Archive for February 11th, 2013

Danny Granger returning soon for Pacers

Danny Granger’s impending return has the Indiana Pacers thinking hard about how to work him back into the rotation.

He could jump right into the starting lineup and play limited minutes or he could come off the bench for a few games to get back in rhythm. He could come back as soon as Wednesday or he could wait until after the All-Star break. Whatever the decision is, the Pacers believe teaming one All-Star forward with another during the second half of the season will make them a better team come playoff time.

”Our best lineup last year was when Paul (George) and Danny were wings together,” coach Frank Vogel said before Monday night’s game against Brooklyn. ”There’s merit to having either one of those guys coming off the bench, but putting their length and wing span together makes us better.”

Even without Granger, the Pacers have been pretty darn good.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard told Yahoo! Sports that opposing teams are trying to injure his sore shoulder.

He made the comments after the Lakers’ 107-97 loss to the Miami Heat on Sunday.

Howard said Heat players grabbed at his injured right arm on his first trip down the court.

“They got me early,” he said. “They would yank it back.”

He also said the Charlotte Bobcats did the same thing during Friday night’s game.

“It’s like a jolt,” he said. “Then it hurts the rest of the night.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Wizards continue to struggle on the road

The Wizards (14-35) are averaging a measly 86.2 points on the road, reaching triple digits just four times. They are also shooting just 40.6 percent and connecting on 33.7 percent from long distance. Opponents are outscoring them by an average of 9.1 points away from Verizon Center. Washington has suffered seven of its 10 double-digit losses on the road, including a 100-68 loss to the Pistons.

Even the return of John Wall hasn’t been a remedy for the Wizards’ road woes, with the team going 2-6 away from home.

“You’ve got to play better on the road. That’s the bottom line in this league,” [Coach] Wittman said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to play better on the road and do it consistently. And it starts defensively, getting it going. That’s our next step. Take it on the road. I feel good about going into these next two games because of what we’ve done [at home]. We went through a tough stretch of games here. A lot of good games.”

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post (Blog)

Gordon Hayward back soon for Utah Jazz

Gordon Hayward

Gordon Hayward was expected to practice Monday and could return to game action as early as Tuesday, coach Tyrone Corbin said.

The third-year reserve has missed eight games with a right shoulder sprain suffered at the end of the Jazz’s win over Indiana on Jan. 26.

“Hopefully he can have a good practice today,” Corbin said, “and be ready to go tomorrow in the game to get him back on the floor these last two games before the break and get him back acclimated to playing in the games.”

Hayward has played in 44 games, and averages 13.5 points, 2.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. The Jazz are 4-4 without him.

– Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

Anthony morrow

I asked coach Larry Drew about the status of Anthony Morrow. The guard, who missed 17 straight games with a right hip strain followed by a sore lower back, has been available for the past five games. However, he has seen action in just one - for a total of four minutes.

“Right now, I just can’t play everybody,” Drew said following Sunday’s practice. “I would like to get him in there but I just can’t play 11, 12, 13 people. You just can’t do it. He was out awhile and we got a rotation while he was out and right now I’m teetering on whether to disrupt that. Right now I have some guys that I definitely want to play and those guys aren’t getting the type of minutes I was hoping they would get. It’s just a situation that he has to stay ready.”

– Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Blog)

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade is fine with all of this.

Really, he is.

Wade played in the spotlight for seven seasons, but things have changed. The attention has diminished now that he’s paired with a teammate who is playing like a superhero.

And apparently LeBron James’ super power is making his future Hall of Fame teammates look like mortals. Although Wade completed his best five-game stretch of the season, it was just a footnote to all the gushing of James’ recent play.

“I’m not looking for headlines, but I’ve been playing all right,” Wade said. “He (James) can have all the headlines. It’s cool.”

James is playing so well that Wade’s week went all but ignored. He averaged 24.8 points, six rebounds, 5.8 assists and three steals during the Heat’s five-game winning streak. While the media was constantly updating James’ field goals numbers on Twitter, Wade was quietly shooting 51 percent.

“He’s been making so much history, so I’m glad I can be in a little bit with him,” Wade said.

– Reported by Shandel Richardson of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Chris Wright of the Maine Red Claws was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Feb. 4-10.

Wright (6-8, 225, Dayton) averaged 26.3 points while shooting 66 percent from the field to go with 14.3 rebounds as the Red Claws went 2-1 on the week.  Wright notched a season-high 27 points in a 108-94 road win over the Springfield Armor before coming out the next night and matching his point total in a 104-94 loss to the Bakersfield Jam.  He finished the week with a 25-point outing in a 104-100 win over Springfield in Maine.

A 2013 NBA D-League All-Star, Wright is averaging 17.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 35.4 minutes in 22 games, all starts, for the Red Claws this season.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Cory Joseph, on assignment from the San Antonio Spurs, Bakersfield’s Jerel McNeal, Canton’s Kyle Gibson, Erie’s D.J. Kennedy, Fort Wayne’s Tony Mitchell, Idaho’s Carlon Brown, Iowa’s Paul Harris, Los Angeles’ Lazar Hayward, Reno’s Samardo Samuels, Rio Grande Valley’s Glen Rice, Jr., Santa Cruz’s Travis Leslie, Sioux Falls’ Donald Sloan, Springfield’s Carleton Scott, Texas’ Justin Dentmon and Texas’ Rasual Butler.

Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 4 through Sunday, Feb. 10.

James led the Heat to a 4-0 week, which included wins over the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 31.3 points (second in the league) on .738 shooting from the field (second in the league), and added 6.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists. James scored at least 30 points in all four games and shot better than 61 percent from the field in each contest. His streak of 30-plus point games while shooting 60 percent or better stands at five straight, tied with Moses Malone (1981-82 season) and Adrian Dantley (1979-80 season) for the NBA record.

Westbrook guided the Thunder to a 4-0 week, which included wins over the Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns (twice). He averaged 21.8 points, 6.0 assists, 3.3 steals and 3.0 rebounds. Oklahoma City won each game by 20 or more points as it improved to 39-12 (.765). The Thunder trails the San Antonio Spurs by ½ game for the top record in the league.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Boston’s Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s David West, New Orleans’ Greivis Vasquez, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, San Antonio’s Tony Parker, Toronto’s Rudy Gay and Washington’s Martell Webster.

Deron Williams out two games for Nets

Deron Williams out two games for Nets

Brooklyn Nets guard Deron Williams will miss the next two games, tonight at Indiana and Wednesday vs. Denver, due to synovitis (inflammation of ankle joint linings) in both ankles.  Williams received PRP (platelet rich plasma) treatment on both ankles earlier today and is expected to return to action following the All-Star break.

Williams has played in 50 games for Brooklyn this season, posting averages of 16.7 points, 7.6 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game.

danny granger

The Pacers may get their fifth starter from last season — Danny Granger — back as early as Wednesday against the Charlotte Bobcats.

Granger, out all season with a left knee injury, went through his first full-court practice Sunday.

The Pacers must decide if it’s important for Granger to play before the All-Star break next weekend or wait until Feb. 20 against the New York Knicks.

Granger is staying in Indianapolis over the break to continue working out.

“I thought he looked great,” Pacers coach Frank Vogel said about Granger’s first extensive practice. “We have to see how his body responds, obviously. Have him go through another practice Tuesday and see where we’re at. I think it could be helpful to get his feet wet on Wednesday, but we have to make sure he feels good.”

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star

iman shumpert

Iman Shumpert was not his usual boisterous self after the Knicks’ 102-88 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. He spoke softly, sometimes responding to questions with one-word answers. Shumpert spent a majority of his time in the locker room with his head down.

Shumpert knows he has had a difficult week. He has been trying to find his rhythm on the court and his niche with the Knicks. And on Saturday night, he became the subject of a trade rumor. The Phoenix Suns were said to be interested in making a deal for Shumpert, a second-year guard, in exchange for Jared Dudley and a possible first-round pick before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

Shumpert, who returned to the court less than a month ago after having knee surgery in the spring, met with Coach Mike Woodson on Saturday.

“He said don’t worry about it,” Shumpert said. “Rumors are rumors. I don’t really care. I just have to play ball. I can’t control that anyway. It’s nothing to worry about. I just have to go out there and play.”

– Reported by Nate Taylor of the New York Times (Blog)

Josh Smith

The Brooklyn Nets are aggressively pursuing a trade for Atlanta Hawks star forward Josh Smith, league sources told ESPN.

The two teams are engaged in discussions, but one source said while “there has been lots of talk, nothing is close yet.”

As the NBA’s Feb. 21 trade deadline nears, Brooklyn is proving to be one of the most active teams in the league. As reported by ESPN.com on Friday, sources said the Nets also are talking with the Charlotte Bobcats about a Kris Humphries-for-Ben Gordon trade.

While the Nets certainly want Gordon, sources said acquiring Smith is their higher priority. A trade for Smith would seemingly kill a deal for Gordon, because Humphries is one of the players being discussed with Atlanta.

The Nets are willing to give up Humphries and second-year shooting guard MarShon Brooks for Smith.

– Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

Isaiah Thomas

Isaiah Thomas scored 17 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter and John Salmons also had 23 points to help rally the Sacramento Kings to a 117-111 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

The Kings were trailing by 10 points early in the fourth quarter, but Thomas led an offense that was difficult for the Rockets to match in the fourth quarter.

Houston was outscored 17-7 over a four-minute stretch when the Kings took control of the game.

Kings center DeMarcus Cousins had 20 points despite sitting out much of the second half with foul trouble. Jason Thompson scored 12 points, and Francisco Garcia came off the bench and had 11, including six points in the fourth quarter when the Kings outscored Houston 33-25.

James Harden had 30 points, six rebounds and four assists for Houston, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Patrick Patterson scored 18 points and Omer Asik had 17 points and 12 rebounds. Carlos Delfino added 15 points and Jeremy Lin finished with 12 points and six assists.

The Rockets pulled within a basket, but Salmons, who had 10 fourth-quarter points, was quickly fouled and made both free throws for a 115-111 lead with nine seconds remaining…

Evans picked up two fouls in the game’s first six minutes while guarding Harden.

– Reported by the Associated Press

tony parker

Tony Parker has been so outstanding lately that Spurs coach Gregg Popovich called it ”beyond an All-Star level.”

Does that mean All-NBA? Maybe even MVP?

”I think he should be in every conversation for any award that’s going to be given,” Popovich said. ”I don’t think that is really tough to see. I mean, there’s a group of guys, but he should be in that group as one of the guys that’s playing the best in the league.”

Parker had 29 points and 11 assists in another brilliant performance without his two sidekicks, and San Antonio dominated the second half to beat the Brooklyn Nets 111-86 on Sunday night.

Two nights after a loss in Detroit ended their 11-game winning streak, the Spurs got back on track quickly behind Parker, who fell short of his third straight 30-point game only because he was so good that he sat out the final minutes of the rout.

Danny Green added 14 points and Tiago Splitter had 13 for the Spurs, who were again without Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili because of injuries as they beat the Nets for the fifth straight time and 19th in the last 20 meetings…

Joe Johnson scored 19 points and Brook Lopez had 18 for the Nets, who were outscored 60-29 in the second half and lost for the sixth time in nine games. Deron Williams finished with 15 points, but was a distant No. 2 when it came to the best point guards on the floor…

Duncan missed his third straight game due to a sore left knee, while Ginobili was out for the fourth consecutive game with tightness in his left hamstring. Popovich said he would be cautious with the two stars, knowing he needs them later this season.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Thabo Sefolosha

When Oklahoma City faces Phoenix, the Thunder rolls.

Thabo Sefolosha made a career-high 5 of 7 3-pointers and the Oklahoma City Thunder routed the Phoenix Suns for the second game in a row 97-69 on Sunday night.

The 28-point blowout followed a 127-96 Thunder romp over the Suns in Oklahoma City on Friday night.

”We played the same as we did last time,” Russell Westbrook said. ”I think we did a good job of that, and maybe even better this time.”

Westbrook scored 24 points in 28 minutes in the Thunder’s 10th straight victory over Phoenix, the longest active streak for any Suns opponent.

Sefolosha added 20 points, two shy of his career high. Kevin Durant scored 18, 11 below his NBA-leading season average (29.1), in limited duty in the Thunder’s fourth straight win, none of them by fewer than a 21-point margin.

Sefolosha set a season high for the second straight game after getting 18 against the Suns on Friday…

Markieff Morris was the only Phoenix player in double figures with 12…

The Thunder were without Kevin Martin because of the flu.

– Reported by Bob Baum of the Associated Press

paul pierce

The Boston Celtics relied on their veterans to help them win the matchup of the NBA’s two hottest teams.

Paul Pierce had 27 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists and the Celtics extended their winning streak to seven games with a 118-114 triple overtime victory over the Denver Nuggets on Sunday.

Boston’s win also ended Denver’s winning streak at nine games.

Pierce made a tying 3-pointer in the second overtime to make it 107-107 and extend the game.

”I mean that’s what great players do. I would love to tell you I had something to do with it,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. ”I was sitting just like the fans saying, ”Please, Lord, Paul make a shot.”

Kevin Garnett had 20 points and grabbed 18 rebounds while Jason Terry scored a season-high 26 points off the bench.

”It seems like Garnett has a huge heart and wanted to win the game and he made some big time shots,” Nuggets coach George Karl said. ”His range has improved and it’s about time he get that respect.”

Pierce, Garnett and Terry are the only active Celtics with championship rings since point guard Rajon Rondo’s season-ending knee injury. The Celtics remain unbeaten in Rondo’s absence.

– Reported by the Associated Press

John Lucas

John Lucas scored 10 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter to match his season high, Rudy Gay had 20 points and the Toronto Raptors beat the New Orleans Hornets 102-89 on Sunday.

Kyle Lowry had 14 points and 10 assists and Amir Johnson scored 14 points for the Raptors, who won consecutive games for the first time since beating Philadelphia and Charlotte on Jan. 9 and 11.

Jonas Valanciunas had 11 points and 10 rebounds as the Raptors blew open a close game by outscoring the Hornets 33-23 in the final quarter.

Robin Lopez scored 19 points, Greivis Vasquez had 17 and Ryan Anderson 15 for the Hornets, who lost for the first time in three games. Brian Roberts had 13 points for New Orleans, which has won more than two straight just once this season…

Johnson scored 12 points in the first and Gay had eight as the Raptors took advantage of six New Orleans turnovers to take a 32-21 lead after one quarter…

Toronto C Andrea Bargnani did not dress because of flulike symptoms. … Valanciunas started for the first time in five games since returning from an 18-game injury absence. … Toronto F Landry Fields, returned after missing the previous three games with back spasms.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

jj redick

J.J. Redick scored 22 points, Nikola Vucevic added 17 points and 19 rebounds, and the Orlando Magic snapped a 12-game losing streak with a 110-104 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday night.

The Magic shot 50 percent from the field in earning their first win since Jan. 16. They play their next two games at home. Reserve Gustavo Ayon had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Orlando.

LaMarcus Aldridge led Portland with 25 points. Nicolas Batum added 19 points and Wesley Matthews chipped in 17.

The Blazers, who have lost three in a row overall, fell to 1-7 in their last eight road games. They play at Miami on Tuesday and New Orleans on Wednesday before the All-Star break.

Orlando held a 79-72 lead entering the final quarter but had to push back against multiple attempts at a run by the Blazers down the stretch…

Orlando is the second straight opponent to shoot at least 50 percent against Portland…

Magic F Hedo Turkoglu missed his third straight game with flu-like symptoms.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

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