Archive for May 3rd, 2012

Just two games into their first playoff run together, the Los Angeles Clippers are already hurting and hobbling.

That’s what happens to opponents of the bruising Memphis Grizzlies, but the Clippers are hoping a return home will get everybody healthy in a hurry.

With a third of their roster nursing injuries, the Clippers took the day off Thursday after a highly eventful two-game opening set in Memphis. Los Angeles left with a split and seized home-court advantage in the series despite following up one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history with a 105-98 loss Wednesday night.

While they prepare for their first playoff game in six years in front of their long-suffering Staples Center fans in Game 3 on Saturday, the Clippers must figure out where to find the postseason will already possessed by the Grizzlies, who rebounded from their stunning series-opening collapse with a gritty, grinding equalizer.

”We played better, but it’s no moral victories around here,” said Chris Paul, who had 29 points, six assists and five turnovers in Game 2. ”At the end of the day, it’s 1-1. We did what we were supposed to do, yeah, win one game. But I feel like we could have got two. Now we’ve got to take care of two.”

The Grizzlies boarded a plane with similar resolve Thursday.

”We do have to win on the road, just like the Clippers had to win,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”It’s an evenly contested playoff series. Nobody is safe wherever.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Orlando Magic looking for energy boost

Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy walked into the Magic’s practice session Thursday toting an armload of statistics to illustrate why they’ve lost two straight games and fallen into a 2-1 series hole against Indiana.

But Van Gundy knows simply harping on numbers the next two days won’t be enough to pull his team out of its funk in time for Game 4.

”Our point today wasn’t really on adjustments or anything…I wanted them to see it,” he said. ”I mean the numbers say one thing, but to watch it on film and to see what we’re talking about, because the mindsets gotta change, the disposition’s gotta change, the energy’s got to change.

”And then from there you can make adjustments.”

After squandering a late-game lead in Game 1, the Pacers have won two straight by owning the first and third quarters of play.

On Wednesday night in a 97-74 win, they outscored the Magic 32-17 in the third quarter, running their edge in that period for the series to 81-43. In the first quarter that advantage is 69-56.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Anthony Davis,who led the University of Kentucky Wildcats to this year’s NCAA championship,and Oklahoma City Thunder standout guard James Harden have been added to the list of finalists for the 2012 USA Basketball National Team, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo announced today. The official 12-man U.S. Olympic team roster will be announced later this year.

“After a lot of deliberations, after reviewing our roster, we think these two additions strengthen our National Team program immeasurably. James Harden probably is the sixth man of the year in the NBA, and Anthony Davis brings a dimension to our pool we don’t have. He’s young, but it’s exciting to think about the possibilities,” said Colangelo.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be this young and have a chance to represent my country. This is a great opportunity and I’m excited to be a part of something like this,” said Davis.

Davis played and started in all 40 UK games and as a freshman led the Wildcats to a 38-2 record, the Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular season title and the NCAA championship. The 6-10 forward averaged team highs of 14.2 ppg.,10.4 rpg. and 4.7 bpg., while adding 1.3 apg. and 1.4 spg. He shot 62.3 percent from the floor and 70.9 percent from the foul line.

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin has all but ruled himself out of Game 4 of the Heat-Knicks series.

Earlier this week, Lin had held out hope of returning in time for Game 4, scheduled for Sunday afternoon. But Lin’s surgically repaired left knee likely hasn’t healed quickly enough for him to return to the court in four days.

“I haven’t been able to load it or jump or explode or drive by somebody the way i want to, so it’s going to be longer than that,” the second-year guard said.

Lin experienced soreness in his left knee on Thursday, a day after scrimmaging for the first time since his April 2 surgery to repair a small meniscus tear in his knee.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Carlos Delfino

Milwaukee Bucks guard Carlos Delfino (6-6, 230) underwent successful surgery this morning to repair a sports hernia related to his right groin injury, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

The procedure was performed by Dr. William Meyers in Philadelphia. Delfino is expected to return to on-court basketball activities in 6-to-8 weeks.

Delfino, 29, missed 10 games this season with a right groin injury, including the last four of the regular season. In 54 games (53 starts) this season, the seven-year NBA veteran averaged 9.0 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game.

Amare Stoudemire

“Fans actually think I had a closed fist and punched through a glass door,’’ Stoudemire said. “They have wrong perception of what actually happened. I walked by and swung my arm backwards. It hit the fire extinguisher door and I slashed my hand a little bit by accident. I understand their frustrations right now. I’m frustrated with myself as well.’’

Asked what triggered the incident, Stoudemire said, “We’re down 0-2 and I knew how important it was to get a win in Miami. We played somewhat well enough to win Game 2. I was more frustrated we were down 0-2. It wasn’t as if I was trying to take out the fire extinguisher door. I wanted to make noise and let out some frustration.’’

Stoudemire said many players let out their frustrations in similar ways. “It happens all the time,’’ Stoudemire said. “Some players kick over ice coolers. Some players tip over a table. Some players even hit a chair. My thing was to hit a wall and I sliced my hand.’’ …

“I just walked by the door and it’s made of 85 percent metal and two percent glass, a strip of glass,’’ Stoudemire said. “I didn’t try to hit the glass at all. I just walked by and I didn’t see the strip of glass.’’

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Jason Kidd

Jason Kidd of the Dallas Mavericks is the recipient of the Joe Dumars Trophy presented to the 2011-12 NBA Sportsmanship Award winner, the NBA announced today.

Kidd (Southwest) was one of six divisional winners, which included Cleveland’s Antawn Jamison (Central), the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul (Pacific), Miami’s Shane Battier (Southeast), Minnesota’s Luke Ridnour (Northwest), and New York’s Jeremy Lin (Atlantic).

Kidd received 93 first-place votes (2,501 total points) of a possible 334. The NBA will make a $10,000 donation on behalf of Kidd to The Jason Kidd Foundation, which is dedicated to improving education among the youth, by ensuring that kids of all ages have the tools needed through mentoring, tutoring and technology programs to succeed in life.

For the eighth consecutive year, NBA players voted on this award, with eleven points given for each first-place vote, nine points for each second-place vote, seven points for third, five points for fourth, three points for fifth and one point for each sixth-place vote received.  Each team nominated one of its players for the award. Former NBA players Greg Anthony, John Crotty, Antonio Davis, Eddie Johnson and Kenny Smith selected the six divisional winners from a pool of 30 team nominees.

The NBA will make a $5,000 donation to each of the divisional winner’s charities of choice: the Battier Take Charge Foundation on behalf of Battier; KaBOOM! on behalf of Jamison; the Jeremy Lin Foundation on behalf of Lin; the CP3 Foundation on behalf of Paul; and the Blaine (Wash.) Boys and Girls Club on behalf of Ridnour.

The annual award reflects the ideals of sportsmanship — ethical behavior, fair play and integrity — in amateur and professional basketball, a key focus of the league’s NBA Cares program efforts. The trophy is named for former Detroit Pistons guard and Hall of Famer Joe Dumars, the award’s first recipient.

Video Clip: Watch Chris Paul flop

There is too much flopping in the NBA.

Here’s one example. A Chris Paul flop in yesterday’s Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies playoff game.

He’s ready to take the charge. Only there barely was any contact. Yet CP3 is clearly intent on falling down anyway.

http://h9.abload.de/img/untitled-2htlql.gif

Jazz embarrassed after Game 2 beatdown

One word crossed Al Jefferson’s lips in a muted tone when he was asked to describe what had just happened to him and the Utah Jazz on the AT&T Center court.

“Embarrassing.”

The night was inexplicable for Paul Millsap — the worst he’d ever been part of during his NBA career. “Tough” was the description Gordon Hayward uttered a few times. Devin Harris admitted it was “a little demoralizing.”

Game 2 was SOOOOO BAD for the Jazz, even Spurs coach Gregg Popovich kind of came to their defense.

The Jazz were hounded, hammered and humiliated by San Antonio — and that was just the first half. When the final buzzer finally blared its merciful sound, the Jazz were on the extremely short end of a 114-83 rout Wednesday night.

The Spurs — after beating the Jazz by an average of 23 points in their first two playoff games — will take a 2-0 series lead into Utah for Game 3 on Saturday night.

“We had a good night. They had a poor night,” Popovich, the 2012 NBA coach of the year, said. “This was just a matter of them having a bad, bad night. … It happens to all of us.”

– Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

Mike Bibby, a veteran of 102 playoff games and three conference finals, was in disbelief when told of his team’s long-standing ineptitude. “Eleven years without a playoff win?” Bibby asked. “Not one game?” Nope. “A game or a series?” A game. “You sure?” Yup. “Dang, I didn’t know that. It’s surprising.”

While it may be news to Bibby, who just joined the Knicks this season, it could become part of history Thursday night.

If the Knicks fail to beat Miami in Game 3 at the Garden, it would be the franchise’s 13th straight playoff loss, which would set an NBA record.

The Knicks are currently tied with the Grizzlies, who lost 12 straight from 2004 through 2006.

– Reported by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News

chris bosh

Heat forward Chris Bosh may miss Game 3 of Miami’s Eastern Conference first-round series in New York on Thursday after being summoned home because his wife was preparing to give birth.

The Heat were told late Wednesday that Bosh had to return home. Bosh left from New York on a private plane, and his wife, Adrienne, posted a photo on a social media account saying ”hurry home.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

O.J. Mayo felt so responsible for how Memphis blew a 27-point lead in the series opener with the Clippers that he had barely slept since that loss. He made sure all the Grizzlies can sleep well now.

Mayo scored 10 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter, and Memphis bounced back to beat Los Angeles 105-98 on Wednesday night in Game 2.

”We’ll get some good rest tonight and go to L.A. for two more games,” Mayo said.

The Grizzlies collapsed Sunday night, letting the Clippers grab home-court advantage in the best-of-seven, first-round Western Conference series. Down 21 points at the start of the fourth quarter, the Clippers tied the NBA playoff record for largest final-period comeback…

Gay also scored 21 points and Memphis showed off its depth with six players reaching double figures. Mike Conley had 19, Zach Randolph 15, Marreese Speights 11 and Tony Allen 10.

Paul led the Clippers with 29 points. Blake Griffin had 22, and Mo Williams and Nick Young 11 apiece…

The Clippers shot 64.7 percent (11 of 17) in the first quarter and hit 4 of 6 at the free throw line. But they just couldn’t match the Grizzlies who outrebounded the Clippers (37-2) with a big edge on the offensive boards (16-4), which they used to outscore them 18-6 on second-chance points. Memphis also had a 46-38 edge in the paint…

The emotions are starting to boil in this series, and the Grizzlies brought out wrestler Jerry ”The King” Lawler came out and delivered a pile driver to someone dressed up as a Clippers’ fan. That almost seemed to help spark the Grizzlies.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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