Archive for March 28th, 2011

Suns broadcaster Gary Bender to retire

Hall of Fame broadcaster Gary Bender, who has spent nearly two decades as the voice of Phoenix Suns local home game telecasts, will make 2010-11 his final season behind the microphone and retire from broadcasting.

Bender, whose first broadcasting opportunity came at a 1,000-watt radio station in Hutchinson, Kan., in 1964, will see his illustrious career come full circle as he returns to his Midwest roots to serve as a consultant to the Kansas University Alumni Association and the school’s Endowment Association.  In his new role, Bender will advise both organizations on communications, programs, and events, and also serve as keynote speaker at awards programs.

“Gary defines the word ‘professional’ in the broadcasting industry,” said Suns President and Chief Executive Officer Rick Welts.  “His class, talent and character have combined to give Suns fans 18 years of great memories and unforgettable moments lived through his words.  He is part of our family, and the team and all Suns fans say ‘thank you’ for a job incredibly well done.”

Over more than five decades in the industry, Bender’s voice has provided the track for some of sports’ most indelible moments.  As the longtime voice of the Final Four on CBS, Bender called two of the most famous finishes in the history of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.  He was courtside in 1982 for Michael Jordan’s game-winner that lifted North Carolina over Georgetown in the title game, and in 1983 for North Carolina State’s improbable championship-clinching win over Houston on Lorenzo Charles’ dunk as time expired.  And it was Bender who described the heart-wrenching race of speed skater Dan Jansen at the 1988 Winter Olympics on the day of his sister’s passing.

One of the most recognizable voices in sports broadcasting, Bender’s radio and television career spans 27 sports, three major networks, and some of the most storied franchises and institutions in sports.  He has served as the voice of the University of Kansas, the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Bears, St. Louis Rams, and Phoenix Cardinals.  Bender’s time with CBS, ABC and Turner Sports saw him broadcast not only the Olympic Games and Final Four, but also the Masters Golf Tournament, Sunday Night Football, and national NBA and Major League Baseball telecasts.

A 1962 graduate of Wichita State, Bender earned a master’s in television/film from the University of Kansas.  He was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and the Phi Delta Theta Sports Hall of Fame in 2010.

Bender joined the Suns family in 1993 for what he expected to be a brief stint; now in his 18th season handling play-by-play duties, he has broadcast more than 700 Suns games.  The Suns will honor Bender during the club’s April 11 game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at US Airways Center.

Bender is the author of Call of the Game: What Really Happens in the Broadcast Booth, and is currently working on a second book about his life in sports.

Charlotte Bobcats General Manager Rod Higgins announced today that the team has signed guard Garrett Temple for the remainder of the 2010-11 season.  Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-5 Temple signed his first 10-day contract with the Bobcats on March 7 and his second on March 17.  He has appeared in two games for the Bobcats.

Temple joined the Bobcats from the Erie Bayhawks of the NBA Development League, where he was selected to play in the 2011 D-League All-Star Game.  In 24 games he averaged 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.1 steals in 33.6 minutes.  He scored in double figures 18 times, with five games of 20 points or more.  Over the last two seasons, Temple has played in 54 career D-League games, with averages of 14.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.3 steals in 34.6 minutes.

In 41 total NBA games with Houston, Sacramento, San Antonio, Milwaukee and Charlotte, Temple has career averages of 3.8 points and 1.0 rebound in 10.9 minutes.  This season he played in three games for San Antonio before being released on Nov. 12 and played in nine games for Milwaukee after signing a pair of 10-day contracts beginning on Jan. 25.

Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports:

By beating the Spurs, the Grizzlies secured their first nonlosing season since the 2005-06 campaign.

Memphis improved to 41-33, one more win than it mustered last season. But don’t throw a parade, says Griz coach Lionel Hollins.

The Griz have more lofty goals after beating the San Antonio Spurs, 111-104, on Sunday night in FedExForum.

“We have a long ways to go. Forty-one was not our goal at the start of the season. It’s still not our goal,” Hollins said. “It’s a milestone in terms of being able to finish (at least) .500, which the team hasn’t done in a few years. It’s good for the organization and our fans. For us, we still have a lot of work to do.”

The Griz have treated their fans to 24 wins in their last 30 home games. At FedExForum, the Griz are 20-0 this season when they lead at halftime.

The good Richard Hamilton is back

Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press reports:

The good Richard Hamilton is back

Rip Hamilton has reverted to 2004 form since he says he buried the hatchet with Pistons coach John Kuester.

After scoring 23 points in Saturday night’s victory over the Pacers, he is averaging almost 19 points per game to boost his scoring average to 14 points. He is also defending better and turnovers have become rare.

But while his performance has surged, he has been silent — politely refusing interview requests during his consistent streak.

He spoke to the media Saturday night and addressed several topics.

Q: Did your confidence wane?

A: Not at all. Not at all. Not one bit.

Q: Why is that?

A: I know what I bring to the table. I know what I’m capable of doing. I’ve had so many great years here. So many great things. So many special things.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic reports:

Suns move Gortat, Dudley into starting lineup

The Suns won’t say they are giving up on the now, but they made changes Sunday that looked just as much about the future.

Suns coach Alvin Gentry inserted center Marcin Gortat and swingman Jared Dudley into the starting lineup, putting Gortat into the spot of Robin Lopez, who had been groomed as a future franchise center, and Dudley in place of guard Vince Carter, who likely won’t be with the Suns next season.

Gortat, 27, has received minutes and produced the numbers as if he were a starter and embraces the idea of a bigger role in the future. Sunday was his first start as a Suns center after receiving one previous start at power forward alongside Lopez.

“There’s a lot of room for me to improve,” said Gortat, who returned after having a broken nose reset Saturday. “I believe that watching our situation right now with the team, it sounds crazy ,but maybe one day I could be the leader of this team and be one of the main leaders of this team and be the guy who’s going to be the big boost in this team.

“I ain’t scared of doing it. I’m pretty confident. I know I’m going to work hard in the summer to improve my game, especially post game with my back to the basket. I’m going to be ready.”

The AP reports:

Phil Jackson always keeps his Los Angeles Lakers far more focused on the day-to-day journey than the destination during the regular-season grind, even though the last five weeks of their trek have been awfully smooth.

The New Orleans Hornets? They were reminded they’re heading down a perilous road without David West.

Kobe Bryant scored 30 points, Pau Gasol had 23 points and 16 rebounds, and the Lakers inched closer to the top of the overall NBA standings with their 15th win in 16 games since the All-Star break, 102-84 over New Orleans on Sunday night.

Andrew Bynum added 13 points as the Lakers jumped to an 18-point lead in the first half and weathered the Hornets’ fourth-quarter rally to sweep the four-game season series with a possible first-round playoff opponent…

Carl Landry had a season-high 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Paul had 10 points and nine assists in the Hornets’ second game without West, their injured scoring leader.

The AP reports:

With the playoffs looming, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are finding a new gear.

And they accomplished something Sunday that hadn’t been done in more than 50 years.

Each of them had 30-10 nights—James with 33 points and 10 rebounds, Bosh had 31 points and 12 rebounds, and Wade shook off a bruised tailbone to finish with 30 points and 11 boards—as the Miami Heat beat the Houston Rockets 125-119 for their eighth win in nine games.

It was the first time since February 1961 that three teammates finished with at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in a non-overtime game.

“Unbelievable,” James said.

“That’s why we get paid the big bucks,” Wade said.

The last time a team had three players score 30 in the same game was Feb. 26, 2010, when Houston had Martin, Aaron Brooks and Scola combine for 94 against San Antonio. Before that, you’d have to go back all the way to Nov. 14, 1997, when Portland’s Isaiah Rider, Brian Grant and Arvydas Sabonis all had 30-plus points and 10 or more rebounds in a quadruple-overtime win over Phoenix.

Basketball blog