Archive for December, 2011

Ricky Davis

The Maine Red Claws today announced that they have claimed NBA veteran and former Boston Celtic Ricky Davis from the Available Player Pool.

Davis, 32, has played in 736 NBA games in a career that began in 1999 as the first round selection (21st overall) of the Charlotte Bobcats. His 12-year NBA career saw him play for six NBA teams, including three seasons with the Boston Celtics. The Celtics traded the high-scoring swingman on January 26, 2006 to the Minnesota Timberwolves along with Marcus Banks, Mark Blount, Justin Reed, a 2006 2nd round draft pick (Craig Smith) and a 2008 2nd round draft pick (Nikola Pekovic) for Dwayne Jones, Michael Olowokandi, Wally Szczerbiak and a 2009 1st round draft pick (Jonny Flynn). He scored a career-high 20.6 ppg in 2002-03 as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Davis last played in the NBA for the Los Angeles Clippers during the 2009-10 and has spent the last season and a half playing abroad in France, Turkey and China. Once considered a one-dimensional yet prolific player, Davis has developed into a formidable rebounder and steady mid-range jump shooter over the years.

“Ricky Davis brings a veteran element to the Red Claws and will undoubtedly become an instant fan favorite at the Portland Expo where many of our fans will remember him from his days with the Celtics,” said Red Claws President and General Manager Jon Jennings. “Ricky is someone who knows what it takes to get to and stay in the NBA and is someone who is hungry to return there. We are all excited to welcome him to Maine.”

Tyson Chandler

According to Chandler, if the Knicks hadn’t wooed him, he very well might have chosen to wear Golden State gold. The Warriors’ rookie coach [Mark Jackson] put on a full-court press during the free agency period, trying to entice Chandler to play in the Bay Area instead of the Big Apple.

“We lived maybe a mile away from each other (in California) and so the last couple of summers we kind of frequented the same restaurants and everything,” said Chandler, who had seven points, six blocks and three rebounds Christmas Day against the Celtics in his Knicks debut. “And his son started working out with me. He was working out with me and (Timberwolves center) Kevin Love at the time so we kind of built a relationship that way. All of a sudden I became a free agent and he was like, ‘Well, we got a relationship already so you should just come over and play for me. We’re trying to do the right thing around here and you’re definitely a piece that we need.’ ”

– Via Sean Brennan of the New York Daily News

Warriors will add center Kyrylo Fesenko

Kyrylo Fesenko

A report from Sports Illustrated and confirmed by Comcast SportsNet Bay Area indicates that center Kyrylo Fesenko has agreed to a one-year deal with the Warriors.

According to Sam Amick, Fesenko’s one-year deal with Golden State is for the rest of the team’s cap space: approximately $1.07 million.

– Via CSN Bay Area

Phoenix Suns offense struggles in opener

Steve Nash

In the Steve Nash era one issue you never had to worry about was the Phoenix Suns’ offense.

Might this be changing right before our eyes?

In Monday’s opening night loss the Phoenix Suns fell to the New Orleans Hornets 85-84.

Since Steve Nash has been on the Suns, 2004-05 season to the present, their record in games when they have given up 99 points or less is an incredible 175-23 - a .88 win percentage.

Head coach Alvin Gentry isn’t panicking about the offense yet.

“I think we got very good looks,” said Gentry. “Grant had three wide open looks, Channing had three or four wide open looks, Dudley had three or four ones that we’re very capable of making. The biggest concern I thought was we didn’t shoot the ball well.”

– Via  Bryan Gibberman of Arizona Sports

Drew Gooden

Drew Gooden of the Milwaukee Bucks has been suspended one game without pay for his Flagrant Foul Two against Gerald Henderson of the Charlotte Bobcats, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Gooden made excessive contact with the head of Henderson, occurred with 27.3 seconds remaining in the third quarter of the Bucks 96-95 loss to the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, N.C. on December 26.

Gooden will serve his suspension tonight when the Bucks host the Minnesota Timberwolves in their home opener.

DJ Augustin

After a rough start as a rookie, Augustin’s turnaround as a player coincided with the arrival Silas last December.

Under former coach Larry Brown, Augustin was timid and often afraid to shoot. Then Silas arrived.

“Playing for coach Brown, I was looking over my shoulder because I didn’t want to make a mistake,” Augustin said. “He’s still a great coach and taught me a lot of fundamentals. But with coach Silas, he gives you that chance to be free and make plays.”

That was never more evident than in a game last season against Minnesota.

Augustin was having a horrible night shooting from the field, and Silas noticed he was starting to pass up open shots.

So Silas called a timeout.

When Augustin got the sideline, Silas looked him in the eyes and gave the 6-foot point guard a lesson he’s never forgotten.

“I brought him over to the bench and I said, `Son, if you ever pass up another shot I’m going to take you out of the game and I’m not going to play you at all,’” Silas said. “I told him, `Listen, every time you get the ball, I want you to shoot it.’”

– Via Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Chris Bosh

Much was made here and elsewhere of the muscle that Chris Bosh added this offseason, especially visible in his upper arms.

And yet, in the second preseason and regular season opener, Bosh hasn’t managed to do much in the low post.

It’s too early to make too much of this, especially since foul trouble limited Bosh’s minutes, and hurt his rhythm, in Dallas. But it bears watching. With Erik Spoelstra tailoring much of the offense to the versatile talents of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, and encouraging them not only to push the pace but also to sometimes set up camp down low, Bosh is the guy who could get left behind.

After Tuesday’s shootaround, Bosh acknowledged that it remained “a feeling out process.”

– Via Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post Blog

Anthony Mason Jr. of the Sioux Falls Skyforce was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Dec 19-25.

For the week, the 6-7, 205-pound forward out of St. John’s averaged 21.0 points on 51 percent shooting, to go with 7.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists, as the Skyforce went 2-1.

Mason Jr. registered his first double-double of the season, finishing with 22 points and 12 rebounds as the Skyforce defeated Springfield, 103-99 on Sunday, Dec. 25, the team’s third game in four nights. Mason tallied 23 points, six rebounds, three assists and three blocks in a 104-95 loss to Canton on Friday, Dec. 23. He opened the week with 19 points on 8-for-13 shooting in a 100-96 win over Fort Wayne on Thursday, Dec. 22. For the season, Mason Jr. is averaging 16.6 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

Other top performers considered include the Reno Bighorns’ Blake Ahearn, who averaged 23.5 points and 9.0 assists; the Rio Grande Valley Vipers’ Stanley Asumnu, who averaged 20.0 points and 7.0 rebounds; the Idaho Stampede’s Tony Bobbitt, who averaged 22.0 points and 5.5 assists; the Maine Red Claws’ Justin Brownlee, who averaged 22.0 points and 11.0 rebounds; the Los Angeles D-Fenders’ Brandon Costner, who averaged 27.5 points and 7.5 rebounds; the Maine Red Claws’ Paul Harris, who averaged 19.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.0 assists; the Springfield Armor’s Lance Hurdle, who averaged 17.0 points and 5.7 rebounds; the Bakersfield Jam’s Juan Pattillo, who averaged 16.0 points and 7.5 rebounds; the Maine Red Claws’ Courtney Pigram, who averaged 24.0 points and 3.0 assists; the Texas Legends’ Chris Roberts, who averaged 24.0 points and 3.5 rebounds; the Rio Grand Valley Vipers’ Julian Sensley, who averaged 18.0 points and 8.0 rebounds; and the Iowa Energy’s Ben Strong, who averaged 12.5 points and 5.0 rebounds.

Andray Blatche

Washington starting forward Andray Blatche was among the most distraught players in the locker room following a 90-84 loss to New Jersey, and it wasn’t only because the Wizards wasted a 21-point lead in their season opener at Verizon Center.

Blatche finished with 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting, taking mostly jumpers. That didn’t sit well with the team captain who addressed the announced crowd of 17,102 before tip-off.

A reporter asked Blatche to address Coach Flip Saunders’ comments that players were relying too much on individual production once the Wizards went comfortably ahead early in the second quarter, 37-17.

“He probably was talking about me for the simple fact that I said I need the ball in the paint to be effective,” Blatche said. “You can’t keep having me pick and pop and shooting jumpshots. Gimme the ball in the paint. That’s where I’m most effiective at. I’ve been saying that since training camp. I need the ball in the paint. I don’t wand to be the pick-and-pop guy I used to be because it’s not working for me.”

– Via Gene Wang of the Washington Post Blog

Dirk Nowitzki

The question isn’t what ails the defending champion Dallas Mavericks, but can they fix it in time to make another run at the playoffs in this 66-game season?

Their offense showed signs of life Monday, then grew anemic after the first quarter, and the defense was uneven throughout the 115-93 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

Denver guard Ty Lawson led all scorers with 27 points. “There are a bunch of good players on this team and I knew that we were going to come out strong,” Lawson said.

It was the second blowout loss in a row at home for the Mavericks, who fell 105-94 to the Miami Heat on Sunday. In that game, Dallas trailed by as many as 35 points.

“We look old, slow and out of shape,” Dallas forward Dirk Nowitzki said. “I still think this team has a lot of potential. We just need to work. … We probably needed extra weeks of training camp. But we don’t have it so the young teams, the athletic teams, look better right now than we do.”

– Via J. Michael Falgoust of USA Today

Knicks sign guard Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin

Help was needed in the New York backcourt. Mission accomplished — at least a little.

New York Knickerbockers Senior Vice President, Basketball Operations and Interim General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has claimed guard Jeremy Lin off waivers.

According to the Associated Press, “the Knicks are short-handed in the backcourt. Iman Shumpert could miss four weeks with a knee injury, Baron Davis might still be weeks away because of his bulging back disc and Mike Bibby missed the opener with a sore lower back.”

Lin, 6-3, 200-pounds, averaged 2.6 points, 1.4 assists and 1.2 rebounds over 9.8 minutes in 29 games with Golden State last season and in 20 games for Reno of the NBA D-League, he averaged 18.0 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists in 20 games. The Torrance, CA-native, signed with the Warriors as an undrafted free agent on Jul. 21, 2010, following a four-year playing career at Harvard University where he appeared in 115 games (87 starts) and averaged 12.9 points on .481 shooting, 4.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.96 steals over 29.3 minutes. Waived by the Warriors on Dec. 9, 2011, Lin was claimed off waivers by Houston on Dec. 12, and later waived on Dec. 24.

Nate Robinson

Not that the Knicks were loaded at point guard to start with, but with Iman Shumpert out, they are dangerously thin now at the position. Even so, don’t expect Nate Robinson to make a triumphant return with his former team.

“We’ll look into it,” Mike D’Antoni said.

They’ll look, but they won’t touch the high-maintenance Robinson, who played in New York for four-plus seasons until he was traded to the Celtics at the trading deadline in the 2009-2010 season.

When D’Antoni was initially asked about re-signing Robinson Monday at the team’s practice facility in Greenburgh, he shot a look as if to say, are you kidding ? But his answer was more on the diplomatic side, saying reporters would have to check with interim GM Glen Grunwald.

– Via Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

NBA decides not to suspend Kevin Garnett

Kevin Garnett

The NBA has decided to not take any disciplinary action against Kevin Garnett for his scuffle with New York’s Billy Walker at the end of the Celtics’ 106-104 loss to the Knicks Sunday, which means the C’s will have him available for Tuesday’s game in Miami.

Trailing by two points with just a few ticks on the game clock, Garnett missed a jumper in which he was defended by Walker. The two exchanged words and Garnett put his hands around Walker’s neck, but was unable to grip him as Walker was moving back in an effort to avoid the contact.

When asked about the incident after the loss, Garnett scoffed, “Next question.”

– Via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

Kyrie Irving to start for Cavs

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving will start at point guard for the Cavs tonight in the season opener against the Toronto Raptors. Irving came off the bench during the two preseason games, but coach Byron Scott said he wanted Irving with the veteran starters and Ramon Sessions to provide a veteran presence to a young second unit.

“We need somebody with some experience with that ball. That is perfect for Sess,” Scott said. “Sess understood. Obviously Kyrie on the first team is surrounded by veterans, which is going to help him. I really think it’s going to work out for the best.”

Scott still wants Irving to improve defensively and believes surrounding him with good defensive communicators like Antawn Jamison and Anthony Parker will help him get there.

– Via Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

Lamar Odom

Lamar Odom has been ejected from his first game with the Dallas Mavericks.

Given a standing ovation when he entered during the first quarter Sunday, Odom still had fans cheering him when he walked off shaking his head midway through the third.

Odom was called for charging and didn’t like the foul. Whatever he said about it was bad enough to draw a pair of technicals and an automatic ejection.

– Via the Associated Press

Shawn Marion

Shawn Marion suffered a broken left pinky in Sunday’s game against the Miami Heat, but said he doesn’t expect it to keep him out Monday against Denver.

“It hurts like hell,” he said. “But I’m a warrior.”

Marion said he hurt the finger - which already was mangled from previous injuries suffered in his career - during the third quarter when he was trying to make a defensive play.

– Via Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News

Knicks rookie guard Iman Shumpert is expected to miss two to four weeks because of a sprained right knee ligament.

The first-round pick from Georgia Tech was hurt in the second half of New York’s 106-104 victory over Boston on Sunday when Celtics reserve Chris Wilcox appeared to bang into his leg. The Knicks say Shumpert sprained his MCL.

Shumpert scored 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting in 22 minutes in his debut.

– Via the Associated Press

David Stern hears boos at Dallas opener

NBA Commissioner David Stern opened his lockout-delayed season by hearing boos from Mavericks fans.

Stern was in Dallas for the NBA finals rematch between the Mavericks and Heat, and he was on the court for the start of the Mavs’ banner-raising ceremony honoring their first championship. The jeers came as soon as he started speaking, but he quickly turned them into cheers by offering his congratulations to team owner Mark Cuban.

Cuban’s often contentious relationship with Stern could’ve been as much of a reason for the boos as the lockout, which pushed the opener from Nov. 1 to Christmas and cut the season by 16 games.

Cuban and Miami’s Micky Arison were among five owners who voted against the labor deal. Stern said “it doesn’t send any signal whatsoever” that the two owners in the most recent finals were against the agreement.

– Via Jaime Aron of the Associated Press

Amare Stoudemire

There’s no doubt that Amare Stoudemire wants a ‘W’ for Christmas in the Knicks season opener. But before tip, Stoudemire kept the giving spirit of the holidays when he hosted breakfast for a few hundred Madison Square Garden employees.

“We don’t really get a chance to interact with them much, that’s why I really wanted to talk the time out to show our appreciation and show that we really, truly appreciate their hard work,” he said.

The Amare Stoudemire Foundation provided the pre-game meal for security, ushers, ticket personnel, custodian staff and other MSG staff.

– Via Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant felt his body falling apart, so he did something about it. Twice.

Bryant went to Germany on two occasions during the off-season, The Times has learned, undergoing innovative procedures on his ailing right knee and, in a previously unreported development, his chronically troublesome left ankle, according to people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Bryant aggravated his ankle while moving across the lane on defense in the Lakers’ first-round playoff series against the New Orleans Hornets last season. It was a non-contact injury, his foot buckling under him without any contact. He left the arena that night on crutches but did not sit out any games.

He visited molecular orthopedist Peter Wehling about six weeks later in Duesseldorf to get treatment on an arthritic joint in his knee, as The Times first reported. After deeming it a success, Bryant went to see Wehling for his ankle around the time of a promotional appearance for Nike in Italy in October.

– Via Mike Bresnahan and Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

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