Archive for April, 2010

The AP reports:

Durant 29/19 game helps Thunder beat Lakers

Kevin Durant had 29 points and 19 rebounds, and snapped out of a shooting funk while guarding Bryant to lead the decisive run, lifting the Thunder to a 101-96 victory in Game 3 on Thursday night in the first playoff game in Oklahoma City…

Durant and Russell Westbrook scored 22 of the final 23 for the Thunder, including every point during a 10-2 surge that put Oklahoma City ahead to stay…

Bryant scored 24 points to surpass Jerry West’s franchise record for playoff scoring, and Pau Gasol had 17 points and 15 rebounds for Los Angeles.

But when it came down to crunch time, Bryant couldn’t deliver as he did in scoring 15 fourth-quarter points to seal the Lakers’ 95-92 victory in Game 2. He went 2 for 10 in the final 12 minutes, with Durant stopping between free throws at one point to motion to the bench that he wanted to guard the former MVP…

“That was the loudest I’ve ever heard a crowd get,” said James Harden, a rookie reserve who scored 18 points after going scoreless in Games 1 and 2.

The AP reports:

J-Rich scores 42, Suns beat Blazers 108-89

Jason Richardson made eight 3-pointers and finished with playoff career-high 42 points Thursday night in the Suns’ 108-89 victory over the Trail Blazers, which gave Phoenix a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series…

Richardson hit his first three late in the first half as the Suns built a lead that would extend to 31 points. He made 13-of-19 shots from the floor…

LaMarcus Aldridge led the Blazers with 17 points. Andre Miller, who scored 31 in Portland’s Game 1 win, was off for the second straight game and finished with just 11. And the home team was dismal from the free throw line, making just 16-of-28 attempts.

Amar’e Stoudemire had 20 points for the Suns, while Nash finished with 13 points and 10 assists. Richardson ended up the beneficiary.

Game 3: Bulls upset Cavaliers, 108-106

The AP reports:

LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers can forget about sweeping the Bulls out of the playoffs.

Bulls hang on to beat Cavaliers 108-106

Derrick Rose scored 31 points, Kirk Hinrich added 27 and Chicago hung to beat the top-seeded Cavaliers 108-106 Thursday night in Game 3 of a first-round series after its 21-point lead dwindled to one.

James scored 13 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter but also committed some turnovers down the stretch. Even so, the Cavaliers were within 107-106 after Mo Williams nailed a 3-pointer with 3.8 seconds left. They immediately fouled Luol Deng, who hit the first free throw but missed the second.

Cleveland’s Anthony Parker got the rebound and raced up the right side but missed a 3 at the buzzer, and the Bulls escaped with the win despite some shaky foul shooting late in the game.

InsideHoops.com Reports:

The Bulls shot 50.0%, the Cavs 43.9%. The Cavs launched 35 three-point attempts, hitting 14 (40.0%), while the Bulls hit 5-of-12.  Free throw attempts were fairly close, but the Cavs only hit 64.5% from the charity stripe. Rebounds and assists were close.

For the Bulls, Joakim Noah had 10 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and two blocks.

For the Cavs, aside from LeBron’s 39, Mo Williams had 21 points but little else, and Antawn Jamison had 19 points and 11 rebounds. But Shaq shot just 2-of-8. And the entire Cavs benched combined for just 13 points.

Tom Enlund of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports (via blog):

NBA teams are used to playing games at a much more brisk pace and Skiles thinks whichever team does a better job of adapting to the long break between the second and third games may have a bit of an edge on Saturday.

“I think it’s a factor,” said Skiles when asked about the first round schedule at the team’s practice facility Thursday. “Probably one team will adjust to that better than the other and I would say that team probably deserves the game if they get it because they can adjust to kind of getting out of their rhythm a little bit.”

The Bucks spent four nights and five days in Atlanta for the first two games and while Skiles said that the Bucks considered coming home between games, they decided against it. The Hawks will have a slight travel advantage since they will spend one less night here for the third and fourth games.

Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports (via blog):

Josh Smith says there is nothing to do in Milwaukee

“There’s pretty much nothing to do,” Josh Smith said (about the city of Milwaukee). “Miami has some really good restaurants. I never really did anything in Milwaukee. I would be happy to just find a restaurant. I’m not bashing the city but I’ve never actually did anything in Milwaukee so I really don’t know what is around there.”

By now Hawks PR Man Arthur Triche, seeing where this was headed, had creeped in to try and break up the party. But, Smoove being Smoove (”I don’t care!”) he wasn’t stopping.

Someone picked up on the Noah thread and asked Smith if he’d be taking any vacations in Milwaukee.

“Would you go there?” Smith asked. “Everybody knows there ain’t nothing to do in Milwaukee, man. Everybody knows that, (even) the people that live there.”

The AP reports:

Kenyon Martin skips practice to rest knee

Forward Kenyon Martin missed the Denver Nuggets’ final practice before Friday night’s Game 3 of their first-round matchup with Utah, resting the balky left knee that caused him to miss 18 games late in the season.

Martin was held out of Thursday’s workout as a precaution. The team said his availability for Friday night’s game will be determined at game time.

”The knee feels good but we want to use him for the game,” acting head coach Adrian Dantley said Thursday. ”He’s not practicing today. He’s just resting the knee.”

NBA fines Matt Barnes, Stan Van Gundy

Orlando Magic forward Matt Barnes and head coach Stan Van Gundy have each been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Barnes and Van Gundy have been fined for comments made to the media following Orlando’s 92-77 win over Charlotte on April 21 at Amway Arena.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, “Barnes said: “Hopefully, the refs will start letting Dwight be a little physical and stop calling such tic-tac fouls on him, you know, give him a chance to play.” Barnes also said: “Dwight gets no respect from the refs, from the league as far as not being mentioned as the MVP. It’s crazy to see what they do to him every single play and then he puts his arm up and they call a foul.”

NBA fines Rasheed Wallace

Boston Celtics forward Rasheed Wallace has been fined $35,000 for publicly criticizing game officials, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Wallace was fined for comments made to the media on April 19.

According to the Boston Globe, “Wallace drew two fouls in two minutes in Game 1, and he said he knew officials were trying to bait him into a technical. “At times I know they’re out there baiting me like the other night in Game 1 with those two quick fouls,’’ Wallace said. “I know that certain referees were trying to bait me to get a tech. You could see it coming from a mile away. Like I say, I don’t like to be cheated. I can deal with a loss. I can deal with playing bad. I can deal with getting my [butt] busted. I just don’t like to be cheated. Bottom line.’’

The NCAA today announced a new 14-year television, internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men’s Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 – a first for the 73-year old championship.

Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA’s corporate marketing program.

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.

The new agreement sustains the long-term financial stability of the Association.  As with the current contract, approximately 96 percent of the revenue generated from this new agreement will be used to benefit student-athletes through either programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools. Further, the agreement ensures student-athletes across all three NCAA divisions will continue to be supported in a broad range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and through scholarships in Divisions I and II.

Beginning with the 2011 championship, opening- , first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.  CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semi-final games.  CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four® including the National Championship Game through 2015. Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the National Championship game alternating every year between the CBS Television Network and Turner’s TBS.

CBS Sports has broadcast the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship since 1982. This year’s broadcast of the Championship game earned an average national household rating/share of 14.2/23, up 31% from a 10.8/18 last year, the highest rating in five years.

Under the new rights agreement, NCAA March Madness on Demand®, the Emmy Award-

winning video player that provides live streaming video of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, will continue to be launched from NCAA.com and CBSSports.com.  Turner has also secured the rights for any Time Warner digital property. The player will be operated and developed by Turner and have enhanced digital rights allowing the NCAA to deliver content for multiple Turner and Time Warner platforms.

“This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports,” said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch. “This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools to help student-athletes in 23 sports learn and compete.”

“We’re excited this agreement continues our long-standing relationship with CBS, a partner company that has captured the unique spirit of the collegiate model of athletics, and brings a new partner in Turner Broadcasting to the Championship and NCAA basketball,” added Isch.

“This agreement with our colleagues at Turner and the NCAA secures CBS’s standing as a year-round leader in sports television well into the next decade,” said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports.

“In this agreement, we have created a new strategic partnership that not only makes this prestigious property an ongoing core asset in our stable of major television events, but a profitable one as well.  We look forward to working with our friends at Turner as together we combine our industry-leading media assets to maximize the value of this great NCAA Championship.”

“This is a landmark deal for Turner Broadcasting and we’re extremely pleased to begin a long-term relationship with the NCAA and our partners at CBS and to have a commitment that extends well into the next decade,” said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. “The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament has a rich tradition and is one of the most talked about sporting events every year highlighted by the Final Four and the National Championship Game.”

“We are well-positioned to monetize our investment in NCAA programming across three nationally distributed networks.  With the combined linear and digital assets of these two large media companies we’ll be able to maximize the exposure of the Tournament, as well as provide incomparable access for viewers. ”

Moving forward under the new contract, a committee headed by Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor, will study and recommend prospective revenue distribution formulas to the Division I Board of Directors. Under the current contract, 96 percent of all NCAA revenue is returned to membership either in direct payments or in programs and services. The committee will follow principles of the current formula that ensure access to funds by student-athletes for educational, personal and emergency needs; that favor a broad-based approach to sports sponsorship; that continue to encourage more grants-in-aid rather than less; and that promote enhanced academic support of student-athletes.

Additionally, given the NCAA emphasis on academic reform, the committee will examine the need to strike a balance between Division I men’s basketball championship performance and academic

achievement through either the NCAA’s Academic Progress Rate or Graduation Success Rate metrics or both.

ESPN, the long-standing home for NCAA Championships such as the Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, College World Series, Frozen Four and others, will continue to broadcast a full complement of events over the coming years as well.

“The economic challenges of the day are being felt on campuses across the country. The amount of revenue from this agreement isn’t the focus of this moment, rather it is the long-term security it provides as well as what is done with the money. We put our money where our mission is…supporting student-athletes so they can be successful in the classroom and in life,” said Isch.

Rick Mahorn is bankrupt

Robert Snell of the Detroit News reports:

Former Detroit Pistons “Bad Boy” Rick Mahorn, a member of the 1989 NBA championship team and the franchise’s radio analyst, has filed bankruptcy and lost his $500,000 home, records show.

Mahorn, 51, and his wife filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of failed investments, the plummeting value of their Rochester Hills home, and the burden of repaying more than $200,000 to the IRS, he said. Portions of his paychecks have been seized to satisfy delinquent federal taxes, records show. Along with Derrick Coleman, Mahorn is the second retired Pistons star to file bankruptcy in recent months.

Last week, the trustee overseeing Mahorn’s Chapter 7 filing accused him of failing to account for several assets, including his NBA pension and championship rings: one with the Pistons and two as a coach of the WNBA’s Detroit Shock.

Game 2: Magic handle Bobcats 92-77

The AP reports:

Magic edge Bobcats 92-77, take 2-0 series lead

Vince Carter finished with 19 points, Dwight Howard scored 15 and the Magic took a 2-0 series lead with a 92-77 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night…

Stephen Jackson showed no effects from his hyperextended left knee to score 27 points, and Gerald Wallace had 15 points for the Bobcats. But their 21 turnovers are a big reason why they’re heading home still searching for the franchise’s first playoff win…

The Magic were 24 for 35 on free throws, while the Bobcats were 13 for 18…

Orlando’s biggest offseason acquisition, Carter sliced his way through the lane for several layups late in the third quarter. He anchored a run that put the Magic ahead 75-55 after three quarters with their entire bench standing, waving towels, shouting and smiling as they pulled ahead big.

Game 2: Jefferson hounds Mavs, Spurs win

The AP reports:

Jefferson hounds Mavs, Spurs win

Knowing he was among the guys Spurs coach Gregg Popovich thought “played like dogs” in the opener, Richard Jefferson bounced back by scoring 17 of his 19 points in the first half to help San Antonio beat the Dallas Mavericks 102-88 in Game 2 on Wednesday night. The win ties their first-round series at a game apiece, with the next two games in the Alamo City…

Tim Duncan was San Antonio’s second-half star, scoring 17 of his 25 points then, often just in time to douse Dallas rallies. He also had 17 rebounds…

Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki went from hardly missing in Game 1 to hardly making. The Spurs didn’t even smother him; merely knowing they were creeping his way threw Nowitzki out of whack. He missed six of his first seven shots, and even missed a free throw after having made 88 in a row.

“If they give me those same looks on Friday, I’ll take them,” said Nowitzki, who finished with 24 points, down from 36 in the opener…

Manu Ginobili had 23 points, including a 3-pointer with 1:48 left that he punctuated with a celebratory punch as fans began rushing toward the exits.

Tony Parker, still coming off the bench, had 16 points and eight assists.

Elliot Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News reports:

Lakers coach Phil Jackson wasn’t exactly thrilled by the Lakers’ play.

“I thought our shooting was horrendous,” Jackson said. “Guys had open looks (at the basket). Ron, Derek (Fisher), Lamar (Odom), we’re talking about experienced guys. We have to shoot better when we go to Oklahoma City.”

The Lakers held the Thunder to 29-for-74 shooting (39.2 percent), but made only 33 of 88 shots (37.5 percent). Fisher scored five points on 2-for-10 shooting, Odom had four points on 2-for-9 shooting and Andrew Bynum had six points on 3-for-9 shooting.

Oklahoma City blocked 17 shots, the most by a Lakers playoff opponent. Down the stretch, the teams traded blows like a pair of heavyweights. Neither could land a haymaker. Neither would yield an inch.

Glen Davis shines in Game 2 vs Heat

Dan Shaughnessy of the Boston Globe reports:

Glen Davis shines in Game 2 vs Heat

The Celtics were without Kevin Garnett. KG was sitting out a one-game suspension in the wake of his careless elbow during the mayhem of the final minute of Game 1 against the Heat.

No problem. In the proud tradition of Frank Ramsey, John Havlicek, and Kevin McHale, Glen Davis reminded us that he’s good enough to start every night in the NBA. Baby Grande torched the Heat last night, scoring a bull-rush 23 points with eight rebounds in 29 minutes of a too-easy 106-77 Game 2 victory.

Is there really any need to play any more games in this series? Bring on the Cavaliers, people.

It’s true. Boston’s boys of winter are peaking at the most important time of the year. The Causeway Street barn is our April Garden of Eden and the momentum won’t be stopped just because Garnett is suspended for a night. Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

The AP reports:

Johnson, Smith lead Hawks past Bucks

Joe Johnson took control in the fourth quarter to finish off a 27-point effort, Josh Smith finished one assist shy of a triple-double and the Hawks ran away from the pesky but outmanned Milwaukee Bucks for a 96-86 victory in the Eastern Conference playoffs Tuesday night…

Smith is certainly a player capable of taking control of a series in many ways, as he demonstrated with his 21 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists, not to mention two blocks and two steals…

“He’s one of those players that can control the game without calling plays for him,” said John Salmons, who led the Bucks with 21 points…

Johnson also led the defensive effort against Bucks rookie star Brandon Jennings, who followed up a 34-point performance in Game 1 with just nine points on 3-of-15 shooting.

The AP reports:

Even without Kevin Garnett, the Boston Celtics beat the Miami Heat.

Easily.

Celtics don’t miss Garnett in 106-77 win over Heat

With the good-humored but hard-playing Glen Davis filling in while the Celtics’ emotional leader served a one-game suspension, Boston rolled to a 106-77 victory Tuesday night that Miami coach Erik Spoelstra called “embarrassing.” …

Davis had 23 points and eight rebounds, and Ray Allen heated up in the third quarter and scored 25 points. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 29…

Boston outrebounded Miami 60-37.

The AP reports:

Suns turn up the heat, rout Trail Blazers 119-90

Jason Richardson scored 29 points, Grant Hill made 10-of-11 shots for 20, and the Suns routed the Blazers 119-90 Tuesday night to emphatically tie the first-round playoff series 1-1…

Richardson could concentrate on scoring after being freed from the chore of guarding Andre Miller. Coach Alvin Gentry turned to the 37-year-old Hill, and Miller managed just 12 points on 4-of-11 shooting after getting 31 in Portland’s 105-100 victory in Game 1.

Amare Stoudemire added 18 points for Phoenix. Steve Nash pushed the team from the start and finished with 13 points and 16 assists…

Martell Webster led the Blazers with 16 points. Nicolas Batum also scored 12 before leaving with a right shoulder strain at the end of the third quarter.

The AP reports:

Kobe scores 39, Lakers beat Thunder 95-92

Kobe Bryant scored 39 points, carrying the Lakers in the fourth quarter when they lost the lead three times, and Los Angeles beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 95-92 on Tuesday night to take a 2-0 lead in a Western Conference playoff series.

Bryant was 13 of 15 from the free throw line, but just 12 of 28 from the floor in front of his dad Joe, who sat next to the Lakers’ bench.

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 32 points and Russell Westbrook added 19, making all eight of his free throws.

Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Andrew Bynum had six points and 10 boards for the defending champions, who failed to sustain their strong start for the second straight game.

Trail Blazers sign Marcus Camby to two-year extension

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward/center Marcus Camby to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Kevin Pritchard.

According to Jason Quick of The Oregonian, “Camby on Tuesday afternoon signed a two-year deal that will pay him $21 million guaranteed, with an additional $5 million in incentives.”

Camby posted averages of 7.0 points, 11.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.13 steals, 2.04 blocked shots and 31.2 minutes in 23 games (all starts) with the Trail Blazers this season. He ranked second in the NBA in rebounds (11.8), fifth in blocked shots (1.97) and eighth in steals-to-turnover ratio (1.04) for 2009-10.

“Portland felt right to me since I got here and the support from the team, fans and organization has been incredible,” said Camby. “I’m looking forward to continuing my career as a Trail Blazer and think this team can do something special.”

The 6-11, 235-pound NBA veteran was acquired from the L.A. Clippers on Feb. 16 in exchange for Travis Outlaw, Steve Blake and cash considerations.

“Marcus has been a great fit for us and is a big reason for our success,” said Pritchard. “He’s one of the league’s top defensive players, a consummate professional and we’re thrilled to see him in a Trail Blazers uniform for at least two more seasons.”

Camby, 36, has averaged 10.4 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 2.58 blocked shots in 14 NBA seasons with Toronto, New York, Denver, L.A. Clippers and Portland.

Portland went 17-6 with Camby in the lineup to grab the No. 6 seed in the Western Conference and finish with a 50-32 record.

Deron Williams playoff game was historic

Deron Williams’ 33-point, 14-assist effort in the Jazz’s Game 2 win last night in Denver was historic.

According to Elias Sports Bureau, in the history of the NBA playoffs, only one other player had as many points and as many assists in leading his team to a road victory - and it has been 43 years since that one previous instance!  Back on March 21, 1967, Oscar Robertson had 33 points and 16 assists to lead his Cincinnati Royals to a 120-116 win over Wilt Chamberlain’s 76ers in the opening game of an Eastern Division semifinals series.

It also marked only the third 30-point, 10-assist game in Jazz playoff history, and the first in a winning effort.

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