Archive for April 9th, 2013

Rip Hamilton returns to action for the Bulls

It’s been awhile since the Bulls have received any good news on the injury front. But that’s exactly what presented itself on Tuesday evening when coach Tom Thibodeau announced that shooting guard Richard Hamilton would return to action against the Toronto Raptors.

“We’re going to play him tonight,” Thibodeau declared of Hamilton, who came off the bench. “He’s going to have a chance to play some minutes, not a lot. He’s come along and he’s feeling better. We’ll see where he is. It’s one thing to be able to do it in practice; it’s another to be able to do it in a game. Of course we’ll have to see how he responds tomorrow after the game. We’re glad that he’s back.”

Hamilton has not played since Chicago’s 101-98 loss to Cleveland at the United Center on Feb. 26, missing 19 games due to a sore lower back.

– Reported by Adam Fluck of Bulls.com Blog

ron artest

Metta World Peace will play Tuesday against New Orleans, 12 days after undergoing surgery for torn cartilage in his left knee.

Steve Nash, however, will not play for the Lakers and was doubtful for Wednesday’s game at Portland, Lakers Coach Mike D’Antoni said.

Tuesday marks the fourth game Nash has been sidelined because of hip and hamstring soreness. He sat out most of two other games because of the injuries.

World Peace’s return will ease the load for Kobe Bryant, D’Antoni said.

– Reported by Mike Bresnahan of the Los Angeles Times

Sacramento developer Mark Friedman said today he’s joining the bid to buy the Kings and build the team a new arena at Downtown Plaza.

Friedman said today he’ll also participate in the non-arena development that’s being proposed for the Downtown Plaza site.

Friedman’s emergence comes one day after Mayor Kevin Johnson revealed that Southern California billionaire Ron Burkle had to reduce his role in the project because of a conflict of interest. Johnson hinted at a press conference Monday that there might be additional changes in the ownership structure.

– Reported by Dale Kasler and Ryan Lillis of the Sacramento Bee

“Shav is playing unbelievable basketball,” said Garnett. “I think he’s finding his little niche in here.”

In his last six games, Randolph is averaging 7.2 points on 74 percent shooting (17 of 23) and 5.5 rebounds in 16 minutes per game.

In the six games he played before that, Randolph was averaging 2.8 points on 44 percent shooting (8 of 18) and 3.8 rebounds in 9.8 minutes.

“I think I’ve got a little rhythm with that second group and knowing just what my role is going to be when I go out there,” Randolph said. “It’s very simple. I know, especially with Kevin back, I’m not going to be playing extended minutes.

“So when I go out there, it’s going to be for short periods of time and I’ve got to go out there and play with energy, rebound, play off people.”

– Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe

Dwyane Wade remains out for Heat

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade will not play Tuesday night when the Miami Heat host to the Milwaukee Bucks, the fifth straight game the All-Star guard will miss while dealing with ankle and knee soreness.

Wade was able to participate in the team’s morning shootaround practice Tuesday. He remains listed as day-to-day and will be evaluated again Wednesday.

Heat center Chris Bosh missed the morning practice because he wasn’t feeling well.

– Reported by the Associated Press 

Luis Scola

“We can’t just play the game and pick out the good parts of the game and say we play well for a quarter or two or three. If you don’t play well for 48 minutes, you don’t play well,” Luis Scola said following the team’s most recent loss Sunday against New Orleans.

He was just getting started.

“We just don’t know how to play well,” he continued. “We don’t know how to play basketball and that’s why we lose. Until we learn how to play 48 minutes of basketball, we’re not going to win games. I’m surprised we won (23) games playing this way. Many of the games we won, we did the same thing. We just overcame it somehow. I’m also surprised we didn’t fix it. We saw the problem pretty much the first week and we couldn’t fix it. It’s very frustrating. It’s a bad year.”

– Reported by Craig Grialou of Arizona Sports

Bernard King, on the day he was officially named a Hall of Fame inductee, said the matchups may favor the Knicks in an Eastern Conference showdown against Miami and he has never seen Carmelo Anthony not do well against LeBron James.

“I certainly think that they have a chance to beat any team they face, whether it’s Miami or whatever,’’ King said yesterday. “The Knicks are a very deep team. They have a tremendous bench, and obviously in terms of their 3-point shooting, that puts tremendous pressure on the defense. It spreads the floor, and it allows [Tyson] Chandler to roll to the basket to get easy buckets around the hoop. I like their style of play, and I like the defense that they’re playing.’’

The Knicks have taken three of four from Miami this season.

– Reported by Marc Berman and Steve Serby of the New York Post

On the court after Monday’s national championship game, as the Louisville Cardinals cut down a net, Russ Smith Sr. told SI.com that his son Russ will turn pro. Russ Smith Jr., a junior, led Louisville in scoring this season.

“I told him, ‘Man, this is how you go out,’” Smith Sr. said. “All the people who doubted you since high school, you proved them wrong. You have back-to-back (Big East) championships, then you come back and win the national championship. All that hard work comes from working you out since you was three years old, running the beach, running the stairs, running with medicine balls, a boxing bag, it paid off.”

– Reported by Michael Rosenberg of SI.com

No hill too high. No gap too wide. No deficit too daunting. No waiting any more for these Louisville Cardinals.

The Floyd Street escape artists climbed back from 12 points behind for the second time in the space of one Final Four on Monday night, then mounted a temporary stage to celebrate their school’s first NCAA Championship since the adoption of the three-point shot.

They beat Michigan, 82-76, and they did it while treading a tightrope of foul trouble. They did it behind backup forward Luke Hancock, who twice came off the bench in Atlanta to deliver epic performances. They did it behind prodigal forward Chane Behanan, who started the season under a gag order and ended it by making himself heard in deafening decibels beneath the basket.

They did it for the first time since 1986, and capped a bountiful day for their coach, Rick Pitino. Formally announced among the new class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday morning, Pitino padded his resume late Monday night by becoming the first college coach to win an NCAA Championship at two different schools.

“We beat a great basketball team,” Pitino said amid the confetti of the post-game trophy presentation. “Probably because I have the 13 toughest guys I ever coached.”

– Reported by Tim Sullivan of the Louisville Courier-Journal

Luke Hancock led the Cards with a career-high-tying 22 points and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player. Peyton Siva, who had 18 points, and Chane Behanan, who had 15 points and 12 rebounds, joined Hancock on the All-Tournament team. Michigan’s Trey Burke and Mitch McGary were also selected to the team.

The Cards seemingly rotated carrying the team for different stretches in the game. Wayne Blackshear got them started, scoring the first five points of the game en route to eight points.

After struggling for most of the tournament, Behanan gave them a lift in the second half. He grabbed seven offensive rebounds — only the second time all season he had that many — and scored 11 points with 11 rebounds in the second half.

– Reported by C. L. Brown of the Louisville Courier-Journal

Spike Albrecht: It was the start of perhaps the most remarkable bench performance in modern NCAA memory. On the biggest stage, in front of nearly 75,000 screaming fans, a kid who averaged less than two points a game became a scoring machine. When a terrible foul call put Burke on the bench again, Albrecht simply took over. He drove the lane and tossed one in. He drove again and got fouled. He scored 17 points in less than 17 minutes, had his career highs in points and minutes — all before halftime — and, most incredibly, made everyone temporarily forget that the national player of the year was stuck on the bench.

In fact, for a while, it looked as if Michigan might put away Louisville without Burke breaking another sweat.

– Reported by Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press

When Albrecht scored on a drive with 3:51 left in the half, Michigan’s lead was 33-21, and Albrecht led everyone with 17 points. This is the same Spike who was offered a scholarship to Michigan almost as an afterthought. His other major suitor: Appalachian State.

And now, with Burke in foul trouble, the ball was Spike’s. With his first-half flurry, he was 9-for-9 on 3-pointers in the Tournament, after averaging 1.6 points PER GAME. The 5-foot-11 freshman was becoming the type of discovery that sends people scurrying for comparisons.

All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be like Spike. His name is Michael Albrecht but he earned the nickname when he was 5, clomping around in his new baseball spikes. The Cardinals surely wanted to put a spike in Spike before he destroyed them. Burke was on the bench most of the half and wasn’t happy about it, but Albrecht helped the Wolverines avert disaster.

– Reported by Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News

Luke Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and Pitino became the first coach to win national titles at two schools when Louisville rallied from another 12-point deficit to beat Michigan 82-76 in the NCAA championship game Monday night.

”This team is one of the most together, toughest and hard-nosed teams,” the coach said. ”Being down never bothers us. They just come back.”

More like relentless to the very end.

They’re not stopping now, either. The players intend to hold Pitino to a promise he made: If they won a national title, he’d get a tattoo.

Better leave a lot of space, coach, if you want to make this a tribute to the team.

– Reported by Paul Newberry of the Associated Press

No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high after a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State. This time, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.

Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before the break with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.

Albrecht didn’t do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He made it 5-for-5 when he hit his final 3 from the corner with 3:20 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn’t go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.

– Reported by Paul Newberry of the Associated Press

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