Archive for December 20th, 2012

Jose Juan Barea

J.J. Barea ended Oklahoma City’s 12-game winning streak almost all by himself.

Playing with the tenacity that made him so important to the Mavericks’ run to the title two years ago, Barea scored 14 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 99-93 victory over the Thunder on Thursday night.

Kevin Love had 28 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and Nikola Pekovic had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Minnesota. But it was Barea who was the key, scoring 12 straight at one point for the Wolves to hold off the team with the best record in the league.

Kevin Durant had 33 points, seven rebounds and six assists and Russell Westbrook had 30 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists for the Thunder, who had not lost a game since Nov. 23 at Boston…

After Durant’s two free throws cut Minnesota’s lead to 80-77, Barea hit two 3s and scored on a putback under the rim amid the tall trees, an 8-0 run by himself that gave the Wolves a little breathing room. His long 3 with 5:26 to play made it 92-81, and the Wolves held on…

Serge Ibaka had 14 points and nine rebounds.

Alexey Shved had 12 points, 12 assists and seven rebounds for the Wolves, who are trying to claw their way back to respectability after years at the bottom of the Western Conference…

Kevin Martin did not play for the Thunder because of a right thigh contusion.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Josh Howard

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has waived forward/guard Josh Howard after an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) revealed he has a torn ACL (Anterior Cruciate Ligament) in his right knee. The injury, which will sideline him for the remainder of the season, occurred in the second quarter of the Friday, Dec. 14 contest at New Orleans.

“It’s unfortunate to see Josh’s season come to an abrupt end due to injury,” said David Kahn, Timberwolves President of Basketball Operations. “Due to several injuries, we have an immediate need at the wing position, necessitating today’s transaction. Josh was a consummate professional and important contributor to our team in his short time with us and we wish him the best with his recovery.”

Signed by the Wolves as a free agent on November 16, Howard averaged 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds in 11 games this season for Minnesota.

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

Stephen Curry finally has Warriors on firm footing

The Warriors (17-9) are off to their best start since the 1991-92 season, when the team began 21-8 behind Tim Hardaway and Chris Mullin. Golden State enters Friday night’s game against Curry’s hometown Charlotte Bobcats playing like a playoff-bound team in the Western Conference.

That’s no small feat for a franchise that has missed the postseason 17 of the last 18 years. Neither is it a mild milestone in Curry’s comeback, not after his troubled right ankle sidelined him for most of the last year and had some wondering whether he could ever be the point guard who looked so promising in his first two seasons.

”Missing games and not having complete confidence that my ankle would hold up was tough,” Curry said. ”To be at this point right now playing and helping the team win, it definitely feels great to just be able to focus on games.”

Warriors general manager Bob Myers believes Curry’s breakthrough this season came at Dallas on Nov. 19.

Curry made only 4 of 12 shots through three quarters and rolled his right ankle early in the fourth before he picked it up offensively, scoring 14 of Golden State’s last 17 points in regulation. Curry added six points in overtime to lift the Warriors to a 105-101 win.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

Chris Bosh

LeBron James and Chris Bosh feel the defending champion Miami Heat have work to do if they are to reach peak form in time for the National Basketball Association (NBA) playoffs, but both embrace the challenge.

The Heat (16-6) trail only the New York Knicks (19-6) in the Eastern Conference just past the quarter-mark of the NBA’s regular season but Bosh is well aware his team is not playing at the same level compared to this point last season.

“No, not right now. We have to pick it up a little bit to catch ourselves from last year,” Bosh, Miami’s third-leading scorer and top shot-blocker, told Reuters.

“It’s a new year, we just have to slowly build and get back to that place. As long as we continue to win games now and then we are primed and ready come playoff time, I’ll be happy.” …

James, who has been pushing himself physically this season by adding extra workouts and cycling to games and shootouts, agrees the Heat have lots of room for improvement.

“Everything, defensively continue to grind, continue to communicate, continue to rebound, offensively don’t turn the ball over, be efficient looking for shots,” he said.

“Right now we are getting better, we are going to use each and every game, we aren’t going to cut any corners to get better, right now.”

– Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

Injury opens door for Dorell Wright

Injury opens door for Dorell Wright

No one wants injuries to happen - not players, coaches or fans. But when they do, opportunities arise. And while the situation might not be ideal, a door opening is always welcomed.

That has been the case for 76ers swingman Dorell Wright. Point guard Jrue Holiday missed his fourth straight game Wednesday with a sprained foot. In the three games before Wednesday night’s 125-103 loss to the Houston Rockets, Wright had played between 26 and 30 minutes a game, a huge leap from any other time during the season. Against Houston, he had 20 points and six assists in 39 minutes.

It’s no coincidence that his game is coming back to form.

His defense has gotten to where it was at the beginning of the season, when coach Doug Collins could rely on him to cover anyone from small forwards to centers. He has found his shooting touch again, demonstrated Tuesday in Dallas when he hit seven three-pointers and scored a season-high 25.

– Reported by Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News

Spurs waive guard James Anderson

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have waived guard James Anderson.

Anderson was signed by the Spurs on Nov. 21 and saw action in 10 games, averaging 3.4 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.4 minutes.

The Spurs this season have a 19-8 record, good for 4th in the Western conference.

Tim Duncan joins rarefied air at 23,000 points

The milestone came without fanfare, befitting the low-key superstar who accomplished it.

With a pair of free throws at the 9:15 mark of the third quarter of the Spurs’ loss at Denver on Tuesday, Tim Duncan became the 26th NBA player to reach 23,000 points.

Needing 15 points to hit that plateau, Duncan didn’t stop there. He left the Pepsi Center with his season’s most power-packed box score: 31 points, 18 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.

It was another turn-back-the-clock night in a season full of them for the Spurs’ 36-year-old metronome…

He is one of only six active players to make this list.

– Reported by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

Spurs recall Kawhi Leonard from D-League

Spurs recall Kawhi Leonard from D-League

The San Antonio Spurs today announced that they have recalled Kawhi Leonard from the Austin Toros of the NBA Development League.

The forward, who has been sidelined with quadriceps tendinitis, left knee since Nov. 17,  was sent to the Toros for a medical rehab assignment on Wednesday.

Prior to the injury, Leonard appeared in nine games for the Silver and Black, averaging 10.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.00 steals in 28.9 minutes.

Rap star “Fat Joe” faces up to two years in prison after pleading guilty Thursday to failing to pay taxes on nearly $3 million in income over two years.

The performer, whose real name is Joseph Cartagena, entered the plea in federal court in New Jersey because some of the companies he earns money from are incorporated there.

The 42-year-old Miami Beach, Fla., resident entered pleas to two counts covering years 2007 and 2008 but his sentencing will take into consideration the government’s initial allegation that he failed to pay income taxes for years 2007 through 2010.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Cavs recall Jon Leuer from D-League

The Cleveland Cavaliers have recalled forward Jon Leuer from the Canton Charge, the Cavaliers exclusively owned and operated NBA Development League team, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant announced today.

Leuer has appeared in six games (all starts) for the Charge this season, averaging 20.3 points on .545 shooting and 12.3 rebounds in 35.8 minutes per game, helping the Charge go 5-1 in those games. Leuer has played in five games this season for the Cavs, averaging 3.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in 14.4 minutes per game.

Durant scores 41, Thunder beat Hawks for 12th straight win

Oklahoma City’s biggest stars displayed a unique version of balanced scoring against Atlanta: Russell Westbrook led the Thunder in the first half and Kevin Durant dominated the Hawks over the final two quarters.

Durant set a season high with 41 points and Oklahoma City held off Atlanta 100-92 on Wednesday night for its 12th straight win.

Westbrook had 27 points - 21 in the first half - and 11 assists. Durant scored 28 points in the second half, including 18 in the fourth, and also had 13 rebounds.

No other Oklahoma City player scored in double figures…

Jeff Teague led Atlanta with 19 points, Josh Smith had 17 points and 12 rebounds, and Al Horford and Lou Williams scored 13 apiece.

Durant was especially strong after Atlanta cut a 16-point deficit midway through the third quarter to 73-69.

Durant slowed Atlanta’s comeback attempt when he dominated a sequence on both ends of the floor, blocking a shot by Smith before throwing down a jam. Smith drew a foul and Durant sank the free throw to push the lead to 85-75.

With about 3 minutes remaining, Durant hit a fallaway jumper. Less than a minute late, he made a spin move and then sank a 3-pointer over the 6-foot-7 Kyle Korver, who was left shaking his head.

– Reported by Charles Odum of the Associated Press

Chris Paul

The Los Angeles Clippers’ franchise record-tying 11th consecutive victory had owner Donald Sterling leading a ”hip, hip hooray” chant in the locker room.

Sterling grabbed the hand of coach Vinny Del Negro and held it up, exhorting his team, ”Let’s hear it for the coach.” Then he told Del Negro, ”Vinny, give me a hug” and the two men embraced.

”Eleven in a row. Not bad, is it?” Sterling said.

Blake Griffin scored 18 points and Jamal Crawford added 17 in the Clippers’ 93-77 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Wednesday night that tied the franchise mark set by the 1974-75 Buffalo Braves.

”That’s pretty special, especially to do it at home,” said Chris Paul, who had 10 points and 12 assists, giving him 5,003 in his career…

DeAndre Jordan added 12 points for the Clippers, whose 19-6 record is tied with New York for second-best in the NBA.

Robin Lopez scored 14 of his 22 points in the first quarter and rookie Anthony Davis added 16 for the Hornets. They lost their ninth in a row and 11th in 12 games while falling to 2-10 on the road. They were the last team to beat the Clippers on Nov. 26…

Paul fed Griffin for a layup late in the second quarter to notch his 5,000th assist, triggering a standing ovation. Griffin got fouled on the play and made the free throw. It came during an 11-0 run that provided the Clippers’ largest lead to that point, 46-30. Paul’s alley-oop pass to Griffin led to a fast-break dunk for the Clippers’ final basket of the half, with them leading 48-38.

– Reported by Beth Harris of the Associated Press

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