Archive for May 2nd, 2010

Brandon Jennings vows to get stronger

Michael Hunt of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports:

Brandon Jennings vows to get stronger

Brandon Jennings left his rookie year Sunday with a vow.

“This summer I’ll work out, get stronger and come back a totally different player,” he said after the Milwaukee Bucks were eliminated, 95-74, by the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

That has to be an encouraging thought for the Bucks and a sobering concept for the rest of the league about the electrifying point guard who finished third in rookie of the year voting.

Jennings also averaged 18.7 points in his first postseason experience after leading the Bucks with 15 points in Game 7. Throughout the series, he mostly performed with veteran poise. Though he struggled with his shot late in the series, he opened it by scoring 34 points on the Hawks.

Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News reports:

jose_juan_barea

The Mavericks will have at least one player participating in the FIBA World Championship this summer.

J.J. Barea said before heading to his home country this weekend that he will join the Puerto Rican national team in Turkey for the event from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12, he said before heading to his home country this weekend.

It remains unknown whether Dirk Nowitzki will play for Germany in the tournament and if his contract status could play a role in that decision.

LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers is the winner of the Maurice Podoloff Trophy as the 2009-10 NBA Most Valuable Player, the NBA announced today.

James, who also earned the honor last season, totaled 1,205 points including 116 first place votes, from a panel of 122 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada and the first ever NBA MVP fan vote. Players were awarded 10 points for each first-place vote, seven points for each second-place vote, five for third, three for fourth and one for each fifth-place vote received.

Rounding out the top five in voting for this season’s award are Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant (609 points), the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant (599 points), Orlando’s Dwight Howard (478) and Miami’s Dwyane Wade (119).

More info and full voting results here.

76ers meet with Doug Collins

Philadelphia 76ers President and General Manager Ed Stefanski met yesterday with Doug Collins in Phoenix, AZ regarding the Sixers vacant head coaching position.

Joining Stefanski at the meeting with Collins was Sixers Sr. Vice President and Assistant General Manager Tony DiLeo and Sixers consultant Gene Shue.

“We had a very productive meeting yesterday with Doug to discuss the position and his philosophies,” Stefanski said. “He is someone who has a proven track record as a head coach and has great knowledge of the game. We appreciate him taking the time to meet with us.

“We will continue our due diligence on all the candidates as we continue to narrow our search for a new head coach.”

The AP reports:

While the Los Angeles Lakers’ reserves haplessly gave away the lead early in the fourth quarter, the Utah Jazz celebrated every basket with increasing glee, spilling off their bench in anticipation of an upset…

Bryant scores 31, Lakers beat Jazz

Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 31 points in the final four minutes, and the Lakers blew a fourth-quarter lead before rallying for a 104-99 victory Sunday.

Pau Gasol had 25 points and 12 rebounds while blocking five shots for the top-seeded Lakers, whose backups were nearly run off the court by the fired-up Jazz before Bryant seized control.

Last season’s NBA finals MVP coolly scored seven consecutive points to erase Utah’s four-point lead, followed by a dynamic slice through the lane for a layup with 22.6 seconds left. Los Angeles also did it with defense, holding the Jazz to one field goal in the final 4:10…

Deron Williams scored 24 points for fifth-seeded Utah, which went 3:51 without a field goal after taking a 93-89 lead…

Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 12 rebounds, while C.J. Miles added 16 points, including several difficult baskets in the fourth quarter while the Jazz surged ahead with a 12-1 run.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports:

“It was very encouraging for me to be able to move around and do what I want to do,” said Bryant, whose team trailed until he scored 13 points in a 5:07 span down the stretch.

Derek Fisher joked that the other Lakers could have sat down and let Bryant go 1 on 5 because he was that good, but teammate Lamar Odom did come up with a key put-back of Bryant’s miss with 49.9 seconds left for a 98-95 Lakers lead.

Bryant called his knee “a lot better” and finished with 31 points, shooting 12 of 19 from the field and 7 of 7 from the foul line. He dominated late the way Pau Gasol (25 points, 12 rebounds, four assists, five blocks) did much of the early parts of the game.

The Lakers have a 1-0 series lead, and Coach Phil Jackson’s teams are 45-0 with such an advantage in his career. Jackson is 52-1 with any kind of series lead, and this playoff victory gave him 103 with the Lakers, one more than Pat Riley atop the Lakers’ all-time list.

Paul Flannery of WEEI reports (via blog):

Doc Rivers says Rasheed Wallace must play better

Rasheed Wallace picked up three quick fouls in the first half and went 1-for-5 in 13 minutes of Game 1 against the Cavaliers. He was also a liability again on the defensive end where his rotations were slow and his help defense was lacking.

“He has to play better, bottom line,” Doc Rivers said Sunday. “He has to play better defense. The offense will come but he has to be a better defender. We can’t wait. He has to play better.”

The AP reports:

The Atlanta Hawks weren’t going to let another game slip away on their home court.

Hawks eliminate Bucks in blowout

After keeping their season alive with a gutty win in Milwaukee, the Hawks made sure the Bucks were in no position to duplicate their improbable Game 5 upset. Jamal Crawford scored 22 points, Al Horford put up a double-double and Atlanta pulled away for a 95-74 win Sunday that gave the Hawks a 4-3 triumph in the tougher-than-expected series…

The Hawks led by as many 24 late in the game and got a chance to pull their starters so they could receive a proper ovation from the sellout crowd of 19,241…

Milwaukee was essentially undone with less than two weeks to go in the regular season when Bogut tumbled to the court and ripped apart his right arm.

InsideHoops.com notes:

The Bucks scored just 13 points in the first quarter and failed to pick it up from there. The Hawks tied or exceeded the Bucks point totals in all four quarters of the game.

Atlanta shot 47.4%, the Bucks just 32.9%. Atlanta hit a decent 6-of-16 three-pointers, Milwaukee just 4-of-18. Atlanta won the rebounding battle 55-34. Milwaukee did control the ball, with just five turnovers.

For the Hawks, guard Jamal Crawford came off the bench (as usual) for 22 points (16 shots) and six assists. Center Al Horford (6-of-8) had 15 points, 16 rebounds, four assists and three blocks. Mike Bibby had 15 points (12 shots) and six rebounds — though just two assists. Josh Smith (5-of-7) had 15 points and not too much else.

For Milwaukee, no one stepped up on offense. Brandon Jennings had 15 points (but on 18 shots) and five assists. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute scored 13, with six rebounds. Forward Ersan Ilyasova came off the bench for 13 points (on 11 shots) and 11 rebounds. John Salmons shot a miserable 5-of-18 for 11 points.

The AP reports:

Demons lurk for the Phoenix Suns in their upcoming playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs.

They were also there in Game 1 of the 2007 Western Conference semifinals, when the Suns’ Steve Nash collided head-on with Tony Parker. A cut on Nash’s nose bled uncontrollably and he was forced to sit out 45 seconds of the critical final minute of a close loss in Phoenix.

A week later, in Game 4 in San Antonio, the Suns were wrapping up a victory with 18 seconds to go when Robert Horry slammed Nash into the scorer’s table with a hockey-style hip-check. Amare Stoudemire and Boris Diaw came off the bench to Nash’s defense.

The result, an automatic one-game suspension for Stoudemire and Diaw for “leaving the vicinity of the bench.” The short-handed Suns lost Game 5 in Phoenix, then the Spurs clinched the series with a win in San Antonio and went on to win the NBA title.

Carlos Boozer respects Lakers

Tim Buckley of the Deseret News reports:

It may sound a little like it, arguably even a lot, but they’re not in awe of Kobe Bryant, coach Phil Jackson and the defending NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers.

Really, they’re not, the Jazz insist.

Carlos Boozer respects Lakers

Instead, consider it more of a, ahem, healthy respect for the team that has eliminated them from both of the past two postseasons — and the one against which they open a Western Conference semifinal series this afternoon at the Staples Center.

“They’re a great team; they have one of the best players on the planet ever to play the game,” power forward Carlos Boozer said. “They have one of the best coaches who has ever coached the game. It’s not a secret. They’re champions for a reason. They’re d— good.

“They’re deep; they compete; they’re well-coached; they’re smart; they do a good job of playing to their strengths,” Boozer added. “And they have Kobe. He’s a game-changer.”

George Karl treatments continue

The AP reports:

George Karl treatments continue

Denver Nuggets coach George Karl has another blood clot in his right leg as he recovers from radiation and chemotherapy treatment for throat and neck cancer.

Karl’s partner, Kim Van Deraa, wrote on her blog this weekend that the 58-year-old coach was rushed to the hospital Friday afternoon with the clot. She said doctors were trying to determine the cause because Karl already is on blood-thinning medication.

Van Deraa also writes that doctors reinserted a filter into his abdomen. The filter had been removed two weeks ago.

The filter prevents the clots from traveling to his hart or lungs. It initially was inserted in March when Karl was first treated for blood clots.

Andrew Bynum has small meniscus tear

The AP reports:

Lakers center Andrew Bynum has a small tear in the meniscus in his right knee, leaving him questionable for Los Angeles’ second-round playoff opener against the Utah Jazz.

Lakers coach Phil Jackson said Bynum might try to play through the pain in Sunday’s opener at Staples Center.

Bucks deactivate Charlie Bell

Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports (via blog):

Bucks deactivate Charlie Bell

Bucks guard Charlie Bell is not on the active for Game 7 due to a disciplinary issue, coach Scott Skiles said in his pre-game remarks to reporters.

The Bucks placed injured center Andrew Bogut on the active roster to take Bell’s place, but Bogut is not able to play.

“We’ve got a couple issues with Charlie Bell I’d rather not comment on, so we’re deactivating him,” Skiles said.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe reports:

Rajon Rondo even hitting free throws lately

Considered a liability at the free throw line just six months ago, Rajon Rondo knocked down his first nine shots from the stripe last night, finishing 12 of 14. He’s 27 for 32 this postseason, best on the team.

“I’m just working,’’ Rondo said. “Working, continuing to stay humble, continuing to believe in my shot, believe in my free throws. I’m taking them. I’m trying to get to the hole. I drew a lot of fouls tonight. I’ve never shied away from getting fouled, it’s just tonight I got a couple calls. I made them foul me. I tried to make my shots.’’

“He’s the engine to their vehicle,’’ said Cavaliers guard Mo Williams, who answered Rondo’s 27-point, 12-assist night with 20 points and six assists.

Said Garnett, “[Rondo] was aggressive. Not only aggressive, but he was finding guys. He controlled the huddle, which is very rare for him, but you love to see it — one of the youngest players carried the huddle. And that’s what we’re going to need. We’re going to need everybody’s contribution to defeat this team.’’

Basketball blog