Archive for April 25th, 2013

The Rockets seemed to find some answers in Game 2, starting Patrick Beverley for the first time and using a three-guard lineup for all but a few brief moments. McHale felt the change allowed Houston to penetrate the lane more frequently, with one of his perimeter threats often matched up against one of the two Thunder big men, Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.

”They kind of put a tight shell out there, but once you break that shell and get on the inside, a lot of stuff can open up,” McHale said. ”We had a lot of good catch and shoot 3s, open 3s and that’s how we have to play.

”We don’t have a dominant inside presence. A lot of our inside points are finishing on dunks and tipped dunks. It’s our guys going in there and making plays against their bigs and then kicking it out.”

McHale also found success by going with a 2-3 zone after Oklahoma City had built its biggest lead at 89-74 early in the fourth quarter. Houston responded by scoring 21 of the next 23 points, even taking the lead.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

Microsoft Chairman Steve Ballmer, part of the group attempting to purchase the Sacramento Kings and move them to Seattle, said Thursday he believes ”there will never be a better opportunity” than now to bring back professional basketball to the Puget Sound.

Ballmer, who has been mostly quiet about his basketball pursuit, spoke briefly Thursday before a fundraising luncheon for the A PLUS youth program in Seattle. His brief comment came hours after an NBA spokesman confirmed that the NBA committee deciding whether the Sacramento Kings should be sold and relocated to Seattle will hold a meeting via conference call Monday.

”Today is about A PLUS. I will say that we’ve got our fingers crossed. Chris Hansen has worked really, really hard, really intelligently,” Ballmer said. ”Seattle has got a great bid. We’ve got a great arena plan. I think we’ve got the better arena plan. We’ve got a good offer, it’s been accepted by current owners. We’ve got a great market. It seems like there will never be a better opportunity. But it will be up to the NBA owners.”

– Reported by Tim Booth of the Associated Press

The Los Angeles Lakers are down 0-2 to the San Antonio Spurs in their first-round NBA playoff series, and things look even tougher for the underdogs after today’s injury report.

Steve Blake had an ultrasound test today which confirmed a moderate strain of his right hamstring.  He is out indefinitely.

Steve Nash received two epidural injections in his back today; he also received a cortisone shot in his right hip.  His status for tomorrow’s game is doubtful.

Jodie Meeks will have an MRI test this afternoon on his sprained left ankle.  His status for tomorrow’s game is doubtful.

The Lakers are already without star Kobe Bryant, who won’t be back in action until next season.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Andrew Goudelock was today named the 2013 NBA Development League’s Most Valuable Player, as voted by the NBA D-League’s 16 head coaches, for his efforts as a member of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers and Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Goudelock (6-3, 200, College of Charleston) played in 37 games, all starts, for the Vipers this season, averaging 21.4 points to go with 5.8 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 36.7 minutes, while leading the team in scoring 16 times.  Selected to play in the 2013 NBA D-League All-Star Game, Goudelock was traded in January to Rio Grande Valley from the Sioux Falls Skyforce, where he played in 14 games.  In all, Goudelock appeared in 52 regular season NBA D-League games, averaging 21.1 points, good for third best in the NBA D-League, to go with 5.2 assists, 3.9 rebounds and 37.1 minutes.

Prior to earning a GATORADE Call-Up to the Lakers on April 14, Goudelock appeared in one postseason game for Rio Grande Valley, scoring 27 points in 47 minutes in victory over the Maine Red Claws.

Goudelock was named the NBA D-League Co-Player of the Month for games played in March and honored with the Performer of the Week award on April 1.

Originally selected by the Lakers in the second round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Goudelock returned to the team having played in 40 games for Los Angeles during the 2011-12 season, when he averaged 4.4 points and 10.5 minutes a game. Currently on the Lakers playoff roster, he has appeared in one game for the Lakers this season.

“Andrew truly had a standout season in the NBA D-League this year,” said Chris Alpert, Vice President of Basketball Operations and Player Personnel for the NBA D-League.  “His tireless work ethic, dedication to development, and impressive skill set were not only a huge asset for his team, but earned him an NBA D-League All-Star selection and a Call-Up to the NBA.  I congratulate Andrew on his tremendous season this year, and on returning to the NBA with the Lakers.”

tony parker

The San Antonio Spurs kept insisting the playoffs were a new season and that their woeful finish to the regular season was not as grave as it appeared.

After 16 straight postseason appearances, San Antonio should know what it’s talking about.

Tony Parker had 28 points and seven assists and the Spurs beat the Los Angeles Lakers 102-91 on Wednesday night to take a 2-0 lead in their Western Conference first-round playoff series.

Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard had 16 points each, Manu Ginobili added 13 points and Matt Bonner had 10 for San Antonio, which had lost three straight entering the series.

”I thought we played two pretty good games on the defensive end of the court back-to-back,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. ”That was our goal at the beginning of the season and we did it for most of the year, as I said, until maybe the last three weeks of the season it dissipated. We got it back for these two games.”

Dwight Howard and Steve Blake had 16 points each to lead Los Angeles. Metta World Peace and Pau Gasol added 13 points each, but no other player had more than nine as the Lakers shot 45 percent from the field…

The Spurs shot 51 percent from the field after shooting 38 percent in Game 1. San Antonio was 7 for 14 on 3-pointers, including 5 for 7 in the first half.

Parker had 15 points in the third quarter after going 1 for 6 in the first half. He scored 12 straight points on a series of layups and floating jumpers against Blake. Parker’s run gave the Spurs a 75-65 lead with 3 minutes left in the third…

Howard had heated battles with Bonner and Duncan in the first half. After getting tied up midway through the second quarter, Duncan and Howard walked down the court glaring at each other with Howard jawing at Duncan.

– Reported by the Associated Press

paul george

Indiana had everything covered Wednesday night.

When Atlanta tried to get tough, the Pacers buckled down and got even tougher. When the Hawks tried to run, the Pacers simply slowed them down. And when the Hawks tried to rally, well, the Pacers punched back with Paul George, George Hill or any other open shooter.

The result was the same.

George scored 27 points, his second straight playoff career high, Hill finished with 22 and the Pacers pulled away from the reeling Hawks 113-98 to take their first 2-0 lead in a playoff series since the 2004 Eastern Conference semifinals.

”We naturally just play physical,” George said. ”It wasn’t like ‘Hey, let’s play physical, let’s retaliate.’ That’s just how we play. That’s how we approach the game. We just have to keep playing how we play.”

Indiana made it look easy…

Three days after George posted the second triple-double in the franchise’s NBA postseason history, he put on another brilliant show. The league’s Most Improved Player rebounded from a 3-for-13 shooting effort to go 11 of 21. He finished with eight rebounds, three assists, four steals and turned in another sterling defensive performance as the Pacers won their fourth straight at home over Atlanta…

Roy Hibbert wound up with 15 points and nine rebounds, and Gerald Green came off the bench, made his first three 3s and finished with 15 points. Indiana, which relied primarily on defense to win its first Central Division crown in nine years, has topped the 100-point mark in consecutive playoff games. And the 113 points was the highest postseason total for the Pacers since a 120-87 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2000 NBA Finals…

Atlanta’s top scorer, Josh Smith, played with a sprained right ankle but wound up on the bench with two fouls barely 2 minutes into the game. He spent the rest of the game in foul trouble and finished with 16 points and six rebounds…

Harris led the Hawks with 17 points and Jeff Teague added 16.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook relishes the moments when an opponent challenges him and his Oklahoma City Thunder teammates and it becomes time to respond.

Rookie Patrick Beverley showed a willingness to go toe-to-toe with the Thunder’s All-Star point guard, and the Houston Rockets didn’t back down despite a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter.

Then it was up to Westbrook and the Thunder to come up with an answer.

Westbrook and Kevin Durant each scored 29 points, and Oklahoma City recovered after squandering its big lead to beat Houston 105-102 on Wednesday night and take a 2-0 series lead.

”It’s fun. During this time of the year, as a team we’ve got one goal and we can’t let nobody get in the way,” Westbrook said. ”That’s how I feel and that’s how I want my team to respond as well.”

Durant hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:28 to play after the Rockets had turned a 15-point deficit into a four-point lead, and the Thunder didn’t relinquish the lead. Durant missed a free throw with 1 second left, but Houston was out of timeouts and Carlos Delfino couldn’t connect on a desperation shot at the final buzzer.

”It’s frustrating and it hurts really bad right now,” said Chandler Parsons, who scored 17 points for Houston. ”But you’ve got to take some positives out of it. It’s a long series.” …

Harden ended up with 36 points and 11 rebounds, and Beverley had 16 points, 12 rebounds and six assists for Houston. The Rockets made up for a 40 percent shooting mark with a 57-40 advantage on the boards and a 50-30 scoring edge in the paint, engineering a massive turnaround after getting blown out 120-91 in Game 1…

After finishing second to Tyson Chandler last year’s voting for NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Ibaka was third this year behind Marc Gasol and LeBron James. Ibaka has led the NBA in total blocks the past three seasons.

– Reported by Jeff Latzke of the Associated Press

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