Archive for May 4th, 2012

spencer hawes

Spencer Hawes scored 21 points, grabbed nine rebounds and hit the go-ahead jumper late in the fourth quarter to help the Philadelphia 76ers rally to beat the Chicago Bulls 79-74 on Friday night and take a 2-1 lead in their Eastern Conference playoff series.

Hawes scored 10 clutch points in the fourth to give the eighth-seeded Sixers the surprising series lead.

Game 4 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

Already playing the rest of the series without reigning MVP Derrick Rose, the Bulls got another scare in the third quarter when Joakim Noah left with a sprained left ankle. Noah, who scored 12 points, returned in the fourth quarter and mostly hobbled around the court…

The Bulls missed 10 straight field goals over 5-plus minutes in the fourth to lose all of their 14-point lead.

Holiday scored 17 points and Turner had 16 while reserve Lou Williams added 14.

Carlos Boozer had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulls and Richard Hamilton scored 17 points…

The Bulls need to figure out a new way to play without Rose and to protect Noah if they don’t want this series to slip away.

– Reported by Dan Gelston of the Associated Press

rajon rondo

Rajon Rondo had a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists to lead the Celtics to a 90-84 overtime victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night and give Boston a 2-1 lead in the first-round playoff series.

It was the seventh career playoff triple-double for Rondo, who missed Game 2 because he was suspended for bumping a referee in the closing minutes of the series opener.

Game 4 is Sunday night.

Ray Allen returned for Boston after missing almost a month and scored 13 points in 38 minutes. Kevin Garnett had 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Paul Pierce had 21 points one game after having 36 points and 14 rebounds to help the Celtics swipe home-court advantage with a Game 2 victory in Atlanta.

Joe Johnson scored 29 points and Jeff Teague had 23 for the Hawks. Tracy McGrady had 12 points - his highest total since he had 40 for Houston in 2008 - but 10 were in the first half, before he landed awkwardly on his right ankle and went to the locker room. He did not have a field goal in the second half.

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers CEO and Co-Owner Adam Aron announced today that the team has reached an agreement with Julius Erving under which Dr. J will for the next several years formally associate himself in a part-time capacity with his former team as a Strategic Adviser.

In his new role, which runs at least through 2015, Erving will offer advice and counsel to Aron and Sixers Managing Owner Joshua Harris; will be available to the 76ers front office and coaches as they may wish from time to time; and in numerous ways as his primary focus will interact with Sixers fans and sponsors as a goodwill ambassador for the team.

Looking forward, the 76ers will also explore other ways which will evolve and become apparent over time in which the 76ers can be cooperative with Julius in his other professional activities through his holding companies, “Dr. J Enterprises” and “The Erving Group.”

The announcement was made during the first home playoff game of the 2011-2012 season, at which Erving had the honor to present the evening’s game ball to the referees before a packed house at the Wells Fargo Center. This same evening, Harris and Aron also hosted Erving as the guest of honor at a pre-game dinner for a select group of about a hundred Philadelphia 76ers season ticket holders. This is Julius’ third Sixers game of the year, having attended both the first and last games of the regular season as well. He is expected to be at Sunday’s fourth playoff game against the Chicago Bulls as well.

Erving’s brilliant basketball career saw him become the 3rd leading scorer of all time in professional basketball, scoring more than 30,000 points in the ABA and NBA. Most of those took place in his 11 seasons with the Philadelphia 76ers, including the memorable ‘82-‘83 season in which the 76ers won the NBA Championship. Erving repeatedly has been named an All-Star and a Most Valuable Player. In 1993, he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. In 1996, Erving was named one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history.  His number 6 was retired by the 76ers, and hangs in the rafters of the Wells Fargo Center as a lasting reminder of Julius Erving’s electrifying skills and accomplishments both on and off the court. To this day, Erving remains quite close with many of his former 76ers teammates, including Doug Collins, the immensely popular Head Coach of the Sixers.

Aron said, “Julius Erving is not only one of the greatest players ever to play basketball, he is also one of the classiest and most dignified gentlemen I have ever known. If ever there was an exemplary role model among professional sportsmen, it would have to be the Doctor, Julius Erving. On behalf of the all of us at the 76ers, we are thrilled he is reuniting with his former Sixers team, some 25 years after his retirement as an active player in the NBA. We know that Sixers fans and sponsors especially will enjoy getting to reunite with Julius as well.” Aron concluded, “After his brilliant career as a Sixer, the legacy of Dr. J in Philadelphia is unparalleled. He is nothing less than revered in Philadelphia, and we are so excited that Julius Erving is a 76er once again. We know that his help will be invaluable to us as we continue to strengthen the bond between the 76ers of today and tomorrow with Philadelphia area sports fans.”

Erving said, “I have such fond memories of my many playing years with the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1970s and 1980s. I look forward to continuing that long association with the 76ers in this day. I have been impressed by the initial steps taken by this new ownership group to reconnect the Sixers with their fans, and I am confident that the future of the 76ers looks quite bright. I know that I will greatly enjoy being able to offer advice and counsel to the team and its owners. It will also be particularly pleasing to me to have frequent and sustained contact directly with the 76ers fan base, who have been so kind to me over the years. Once a Sixer, always a Sixer.”

Erving will continue to reside in Atlanta, and expects to make multiple trips and appearances in the Philadelphia area in each of the seasons ahead.

Since Harris acquired the Sixers in 2011, the team has engaged with several distinguished 76ers alumni. In addition to Julius, such other Sixers greats as Moses Malone, Bobby Jones, Andrew Toney, Maurice Cheeks, Earl Cureton, Darryl Dawkins, Rick Mahorn and the surviving family of Wilt Chamberlain all have appeared and been saluted at Sixers home games this season. The team also has had private communications and interactions with a vast number of additional former Sixers players.

Erving becomes the second former Sixers player to assume a more enduring and formal role. For many years, World B. Free has ably served as a fulltime Goodwill Ambassador for the Sixers and will continue to do so.

Minnesota Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor is in the market for his eventual successor.

Taylor told The Associated Press on Friday that he is looking to add a minority partner who could buy a part of the team that includes an option to buy Taylor out after observing the day-to-day operations of running a professional sports team.

Taylor said he has yet to speak to any specific candidates, but made it clear that one of the biggest priorities for him will be a commitment to keeping the Timberwolves in Minnesota.

“I could find somebody to buy the team. That’s not my problem,” Taylor said at his office at Taylor Corp., a privately held printing and marketing giant. “I have to find someone that’s committed to here. It’s always best if it would be a Minnesotan. I’m telling you I don’t know that’s the way it’s going to work out. I haven’t had a lot of Minnesotans step up.”

There has long been speculation about who would take over for Taylor, who saved the Wolves from moving to New Orleans when he purchased the team in 1994. Now, Taylor thinks the timing is right to open up the search.

– Reported by the Associated Press

carmelo anthony

Mike Woodson’s message to Carmelo Anthony this offseason will have a familiar ring to it: Improve your fitness.

Despite being one of the NBA’s elite scorers, Anthony has seen his weight and conditioning get criticized in the past, and Woodson wants his best player to address those issues this summer.

“I’ve got to push him to be in better shape when you start the season,” Woodson said Friday. “Everybody’s got to be in better shape. There’s a lot of things that’s got to be changed, not a lot of things, but there’s got to be some changes for this team to really get to the next level.”

The Knicks trail the Miami Heat 3-0 in their first-round playoff series and have lost an NBA-record 13 straight postseason games. Woodson is not a lock to return as coach, although his 18-6 record to close out the regular season makes him the odds-on favorite to retain the job.

– Reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News

Since losing game two Wednesday night, Reggie Evans and the Clippers have watched hours of game film, with their glaring shortcomings staring right at them.

“We got punked around,” Evans said. “It is what it is. They did a good job of being physical. It showed. The tape don’t lie.”

The numbers don’t lie, either.

In game two, Memphis crushed the Clippers on the glass, pulling down 16 offensive rebounds, and the Grizzlies established the physical tone, shooting 21 more free throws.

“They got 16 offensive rebounds so what is that a sign of?” Evans asked. “We got pushed around, punked around – that’s what it’s a sign of. We just have to bounce back. They did what they’re supposed to do and we did what we’re supposed to do. We went there and stole one and they came back and hit us back. “…It’s a mindset. It’s like a little kid getting bullied all the time, eventually the kid’s either going to run or bite back.”

– Reported by Dan Woike of the Orange County Register Blog

josh smith

Atlanta Hawks forward Josh Smith will not play in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series against the Boston Celtics because of a sprained left knee.

Smith was hurt in Atlanta’s 87-80 loss in Game 2 on Tuesday night and tried to work out before Friday night’s game, but decided he was unable to play.

Hawks coach Larry Drew said Marvin Williams would start in place of Smith, who averaged 19 points and 15 rebounds in the first two games of the series.

– Reported by the Associated Press

ryan anderson

Ryan Anderson of the Orlando Magic is the winner of the 2011-12 NBA Most Improved Player Award, the NBA announced today. The annual award is presented to a player who has made a significant improvement from the previous season.

Anderson received 260 of a possible 605 points, including 33 first-place votes, from a panel of 121 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Ersan Ilyasova of the Milwaukee Bucks (159 points, 21 first-place votes) and Nikola Pekovic of the Minnesota Timberwolves (104 points, 10 first-place votes) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third place vote received.

Anderson established career highs in scoring (16.1 ppg), rebounds (7.7 rpg), field goal percentage (.439) and free throw percentage. He also paced the league and established personal bests in three-pointers made (166) and attempted (422).  He increased his scoring from the previous season by 5.5 ppg and his rebounds by 2.2 rpg. Orlando averaged 107.5 points per 100 possessions with Anderson on the court, compared to 94.1 points with the 6-10 forward on the bench.

As part of its support of the Most Improved Player Award, Kia Motors America will donate a new Kia Sorento CUV on behalf of Anderson to the Boys and Girls Club of Central Florida. Kia Motors will present a brand new Sorento to the charity of choice of each of five 2011-12 year-end award winners as part of the “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.”  Following this season, Kia Motors will have donated a total of 21 new vehicles to charitable organizations since its support of the NBA’s prestigious year-end honors began with the 2007-2008 season.

The 2011-12 Kia NBA Most Improved Player Award is part of a series of on-court performance awards called “The Kia NBA Performance Awards.” The series, currently in its fifth season, is a significant part of the multiyear marketing partnership between Kia Motors America and the NBA, and also includes the Defensive Player, Sixth Man, Most Valuable Player of the Year Awards, and this year for the first time, Rookie of the Year.  It also includes the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month which are awarded during the regular season.

No Jeremy Lin for Knicks in Game 4

jeremy lin

Linsanity may not be seen again until next season unless the Knicks can extend the series.

Jeremy Lin all but ruled out making his return Sunday in Game 4 against the Heat, feeling he is still too sore and not in good enough condition.

Lin went through his first contact scrimmage Wednesday and didn’t come out of it that smoothly. Lin said next Wednesday’s Game 5 — if necessary — still is a possibility, but he will have to show marked progress, he said.

Lin, who underwent knee surgery 4 ½ weeks ago, didn’t take the court during Thursday morning’s shootaround because he was too sore. He huddled with coach Mike Woodson afterward to discuss his playing future.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Thunder beat Mavs to take 3-0 lead

Dirk Nowitzki leaned back in the chair at the podium, trying to explain what went wrong for the Dallas Mavericks once they got home for the playoffs.

There was really only one way to put it after they trailed throughout in a 95-79 loss Thursday night that gave the Oklahoma City Thunder a commanding 3-0 series lead.

”We picked a bad time to put a stinker out there,” Nowitzki said.

After losing the first two games on the road by a combined four points, the defending NBA champions were Thunderstruck by Kevin Durant and young Oklahoma City.

Durant finally found his postseason shooting touch, scoring 15 of his 31 points in the first quarter.

After shooting a combined 15 for 44 in the first two games, though he did have the game-winning jumper with 1.5 seconds left in the series opener, the three-time NBA scoring champ made 11 of 15 shots in Game 3. Even when he missed the game’s first shot, Serge Ibaka converted a putback to put Oklahoma City ahead to stay…

Nowitzki had 17 points and Jason Kidd 12 for Dallas, which shot only 34 percent (26 of 76).

Russell Westbrook added 20 points for Oklahoma City while Ibaka had 10 points and 11 rebounds. James Harden and Derek Fisher both had 10 points.

Oklahoma City led 16-7 less than 5 minutes into Game 3 after Durant’s alley-oop pass to Ibaka for a layup. The Thunder pushed further ahead with 16-5 runs in both the second and third quarters, the later spurt clinching the game.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Heat beat Knicks to take 3-0 lead

lebron james

LeBron James scored 32 points, including eight straight to start the fourth quarter and break open the game, and the Heat took a 3-0 series lead, sending the New York Knicks to an NBA postseason-record 13th straight loss, 87-70 on Thursday night.

James had 17 points in the final period for the Heat, who held the short-handed Knicks to eight field goals in the second half and will go for the sweep Sunday at Madison Square Garden…

Wade added 20 points for the Heat and Mario Chalmers had 19, hitting consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter when the Heat finally brought some beauty to what had been an ugly game.

Wade was forced to go the whole third quarter while James was limited to just 4 1/2 minutes by fouls. Wade had 12 points in the period, knowing the two-time MVP would be coming back with fresh legs…

Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot 7 of 23 for the Knicks, who are playing without Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert and needed a super effort from Anthony that he didn’t come close to providing.

”When you can’t score the basketball, that makes the game extremely hard, no matter how much defense we go down there and play,” Anthony said.

The Knicks broke the record set by Memphis from 2004-06. They haven’t won a playoff game since April 29, 2001, Game 3 of a best-of-five series against Toronto…

Chris Bosh had nine points and 10 rebounds hours after the birth of the couple’s first child. He flew to New York with the Heat on Wednesday, then quickly hopped on a flight back to Miami after learning his wife was in labor. He returned Thursday afternoon following the birth of his son, arriving at the arena about 30 minutes before the game.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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