Archive for February 14th, 2013

Kevin Garnett

Boston Celtics center Kevin Garnett says this weekend “is definitely my last All-Star game.”

Garnett would not elaborate on why he wouldn’t be back after playing in the midseason exhibition for the 15th time in his 18-year career. Garnett says he’s bringing along friends and family so he can enjoy this weekend’s game in Houston.

Is it possible that the 37-year-old Garnett is planning to retire?

– Reported by the Associated Press

dwight howard

In theory, NBA All-Star weekend will give plenty of Lakers time to clear their minds and rest their dinged up bodies.

But not Dwight Howard, and the reasons go beyond his plan to participate in what will be his eighth All-Star appearance despite having a aggravated right shoulder and a surgically repaired back.

“Our team trainers are going to come and we’re going to get a lot of work in while I’m there,” Howard said. “I’m trying to get into better shape. That’s my main goal. All the stuff I’ll be doing, I’ll do just to make sure I get into better shape.”

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Lakers owner Jerry Buss has cancer and is at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, according to a report Thursday by Radaronline.com in which a source suggested Buss is nearing death.

Buss’ cancer was learned previously by the Register but not published out of respect for the Buss family’s wishes.

Buss, 79, has been called the greatest owner in pro sports history for his 10 NBA championships with the Lakers, in addition to being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010. Buss bought the Lakers in 1979 and currently owns 66 percent of the team.

On Aug. 22, Buss’ daughter and Lakers executive vice president of business operations Jeanie Buss posted to her Twitter account: “For all those who asked, Dr. Buss is doing really well, even spending time visiting with Kobe yesterday. My dad’s pumped for #Lakers season!”

– Reported by Kevin Ding of the Orange County Register

paul millsap

Jazz forward Paul Millsap won’t be partying during the All-Star break.

Bruised and fatigued after starting every one of Utah’s first 54 games this season, Millsap plans a low-key mini-vacation in Salt Lake City.

“I’m going to be at home — resting,” Millsap said. “I like beaches and things, but it’s not the time. I just don’t want to do nothing right now. I don’t even want to leave the house.”

In the Jazz’s final game before the break on Wednesday night, Millsap scored 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds during a 97-93 win at Minnesota.

– Reported by Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune

J.R. Smith wants better Knicks defense

JR Smith

It seems that everyone, from Mike Woodson on down, is searching for ways to clean up the Knicks’ porous defense.

On Wednesday night, J.R. Smith offered his take, hinting that the Knicks’ need to improve on D.

“We haven’t been that defensive team that we started off the season as. We were aggressive. Everybody was communicating. Everybody was excited to play. It just hasn’t been like that the last 10, 12 games,” Smith said after the Knicks’ loss to Toronto.

He’s right, by the way.

Over the last 10 games, the Knicks rank 23rd in opponent field goal percentage (47 percent) and 20th in defensive efficiency, a measure of points allowed per 100 possessions. They ranked sixth and fourth, respectively, in those categories after the first nine games of the season.

– Reported by Ian Begley of ESPN New York

Mavs may have interest in Eric Gordon

eric gordon

The odds of the New Orleans Hornets trading shooting guard Eric Gordon before the Feb. 21 deadline are slim.

The odds of the Mavs trading for Gordon before the deadline are much closer to none.

However, ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports in an Insider column that the Mavs, Houston Rockets and Golden State Warriors are among the teams that have inquired about Gordon. In the cases of the Mavs and Rockets – a couple of teams that will have enough cap space to enter the Dwight Howard summer sweepstakes – the inquiries are likely about exploring a potential offseason fallback option…

Is Gordon worth that kind of money when the Mavs could probably re-sign O.J. Mayo for significantly less?

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

caron butler

The Clippers shot 77 percent and scored 46 points in the first quarter, then lost their killer instinct the rest of the game.

But they still led all the way in earning their third straight victory, 106-96 over the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night.

Caron Butler scored 17 of his 19 points in the opening quarter for Los Angeles. Blake Griffin had 20 points and 11 rebounds, Chauncey Billups had 19 points, Jamal Crawford scored 13 points and Chris Paul had 10 points and 11 assists as the Clippers started all their regulars again after the lineup had been hit by injuries during their recent Grammy road trip.

”We played great and got a little complacent with the lead,” Billups said. ”We’ve shown to lose our discipline sometimes.”

Chandler Parsons scored 17 points, Jeremy Lin added 14 points and James Anderson had a season-high 14 for the Rockets, who have lost five straight to the Clippers and three of five overall.

”They came out on fire and we didn’t do a good job of making it difficult for them,” Lin said. ”Once they got in a rhythm, it just kind of snowballed at least in the first quarter.”

Lin was set to have an X-ray on his right wrist after a fall in the second quarter.

”I think it’s fine. It just hurts,” he said.

James Harden missed the game with a sprained right ankle and sore left knee after stepping on David Lee’s left shoe in the fourth quarter against Golden State.

– Reported by Beth Harris of the Associated Press

vince carter

Move over, Larry Legend. Vinsanity still has a few special moments in him.

Vince Carter scored 26 points to pass Larry Bird on the NBA’s career scoring list, and the Dallas Mavericks headed into the All-Star break with a 123-100 victory against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday night.

Carter earned his nickname with circus dunks but can’t quite rattle the rim like he used to. He’s more dangerous these days from one of the places where Bird did plenty of damage: the 3-point line.

The 14-year veteran turned aside a Sacramento rally in the third quarter by going 5 of 7 from long range and scoring 17 of Dallas’ last 21 points in the period. He ended the night with 21,796 career points for 29th on the all-time list, five ahead of Bird.

”There were open shots and I was shooting them to make them. I wasn’t shooting to get attention,” said Carter, who also became the 11th NBA player with at least 1,600 3-pointers. ”I’ve talked to Larry before. He is a legend and one of the greatest to play the game.”

Tyreke Evans scored 23 for the Kings, who lost their 18th straight regular season game in Dallas dating back almost 10 years.

The 3-pointer that pushed Carter past Bird came from a couple of feet behind the line with 2.9 seconds left in the third quarter and gave Dallas a 92-77 lead.

– Reported by Schuyler Dixon of the Associated Press

al jefferson

During his three years in Minnesota, Timberwolves fans saw everything Al Jefferson showed in a Utah Jazz uniform on Wednesday night. The endless pump fakes, the odd-angle jumpers, the tenacity on the boards.

Everything except the big fella running a coast-to-coast break and igniting what proved to be a game-deciding run.

Jefferson had 20 points and 11 rebounds, and Paul Millsap scored 21 points to power the Utah Jazz to a 97-93 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.

”He’s cat-quick now,” Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said with a smile. ”He’s always saying he’s a (small forward). That was a good look.”

Jefferson helped the Jazz overcome a sluggish start against his former team to pick up a rare road win against a Western Conference opponent. Utah now has four wins in 17 road games in the West.

Big Al spent three seasons in Minnesota after being traded from Boston as part of a package for Kevin Garnett, and he endeared himself to the long-suffering fan base here with his creative low post game. He was traded to Utah in 2010, partly so the Wolves could make room for Kevin Love in the frontcourt. Love is out with a right hand that is broken for the second time this season, and Jefferson had his way with the rest of the Wolves down low…

Derrick Williams had 24 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio had 18 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Timberwolves, who shot a season-low 34 percent.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Hornets roll past Trail Blazers, 99-63

anthony davis

Anthony Davis stormed down the lane, soared over a cluster of players under the basket, snagged a missed layup as it bounced off the front rim and slammed it down.

With that, the worst scoring slump the Hornets’ celebrated rookie could ever recall at any level of basketball ended.

Davis had 21 points and 11 rebounds, and the New Orleans Hornets handed the Portland Trail Blazers their fifth straight loss, 99-63 on Wednesday night.

”When you see the ball go through - a free throw, jump shot, layup, dunk, whatever it is - the confidence just builds back up,” Davis said. ”When I got that first dunk, the confidence was rising and I just tried to keep feeding on it.”

Davis, whose 0-for-7 shooting night on Monday in Detroit made him 1 of 13 in his previous two games, was 10 of 17 against Portland. He scored on an array of dunks, tip-shots and even jumpers from as deep as 20 feet.

For Davis, it seemed like a just result after he went to the practice gym on Tuesday - while the rest of the team was given the day off - and worked on his shooting.

”I was trying to keep my mind right,” said Davis, who’s been selected to play in an exhibition game involving top young players during this weekend’s NBA All-Star festivities in Houston. ”I wasn’t going to take the day off.”

Ryan Anderson added 14 points and Jason Smith 13, both in reserve roles. Greivis Vasquez had 10 points and eight assists.

Damian Lillard had 12 points and Victor Claver 11 for Portland, which lost starting guard Wesley Matthews to a sprained right ankle early in the game and played poorly throughout, shooting 32.4 percent (24 of 74) and turning the ball over 18 times.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

Celtics hold on for 71-69 win over Bulls

kevin garnett

Celtics coach Doc Rivers offered Kevin Garnett the night off to get him the rest he’s losing by playing in this weekend’s All-Star game.

Good thing for the Celtics that Garnett turned it down.

The All-Star center scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and added 11 rebounds to help the Celtics overcome historically poor shooting and beat the Chicago Bulls 71-69 on Wednesday night.

”I’m seeing everybody in here playing through everything. I’m no different from that,” said Garnett, who played 26 minutes. ”Everybody’s tired. I felt like that was unfair. If he wasn’t going to give everybody the night off, then that wasn’t an option. I just came out and gave what I could.”

Paul Pierce went only 2 for 12 from the floor, but he hit a 3-pointer that bounced around the rim and in to give Boston a five-point lead with 3 minutes to play. The Celtics shot just 36.8 percent but still had the advantage over the Bulls, who made just 36.5 percent of their shots.

”I told them before the game I wasn’t going to play Kevin much and there was a chance I may not play him,” said Rivers, who had wanted to leave Garnett home for Monday’s game in Charlotte but got talked into playing him there. ”I told them it’s going to be an ugly game. … And this is before the game.

Joakim Noah had 10 points and 16 rebounds, and Carlos Boozer had 11 and 11 for Chicago. Reserve Marco Belinelli added 12 points in under 20 minutes for the Bulls.

– Reported by Jimmy Golen of the Associated Press

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