Archive for February 8th, 2011

By Jeff Lenchiner

Opinion: I support Kevin Durant participating in 3-point shootout

The participants for the 2011 NBA three-point shootout were announced today, and I was glad to see that Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant was included.

Currently the NBA’s leading scorer with a 29.0 points per game average, Durant is hitting just 34.7 percent of his threes. There are plenty of other players with a better percentage. But the vast majority of them are reserves who simply do not spark interest in the event. And many of them only hit threes at such a good rate because stars like Durant are drawing the defensive attention that clears space for them to get open outside looks.

If I have a choice of seeing Durant or a much lesser player who is in a supporting role on a team with a losing record, then give me Durant. I’m sure most fans around the world tuning in for the big weekend would agree.

Jeff Lenchiner is the editor of InsideHoops.com. Fans are discussing the participants in this forum topic.

The AP reports:

Brandon Roy almost set to return for Blazers

Trail Blazers guard Brandon Roy is returning to practice, but it remains to be seen whether he’ll play this weekend.

Portland’s three-time All-Star had arthroscopic surgery on both of his knees just three weeks ago.

He was averaging 16.6 points in 23 games before he was sidelined indefinitely by the team. Roy says now he is nearly pain free, but still needs to practice at full speed.

2011 3-Point Shootout participants

Reigning champion Paul Pierce of the Boston Celtics will defend his title in this year’s NBA Three-Point Shootout Contest, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 19, at Staples Center in Los Angeles as part of NBA All-Star Saturday Night. Rounding out the field are All-Stars Ray Allen of the Celtics and Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder, Daniel Gibson of the Cleveland Cavaliers, James Jones of the Miami Heat, and Dorell Wright of the Golden State Warriors. Allen won the contest in 2001.

Pierce bested the Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry in last year’s contest, scoring 20 points in the final round to capture the title. Jeff Hornacek, Jason Kapono, Mark Price and Peja Stojakovic each won two titles; Larry Bird and Craig Hodges captured three straight.

More info on the NBA three-point shootout here.

Spurs sign Steve Novak to 10-day contract

The San Antonio Spurs today announced they have signed forward Steve Novak from the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract.  Novak is the eighth call-up of the 2010-11 D-League season.

Novak, a 6-10 forward, has appeared in two games with the Bighorns, averaging 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in 29.5 minutes, while shooting .684 (13-19) from the field and .643 (9-14) from three-point range. Prior to joining the Bighorns, Novak appeared in seven games with the Dallas Mavericks, averaging 1.6 points in 2.6 minutes.

Originally a second round draft pick (32nd overall) of the Houston Rockets in 2006, Novak played two seasons in Houston before being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. In his first season with the Clippers in 2008-09, Novak averaged career-highs of 6.9 points and 1.8 rebounds in 16.4 minutes while shooting .444 (176-396) from the field, .416 (119-286) from three-point range and .913 (21-23) from the free throw line.  In his five-year NBA career, Novak has appeared in 202 games, averaging 4.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 9.9 minutes, while shooting .435 (289-664) from the field, .406 (191-471) from three-point range and .868 (33-38) from the free throw line.

Novak played four seasons at Marquette University posting career averages of 12.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 27.0 minutes, while shooting .456 (485-1064) from the field, .461 (354-768) from three-point range and .931 (243-261) from the free throw line.  As a freshman, Novak saw action in 33 games and was a member of the Golden Eagles 2003 Final Four team along with Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade. As a senior, Novak was named to the All-BIG EAST First Team after averaging a team-high 17.5 points per game.  He ranked third in the nation in three-point field goals made per game (3.9) and sixth in three-point field goal percentage (.467).  Novak holds the Marquette record for three-point field goals made (354) and three-point field goal percentage (.461).

Novak will wear No. 23 for the Silver and Black and will be available for tonight’s game at Detroit.

A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE reports:

Kendrick Perkins rejects initial Celtics offer

Kendrick Perkins is still focused on remaining a Boston Celtic after he becomes a free agent this summer.

Just as important, he wants to get a contract that he deems fair market value.

And the preliminary offer made by the Celtics, according to Perkins, won’t cut it.

Perkins told CSNNE.com prior to Boston’s 94-89 loss to the Charlotte Bobcats that the offer made to him was for four years around $22 million.

An earlier report by the Boston Herald cited two unnamed sources that indicated Perkins turned down a contract extension that was for four years and worth slightly less than $30 million.

“That wasn’t it. They offered me four years, but it was closer to like $22 million,” Perkins said. “You talking four years, $30 million! Shoot, that’s different. That’s a big difference.”

Grizzlies sign Jason Williams

Grizzlies sign Jason Williams

The Memphis Grizzlies signed free agent guard Jason Williams, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced Monday.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.  Williams, who played four seasons in Memphis from 2001-05, is the franchise’s all-time assists leader (2,041).

A member of the inaugural Memphis Grizzlies in 2001, Williams played four seasons in the Bluff City (2001-05), where he averaged 11.9 points, 7.2 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 30.7 minutes in 284 games (277 starts) and helped lead the Grizzlies to their first two playoff appearances (2004, 2005).  After his time in Memphis, the 6-1, 190-pound floor general won an NBA Championship as a starter for the 2005-06 Miami Heat.

Selected by the Sacramento Kings with the seventh overall pick in the first round of the 1998 NBA Draft, Williams holds career averages of 10.6 points, 5.9 assists and 2.3 rebounds in 29.7 minutes in 777 career games (667 starts) over 12 NBA seasons with the Kings, Grizzlies, Heat and Orlando Magic.  The 35-year-old, who ranks ninth among active players in assists (4,683), posted 2.1 points, 1.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 10.7 minutes in 16 games this season for Orlando.

Williams also ranks in the top 10 in Grizzlies history in three-pointers made (497, 2nd), steals (369, 4th), points (3,379, 9th), three-pointers attempted (1,528, 2nd), assists per game (7.2, 2nd), games played (284, 10th), games started (267, 7th) and free throw percentage (.817, 5th).

Memphis’ roster now stands at 14 players.

The AP reports:

Three years ago, when he was at UCLA, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute sustained a concussion that kept him off the basketball court for eight days, until he completed a series of neurocognitive tests.

That’s why the Milwaukee Bucks forward was so surprised when all he needed to return this season in the NBA following a mild concussion was simply his word to the training staff.

“I didn’t have to do any tests because we were on the road and doctors were here,” Mbah a Moute said. “They just asked me how I was feeling, and I told them I was feeling better. They were like, ‘You’re fine.”’

Mbah a Moute said he knocked heads with a Dallas defender on Jan. 1 and returned three days later, despite some soreness on his left side of his head. The experience has made the Cameroon player think there should be a league-wide policy to handle every concussion.

“There should be standards in the NBA. You need to do these tests and pass these tests before you can come back on the court. Bottom line. We definitely don’t get as bad concussions as (American) football and other sports, but a concussion is a concussion,” Mbah a Moute said. “It’s a serious injury and there should be tests.”

The AP reports:

Cleveland Cavaliers losing streak hits 25 games, most in NBA history

The Cleveland Cavaliers lost their way into the NBA record book in fitting fashion—not with a blowout, but with the kind of head-slapping plays typical of a team that can’t do anything right.

Like a 7-foot center losing a jump ball to a 6-foot-2 guard. And a decent outside shooter deciding to pass as time expired instead of putting up a potential tying 3-pointer.

The miscues doomed the Cavs to a 99-96 loss to the Dallas Mavericks on Monday night, making it 25 straight losses, the most in league history no matter how it’s counted.

Cleveland set the single-season futility record a few days ago, but the league also keeps an overall losing streak record that takes into account skids stretched over two seasons. This topped that one, too, making the first year of the post-LeBron James era even more forgettable for the Cavaliers. The previous mark also was set by the Cavs, spanning the end of the 1981-82 season and the start of 1982-83.

“We’re in the record books, we all know that, something we don’t want to be a part of, but you can’t go back and turn back the hands of time,” forward Antawn Jamison said. “We’ve got to worry about moving forward. The most important thing is getting a win.” …

Since starting 7-9, the Cavs are 1-35. Their last win was on Dec. 18, more than seven weeks ago. Their only glimmer of hope is that the next seven games are at home, where their .227 winning percentage is more than double their success rate on the road.

“The guys are upset and rightfully so,” coach Byron Scott said. “I like that fact that guys are caring about the fact that we’re losing some close games.”

The AP reports:

LaMarcus Aldridge scored so easily against Chicago that he allowed himself a broad smile and a few high-fives from teammates before the game was even over.

“It was fun,” he said after putting up a career-high 42 points Monday night in the Portland Trail Blazers’ 109-103 victory over the Bulls.

So was there a little I-told-you-so feeling after not being selected for the All-Star game? No, Aldridge insisted.

“Me getting 42 tonight isn’t going to change their mind, so what is it going to do for me?” he said. “I thought tonight I just came out and got those easy dunks early and that was my big thing that got me going.”

Derrick Rose had 36 points for the Bulls, who lost their second straight.

The AP reports:

kevin martin rockets

Kevin Martin scored 37 points and the Houston Rockets took advantage of Nene’s absence and Chauncey Billups’ early exit to beat the Denver Nuggets 108-103 Monday night despite Carmelo Anthony’s 50-point effort that tied his career high.

Martin, who had just eight points in his previous trip to Denver, scored 18 in the decisive third quarter, half of them during a 13-0 run the Rockets used to grab control at 71-56. He started and ended the run with buckets to go with a fast-break basket and a 3-pointer.

Luis Scola chipped in 25 points for the Rockets, who handed Denver its seventh loss in 28 home games…

The Nuggets started the game without Nene (flu), and Billups left after straining his left knee in the first quarter. He was replaced by Ty Lawson, who underwent an MRI on Monday on his strained left knee and scored 19 points.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Melo shot 16-of-24 with two three-pointers and hit 16-of-18 free throws for 50 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. He had no assists and four turnovers.

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