Archive for February 13th, 2013

joe johnson

Joe Johnson scored 26 points, including five 3-pointers, C.J Watson added 25 points and five 3s, and the Brooklyn Nets came away with a 119-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday night.

All-Star center Brook Lopez had 23 points and eight rebounds and Kris Humphries chipped in 14 points for Brooklyn.

The 119 points were a season high for the Nets. They also tied a season-high with 16 3-pointers.

Brooklyn is now 2-1 in games played without star point guard Deron Williams, who has sat out the last two games due to sore ankles.

Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 26 points and hit all of his five 3-point attempts. Denver has lost three in a row after winning a season-high seven straight games.

Jordan Hamilton had 15 points and JaVale McGee added 14 points for the Nuggets. Andre Miller scored eight points and had 10 assists.

– Reported by the Associated Press

alan anderson

Reserve Alan Anderson scored 26 points in one of the few good offensive performances for either team, and the Toronto Raptors beat the New York Knicks 92-88 on Wednesday night for their fourth straight victory.

DeMar DeRozan added 20 points for the Raptors, who overcame a 4-for-21 performance from Rudy Gay because Knicks star Carmelo Anthony was just as bad. Anthony finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds but shot 5 of 24 for the Knicks, who dropped their final two games leading into the All-Star break.

J.R. Smith led the Knicks with 26 points. Raymond Felton had 16 but shot 3 of 9, while Amare Stoudemire was 4 of 13 and had one particularly ghastly miss from right at the basket on his way to 10 points.

Gay finished with 11 points one night after hitting the go-ahead basket with 4.9 seconds left in a victory over Denver. That was his second such basket in three games since his trade from Memphis, but the Raptors had to look elsewhere this time for someone to pick them up in a game that was poorly played and poorly officiated.

They found it in Anderson, who finished a point shy of his career high. Kyle Lowry and John Lucas III both had 12 points, Lucas playing most of the second half after Lowry was ejected.

The Knicks shot 35 percent and settled for an ugly finish to their best first half in 16 years. They lost three of their final four games and take a 32-18 mark to the All-Star break…

Anthony said he was hurt early in the game when he was hit by DeRozan’s elbow, causing a deep contusion that caused numbness. He said he will wait to see how it feels before determining if he can start as scheduled in Sunday’s All-Star game.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

Josh Smith

Josh Smith had 30 points and 10 rebounds and Al Horford added 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Atlanta Hawks blew past the Orlando Magic 108-76 on Wednesday night.

The Hawks led by as many as 38 points and decimated the Magic defense on the way to earning their ninth consecutive regular-season win over their division rivals.

Jameer Nelson and Andrew Nicholson led the Magic with 10 points apiece. No other Orlando players reached double-figures.

The Magic have now lost 24 of their last 27 games.

It was the last game for both teams before the All-Star break. Orlando heads to Charlotte on Feb. 19 and Atlanta next plays at Miami on Feb. 20.

Horford and Smith scored at will both inside and from the outside, and had a combined point total that equaled the Magic’s team total after three quarters…

The Hawks’ started the game just 1 for 10 from the field and had just a six-point cushion after one. They erupted in the second, though, outscoring the Magic 32-17 as they built a 21-point halftime lead…

Horford and Smith combined for 30 points and 17 rebounds in the half, just a shade under the 36 points and 18 rebounds the Magic had as a team.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

kawhi leonard

Kawhi Leonard made a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining to give the San Antonio Spurs a 96-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night.

Leonard’s clutch basket came after Dion Waiters’ jump shot with 9.5 seconds remaining put Cleveland ahead 95-93.

The Spurs, who have won 14 of 15, had stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili on the floor together for the first time since Jan. 13.

Kyrie Irving, who was held to a season-low six points, missed a desperation runner from the top of the key as time expired.

Tony Parker led the Spurs with 24 points while Gary Neal scored 15.

Waiters scored 20 points to lead Cleveland, which has dropped three straight after winning a season-high three in a row…

Irving, who rolled his left ankle Monday against Minnesota, was 2 of 15 from the field with seven assists.

Tyler Zeller, who was scoreless in 25 minutes Monday, had 16 points, including 12 in the first half, for Cleveland.

– Reported by the Associated Press

paul george

Paul George posted his first career triple-double with 23 points, 12 rebounds and a career-high 12 assists, and the Indiana Pacers snapped a two-game losing streak with a 101-77 rout of the Charlotte Bobcats on Wednesday night.

Tyler Hansbrough tied a season high with 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Pacers starting in place of David West, who was sidelined by an eye injury.

Byron Mullens led the Bobcats with 19 points and Gerald Henderson chipped in 14.

The first quarter started as a shootout with Indiana and Charlotte combining for 59 points on 55.6 percent shooting. The Pacers held a 30-29 lead after the first before limiting the Bobcats to 23 percent shooting (14-for-61) over the final three quarters.

George opened the game with a corner 3-pointer and finished the opening quarter with 11 points.

The Pacers stepped up on the defensive end in the second quarter, holding Charlotte without a field goal for nearly three minutes and to only 17 points in the quarter on 5-of-20 shooting. But Indiana’s offense didn’t fare any better with 19 points in the second.

– Reported by the Associated Press

danny granger

Danny Granger’s return to the Indiana Pacers will have to wait at least another week.

Any chance of the team’s leading scorer returning to game action tonight at Bankers Life Fieldhouse against the Charlotte Bobcats was derailed by the flu-like symptoms.

Coach Frank Vogel said Granger’s injured left knee “responded well” to Tuesday’s practice, but Granger might not have played tonight anyway.

“He probably wouldn’t be quite ready yet if he wasn’t sick,” Vogel said after the morning practice.

– Reported by Curt Cavin of the Indianapolis Star

University of Kentucky freshman Nerlens Noel will miss the rest of the 2012-13 season with a torn ACL in his left knee, the school announced Wednesday.

Noel suffered the injury during the second half of Tuesday night’s 69-52 loss at Florida.

Noel, who some have projected as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft, will undergo surgery in the next two to three weeks, UK said. The timetable for recovery is estimated at six to eight months.

“I’ve been coaching for 22 years and this is the first injury we’ve had of this kind during the season, which makes it even more devastating,” Coach John Calipari said in a statement released by UK. “I met with Nerlens earlier today. The meeting was really positive, and I loved his attitude. The way he is already dealing with this injury lets me know that he is going to come back stronger than ever. The good news is he is insured, so he would have been fine even if the injury would have been worse. Obviously this is not a career-ending injury and it’s one that athletes bounce back from all the time.”

Kentucky (17-7) has seven more regular-season games remaining.

The 6-10 freshman was leading the nation in blocks (106) and blocks per game (4.4) and ranked second in the Southeastern Conference in rebounding (9.5). He was also averaging 10.5 points per game for the Wildcats.

– Reported by the Lexington Herald-Leader

Hedo Turkoglu of the Orlando Magic has been suspended without pay for twenty games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program by testing positive for methenolone, it was announced today by the NBA.

Turkoglu’s suspension will begin tonight when the Magic play host to the Atlanta Hawks at Amway Center.

Statement from Turkoglu: “While I was back home in Turkey this past summer, I was given a medication by my trainer to help recover more quickly from a shoulder injury.  I didn’t know that this was a banned substance and didn’t check before taking it. “I take full responsibility for anything that goes into my body. This was a complete error in judgment on my part and I apologize to the Orlando Magic organization, the league, my teammates, and the Magic fans. I know I have let down a lot of people and I am truly sorry for my mistake.”

Statement from Orlando Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan: “Hedo unknowingly took a banned substance. There are more than 125 banned substances on the NBA List, and we spend a lot of time educating our players on the contents of that list and will certainly continue to do so moving forward. We believe this was an honest mistake.”

According to the Associated Press, “Turkoglu is making about $11.8 million this season. He has one more year remaining on his current deal. He was picked as the NBA’s most improved player in 2008 while with Orlando.”

Did Vince Carter commit beard violation?

vince carter

The rules regarding the Mavericks’ beard pact are a bit fuzzy, so to speak.

Shaving the neck is definitely allowed. What about the cheekbones? That will determine whether sixth man Vince Carter has violated the pact of not shaving until the Mavs hit .500 again.

Carter’s beard is bushy, but it’s been lined up on the neck and cheekbones and his mustache has been well trimmed. According to his interpretation of the unwritten rules, Carter is still in compliance.

“I can’t have it in my eyes, bro. Sorry,” Carter said. “Have you seen Chris Kaman? I can’t do that, man. I didn’t make the rules. That’s the thing. I don’t know where all the rules came from. O.J. (Mayo) was like, ‘We can’t cut the beard.’ The beard is the beard.”

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

sacramento kings

As he prepares to head to Houston this weekend to lobby the NBA’s team owners to keep pro basketball in Sacramento, Mayor Kevin Johnson said he is getting “very close” to revealing the deep-pocketed investors he has recruited to make a pitch to buy the franchise.

Those investors - along with a plan for a new downtown arena - would be the foundation of Johnson’s argument to the NBA to block a deal the Kings’ owners have to sell the franchise to a group that would move the team to Seattle in time for the 2013/14 season.

Johnson said he is working against a March 1 deadline to secure those investors and an arena plan. That date is the deadline for a team to file for relocation, which the Kings did last week.

The mayor is expected to make his pitch to the league’s Board of Governors - made up of team owners - in New York in mid-April.

– Reported by Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

A glance at Brooklyn Nets trade assets

kris humphries

Kris Humphries, who will have a $12 million expiring contract next season, is their main one. Then there’s MarShon Brooks, the highly talented/sometimes mistake-prone 24-year-old swingman who has struggled to gain confidence while playing sporadic minutes. Brooks is making just $1.16 million this season and won’t be eligible for restricted free agency until the 2015-16 campaign.

The Nets also have several future first-round picks at their disposal, and Tyshawn Taylor’s career-high 12-point, 34-minute performance on Monday night only increased his value in a potential deal. 

Smith, 27, becomes a free agent at season’s end. He’s averaging 17.1 points and 8.6 rebounds, and would certainly be an upgrade at power forward, assuming the Nets could land him. Just imagine a lineup featuring Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Gerald Wallace, Smith and Brook Lopez

– Reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York

kyrie irving

Irving continues to dismiss any advice Scott could offer him on the contest, poking fun at his coach’s third-place finish in 1988. But Irving did get advice from former Cavs sharpshooter Mark Price, who won the event in 1993 and ’94.

“I’m not taking any advice from Coach Scott,” Irving said. “I know I’m a better shooter than Coach Scott. I believe it, he believes it.”

Scott scoffed at Irving when he told him he wanted advice from Price.

“That’s good. Mark Price won a 3-point contest and I have three championship rings,” Scott told him. “So I got the last laugh in that one. He shook his head, he didn’t say nothing after that. So that was the end of that conversation.”

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

Cavaliers practice on Tuesday was easy on the legs, but hard on the eyes. Instead of a rigorous workout, coach Byron Scott turned the day’s practice into a film session that lasted more than two hours.

There was plenty not to like following Monday’s dismal loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves, and the Cavs apparently went through it all frame by frame. After it was over, Scott told his players to forget about it and get ready for the San Antonio Spurs, who will carry the league’s best record into Quicken Loans Arena tonight.

“We’re going to throw this game away and focus on tomorrow,” Scott said. “I said my piece as far as some things guys needed to hear. I also said enough of this talk. You’ve got to start doing what you’re supposed to do every single night. It can’t be three or four games where we come out and play hard, then two or three games where we don’t. If you really are serious about winning and getting better as a team, you’ve got to compete every single night. Pretty simple.”

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

james harden

James Harden sat in a chair in the visiting locker room with his feet in a bucket of ice and his knees wrapped in bandages when somebody plopped a laptop on his thighs to watch the replay of his scary fall.

The bearded All-Star guard played through the pain in his right ankle and his already nagging left knee to finish with 27 points and seven rebounds, stealing the spotlight from backcourt teammate Jeremy Lin in the Houston Rockets’ 116-107 victory over the slumping Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.

”Very tough. I can barely walk. Still limping,” Harden said. ”I kind of felt the momentum going our way in the third quarter … so I didn’t want to shut it down.”

He didn’t.

And neither did the rest of the Rockets.

Chandler Parsons had 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds, and Lin added 14 points and 10 assists to help Houston past his former team for the second time in eight days.

A week after the Rockets tied the NBA record with 23 made 3-pointers in a testy 140-109 rout of the Warriors, Harden took the Bay Area rematch off script…

Stephen Curry had 27 points and six assists and Jarrett Jack scored 22 points off the bench after missing the past three games with a right shoulder injury for the Warriors, who head into the All-Star break on a season-high five-game losing streak. The first four losses had come on the road.

”We’re not there yet. We’re not where we think we are,” said Warriors center Andrew Bogut, who had six points and 12 rebounds. ”I think we thought we were maybe a little better than we were.”

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

kobe bryant

Just when the Los Angeles Lakers thought their season was fully saturated with weirdness, Kobe Bryant made one shot and committed eight turnovers in one of the worst games of his career - and the Lakers still beat Phoenix.

Although the Lakers keep finding new ways to flummox their fans and themselves, they’re also still finding ways to win.

Dwight Howard had 19 points and 18 rebounds, Antawn Jamison added 19 points, and the Lakers survived Bryant’s bizarre four-point performance for their eighth victory in 11 games, 91-85 over the Suns on Tuesday night.

Even in this tumultuous season jam-packed with statistical oddities and high-profile failures, the Lakers’ latest victory is a curiosity. Returning from a seven-game road trip, the Lakers hung on to win despite the fifth-leading scorer in NBA history, who had never played this many minutes (36) with just one field goal in his 17-season career.

Bryant didn’t attempt a shot in the first half and scored his first basket with 2:13 to play, finishing 1 for 8 in his lowest-scoring game since Jan. 13, 2005, when he left a game against Cleveland after six minutes with an injury.

Yet after the win, he greeted his horrific statistics with a smile.

”I thought it was great, actually,” Bryant said. ”Obviously, scoring four points, going 1 for 8, that’s not necessarily a recipe for success. … But it’s not about us as individuals. It’s about what we can do to help the team.”

Bryant counteracted his nine assists -just one in the second half - with a raft of turnovers, yet the Lakers survived against one of the NBA’s worst teams with big plays from Howard, Steve Nash and Metta World Peace, who scored 17 points. Bryant finally got an 8-foot leaner to fall, keeping the Lakers in control.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press

tony allen

Known for his stellar defensive play, Tony Allen has been coming through offensively for the Memphis Grizzlies the past few games.

Allen scored a season-high 19 points and led a key late third-quarter run in the Grizzlies’ 108-101 victory over Sacramento on Tuesday night, helping Memphis beat the Kings at home for the seventh straight time.

An 8.4-point scorer on the season, Allen has averaged 14.7 points in his last three games - all Memphis wins.

”The last few games he’s been scoring a few points and he’s made shots,” said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. ”He’s gotten to the basket, he’s made good decisions.”

Allen had seven points during a 13-8 run that gave the Grizzlies a 10-point lead in the closing seconds of the third quarter. He could have had two more points during the run, but his reverse layup was tipped in by Darrell Arthur.

”Tony is everywhere, he’s all over the place,” Grizzlies center Marc Gasol. ”We need Tony to do what he did. He’s a great player.”

Gasol led the Grizzlies with 24 points and 12 rebounds and Mike Conley scored 22 points. But it was Allen’s accuracy (8-of-12 shooting) and energy that helped Memphis enter the All-Star break on a three-game winning streak…

DeMarcus Cousins scored 23 points and Tyreke Evans had 20 for the Kings, who were attempting to win three straight for the first time in more than two months.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Jazz step up and beat Thunder 109-94

al jefferson

Al Jefferson scored 23 points, Paul Millsap had 18 and the Utah Jazz beat Oklahoma City 109-94 Tuesday night to break the Thunder’s four-game winning streak.

Utah’s bench outscored Oklahoma City’s 49-25, and the Jazz bigs dominated the boards, holding a 16-7 edge on offensive rebounds.

The Thunder also committed 20 turnovers.

The game was scrappy from the start, with Kendrick Perkins Kendrick Perkins and Kevin Durant both called for flagrant fouls, and Perkins whistled for a technical. It was the first flagrant foul of Durant’s career.

The Jazz led by seven entering the fourth but quickly put the game away, opening on a 6-0 run.

The Thunder were already down 17 when Durant bumped a driving Alec Burks out of bounds, then exchanged words with DeMarre Carroll after drawing the flagrant.

Durant finished with 33 points on 11-of-16 shooting, and Russell Westbrook added 22 points…

Derrick Favors added 15 points, Burks and Carroll had 13 apiece and Earl Watson finished with six.

– Reported by Lynn DeBruin of the Associated Press

lebron james

It’s not the type of streak that LeBron James ever thought about, this run of putting together at least 30 points and 60 percent shooting in six straight games.

Still, it’s something he’ll savor. He’s rolling right now, and so are the Miami Heat.

James scored 30 points on 11 for 15 shooting to get into the NBA record books, Chris Bosh scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Heat wound up beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-104 in a wild, momentum-swinging game on Tuesday night.

It was the 1,000th regular-season win in Heat history. But on this night, the only history anyone will remember was what James accomplished…

Dwyane Wade added 24 points for Miami, which wasted a pair of 14-point leads - then put the game away with a 14-0 run in the final minutes. Ray Allen added 14 for Miami.

Damian Lillard had a game-high 33 points for Portland, which got 29 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 20 from Wesley Matthews.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Basketball blog