Archive for June 1st, 2012

kevin garnett

Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo scored 21 points with 10 assists to lead the Boston Celtics to a 101-91 victory over the Heat in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference finals on Friday night, cutting Miami’s lead in the series to 2-1.

Game 4 is Sunday night in Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 23 points for Boston.

LeBron James scored 34 points, but the NBA MVP and the rest of the Heat went cold during a 7-minute stretch at the end of the first quarter and the beginning of the second, when Boston outscored them 15-0 to turn a six-point deficit into a nine-point lead.

James scored 16 points in the first quarter but had just four points with one rebound and one assist in the fourth, when Miami cut a 24-point deficit to eight. Mike Miller hit consecutive 3-pointers during an 11-0 run that cut the deficit to 95-87.

Miami still trailed by eight points, with the ball, when Dwyane Wade missed and Ray Allen grabbed the rebound, sending Rondo on a fast break that made it a 99-89 with 99 seconds to play. James threw the ball away underneath, then missed a 3-point attempt the next time down - one of only four shots he took in the fourth quarter.

Pierce found Garnett for a long jumper at the other end, and the teams began emptying their benches.]

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

rajon rondo

Kevin Garnett scored a team-high 24 points on 10-of-16 shooting and added 11 rebounds as the Celtics made an effort to establish him around the basket early and it aided them in building as much as a 24-point lead. Rajon Rondo added 21 points, 10 assists and 6 rebounds, while Paul Pierce kicked in 23 points despite just 7-of-21 shooting over 40 minutes. Boston shot 50 percent (38-of-76) from the floor and dominated on the glass, outrebounding Miami 42-32. LeBron James scored a game-high 34 points on 16-of-26 shooting, but was a bit quiet after a big first quarter. Dwyane Wade chipped in 18 points on 9-of-20 shooting.

A James jumper with 2:15 to play in the first quarter had the Heat out front by six at 28-22, but the Heat would go scoreless for the next 6:47 spanning into the second frame. A 15-0 burst had the Celtics out front 37-28 after a Garnett layup. Despite shooting a mere 27.8 percent (5-of-18) in the second quarter, the Heat stuck around a bit before a 3-pointer by Ray Allen right before the half pushed Boston’s lead to a first-half high 13 points (55-42) and prevented Miami from stealing away any momentum. Boston extended its lead in the third quarter with Garnett on the floor, then held on for dear life as Miami trimmed that 24-point cushion to single digits late in the fourth quarter.

Looking eager to upstage Rondo on the heels of his 44-10-8 effort in Game 2, James came out firing. Not only did he put up 12 shots, but he connected on seven as part of a 16-point first-quarter outburst. It could have been worse; he missed 3 of 4 free throws. The Heat shot 61.1 percent (11-of-18) in the first quarter, but Boston hung around at 60 percent shooting (12-of-20) and actually led 30-28 after the first 12 minutes.

– Reported by Chris Forsberg of ESPN Boston

Boston got an unexpected spark off the bench late in the first quarter when Doc Rivers called upon the seldom-used Marquis Daniels.

He only scored two points, but his activity on defense and all-around hustle seemed to be just the spark the Celtics were desperately needing.

And defensively, he was actually able to do something none of his teammates have done up to this point in the series - slow down LeBron James.

After making seven of his first nine shots, Daniels’ defense was instrumental in James missing three of his next four shots.

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

lebron james

LeBron finished with 34 points, but that came with a strange asterisk. He had 16 in the first quarter, and it looked like the start of something good for the Heat. Instead, it represented something else.

His teammates stood around watching him. The offense became him only. Wade, as is happening regularly, couldn’t get going in the first half. He had an inefficient six points on nine shots.

And, let’s face it, when Wade isn’t joining LeBron on a big night the Heat has little chance. Wade finished with 18 points, but the game had drifted away from the Heat before most of them mattered.

It was more than that, though. Wade and LeBron had 35 free-throw shots in Game 2 — a fact Boston loudly pointed out between games. They had five Friday night.

– Reported by Dave Hyde of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

LaMarcus Aldridge wrote the following:

LaMarcus Aldridge

“On Saturday I came down with a blood virus. I quickly became sick and had to be rushed to the hospital. I thought it was a case of bad food or a bad cold, but I was wrong.  It turned out to be a very serious virus that if not treated quickly could actually be deadly! One thing I know for sure is that I’ve never felt worse in my life and there were times I wasn’t really sure where I was going. Thankfully I had a lot of family support and great medical care that helped me fight through it and now I’ve turned the corner and I’m feeling much better. I know it was God ultimately that decided my fate and looked out for me to make sure I got healed.”

– Written by LaMarcus Aldridge on the Blog

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that an agreement in principle has been reached between the team and Vice President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

The 2011-12 campaign marked Olshey’s second season as the Clippers’ Vice President of Basketball Operations and his ninth overall season with the organization. Olshey began his career as Director of Player Development prior to the start of the 2003-04 season and served as an assistant coach during the 2004-05 campaign before holding the title of Director of Player Personnel from 2005-08. Olshey was promoted to the role of Assistant General Manager prior to the start of the 2008-09 season, holding that position for two seasons until being named Vice President of Basketball Operations prior to the start of the 2010-11 campaign.

After spearheading an exhaustive search that brought the Clippers new head coach Vinny Del Negro prior to the start of the 2010-11 season, Olshey retooled the roster prior to the start of the 2011-12 campaign. During a six-day span, Olshey added two-time All-Star Caron Butler, five-time All-Star Chauncey Billups, re-signed athletic center DeAndre Jordan and through the biggest trade in franchise history, brought in All-Star point guard Chris Paul. In addition, without a first round selection in the 2011 NBA Draft, Olshey was still able to solidify the Clippers bench by nabbing Georgia teammates Trey Thompkins (37th overall) and Travis Leslie (47th overall) in the second round. In addition to these moves, Olshey made three key acquisitions with the free agent signing of veteran big men Reggie Evans and Kenyon Martin and the trade deadline deal to acquire swingman Nick Young from the Washington Wizards. Adding these players to the returning core of 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year Blake Griffin, All-Star point guard Mo Williams, 2011 All-Rookie Second Team guard Eric Bledsoe and solid rotation players Randy Foye and Ryan Gomes, the Clippers had one of the deepest rosters in the NBA this season.

Prior to joining the Clippers, Olshey served as Director of Player Development for SFX Sports Group, Inc. where he created, organized and conducted Pre-Draft and Off Season Training Camps for future and current NBA players. The Pre-Draft Camps produced 15 Lottery picks, 25 First Round selections and 57 NBA players. Participants in Olshey’s Off Season skill development clinics include more than 85 current NBA players including numerous All Stars and All-NBA selections. He has also served as a Head Coach/Clinician at the Reebok ABCD Camp, the Roundball Classic and numerous NCAA basketball camps throughout the country.

Upon graduation from LeMoyne College in 1987 he was honored with the “Outstanding Senior Athlete” Award.

dwyane wade

No Chris Bosh? No big deal. Rajon Rondo lights Miami up for 44 points in a playoff performance for the ages? So what.

No matter how big the obstacles are in the Eastern Conference finals for the Miami Heat, they’re never too big to overcome.

Not that the Heat is doing any victory dances. After Miami outlasted the magnificent Rondo and the Celtics in overtime on Wednesday, 115-111, to take a 2-0 lead, Dwyane Wade was asked if he saw any celebration in the Heat locker room.

“There was no celebrating,” he said. “We won two games at home. It was a good win, a very good win for us. If we lose this game, this series would become a lot tougher. But it’s two games, and all we did was win two at home.”

That sounds like a veteran player whose team was up 2-1 in the Finals last June and couldn’t finish the deal. Which is exactly the Heat’s mentality. Any celebration before holding up the Larry O’Brien Trophy would be premature.

– Reported by Mitch Lawrence of the New York Daily News

tim duncan

By blocking Thunder guard Thabo Sefolosha’s driving layup attempt with 6:42 left in the third quarter of Thursday’s Game 3 of the Western Conference finals, Spurs captain Tim Duncan became the career leader in playoff blocks.

He finished the game with five, giving him 478 playoff rejections, two more than former leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the Hall of Fame center for the Bucks and Lakers.

That the career milestone came in a 102-82 loss took most of the meaning from the accomplishment. Duncan’s response was dripping with sarcasm.

“Yes,” he said, in mock surprise. “Finally. Truly? That’s great.”

Teammate Stephen Jackson said Duncan would appreciate the milestone soon enough.

“He won’t enjoy it tonight,” Jackson said. “Wait until we get another win.”

– Reported by Mike Monroe of the San Antonio Express-News

kendrick perkins

In the first quarter, the TNT announcers appeared a bit nervous after Kendrick Perkins stared them down in reaction to their criticism from Game 2. Sideline reporter Craig Sager later noted that Perkins had watched the Game 2 tape, and he wasn’t happy with their comments.

“He glared in our booth,” [Steve] Kerr said. “He said, ‘Talk about that. Talk about that.’ He took a beating after Game 2. He heard us talking about him. He’s coming after us.”

On the postgame show, [Charles] Barkley complimented the team and the crowd. “Scott Brooks made some adjustments that he needed to do. This crowd kept the energy level up the whole game. This is an impressive home court. … Take your hats off to OKC. They were fabulous tonight.”

– Reported by Mel Bracht of the Oklahoman

Thabo Sefolosha

In a Western Conference finals filled with established stars, Thabo Sefolosha used a stretch of defensive excellence to turn the momentum in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s favor and stop a dominant seven-week run by the San Antonio Spurs.

Kevin Durant scored 22 points, Sefolosha set playoff career-bests with 19 points and six steals, and the Thunder snapped San Antonio’s 20-game winning streak by beating the Spurs 102-82 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.

The Thunder’s fears of falling into a historically insurmountable 3-0 series deficit faded quickly as Sefolosha got four steals to power an 8-0 Oklahoma City run in the first 3 minutes and set the tone for San Antonio’s worst offensive outing of the season…

Coach Scott Brooks assigned him to clamp down on All-Star point guard Tony Parker, who had 34 points in Game 2…

Parker and Stephen Jackson led the Spurs with 16 points apiece. Tim Duncan had 11 points on 5-for-15 shooting, taking 11 of San Antonio’s first 25 shots as the offense went through the All-Star center instead of Parker…

Parker and Duncan didn’t play in the final 15 minutes, and Popovich pulled the plug after a series of three straight turnovers allowed the deficit to reach 23 points early in the fourth quarter.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Led by Sefolosha’s game-high six, the Thunder registered 14 steals. That helped the Thunder force San Antonio into a series-high 21 turnovers, which led to 20 OKC points.

kendrick perkins

Brooks stuck with Perkins despite many calling for Perkins to sit more in this series. And Perkins came through for his coach, grabbing a game-high eight rebounds while blocking four shots. Perkins also helped limit Tim Duncan to 11 points on 5-of-15 shooting, which directly helped hold the Spurs to a series-low 24 points in the paint.

Brooks, however, reminded everyone that the series still is far from over.

“We’ve done nothing but won our home game, and we have a tough one Saturday night.”

– Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman

Give the Spurs credit for one thing. When they finally went down, they went down hard.

Thursday’s game was their most lopsided playoff defeat since a 103-81 loss to Dallas in the 2010 first round, a series the Spurs ultimately won.

Plagued by a playoff-high 21 turnovers, generating 20 OKC points, the Spurs fell in a 54-41 hole at halftime and never could recover.

With Sefolosha (six steals) patrolling the perimeter and Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins (three blocks apiece) defending the rim, the Spurs managed their fewest points since an 87-79 loss at Minnesota on Jan. 27.

The Spurs got 16 points on 6-of-7 shooting from Jackson, but little from more typical sources. Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili combined for 19 points and missed all but six of their 20 attempts.

Duncan did block five shots, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the all-time NBA postseason record (478).

“We have to give them credit,” Ginobili said. “They just smashed us.”

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

Orlando Woolridge dead at 52

Former NBA player Orlando Woolridge was pronounced dead in his parents’ Mansfield home Thursday night.

Desoto Parish Chief Deputy Coroner Billy Locke said Woolridge, 52, had been under hospice care for a chronic heart condition.

The 6-foot, 9-inch Mansfield High basketball star played collegiate basketball with Notre Dame, where he was a member of the 1978 Final Four team. His professional career began in 1981 when he was drafted in the first round by the Chicago Bulls.

Woolridge went on to play with a number of NBA teams before his suspension by the league in the 1987-88 season for substance abuse. He retired in 1994, and was inducted in 2010 in to the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.

– Reported by the Shreveport Times

phil jackson

Phil Jackson reportedly has bowed out of an opportunity to join the Orlando Magic in a front office position.

Sam Vincent, who played for the Magic as well as Jackson, presented a scenario that appealed to Magic CEO Alex Martins, the Orlando Sentinel reported Friday.

However, before Martins could discuss the proposal with Magic owner Rich DeVos, Jackson withdrew from consideration Thursday night.

“It drew some interest from Phil,” Vincent said. “But in the end, Phil decided to go with another opportunity.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

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