Archive for April, 2014

Dwight Howard had 22 points and 14 rebounds, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 points and help the Houston Rockets beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-98 on Wednesday night to avoid elimination.

The Trail Blazers lead the first-round series 3-2 entering Game 6 on Friday in Portland.

A basket by Damian Lillard got the Trail Blazers within two points before James Harden stepped back and swished a 3-pointer to make it 103-98 with about three minutes left. The shot brought the crowd, which was clad almost completely in red shirts emblazoned with the words “Clutch City” on them, to its feet.

That started a 12-0 Houston run to close it out. Harden finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Houston finally slowed down LaMarcus Aldridge, limiting him to eight points, after he averaged 35.3 points in the first four games. Wesley Matthews led the Blazers with 27 points and Lillard added 26.

– Associated Press

Mike D’Antoni has resigned as Head Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, it was announced today by Lakers General Manager Mitch Kupchak. Although no timetable has been established, the search for a replacement will begin immediately.

D’Antoni, who was hired by the Lakers to replace Mike Brown on November 12, 2012, had a 67-87 record in his two seasons with the team. He previously was head coach of the Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns and New York Knicks, and has a career record of 455-426.

“Given the circumstances, I don’t know that anybody could have done a better job than Mike did the past two seasons,” said Kupchak. “On behalf of the Lakers, we thank Mike for the work ethic, professionalism and positive attitude that he brought to the team every day. We wish him the best of luck.”

Josh McRoberts has surgery to remove bone spurs from toe

Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts underwent successful surgery today to remove bone spurs from his left big toe. The surgery was performed by foot specialist Dr. Bob Anderson.

McRoberts will not be allowed to do any basketball activities for at least four weeks. His status will be updated as warranted.

On Tuesday, the Grizzlies beat the Thunder 100-99 in overtime to take a 3-2 lead in their first round playoff series. Here are some video highlights of Russell Westbrook and Mike Miller:

Here’s some NBA video footage of John Wall and the Wizards, who on Tuesday eliminated the Bulls in the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs:

Dallas Mavericks’ forward-center DeJuan Blair has been suspended one game without pay for kicking center Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs in the head, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Blair was ejected, occurred with 3:08 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Mavericks’ 93-89 loss to the visiting San Antonio Spurs last night at American Airlines Center. Blair will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Mavericks host the Spurs.

To view the play, click on this link.

Heat eliminate Bobcats from NBA playoffs

lebron james

LeBron James heard the cheers from the crowd as he lay on the court holding his right thigh and writhing in pain.

It only seemed to awaken the four-time league MVP.

James scored 19 of his game-high 31 points after sustaining a thigh bruise early in the third quarter, helping the Miami Heat earn a first-round sweep of the Charlotte Bobcats with a 109-98 victory Monday night. He finished Game 4 10 of 19 from the field and had nine assists.

“It’s definitely sore,” James said. “I’m fortunate we were able to close out tonight and I can give it a little rest.” …

The Bobcats played without Al Jefferson, their leading scorer and rebounder who has been bothered by a foot injury since the first quarter of Game 1.

“If you take away the best offensive player from any team in the league it dramatically changes your team,” Bobcats coach Steve Clifford said.

Kemba Walker picked up the slack, playing tough throughout and finishing with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting…

Charlotte never won a postseason game as the Bobcats in franchise history.

– Associated Press

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has banned Donald Sterling for life from any association with the Clippers or the NBA, it was announced today at a press conference in Manhattan.

Commissioner Silver has also fined Mr. Sterling $2.5 million, the maximum amount allowed under the NBA Constitution. The fine money will be donated to organizations dedicated to anti-discrimination and tolerance efforts that will be jointly selected by the NBA and the Players Association.

As part of the lifetime ban, Mr. Sterling may not attend any NBA games or practices, be present at any Clippers office or facility, or participate in any business or player personnel decisions involving the team. He will also be barred from attending NBA Board of Governors meetings and participating in any other league activity.

Commissioner Silver also announced that he will urge the Board of Governors to exercise its authority to force a sale of the team.

The discipline issued today is based on the Commissioner’s conclusion that Mr. Sterling violated league rules through his expressions of offensive and hurtful views, the impact of which has been widely felt throughout the league.

Dr. Jack Ramsay died today, age 89

His colorful coaching style was matched only by his equally colorful fashion sense on the sidelines. But sadly, the most prolific head coach in Portland Trail Blazers history has passed away, according to family members. Dr. Jack Ramsay, who coached the franchise to its first and only NBA Championship in 1977, lost his battle with cancer during his sleep early today in Naples, Florida. Affectionately called “Dr. Jack” by Trail Blazers fans and all around the NBA, Ramsay was 89.

Ramsay coached the Trail Blazers from 1976-1986, highlighted by defeating the Philadelphia 76ers for the 1977 NBA Title. Overall, Ramsay accumulated a record of 864 wins and 783 losses in 21 years of coaching with four NBA franchises - Philadelphia (1968-72), Buffalo (1972-76), Portland and Indiana (1986-89). His record in 10 seasons at the helm for the Trail Blazers was 453-367 (.552). In 1992, Ramsay was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, along with the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. The Number “77” hangs retired in the rafters of Moda Center in salute to Ramsay.

“The Portland Trail Blazers and indeed the NBA have lost an authentic original in Dr. Jack Ramsay. In leading this franchise to its first NBA Championship, Dr. Jack set a standard of excellence for his players, coaches and all who crossed his path,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “He was that rarest of men with a unique style that was inspirational and motivational about basketball and life itself. We loved him as a coach, as a broadcaster and as a human being.”

“We have lost one of the pivotal figures in the history of our franchise. Dr. Jack not only led this organization to its first NBA Championship, but his indomitable spirit and character impacted the lives of our players, coaches, fans and staff,” said Chris McGowan, President & CEO of the Trail Blazers and Moda Center. “He is – and always will be – the personification of a true Trail Blazer. We will miss him, and so will the world of sports.”

“Few people have made a bigger impact on the Trail Blazers organization, the city of Portland or the game of basketball than Dr. Jack,” said Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Olshey. “As the son of a Naval Veteran myself, I have always valued and admired Dr. Jack’s service in the United States Navy and dedication to our country. In the end, not only have we lost a Trail Blazers great and basketball icon, but in fact a national treasure.”

Ramsay stepped into the broadcast booth in 1990 as a television analyst for the Miami Heat. But his most extensive and best-known span as a broadcaster came as an NBA analyst for ESPN Radio, stretching from 1996-2013.

“I have always had tremendous respect and admiration for Coach Ramsay. He was a great coach, a great person, and a great ambassador of the game of basketball,” said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. “He had a positive influence on many players and coaches throughout the years, including myself. He will be missed and will always be remembered as a true Trail Blazer.”

“I was with him every day he was here in Portland, and I can’t think of a funnier guy on the face of this earth, or someone who had a bigger influence on the way I think about basketball and life in general,” said legendary Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonely. “As far as the game of basketball, he was a genius. He had the great ability to put a group of people together as a TEAM. And that was his great success. He was an outstanding teacher of the game.”

grizzlies statement on michael heisley passing away

The Memphis Grizzlies have issued the following statement today on the passing of former Grizzlies owner Michael Heisley:

“This is a sad day as the entire Grizzlies’ organization, the extended NBA family and the city of Memphis mourn the loss of former Grizzlies owner, Michael Heisley. We send our condolences to the entire Heisley family and want them to know they remain in our thoughts,” said Memphis Grizzlies’ Controlling Owner Robert Pera.

The Grizzlies were purchased by Mr. Heisley in 2000 when the team was located in Vancouver, Canada. Mr. Heisley was instrumental relocating the Grizzlies to Memphis, Tennessee, and to FedExForum, a state-of-the art NBA arena built by the City of Memphis and Shelby County.

Mr. Heisley was also instrumental in getting the Grizzlies active in the community, supporting the National Civil Rights Museum in establishing the annual MLK Day Celebration game, helping form the Memphis Grizzlies Charitable Foundation and building relationships with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital including helping to build the Memphis Grizzlies House, a temporary on-campus residence for families with children being treated at the hospital. Mr. Heisley expressed his continued support for the Grizzlies and the Memphis community after his sale of the team to Robert Pera in 2012, saying, “I have enjoyed my ownership of the Grizzlies and the support for professional basketball in Memphis. I am confident that the franchise will continue its development toward being a perennial championship contender and an important member of the Memphis community.”

The Grizzlies will announce plans to honor Mr. Heisley at a later date.

Here’s the Chicago Sun-Times with an update on Bulls small forward Mike Dunleavy:

Entering Game 4 on Sunday, the odds were that Mike Dunleavy wouldn’t be able to replicate his 35-point performance from Game 3.

Then again, the odds were even worse that he would have a six-point clunker, a major reason the Bulls find themselves down 3-1 in the series after losing 98-89.

Dunleavy’s performance was partly because of a bruised left thumb he suffered when he took a charge Sunday. After the game, he had the hand in a cup of ice, but he said it wouldn’t affect him. He should be ready for Game 5 on Tuesday at the United Center.

“It’s my left [non-shooting] hand, and it’s not going to make a difference for me,” Dunleavy said.

Even with the team’s “X-factor” suspended, the Washington Wizards had a No. 42 sitting next to the bench. The 57-year-old with graying hair couldn’t box out or grab a rebound, but owner Ted Leonsis waved his red towel and egged on a cheering crowd that chanted “Free Nene!”

The Wizards did just fine without the suspended Brazilian forward. They scored the first 14 points and beat the Chicago Bulls 98-89 on Sunday to take a 3-1 lead in the Eastern Conference series.

“I thought it was pretty hilarious that Ted had Nene’s jersey on,” Wizards guard Bradley Beal said. “It kind of threw me off for a minute, but then I looked and seen it was Ted.”

Nene or not, the Wizards did what they’ve done all series: Take a quick lead and force the Bulls to use up energy trying to catch up. It was 15-8 in Game 3, 29-12 in Game 2, 19-13 in Game 1. Washington, seeking to win a playoff series for only the third time since the 1970s, can finish off the Bulls on the road in Game 5 on Tuesday night…

Trevor Ariza, getting some of the early looks that might have gone to Nene, scored a career playoff-high 30 points, making 6 of 10 3-pointers. Beal had 18 points, and John Wall added 15 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who forced 16 turnovers and committed only six.

– Associated Press

Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle Blog reporting on the Golden State Warriors, who took care of business and tied their first-round playoff series with the Los Angeles Clippers Sunday:

For the first time in their best-of-seven, first-round series against the Clippers, the Warriors started a small lineup in Game 4 at Oracle Arena – a move that allowed them to play quicker and with more assertiveness, freed Stephen Curry for offensive openings and tied the series with a with a resounding 118-97 victory.

With the series knotted 2-2 and shifting back to Los Angeles for Tuesday’s Game 5, the Clippers are suddenly the team pressing to make adjustments – a marked change from two days ago, when they appeared to have all of the answers and all of the momentum.

Draymond Green got his second career postseason start and his first this season – bumping David Lee to center and moving Jermaine O’Neal to the bench – and helped the Warriors grab a lead that the held for the game’s final 45 minutes, 54 seconds.

Using mostly a smallball lineup throughout the game, the Warriors’ offense showcased harmonious ball movement to create space for Curry’s game-changing shooting stroke and produced team-wide 55.4 percent shooting and 32 assists on 41 made field goals.

Here’s ESPN New York reporting on Nets forward Paul Pierce, who spent the bulk of his NBA career with the Boston Celtics before becoming a Net:

Jason Kidd feels Paul Pierce gained closure in Boston return

Brooklyn Nets coach Jason Kidd believes that Paul Pierce’s emotional return to Boston on Jan. 26 allowed the future Hall of Fame forward to get some closure, move on and begin really thriving in Brooklyn.

“To go back to Boston, the place you were drafted, I think that probably closed the door on his career there in Boston,” Kidd told reporters Sunday.

Pierce played the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics. The 36-year-old veteran was initially stunned when he was traded by the only franchise he’d ever known.

It took Pierce awhile to get over that.

Charlotte Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan issued the following statement today on the racially-insensitive comments allegedly made in private by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling:

“I look at this from two perspectives – as a current owner and a former player. As an owner, I’m obviously disgusted that a fellow team owner could hold such sickening and offensive views. I’m confident that Adam Silver will make a full investigation and take appropriate action quickly. As a former player, I’m completely outraged. There is no room in the NBA - or anywhere else - for the kind of racism and hatred that Mr. Sterling allegedly expressed. I am appalled that this type of ignorance still exists within our country and at the highest levels of our sport. In a league where the majority of players are African-American, we cannot and must not tolerate discrimination at any level.”

Statement from National Basketball Retired Players Association regarding alleged comments by Donald Sterling:

“While facts are still being confirmed as it pertains to alleged comments made by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, the National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) finds these reported statements deeply troubling. While every American is entitled to due process, offensive comments pertaining to race have no place in our society and certainly not in professional basketball. Our long-term partners, the NBA and National Basketball Players Association, have been amongst the most progressive institutions globally as it relates to fostering diversity and inclusion, and our membership similarly believes that bigotry and hatred must always be combatted.”

The National Basketball Retired Players Association (NBRPA) is comprised of former professional basketball players from the NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA. It is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization with a two-pronged mission to assist former NBA, ABA, Harlem Globetrotters and WNBA players in their transition from the playing court into life after the game, while also positively impacting communities and youth through basketball.

The Fort Wayne Mad Ants defeated the Santa Cruz Warriors 119-113 to secure the 2014 NBA Development League Championship for the first time in team history. The Mad Ants’ Tony Mitchell led all scorers with 32 points, while 2014 NBA D-League Co-Most Valuable Player Ron Howard and teammate Matt Bouldin finished the game with 23 and 20 points, respectively. The Warriors Seth Curry scored a team-high 29 points in defeat.

Fort Wayne led by as many as 20 points in the second half but Santa Cruz wouldn’t fall quietly, capturing the lead for the first time since the first quarter when Mychel Thompson connected on an and-one layup to take a two-point lead, 103-101, with 5:01 to play. The teams knotted in four ties and the lead changed hands twice before the Mad Ants victory was sealed. Howard hit a jumper to take go ahead 113-111 and the team never looked back en route to the six-point championship win. The Mad Ants finished their season with a perfect 6-0 record, having won 17 of their last 20 regular season contests.

Both clubs shot less than 40 percent in a jitter-filled first quarter, eventually scoring 27 apiece to end the frame, the first NBA D-League finals quarter played in Fort Wayne.

Mitchell put the Mad Ants on his back in the second quarter, notching 17 points on eight-of-12 shooting from the field as the home team stretched its lead to as many as 19 points. Santa Cruz’ Cameron Jones kept his Warriors in the game, though, scoring nine of his 13 first half points in the second period. Mitchell scored 17 of Fort Wayne’s 38 second-quarter points and his team outscored Santa Cruz by as many in the second (38-21), shooting 59 percent as a team to the Warriors’ 39 percent. Fort Wayne took a 65-48 lead into the halftime break.

The Warriors cut Fort Wayne’s 20-point third quarter lead to as few as five points, 83-78, as the team embarked on a 13-1 run in the second half of the period. The Mad Ants weathered the storm, though, finishing the third up 11, 91-80. Santa Cruz held Mitchell scoreless in the third and Jones and Seth Curry combined for 18 of the Warriors’ 32 points in the stanza.

Jones scored 28 for the Warriors while Lance Goulbourne chipped in with 20 in the loss.

Andy Roeser, president of the Los Angeles Clippers, today issued the following statement in response to audio recordings recently released by TMZ that contain some racist statements allegedly made by team owner Donald Sterling:

“We have heard the tape on TMZ. We do not know if it is legitimate or it has been altered. We do know that the woman on the tape — who we believe released it to TMZ — is the defendant in a lawsuit brought by the Sterling family alleging that she embezzled more than $1.8 million, who told Mr. Sterling that she would “get even.” Mr. Sterling is emphatic that what is reflected on that recording is not consistent with, nor does it reflect his views, beliefs or feelings. It is the antithesis of who he is, what he believes and how he has lived his life. He feels terrible that such sentiments are being attributed to him and apologizes to anyone who might have been hurt by them. He is also upset and apologizes for sentiments attributed to him about Earvin Johnson. He has long considered Magic a friend and has only the utmost respect and admiration for him–both in terms of who he is and what he has achieved. We are investigating this matter.”

Washington Wizards forward-center Nene has been suspended one game without pay for head-butting and grabbing guard-forward Jimmy Butler of the Chicago Bulls around the neck with both hands and attempting to throw him down, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, in which Nene received two technical fouls and was ejected from the game, occurred with 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Wizards’ 100-97 loss to the visiting Chicago Bulls last night at Verizon Center. Nene will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Wizards host Chicago.

To view video of the play, click on this link.

First NBA Cafe in the world opening in Manila, Philippines

The National Basketball Association (NBA) today announced that the first NBA Cafe in the world will officially open on April 25 in Manila, Philippines, at the SM Aura at Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.

Here’s what the press release says:

NBA Cafe Manila is a first-of-its-kind NBA destination which features a unique dining and entertainment experience that captures the energy and feel of the NBA. Managed and operated locally by Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc., NBA Cafe Manila will feature larger than life NBA displays, unique memorabilia, and basketball-themed accents and fixtures, all complemented with an exciting menu. It is the first sports bar and restaurant in Manila catering specifically to basketball fans where patrons will enjoy quintessential American bar and grill favorites.

“Basketball is the most popular sport in the Philippines and it makes sense that the first NBA Cafe anywhere in the world would open for our passionate fans in Manila,” said Carlo Singson, NBA Country Manager, Philippines. “NBA Cafe Manila is a unique one-stop destination for casual and avid sports fans alike and is another great way for them to experience the NBA first-hand.”

Gordon Hayward of the Utah Jazz and WNBA Legend Tina Thompson will be the featured guests at the grand opening of NBA Cafe Manila. Hayward was selected 9th overall by the Utah Jazz in the 2010 NBA Draft and Thompson was a four-time WNBA champion, nine-time WNBA All-Star, and was the first-ever draft pick in WNBA history. Gordon and Thompson will also be in Manila to participate in the Jr. NBA/Jr. WNBA Philippines 2014 National Training Camp.

NBA Cafe Manila’s menu is inspired by classic American cuisine, offering a wide selection of dishes with an emphasis on nutrition and flavor. Only the finest products and ingredients are used, and the top priority is having the food prepared and served promptly by skilled chefs and servers.

“The concept of NBA Cafe Manila takes all aspects of the NBA into play,” said Nian Rigor, General Manager, NBA Cafe Manila/Haute Couture F&B Concepts, Inc. “From the team visuals to the use of the colors red, white and blue, everything will make our fans feel right at home with the authentic NBA surroundings we’ve recreated. NBA Cafe Manila will be the metro’s default destination for all things sports, all things NBA, providing fans with the ultimate sports, entertainment and dining experience.”

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