Archive for March 16th, 2013

Paul Pierce had 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds before sitting out the fourth quarter, and the Boston Celtics won their 11th straight at home, beating the Charlotte Bobcats 105-88 on Saturday night.

Avery Bradley scored 13 and Courtney Lee had 12 points and five assists as the Celtics beat the Bobcats for the first time in three meetings this season. Two of the Bobcats’ NBA-low 14 wins came against the Celtics, including a 100-74 blowout in Charlotte on Tuesday.

Kevin Garnett sat out with a strained left thigh muscle, but the Celtics had more than enough to overwhelm the Bobcats this time.

Jeff Green and Brandon Bass scored 10 apiece as all five starters were in double figures.

Jason Terry led Boston’s reserves with 15 points and Shavlik Randolph, signed earlier in the week to his second 10-day contract, had six points and a team-high eight rebounds.

All 11 players who dressed for Boston scored at least five points.

Jannero Pargo led Charlotte with 18 points. Gerald Henderson had 16 points, Kemba Walker scored 14 and Josh McRoberts pulled down 10 rebounds for the Bobcats, who lost for the 12th time in 13 games. Charlotte’s only win during that stretch was Tuesday against the Celtics, when Pierce rested.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Spencer Hawes had 18 points and career highs with 16 rebounds and seven blocked shots to lead the Philadelphia 76ers to a 98-91 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday night.

Jrue Holiday added 27 points and 12 assists to help the Sixers win for only the third time in 15 games. While the Sixers are one of the worst road teams in the league, they are 19-17 at home.

The Sixers led by one at the end of the third quarter, then opened the fourth on a 19-4 run to put away the Pacers. Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young each contributed some lead-stretching buckets in the fourth to put all five starters in double figures.

Roy Hibbert had 25 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers.

The 76ers had enough this time to finish off one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference. They had a late lead and the Heat on the ropes until they blew it and lost by four Wednesday night.

Just like they did against Miami, the Sixers got into an early groove in the quarter to put the upset alert on notice. Dorell Wright hit a 3-pointer and Lavoy Allen came off the bench to score his first two baskets to get a big run going. They forced turnovers on consecutive possessions at one point during the spurt and built a 10-point lead.

– Reported by Dan Gelston of the Associated Press

Martell Webster scored a career-high 34 points and became the Washington Wizards’ first 30-point scorer this season in a 127-105 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

John Wall added 17 points and 11 assists as Washington won its fourth straight at home and third straight overall while setting its season high in scoring.

Emeka Okafor added 17 points and 10 rebounds as Washington snapped a 10-game losing streak to Phoenix, dating to 2006.

Michael Beasley scored 21 points and Goran Dragic added 12 points and 11 assists as the Suns lost their fourth straight and their sixth of eight in March.

Phoenix now owns the worst record in the Western Conference, a half-game behind idle New Orleans.

Webster matched a career high with seven 3-pointers, his last coming on the left wing just moments into the fourth quarter to make it 105-84. Webster shrugged toward his bench after the basket, then followed with a reverse dunk to push it to 109-86.

– Reported by the Associated Press

There are 16 games remaining in the regular season and it doesn’t appear the New Orleans Hornets are any closer to solving their glaring defensive problems than they were two months ago.

It hasn’t mattered how long Hornets Coach Monty Williams puts his team through video sessions to go over mistakes or have walk-through practices or shootarounds to emphasize specific defensive assignments, it’s still not carrying over into games. The Hornets continue to struggle with their defensive rotations that causes them to give up too many open shots on the perimeter and drives into the lane that leads to layups or dunks.

“We’ve had a number of breakdowns and that falls square on my shoulders,’’ Williams said. “I have to get guys in the game who want to compete for 48 minutes. There is no margin for error with this team, especially when you have lost guys like Jason Smith (injured) and you don’t have experience.’’

– Reported by John Reid of the New Orleans Times-Picayune

At least one Hawks player is looking at Sunday’s key matchup against the Nets with an eye toward the playoffs.

DeShawn Stevenson said there is a something more at stake in the game.

“It means a lot because we might end up playing them (in the playoffs),” Stevenson said. “We don’t want to be down 3-1. That game is important.”

The Hawks have lost two of three meetings with the Nets this season, including a poor performance March 9 in a 93-80 loss at Philips Arena.

The Hawks (36-29) have the same record as the Bulls, who own the tiebreaker, for the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. They are two games behind the fourth-place Nets (38-27). The Celtics, who played the Bobcats on Saturday, would make it a three-way tie with win.

– Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Cavs players love their basketball shoes

After Dion Waiters departed the arena after a typical home game in late January, left behind in his locker were a towel, a mesh laundry bag, some workout clothes … and 11 pairs of Nike sneakers.

C.J. Miles estimated he has owned more than 800 pairs of shoes in his life. Daniel Gibson owns a pair of pink Converse, shoes with spikes on them and Louis Vuitton gold shoes he refers to as “shoe jewelry.” Gibson owns so many shoes, he built a closet in his bedroom just to store them all. Of course his wife, R&B singer Keyshia Cole, has quite a few pairs in there, as well.

The combination of shoe deals and unlimited millions for playing in the NBA has created a sort of shoe fetish within the league. Players pay attention to what is on their feet both on and off the court, and for various reasons — some of which are fairly practical.

When it was time to sign his shoe deal, Kyrie Irving chose Nike over Under Armour and Adidas in part because of how the shoe giant molded special footwear to protect his toe when he was returning from surgery for the NCAA tournament at Duke.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

George Hill

Pacers guard George Hill was bothered by how many Lakers fans took over an Indiana home game Friday night.

“They always say your fans are your sixth man and you feed off that energy,” Hill told Mike Wells of IndyStar.com.  ”Energy is down and we turn the ball over and we’re hearing cheers. We’re missing shots and we’re hearing cheers.”

The Lakers pulled out a 99-93 victory at Indianapolis despite Kobe Bryant going scoreless in only 12 minutes with a sprained ankle.

“It was like 70/30 out there,” said Hill of the Lakers-to-Pacers fans ratio.  ”These are the same people that want autographs after the game.  We’re out there in the community.  We’re doing our job, doing what we’re supposed to do on and off the court.  Something has to change.”

– Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Blog)

George Hill: “It sucks. It was 70 (Lakers fans) – 30 (Pacers fans) out there. These are the same people that wants autographs after the game. We’re out there in the community. We’re doing our job, doing what we’re supposed to do on and off the court. Something has to change. I tip my hat to this team. We’ve been trouble free. Been out in the community shaking hands, we’re winning. It shouldn’t feel like an away game, especially with an important like this. Tonight, that’s what it felt like.”

George Hill: “They always say your fans are your sixth man and you feed off that energy. Energy is down and we turn the ball over and we’re hearing cheers. We’re missing shots and we’re hearing cheers. That kind of brings your head down cause you know you’re at home. It shouldn’t be like that. Now we see how it is. We have to move forward, don’t worry about. Stay focus on what’s in this locker room and don’t worry about the rest.”

– Reported by Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star (Blog)

The Brooklyn Nets have recalled forward Tornike Shengelia and guard Tyshawn Taylor from the Springfield Armor of the NBA Development League, it was announced today by General Manager Billy King.  The two players were assigned to Springfield on March 15.

In seven games for the Armor this season, Shengelia holds D-League averages of 25.1 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.3 steals per game.  Shengelia posted an Armor franchise-high tying 39 points to go along with 18 rebounds on January 24 vs. Maine after recording a triple-double in his D-League debut December 21 against Erie. Last night, the 6’8’’ rookie notched 15 points with five rebounds and two assists.

Taylor has averaged 25.4 points, 7.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds in five D-League contests this season, including a 32-point performance in his debut December 21 against Erie and two double-doubles in his ensuing three games. In his most recent outing, the rookie out of Kansas posted 21 points, eight assists, four rebounds and two steals.

 The Atlanta Hawks have signed guard Shelvin Mack to a second 10-day contract, Hawks President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Danny Ferry announced today.

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound point guard has appeared in five games for the Hawks, totaling eight points, four rebounds and three assists in 30 total minutes. In the Hawks’ win against the Los Angeles Lakers on March 13th, Mack scored seven points on 3-5 (.600) shooting and dished out two assists in 14 minutes.

Luol Deng

Embarrassed one game, handing out humiliation the next.

Such is life for the Chicago Bulls right now.

Luol Deng scored 23 points, Carlos Boozer had 21 points and nine rebounds, and the banged-up Bulls bounced back from their most lopsided loss of the season to whip the Golden State Warriors 113-95 on Friday night.

”I do know we have pride,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said. ”We’ve taken a hit. We’ve lost some guys along the way. Our guys will battle. We know that we’re short-handed. But if we have the right intensity and we do it collectively, we have a chance. And we’ve shown it throughout the year.”

Maybe this week more than any other.

Two nights after a 121-79 shellacking at Sacramento that renewed calls for Derrick Rose’s return, the Bulls outscored the Warriors 38-17 in the third quarter en route to snapping a season-high, five-game road losing streak. They led by 36 points early in the fourth quarter before both sides cleared the benches.

Nate Robinson added 20 points and seven assists, while Joakim Noah finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds for Chicago, which had lost four of five overall. The Bulls outshot the Warriors 52 to 45 percent and won the rebounding battle 43-34, though the final box score hardly showed how much of a blowout the game really was.

– Reported by Antonio Gonzalez of the Associated Press

kosta koufos

The Denver Nuggets plodded along for three quarters before beating Memphis at its own game.

Hardly known as a half-court team, the high-flying Nuggets had to resort to set plays and setting picks to finally break free.

Turns out, they’re pretty good at it, especially when they dump the ball inside to Kosta Koufos.

Koufos scored 18 points and grabbed a career-high 16 rebounds, helping the Nuggets rally to knock off the Grizzlies 87-80 on Friday night for their 11th straight victory, their longest streak in 30 years…

Then along came Kenneth Faried, providing a much-needed spark with his energetic play. The player known as ”Manimal” was blocking shots, hustling for rebounds and pestering Zach Randolph, the Grizzlies’ force up front who had 18 points and 18 rebounds.

With the Nuggets trailing 66-58 heading into the fourth quarter, Faried helped them go on a 17-4 run and seize back the momentum. That’s exactly why he’s on the court…

The Grizzlies have been on a 15-5 roll since a three-team deal on Jan. 30 that sent Rudy Gay to Toronto and landed Tayshaun Prince in Memphis. … Denver has won 26 of its last 28 home games against Memphis. … The Nuggets are 28-3 when allowing 100 or fewer points.

– Reported by Pat Graham of the Associated Press

kobe bryant

When Kobe Bryant couldn’t be the tough guy on the court Friday night, he resorted to being an MVP coach.

After hobbling around on a severely sprained left ankle for 12 minutes, Bryant retreated to the bench, where he spent the rest of the night contesting calls, waving teammates into the right spots and even drawing something up on a clipboard for Dwight Howard to see.

He wasn’t going to let up - or let his teammates down.

So on a night Bryant was held scoreless for only the 15th time in his 17-year NBA career, Howard finished with 20 points and 12 rebounds, and delivered a tiebreaking three-point play with 90 seconds left that sent the Los Angeles Lakers past Indiana, 99-93.

”It really just continued to swell and I couldn’t put any weight on it, so I called it a night,” Bryant said after getting more treatment on the sore ankle in the training room. ”I told them before the game, ‘I don’t know how much I have, but whatever I have, I’ll give you.”’ …

Metta World Peace finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, Steve Blake made five 3-pointers and finished with 18 points, and Antawn Jamison added 17 points with four 3s…

George Hill scored 27 points, Paul George had 20 points and Lance Stephenson finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. But Indiana shot only 37.4 percent from the field and couldn’t make a serious run at Los Angeles after Howard’s big play, primarily because the defense couldn’t stop the Lakers from outside.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Amir Johnson 21 rebounds

Even though playoff contention may be slipping out of reach for the Toronto Raptors, Amir Johnson isn’t about to slow down.

Johnson had 12 points and a career-high 21 rebounds, and Rudy Gay scored 28 points as the Raptors beat the Charlotte Bobcats 92-78 on Friday night.

”That was a heck of an effort by Amir Johnson,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. ”I can’t sing his praises enough.”

Toronto drew to within 7 1/2 games of Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the East after the Bucks lost at home to Miami, the Heat’s 21st straight win. The Raptors host Miami on Sunday.

Joey Dorsey was the last Toronto player to record 20 rebounds, doing it April 11, 2011, at Milwaukee…

Gerald Henderson, coming off a career-best 35-point performance in the Bobcats’ 100-74 victory over Boston on Tuesday, scored 22 points. Kemba Walker added 20, and Ben Gordon and McRoberts each had 10 for Charlotte, which has won just one of 11 and four of its past 26.

The Bobcats made just one of 13 field goal attempts in the fourth, and were outscored 23-10.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

Knicks keeping an eye on Delonte West

Knicks keeping an eye on Delonte West

The Knicks aren’t that desperate yet, but will be one of the teams monitoring the progress of mercurial point guard Delonte West, expected to make his D-League debut tonight when the Texas Legends host the Santa Cruz Warriors.

West is a super talent and super headache, but, at 29, a relative pup by Knicks standards. He hasn’t played all season but was effective last year with Dallas. The Knicks haven’t been thrilled with their point-guard play since Christmas, with Raymond Felton and Jason Kidd falling back to Earth, Iman Shumpert not being a reliable scorer and playmaking rookie Pablo Prigioni not enough of an offensive threat.

The Knicks don’t have a roster spot and rehabbing Rasheed Wallace is on the West Coast trip for “moral support,’’ coach Mike Woodson said. Woodson acknowledged he will sit down with general manager Glen Grunwald after the trip to explore options. Wallace would have to be cut to open a roster spot.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

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