Archive for May 1st, 2011

The AP reports:

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade scored 38 points on 14 of 21 shooting, James Jones set a Miami postseason record with 25 points off the bench, and the Heat beat the Celtics 99-90 on Sunday to open their Eastern Conference semifinal series…

LeBron James finished with 22 points, six rebounds and five assists for Miami, which led by as many as 19 before a fiery finish that saw plenty of players jawing at each other—more than that in some cases. Paul Pierce was ejected with 7 minutes left, after picking up two technicals in skirmishes with Wade and Jones within a span of 59 seconds.

Ray Allen scored 25 points for Boston, which lost for the first time in five games this postseason. Pierce scored 19 and Delonte West finished with 10 for the Celtics, while Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett were held to a combined 14 points on 6-for-19 shooting…

It was physical throughout, with West earning a technical and Jermaine O’Neal picking up a flagrant foul along the way, before things really got hot in the fourth. Pierce took offense with a hard foul by Jones, each getting double-technicals there, and Pierce and Wade—who have a bit of history— renewed acquaintances not long after that.

Referee Ed Malloy called both for double-technicals, and Pierce was screaming as he departed…

And then there was the James factor—Jones, that is.

He drew Rondo’s third foul on a play where he ended up sprawled out under the Boston basket, grabbing his lower back and writhing in pain. Jones inflicted hurt the rest of the quarter, shooting 4 for 5 from 3-point range in the second period alone.

The AP reports:

zach randolph

Zach Randolph and the Memphis Grizzlies powered their way to another playoff upset—not that he considers it one.

Randolph had a playoff career-high 34 points and 10 rebounds, Marc Gasol added 20 points and 13 boards, and the Grizzlies outmatched the Oklahoma City Thunder inside for a 114-101 victory in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals on Sunday…

Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 33 points and 11 rebounds. Russell Westbrook scored 29, but the All-Star tandem couldn’t overcome a big advantage in the paint for Memphis…

Randolph started out with short jumpers to give Memphis the lead for good in the opening 2 minutes, then he followed a 17-5 run fueled by the bench with the Grizzlies’ lone first-half 3-pointer to make it answer Durant’s two-handed alley-oop and make it 54-38 with 2:26 left before halftime.

The Thunder used a 20-7 charge that spanned intermission to get back within 61-58 before Randolph steadied the Grizzlies again. He hit two free throws, a putback, a tip-in and then a jumper that caromed high off the rim before going in during a key stretch to keep Oklahoma City at bay…

The Grizzlies made 12 free throws in the final 3 minutes to close out another win for the underdogs—if you can even call them that anymore.

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau wins 2010-11 NBA Coach of Year

The National Basketball Association today announced that Chicago Bulls Head Coach Tom Thibodeau has been named the 2010-11 NBA Coach of the Year.  Thibodeau is the fourth head coach in franchise history to win the award, joining Johnny Red Kerr (1967), Dick Motta (1971) and Phil Jackson (1996).

“This is a well deserved honor for Tom.  He is a terrific teacher, motivator, tactician and communicator.  His work ethic, passion for the game and for our players is appreciated,” said Chicago Bulls General Manager Gar Forman.  “We are thrilled that he is part of the Bulls organization and want to congratulate him on being named the NBA’s Coach of the Year.”

In his first season with the Bulls, and his first year as a head coach in the NBA, Thibodeau guided Chicago to the best record in the NBA with a mark of 62-20 (.756).  Chicago posted the top home record in the league (36-5), and recorded its first winning road record since 1998, as it went 26-15 away from the United Center.  Thibodeau’s 62 wins ties the NBA record for most wins by a first-year head coach in NBA history (Paul Westphal in 1993, Phoenix), and surpasses Phil Jackson’s team record for most wins by a Bulls first-year head coach (55 victories in 1991).

Chicago’s 62 wins ranks fourth in team annals for wins in a season, and it marks a 21-game improvement from the team’s 41-41 campaign in 2009-10 (the third-best single-season turnaround in franchise history).  On the year, the Bulls went 16-4 (.800) following a loss, and were one of two teams in the NBA (Boston Celtics) that did not lose more than two games in a row.

The Bulls also recorded the best record in the NBA after the All-Star break with a mark of 24-4 (.857), highlighted by a record of 21-2 to close out the regular season.  On the season, the Bulls ranked first in opponent field goal percentage (.430), first in opponent three-point field goal percentage (.326), first in opponent rebounds per game (38.4), first in rebound margin (plus-5.7), second in point differential (plus-7.3), second in opponent points per game (91.3), second in opponent assists per game (19.0), second in the NBA in rebounds per game (44.2) and fifth in blocks per game (5.71).

Selected by the NBA media, Thibodeau’s honor marks the seventh time in NBA history that a first-year head coach has been named NBA Coach of the Year: Harry Gallatin (St. Louis, 1963), Johnny Red Kerr (Chicago, 1967), Mike Schuler (Portland, 1987), Larry Bird (Indiana, 1998), Doc Rivers (Orlando, 2000) and Rick Carlisle (Detroit, 2002).

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The New Jersey Nets today began their single affiliation with their NBA Development League affiliate, the Springfield Armor, assuming full control of the Armor’s basketball operations. The Nets become the second NBA team, along with the Houston Rockets (Rio Grande Valley Vipers), with such a partnership, also known as a ‘hybrid affiliation,’ and are now the fifth NBA team with a single-affiliated NBA D-League team.

“This is an exciting time for The Nets as we head into this new partnership,” said Nets General Manager Billy King.

In a structure similar to other minor leagues, this model allows for NBA teams to secure control over and cover the expenses related to the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team, while partnering with existing local ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.

“The Nets now become the fifth NBA team to have a ‘one-to-one’ relationship with their NBA Development League affiliate for next season, which reflects our importance and success as a development engine for the NBA,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “It’s a great time for the NBA Development League, and we’re looking forward to a very successful future for the Springfield Armor.”

After entering into a hybrid affiliation with the Houston Rockets prior to the 2009-10 season, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers have led the NBA D-League in Call-Ups the last two seasons, sending eight different players to the NBA 13 times. The other NBA teams that were solely affiliated with an NBA D-League team during the 2010-11 season were the Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends), Oklahoma City Thunder (Tulsa 66ers) and San Antonio Spurs (Austin Toros). Both the Thunder and the Spurs fully own and operate their affiliates, while the Legends are owned by Mavericks General Manager and President of Basketball Operations Donnie Nelson.

The Nets shared their affiliation with the Armor this season with the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks. The Sixers’ and Knicks’ new NBA D-League affiliations will be announced at a later date.

Anon coach says Heat run no plays

Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe reports:

The Heat were a classic bully team. They were 40-5 against teams .500 or below and only 18-19 against teams above .500. That tells you something.

Offensively speaking, what are they?

They are just a conglomeration of three talented solo acts, according to one mystified Eastern Conference coach.

“The Heat do not run any plays at all,’’ he insists. “The Lakers have the triangle. The Celtics run plays. The Bulls run plays. But the Heat don’t run any plays at all. They just hand the ball to LeBron or Wade and ask him to do something with it.’’

The Heat have one great source of offense, however, and how much they get to exploit it may very well determine who wins this series. The one guaranteed way to get yourself beaten, and possibly even embarrassed, by the Miami Heat is to turn the ball over between the top of the key and midcourt, thereby allowing the Heat to get into the league’s most lethal transition game. LeBron and Wade are devastating weapons in the open floor.

Julian Benbow of the Boston Globe reports:

bosh

The first enemy was the television. Once Chris Bosh decided to come to Miami and team with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, they were on it every day.

“I turned the TV off,’’ Bosh said. “I don’t watch too much TV.’’

He said he has watched 90 percent of the playoff games, “but sports shows and stuff like that, I’ve learned not to watch.’’

He’s always a few clicks away from finding a pundit who needs a punching bag, and everyone has gotten in a few licks on the Heat this season.

The decision to pull the plug came pretty quickly.

“First week,’’ Bosh said.

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