Archive for June 7th, 2013

Larry Bird’s future with the Pacers remains in limbo, his decision on whether to return as team president a mystery even to the man he would replace.

Donnie Walsh, who returned to the role last summer after Bird decided to step away, last talked with Bird shortly before the playoffs began and didn’t learn a thing about his plans. “I told him he should come back, but he didn’t really give me an answer, so I said that’s the last time I was going to ask,” Walsh said Friday. “And it was.”

Bird, the NBA’s Executive of the Year in 2012, has lived in Naples, Fla. and Nashville, Ind. for the past year. He attended a Pacers’ practice early in the season and a game against Cleveland on April 9, but otherwise has been a ghost hovering over the team he mostly built.

He has been rumored to be a candidate to take over the basketball operations of the Sacramento Kings, who are under new ownership.

Reported by Mark Montieth of Pacers.com

Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant is only 24 years old, yet for years already recognized as a top NBA superstar. He’s one of the league’s top scorers, a leader, and his future is bright. The sky is the limit.

And having the opportunity to be the agency that represents him is a big deal.

According to Liz Mullen of Sports Business Journal via Twitter, Durant is “leaving Landmark Sports. Sources expect him to join Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Sports.”

If this happens, landing Durant would be a huge win for Roc Nation Sports, which is just beginning to enter the world of representing NBA athletes.

Jay-Z still owns a sliver of the Brooklyn Nets, and needs to sell his shares before he can start representing NBA players. It’s not yet known when that will happen.

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is funding research into the practice of flopping.

Cuban is paying Southern Methodist University $100,000 to conduct an 18-month study to investigate whether or not video or other motion capture techniques can differentiate flops from genuine player collisions.

“The research findings could conceivably contribute to video reviews of flopping and the subsequent assignment of fines,” SMU biomechanics expert Peter G. Weyand said in a statement.

Cuban wrote on Twitter: “Is it a flop? Let the scientists figure it out . im paying for the research to find out.”

Meanwhile, NBA commissioner David Stern has requested the league to expand its anti-flopping rules.

Reported by the Sports Xchange

dwyane wade

He is playing on basketball’s greatest stage in front of adoring crowds and a global TV audience, but for Dwyane Wade there is little joy to be found at this late stage of a grueling season.

The 31-year-old Miami Heat shooting guard knows all too well the rigors of playoff basketball as he is competing in his third consecutive National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals.

“Playoffs ain’t fun, man. I’m sorry to bust anyone on the outside’s bubble. As a player in the playoffs, you have no joy until it’s over and you won,” Wade, a two-time NBA champion whose Heat trail the best-of-seven Finals 1-0, said on Friday.

“If you don’t win, you have no joy for a while. So for us it’s the grind every day as a team of trying to win the series, trying to win four games in the series.”

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

The Trail Blazers on Friday continued their predraft workouts, evaluating six more players at the practice facility in Tualatin.

The group of prospects included multiple players with NBA bloodlines (Glen Rice, Jr., a 6-foot-5 guard from the D-League and Larry Drew II, a 6-2 guard from UCLA) and another with ties to Oregon (E.J. Singler, a 6-6 forward from Oregon). The rest of the workout included: Ian Clark, a 6-3 guard from Belmont; Ed Daniel, a 6-7 forward from Murray State; and Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-8 forward from Minnesota.

Reported by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian

Chris Bosh

Chris Bosh was 6 for 10 from 2-point range, 0 for 4 from 3-point range, including a miss from long range that would have gotten the Heat within one point with about a minute remaining.

The Heat have no problem with Bosh taking the long shot, though the Spurs were clearly trying to ensure that the likes of LeBron James, Ray Allen and Mike Miller did not have any good looks from 3-point land in the final minutes. Bosh was alone, the shot missed, and the Heat wound up falling in Game 1.

”No mattter what the situation is I have confidence in myself and I know my teammates have confidence in me,” Bosh said. ”Every shot I shoot I expect to go in. Some do, some don’t.”

He’s now shooting 14 for 50 - 28 percent - in his last five games.

Reported by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press

dwyane wade

Miami guard Dwyane Wade said the Heat may have paid the price for their gruelling seven-game series against the Indiana Pacers as the San Antonio Spurs took advantage of late turnovers and missed opportunities to win game one of the Finals 92-88.

The Spurs took care of Memphis in four games in the Western Conference final, a full week before Miami’s game seven against the Pacers and while there is always a debate over ‘rust v rest’ as an advantage, Wade felt the Heat had tired.

“I thought that we were a little fatigued, honestly, in the fourth quarter, looking around,” Wade, who had 18 points, told reporters.

“We looked like a team that came off a seven-game series. I thought we got some shots we wanted but we were a little careless at times as well. We turned it over,” he said.

“We did a great job all game but having five turnovers in the fourth quarter isn’t going to win you a game, especially not in the Finals.

“We’ll be better prepared next time and hopefully make better decisions in the fourth quarter.”

The five Miami turnovers in the final quarter resulted in six points for the Spurs.

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

Tony Parker

Tony Parker led a masterful fourth quarter performance from San Antonio as the Spurs beat the Heat 92-88 in the opening game of the NBA Finals in Miami on Thursday.

The Heat led 72-69 at the end of the third quarter but the defending NBA champions were out-scored 23-16 in the fourth and Parker sealed the victory with a superb late basket as the shot clock expired.

With the Spurs possessing a two-point advantage and on their likely final play of the game, Parker dribbled and wriggled and yet was still faced with the daunting presence of LeBron James in front of him.

With time and space running out, Parker slipped to his knees but managed to leap back up and find the basket with a jump shot from 16 feet (4.8 metres) that put San Antonio four points up with just 5.2 seconds remaining.

“We were very fortunate. It looked like he had lost it two or three times… but he stuck with it,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters.

“He got control of it again and then got it up there on the rim. It was a great effort by Tony,” he said.

Reported by Simon Evans of Reuters

Tim Duncan

The San Antonio Spurs still have that winning NBA Finals formula of good defense and a little luck on offense.

Tim Duncan overcame a slow start to finish with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Tony Parker banked in a desperation jumper on a broken play with 5.2 seconds left and the Spurs withstood LeBron James’ triple-double to beat the Miami Heat 92-88 on Thursday night in a thrilling Game 1.

Parker ended up with 21 points after referees reviewed his shot to make sure it just beat the shot clock, giving San Antonio a four-point edge in the game that was close the whole way.

”We got a little bit lucky in Game 1,” Parker said. ”Sometimes that’s what it takes to win games.”

Playing for the championship for the first time since sweeping James’ Cleveland Cavaliers in 2007 for their fourth title, the Spurs improved to 5-for-5 in Game 1s, hanging around for three quarters and then blowing by the defending champions midway through the fourth.

Manu Ginobili, the third member of San Antonio’s Big Three that has combined for 99 postseason victories together, finished with 13 points, and Danny Green had 12.

”It doesn’t matter how we’re categorized - old, veterans, whatever you call us, we’re in the mix,” the 37-year-old Duncan said.

San Antonio turned up its defense in the fourth quarter, limiting Miami to seven points in the first 8 1/2 minutes in returning to the finals just the way it left - with a victory over James.

James had 18 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists in his second straight NBA Finals triple-double, but he shot only 7 of 16 against some good defense by Kawhi Leonard, and Miami’s offense stalled in the fourth quarter.

Reported by Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press

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