Archive for February 1st, 2011

Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets visit Newark and get rocked by Nets

Monday night in Newark, New Jersey, Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets visited a team that lately has stepped up to show some pride. Despite 37 from Melo, the Nets were hot from the start and came away with a 115-99 win.

New Jersey led by 10 after the first quarter and 13 at halftime. The Nuggets stepped up in the third, but the Nets controlled the fourth for a satisfying win.

Shooting 53.2 percent from the field, winning the rebounding battle 38-27 and the assists category 30-20, the Nets were led by Brook Lopez, who shot 11-of-18 for 27 points (but just four rebounds). Travis Outlaw was on fire in the first half and finished the game with 21. Anthony Morrow was a perfect 6-of-6 off the bench for 18 points. Reserve Kris Humphries scored 15. And starting point guard Devin Harris only scored nine but dished an amazing 18 assists.

The Nuggets got 37 points (12-of-22) from Carmelo Anthony, but he didn’t receive enough help. Chauncey Billups scored 17 but had more turnovers (7) than assists (5). Nene scored 16 but only grabbed three rebounds. Off the bench, J.R. Smith scored 10.

The real story of this game, though, wasn’t the game. It was Carmelo Anthony seemingly no longer being a possibility for the Nets in trade. His quotes after the game were pretty safe; Melo will not say that he’s leaving the Nuggets. Nor that he’d reject the Nets extension desire should they trade for him. He basically made it clear that his future is wide open and still being decided. Melo did want everyone to know that he does consider Denver one of his homes, and he’s perfectly happy there.

But those in the know still consider the Knicks as the most likely destination for Anthony, likely as a free agent this summer, if not in trade before the February deadline.

The Nets can be proud of their win yesterday. And with Melo out of town, it’ll be easier to focus on the actual players on the team, rather than what the roster may someday look like.

The Chicago Bulls’ Tom Thibodeau and the New Orleans Hornets’ Monty Williams today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in January.

Thibodeau led the Bulls to a 12-4 record on the month, including a 90-79 win over the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Celtics on Jan. 8. The Bulls have gone 11-0 against Central Division opponents, and are the only team in the NBA without a division loss. Chicago’s 44.5 rebounds per game rank second in the NBA, and its 92.0 points allowed per game rank third.

Williams guided the Hornets to a 12-4 mark in January, including a franchise-record 10-game winning streak. New Orleans averaged 7.0 steals last month, and lead the NBA in second chance points allowed (9.71). The Hornets held 9 of 16 opponents under 90 points last month, including the Western Conference-leading San Antonio Spurs in a 75-71 victory on Jan. 22.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Boston’s Doc Rivers, Charlotte’s Paul Silas, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Vinny Del Negro, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Memphis’ Lionel Hollins, Philadelphia’s Doug Collins and San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.

The Washington Wizards’ John Wall and the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin today were named the Eastern and Western Conference NBA Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played through January.

Wall led all Eastern Conference rookies in scoring (13.9 ppg), assists (10.5 apg) and double-doubles in the month.  He also became the first rookie in NBA history to have nine or more assists in 10 straight games.  In addition, Wall’s 168 assists in the month were the most by a rookie since Mark Jackson had 172 assists in 1988.

Griffin led all rookies in scoring (26.0 ppg), rebounding (13.4 rpg) and ranked second in assists (4.4 apg). He became only the fourth rookie over the last 20 seasons to average at least 25 points and 10 rebounds in a calendar month.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference  Rookies of the Month were Detroit’s Greg Monroe, New York’s Landry Fields, Philadelphia’s Evan Turner, Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins and San Antonio’s Gary Neal.

Rockets re-assign Ishmael Smith to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has re-assigned guard Ishmael Smith to Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley. Smith is the second Rockets player to be assigned to the Vipers and recalled this season. He follows rookie forward Patrick Patterson, who played in nine games for Rio Grande Valley during a month-long assignment (11/9/10-12/13/10).

Smith (6-0, 175, Wake Forest), who was recalled by Houston from Rio Grande Valley on Jan. 24, averaged 12.8 points, 7.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 1.75 steals in four games (one start) with the Vipers after his first assignment on Jan. 17. With the Rockets, the undrafted rookie free agent has averaged 2.8 points and 2.2 assists in 26 games (three starts).

Nets sign Orien Greene

The New Jersey Nets have signed free agent guard Orien Greene to a 10-day contract, Nets General Manager Billy King announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

The 28-year old averaged 18.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 2.0 steals in 24 games with the Utah Flash of the NBA Development League this season.  In 2005, he was drafted by the Celtics in the second round, 53rd overall, out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

In 128 career NBA games, including seven starts in three seasons with Boston (2005-06), Indiana (2006-07) and Sacramento (2007-08), Greene holds career averages of 2.5 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 12.1 minutes per game.

Emeka Okafor out 1-3 weeks

Emeka Okafor out 1-3 weeks

New Orleans Hornets center Emeka Okafor suffered a Grade 2 left rectus oblique strain an MRI revealed. Okafor is expected to be out one-to-three weeks.

Okafor suffered the injury with 1:59 left in the second quarter of Sunday’s 104-102 loss to the Phoenix Suns, he did not return to the game.

The University of Connecticut product has averages of 11.1 points on .593 percent shooting, 10.1 rebounds and 1.78 blocks in 49 games this season. He ranks second in the NBA in field goal percentage, seventh in rebounds and 13th in blocks.

Okafor’s streak of 306 consecutive regular games played (currently, the fourth longest streak in the NBA) will come to an end tonight when the Hornets play the Wizards at 7:00 p.m.

The AP reports:

The Toronto Raptors are staying in Indianapolis after their game against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night because a huge winter storm developing in the midwest caused their flight to be canceled.

Team spokesman Jim LaBumbard said the team is checking back into its hotel.

The Raptors, whose 104-93 loss was their 12th straight defeat, are scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday in Atlanta.

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