Archive for May 7th, 2013

Phoenix Suns hire Ryan McDonough as general manger

The Phoenix Suns have named Ryan McDonough the team’s general manager, it was announced today.  He will be introduced in a press conference on Thursday, May 9, at US Airways Center.

“Ryan distinguished himself among an impressive group of candidates for our GM position,” said Suns President of Basketball Operations Lon Babby.  “His natural leadership and communication skills will serve the Suns well. And, his prodigious work ethic and ability to identify talent will enable us to take full advantage of the 10 draft choices, including six in the first round, that we have over the next three years.  We welcome his championship pedigree to our organization.”

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, “Also among the finalists were Bucks assistant general manager Jeff Weltman and San Antonio Spurs assistant general manager Scott Layden. Weltman also was a finalist for the Suns position three years ago when Lance Blanks was hired as general manager.”

The 33-year-old McDonough is considered one of the game’s brightest young minds, who combines a tireless work ethic with an expertise in player evaluation honed over the past 10 years at virtually every level of an NBA franchise’s basketball operations.

McDonough joins the Suns after most recently serving the past three seasons as the assistant general manager of the Boston Celtics, where he assisted Celtics President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge on all basketball-related matters, while being principally responsible for the draft evaluation of college and international players.  He combines the experience of nearly a decade of in-person scouting of prospects across the globe with an understanding of advanced metrics and statistical analysis.  During his tenure with the Celtics, Boston made two appearances in the NBA Finals, and claimed the 2008 title.

McDonough joined the Celtics front office in 2003 as a 23-year-old special assistant to basketball operations, rapidly moving up the team’s ranks with increased responsibility at each stop, always with an emphasis in talent evaluation.  He spent four seasons as a special assistant, a role that included a great deal of video scouting work (2003-07), one season as director of amateur scouting (2007-08), one season as director of international scouting (2008-09), and two seasons as director of player personnel (2008-10) before his promotion to assistant general manager in Sept. 2010.

McDonough played a prominent role in the front office of a club that has kept a veteran-led roster in the playoffs the last six consecutive seasons thanks to an infusion of young talent acquired through quality late first-round draft picks and trades.  Included in that list are the draft-day acquisition of four-time All-Star Rajon Rondo in 2006, and the 2010 selection of Avery Bradley, who was one of the NBA’s most improved players in 2012-13.

A graduate of the University of North Carolina with a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, McDonough grew up in Hingham, Mass., the son of the late renowned Boston Globe columnist Will McDonough, and the brother of ESPN broadcaster Sean and NFL player personnel executive Terry.

Doc Rivers

Ainge seemed a bit surprised yesterday that the Boston future of his coach, who has three years remaining on his contract, is in question.

“From all I know, Doc will be back,” Ainge said.

He added that he’s yet to speak with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett about their plans and desires.

Rivers may have been speaking at a raw time several minutes after the Game  6 elimination to the Knicks, but he invited the questions about next year with his straightforward answer about coming back.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, I don’t know that right now. I can’t make that decision now. I’m under contract, and we’ll see. I mean, honestly, I just can’t even think about that right now, so I don’t know.”

Asked if he would think about it, Rivers replied, “Yeah. I do every year. I do every year. You know, it’s not anything. I’m not leaning that way of not coming back, I can tell you that. But like I just said, I immerse myself and I need to just detox, and we’ll find that out.”

– Reported by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald

Jason Kidd

In his last 137 minutes played, Jason Kidd hasn’t scored. The last time he found the bottom of the net was in Game 2 against the Celtics, when he hit a 3-pointer late in the first quarter.

In Game 1 against the Pacers, Kidd went scoreless for the fifth straight game. In the past, Kidd’s points would mostly come from 3-pointers, but because the Celtics and now Pacers have used their skilled size to guard Carmelo Anthony more straight-up (less double teams), that’s eliminated some of the Knicks’ downtown looks.

But Mike Woodson isn’t concerned about Kidd’s offense.

“Jason [Kidd] is going to be there when it counts,” he said. “We haven’t played him a lot of big minutes. … We’re trying to mix and match the best we can.”

Kidd said he’s not going to change anything.

“I’m going to play the game the right away,” he said. “If a shot presents itself, I’ll take it, and if it doesn’t, I’m going to try to find one of my teammates a shot.”

– Reported by Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York

Carmelo Anthony

Mike Woodson isn’t changing his lineup, Carmelo Anthony will keep shooting and the Knicks say they will start redeeming tonight.

The Knicks face a genuine must-win Game 2 against the Pacers, who took Game 1 of the second-round series, 102-95, Sunday at the Garden. A loss would put them down 0-2 heading to Indiana, where the Pacers beat the Knicks both times in the regular season.

“We don’t want to do that,” Anthony said after yesterday’s practice. “We want to take care of business on our floor. We felt we gave them a game, which we did. We’ll redeem ourselves [tonight].”

History is against the Knicks, who are 0-5 in playoff series in which they drop the first game at home.

“It’s very critical,’’ Woodson said. “We can’t go back to Indiana down 0-2. We got to do everything we can do to win the game.”

– Reported by Marc Berman of the New York Post

Derek Fisher

Oklahoma City’s Derek Fisher was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Monday for flopping in Game 5 of the Thunder’s first-round playoff series against the Rockets.

Fisher’s fine was the result of a play in the second quarter when both he and teammate Kevin Martin fell backward onto the floor to take a charge against center Omer Asik. Asik was called for an offensive foul on the play.

Fisher became the second player to be fined under the NBA’s new rules against flopping in the postseason. Indiana’s Jeff Pendergraph was fined on Sunday.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Luol Deng

Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich missed their third and fourth games, respectively, and their availability for Wednesday’s Game 2 remains in jeopardy.

Deng, who suffered serious complications from a spinal tap to test for viral meningitis, stayed in Chicago on Monday, but coach Tom Thibodeau said the All-Star forward might fly to Miami on Tuesday.

Deng originally was scheduled to travel Sunday but opted not to after returning to Rush University Medical Center for an MRI, two sources said. The MRI was performed to check how effectively a “blood patch” used to stop leaking spinal fluid addressed Deng’s symptoms, which included intense migraine headaches and disorientation.

Though Deng tested negative for viral meningitis, he exhibited enough symptoms and concerns to warrant the spinal tap, a source familiar with the situation said. Though the situation is fluid, it’s possible Deng will miss Game 2 with the hope he can return to action in either Game 3 or 4 at the United Center. Those games aren’t guaranteed, either.

– Reported by K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune

Manu Ginobili

Manu Ginobili’s play in the final 50 seconds was almost too much for Gregg Popovich to handle. Then again, the Spurs’ coach is used to his veteran guard’s free-wheeling style.

Ginobili’s 3-pointer from the wing with 1.2 seconds left in double overtime lifted the San Antonio Spurs to a thrilling 129-127 victory Monday night over the Golden State Warriors and Stephen Curry, who had 44 points in the opener of the Western Conference semifinals.

The game-winning shot came 43.7 seconds after Ginobili took an ill-advised 3 that appeared to cost the Spurs the game.

”I went from wanting to trade him on the spot to wanting to cook breakfast for him tomorrow morning,” Popovich said. ”That’s the truth. When I talk to him and say, ‘Manu,’ he goes, ‘This is what I do.’ That’s what he’s going to tell me. I stopped coaching him a long time ago.”

Ginobili’s 3 capped an improbable comeback for the Spurs, who trailed by 16 points with 4 minutes left in regulation before going on an 18-2 run to close the fourth quarter and force overtime…

Tony Parker scored 28 points to lead San Antonio while Danny Green added 22 points, Leonard had 18 and Ginobili 16.

Tim Duncan finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes. Duncan, who is battling a stomach bug, left the game with 3 minutes left in regulation and only played the final seconds of each overtime.

”He’s had the flu,” Popovich said. ”He’s been sick and he gave it a shot. It became pretty apparent there that he wasn’t going to tell me the truth anymore, so I had to pull the plug myself.”

Curry had 11 assists and was 18 for 35 from the field and 6 for 14 on 3-pointers for Golden State, which has lost 30 straight in San Antonio dating back to Feb. 14, 1997.

Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes each added 19 points, Jarrett Jack had 15 and Andrew Bogut had 10 points and 15 rebounds.

– Reported by Raul Dominguez of the Associated Press

nate robinson

Nate Robinson was spitting blood in the first half, then delivered the deepest cuts of the night in the final moments. And the Chicago Bulls reminded the Miami Heat that no one in the NBA plays them any tougher.

Yes, the streakbusters struck again.

Robinson scored 27 points, Jimmy Butler added 21 points and a career-high-tying 14 rebounds, and the Bulls beat Miami 93-86 on Monday night in Game 1 of the teams’ Eastern Conference semifinal series. The team that snapped Miami’s 27-game winning streak in the regular season - the second-longest in NBA history - found a way to topple the champs again, this time ending a run of 12 straight Heat victories overall.

”I’ve played on some tough teams,” Robinson said. ”But this one, there’s something a little different, something special about this group.”

A seven-point deficit midway through the fourth wasn’t enough to doom the Bulls, who finished the game on a 10-0 run in the final 1:59. And to think, the Bulls weren’t anywhere near full strength. Kirk Hinrich was out again with a calf injury. Luol Deng isn’t even expected to rejoin the team until Tuesday, after dealing with an illness apparently so severe that a spinal tap - and other tests since - were needed to rule out things like meningitis…

LeBron James got his MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then struggled to a two-point first half before finishing with 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists for Miami. Dwyane Wade added 14 for the Heat, who had no one else in double figures, finished shooting 40 percent from the floor and were outrebounded 46-32…

Joakim Noah scored 13 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for the Bulls, who got 12 from Taj Gibson and 10 from Marco Belinelli. Game 2 is Wednesday night in Miami…

Wade dove into the second row of seats to save an errant ball, and grimaced after appearing to hit his sore right knee. ”I wish somebody would have grabbed me. That would have been kind of nice, especially at home,” Wade said.

– Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

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