Archive for May, 2010

Chris Iott of Michigan Live reports:

Q: What kind of a job did coach John Kuester do this year?

Detroit Pistons president of basketball operations Joe Dumars: “I thought he did a good job under the circumstances. A lot of stuff was thrown at him. One thing I will say — and I would be remiss if I didn’t say — not looking for anything in terms of excuses, but we got decimated. We got decimated early with injuries. And I’m not sitting here hiding behind injuries, but I’m not going to sit here and pretend we didn’t get decimated by injuries early and for a long time, for months.

“That played a big part with Kue with his team early on. He had to do makeshift lineups continuously for three, four straight months. Any coach put in that situation, it’s going to be tough. So I thought Kue did a very good job under the circumstances he had to deal with.”

Q: What areas of improvement do you need to see from John Kuester next year?

Dumars: “I just think if Kue can have a healthy team for 82 games, I think he’s going to do a great job for us.”

The AP reports:

Channing Frye broke out of a horrendous shooting slump by making four 3-pointers for 14 points, and the Suns pulled away in the fourth quarter for the second game in a row to beat the Los Angeles Lakers 115-106 on Tuesday night and tie the Western Conference finals at two games apiece…

The Suns reserves, considered an advantage entering the series but largely ineffective through three games, outscored their Laker counterparts 54-20. Leandro Barbosa scored 14 on 6-of-8 shooting and Jared Dudley added 11 points. Goran Dragic ran the show at point and had eight points and eight assists in 18 minutes…

Game 4: With bench power, Suns beat Lakers

Amare Stoudemire led Phoenix with 21 points. Steve Nash, playing with a broken nose, had 15 points and eight assists.

Bryant had 38 points and 10 assists as the reigning NBA champions fought back to lead briefly early in the fourth before the Suns backups stole the show…

After slugging out a 23-23 first quarter, the Suns erupted for a series-high 41-point second quarter, shooting 74 percent (17 for 23), 7 of 10 on 3-pointers to go up 64-55 at the half—and the backups led the way.

2010 NBA Finals schedule

The 2010 NBA Finals schedule is now official.

Of course, we don’t actually know which teams are playing in it. The Celtics currently lead the Magic 3 games to 1, while the Lakers and Suns are tied at 2 games apiece.I think we’ll see a Lakers-Celtics championship round.

But, the actual times and dates of the finals are confirmed.

See the schedule here.

Game 4: Magic beat Celtics in OT

The AP reports:

Put away the brooms. Hold off on those “Beat L.A!” chants. The Boston Celtics still have some work to do before they can play for their second NBA title in three years.

Magic beat Celtics in OT

Dwight Howard had 32 points and 16 rebounds, and Jameer Nelson made back-to-back 3-pointers in overtime to lead the Orlando Magic to a 96-92 victory over Boston on Monday night to avoid a four-game sweep in the Eastern Conference finals…

Paul Pierce had 32 points and 11 rebounds, and Kevin Garnett had 14 points and 12 boards for Boston. Ray Allen hit consecutive 3-pointers in overtime, but Pierce missed two tries in the final minute as the Celtics failed to complete the sweep…

Nelson finished with 23 points and nine assists for the defending Eastern Conference champions, who led by 10 in the second quarter and were up 85-78 with 2:24 left in regulation before Boston scored eight of the next nine points to force overtime at 86-all.

The Boston Globe reports:

Doc Rivers: “We didn’t execute it at all, I can tell you that. It was supposed to be Paul at the top with a pick‑and‑roll with Ray [Allen], and then the floor was supposed to be flat and spaced. When you look at it, half our team was standing next to Paul. The execution was so bad ‑‑ I thought we executed poorly throughout the game. We didn’t make the next rotations, we didn’t make the next pass. It was amazing how bad we were execution‑wise and still had a chance to win that game. That was amazing to me.”

Dwight Howard: “We didn’t win this game just to win a game to say we were in this series. You know, we want to make this a series and win this series. We all have to believe that. I told the guys before the game put out all disbelief, anxiety and fear. We just got to keep playing. We can’t think about losing or think about being swept. We have to think about winning and staying together.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports:

Orlando did build a 10-point lead, its largest of the series, midway in the second period. Howard, using his quickness to elude Kendrick Perkins, keyed the run with two baskets, but the Celtics quickly recovered, Pierce answering with two buckets and Garnett with another.

But the Magic didn’t allow the Celtics to gain momentum, and led 51-47 at halftime.

DeShawn Stevenson staying with Mavericks

Kate Hairopoulos of the Dallas Morning News reports (via blog):

DeShawn Stevenson staying with Mavericks

Guard DeShawn Stevenson will return to the Mavericks next season after exercising his player option to do so last week, his agent Mark Bartelstein said Monday.

Bartelstein said it was the right move for Stevenson after considering the free agent market this summer and after playing limited minutes for Dallas last season.

Steve Nash has broken nose, will keep playing

Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash this morning was seen by Suns general otolaryngology doctor (ear, nose and throat), Dr. Ryan Rehl.  Nash was diagnosed with a minimally displaced nasal fracture with displaced cartilage.  He will undergo a minor reduction, putting the nose back in place, later today.

Nash will practice with the team today and will not miss any time.

Nash suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of the Suns’ win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals Sunday at US Airways Center.

Tickets for the Phoenix Suns’ next home game of the 2010 Western Conference Finals on Tue., May 25, have sold out.

In the least shocking blog entry I’ve posted in a long time, Boston is currently flooded with Celtics green. Walk any busy section of the city and every 10 or 20 seconds, someone passing by has Celtics gear on, or at least some green.

The Celtics tonight have a chance to do what no one expected and sweep the Orlando Magic. Coming into the series, most of the NBA world was still surprised how Boston managed to handle the Cleveland Cavaliers.

I still think LeBron James’ elbow was a huge factor, even if many others refuse to factor it in. He was using his off-hand far more than usual, especially as the series progressed, and I doubt it was for the fun of it. Still, credit Boston for the series win.

And now, the Celtics are playing on a truly championship level, more or less on par with their title-winning 2008 team. And the Magic are getting wrecked.

Will the real Orlando team show up tonight for Game 4? I think we’ll see more fight than they’ve displayed in the first three games, but that isn’t saying much.

While it’s possible the Magic win tonight, there’s simply no reason to expect it.

A.J. Price injures knee in charity game

Indiana Pacers guard A.J. Price injured his left knee in a charity basketball game Saturday night in New York.

The extent of the injury has not been determined and Price will be examined by Pacers team doctors Monday afternoon in Indianapolis.

The Pacers finished the 2009-10 regular season with a 32-50 record, which was 10th best in the Eastern conference.

For the season, Price played 15.4 minutes per game, averaging 7.3 points and 1.9 assists.

Marla Ridenour of the Akron Beacon Journal reports:

Mike Brown’s firing Monday after compiling a record of 272-138 and leading the Cavs to the league’s best regular-season record each of the past two seasons left many wondering what simmered underneath the surface between James and Brown.

It left me wondering how Brown would answer that ”Isn’t it tough to coach a superstar?” question today.

Before the playoffs, the only public rift this season appeared to come after Brown did not use Zydrunas Ilgauskas on Nov. 28 when the center could have set the team’s franchise record with 724 games played. James spoke out in the aftermath. It had to sting the ever-loyal James that Ilgauskas invited friends and family to Quicken Loans Arena for the occasion that Brown apparently forgot to celebrate.

But Brown helped James elevate his game. Buying into Brown’s defense-first mantra, James was selected to the NBA’s all-defensive first team the past two seasons. Brown convinced James that a chase-down block was just as awe-inspiring as a monster slam.

But many — including President Barack Obama — questioned how much James respected Brown. The coach was tuned out by the media because of his lack of meaty sound bites. Was that the case for the players, too?

Cavaliers fire coach Mike Brown

Cavaliers fire coach Mike Brown

The Cleveland Cavaliers have announced that Mike Brown has been relieved of his duties as head coach, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

“I have truly enjoyed working with Mike Brown.  Mike has played a huge role in turning around the Cavs organization,” Ferry said. “Over the past five years, Mike established a work ethic, defensive identity and culture of winning that was not here previously.”

Brown was hired as the 17th coach in franchise history on June 2, 2005. In five seasons with the Cavs, he compiled a record of 272-138 (.663).  Brown was named the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year by members of the media.

“Mike Brown is a class act. On behalf of the entire Cavaliers organization, there is only gratitude and appreciation for Mike’s accomplishments over the past five years,” stated Cavaliers Majority Owner Dan Gilbert. “I think it is clear that Mike Brown has been instrumental in contributing to the growth and progress we have experienced in recent years. We wish Mike and his family the best of luck in any future challenges that Mike chooses to accept going forward.”

“After a long and deep analysis of all of the factors that led to the disappointing early ends to our playoff runs over the past two seasons, we concluded that it was time for the Cavaliers to move in a different direction,” Gilbert added. “The expectations of this organization are very high and, although change always carries an element of risk, there are times when that risk must be taken in an attempt to break through to new, higher levels of accomplishment. This is one of those times.”

Brown compiled a postseason record with the Cavs of 42-29 (.592). He led the team to at least the second round of the postseason in each of his five seasons, including Cleveland’s first trip to the NBA Finals in 2007.

The AP reports:

Stoudemire scores 42, Suns beat Lakers

Amar’e Stoudemire matched his career playoff high with 42 points, 29 in the second half, and grabbed 11 rebounds to power the Phoenix Suns to a 118-109 victory Sunday night that cut the Los Angeles Lakers’ lead in the series to 2-1…

Robin Lopez, whose 7-foot presence gave the Suns some much-needed toughness inside, scored 20 on 8-of-10 shooting in 31 minutes, by far his most playing time since returning from a back injury at the start of the series. Phoenix made 37-of-42 free throws, 14 of 18 by Stoudemire. The Lakers were 16 of 20 at the line…

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

The Lakers’ primary area of dominance — the paint — was muted by Phoenix’s zone. The points in the paint were 44 for the Lakers and 40 for the Suns. The Lakers took 32 3-point shots — a franchise playoff record — and made just nine (28 percent).

The Lakers tied the franchise playoff record by taking 31 3-point shots in their April 22 loss at Oklahoma City. They made 10 3-pointers that game (32 percent). The Lakers are 0-3 in the three playoff games in which they took 31 3-point shots, and now they’ve lost shooting 32 also.

Also hurting the Lakers’ cause inside was early foul trouble first for Andrew Bynum and then for Lamar Odom. Neither one wound up sustaining an effort, with Odom fouling out after making a series of poor decisions in the fourth quarter. He appeared bothered by a sore right side after driving into traffic in the first half and not getting a foul call.

InsideHoops.com notes:

Both teams shot a similar field goal percentage, and both were off from three-point range, though the Lakers tossed up way more from outside.  The shooting stat that matters most is the free throw category: Suns 37-of-42, Lakers 16-of-20. Isn’t homecourt fun sometimes? Also, the Lakers committed 17 turnovers; the Suns just seven.

Steve Nash had 17 points and 15 assists. He brought it.

Ron Artest and Lamar Odom tossed up bricks, including lots of bad misses from three-point range.

Obama thinks LeBron fits with Bulls

The AP reports:

If LeBron James  isn’t sure he can win in Cleveland, President Barack Obama thinks there’s an opportunity with his hometown Chicago Bulls.

“You know, like I said, I don’t want to meddle,” Obama told TNT. “I will say this: (Derrick) Rose, Joakim Noah it’s a pretty good core. You know, you could see LeBron fitting in pretty well there.” …

“I think that the most important thing for LeBron right now is actually to find a structure where he’s got a coach that he respects and is working hard with teammates who care about him and if that’s in Cleveland, then he should stay in Cleveland,” Obama said. “If he doesn’t feel like he can get it there, then someplace else.”

Magic are all shook up

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports:

Coach Stan Van Gundy said players “were down” on Sunday when they started reviewing Game 3 videotape, conceding they are “a little shaken.

“It didn’t start great in the film session. Guys were down, but as it went along, they were fine,” he said. “Our guys haven’t been in this situation in a long time … to be beaten like that. We took a lot of losses in the playoffs last year. But other than Game 1 in L.A. (against the Lakers in the NBA Finals), we hadn’t been beaten like this.

“They don’t have a lot of experience with this. Our guys are a little shaken.”

The Magic unraveled in the first quarter when shots didn’t drop. Turnovers mounted and players decided to go one-on-one instead of patiently making the extra pass. The mass frustration spilled over to the defensive end.

Game 3: Celtics dominate Magic yet again

The AP reports:

Paul Pierce helped the Celtics open a 16-point, first-quarter lead, then watched as Rajon Rondo and Glen “Big Baby” Davis helped Boston coast to a 94-71 victory over the Orlando Magic and take a 3-0 lead in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals…

Pierce had 15 points and nine rebounds, Ray Allen scored 14 and Garnett added 10 points in just 24 minutes. But this time it wasn’t the Celtics’ aging all-stars that did the damage—it was the two youngest players on the roster, Davis and Rondo, who were born in 1986, the year that Larry Bird and the original Big Three won the last of their three NBA titles.

Davis scored 17 points, and Rondo added 11 points and 12 assists, and they also gave the team energy and defense that the Magic couldn’t match, diving to the floor for loose balls and getting the crowd going with spectacular plays…

One game after scoring 30 points, Dwight Howard had just seven and seven rebounds. Rashard Lewis was also disappointing, scoring four points on 2-for-8 shooting, missing all four 3-point attempts. Vince Carter and Jameer Nelson had 15 points apiece…

Pierce had eight points and five rebounds in the first quarter, when the Celtics scored the first seven points and then added a 14-0 run to open a 21-6 lead.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $100,000 for public comments made in violation of the NBA’s anti-tampering rules, it was announced today by Joel Litvin, NBA President of League and Basketball Operations.  Cuban’s comments were made during an online interview that ran on May 18.

Phoenix Suns President of Basketball Operations Steve Kerr has been fined $10,000, also for public comments made in violation of the anti-tampering rules.  Kerr’s comments were made on a radio show on May 14.

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

The Lakers’ minor league affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, will take a one-year hiatus and will no longer use Staples Center as its home base, The Times has learned.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss will retain ownership of the D-Fenders, who are expected to reemerge at a different Southern California venue for the 2011-12 season.

Buss bought the team in July 2006 to try to create a legitimate feeder team for the Lakers, but the D-Fenders generated no revenue from ticket sales because the only people allowed to attend their home games were those who bought tickets to Lakers home games.

D-Fenders games at Staples Center typically started four hours before a Lakers game, often in front of crowds of fewer than 100 people, though Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak often was among the spectators.

Lisa Dillman of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Ron Artest cannot explain shooting improvement

Ron Artest managed to hit three three-point attempts in Game 2 and was six for nine from the field in scoring 18 points, a slight uptick from his Game 1 performance of 14 points.

There is, apparently, no explanation for his enhanced shooting.

“I’m not sure. I have no clue. I really don’t. I really don’t,” Artest said. “. . . All I do is shoot it. . . . I don’t know what it’s doing.”

More shooting practice in the gym?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I shoot a lot every day. When I was going 0 for 10 or whenever that was, I was in here shooting.”

Back to his comfort level with the triangle offense: Artest managed to get off a good line about his teammates.

“There are still guys that don’t know the triangle and they’ve been here longer than me,” he said, looking amused.

Wife gives Channing Frye pep talk

The Arizona Republic reports:

Wife gives Channing Frye pep talk

The pep talk came on the flight back from Los Angeles, and it set Channing Frye straight.

“I got an earful on the plane from my wife, man, but it was all positive,” the Suns’ center said Friday. “She’s like, ‘Just think about how far you’ve come and have some fun. . . . This is not you. This is not who you are. You’re supposed to be this and that. You’re showing everybody else wrong. Imagine if our kid was here now. How would you want him to act?’ “

That made Frye, whose wife is expecting their first child in October, realize he’s making mountains out of molehills. Through two games of the Western Conference finals, this has not been his series. A consistent long-rang shooter throughout the regular season, Frye has made just 1 of 13 against the Lakers. He played only 8 minutes, 39 seconds in Game 2, a season low.

Wife of Yao Ming gives birth to girl

Reuters reports:

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and his wife Ye Li, a former basketball player with the Chinese national team, celebrated the birth of their first child on Friday.

“We are happy to announce the arrival of our daughter,” seven-times NBA All-Star Yao, China’s most popular sportsman, said in a statement. “This is a very special moment in our lives. We thank everyone for their support.”

Marc Spears of Yahoo reports:

Houston Rockets center Yao Ming and his wife, Ye Li, are now the parents of a baby girl born in Houston on Friday. The baby, whose name was not released, weighs seven pounds and nine ounces.

Both Ye Li and the baby are in good health. The girl is the couple’s first child.

Silver Stars sign Chamique Holdsclaw

The San Antonio Silver Stars today announced the signing of veteran forward Chamique Holdsclaw. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not disclosed.

In order to make room on the 11-woman roster for Holdsclaw, the Silver Stars waived guard Belinda Snell.

Holdsclaw signed with the Dream in April 2009 after the team acquired her rights from the Los Angeles Sparks. The 10-year WNBA veteran requested a trade from the Atlanta Dream prior to the start of 2010 training camp and did not report to the team; she was released from Atlanta on May 19, 2010.

“We are thrilled to have Chamique join the Silver Stars family,” said Silver Stars General Manager Dan Hughes. “Chamique and our staff felt it was such a great fit. We are excited to get to work with Chamique in a Silver Stars uniform.”

Holdsclaw originally was selected first overall by the Washington Mystics in the 1999 WNBA Draft. In her 10 seasons in the WNBA, Holdsclaw has tallied career averages of 17.3 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 1.3 steals per game.

The 6-foot-2 forward was recognized as the 1999 WNBA Rookie of the Year in addition to being named a starter in the league’s inaugural All-Star Game. She spent six seasons in Washington and earned four All-Star Game selections (1999-2002) during her time with the Mystics. Her most productive season came in 2003 as she averaged a career-high 20.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game.

Prior to the start of the 2005 season, Holdsclaw was traded to the Los Angeles Sparks in exchange for DeLisha Milton-Jones and the 13th overall pick in the 2005 WNBA Draft. Holdsclaw’s tally of 17.0 points per game in 2005 ranked her third in the league. She was voted into the WNBA All-Star game for the sixth time in her career and reached two career milestones: 6,000 minutes and 3,000 career points. In 2006, Holdsclaw was named a WNBA All-Decade Honorable.

After playing in five games with the Sparks in 2007, Holdsclaw announced her retirement from the league but continued to play overseas for TS Wisla Can-Pak Krakow (Poland).

On Dec. 17, 2008, the Dream acquired the rights to Holdsclaw from the Sparks in exchange for the no. 13 pick in the 2009 WNBA Draft. She tallied averages of 13.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game with the Dream last season before missing the last nine games of regular season play and Atlanta’s first playoffs appearance after undergoing successful arthroscopic knee surgery.

Prior to being drafted into the WNBA, Holdsclaw completed an illustrious collegiate career at Tennessee that included being named a four-time Kodak All-American. She collected 3,025 career points and 1,295 career rebounds which made her the all-time leading scorer and rebounder in Tennessee history among both men and women. Additionally, her points and rebounds tallies ranked her first all-time in SEC women’s history and also first in the history of the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. She won the Naismith Player of the Year trophy twice (1998, 1999) and was named the Naismith Player of the Century for the 1990s as she helped lead the Lady Vols to a 134-17 record during her time at Tennessee.

Snell has tallied career averages of 4.2 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game in 112 games played. She signed with the Silver Stars as a free agent on March 30, 2009 and recorded a career-high 6.2 points per game and a career-high 2.3 rebounds per game in her first season in San Antonio. Snell re-signed with San Antonio on April 28, 2010, after reaching the FIBA Euroleague Women finals and winning the F.E.B. title with Ros Casares (Valencia, Spain).

“Belinda was a wonderful member of the Silver Stars and we want to thank her and wish her the best in the future,” said Hughes.

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