Archive for March 5th, 2013

So much for Boston’s grim outlook once Rajon Rondo was lost for the season.

Avery Bradley has followed the trusted blueprint of dogged defense and impact scoring to help push the Celtics up the standings.

Bradley scored a season-high 22 points, and Paul Pierce had 18 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday night.

Kevin Garnett scored 18 points to help the Celtics improve to 12-4 since Rondo was lost with a torn knee ligament. The Celtics entered in seventh place, but were no more than two games behind the next three teams ahead in the standings. Bradley was 10 of 15 and chipped in seven rebounds and five assists, the kind of numbers needed for the Celtics to slip into a coveted top-four spot for the playoffs.

”My teammates have confidence in me and I have confidence in myself,” Bradley said. ”When I have an open shot, I have to take it. That’s how we play on this team. It helps us when I do that.”

Led by Pierce, the Celtics controlled the game and used a 9-0 run midway through the fourth quarter to seal the win. Last May, these two teams went to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. On Wednesday, the Sixers lost for the ninth time in 10 games and are well out of the playoff race.

Jrue Holiday had 18 points and 10 assists for the Sixers, and Thaddeus Young had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Evan Turner scored 18 points.

– Reported by Dan Gelston of the Associated Press

J.J. Barea’s confrontation with Ray Allen got him ejected from Minnesota’s game against Miami on Monday night. One day later, the NBA ruled that Barea never should have been ejected.

Barea was encouraged by the correction, but it came a little too late for Timberwolves coach Rick Adelman. The NBA downgraded a flagrant 2 on Barea to a flagrant 1 on Tuesday, meaning Barea will not face a fine or suspension for his foul on Allen.

“The NBA did a good job looking at it,” Barea said after practice Tuesday. “It wasn’t that bad. It’s all right.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Serge Ibaka of the Oklahoma City Thunder has been fined $25,000 for striking Blake Griffin of the Los Angeles Clippers in the groin area, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, NBA Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which was called a Flagrant Foul 1 on the floor and upgraded to a Flagrant Foul 2 upon league office review, occurred with 1:52 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Thunder’s 108-104 win over the Clippers on Sunday, March 3 at Staples Center.

pau gasol

Assuming he doesn’t experience any setbacks, Pau Gasol plans to seek medical clearance to participate in running drills once the Lakers returns Thursday from a two-day trip that includes stops in Oklahoma City (tonight) and New Orleans (Wednesday).

When the Lakers (30-30) play the Oklahoma City Thunder (43-16) tonight at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Gasol will have missed 12 games in the past month since tearing the plantar fascia of his right foot. Gasol traveled with the Lakers and spent time at the end of the team’s morning shootaround today with strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco performing various exercises that test his gluteal and neuro muscles.

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

Deron Williams says his ankles feel better

Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams, who has battled injuries all season, says his ankles don’t hurt and claims he can dunk.

During the week he was sidelined because of inflammation in both ankles, Williams did a three-day juice cleanse, regaining energy and getting bad toxins out of his system. He also received his third set of cortisone shots in both ankles and felt better as a result.

“My ankles don’t hurt,” Williams said Tuesday. “We finally got the injections in the right spot, and they feel a little bit better. I can actually walk up and down stairs and run around with my kids. I can go to the playground with them. I don’t have to hurt every time I take a single step. So, yeah, I feel a lot better. I can dunk.”

As for actually dunking in a game, Williams remains cautious.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’m still nervous.”

– Reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York

Houston Rockets sign Aaron Brooks

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team has signed free agent guard Aaron Brooks. To open a roster spot, the Rockets recalled from Rio Grande Valley and then waived forward Tyler Honeycutt. Brooks returns to Houston where he spent the first three-and-a-half seasons of his career.

Brooks (6-0, 161, Oregon) has averaged 11.8 points and 3.5 assists in 318 career games (149 starts) with Houston, Phoenix and Sacramento. Waived by Sacramento on Mar. 1, 2013, Brooks averaged 8.0 points and 2.3 assists in 20.8 minutes per game over 46 contests (20 starts) with the Kings this season. He joined Sacramento after spending the 2011-12 campaign with the Guangdong Southern Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association, where he was named a CBA All-Star and took Guangdong to the CBA 2012 Finals.

Selected by Houston in the first round (26th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft, Brooks has averaged 12.8 points and 3.6 assists in 247 career games (124 starts) with the Rockets. He had his breakout season in 2009-10, earning NBA Most Improved Player after averaging career highs of 19.6 points and 5.3 assists in 82 starts. Brooks also stood first in the NBA in 3-pointers made (.398, 209-525 3FG) in 2009-10, setting the franchise single-season record for treys. He became just the sixth player in NBA history to make at least 200 3-pointers (209) and dish out 400 or more assists (434) in the same season. In 2008-09, Brooks was selected to participate with the Sophomore Team in the 2009 Rookie Challenge & Youth Jam. He also earned NBA Rookie of the Month honors for 2007 NBA Summer League. Brooks, who was dealt to the Suns during the 2010-11 season in exchange for Goran Dragic and draft considerations, also played in two games with the NBA D-League Rio Grande Valley Vipers (23.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg and 5.0 apg in 2007-08).

Honeycutt (6-8, 188, UCLA), who was acquired by the Rockets from Sacramento on Feb. 20, averaged 19.0 points, 10.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in two games with Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley. He averaged 0.9 points and 1.1 rebounds in 3.6 minutes per game over nine contests with the Kings this season. Honeycutt was selected by Sacramento after his sophomore year out of UCLA with the 35th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Knicks sign Kenyon Martin to second 10-day contract

Veteran forward Kenyon Martin has barely played for the Knicks during his initial 10-day deal, but the team wants him to stick around a bit longer.

New York Knicks Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations and General Manager Glen Grunwald announced today that the team has signed Martin to a second consecutive 10-day contract.

Martin, 6-9, 230-pounds, has appeared in one game, playing five minutes.

The 36-21 Knicks are currently third in the Eastern conference.

Warriors beat Raptors 125-118 to snap 4-game skid

David Lee had 29 points and 11 rebounds to back Andrew Bogut’s strong return, and the Golden State Warriors snapped a four-game losing streak by outlasting the Toronto Raptors 125-118 on Monday night.

Stephen Curry added 26 points and tied a season high with 12 assists, and Klay Thompson scored 10 of his 22 points in the fourth quarter to help the Warriors pull away with a 9-0 run late. Bogut had four points and eight rebounds in a season-high 30 minutes after missing the last six games because of a bad back.

Andrea Bargnani scored 26 points and tied a career high with five 3-pointers, and Amir Johnson added 23 points and 15 rebounds in Toronto’s fifth straight loss. Kyle Lowry finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists, and Rudy Gay scored 26 points after missing the Raptors’ loss at Milwaukee on Saturday night with back spasms.

Golden State’s streaky shooting still proved to be too much. The Warriors outshot the Raptors 57 to 44 percent and made 23 of 28 free throws.

After a frustrating 1-4 road trip, Golden State began a stretch of seven straight and 16 of its last 22 at home. The Warriors improved to 19-7 this season at Oracle Arena, where the ever-loyal fan base has sold out 17 straight games and is begging for a playoff berth.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

Corey Brewer

Denver’s bench is giving the Nuggets’ starting five a push for playing time. At this rate, the reserves might be just as good as the starters.

This time, it was Corey Brewer scoring 22 points and being, as his coach said, ”a pest defensively,” and Wilson Chandler chipping in 13 points in the Nuggets’ 104-88 win over the depleted Atlanta Hawks on Monday night.

Starter Ty Lawson had 18 points and Kenneth Faried had another double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds, but it was Denver’s bench - which outscored Oklahoma City’s reserves by 60 points in their last game - that provided the effort and energy that helped the Nuggets finally shake the Hawks.

Behind their reserves’ 50-point night, the Nuggets won their 11th straight game at the Pepsi Center and matched Miami’s NBA-best 26-3 home record…

With Chandler and Brewer providing the scoring off the bench, JaVale McGee chipped in some more amazing dunks to go with five electrifying blocked shots and Andre Miller dished out nine assists…

Al Horford scored 18 points for Atlanta, and Josh Smith chipped in 15 points, becoming the 24th player in league history to collect 10,000 points, 5,000 rebounds, 2,000 assists and 1,000 blocks. His milestone came on a night when many of his teammates were spectators as the Hawks were without Kyle Korver (toe), Zaza Pachulia (sore right Achilles) and DeShawn Stevenson, who skipped the second game of this back-to-back like he normally does because of balky knees.

Then, Jeff Teague (15 points) sprained his left ankle in the first quarter and Ivan Johnson dislocated his left middle finger in the second quarter. Both returned.

– Reported by Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press

JJ redick

After scoring just nine points in regulation, J.J. Redick nearly matched that total in overtime Monday night.

Redick, acquired by the Milwaukee Bucks at last month’s trade deadline, scored his new team’s first eight points in the extra period. He finished with 17 as the Bucks beat the Utah Jazz 109-108.

”I was just taking what was there. I didn’t feel like I was struggling at all (in regulation),” Redick said. ”I got good looks and the ball was in and out a lot of times. I never feel like I’m struggling. I always feel like the next shot is going in.”

Milwaukee coach Jim Boylan said he has extreme confidence in Redick’s ability to make shots.

”The guy is a great shooter. I know he missed a couple but the thing with J.J., when he shoots the ball, you expect it to go in,” Boylan said. ”Whenever I see him raising up for a shot, I feel pretty good.”

Monta Ellis scored 34 points to lead Milwaukee, which won its fourth consecutive game after dropping three in a row following the All-Star break…

Brandon Jennings had 20 points and 17 assists for Milwaukee, while Larry Sanders chipped in with eight points, 16 rebounds and six blocked shots…

Derrick Favors tied a career high with 23 points and added 15 rebounds for Utah, which lost for the fourth time in five games. Paul Millsap had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Alec Burks added 19 points and Enes Kanter had 18 points.

– Reported by Rich Rovito of the Associated Press

Wade, James lead Heat to record 15th straight win

Alonzo Mourning never did it. Shaquille O’Neal didn’t, either. Even Dwyane Wade had never won 15 games in a row as a member of the Miami Heat.

The Heat have had their fair share of stars come through South Beach over the last 25 years, none of them as bright as LeBron James.

Wade had 32 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds, James shrugged off a sore left knee to score 20 points and grab 10 rebounds, and the Heat earned their franchise-record 15th straight victory with a 97-81 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Monday night.

”Any time you get an opportunity set a record, it’s great for the organization and the guys involved,” James said. ”But we want to keep going. We want to keep winning each game by itself. We don’t talk about the streak, we just go to the next game and play it out. We look forward to the next one.”

Chris Bosh added 11 points and nine rebounds, and James played 35 minutes despite being listed as a game-time decision with a twisted left knee.

Derrick Williams had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Ricky Rubio had 14 points, eight assists, six steals and five rebounds for the Timberwolves. J.J. Barea had four points on 1-for-11 shooting and was ejected in the fourth quarter after getting a Flagrant-2 foul for a hit on Heat guard Ray Allen.

Minnesota was down six points with eight minutes to play when Barea was ejected. The Heat then went on a 17-5 run to put away the game.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Arron Afflalo bolted through a crowd of Hornets defenders as he angled toward the hoop, switching the ball from his left hand to his right to hit a layup Orlando needed to keep another game from slipping away.

Minutes later, he sank an 11-foot turnaround fade in the lane with Eric Gordon’s hand in his face - yet another clutch play that led the Magic to an unlikely comeback on the road.

Afflalo finished with a game-high 26 points, scoring five in the final 38 seconds, and Orlando snapped a three-game skid by erasing a 17-point, second-half deficit en route to a 105-102 victory over New Orleans on Monday night.

”It was great to see the guys feel it and get rewarded for their effort,” Magic coach Jacques Vaughn said. ”We get down 17 and still plug away and play each possession.”

Jameer Nelson, returning from a left knee injury that sidelined him six games, scored 15 points and Tobias Harris also scored 15 for Orlando, which erased a nine-point deficit during the final 3:15.

Afflalo scored 11 of his points in the fourth quarter. His late turnaround over Gordon gave Orlando the lead for good at 101-100 with 38 seconds left.

– Reported by Brett Martel of the Associated Press

Carmelo Anthony tripped, stumbled and fell.

The New York Knicks picked themselves up and won without him.

Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points, J.R. Smith added 18 and the Knicks overcame a 22-point deficit and the loss of Anthony, their All-Star forward who went out with a knee injury in the first half, to beat the Cavaliers 102-97 on Monday night and end a 10-game losing streak in Cleveland.

Steve Novak made three of New York’s seven 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and added 15 points as the Knicks, sparked by their second unit, shook off a tough home loss on Sunday, when they blew a 16-point lead to Miami…

Kyrie Irving scored 22 points in his first game back after missing Cleveland’s past three with a hyperextended right knee. Irving added six assists and five rebounds in 36 minutes…

The Knicks were down by 22 and looking pathetic when Anthony caught a pass from Kidd near midcourt, tripped over his own feet and hit the deck. He stayed on his back for several seconds, got up and without talking to New York’s trainers headed directly to the locker room. Anthony didn’t appear to be injured and seemed to be more embarrassed than anything.

With Anthony out and icing his knee, the Knicks went on a 17-4 run and closed within 61-49 at halftime - not bad, considering how poorly they had played…

Knicks C Marcus Camby played for the first time since Jan. 10. He had been sidelined with plantar fasciitis.

– Reported by Tom Withers of the Associated Press

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