Archive for March, 2012

Amar'e Stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire has a bulging disk in his back and is out indefinitely, a damaging blow to the New York Knicks with a month left in the regular season.

The Knicks weren’t competitive in the playoffs last year when Stoudemire developed a back problem, and any hopes of even qualifying for the postseason are in jeopardy now that he has another one.

“You don’t wish it on any player, especially Amare, who’s a big part of what we do,” Knicks interim coach Mike Woodson said Monday before the Knicks played the Milwaukee Bucks. “All we can is just hope that it’s not as serious as it may be and that he has a speedy recovery.”

Stoudemire sat out the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ victory over Detroit on Saturday after he said his back tightened up. He said after the game he wasn’t concerned and believed he would play Monday.

However, he didn’t attend the Knicks’ morning shootaround and had an MRI in the afternoon that revealed the injury. The Knicks said he doesn’t need surgery and the injury will be treated with rehabilitation.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Earl Boykins

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed guard Earl Boykins to a 10-day contract. He will wear jersey #6 with the Rockets.

Boykins (5-5, 133, Eastern Michigan) has averaged 8.9 points (.349, 382-1,095 3FG) and 3.2 assists in 644 career games (34 starts) with New Jersey, Cleveland, Orlando, the L.A. Clippers, Golden State, Denver, Charlotte, Washington and Milwaukee. With 5,752 career points, the 12-year veteran currently stands 12th in NBA history for points scored by a player under six-foot tall. Undrafted out of Eastern Michigan, Boykins also played for the CBA’s Rockford Lightning (1998-99) and La Fortezza Bologna of the Italian League (2008-09).

In 57 games with the Bucks last season, Boykins averaged 7.2 points and 2.5 assists. Boykins scored 22 points (8-12 FG, 4-5 3 FG) at L.A. Lakers (12/21/10) and netted a season-high 26 points (9-16 FG, 7-8 FT) vs. Dallas (1/1/11). He handed out a season-best 11 assists at Philadelphia (1/14/11). Boykins also tallied 23 points (8-22 FG) with four steals vs. Memphis (1/22/11). He registered his fourth 20-point game of 2010-11 with 20 points (7-11 FG, 6-8 FT) in a 98-90 win vs. Atlanta (1/26/11). Boykins, who also played 35 games (career-high 19 starts) for Milwaukee in 2006-07 after a mid-season trade from Denver, was signed by the Bucks on Aug. 19, 2010.

His best seasons came as a member of the Nuggets (2003-07), averaging 12.1 points, 4.0 assists, 1.7 rebounds and 0.79 steals in 255 games (12 starts). Boykins also averaged 12.9 points and 3.9 assists in 15 playoff games (one start) with Denver.

The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed guard Alan Anderson to a 10-day contract.  He is the 42nd Call-Up of the 2011-12 NBA D-League season.

Anderson averaged 21.5 points and 4.6 rebounds in eight appearances with the NBA D-League’s Canton Charge. He ranks 11th in the league in scoring, while shooting .550 (60-for-109) from the field and .800 (40-for-50) at the charity stripe.

In three NBA D-League campaigns, Anderson has appeared in 44 games, with 24 starts, averaging 18.0 points, 4.6 rebounds and 31.5 minutes. He spent the 2010-11 season with the New Mexico Thunderbirds (before the team relocated to Canton) and appeared in 26 games for the Tulsa 66ers in 2006-07.

Anderson was a four-year starter at Michigan State, where he helped the Spartans reach the 2005 Final Four. He signed with Charlotte as an undrafted free agent in 2005 and appeared in 53 games over two seasons with the Bobcats. Anderson averaged 5.8 points, 1.9 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in the NBA before heading overseas with stops in Italy (Bologna), Russia (BC Triumph Lyubertsy), Croatia (KK Cibona), Israel (Maccabi Tel Aviv), Spain (Regal Barcelona) and China (Shandong Lions).

The roster now stands at 13 players heading into tonight’s game vs. Orlando (TSN/Sportsnet’s 590 The FAN).

joe johnson

The Atlanta Hawks’ Joe Johnson and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant today were named the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 19, through Sunday, March 25.

Johnson led the Hawks to a 4-1 week with averages of 23.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists. Johnson hit game-tying three-pointers vs. Cleveland on March 21 and Utah on March 25, as well as the game-winning three-pointer at Washington on March 24. Johnson’s 37-point, eight-rebound effort keyed a 139-133 quadruple overtime win over the Jazz on March 25.

Durant’s 29.5 ppg ranked second in the league (Kevin Love, 33.5), his 10.3 rpg ranked ninth, and his 2.0 spg tied for fifth best in the Western Conference as he helped the Thunder to a 3-1 week. Durant, the league’s second leading scorer for the season at 27.9 points (Kobe Bryant, 28.3) tallied 40 points and a season-high 17 rebounds on March 25 in a 103-87 win over the Heat.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Josh Smith, Houston’s Goran Dragic, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Minnesota’s Kevin Love, New York’s Amar’e Stoudemire, Orlando’s Ryan Anderson and Utah’s Al Jefferson.

josh selby

The Memphis Grizzlies today re-assigned guard Josh Selby to the Reno Bighorns, the Grizzlies’ NBA Development League affiliate.  The assignment marks the 59th time an NBA player has been assigned to his NBA D-League affiliate during the 2011-12 season and is the second assignment for Selby.

Selby (6-2, 183, Kansas) returns to the Bighorns following a four-game assignment in February, when he averaged 21.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 30.8 minutes.  He scored more than 20 points in three games with the Bighorns, including an NBA D-League career-high 26 points on Feb. 14 against the Austin Toros.

Originally selected by Memphis in the second round (49th overall) in the 2011 NBA Draft, Selby has appeared in 23 games for the Grizzlies this season, averaging 2.5 points, 1.2 assists and 8.8 minutes.

lebron james

LeBron James and Kevin Durant called it “hell week.”

For five days last summer, the two NBA superstars came together for one of the most grueling workout routines they have experienced in their careers. With only a few weeks before the playoffs, James is crediting those grueling workouts for contributing to one of the best seasons of his career.

“Monday through Friday, twice a day, and it was one of the toughest weeks that we’ve both had as far as workouts,” James said. “But it was some great work, and we got a lot out of it.”

Even before the workouts at the University of Akron, James and Durant enjoyed a strong friendship that extended several years. James was giving Durant advice when he was still in high school. The greatest change James said he sees in Durant this season is his ability to lead his teammates.

“We respect each other, and it’s always great to see a friend of yours do well,” James said.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

Zach Randolph

Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins turned to the starting lineup he’s used the most, re-inserting Marreese Speights in place of returning power forward Zach Randolph.

The move helped the otherwise lost Grizzlies head back in the right direction with a 102-96 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night in the Staples Center.

Memphis ended a three-game skid and avoided being swept on its four-game road trip. With a willing Randolph playing off the bench, the Griz displayed a renewed spirit and played arguably their most cohesive basketball on both ends of the court in a week.

“Our starters came out and played with a lot of heart and passion,” Hollins said.

The Griz hadn’t looked this sharp or scrappy since a March 13 double-overtime loss at home to the Lakers. They were without Rudy Gay and Zach Randolph for that game. This time, Gay’s scoring led the Grizzlies’ early charge and Randolph was a force late.

Randolph made 4 of 5 shots and grabbed five of his 12 rebounds in the fourth quarter. The veteran forward didn’t seem to mind coming off the bench, citing a need to work on his conditioning.

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Ramon Sessions

Now that he’s moved into the starting lineup and now that he’s met Lakers courtside royalty in actor Jack Nicholson, it’s time to ask the $1 million question about new point guard Ramon Sessions.

How do you pronounce his first name?

“Rah-mahn or Ra-mone, it doesn’t matter,” Sessions said.

All right. On to another pressing question: Have you been surprised by your sudden impact on the Lakers?

“I wouldn’t say it caught me by surprise,” said Sessions, acquired March 15 from Cleveland. “It’s something I knew deep down inside if I ever got the opportunity to showcase my skill I knew I could fit in with one of the best teams in the league.

“My career has been kind of like this. I’ve played well. I’ve just been (with teams) like Milwaukee, Minnesota and Cleveland that don’t get much coverage. I know guys in the NBA circle know I can play.

“It’s a dream come true for that trade to go through and be put in this situation.”

– Reported by Elliot Teaford of the Los Angeles Daily News

Nikola Pekovic

Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic, diagnosed with bone spurs in his right ankle, said Sunday, March 25, that he will consider surgery if the condition doesn’t improve.

Pekovic did not play in the Wolves’ 117-100 win over Denver and will not play at Memphis on Tuesday or at Charlotte on Wednesday.

“I really can’t go into next season with this thing,” Pekovic said before Sunday’s game. “It’s been too painful. We’re going to try to figure out some things to do in the next few days.”

Pekovic has missed four of the past five games because of soreness in his left ankle. He said “overcompensating” for the bone spurs in his right ankle led to soreness in the left.

– Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Ryan Anderson

[Orlando Magic forward Ryan] Anderson has flourished to the point where he’s a candidate for the NBA’s Most Improved Player of the Year award.

“It’s an honor to even be in the talks and involved with those names,” he said. “I’m not really focused on that as a whole. It’s a cool thing. I’m just truly blessed to play consistently.”

Anderson shared the power-forward spot with Brandon Bass late last season after veteran Rashard Lewis was traded to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas.

This season, he took advantage of an opportunity when Orlando dealt Bass to the Boston Celtics, winning the job even after the Magic brought in Davis.

Anderson has started all 48 games, averaging 15.9 points and 7.7 rebounds per game compared to 10.6 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in 68 games (14 starts) last season.

– Reported by Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel

Kobe Bryant

Looks like Kobe Bryant still has plenty of spending cash, because he just dropped a HUGE chunk of change on a sick new car. Must be nice.

According to our sources, Kobe’s new ride is a Ferrari 458 Italia. We’re told the Black Mamba paid $329,000 yesterday for the car … which he paid for in full with a check.

– Reported by TMZ

joe johnson

Joe Johnson scored 37 points, Josh Smith added 22 and the Atlanta Hawks ended Utah’s six-game winning streak with a 139-133 victory Sunday night in the NBA’s first quadruple-overtime game since 1997.

The four overtimes tied for the third-longest game in NBA history. It was the ninth NBA game to go four OTs and the first since Phoenix beat Portland 140-139 on Nov. 14, 1997.

Al Jefferson finished with 28 points and 17 rebounds, and Paul Millsap had 25 points and 13 boards for the Jazz before both players fouled out in the final overtime…

With 16.9 seconds remaining in the fourth OT, Johnson’s 20-foot jumper over C.J. Miles gave the Hawks a 135-131 lead.

Jeff Teague, who had 18 points and nine assists, added a pair of free throws with 13 seconds to go to make it 137-133. Johnson’s two free throws sealed the victory with 5.5 seconds remaining.

Smith fouled out with 1:57 left in the first overtime.

Zaza Pachulia, who pulled down 20 rebounds, hit a short jumper in the final seconds of the second quarter that gave the Hawks a 17-point lead, their biggest of the game.

– Reported by George Henry of the Associated Press

Lucky? Maybe. Luol Deng’s timing was awful good, too. He grabbed a shot that had been blocked and put it in the basket just before the buzzer sounded Saturday night, rescuing the Chicago Bulls and giving them their NBA-leading 40th victory.

At 40-10, the Bulls clinched a playoff spot.

Teammate C.J. Watson drove for the basket but his shot was partially blocked by Toronto’s James Johnson and Deng was there for the winner. After officials reviewed the play to make sure Deng’s shot beat the buzzer, the Bulls had a 102-101 overtime victory on a night in which they were often outplayed by the 16-win Raptors.

“We’re lucky we had enough time to get the rebound,” Deng said. “When it left my hand it felt good because I saw the light after it left my hand. But then again, you never really know. We waited until they made the decision.”

Johnson, an ex-Bull, had 20 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, part of another determined effort by the Raptors, who gave Chicago a scare three nights ago before losing.

“That’s what happens sometimes,” Johnson said.

“The ball happened to fall short after I blocked it and Luol Deng made a great play. We deserved to win tonight, but they made the game-winning play.”

Carlos Boozer had 24 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls, Deng added 23 points and 10 rebounds, and Watson had 23 points.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Oklahoma City Thunder has recalled guard Reggie Jackson from the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

Jackson appeared in one game (one start) for the 66ers scoring 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds in 41 minutes.

During the 2011-12 season, Jackson has appeared in 41 games with the Thunder and posted averages of 3.4 points, 1.7 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes.

Arron Afflalo

Arron Afflalo of the Denver Nuggets has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow to the head of Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 6:32 remaining in the third quarter of Utah’s 121-102 win over Denver on March 23 at EnergySolutions Arena.

Afflalo will serve his suspension Sunday, March 25 when the Nuggets visit the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Video of incident is here.

The Golden State Warriors today re-assigned rookie forward Chris Wright to the Dakota Wizards, the Warriors’ NBA D-League affiliate.  The assignment marks the 57th time an NBA player has been assigned to his NBA D-League affiliate during the 2011-12 season and is the second for Wright this season.

Wright returns to the Wizards following a three-game assignment in January, when he averaged 18.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 31.0 minutes.

Wright, who earned a Call-Up to the Warriors from the Maine Red Claws in December 2011, has appeared in 17 games for Golden State this season, averaging 2.1 points, 1.1 rebounds and 4.7 minutes.  Prior to his Call-Up, Wright played in four games for the Red Claws, averaging 17.0 points and 10.8 rebounds in 31.3 minutes

The Oklahoma City Thunder has assigned guard Reggie Jackson to the Tulsa 66ers of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

During the 2011-12 season, the first-year guard has appeared in 41 games with the Thunder and posted averages of 3.4 points, 1.7 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 11.8 minutes.

Jackson will be in uniform tonight as the Tulsa 66ers host the Iowa Energy at the Tulsa Convention Center.

The Golden State Warriors have signed free agent center Keith Benson to a 10-day contract, the team announced today.

Benson, 23, is being called-up from the Sioux Falls Skyforce of the NBA Development League, where he has appeared in 20 games this season, averaging 15.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.50 blocks in 30.6 minutes per contest.  He is shooting 50.2% (122-243 FG) from the field and has posted seven double-doubles, including a 17-point, 11-rebound effort last night vs. Bakersfield.  This marks the 41st Call-Up from the D-League of the 2011-12 NBA season.

The 6’11” center was drafted by the Atlanta Hawks in the second round (48th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft out of Oakland University in Michigan, but was waived prior to the start of the 2011-12 campaign.  While in college, he averaged over 17 points and 10 rebounds in both his junior and senior seasons and finished second in the country as a senior in 2010-11 with 3.6 blocks per game.

Benson, who will wear #34, is scheduled to be in uniform for the team’s home game tonight against the Sacramento Kings.

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have signed Justin Dentmon from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League to a 10-day contract. At the same time, the Spurs released Eric Dawson from his 10-day contract.

A 6-0, 185-pound guard, Dentmon has appeared in 38 games with the Toros this season, averaging a team-best 22.9 points, 5.3 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.47 steals in 37.3 minutes while shooting .463 (285-616) from the field, 421 (88-209) from three-point range and .865 (212-245) from the foul line. A D-League All-Star, Dentmon has scored in double figures in 37 of 38 games, including 28 games with 20-or-more and six games with 30-or-more.

Undrafted out of the University of Washington in 2010, Dentmon spent the 2010-11 season with the Texas Legends. He appeared in all 50 games, averaging 19.1 points, 4.0 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.40 steals in 35.1 minutes.

For his career, Dentmon has played in 88 D-League games, averaging 20.7 points, 4.6 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.43 steals in 36.0 minutes. He’s shot .475 (601-1,264) from the field, .425 (182-428) from three-point range and .854 (439-514) from the foul line.

Dawson was signed to his second 10-day contract with the Spurs on March 16.  He appeared in four games, averaging 3.8 points and 2.5 rebounds in 9.8 minutes.

Clippers re-sign forward Bobby Simmons

Bobby Simmons

The Los Angeles Clippers today re-signed free agent forward Bobby Simmons, whose second 10-day contract with the Clippers expired on March 18th.

In 13 games played for the Clippers this season, Simmons has tallied 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds per game, while shooting .371 from behind the three-point line.

Simmons, who was the 29th  Call-Up from the D-League of the 2011-12 season when the Clippers signed him to his original 10-day contract on February 27th, averaged 13.5 points and 7.6 rebounds in 21 games played for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League this season. Simmons also played ten games for the Bighorns during the 2010-11 season after playing two games with the San Antonio Spurs.

This marks Simmons’ second stint with the Clippers, having last played in Los Angeles during the 2003-04 and 2004-05 campaigns. He turned in his most productive NBA season while with the Clippers in 2004, tallying career-highs of 16.4 points, 5.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists, garnering the NBA’s Most Improved Player award that season.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Simmons has averaged 9.2 points and 3.9 rebounds over his career while connecting on 44% of his field goals and 40% of his three-point field goal attempts.

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