Archive for April, 2011

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Warriors hope Andris Biedrins can revive game

In what might have been a last-ditch effort to get something, anything, out of Andris Biedrins and the $27 million owed him over the next three seasons, the Warriors met with their center Thursday afternoon.

In a two-hour chat with Biedrins and his agent, Bill Duffy, Warriors general manager Larry Riley outlined a complete physical and mental training program for Biedrins to follow this summer.

“It’s time to take actions that will get him moving in the right direction,” Riley said. “Basically, we’re going to rebuild his confidence.”

Already a hyper sensitive guy, Biedrins has had plenty of reasons to lose confidence. He has been plagued by injuries the past two seasons and been a shell of his former self on the court.

The AP reports:

zach randolph

Zach Randolph had 31 points and 11 rebounds and the Memphis Grizzlies advanced to their first Western Conference semifinals and made NBA history in knocking off the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs 99-91 on Friday night.

Memphis had been the franchise best known for empty seats and the unenviable NBA mark for playoff futility at 0-12 after being swept in its first three appearances. This time, a third straight sellout crowd cheered every bucket with a couple signs begging the Grizzlies to “Finish Them” in a town in desperate need of a hero.

The Grizzlies needed 10 seasons, but they have become just that as only the second No. 8 seed to upset a No. 1 seed since the NBA expanded the opening series to a best-of-seven.

They will play Oklahoma City in the semifinals.

Marc Gasol had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis. Tony Allen added 11 points, and rookie Greivis Vasquez had 11 off the bench playing 24 minutes with Mike Conley in foul trouble most of the game.

Tony Parker led San Antonio with 23 points, Manu Ginobili had 16, Tim Duncan 12 and Antonio McDyess 10.

The Spurs led only twice at 2-0 and again at 80-79 when McDyess hit a 15-footer with 4:41 left.

Kirk Hinrich doubtful for Hawks-Bulls series

A magnetic resonance imaging test (MRI) taken today revealed that Hawks guard Kirk Hinrich suffered a significant strain to his right hamstring with 3:07 remaining in last night’s series-clinching game six win over Orlando, according to head athletic trainer Wally Blase.

Hinrich is listed as doubtful for the Eastern Conference Semifinals series vs. Chicago, which begins on Monday.

K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports:

Carlos Boozer skips practice with toe injury; uncertain for Game 1

Chicago Bulls forward Carlos Boozer skipped Friday’s practice at the Berto Center with the turf toe in his right big toe that he suffered in Tuesday’s clinching victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Coach Tom Thibodeau said Boozer’s toe has improved but didn’t know if he’d be available for Game 1 of the Bulls-Hawks series 7 p.m. Monday at the United Center.

“It’s hard to say, but I’m thinking that he will be able to,” Thibodeau said. “He had some discomfort, but it’s gotten better each day. Hopefully, tomorrow it will be better. He’s day-to-day. He didn’t practice, so we’ll check him again tomorrow.”

The Los Angeles Times reports:

Lakers forward Derrick Caracter apologizes for arrest

Rookie forward Derrick Caracter spoke publicly Thursday night for the first time about his arrest after an alleged altercation with a female employee at a New Orleans restaurant early last Sunday.

“I want to apologize to the fans for the distraction and to our organization,” Caracter said. “I will do my best to not let it happen again.”

Caracter could face multiple charges after he allegedly grabbed and shoved the cashier at an IHOP restaurant not far from the team’s hotel on Canal Street, New Orleans authorities said.

He was arrested after he was refused service at the restaurant about 1 a.m. Sunday because he was “obviously drunk, unruly and started harassing the cashier,” the New Orleans police department said in a statement earlier this week.

Caracter could face charges of simple battery, public intoxication and resisting arrest.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News reports:

As Donnie Walsh seeks to regain full autonomy within the Knicks organization, Mike D’Antoni could be losing some of his power on the Knicks’ bench.

According to several sources, the front office will encourage D’Antoni to revamp his coaching staff to hire a defensive coach. In the past, D’Antoni has been reluctant to seek outside help, most famously refusing Steve Kerr’s request four years ago to hire Tom Thibodeau in Phoenix. Thibodeau landed in Boston in 2007, and helped the Celtics win the title three seasons ago. He now is head coach of the top-seeded Bulls.

D’Antoni is under contract through next season and is expected to be retained after leading the Knicks to their first postseason appearance in seven years. However, under D’Antoni the Knicks have been among the league’s weaker defensive teams, which is something Walsh would like to change.

Memphis assistant Dave Joerger, Orlando’s Steve Clifford, Portland’s Bill Bayno and Chicago’s Ron Adams are all regarded as top defensive coaches. Another possibility for the Knicks is Thibodeau’s replacement in Boston, Lawrence Frank, the former Nets’ coach. Frank’s contract expires this summer.

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Mike Fleming of reports:

Paramount Pictures is in negotiations for what could be the dramatic screen-starring debut of Justin Bieber. He will star alongside Mark Wahlberg in an untitled drama that will revolve around street basketball and will give Bieber the chance to show off his hoops skills. Deal comes after Bieber’s musical performance film Never Say Never minted money for Paramount. Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson will produce with Bieber’s manager, Scooter Braun.

The script will be written by Ian Edelman, creator of How To Make It In America, the HBO series that is exec produced by Wahlberg and Levinson, who hold the same titles on Entourage and Boardwalk Empire.

The tone of the project is described as The Color of Money meets The Karate Kid, and it came out of Wahlberg and Levinson seeing Bieber play ball in February during a celebrity game held during NBA All-Star Game weekend. Bieber more than held his own against celebs and former players; he was named MVP.

It’s understandable that Paramount would want to be in business with Bieber again. Made on a $13 million budget, Justin Bieber: Never Say Never grossed $97 million worldwide. Paramount immediately hired its director, Jon Chu, to helm its G.I. Joe sequel.

Read fan reaction and discuss your own opinion in this forum topic.

Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle reports:

Team sources said more movement among the Warriors’ staff is expected as soon as today, and general manager Larry Riley reiterated that a head coaching move alone won’t be enough to turn the franchise into a playoff contender.

The other immediate moves are expected to be among the team’s support staff, possibly player development, strength and conditioning and/or training. Sources weren’t ready to name names because some of the staff had not yet been informed.

The rest of the moves will deal with the roster itself, which Riley admitted wasn’t good enough to reach the playoffs this season. He said he had a glimmer of hope when the Warriors headed into the All-Star break with an impressive win at Utah to get to three games under .500.

Lacy J. Banks of the Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Here’s some potentially sobering news for the ­refreshingly revived Bulls.

If the Indiana Pacers players have their way, we’ve seen the last of “interim” head coach Frank Vogel.

Danny Granger supports Pacers coach Frank Vogel

“We want that ‘interim’ taken off his title,” said forward Danny Granger, the team’s leading scorer.

“Management usually asks for the players’ input on important decisions like this,” Granger said. “I expect [team president Larry Bird] to do so again. If he gives us who we want, he’ll make Vogel the full-time head coach — not interim. Vogel really improved our play overall. Of course, that’s a decision that management makes. And they don’t always make it the way the players want.”

Andre Iguodala skips exit interview

Tom Moore of Philly Burbs reports:

Andre Iguodala skips exit interview

On the same day in which 76ers coach Doug Collins raved about how there wasn’t a player issue the whole season, Andre Iguodala may have become one.

Iguodala was the only Sixers player to skip a scheduled end-of-season interview with Collins, team president Rod Thorn and general manager Ed Stefanski on Thursday, according to a source close to the situation.

Thorn said via email Thursday evening that Iguodala didn’t have the exit interview because of a doctor’s appointment.

Iguodala did meet with the media, though he seemed not in the best of moods.

That may have started after Wednesday’s season-ending 97-91 playoff loss to the Miami Heat, when he was asked if he expects to and would like to return to the Sixers.

“I expect to be in the NBA,” Iguodala answered.

The AP reports:

The Dallas Mavericks decided they were going to treat Game 6 of their first-round playoff series against the Trail Blazers as if it were Game 7.

Nowitzki scores 33, Mavs eliminate Blazers

“We talked about it before, we talked about it again during the game, how we had to keep fighting,” said Dirk Nowitzki, who had 33 points and 11 rebounds as the Mavs held off Portland 103-96 on Thursday night to advance to a second-round matchup with the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers…

Jason Terry finished with 22 points as the Mavericks snapped the home-court advantage that each team had held during the playoffs and the regular season.

The Blazers led by as many as 12 points early after Gerald Wallace went on a tear with 13 first-quarter points. But Wallace left the game for much of the second quarter with a sore back and Portland surrendered the lead.

Wallace would return to finish with 32 points and 12 rebounds. LaMarcus Aldridge added 24 points and 10 rebounds.

Led by Wallace, the Blazers jumped out to 19-7 lead, capping the quarter with a dunk from rookie Chris Johnson to make it 27-19.

But the Blazers went cold when Wallace headed to the locker room with lower back tightness, and the Mavericks went on a 16-4 run to tie it at 35 after J.J. Barea’s layup.

The AP reports:

Bryant, Lakers, eliminate Hornets in style

Andrew Bynum used his massive frame to own the lane, Kobe Bryant made timely shots that silenced a hostile crowd, and the Los Angeles Lakers started to look a lot more like a team trying to win a third straight NBA title.

Bryant scored 22 of his 24 points in the first three quarters, then let his teammates take over in a dominant 98-80 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Thursday night that wrapped up a first-round playoff series triumph for Los Angeles in six games…

The 7-foot, 285-pound Bynum had 18 points and 12 rebounds, drawing groans from the New Orleans crowd with each of his eight offensive rebounds. His ability to clean up teammates’ misses and extend possessions helped Los Angeles gain a lopsided 21-4 advantage in second-chance points…

Pau Gasol chipped in 16 points and Lamar Odom 14 for the Lakers, whose overpowering fourth quarter provided an anticlimactic ending to what had initially been a more exciting series than many expected—particularly with the Hornets having lost leading scorer David West to a season-ending injury in late March.

Paul, who helped the Hornets split the first four games with two sensational performances, wasn’t able to deliver a third victory. He had only seven points before hitting a 3-pointer with 4:02 to go and finished with 10 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds…

Carl Landry had 19 points for the Hornets, who have not won a playoff series since the first round in 2008, but who did better than expected this season after Williams took his first head coaching job last summer with a team that had missed the playoffs last season. Trevor Ariza scored 12 points for New Orleans and Marco Belinelli 11.

The AP reports:

A new season. A much different result. The Atlanta Hawks are moving on in the playoffs, knocking out the team that beat them so badly a year ago.

Joe Johnson leads Hawks past Magic, into 2nd round

Joe Johnson scored 23 points and came up with a huge offensive rebound, leading Atlanta past Orlando 84-81 in Game 6 Thursday night to finish off the Magic in the opening round.

The Hawks, who won the series 4-2, advanced to the second round for the third straight year, this time against the top-seeded Bulls. Game 1 is Monday night in Chicago…

The Magic had two chances to force overtime. J.J. Redick missed an open 3, then Jason Richardson had a desperation shot from the corner blocked by Smith.

Turkoglu had 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Nelson was the only other Orlando player in double figures with 11.

Crawford scored 19 points, including consecutive 3s that gave Atlanta its biggest lead, 71-59, with just over 9 minutes left. The Magic fought back with an 8-0 spurt, and Ryan Anderson had a chance to give the Magic their first lead since the opening minutes with an open look from outside the stripe…

The Hawks were up 42-36 at halftime, but the lead should have been a lot bigger. Smith was 3 of 12 shooting with three turnovers. Crawford hit only 3 of 11, Johnson just 4 of 12. The home finished just 39 percent from the field (31 of 79).

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reports:

mario elie

Though in many ways Mario Elie never left Houston, he met with the Rockets’ front office on Wednesday determined to “come home.”

Elie, who has kept his home in Houston since his days with the franchise’s Clutch City-era teams, interviewed for the Rockets’ vacant head coaching position on Wednesday, saying he is ready to recapture the successes from his playing days here.

“I’m very excited,” Elie said. “I like their commitment to winning and bringing back the success of the championship years.

“We knocked it around for quite a bit, about three to four hours. Those guys are very sharp. They know what they want. I had a good time with these gentlemen.”

Elie, who played five seasons with the Rockets before finishing his career in San Antonio and Phoenix, has been an assistant with the Spurs, Warriors and Kings.

Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register reports:

Hornets coach Monty Williams thinks the NBA should’ve suspended Lakers guard Shannon Brown for Game 6 of their series Thursday night.

shannon brown

Brown swung his elbow at Hornets guard Willie Green in Game 5, and although there was no contact, referee Derrick Stafford spotted it from crosscourt and whistled a foul on Brown.

“Shannon should’ve been ejected, and if he’s not going to be ejected, he shouldn’t be able to play tonight,” Williams said Thursday, according to the team’s website. “When you throw your elbow like that at a guy — I know the rule is you have to connect — but if he connects, (the result is) a fight. It could turn into more stuff.”

Williams also accused Brown of throwing another elbow at New Orleans’ Jarrett Jack at another time in the game and has been in contact with the NBA in search of discipline for Brown, whose value is increased currently because of Kobe Bryant’s sprained left ankle.

The AP reports:

Displaying the positive attitude that energized the Indiana players and fans, interim coach Frank Vogel explained why he believes he should be the next head coach.

Vogel took over for Jim O’Brien at midseason, went 20-18 and led the team to its first playoff berth since 2006. The Pacers were competitive in losing their first-round series to the Chicago Bulls.

“One thing I learned the last three months is that I can do this,” he said. “I’m confident in my leadership abilities, my management abilities, my coaching abilities. It’s been an honor to coach the last few months, it would be an honor to coach in the future.”

Team president Larry Bird was impressed with Vogel’s performance. He said the 37-year-old would get the first interview for the head coaching position.

“I think Frank did an excellent job, stepping in without the experience of a head coaching job,” Bird said. “The way he conducted himself, he brought positive energy to this team. We won more games than we lost. We did it with a young team, a team that’s trying to grow.”

The AP reports:

Durant scores 41, Thunder close out Nuggets 100-97

Kevin Durant matched his best playoff performance with 41 points, including the final nine for Oklahoma City, and the Thunder closed out their first-round series against the Nuggets with a 100-97 victory in Game 5 on Wednesday night.

The Thunder overcame a nine-point deficit in the final 4 minutes, and Durant provided all the offense down the stretch to send the Oklahoma City franchise to its first playoff series win since it was still in Seattle in 2005…

Denver had two chances to duplicate the Spurs’ performance, but Durant blocked J.R. Smith’s potential tying 3-pointer with 9 seconds left and Arron Afflalo missed another 3 at the buzzer.

Afflalo, who missed the first two games of the series with a hamstring strain, led Denver with 15 points and Kenyon Martin added 14 points and 10 rebounds…

Westbrook had 14 points on 3-for-15 shooting, one game after he’d drawn criticism for attempting 30 shots.

Despite dreadful 37 percent shooting, Oklahoma City stuck with the Nuggets with a sizable edge in free-throw opportunities and offensive rebounds.

The Thunder made 34 of 42 foul shots—doubling the number of attempts Denver got—and also had 22 second-chance points off 16 offensive boards.

The AP reports:

Catching the inbounds pass with 1.7 seconds left, Gary Neal forced overtime with a spectacular 3-pointer in the face of O.J. Mayo as time expired, and the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs staved off elimination by stunning the Memphis Grizzlies 110-103 on Wednesday night…

The straightaway 3-pointer was the second of two remarkable San Antonio baskets in the final 2.2 seconds of regulation. Manu Ginobili, who scored 33 points, hit the other with a long corner jumper while falling out of bounds in front of the Spurs bench, in what was originally ruled a 3.

Spurs survive Game 5 OT thriller vs Grizzlies

A video replay confirmed Ginobili’s left toe was on the line. That left the Spurs still trailing 95-94, and after two free throws by Randolph, San Antonio needed another miracle…

Zach Randolph led Memphis with 26 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 18 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, but the Spurs assured a Game 6 in the overtime behind Parker, who scored 6 of his 24 in the extra period…

Marc Gasol had 11 points and 17 rebounds for Memphis, while Mike Conley scored 20 points and Sam Young added 18.

Duncan began the game in vintage playoff form, looking keenly aware of the stakes. He scored 11 points in the first 9 1/2 minutes, but scored just two the rest of the way. He had 12 rebounds.

The AP reports:

Wade scores 26, Heat advance past Philly 97-91

Dwyane Wade scored 26 points, Chris Bosh added 22 points and 11 rebounds, and the Heat advanced to the Eastern Conference semifinals by topping Philadelphia 97-91 on Wednesday night and ousting the 76ers in five games, four of them of the grueling variety, perhaps none more nailbiting than the finale…

Mario Chalmers scored 20 points off the bench and James finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists for Miami. Joel Anthony—who played 39 minutes without a single field-goal attempt—made a pair of critical free throws with 16.8 seconds left for the Heat…

Andre Iguodala and Elton Brand each scored 22 points for Philadelphia, which got 13 from Thaddeus Young, 12 from Jodie Meeks and 10 from Jrue Holiday…

Mike Bibby and Zydrunas Ilgauskas only played 4:27 apiece, benched the rest of the way after another slow start, and Chalmers and Anthony started the second half…

The Sixers made nine of their first 11 shots, running out to leads of 16-5 and 20-10—before, as was the case throughout the series, the first substitutions for Miami started paying dividends.

chauncey billups

The New York Knicks have a pair of star forwards in Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire, and today made a decision to keep one of the roster’s only other proven assets on board for next season.

“We have made a decision to keep Chauncey Billups for the upcoming 2011-12 season,” said Knicks team president Donnie Walsh in a statement. “Chauncey, Amar’e and Carmelo are a great nucleus, as we continue to look to improve our team going into the off-season. Chauncey is an extremely talented and experienced point guard - we are very happy to have him back.”

According to Frank Isola of the New York Daily News, the Knicks have decided to pick up the one-year, $14.2 million option on Chauncey Billups’ contract.

As the most talented guard on the Knicks roster, Billups is past his prime, but provides leadership, competitiveness, scoring and experience.

In the future, the team is expected to eventually target young star point guards Chris Paul and Deron Williams.

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