Archive for April 7th, 2013

Carmelo Anthony

Driving to the basket in crunch time, Raymond Felton slipped to the floor and lost the basketball in the process. All he could do was lunge back at it and bat it toward J.R. Smith as the shot clock ticked closer to zero.

For the second straight possession, Smith beat the buzzer - this time with a 3-pointer - and the Knicks closed out a 125-120 victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday.

”He makes plays like that. He makes tough shots. Sometimes I think he likes to take the tougher shot than the easier shot. They still go in,” said teammate Carmelo Anthony, who had 36 points and 12 rebounds while moving ahead of Kevin Durant to become the NBA’s top scorer.

”That shot, it was a nail in the coffin.”

Smith finished with 22 points, including the two biggest shots of the game. He connected on a 23-foot jumper from the right wing as the 24-second clock expired to put New York up 117-113 with 1:30 to play, then swished a 3-pointer with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed New York’s 50th win of the season…

The victory was the Knicks’ 12th in a row and put them at 50 wins for the first time in 13 years. They also moved 2 1/2 games ahead of Indiana for second place in the Eastern Conference and moved onto the doorstep of clinching the Atlantic Division title.

Russell Westbrook had 37 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for Oklahoma City, which fell a game behind San Antonio for first place in the West with five games left.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

The Golden State Warriors have signed guard Scott Machado (muh-CHAH-doe) to a 10-day contract, the team announced today. Machado joins the team from the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League, marking the 33rd D-League to NBA “Call-Up” of the 2012-13 NBA season.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle blog, “Machado just got back from New York, where he had to bury his 61-year-old father. Luiz Machado, a livery cab driver, suffered a fatal heart attack while being arrested by for taking illegal fares by Taxi and Limousine Commission officers at Kennedy Airport on March 28. The New York Daily News reported that Luiz Machado was left in a gutter and without critical medical care for as long as 11 minutes, which triggered the Medical Examiner’s Office to rule the death a homicide. “He was a big hoops fan,” Scott Machado said, “so I know he’ll be watching.”

Machado, 22, was acquired by Santa Cruz via trade from Rio Grande Valley on March 8 and has appeared in 10 games for the Warriors’ D-League affiliate, averaging 6.5 points, 1.8 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 15.0 minutes.  In 28 D-League games combined this year with Santa Cruz and Rio Grande Valley, Machado has averaged 8.9 points 2.5 rebounds and 5.1 assists in 24.0 minutes per contest.

After going undrafted out of Iona in the 2012 NBA Draft, Machado was signed as a free agent on September 7, 2012, by the Houston Rockets after playing with the Rockets Summer League squad in Las Vegas.  The 6’1” guard appeared in six NBA games with the Rockets, tallying eight points and six assists in 21 total minutes. He was waived by the Rockets on January 7.

Machado, who was named the 2012 MAAC Player of the Year and led the nation in assists (327) during his senior season at Iona, will wear uniform #1 for Golden State.  The Warriors roster now stands at 14 players.

The Memphis Grizzlies have recalled guards Keyon Dooling and Tony Wroten from the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns, the team announced today.  Both players were assigned to Reno on April 6.

Making his first career D-League assignment, Dooling (6-3, 196) recorded six points and two steals in 26 minutes in the Bighorns’ regular season finale last night against the Canton Charge.  The 32-year-old logged two minutes in his Grizzlies debut on April 3 at Portland after signing with Memphis as a free agent the same day.

The 13-year veteran owns NBA career averages of 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists on .415 shooting in 19.5 minutes in 722 games (86 starts) for the Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, Orlando Magic, New Jersey Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics and Memphis Grizzlies.

In his fourth D-League stint this season, Wroten (6-6, 208) poured in a career-high 30 points and eight assists with just one turnover in 37 minutes last night in the Bighorns’ season finale.  The 19-year-old posted 17.0 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists on .415 shooting in 26.5 minutes in 11 games (three starts) with Reno this season.

Drafted by Memphis in the first round (25th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft after one season at the University of Washington, the Seattle native has averaged 2.7 points and 1.3 assists in 8.0 minutes in 33 games for the Grizzlies during his rookie season.

Both players will join the Grizzlies tonight, as Memphis finishes its three-game West Coast road trip at 5 p.m. CT against the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena.

Lakers

For years, the Lakers claimed a steady fan base in the sprawling Korean American community, but this season the intensity has been amplified — with games now broadcast in Korean, a first in the NBA.

Time Warner Cable, which invested nearly $3 billion for regional TV rights to Lakers games for the next two decades, hired four Korean Americans as play-by-play announcers and color commentators, adding a fifth person just days ago.

For Park and others, it has brought a new intimacy to the action.

“I’m learning who the players really are, not their names only,” says Park, a grocery store clerk who grew up in Seoul.

Daniel Lee, an attorney who practices in Koreatown, said that while it’s a “big deal” for his parents’ generation to now be able to follow the local basketball team, the broadcasts add a new dimension for him as well.

– Reported by Anh Do of the Los Angeles Times

Jordan Crawford

Jordan Crawford will face his former team, the Wizards, for the first time since being traded in February.

“Who?” Crawford asked before practice Saturday when the issue was broached.

Washington, he was told. You’ll be playing Washington. Your old team.

“I don’t recall playing for Washington,” Crawford responded, and he repeated himself.

Crawford, who was acquired by the Celtics at the Feb. 21 trade deadline, didn’t enjoy his time in Washington, as one might infer from his comments.

– Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe

There are many reasons the Pistons are headed to their fourth consecutive season watching the playoffs from home.

But a main one is their putrid performances against Western Conference opponents this season.

In their final such game of the season, the Pistons fell to 4-26 on the season when they dropped a 107-101 decision to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday night.

“Thank God we’re not in the Western Conference,” Pistons coach Lawrence Frank said.

Several key plays went the Timberwolves way down the stretch with the main one coming when Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic tapped an offensive rebound off a missed free throw to Luke Ridnour with 18 seconds left with the Pistons (25-52) trailing, 103-101.

– Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

dwyane wade

Dwyane Wade might be missing games for reasons other than the Heat’s “maintenance program.”

Before Saturday’s game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said Wade has had prolonged swelling in his right knee. Wade rested for his fourth consecutive game Saturday while LeBron James returned to action.

“He has to resolve the swelling right now from getting hit in the knee,” Spoelstra said “That is the issue. His body will tell us when we play him.”

Wade last played against the New Orleans Hornets on March 29. According to Spoelstra, Wade was “beat up” in that game and banged his right knee going to the ground.

The injury apparently has lingered. Wade also has had problems with his right ankle this season.

– Reported by Joseph Goodman of the Miami Herald

kevin garnett

Celtics center Kevin Garnett took part in a full-contact practice on Saturday for the first time in nearly two weeks, and the 36-year-old could return to action Sunday against Washington after missing eight consecutive games.

Garnett has been sidelined with inflammation in his left ankle, which he first tweaked March 20 in New Orleans. He played the rest of that game, and then the next against Dallas, before sitting out. Boston has lost five games in his absence.

“Obviously, rest is always a good thing for me,” Garnett said. “I’ve been able to get multiple treatments a day on my foot. I’m getting better.

“I have some issues with my foot. More from like the motion, if you’re pushing the gas pedal. It’s an issue. If I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be out.”

– Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe

Thabo Sefolosha

Thabo and Bertille Sefolosha have roots in five countries on three continents; today, they work to make life better for a group of 150 children in South Africa.

At home in Oklahoma City, they juggle schedules that involve young children, OKC Thunder basketball — Thabo is a key player — college classes and community work. And the artwork hanging on the walls reflects their interests near and far. It includes art from a South African market, pictures created by Thabo Sefolosha’s mother and photos of their children.

The Sefoloshas are in the middle of organizing a fundraiser for about 300 people, A Night for Africa, to raise money for an after-school program in the township of Mamelodi, South Africa, where Thabo Sefolosha’s father grew up.

They hope to raise $100,000 to benefit 150 children from six schools currently in the program and expand it to about 200. The first fundraiser in Oklahoma City netted about $50,000 nearly two years ago.

– Reported by Lillie-Beth Brinkman of the Oklahoman

milwaukee bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks had been sputtering lately, but that was all forgotten after they clinched a playoff berth by crushing Toronto, 100-83, Saturday night at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Milwaukee (37-39) won for just the third time in its last 10 games to move within two games of idle Boston, which holds the No. 7 spot in the Eastern Conference standings.

“You work hard all season,” Bucks coach Jim Boylan said. “It’s a long season. We’ve had ups and downs. It’s 82 games. We’ve still got a few games left. We kind of hit a rough patch here toward the end, but we’ve had some good patches, too, at certain times during the season, which enabled us to be in this position.

“It’s pretty nice to clinch when you have six games left so you can start getting yourself ready for whoever it is you’re going to play against. The guys have worked very hard, and it’s very satisfying for us.”

– Reported by Dave Boehler, special to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Joe Johnson

Brooklyn Nets interim coach P.J. Carlesimo remains concerned about Joe Johnson’s health.

“If he can get healthy and do it in a timely manner, that’s fine,” Carlesimo said after Johnson had 15 points in 32 minutes in the Nets’ 105-96 victory over the Charlotte Bobcats on Saturday night at Barclays Center. “We need Joe Johnson.”

Since returning from heel and quad injuries that caused him to miss five games, Johnson is 9-for-27 from the field.

“I’m all right,” Johnson said. “Maybe a little limited to some of the things I can do out there on the court, but the coaches and guys are telling me just my presence out there makes a difference, so I’m just giving it all I’ve got.”

– Reported by Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York

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