Archive for November 23rd, 2012

Michael Jordan’s Bobcats are the NBA’s most surprising team so far this season.

Charlotte (6-4) has won five of its past six games and is one victory away from matching last year’s win total.

The turnaround is impressive considering the Bobcats finished last season 7-59 and with the worst winning percentage (.106) in league history. They lost their final 23 games of the season.

But under the direction of defensive-oriented coach Mike Dunlap, they’ve been competitive and have developed a knack for closing games. Charlotte is 5-0 in contests decided by four points or fewer — and without much NBA experience on the roster.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

raymond felton

Jeremy Lin’s magical, memorable run last season led to more attention and money than anyone could have imagined, and may have caused some resentment among his old

Knicks teammates. Even some who didn’t play with him have grown tired of hearing about Lin.

Raymond Felton, who replaced Lin after the Knicks opted not to match the Rockets’ three-year, $25.1-million offer, thinks it’s ridiculous to compare the two of them.

But that point-guard matchup will be front and center Friday night when the Knicks play the Rockets.

“I’ve been in this league eight years,” Felton said. “He’s been in this league half of a year, coming into a year now. I definitely can’t see how nobody can compare me

and him together. I’ve been in this league way longer, got much more of a body of work.”

– Reported by Al Iannazzone of New York Newsday

Darrell Arthur set to return for Grizzlies

Grizzlies forward Darrell Arthur is expected to make his regular-season debut Friday night but insists he was ready the first time he participated in practice.

Doctors and the head athletic trainer cleared Arthur for contact workouts last week. He stepped onto the court and soon caught a lob pass from teammate Josh Selby. When Arthur threw down the alley-oop dunk, he removed any doubts about his recovery.

“A lot of guys were telling me to take my time and don’t rush,” Arthur said. “But I went and caught a lob from Josh Selby and everybody was like (darn!). That’s the type of player I am. I’m going to make those athletic plays. That’s how I knew I was ready.”

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Nic Batum playing great for Trail Blazers

In a span of 22 days, Batum already has established new career highs in scoring (35 points, twice), steals (six vs. Houston), blocks (five vs. San Antonio) and field goals made (13 vs. Houston). With averages of 20.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.09 blocks per game, Batum isn’t just averaging career highs in nearly every statistical category, he’s also among the NBA leaders in multiple areas.

Batum ranks 11th in scoring, seventh in steals, third in three-pointers made (32) and fourth in minutes played (38.9 per game). All while shooting an incredible 48 percent from the field, including 40 percent from three-point range. He’s been efficient, balanced and — for the first time in his career — consistent. As Batum’s offseason crush, the Minnesota Timberwolves, prepare to visit the Rose Garden on Friday night, he’s justifying their aggressive offseason pursuit.

“He’s such a unique player that you can do a bunch of different things with him,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “His ability to shoot, his quickness to the rim, his length. As a coach, you see all the possibilities and you know it can’t happen all at once, but … he’s doing a little bit of everything right now.”

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

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