Archive for April 14th, 2013

Kenyon Martin

Knicks forward Kenyon Martin, currently nursing a sprained left ankle, pronounced himself a game-time decision for Sunday’s home game against the Indiana Pacers, but would “definitely” be ready for the start of the playoffs, he told the Daily News at Radio City Music Hall, where he took in a boxing card along with teammate Carmelo Anthony on Saturday night.

Martin sprained his ankle in the fourth quarter of the Knicks’ 120-99 win over the Wizards on Tuesday, the team’s 13th straight. Martin missed the next two games, including Thursday’s streak-busting loss to the Bulls. X-rays were negative on his ankle, and Martin, already dealing with a sore left knee, feels encouraged about his return.

“I’m getting there,” Martin said from ringside, seated on an elevated stage at Radio City Music Hall in between fights.

– Reported by Mitch Abramson of the New York Daily News

Kenneth Faried

No matter what happens the rest of his career, Nolan Smith has accepted that he will always be linked to Kenneth Faried.

After every mammoth dunk, every dizzying double-double, every hustle-infused highlight-reel moment Denver’s “Manimal” unleashes, somewhere, some disbelieving Trail Blazers fan will curse under his breath: “He should be a Blazer.”

“I don’t blame them,” Smith said. “I don’t blame them at all. Seeing what he’s doing, seeing how he plays when he’s on the court with his team, it’s very easy to say, ‘Damn, we could have had him.’ But they could have had Michael Jordan, as well. It’s part of the draft. They’re mad at Greg Oden, too. So you can just add me to the guys they can be mad at.”

And there’s no question Blazers fans are mad. The team’s decision to select Smith one spot ahead of Faried with the No. 21 overall pick of the 2011 NBA draft is one of several personnel moves that led to last season’s roster implosion and this season’s rebuild.

– Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

Kobe Bryant

Bryant underwent surgery Saturday to treat a left Achilles tendon injury the Lakers estimate will keep him out between six to nine months. Despite Bryant playing an average of 45.6 minutes per game in the last seven contests, Kupchak doesn’t hold Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni responsible for the injury.

“I don’t think Mike is at blame here,” Kupchak said. “Even if you take Kobe out of a game, there’s a lot of times where he’ll just get up and put himself back in.”

In between quarters, Bryant would either give D’Antoni a thumbs up signaling he can play or a thumbs down showing he needs rest. Bryant usually chose the former. D’Antoni also shared Bryant’s contention that his bone spurs in his left foot would stiffen if he sat out.

That plan fell apart, though, in the waning minutes of the Lakers’ win Friday over Golden State. Bryant fell on the ground after going past Warriors forward Harrison Barnes.

D’Antoni conceded that scenario might not have happened if not for the Lakers (43-37) entering tonight’s game against San Antonio with only a one-game lead over Utah (42-38) for the Western Conference’s eighth and final playoff spot with two games remaining.

– Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News

Glen Davis

In Davis’ four seasons in Boston, his role expanded but never enough for him. The Celtics traded him to the Magic and he agreed to a four-year contract extension and immediately became one of Orlando’s more experienced players, carrying a championship ring.

“I look at it and I was just so thankful,” he said. “I got a chance to talk to the guys and I told Paul, I told KG, ‘Thank you. Really, thank you, Doc, for putting that discipline and that tough love. When I see these young guys [in Orlando] and I walk around, I see the same exact things [as I did in Boston] and me listening and humbling myself got me to this point now.”

Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said he wanted to challenge Davis with more responsibility with the cocaptain assignment, joining point guard Jameer Nelson.

“You’re put in a role that you can’t say no to and if you’re a competitor, you want that role,” Davis said. “And you have to do what they say, no procrastination. I do have a desire to get in there and go through the journey with these guys. I got a chance to experience a championship, but here I’m a main part of the team, working to be successful.”

– Reported by Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe

Sixers assistant coach Brian James will join the Northwestern University coaching staff of Chris Collins very soon after the NBA regular season ends on Wednesday, according to multiple sources.

James was the high school coach of Collins, who is the son of Sixers head coach Doug Collins.

This impending move is another indication that Doug Collins will not return to coach the final year on his contract with the Sixers, although that cannot yet be confirmed. James has been his right-hand assistant previously in Detroit and Washington, as well as serving stints with Milwaukee and Toronto as an assistant coach and Seattle as an advance scout when Collins was out of coaching.

The Sixers coach has maintained that he hasn’t decided yet if he wants to be back for the 2013-14 season.

– Reported by Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer

Ricky Rubio

Ricky Rubio had a career-high 24 points, 10 assists and five steals, and J.J. Barea scored 16 points to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 105-93 victory over the Phoenix Suns on Saturday night.

Derrick Williams added 15 points and six boards for the Wolves, who gave coach Rick Adelman victory No. 1,001. It’s also the first time the Wolves (30-50) have won at least 30 games in a season without Kevin Garnett on the roster.

Markieff Morris had 20 points and nine rebounds and Jared Dudley scored 16 for the Suns, who turned the ball over 28 times. The Suns have lost 15 of their last 17 and already are assured of having their worst record since their inaugural season in 1968-69.

Andrei Kirilenko had 14 points and Dante Cunningham had 13 points and eight rebounds for Minnesota in place of Nikola Pekovic, who missed his second straight game with a bruised left calf.

Wes Johnson scored 15 points and Luis Scola added 14 points and nine rebounds for Phoenix. But Scola committed a career-high eight turnovers, and the Wolves scored 33 points off Phoenix mistakes to pull away.

– Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

Josh McRoberts helps Bobcats beat Bucks 95-85

While the Milwaukee Bucks are in the playoffs for the first time in three seasons, getting out of the first round will be a huge challenge given their recent poor play and a difficult first-round opponent.

By virtue of Saturday night’s 95-85 loss to the NBA-worst Charlotte Bobcats - their ninth straight defeat on the road and their 11th in the last 14 games overall - the Bucks will face the defending champion Miami Heat in the first round of the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Few will give the Bucks a chance to win even a game in the best-of-seven series. Heck, even Bucks swingman Mike Dunleavy called it a ”monumental task.”

If there’s any bit of good news for the Bucks it’s that they hope to get Larry Sanders and Brandon Jennings back for the postseason. Both sat out again against the Bobcats…

Kemba Walker had 21 points, Josh McRoberts nearly had a triple-double and the Bobcats won for only the third time in their last 12 games.

McRoberts had a season-high 18 points, nine rebounds and a career-high nine assists.

Bismack Biyombo, the team’s improving second-year center, chipped in 13 points and tied a career-high with 17 rebounds as the NBA-worst Bobcats dominated the Bucks 52-36 on the boards.

– Reported by Steve Reed of the Associated Press

Celtics lock up 7th seed in East

Celtics lock up 7th seed in East

Courtney Lee scored 20 points and Jeff Green added 17 as the Boston Celtics cruised to a 120-88 victory over the Orlando Magic on Saturday night.

The win locked up the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference for Boston, which never trailed in beating Orlando for the eighth straight time.

All five Celtics starters reached double figures, with Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce scoring 14 and 12 points, respectively, after sitting out Friday against Miami.

Tobias Harris led the Magic with 22 points, and Nik Vucevic added 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Orlando hasn’t won back-to-back games since December. The Magic play their final home game of season on Monday against Chicago, and head to Miami for the season finale on Wednesday.

The Celtics conclude their regular-season schedule against Indiana on Tuesday and visit Toronto on Wednesday…

Boston G Jason Terry was given the night off by Rivers, marking his first missed game of the season.

– Reported by Kyle Hightower of the Associated Press

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