Archive for May, 2012

Lil Wayne is a ‘Lil wrong when he says he was denied entry into tonight’s playoff game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the San Antonio Spurs — fact is, he just didn’t have a ticket.

The rapper just tweeted, “Going to go to the Thunder game tonight but was denied by the team to be in their arena. Wow.”

But a rep for the OKC Thunder tells TMZ … “We did not deny him,” adding, “His representatives contacted us about courtside tickets and we told them we are completely sold out.”

– Reported by TMZ

InsideHoops.com editor says: You generally have to acquire a ticket in order to attend a ticketed event. The arena probably “denied entry” to other people who also did not have tickets to this particular ticketed event.

The Los Angeles Lakers have promoted Glenn Carraro to Assistant General Manager, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Carraro, who spent last season serving in a dual role as both the Director of Basketball Administration for the Lakers and as the General Manager of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, will retain his title of General Manager of the D-Fenders.

Carraro, who has 17 years of NBA experience, has been a member of the Lakers front office staff since 2000. Originally joining the team as the Assistant to the General Manager/Director of Camps, Carraro was promoted to Director of Basketball Administration in 2006. In addition to his duties with the Lakers, Carraro served as the D-Fenders Assistant General Manager from 2006-2010 and was named General Manager of the Los Angeles D-Fenders at the start of the 2011-12 season. In his first season as GM of the D-Fenders, the team finished with the best regular season record in NBA D-League history (38-12) and had a total of eight GATORADE Call-Ups to the NBA. The D-Fenders also received the NBA D-League Development Champion Award.

“Glenn has done an excellent job in every position he has had in the organization, and he’s become a valuable part of our staff,” said Kupchak. “This is a well-deserved promotion for him, and I expect he’ll do an excellent job in his new position.”

Prior to joining the Lakers, Carraro served in various positions with the New York Knicks from 1995-99, starting off as a Sports Management Trainee, then Player Personnel Coordinator/Manager of Knicks Camps and eventually as Manager of Basketball Operations. With primary responsibilities including the creation and management of player personnel databases as well as separate salary cap reports, in his time with New York’s front office, the Knicks posted a 174-122 (.588) record and made at least the Eastern Conference Semifinals in all four seasons while appearing in the 1999 NBA Finals.

A graduate of SUNY-Stony Brook after transferring from NYU-Polytechnic following two seasons on the men’s basketball team, Carraro completed his graduate coursework in Athletic Administration at St. John’s University (1991-94).  Carraro also spent time working in the USBL and in the CBA for the Hartford Hellcats and Connecticut Pride.

greg oden

McMillan doesn’t second-guess the [Portland Trail Blazers’] choice of drafting Oden over Durant with the first pick in the 2007 draft.

“We felt at that time we needed a big guy,” McMillan says. “That’s one of those unfortunate situations. Greg had some major injuries.

“No question in my mind, if he had stayed healthy, he would have been able to have a huge impact for us on the court. What Durant has done speaks for itself, but there were two No. 1 picks in that draft.”

The rash of injuries with the Blazers was nothing more than bum luck, says McMillan, who was on the injured list himself with a torn Achilles’ tendon at one point.

“I don’t blame any of it on the medical staff,” he says. “They had absolutely nothing to do with it. Neither did my coaching or how we were training (the players).

“It was just a series of unfortunate situations. Like with Greg, where we didn’t have an opportunity to oversee this last year because of the lockout. He had a setback, but that wasn’t on our medical staff. It wasn’t Jay (Jensen, the trainer) or our strength and conditioning guys.”

– Reported by Steve Brandon of the Portland Tribune

The Warriors will also explore using the No. 7 pick to get a veteran. The Warriors’ starting lineup — which is already set at four positions with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, David Lee and Andrew Bogut — is in desperate need of athleticism and experience. So Golden State may not want to give such a prime position to a rookie.

Golden State has long since had interest in Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala, who is exactly the playmaking athlete the Warriors need at small forward. Other small forwards high on their list, according to league sources, are Portland’s Nick Batum, Indiana’s Danny Granger and Memphis’ Rudy Gay. And don’t be surprised if the Warriors make a play for Atlanta forward Josh Smith.

Trading the No. 7 pick for a veteran wouldn’t rule out the Warriors’ filling a need with a rookie from this year’s draft. The Warriors could potentially move up using their other three picks and have a shot at Illinois center Meyers Leonard, St. Bonaventure power forward Andrew Nicholson or maybe even Kentucky’s Jones (who some mocks have falling out of the lottery).

– Reported by Marcus Thompson II of the Bay Area News Group

carmelo anthony

Carmelo Anthony wanted a low-key birthday and he got one. According to a source familiar with the situation, the Knicks forward celebrated his 28th with wife LaLa Vasquez and a group of about 15 at SoHo nightclub Greenhouse on Tuesday night. Our insider says Anthony insisted on “no cake, no balloons,” but didn’t refuse a couple of bottles of Champagne that his pal Swizz Beatz, who was among the guests, and DJ Clue, who was spinning at the club after a Bartenura Moscato wines event, sent his way. Anthony’s party arrived around 12:30 a.m. and the superstar stayed until 3. Interestingly, no teammates were on hand for the soiree.

– Reported by Gatecrasher/New York Daily News

Mark Cuban’s repeated criticism of the NBA for allowing its stars to play in the Olympics is no longer falling on deaf ears in the commissioner’s office.

David Stern and deputy commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday that they are no longer sure they want to see NBA veterans playing in the Olympics beyond this summer’s Games in London and will look into a 23-and-under age limit, as soccer does.

The news came as a welcome surprise to Cuban, who touted a 22-and-under age limit as recently as April.

“Yes, I’m thrilled,” Cuban told ESPNDallas.com on Wednesday night.

The most outspoken of the league’s owners regarding the NBA’s participation in the Olympics and all international competition during the NBA’s offseason, Cuban said in April that he believed the topic of NBA players’ availability was a dead issue, saying, “The commissioner’s office won’t open it up to discussion. They’ll take calls about it, but won’t put it up for a vote. Hopefully, I can get him to move it to a vote at some point.”

Silver made it clear Wednesday that Cuban’s voice is resonating.

– Reported by Jeff Caplan of ESPN Dallas

NBA legend Allen Iverson believes his wife should be locked up for ransacking his house while he was out of the country — this according to new legal docs.

A.I. recently filed a motion for contempt in Georgia against his estranged wife Tawanna Iverson, claiming he had a basketball gig in Asia earlier this month … and when he returned home, his house was totally gutted.

According to the docs, Iverson’s wife infiltrated his home while he was gone — pillaging furniture, art, memorabilia … and a large sum of cash.

Iverson says he’s asked Tawanna several times to return the stuff — but so far, she’s refused.

– Reported by TMZ

rajon rondo

Rajon Rondo posted a stat line never before seen in NBA playoff history. He was on the court for every second of a game that finished more than three hours after it started. He scored more points in a single overtime than anyone this season.

His night was called incredible, amazing and unbelievable - and that was by the Miami Heat.

And when it was over, Rondo could only express disappointment that the Boston Celtics needed more.

LeBron James scored 34 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, Dwyane Wade scored eight of his 23 points in overtime and the Heat took a 2-0 lead in the Eastern Conference finals with a 115-111 win over the Celtics on Wednesday night, overcoming what will surely go down as the best game of Rondo’s career to move within six wins of an NBA title.

”We lost,” Rondo said, shrugging off talk of the historical ramifications of his night. ”Simple as that.”

Rondo’s final numbers: 44 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds. He scored all 12 of Boston’s overtime points, giving the Celtics the lead three times, only to have the Heat answer each of those. And when he finally missed in the extra session - on a play where Rondo said he got struck in the face by Wade - then and only then could Miami put Boston away.

Game 3 is Friday night in Boston, where the Celtics will try to make this a series. No Celtics team has successfully rallied from an 0-2 hole since 1969.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

lebron james

LeBron James led the Heat with 34 points. He was 7 of 20 from the field but made 18 of 24 from the free-throw line to offset his struggles from the field. The Heat was 31 of 47 from the line (66 percent) while Boston was 26 of 29.

“The performance [Rondo] put on tonight will go down in the record books,” James said. “It was exciting to be a part of it and to win.”

Dwyane Wade had 23 points, scoring 21 after the first half, and Mario Chalmers had another postseason breakout game, going 8 of 16 from the field for 22 points.

“It was exhausting,” Wade said. “We never should have dug ourselves that big a hole, but give [Boston] credit.”

It was a steal by Chalmers, perhaps the Heat’s craftiest defender, that set up Wade’s three-point play with 59.7 seconds left in overtime. The acrobatic bucket and continuation free throw put the Heat ahead by five points. From there, James and Wade made just enough at the free-throw line — a combined 4 of 5 — to hold off the Celtics.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

The Celtics lost captain Paul Pierce, who fouled out in the final minute of regulation, and reserves Pietrus and Keyon Dooling fouled out in overtime.

“LeBron James took 24 free throws and our team took 29,’’ Rivers said. “Paul Pierce fouled out of a game where he was attacking the basket. It’s just tough. But listen, we’ve just got to keep playing. I tell my guys, ‘doesn’t matter.’ We can’t get distracted. We will not get distracted in this series.

“I guarantee you right now they’re distracted, in the locker room. But we have to get it out of us and move on. Whatever happened, happened, and we’re just going to move on and play the next game.

“It’s corny, but they’ve won two games at home. And now we go to a place that we’re very comfortable in, and we have to win two games at home. And then we’ll see from there.’’

– Reported by Frank Dell’Apa of the Boston Globe

Rondo played the full 53 minutes, providing a career-high 44 points with eight rebounds and 10 assists — a combination of levels never reached by anyone in a playoff game. Ever.

But Rondo couldn’t provide the Bostonians with the victory that they so sorely needed, and was within their grasp. Miami pulled away for a 115-111 triumph in overtime, leaving Rondo defeated but unbowed.

“It’s irrelevant,” he said. “We lost. It’s as simple as that.”

Not quite, for even in the extra period when he should have had nothing left, he went for 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds after Paul Pierce and Mickael Pietrus had fouled out.

“I felt fine,” Rondo said. “It was a mental grind for me individually and for us as a team. Kevin (Garnett) played extra minutes (45). We all did. There’s no turning back. It’s the conference finals. I wanted to play every minute. I thought I didn’t hurt my team by me playing every minute. I wanted to go out there and continue to do my best for my team.”

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

NBA star Metta World Peace has said a lot of bizarre things in his career on and off the court.

And his recent public service announcement is yet another head-scratcher.

The trippy PSA stars Peace as ‘Metta Man’ a superhero who skateboards through the New York City skyline. The ad also features Larry King, a Cooper Mini, and a 40 pound curling stone. The partically animated video ends with Peace executing a backboard-shattering dunk.

“I may do some wild things at times,” he says, at the end of the 60 second PSA. “But there’s something I’m really serious about. Mental health.”

The spot directs viewers to Limelight Mental Health, a non-profit organization that claims to boost awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental illness. Limelight encourages people to wear lime green bracelets or ribbons for mental health awareness.

– Reported by Lindsay Goldwert of the New York Daily News

Ron Artest mental health PSA video

NBA 2K13 release date is October 2, 2012

Good news, basketball fans. There’s a release date for the next edition of the best NBA video game around.

2K Sports today announced that NBA 2K13, the next installment of the top-rated NBA video game simulation franchise* for twelve straight years and the follow-up to the award-winning NBA 2K12, release date is Tuesday, October 2, 2012 in North America and October 5, 2012 internationally for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, PlayStation3 computer entertainment system, PSP (PlayStation Portable) system, Wii system and Windows PC. A Wii U version of NBA 2K13 will be available in the launch window, at a later date.

As always, InsideHoops.com will check the game out for you — usually before it’s released — and let you know what’s especially hot about it and the changes that hopefully make it even better than before.

“The NBA All-Star package is our way saying ‘thank you’ to fans for their ongoing love of the NBA 2K series,” said Jason Argent, vice president of marketing for 2K Sports. “This content provides a ton of depth and value to our fans, and it’s just the beginning of a lot of big news about NBA 2K13.”

Fans that pre-order NBA 2K13 for the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 will receive a new downloadable NBA All-Star content package. This add-on content will be set in Houston, the site of the 2013 NBA All-Star Game and will allow fans to stage their own NBA All-Star Game, including three NBA All-Star events - Three Point Shootout, Rising Stars Challenge, and the Slam Dunk Contest featuring all-new intuitive, pick-up-and-play controls.

We’re looking forward to it.

As it turns out, the “Space Jam” reunion won’t be happening with the Charlotte Bobcats.

After an interview with Charlotte management, owner Michael Jordan personally reached out to Patrick Ewing to tell him he’s been eliminated as a candidate to coach the Bobcats, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

Charlotte is waiting to see whether it will win the NBA draft lottery on Wednesday night and get the chance to draft Kentucky’s Anthony Davis before it begins a second round of interviews for the opening, sources said.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports

Hornets likely landing a new TV deal

A soon-to-be-announced television deal with Fox Sports’ regional networks will erase a decade-long issue that kept Hornets games off some area cable television systems, annoyingly stunting fans’ access to telecasts of the team’s games.

Multiple sources confirmed Tuesday that Hornets telecasts will switch to the Fox cable system beginning next season, enabling the team to saturate its ticket-selling market, especially the north shore.

Cox Sports Television, the network created in part because of a 10-year agreement that began in 2002 to televise Hornets games, declined to be part of an NBA-negotiated bidding process that resulted in Fox scooping up the telecast rights, according to a report by Sports Business Journal.

Rod Mickler, vice president of Cox Sports Television, could not be reached for comment Tuesday, nor could anyone with the NBA office. The league, which technically still owns the Hornets (prospective owner Tom Benson is awaiting official approval from the Board of Governors), handled negotiations for the team’s new TV agreement, according to a league source.

– Reported by Jimmy Smith of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

tony parker

Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs are making this look way too easy.

Parker had 34 points and eight assists, Manu Ginobili added 20 points and the Spurs stayed perfect in the playoffs with a 120-111 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals Tuesday night.

So far, the Spurs have turned a hotly anticipated matchup between the league’s top two scoring teams into a lopsided mismatch more befitting of an early round.

Game 3 is Thursday night in Oklahoma City, and the Thunder can only hope that a change of venue throws San Antonio out of its groove. The Spurs put on an offensive clinic for three quarters on Tuesday night, shooting 60 percent and building a 22-point lead.

”We like to play like that,” said Parker, who hit 16 of 21 shots. ”That’s the way we play.”

The Spurs set an NBA record with their 20th consecutive victory bridging the regular season and the playoffs. They came in sharing the longest such streak with the 2000-01 Lakers, who won 19 straight before losing to Philadelphia in the first game of the finals…

”It’s great and it is a great run,” said Tim Duncan, who had 11 points and 12 rebounds…

The Thunder made a late surge to get within six points, but Parker, Ginobili and Duncan helped San Antonio finish them off. Oklahoma City is 5-0 at home in the playoffs, but only 14 teams have come back from 2-0 deficits to win a series in NBA playoff history…

Kevin Durant had 31 points, Westbrook had 27 points and eight assists and James Harden rebounded from a rough Game 1 to score 30 for the Thunder, who have lost two straight for the first time since early April. Oklahoma City dropped to 15-4 in games after losses this season.

– Reported by Chris Duncan of the Associated Press

Spurs guard Tony Parker, who scored 42 against the Thunder back in February, again dazzled, this time with 34 points on 16-of-21 shooting to go with eight assists. His efforts captained a 27-assists night for the Spurs, who used that precise ball movement to get about anything they wanted, exactly when they wanted it.

San Antonio also made 11-of-26 3-pointers, burning the Thunder with the same sharp-shooting that the Spurs displayed during the regular season. Two nights earlier, the Thunder held the Spurs to 8-of-24 shooting from 3-point range and perhaps thought it had solved that part of the puzzle.

Only another problem popped up.

While the Thunder’s big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden did what they needed to do, combining for 88 points on 30-of-54 shooting, the rest of the Thunder’s players scored just 23 points on 7-of-34 shooting.

That was a huge difference in the game.

– Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman

kevin durant

OKC got 88 points out of its Big Three — 31 for Kevin Durant, 30 from James Harden and 27 from Westbrook — but only 23 from everybody else.

In producing their highest playoff scoring night since a 128-119 overtime victory over Sacramento in 2006, the Spurs got points from across the box score.

Rookie forward Kawhi Leonard provided the Spurs with 18 points and 10 rebounds, his highest-scoring game of the postseason and his first double-double.

Duncan, meanwhile, shook off 2-for-11 shooting to pad the stat sheet with 11 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and four blocks.

Yet it was Parker who spearheaded the Spurs’ victory, playing like the almost-MVP he was during the regular season.

“It’s always been a battle for me to find that happy balance,” Parker said. “Over the years, I’ve gotten better at knowing when to find my spots to pass and to score.”

As the series shifts north of the Red River for Games 3 and 4, the challenge becomes daunting for the Thunder. They must win four of five over a team that hasn’t lost since April 11.

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

76ers will not keep Craig Brackins

Team president Rod Thorn confirmed Tuesday via email that second-year forward Craig Brackins “will not be back” with the 76ers next season.

The Sixers declined to pick up the third-year option for $1.5 million on the 6-foot-10 Brackins, making Brackins a free agent.

Brackins was deactivated in favor of Xavier Silas for the Celtics’ playoff series. The Sixers signed Silas, a combo guard, for the final two games of the regular season.

– Reported by Tom Moore of Philly Burbs

Lakers may name new assistant GM

After parting ways with several longtime employees last summer because of the NBA lockout, the Los Angeles Lakers are continuing to restock their cupboard with new staff.

The Lakers are in discussions to promote Glenn Carraro from general manager of the Los Angeles D-Fenders, the Lakers’ D-League affiliate, to assistant general manager for the Lakers, according to multiple sources.

Carraro would fill the position of assistant GM that has been unoccupied since the Lakers did not renew Ronnie Lester’s contract last year. Lester spent 10 seasons as assistant GM after working his way up the organization from being hired as a regional scout in 1987.

“Ronnie was a dear friend and I thought we really worked well together, but the people that I work with now I have a great relationship with and you have to move on,” Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak told reporters after the team’s exit interviews last week.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman might soon find himself working with at-risk teens or cleaning up streets.

The flamboyant former player known for his rebounding skills and wild, off-court behavior was sentenced Tuesday to 104 hours of community service after being found guilty last year of four counts of contempt for failing to pay child support.

The ruling also placed Rodman, 51, on three years of informal probation on the condition he keep up his child and spousal support payments.

It was the latest development in a series of legal disputes that began in 2004, when Rodman’s wife at the time filed for divorce.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Vinny Del Negro will be back as coach of the Los Angeles Clippers next season.

The team said Tuesday that it has exercised its contract option on him to return for a third season. Del Negro led the Clippers to a 40-26 record during the lockout-shortened season and the second round of the playoffs, where they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.

Their winning percentage of 60.6 this season was the highest in franchise history.

– Reported by the Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers, the Idaho Stampede, and the NBA Development League announced today that the Trail Blazers and Stampede have entered into a single affiliation partnership beginning with the 2012-13 season.  Portland will be Idaho’s sole NBA affiliate and will have full control over the team’s basketball operations.

This partnership, also referred to as the “hybrid affiliation,” allows for NBA teams to secure control of, and cover the expenses related to, the basketball operations of an NBA D-League team while partnering with existing local ownership, which maintains responsibility for the team’s off-the-court business operations.

The Trail Blazers are the fourth NBA team to enter into a hybrid affiliation with an NBA D-League team, joining the Houston Rockets with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Brooklyn Nets with the Springfield Armor, and the New York Knicks with the Erie BayHawks.

Six other NBA teams are singly affiliated with their NBA D-League affiliates.  The Cleveland Cavaliers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs fully own and operate the Canton Charge, Dakota Wizards, L.A. D-Fenders, Tulsa 66ers and Austin Toros, respectively, while the Dallas Mavericks and Texas Legends are one-to-one affiliates.

“In establishing this exciting relationship with the Idaho Stampede, the Trail Blazers become the record 10th NBA team to acquire an exclusive ‘one-to-one’ relationship with its NBA Development League affiliate next season,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed. “Having one-third of NBA teams invested in their NBA D-League affiliates is a strong testament to our league’s ability to help NBA teams find and develop top talent.”

The Stampede and Trail Blazers have been affiliated since the 2007-08 season, sharing the affiliation with the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz during the 2011-12 season.  New affiliates for the Jazz and Nuggets will be announced at a later date.

“This investment in the development of our young players will pay dividends on the court and we’re excited about working with the Stampede,” said Trail Blazers President Larry Miller. ”The hybrid partnership is closer in structure to minor league baseball with a parent club and affiliate relationship, so we feel this is an arrangement that will help us utilize the NBA D-League system more effectively.”

Portland’s partnership with Idaho follows the NBA D-League’s 11th and most successful season, where records were set with 60 GATORADE Call-Ups and 67 assignments, while 27 percent of players on 2011-12 NBA end-of-season rosters spent time in the NBA D-League. For the third consecutive year, the NBA D-League saw more than one million fans attend games across its 16 cities.

“The partnership with Portland is another large step toward the Idaho Stampede becoming more involved with the NBA and one of its premier teams in the Trail Blazers,” said Stampede Managing Investor Bill Ilett. “It will add to the experience on and off the court for our community and basketball fans throughout the Treasure Valley.”

ray allen

Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday he was considering sitting ailing shooting guard Ray Allen for a game during the Eastern Conference finals.

In an interview with ESPNBoston.com’s Jackie MacMullan, Rivers acknowledged the dilemma the team was facing with Allen, who has painful bone spurs in his ankles and has struggled mightily this postseason because of them.

“It’s a tough call with him,” Rivers said Tuesday afternoon. “We’re trying to figure out a different minute rotation for him, maybe that will help him. We’re even considering sitting him for a game, getting him a longer rest and then playing him, and then sitting him for a game. We don’t know what the right thing is.”

Allen scored just 6 points on 1 of 7 shooting (including 1 for 4 beyond the arc) over 39 minutes against the Miami Heat in Game 1 on Monday and was 3 for 7 from the free-throw line.

– Reported by ESPN Boston

Celtics ready to use zone defense again

For most of Boston’s Game 1 loss to Miami, the Heat got any and every shot they wanted.

So as the fourth quarter rolled around and C’s coach Doc Rivers had seemingly exhausted just about every tweak and twist he could to his team’s leaky man-to-man coverage, he played his final card: the zone defense.

It didn’t provide the kind of game-changing impact the Celtics would have liked, but it did at the very least provide enough of a disruption to the Heat’s offensive flow to keep the game relatively close down the stretch.

So much so that Rivers made it clear afterward that the cameo appearance by the Celtics’ zone defense was not going to be a one-night only performance.

“You’ll see it,” Rivers said when asked about its use throughout this series. “We like it. We’ve been working on zone all year even though we’ve played it probably five times, six times all year.”

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

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