Archive for January 4th, 2012

Boris Diaw

Behind 27 points from forward Boris Diaw, 24 from guard Gerald Henderson and a balanced, 10-assist output from guard D.J. Augustin, the Charlotte Bobcats beat the defenseless Knicks Wednesday night in New York 118-110.

A huge 4th quarter effort from forward Carmelo Anthony made a game of it, but the Knicks were simply unable to play the level of defense required to win. Melo scored 22 in the final period, finishing with 32 points (12-of-24), six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“That hurt,” said Anthony. “It’s just the way we’ve been playing these past couple of games. I mean it hurts to lose games like that. To dig ourselves in a hole like that and try to fight back every time, it takes a toll.”

New York got 25 points and 12 rebounds from Amar’e Stoudemire. As a team, they shot a very good 49.4%, but had 19 assists and 17 turnovers.

The Bobcats shot 55.3% from the field and hit 7-of-11 three-pointers. They consistently made the extra pass, and usually made one move too many for New York to defend.

“It’s just a matter of us being comfortable with one another, and trusting each other on the defensive end,” said Anthony. “I think it’s going to turn around. I’m not concerned about that.”

For Charlotte, Diaw and Henderson could not be stopped. Playing center, Diaw shot 12-of-15 with 3-of-3 three-pointers for his 27 points. Henderson hit 10-of-13 shots for an easy 24. And Augustin hit just 4-of-14 for 14 points, but also added six rebounds and 10 assists with no turnovers.

Diaw was animated and involved from the start. “He was real motivated to come to New York City, ” said Bobcats coach Paul Silas.

A bright spot for the Knicks was the play of guard Iman Shumpert, who today returned weeks earlier than expected from injury. The athletic rookie shot 6-of-10 and 4-of-6 from three-point range, and finished with 18 points, five rebounds and two steals. He played enthusiastic defense as well. Shumpert cramped up in the end, but it appears he’ll be fine.

Bobcats guard Kemba Walker played fairly OK by rookie standards, shooting 3-of-8 for seven points and five assists. The native New Yorker was thrilled to go up against his hometown team. “Beating them here just made it even better.”

Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni summed the game up perfectly afterwards: “Offense was good… just bad defense. Rotations weren’t there.”

Joel Anthony

While warming up for Wednesday’s night, Joel Anthony received some surprising news: he’s one of four Heat players on the East All-Star ballot, along with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“I didn’t think they were serious,” Anthony said.

Anthony’s not a serious candidate, of course, not with Orlando’s Dwight Howard on the ballot.

Yet the panel of four media members needed 12 centers in the guard-heavy Eastern Conference, and chose one from all but three teams – Toronto (with Andrea Bargnani listed as center), Boston (reduced to a broken Jermaine O’Neal) and New Jersey (which just lost Brook Lopez for several weeks).

– Reported by Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post Blog

Warriors sign guard Nate Robinson

Nate Robinson

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent guard Nate Robinson, the team announced today.  Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not released. According to the Contra Costa Times, it’s a one-year deal for around $1 million.

Robinson, 27, appeared in 59 regular-season games combined between the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, averaging 6.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 17.2 minutes.  The 5’9” guard played a majority of the season with Boston, appearing in 55 games and averaging 7.1 points, 1.6 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 17.9 minutes.  In 11 starting assignments with the Celtics, Robinson averaged 12.8 points, 3.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in 33.2 minutes.  After being traded to Oklahoma City on February 24, 2011, he appeared in four regular-season games and three postseason games for the Thunder.  He was waived by the Thunder on December 24, 2012.

Originally selected by the Phoenix Suns in the first round (#21 overall) of the 2005 NBA Draft out of the University of Washington and traded on draft night to the New York Knicks, Robinson owns career averages of 11.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 23.0 minutes over six seasons with the Knicks, Celtics and Thunder.  The Seattle native had his finest season in 2008-09 with New York when he averaged 17.2 points, 3.9 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.28 steals in 29.9 minutes over 74 games.  That season he finished third in voting for the NBA Sixth Man of the Year Award and won the second of his three NBA Slam Dunk titles at NBA All-Star 2009 in Phoenix (also won 2006 in Houston and 2010 in Dallas).

Robinson will wear uniform #2 and join the team in Los Angeles tomorrow in advance of Friday’s game against the Lakers.

Dwyane Wade

Heat guard Dwyane Wade has two problems: A sore left foot and a jammed game schedule.

So he decided that taking a game off was his smartest option.

After battling the foot issue for a week with limited success, Wade sat out for the first time this season when Miami played host to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night. Wade played both ends of a back-to-back on Sunday and Monday, got extensive treatment on Tuesday, but did not see enough improvement to merit playing against Indiana — especially since Miami starts a five-game road swing at Atlanta on Thursday.

“As much as I want to be out there, my team needs me to be Dwyane Wade and not somebody else on the floor,” Wade said after sitting out Miami’s shootaround Wednesday morning.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Marreese Speights

The Memphis Grizzlies acquired forward/center Marreese Speights from the Philadelphia 76ers as part of a three-team trade also including the New Orleans Hornets, Grizzlies General Manager and Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Wallace announced today.

As part of the deal, Memphis traded guard Xavier Henry to New Orleans and a 2012 second round draft pick to Philadelphia.  The Hornets also sent a future second round pick to the 76ers.

Speights (6-11, 245) comes to the Grizzlies with career averages of 7.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 0.53 blocks on .492 shooting in 14.7 minutes in 205 games (four starts) over his first three seasons in Philadelphia (2007-10).  He has not appeared in Philadelphia’s first four games of the 2011-12 season.

The 24-year-old averaged career highs in scoring (8.6 points) and rebounding (4.1) in 16.4 minutes during the 2009-10 season.

A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Speights was a member of the Florida Gators’ 2007 NCAA Championship Team, setting a school freshman record by shooting .671 from the field that season.  He averaged 14.5 points and 8.1 rebounds on .624 shooting as a sophomore before being selected in the first round (16th overall) of the 2008 NBA Draft.

Henry (6-6, 220) averaged 4.3 points and 1.0 rebounds on .406 shooting in 38 games (16 starts) for the Grizzlies as a rookie last season.  The 20-year-old Kansas product has not appeared through Memphis’ first five games this season due to a right ankle sprain.

Xavier Henry

The New Orleans Hornets announced today that they have acquired guard Xavier Henry from the Memphis Grizzlies for a 2013 second round pick.

“We are delighted to welcome Xavier to our team and the  New Orleans community,” said Hornets General Manager Dell Demps. “We hope Xavier will develop into a good basketball player that will contribute to the success of the New Orleans Hornets this season and into the future.”

Henry (6-6, 220), is in his second NBA season after being selected 12th overall by the Grizzlies in the 2010 NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas. Last year, in 38 games (16 starts) for Memphis, Henry averaged 4.3 points and 1.0 rebounds in 13.9 minutes of action.

The 20-year-old from Oklahoma City played just one collegiate season at Kansas, becoming the first player in KU history to leave for the NBA after his freshman campaign, posting averages of 13.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 36 games. Henry was named to the 2010 All Big 12 Rookie Team and was a 2010 All-Big 12 Honorable Mention. Henry joins San Antonio Spurs’ point guard Tony Parker as the only current Belgium-born players in the NBA.

The Hornets roster now stands at 15.

The Philadelphia 76ers Chief Executive Officer and Co-Owner Adam Aron announced today that the Sixers dance team, formerly known as the Sixers Dancers, will be renamed the “Sixers Dream Team,” and the dunk team will be renamed the “Sixers Flight Squad.”

The Sixers Dream Team will add eight new ladies at each performance, expanding the troupe performing at any one time from 12 to 20 dancers. The entire team will perform at every home game this season. The Sixers Flight Squad will increase from four to nine dunkers.

“We hope Philadelphia enjoys the Sixers Dream Team and Sixers Flight Squad,” said Aron. “With new choreography, new music, new lighting, new costumes and a dramatic increase in the size of the performing troupe, we’re confident the Sixers Dream Team will provide an energetic enhancement to the fan experience at Philadelphia 76ers home games. Similarly, more than doubling the size of our dunk team, now known as the Sixers Flight Squad, is sure to thrill our fans with their extraordinary acrobatic talent.”

The “Dream Team” name – originally used for the Sixers dance team in the mid-‘90s – hearkens back to days when the likes of Charles Barkley, Moses Malone, Clarence Weatherspoon, Manute Bol and the late Armen Gilliam played in Philadelphia.

This time around, the Sixers Dream Team will feature significant changes and updates, including multiple performances at all Sixers home games; brand new, glitzy costumes designed to catch the spotlight during their new routines; and hair and makeup designs by Bernard’s Salon & Spa.

The Sixers Flight Squad will comprise of nine dunkers and will perform at every home game. Routines will feature multiple trampolines, acrobatic stunts and full-court routines.

The Cleveland Cavaliers have assigned guard/forward Christian Eyenga to the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today.

Eyenga has appeared in one game with the Cavaliers during the regular season, playing one minute against Charlotte on January 3. He appeared in one preseason game, totaling two points, five rebounds and three assists in 24 minutes.

The 6-foot-7 210-pounder played in 44 games (18 starts) last season for the Cavs and averaged 6.9 points, 2.8 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 0.8 steals in 21.5 minutes per game. He also appeared in 15 games (13 starts) for the Erie BayHawks of the NBA Development League (and the Cavaliers former affiliate) last season, averaging 12.3 points on .531 shooting, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 26.0 minutes per game.

Nets Basketball has taken another major step toward its move to Brooklyn by signing a long-term lease for office space at 15 MetroTech Center to serve as the team’s corporate headquarters.

The 35,145-square-foot workplace occupying the entire 11th floor of the 19-story building will be the home office for 150 employees on the business side of NETS Basketball and Barclays Center. It is expected that the staff will begin its relocation process from its current offices in East Rutherford, NJ next month.

Serving as a convenient location for arena and team staff, MetroTech, developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, is just one stop to Barclays Center on several subway lines or an approximate 15-minute walk.

“Bravo to NETS Basketball for another great step in its move to Brooklyn,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Having the corporate offices of Brooklyn’s first professional sports team since 1957 downtown will be a ‘net positive’ for the neighborhood. And what better place to house those offices than MetroTech Center – the office complex that helped kick start the revitalization of our borough – making it a “slam-dunk” to bring the NETS to Brooklyn.”

“MetroTech is a terrific environment in the heart of Brooklyn’s business district and a convenient location for our corporate headquarters,” said NETS and Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark. “We look forward to being part of the continued renaissance of downtown Brooklyn.”

Bruce Mosler, Chairman of Global Brokerage at Cushman & Wakefield, represented the NETS in the transaction.

The NETS basketball team will begin playing in the brand new Barclays Center, being developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, in the start of the 2012-13 NBA season.

Located atop one of the largest transportation hubs in New York City, Barclays Center will be accessible by nine subway lines and the Long Island Rail Road.

Basketball blog