Archive for May 5th, 2011

The AP reports:

Thunder forward Serge Ibaka misses practice due to ankle sprain

Starting power forward Serge Ibaka did not participate in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s practice Thursday because of a sprained left ankle.

Coach Scott Brooks says Ibaka is day-to-day. The Thunder are officially listing him as probable for Game 3 on Saturday in Memphis. The series is tied 1-1.

Ron Artest suspended one game for striking Mavs guard Jose Barea

Ron Artest of the Los Angeles Lakers has been suspended one game without pay for swinging his arm and striking the face of the Dallas Mavericks’ J.J. Barea, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations. Artest’s contact has also been classified by the NBA as a Flagrant Foul Two.

The incident occurred with 24.4 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 93-81 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center on May 4. Artest will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Lakers visit the Mavericks at American Airlines Center for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

InsideHoops.com editor says: I can’t argue with this. Artest basically ran at Barea and smashed him.

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

Chicago Bulls fans are ecstatic about how their regular season went and they love league MVP Derrick Rose, but once in a while things don’t go as planned, especially in some too-close playoff games. And during those brief times that they get grumpy, the result has been some boos in the direction of Bulls forward Carlos Boozer.

Joakim Noah loves Bulls fans, of course, but he’d love them even more if they’d make sure to spread love towards every single player on the roster, Boozer included. Mike McGraw of the Arlington Heights Daily Herald reports:

Joakim Noah wants Bulls fans to stop booing Carlos Boozer

Through it all, center Joakim Noah noticed something wasn’t quite right and didn’t skip over it. He addressed the issue during a postgame interview that was broadcast across the United Center.

Noah asked fans to “support every one of us,” and it was obvious what he meant. The fans are getting restless with power forward Carlos Boozer.

There was a murmur in the first quarter when Taj Gibson simply walked to the scorer’s table to check in for Boozer and audible cheers when the team’s primary free-agent acquisition of last summer left the floor.

In Noah’s mind, that’s simply not acceptable. In the hallway after the game, he was passionate about the topic.

“I love our fans. We have the best fans in the NBA, no question about it,” Noah said. “But I understand our fans are very demanding and that can be very good and in some aspects that can be bad, as well.

“Carlos is in a situation where he’s hurt and he’s giving us everything he can. I’ve been in the position where I’ve been booed before in the United Center and I know to get to where we want to get to, we need Carlos. We should be supporting him. I don’t understand that.”

I think it’s no big deal. It’s not like Boozer is getting showered with boos. But some fans definitely want more out of him.

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

The AP reports:

Real Madrid can move closer to adding to its record haul of European basketball titles when it faces Maccabi Tel Aviv on Friday in the Euroleague Final Four.

The Spanish club has won eight continental titles, but their last came 16 years ago.

But four-time champion Maccabi, which boasts Europe’s most potent offensive with more than 82 points per game, comes first. The Israeli team is led by American guard Jeremy Pargo and Greek big man Sofoklis Schortsanitis.

Captain Felipe Reyes and former Maccabi center D’or Fischer anchor a Madrid squad which will look to guard Sergio Llull(notes) and Nikola Mirotic to counter Maccabi’s firepower…

In the other semifinal, Greek powerhouse Panathinaikos plays Italian champion Montepaschi Siena for a spot in Sunday’s final.

Madrid arrives after a roller coaster season that saw much lauded head coach Ettore Messina resign just before its quarterfinal series against Valencia, which it won 3-2. But Madrid’s roster will no doubt draw extra motivation with the chance to win in Barcelona after its football team was eliminated from the Champions League by the Catalan club earlier this week…

The Israeli team can also count on one of the most loyal fans bases in European basketball: More than 5,000 have traveled to Spain to boost their team, which, if it wins on Friday, will equal Madrid with its 14th European title game.

The key figure for the Greek team on both ends of the court will be versatile point guard Dimitris Diamantidis, who recently won his sixth Euroleague Best Defender award in the last seven seasons. His playoff-leading 18 points per game were critical to his team ousting defending champion Barcelona in the quarterfinals.

Read fan discussion and share your own opinion in this forum topic.

Brandon Jennings in India

National Basketball Association (NBA) rising star Brandon Jennings of the Milwaukee Bucks will travel to India from May 13-18 to conduct a series of events to grow the game of basketball in Mumbai and Pune.

Jennings became the youngest player to score 55 points in a game on November 14, 2009 and is the 16th NBA or WNBA player or legend to travel to India in last three years as part of the league’s continued commitment to grow the game.

“Having played in Italy, I have seen first-hand how the sport is growing globally and I am excited to visit India with the NBA to help continue the growth of the game,” said Jennings. “The NBA has the best basketball players from around the world and it is amazing to think that one of the kids I teach in India could one day play against me in the NBA.”

Jennings will attend the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA National Skills Challenge Finals on May 15 in Mumbai.  The event is the culmination of the largest school-based initiative ever conducted by the NBA in India.  Since March, the NBA and HP have taught basketball and life skills to youth in 500 schools in Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, and Pune. Additionally, 500 coaches attended two-day clinics in each city where they learned coaching techniques and received a “Basketball in a Box” coaching kit, which will provide them with a resource to grow basketball in their community.  HP Dream Screens were used at all coaching clinics to provide video demonstrations to help illustrate certain coaching techniques.

Fifty youth from across India have advanced to the National Skills Challenge Finals by qualifying at City Championships.  Jennings will crown the boys and girls National Champions, and conduct a basketball clinic for participants.

On May 16, NBA Cares will partner with Magic Bus, a not-for-profit organization in India to conduct a basketball clinic in Mumbai.  Magic Bus works towards creating equal opportunities for children and youth from vulnerable communities.  Over the past 12 years, Magic Bus has used its unique “sport for development” approach to empower children and youth to make positive life choices in areas of gender, education, livelihood and health.  Jennings will work with youth from two communities, using basketball to illustrate the importance of living a healthy, active lifestyle.

Jennings will then travel to Pune where he will become the first NBA player to host an event in the city.  He will conduct a clinic for children and coaches who participated in the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA program on May 17 and will host an NBA Cares basketball clinic for disadvantaged youth on May 18.

David Lassen of the Press-Enterprise reports:

Pau Gasol hears boos from Laker fans

Based on the boos of the Staples Center crowd, Pau Gasol is taking the brunt of the blame for the Lakers’ 2-0 deficit in their playoff series with Dallas.

Gasol was the target boos in both the third and fourth quarters as he struggled through a 13-point night in which he was just 5 of 12 from the field and 3 for 6 at the foul line.

“I was kind of surprised by that,” Phil Jackson said, “but it’s tough out there.

“(He) missed open shots, missed a layup that was blocked at the rim because he didn’t dunk it. There’s some things that obviously didn’t look good out there for Pau. But he worked. He was one of the guys who looked tired out there.”

While Andrew Bynum had a more effective night — with 18 points and 13 rebounds — Gasol’s problems kept the Lakers from fully exploiting their inside game.

The AP reports:

Dirk blasts Lakers again, sends Mavs to 2-0 lead

Dirk Nowitzki scored 24 points, Shawn Marion added 14 and the Dallas Mavericks stunned the erratic Los Angeles Lakers 93-81 in Game 2 on Wednesday night, taking a 2-0 second-round lead over the two-time defending champions with consecutive road wins.

Jason Kidd scored 10 points for the Mavericks, who pushed the Lakers halfway to playoff elimination with Nowitzki’s stellar shooting, another steady defensive performance, and a decisive 9-0 fourth-quarter rally.

Kobe Bryant scored 23 points for the Lakers, who hadn’t lost the first two games of a playoff series since the 2008 NBA finals—also the last series they lost. Only three NBA teams have come back to win a best-of-seven series after losing the first two at home, where the Lakers sent them off with boos and jeers…

Andrew Bynum had 18 points and 13 rebounds for the Lakers, who haven’t been able to control the paint with their usual vehemence against the Mavericks’ three 7-footers. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 10 rebounds, but appeared tentative for long stretches while struggling to contain Nowitzki…

Gasol’s struggles have been the Lakers’ biggest mystery of the postseason. The Spanish All-Star 7-footer barely contributed to Los Angeles’ tough six-game victory over New Orleans in the first round, and he came back from a quiet opener against Dallas with another mediocre game, getting booed several times by the home crowd.

InsideHoops.com editor says: This is wild. The Lakers look like a slower, more plodding version of their championship selves, and there’s every reason for the Mavericks to truly believe in themselves in this series. One game at a time, though… Jose Juan Barea provided a big spark that doesn’t show on the stat-sheet. He penetrated almost at will for a stretch, causing havok that helped the Mavs keep the game under control… Kobe isn’t making teammates better. He took 20 shots for 23 points, did have five steals, but dished just one assist… Bynum put up 18 with 13 rebounds and continues to make a difference… The Lakers shot just 41.0 percent, but the big shocker was that they hit just 2-of-20 from three-point range… It’s hard to give up on the champs just yet. I’m thinking maybe they steal Game 3 in Dallas. The problem is, there’s no reason right now to really predict that. The momentum lies with the Mavs.

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

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