around and been an all-star a long time.”

Although the Knicks lost tonight, this was the most fun night of pro basketball Madison Square Garden has enjoyed in years. Unless you love watching amazing individual performances where one superstar shines while everyone else watches. Then, the shows LeBron James and Kobe Bryant put on in recent seasons eclipse tonight.

As for Rodriguez, he was a one-man carnival. In a good way. The guard flung himself all over the court on both ends of the floor, made tons of brilliant passes, and was an absolute  joy to watch.

Great showing by the new Knicks, even in a loss.

Good first half in Tracy McGrady debut

Starting at shooting guard alongside Chris Duhon, Tracy McGrady looked very good and certainly better than expected in his New York Knicks debut Saturday night as the team hosts the Oklahoma City Thunder in Madison Square Garden.

T-Mac came out gunning and shot 7-of-12  for 19 points, two rebounds, three assists (two turnovers) and a steal in 17 first half minutes.

The Knicks lead 57-52 at the break.

Also in the first half, David Lee shot 6-of-9 for 16 points and five rebounds.

For the Thunder, Russell Westbrook (6-of-9) has 15 points and four rebounds. Kevin Durant (4-of-10) has 14.

The Knicks had 14 first half assists, the Thunder just six.

McGrady played six games for the Houston Rockets and has not been on the court since December 23 until tonight.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

Grizzlies swingman Ronnie Brewer will miss at least three weeks with a partially torn right hamstring.

Brewer, who was injured Friday during the Grizzlies’ 100-87 double overtime loss to Miami, had his condition confirmed this morning after a magnetic resonance imaging exam.

Brewer did not travel this afternoon with the team to New Jersey where the Griz will face the Nets on Sunday evening. The Grizzlies are officially saying that Brewer will be out indefinitely and a timetable for his return will be set in a week.

Jon Brockman out two to four weeks

Sacramento Kings forward Jon Brockman will miss two to four weeks of action with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee, which was confirmed by an MRI taken yesterday.

Brockman, currently in his rookie season, is averaging 3.0 points (.511 FGs, .600 FTs) and 4.6 rebounds per game through 44 outings of which he has started in four.

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed guard Garrett Temple to a second 10-day contract and has waived forward Brian Cook.

Temple (6-6, 190, LSU), who has averaged 6.0 points and 2.3 rebounds in three games with Houston, signed his first 10-day contract with the Rockets on Feb. 8, marking his first-ever GATORADE Call-Up to the NBA. Temple was playing with Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley, where he was averaging 14.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 30 games (30 starts) with the Vipers. He was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by Houston on Sept. 22, 2009. Temple averaged 2.5 points and 0.3 assists in four preseason games with the Rockets before being waived on Oct. 21. He also averaged 4.6 points and 0.4 assists in five games with Houston in the 2009 NBA Summer League.

Cook (6-9, 250, Illinois), who was in his second season with the Rockets, averaged 1.4 points and 0.6 rebounds in 15 games this season. He was acquired by Houston from Orlando in a three-team trade on Feb. 19, 2009, and exercised the player option on his contract for the 2009-10 season on June 22.

By Jerald Hoover

The big deal is finally done and as it seems all parties got what they wanted out of the trade:  The Knicks created much-needed LeBron James cap space (for this summer’s free agency class) all the while bringing in a former All-star whom they hope can be lighting in a bottle and regain more than a glimpse of his former self.  McGrady alone can be enough to entice others to come along for the ride if he looks anything he used to.

Flashy point guard Sergio Rodriguez, aka “Spanish Chocolate,” was brought in as an apparent upgrade over Chris Duhon, who seems to be devoid of any type of penetrating move.  Rodriguez, while turnover-prone, is lightning quick at 6-foot-3 and has exceptional court vision.

Did the Knicks give up too much in the way of first round picks.  In a word, NO!  First off, first round picks are a crap-shoot at best, and yes, even those picked 1st or 2nd in the draft.  Please see the file on the Clippers Michael Olowokandi and Detroit’s Darko Milicic for top picks in their respective drafts.

The Knicks are just flip-flopping on the 2011 pick, and yes they’re giving up the 2012 pick, but it’s Lottery-protected.  Not only that, if one thinks about it the Knicks could always parley someone like Wilson Chandler to a team for a first round pick.

The Rockets not only rid themselves of McGrady and his high maintenance ways (according to them), but they bring in a young scoring stud in Kevin Martin to go along with Aaron Brooks in the backcourt.  They should be extremely explosive.  Swingman Trevor Ariza should have a field day.

The Sacramento Kings gained a young forward in Carl Landry who should help down low with Jason Thompson.

Jerald L Hoover is a producer and director of a Mount V, NY basketball documentary: Four Square Miles to Glory.

Tim Buckley of the Deseret News reports:

He doesn’t like it, but Deron Williams knows trades come with the territory.

“It stinks that these things happen in the NBA,” Williams said Friday, one day after the Jazz dealt close friend and starting shooting guard Ronnie Brewer to Memphis for a protected 2011 first-round draft choice.

This particular trade, however, left Williams particularly offended — so much so he questioned the team’s thinking and suggested it could influence the length of his future with the franchise.

The All-Star point prefaced Friday’s remarks by saying, “I haven’t really got nothing much good to say about the trade, so …”

Tracy McGrady ready to rock

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

Tracy McGrady ready to rock

“Just stay tuned,” Tracy McGrady said. “This is not the same Tracy from last season, when I was hobbling on one leg. That’s not going to be me. I’m a lot more explosive, a lot more confident in my leg. What I’ve been as far as rehabbing, I feel I can do everything I can do in the past.”

“I’m pretty close to being 100 percent. With surgery, I know Allan Houston had it, a lot of guys who had surgery ended their careers. I’ve worked extremely hard to not allow myself to be one of those players where I can’t prolong my career.”

It has been exactly a year since McGrady’s microfracture right-knee surgery derailed his career.

“Last couple of years, I’ve been injured,” McGrady said. “I recognize that. You got one of the best players in the league that’s going to be a free agent, Bosh, Dwayne, Stoudemire. Those guys are on top right now. I will do what I have to do for two months and I can get my name back in there.”

Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star reports:

T.J. Ford didn’t expect there was a possibility that he would be traded. Brandon Rush said he was “shocked” four times during a 40-second interview.

The two Indiana Pacers were caught off guard when they heard the team was working on a deal to send them to the Charlotte Bobcats for Gerald Henderson, Nazr Mohammed and D.J. Augustin on Thursday.

The deal fell through when the Bobcats pulled out about 10 minutes before the trade deadline.

“I was definitely more shocked than anything,” Rush said. “I didn’t see it coming. Nobody told me anything about being on the trade block. It was more of a shock.”

The AP reports:

Tracy McGrady would take pay cut to play with stars in New York

“I’ve made a lot of money over my career and I could retire right now and I could be fine financially. My kids can be fine when they get older. Money is not an issue for me,” McGrady said.

“So if these guys were to bring in a LeBron, a D-Wade, along with a Chris Bosh or a (Amare) Stoudemire, I’d be a damn fool to not want to stay here. So I’m just telling you right now that I will definitely embrace the opportunity to be here. Money is not an issue.”

McGrady said the Knicks were his preference once Houston decided to try to trade him, adding he would have sought a buyout if he were sent elsewhere. He finally got his wish Thursday in a three-team deal that included Sacramento, saying he was disappointed this season by a lack of communication from Rockets management.

“I didn’t know. I really didn’t know,” McGrady said. “And that’s just the unfortunate situation, that I just like for management to be upfront and honest with me. That’s all I ask, honesty. And if we can’t sit and have a conversation eye to eye and be honest with me, then all the respect and trust goes out the window.”

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