Archive for April, 2013

carlos boozer

Every play near the basket looked like a traffic accident. There were long scoreless stretches. Shooting from outside was a dicey proposition.

It was ugly for everyone but the Chicago Bulls. This was their type of game.

Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 16 rebounds, Luol Deng added 21 points and 10 boards, and the Bulls held off the Brooklyn Nets 79-76 in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series Thursday night.

”We did what we had to do to win the game,” Boozer said. ”In the playoffs you have to win different ways. Nothing is perfect.”

Chicago had no field goals and two foul shots over the final 5:46 of its second straight win in the series. It will try for a 3-1 lead when the banged-up teams return to the court Saturday afternoon in a quick turnaround.

Brooklyn shot 35 percent for the second straight game. Brook Lopez had 22 points, nine rebounds and seven blocked shots, and Deron Williams finished with 18 points on 5-for-14 shooting…

Joe Johnson got a cortisone shot for his ailing left foot and finished 15 points for Brooklyn, while Noah’s foul shot was his only point of the game while dealing with his own painful right foot injury. Noah also had eight rebounds, two assists and two blocks…

Brooklyn went 5 for 21 from 3-point range and is 15 for 56 from beyond the arc for the series.

– Reported by Jay Cohen of the Associated Press

ray allen

Every game, someone different steps up for the Miami Heat.

Well, someone different and that guy named LeBron.

Ageless Ray Allen scored 23, setting the NBA career playoff record for 3-pointers in the process, and LeBron James had seven of his 22 points during a decisive run that closed out the third quarter - and maybe the Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat’s 104-91 victory Thursday night gave the defending champions a 3-0 lead, with a chanceto complete the sweep Sunday afternoon at the Bradley Center.

”That’s been our calling card all year, the depth that we have,” said Allen, whose five 3s gave him 322 for his career, two more than Reggie Miller. ”

”As a team, you’ve got to find way to plug in the holes, and every night we find somebody different.”

Chris Bosh added 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Heat, who have won 11 straight dating to the regular season and 40 of their last 42. Chris Andersen had another big game, scoring 11 on 5-of-5 shooting and grabbing six rebounds in less than 14 minutes…

Dwyane Wade had just four points, and his 1-of-12 shooting was his worst in a postseason game. But he contributed 11 assists, nine rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

‘Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings had 16 each to lead six Bucks in double figures, and Sanders added 11 rebounds while Jennings contributed eight assists. But the Bucks couldn’t maintain the 10-point lead they took in the first quarter, when they shot 57 percent (12 of 21) and were 5 of 10 from 3-point range. Milwaukee was just 12 of 21 over the final three quarters (41 percent), and made only two more 3s.

– Reported by Nancy Armour of the Associated Press

The Rockets seemed to find some answers in Game 2, starting Patrick Beverley for the first time and using a three-guard lineup for all but a few brief moments. McHale felt the change allowed Houston to penetrate the lane more frequently, with one of his perimeter threats often matched up against one of the two Thunder big men, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

”They kind of put a tight shell out there, but once you break that shell and get on the inside, a lot of stuff can open up,” McHale said. ”We had a lot of good catch and shoot 3s, open 3s and that’s how we have to play.

”We don’t have a dominant inside presence. A lot of our inside points are finishing on dunks and tipped dunks. It’s our guys going in there and making plays against their bigs and then kicking it out.”

McHale also found success by going with a 2-3 zone after Oklahoma City had built its biggest lead at 89-74 early in the fourth quarter. Houston responded by scoring 21 of the next 23 points, even taking the lead.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer, part of the group attempting to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, said Thursday he believes ”there will never be a better opportunity” than now to bring back professional basketball to the Puget Sound.

Ballmer, who has been mostly quiet about his basketball pursuit, spoke briefly Thursday before a fundraising luncheon for the A PLUS youth program in Seattle. His brief comment came hours after an NBA spokesman confirmed that the NBA committee deciding whether the Sacramento Kings should be sold and relocated to Seattle will hold a meeting via conference call Monday.

”Today is about A PLUS. I will say that we’ve got our fingers crossed. Chris Hansen has worked really, really hard, really intelligently,” Ballmer said. ”Seattle has got a great bid. We’ve got a great arena plan. I think we’ve got the better arena plan. We’ve got a good offer, it’s been accepted by current owners. We’ve got a great market. It seems like there will never be a better opportunity. But it will be up to the NBA owners.”

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are down 0-2 to the San Antonio Spurs in their first-round NBA playoff series, and things look even tougher for the underdogs after today’s injury report.

Steve Blake had an ultrasound test today which confirmed a moderate strain of his right hamstring.  He is out indefinitely.

Steve Nash received two epidural injections in his back today; he also received a cortisone shot in his right hip.  His status for tomorrow’s game is doubtful.

Jodie Meeks will have an MRI test this afternoon on his sprained left ankle.  His status for tomorrow’s game is doubtful.

The Lakers are already without star Kobe Bryant, who won’t be back in action until next season.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock was today named the 2013 NBA Development League’s Most Valuable Player, as voted by the NBA D-League’s 16 head coaches, for his efforts as a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Goudelock (6-3, 200, College of Charleston) played in 37 games, all starts, for the Vipers this season, averaging 21.4 points to go with 5.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 36.7 minutes, while leading the team in scoring 16 times.  Selected to play in the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game, Goudelock was traded in January to Rio Grande Valley from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he played in 14 games.  In all, Goudelock appeared in 52 regular season NBA D-League games, averaging 21.1 points, good for third best in the NBA D-League, to go with 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 37.1 minutes.

Prior to earning a GATORADE Call-Up to the Lakers on April 14, Goudelock appeared in one postseason game for Rio Grande Valley, scoring 27 points in 47 minutes in victory over the Maine Red Claws.

Goudelock was named the NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month for games played in March and honored with the Performer of the Week award on April 1.

Originally selected by the Lakers in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Goudelock returned to the team having played in 40 games for Los Angeles during the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 4.4 points and 10.5 minutes a game. Currently on the Lakers playoff roster, he has appeared in one game for the Lakers this season.

“Andrew truly had a standout season in the NBA D-League this year,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League.  “His tireless work ethic, dedication to development, and impressive skill set were not only a huge asset for his team, but earned him an NBA D-League All-Star selection and a Call-Up to the NBA.  I congratulate Andrew on his tremendous season this year, and on returning to the NBA with the Lakers.”

tony parker

The San Antonio Spurs kept insisting the playoffs were a new season and that their woeful finish to the regular season was not as grave as it appeared.

After 16 straight postseason appearances, San Antonio should know what it’s talking about.

Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists and the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-91 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each, Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10 for San Antonio, which had lost three straight entering the series.

”I thought we played two pretty good games on the defensive end of the court back-to-back,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”That was our goal at the beginning of the season and we did it for most of the year, as I said, until maybe the last three weeks of the season it dissipated. We got it back for these two games.”

Dwight Howard and Steve Blake had 16 points each to lead Los Angeles. Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol added 13 points each, but no other player had more than nine as the Lakers shot 45 percent from the field…

The Spurs shot 51 percent from the field after shooting 38 percent in Game 1. San Antonio was 7 for 14 on 3-pointers, including 5 for 7 in the first half.

Parker had 15 points in the third quarter after going 1 for 6 in the first half. He scored 12 straight points on a series of layups and floating jumpers against Blake. Parker’s run gave the Spurs a 75-65 lead with 3 minutes left in the third…

Howard had heated battles with Bonner and Duncan in the first half. After getting tied up midway through the second quarter, Duncan and Howard walked down the court glaring at each other with Howard jawing at Duncan.

– Reported by the Associated Press

paul george

Indiana had everything covered Wednesday night.

When Atlanta tried to get tough, the Pacers buckled down and got even tougher. When the Hawks tried to run, the Pacers simply slowed them down. And when the Hawks tried to rally, well, the Pacers punched back with Paul George, George Hill or any other open shooter.

The result was the same.

George scored 27 points, his second straight playoff career high, Hill finished with 22 and the Pacers pulled away from the reeling Hawks 113-98 to take their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.

”We naturally just play physical,” George said. ”It wasn’t like ‘Hey, let’s play physical, let’s retaliate.’ That’s just how we play. That’s how we approach the game. We just have to keep playing how we play.”

Indiana made it look easy…

Three days after George posted the second triple-double in the franchise’s NBA postseason history, he put on another brilliant show. The league’s Most Improved Player rebounded from a 3-for-13 shooting effort to go 11 of 21. He finished with eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and turned in another sterling defensive performance as the Pacers won their fourth straight at home over Atlanta…

Roy Hibbert wound up with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Gerald Green came off the bench, made his first three 3s and finished with 15 points. Indiana, which relied primarily on defense to win its first Central Division crown in nine years, has topped the 100-point mark in consecutive playoff games. And the 113 points was the highest postseason total for the Pacers since a 120-87 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals…

Atlanta’s top scorer, Josh Smith, played with a sprained right ankle but wound up on the bench with two fouls barely 2 minutes into the game. He spent the rest of the game in foul trouble and finished with 16 points and six rebounds…

Harris led the Hawks with 17 points and Jeff Teague added 16.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook relishes the moments when an opponent challenges him and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates and it becomes time to respond.

Rookie Patrick Beverley showed a willingness to go toe-to-toe with the Thunder’s All-Star point guard, and the Houston Rockets didn’t back down despite a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Then it was up to Westbrook and the Thunder to come up with an answer.

Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 29 points, and Oklahoma City recovered after squandering its big lead to beat Houston 105-102 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 series lead.

”It’s fun. During this time of the year, as a team we’ve got one goal and we can’t let nobody get in the way,” Westbrook said. ”That’s how I feel and that’s how I want my team to respond as well.”

Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 to play after the Rockets had turned a 15-point deficit into a four-point lead, and the Thunder didn’t relinquish the lead. Durant missed a free throw with 1 second left, but Houston was out of timeouts and Carlos Delfino couldn’t connect on a desperation shot at the final buzzer.

”It’s frustrating and it hurts really bad right now,” said Chandler Parsons, who scored 17 points for Houston. ”But you’ve got to take some positives out of it. It’s a long series.” …

Harden ended up with 36 points and 11 rebounds, and Beverley had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Houston. The Rockets made up for a 40 percent shooting mark with a 57-40 advantage on the boards and a 50-30 scoring edge in the paint, engineering a massive turnaround after getting blown out 120-91 in Game 1…

After finishing second to Tyson Chandler last year’s voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Ibaka was third this year behind Marc Gasol and LeBron James. Ibaka has led the NBA in total blocks the past three seasons.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

NBA fans will be able to purchase tickets for the first-ever NBA Draft in Brooklyn beginning May 22 at 10 a.m., the league announced today. Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets, will host the 2013 NBA Draft presented by State Farm on June 27 at 7 p.m.

“We are excited to be holding the NBA Draft in Brooklyn, a borough long associated with great basketball talent,” said NBA Commissioner David Stern. “In addition to being a state-of-the-art arena, Barclays Center has quickly become a go-to destination for world class events. We are confident Barclays Center is an ideal venue for introducing the next generation of NBA stars to a global audience.”

“Brooklyn has become a major NBA market and basketball fans throughout the borough will be excited to welcome the next class of outstanding talent into the league,” Barclays Center and Brooklyn Nets CEO Brett Yormark said. “Many of the borough’s greatest all-time players have been drafted into the NBA, making this night a perfect fit for Brooklyn. We are honored to host the 2013 NBA Draft as we continue to bring many of the most high-profile sports and entertainment events to Barclays Center.”

The NBA Draft became a public event in 1979, and was held in various venues in New York City through 1991. It was held in Portland in 1992, followed by Detroit (1993), Indianapolis (1994), Toronto (1995), East Rutherford, N.J. (1996), Charlotte (1997), Vancouver (1998), Washington D.C. (1999), Minneapolis (2000), New York (2001-2010), and Newark (2011-2012).

The home of the Brooklyn Nets, Barclays Center opened on Sept. 28, 2012, and is a major sports and entertainment venue in the heart of Brooklyn.

The Rockets went Game 1 going one-on-one, launching deep jumpers and getting run out of the gym. That, they said, will have to end in Game 2.

The one-on-one, iso style will have to make way for drives that lead to passes, and sometimes more passes.

The Rockets never made that adjustment in Game 1. They said they will for Game 2.

“If they switch out, we have to make them pay for that,” Rockets coach Kevin McHale said. “We have to get the ball inside. We have to move the ball and cut. To stand against (Ibaka), he’s long enough that he can play one-on-one, space you out and get a hand up. We took way too many contested jump shots off the dribble. That’s not how we want to play.

“We have some adjustments to make. The guys saw some things we did that was out of character for us. We’ll be way better tonight. I’m sure we’ll be better.”

– Reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle

Josh Smith

Josh Smith will be in Atlanta’s starting lineup Wednesday night at Indiana.

The Hawks forward sprained his right ankle after stepping on Devin Harris’ foot late in Sunday’s 107-90 loss. Indiana leads the best-of-seven first-round series 1-0.

Coach Larry Drew said before the team’s morning shootaround he expects Smith to be “full go.” Smith adds he’ll be “all right” and he’s not thinking about the injury.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Joe Johnson sits out Nets practice

Joe Johnson

Brooklyn Nets shooting guard Joe Johnson did not practice Wednesday because of plantar fasciitis in his left foot and will be listed as a game-time decision for Game 3 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls on Thursday night.

Johnson missed 10 games during the regular season because of injury — four of them the result of a sore left heel.

– Reported by ESPN New York

metta world peace

If World Peace created a hashtag to summarize this whole Twittergate thing, it would probably be #letkobetweet

The Lakers forward said he had no problem with Bryant’s Twitter activity during the Lakers’ Game 1 loss.

“I love when Kobe tweets,” World Peace said Tuesday. “Kobe should tweet Game 2 the whole time, every possession, critique us, criticize us, chew us out. … I love Kobe. Kobe’s great.

“He should coach. Put a suit and tie on, a bow tie, put the Mamba symbol right here and get on the bench and coach. Drag that [injured] leg here. Kobe’s a great coach. Too bad he’s not going to coach after [retirement]. He would be a great coach.”

Bryant said he would not tweet about Game 2 because it received so much attention after Game 1, some of it negative. But was it really a distraction?

“Absolutely not,” World Peace said. “I’m a distraction. I’m much more of a distraction than Kobe.”

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Stephen Curry helps Warriors tie series with Nuggets

The Golden State Warriors hardly missed much of anything Tuesday night.

Not their shots.

Not their injured All-Star.

Stephen Curry had 30 points and 13 assists and the scrappy Warriors handed the Denver Nuggets their first loss at home in more than three months, a 131-117 stunner that evened their playoff series at a game each.

Rallying around injured David Lee, who cheered on the bench in street clothes, the Warriors got 26 points from surprise starter Jarrett Jack, a career-high 24 from rookie Harrison Barnes in his debut at power forward and 21 from Klay Thompson.

The sixth-seeded Warriors, who became the second road team to win in the postseason following Chicago’s victory at Brooklyn on Monday, wrested homecourt advantage from the NBA’s best home team in the series that shifts to Oakland for Game 3 on Friday night.

”They were knocking down shots,” Denver’s Andre Iguodala said in an understatement.

Better than they ever had before in a playoff game, a franchise playoff-record 64.6 percent from the field (51 of 79)…

Ty Lawson and Corey Brewer each scored 19 points for Denver and Iguodala and Miller both had 18, but the Nuggets were playing catch-up from the middle of the second quarter and couldn’t keep up with so many of the Warriors’ shots falling, negating Denver’s league-best transition game…

– Reported by Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press

Melo helps Knicks take 2-0 lead vs Celtics

The New York Knicks are heading to Boston, then perhaps finally back to the second round.

The once-mighty Celtics don’t seem capable of stopping them.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, Sixth Man of the Year J.R. Smith added 19, and New York opened a 2-0 lead over Boston with another dominant second half in an 87-71 victory on Tuesday night.

Raymond Felton added 16 points for the Knicks, who used a 27-4 run spanning halftime to blow it open and move halfway to their first series victory since the 2000 Eastern Conference semifinals. This is their first 2-0 lead since sweeping Toronto in the first round that year.

”For us, we know what type of team we are,” Anthony said. ”We know when we really buckle down on the defensive end, it’s been hard for teams.”

It’s been brutally difficult for Boston.

Paul Pierce scored 18 points for the Celtics, who will host Game 3 on Friday in their first home game since the Boston Marathon bombings.

They will have to be much sharper to avoid their first opening-round elimination since 2005, before they became one of the NBA’s power teams again.

”We have to figure out the offensive side of the ball and not be so stagnated,” Boston’s Kevin Garnett said. ”Figure out ways to score more often.”

Garnett had 12 points and 11 rebounds, but battled foul trouble and spent too much time walking back to the bench with a raucous Madison Square Garden crowd finally experiencing playoff success again hounding him every step of the way.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

coach mike brown

The Cleveland Cavaliers have named seven-year NBA veteran head coach and Cavaliers all-time winningest head coach Mike Brown as the team’s new head coach, Cavaliers General Manager Chris Grant and majority owner Dan Gilbert announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

According to the Akron Beacon Journal, “The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the negotiations, said the deal is for “four to five” years. The Internet news site Yahoo! Sports reported the fifth year will contain a buyout and total compensation will be in excess of $20 million. The Los Angeles Times reported Brown’s deal with the Cavs will provide the Lakers some relief (perhaps half) of the roughly $7 million they still owe him.”

Brown, 43, most recently coached the Los Angeles Lakers and was the head coach of the Cavaliers from 2005-10. He has a career head coaching record of 314-167 (.652) which is the 6th highest winning percentage in NBA history among coaches with at least 400 games coached.

“I am more than excited about Mike Brown’s return to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Mike has done nothing but win in this league since he was a first-year assistant many years ago. He is going to instill a much-needed defensive-first philosophy in our young and talented team that is going to serve as our foundation and identity as we continue down the path of building the kind of franchise that competes at a championship level for many years to come, ” said Gilbert.

Brown has won at least one playoff series every full season he has been a head coach in the NBA. Among head coaches who have coached in the NBA 5-years or longer, Brown and Phil Jackson are the only coaches whom have never missed the playoffs in their entire coaching career.

Brown is also the only head coach in NBA history to win the first round of the playoffs every year of his head coaching career (coached five years or longer).

During Mike’s six full years as an NBA coach with the Cavaliers and the Lakers, Brown had the 2nd highest winning percentage (.657%) among all NBA head coaches who were at the helm four years or longer.

In five seasons with the Cavs, he compiled a record of 272-138 (.663). Brown was named the 2009 NBA Coach of the Year by members of the media and compiled a post season record with the Cavs of 42-29 (.592). He led the team to at least the second round of the post season in each of his five seasons, including Cleveland’s first ever trip to the NBA Finals in 2007.

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

Dwyane Wade

Everyone in the Miami huddle was bracing for a grind to the finish. On the other end, the sense around the Milwaukee bench was that an upset was there for the taking.

Then the Heat landed a swift knockout punch.

Dwyane Wade scored 21 points, LeBron James finished with 19 and the Heat used a frantic start to the fourth quarter to pull away and beat the Bucks 98-86 in Game 2 of the teams’ Eastern Conference first-round series on Tuesday night.

It was 68-65 entering the fourth. With James and four backups on the court, the Heat needed only 2 minutes, 22 seconds to outscore Milwaukee 12-0 and stretch the lead to 80-65 - ensuring the reigning NBA champions would take a 2-0 series lead into Game 3 on Thursday night.

”We held court,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”We protected it for two games. We did what we’re supposed to do. And that’s it.”

Chris Bosh, Shane Battier and Chris Andersen all scored 10 points for the Heat. James’ postseason streaks of 22 straight games with at least 20 points, and 16 straight games of at least 25 points, both came to an end.

Ultimately, none of that mattered.

”We didn’t get into our game like we wanted to in that third quarter,” James said. ”But we went into the fourth with a (three-point) lead and we were able to jump on them.”

Ersan Ilyasova scored 21 points for Milwaukee, which got 16 from Mike Dunleavy and 14 from Larry Sanders. The Bucks’ starting guards, Brandon Jennings and Monta Ellis, combined for only 15 points - after teaming up to score 48 in Game 1.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

Pablo Prigioni is back in the New York Knicks’ starting lineup for Game 2 of their playoff series against Boston after missing the opener with a sprained right ankle.

Prigioni was hurt last Wednesday in the regular-season finale, but coach Mike Woodson says Tuesday the 35-year-old NBA rookie has practiced the last few days and seems to be moving well.

– Reported by the Associated Press

mike brown

Mike Brown and the Cavaliers have reached a handshake agreement on a new deal, a league source told the Akron Beacon Journal on Tuesday. An official announcement should be made Wednesday.

The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations.

Brown is the Cavs’ most successful coach in team history and his .653 winning percentage ranks sixth all-time (minimum 450 games) among coaches. His hiring marks a fascinating return to the organization that fired him just three years ago in a futile attempt to keep LeBron James in Cleveland.

Brown is 314-167 in parts of seven seasons and his team has reached the playoffs and won in the first round in each of his six full seasons. Brown was fired five games into this season by the Los Angeles Lakers, but returns to a Cavs team that has spent the last three years rebuilding under Byron Scott, who was fired last week after compiling a 64-166 record in three years.

– Reported by Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal

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