Archive for June 1st, 2011

The Miami Heat lead the Dallas Mavericks 1-0 in the 2011 NBA Finals. Here’s what Mavs guard Jason Terry said on a practice day between games 1 and 2:

jason terry

Question: Jason, what adjustment are you going to make against LeBron for Game 2?

Jason Terry: Defensively, we have to be up and into him. Offensively I think he guarded me in the second half. We’re just going to be a lot more active. Looking for opportunities in transition. And then other than that, stand in the corner and let him guard me. I don’t want to give away all my secrets.

Question: Tyson was talking about how Miami lured you into their tempo in Game 1. What do you have to do to adjust that in Game 2?

Terry: We have to look for early opportunities and rebound the ball. When you give up as many points we did on second chance opportunities, then that doesn’t allow us to get into our transition game. So we’ve seen that on the film. It was a glaring stat. And it’s something that if we want to hoist that trophy up in the end, we’re going to have to get that corrected quickly.

Question: Jason, did you see when Dirk got hurt? Or did you notice that it affected him in any way?

Terry: No, it didn’t affect him. I seen when it happened. He swiped down. It was his left hand. He don’t use that anyway.

Question: Jason, how much has LeBron guarded you in the past?

Terry: Never, really. It was a big adjustment, something we weren’t prepared for. We seen it, we made our adjustment and we’ll be prepared in Game 2.

Question: Had you seen what he had done against Derrick Rose in the past and other guys? Can you talk about his ability to stay with smaller guys.

Terry: You know, with him he has a size advantage and he uses his strength very well. But he’s still quick. He’s still quick enough to kind of stay in front of you. But, again, this was the first time we’ve seen it against us. And so now we know what to do and make our adjustment. We’ll see if it works.

The AP reports:

ricky rubio

Ricky Rubio is coming to Minnesota.

The Spanish point guard has agreed to join the Timberwolves next season, ending a two-year negotiation with the team that had a few stops and starts.

A person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to The Associated Press on Wednesday night that Rubio will play in the NBA next season. The person requested anonymity because neither Rubio nor the Timberwolves planned to make an official announcement while he continues to play for Regal Barcelona in the Euroleague playoffs.

The Timberwolves drafted Rubio fifth overall two years ago despite a buyout of his Spanish contract that topped $6 million. The enormity of the buyout caused Rubio to stay overseas rather than immediately come to the NBA, and there was talk that the precocious teenager did not want to play in Minnesota.

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Sale of Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores is official

The sale of Palace Sports and Entertainment (PS&E) and the Detroit Pistons to Tom Gores and his investment firm, Platinum Equity, was formally completed today, following unanimous approval by the NBA’s Board of Governors. With the transfer of ownership Mr. Gores becomes the fourth owner in Detroit Pistons’ franchise history.

“I am very excited at the opportunity to lead this great franchise into the future,” Mr. Gores said. “The passion and commitment of Pistons fans is legendary, and our goal is to meet every one of their expectations. That starts with the hard work and values necessary to compete for championships. It also includes being a real partner in the community, and we intend to do that as well. We’re going to do everything we can to ensure that this organization deserves the passion of our fans. We can’t wait to make a difference in Detroit.”

NBA Commissioner David Stern announced on Tuesday that the NBA Board of Governors had unanimously approved the change of ownership.

“It’s very important to us, because we think Tom will bring renewed vigor and energy to that great franchise,” Mr. Stern said at a news conference prior to Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “He’s really very anxious to get going…and that’s a very good development for the Detroit Pistons and the good fans of Detroit.”

The Detroit Pistons are one of only seven teams in NBA history to win three or more championships and have made 40 playoff appearances in franchise history (fourth-most in the NBA). Since the 2000-01 season, Detroit has compiled a record of 512-390 (.568), won six Central Division titles, made six consecutive trips to the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals from 2003 to 2008, won two Eastern Conference Championships (2004, 2005) and made consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, including an NBA Championship in 2004.

On the entertainment side, PS&E’s Michigan venues average 300 events and 3.5 million guests annually. The Palace has been voted Arena of the Year eight times by Performance magazine, twice by Pollstar magazine and is listed annually among North America’s top-grossing arenas. Voted “Best Outdoor Concert Venue” in Pollstar’s 2000 Readers’ Poll, DTE Energy Music Theatre has been listed as the nation’s most attended amphitheater by Amusement Business/Billboard each of the 20 years of PS&E ownership. Meadowbrook Music Festival on the campus of Oakland University hosted a record-tying six sold out shows in 2010 and achieved its second highest attendance average under PS&E’s 17 years of management.

“I have a tremendous amount of respect for the Davidson family and what has been built here. Palace Sports and Entertainment and the Detroit Pistons have enjoyed a great tradition of success and have been committed to being a positive influence in the community,” Mr. Gores added. “Our mission is to continue that legacy and do it the right way.”

Karen Davidson transfers control of the company to Tom Gores after nearly 37 years of Davidson family ownership. William Davidson became the club’s majority owner in 1974.

“Throughout this process, my goal was to find the right owner to lead Palace Sports and Entertainment into the future and I am certain that Tom Gores is that person,” said Davidson. “He is an astute businessman, works hard and will bring a passion to this organization – that same passion that Bill had for so many years.”

Goldman Sachs and SCP Worldwide advised Platinum Equity on the acquisition.

Coach Jay Triano

Toronto Raptors President and General Manager Bryan Colangelo announced Wednesday the club will not exercise its option on head coach Jay Triano for the 2011-12 season. Triano will be retained as a consultant to the basketball team as a special assistant to the president and general manager.

The search for a new head coach will commence immediately. There is no definitive timetable for the completion of the search process.

“I have great respect for Jay Triano both as a person and as a basketball mind,” said Colangelo. “Jay deserves tremendous credit for developing our young players this past season and our most recent win-loss record does not appropriately reflect his many positive contributions to this organization.

“This was a difficult decision to make, but after almost three full seasons of observation and evaluation I believe that bringing in a new voice as head coach will accelerate the progress we are looking to make in the coming years.

“I am very pleased that Jay has agreed to stay on and help see through the plan that we have designed and initiated together.”

“I am grateful to the organization for the opportunity to be a head coach in the NBA,” said Triano. “I am proud of the work that I and the coaching staff have done with our young players and feel confident we have laid the foundation for a team that will continue to improve. I look forward in assisting Bryan to deliver a championship team to Toronto.”

Triano was promoted to head coach and signed to a three-year contract May 11, 2009. He finished with an 87-142 record (.380).

Triano served as an assistant to three coaches before being named interim head coach December 3, 2008 following the dismissal of Sam Mitchell.

A native of Niagara Falls, Canada, Triano became the first Canadian born and Canadian trained coach in the NBA when he joined Lenny Wilkens’ staff for the 2002-03 season.

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Shaq announces retirement

The AP reports:

shaq retiring

Shaquille O’Neal, who struggled to get on the court for the Boston Celtics because of leg injuries, said on Twitter on Wednesday that he is going to retire after a 19-year career in which he won four NBA titles and the 2000 league Most Valuable Player award.

O’Neal sent a tweet shortly before 2:45 p.m. saying, “im retiring.” It included a link to a 16-second video in which he says, “We did it; 19 years, baby. Thank you very much. That’s why I’m telling you first: I’m about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon.”

An inveterate prankster who gave himself a new nickname — or several — in each of his six NBA cities, the 15-time all-star did not notify his latest team of his plans. He played just 37 games this year, the first of a two-year deal at the veteran’s minimum salary, making just three brief appearances after Feb. 1.

“To my knowledge, he has not informed any of us that he’s retiring,” Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.

If he goes, O’Neal retires fifth all-time with 28,596 points, 12th with 13,099 rebounds and second only to Artis Gilmore among players with more than 2,000 baskets with a .582 field goal percentage.

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Rockets hire Kevin McHale as new head coach

Houston Rockets Owner Leslie Alexander today named NBA Hall of Famer Kevin McHale as the 12th head coach in team history. A seven-time NBA All-Star, McHale helped lead Boston to three NBA championships during a 13-year playing career with the Celtics. Following his playing career, McHale spent 16 seasons as an executive with the Minnesota Timberwolves, including two stints as the team’s head coach during the 2004-05 and 2008-09 seasons. Most recently, McHale served as an in-studio analyst for TNT and NBA TV.

“Kevin McHale is a proven NBA champion who has the leadership skills and basketball knowledge necessary to guide our team into the future,” said Alexander. “Kevin’s hard-nosed work ethic and tenacity on the court led him to a Hall of Fame career and a legacy as one of the NBA’s greatest low-post players of all time. I’m looking forward to seeing Kevin share his unique basketball knowledge and experience as he leads our talented group of players into the next era of Rockets basketball.”

Upon his retirement as an NBA player, McHale joined the Timberwolves as a television analyst and special assistant. On Aug. 18, 1994, new Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor promoted him to Assistant General Manager. He continued to broadcast Minnesota games and work as an executive until May 11, 1995, when he succeeded Jack McCloskey as Vice President of Basketball Operations. In this role, McHale was credited with the hiring of Flip Saunders – the franchise’s most successful head coach – in 1995, the drafting of high school phenom Kevin Garnett with the fifth overall pick of the 1995 NBA Draft, and assembling the core talent that resulted in seven playoff runs from 1997-2004 and highlighted by a trip to the Western Conference Finals in 2004.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Alexander and the entire Rockets organization for offering me this exciting opportunity to return to coaching with a first-class organization like the Rockets,” said McHale. “As we explored the opportunity to come to Houston, it felt like the right situation for me. I enjoy the competitive nature of our game and I am looking forward to getting to work with the very talented roster of players that are already in place here in Houston.

McHale logged his first coaching stint after taking over for Saunders on Feb. 12, 2005, and leading the Timberwolves to a record of 19-12 to finish out the 2004-05 season. After hiring Randy Wittman as head coach prior to the 2005-06 season, McHale returned to his post as Vice President of Basketball Operations until he stepped down on Dec. 8, 2008 and transitioned into his second stint as head coach of the Timberwolves by taking over for Wittman. Beginning with a victory at New York (12/26/08), McHale helped the Timberwolves rebound with a 12-4 mark over their next 16 outings, which included a five-game winning streak (1/2/09-1/10/09). McHale was also named Western Conference Coach of the Month for Jan. 2009 after guiding the Timberwolves to a 10-4 mark during that month. Minnesota’s ascent under McHale was derailed that season when leading scorer Al Jefferson sustained a season-ending knee injury at New Orleans (2/8/09).

Prior to his NBA front office career, McHale distinguished himself as one of the game’s most successful players at all levels of his playing career. In 1992, he was elected to the Minnesota State High School League Hall of Fame. To coincide with the University of Minnesota’s 100th Anniversary, he was selected as the top player in the history of Minnesota men’s basketball on Feb. 18, 1995. During the 1997 NBA All-Star Game, he was honored as one of the NBA’s Top-50 Players for the league’s first half-century. On Oct. 1, 1999, McHale was recognized for his achievements on the court with induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. On July 8, 2000, he was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. editor Jeff Lenchiner has praised McHale as owner of the finest low-post moves in the history of the NBA.

During his storied 13-year career with the Celtics, McHale was a seven-time NBA All-Star (1984, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1991) and helped lead Boston to three NBA championships (1981, 1984 and 1986), five Eastern Conference titles and eight Atlantic Division crowns. He was voted the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year twice (1984 and 1985) and was selected to the All-NBA First Team in 1987. He was also named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team three times (1986, 1987 and 1988) and the Second Team on another three occasions (1983, 1989 and 1990). Overall, the 6-10 forward/center averaged 17.9 points and 7.3 rebounds in 971 career regular season games. In 169 playoff contests, he increased his averages to 18.8 points and 7.4 rebounds. A first-round selection (third overall) by the Celtics in the 1980 NBA Draft, McHale went on to earn NBA All-Rookie First-Team accolades in 1981.

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Larry Bird is a Dirk Nowitzki fan

While I am not a fan of comparisons between Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird (I’m cool with discussing their scoring and shooting ability, but I give Bird a huge advantage when it comes to passing and various other stuff), it’s certainly fun to hear Larry Legend share his thoughts on the big German.

Marc Stein of ESPN reports:

dirk nowitzki

“He’s had a great run (in the playoffs), but I’ve always been very impressed with him,” Larry Bird said [about Dirk Nowitzki]. “His work ethic, his loyalty to his country. It’s really an honor for me to have people compare us.

“He rebounds. He plays at his own pace. He sort of controls the tempo on offense. It’d be nice to be 7 foot and when they run plays and switch (defenders) on him, it doesn’t bother him at all. He can see over everybody.

“He’s got the step-backs. He gets to the rim. The difficulty of some of the shots that he makes … one thing about him is that he’s always got great balance. His shot looks like he’s falling away, but he’s got a lot of balance when the shot goes up.

“I understand (the comparisons). I’ve always felt it’s an honor when they compare anyone to me, because I haven’t played ball for 20 years.”

Asked how much he would have enjoyed the opportunity to take Nowitzki on in one of his legendary post-practice shooting games, Bird said: “I would have loved to compete against all these young guys: LeBron (James), (Kevin) Durant, Dirk. When you play this game, you want to go up against the very best. But I can’t even beat Magic (Johnson) in a H-O-R-S-E game any more. That’s how far I’ve fallen.”

One more comment on passing ability: Bird is my favorite passing forward of all time, but it has to be said that he had teammates who cut to the basket far more often than Dirk’s stand-in-three-point-range teammates do. Still, Bird passed the rock as well as almost anyone who ever played the game. I can’t come close to saying anything like that about Dirk.

The AP reports:

lebron james

LeBron James scored 24 points for his first win in five NBA finals games, Dwyane Wade scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half and the Heat beat the Dallas Mavericks 92-84 in Game 1 of the title series on Tuesday night—holding the Western Conference champions to their lowest point total of the playoffs after a dominant defensive showing down the stretch…

Dirk Nowitzki(notes) scored 27 points—tearing a tendon in the middle finger on his left, non-shooting, hand during the game and revealing afterward that he’ll likely wear a splint throughout the remainder of the series—and grabbed eight rebounds for Dallas, which got 16 points and 10 rebounds from Shawn Marion(notes) and 12 points from Jason Terry(notes), most of those coming in an early flurry. It was Dallas’ fifth straight loss to Miami in finals games, dating to the Heat rally for the 2006 crown.

Dallas held the Heat to 39 percent shooting, Miami’s second-worst showing of the playoffs.

Problem was, the Mavericks shot 37 percent—by far, their worst night of the postseason offensively…

Miami outrebounded Dallas 46-36, got a gritty effort on both ends from reserve Mike Miller(notes)—who left with his left arm in a sling, but insisted he would be fine—and reaped rewards again from another strong fourth-quarter finish by Wade and James…

Bosh scored 19 points and Mario Chalmers(notes) added 12 for the Heat. The Heat trailed by eight points early in the third quarter before pulling away, remaining unbeaten—now 9-0—at home in these playoffs and snapping Dallas’ five-game road postseason winning streak.

Dallas had 51 points after 26 minutes. The Mavericks scored 18 points in the next 18 minutes, 33 over the remainder of the game, as Miami’s defense found another gear.

Reuters reports:

Miami’s Udonis Haslem has the assignment of guarding Nowitzki and said his job is to “try to make it tough” for the 32-year-old German.

“He’s a great player,” Haslem said. “He’s going to make his shots. You can’t get discouraged. You’ve got to keep going and keep chipping away at it.”

Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said he was unsure how to stop Nowitzki, who entered the game with a 28.4 average in the post-season.

“I don’t think it really matters what you do, your schematics, who is defending him, he’s going to get his average at least every single game,” he said.

The Sports Network reports:

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki said he tore a finger tendon in his non-shooting hand during Game 1 of the NBA Finals on Tuesday.

Nowitzki and the Mavs lost the game, 92-84, after LeBron James and the Heat pulled away in the second half.

He was injured late in the fourth quarter as he lunged with his left hand to swipe the ball from Miami’s Chris Bosh in the paint. He said he couldn’t straighten his finger out after the play.

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

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