Archive for March, 2013

Even short-handed, the Chicago Bulls’ dominance of the Detroit Pistons continues.

The Bulls continued a five-year winning streak over the Pistons with a 95-94 victory Sunday at United Center, despite playing without three key contributors, including notorious Piston-killer Joakim Noah.

The Pistons (24-50) led most of the game and dominated many of the key statistical categories but untimely turnovers and the Bulls’ big advantage on free throws doomed them.

Charlie Villanueva had a shot in the final seconds to tie, with the score 94-91, but it sailed off line.  A Daequan Cook free throw was followed by Rodney Stuckey’s meaningless 3-pointer before the buzzer.

The Bulls have won 18 consecutive games against the Pistons, with their last loss coming on Dec. 23, 2008.  They also have won the last 14 meetings at United Center since Feb. 24, 2006.

– Reported by David Mayo of Michigan Live

Bradley Beal returns, scores 24 in Wizards win over Raptors

Bradley Beal scored 24 points in his return to the lineup, leading the Washington Wizards to a 109-92 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Sunday night.

Emeka Okafor had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and John Wall added 18 points and 10 assists for Washington. The Wizards, who came in having lost two in a row on the road, won their seventh straight at home and moved into a tie with Toronto for 10th place in the Eastern Conference.

Jonas Valanciunas had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Raptors, losers of six of their last seven. Toronto leading scorer Rudy Gay scored 11 points - about seven below his average - while being limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble.

Toronto, which has lost six of seven, cut a 20-point third-quarter deficit to six twice in the fourth quarter before Washington pulled away.

After missing five straight games, and 11 of 13, with a sprained left ankle, Beal shot 8 for 14 from the field, including a career-high six 3-pointers - on nine attempts - in 30 minutes…

Gay was held to five points in the half and DeMar DeRozan to four, while Valanciunas scored 16 for Toronto.

– Reported by Harvey Valentine of the Associated Press

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving, the king of the fourth-quarter comeback, was back on Sunday. The fourth-quarter comeback was not.

Even with the All-Star point guard returning from his sprained left shoulder and playing for the first time in three weeks, the Cavaliers ran into their same old problem in the third quarter and lost to the Hornets at New Orleans Arena, 112-92.

Irving missed eight games with the injury suffered on March 10 in Toronto, and he led the Cavs with 31 points in 28:40 on Sunday. But he didn’t have enough help and the Cavs fell to 22-50 as their longest losing streak of the season reached eight games. Greivis Vasques had 25 points and Ryan Anderson added 23 for New Orleans, 26-48.

– Reported by Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain Dealer

Irving was announced as a surprise return less than two hours prior to the game, but he couldn’t help a defense that was beaten badly in transition and around the perimeter. The Hornets made 12 of 21 3-pointers and scored 19 fast break points, a rarity against a Cavs team that typically gives up few points on the break.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

Manu Ginobili out indefinitely with hamstring injury

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich puts Manu Ginobili’s timetable to return from a strained right hamstring at weeks rather than days, a significant setback to the team’s pre-playoff preparation.

“It’s a huge blow for us,” he said, “because he’s the guy that allows our second team to do what they’ve been doing all year long.

“It’s a huge loss for that group, and in game situations it’s a tough one because he’s one of two guys, he and Tony (Parker), are the creators who make things happen for everybody else on the court. It’s an unfortunate loss at this point of the season.”

Popovich said it is unknown if Ginobili’s injury will stretch into the postseason, which begins on April 20. Excluding Sunday’s home game against Miami, the Spurs have nine games remaining in the regular season, with the last coming on April 17 against Minnesota.

– Reported by Dan McCarney of the San Antonio Express-News (Blog)

Playoffs within reach for Utah Jazz

It’s the thrill of the chase.

Needless to say, the Utah Jazz would rather it wasn’t this way. They’d much prefer to have already locked up a playoff berth and save their fans and management the hand-wringing that will inevitably accompany the remaining eight games of a bizarre, disjointed season.

But, still, in their second annual final-weeks push for the eighth spot, there is a sense of excitement around a team left for dead as recently as a week ago.

“I told the guys the other night man, if you like to compete,” coach Tyrone Corbin said, “you like to be in these kinds of fights. This is where you figure out where you are.”

Entering Monday’s game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Jazz (38-36) are in eighth in the West, holders of a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Lakers by virtue of a 2-1 win in the season series.

– Reported by Bill Oram of the Salt Lake Tribune

Rick Adelman

Timberwolves assistant coach Terry Porter has known Rick Adelman as a father figure, mentor and close friend.

When Porter first met Adelman 28 years ago, he never imagined that he would be adding “coaching legend” to describe their relationship.

Now that Adelman is closing in on 1,000 wins as an NBA head coach, a milestone only seven other coaches in league history have reached, Porter know as as well as anyone that the description is appropriate and well-deserved.

“I’m sure this is something he will be very proud of,” Porter said. “He might not mention it, but when he looks back on things, how he got started and where he came from … to join such a quality group will be pretty special for him. When you look at the guys in that club, they’re all hall of famers.”

Adelman, 66, is three wins shy of reaching elite status heading into the Wolves’ game Monday night, April 1, against Boston at Target Center.

– Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Louisville Cardinals guard Kevin Ware suffered a grotesque-looking injury in the first half of Sunday’s NCAA Tournament game against the Duke Blue Devils.

Ware jumped out to contest a three-pointer with 6:33 left in the first half and snapped his lower right leg when he landed. He was writhing in pain in front of the Louisville bench.

He was carted off on a stretcher, and a Louisville spokesman said he was taken to Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Knicks center Tyson Chandler remains out

Knicks center Tyson Chandler remains out

Center Tyson Chandler has missed the past nine games with a pinched nerve in his neck, but the New York Knicks remain optimistic that he will return for the playoffs if not before.

Chandler was expected back about a week ago after an MRI revealed a bulging disk in his neck, but the Knicks have no timetable for his return. He suffered the injury on March 13.

“There’s always a concern, but he’ll be fine,” Knicks coach Mike Woodson said, according to the New York Post. “We’re just being cautious. Eventually, he’ll be back. I like to think he’s getting better. He’ll let us know when it’s time for him to step back on the floor.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

Andre Iguodala is expected to forego the final year of his contract with the Denver Nuggets and test free agency after this season.

Iguodala, 29, has a player option worth around $16.1 million next season, but admitted he will strongly consider seeking a lucrative multi-year deal.

“Yeah, definitely,” Iguodala, told Fox Sports Florida. “You got to weigh options. Security-wise, a player would opt out, especially with the type of season we’ve had as a team. Teams know what I can bring to them, and I know (the Nuggets) know what I can bring to a team here.

“Players get like $50, $60 or $70 or $80 (million over multiple years), whatever the number was, they gave up a big number (in an option season by opting out). But in the grand scheme of things, pretty much get it back. You got security.”

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

D-League coach Eduardo Najera suspended

Texas Legends head coach, Eduardo Najera, has received a one-game suspension without pay for receiving his 13th technical foul of the 2012-13 NBA Development League season, it was announced today by Chris Alpert, NBA D-League Vice President, Basketball Operations and Player Personnel.

 

Under NBA D-League rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 13th technical foul during the regular season.  For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended for an additional game.

 
Najera received his most recent technical foul with 10.7 seconds remaining in the third quarter of Texas’ 113-94 loss to the Canton Charge on Saturday, March 30, at the Canton Memorial Civic Center.  Najera will serve his suspension tonight when the Legends face the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

A strained hamstring will keep San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili from playing Sunday night against the Miami Heat.

Ginobili tweaked the hamstring during Friday night’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers and the decision was made the allow it time to heal. No return date is set, but Ginobili is not expected to miss significant time.

The Spurs (55-17) are vying with the Heat (57-15) for the best record in the NBA during the final weeks of the regular season.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have recalled Jared Cunningham from the Texas Legends of the NBA Development League.

Cunningham (6-4, 194) served two stints with the Legends, averaging 15.3 points, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals and 34.5 minutes in 15 games (13 starts). He was originally assigned to the D-League on Dec. 11, then re-assigned on Jan. 28.

Cunningham has seen action in eight games for the Mavericks this season and is averaging 2.0 points and 3.3 minutes per game.

Zaza Pachulia injured

Atlanta Hawks forward/center Zaza Pachulia has elected to have surgery to repair his sore right Achilles. Pachulia will have surgery Wednesday, April 3rd, in Charlotte at Mercy Hospital. Dr. Robert Anderson of OrthoCarolina will perform the surgery and Hawks Team Physician Dr. Michael Bernot of Peachtree Orthopaedic Clinic will accompany Zaza.

“After thoroughly reviewing the possible options with Zaza, we all felt this was the best decision to insure Zaza’s complete recovery so that he can be at 100 percent going forward. Zaza is a professional with a strong work ethic. The Hawks will continue to be completely supportive as he tackles the return to play process,” said President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Danny Ferry.

The expected recovery time following surgery is approximately six months.

Tyson Chandler sits again with neck issue

Center Tyson Chandler missed his ninth straight game Friday night amid growing concern he has a pinched nerve in his neck.

There is no longer a timetable for his return. Twelve days ago, after an MRI exam uncovered a bulging disk in his cervical spine, the Knicks announced he would be back in one week.

“There’s always a concern but he’ll be fine,’’ coach Mike Woodson said. “We’re just being cautious. Eventually, he’ll be back. I like to think he’s getting better. He’ll let us know when it’s time for him to step back on the floor.’’

Dr. Wellington Hsu, a spine specialist at Northwestern University, told The Post the symptoms appear to be related to a pinched nerve that isn’t easy to get rid of.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Miami Heat President Pat Riley has added another chapter to his rivalry with the Boston Celtics.

After LeBron James complained about calls and Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge chided him for it, Riley lashed back Friday night.

Riley’s response: “Danny Ainge needs to shut the (expletive) up and manage his own team.”

This saga started Wednesday after Miami’s 27-game winning streak ended in Chicago. James told reporters that night that he does not believe some of the hard fouls he takes are “basketball plays.” A day later, Ainge told Boston radio station WEEI that “it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating.”

Riley was clearly irked, calling Ainge “the biggest whiner going when he was a player.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

According to Ethan J. Skolnick of the Palm Beach Post, “After Donovan relayed Riley’s quotes to the media Friday evening, coach Erik Spoelstra was asked to speak on them. “I love direct GM-to-GM communication,” he said, smiling. “It’s awesome.” Ray Allen, who played for the Celtics the past five seasons, also smiled when the quotes were read to him. “That’s between Danny and Pat,” Allen said. “They obviously have a lot of history.” James does not hold a structured press availability prior to games, but when Riley’s just-released statement was mentioned to him — as he got stretched on the floor and scrolled through Twitter — he referred to it as “awesome.” When told of the statement, a couple of his teammates also heartily approved. Heat players have frequently expressed amusement that representatives of other teams — whether players, coaches or executives — tend to talk so much about them. They are especially amused by the Celtics’ chatter about them, whether it’s coming from Jason Terry or Paul Pierce or whomever; one Heat player referred to it as an “obsession.”

Nathan Jawai wins Euroleague MVP of the Week

Nate Jawai was unstoppable for Barcelona Regal on Friday night, dominating inside, leading his team to victory with a career night and in the process earning Top 16 Week 13 bwin MVP honors. Jawai was the leading man in Barca’s 69-77 victory over Montepaschi in Siena, Italy. Making just his third start of the season in place of injured February MVP Ante Tomic, Jawai went for 22 points and 12 rebounds in compiling a performance index rating of 34, which led all players in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague this week. The Aussie center shot 9 for 10 from the field, made 4 of 5 free throws and also blocked 2 shots in brilliant effort. The second best index for the week came from the hands of Rudy Fernandez, who drained 6 of 8 three-pointers en route to 24 points and a 30 index in an 81-72 loss at CSKA Moscow. Maccabi Electra Tel Aviv swingman Devin Smith needed just 18 minutes on the floor to amass a 27 index in a 101-58 rout of Besiktas JK Istanbul. Smith tallied 16 points on 3-of-3 three-point shooting, 9 rebounds and 2 steals. Rounding out the list of the week’s best are Marcus Williams of Unicaja Malaga and Jonas Maciulis of Panathinaikos Athens, each with 26.

– Reported by Euroleague.net

denver nuggets

The Denver Nuggets’ success runs deep, especially on their home floor.

With playmaking guard and scoring leader Ty Lawson sidelined by foot problems, rookie Evan Fournier had a season-high 19 points to lead a strong showing by Denver’s reserves, and the Nuggets extended their home winning streak to 18 games by beating the Brooklyn Nets 109-87 Friday night.

Denver improved to 33-3 at the Pepsi Center this season, the best home record in the league, and hit the 50-win mark for the fifth time in the last five full seasons.

Wilson Chandler had 16 points, and Corey Brewer and Kosta Koufos added 13 points apiece for the Nuggets, who need one win to match their longest home winning streak, from Jan. 28-April 20, 1989, despite missing Lawson. He was ruled out for the third time in four games after an exam Thursday of his strained heel also revealed a plantar fascia tear in his right foot…

Andre Miller started in place of Lawson and finished with 12 points, but the Nuggets also anticipated that Fournier would get additional playing time and produce given the opportunity…

Deron Williams scored 19 points for the Nets, who missed a chance for their team-record 21st road win of the season. Especially hurt by an off night at the free throw line - Brooklyn converted only 18 of 36 - the Nets lost to the Nuggets for the sixth straight time in Denver…

Andray Blatche had 16 points and Reggie Evans added 15 points and 16 rebounds for the Nets, who are trying to finish a season with a winning road record for the first time in team history.

– Reported by Dennis Georgatos of the Associated Press

Tim Duncan

San Antonio Spurs All-Star Tim Duncan is a man of little emotion and even fewer words.

The Los Angeles Clippers brought out a demonstrative side rarely seen from the 16-year veteran and it helped lead to their downfall.

Duncan had a season-high 34 points, including a game-winning three-point play with 2.2 seconds left, and San Antonio outlasted Los Angeles 104-102 on Friday night.

Sparked by a pair of hard fouls in the second quarter, Duncan was 12 for 19 from field and also had 11 rebounds in leading San Antonio (55-17) to its seventh straight home victory.

”There was a stretch where they put the whistle away,” Duncan said. ”It gave me a little energy to kind of play a little harder. I got some shots to go early and it just kind of snowballed from there.”

Tony Parker added 24 points and eight assists, and Tiago Splitter had 14 points for San Antonio.

The Spurs extended their lead in the Western Conference to 2 1/2 games over Oklahoma City, which lost 101-93 to Minnesota.

Blake Griffin scored 18 points, Jamal Crawford added 16 and Chris Paul had 14 for the Clippers (49-24), who remain fourth in the West. Caron Butler added 11 points and Willie Green had 10.

– Reported by the Associated Press

nikola pekovic

If the Oklahoma City Thunder aren’t able to catch the San Antonio Spurs in the race for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, Kevin Durant and Co. may look back to a late March night in Minnesota as the moment they let it slip away.

Barreling down on the Spurs with 11 victories in their previous 14 games, the rolling Thunder slammed into a 6-foot-11, Montenegrin road block and a feisty Timberwolves team they never saw coming.

Nikola Pekovic had 22 points and 15 rebounds and Ricky Rubio added 17 points and seven assists to help the Timberwolves stun the Thunder 101-93 on Friday night.

”We’ll be fine,” Durant said. ”You know, just a little bump in the road.”

Chase Budinger scored 13 points and Andrei Kirilenko played superb defense on Durant in the second half to help the Wolves deal the Thunder an unexpected setback in their pursuit of the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.

Durant had 36 points and seven rebounds, but was just 4 for 9 in the final 22 minutes. Russell Westbrook added 18 points and nine assists for the Thunder, who fell to 2 1/2 games behind the Spurs in the West after San Antonio beat the Clippers.

”I’m pretty sure he’s tired right now,” Kirilenko said of Durant.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

paul pierce

The Boston Celtics, who have already had their share of key injuries, had a quick scare seconds into the second half when Paul Pierce fell to the floor hard and was down for a bit before limping to the bench.

After a timeout, the 35-year old captain shook off the slight injury to his left leg, headed back onto the court and went back to work on his third triple-double of the season.

Pierce had 20 points, 10 assists and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Green scored 27 points to carry the Celtics to a 118-107 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Friday night…

Jason Terry was 5 of 7 on 3-pointers and finished with 24 points for Boston, which won its second straight following a five-game losing streak. Brandon Bass scored 13 and Shavlik Randolph grabbed a career-best 13 rebounds with nine points…

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 18 points but shot just 7 of 23 from the floor and 0 for 6 in the second half. Mike Scott scored 19 and Jeff Teague added 17 points and seven assists…

Hawks F/C Al Horford missed the game due to an illness. … Rivers said before the game that the timetable for F/C Kevin Garnett’s return remained the same. ”I think it’s still two weeks,” he said. ”I don’t think it’ll be any longer than that. But if it’s two and a half, I don’t want to you to call me a liar or anything like that.” Garnett missed his fourth straight with what the team called ”left ankle inflammation.” … Boston G Courtney Lee returned after missing three games with a sprained left ankle.

– Reported by Ken Powtak of the Associated Press

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