Archive for March 26th, 2013

J.R. Smith leads Knicks over Celtics

J.R. Smith leads Knicks over Celtics

J.R. Smith scored 32 points, Carmelo Anthony added 29 and the New York Knicks extended their winning streak to five games with a 100-85 victory over the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night…

The Celtics, playing their second straight game without Kevin Garnett, were led by Jeff Green with 19 points and Paul Pierce with 16. But they committed 20 turnovers, while the Knicks, who have the fewest average turnovers in the NBA, had just eight.

Garnett is expected to miss about two weeks with inflammation in his left ankle. Starting guard Courtney Lee also sat out his second game in a row with a sprained left ankle. Starters Rajon Rondo and Jared Sullinger already are sidelined for the season.

The Knicks were without two key big men. Tyson Chandler has a bulging disk and missed his seventh consecutive game, while Amare Stoudemire was sidelined for the 10th game following knee surgery that is expected to keep him out four more weeks.

– Reported by Howard Ulman of the Associated Press

kevin garnett

Boston’s Kevin Garnett is expected to miss at least a week with inflammation in his left ankle as the Celtics practice patience with their 36-year-old star.

Coach Doc Rivers, preparing his team for a playoff run, said on Monday he doesn’t think Garnett will be out for the long term.

‘‘I don’t know what long term is,’’ Rivers said before practice. ‘‘If you mean that he’s not going to play this year, no, I don’t worry about that. But can he miss four or five games? Yeah, that’s possible.’’

Garnett sat out Saturday night’s 110-106 loss at Memphis and will miss Tuesday night’s home game against the New York Knicks, Rivers said. The Celtics’ busy stretch continues Wednesday night at Cleveland, Friday night at home against the Atlanta Hawks, Sunday night at New York and Monday at Minnesota.

– Reported by Howard Ulman of the Associated Press

Dwight Howard

The Lakers center hardly sounded in a good mood for plenty of reasons. The Lakers’ 109-103 loss Monday to the Golden State Warriors marked the team’s third consecutive loss. The Lakers (36-35) only have a one-game lead over the Utah Jazz (35-36) for the eighth playoff spot. Howard’s 11 points on 4 of 8 shooting only featured only two field-goal attempts in the second half.

But Howard remained largely upset over taking an elbow from Golden State Warriors forward David Lee in the second quarter, a sequence that prompted Howard both to foul him and draw a technical with 3:15 left in the second quarter after jawing with him.

“He got away with a shot,” Howard said. “I’ll remember this game.”

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Dwight Howard trying to expand shooting range

The doors opened near the end of the Lakers’ shoot-around, revealing the surprise of the day: Dwight Howard shooting mid-range jumpers.

From 14 feet, 16, and a few from 18 feet.

He needs to keep working on it.

His 16-foot bank shot was too hard off the backboard early in Monday’s game against Golden State. His 15-footer from the left elbow was way off the mark a minute later.

He finished with 11 points on four-for-eight shooting in the Lakers’ 109-103 loss.

“We want to just expand his game all over,” Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said beforehand. “If he’s going to dominate the game, which he’s young enough and he can, then you can’t play within a four-foot box. He shoots the ball well and we want to keep developing that.”

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

John Wall doing big things for Wizards

John Wall

As John Wall stepped to the free-throw line late in the fourth quarter of Monday’s game against Memphis, his new career high and the Wizards’ sixth straight home win in hand, faint chants of “M-V-P” arose within the Verizon Center.

When asked about it later, the third-year guard shrugged off the praise.

“Nah, I’m not no MVP, man,” Wall said with a grin. “I’m just glad to finally be able to play good, be healthy, help change things around. Like I said, if this team’s healthy from start to finish, we’d easily be a playoff team. That’s how we feel.”

With the way the Wizards have fallen prey to injuries, especially of late, that’s something fans will never know this season (Five players missed Monday’s game with injury or illness). But with the way Wall has played, especially of late, one can’t help but wonder “what if” about this resilient group.

After recording a career-high 47 points in Washington’s 107-94 win against playoff-bound Memphis, Wall is now averaging 25 points and 9.3 assists during his past nine games. The Wizards have gone 6-3 during that stint and are now 21-16 since Wall’s return from a leg injury.

– Reported by Brandon Parker of the Washington Post (Blog)

Dwyane Wade says knee pain is subsiding

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade sat out for the second game in a row as he continued to rest a sore right knee.

Wade said he underwent an MRI that returned negative and said the pain in his knee was diminishing.

“It’s just a bruise,” Wade said. “It’s just about understanding when you have something lingering it can affect other parts of your body. You have to be smart about it.

“You have to understand what’s coming down for our team in the next few days. [Sunday] was a good day, and hopefully it will feel better by Wednesday so I can get back on the court.”

Wade said he first took a hit on the knee in the team’s previous home game against Orlando on March 6, then hit it again against the Celtics on March 18.

– Reported by Andre C. Fernandez of the Miami Herald

Gerald green

The Indiana Pacers built a team to withstand the perils of a long NBA season.

On Monday night, they showed why depth matters.

With Indiana playing without four key contributors because of injuries, Gerald Green scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half, including a game-saving 3-pointer in the final minute, to help the Pacers fend off Atlanta’s furious fourth-quarter rally for a 100-94 victory.

”I feel good about our depth,” coach Frank Vogel said. ”If a guy goes down, it won’t be the end of the world for us.”

He should.

The Pacers, who haven’t won a division title since 2003-04, maintained their grip on the Central Division race, extending their lead over second-place Chicago to five games with 11 left on Indiana’s schedule. The Pacers’ magic number is now seven and they’re back in the No. 2 slot in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Knicks…

Already playing without swingman Danny Granger, who missed another game with patellar tendinosis in his left knee, and forward David West, who has now missed five straight games with a lower back sprain, the Pacers got even worse news about an hour before tip-off when Vogel announced point guard George Hill would sit out with a strained left groin and swingman Lance Stephenson, Granger’s replacement, would miss the game with a strained right hip flexor.

Suddenly, Green, D.J. Augustin and Tyler Hansbrough, who has been filling in for West, were all in the starting lineup. But the Pacers just rolled on…

”We have to play better and I think we have to look at some things, some lineups and things like that, but I think it’s unacceptable to be up 25 points or 22 points at the beginning of the fourth and let it get down to four,” said Hibbert, who had 17 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks. ”That’s just unacceptable.”

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Add another investor to the group Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson is assembling to keep the Kings from moving to Seattle.

Johnson announced Monday night that Paul Jacobs, CEO of the international technology company Qualcomm, has agreed to become part of the Sacramento bid. Jacobs joins a group that includes billionaire investor Ron Burkle, 24 Hour Fitness founder Mark Mastrov and TIBCO Software CEO Vivek Ranadive.

”A true Dream Team! This Fab Four is a bracket buster,” Johnson wrote on Twitter.

Sacramento city officials reached a preliminary agreement Saturday with the investment group for a new $447 million downtown arena. The city plans to contribute $258 million to the $447 million project, mostly by leasing out parking assets and donating land.

– Reported by the Associated Press

lebron james

Late in the third quarter, the game was tied and the Miami Heat winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy.

Then LeBron James got mad.

And then the Orlando Magic had no chance.

James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, throwing down a dunk to start a huge, swift run that decided everything and the Heat won their 27th straight game by topping the Magic 108-94 on Monday night.

”We are not taking this team for granted,” James said. ”I continue to always say that in professional sports, wins are hard to come by and teams like this are really rare. To be part of a team like this, we do not take it for granted.”

That dunk - which came one possession after James badly missed a layup and got frustrated - started what became a 20-2 run over merely a 4 1/2-minute portion of the third and fourth quarters, and it put the Heat in control for good.

He left one rebound shy of a triple-double, feigning disappointment. That’s about all the Heat could complain about afterward.

Mario Chalmers scored 17, and Chris Bosh and Ray Allen each added 12 for Miami, giving Heat coach Erik Spoelstra his 250th win and bringing the reigning NBA champions within six games of matching the Lakers for the longest winning streak in league history, a 33-game run.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

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