Hawks new GM will be Rick Sund

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Sekou Smith) reports: The Hawks have reached an agreement with former Seattle general manager Rick Sund, who will be announced Wednesday afternoon as the team’s new general manager. The hiring of Sund, 56, wraps up a nearly four-week hiring process the Hawks kept under wraps. Sund, a consultant for the Sonics this past year after being reassigned by a new ownership group in April 2007, will take over for Billy Knight, who resigned after six years with the franchise, the last five as general manager.

NBA playoffs disappear from TV in China

The AP reports: NBA playoff games have mysteriously disappeared from Chinese television. Entertainment programs on Chinese television were suspended last week during a three-day period of mourning for victims of the deadly Sichuan earthquake, including NBA playoff games. When the mourning period ended, the NBA playoffs returned as the state-run national broadcaster CCTV showed the Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs. However, subsequent games have not been shown.

May 27: Lakers 93, Spurs 91

The AP reports: Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from returning to the NBA finals. Bryant had 28 points and 10 rebounds and the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs 93-91 on Tuesday night to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals. It was the Spurs’ first home loss this postseason, and the defending champions face elimination when Game 5 is played in Los Angeles on Thursday. Tim Duncan led the Spurs with 29 points and 17 rebounds. Reserve Brent Barry had 23 points and his last-second 3-point attempt could have given the Spurs the win. He claimed he was fouled on the play by Derek Fisher but there was no call… The Lakers led all game after opening a 22-8 lead. The Spurs got within 81-79 in the fourth quarter, but the Lakers scored seven straight points… The Lakers were up 77-70 heading into the fourth quarter. Barry’s 3 brought the Spurs within 77-75 and his running jumper got them to 79-77… Los Angeles came out with energy and took advantage of sloppy play by the Spurs to lead by as many as 14 points in the first quarter.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Lakers shot 44.7%, the Spurs 40.0%. But the Spurs shot a bit better from three-point range (though under 30%) and hit 24-of-26 free throws, the Lakers 14-of-19. The Lakers had 9 more rebounds, but the Spurs had 5 more assists. And the Lakers had 14 turnovers, the Spurs just 8.

For the Lakers, Bryant (14-of-29) had 28 points, 10 rebounds and just 1 assist. Lamar Odom on just 9 shots (and 8-of-9 free throws) had 16 points and 9 rebounds. Vladimir Radmanovic (5-of-8) scored 11 with 6 rebounds. Pau Gasol (4-of-7) had 10 points, 10 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 blocks. Luke Walton needed 10 shots for 9 points off the bench.

For the Spurs, Tim Duncan shot just 10-of-26 (plus 9-of-11 free throws) for 29 points, 17 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 blocks. Tony Parker (8-of-17, 7-of-7 free throws) scored 23 plus 4 rebounds and 9 assists and just one turnover. Brent Barry (7-of-14, 5-of-12 threes) had 23 points, 5 rebounds and 2 steals in 27 minutes off the bench. Francisco Oberto, Mike Finley, Robert Horry and Ime Udoka did very little. Manu Ginobili in 36 minutes off the bench was lousy, shooting 2-of-8 for 7 points and 7 assists.

Kings exercise option on Geoff Petrie

The Sacramento Kings and Maloof family today exercised the option on President of Basketball Operations Geoff Petrie’s contract for the 2009-10 season.

“We’ve had the privilege of working with Geoff for the past nine years and consider him to be the best general manager in the NBA,” explained Kings owner Joe Maloof. “He’s respected league-wide for his dedication to the game, innovation, scouting and diligence. We look forward to our continued work with Geoff as we bring the Kings back to prominence.”

A two-time NBA Executive of the Year award winner, Petrie has been a key figure behind the success of the Sacramento Kings over the past 14 years.

“I want to thank Joe, Gavin, and the rest of the Maloof family for their ongoing trust, loyalty and support,” said Petrie. “We are all committed to working diligently in the present so as to ensure a more productive, exciting and entertaining future for our fans, players and staff.”

Under Petrie’s direction, the Kings have qualified for the NBA Playoffs in eight of the past 10 campaigns and nine of the past 13 years overall, while winning Pacific Division titles in 2001-02 and 2002-03 and advancing to the 2002 Western Conference Finals. Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, Sacramento joined San Antonio and Dallas as the only teams in the league to register 50-plus wins in each of those years.

When Petrie was named The Sporting News NBA Executive of the Year following the 1998-99 campaign, he became the first person to win both the league’s executive and rookie annual awards. Petrie shared the 1971 NBA Rookie of the Year award with Boston’s Dave Cowens. Following the 2000-01 season, Petrie was named the Sporting News Executive of the Year for a second time.

New president of Canada Basketball is Therese Quigley

The Canadian Press, via the Globe and Mail, reports: Therese Quigley was named president of Canada Basketball on Tuesday, becoming the first woman appointed to the post. Quigley, who is also the athletic director at McMaster University in Hamilton, originally joined the Canada Basketball board of directors in 2006… Joining her on the executive committee is Jacques Miqueu as vice-president. Miqueu, who first joined the board in 2006, has coached basketball and taught physical education for 25 years and was president of the Quebec Basketball Federation prior to joining the Canada Basketball board.

Official pre-draft camp player list

The 2008 NBA pre-draft camp begins tonight (Tuesday, May 27) with some drills, and then features three days of games. It once again is taking place in Orlando, where the weather is around 85-90 degrees and humid.

Here are the pre-draft camp players, with rosters coming tonight.

As usual, the top players aren’t actually going to play. The rest will. But there are always a few last-minute pull-outs of the camp, so we’ll adjust that list if a few guys don’t show up. But the list was released a mere half day before the start of the camp this year, so it’s possible everyone on it actually comes.

InsideHoops.com begins full pre-draft camp coverage this afternoon.

May 26: Pistons 94, Celtics 75

The AP reports: Playing his best game playoff game in perhaps a decade, Antonio McDyess had 21 points and 16 rebounds to lift Detroit to a 94-75 series-evening win over the Boston Celtics on Monday night in Game 4 of the Eastern Conference finals… Boston’s Big Three shot awfully as did most of the Celtics, but the NBA’s top-seeded team stayed competitive for much of the game thanks to a stark disparity in free throws. Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen combined to miss their first seven shots and finished 11-for-38 from the field… Detroit scored the first 10 points of the game and started the second quarter with an 11-2 run, but led just 43-39 at halftime. The Celtics stayed in the game by making 17 of 20 free throws in the first half while Detroit was 5-for-9… The Celtics fell to 1-7 on the road and 0-6 when trailing after three quarters.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Pistons shot 51.4%, the Celtics just 31.8%. Both teams shot 9 threes but barely hit any. The Celtics had 32-of-39 free throws, the Pistons 20-of-26. Boston had a few more rebounds, but the Pistons won the assists category, 27-12. And the Pistons only had 7 turnovers, the Celtics 14. The pistons won the blocks category, 10-3 (Rasheed Wallace 5 blocks).

For the Pistons, McDyess (8-of-14) had 21 points and 16 rebounds. Richard Hamilton (8-of-10) had 20 points and 7 assists. Rasheed Wallace (6-of-9) had 14 points, just 5 rebounds, but 5 blocks. Jason Maxiell (6-of-6) scored 14 off the bench. Chauncey Billups (just 3-of-12) had 10 points, 7 assists and 2 steals.

For the Celtics, Kevin Garnett (just 6-of-16) had 16 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks. Paul Pierce (awful 3-of-14) had 16 points, 8 rebounds and 4 turnovers with just 1 assist. Ray Allen (awful 2-of-8 but 7-of-9 free throws) scored 11 with little else. James Posey on 6 shots had 11 off the bench. Kendrick Perkins (4-of-6) had 10 points and 6 rebounds. Rajon Rondo (awful 2-of-8) had just 4 points and 4 assists.

Conference finals notes

Boston has yet to trail a series in the postseason. The Celtics are 9-1 at home and 1-6 on the road. Los Angeles also has not trailed in a series. The Lakers are 7-0 at home and 3-3 on the road. San Antonio is 7-0 at home in this postseason and has won 13 straight home games overall.

The Spurs held the Lakers, who lead the postseason in scoring at 107.3 points per game, to 83 points in Game 3. Overall, the Spurs are allowing an average of 97.3 points during the postseason, including 91.6 at home.

Boston is allowing the fewest points in the playoffs at 86.4 points per game.

San Antonio’s Tim Duncan, who scored 22 points in Sunday’s Game 3 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, has now scored at least 20 points in 72 postseason games since 2003, the most 20-point games during that period. Detroit’s Richard Hamilton has scored 20-plus points in 70 playoff games since that time. Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki (56) and Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant (53) round out the top four.

In Sunday’s Game 3 win, Duncan had 22 points and 21 rebounds, joining Dwight Howard and Carlos Boozer as the only players with 20-20 games in this postseason.

Manu Ginobili (30 points), Duncan (22) and Tony Parker (20) each scored at least 20 points in the Spurs’ Game 3 win Sunday, the 14th time the trio has scored 20-plus points in the same playoff game. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, all time, Boston’s Larry Bird, Dennis Johnson and Kevin McHale scored at least 20 in the same playoff game 15 times, while Philadelphia’s Wilt Chamberlain, Hal Greer and Chet Walker also did it 14 times.

Hamilton, who has 2,348 career points in the playoffs, broke Isiah Thomas’ franchise record for postseason scoring this year. He scored a game-high 26 points in Boston’s 94-80 win in Game 3 and matched a team record by making all 16 of his free throws.

Rookie Rodney Stuckey is averaging 13 points for Detroit in the conference finals after averaging 9.8 in the semifinals, 5.2 in the first round and 7.6 during the regular season.

Boston’s Rajon Rondo is averaging 11.1 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.76 steals in 32.7 minutes per game during the playoffs. During the regular season, the second-year guard averaged 10.6 points, 4.2 rebounds, 5.1 assists and 1.68 steals in 29.9 minutes per game.

– NBA News

May 25: Spurs 103, Lakers 84

The AP reports: “He is such a competitor,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said after Manu Ginobili scored 30 points to lead the Spurs to a 103-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals… Tim Duncan had 22 points, 21 rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker added 20 points and five assists for the Spurs, who remained unbeaten at home this postseason. Kobe Bryant led the Lakers with 30 points and Pau Gasol scored 15… Lamar Odom struggled all night, finishing 2-of-11 from the field for seven points. But he had six of the Lakers’ 13 assists and 11 rebounds… Up 69-57 entering the fourth, the Spurs opened with a 12-4 run, and Parker’s layup gave them a 20-point lead with a little over 8 minutes to play. Then Bryant did what Bryant does: almost single-handedly pulled his team out of the hole. He hit four 3-pointers over the course of less than 2 1/2 minutes and his last one brought the Lakers within 88-76 with 5 minutes to play… The Lakers struggled in the second quarter—turning the ball over early in the period on a shot-clock violation, missing free throws and shooting 7-of-17 from the field—and the Spurs pulled away.

InsideHoops.com Stat Notes: The Spurs shot 51.4%, the Lakers 42.7%. The Spurs nailed a terrific 10-of-18 three-pointers (Ginobili hit 5 threes), the Lakers a decent 6-of-17. The Spurs hit a decent 17-of-23 free throws, the Lakers an awful 8-of-17. The Lakers had a few more rebounds, but the Spurs had 22 assists, the Lakers just 13. Turnovers were close.

For the Spurs, Ginobili (9-of-15, 5-of-7 threes) had 30 points (and not much else) off the bench. Tim Duncan (8-of-17) had 22 points, 21 rebounds and 5 assists. Tony Parker (9-of-15) had 20 points and 5 assists. Mike Finley scored 8, Francisco Oberto 7, Brent Barry 6 off the bench.

For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant (13-of-23) had 30 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals, but 4 turnovers and one assist. Pau Gasol needed 18 shots for 15 points and not much else. Jordan Farmar (4-of-9, 2-of-3 threes) scored 10 off the bench. Vladimir Radmanovic on 8 shots had 9 points and 9 rebounds. Lamar Odom (awful 2-of-11) had 7 points, 11 rebounds and 6 assists, but 5 turnovers. Derek Fisher and Sasha Vujacic were lousy.