Archive for March 6th, 2014

Gerald Green scored 25 of his career-high 41 points in the third quarter and the Phoenix Suns erased a 16-point deficit to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 128-122 on Thursday night.

Markieff Morris added 24 points, including two free throws with 24.4 seconds to play. Goran Dragic scored 22, including six of the Suns’ final 12 points after Oklahoma City led 118-116.

Russell Westbrook scored a season-high 36 for the Thunder, who would have pulled a half-game ahead of Indiana for the NBA’s best record with a victory. Kevin Durant added 34.

Green’s outburst fell one point shy of a Suns record for most points in a quarter set by Stephon Marbury in 2002. His career-best eight 3-pointers also was one shy of the franchise mark.

– Associated Press

Tim Duncan leads Spurs past Heat

Tim Duncan had 23 points and 11 rebounds, and the San Antonio Spurs never trailed against the Miami Heat, weathering a sluggish third quarter for an intense and emotional 111-87 victory Thursday.

Tony Parker scored 17 points, including 14 in a wild first half, Boris Diaw added 16 and Kawhi Leonard had 11 for San Antonio, which has won five straight.

Chris Bosh had 24 points, LeBron James added 19, Dwyane Wade had 16 and Michael Beasley 11 for Miami.

James, who ditched the protective mask he was wearing early in the first half, was hounded by Leonard into shooting 6 for 18.

– Associated Press

Here’s ESPN.com on Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who marches to the beat of his own drum, as the expression goes:

Gregg Popovich handles timeouts in his own way

Gregg Popovich, famously curt and sarcastic, revealed one of the secrets to the San Antonio Spurs’ success in a moment of candid reflection Tuesday, saying empowering his players to communicate on the court as he does during timeouts is key to getting them to make the right decisions throughout a game.

Popovich, speaking to media before a typically efficient 122-101 rout of the host Cleveland Cavaliers, said he often mines the “competitiveness and the character of the player” in shaping them into confident, productive components of the Spurs’ offense.

“Sometimes in timeouts I’ll say, ‘I’ve got nothing for you. What do you want me to do? We just turned it over six times. Everybody’s holding the ball. What else do you want me to do here? Figure it out,’ ” Popovich said, according to the San Antonio Express-News, not long before the Spurs used 14 3-pointers and a season-high 39 assists to dispatch the Cavs. “And I’ll get up and walk away. Because it’s true. There’s nothing else I can do for them. I can give them some bulls—, and act like I’m a coach or something, but it’s on them.”

Here’s ESPN News Services reporting on explosive scoring guard Nate Robinson, who is good at coming off a bench, scoring in a hurry and creating havok:

Nate Robinson plans to return to Nuggets

Denver Nuggets point guard Nate Robinson, who is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in January, vows that he’ll exercise his player option and return to the team next season.

“Things happen,” Robinson told the Denver Post on Wednesday. “God always has a plan for everybody. So, it’s just another obstacle that I’ve got to hop over and keep pushing. But for me, it’s going push me to continue to work hard.

Nuggets finally end losing streak

Here’s the Denver Post reporting on the Nuggets, who for the moment can hold their heads high once again:

These postgame shindigs had become so nuts-and-bolts, it took until the end for anyone to remember to step back and take a look at the entire forest. The Nuggets had won. There were reasons for that, of course. Many of them.

But the Nuggets had won on Wednesday night, after losing six straight. After not winning at home since Feb. 5. That, in and of itself, no matter how it was accomplished, was a relief.

Nuggets 115, Mavericks 110.

The Pepsi Center crowd could finally exhale.

Finally.

“It’s been a long time,” a relieved Nuggets coach Brian Shaw said. “It feels good. Especially here, where we’ve let down our crowd so many times. It just goes to show that when we have the healthy bodies and we play the way we’re capable of playing, we can play with anybody.”

LeBron, Durant doing big NBA things

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News with a look into the further development of already-great LeBron James:

It speaks to the greatness of LeBron James that, in a season Kevin Durant would otherwise be the runaway candidate for MVP, he’s still worth discussing.

Indeed, after a month in which James averaged 30.8 points, 8.1 rebounds, 6.7 assists and 2.7 steals, punctuated by a career-high 61 points on just 33 shots against Charlotte, the award might not be quite the mortal lock it appeared even a few weeks ago.

A strong likelihood? For sure; Durant has been nothing short of brilliant. But with James enjoying historic efficiency, and the Heat lurking just behind Indiana for the league’s best record entering tonight’s game against the Spurs, it’s no longer a foregone conclusion.

The raw numbers — 27.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.4 assists — are right in line with what James has been putting up for the last decade. But for Durant, he’d be on pace to lead the league in Player Efficiency Rating (30.2) for a seventh straight season, and win shares (12.2) for a sixth. (Only Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain have been as prolific in those categories.)

Shaq wants a new Shaq-Fu video game

Shaq wants a new Shaq-Fu video game

Shaq wants to be back in a video game.

Shaquille O’Neal says he’s seeking redemption for “Shaq Fu,” his infamous fighting game originally released in 1994 that’s now considered to be among the worst games ever made. The four-time NBA champion is launching a crowd-funding campaign to create a “Shaq Fu” follow-up titled “Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.”

In return, backers could receive anything from a pair of autographed size-22 sneakers to a pick-up basketball game and lunch with Shaq, depending on how much they donate.

“The old `Shaq Fu’ was a `ha, ha, ha,’” said O’Neal in a telephone interview this week. “This will not be a `ha, ha, ha.’”

– Associated Press

Here’s ESPN New York summarizing a report that Bulls center Joakim Noah wants Carmelo Anthony in Chicago. It’s way too early in 2014 to take any off-season free agency reports too seriously, but it’s fun to at least consider the possibilities:

Is Carmelo Anthony recruita-Bull?

ESPN’s Chris Broussard reports that Chicago center Joakim Noah tried to sell Carmelo on the idea of joining the Bulls in free agency, citing a source with knowledge of the conversation.

Broussard reports that Noah told Anthony over All-Star weekend, “Look, you could go to Los Angeles but … if you want to win a ring, come to Chicago.”

Anthony didn’t offer any guarantees, Broussard reports.

But he did say that he admires how “hard” Noah and the Bulls play and how “hungry” they are. Anthony also added that Derrick Rose is his son’s favorite player. Read into that what you will.

Kings sign Royce White to 10-day contract

The Sacramento Kings today signed forward Royce White to a 10-day contract, according to Kings General Manager Pete D’Alessandro. White has been assigned to the Kings D-League affiliate Reno Bighorns.

White has a serious issue with anxiety and a major fear of flying. His pro career has been a severe struggle. It’s a surprise that another NBA team is giving him a chance, even just on a 10-day deal. Hopefully he can step up and put himself back on the basketball map.

White was originally selected by the Houston Rockets in the first round (16th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft. Assigned to Houston’s D-League affiliate, the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, White averaged 11.4 points (.444 FG%, .659 FT%), 5.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 25.5 minutes per game in 16 contests (started 8).

On July 13, 2013, the Rockets traded White, the rights to center/forward Furkan Aldemir (four-KAHN ahl-DEE-meer) and additional consideration to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for future draft considerations. White was waived by the 76ers on October 25, 2013.

Thunder sign Reggie Williams to 10-day contract

The Oklahoma City Thunder has signed forward Reggie Williams to a 10-day contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti.

In 20 games this season with the Tulsa 66ers, Williams averaged 20.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.55 steals in 37.3 minutes per game.

This past week, Williams was named the D-League Performer of the Week for games played Feb. 24 – Mar. 3 after helping lead Tulsa to a 3-0 week while averaging 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.3 assists and 2.3 steals during this span.

Williams has appeared in 177 NBA games (32 starts) and recorded career averages of 8.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 20.0 minutes per game as a member of the Golden State Warriors and Charlotte Bobcats.

The signing of Williams represents the 31st D-League Gatorade Call-Up this season and the sixth Call-Up all-time between the 66ers and the Thunder.

Williams is expected to join the Thunder prior to tonight’s game versus the Suns in Phoenix, AZ.

The Thunder roster now stands at 15.

The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Jorge Gutierrez to a 10-day contract, General Manager Billy King announced today.

Gutierrez (6-3, 195) joins the Nets from the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League, where he has appeared in 35 games (all starts) this season, averaging 13.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.9 assists (tied for third in the D-League) and 1.2 steals in 32.7 minutes per game. Prior to the 2013-14 NBA season, Gutierrez was signed to the Nets’ training camp roster, where he appeared in five preseason games, averaging 1.8 points and 3.0 rebounds per game, before being waived on October 26.

After going undrafted in the 2012 NBA Draft, Gutierrez spent last season with the Charge and was named to the NBA D-League’s All-Defensive First Team and All-Rookie First Team. A four-year player at the University of California, Gutierrez was named Pac-12 Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year following his senior season.

A native of Chihuahua, Mexico, Gutierrez will wear #13 for Brooklyn.

Al Jefferson had a pretty good inkling it was Charlotte’s night when he banked in a 31-footer from well beyond the top of the key to beat the shot clock midway through the fourth quarter.

“I didn’t call the bank, but I trusted my right hand,” Jefferson said with a laugh.

Jefferson scored 34 points and the Bobcats stunned NBA-leading Indiana 109-87 Wednesday night, handing the Pacers just their second two-game skid of the season. Jefferson was 16 of 25 from the field and had eight rebounds for the Bobcats (28-33), who won their fifth straight at home to equal their combined win total from the previous two seasons.

“I’m not accepting that we’re a team that guys look at on the schedule anymore and say, ‘OK, we have the Bobcats (so) we can take the night off.” Jefferson said.

– Associated Press

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