Archive for December 24th, 2012

Reggie Jackson of the Tulsa 66ers was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Dec. 17-23.

A 6-3, 208-pound guard out of Boston College, Jackson led the 66ers to two wins while on assignment from the Oklahoma City Thunder, averaging a team-high 32.0 points to go with 8.0 rebounds, 7.0 assists and 37.5 minutes. He led the team in scoring and assists in both games, was the leading rebounder once.

Jackson, who was recalled by the Thunder on Dec. 23, has appeared in 14 games for Oklahoma City this season, averaging 1.9 points, 1.0 rebounds and 6.9 minutes.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Justin Dentmon, Bakersfield’s Renaldo Major, Canton’s Arinze Onuaku, Erie’s D.J. Kennedy, Fort Wayne’s Tony Mitchell, Idaho’s Sean Evans, Iowa’s Paul Harris, Los Angeles’ Gary Flowers, Maine’s Fab Melo, on assignment from the Boston Celtics, Reno’s Darnell Jackson, Rio Grande Valley’s Tim Ohlbrecht, Sioux Falls’ Demetris Nichols, Springfield’s James Mays, and Texas’ Christian Eyenga.

lebron james

Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 17, through Sunday, Dec. 23.

James led the Heat to a 3-0 week behind averages of 25.3 points (third in the conference), 7.7 assists (fourth in the conference), 8.0 rebounds and 1.67 blocks (eighth in the conference). He led Miami in rebounding in all three games and has opened the season with 20-plus point efforts in the Heat’s first 24 games, matching the longest streak since Karl Malone opened the 1989-90 season with 24 consecutive 20-plus point outings.

chris paul

Paul helped the Clippers to a 4-0 week behind averages of 16.3 points, a conference-leading 11.3 assists, and 3.50 steals, which tied for the conference lead with the San Antonio Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard. Paul posted three point-assist double-doubles and collected two five-steal games for the Clippers, who have won 13 consecutive games.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s David West, Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, New York’s Carmelo Anthony, Portland’s J.J. Hickson and Toronto’s Jose Calderon.

The Boston Celtics today signed Sioux Falls Skyforce forward Jarvis Varnado for the sixth Call-Up of the 2012-13 NBA Development League season.  Varnado joins more than 100 players with NBA D-League experience currently on NBA rosters.

Varnado (6-9, 210, Mississippi State) has appeared in 10 games for the Skyforce, averaging 14.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 30.5 minutes and a league-leading 3.9 blocks.  Varnado finished with six double-doubles and recorded season-highs of 21 points and eight blocks on Nov. 30 at Springfield.  He tallied a season-high 16 rebounds at Austin on Dec. 22.  For his efforts, he was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week on Dec. 3.

Originally selected by the Miami Heat in the second round (41st overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft, Varnado was a four-year contributor at Mississippi State where he was named the NABC Defensive Player of the Year (2010) and was a three-time SEC Defensive Player of the Year (2008, 2009, 2010).  Varnado finished his 141-game collegiate career as NCAA’s all-time leading shot blocker with 564 career blocks.

Varnado is expected to join the Celtics today and be available on Dec. 25 when the team travels to face the Brooklyn Nets in a Christmas Day match-up at 12 p.m. ET on ESPN.

DeMarcus Cousins

The indefinite suspension by the Sacramento Kings of center DeMarcus Cousins didn’t last very long.

The Kings reinstated Cousins, effective immediately. Cousins practiced with the team in Sacramento today.

Cousins, currently in his third NBA season, is averaging a team-high 16.6 points (.414 FGs, .200 3FGs, .769 FTs), 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.35 steals per game through 23 contests.

According to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, “Cousins was reinstated Monday morning in time for the team’s practice. The Kings had suspended Cousins on Saturday morning after he met with basketball president Geoff Petrie and coach Keith Smart following an argument the center had with Smart during a road loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night. Cousins apparently was so profane and personal in his verbal confrontation with Smart in front of teammates during halftime that Smart benched Cousins and left him in the locker room for the second half of the defeat at Staples Center. Cousins said Friday night that he was wrong and “shouldn’t have responded back” to Smart.”

Chris Wilcox could miss a month with a thumb injury

The Celtics will enter their critical four-game road trip beginning Tuesday with just 11 active players, as once again keeping their centers healthy remains difficult.

At practice Sunday, coach Doc Rivers revealed that Chris Wilcox will miss perhaps a month with a sprained ulnar collateral ligament in his right thumb, sustained in Tuesday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls.

Wilcox attended the team’s Christmas party for local children with a brace on his right hand. With his absence, the Celtics have one true center on the roster — Jason Collins — despite having addressed the position in the offseason.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge re-signed Wilcox and added Darko Milicic and Collins, and drafted Syracuse’s Fab Melo for support. Milicic left the team after less than a month to be with his ill mother in Serbia and Melo is playing for Maine of the NBA Development League.

– Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe

Blake Griffin

The Los Angeles Clippers are starting to make easy victories look routine.

Blake Griffin scored 23 points, Chris Paul had 17 points and 13 assists and the Clippers extended a franchise record with their 13th consecutive victory, 103-77 over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night.

Reserve Jamal Crawford added 22 points for the Clippers, who won in Phoenix for the first time since April 17, 2007. Los Angeles’ overall win streak is an NBA season best and its six straight road victories are also a franchise best.

”We’re just taking care of business right now,” Griffin said. ”To be honest, we’re not really concerned with ‘You haven’t won here since then’ or ‘You haven’t won this many games in a row.’ ”We hear it all but we’re about just getting these wins and if they come within a streak or when we haven’t won somewhere, that’s fine.”

The Clippers have won by an average of 13 points and boast four victories of 20 or more points during their streak…

Jared Dudley scored 19 points, Luis Scola had 11 and Markieff Morris added 10 for the Suns, who have dropped two straight after winning four in a row…

Paul either scored or assisted on all but one basket over the final five minutes of the first quarter. … The Clippers matched a franchise record by holding their eighth straight opponent below 43 percent shooting.

– Reported by Jonathan Dalton of the Associated Press

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 one game during his most recent assignment against Erie on December 22 and recorded 10 points and seven rebounds in just over 37 minutes of action. He has posted averages of 19.5 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.88 steals in his eight contests for Maine this season.

Spurs quotes after beating Mavs 129-91

SPURS HEAD COACH GREGG POPOVICH: (When asked how different the Spurs are when Kawhi Leonard is playing…): “Well, we’re trying to make him a defender, a top notch defender that can become ‘All League’ kind of defender like Bruce (Bowen) was.  I think he has got the mentality for it, the intelligence for it.  He just needs the experience.  So we will see how it goes but in that regard he’s doing a good job.  Chip Engelland has done wonders with his shot.  Chad Forcier has been working on his mid-range game.  He’s coming along.  He’s been sitting for a long time.  This is only his second game back.  He’s sort of like a rookie starting over again.  We are happy to see him making the steals that he did and knocking down some shots.”

SPURS GUARD TONY PARKER: (On the record setting three-point shooting from the Spurs…) “It was great ball movement. We shot the ball very well. It was just one of those games where everything we did worked. We will see next week. It is tough to beat a team like that and then we play them next week.”

SPURS GUARD TONY PARKER: (On having Kawhi Leonard back in the rotation…) “It is great. It’s huge. He is a big part of what we do. He played great tonight. He was everywhere. We missed him on the road. Everybody stepped up but after a while it was tough and it showed that we were missing Kawhi.”

SPURS GUARD DANNY GREEEN: (On his hot shooting night…) “Luckily it felt good tonight. Some nights you have it and some nights you don’t. Good thing we had it tonight. Not just myself, but everybody else on the team also stepped up and knocked down some shots. It helped us open up the lead a little bit.”

SPURS GUARD DANNY GREEEN: (On Kawhi Leonard’s impressive defensive performance…) “Kawhi gets in the lanes. He’s got the long arms and big hands. He got a lot of deflections and a lot of hands on balls. He got some fast break dunks for us which opened it up for us a little bit.”

MAVERICKS GUARD DARREN COLLISON: “They (San Antonio) shot lights out. That’s Spurs basketball. We know what they’re about. We just didn’t have our rotations down pat. We’ll work at it.”

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