Archive for February 25th, 2013

Al Horford had 23 points and 22 rebounds, and the Atlanta Hawks beat the Detroit Pistons 114-103 on Monday night for their fifth win in six games.

Josh Smith added 23 points for the Hawks, who were ahead 61-51 at halftime and led by as many as 26 in the third quarter.

The Pistons have lost three straight, all without guard Brandon Knight, who has a hyperextended right knee. Will Bynum was also out Monday because of a suspension.

Jeff Teague had 20 points for Atlanta, which shot 14 of 33 from 3-point range. Kyle Korver scored 15 points, all from beyond the arc.

Rodney Stuckey led Detroit with 22 points, and Jonas Jerebko added 21.

Horford equaled his career high in rebounds.

– Reported by Noah Trister of the Associated Press

Bradley Beal scored 20 points, Nene had 11 points and nine rebounds, and the Washington Wizards beat the Toronto Raptors 90-84 on Monday night for their third straight victory.

A.J. Price and Martell Webster each added 12 points for the Wizards, who won for just the fifth time in 27 road games this season. Washington’s road record is the worst in the NBA.

John Wall had 10 points and seven assists, and Emeka Okafor had eight points and 13 rebounds as the Wizards won for the 14th time in 23 games.

The third overall pick in last June’s draft, and the Eastern Conference rookie of the month in December and January, Beal has scored 20 points or more in four of the past six.

DeMar DeRozan scored 25 points and Kyle Lowry had 18 for the Raptors, who had won six of their previous seven.

It was a rough night for Toronto’s Rudy Gay who missed his first six field goal attempts before scoring on a driving dunk one minute into the fourth quarter. Gay shot 1 for 11 and finished with seven points, one more than his season low, set Dec 22 at Houston when he played for Memphis.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

The Denver Nuggets will be without leading scorer Danilo Gallinari against the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night as the forward sits out with a bruised left thigh.

Gallinari only played sparingly in a win over Charlotte on Saturday. He’s averaging 16.9 points this season.

Nuggets coach George Karl was fully expecting Gallinari to be in the starting lineup, saying before the game, ”I think he’s good. I didn’t even check today. He told me this morning it was fine.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

No Melo suspension for Sunday incident

New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony will not be suspended for his brief altercation with Philadelphia 76ers center Spencer Hawes on Sunday night, ESPNNewYork.com reported.

Anthony hit Hawes in the back of the head while the two were battling for position for a rebound.

Hawes angrily confronted Anthony after being hit, but Hawes was pushed away by Knicks center Tyson Chandler.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Miami Heat forward LeBron James and Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Tuesday, Feb. 19 through Sunday, Feb. 24.

James led the Heat to a 4-0 week, which included road wins over the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers. He averaged 23.5 points (fifth in the conference), 9.3 assists (second in the conference), 2.25 steals (third in the conference) and 7.8 rebounds. James posted two double-doubles and a 16-point, 11-assist, 10-rebound triple-double on Feb. 23 at Philadelphia as the Heat became the first club in the East to reach 40 wins. At 40-14 (.741), Miami owns a six-game advantage over the next closest Eastern Conference team, the Indiana Pacers (35-21, .625).

Bryant led the Lakers to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the Boston Celtics and Portland Trail Blazers. He finished second in the conference in scoring at 31.3 ppg, and added 7.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists. Bryant closed the week with a 38-point, 12-rebound, seven-assist performance in Dallas, a 103-99 Lakers’ win. At 28-29 (.491), the Lakers are 2.5 games behind the Houston Rockets (31-27, .534) for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Boston’s Jeff Green, Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Golden State’s Jarrett Jack, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s Paul George, Memphis’ Zach Randolph, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, Phoenix’s Goran Dragic and Toronto’s Rudy Gay.

A look at Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe

A look at Clippers guard Eric Bledsoe

He’s always had the athletic gifts, but now he’s started to develop point guard habits, finding open cutters and shooters, connecting with Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan for lobs. He looks much more comfortable controlling the offense than ever before.

Bledsoe has been a statistical anomaly so far this season. His per-36 minute stats are in line with his starting numbers, suggesting he could be an All-Star candidate with increased playing time.

He started — and performed well — during Paul’s recent injury stint. He averages 18.5 minutes with Paul having returned to the starting lineup. With more traditional shooting guards on the roster — Jamal Crawford, Willie Green and now a healthy Chauncey Billups — Vinny Del Negro has opted to mainly deploy Bledsoe at point guard, and rarely alongside Paul.

“I just come in and provide that spark that we need to get everybody involved,” Bledsoe said.

“He’s a good defensive player. He likes to play center field and gamble,” Memphis Grizzlies head coach Lionel Hollins said after a recent loss to the Paul-less Clippers. “He’s got great quickness and great athleticism. … Just that aspect of his game, his athleticism, is what creates problems.”

Though he’s generously listed at 6-foot-1, Bledsoe has a deceptively long 6-foot-7 wingspan and a 40-inch vertical, allowing him to steal passes and block shots most players his size aren’t capable of reaching. “Bledsoe is a very good pressure guy,” Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau said earlier this season. “If you turn your back on him and expose the ball at all, they’re going to get it.”

– Reported by Jovan Buha of ESPN Los Angeles

amare stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire has said all the right things about coming off the bench, but that has been easier to do given how much the Knicks were winning. Should the Knicks go cold, however, as they did in the four games prior to Sunday’s win, Stoudemire hinted he might not be so thrilled about it.

“As long as we’re winning. If we keep winning then we’re good,” said Stoudemire, who scored 22 points on 9-of-10 shooting. “When you start losing a little bit then you start thinking about it.”

Kenyon Martin was on the game day roster for the Knicks for the first time Sunday, but Mike Woodson wasn’t prepared to get him some court time just yet.

– Reported by Seth Walder of the New York Daily News

Suns not using Shannon Brown lately

shannon brown

Suns guard Shannon Brown is having his second consecutive career-high scoring season and runs little risk of that changing because he is not playing.

A roster lacking the talent to compete afforded Brown the opportunity to average 11.2 points because of the lack of creative scorers, but it also has sent the Suns staff in search of a new mix without Brown.

Brown did not play in any of last week’s three games and was not in the rotation again Sunday night against San Antonio after playing the first 53 games this season.

“I honestly don’t think what’s going on is supposed to be going on,” Brown said. “I really can’t do much about it but stay in shape and keep my mental (approach) strong and continue to work on my game, and hopefully things will get better for me.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

lamar odom

[Clippers forward Lamar] Odom is in shape now after struggling with his conditioning earlier in the season.

He’s rebounding the ball well — Odom is third on the Clippers in rebounds per game (5.8) while playing 20.3 minutes per game.

It’s his lack of offense that has caused so much consternation among his teammates, coaches and Clippers fans.

Odom is averaging a career-low 3.9 points while shooting 39.7% from the field, the second-lowest percentage of his career.

“It takes time and it’s humbling,” Odom said. “All you can do is keep at it.

“I just stayed with it. You don’t have no choice but to get better when you practice every day against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan and Jamal [Crawford]. Everything that we do is intense. So time will come and hopefully it can stay.”

– Reported by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

Thunder sign Derek Fisher, again

derek fisher

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed guard Derek Fisher, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

“We are excited to welcome Derek back to the Thunder organization,” said Presti.  ”He contributed to our team in various ways last season, and we are looking forward to him joining us again.”

Fisher appeared in 20 regular season games with Oklahoma City last season after signing with the Thunder on March 21. The guard averaged 4.9 points, 1.4 assists and 1.4 rebounds in 20.4 minutes per game. In 20 playoff games with the Thunder, he averaged 6.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 22.3 minutes per game.

A five-time NBA champion, Fisher has appeared in 229 career playoff games (158 starts) averaging 8.6 points, 2.5 assists, 2.3 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 27.5 minutes per contest.

kevin love return date

The Wolves, who opened the season with designs on making the playoffs for the first time since 2004, have struggled without their star, and several other players who have been injured. They started the day 20-32 and in 12th place in the West.

“A day like today always helps put the bad stuff in the past and really look forward to bigger and brighter things,” Love said. “I think that we have had a tough year as far as injuries go. We’ve been losing a lot. But on a day like today, I think it’s really gratifying and nice.”

Love said he plans to meet with doctors for another examination on his surgically repaired hand toward the end of the first week in March or the beginning of the second week. He’s hoping to return with 15-20 games remaining in the season to try and put a positive end to a most disappointing year.

Love first broke his hand in the preseason, didn’t have surgery and returned about 10 days ahead of schedule. He broke it again in January and this time needed surgery to fix it. He said the injury is feeling much better this time around, but he has yet to begin basketball-related activities.

– Reported by the Associated Press

dirk nowitzki

After his most dominant performance of a frustrating season, Dirk Nowitzki declared he has no doubt he’ll play for the Dallas Mavericks at least through the 2015-16 season.

“When my [current] contract’s up, I’m 36 and I’ll definitely sign a couple more years,” Nowitzki said after recording season highs of 30 points and 13 rebounds in Sunday’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. “It’s still fun, but I don’t know if I’ll play until 40. But when I’m 36, definitely sign one more deal, maybe two or three years.”

That reiterates the comments Nowitzki, whose contract expires after next season, made in November. However, Nowitzki acknowledged Sunday that he had doubts about continuing his career while struggling this season following arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, a significant factor in the Mavs being in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time in 12 seasons.

“Honestly, I had some doubts here when I came back,” Nowitzki said. “It took so long. Is it ever going to come back? It was a tough stretch for me coming back from the surgery, but the way I feel now, I still think I can play a couple of years.”

The 34-year-old Nowitzki missed the season’s first 27 games and had his 11-year All-Star streak snapped.

– Reported by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas

pau gasol

As if the Lakers can absorb more bad news.

Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni suggested Pau Gasol won’t return in the regular season after nursing torn plantar fascia in his right foot for the past three weeks.

“By the time he gets back, we’ll be in or out,” D’Antoni said. “His impact will be in the playoffs if we get there.”

The Lakers (28-29) have 25 games remaining before the regular season ends April 17 against the Houston Rockets. After their 103-99 victory Sunday over the Dallas Mavericks, the Lakers remain 2 games behind the Houston Rockets (31-27) for the eighth playoff spot.

“I don’t think anyone on this team is counting the days for Pau to come back because we don’t have time,” Lakers guard Steve Nash said. “Although we’d welcome him back this instance, we have to move on and try to win games without him.”

Gasol originally was expected to miss at least four to six weeks after suffering the injury in the final minutes of the Lakers’ win Feb. 5 against the Brooklyn Nets. He expressed optimism last week he soon would walk without crutches.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News

derek fisher

The Oklahoma City Thunder have reached agreement to sign veteran guard Derek Fisher for the remainder of the season, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

Fisher arrived in Oklahoma City Sunday night and will sign his contract on Monday.

Fisher, 38, signed with the Thunder late last season and helped Oklahoma City make its push to the NBA Finals. He joined the Dallas Mavericks early this season and played nine games in December before suffering a knee injury. He asked the Mavericks to release him, so he could spend more time with his family.

– Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports

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