Archive for April 15th, 2013

Kenneth Faried day-to-day with sprained ankle

Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried underwent an MRI today on his left ankle. The exam revealed a sprain of the Anterior Talofibular ligament but no fractures.

Faried, averaging 11.5 points and a team-leading 9.2 rebounds per game, will miss the final two games of the regular season and be listed as day-to-day as the Nuggets prepare for the Western Conference playoffs.

The Nuggets play tonight at Milwaukee and conclude the regular-season Wednesday at home against the Phoenix Suns.

Alex Len is entering 2013 NBA Draft

University of Maryland sophomore center Alex Len is forgoing his final two years of collegiate eligibility to enter the NBA Draft.

“I’m very grateful for the two years I’ve spent at Maryland and for everyone that has supported me during my time here,” said Len. “It’s been an honor to play here and I’ve learned so much. I want to thank Coach Turgeon and the coaching staff for believing in me and helping me grow as a player and a person. I also want to thank my teammates who were always there for me. We shared some great moments together. I’ve grown a lot, both on the court and off the court, over the past two years and I am looking forward to the next chapter of my life.”

“I’m very proud of Alex and am excited for what the future holds for him,” said Turgeon. “To see the progress he’s made on the court, in the classroom and socially has been a truly rewarding experience. Alex has worked incredibly hard since he got here and he has earned this opportunity.”

Len averaged 11.9 points per game and 7.8 rebounds per game while leading the ACC with 78 blocks in 2012-13. The 7-foot-1 native of Antratsit, Ukraine, was named honorable mention All-ACC and was a member of the All-ACC Defensive team last season.

Len dramatically increased his productivity from his freshman to sophomore season, making improvements in nearly every statistical category. His scoring went from 6.0 points per game to 11.9, while his rebounding increased from 5.4 to 7.8 per game. For his career, Len holds averages of 9.7 points per game, 7.0 rebounds per game and 2.1 blocks per game. He played in 60 games with 48 starts, 37 of those coming in 2012-13.

– Via Maryland Sports Info

Brittney Griner, Elena Delle Donne and Skylar Diggins are expected to be the top three selections in this year’s highly touted WNBA draft. After that, it’s anybody’s guess.

Phoenix has the envied No. 1 pick in the draft Monday night and it’s anticipated that the Mercury will select Griner, the 6-foot-8 Baylor standout who averaged 23.8 points — third-best in the country — and 4.14 blocked shots as a senior. The two-time AP women’s college basketball Player of the Year finished her career as the No. 2 scorer in NCAA history with 3,283 points and set records with 748 blocks and 18 dunks.

“She’s no doubt going to be an impact player right away,” Tulsa Coach Gary Kloppenburg said on a national media conference call. “Defensively, great shot-blocking, just clogging the lane even with the new (defensive 3-second) rule she’s mobile enough she’s going to be able to understand the two-point line, getting in, getting out.

“Offensively, you really have to double-team her and she’s so skilled down there with all her array of shots. Her passing ability has improved so much, she’s going to really tilt that team with that low-post presence.”

– Reported by the Associated Press

Nikola Pekovic

[Rick] Adelman believes Pekovic needs to do so — whether he returns to the Wolves next season after this summer’s restricted free agency or not — both to succeed against longer, more athletic players and to ease the demands on a body now susceptible to all kinds of nagging injuries.“Finesse was never my better side,” said Pekovic, who has missed 18 games this season and hasn’t played the past two games because of a bruised calf. “All my basketball life, like I like to say, my basketball is not really nice for watching, but it is really effective.”

Adelman said he believes Pekovic will be that much more effective if he develops counters to the power moves he relies upon close to the basket, and if he learns to expand his game beyond 2 or 3 feet.

“He plays the game a certain way, and that’s the way he has always played it,” Adelman said. “But as he plays against different people, he’s got to find a way to score against length. Right now, he struggles with that at times, especially when we don’t shoot the ball well. When we don’t shoot the ball, there are three guys collapsing on him when he gets the ball.”

– Reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Nene to sit out final two Wizards games

Nene to sit out final two Wizards games

Tired of maintaining a mummified look as plantar fasciitis in his left foot never fully healed and as soreness in his right knee worsened, Nene has decided to sit out the Wizards’ final two games, Monday in Brooklyn and Wednesday in Chicago. For Nene, making it through 61 games was no small feat after being tested physically and mentally in his 11th season.

“How tough? Tough enough to think about the end of my career? Yeah, that’s how tough it was,” he said. “It was so hard to play the way I did it. I thought to end my career because it’s so painful, my body can’t support. I’m glad I finished the season, but the way I suffer, I hope, never again.”

Nene, who is owed $39 million for the next three seasons, said conversations with his wife, Lauren, and business manager, Alex Santos, persuaded him to keep going. The 6-foot-11 Brazilian said he remains motivated to play because of faith in God and his young son, Mateos, but that he needs to rest and focus on being healthy for next season.

– Reported by Michael Lee of the Washington Post

Nerlens Noel will enter 2013 NBA Draft

University of Kentucky freshman All-America selection Nerlens Noel will forego his sophomore season and enter his name in this year’s NBA Draft.

“I have loved my time at Kentucky, but I feel that I’m ready to take the next step to the NBA,” Noel said. “I’ve learned so much here at UK and am thankful for Coach (John) Calipari, the staff and my teammates for all of their support. I especially appreciate the Big Blue Nation and all of the support, prayers and well-wishes I’ve received from them during my rehab and decision-making process. I’ll always be a Wildcat!”

Noel, an Everett, Mass., native, led the nation in blocks as he averaged 4.4 rejections per game and tallied 106 in 24 games played. Prior to his season-ending knee injury he was the only player standing taller than 6-foot-5 to rank in the top 30 in steals per outing as he had accumulated 50 steals on the year.

He averaged 10.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. His rebounds and blocked shots led the Southeastern Conference, while he also ranked among the top-10 players in steals per game, defensive rebounds per game, offensive rebounds per game and minutes played per game.

Noel finished the season ranked second in UK single-season history with 106 blocks. His 50 steals ranked as the fifth most in a single season by a freshman. His .590 field-goal percentage is the ninth-best mark in school history, while his steals per game (2.1) is the seventh-best mark in school history.

“I support Nerlens’ decision to enter his name in the draft and am excited for him and his future,” Calipari said. “The hard work and will to win he showed on the floor this year and the dedication and attitude he has shown in his rehab will only be a reward for him and whatever team drafts him in June.”

– Via Kentucky Wildcats

Savannah Brinson is about to marry someone who’s widely considered the best basketball player in the world, which means the level of privacy she’s always craved will surely continue to erode.

And after years of fighting that, she has decided to embrace it as reality.

Brinson — better known as the fiance of Miami Heat star LeBron James — is starting to step more into the public eye now, with hopes that whatever level of celebrity she has can be a tool to help children who need some assistance. Her first step in that endeavor was helping to provide prom dresses for about 100 underprivileged girls in her current home of Miami and her hometown of Akron, Ohio, doing so at a pair of events in recent days.

“I can’t imagine being in their situation and not have somebody help,” said Brinson, whose wedding is scheduled for this summer. “I really care. It’s really in my soul to help people, and this is the first baby to come from it. There comes a time when you have to give back.”

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

No Brandon Roy return anytime soon

Brandon Roy

Timberwolves president of basketball operations David Kahn said he reached the conclusion in late January that Brandon Roy, struggling to recover from surgery on his right knee, would not play again this season.

Nearly three months later, another conclusion has been reached regarding Roy’s future with the team: “You should assume he will not be playing with us next season,” Kahn said.

Kahn confirmed what has been expected — that Roy’s once-productive NBA career is most likely over after the seven-year veteran was unable to shake his chronic knee problems.

The Wolves (30-50), who play Utah on Monday night, April 15, at Target Center, signed Roy to a two-year, $10.4 million contract last August, but the second year of the deal, worth $5.329 million, is not guaranteed.

– Reported by Ray Richardson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press

Lakers sign guard Andrew Goudelock

No Kobe Bryant, but at least there’s… Goudelock.

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Andrew Goudelock, it was announced Sunday.

In 51 games (all starts) with Sioux Falls and Rio Grande Valley of the NBA Development League this season, Goudelock averaged 21.1 points, 3.9 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 1.16 steals in 36.9 minutes.  Named NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month for March, he also earned back-to-back D-League Top Performer of the Week honors for games played 3/11-3/17 and 3/18-3/24.

Originally selected by the Lakers in the second round (46th overall) of the 2011 NBA Draft, Goudelock appeared in 40 games with Los Angeles last season, averaging 4.4 points and 0.5 assists in 10.5 minutes.  In six preseason games with the Lakers this season, he averaged 3.8 points and 0.8 assists in 7.7 minutes before being waived on October 27.

The 6-2 guard concluded his career at the College of Charleston ranked 39th on the NCAA Division I all-time scoring list.  In four seasons with the Cougars, Goudelock averaged 18.4 points, 3.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 32.8 minutes and as a senior, earned AP All America Honorable Mention honors while ranking fourth nationally among NCAA Division I scoring leaders (23.7 ppg).

The Lakers are currently in a battle with the Utah Jazz for the final Western conference playoff spot.

Lakers without Kobe beat Spurs 91-86

Dwight Howard

An empty chair sat in front of Kobe Bryant’s locker Sunday night, and the Los Angeles Lakers realized they would have to fill it together.

With their playoff hopes likely on the line against powerful San Antonio, the Lakers cobbled together a group effort that kept them in the hunt.

Dwight Howard had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and the Lakers staged a dramatic rally in the fourth quarter to win their first game since losing Bryant for the season, beating the Spurs 91-86 Sunday night to stay in playoff position.

Steve Blake scored 23 points for the Lakers (44-37), who lead Utah (42-38) by 1 1/2 games for the eighth postseason spot in the Western Conference after their seventh win in eight games - even with Bryant watching from home following surgery on his torn Achilles tendon…

”It definitely gives us confidence that if we play as hard as we did tonight, we can beat anybody,” said Pau Gasol, who had seven points and 16 rebounds…

Duncan had 23 points and 10 rebounds for the Spurs, who have lost six straight road games. San Antonio (58-22) is likely to finish second in the West behind Oklahoma City (59-21), which holds the tiebreaker.

Tony Parker scored just four points on 1-of-10 shooting while playing for just the fourth time in April, possibly slowed by his injured shin in the Spurs’ first game since waiving disenchanted forward Stephen Jackson. San Antonio is headed into another postseason as a top-two seed, but the Spurs have lost five of eight after failing to complete a season sweep of the Lakers.

– Reported by Greg Beacham of the Associated Press

Dirk Nowitzki reaches 25,000 career points

Dirk Nowitzki didn’t even wait to shower before shaving off his beard.

After becoming the 17th player in NBA history to score 25,000 career points, he was even happier the Dallas Mavericks got back to .500 for the first time since mid-December, allowing him to shave off the facial hair he and his teammates had vowed to leave untouched until they evened their record.

Shawn Marion had 21 points on 10-of-16 shooting, Nowitzki scored 19 and the Dallas Mavericks beat the New Orleans Hornets 107-89 on Sunday night.

Brandan Wright and Vince Carter added 16 points off the bench for Mavericks. They had lost by double digits in their three previous chances to even their record.

”It’s been too long,” the clean-shaven Nowitzki said. ”My wife stopped kissing me somewhere in February. It feels good to shave again.”

Nowitzki reached the 25,000-point mark with a midrange jumper over Hornets’ center Robin Lopez in the second quarter. Teammates said he reached for the razor almost as soon as he entered the locker room after the game.

– Reported by Guerry Smith of the Associated Press

Kenneth Faried

The Denver Nuggets are getting good at bittersweet moments.

Andre Iguodala scored 28 points and the Nuggets set an NBA franchise record with their 55th win Sunday, beating the short-handed Portland Trail Blazers 118-109 but losing another starter.

On the day Ty Lawson (right heel) returned to Denver’s starting lineup for the first time since March 27 and played an encouraging 31 minutes, forward Kenneth Faried sprained his left ankle in the opening minutes while driving for a layup and didn’t return.

”We’re dropping like flies, man,” Lawson said. ”Well, it’s not too serious, I heard, so he might be out for a week or so. He’s a tough guy.”

Although X-rays were negative, coach George Karl stressed that he didn’t want to guess about Faried’s availability for the playoffs that start next weekend until after his top rebounder goes for an MRI on Monday…

Iguodala also grabbed seven rebounds, dished out nine assists, blocked three shots and had three steals to go with his 28 points, marking the first time in his career he’d posted those numbers in a game.

And rookie Evan Fournier scored 24 points in his second career start, sinking a pair of crucial 3-pointers in the closing minutes after the Trail Blazers had cut a 20-point deficit to 104-101 with 3:33 left.

– Reported by Arnie Stapleton of the Associated Press

Knicks clinch No. 2 seed in East with win over Pacers

Carmelo Anthony and his sore left shoulder will probably get the night off Monday.

The New York Knicks have earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference, and with it the chance the rest some aching bodies.

Anthony scored 25 points on 9-for-23 shooting against the rugged Indiana defense, and the Knicks wrapped up the second spot with a 90-80 victory over the Pacers on Sunday.

The Knicks are back on the court Monday at Charlotte, but Anthony doesn’t think he’ll be joining them with nothing left to play for in the regular season.

”I always said today was a real important game for us to come in and lock down (the No. 2 seed),” Anthony said. ”It was a big game for us so now guys can get their rest, I can get my rest and come back full speed ready for the playoffs.”

Chris Copeland added 20 points and J.R. Smith had 15 for the Knicks, who will host seventh-seeded Boston next weekend. New York is guaranteed the home-court advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs after finishing a distant second to Miami in the conference…

Lance Stephenson scored 22 points and David West had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Pacers, who came into the game with a chance to catch the Knicks for second but had to settle for wrapping up No. 3 after Brooklyn lost 93-87 at Toronto…

The Pacers committed 26 turnovers that led to 33 points and shot 61.5 percent at the free throw line, losing for the fourth time in five games with a sloppy offensive performance. Coach Frank Vogel will rest some of his players, too, noting George’s 1-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

– Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

demar derozan

Deron Williams crumpled up his stat sheet and threw it away in disgust. A loss to the lottery-bound Toronto Raptors meant his Brooklyn Nets had lost their chance at earning the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

DeMar DeRozan scored 36 points, Rudy Gay had 26 points and 10 rebounds and the Raptors won their third straight game, never trailing in a 93-87 victory over the Nets on Sunday.

Brooklyn is still going to the playoffs, but could have closed to within one game of Indiana after the Pacers lost 90-80 to the New York Knicks…

Brooklyn can still tie Indiana, but the Pacers would win the tiebreaker because they’re guaranteed to win the Central Division. Brooklyn is assured of second place in the Atlantic…

Amir Johnson had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Raptors, who hadn’t won three straight since a five-game winning streak from Feb. 8 to 19…

Williams scored 30 points, Brook Lopez had 16 and Andray Blatche 15 for the Nets, whose four-game winning streak was snapped…

Former Raptor Reggie Evans had 16 rebounds for the Nets but didn’t take a single shot. … Keith Bogans started for Brooklyn in place of F Gerald Wallace, who missed his second straight game with a sore left heel.

– Reported by Ian Harrison of the Associated Press

lebron james

Carlos Boozer turned his shoulder and knocked Dwyane Wade to the floor, while Nate Robinson shoved LeBron James as the NBA’s reigning MVP leaped near the basket.

All in the same sequence, no less.

It was physical, rugged and exactly what the Miami Heat needed as part of their preparations for the playoffs, which start this coming weekend. James scored 24 points, Wade finished with 22 and the Heat set a franchise record for home wins in a season by topping the Chicago Bulls 105-93 on Sunday.

”It was good, especially against this team,” said James, who had seven rebounds and six assists. ”You’re definitely not just going to show up and win against these guys. You’re going to have to work for it. So for us, to continue to get better and for us to have a really physical game, good game, testy game, we liked it.”

Chicago had more fouls (30) than field goals (29), the first time the Bulls have managed that in a regular-season game since Nov. 19, 2008.

The Bulls sent Miami to the line a season-high 41 times, and at times were so reliant on the 3-point shot that they went more than 16 minutes to open the second half without a single 2-point basket.

”We’re trying to get ready,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. ”And you play a team that’s physical like this, it gets you ready.”

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

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