Archive for December 6th, 2012

Avery Bradley getting closer to return for Celtics

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge made his weekly appearance on Boston sports radio WEEI Thursday, and addressed the recovery time of injured guard Avery Bradley, as well as any lingering fallout from Rajon Rondo’s recent two-game suspension.

Though he didn’t want to commit firmly to the timetable, Ainge suggested Bradley could return after the Celtics’ post-Christmas West Coast trip, which concludes on Dec. 30 against the Sacramento Kings. Additionally, Ainge said the team will consider sending Bradley up to Portland, Maine, to play in a handful of rehab games with the Red Claws before he returns.

“I think our timetable is to get him back probably after the West Coast trip,” Ainge said. “I mean, that’s hopeful. I hate doing timetables, but we are getting closer, and he is looking good. We’d like to get him practicing, and we’re going to contemplate the possibility of some rehab games in Portland, maybe one or two. Maybe none. But we’ll be really careful with Avery.”

– Reported by Greg Payne of ESPN Boston

The Trail Blazers laid off three high-ranking xecutives Thursday morning when Chief Financial Officer Gregg Olson, Senior Vice President of tickets and marketing Michele Daterman and Senior Vice President of Human Resources Traci Reandeau were relieved of their duties.

The moves come eight days after Chief Operating Officer Sarah Mensah resigned and less than a month since team president Chris McGowan moved into his office.

Olson, who was named the CFO of the Year by the Portland Business Journal in 2009 in the large private business category, was in his 10th year with the organization.

– Reported by Jason Quick of The Oregonian

Victor Cruz critiques JR Smith salsa moves

Victor Cruz has some pointers on how to salsa for his good friend J.R. Smith, who did Cruz’s patented dance after hitting a game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat Charlotte on Wednesday.

“We got to go to the drawing board a little bit, it was a little stiff at the end,” Cruz joked. “We’ll get that squared away.”

Cruz and Smith grew up in New Jersey and even played AAU ball together when they were teenagers. After practice Wednesday, Cruz tuned in to watch Smith and the Knicks take on the Bobcats. With the game tied at 98-98, Smith hit a fadeaway buzzer-beater to give the Knicks the 100-98 win. Smith scored 13 points on 6-of-16 shooting Wednesday, including 1-of-9 from 3.

– Reported by Matt Ehalt of ESPN New York

Raptors assign Quincy Acy to D-League

The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday they have assigned forward Quincy Acy to the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League. Acy will continue to be included on the Raptors’ roster and will be placed on the team’s inactive list.

Acy has appeared in three games with the Raptors. He has played 21 minutes, averaging 2.3 points and 2.0 rebounds. The club selected Acy with the 37th choice in the 2012 NBA Draft.

Acy is the sixth Raptor to be assigned to the NBA D-League. Solomon Alabi was designated on four occasions, three times to the Erie BayHawks (November 2010, January 2011 and March 2011) and once to Bakersfield (January 2012). Ed Davis was assigned to Erie for two games in December 2010. Nathan Jawai was designated on two occasions in the 2008-09 season to the Idaho Stampede. P.J. Tucker was assigned twice to the Colorado 14ers during the 2006-07 season and Pape Sow was assigned to the Arkansas Rimrockers in the 2005-06 campaign.

Bakersfield, led by Head Coach Will Voigt, has been appointed as Toronto’s NBA D-League affiliate for the 2012-13 season.

pau gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers recently rejected a Timberwolves trade offer for forward Pau Gasol that would revolve around Minnesota center Nikola Pekovic and forward Derrick Williams, according to an ESPN.com report citing sources with knowledge of the Lakers’ thinking.

The report claimed that the Lakers also turned down an offer from the Toronto Raptors.

Wolves president of basketball operations David Kahn was unavailable for comment Thursday morning, Dec. 6.

This is not the first time the 32 year-old Gasol, a friend of Spanish countryman and Wolves point guard Ricky Rubio, has been linked to trade talks with Minnesota. The Wolves reportedly pursued Gasol in talks before the 2012 draft and last season’s trade deadline. Williams, the No. 2 pick in the 2011 draft, was mentioned as possible trade bait for Gasol in the past. So were then-Wolves forward Michael Beasley and a first-round pick.

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

Kobe Bryant

Before Kobe Bryant had even turned in his latest dominant performance, NBA Commissioner David Stern sought him out to offer a congratulatory hand shake for the extraordinary scoring milestone the Lakers star was about to surpass.

Stern assumed Bryant would score the 13 points he needed to become only the fifth player in NBA history to reach 30,000, and who wouldn’t?

Bryant had 17 points by halftime, finished with 29, and Los Angeles snapped a two-game skid with a 103-87 victory over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night.

”He just congratulated me and told me I was one of the best competitors that he’s seen in this game and I really appreciated that,” Bryant said of his pregame exchange with Stern.

Now Bryant in is elite company. The only other players to score more than 30,000 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, Michael Jordan and Wilt Chamberlain.

”It’s pretty awesome,” Bryant said. ”These are players I respect tremendously and obviously grew up idolizing and watching and learned a great deal from.”

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

demarcus cousins

Tyreke Evans has been a solid scorer throughout his four-year NBA career. Still, the one thing he’s always lacked is a consistent outside shot.

Evans made two consecutive 3-pointers late in the game and teammate DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 13 rebounds to help the Sacramento Kings beat the struggling Toronto Raptors 107-100 on Wednesday night.

The Kings used strong fourth-quarter play from Cousins and Evans to earn a rare victory. Sacramento had dropped nine of its previous 11 games, including an embarrassing 35-point loss Sunday against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Evans, back in the starting lineup after missing the past two games with a bruised left knee, scored 10 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter. The point total wasn’t a surprise, but hitting back-to-back 3s was unexpected. Evans entered the season as a 25 percent career shooter from 3-point territory and had made six of 22 attempts this season…

Jason Thompson added 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, while John Salmons scored 12 and Aaron Brooks 11.

Lowry had a season-high 34 points, two below his career best. He also added 11 assists and five rebounds for the Raptors, who have lost two straight and eight of nine.

Mickael Pietrus scored 21 points, DeMar DeRozan added 14 and Ed Davis chipped in 13 points and 11 rebounds.

– Reported by the Associated Press

JR Smith

J.R. Smith is normally the guy watching Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winning shot, not the one knocking it down.

But with Anthony nursing a lacerated finger, the New York Knicks turned to Smith for the last shot and the eight-year NBA veteran delivered.

Smith hit a fallaway jumper from the left wing as time expired to give the Knicks a 100-98 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

”I was hurt, but J.R. made it feel better,” Anthony said.

Anthony scored 20 of his 23 points in the first half, but went cold in the second half and wasn’t on the floor for the final 2:10 after injuring his left hand diving into the Knicks’ bench for a loose ball…

Tyson Chandler had 18 points and 17 rebounds for the Knicks. Smith finished with 13 points.

Kemba Walker had 25 points and 11 rebounds for the Bobcats (7-10), who have lost five straight games since equaling last season’s win total. Gerald Henderson scored 11 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter in his second game back after a 13-game layoff.

The Bobcats appeared in position to win late in the game after a miss by Raymond Felton with 14 seconds left, but rookie Michael Kidd-Gilchrist made an ill-advised pass toward the top of the key and Smith stepped in front of it to intercept it.

After a timeout, Smith drove to the left side and hit an 18-footer over Kidd-Gilchrist.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Blake Griffin

The starters got off to a strong start, then had a front-row seat for the show near the end of the Clippers’ fourth consecutive victory.

Blake Griffin had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and Chris Paul added 14 points and 13 assists in Los Angeles’ 112-90 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night.

Jamal Crawford had 20 points, Caron Butler scored 16 and DeAndre Jordan 12 for the Clippers, who shot 50 percent and dominated the entire game, keeping excitable Dallas owner Mark Cuban glued to his seat with his chin cupped in his left hand…

Vince Carter scored 16 points off the bench. Derek Fisher added 15 points, and Shawn Marion and Chris Kaman had 14 points apiece for the Mavericks, who fell to 2-7 on the road…

The Clippers’ former front line of Elton Brand and Chris Kaman, who helped them get within a game of the 2006 Western Conference finals, combined for 28 points for the Mavs.

Los Angeles’ second unit came on in the fourth, with Crawford and Matt Barnes combining to score 21 of their 28 points in the period…

F Dirk Nowitzki is on the Mavs’ trip to LA, Phoenix and Houston, but still not close to playing games.

– Reported by Beth Harris of the Associated Press

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