Archive for April, 2013

lebron james

LeBron James can cross another item off his to-do list.

James scored 30 points, Ray Allen had another big game against his old team and the Miami Heat got their first playoff sweep in the Big Three era, advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 88-77 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday.

”It was our next big step as far as our growth,” James said. ”It’s so hard to win on the road in the playoffs, in someone’s building - especially when someone is playing for their last life. It’s a big step for us.”

And now the Heat have some much-needed time to rest. Dwyane Wade sat out Sunday’s game, only the second postseason game he’s missed in his career, because of his aching right knee. But with Miami not playing until next Saturday, at the earliest, he’ll have plenty of time to treat the three bone bruises that caused him to miss six games near the end of the regular season.

Miami plays the winner of the Brooklyn-Chicago series. The Bulls lead that series 3-1, with Game 5 on Monday night in New York…

Monta Ellis led the Bucks with 21 points, and Larry Sanders had 11 rebounds to go with seven points.

But Milwaukee got almost nothing again from Brandon Jennings, who didn’t even play in the fourth quarter. Jennings, who had guaranteed the Bucks would win the series in six games, finished with three points on 1-of-7 shooting.

After scoring 26 points in Game 1, Jennings had 27 total in the final three.

– Reported by Nancy Armour of the Associated Press

pau gasol

It’s up for debate who finally asked Gasol to start playing again like the guy who won those championships. Bryant said he told Gasol to “go to the block and not move.” Eventually, D’Antoni accepted it, either out of necessity because so many players were injured for L.A. or not.

“He’s arguably, we could talk best center in the league,” D’Antoni said of Gasol after Game 4. “Skill wise, for sure.”

And Gasol is sure that he doesn’t want to see those skills go to waste next season, whether he’s in L.A. or not.

“I’d like to [be featured again], I really do,” Gasol said. “Because it’s frustrating for me for most of the year to be in a position where I can’t provide everything that I can as a player. So, you try to do what it takes and then do what you’re asked for, but it’s just difficult.” “It was difficult for me, so, it’s something that I’m also aware I’m getting older and at some point my role will have to adjust,” he said. “But if I’m healthy, I know I can do so much and hopefully it will be here. But, who knows?

“I definitely want to be in a situation where I can maximize my abilities and help the team the most that I can, and devote completely to it.”

– Reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN Los Angeles

johan petro

Atlanta Hawks center Johan Petro has missed practice to be with his wife for the birth of their child.

Petro returned to his home in Miami to with his wife, who is scheduled to deliver the child on Sunday. The team is hopeful the 7-footer will return to Atlanta in time for Game 4 of the playoff series against the Indiana Pacers on Monday night.

Petro made his first start of the playoffs in Game 3, part of a new, bigger lineup that carried the Hawks to a 90-69 victory.

– Reported by Paul Newberry of the Associated Press

Deron Williams

Deron Williams sat in a quiet Nets locker room with his feet in an ice bucket, staring out at nothing. It was as if he were replaying in his mind the nightmare he had just witnessed.

Coming to grips with how the Nets managed to turn what seemed a certain victory into a demoralizing defeat won’t be easy. Their horror show at the United Center yesterday will play like a scary movie with the same ending, a 142-134 triple-overtime loss to the Bulls and a 3-1 deficit in their best-of-seven series.

Interim coach P.J. Carlesimo called it “a killer.” Joe Johnson used the word “heart-breaker.” Williams said it simply was “frustrating.”

Truth is it shouldn’t have been that surprising. The Nets have been a streaky team throughout these playoffs and for much of the regular season. They can go from hot to cold within one quarter, much less within a game.

– Reported by George Willis of the New York Post

Avery Bradley

While they were being blown out at home Friday, the Celtics felt the Knicks were showboating, rubbing Boston’s collective nose into the same floor they wiped with the Celtics team.

“Yeah, we did. We all did. That’s what made us so mad, so angry,” guard Avery Bradley said before the Celtics’ film session yesterday. “We just got to go out there and play the right way. We’ve got to not let that happen again. After the game, that was definitely something [discussed]. Somebody said it right after we got in the locker room: ‘Oh, they’re showboating on us, they’re dunking.’

“And everybody kind of looked like, ‘Yeah you’re right,’ ” Bradley added. “But all we can do is go out there and play the right way and play hard and don’t give them a chance to showboat.”

Easier said than done. Entering Game 4 at TD Garden today, the Celtics have been an offensive mess. They have averaged 75.0 points in the series, not once reaching 80. They’ve shot 39.5 percent and averaged 17.0 turnovers to negate the good of their defense.

– Reported by Fred Kerber of the New York Post

kevin garnett

The Celtics fully expected to have a size edge when they kept Kevin Garnett and Brandon Bass up front and started both Paul Pierce and Jeff Green, but that hasn’t translated well enough to the scoreboard.

“We’ve been tempted to try to exploit matchups that might not even be advantages,” said Ainge. “I mean, Jason Kidd can still play. I coached Jason Kidd when he was a three-time All-NBA player, and I don’t ever think it’s a mismatch when Jason Kidd’s guarding someone (Pierce, for example). I think at this stage of his career, he probably defends bigger guys much better than he defends quicker guys. I don’t think that’s a huge matchup advantage for us.

“It would help if we could space the floor better, or get Jeff Green posting up Jason Kidd. But I just don’t think those are major advantages that we have, and we’re spending a lot of time in these last three games trying to exploit those. And it’s not through any fault of anybody. I just think the Knicks have played really good defense, and they’ve exposed our weaknesses.

“So far in this series,” he added, “New York has been the better offensive team and the better defensive team.”

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

kirk hinrich

Kirk Hinrich drew his fifth foul with 5 minutes, 39 seconds left in regulation Saturday.

He never came out again, avoided his sixth and tied John Salmons’ franchise playoff record with 59:36 of playing time.

“It was pretty grueling,” Hinrich said with typical understatement.

His extensive workload came on a left calf muscle sore enough that he needed a postgame MRI. Results weren’t immediately available, but Hinrich said the injury “is pretty bad.”

Given his grittiness, Hinrich will play in Game 5 on Monday if at all possible. His 18 points and 14 assists marked his first playoff double-double since May 2007, and his assists tied the franchise playoff mark shared by Michael Jordan and Sam Vincent.

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

Joakim Noah plays, inspired, in pain

Joakim Noah

The primal screams and “jazz hands” gestures keep coming from Joakim Noah, and for good reason.

Playing 38 minutes, 43 seconds Saturday — close to nine minutes more than coach Tom Thibodeau’s stated pregame limit — isn’t something the Bulls’ emotional leader takes for granted.

“It’s a miracle,” said Noah, who is playing through plantar fasciitis in his right foot. “Before the series started, I thought I wasn’t going to be able to play.”

Noah didn’t just play. He stuffed the box score with 15 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks before fouling out with 4:21 remaining after sinking a 17-footer for the first points in the third overtime.

“The crazy thing is as the series has gone along, he has done more and more,” Carlos Boozer said.

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

michael Jordan

Chicago Bulls legend and Charlotte Bobcats owner Michael Jordan married former model and longtime girlfriend Yvette Prieto on Saturday in Palm Beach, Fla.

The ceremony took place at Bethesda-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church before approximately 500 guests. It was the second marriage for Jordan, 50.

A reception for 2,000 invited guests followed at the Bears Club in Jupiter, Fla., inside a 40,000-square-foot tent, the Miami Herald reported.

Among those in attendance were former Chicago Bulls teammates Scottie Pippen, Ron Harper and Toni Kukoc and former New York Knicks center Patrick Ewing

– Reported by Reuters

Nearly 300 guests were present as they exchanged vows. The reception took place at a private golf club in Jupiter designed by Jack Nicklaus. Jordan owns a home near the course.

Entertainment included DJ MC Lyte, singers K’Jon, Robin Thicke and Grammy Award winner Usher and The Source, an 18-piece band.

The six-time NBA champion and Prieto met five years ago and were engaged last December.

– Reported by the Associated Press 

francisco garcia

The youthful Rockets may be on the verge of playoff elimination, but it’s not for lack of effort by their oldest players on the court.

Francisco Garcia, 32, and Carlos Delfino, 30, had 18 and 11 points, respectively, to spark a second-half Rockets rally that fell short by the margin of Kevin Durant’s seeing-eye 3-pointer, the critical blow of Oklahoma City’s Game 3 victory Saturday night.

With Jeremy Lin rendered ineffective by his bruised chest, Rockets coach Kevin McHale’s frequently tweaked rotation came down in the second half to heavy doses of Garcia, who played 32 minutes, and Delfino, who nursed his aching elbow through 22:07.

Each did enough, absent Durant’s final 3-pointer plus the 38 points that preceded it, to get the Rockets back in the game and avoid a 3-0 deficit that in NBA history is tantamount to playoff elimination.

“We played so hard in the second half,” Garcia said. “I’m proud of my guys.”

– Reported by David Barron of the Houston Chronicle

javale mcgee

The Nuggets did not pay center JaVale McGee a $10 million salary so coach George Karl could let him rot on the bench in the playoffs.

After being good enough to be in the starting lineup 81 times for a 57-win team during the regular season, center Kosta Koufos lost his job after one loss to Golden State, as if it were his fault the Nuggets cannot defend 3-point shots from Warriors guard Steph Curry.

Anybody know where the Nuggets can find two psychiatrist couches in an extra long? The Denver centers are 14 feet of head case.

Want to know why the Nuggets are unexpectedly trailing upstart Golden State 2-1 in this best-of-seven playoff series?

Denver is afraid to be the bigger team.

– Reported by Mark Kizla of the Denver Post

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 102-91 to capture the 2012-13 NBA Development League Championship for the second time in four seasons. The Vipers were led by D.J. Kennedy’s game-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists, while Glen Rice, Jr. chipped in 25 points and 13 rebounds.  The Warriors’ Travis Leslie scored a team-high 16 points and added 13 rebounds in defeat.

The Vipers dominated the first half, leading by as many as 17 points as Rice, Jr. and Kennedy combined for 33 of the team’s 56 points heading into the halftime break.  Santa Cruz was led by Jeremy Tyler, who was four-of-five from the floor, scoring 10 points in the second quarter.

The Warriors charged out of the halftime break, outscoring the Vipers 26-17 in the period on the back of eight Travis Leslie points, his first of the game.  Santa Cruz cut the Rio Grande Valley lead to as few as five points, 69-64, with 2:00 minutes to play in the third before settling for a six point deficit at the end of three, 73-67.

Scott Machado scored six points as part of a 12-0 Warriors run in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, taking Santa Cruz on his back and leading the team to a one-point disadvantage, 82-81 with 7:31 to play.  The next two minutes of the game were all Vipers, though, with Toure Murry, Tyler Honeycutt and Kennedy connecting on back-to-back-to-back buckets, scoring a quick six points and stretching the Rio Grande Valley’s lead to seven, 88-81, with 5:28 to play in the game.  From there, the teams traded buckets before a Rice three pointer gave his team a 93-88 advantage.  The Vipers never looked back en route to the Championship win.

For Rio Grande Valley, Murry finished with 13 points and Mike Singletary scored 10 in the win, while Machado finished with 15 off the bench for Santa Cruz.

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and striking the chin of Boston Celtics’ guard Jason Terry, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Smith was assessed a Flagrant Foul Two and ejected, occurred with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter of New York’s 90-76 win over Boston last night, at the TD Garden.

Smith will serve his suspension tomorrow, Sunday, April 28, when the Knicks face the Celtics at the TD Garden.

The NBA Development League today announced that the Philadelphia 76ers have purchased the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will play in Newark, Delaware.  The new team will be the single-affiliate of the 76ers, and will play at the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware.  Tipping off for the start of the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, the team will be known as the Delaware 87ers.

“We’re thrilled to work with the 76ers to bring NBA D-League basketball to Newark and the state of Delaware,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed.  “Having a record 12th NBA team invest in their own NBA D-League team shows our development system for top NBA prospects is working, and highlights the league’s continued growth. We’re very excited to share our world-class brand of basketball, affordable family-friendly entertainment, and community engagement with all Delawareans.”

The name 87ers was chosen for the team in recognition of Delaware being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787, and the team will be referred to as the “Sevens,” a nod to the parent club being referred to as the “Sixers.”

“The creation of the Delaware 87ers is an important milestone in our quest to ensure that the Philadelphia 76ers are viewed in all respects to be a world-class and cutting-edge NBA franchise. We believe that the ability to own and operate our own NBA D-League affiliate will strengthen our player development and other team initiatives, and be a tremendous asset to the entire Sixers organization,” said Sixers Managing Owner Josh Harris. He continued, “We are particularly excited that we can situate the team in the welcoming, nearby state of Delaware, especially since there are so many Delawareans who already are avid 76ers fans.”

The 76ers have purchased the rights to operate the former Utah Flash, which has been on hiatus since the end of the 2010-11 NBA D-League season.  The team becomes the 17th NBA D-League team, and the 12th to be singly affiliated with an NBA team.

Of the 12 NBA D-League  teams with single affiliations, the 76ers join five other teams which are fully owned and operated by their NBA parent club, including the Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs), Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Los Angeles D-Fenders (Los Angeles Lakers), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors) and the Tulsa 66ers (Oklahoma City Thunder).  An additional five teams have a hybrid relationship with their NBA parent club, including the Erie BayHawks (New York Knicks), Idaho Stampede (Portland Trail Blazers), Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), and Springfield Armor (Brooklyn Nets).  The hybrid partnership gives an NBA team control of the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations while local ownership retains control of the business.  The Texas Legends have a one-to-one relationship with the Dallas Mavericks.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook underwent successful surgery earlier today to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Westbrook will miss the remainder of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Rehab will begin immediately and a timetable for his return will be determined during the offseason. The surgery was performed at the Stedman Clinic in Vail, CO with Thunder medical personnel present.

“Although we are of course disappointed that Russell will be unable to return to the floor with his teammates this season, the opportunity to repair the meniscus as opposed to remove it was the best possible scenario for Russell’s long term health as a player and person,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “Russell’s health and well being are obviously our number one priority through this process and today’s procedure helped solidify our belief that Russell will have many productive years of basketball in his future.”

Westbrook suffered the injury in the second quarter of Game 2 of the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points (6th in NBA), 7.4 assists (7th), a career-high 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals (9th) in 82 games this past season.

The new Phil Jackson book called “Eleven Rings” comes out soon.

You can pre-order it here:

The Brooklyn Nets have signed General Manager Billy King to a contract extension, it was announced today by Principal Owner Mikhail Prokhorov. Details will be added to this page later today.

“Billy has been a great asset to the Nets organization over the last three years”, Mr. Prokhorov said on behalf of the entire Nets organization.  “He has shown he is not afraid to be bold and take risks, and, as a result, we have a playoff team with a world of potential. We are glad we will have the opportunity to continue our work together and realize that potential.”

“I am anxious to continue working hard for Mikhail Prokhorov and the Brooklyn Nets”, said King.

King, who was named general manager of the Nets on July 14, 2010, presided over a team that posted a 49-33 record in the franchise’s inaugural season in Brooklyn, matching the second best record in Nets’ history, while making their first postseason appearance in six seasons.

In his three seasons as general manager, King overhauled the Nets roster, first by making a mid-season blockbuster trade for Deron Williams in 2011, and then by completing his All-Star backcourt with the July 2012 acquisition of six-time All-Star Joe Johnson. Adding Gerald Wallace via a trade in March 2012, King then spearheaded the re-signings of Williams, Wallace and All-Star center Brook Lopez this past summer.

King joined the Nets after spending 10 years with the Philadelphia 76ers organization, serving as the team’s president from 2003-2007.  King joined the 76ers in June, 1997 as vice president of basketball administration, a role in which he served as the point person for basketball operations. Less than a year later, he was promoted to general manager, a position he held until being promoted to team president following the 2002-03 season.

During his 10-year tenure, King guided the team to five consecutive playoff appearances (1999-2003), including the 2000-01 season in which the Sixers captured the Atlantic Division title on the heels of a 56-26 season. The Sixers went on to win their first Eastern Conference Championship since 1983, advancing to the 2001 NBA Finals.

Before joining the 76ers, King served as an assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers for four seasons under Larry Brown.  He joined the professional ranks after spending four seasons as an assistant at Illinois State University under Head Coach Bob Bender. King also spent one year as a color analyst for ESPN’s basketball coverage of the Ohio Valley Conference.

Holding several roles within the USA Basketball program throughout his career, King has served as a member of USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Program Advisory Panel, on USA Basketball’s Board of Directors, as treasurer of USA Basketball and as an athlete representative on the 1997-2000 executive committee. King also served on the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team Committees for the 1997-2000 and 2001-04 terms.

russell westbrook

The battle to reach the NBA Finals from the Western conference just got even more wide open today.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery in the coming days to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee, the team announced today.

Westbrook suffered the injury in the second quarter of Game 2 of the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs, when he collided with Rockets guard Patrick Beverley.  The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points (6th in NBA), 7.4 assists (7th), a career-high 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals (9th) in 82 games this season.

“Our players’ health is our first and foremost concern. The Thunder’s medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and teammate that he is, he respects and understands the decision and is committed to come back even stronger. Certainly Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute. We have a resilient group of players who have always taken pride in playing as a team and that approach will continue.”

There is no timetable set for his return.

Read NBA fan reaction and share your opinion in this basketball forum topic.

stephen curry

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is questionable for Friday night’s game against the Denver Nuggets.

Curry sprained his left ankle during Game 2 of their series on Tuesday and did not practice Thursday.

The injury is not related to his surgically-repaired right ankle.

If he does not play?

“It would kill me,” Curry told reporter Thursday.

– Reported by the Sports Xchange

zach randolph

Zach Randolph’s fast start helped the Memphis Grizzlies return to their inside dominance.

Randolph had 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter, and he finished with 11 rebounds and the Grizzlies beat the Los Angeles Clippers 94-82 on Thursday night to pull within 2-1 in this first-round series.

”Zach was huge,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. ”He got started quickly. He had 18 at halftime, and that got us going and everyone else just flowed into that. I thought our defense, for the most part, was solid.”

Randolph hadn’t scored more than 13 in each of the first two games and had only 12 rebounds combined in Los Angeles. He looked much more like the All Star who had 45 double-doubles this season, and he also had six offensive rebounds after leading the NBA with 310 in the regular season…

Marc Gasol accepted his trophy as the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year before tipoff, then scored 16 points. Quincy Pondexter and Tony Allen had 13 each. Mike Conley was 1 of 9 but had 10 assists and no turnovers on a night where he was so sick he sipped on soda and didn’t talk much…

Blake Griffin scored 16 points for the Clippers. Matt Barnes had 12, Chauncey Billups 11 and Jamal Crawford and Caron Butler 10. Chris Paul had eight points on 4-of-11 shooting and added six assists…

Memphis outrebounded the Clippers 45-33, including 17-5 on the offensive boards. That gave the Grizzlies a 22-4 edge in second-chance points, which was similar to what the Clippers did to Memphis in Game 1 when they held a 25-5 advantage. The Grizzlies also outscored Los Angeles 40-26 in the paint and led by as much as 16.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

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