Archive for February 26th, 2013

Taj Gibson is expected to miss at least two weeks with a sprained left knee, forcing the Chicago Bulls to play without one of their key reserves at a pivotal point in the season.

Gibson stepped on the foot of Oklahoma City guard Reggie Jackson in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s 102-72 loss to the Thunder and knew something wasn’t right almost immediately.

”The first thing I did was grab my knee,” he said. ”I was in shock because I felt great. I went up for a regular shot block and I came down and it just gave way.”

Gibson had an MRI and was diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament. He said doctors are planning to take another look to make sure there are no small tears.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Heat forward Shane Battier was held out of Miami’s game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night because of tightness in his right hamstring.

It’s the seventh game Battier has missed this season. He missed three games in late November and early December with knee soreness, and then sat out three more games in January with hamstring tightness.

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said the team wants ”to be proactive” when it comes to Battier.

– Reported by the Associated Press

derek fisher

Five-time NBA champion Derek Fisher isn’t planning on his latest stint with the Oklahoma City Thunder being his last chance to play in the league. He has just one goal in mind and he’ll wear a reminder of it on his jersey in every game.

Fisher chose No. 6 to wear on his uniform, to represent his quest for a sixth NBA title. He won five alongside Kobe Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers and for the second straight season will join the Thunder for the stretch run to try and help Kevin Durant win his first.

“It symbolizes something for me in terms of No. 6 but it also symbolizes for me the reason why I’m here to be a part of this team and that’s to help get No. 1,” Fisher said Tuesday after his first practice.

Fisher wore No. 37 last season to reflect his age and deliver a message that he could still play after getting traded away by the Lakers. He wasn’t offered the chance to return to Oklahoma City during the offseason, but he was signed Monday as a free agent after the Thunder traded away third-string point guard Eric Maynor.

Reported by the Associated Press

Talk about an odd choice.

Dennis Rodman is in North Korea as an ambassador for sports diplomacy.

The flamboyant, basketball hall-of-famer arrived on Tuesday in Pyongyang with VICE television and three members of the Harlem Globetrotters for a news program on North Korea that will be aired by HBO later this year.

The free-spirited, hard-partying, heavily tatooed, five-time NBA champion sticks out like a sore thumb in the staid, buttoned-down dictatorship.

But Rodman and VICE said he will run a basketball camp for children and play in a game with North Korea’s top basketball players.

“Is sending the Harlem Globetrotters and Dennis Rodman to the DPRK strange? In a word, yes,” VICE founder Shane Smith told the Associated Press.

“But finding common ground on the basketball court is a beautiful thing.”

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Sacramento’s new plan to finance a downtown sports arena may wind up being vastly different than the deal reached last year between the city and the owners of the Sacramento Kings.

City officials said Monday they aren’t starting from scratch in their quest to develop a financing plan for an arena, but acknowledged in a staff report to the City Council that last year’s plan “and all its detail will likely change in this scenario.”

The City Council will be asked tonight to give top city officials the go-ahead to begin formal arena negotiations with a private investment group interested in buying the Kings and keeping them in Sacramento. The council is also being asked to commit $150,000 to pay consultants and attorneys to represent the city.

At the moment, the council still hasn’t officially been briefed on whom the city will be negotiating with. It’s widely known, however, that Mayor Kevin Johnson has been talking to Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle and 24-Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov.

Reported by Ryan Lillis, Tony Bizjak and Dale Kasler of the Sacramento Bee

Bucks suspend Samuel Dalembert one game

Bucks suspend Samuel Dalembert one game

The Milwaukee Bucks have suspended center Samuel Dalembert for one game without pay due to a violation of team policy, General Manager John Hammond announced today.

Dalembert will serve his suspension tonight when the Bucks play at Dallas.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Dalembert was late to Tuesday shootaround in Dallas.

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will not return to coach USA Basketball after the Blue Devils’ season, he said Tuesday.

Talking in a phone interview with ESPN Radio’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning”, Krzyzewski said USA Basketball will likely name his successor this summer in preparation for the 2014 world championships in Madrid.

“I’ve loved, loved, loved, and it’s been an honor being with the USA Basketball team,” Krzyzewski said. “And to coach the team and work with [chairman and president Jerry Colangelo] for seven years has been marvelous.

“And we’re in a good spot,” Krzyzewski added. “We need to keep building.”

– Reported by ESPN.com

beno udrih

In Orlando, Udrih already has a comfort level with coach Jacque Vaughn, who was his teammate in 2006-07 with the San Antonio Spurs.

“I’ve been here three days, and I’ve already felt more at home than I did in Milwaukee for a year and a half,” Udrih said Monday.

“It was just a bad situation there. I’m a professional and I’m a man, so I like to be told straight-up what they expect from me. So, in Milwaukee, that never happened. They were saying, ‘Yeah, yeah, we know. We’ve got to play you a little bit more.’ But it never happened. So when I did get into the game I didn’t know what they actually wanted to do, so I was just trying to find it myself, and I never did.”

“I wanted a change. I wanted a new start, so I’m really happy to be here. I know Jacque and J.B. [James Borrego], the assistant coach. It’s just a really exciting moment for me and my wife.”

– Reported by Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel

sebastian telfair

Dating all the way back to the franchise’s expansion draft, when B.J. Armstrong said he would prefer not to play in Toronto, there has always been a concern with the Raptors that players did not want to play for them.

Well, Sebastian Telfair, acquired before Thursday’s trade deadline, is happy to be a Raptor. He has already seen dysfunction this season.

“This is my ninth year in the league so I definitely don’t want to go through anything like we were going through in Phoenix,” Telfair, who will suit up for his first game as a Raptor on Monday against Washington, said. “You’ve got a goal to win and if you’re not winning you at least want to be out there competing at the highest level. We weren’t doing that over there in Phoenix this year. I’m happy to be a part of a team that got a goal for themselves and night in and night out they’ve got something to achieve.”

Indeed, the Suns are one of the most depressing teams in the league. They are last in the Western Conference, have a roster that is low on talent and have gone through a coaching change.

– Reported by Eric Koreen of the National Post

amare stoudemire

With Amar’e Stoudemire continuing to play well since his Jan. 1 return from knee surgery, the question has intensified: Why are his minutes still maxed out at 30?

That was the feeling after Tuesday’s practice as Stoudemire was coming off his best performance of the season — a season-high 22 points on 9-for-10 shooting in the Knicks’ win over the 76ers on Sunday night.

But Mike Woodson remained adamant that 30 is the time limit — a decision he said has been made by the team’s medical staff — and that is fine by Stoudemire.

“I have no problem with that,” the power forward said. “You can be very productive in 30 minutes and so that’s my motto right now — to really come out and be aggressive and efficient in 30 minutes. I think it’s more so just about playing smart basketball offensively.”

Woodson said the playing-time restriction will only benefit Stoudemire down the road.

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

brandon knight

Brandon Knight made it through practice today and will be a game-time decision when the Pistons visit Washington on Wednesday.

Knight has missed the past three games with a hyperextended right knee.

“We’re not committing to anything,” said Pistons coach Lawrence Frank. “We’ll just see how he reacts.

– Detroit Free Press

Pau Gasol no longer using crutches

pau gasol

In a sign that the torn plantar fascia in his right foot has somewhat healed, Lakers forward Pau Gasol revealed in a tweet Tuesday that he’s no longer nursing crutches.

Gasol injured his foot in the Lakers’ win Feb. 8 over the Brooklyn Nets and was declared out for a minimum of six to eight weeks. Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni suggested that it’s possible Gasol won’t return until the Lakers will know their playoff aspirations.

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

Paul Pierce scored 26 points, including seven straight in overtime, and the Boston Celtics beat the Utah Jazz 110-107 on Monday night to close out a five-game road trip.

Pierce had a chance to win it in regulation, but his 19-footer at the buzzer rimmed out.

Alec Burks’ reverse layup pulled Utah to 108-105 with 37 seconds left in overtime. Kevin Garnett’s banked 3-pointer with 13 seconds left came after the shot clock expired, giving the Jazz another chance.

Paul Millsap was fouled before he could get off a 3, but made two free throws with 4.2 seconds remaining.

Courtney Lee added two free throws at the other end with 1.2 seconds left to bump Boston’s lead back to three, and Randy Foye’s 26-footer at the buzzer missed everything.

Avery Bradley added a season-high 18 points for Boston.

Gordon Hayward led Utah with 26 points, Millsap had 16 and Al Jefferson finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds.

The Celtics (30-27) were playing their fifth game in seven days, but didn’t seem to care down the stretch.

– Reported by Lynn DeBruin of the Associated Press

Wilson Chandler scored 23 points in place of an injured Danilo Gallinari, and Ty Lawson added 22 in the Denver Nuggets’ 119-108 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

Gallinari, the Nuggets’ leading scorer, sat out with a bruised left thigh. He wasn’t needed as the Nuggets won their ninth straight game at home, snapped the Lakers’ four-game winning streak and took the season series from their long-time nemesis 3-1.

The Lakers, who were shut out on the offensive glass in the first half, wanted to slow down the Nuggets but Denver outscored Los Angeles 33-3 in fast-break points.

Gallinari, who got hurt Friday night at Washington and was limited the next night at Charlotte, was an unexpected late scratch. Averaging 16.9 points, he had scored at least 19 in each of Denver’s first three games against the Lakers.

Chandler started in his place and Corey Brewer got extended minutes, too, finishing with 16 points.

Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 29 points, and Dwight Howard added 15 points and 14 boards but missed 11 of his last 12 free throws.

– Reported by Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press

Basketball blog