Archive for March 12th, 2013

Danny Granger to miss at least three more games

Indiana Pacers swingman Danny Granger will miss at least three more games, according to coach Frank Vogel.

Pacers coach Frank Vogel said Tuesday after practice that Granger, out but all of five games this season, will have his left knee re-evaluated at the end of this week.

“Even if he’s cleared at the end of this week, that’s not going to be him back in game action right away,” Vogel said. “That’s him resuming activity.”

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star

Chase Budinger

The Timberwolves received some good news in this injury-plagued season when forward Chase Budinger, out since Nov. 10 with a knee injury, was cleared Tuesday, March 12, to practice with the team.

Budinger spoke by phone Tuesday morning with Florida-based orthopedist James Andrews, who performed the Nov. 13 surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus ligament in Budinger’s left knee.

“The doctor said I can go into the next phase, which is a lot of contact work,” Budinger said after the Wolves’ shootaround. “What I can do is start playing one on one with the coaches and do some two-on-two stuff. Hopefully, (Wolves forward) Kevin (Love) will get cleared and we can start working out together and do some two-on-two stuff.”

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

Still no return date for Derrick Rose

Still no return date for Derrick Rose

Speaking on the 10-month anniversary of surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Derrick Rose said Tuesday he still isn’t sure if he will play this season but has suffered no setbacks during his rehabilitation.

“I’m waiting to that day where I feel normal,” Rose said before a practice at UCLA. “Until then, I will just wait. I haven’t had any pressure from the organization. No one has to push me to go out there to play.

“My teammates have been doing great, playing hard for me. They’re out there fighting so that’s a good sign. And we’re winning games. So I’m not worried about anything right now.”

Rose said he can do everything physically, downplayed the hubbub over recent comments about his hamstring pain and said the main hurdle he has to clear is the mental one.

“I can do everything,” Rose said. “It’s just me having the confidence to do it and me feeling normal.”

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Brandon Knight

If given the benefit of hindsight and knowing the reaction that would come from the outside world, most would take a step back as DeAndre Jordan launched his 7-foot frame near the rim for a thunderous dunk, especially if you’re eight inches shorter.

But Brandon Knight? Nah. He’d go after Jordan again because in his mind and heart it was the right play.

He took things personally. Not the reaction from the public, which used Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to make fun of Knight becoming a poster, but of the Los Angeles Clippers clowning the Pistons on Sunday night without much resistance.

“When I step on the court, I don’t take people dunking six, seven or eight times and not attempting to stop it. It’s personal to me,” said Knight with crutches under his arms after sustaining a “severe” ankle injury in the first quarter of Monday’s 103-90 loss to the Utah Jazz.

– Reported by Vincent Goodwill of the Detroit News

Ticket prices at MSG going up again

The Knicks haven’t won a playoff series since 2001, but the Garden’s $800 million, three-year transformation continues to give owner James Dolan cause to jack up season-ticket prices.

In a press release, the Knicks announced season-ticket prices will go up, on average, 6.4 percent for next season. The ticket increase is related to the final stage of the three-year transformation being completed in time for next season.

Ticket prices for Rangers game will increase by four percent.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Mavericks in danger of missing playoffs

Dirk Nowitzki

The Dallas Mavericks are trying to climb into the Western Conference playoff picture, and more big performances from Vince Carter could help them reach that goal.

Dallas looks to match its longest winning streak of the season at four games Tuesday night as it visits the surging Milwaukee Bucks.

After 12 consecutive postseason appearances, the Mavericks (29-33) are in danger of missing the playoffs. They sit in a 10th-place tie with Portland in the West, three games out of the eighth and final spot.

Dallas, though, appears to be getting hot at just the right time thanks in large part to Carter. The 36-year-old former All-Star has gone 12 for 23 from 3-point range and averaged 16.0 points in helping the Mavericks win four of five this month.

“It’s not necessarily just scoring, but, in general, I understand what’s going on and I just made it my business to be locked in and want to do whatever is needed,” he said.

– Reported by Noey Kupchan of STATS/Associated Press

LeBron

LeBron James once carried a team to 66 wins. Ray Allen played for a club that won 19 consecutive games. Dwyane Wade led a team that finished with the Eastern Conference’s best record.

For each, it’s a footnote in a season where no championship was won.

There’s no arguing that the Miami Heat are playing better than any other team in the NBA right now. They’ve won 18 straight games, are sitting atop the league standings and have a very real chance of wrapping up the No. 1 seed in the East playoffs by the end of the month. While all that sounds good, it’s not changing the singular priority of this Heat season.

Championship-or-bust was the thinking Miami carried into this year, and not even the seventh-longest winning streak in NBA history has changed that.

“It’s not our goal,” James said. “Our goal isn’t to win games consecutive. Our goal is to win a championship. Right now, our goal is to get better each and every game, to continue to improve. That was never one of our goals coming into the season, see how many games we’d win in a row. Our goal is to win a championship and not take any shortcuts in that process.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Dwight Howard

The number 12 is no longer sacred in Orlando.

The man who used to wear it, Los Angeles Lakers’ center Dwight Howard, also once shouldered the Magic’s hopes of attaining an elusive first NBA championship.

But after eight years of chasing it, and taking Orlando through one of the most turbulent seasons in its history last year, the man who called himself Superman is now the city’s biggest villain.

He returns for the first time Tuesday since his offseason trade to the Lakers to face the jilted fans, front office members and handful of teammates that he left behind.

”I’m not sure,” Magic point guard Jameer Nelson said when asked about his expectations for Tuesday. ”Obviously the atmosphere is gonna be probably a little turned up, a littler crazier than we’ve had so far this year.”

Nelson, Hedo Turkoglu and Glen Davis are the only players on the Magic’s roster that have previously played with Howard. With Davis out with a broken foot and Turkoglu serving a suspension for violating the NBA’s drug policy, only Nelson will play in the rematch.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

The prospective owner of the Sacramento Kings is calling on fans in Seattle to sign up for a “priority ticket waitlist” as a way to show the NBA how much interest there is in bringing pro basketball back to the area.

Chris Hansen made the announcement on his SonicsArena.com website on Monday. It was his first statement since the announcement of the sale of the Kings from the Maloof family to Hansen and Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer on Jan. 21. Hansen and Ballmer have a signed agreement to acquire a 65 percent stake in the Kings for $341 million from the Maloofs. That sale is pending league approval.

“In addition to helping us understand and prioritize the demand for tickets, registering your interest will be a critical step in demonstrating to the NBA and basketball fans around the country the unbelievable passion that exists in the Emerald City to BRING BACK OUR SONICS!” Hansen wrote.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Dennis Rodman hopes to meet new Pope

Dennis Rodman — fresh from his basketball summit in North Korea — is now setting his sights on fixing those pesky problems plaguing the Catholic Church … because he’s jetting to Rome today in hopes of meeting the new Pope.

Rodman tells TMZ … his “people” in Rome have been in touch with the mucky muck’s at the Vatican and they’re trying to arrange a sit-down with the next person to don the big funny hat.

Rodman — who wants to be there when the white smoke fills the air — is gambling just a bit, because the Cardinals are voting today and Rodman won’t land until late tonight.  But our top Catholic source — Shevonne — tells us … it’s unlikely anyone will get the nod on the first vote.

– Reported by TMZ

The Golden State Warriors have re-assigned forward Kent Bazemore and assigned forward Malcolm Thomas to the Santa Cruz Warriors of the Development League.

Both players are slated to join Golden State’s D-League affiliate in time for the team’s home game tonight in Santa Cruz against the Reno Bighorns at Kaiser Permanente Arena (7:00 p.m. tipoff).

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