Mike Stephenson couldn’t talk and still managed to get himself suspended from Minnesota Timberwolves practice for saying too much.
He couldn’t walk and still managed to crawl out of his wheelchair to wipe up a wet spot he noticed on the court before anyone else could get there.
He couldn’t shoot and still managed to leave a lasting impact on the organization that took him in and treated him as one of the guys.
Stephenson was born with cerebral palsy and died earlier this week after the latest in a long line of bouts with pneumonia, leaving Timberwolves past and present to mourn one of the team’s biggest fans, and biggest inspirations. He was 42.
”He was so good for the players and the rest of us,” former coach and executive Flip Saunders said. ”They all make a lot of money and are kind of on a different level. But Mike helped them get a better understanding that there’s other things, bigger things, that make the world go round.”
– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press
Lou Williams at first tried to downplay his first return tonight to play the 76ers, but the Atlanta Hawks guard then quickly changed gears and admitted that this is not a typical NBA game.
Williams played his first seven years with the Sixers and is in his first season with the Hawks. He is enjoying the same success in the super-sub role.
Last season Williams led the Sixers in scoring, averaging 14.9 points. This season he is averaging 14.3 points for the surprising 15-8 Hawks, who trail first place Miami by two games in the Southeast Division.
“It’s one of those games that will be emotional,” Williams said following this morning’s shootaround at the Wells Fargo Center.
The New Orleans Hornets will get injured shooting guard Eric Gordon back on the bench for moral support Saturday night when the team plays the Indiana Pacers in New Orleans Arena.
But Coach Monty Williams said here Friday that Gordon’s first game action isn’t imminent. “He’s been doing so much rehab now I think it’s a matter of him getting his game condition back,” Williams said after the team’s morning shoot-around in preparation for Friday night’s game against the San Antonio Spurs. “The only way to do that is to play. But there’s some things he can do to build a base before he steps on the floor so that’s what (the Hornets training and strength and conditioning staff) will be doing over the next few days.”
Gordon has rehabilitated and strengthened his ailing right knee in Los Angeles since Nov. 7 and said Wednesday night he’d be playing by the end of the month.
Williams said Friday Gordon had not yet been cleared for contact work.
The Philadelphia 76ers announced today that they have assigned rookie forward Arnett Moultrie to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Moultrie (6-10, 245) was the 27th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft by Miami. He was traded to Philadelphia on draft night in exchange for the draft rights to Justin Hamilton (45th overall pick) and a protected future first round pick
The 22-year-old has appeared in 11 games for the Sixers this season. He earned First Team All-SEC honors as a junior at Mississippi State after averaging 16.4 points and a conference-high 10.5 rebounds.
The Phoenix Suns have recalled guard Kendall Marshall from the Bakersfield Jam of the NBA Development League, the team announced today.
Phoenix originally assigned the rookie point guard to their D-League affiliate on Nov. 29. Selected with the 13 th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Marshall appeared in nine games for the Jam, and averaged a development league-leading 7.6 assists to go along with 9.6 points in 31.0 minutes per game. The former North Carolina Tar Heel tallied two double-digit assist performances and eight or more assists in five of his 10 appearances.
Marshall will be with the Suns for their game tomorrow night, Dec. 22, at the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they have recalled forward Kris Joseph from their NBA Development League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws.
Joseph, a 6’7 forward, has appeared in seven games for the Red Claws this season and has posted averages of 20.9 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 2.0 steals in 38.1 minutes per game. At the time of his recall he was ranked fifth in the NBA Development League in points per game.
Jason Kidd and Deron Williams have a lot in common, starting with a friendship, an agent, a basketball position and summer homes in the Hamptons.
They’ve also both played under Avery Johnson, and it seems they’ve shared a discomfort with the coach’s system.
But Kidd, who clashed with Johnson during their short tenure together in Dallas, said Williams’ struggles this season aren’t about play-calling.
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the coach,” Kidd said Thursday. “I think it’s just a matter of getting comfortable making shots. Also, he has new teammates. He’s got to get used to a new crew. It’s always a growing period.
“He’s a grownup. He’ll figure it out. All things don’t go well right away sometimes. He’s just going through a struggle shooting the ball, but he’s one of the best at what he does, so he’ll work through it.”
J.J. Hickson had 18 points and 18 rebounds for his sixth straight double-double, and the Portland Trail Blazers beat the Denver Nuggets 101-93 on Thursday night.
Nicolas Batum had 22 points to give the Blazers their first four-game winning streak of the season despite missing forward LaMarcus Aldridge because of a sprained left ankle.
The Nuggets were 0 for 22 from 3-point range, breaking the NBA record of 20 misses set by the Trail Blazers in a game against Toronto last week. Seventy-four of Denver’s point came in the paint.
The Blazers led by as many as 18 in the first half and while the Nuggets were able to close the gap, they were never able to pull even…
Portland saw the return of Matthews, who missed two games with a sore hip, then tried to return against the Hornets but played only about four minutes. The injury had put Matthews on the bench in street clothes for the first time in his four-year NBA career. He had played in 250 straight games, second-most among active players behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook…
Ty Lawson, Andre Iguodala and Corey Brewer had 13 points each for the Nuggets.
– Reported by Anne M. Peterson of the Associated Press
LeBron James scored 24 points with some early baskets on nifty passes from Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat rolled to a 110-95 victory over the injury plagued Dallas Mavericks on Thursday night.
James has scored at least 20 points in all 23 games, the longest streak to start an NBA season since Karl Malone’s 24 in a row opening the 1989-90 season.
Dallas, still waiting for the season debut of 11-time All-Star Dirk Nowitzki after right knee surgery, was also without starting point guard Derek Fisher (right knee).
The Heat never trailed after James drove for a short floater 3 minutes into the game to make it 6-4.
– Reported by Stephen Hawkins of the Associated Press
InsideHoops.com notes: With Dirk Nowitzki still out for Dallas, Jae Crowder came off the bench to lead the Mavs in scoring with 15 points. Dahntay Jones and Bernard James each scored 12. Darren Collison scored 11. The Mavs as a team shot just 38.5 percent, and hit just 3-of-22 from three-point range.