Archive for May 4th, 2011

The AP reports:

derrick rose

Newly crowned MVP Derrick Rose scored 25 points, Joakim Noah added 19 points and 14 rebounds, and the Chicago Bulls beat the Atlanta Hawks 86-73 in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Wednesday night to tie the series…

The night started with Commissioner David Stern presenting Rose the MVP trophy, and the superstar point guard showed just why he became the youngest player to win the award—at least in the first half, when he scored 16 points.

He went cold after that and wound up hitting just 10 of 27 shots, going 1 of 8 on 3-pointers. He did convert 4 of 6 free throws after failing to get to the line in the opener…

Noah helped pick up the slack. So did Luol Deng, who scored all but two of his 14 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds in the game.

Carlos Boozer, bothered by a turf toe injury on his right foot, had eight points and 11 boards, and the Bulls let out a small sigh of relief after salvaging a split at home…

Atlanta’s Jeff Teague had another good game filling in for the injured Kirk Hinrich with 21 points, but Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford struggled after coming up big in the opener.

Johnson saw his scoring dip from 34 points to 16. Crawford finished with just 11 after scoring 22 in Game 1, and the Hawks simply couldn’t sustain any momentum.

Live fan discussion of the game took place in this forum topic.

By Scott Spangler

The Dallas Mavericks visit the Los Angeles Lakers tonight for Game 2 of their second round series. Here are some keys for both teams:

For Los Angeles

Pound the ball inside

Kobe Bryant is a wonderful player, but the Lakers are most effective when Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum are getting their touches. Gasol is an excellent interior passer and works well in the high-low game. For the record, Bynum shot 70 percent against the Mavericks in three games this year, though not so well Monday as his touches were limited. Look for that to change this evening.

Tyson Chandler is a very good post defender, but can be foul-prone. Everything will be determined by how tight or loose referees Bennett Salvatore, Monty McCutchen, and Bill Spooner call things early. We expect the Lakers to force whistles from the tip.

More Odom, Less Artest

Lamar Odom is a matchup problem in general. Six-ten forwards who can spot up or floor the ball are funny that way. But he is a particularly tough cover for Dirk Nowitzki, who really isn’t adept at defending in space. Forcing Dirk to expend energy would certainly make it tougher on the other end of the floor.

The way Ron Artest is going right now, Dallas can afford to cut him loose in halfcourt sets. At the very least, more second-half clock for Odom would give Rick Carlisle plenty to worry about.

Slow it down

The Mavericks want to run. More than any remaining playoff team, they want to get out and get easy buckets. The Dallas guards are small and operate better in space. The Lakers must control the glass and the pace. Phil Jackson is usually adamant about limiting run-outs. If he has his way, this game will be played at a snail’s pace.

For Dallas

Work towards making the Lakers one-dimensional

Kobe is going to get his. Should he get really hot, it’s not the end of the world (see G1). The problem comes when Gasol is getting touches and starts to feel it, or when Bynum is working effectively in the paint. The Mavs must pick something they can live with and try like hell to take away everything else.

Also, should Derek Fisher and Ron Artest start knocking down open looks, do not overcompensate. Those guys are not heavy lifters. Stick with the defensive gameplan and do not panic.

Get out and run

With the Lakers doing everything they can to get this game to a crawl, Dallas must fight to get it going up and down. The Lakers’ length is a problem to the Mavericks. They want to negate that disadvantage with Jason Kidd and the running game. The bucket is a lot more accessible with Bynum and Gasol trailing the play.

Help Dirk!

Dallas has the edge in depth and they’re loaded with big-game experience - Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, and Peja Stojakovic.  Someone else must step up again in G2, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be Jason Terry.

What’s more, the Lakers have problems with scoring guards. This is where the Mavericks can offset some other deficiencies. J.J. Barea has played well against the Lakers in the past.  He could very well be a factor this evening.

Have an opinion? Share it with other fans in this forum topic.

Statue of Bill Russell will go up in Boston

The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation in partnership with the newly formed Bill Russell Legacy Committee announced today they will erect a statue of Bill Russell in the city of Boston designed by a local artist.  In commemoration of Russell’s accomplishments as the greatest champion in the history of professional sports, as a national leader in human rights and as a dedicated advocate for youth mentoring, the Bill Russell Legacy Project will also develop a Mentoring Grant program in Russell’s name to ensure his passion is carried on by expanding the resources for mentoring programs in the city of Boston.

Co-chaired by Boston Celtics Managing Partner/Co-owner and President of the Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca and Boston Philanthropist, Founder of the Sager Family Foundation and Chairman of Polaroid Bobby Sager; the Bill Russell Legacy Committee consists of Karen Russell, Russell’s friends, colleagues and former teammates as well as Mayor Tom Menino and his Administration. The Boston Celtics Shamrock Foundation has established the Bill Russell Legacy Fund to act as the major funding vehicle for the project.

“We are honored to play a role in paying tribute to such an extraordinary athlete, leader and legacy,” Boston Celtics Managing Partner/Co-owner and President of the Shamrock Foundation Stephen Pagliuca said.  “Bill Russell will forever be remembered in Boston, and it’s fitting that the ultimate benefactors of his legacy will be future generations of our beloved city’s youth.”

Mayor Menino, who convened and hosted the first meetings of the Committee, said, “I am so proud to be part of an effort to honor Bill Russell. He is not only one of the greatest champions the sports world has ever seen, he is a man who has stood by and delivered for our young people through his support of mentoring programs. I want all Bostonians and all who work or visit here to recognize Bill Russell and all his accomplishments.”

The Bill Russell Mentoring Grant Program will invest in Boston’s youth by awarding grants annually to local, non-profit, organizations to help increase the number of children in Boston who have access to quality, structured, caring adult mentoring programs.

“I am uncomfortable with honors such as this but my years as Captain of the Boston Celtics were the proudest moments of my career,” Boston Celtics Legend Bill Russell said. “Mayor Menino’s Boston has proven to be a City that embraces the diverse contributions of all its people and neighborhoods. I am thankful to the Celtics and all the contributors for the effort to create such a wonderful Mentoring program.”

In order to facilitate and administer the grant process, the Bill Russell Legacy Project is partnering with Mass Mentoring Partnership, the state affiliate of MENTOR of which Mr. Russell is a board member and the umbrella organization for more than 170 mentoring programs in the state.

Brook Lopez has surgery on right arm

New Jersey Nets center Brook Lopez underwent successful surgery on his right upper arm today, May 4, at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, Nets General Manager Billy King announced.

The surgery, performed by Nets team orthopedic Dr. Riley Williams III and Dr. Andrew Weiland, involved the removal of bone mass and calcium deposits from Lopez’s right upper arm.

“Brook was bothered this year by a bony lump that developed after he was hit in the arm early this year,” said Dr. Williams.  “The mass was successfully removed today. A full recovery is expected, and Brook should be able to return to basketball activities in approximately six weeks.”

Lopez will wear a sling for approximately one week and begin rehabilitation in two weeks.  He is expected to fully participate in training camp for the 2011-12 NBA season.

Lopez, who has never missed a game due to injury in his three-year career, averaged a team-high 20.4 points along with 6.0 rebounds per game throughout the 2010-11 season.

Fan reaction to the minor news is in this forum topic.

The AP reports:

Police say Charlotte Bobcats forward Dante Cunningham faces a drug-possession charge after police found a small amount of marijuana in his pickup during a traffic stop in suburban Philadelphia.

Radnor Township Police Superintendent William Colarulo says officers responding to a reckless driving complaint on Friday stopped the former Villanova star.

Colarulo says officers smelled marijuana and recovered a suspicious substance after Cunningham consented to a search. That search also turned up a pellet gun in violation of a local ordinance.

Update: The Charlotte Bobcats released the following statement regarding forward Dante Cunningham. “We are aware of the unfortunate incident involving Dante Cunningham in Pennsylvania. We are in the process of gathering more information and will have no further comment until the legal process has run its course.”

The potential lockout coming to the NBA has resulted in plenty of players considering alternatives should the world’s best basketball league take a break for a while so the millionaires and billionaires can figure out how to better divide their money.

It makes sense for players to glance at the idea of playing overseas. Can’t hurt. Any contract that an NBA star signed to play in Europe or elsewhere would surely have an immediate out clause the second the NBA resumed operations.

New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams is doing what’s logical.  Jared Zwerling of ESPN The Magazine reports:

deron williams

Although the NBA’s current collective bargaining agreement expires in nearly two months — July 1, to be exact — New Jersey Nets point guard Deron Williams is already considering taking his talents abroad.

“I’m already looking into playing overseas,” said Williams, who was in Santa Monica, Calif., Tuesday taking part in an event featuring his favorite video game series, Call of Duty. “I haven’t looked anywhere in general; I’m just looking into the possibility of playing over there. But I’m not going to make a decision until after the CBA.”

Beyond that, D-Will had nothing more to say about the labor negotiations between the NBA owners and players.

“I’m not even going to talk about it,” Williams said. “I’m going to let that work itself out. I think a lot of people open their mouths and shouldn’t be talking about the CBA. Let the people handle it that need to handle it. I don’t know enough about it to be running off at the mouth.”

I still hope this all works out, and soon.

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

The AP reports:

Zach Randolph’s first shot got swatted by Serge Ibaka. His next two jumpers didn’t find their target. Soon, the Thunder had the lead and never gave it back.

kevin durant

Kevin Durant scored 26 points and Oklahoma City clamped down on Randolph and frontcourt partner Marc Gasol to beat the Grizzlies 111-102 Tuesday night to even the Western Conference semifinals…

Randolph and Gasol combined for 54 points in Game 1, but barely managed half of that in the rematch. Randolph made just two of 13 shots and finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Gasol was 3 for 9 and had 13 points and 10 boards…

James Harden scored 21 points and fellow reserve Eric Maynor added 15 as Oklahoma City’s bench held a 48-29 scoring edge. All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook scored 24.

Mike Conley scored 24 for Memphis, which got within six in the final minute after trailing 97-76 with 6 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter…

The Thunder finally shook free with an 18-6 run by the bench, featuring three 3-pointers by Maynor and seven points from Harden, to start the fourth quarter.

Harden hit three free throws—including one after Darrell Arthur was called for a technical for bumping him in retaliation—then turned a steal into a fast-break layup. Maynor’s third 3 gave Oklahoma City its first 20-point lead at 94-74 with 7:27 remaining, and Daequan Cook followed about a minute later with another 3 to bump the lead to 21.

InsideHoops.com editor says: The Thunder bench were the stars of the evening. Harden shot 5-of-9 and 11-of-11 free throws for 21 points and five assists. And guard Eric Maynor shot 6-of-7, including 3-of-4 three-pointers, for 15 points.

The AP reports:

LeBron scores 35, Heat beat Celtics 102-91 to take 2-0 series lead

LeBron James scored 24 of his 35 points in the second half, Dwyane Wade added 28 and the Heat used a late 14-0 run to pull away and beat the aching Celtics 102-91 in Game 2 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night…

James shot 14 of 25 from the field, and logged 44 minutes with no turnovers. Chris Bosh finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Miami, which leads the best-of-seven 2-0…

Rajon Rondo played through a balky back to score 20 points and add 12 assists for Boston, which got 16 points from Kevin Garnett and 13 from Paul Pierce—who retreated to the locker room for treatment on his strained left Achilles’ in the first half. Ray Allen was held to seven points, and left with what he said was a bruised chest cavity courtesy of an elbow from James in the third quarter…

Jeff Green scored 11 and Delonte West added 10 for the Celtics…

James scored 12 points in the third quarter, one more than he managed in the first half, to help Miami take a 72-67 cushion into the final 12 minutes. James then added the first basket of the fourth, but Boston answered with a 13-6 run over the next 4 minutes to knot the game at 80.

InsideHoops.com editor says: Rondo was the only good Celtics starter in this game. He put up 20 points, six rebounds and 12 assists.

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