Archive for March 8th, 2011

Heat lose fifth straight game

The AP reports:

LaMarcus Aldridge proved LeBron James right.

The Miami Heat could have done without that confirmation.

Shortly after James called Aldridge one of the top All-Star “snubs” in NBA history, he scored 26 points and led the Portland Trail Blazers to a 105-96 win over Miami—sending the Heat to their fifth straight loss.

Gerald Wallace scored 22 for Portland, which won its seventh straight on the road and fourth straight overall. Brandon Roy and Andre Miller each scored 14 for the Blazers, who got 11 from Nicolas Batum and 10 more from Wesley Matthews.

Dwyane Wade scored 38 points and LeBron James added 31 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Heat, who are the 12th team in NBA history to have a 12-game winning streak and five-game losing streak in the same season.

Celtics mingle with President Obama

ESPN reports:

Members of the Celtics mingled with President Obama Tuesday night in a private meeting during a fundraiser at the Museum of Fine Arts.

The meeting was not open to the media, including the White House traveling press corps. According to the Celtics, the gathering was optional and not all players attended.

“We were thrilled to visit with the President,” Celtics co-owner and managing partner Stephen Pagliuca said in a statement through the team. “He spoke about the Boston Celtics unselfish play and teamwork. It was inspiring for us to hear those words and we told the President we hope to see him in the White House in the fall after the NBA Finals.”

Aside from Blake Griffin dunking over a car, a fun All-Star game, great parties and lots more, a highlight of mine at 2011 NBA All-Star weekend in Los Angeles back in February was hitting up a beautiful Deuce Brand watch event in a luxury suite high atop the beautiful WaterMarke Tower.

At the event, which Deuce was smart enough to host right near the Staples Center (for reasons that cannot be explained, lots of companies had events at All-Star weekend yet held them in outer parts of Los Angeles that were too far to want to travel to), the new Deuce G2 lifestyle sports watch was introduced.

Rocked by Matt Barnes and other pro athletes, the durable watches can be slammed around, not worried about, and they’ll keep working. Here’s a pic:

Deuce watch at NBA All-Star weekend in LA

Deuce watches are cool. Shoutout to them for a great All-Star suite.

- Jeff

Nuggets and coach George Karl agree to contract extension

The Nuggets and head coach George Karl have agreed to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced today.

According to the Denver Post, the deal is for six years, three of which are option years.

“I’ve always said Denver is the place I want to end my career,” Karl said. “This puts me one step closer to achieving that goal. Masai Ujiri and Josh Kroenke were very professional throughout these negotiations.

“The Kroenkes have been great throughout this entire process. They’ve been very supportive of me as a coach and during my battle with cancer. I’m excited for the remainder of the season and look forward to making another playoff run.”

Since taking over as Nuggets coach on Jan. 27, 2005, Karl has guided Denver to the playoffs in each of the past six years, including a trip to the 2009 Western Conference finals. The Nuggets also have posted three consecutive 50-win seasons, which marks the most successful three-year stretch in franchise history.

“Extending George’s contract has been one of our top priorities,” Nuggets Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri said. “He’s done a tremendous job since arriving in Denver, and particularly with the unique challenges of this season. With George on the bench, we have a bright future and everyone here is focused on finishing the season strong.”

On Dec. 10, Karl became the seventh coach in NBA history to win 1,000 regular-season games, joining Don Nelson (1,335), Lenny Wilkens (1,332), Pat Riley (1,210), Jerry Sloan (1,221), Phil Jackson (1,143) and Larry Brown (1,098).

Now in his 23rd season as an NBA head coach, Karl has taken his teams to the playoffs 19 times, and he has not had a losing season since 1987-88. His 315 victories with the Nuggets rank second in franchise history to Doug Moe (432), while his .613 winning percentage is unmatched.

“George’s record speaks for itself,” Ujiri said. “We’re lucky to have one of the most successful coaches in NBA history to lead our team.”

Overall, Karl has as a career regular-season record of 1,023-698 with Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, Milwaukee and Denver.

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Atlanta club sues LeBron James

Rhonda Cook of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports:

Atlanta club sues LeBron James

Basketball star LeBron James is taking his talents to one local club, which has left a competing bar feeling stiffed. As a result, the offended club has called out the lawyers.

Atlanta’s Opera nightclub is suing the Miami Heat player and the Gold Room over an appearance James is scheduled to make later this month. A hearing on the request for a temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction is set for Thursday in Fulton Superior Court.

In a complaint filed Monday, Opera accuses James of reneging on a promise to appear for one hour on March 17, for which he was to be paid $25,000, or $417 a minute.

James, who last summer infamously jilted his longtime team the Cleveland Cavaliers to join the Heat, will be in town the night before Miami  is scheduled to play the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena.

The Opera Nightclub said in its suit if the Midtown Atlanta bar can’t have him — at least on that night — no one should, especially the Gold Room on Piedmont Avenue.

“We want to make sure LeBron doesn’t show up any place else,” Yasha Heidari, the attorney for the Opera, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Tuesday.

Mike D`Antoni says crying is OK

Chris Sheridan of ESPN reports:

Even though Heat coach Eric Spoelstra took plenty of heat for admitting that some of his players cried after Miami’s loss to the Bulls on Sunday, Mike D’Antoni doesn’t believe there’s anything wrong with shedding a few tears after a tough defeat.

“He’s just being honest and it happens,” D’Antoni said before the Knicks’ 131-109 win over the Jazz. “There’s nothing wrong with crying. Don’t we have a Speaker of the House (John Boehner) that cries? It’s OK. I’m sure they care and it will build something, if it doesn’t break them.”

Trail Blazers sign coach Nate McMillan to 2-year contract extension

The Portland Trail Blazers signed Head Coach Nate McMillan to a two-year contract extension, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho.

“With his NBA and USA Basketball track record, Nate has established himself as one of the premier minds in the game of basketball,” said Cho. “What Nate has accomplished in the last few years is truly remarkable and getting his contract extended was a top priority for the franchise and me.”

McMillan, 46, is currently in his sixth year with the Trail Blazers after signing with the team prior to the 2005-06 season. He has a 234-239 (.495) record with the Trail Blazers and a 446-422 (.514) overall mark in 11 NBA seasons with Portland and Seattle. He is the second longest tenured Trail Blazers head coach behind only Jack Ramsay.

“I’m very excited to have the opportunity to finish what we started,” said McMillan. “Portland is home for me now and I greatly appreciate the bond between the fans and this basketball team. It’s a very special place to be and it’s the only place I want to be.

“I want to thank all the support that I’ve been shown along the way, especially that of our owner, Mr. Allen, who time and time again demonstrates his commitment to this franchise and winning basketball. I also want to thank Larry Miller, Rich Cho, my coaching staff and everyone in the Trail Blazers family as we continue on this journey of bringing another championship to Portland.”

He became the 15th youngest coach in NBA history to reach 400 wins with a March 12, 2010 victory at Sacramento. Fifteen days later, he earned his 191st win in Portland, passing Mike Dunleavy for third among all-time Trail Blazers head coaches.

“Over the past 12 months we have made significant investments in this team, all keenly focused on assembling the right pieces to compete this year and in the future,” Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen said. “We’ve done that by adding Marcus, Wesley and most recently, Gerald and, now, I’m glad that after productive discussions,  Nate is now committed to be our coach for two more years.”

His first year in Portland marked a rebuilding season that saw the team finish with 21 wins, but McMillan developed the young talent on his roster to improve to 32 wins the next season, followed by a jump to 41 wins in 2007-08.

“Without question Nate has ascended into the upper echelon of coaches,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. “He’s more than demonstrated his leadership and commitment to the team and this community and the time was right to demonstrate our commitment to him by extending his contract.”

McMillan and the Trail Blazers vaulted to a 54-28 record in 2008-09 that earned the team a share of the Northwest Division title and landed Portland in the NBA Playoffs for the first time in six years. Portland finished the year with the best record by a Trail Blazers team since 1999-2000 and the sixth-best record in franchise history.

In 2009-10, McMillan’s Trail Blazers overcame 311 games missed due to injury to finish with a 50-32 record and a second consecutive trip to the NBA Playoffs.

A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team coaching staff since 2005, McMillan and Team USA took home the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. McMillan and the coaching staff returned to the international stage in 2010 when they led a new-look USA squad to the country’s first FIBA World Championship since 1994.

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