Archive for April 8th, 2012

Spurs beat Jazz for 11th straight win

The San Antonio Spurs pushed their winning streak to 11 on a night when coach Gregg Popovich committed to playing just 10 men.

That health prioritizing isn’t likely to change—whether first place is on the line or not.

Tony Parker scored 28 points, Manu Ginobili had 23 off the bench and the Spurs reached their second 11-game winning streak of the season, beating the Utah Jazz 114-104 on Sunday night to maintain their slim lead atop the Western Conference.

Tim Duncan added 13 points and 16 rebounds, making this 28th win in 33 games for the Spurs look like countless other Big Three showcases. But different this time was Ginobili, who has missed 29 games with injuries this year, deliberately seeking out contact to toughen up before the playoffs. Popovich also sat starting center DeJuan Blair for the first time all season

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Boston Celtics turned consecutive games against teams they’re jockeying with for playoff positioning into a notice for the rest of the Eastern Conference: They have every intention of breaking off a postseason run.

Kevin Garnett scored 20 points and Rajon Rondo dished out double-digit assists for his 17th consecutive game, finishing with 15 to help lead Boston to a 103-79 win over the struggling Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night.

One night earlier, the Celtics posted a double-digit win at Indiana, a team one spot ahead of them in the East’s playoff chase.

“We know what’s at stake,” said forward Paul Pierce , who had 17 points. “A fourth seed, maybe a third.”

Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley each added 18 points as the Celtics won for the seventh time in nine games, improving their Atlantic Division lead to three games over both the 76ers and New York Knicks.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Dwyane Wade sits out Sunday

Heat guard Dwyane Wade will not play Sunday when his team hosts the Detroit Pistons. Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade is nursing a minor ankle injury he suffered Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies.

It is the second time this week the Heat have given Wade a day off because of a minor injury. Wade skipped last Tuesday’s game with the Philadelphia 76ers with a bruised knee. Spoelstra denied the Heat were giving Wade the recent days off just to rest him ahead of the playoffs but admitted the rest would be an “ancillary benefit.”

– Reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com

Melo scores 43 as Knicks beat Bulls

—Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 43 points, making the go-ahead 3-pointer with 8.2 seconds left in overtime as the New York Knicks spoiled a rusty Derrick Rose’s return to the lineup and beat the Chicago Bulls 100-99 on Sunday.

Rose scored 29 points after missing the previous 12 games with a strained right groin, but he shot only 8 of 26 from the field and missed a pair of free throws with 19 seconds left in regulation and the Bulls ahead by three.

Anthony made a 3-pointer eight seconds later to tie it, and scored the final five points of the extra period as the Knicks pulled out a thriller in a possible playoff preview.

The Bulls trailed by 21 in the first quarter, led by 10 in the fourth quarter, then failed to put it away by missing four straight free throws in the final 34 seconds of regulation.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Derrick Rose

Derrick Rose returned to Chicago’s lineup Sunday at New York, giving the Bulls their projected starting five for just the 11th time this season.

Rose missed 12 straight games with a strained right groin and has been sidelined 22 times this season because of a variety of injuries.

The Bulls had the reigning MVP in the lineup for the afternoon tip with Richard Hamilton, Joakim Noah, Carlos Boozer and Luol Deng for the first time since March 5 against Indiana.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Amare Stoudemire

Despite recent reports Amar’e Stoudemire hoped to return from his back injury by next weekend, Knicks coach Mike Woodson said he does not plan on having the power forward anytime soon.

Stoudemire has missed the past six games with a bulging disk in his back and originally was given a timetable to return of 2-4 weeks — Wednesday marks two weeks since the diagnosis — but Woodson said he has no new information to suggest a return is imminent.

“At this point, I’m not counting on Amar’e right now to come back,” Woodson said after yesterday’s practice, declining to give a new timetable. “You’ve got to ask the medical people that, but the bottom line is he’s not going to be in uniform for a while.”

– Reported by Howie Kussoy of the New York Post

antoine walker

Antoine Walker is hanging ‘em up.

The former Celtics forward, who had been playing for the Idaho Stampede of the NBA Development League, announced his retirement in the locker room on Saturday night, according to the team.

Walker, who played 12 seasons in the NBA, is reportedly expected to make a formal retirement announcement in the coming days.

The 35-year-old’s most notable playing days came as a member of the Celtics from 1996-2003. He was named an All-Star three times while forming a potent duo with Paul Pierce.

– Reported by Ricky Doyle of NESN

Once a Knick, always a Knick. Or so the saying goes.

The New York Knicks announced today that Larry Johnson has been named Basketball and Business Operations Representative.

“I consider coming back to work for a franchise that I had so much success with a great honor,” Johnson said.  “As I move onto the next phase of my career, I have been given an opportunity to touch so many different areas of the organization – helping develop young players, connecting with the community and actively involving myself in the business of basketball. I couldn’t be more excited to get going and learn as much as I can.”

In this new role, Johnson will work closely with the basketball operations department, focusing on player development; the community relations department, working to support the Garden of Dreams Foundation and on fan development; and the marketing and partnership departments, with involvement in numerous business initiatives.

The author of perhaps the most famous play in franchise history, “LJ” converted a four-point play with :05.7 remaining en route to a 92-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Finals at Madison Square Garden on Jun. 5, 1999.

In five seasons in the Blue & Orange, Johnson, a four-time Knicks captain, averaged 12.3 points and 5.5 rebounds over 330 games from 1996 through 2001, and led the team into the playoffs each year before announcing his retirement on Oct. 10, 2001. Once acquired from the Charlotte Hornets on Jul. 14, 1996, Johnson’s reputation as being a great teammate and a player willing to sacrifice for the team’s greater-good quickly became evident to the Knicks’ faithful.

Johnson currently joins an extensive list of Knicks alumni employed by The Madison Square Garden Company, including: Mike Woodson (interim head coach), Darrell Walker and Herb Williams (assistant coaches), Allan Houston (assistant general manager/general manager Erie BayHawks), Cal Ramsey (director, special projects and community relations representative), John Starks (alumni relations and fan development advisor) and Walt “Clyde” Frazier (Network broadcaster).

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