Archive for February 20th, 2013

james harden

James Harden scored a career-high 46 points and Jeremy Lin added 29 as the Houston Rockets mounted a furious fourth-quarter comeback for a 122-119 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

Houston was down by 14 points with about seven minutes left. The Rockets used a 21-4 run to erase the deficit and take a 114-111 lead with 1:46 remaining. Harden stepped back under heavy pressure from Serge Ibaka to sink a 3 to tie it, before Lin connected on one seconds later to give the Rockets their first lead of the second half.

Harden, traded from Oklahoma City to Houston before the season, made a bucket before Ibaka made two free throws. Then came another 3 by Lin to extend the lead to 119-113…

Thabo Sefolosha led the Thunder with 28 points and had six 3-pointers, both career highs. His previous career high was 22, which he reached twice, most recently in 2008.

Westbrook also scored 28 points and added 10 rebounds and eight assists. Kevin Durant had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists for his second career triple-double…

Harden was 11 of 12 from the free throw line, made a career-best seven 3-pointers, had eight rebounds and six assists.

– Reported by Kristie Rieken of the Associated Press

Nikola Pekovic

Nikola Pekovic had 27 points and tied a career high with 18 rebounds to power the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 94-87 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Derrick Williams had 17 points and eight rebounds and Andrei Kirilenko added 15 points and five assists in his return from a thigh injury for the Timberwolves, who won for the fourth time in their last 20 games.

Evan Turner scored 17 points and Jrue Holiday scored 16 after making his All-Star debut on Sunday for the 76ers, who couldn’t come up with an answer for Pekovic in the paint in a rough and tumble game. Philadelphia has lost seven straight road games and has won just six times away from home all season, the third fewest wins in the NBA.

The Timberwolves never trailed, thanks in large part to Pekovic bulldozing his way through the Sixers big men. He dominated Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen throwing an array of jump hooks, baseline spins and dunks at a Philadelphia front line that wanted no part of the hulking Montenegrin.

The Timberwolves led by as many as 19 points in the first half against a lifeless Sixers team that watched Holiday get into early foul trouble and Turner score just two points in the first 24 minutes. An exasperated Doug Collins tried to send a message to start the second half, sending Kwame Brown and Damien Wilkins out in place of Hawes and Allen.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

zach randolph

Zach Randolph had 17 points and 18 rebounds, Mike Conley scored 17 points and the Memphis Grizzlies won their fifth straight game Wednesday, beating the Toronto Raptors 88-82.

Toronto’s Rudy Gay came up short against his former team as the Raptors had their five-game winning streak ended.

Acquired from Memphis in a three-team trade on Jan. 30, Gay had 13 points and nine rebounds but struggled with his shooting, making just five of 15 attempts. He also had a game-high five turnovers.

Tony Allen scored 12 points and Tayshaun Prince had 11 as the Grizzlies won for the eighth time in nine meetings with the Raptors and posted their fourth straight win in Toronto.

– Reported by the Associated Press 

paul george

Paul George scored 27 points and the Indiana Pacers powered their way closer to the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference by beating the New York Knicks 125-91 on Wednesday night.

David West had 18 points and nine rebounds, and Lance Stephenson added 14 points for Indiana (33-21), which pulled within a half-game of the Knicks for second place in the East.

The Pacers shot 53 percent from the field, scored a season-high point total and had a season-best 28 assists against the Atlantic Division leaders. It was Indiana’s largest margin of victory this season and New York’s worst loss.

Tyson Chandler led New York with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Carmelo Anthony, the league’s No. 2 scorer, finished with 15 points on 7-for-21 shooting.

George, fresh off a strong performance in his first All-Star Game appearance, made 11 of 19 shots and grabbed eight rebounds.

New York was called for three individual technical fouls and a flagrant foul, and J.R. Smith was ejected…

New York shot just 33 percent in the first half. Anthony scored eight points on 4-for-10 shooting before the break.

– Reported by Cliff Brunt of the Associated Press

The Houston Rockets have reached separate agreements on trades that will send Patrick Patterson, Cole Aldrich and Toney Douglas to Sacramento and Marcus Morris to Phoenix, a person familiar with the situation said Wednesday.

The Rockets will receive Thomas Robinson, the No. 5 pick in last year’s draft, Francisco Garcia and Tyler Honeycutt from the Kings, according to the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced and was still pending league approval.

In the other deal, the person said the Rockets will receive a future second-round pick from the Suns in exchange for Morris, who will join his twin older brother, Markieff, on the Phoenix roster.

“If I was to be traded, that’s where I would want to go,” Marcus Morris said outside the Rockets’ locker room. “I think Houston knew that. That’s all I did was talk about my brother and how happy I was to play with him. I’m excited. That’s all I can say.”

Patterson, Aldrich and Douglas walked out of the Toyota Center just as Houston was starting its game against Oklahoma City, on the eve of the trading deadline.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Clippers are not in a trading mood

The Clippers indicated Wednesday that they have no plans to make any trades before the NBA’s deadline Thursday at noon PST.

Even Coach Vinny Del Negro said after practice the team is not looking to make moves because he and his staff like the team that they have.

The most prevalent rumor had back-up point guard Eric Bledsoe and center DeAndre Jordan going to the Boston Celtics for center Kevin Garnett.

Because Bledsoe, 23, and Jordan, 25, are so young, Del Negro was asked whether he needed to talk with them about the rumors.

“No, because if I felt it was necessary, I would do that,” Del Negro said. “But there are a bunch of needs out there. Like you said, they are young players that teams covet and that’s a good thing. That’s a good thing for us. That’s a good thing for them.

– Reported by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

marcus morris

With the Rockets close to trading forward Marcus Morris, Morris was placed on the inactive list before Wednesday’s game as the Rockets considered options.

“Morris is being held out because the team is considering two possible trade options involving him,” a person familiar with the situation said.

Morris is averaging 8.6 points per game, making 38.1 percent of his 3-pointers, the second-best shooting percentage from beyond the arc of the Rockets regulars. After rarely playing last season, he has started 17 games and is among the first players off the Rockets’ bench.

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

The Austin Toros today announced they have signed small forward Bill Walker.  Walker will meet the team in Iowa tomorrow for back-to-back games on Thursday and Friday against the Energy.

Walker (6-6, 235, Kansas State) was the 47th overall pick by the Washington Wizards in the 2008 NBA draft.  He was then traded to the Boston Celtics.  While on the Celtics roster, Walker was assigned to the NBA D-League, playing for the Utah Flash in 2008 and the Maine Red Claws in 2009.  In February, 2010 Walker was part of a trade deal that sent him to the New York Knicks.  In three seasons (09-10 to 11-12), Walker played 120 games with the Knicks.  Walker averaged 5.9 points and 2.5 rebounds in 19.4 minutes played his final season with New York.

In his 2007-08 season at Kansas State, Walker averaged 16.1 points and 6.3 rebounds in 31 games.  After graduating high school, Walker played on the undefeated (5-0) USA White team at the 2005 USA Youth Development Festival.

Walker will wear jersey No. 11 for the Toros.  Fans can watch the Toros-Energy matchup Thursday and Friday night on NBADLeague.com powered by YouTube at 9:00pm Central.  The teams will play at Cedar Park Center this Sunday, February 24th at 3:00pm.

Utah Jazz assistant coach Sidney Lowe offered a public apology through his attorney two days after being arrested for not paying North Carolina state income taxes from 2009-11.

In an email to the Deseret News, Lowe’s North Carolina-based lawyer Lee Turner gave this statement from his client:

“I would like to apologize to the Utah Jazz organization and Jazz fans for the situation that was reported publicly yesterday (Monday),” Lowe stated. “This is a personal matter that I take very seriously. I am working very hard to get the issue resolved in a timely manner and I am cooperating fully with all parties involved.”

Lowe maintained a low profile on Tuesday after rejoining the Jazz following his legal issues that took place at his home in Wake Forest, N.C., on Monday morning. He was arrested, charged with three misdemeanors, and then released on a $10,000 bond.

– Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

Charles Barkley turns 50 years old today

Born on Feb. 20, 1963, Charles Wade Barkley rose from those humble beginnings to become a superstar that few would describe as humble.

Brash and bruising, Barkley established himself as one of greatest power forwards in league history; despite being just 6-foot-4 (he was often listed as 6-6). He was a relentless rebounder – earning the moniker “The Round Mound of Rebound” – and a prolific scorer as he finished his 16-year career with 23,757 points and 12,546 boards.

Drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the fifth pick in a legendary draft class which included Olajuwon (first overall), Jordan (third) and John Stockton (16), Barkley learned the NBA ropes from veterans Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Maurice Cheeks and Andrew Toney.

During the 1986-87 season, Barkley became the man in Philly as he made his first of 11 trips to the All-Star Game.

His career-best season, however, would come in 1992-93 as a member of the Phoenix Suns. Barkley won the MVP award as he guided the Suns to the best record in the league (62-20) and a trip to the Finals. In the championship series, Barkley’s best wasn’t enough against Jordan and his two-time defending champion Chicago Bulls.

– Reported by Justin Boyd of the Houston Chronicle

With so many players heading to their first or second trade deadline, Rockets coach Kevin McHale felt no need to address the potential of deals and the need to not be distracted by uncertainty. But he had reason to believe his young team was not concerned.

“We’re not doing anything,” McHale said. “I’d be shocked if we do anything.”

McHale said he has addressed the deadline in other seasons, but has not felt the need to reassure anyone this season, though much can change by Thursday’s 2 p.m. trade deadline. Daryl Morey has made at least one deadline move at each of his previous five seasons as Rockets general manager.

“You have no control over it anyway,” McHale said. “I think it’s an overblown, crazy thing for people. You have no control over it. I never put much stock in it. I don’t believe we’re doing anything anyway, but there are years there are lots of rumors. I just say, ‘Look I have no idea if they’re going to trade you or not. Right now, you’re here with us. Let’s play.’

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle (Blog)

dwight howard

Despite all that has gone wrong in Dwight Howard’s first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, general manager Mitch Kupchak says the team is still hitching its wagon to the All-Star center.

“Dwight is our future,” Kupchak told “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio on Wednesday. “Kobe [Bryant] has one more year on his deal [this year, plus one]. That’s all I can bank on or this organization can bank on. I have no idea if he wants to continue to play beyond next year. As of now, we’re looking at a two-year window, [and that] plays to the urgency of the situation and how we build the team. … This team’s window to win is this year and next year.”

Kupchak reiterated his public stance that the 27-year old Howard is off the market with the NBA trade deadline looming Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.

“We’ve been very consistent,” Kupchak said. “We’re not trading Dwight Howard. … He will not be traded and there’s nothing that anybody can do today to call me today and ask me, ‘Would you do this?’ and get a positive result.”

Kupchak called Howard the best center in the league and expressed how difficult it is to acquire talent like that, especially with the restrictions in place since the league’s new collective bargaining agreement was ratified.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

terrence williams

The Boston Celtics announced today that they have signed free agent guard/forward Terrence Williams to a 10-day contract.

Williams, a 6’6” guard/forward, joins the Celtics after competing in the Chinese Basketball Association with the Guangdong Southern Tigers. While with Guangdong, he averaged 17.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals in 29 games. Originally drafted by the New Jersey Nets with the 11th pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, Williams has posted career averages of 7.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 129 games split between New Jersey, Houston and Sacramento.

Williams is expected to be available to play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers and he will wear #55 for the Celtics.

According to ESPN Boston, “Celtics coach Doc Rivers had hinted last week that the Celtics would target the best available body instead of a position-specific target. While Boston has needs for a ball-handler and frontcourt help after losing All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, rookie forward Jared Sullinger, and reserve guard Leandro Barbosa, they appear to be giving first crack to one of the most skilled players available. Williams can handle the ball well for his size and is a solid distributor and he’s solid on the glass, utilizing his athleticism to be a competitive rebounder.”

Kobe Bryant reflects on Dr. Jerry Buss

kobe bryant

Kobe Bryant quotes on the late Jerry Buss

Q: On the impact Dr. Buss had on him and if he finds it ironic the Lakers will be facing the team he most wanted to beat the most on Wednesday (Boston):

Bryant: Yeah, I do. To me, personally, he obviously believed in me since Day 1 being a 17-year-old kid to where I am now. His competitive spirit, his vision where this organization should be and how it should go beyond basketball with the global outreach that he had on his mind. We talked quite a bit about that and we talked about the old times. He’s obviously had a profound impact on me, to say the least.

Q: On Dr. Buss having an influence in him staying with the Lakers:

Bryant: Of course. I think in 2007 was really the big one. I had to make a choice and believing in him, which wasn’t very hard to do once I took a step back and see everything that he accomplished. I had a chance to sit down with him and we talked about what his vision was and his vision for rebuilding this team and rebuilding this team quickly. It was easy for me because I was a Lakers fan growing up, so I saw how many championships he’d been able to win and see how many times he was able to rebuild. It was a pretty easy call for me.

Q: On his talk with Dr. Buss about rebuilding the team:

Bryant: He went into a little bit of the salary cap, free agents and all this other stuff, which, his memory was pretty remarkable in terms of what he was able to remember, the space he had available, who was available and how he was going to put it all together. When somebody has that kind of detail, it’s pretty easy to roll with.

Q: On if he’s concerned about the future of the organization:

Bryant: It’s tough. It’s tough to follow in those shoes. I think the important thing to do is to take the lessons he’s taught – and I’m sure there are many – and things that they’ve learned from him, and try to carry it on to the future.

– Reported by Trevor Wong of the Lakers.com Blog

al jefferson

As distracted as fans are by trade rumors, coach Tyrone Corbin said Tuesday that the Utah Jazz have done a good job of blocking out speculation and anxiety before Thursday’s 1 p.m. trade deadline.

“These guys understand,” Corbin said. “They’ve been around long enough and understand the rumors is part of the business.”

Center Al Jefferson and power forward Paul Millsap remained at the center of all speculation entering Tuesday’s game against Golden State, but both said they pay little attention.

“It don’t affect me,” Jefferson said.

– Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

Will Hornets trade guard Eric Gordon?

eric gordon

After scoring a team-high 20 points in Tuesday night’s loss to Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Hornets guard Eric Gordon appeared unsure about what may happen before Thursday’s trade deadline. Trade rumors are starting to swirl that the Hornets might be willing to part ways with Gordon if they can land the right deal.

ESPN’s Chris Broussard tweeted Tuesday night that the Hornets have made Gordon available for a trade, but that it’s not likely to happen because teams are concerned about his health going forward.

Hornets officials had no comment regarding trade rumors Tuesday night, but Gordon said for the second consecutive day that he’s not concerned about the trade deadline. However, he acknowledged that anything is possible.

“I don’t really get caught up to it,’’ Gordon said Tuesday night. “But you just never know your situation. That’s part of the process but at the end of the day, you can’t worry about that as a player. If it happens, it happens. I’m definitely not worried about it.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

This was a timeless victory for the streaking Toronto Raptors. At least it seemed that way on the floor.

”It felt like I was in high school again,” DeMar DeRozan said. ”I think we got a shot clock violation - I couldn’t even find the shot clock.”

Playing with an improvised scoreboard, horn, game clock and 24-second clock because of a malfunction in the Verizon Center’s scoring system, the Raptors beat the Washington Wizards 96-88 Tuesday night.

DeRozan and Rudy Gay scored 24 points apiece, and Kyle Lowry had 11 points, 10 assists, six rebounds and four turnovers as Toronto moved within one victory of its total for all of last season.

”It was weird. Kyle got stripped, like, three times looking at the clock,” Gay said with a laugh. ”My old AAU coach used to tell me: ‘If you put two rims up in the kitchen, we’ll play you.’ So it don’t matter.”

The Raptors took the lead for good in the second quarter and have a three-game road winning streak for the first time since 2007. They are also 6-2 since Gay arrived last month from the Memphis Grizzlies in a three-team trade, and point guard Lowry is finding a simple formula for keeping both of his top scorers happy.

”Get out of the way, give them the ball and move. ‘Hey, good shot, DeMar.’ ‘Good shot, Rudy.’ Those guys are easy to play with,” Lowry said.

Rookie Bradley Beal, back in the starting lineup for the first time since taking time off to heal a sprained right wrist, scored 25 points for the Wizards, who had won eight of nine at home. Third-year point guard John Wall shot 1 for 12 from the field and committed seven turnovers in one of his most forgettable games as a pro.

– Reported by Joseph White of the Associated Press

Cavs want another first-round draft pick

As the NBA nears Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline, the Cavaliers remain in pursuit of another first-round pick to add to their bulging war chest of draft picks. With time running out, there is at least a decent chance they don’t get it.

There was little chatter regarding the Cavs during the All-Star break in Houston, and for all the conjecture over Mo Speights’ future, multiple sources said over the weekend and again on Tuesday his name has yet to really gain traction in any trade talk.

Speights would seem a likely candidate to move because he has a player option for next season. Neither Speights nor his agent, Andy Miller, has given any indication if he will pick up the $4.5 million option for next season or opt instead for free agency. But about half of the league’s teams could have cap space next summer, making it likely Speights could get a long-term deal making at least the $4.5 million he will earn next season on his current deal.

“I ain’t looking forward to free agency yet,” Speights said Tuesday.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

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