Archive for April 5th, 2013

Tristan Thompson

Tristan Thompson’s new career highs of 29 points and 17 rebounds weren’t nearly as important to him as the number he helped the Cleveland Cavaliers avoid.

There will be no 11th straight loss for Cleveland.

Thompson and the Cavaliers dominated Boston inside as Cleveland ended its 10-game losing streak by beating the Celtics 97-91 on Friday night.

”During this losing streak, we had a lot of games we should have won but at the end of the day we ended up taking the L,” Thompson said. ”Tonight was our game to win. We knew we had to take it and bring it back to Cleveland.”

It was the second time in two days Thompson took on a leadership role for the Cavaliers. After practice Thursday, he lashed out at critics who blame the Cavaliers’ woes on coach Byron Scott and rumors that he won’t be back for a fourth season. Thompson called the speculation ”bogus,” saying it was the players’ responsibility to work their way out of the slide…

Alonzo Gee also had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Cavaliers, who avenged their most painful loss of the skid…

Wayne Ellington scored 12 points and Kyrie Irving added 11 points for Cleveland in his third game back since missing eight with a sprained shoulder.

The Celtics played without team captain Paul Pierce, who was out with a sore ankle…

Green scored 23 points for Boston and Shavlik Randolph had 16 points before fouling out with 6:57 left in the fourth. Brandon Bass scored 12 and Avery Bradley had 10 points for Boston.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant overcame a bruised left calf to score 34 points and Russell Westbrook added 24 points, leading the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 97-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Friday.

Oklahoma City (56-20) has won three straight to move into a tie with San Antonio for the top seed in the Western Conference.

The win capped an impressive back-to-back sweep for the Thunder, who beat the Spurs on Thursday night. They arrived at the team hotel in Indy on Friday at about 4 a.m., then went out and prevented the Pacers from clinching their first Central Division title in nine years.

But the Pacers (48-28) can clinch the title with a win Saturday at Washington.

Indiana, which had its five-game win streak ended, was led by Roy Hibbert with 22 points and David West with 17…

Indiana will not play another team from the West unless it reaches the NBA Finals. … The Pacers have won only four division titles since joining the NBA. … Durant also had nine rebounds, while Westbrook finished with seven rebounds and nine assists.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

The Miami Heat’s LeBron James and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month, respectively, for games played in March.

James captured his fifth straight Kia NBA Eastern Conference Player of the Month award by helping the Heat to a league-best 17-1 record as the team chased history, winning 27 straight games before falling to the Chicago Bulls 101-97 on March 27. The 27 consecutive victories are the second most in NBA history, trailing only the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers (33), while the Heat’s 17 wins in a single month established a league record. James averaged 25.8 points, 8.2 rebounds and 7.4 assists while shooting 53 percent from the field for the month. He scored at least 20 points 14 times and shot at least 50 percent from the field in 13 contests.

Durant guided Oklahoma City to a 12-5 mark in March, averaging 27.6 points (tops in the NBA), 8.5 rebounds and 3.8 assists while shooting 48 percent from the field and 90 percent from the free throw line. On pace to win his fourth consecutive scoring title, Durant scored 20-plus points 16 times and topped the 30-point plateau on seven occasions. Averaging a career-best 4.4 assists, Durant dished out at least five assists seven times. He also recorded two-plus blocks in eight games. 

Other nominees for NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Month were Boston’s Jeff Green, Brooklyn’s Deron Williams, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Indiana’s Roy Hibbert, Miami’s Dwyane Wade, Memphis’ Mike Conley, New York’s J.R. Smith and San Antonio’s Tim Duncan. 

Danilo Gallinari out for season with ACL tear

With the NBA Playoffs mere weeks away, the Denver Nuggets just lost a crucial part of their team to major injury.

An MRI exam today revealed that Nuggets forward Danilo Gallinari suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in his left knee during Thursday night’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.

Fortunately, the MRI showed no signs of other ligament or meniscus damage. He will miss the remainder of the 2012-13 season.

“We’re extremely disappointed for Gallo. He was having a career year in scoring and rebounding and was a huge reason for our success,” Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri said. “We will obviously support him and be there for him throughout his recovery.

“Knowing his work ethic and commitment to getting back on the floor, we are confident he will come back stronger than ever next season.”

Gallinari, 24, averaged 16.2 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 71 games this season.

Surgery will be scheduled at a later date, and a prognosis for a full recovery is excellent.

Fortunately for the Nuggets, they have a deep roster, and should certainly remain very competitive during the 2013 postseason. But this is still a large blow to their squad.

Greg Oden

When former No. 1 overall NBA Draft pick Greg Oden unexpectedly stopped by the Rose Garden Wednesday night, he slipped into the bowels of the building to speak to some of his former teammates. Aldridge was one, and while he said it was nice to see his one-time frontcourt mate, it also was odd.

“Like a ghost,” Aldridge said, describing running into Oden.

Aldridge said he didn’t ask Oden — who’s career was derailed by five knee surgeries — if he was contemplating a comeback. But based on Oden’s appearance and attitude, Aldridge guessed that Oden was.

“He said he was doing good,” Aldridge said of Oden. “He looked slim. He said he was wearing his old suits from draft night. I said, ‘Congrats on that.’

“I think he will (attempt a comeback). He looks like he’s trying to.”

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

DeAndre Jordan

The evolution of Clippers center DeAndre Jordan is ongoing — and whatever the final result is, the responsibility is in his hands.

Even Jordan recognizes that.

“Do any other basketball players stop growing as a person and as a player when they’re 24?” Jordan asked. “So, yes, I’m still growing and evolving — as a player and as a young man.”

As the starting center for the Clippers, there are high expectations for Jordan to be productive and mature on the court. And that has been a constant battle.

The yin and yang of Jordan’s play is evident — in his last two games.

On Monday, the Clippers lost to Indiana, 109-106, and Jordan was thoroughly outplayed by Pacers center Roy Hibbert (26 points and 10 rebounds). Midway through the third quarter, Jordan was benched and he didn’t return. His final stats: no points, five rebounds, in 16 minutes.

– Reported by Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times

Tony Allen

The opposing team’s most prolific offensive player isn’t all that Grizzlies guard Tony Allen appears passionate about shutting down these days.

Allen could be one of the NBA’s most coveted free agents this summer. And this is the time of year when media following teams heading into the offseason with money to spend start probing potential targets.

However, Allen continues to make his pending trip to free agency a nonissue and insists his focus is squarely on the Grizzlies making a deep run in the playoffs.

“I’m bleeding blue right now, so I haven’t thought past the Grizzlies,” Allen said when asked about the Portland Trail Blazers as a possible destination after a Grizzlies win Wednesday night in the Rose Garden. “I ain’t thinking about free agency. I’m thinking about a championship.”

– Reported by Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal

Javaris Crittenton returns to jail on murder charges

Former NBA and Georgia Tech hoops star Javaris Crittenton is now back in jail.

The former Atlanta Journal-Constitution Mr. Georgia Basketball surrendered to officials at the Fulton County Jail late Thursday afternoon on murder charges.

Crittenton, 25, was indicted Tuesday on murder, attempted murder and criminal gang activity charges, among other offenses, for allegedly shooting and killing Julian Jones with an assault rifle in August 2011 and trying to kill another man from a rival gang.

Prosecutors claimed Tuesday that Crittenton had joined the Los Angeles-based Mansfield Gangster Crips soon after being drafted by the L.A. Lakers and inking a multi-million-dollar deal.

– Reported by Marcus K. Garner of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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