Archive for April 19th, 2010

Robin Lopez out at least another week

Raul Lopez out at least another week

Phoenix Suns center Robin Lopez was seen today by specialist Dr. Christopher Huston of The Orthopedic Clinic Association (TOCA) in Phoenix.  Lopez, who has not played since March 26 due to an injured back, is progressing well.  He will begin light, de-weighted jogging and more light court work, including easy jumping.  Lopez will be re-evaluated in one week.

The second-year player was the Suns’ first-round pick (15th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft.  The 7-0, 255-pound center blossomed after being inserted into the Suns’ starting lineup on Jan. 18, helping to lead the Suns to a 22-9 (.710) record in his starts.  Lopez averaged 11.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 24.5 minutes as a starter in 2009-10.

For the season, the Stanford product posted career highs in points (8.4), rebounds (4.9), blocks (1.04) and minutes (19.3).  His 58.8-percent field-goal accuracy (171/291) would have ranked third in the NBA if he had reached the statistical minimum needed to qualify (min. 300 field goals made).

Containing Melo will be hard for Jazz

Jody Genessy of the Deseret News reports:

With Andrei Kirilenko and his strained calf out, the enormous challenge of containing the explosiveness of one of the NBA’s elite scorers will still mostly fall on the shoulders of 23-year-olds C.J. Miles and Wesley Matthews.

Containing Melo will be hard for Jazz

Carmelo Anthony, flashing his trademark wide smile, recently told ESPN what he’d do if he were in a situation similar to the young Jazz players’.

“If I had to guard me,” Melo said, “I would take the night off.”

Even though the confident-for-good-reason Anthony had a huge Game 1 at their expense, Miles and Matthews don’t plan on taking that easy way out.

“I got a rude awakening, a huge wake-up call in that regard, Carmelo, and just playing the Denver Nuggets on the road,” a more seasoned-feeling Matthews said.

“But I’m excited for (tonight). I’m more excited for (tonight) than I was Saturday.”

John Jackson of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Rose wants Bulls to get physical with Cavs

”We’ve got to go out there and be totally opposite of what we did last game,” point guard Derrick Rose said. ”I didn’t think we were aggressive on the defensive end. We talked about it, and we have to have some type of swagger or nastiness about ourselves.

”[Tonight] I think it’s gonna be totally different. I think now that we got our feet wet a little bit, I think some of the guys will be a little more comfortable in the game and we’ll get a groove to our game. We have to just start hitting people. No ‘[basket]-and-ones’ or anything like that. We have to start hitting people.”

Rose isn’t talking about becoming the modern-day Detroit Pistons Bad Boys or playing dirty. He’s simply pointing out that the Bulls were too passive and need to do a better job of matching the Cavs’ physicality.

Jerryd Bayless shines for Blazers

Joe Freeman of The Oregonian reports (via blog):

Jerryd Bayless shines for Blazers

With 20 family members and friends watching from the US Airways Center stands, Jerryd Bayless produced one of the most important and impressive performances of his young career.

The Blazers stole home court advantage — and momentum — from the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night with a 105-100 victory at US Airways Center, and a significant part of the stunning win came courtesy of the resurgent Bayless, who helped Rip City make up for the absence of All-Star Brandon Roy.

Bayless finished with 18 points and four assists off the bench, flashing the aggressive, attacking style that allowed him to break out earlier this season. Most importantly, Bayless, who made 6 of 10 field goals, played all but three seconds of the pivotal fourth quarter, as Rudy Fernandez watched from the bench.

Spurs try Hack-a-Damp

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News reports:

Spurs try Hack-a-Damp

Unable to stop Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with 36 points on 12-for-14 shooting, the Spurs intentionally fouled Mavericks’ center Erick Dampier on three straight possessions. Popovich has been a frequent employer of the tactic in previous playoff series, most notably against center Shaquille O’Neal, when he played for the Lakers and Suns.

Dampier made four-of-six free throws, finishing off by making both on the third intentional foul.

The Mavericks weren’t surprised by the ploy.

Artest locks Durant down in Game 1

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports:

Artest locks Durant down in Game 1

Ron Artest fancies gimmicks as well but on Sunday in the Lakers’ 87-79 Game 1 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder, Artest’s defense and not his hair was the difference. He was, if you will, Goldie Lock-down defender.

He made life absolutely miserable for Kevin Durant, who became the NBA’s youngest scoring champion by averaging 30.2 points this season. Durant’s playoff initiation is something the lean and long 21-year-old will never forget. Durant scored 24 points on 24 shots. He made just seven shots, fired up a couple of air balls and never found a rhythm.

“I was frustrated,” said Durant, who made 9 of 11 from the foul line. “I was missing shots I normally make. They felt good leaving my hand. If I made 4-5 more shots, maybe it’s a different game.”

The AP reports:

Game 1: Miller scores 31, Blazers upset Suns 105-100

Andre Miller scored 15 points in the fourth quarter and tied his career playoff high with 31 points as the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers stole homecourt advantage from Phoenix with a 105-100 victory over the Suns on Sunday night.

Methodical Portland was a tough matchup for the Suns all season and it was no different in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series, despite the absence of the Blazers’ scoring leader, Brandon Roy.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 22 points and Nicolas Batum 18 for Portland. Jerryd Bayless also had 18 for the Blazers, 10 in the fourth quarter, but missed two free throws with 12.2 seconds left to give Phoenix a shot to tie. Steve Nash’s 3-point try was well short, though, and Miller’s two free throws iced the victory.

Marcus Camby grabbed 17 rebounds for Portland, two shy off his career playoff best. Adds:

For the Suns, Steve Nash had 25 points and nine assists. Amar’e Stoudemire had 18 (but on 19 shots) with eight rebounds. But Jason Richardson (4-of-12) and Grant Hill (2-of-9) struggled, and the Suns got very little from centers Jarron Collins and Channing Frye.

Portland got to the foul line 31 times, Phoenix just 16.

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