Archive for November 15th, 2013

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on the Bucks backcourt getting a bit more healthy:

Luke Ridnour

Veteran guard Luke Ridnour participated in the Bucks shootaround Friday morning at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

And if Ridnour has his way, he will be on the court Friday night when Milwaukee (2-5) meets the unbeaten Indiana Pacers (8-0).

Ridnour has not played this season due to a herniated disc in his back, an injury that cropped up just before the Bucks played the season opener in New York on Oct. 30.

His return would be welcome news for the Bucks, who have relied on rookie Nate Wolters for huge minutes at the point guard spot. That’s because 21-year-old point guard Brandon Knight is sidelined again due to a right hamstring injury he suffered in the season opener.

Here’s the Deseret News on a nice surprise the Utah Jazz got to enjoy the other day.

Diante Garrett, a suddenly familiar name in Utah, didn’t hit an unbelievable 3-point shot to beat LeBron James’ team. He didn’t end up celebrating on the scorer’s table at EnergySolutions Arena, either.

He hasn’t quite reached Sundiata Gaines status as a D-League call-up legend.

But the 25-year-old made one heck of a first impression with the Utah Jazz and fans Wednesday night in the team’s 111-105 victory over New Orleans.

“I’m shocked,” Jazz center Enes Kanter admitted. “He came (Tuesday), and then he played (Wednesday). … He played unbelievable. I appreciate him. He stepped up big time and played big.”

And he did it only hours after signing with the Jazz.

Not long after telling media about how he learned of his new opportunity while shopping at Wal-Mart late Monday night, Garrett scored seven points, had five assists and played a key role in Utah’s first win of the 2013-14 season.

Here’s the Sydney Morning Herald reporting on Sam Young signing to play in Australia:

sam young

Former Indiana Pacers forward Sam Young could play for the Sydney Kings as early as their showdown with NBL frontrunners Perth Wildcats in Perth next Sunday – and, judging by high-level league discussions at head office, he could spark a flow of marquee-style imports to Australia from the NBA.

The signing of Young is a massive coup, but things didn’t go to plan on Thursday, with Young’s manager Joel Bell leaking news of the 198-centimetre 28-year-old’s signing with Sydney.

It placed Kings coach Shane Heal in the unenviable position of having to inform one of the Kings imports, point guard Jesse Sanders, that Friday night’s clash with Townsville Crocodiles at the Sydney Entertainment Centre would be his last.

The Indiana Pacers were expected to be good this season, but they’ve exceeded expectations, and look as legit an NBA championship contender as anybody. But as for what they’ve done so far, here’s the Indianapolis Star with some history:

Thirty teams have begun a season 8-0. The 12 that had their streaks snapped in the ninth game averaged 55.5 wins. The over-under on victories for the Pacers this preseason, according to Bovada Sportsbook? 54.5.

“Just taking it in stride,” coach Frank Vogel said.

Eight of the 30 teams won titles and four others reached the Finals. It includes legendary teams such as the 1996-97 Bulls, 2007-08 Celtics and 1987-88 Lakers. But it also includes a 1979-80 Portland team that finished with a losing record and Seattle in 1993-94, which started 10-0, finished 63-19 and was the first No. 1 seed to lose in the first round, getting upset by No. 8 Denver.

Here’s the New York Daily News reporting on some Twitter fun:

JR Smith

J.R. Smith’s latest Twitter fiasco – an apparent threat to harm Detroit Pistons guard Brandon Jennings – had Knicks coach Mike Woodson contemplating a team policy about using social media Thursday and the organization wondering whether the reigning Sixth Man of the Year might be looking at a disciplinary action from the league.

Smith made what appeared to be a threat against Jennings on Wednesday night shortly after the Knicks’ win in Atlanta, where he started instead of coming off the bench. Jennings posted a dispatch on Twitter in which he questioned why Knick Chris Smith – J.R.’s brother – belongs on an NBA roster.

Smith first came to his brother’s defense and then, according to Deadspin.com, posted a tweet that read, “might call some of my Number street homies an put #Detroit on smash for a min! #DeadSerious.”

Asked before Thursday night’s game whether he intended to threaten with that message, Smith said, “No. There’s a way to threaten somebody and that’s not the way to publicly threaten somebody.”

Here’s the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

Rick Carlisle

Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle said that a litany of things could go wrong that can prevent a team from repeating. That list includes injuries, trades, players becoming selfish and management not willing to sign critical free agents.

“It’s just that when you’re the defending champs people are gunning for you,” Carlisle said. “And then you have to fight the letdown of being the champions.

“It’s a lot of the human nature stuff that are inherent in sports, but that’s what makes the world go round.”

In addition to missing out on a successful repeat as a coach with the Mavs, Carlisle also missed a chance with the Boston Celtics. In 1986 Carlisle was with the Celtics when they beat the Rockets in six games to win the championship, but then lost in the ’87 Finals to the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Kevin Love is playing like an upper-level NBA All-Star this season. A player worthy of league MVP consideration. It’s great to watch. Here’s the St. Paul Pioneer Press on some numbers:

Kevin Love

After breaking his hand twice and missing 64 games last season, Kevin Love has come back with a vengeance.

The Timberwolves power forward registered six assists, eight rebounds and 33 points to pace a 124-95 pasting of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday night and became the first player in NBA history with 240 points, 125 rebounds and 45 assists over his team’s first nine games.

Love’s play has elicited comparisons to that of Moses Malone and a few other former stars.

“To be honest, I try not to pay attention to all that,” Love said after practice Thursday. “It’s definitely flattering to hear those names — guys I grew up either watching or studying tape of, or just trying to emulate in my back yard. But more than anything, I’m just excited about winning.”

The Boston Celtics are off to a 4-5 start, which is better than what most expected of the rebuilding squad. Here’s ESPN Boston on a Celtic that’s playing well so far this season.

Jared Sullinger

Hey, Jared, how’s your back?

“I thought people forgot about my surgery; hardly anybody ever talks about it anymore,” replied Boston Celtics forward Jared Sullinger, who underwent season-ending lumbar disk surgery back in February and worked hard to get back on the court for the start of his sophomore campaign.

The reason his surgery has become a mere footnote is because Sullinger is playing so effectively. The 6-foot-9 forward is averaging 11.3 points and 5.1 rebounds over 19.7 minutes per game in seven appearances.

Even as he works to ramp up his conditioning after a surgery that left him inactive for much of the summer, Sullinger has surprised even himself with how well he’s started the year…

According to Synergy Sports data, Sullinger leads the team in post-up chances and production. Over 26 plays in post-up situations, he has averaged 1.077 points per play (that ranks him in the 83rd percentile among all league players). For comparison’s sake, Brandon Bass has 24 post-up plays (second highest on the team), but that’s in nearly twice as many minutes of playing time as Sullinger (Bass is averaging 1 point per play, ranking in the 78th percentile).

Sullinger is trying to give the Celtics a little bit of everything. He has extended his range beyond the 3-point arc with a green light from Stevens to fire away. He’s only 2-for-10 thus far from downtown, having air-balled a shot or two, but he won’t shy away from an open look. His total rebound percentage (15) is below last season’s mark (17.5) but that should rise with more minutes and better conditioning.

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