Archive for May 14th, 2012

Thunder clobber Lakers 119-90 in Game 1

russell westbrook

Russell Westbrook had 27 points and nine assists, Kevin Durant added 25 points and the Oklahoma City Thunder blasted the weary Los Angeles Lakers 119-90 on Monday night in the opening game of the Western Conference semifinals.

The Thunder took a 15-point halftime lead, then opened the third quarter with a 15-2 blitz filled with crowd-pleasing 3-pointers and dunks.

Oklahoma City led by as many as 35 points, getting a measure of vengeance for the elbow Metta World Peace delivered to the head of the Thunder’s James Harden three weeks earlier - and without needing dirty tactics to do it.

Thunder starting center Kendrick Perkins limped off after aggravating a hip injury from the first round.

Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum scored 20 points each for the Lakers and Bynum had 14 rebounds.

The Thunder committed a franchise-record four turnovers…

Both coaches started going to their benches with 8 1/2 minutes left, and Los Angeles reserve Devin Ebanks ended up getting ejected with 2:18 to play after walking up to a scrum for the ball after the whistle. Official Greg Willard said at the scorer’s table that he was ejected for ”what he said” in drawing a technical foul…

If the Lakers’ legs were weary, it showed most on the defensive end. Oklahoma City shot 53 percent and the league’s most turnover-prone team committed only one - Harden’s failed alley-oop pass for Durant that banged off the glass and was grabbed by World Peace - while building a 59-44 halftime lead.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

evan turner

Evan Turner made the go-ahead layup with 40.4 seconds left and Philadelphia held off Boston the rest of the way with six straight free throws as the 76ers evened the second-round Eastern Conference series with an 82-81 victory Monday night.

Turner finished with 10 points, including his layup that put the Sixers up 76-75. He added two free throws with 12 seconds to go.

Jrue Holiday scored 18 points and Andre Iguodala added 13 points, seven assists and six rebounds for the Sixers, who blew a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter as the Celtics won Game 1.

Kevin Garnett had 15 points and 12 rebounds and Ray Allen scored 17 points for the Celtics.

Game 3 is Wednesday in Philadelphia…

Brandon Bass had 12 points for the Celtics, who couldn’t quite repeat their comeback in the series opener. The Sixers led by 10 points early in the fourth quarter of Game 1 before the Celtics rallied for a 92-91 victory…

Fans grew restless as the second half opened with sloppy, choppy play by both teams. Boston led 38-36 at halftime and nearly 7 minutes into the third quarter the score was just 43-41 with the Celtics still ahead.

When the shots finally started falling, they were all for Philadelphia.

– Reported by the Associated Press

chris bosh

Miami Heat All-Star power forward Chris Bosh will be sidelined indefinitely with a lower-abdominal muscle strain.

It is feared that the injury may force Bosh to miss the rest of the series against the Indiana Pacers — and perhaps for the rest of the postseason…

Ronny Turiaf and Joel Anthony are expected to see extended playing time during Bosh’s absence. Turiaf played well starting the second half of Sunday’s Game 1 victory, while Anthony gave the Heat a big lift off the bench.

– Reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo considers about 10 men’s Olympic team spots set ”on paper,” with the rest to be determined over two days of practice before the squad is announced July 7.

The Americans requested and were granted an extension to the deadline to select the roster by the U.S. Olympic Committee after four candidates were knocked out by injuries. The team was originally to be picked by June 18 before the end of the NBA season.

Instead, the Americans will hold their first practice July 6 in Las Vegas with a to-be-determined number of players. They’ll gather their final 12 at a team meeting the next night. There are 18 healthy players in the roster pool.

”What we think is that barring any other further major injury, we have a pretty good handle on what we think the roster might look like, and it may get down to a final selection or two,” Colangelo said Monday in a phone interview from Dallas, where he was to announce the revised plans during a news conference.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Blake Griffin limited by sprained knee

blake griffin

As best he could, Blake Griffin tried to give the Clippers what he had, what he could summon in Game 7 of the Western Conference first-round series against the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday afternoon.

But Griffin’s knee wouldn’t cooperate the way he wanted it to, his sprained left knee refusing to hold up all game.

So Griffin gave the Clippers 28 minutes 17 seconds and eight points, four rebounds and two blocked shots.

“There just were movements I couldn’t do and I wanted to do,” Griffin said. “And I don’t want to ever put my teammates in a situation where I feel like I’m hurting them, where physically I can’t do what I need to do.”

Griffin played just 1:39 in the decisive fourth quarter.

– Reported by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

Will O.J. Mayo, Grizzlies part ways?

oj mayo

If this was Mayo’s last game in a Grizzlies uniform, his indelible mark didn’t come in a positive way. Mayo, a restricted free agent, struggled mightily over the last five games of the series. He just couldn’t make shots and was 1 for 11, including 0 for 3 from beyond the arc, in this one. Overall, Mayo shot just 27 percent in the series. He made just 29 percent of his 3-point attempts.

“It’s not what you wanted. It’s not what you expected. But the results are the results,” Mayo said. “You’ve got to go into the offseason very motivated. You’re only as good as your last game, which pretty much sucked. You’ve got to go out and get better.”

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

kendrick perkins

Thunder center Kendrick Perkins took another step toward starting Game 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday at 8:30 p.m. at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

OKC coach Scott Brooks previously would dismiss any timetable of when Perkins might return from the right hip muscle he strained on May 5 in Game 4 against the Dallas Mavericks.

The last two practices, however, Brooks has chosen his words more carefully and given hope to Perkins’ return, although the Thunder enforcer officially remains listed as day-to-day.

“He went through some of the drills (Sunday) in practice,” Brooks said.

– Reported by John Rohde of the Oklahoman

Kyrie Irving to be named Rookie of Year

kyrie irving

“This season has been a special one for me,” Irving said on April 27, a day after the Cavs finished with a 21-45 record. “We overcame a lot of obstacles during the lockout-shortened season. It’s been a learning experience. I grew as a player from the mental standpoint, getting used to the NBA grind.”

Irving was such an overwhelming favorite to win the award, voted on by select media members, he addressed the topic with local reporters two weeks ago.

“If I do get it, it will be a great accomplishment for the city of Cleveland, my teammates and myself,” Irving said. “I couldn’t have done it without them. The confidence they had in me allowed me to be myself and play my game.

“If I do win it, I’ll take it home and put it with the other trophies I have.”

Irving becomes just the second Cavs’ recipient of the NBA honor. LeBron James, who like Irving was a top overall pick, won the award in 2004. But unlike James, he did not enter the league with a $90 million Nike deal and predictions of a can’t-miss career.

– Reported by Tom Reed of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Chris Bosh hurt in Heat-Pacers Game 1

chris bosh

For the Heat, the pain goes deeper, with the question being how deep into Chris Bosh’s abdomen. The All-Star power forward was lost for the second half after sustaining a lower-abdominal strain on the follow-through of a second-quarter dunk that resulted in a 3-point play.

Coach Erik Spoelstra did not sound as if Bosh was coming back any time soon.

“We have some time now. We don’t know what Chris’ status is,” Spoelstra said. “We won’t know until we get an MRI, move on from there.”

The initial sense was not encouraging.

“You saw the look on his face,” teammate Dwyane Wade said, “you knew something was wrong there.”

– Reported by Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Ty Lawson hopes for Nuggets extension

Ty Lawson

Asked about possibly getting a contract extension from the Nuggets this summer, Lawson told The Denver Post: “It’s definitely a goal. I want to be here long term. I’m pretty sure my agent and Masai (Ujiri, the Nuggets’ executive vice president of basketball operations) will talk this summer.”

Next season will be the fourth in the NBA for the 24-year-old guard from North Carolina, who averaged 19 points and six assists and shot 51.4 percent in the seven-game series against the Lakers.

Asked Sunday about Lawson, Ujiri said: “He’s going to be a big part of the Denver Nuggets. We’re excited. Ty is going to grow even more. He made a little jump, and he’ll continue to make jumps as he gets older.”

The Nuggets can negotiate with Lawson and his representatives in July. It’s possible that he could get up to a five-year contract. Lawson has one more season on his current deal.

– Reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post

Heat beat Pacers in Game 1 of Round 2

lebron james

LeBron James and Dwyane Wade carried the Miami Heat offense in the second half. With Chris Bosh gone, they had no other choice.

And if Bosh doesn’t return soon, it may have to become a trend.

James accepted his third MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then scored 26 of his game-high 32 points while playing every second of the second half - adding a season-high 15 rebounds as well - to help the Heat survive some rough stretches and pull out a 95-86 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series Sunday night.

Wade scored 29 points for the Heat, but the concern level was ramped up considerably afterward because of Bosh, who did not play in the second half because of a lower abdominal strain. The Heat expected to learn results of an MRI exam on Monday…

David West and Roy Hibbert each scored 17 points and combined for 23 rebounds for the Pacers, who got 10 points each from Darren Collison and George Hill. Indiana controlled long stretches of the first half and didn’t trail by more than two points at any time until the fourth quarter, when it was outscored 25-16. Wade and James scored 42 points in the second half, while Indiana’s entire roster managed 38…

James scored 16 points alone in the fourth, matching Indiana’s total. Nonetheless, the Pacers sounded confident for days leading up to the start of the series, and left Sunday night sounding the same way…

Bosh caught a pass from James near the foul line late in the first half, took one dribble to start a drive past Hibbert, got down the lane and dunked the ball hard with his left hand while the Indiana center appeared to hit his right arm. Bosh fell forward as he landed, resting on his hands and knees for about 15 seconds before getting up slowly. He made his free throw, and as he headed back the other way he grimaced and grabbed at his midsection…

Danny Granger shot 1 for 10 in the game, scoring only seven points…

Everything was undecided until the final moments. Hill made a 3-pointer with 4:51 left, getting Indiana within 86-85. But the Pacers went cold from the field, James had a dunk in transition to make it 90-85 with 4:10 left, and his jumper with 31.8 seconds remaining wrapped up the Heat win.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

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