Archive for December 2nd, 2012

damian lillard

The NBA will release its monthly individual honors today  and Lillard, the Blazers’ electric, do-it-all rookie point guard, almost certainly will win the league’s Rookie of the Month award. After 16 games — which factored into the league’s decision — Lillard led all rookies in scoring (18.4 points per game), assists (5.9), steals (1.38), field goals (102) and minutes played (36.8), while ranking 11th in rebounding (3.1) and fourth in free-throw shooting percentage (83.9).

His first month in the NBA was so dynamic, so polished, Lillard’s lofty statistical accomplishments regularly drew comparisons to some of the best players in NBA history. Players like Oscar Robertson, Isiah Thomas, Allen Iverson. It started on opening night, when Lillard had 23 points and 11 assists in a win over the Los Angeles Lakers, becoming just the third player in NBA history to record at least 20 points and 10 assists in a debut. Robertson and Thomas are the others.

One accomplishment after another followed in the next 15 games. After three games, Lillard became just the second player, along with Robertson, to record at least 20 points and seven assists. He’s the second player in franchise history to score at least 20 points in his first three NBA games, joining Geoff Petrie. And Lillard became the first player since Allen Iverson in 1996 to register at least 295 points and 94 assists over his first 16 games.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

Rip Hamilton out with torn plantar fascia in foot

The Bulls announced that Richard Hamilton’s MRI exam on Sunday revealed he tore the plantar fascia in his left foot. The release said the veteran shooting guard will return to play when his symptoms permit.

When James Johnson suffered a partially torn plantar fascia as a Bull in 2010, he missed one game. Tearing the plantar fascia actually is better than suffering from plantar fasciitis. One treatment option for the painful latter condition actually is tearing the plantar fascia to begin healing.

Either Marco Belinelli or Jimmy Butler will start at shooting guard. Hamilton could be out a week or more. The Bulls have one roster spot open, but if they sign somebody that player wouldn’t crack the rotation ahead of Belinelli or Butler.

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Trevor Booker is no longer going to be listed as day-to-day with a strained right knee.

Booker has missed the past five games since getting injured in a loss against Indiana nearly two weeks ago, but Coach Randy Wittman said on Sunday there is still “soreness and swelling” in Booker’s knee and that the energetic forward wouldn’t return for “probably another couple of weeks.”

While traveling with the team to New York last week, Booker visited with a doctor who informed him that he needed to rest for a while longer before coming back.

“They said I shouldn’t play until don’t have any pain,” Booker said. “I’ll wait for that to clear up, but I’m feeling better each day.”

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post

Rockets forward Patterson developing into consistent scoring option

“The ball seems to be dropping,” Patterson said. “I’m capitalizing on my opportunities, taking shots, got a couple offensive rebounds for putbacks. My teammates are looking for me a lot more than prior to the season and my shots have been falling.”

His offensive surge is not quite that simple, though it has been indisputable. Patterson has scored at least 20 points in the Rockets’ past three games (and four of five games) after never reaching 20 in consecutive games before. He had a career-high 27 Tuesday against Toronto despite sitting out the bulk of the first quarter with foul trouble and most of the fourth as the Rockets closed out the rout.

This does not seem to be an aberration. In the past 10 games since a slow start while adjusting to the retooled offense and his role as a first-time starter, Patterson has made 55 percent of his shots overall, 42.9 percent from beyond the arc while averaging 17 points per game.

After attempting just five 3-pointers in his first two seasons, most to beat the shot clock and all missed, he has made 12 of 32 3-pointers this season, 6 of 12 last week.

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

Raymond Felton has MRI on hand

Raymond Felton has MRI on hand

New York Knicks point guard Raymond Felton underwent an MRI to determine the extent of a left hand injury he suffered late in the Knicks’ 106-99 win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday.

“It’s swollen right now,” Felton said. “It’s a lot of pain, but we’ll see what happens.”

Felton said, if it were up to him, he’d play in the Knicks’ next game on Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.

If Felton is forced to sit, the Knicks could have just one healthy point guard available against Charlotte.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Jason Smith says Hornets go 1-on-1 too often

When New Orleans Hornets veteran forward Jason Smith was asked after Sunday’s practice to assess his team’s problems, he had plenty to say. He said they are not moving the ball enough offensively and too many players are putting themselves in one-on-one isolation plays instead of involving their teammates.

Although the Hornets are still without their two best players, Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, because of injuries, they have not been able avoid low-scoring quarters or get enough significant contributions from key players.

“You can say it’s not a big problem and some people shrug it off, but it’s a problem,’’ Smith said. “We’re going a little bit one-one-one too much, not moving the ball. We get a stop or a rebound and we don’t pass the ball and we get up a shot. I think we’re letting defenses off the hook when we just go down make one pass and shoot.’’

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

ricky rubio

Ricky Rubio practiced with the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday, Dec. 2, for the first time this season. He says his surgically repaired left knee feels good, and he’s anxious to see how his body responds on Monday.

There is still no timetable for his first game. Rubio says he wants to be sure his knee is 100 percent before he comes back. Rubio tore the anterior cruciate ligament and lateral collateral ligament in his knee last March.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Knicks beat Suns, stay perfect at home

carmelo anthony

Rasheed Wallace delivered a hard whack to Luis Scola, then some hard words to the referees.

These New York Knicks won’t let anybody have it easy at Madison Square Garden, not even the officials.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and the Knicks ran their best home start in 20 years to 7-0, withstanding Wallace’s ejection after a mere 1:25 of playing time to beat the Phoenix Suns 106-99 on Sunday.

Phoenix had won its last two at MSG but the Knicks have finally figured out under coach Mike Woodson that home-court games are not to be wasted. They are 18-1 in the regular season here since he took over last March, jumping on their last few opponents from the start…

Raymond Felton had 23 points, seven assists and no turnovers for the Knicks, who last won seven straight at Madison Square Garden to open a season when they started 9-0 in 1992-93. The point guard was hurting after the game, saying he was going to get an MRI on his swollen left hand…

[Tyson] Chandler finished with 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Knicks improved to 12-4 overall, a half-game behind Miami for the best record in the Eastern Conference. They got off to a good start in December after winning 11 in November for the first time since a 12-victory November in 1972 on the way to their last NBA championship…

Marcin Gortat had 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who dropped their third straight and fell to 1-4 on their season-high, six-game road trip that ends Tuesday in Memphis. Shannon Brown scored 17 points.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

elton brand

Brand has had his struggles this season, but he doesn’t think the 17 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks he had in Saturday’s win over the Pistons should be considered a surprise. Those all at least match season highs, but Brand expects many more nights like this in a Mavs uniform.

“Nah, that’s not vintage,” said Brand, who was averaging 6.2 points and 6.0 rebounds entering the game. “Not even close. That’s what I can do. That’s where I’m at right now.

“With the opportunity and the looks, I’m still right there. I can do that every night – most nights – with those opportunities.”

By opportunities, Brand means shots and minutes. They were both tough to come by for Brand in the first month of the season.

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

Marcus Camby out with sore left foot

Marcus Camby out with sore left foot

Marcus Camby was ruled out of Sunday’s game against the Phoenix Suns shortly before tipoff due to a sore left foot.

Camby participated in a walk-through with the Knicks on Saturday, so it is unclear when the injury flared up. Mike Woodson said 90 minutes before tipoff he expected to have all of his players except Jason Kidd (lower back spasms) available.

Camby, 38, missed the entire preseason due to a calf injury and entered the season out of game shape. The veteran big man has played in just six of the Knicks’ 15 games. He has received DNP’s in the past two.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York 

The Denver Nuggets have recalled rookie forward Quincy Miller from the Iowa Energy of the NBA Development League, Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Masai Ujiri announced today.

Miller, 6-9, 210, joined the Energy on Nov. 13. He started two of three games and averaged 14.0 points, 10.7 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 29.0 minutes.

Selected by the Nuggets with the 38th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, Miller joined the Nuggets after being named the 2011-12 Big 12 Co-Freshman of the Year in his only season at Baylor University.

He averaged 6.8 points and 5.2 rebounds for Denver at the 2012 NBA Summer League but has not appeared in an NBA game.

Spurs assign Nando De Colo to D-League

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have assigned guard Nando De Colo to the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.

De Colo has appeared in 13 games this season for San Antonio, averaging 2.5 points, 1.4 assists and 1.2 rebounds in 10.4 minutes.

The French native is currently in his first season playing for the Silver and Black. He was selected by the Spurs with the 53rd pick in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft and spent the past three seasons playing for Valencia of the Spanish ACB League.

The Golden State Warriors have assigned forward/center Jeremy Tyler to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.

He is slated to join Golden State’s D-League affiliate in time for the team’s game this afternoon at Reno.

Tyler, 21, has appeared in five games with Golden State this season, averaging 1.6 points in 2.0 minutes per contest.

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have assigned forward Kris Joseph to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.

Joseph, a 6’7” forward, appeared in one game for the Celtics during his recall from the Red Claws against the Portland Trail Blazers on November 30 and recorded two points in 4:55 of action. He returns to the Red Claws where he appeared in two games earlier this season and averaged 25.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.0 steals and 1.0 block per game.

Rick Majerus dead at 64

Rick Majerus, the jovial college basketball coach who led Utah to the 1998 NCAA final and had only one losing season in 25 years with four schools, died Saturday. He was 64.

Utah industrialist Jon Huntsman, the coach’s longtime friend, confirmed in a statement released through The Salt Lake Tribune that Majerus died of heart failure in a Los Angeles hospital. The coach had been hospitalized there for several months.

Players remembered Majerus as a coach who was exacting and perhaps a bit unorthodox at times, but always fair.

“It was a unique experience, I’ll tell you that, and I loved every minute of it,” said Saint Louis guard Kyle Cassity, who was mostly a backup on last season’s 26-win team after starting for Majerus earlier in his college career.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Dwight Howard reflects on Orlando Magic

The “Dwightmare” may be over, but on the eve of his first game against his former team, Dwight Howard was in a reflective mood about what happened over those final furious six months with the Magic.

“I’ve had a chance to sit back and think about it and there are some things I could’ve done better. There are some things that could’ve been done better on both sides,” Howard said in a lengthy, wide-ranging interview after Los Angeles Lakers practice on Saturday. “But at the end of the day, we all learn some lessons and we’ve got to move forward.

“I’m happy here, I’m having a lot of fun. This is a place that I’ve always prayed that I could be a part of something very special. So I want to take advantage of it.”

Howard didn’t want to elaborate on what he or the Magic could have done differently during the excruciating process that led to his trade to the Lakers in August. Los Angeles hosts Orlando on Sunday night at the Staples Center.

“It doesn’t really matter to talk about it now. It’s over and done with,” he said. “There are a lot of things we both could’ve done, but at the end of the day, it happened just the way it was supposed to happen. There was a reason behind everything. We might not see it or understand it at the time, but there was a reason why everything happened the way it happened and I think it made both parties stronger.”

– Reported by Ramona Shelburne of ESPN Los Angeles

It’s not very often that Mark Cuban is on the same page with NBA commissioner David Stern.

But the Dallas Mavericks owner said Stern did the right thing Friday in fining the San Antonio Spurs $250,000 for not bringing Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Danny Green to Thursday’s nationally televised game in Miami against the Heat.

Cuban said where the Spurs went wrong is not bringing their marquee players to a game that was shown on TNT. If the Spurs had done the same thing in a game not played on national TV, Cuban said they likely would not have been issued a fine.

“Everybody who planned to watch San Antonio vs. Miami on TNT, we’ve got disappointed customers all over the place,” Cuban said before Saturday’s Mavericks home game against Detroit. “When I say our biggest customer, TV is our biggest customer.

“So I’m not saying San Antonio did the wrong thing. I’m just saying I understand exactly why the league did what they did.”

– Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Wade scores 34, Heat beat Nets

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 34 points, LeBron James added 21 points and the Miami Heat rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Brooklyn Nets 102-89 on Saturday night.

Ray Allen scored 13 and Norris Cole finished with 12 for the Heat, who won their sixth straight and remained atop the Eastern Conference. Miami held the Nets to 30 points in the second half.

Andray Blatche scored 20 points for Brooklyn, which had won five in a row. Gerald Wallace had 13 points, Joe Johnson added 12 and Deron Williams finished with 10 points and 12 assists.

The Nets were 10 for 31 from the field in the second half and lost to Miami for the 12th straight time.

Wade added seven assists and shot 14 for 20 for Miami. He reached the 30-point mark for the first time this season when he took an alley-oop pass from Allen and slammed the ball for a 90-81 edge with 5:14 left…

Brooklyn had just one field goal in the first 9:06 of the final quarter, missing 10 of 11 shots in that stretch as Miami - despite shooting 5 for 16 over the same stretch - pulled away.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Blazers beat Cavs in double overtime

Blazers beat Cavs in double overtime

Nicolas Batum’s first attempt at making the game-winning shot didn’t count. He got it right the second time.

Batum’s 3-pointer with 0.2 seconds left in the second overtime gave the Portland Trail Blazers a 118-117 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday night.

An apparent game-winning basket by Batum in the first overtime was disallowed because it came after time expired. The basket was first ruled good, but the call was changed after a video review. Batum, who celebrated after making that shot, got a chance to do it again and this time it was the winner…

Lillard led Portland with 24 points while Batum added 22. Alonzo Gee paced the Cavaliers with 22 points, but missed a free throw that would have given them a three-point lead before Batum’s shot.

Anderson Varejao had 19 points and 17 rebounds for his eighth straight double-double.

Portland put five players in double figures and improved to 1-4 on its seven-game eastern road trip. The Trail Blazers, who lost to Washington during the trip for the Wizards’ only win of the season, have been in search for something positive…

Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters left the game in the second overtime with an ankle injury. Varejao, the NBA’s leading rebounder, dislocated his right ring finger in the first quarter. X-rays were negative and he returned midway through the second period.

– Reported by Steve Herrick of the Associated Press

patrick patterson

There’s a lot more to the Houston Rockets’ offense than just James Harden.

Patrick Patterson scored 20 points, Chandler Parsons and Jeremy Lin had 19 apiece and the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 124-116 on Saturday night.

Harden finished with 18 points and seven assists for the Rockets, who shot a season-best 55 percent (46 of 83) and hit half of their 3-point shots at 11 of 22. Greg Smith and Carlos Delfino each scored 13.

Houston scored a season-high 39 points in the fourth quarter, and it’s averaging 113 points during a five-game home winning streak…

The Rockets finished with 26 assists, just shy of the season-high 30 they had in a 117-101 home win over Toronto on Tuesday. Houston had seven players score in double figures for the first time this year…

Omer Asik had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Houston. He briefly left the game after taking an elbow from Hayward, but returned for the final minutes.

Gordon Hayward had 13 of his 21 points in the second half and Al Jefferson and Randy Foye each scored 20 for Utah. The Jazz lost despite shooting 51 percent (48 of 94) overall and going 11 for 20 from 3-point range.

– Reported by Chris Duncan of the Associated Press

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