Archive for April 27th, 2013

The Rio Grande Valley Vipers defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 102-91 to capture the 2012-13 NBA Development League Championship for the second time in four seasons. The Vipers were led by D.J. Kennedy’s game-high 27 points to go with seven rebounds and six assists, while Glen Rice, Jr. chipped in 25 points and 13 rebounds.  The Warriors’ Travis Leslie scored a team-high 16 points and added 13 rebounds in defeat.

The Vipers dominated the first half, leading by as many as 17 points as Rice, Jr. and Kennedy combined for 33 of the team’s 56 points heading into the halftime break.  Santa Cruz was led by Jeremy Tyler, who was four-of-five from the floor, scoring 10 points in the second quarter.

The Warriors charged out of the halftime break, outscoring the Vipers 26-17 in the period on the back of eight Travis Leslie points, his first of the game.  Santa Cruz cut the Rio Grande Valley lead to as few as five points, 69-64, with 2:00 minutes to play in the third before settling for a six point deficit at the end of three, 73-67.

Scott Machado scored six points as part of a 12-0 Warriors run in the opening five minutes of the fourth quarter, taking Santa Cruz on his back and leading the team to a one-point disadvantage, 82-81 with 7:31 to play.  The next two minutes of the game were all Vipers, though, with Toure Murry, Tyler Honeycutt and Kennedy connecting on back-to-back-to-back buckets, scoring a quick six points and stretching the Rio Grande Valley’s lead to seven, 88-81, with 5:28 to play in the game.  From there, the teams traded buckets before a Rice three pointer gave his team a 93-88 advantage.  The Vipers never looked back en route to the Championship win.

For Rio Grande Valley, Murry finished with 13 points and Mike Singletary scored 10 in the win, while Machado finished with 15 off the bench for Santa Cruz.

New York Knicks guard J.R. Smith has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and striking the chin of Boston Celtics’ guard Jason Terry, it was announced today by Stu Jackson, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Smith was assessed a Flagrant Foul Two and ejected, occurred with 7:06 remaining in the fourth quarter of New York’s 90-76 win over Boston last night, at the TD Garden.

Smith will serve his suspension tomorrow, Sunday, April 28, when the Knicks face the Celtics at the TD Garden.

The NBA Development League today announced that the Philadelphia 76ers have purchased the right to own and operate an NBA D-League team that will play in Newark, Delaware.  The new team will be the single-affiliate of the 76ers, and will play at the Bob Carpenter Center on the campus of the University of Delaware.  Tipping off for the start of the 2013-14 NBA D-League season, the team will be known as the Delaware 87ers.

“We’re thrilled to work with the 76ers to bring NBA D-League basketball to Newark and the state of Delaware,” said NBA D-League President Dan Reed.  “Having a record 12th NBA team invest in their own NBA D-League team shows our development system for top NBA prospects is working, and highlights the league’s continued growth. We’re very excited to share our world-class brand of basketball, affordable family-friendly entertainment, and community engagement with all Delawareans.”

The name 87ers was chosen for the team in recognition of Delaware being the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution in 1787, and the team will be referred to as the “Sevens,” a nod to the parent club being referred to as the “Sixers.”

“The creation of the Delaware 87ers is an important milestone in our quest to ensure that the Philadelphia 76ers are viewed in all respects to be a world-class and cutting-edge NBA franchise. We believe that the ability to own and operate our own NBA D-League affiliate will strengthen our player development and other team initiatives, and be a tremendous asset to the entire Sixers organization,” said Sixers Managing Owner Josh Harris. He continued, “We are particularly excited that we can situate the team in the welcoming, nearby state of Delaware, especially since there are so many Delawareans who already are avid 76ers fans.”

The 76ers have purchased the rights to operate the former Utah Flash, which has been on hiatus since the end of the 2010-11 NBA D-League season.  The team becomes the 17th NBA D-League team, and the 12th to be singly affiliated with an NBA team.

Of the 12 NBA D-League  teams with single affiliations, the 76ers join five other teams which are fully owned and operated by their NBA parent club, including the Austin Toros (San Antonio Spurs), Canton Charge (Cleveland Cavaliers), Los Angeles D-Fenders (Los Angeles Lakers), Santa Cruz Warriors (Golden State Warriors) and the Tulsa 66ers (Oklahoma City Thunder).  An additional five teams have a hybrid relationship with their NBA parent club, including the Erie BayHawks (New York Knicks), Idaho Stampede (Portland Trail Blazers), Maine Red Claws (Boston Celtics), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Houston Rockets), and Springfield Armor (Brooklyn Nets).  The hybrid partnership gives an NBA team control of the NBA D-League team’s basketball operations while local ownership retains control of the business.  The Texas Legends have a one-to-one relationship with the Dallas Mavericks.

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook underwent successful surgery earlier today to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.

Westbrook will miss the remainder of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. Rehab will begin immediately and a timetable for his return will be determined during the offseason. The surgery was performed at the Stedman Clinic in Vail, CO with Thunder medical personnel present.

“Although we are of course disappointed that Russell will be unable to return to the floor with his teammates this season, the opportunity to repair the meniscus as opposed to remove it was the best possible scenario for Russell’s long term health as a player and person,” said Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti. “Russell’s health and well being are obviously our number one priority through this process and today’s procedure helped solidify our belief that Russell will have many productive years of basketball in his future.”

Westbrook suffered the injury in the second quarter of Game 2 of the First Round of the Western Conference Playoffs. The three-time NBA All-Star averaged 23.2 points (6th in NBA), 7.4 assists (7th), a career-high 5.2 rebounds and 1.77 steals (9th) in 82 games this past season.

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