Archive for April 9th, 2014

The Charlotte Bobcats have leapfrogged another team, increasing the odds that their return to the playoffs won’t be a token appearance.

The Washington Wizards have dropped a spot and are having issues. Or, as center Marcin Gortat put it: “The way we play right now, we ain’t going to beat anybody, including Milwaukee.”

The Bobcats blew a 20-point, first-half lead to the Wizards on Wednesday night before winning 94-88 in overtime, moving Charlotte into position for the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference.

“To go from basically the worst team going to the six seed, I mean, it shows a lot,” said guard Kemba Walker, who scored the only field goal in overtime for either team.

The win left both teams at 40-38 with four games remaining, but Charlotte won the season series 3-1 and therefore holds the tiebreaker. Both teams want to stay out of seventh or eighth to avoid a first-round series against the two conference powerhouses, the Miami Heat and Indiana Pacers.

– Associated Press

Warriors sign Hilton Armstrong for remainder of season

The Golden State Warriors have signed center Hilton Armstrong for the remainder of the season, the team announced today.

Armstrong, 29, has appeared in 12 games with Golden State this season, averaging 1.3 points and 3.1 rebounds in 5.3 minutes. He originally signed with the Warriors as a free agent on Dec. 11 before being waived on Dec. 29 and subsequently signed a 10-day contract with Golden State on Feb. 22, and a second 10-day contract on March 30.

In addition to his time with Golden State, the 6-11 center has appeared in 32 games (23 starts) with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA Development League this season, averaging 12.0 points, 7.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.75 blocks in 26.2 minutes while hitting 55.9 percent from the field.

Here’s ESPN Los Angeles reporting on the Lakers:

The Los Angeles Lakers have agreed to a multiyear extension with general manager Mitch Kupchak.

The Lakers, in response to an ESPN.com report earlier Tuesday night, confirmed the new deal for Kupchak to reporters late in the fourth quarter of a 145-130 loss to the Houston Rockets.

Kupchak has presided over four NBA championships since succeeding Jerry West as the Lakers general manager in 2000. He has been with the organization since retiring as a player in 1986.

Details of Kupchak’s current contract have never been released, but he had at least another year on his current deal.

Here’s Lakers point guard Steve Nash dishing a pass that became the assist moving Nash above Mark Jackson into 3rd place on the NBA’s all-time total assists list:

Watch video of Nets rookie Mason Plumlee blocking Heat star LeBron James with around four seconds left. The Nets won the game, 88-87. This was huge. LeBron felt he got fouled on the play. Notice Joe Johnson swiping at LeBron before Plumlee’s block.

Here’s the Columbian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers, who have clinched a spot in the NBA playoffs:

“I think everybody is excited about it, but we understand that these three games are really important for us,” said Damian Lillard when asked how things have changed since Portland clinched a playoff spot with Robin Lopez’s arm draped over his shoulders.

Lillard, Lopez, Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum did their media interviews in what was basically giant group-hug in Tualatin.

With a 2-game lead over Golden State for the fifth spot in the Western Conference playoffs, the Blazers would face Houston next. The Rockets are now all but cemented as the No. 4 seed.

Golden State, the team chasing the Blazers, comes to Portland on April 13 with a chance to win the season series tiebreaker should the two teams finish with the same record and pick up a game in the standings.

Lopez said on the Blazers’ mentality: “I think we really want to get these next two. If we win these two, then beat Golden State that puts us in pretty good position.”

The Minnesota Timberwolves aren’t going to make the NBA playoffs, but at least they got to enjoy a win over the league-leading San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night. Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting:

Four months later, under far different circumstances, and in front of a relatively sparse crowd announced at 10,117, the game was finally played.

Tuesday’s game between the Timberwolves and San Antonio at Target Center was originally scheduled for Dec. 4 in Mexico City, an international experience that went sour when a malfunctioning generator filled the arena with smoke, sending both teams home early. So, all these weeks later?

“It was worth the wait,” Wolves coach Rick Adelman said.

Getting contributions from just about everywhere the Wolves put a 110-91 pasting on the Spurs.

Kevin Love and Gorgui Dieng each had double-doubles. From Love, that’s not news. But from Dieng it’s an emerging story that added a chapter Tuesday, when he got the better of Spurs star Tim Duncan (10 points on 4-for-11 shooting).

“I dreamed of playing against those guys,” said Dieng, who didn’t shoot the ball terribly well but scored 12 points and got 15 rebounds. “Tim Duncan, he’s going to be a Hall of Famer. A great player. When I got the chance I didn’t want to let it go. Because you never know when you’ll get a chance again.”

Here’s the Miami Herald with an update on the Heat and D-Wade, whose main focus is to be healthy for the upcoming NBA playoffs, which start Saturday, April 19:

Dwyane Wade misses seventh game in a row as a precaution

Dwyane Wade is close to returning to the court, but was held out of his seventh game in a row on Tuesday as a precaution.

Wade, who injured his hamstring March 26 against Indiana, put in extra hours in the training room and on the court Monday and wanted to play against the Brooklyn Nets, but the Heat’s trainers and coach Erik Spoelstra remained cautious. Wade, who has missed 26 games this season, might return to the court Wednesday in Memphis, but remains doubtful.

“He really pushed it the last two days and came in this morning and really pushed it,” Spoelstra said. “He is making progress and making, actually, significant progress, but he’s just not quite there.

“We’re going to go into it day by day like we usually do. I like the progress he has made. It’s day-to-day.”

Here’s the Miami Herald reporting on some Heat legends:

Tim Hardaway happy for Alonzo Mourning despite Hall of Fame snub

Odds are Tim Hardaway is going to get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame sooner rather than later.

But there’s no doubt the five-time All-Star point guard — now a 47-year-old scout with the Heat — is disappointed he’s not joining the Hall in Springfield, Mass., this August alongside his former teammate Alonzo Mourning.

“I can’t really tell you my initial feelings,” Hardaway said of the Hall of Fame selection process before Tuesday night’s game against the Nets. “But I’m glad Zo got the call and he’s going in. I’m going to be there for him.

“We should have went in together,” Hardaway continued. “But you know, what can I say? I don’t have any control over that. That’s the way it is. “

Hardaway, whose No. 10 is the only other Heat jersey retired and hung up alongside Mourning’s No. 33 inside AmericanAirlines Arena, was joined at the hip with the 6-10, seven-time All-Star center in 1996 by Pat Riley.

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