Archive for May 14th, 2013

Pacers beat Knicks 93-82 to take 3-1 series lead

The Indiana Pacers finally figured it out.

When given the chance to take command of a playoff series, they can’t give it back. On Tuesday night, they didn’t.

George Hill scored 26 points and Paul George had 18 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, leading the Pacers past the New York Knicks, 93-82 and to within one win of their first conference finals appearance since 2004.

”We wanted it,” George said. ”For us to come out with that edge, still, after being up 2-1 and being on our floor for Game 4, for us to be up and ready and have an edge to play, it just speaks to how focused we are right now.” …

The Pacers were strong defensively again, had another big rebounding advantage (54-36) and never really let the Knicks challenge them in the second half. They can wrap up the series Thursday night in New York.

Desperate New York tried everything to change the script. Nothing worked.

Kenyon Martin played 29 minutes and J.R. Smith logged 31 1/2 despite missing practice Sunday and Monday because they were ill. Guard Iman Shumpert started even with a sore and swollen left knee that had the Knicks so worried they brought an orthopedic doctor to Indy to examine it Tuesday. The doctor determined there was no structural damage.

Amare Stoudemire was called for four fouls in 11-plus minutes in his second game back since March 7 and had only four points and four rebounds.

NBA scoring champion Carmelo Anthony finished with 24 points before fouling out with 2 minutes left in the game. He took only four shots in the fourth quarter and was held without a basket over the final 12 minutes for the second straight game.

Smith, the NBA’s top sixth man, scored 19 points, most coming in a futile attempt to rally his team late.

– Reported by Michael Marot of the Associated Press

Top prep basketball prospect Andrew Wiggins told a small gathering of family and friends at his high school gym Tuesday that he will play at Kansas.

Then the Huntington Prep star signed his letter-of-intent and officially became a Jayhawk. No big speech. No bands, live TV coverage or props.

Just the way Wiggins wanted it.

And just like that, Lawrence, Kan., became more of a focal point for the upcoming college basketball season.

”I’m looking forward to getting there and just doing my thing,” Wiggins said.

The 6-foot-8 Toronto native chose Kansas over Kentucky, North Carolina and Florida State. Wiggins said there wasn’t one particular selling point, taking into account each school’s coaching staff, players and program.

”I just followed my heart,” he said.

– Reported by John Raby of the Associated Press

The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Nate Tibbetts as an assistant coach, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Tibbetts, 35, joins Head Coach Terry Stotts’ staff from the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he served as an assistant coach for the past two seasons.

“Nate is an exceptional addition to our staff and I am very excited to welcome him to the Trail Blazers,” said Stotts. “He possesses a strong work ethic and a passion for coaching. He has been instrumental in developing young players in the D-League and in the NBA. Additionally, his successful head coaching experience in the D-League provides a unique ability, which will complement our current staff.

“Along with the rest of the staff, he will also assist in game plan preparation and execution.”

Prior to joining the Cavaliers, Tibbetts spent two seasons as head coach of the NBA Development League’s Tulsa 66ers. He guided the Oklahoma City Thunder’s D-League affiliate to a 64-41 (.610) record and two trips to the playoffs during his tenure there.

Tibbetts was selected to be the United States head coach in the 2011 Pan American Games, where he led the group of D-League players to a bronze medal, USA’s first medal since 1999.

Tibbetts was a member of the D-League’s Sioux Falls Skyforce coaching staff for four seasons and was promoted to head coach after his first two campaigns. The former University of South Dakota standout was an assistant coach at the University of Sioux Falls from 2001-05.

He joins current assistants Jay Triano, David Vanterpool, Kim Hughes and Dale Osbourne on Portland’s coaching staff.

2012-13 NBA All-Rookie Teams

2012-13 NBA All-Rookie Teams

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, the unanimous selection for the 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year, headlines the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie First Team, the NBA announced today.

Lillard was the lone unanimous First Team selection (58 points, 29 First Team votes), while the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal and the New Orleans Hornets’ Anthony Davis totaled 57 points each, including 28 First Team votes. Rounding out the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie First Team are Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers (50 points, 21 First Team) and Harrison Barnes of the Golden State Warriors (47 points, 18 First Team).

The voting panel consisted of the NBA’s 30 head coaches, who were asked to select five players for the first team and five players for the second team, regardless of position. Coaches were not permitted to vote for players on their own team. Two points were awarded for first team votes and one for second team votes.

Lillard, the sixth overall selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, made a clean sweep of the NBA Rookie of the Month Award in the Western Conference this season. Among first-year players, Lillard ranked first in scoring (19.0 ppg), assists (6.5 apg) and minutes (38.6 mpg). According to NBA.com/Stats, the Trail Blazers had an offensive rating of 105.0 points (per 100 possessions) when Lillard was on the court compared with 93.5 points when he was on the bench.

For the season, Beal averaged 13.9 points to go along with 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists. On the season, he recorded 13 games of 20-plus points and six games with a least four three-pointers made. The overall top selection in the 2012 NBA Draft, Davis excelled after the All-Star break, averaging 15.3 points on .520 shooting from the field and 9.3 rebounds. He posted 11 double-doubles. Overall, Davis averaged 13.5 points, 8.2 rebounds 1.8 blocks and, 1.2 steals in 64 games.

Sporting averages of 14.7 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 1.0 steals in 28.8 minutes per game, Waiters scored in double figures 45 times, including 14 games of 20 points or more. While his 81 regular-season starts ranked second among rookies, (Lillard, 82 games), Barnes helped the Warriors secure a playoff spot by averaging 9.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 25.8 mpg.

The NBA All-Rookie Second Team consists of the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond (35 points, 10 First Team), the Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas (31 points, six First Team), the Charlotte Bobcats’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (29 points, three First Team), the Detroit Pistons’ Kyle Singler (17 points, one First Team), and the Cavaliers’ Tyler Zeller (15 points, three First Team).

Grizzlies assistant coach Barry Hecker left the team during the Western Conference semifinal against the Thunder for what Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said is a “personal matter.”

Hollins said after the team’s shootaround Monday morning that Hecker’s departure is “nothing that’s public consumption.”

Hecker was with the Grizzlies for their Game 2 win in Oklahoma City but was not with the team in Memphis for their Game 3 win Saturday night. Team officials said only that Hecker is no longer with the Grizzlies.

Hecker had been on Hollins’ staff in Memphis the past five seasons.

Reported by Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman

Kobe Bryant auction dispute headed for June trial

Kobe Bryant and an auction house that wants to sell memorabilia from his high school days and early pro career are heading for a trial next month, unless they can work out a deal before then.

U.S. District Judge Renee Bumb on Monday set June 17 as a trial date, but also set a court-guided mediation session for Friday in a case that’s the manifestation of an ugly family dispute that all sides seem to want to resolve quickly.

”Maybe I should have had you bring your witnesses today and we would have tried the case,” Bumb said at a hearing. ”You’re all so ready to go.”

The main reason she didn’t schedule the trial for an earlier date was that Bryant’s father, Joe ”Jellybean” Bryant, said he could not get to a trial sooner because he’s coaching a Thai team in the Asian Basketball League playoffs.

Reported by Geoff Mulvihill of the Associated Press

Iman Shumpert dealing with sore knee

Iman Shumpert dealing with sore knee

The New York Knicks might be without Iman Shumpert for Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal with the Pacers.

The guard has a sore left knee. He did not participate in Tuesday morning’s shootaround after missing practice Sunday and Monday.

Coach Mike Woodson says a team doctor is flying to Indianapolis before the game to examine Shumpert. He was hurt during an awkward, twisting landing in Game 3. This is same knee that was operated on last May for a torn ligament.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Tony Allen

The Grizzlies are proving they know how to grab an advantage and hold onto it this postseason.

Tony Allen scored on a driving layup to open overtime and the Grizzlies held off the Oklahoma City Thunder 103-97 Monday night to push the defending Western Conference champions to the edge of elimination.

The Grizzlies shook off a first half in which they couldn’t hit shots and the Thunder seemingly couldn’t miss in building their largest lead in this series at 17 points. But the Grizzlies have yet to lose on their home court this postseason, and they won their third straight and seventh in eight games to grab a 3-1 lead in the series…

Kevin Durant scored 27 points but missed all five of his shots in the extra period, including a layup in the final seconds. Durant went 2 of 13 in the fourth quarter and overtime and had only five points. The All Star played 48 minutes and was just short on his shots as the game wore on.

Durant got the help from his teammates that he had been needing. Kevin Martin scored 18 points, Serge Ibaka had his best game of the series with 17 points and 14 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson had 15. Nick Collison even added 10.

Mike Conley led Memphis with 24 points and Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph each had double-doubles. Randolph had 23 and 12, while Gasol had 23 and 11 along with six blocks on the day the Defensive Player of Year was named to the NBA’s second All-Defensive team along with Conley, who had four steals.

Allen, who finished with 10 points, had three steals on the day he edged LeBron James for most points for the NBA’s All-Defensive team.

– Reported by Teresa M. Walker of the Associated Press

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