Archive for June 13th, 2012

dwyane wade

Wade has already passed the symbolic baton of team leader and go-to scorer to James. In the East finals, simply getting out of the way and allowing James to dominate was enough. But the Thunder is a far a more superior offensive team than the Celtics. For all the talk of defensive adjustments, figuring out the Thunder might boil down to one simple truth: Wade needs to score more points. He will get his chance Thursday in Game 2 at Oklahoma City.

“I mean, I want to score more points,” Wade said. “I don’t deal with the pressure of that. That’s when you start thinking too much, too many questions start coming up in your mind, you start overanalyzing things.

“I want to score more points, I want to get my team more to give us an opportunity to win the series.”

So, what’s the plan?

“I’ll be more aggressive,” Wade said.

The Thunder’s young duo of Durant and Westbrook outscored the Heat’s entire team 41-40 in the second half. Want to talk about aggression? Oklahoma City had 24 points in transition. The Heat had four. Oklahoma City had 56 points in the paint. The Heat had 40.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

David Stern took The Jim Rome Show down an uncomfortable road today when the NBA commissioner fired a particularly personal shot at the host.

Rome asked if the NBA draft lottery was fixed, to which Stern replied, “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”

The few minutes after the remark were spent debating the legitimacy of Rome’s question and the interview ended with Stern saying “I have to go call someone important now. Stephen A. Smith is up next.”

– Reported by Mike Foss of USA Today

Read NBA fan reaction and share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

ray allen

The Boston Celtics announced today that guard Ray Allen and guard/forward Mickael Pietrus both underwent successful surgery at New England Baptist Hospital this morning. Both surgeries were completed by Celtics Team Physician, Dr. Brian McKeon and were assisted by Dr. Mark Slovenkai.

Allen, who had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle, averaged 14.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.07 steals in 34.0 minutes per game for the Celtics during the regular season.  He also shot 45.3 percent from three-point range which ranked fourth in all of the NBA this past season and was a career-high, besting his previous career-high that was set during the 2010-11 season (44.4 percent).

Pietrus, who had successful arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, averaged 6.9 points and 3.1 rebounds in 21.9 minutes per game for the Celtics during the regular season. He also finished third on the team in three-point field goals with 61 behind Allen (106) and Paul Pierce (100). Pietrus scored a season-high 16 points against Oklahoma City on February 22.

The push to build a new arena in Seattle with the hopes of seeing the NBA return now has another name to go along with that of hedge-fund manager Chris Hansen: Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer.

Ballmer will be part of the investment group for both the arena and the acquisition of an NBA franchise, according to a letter sent Wednesday by Hansen to King County Executive Dow Constantine and Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn. A copy of the letter was obtained by The Associated Press.

That Ballmer is part of the investment group is not a surprise. Ballmer is a longtime basketball fan who regularly sat courtside at SuperSonics games before their departure to Oklahoma City in 2008 and was part of a group that made a last-ditch effort to try to keep the team in Seattle.

At that time, Ballmer teamed with a handful of other Seattle businessmen to offer a renovation of KeyArena. Now Ballmer is throwing his support, and dollars, behind Hansen’s proposal for a $490 million arena that would house an NBA franchise and possibly bring the NHL to Seattle.

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

The Chicago Bulls today announced that the team has committed to move its practice facility to downtown Chicago from its current location in Deerfield, Ill.  The team has practiced at the Sheri L. Berto Center since 1992.

During recent conversations, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel pitched Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf on the idea to relocate the team’s practice facility to a downtown Chicago location.

“Mayor Emanuel has done a tremendous job promoting investment in the City of Chicago,” said Reinsdorf.  “The Mayor stressed that the Bulls brand is important to the city, nationally and internationally, and that the Bulls represent the spirit and competitive grit of Chicago.   He thought centralizing our team assets inside the city limits would be a show of our ongoing commitment to Chicago.  We have been contemplating how to address the growth limitations of our practice facility for awhile, so the Mayor’s timing and ours seems to make sense.”

The team is in the process of exploring a variety of site locations throughout the city.  A specific timetable has not yet been established for the project, which will be privately funded.

“We have been happy at the Berto for many years,” said Bulls President and COO Michael Reinsdorf. “However, for us, the time is right for a move from both a basketball and a business standpoint.  Our basketball operations group has been incredibly resourceful, but there is no longer space available to grow where we are now.  And, strategically, we are taking a more integrated approach to our business, and decreasing the physical distance between our two main facilities will naturally create more opportunities for collaboration among all departments.”

The team’s current facility, the Berto Center, has hosted the majority of team practices, gameday shootarounds and summer workouts for the last 20 years.  The building is also the home of the Bulls’ coaching and basketball operations staff offices.

A new facility could include additional features that would allow the team to expand its use of the building, particularly during non-practice times. Some ideas under consideration include event and educational space, and greater digital and video production capabilities.

Another potential benefit of a practice facility located downtown would be reduced commute time for the players on game days.  The Berto Center is located approximately 25 miles north of the United Center, and currently on game days the players have to commute from the Berto to the United Center following mandatory shootarounds.

The team intends to sell its current practice facility.

elton brand

Sixers president and general manager Rod Thorn acknowledged Tuesday that the team has begun a search for his replacement - Danny Ferry has already interviewed for the job, according to a league source - but he added that he expected to be very much involved with, if not in control of, the June 28 draft.

“Oh, yeah,” Thorn said when reached via phone Tuesday afternoon. “We will do it the same way we did last year. I’m busy with that now, and it will be exactly the same way.”

The Sixers, who will bring in more potential draft picks for workouts Thursday and Friday, face crucial decisions. They have to decide whether they will use the amnesty provision on Elton Brand, which could allow them to gain more than $18 million in cap space and be active in free agency. Teams can begin talking with free agents July 1 and can begin signing them July 11.

Thorn, who has been in the league as a player or manager since he was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in 1963, said that when former team owner Ed Snider hired him the understanding was that Thorn, 71, would assume a consultant’s role at the end of his contract, which expires in one year.

– Reported by John N. Mitchell of the Philadelphia Inquirer

kevin garnett

From the Celtics’ end of the spectrum, they are bent on keeping their flexibility as they move through what is, to some extent, a transition period. That means the C’s would be overjoyed to get Garnett to stay on a one-year deal, though there is at least some reason to believe they would discuss an option for 2013-14, knowing KG’s pride wouldn’t allow him to stay if he wasn’t a factor.

Financially, the Celtics don’t want to go overboard, but considering it’s unlikely they will be able to find a worthy recipient for what could be significant salary cap space, they could afford a decent number for Garnett to keep said space warm. But it won’t be in the same area code as the $21 million he pulled down this season.

The bottom line for the Celts is that they could greatly benefit from the presence of a veteran who takes practice so seriously (and it is presumed the club actually will have a few practices when the schedule returns to normal next season) and has a strong effect on younger players. It’s also important that the guy can still, you know, play the game.

Garnett was a revelation in the latter portion of the season, which is a fairly bold concept for someone in his 17th year. The way he took to the center position and showed a far greater willingness to play inside on offense answered some long-held prayers by the staff.

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

kevin durant

Kevin Durant showed LeBron James how to play the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals.

Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in another nightmarish final period for James and his team, leading a Thunder storm that overwhelmed the Heat and gave Oklahoma City a 105-94 victory over Miami in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

Teaming with Russell Westbrook to outscore the Heat in the second half by themselves, Durant struck first in his head-to-head matchup with James, who had seven points in the final quarter and was helpless to stop the league’s three-time scoring champion.

“They didn’t make many mistakes in the fourth quarter,” James said.

Westbrook turned around a poor shooting start to finish with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, keying a strong finish to the third period that gave the Thunder the lead for good.

– Reported by the San Antonio Express-News

Nick Collison clutch in Finals Game 1

nick collison

Only Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Thabo Sefolosha played more minutes that Collison in the second half, when the Thunder outscored Miami 58-40.

“We came out, I think we were a little tight,” Collison said. “They took away some of our energy. It didn’t seem like us in the first half defensively.

“Second half, we just relaxed and played. We were more physical, more aggressive. We started getting into ball handlers. We didn’t have as many breakdowns either. I just think we calmed down and were more comfortable in the second half.”

Ask any Thunder fan: Collison can have that effect on you, on a game. He played all but 29 seconds of a fourth quarter the Thunder led all the way, and the results were spectacular.

Twice he came up with key offensive rebounds on tips — the kind of tips Tyson Chandler made a career out of. Both tips produced big baskets.

– Reported by Michael Sherman of the Oklahoman

kevin durant

Kevin Durant showed LeBron James how to play the fourth quarter in the NBA Finals.

Durant scored 17 of his 36 points in another nightmarish final period for James and his team, leading a Thunder storm that overwhelmed the Heat and gave Oklahoma City a 105-94 victory over Miami in Game 1 on Tuesday night.

Teaming with Russell Westbrook to outscore the Heat in the second half by themselves, Durant struck first in his head-to-head matchup with James, who had seven points in the final quarter and was helpless to stop the league’s three-time scoring champion.

”They didn’t make many mistakes in the fourth quarter,” James said.

Westbrook turned around a poor shooting start to finish with 27 points, 11 assists and eight rebounds for the Thunder, keying a strong finish to the third period that gave the Thunder the lead for good.

Durant took over from there.

russell westbrook

Scoring in nearly every way possible, Durant finished 12 of 20 from the field and added eight rebounds. He and Westbrook outscored the Heat 41-40 over the final two periods, showing that maybe this time it will be offense that wins championships.

”Those guys they came out on fire. They were passing the ball well, knocking down shots,” Durant said. ”We just wanted to keep playing. It’s a long game.”

James finished with 30 points, his most in any of his 11 finals games, but had only one basket over the first 8:15 of the fourth, when the Thunder seized control of a game they trailed for all but the final few seconds of the first three quarters…

Dwyane Wade had 19 points but shot just 7 of 19 for the Heat, while Shane Battier provided some rare offense by scoring 17 points, his high this postseason.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

The night’s scoring kicked off with a 24-foot, Shane Battier three-point strike 53 seconds into the game and like a boulder pushed down a steep hill, the momentum continued to build. Battier was a man on a mission from tip-off.

The 33-year-old, calm, cool and collected vet continued his long distance assault on the Oklahoma City Thunder for much of the opening quarter.

With 9:27 on the clock, Battier took a feed from Mario Chalmers and zipped a 25 footer in from the left wing.

He’d start 3 of 3 from beyond the arc on the night following a missed strike by OKC’s Kevin Durant. Battier answered the Thunder miss-fire with a decisive 25-foot strike, giving Miami the 17-10 lead early in the game.

Battier finished the first half making 5 of 6 from the field while sinking 3 of 4 three-pointers, scoring 13 points and tallying two rebounds.

– Reported by Chris Wescott, special to the Miami Herald

lebron james

James and Wade downplayed the loss.

“This was the feel out game,” James said. “We come here with a lot of energy, try to steal Game 1 and now we get an opportunity to go to the chalkboard, go to the film and have a better game plan for Game 2 since we’ve already seen what they’re capable of doing.”

Chris Bosh, who came off the bench, had 10 points and five rebounds in 34 minutes. Shane Battier had 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting. He was 4 of 6 from three-point range. Mario Chalmers had 12 points, including 10 in the first half.

In an eye-opening statistic, the Thunder outscored the Heat 24-4 in fast-break points. Oklahoma City out-rebounded the Heat 43-35 and had 56 points in the paint.

“They’re fast, they’re explosive, so we’ll have to adjust to that,” said Spoelstra, who added the biggest difference between the first and second halves was .

The Heat led the entire first half and the beginning of the third quarter but a driving layup by Thabo Sefolosha tied the score at 60-60 with 6:44 to play. Led by Westbrook, the Thunder outscored the Heat 27-19 in the third quarter. James had nine points in the period and Wade had six but Bosh contributed nothing.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

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