Archive for March 18th, 2013

Although the Charlotte Bobcats have been eliminated from playoff contention, Kemba Walker believes the young team can still take something from the season’s final 16 games.

Most notably learning how to win close games like Monday night.

Gerald Henderson had 27 points and Walker came up with a flurry of big plays in the closing minutes helping the Bobcats overcome a five-point deficit and beat Washington 119-114 to snap the Wizards’ three-game win streak.

Walker scored nine of his 18 points in the final three minutes, sparking a 12-0 Charlotte run…

Walker shot 8 of 14 from the field and had seven assists.

Henderson, who came in averaging 22.5 points over his previous five games, was 8 of 16 from the field and 10 of 11 on free throws. He also tied a career high with eight assists and his 3-pointer with 55 seconds left ultimately sealed the victory.

Ben Gordon had 19 points and Josh McRoberts added 17 for Charlotte.

John Wall scored 25 points and Nene added 21 for the Wizards, who lost three of four games this season to the NBA-worst Bobcats. Emeka Okafor and Garrett Temple each had 17 points.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Andrew Bynum will have surgery on both knees, and not play this season

Philadelphia 76ers center Andrew Bynum will undergo arthroscopic surgery on both knees tomorrow, which will cause him to miss the remainder of the season.

“After many months of rehabilitation and consulting with numerous doctors, Andrew and the doctors treating him determined that this is the best course of action at this point,” Sixers General Manager Tony DiLeo said. “We will continue to monitor and evaluate his status moving forward.”

The arthroscopic surgery will be performed by Dr. David Altchek of the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York. The primary focus of the procedure is to clean out loose bodies from within the knees in an attempt to alleviate pain and swelling.

Bynum has not yet played a single minute for the 76ers, who are having a rough season. With a 25-40 record, the team is 10th in the East, but nowhere near catching up to the 8th seed.

Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, March 11 through Sunday, March 17.

Wall led the Wizards to a 3-1 week with averages of 24.0 points (fourth in the conference), 11.0 assists (second in the conference), 5.5 rebounds and 2.5 steals (third in the conference). Wall posted three point-assist double-doubles and ranked sixth in the East with a field goal percentage of .617. He collected a season-high 14 assists on March 12 against the Cleveland Cavaliers (95-90 loss) and a season-high 29 points on March 15 against the New Orleans Hornets (96-87 win).

Aldridge led the Trail Blazers to a 2-1 week behind an NBA-best 27.0 points, 10.7 rebounds (seventh in the conference), 3.0 blocks (third in the conference) and 3.0 assists. Aldridge shot 19-of-19 from the foul line on a week in which he posted a point-rebound double-double in each contest, including a 22-point, 10-rebound, five-block effort on March 14 during a 105-90 win over the New York Knicks.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Al Horford, Denver’s Kosta Koufos, Miami’s LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Minnesota’s Ricky Rubio, Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan.

The Oklahoma City Thunder hired Jason Ranne to the position of Director of Strategic Planning, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

In his new role, Ranne will work with Thunder basketball operations on various initiatives, including team payroll, player acquisitions and long-term operational planning.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to add Jason to our front office staff,” Presti said. “He adds a diverse skill-set as well as many years of experiences within the industry of sport. We are confident that he will make a positive contribution to our operations as we continue to build and grow as an organization.”

Ranne spent the last six years with the Wasserman Media Group, most recently as the organization’s Senior Vice President of Team Sports. In this position, Ranne oversaw the operational, legal and strategic aspects of Wasserman’s basketball, baseball and football groups as well as the athlete marketing and digital divisions related to those sports. Prior to his stint at Wasserman, Ranne spent four years as a guard on the Arizona Wildcats (2000-04), including a turn as the team captain during his senior season.

The Tulsa, Okla. native also owns a law degree from the University of Minnesota.

An Atlanta woman who says basketball legend Michael Jordan is the father of her 16-year-old son has dropped her paternity suit against him.

Pamela Smith, 48, filed a paternity suit against Jordan last month seeking child support. Jordan denies he is the father of the child and has also filed a counterclaim seeking sanctions against Smith for making false claims.

Smith acknowledged in a previous divorce proceeding that her now ex-husband is the father of the child, according to Jordan’s lawyers.

The case has not been settled, Smith’s attorney, Randy Kessler, told Reuters on Monday. His client has voluntarily dismissed the case “without prejudice” which means she can re-file it later if she chooses, Kessler added.

– Reported by David Beasley of Reuters

Kosta Koufos delivering as post man for Nuggets

His fans don’t know how to spell his name.

Nor do some opponents.

But word is getting around about Kosta Koufos.

A benchwarmer much of last season, Koufos has blossomed as the Nuggets’ starting center. He is coming off his best week of the season with dominating performances against the Phoenix Suns, New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies, which led to numerous fans texting on that postgame scroll on Altitude. Fans praised his game but often misspelled his name. There was a “Koufas” a couple of times and a “Koufus.”

And even Wednesday, on the pregame dry-erase board in the Knicks’ locker room, a New York coach had written “Koufas.”

– Reported by Benjamin Hochman of the Denver Post

Injured DeMarcus Cousins misses second straight game

Once again, the Kings had only 11 players available for a game.

Center DeMarcus Cousins missed his second consecutive game because of a left quadriceps contusion when the Kings faced the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on Sunday night.

Cousins, who did not travel to Los Angeles, will test his quad today at practice to see if he might play Tuesday against the visiting Los Angeles Clippers.

“He did some things on the floor (Saturday) but more treatment than anything else,” coach Keith Smart said. “He won’t do anything until (today).”

– Reported by Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee

Another strain for ailing Tyson Chandler

Another strain for ailing Tyson Chandler

So now Tyson Chandler has a stiff neck too. Wonderful.

The Knicks announced yesterday Chandler missed his second straight game not because of his badly bruised left knee but because of a strained muscle in his neck. However, Chandler limped out of the locker room yesterday and didn’t stop to talk to reporters.

While Carmelo Anthony’s recently drained right knee is not expected to be ready for combat tonight in Utah, Chandler is closer to action. It’s become strange why Anthony even bothered to fly back to Los Angeles.

The Knicks said Chandler’s knee is virtually healed and the Knicks center has played through a sore neck earlier this season. Chandler said Wednesday night after the Denver game that he is very willing to play hurt, especially with the Knicks on the verge of an embarrassing 0-5 West Coast trip that will be hard to live down.

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

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