Archive for May, 2010

76ers hire Doug Collins as head coach

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski announced today that Doug Collins has been named head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

sixers hire doug collins

“We are excited to hire a head coach with the level of experience, knowledge and passion for the game that Doug Collins has,” said Stefanski. “He has been around basketball his entire life, has experienced success at every step throughout his career and we are confident in his ability to lead our team.”

“Doug Collins is a terrific motivator, teacher, and manager,” said Comcast-Spectacor President Peter Luukko. “We believe he is the right coach for the Philadelphia 76ers and the one who will lead us back onto the right track.”

“The past week has provided us with a series of events that we believe will be a turning point for the Philadelphia 76ers,” said Comcast-Spectacor Chairman Ed Snider. “Doug Collins is a coach that can make an immediate impact. He has all the attributes that we are looking for in a new head coach and we are happy to welcome him back into the Sixers family.”

Since his last coaching stint with the Washington Wizards in 2002-03, the 58-year-old Collins has served as an analyst for the NBA on TNT. In eight seasons of coaching, Collins compiled a regular season record of 332-287 (.536) and reached the playoffs five times, highlighted by a trip to the Eastern Conference Finals with Chicago in 1989.

Following a standout career at Illinois State, Collins was selected by the Sixers with the first overall pick in the 1973 NBA Draft. He spent all eight of his seasons with Philadelphia, averaging 17.9 points, 3.3 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.25 steals in 415 games played while shooting 50.1% from the floor and 83.3% from the line. For his career, the four-time All-Star had more steals (518) than turnovers (485).

By Collins’ fourth season with the team in 1976-77, Philadelphia advanced to the NBA Finals. During that postseason, Collins averaged 22.4 points per game, second only on the team to Julius Erving’s 27.3 ppg.

After injuries forced him to retire during the 1980-81 season, Collins took an assistant coaching job at The University of Pennsylvania under Bob Weinhauer and followed Weinhauer to Arizona State. Collins’ NBA coaching career began when he was named head coach of the Chicago Bulls on May 23, 1986.

Collins took the Bulls to the playoffs in his first season and guided them to 50 wins in 1987-88, marking the franchise’s first 50-win season since 1973-74. In his third and final season with the Bulls in 1988-89, Chicago advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals.

In his first season as head coach of the Pistons in 1995-96, Collins inherited a Detroit team that had won 28 games the previous season and engineered an 18-game improvement along with a playoff appearance. Detroit gave up just 92.9 points per game in 1995-96, nearly 13 points fewer than it allowed the season before Collins arrived.

Detroit won 54 games the following season (1996-97) with Collins at the helm, which is tied for the fifth-highest win total for a single season in franchise history. In the first three and a half seasons following Collins’ departure, the team had a winning percentage of .474.

Collins last coaching stint came with Washington during the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons where he was reunited with Michael Jordan, who Collins coached during his time with the Bulls. In 2001-02, Collins once again improved his team’s win total by 18 games from the previous season. The Wizards posted a winning percentage of .451 in two years under Collins after having a winning percentage of .308 the three seasons prior. The season after he left, Washington won just 25 games.

In addition to Jordan, Collins helped with the development of several other future All-Stars who were in the early stages of their careers, including Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Grant Hill, Theo Ratliff and Allan Houston, as well as Lindsey Hunter and Richard Hamilton.

Collins has been just as successful in broadcasting as he was as a player and coach. He is widely regarded as one of the best analysts in basketball, as evidenced by his induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Media Wing in September, 2009. Additionally, he has earned four Emmy® Award nominations and two Cable ACE Awards during his time with NBC and TNT.

Collins and his wife, Kathy, have two children. Their son Chris is an associate head coach at Duke University and their daughter Kelly lives in the Philadelphia area.

Earlier this week, the Sixers were awarded the second overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, which will be held on Thursday, June 24 at The WaMu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City, beginning at 7 p.m.

NBA referee Joe DeRosa suspended

NBA referee Joe DeRosa has been suspended without pay for one game for throwing a ball to a fan at halftime of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals on May 18.

The suspension was announced today by Ron Johnson, NBA Senior Vice President, Referee Operations.

DeRosa will miss the next game he would have been scheduled to work.

The fan was not ejected from the arena as was reported previously.

Magic not in panic mode, yet

Tania Ganguli of the Orlando Sentinel reports (via blog):

Stan Van Gundy said he didn’t implement any drastic changes to the game plan today. He does not plan to change his starters, either.

“We are not in panic mode,” Van Gundy said.

But they did insert a few new plays to help Rashard Lewis’s offensive game, and worked on improving ball movement, shot selection and offensive and defensive transition games.

During today’s practice, the team was intensely focused, having moved past the disappointment of Tuesday’s loss and looked forward to Saturday’s Game 3 in Boston.

Ben Wallace unsure of future

Terry Foster of the Detroit News reports:

ben wallace

Ben Wallace admitted Wednesday he’s unsure if he’ll retire, or if he does return to the NBA, stay with the Pistons.

“Everybody has supported me, and for the rest of my life I am going to be remembered for what I did here,” he said. “I feel a part of the community of Detroit. This is always going to have a special place in my heart.”

The factor in his decision: his 35-year-old body. Wallace, who is working out almost daily at home in Virginia, said he must listen to his body.

“When I am healthy, I can play this game at a high level night in and night out,” he said. “But sometimes, those knick-knack injuries take so much out of you mentally. Physically, I can handle anything but mentally when you have those injuries, it takes away from your game.”

The AP reports:

pau gasol

Pau Gasol scored 14 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter, Kobe Bryant had 21 points and 13 assists, and the Lakers roared away in the final minutes for a 124-112 victory Wednesday night to claim a series lead that seems much more daunting than 2-0…

Bryant’s streak of six straight 30-point games ended, yet he capped his night as a creator by setting up Gasol for two tough baskets in the final minutes, with Gasol scoring with a flourish and drawing a foul each time…

Ron Artest scored 18 points for the Lakers, who won their eighth straight playoff game and moved within striking distance of a tantalizing NBA finals showdown with the Boston Celtics, who lead Orlando 2-0 in the East…

“It’s really tough because we have so many guys on this team that can hurt you offensively,” said Lamar Odom, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds…

“We still scored enough points tonight, but when they can score 120-something, that’s asking the offense to score too much,” said Phoenix’s Steve Nash, who had 11 points and 15 assists…

Grant Hill scored 14 of his 23 points in the third quarter while Phoenix erased a 14-point deficit, playing with more efficiency and aggression than in Game 1.

Jason Richardson scored 27 points for Phoenix, and Jared Dudley hit five 3-pointers.

Dwane Casey in demand

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports:

dwane casey in demand

Assistant coach Dwane Casey is with the Mavericks’ management crew in Chicago and will meet with Atlanta Hawks officials about their coaching vacancy.

Casey is on the list of virtually every team looking for a coach, but several of those teams don’t seem to be in a hurry to make a hire.

New Orleans has interviewed Casey and Philadelphia, also with an opening, interviewed Casey last year. The Clippers have not yet asked for permission to interview Casey, but the Mavericks have been told there is interest.

Nelson said the Mavericks are bracing for the possibility Casey could be moving.

“We love Dwane and we’d hate to lose him,” Nelson said. “But he’s popular for a reason right now.”

Karen Zraick of the New York Times reports:

wilson chandler charged

Wilson Chandler of the Knicks was charged with criminal possession of marijuana during a traffic stop in Queens on Tuesday night, according to law enforcement officials.

Chandler, 23, a guard and forward, was behind the wheel of a white 2010 Mercedes-Benz when the police, on routine patrol, pulled him over for driving without his headlights on at the corner of 213th Street and 94th Avenue at 11:17 p.m.

During the stop, police officers from the 105th Precinct detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle, according to Paul J. Browne, the police department’s chief spokesman.

The AP reports:

New Jersey Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov says general manager Kiki Vandeweghe will be let go when his contract expires this summer.

”I wish him well,” says Prokhorov.

NBA owners approved the sale of the Nets to the Russian billionaire last week.

Prokhorov says Wednesday he does plan to retain team president Rod Thorn.

Jonathan Abrams of the New York Times reports:

Paul Pierce spent a majority of Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals scoring or sprawling on the floor.

paul pierce

Whether the fouls he drew were phantom or flagrant, Pierce collected plenty of them, emptying his bag of tricks in Boston’s 95-92 victory Tuesday over the Orlando Magic, staking the Celtics to a 2-0 lead in the series.

Before the game, the Celtics uniformly chanted, “Let’s be greedy,” as they jogged onto the Amway Arena court. They were. The Celtics can claim their 21st conference title and a ticket to the N.B.A. finals by winning the next two games in Boston.

“These games are meaningful and guys are happy that we’re winning, but we know what our ultimate goal is and we don’t want to get complacent,” Pierce said.

Pierce scored 28 points, toying with Vince Carter and J. J. Redick, and made 9 of 11 foul shots, including two with 34.7 seconds left that stretched Boston’s lead to 95-92. Pierce fouled out on the next possession, and Carter, who promised after his trade to Orlando that he would take the clutch shots, missed both free throws.

The Sports Network reports:

Pierce fouled out with 31.9 seconds left and Boston clinging to a 95-92 lead, then watched from the bench as Vince Carter missed two free throws. After a Kevin Garnett miss, the Magic had one last chance, which ended in Jameer Nelson’s off-balance 30-foot heave that drew air just short of the rim.

Rajon Rondo added 25 points with eight assists and five boards while Garnett and Kendrick Perkins donated 10 points apiece for Boston, which gets to rest until Saturday’s Game 3 with a 2-0 series edge.

Dwight Howard, in a far better effort than his 13-point showing on Sunday, scored a game-best 30 points with eight rebounds, while Carter and JJ Redick added 16 points apiece for Orlando.

Gary Dzen of the Boston Globe reports (via blog):

The Celtics led by eight points at the end of the third quarter, and Rasheed Wallace threatened to put the game out of reach when he started the fourth with a three-pointer to put the Celtics up 81-70. But as they had done all game the Magic answered, cutting the lead to 85-83 at the 6:57 mark in the fourth. Vince Carter put them ahead 90-89 with a jumper with 3:36 remaining. A turnaround jumper by Kevin Garnett was the game’s only scoring until Rajon Rondo’s jumper with 1:33 left put the Celtics up 93-90.

The teams traded a Jameer Nelson layup and Pierce free throws and the Celtics clung to a 95-92 lead with 34.7 seconds left. On the next possession, Vince Carter drew the sixth foul on Pierce, but Carter missed both free throws, giving the Celtics the ball back with a three-point lead. Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy elected not to foul, and despite a miss by Garnett, the Magic got the ball back with only 3.5 seconds remaining after J.J. Redick delayed in calling a timeout.

The National Basketball Association announced tonight that the Washington Wizards received the first overall pick in the 2010 Draft during tonight’s Draft Lottery in Secaucus, NJ.

“This is a great night for our franchise and particularly for our fans,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “They have shown great support and passion during what has been a difficult stretch over the last two seasons, but they can celebrate tonight knowing that we’ve taken a big step towards building the team that they deserve.”

The Wizards, who had a 10.3% chance of landing the first pick in tonight’s Draft Lottery, have held the number one overall pick twice before in franchise history. They chose Walt Bellamy number one in 1961 and Kwame Brown with the top pick in 2001.

In addition to the number one pick, the Wizards own Cleveland’s first round selection (30th overall) as a result of a three-team deal on Feb. 17 and hold their own second round pick (35th overall).

Washington is totally rebuilding, and chances are they’ll go make John Wall the first overall selection.

The Philadelphia 76ers are likely to take Evan Turner second, playing him alongside Andre Iguodala.

At third, the Nets will probably go for a power forward. There are several good candidates worthy of going that high up.

Complete 2010 NBA Draft Lottery results are here.

Cavaliers exercise Leon Powe option

leon_powe

The Cleveland Cavaliers have exercised the team option on forward Leon Powe, Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not announced.

In returning from a knee-injury that kept him out of action for the first half of the 2009-10 season, Powe returned to the court and played in 20 games (two starts), averaging 4.0 points on .429 shooting and 3.1 rebounds in 11.8 minutes per game. In 209 career games (16 starts), Powe has averaged 6.3 points on .517 shooting and 4.1 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game.

“Leon has worked hard to rehab and get himself back on the court this past season. Now he has a full summer to continue working, play more basketball and come back to start next season better than ever,” said Cavaliers General Manager Danny Ferry.

The 6-foot-8 forward was selected by the Denver Nuggets with the 49th overall draft pick in the 2006 NBA Draft and traded for by Boston on draft night. He signed with the Cavaliers as a free agent on August 12, 2009. In 2005-06, Powe led the PAC-10 in scoring (20.5 points per game) and rebounding (10.1 rebounds per game) at California, becoming only the sixth player in conference history to accomplish the feat while earning All-PAC-10 honors.

Read NBA fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

The AP reports:

Game 1: Kobe scores 40, Lakers wreck Suns

Even with a balky knee and a litany of additional woes, Kobe Bryant still is among the most dangerous postseason scorers in NBA history—and he had no problem giving Los Angeles an early leg up in the Western Conference finals.

Bryant scored 40 points, Lamar Odom added 19 points and 19 rebounds, and the Lakers opened the series with ruthless offensive efficiency in a 128-107 victory on Monday night…

Pau Gasol had 21 points for the top-seeded Lakers, who won their seventh straight playoff game and snapped the Suns’ six-game streak with a phenomenal second half, highlighted by Bryant’s 21-point third quarter. He barely stepped on the Lakers’ practice court during the past week to rest his ailing knee, ankle, finger and back—all minor impediments to a major talent…

Amare Stoudemire scored 23 points and Steve Nash had 13 points and 13 assists for the Suns, who hadn’t lost since April 24. Robin Lopez started at center and scored 14 points in his playoff debut, but Phoenix couldn’t keep up with the champs’ height and 58-percent shooting in the Suns’ first conference finals appearance since 2006…

Bryant and Grant Hill got technical fouls for arguing with officials 57 seconds apart in the third quarter.

InsideHoops.com notes:

This was not a defensive game. The Laker shot 58%, the Suns 49.4%. The Lakers hit 8-of-17 three-pointers, the Suns just 5-of-22.

Gasol shot 10-of-13. Bryant hit 13-of-23. Odom hit 9-of-15.

Several Suns bench players tossed bricks: Channing Frye shot 1-of-8, Jared Dudley 1-of-5, Louis Amundson 1-of-4.

Minnesota Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations David Kahn today announced the hiring of Tony Ronzone as the franchise’s Assistant General Manager/Player Personnel. Ronzone has been with the Detroit Pistons for the past nine seasons, most recently as the team’s Director of Basketball Operations. Ronzone will report directly to Kahn.

“We are excited to be able to add a person with Tony’s extensive basketball experience to our player personnel staff,” Kahn said. “Even though Tony’s reputation is largely tied to international scouting, I believe he has always had a firm handle on NBA and college personnel as well. He is a relentless worker and we are fortunate to have him join us.”

Ronzone began with the Pistons in 2001, serving as the team’s Director of International Scouting until 2005 and as Director of Basketball Operations from 2005-10. In his most recent role with Detroit, Ronzone directed all of the Pistons’ international scouting activities and assisted with college scouting and evaluating NBA personnel. Ronzone began his NBA career as a scout with the Dallas Mavericks from 1998 through 2000.

“I’m pleased to be joining a great organization like the Minnesota Timberwolves and excited to work with David Kahn and the entire basketball staff,” Ronzone said. “This is a great opportunity and I look forward to using my knowledge and past experiences in helping the organization achieve its goals.”

Ronzone began his front office basketball career as a player/coach in New Zealand. In 1990, Ronzone returned to the U.S. as an assistant coach at Arizona State. He also coached the Saudi Arabian National Team in 1992, and spent five years as a coach in United Arab Emirates. Ronzone’s international coaching resume also includes stints as an assistant coach for the Chinese youth national team in 1998 and the Chinese National Team in 2001. He was the first American to ever coach with the Chinese National Team.

Ronzone played college basketball at the University of Nevada before finishing his collegiate career at Long Beach State. He played professionally overseas in New Zealand, Australia and the Philippines.

Ronzone is involved with USA Basketball, where he serves as Director of International Player Personnel. In this position, he assisted with the gold-medal winning men’s basketball team at the 2008 Olympics. He is also active in the NBA’s Basketball Without Borders program.

Kirkland Crawford of the Detroit Free Press reports:

Phil Jackson, Steve Nash trade playful jabs before series

The Lakers coach has made a name for himself in two ways: winning 10 NBA championships and complaining to officials via the media with stealth-like effectiveness.

And his latest target is Suns All-Star guard Steve Nash.

A couple of days ago, Jackson was asked if it was tough to prepare for Nash and Jackson quipped, “yeah, because you can’t carry the ball like he does in practice.”

So, Nash, what’s your response?

“I’ve never heard anyone accuse me of carrying it,” Nash said. “I mean, the best coach in the league Gregg Popovich (of San Antonio) didn’t have a problem with it last week.”

The AP reports:

Dwight Howard Frustrated by Celtics in Game 1 Loss

Dwight Howard knew what the Boston Celtics had planned. Whenever he got the ball in the post, someone was going to hit him, bump him, push him, do whatever it took to keep him from getting into rhythm.

It wasn’t a new approach.

The Celtics simply do it better than just about everyone else.

Howard made only 3 of his 10 shots from the floor Sunday, continuing what’s been a yearlong offensive struggle against the Celtics, and his Orlando Magic lost Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals to Boston 92-88.

”I played like a robot,” Howard said.

He doesn’t have long for reprogramming. Game 2 is Tuesday night.

Bryant, Bynum knee issues continue

Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Bryant, Bynum knee issues continue

Kobe Bryant recently had a significant amount of fluid drained from his swollen right knee, The Times has learned, and hasn’t practiced since the last round.

Andrew Bynum practiced only once and said the torn cartilage in his right knee was “getting a little worse” after making it through Saturday’s scrimmage.

“We need some different company out on the court,” Phil Jackson said with a smile Sunday after yet another day of practice.

Jackson was a little more somber when discussing Bryant and Bynum, the former averaging a solid 32 points a game in the conference semifinals, the latter totaling only six points the last two games against the Jazz.

Jackson, on Bryant: “He came out [Sunday] and shot a little bit and tried to get in rhythm. We hope that he’s on board and his game is right at that point where it needs to be.”

Jackson, on Bynum: “I thought he played well [Saturday] and we’re hopeful that he’s going to be at that level.”

The AP reports:

The Orlando Magic finally met their match in the playoffs.

Celtics beat Magic 92-88 in East Conf Finals Game 1

Ray Allen scored 25 points, Paul Pierce had 22 and the Boston Celtics used smothering defense to beat the Magic 92-88 on Sunday in the Eastern Conference finals opener.

Rasheed Wallace added 13 points as the Celtics built a 20-point lead, then held on late to snap Orlando’s 14-game winning streak.

Vince Carter had 23 points and Jameer Nelson finished with 20 for Orlando, which cut the lead to two in the final seconds but simply ran out of time, looking rusty after a six-day layoff. Dwight Howard was limited to 13 points and 12 rebounds, nowhere near the dominant force the Magic need to win a title…

Nelson had two quick 3-pointers and another jumper to start the third, moving the Magic within three points. Then it all unraveled.

The Celtics went on a 22-5 run later in the quarter to go ahead 65-45, and a crowd littered with blue and white T-shirts—deafening at times with noise clickers and claps—was silenced. But the Magic rallied late to cut the lead to three with 26 seconds remaining in the fourth on a dunk by Howard…

InsideHoops.com notes:

The Celtics defense was the star today. Orlando shot 41.6% and only hit 5-of-22 from three-point range. Boston only hit 44.6% of their shots, but they were stronger from outside with 6-of-14 threes.

In addition to his 22 points, Pierce had nine rebounds, five assists (but five turnovers) and two steals.

Orlando hit the offensive boards hard, grabbing 15 to Boston’s seven.

The entire Magic team had just 10 assists.

Dwight Howard shot just 3-of-10, had five blocks, but seven turnovers with two assists. He struggled.

Rasheed Wallace shot just 3-of-9 off Boston’s bench.

Kendrick Perkins only had four points and two rebounds, plus an awful five turnovers, but also delivered three steals and two blocks.

Marcin Gortat and J.J. Redick provided nice sparks for the Magic off the bench.

Read fan discussion and share your own opinion in this forum topic.

Cavs-Celtics Game 6 had huge TV rating

The AP reports:

The Boston Celtics’ series-clinching victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference semifinals is the second-most watched basketball game ever aired on ESPN.

The broadcast Thursday night drew a 6.6 rating on the cable network and averaged 6,552,000 households and 8,983,000 viewers. Only Game 4 of last year’s Western Conference finals between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets did better on ESPN, earning a 6.9 rating.

InsideHoops.com Says: It was the biggest game of the entire year, in both the regular season and playoffs.

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports:

Roddy Beaubois to play for French national team

Roddy Beaubois’ education will move into the accelerated program this summer when he will play for the French national team in the FIBA world championships.

With the blessing of Mavericks owner Mark Cuban and president Donnie Nelson – and with countryman Tony Parker withdrawing from the team – Beaubois has been offered a spot on the national team and has accepted, Nelson confirmed Friday.

The 6-1 guard is coming off a promising rookie season and figures prominently into the Mavericks’ future.

InsideHoops.com Says: This dude looks legit. I think he has a bright future in the NBA.  His role, whether on the Mavs or elsewhere, will keep increasing.

The AP reports:

Cavaliers GM says LeBron elbow needed rest

Cleveland Cavaliers general manager Danny Ferry says the elbow injury that bothered LeBron James during the NBA playoffs was bad enough that the team would have rested him during the regular season.

Ferry revealed for the first time that the league’s MVP complained about his elbow before an April 8 game in Chicago. He was a late scratch from the starting lineup that night and sat out Cleveland’s final four regular-season games.

InsideHoops.com Says: It was obvious that LeBron’s right elbow was bothering him more than he let on in the second round series vs the Boston Celtics. He used his left hand way more than it made sense to. He was barely even dribbling with his right for huge stretches.  It was strange that even after the series was over, he still seemed very reluctant to admit the extent of his injury.

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