Archive for March 22nd, 2013

Ray Williams, a former Knicks captain who 30 years ago teamed with Michael Ray Richardson to form one of the NBA’s most flamboyant backcourts, died today at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York. Williams, 58, had been suffering from colon cancer.

A guard with a chiseled physique, Williams was drafted 10th overall by the Knicks in 1977. He came to New York during the bridge years, after the glory championship days of Willis Reed and Bill Bradley, and before Patrick Ewing arrived to lift the franchise.

In the meantime, Williams and Richardson brought sizzle to Madison Garden. Richardson was the taller, wiry slashing player. Williams was built more like a fullback, with well-defined thighs and arms. He entered the league not long before Magic Johnson, and he was of that mold, blurring the lines between positions. He was 6-foot-3 and moved smoothly between the responsibilities of point guard, scoring guard and small even small forward.

– Reported by Craig Wolff of the Newark Star-Ledger

Phoenix Suns set to miss playoffs again

If a magic number indicates the combination of game results a team needs to qualify for the postseason, is the same number for playoff contention elimination an “unmagic number?”

If it is, that number for the Phoenix Suns is one. A Suns loss or one more win by the Los Angeles Lakers would eliminate Phoenix from postseason contention for the third straight season. It’ll be the team’s first three-year postseason absence since the span from 1986 to 1988.

The Suns host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday at US Airways Center, and they’ll be short-handed when they do. Center Jermaine O’Neal will miss the contest with a left calf strain and an illness and according to interim head coach Lindsey Hunter, swingman Jared Dudley will probably miss the game as well.

“I’m thinking both guys have the stomach flu or something,” he said.

– Reported by Vince Marotta of Arizona Sports

Comcast SportsNet Chicago Friday has suspended Chicago Bulls analyst Kendall Gill for the remainder of the season.

“We have made a decision to not have Kendall Gill appear on our air for the remainder of the Bulls season,” the station said. “We will re-evaluate our current position on this matter during the off-season.”

Gill was removed from on-air duties after being involved in a physical altercation with Big Ten Network analyst Tim Doyle on Tuesday night. The incident occurred after a taping of “Sports Talk Live” in the Comcast SportsNet studio newsroom.

– Reported by Fred Mitchell of the Chicago Tribune

Juwan Howard doesn’t play much, but his presence on the Miami Heat is obviously appreciated.

The Heat announced today that they have signed Howard for the remainder of the season.

Howard was previously signed by the HEAT to a 10-day contract on March 2 and then re-signed to a second 10-day contract on March 12. He has not appeared in a game for Miami this season, but has appeared in 85 games with the HEAT over the last two seasons averaging 2.1 points, 2.0 rebounds and 9.2 minutes while shooting 40 percent from the field. Additionally, he appeared in 11 postseason games during Miami’s 2012 NBA Championship run, totaling 17 points, 10 rebounds and an assist in 60 minutes of action while shooting 4-of-9 from the field.

The former NBA All-Star was originally signed by the HEAT as a free agent on July 20, 2010 and then re-signed on December 9, 2011.

The effort to keep the Sacramento Kings from moving to Seattle got a boost from a Silicon Valley software tycoon who stepped forward as lead investor.

The Sacramento Bee reports that Vivek Ranadive will lead Sacramento’s bid to keep the team, joining health-club financier Mark Mastrov and billionaire Ron Burkle.

Ranadive’s involvement comes after NBA Commissioner David Stern said earlier this month that the Sacramento group’s offer needed to be increased before league owners would consider it.

– Reported by the Associated Press

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