Archive for March 9th, 2013

J.R. Smith scored 24 points and the New York Knicks shook off the absence of Carmelo Anthony and the shock of Amare Stoudemire needing more knee surgery to rout the slumping Utah Jazz 113-84 on Saturday night.

The Knicks learned earlier Saturday that Stoudemire will have right knee surgery that will sideline him approximately six weeks. But they still have plenty of scoring off the bench, with Steve Novak adding a season-high 20 points.

Alec Burks scored 14 points and Gordon Hayward had 13 for the Jazz, who completed a 0-4 road trip that dropped them into a tie with the Los Angeles Lakers for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Utah played without starting forward Paul Millsap because of right knee inflammation.

The Knicks bounced back from a 95-94 loss to Oklahoma City on Thursday to win for the sixth time in eight games, seizing control with an 18-2 run in the second quarter and taking a 32-point lead in the second half.

They played their third straight game without Anthony, their leading scorer who they said has a stiff and sore right knee.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Brook Lopez and Andray Blatche each scored 18 points, Deron Williams added 17 and the Brooklyn Nets won their third straight game with a 93-80 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday night.

Al Horford finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Hawks, who seemed lethargic after losing in overtime at Boston on Friday. Atlanta has lost two straight and five of six.

Brooklyn had a better performance coming off its 17-point home victory over Washington on Friday in which Williams set the NBA record with nine 3-pointers in a half and scored a season-high 42 points.

Lopez, who finished with nine rebounds, scored 14 points in the third, including a runner that gave Brooklyn its first 20-point lead.

The Nets took their first double-digit lead midway through the second quarter when Mirza Teletovic’s 3-pointer made it 39-29. It only got worse in the second half for Atlanta, which trailed by 23 early in the fourth on a couple of long jumpers by Blatche.

– Reported by George Henry of the Associated Press

Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire continues to suffer knee injuries

amare stoudemire

Amar’e Stoudemire needs surgery and will miss the next six weeks of the Knicks’ season. The killer blow was announced by the team just prior to Saturday’s game against the Jazz. Stoudemire will have a right knee debridement sometime this week.

Stoudemire had been having some soreness in the knee, and missed the team’s shootaround Saturday morning. He elected to have an MRI later in the day, which revealed that he needed surgery.

“I feel for Amar’e, because again he’s put a lot of work in this summer, to get back out on the court, with what he went through at the beginning of camp,” head coach Mike Woodson said. “And now he’s got to go back in again. I feel for the young man because he puts so much time and hard work in. But you know we got to go on.”

With the timetable suggested by the team, Stoudemire will presumably miss the rest of the regular season and into part of the playoffs.

– Reported by Seth Walder of the New York Daily News

InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner says: I feel awful for Stoudemire, who keeps himself in great shape and has desperately tried to stay healthy.

Dwight Howard

In the war of words between Dwight Howard and his former Orlando Magic teammates, one significant voice weighed in on the side of the Los Angeles Lakers center.

Howard said that his former Magic coach, Stan Van Gundy, reached out to him Thursday to offer support.

“He knows I would never disrespect my teammates,” said Howard after Lakers’ shootaround Friday in advance of their game against the Toronto Raptors. “He understood exactly what I was saying and that’s what he expressed.”

Howard expanded on the topic after the Lakers’ 118-116 overtime victory over the Raptors, saying, “Both of us, we know how great we were together. I’ve always told him, if we had a second run together, that would be great.

“I would always tell him what my goal was, I want to be one of the greatest to play and he would always push me to get there. So, I respect him.”

Van Gundy believes Howard wasn’t trying to bad-mouth any of his former teammates.

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

Steve Nash mostly a shooting guard for Lakers

Steve Nash went to get the ball because, well, Nash has always had the ball in his hands.

Midway through the first quarter Friday night, as Earl Clark picked up the ball to inbound it, Nash held up his hands as Clark looked at him and Kobe Bryant, who was holding up his hands as well. Clark ended up passing it to Nash, who immediately gave the ball to Bryant and ran down the court toward the right arc.

This is Nash’s new role with the Los Angeles Lakers. He is no longer one of the league’s best point guards, but rather its newest shooting guard.

Sure there are still moments when Nash will bring up the ball depending on defensive adjustments by the opposition, but more often than not, Nash is patrolling the perimeter and waiting for Bryant to get him the ball.

“It’s a big adjustment for me and I am trying to embrace it,” Nash said. “I’m trying to do what I can to help the team. It’s not something I’m accustomed. It’s been a difficult transition in some ways, but at the same time I love being here and I really want to help the team the best I can.”

– Reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles

Brandan Wright

Because Dallas is the place where his career took off, center Brandan Wright would like to re-sign with the Mavericks when he becomes a free agent this summer.

Originally signed as a free agent by the Mavs on Dec. 9, 2011, Wright is appreciative that owner Mark Cuban and Donnie Nelson, the team’s president of basketball operations, gave him a chance to find his game.

Wright played with the Golden State Warriors from 2007 until he played 16 games for the New Jersey Nets in the latter half of the 2010-’11 campaign.

Wright then hooked up with the Mavs, where he has been mostly healthy following an injury-proned start to his career.

– Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Greg Oden

Oden attended the Cavs’ game Friday as a guest of Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley Jr., his best friend since childhood – yet wound up in Cavs owner Dan Gilbert’s baseline seats adjacent the Cavs’ bench.

Gilbert wasn’t in attendance Friday, so arena personnel invited Oden to move down from his original seats five rows behind the Cavs’ bench. It was a fascinating scene, given the negotiations between the Cavs and Oden’s agent – who also happens to be Conley’s father.

Oden was showed on the video board twice during the game as fans cheered and said he is still interested in playing for the Cavs despite not signing a contract yet.

“I live in Ohio. It’s home now,” Oden said. “They have a great organization and I really do think they’re up and coming.”

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

brandon jennings

Bucks guard Brandon Jennings made a rather startling observation after practice Friday.

While he wants the Bucks to move up in the playoff seedings if possible, he said it’s OK with him to face the top-seeded Miami Heat in the first round. That’s the Heat, as in the streaking team that has won 16 straight games entering a home game against Philadelphia on Friday.

“The two games that we played Miami so far, we matched up well against them,” Jennings said. “If you ask me, that’s who I would want to play first round, Miami.

“Just the fact over the years, a lot of the games have gone down to the wire with us and Miami. Right now we haven’t really played well against the Knicks. I just feel better if we play Miami first round, just the fact we have good games against them.

“I don’t know if it’s because they’re the champs or what, but we always play harder against Miami.”

– Reported by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Last week, a triumphant Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson announced a potential Kings purchase group had submitted a fair and competitive offer to keep the team in town. Friday night, NBA Commissioner David Stern said no, not quite.

Speaking to the news media before a Golden State Warriors game in Oakland, the commissioner delivered a bombshell, saying a Sacramento group’s counteroffer to buy the team does not measure up in dollars to a tentative deal the Kings recently signed with a group that hopes to move the team to Seattle.

“The counter bid has got very strong financial people behind it, but it is not quite there in comparison to the Seattle bid,” Stern said. “There is a substantial variance.”

The commissioner declined to say how far short the Sacramento bid fell of the reported $341 million Seattle offer for a 65 percent share of the team.

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

Bulls GM denies rift between team and Derrick Rose

Chicago Bulls general manager Gar Forman denied Saturday that there is any kind of  communications rift between Derrick Rose’s camp and the organization regarding the return date for the all-star guard from his knee injury.

“We talk all the time. We have been in communication throughout the whole process. High-level communication,” Forman told the Tribune before scouting the DePaul-Pittsburgh game at Allstate Arena.

Published comments from Rose’s older brother Reggie were critical of the Bulls organization for not adding more pieces before the trade deadline. But Forman insists the two camps remain in contact.

“From Day One, the communication has been consistent and it has been very encouraging. There have been no setbacks and (Rose) continues to make progress,” he said.

Forman said he would not comment on an ESPNChicago.com report that attributed a source as saying Rose has medical clearance to resume playing after suffering a torn ACL 10 months ago.

“I don’t comment on what a source says,” Forman replied.

– Reported by Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune

With 22 games remaining in the regular season, the NBA’s defending champion Miami Heat became the first team to clinch a postseason berth.

Miami also extended its winning streak to 17 games with a 102-93 victory over Philadelphia Friday night in front of 20,029 at AmericanAirlines Arena.

The victory tied the Clippers’ 17-game win streak from Nov. 28-Dec. 30, 2012, as the longest such stretch in the league this season.

Down by one point with 11:45 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Heat scored 10 straight points to take control. Seven different Heat players scored in the final 12 minutes.

Opponents have now recorded 100 points or more in the past three games against the Sixers after accomplishing the feat only twice in 14 games prior. As a team, Miami outscored Philadelphia 60-38 in the paint as well as 55-42 in the second half.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today that they have signed guard Maalik Wayns to a 10-day contract.

Wayns joins 120 players with NBA D-League experience currently on NBA rosters.

Wayns (6-2, 185, Villanova) has played in nine games for the Vipers this season, averaging 12.4 points, 3.0 assists and 22.0 minutes.  He has scored in double figures in seven outings, including two 20-plus point games.

Undrafted out of Villanova in 2012, Wayns is a 21-game NBA veteran, having signed with the Philadelphia 76ers as a free agent in July 2012, and again to a 10-day contract in January 2013.  He returns to the NBA with career averages of 2.7 points, 1.0 assists and 7.9 minutes.

Wayns is expected to join the Clippers today and be available tomorrow when the team hosts the Detroit Pistons in Los Angeles.

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