Archive for April 6th, 2011

Pacers score 136, clinch playoff spot

The AP reports:

Granger helps Pacers clinch playoff berth

Danny Granger scored 25 points, and the Indiana Pacers clinched a playoff spot for the first time since 2006 with a 136-112 victory against the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.

The Pacers needed a win and a Charlotte loss to Orlando to clinch a spot in the postseason. As the Pacers’ game ended, the Orlando-Charlotte game was in overtime, and the Conseco Fieldhouse staff put the game on the Jumbotron. Many fans stayed to cheer to the Magic on to a 111-102 win.

Paul George scored a career-high 23 points and Darren Collison added 15 points and 11 assists for the Pacers, who posted their second-highest point total of the season.

Jordan Crawford scored 29 points and Andray Blatche added 23 for Washington.

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The AP reports:

LeBron James reaches 2,000 points for 7th straight year

Miami Heat forward LeBron James has now scored 2,000 points in seven straight seasons.

James entered Wednesday night’s game against the Milwaukee Bucks with 1,998 points this season. He made a pair of free throws with 2:12 remaining in the first quarter to reach the 2,000 milestone.

The NBA’s two-time reigning MVP is the eighth player to score 2,000 points seven times. At 26, he’s the youngest member of that club.

Kyrie Irving to enter 2011 NBA Draft

Duke freshman guard Kyrie Irving will enter the 2011 NBA Draft with plans to hire an agent, head coach Mike Krzyzewski announced Wednesday. The 2011 NBA Draft will be held on June 23 in New York City and Irving is expected to be among the top picks in the draft.

“Our whole program is overjoyed with having Kyrie here for one year and that he has the chance now to pursue a dream of being a high draft pick and a great player in the NBA,” said Krzyzewski. “We are totally supportive of Kyrie, his family and his decision. We look forward to continuing to work with him during the upcoming months leading to his entry into the NBA and afterwards while he is an NBA player.  He is a great young man, a terrific student, and a truly amazing representative for our program and for Duke.  We love him and are very happy for him and his family.”

Irving, a 6-2 guard from West Orange, N.J., played in just 11 games this season, sitting out 26 contests with a toe injury on his right foot. He averaged 17.5 points, 3.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game while shooting .529 (55-of-104) from the field, .462 (18-of-39) from behind the three-point line and .901 (64-of-71) from the free throw line. Irving started the first eight games of the year, averaging 17.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game during that time frame. He returned to action in the NCAA Tournament and averaged 17.7 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in Duke’s three outings.

“I want to thank the entire staff at Duke, especially the coaches,” said Irving. “It was a great experience playing for Coach K. He taught me a lot about the game. Even when I was hurt, I learned a lot. Also a special thanks goes to the medical staff for getting me back on the court for the NCAA Tournament and my teammates for sticking with me throughout the entire year. Duke offered me an experience I could never have imagined.”

He scored a game-high 31 points to go with six rebounds, four assists, two blocks and two steals against No. 6 Michigan State in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. It was just the fourth time in school history a freshman scored 30 or more in a game. He was selected the CBE Classic MVP after averaging 14.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.5 steals in the four games. He had 17 points, five rebounds, six assists and two steals in the finals against No. 4 Kansas State. Irving also dished out nine assists against both Princeton and Colgate. In the NCAA Tournament, he scored team highs of 14 points against Hampton and 28 points against Arizona in the Sweet 16.

“This was a special year for me. I love everything about Duke and I’m going to miss it,” added Irving. ”Duke has a special place in my heart. Even though I’m leaving this year, Duke will always be in my mind and my heart. I’m going to miss putting on that No. 1 jersey.”

- Duke Sports Information

Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal reports:

LeBron James now part-owner of Liverpool FC

Basketball star LeBron James is joining forces with renowned hedge-fund manager John Henry and veteran Hollywood producer Tom Werner in a deal that brings together one of the biggest stars in sports and two of the world’s most renowned teams.

The deal between Mr. James and Fenway Sports Group will give Mr. James a minority stake in the soccer club Liverpool, which FSG owns. FSG, which also owns the Boston Red Sox, is partnering with Mr. James’s sports-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive world-wide representative for Mr. James.

The deal marks the first time that a professional athlete at the top of his game has taken an ownership interest in a team with the size and reach of Liverpool, which is one of the most popular and powerful sports franchises in the world.

It also adds yet another dimension for Boston-based FSG, which became a global operation last October when it bought Liverpool for $488 million. The company was founded as New England Sports Ventures nine years ago after Messrs. Henry and Werner bought the Red Sox and 80% of regional sports channel New England Sports Network. In 2007 Fenway became 50% owner of the Nascar auto-racing team Roush Fenway Racing.

ESPNsoccernet reports:

James is also going into business with the Boston Red Sox, as FSG is also the parent company of the Red Sox and a co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.

“What FSM does for Roush Fenway, Liverpool and the Red Sox, we will now do for LeBron James,” Fenway Sports Marketing (a sister company of FSG) president Sam Kennedy said. “We will aggressively pursue business opportunities for him.

“We are fortunate to have blue-chip brands like the Red Sox, Liverpool and Roush Fenway. This represents the next step in our evolution, to represent one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet.”

The Los Angeles Lakers have assigned forward Derrick Caracter to the NBA Development League’s Bakersfield Jam for the second time this season, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Caracter, who was originally assigned to Bakersfield on March 29, played three games with the Jam, including one start, averaging 8.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in 20.0 minutes.  Caracter was the second Lakers player to be assigned to the D-League this season, with Devin Ebanks also being assigned to the Jam for six games from December 27 – January 9.

Selected by the Lakers in the second round (58th overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, Caracter has appeared in 40 games for the Lakers this season, averaging 2.0 points and 1.1 rebounds in 5.3 minutes.

The 6’9’’ rookie out of UTEP will be available to play for the Jam in their playoff game against Rio Grande Valley on Friday in Bakersfield.

Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld announced today that the team has re-signed Othyus Jeffers for the remainder of the season and has signed forward Larry Owens of the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers for the remainder of the season.  In addition, the Wizards waived guard/forward Cartier Martin.

Jeffers has appeared in 11 games for the Wizards, averaging 4.4 points and 3.4 rebounds.  He was originally called up by the Wizards from the NBA Development League’s Iowa Energy on March 17 and was signed to a second 10-day contract on March 27.

Owens (6-7, 210) has averaged 12.4 points and 5.0 rebounds in 43 games for the 66ers this season.  He signed consecutive 10-day contracts with the San Antonio Spurs earlier in the year, averaging 1.3 points in seven games.  The product of Oral Roberts University (2006) has also played professionally in France and Belgium.

Martin averaged 4.0 points and 1.4 rebounds in 52 games with the Wizards this season. He was recently diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot that will keep him sidelined for the remainder of the season.

Nuggets center Timofey Mozgov was diagnosed Wednesday with a Grade 1 MCL sprain in his left knee and a Grade 2 deltoid ligament sprain in his left ankle.

MRIs revealed no fractures, and he is expected to be out between 10 days and two weeks.

Mozgov suffered the injuries near the end of the first quarter of Tuesday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The AP reports:

Trail Blazers beat Warriors, clinch playoff spot

There were no smiles of accomplishment in the Trail Blazers’ locker room on Tuesday night.

Yes, the Blazers clinched a playoff spot. But they also got thumped 108-87 by the Golden State Warriors—and at home of all places.

“We didn’t play well at all,” guard Brandon Roy said succinctly.

Portland secured a postseason berth just before the half when the Houston Rockets lost 104-101 to Sacramento.

Even with the loss to Golden State, the Blazers still sit in the sixth spot in the Western Conference. But they’re only a half-game ahead of New Orleans and only a game in front of Memphis.

It will be Portland’s third straight trip to the postseason. Last year the Blazers were eliminated in the first round by the Phoenix Suns, and the year before they were bumped in the opening round by the Rockets.

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