Archive for October 21st, 2012

Indiana Fever win 2012 WNBA championship

Tamika Catchings finally won her long-awaited WNBA championship.

She scored 25 points to help the Indiana Fever win their first title with an 87-78 victory over the Minnesota Lynx on Sunday night.

Catchings, who was the MVP of the Finals, averaged 24.8 points in the series, which the Fever won 3-1 over the defending WNBA champions.

Erin Phillips added 18 points and eight rebounds while Shavonte Zellous and Briann January each had 15 points.

The Fever won even though No. 2 scorer Katie Douglas missed most of the series with a severely sprained left knee. Douglas checked in with 3.2 seconds left to a loud ovation…

Seimone Augustus, Minnesota’s leading scorer in the playoffs, was held to eight points on 3-for-21 shooting. Lindsay Whalen scored 22 points and Moore added 16 points for the Lynx, who were vying to become the first team to win consecutive titles since Los Angeles in 2001 and 2002.

– Reported by Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press 

Dwight Howard set to make Lakers debut

Dwight Howard is set to make his debut with the Los Angeles Lakers in a preseason game against Sacramento on Sunday night.

Coach Mike Brown says Howard is in the Lakers’ starting lineup with no restrictions on his playing time. Howard finally will hit the Staples Center court in his gold No. 12 jersey just more than six months after the six-time All-Star center had surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back.

Howard didn’t play in the first five preseason games for the Lakers (0-5), who acquired him from Orlando in August through a four-team trade that sent All-Star center Andrew Bynum to Philadelphia.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press

Wolves guard Luke Ridnour dealing with back issue

The Timberwolves are hoping veteran guard Luke Ridnour, the team’s oldest player at 31, does not become the latest injury concern.

Ridnour said Sunday, Oct. 21, that he has a herniated disc in his lower back, an ailment that has sidelined him for three of the Wolves’ five exhibition games. Ridnour did not practice Sunday but said his back is “feeling much better” after getting a cortisone shot on Friday.

“By taking care of it now, I’ll be able to nip it in the bud and move forward from here and be pain free,” Ridnour said after practice. “I just want to make the necessary steps, so I can be ready for November. I’ll be ready to go.”

Ridnour is a vital player in the Wolves’ attempts to adjust without Kevin Love (broken hand) and Ricky Rubio (knee).

– Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Anthony Davis developing quickly on offense in preseason

Through three weeks into the preseason, New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis has progressed so rapidly that Coach Monty Williams has used him at multiple positions and has run set plays designed to take advantage of his mid-range shooting.

If he continues to develop as a scoring threat in the post and perimeter, Davis could eventually cause match up problems much the same way Dallas Mavericks 7-foot forward Dirk Nowitzki imposes on teams because of his shooting ability.

Already, Davis has developed a high release on his jump shot similar to Nowitzki that makes it difficult for defenders to block.

“I’m just trying to get better each and every practice and not get comfortable,’’ said Davis, who has played limited minutes at small forward. “I’m just doing what Coach Monty wants - nothing more; nothing less.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

Melo returns to Syracuse for first time as a Knick

Carmelo Anthony said he had to prepare himself mentally for his return to the Carrier Dome, but it didn’t stop a flurry of emotions Sunday.

“A lot of memories come back into play,” he said. “Walking out the tunnel, walking into the arena, just being on the court, seeing all the banners and just seeing that orange and blue brings back a lot of memories.”

Melo-palooza began with Knicks practice at the dome Anthony called home and continued with a visit to Syracuse’s practice facility, which bears his name. Anthony, who led Syracuse to the 2003 national championship, donated $3 million to the university to help build the Carmelo K. Anthony Basketball Center.

On Monday night, the Knicks face Philadelphia in the Carrier Dome. It’s considered a home game for the 76ers, who started their basketball lives as the Syracuse Nationals, but Anthony will be feted like a conquering hero.

– Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday

Celtics forward Jeff Green proud of his defense

“That’s my calling,” Green said of his defense. “I have to be a guy who can go out there and guard the best player on the opposite team. Whether it’s Carmelo (Anthony of the New York Knicks), LeBron (James of the Miami Heat), Kevin Durant (of Oklahoma City), Kobe Bryant (of the Los Angeles Lakers), whether it’s a big, doesn’t matter. I see myself as being one of the top defensive players in this league. I just have to go out there and prove it.”

Green’s versatility as a defender was on display Saturday night, as he took turns guarding smaller players like Mychel Thompson or bigs such as Chris Copeland.

“Jeff is so talented athletically, explosive,” said Boston’s Rajon Rondo. “We expect a lot out of Jeff, and he’s accepted the challenge.”

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE

Unclear when Eric Gordon will play for Hornets

Despite missing all of training camp with a sore right knee, New Orleans Hornets Coach Monty Williams had hopes of guard Eric Gordon being ready to play in a couple of preseason games before the regular season begins.

But Williams said Sunday that Gordon could miss the final three preseason games because he is not in appropriate conditioning due to the missed time caused by his sore knee. Williams also there’s also a chance power forward Jason Smith could miss the remainder of the preseason after injuring his shoulder in a practice last week. Gordon has missed all five preseason games, while Smith has played in only the preseason opener against the Orlando Magic.

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have waived forward Robert Dozier and center Mickell Gladness.

Dozier appeared in four preseason games with the HEAT, averaging 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per game. He originally signed with the HEAT on September 27, 2012.

Gladness also appeared in four preseason games this season, averaging 1.3 points and 2.3 rebounds in 7.8 minutes per game. He originally signed with the HEAT on September 7, 2012.

The HEAT’s roster now stands at 18.

Knicks forward Amare Stoudemire out 2-3 weeks

Amar’e Stoudemire left the Knicks on Sunday to get an MRI that revealed a ruptured cyst on the back of his left knee. The affliction is known as a Baker’s cyst or popiteal.

Stoudemire will be out two to three weeks and miss the season opener in Brooklyn on Nov. 1.

Stoudemire made his preseason debut Friday in Montreal, scoring 18 points against the Raptors after missing the first two games with a bruised knee.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post (Blog)

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Stephen Curry`s ankle seems OK for now

Stephen Curry

The Warriors got relatively good news from both of their injured ankles on Saturday. Don’t expect either point guard Stephen Curry or center Andrew Bogut to take the court before the season opener. But each got good reports from their surgeon.

Curry, who re-injured his right ankle on Friday night in Portland, was checked out by Dr. Richard Ferkel at Saturday’s practice. According to general manager Bob Myers, Ferkel — who performed Curry’s arthroscopic surgery in April — wasn’t concerned about Curry’s latest ankle issue.

Coach Mark Jackson said he wasn’t concerned, either. Still, he said he’s going to hold out Curry for the final two preseason games.

“There’s no point in playing him now,” Jackson said. “There is nothing to gain by running him out there. I’m not concerned, but we’re going to be smart about it.”

– Reported by Marcus Thompson via the Contra Costa Times (Blog)

Corey Maggette to have MRI on sore left calf

Corey Maggette doesn’t know when he will return from a left calf strain.

Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander and the 13-year veteran will know more in a couple of days when an MRI is performed after the swelling subsides.

But with 10 days and two exhibition games before the regular-season opener against the Rockets at the Palace, Maggette said he will be patient and isn’t worried about missing the rest of the exhibition season.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Everyone who played in Charlotte last season is now part of history. They played on the worst team, record-wise, ever in the NBA. Now, unless they win one of their first four regular-season games, they’ll set the record for the longest losing streak this league has seen.

[Gerald] Henderson seemed to take that hardest among Bobcats last season. It’s counter to his nature.

“I’m not a loser. All my life I’ve been on winning teams,” Henderson reflected recently. “When you pretty much lose every game, and you’re trying hard, that’s a tough thing to take. That record, that’s not something I wanted any part of. We’re doing everything we can not to let that happen again.”

Following a 7-59 season there’s been abundant change: The Bobcats have a new coaching staff and five new players who figure to be in the rotation. The holdovers from last season see this as a fresh start.

Still, they’re on a 23-game losing streak, and that didn’t stop with last season. If they fail to win one of their first four regular-season games they’ll break the Cleveland Cavaliers’ record, set the season after LeBron James bolted out of Ohio.

– Reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried rebounds with authority

The 6-foot-8, 228-pound Faried appears to have all the attributes to become one of the NBA’s best overall rebounders. Maybe of his generation. Consider that he set the NCAA career record for rebounds at Morehead State. Then, he didn’t have a summer league or a normal-length training camp due to the lockout a year ago, so he missed weeks of training from Denver’s coaches about the NBA nuances of board-crashing. Oh, and he didn’t play much in the first third of the season as he tried to catch up.

So now, the 22-year old Faried is coming off a productive summer and flourishing during the preseason, soaring and scoring.

“High energy and has a big-time motor, which you can’t teach, and he has skill to go with it,” said Warriors coach Mark Jackson, who watched Faried torch his team for 27 points and 17 boards — in just 24 minutes, last spring. “He’s a weapon that George uses extremely well. He’s definitely a guy who you want to match his motor, or you’re going to have a problem all night long.

– Reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post

Golden State guard Jarrett Jack said the league warned him about flopping in a preseason game. “So I’ve been warned for flopping hahaha,” Jack tweeted.

A league source told Grantland.com that NBA officials warned “about 10” players for flopping, but the league refused to release the names.

“Flops have no place in our game — they either fool referees into calling undeserved fouls or fool fans into thinking the referees missed a foul call,” NBA vice president of basketball operations Stu Jackson said in a statement. “Accordingly, both the Board of Governors and the competition committee felt strongly that any player who the league determines, following video review, to have committed a flop should — after a warning — be given an automatic penalty.”

Any player guilty of flopping will be subject to a warning, followed by a $5,000 fine for a second violation, $10,000 for the third and $15,000 for the fourth. The fifth flop will result in a $30,000 fine. Six or more violations will lead to an increased fine and/or suspension.

– Reported by John Rohde of the Oklahoman

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