Early season Pacers notes

The Pacers scored 46 points in the first quarter of the game vs. Denver, Nov. 10, and that was the most the team had ever scored in the first period of an NBA game.

In the game against the Nuggets, the Pacers had three players register double-doubles for the first time this season. In his first start of the season, Troy Murphy led the Pacers with 18 points and added 10 rebounds. Jermaine O’Neal scored 15 points while hauling in a team-best 12 boards and Jamaal Tinsley had 11 points and a season-high tying 10 assists.

In games at Charlotte, Nov. 9, and vs. Denver, Nov. 10, Shawne Williams collected a total of five steals. Those two games were the first of his career with more than one steal.

After starting the season 3-8 from the floor (.375) vs. Washington, Oct. 31, Jeff Foster has shot 13-22 (.591) in the last five games.

Mike Dunleavy has shot 27-50 from the field in the last four games, after shooting 7-17 in each of the season’s first two games.

The Pacers have forced their opponents into an average of 19.83 turnovers per game, which is the highest rate in the league.

Shawne Williams ended the week with double-digit points in consecutive games with 14 at Charlotte, Nov. 9, and a bench-high 12 vs. Denver, Nov. 10. That was the first time this season, and the third time in his career, that he has had 10+ points in two straight games.

Is acting in Dwyane Wade’s future?

D-Wade may get into entertainment, specifically acting and/or producing, in the future. Here’s Sports Business Journal reporting:

The William Morris Agency has signed NBA star Dwyane Wade for marketing work — including representing him in international endorsements surrounding the Beijing Olympics — and for entertainment work, including possibly acting and producing.

“It is a really big deal for us,” said WMA President Dave Wirtschafter, who will head up the team of agents representing Wade at the Hollywood talent agency. “In addition to being a superstar on the court, Dwyane radiates a charisma and accessibility that resonates with audiences across all areas of entertainment.”

Henry Thomas, Wade’s on-the-court agent and head of basketball at sports management and marketing firm CSMG, will continue to represent Wade, and CSMG will work in a partnership with WMA on marketing deals for Wade.

Wade has bigger issues to worry about first, however, Like getting healthy, helping the awful Heat win some games, and getting into Charles Barkley’s Five.

What can you get for Stephon Marbury in Fantasyland?

Upon seeing the story in the Daily News hinting at Marbury’s possible departure from the Knicks, I decided to try to see what I could get for him by using the ESPN Trade Machine

Here are the successful results and the reality:

1 – Marbury to Washington for Antawn Jamison. Marbury gets to play with Gilbert Arenas for two years and that pushes DeShawn Stevenson to the bench while making Andray Blatche the starting power forward. On the Knicks side of the equation, a Marbury departure will make Nate Robinson the starting point guard or push Jamal Crawford there and Quentin Richardson to the starting shooting guard. If they put Jamison into the starting five, it makes him the small forward.

2 – Marbury to Sacramento for Ron Artest and Mike Bibby. Marbury becomes the point guard in Sacramento and Bibby becomes the point guard for the Knicks. As for Artest’s role he becomes the starting small forward and Quentin Richardson becomes the sixth man. Back in Sacramento, Francisco Garcia becomes the starting small forward.

3 – Marbury to Portland for Raef LaFrentz and Darius Miles – That’s a total unrealistic deal for both sides at least I think it. LaFrentz barely plays and Miles is coming back from major knee surgery and a lot of money.

4 – Marbury to Phoenix for Shawn Marion – Another unrealistic trade but if Phoenix ever offered this, I’d do this quickly. Marbury probably in this instance supplants Raja Bell as the shooting guard while Alando Tucker maybe moves to replace Marion. Marion slides over to small forward in New York, Crawford the point and Richardson the two-guard.

5 – Marbury to New Orleans for Peja Stojakovic and Bobby Jackson. Another unlikely one but Marbury gets to be the two-guard alongside Chris Paul. Bobby Jackson becomes the starting point guard, Richardson goes to the bench and Stojakovic starts at small forward

(Note this thing also said I could trade him for Jason Kidd, obviously that’s not happening)

6 – Marbury for Michael Redd and Dan Gadzuric. In theory not a terrible trade but both players have four years remaining. Gadzuric becomes Eddy Curry’s backup while Redd becomes the starting shooting guard and Crawford moves to the point. Marbury becomes Milwaukee’s starting shooting guard.

7 – Marbury for Kobe Bryant. Both players have similar salaries but Bryant has a no-trade clause. Should this happen, both would simply be the starting two-guards.

8 – Marbury for Cuttino Mobley and Corey Maggette – Marbury plays with Sam Cassell while Mobley becomes the starting two-guard and Maggette the three, pushing Crawford to the point and Richardson to the bench.

9 – Marbury for Jermaine O’Neal – The money is similar and so are the years remaining. The Knicks essentially would play with two power forwards alongside Curry while the Pacers use Marbury as the point or in reserve role.

10 – Marbury for Baron Davis – Money is similar and so are the years. Both players become the point guard. Another doubtful trade.

11 – It also says you can get Allen Iverson straight up for Marbury but that is as likely as George Karl and Isiah Thomas having a meal together.

Celtics assign Brandon Wallace to D-League

Boston Celtics General Manager Danny Ainge announced today that the team assigned rookie forward Brandon Wallace to its NBA Development League affiliate, the Utah Flash.

The 6-9 South Carolina native signed with the Celtics as a free agent on July 10 following a stint with the team during the 2007 NBA Summer League, where he averaged 4.2 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 22.4 minutes per game.  Wallace also saw action in three preseason games for the Celtics, averaging 1.2 rebounds in 4.7 minutes per game.

During his final season at the University of South Carolina, Wallace averaged 9.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in 36.5 minutes per game and was an Associated Press All-SEC Honorable Mention.

Wallace, 22, is the fourth NBA player assigned to the D-League this season, and the second assigned to the Flash, along with Kyrylo Fesenko who is on assignment from the Utah Jazz.  He will join the team in Orem, Utah on Tuesday.

Connections and Storylines for a Tuesday

Boston @ Indiana – The last time Boston was 6-0 was way back on November 15, 1987. They reached that point with a 103-98 win at Market Square Arena. Larry Bird scored 11 of his 24 points in the first quarter and the Celtics made 10 of their 13 shots.

But of more recent history is that they’ll be facing the last coach that won a playoff series for the Celtics and that was Jim O’Brien, who in 2003 guided the Celtics to the Eastern Conference semifinals. O’Brien stepped down just as Danny Ainge took over and dealt away players such as Antoine Walker and Eric Williams for the likes of Raef LaFrentz and Ricky Davis.

As for the present, the 5-0 start has seen the Celtics win by an average of 16.6 points – a figure that would be larger if not for a three-point win in Toronto. They have had six quarters in which they have outscored the opponent by double digits.

As for the Pacers, their present three-game losing streak makes that 3-0 start seem like a thing of the past. They were last seen coughing up a 25-point lead and losing 113-106 to the Nuggets and they’ve also seen Danny Granger’s drop as he is 18-of-50 and 0-of-13 from three-point range in his last three contests. The loss to Denver came a night after they blew an eight-point lead and gave up 20-2 run in Charlotte.

Seattle @ Orlando – If the Sonics had been able or wanted to re-sign Rashard Lewis, they might have had a win or two. They take an 0-7 mark into this and have never been 0-8. So what do they plan on doing to combat the losing, especially after coming within four points of the Detroit Pistons Sunday night. I do not know just yet but from someone who saw the game, the Sonics played well enough against teams not named the Pistons. Five of Seattle’s seven losses have been by single digits so maybe the laws of statistics could be in their favor.

As for Orlando, the Magic are 5-2 with Lewis, who is averaging 20.2 points and one of the many long-range shooters that pace a team that has four games with at least 10-pointers. Their defense is far from being perfect as Stan Van Gundy said it was a bunch of things, especially pertaining to the low post the other night in New York when I asked him.

Another thing to expect if you’re defending the Magic is that they will keep shooting. If 10 misfire, they figure the 11th will go in and chances are Dwight Howard will grab a majority of those misses although he might have some problems if Chris Wilcox and Nick Collision are on the court on the same time. They make the Sonics one of eight teams with two players averaging eight rebounds .

Miami @ Charlotte – Now that Miami has won for the first time since April 13, they can begin the season. Taking this back-to-back with Charlotte and Seattle might be very important because a back-to-back with Boston and New Jersey is next. The Heat are the worst team in the league when it comes to scoring at 84.5 points but if they can get the Bobcats to cave into the slow, plodding halfcourt style they can and probably win this. That’s among the things they did in New York in a 75-72 win. They also came back from six down in the final six-plus minutes, holding the Knicks to one basket and no points in the final 2 1/2 minutes. They also have been getting the big time blue collar effort from Udonis Haslem, who resembled many of the players that Pat Riley used to coach in New York with his 16-point, 16 rebound showing. That’s my unscientific analysis of the Heat, here’s some scientific analysis

As for Charlotte, they’ve never been this good this late in a season. Last year it took the Bobcats 14 games to get to four victories, in 2005-06 it was 12 games and in 2004-05 it was also 14. They already have an 90-88 win over Miami and that was a game they nearly lost. But of course like many teams that have yet to consistently win, late-game execution can be a problem like it was in Sunday’s 85-82 loss to Houston. They were up five heading into the fourth and up seven with 6:05 remaining. The teams like the Pistons, Spurs, Suns usually expand that lead to double-digits while the losing or inconsistent teams blow it or make it tough and that’s what happened. They allowed the Rockets to hang in there and they eventually took the lead and the superstar got the call when Tracy McGrady got a call against Gerald Wallace in the waning seconds.

Continue reading “Connections and Storylines for a Tuesday”

Kidd an assists king

NBA News: New Jersey’s Jason Kidd is averaging 10.5 assists, second only to New Orleans’ Chris Paul (11.1 apg). Kidd has ranked in the top five in assists 12 straight seasons, making him one of only two players in NBA history to finish the season ranked in the top five in at least 12 straight campaigns (Bob Cousy finished in the top five in assists 13 straight times from 1950-51 to 1962-63). Kidd has led the league in assists five times.

Several NBA sophomores are stepping up

NBA News: The top three vote-getters in last year’s Rookie of the Year balloting are acquitting themselves quite nicely during the early going of their sophomore campaigns.

Portland’s Brandon Roy, the 2006-07 Rookie of the Year, is pacing the Trail Blazers in scoring (20.7 ppg) and assists (6.0 apg).

Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani has converted 15 of 30 three-point attempts and is averaging 13.4 points to go along with 4.6 rebounds.

Memphis’ Rudy Gay is averaging a team-high 20.6 points, nearly doubling his rookie average (10.8 ppg).

Other notable second-year performers include, but are not limited to: Roy’s teammate LaMarcus Aldridge, who is averaging 19.2 points and 7.7 rebounds; Golden State’s Kelenna Azubuike, who is averaging 18.8 points and shooting .531 from the field; Utah’s Ronnie Brewer, who is shooting .580 from the field, .429 from beyond the arc and .828 from the line in averaging 15.3 points; Cleveland’s Daniel Gibson, who is shooting .528 from three-point land while averaging 12.4 points; and Gay’s teammate Kyle Lowry, who is averaging 10.8 points and 4.4 rebounds.

Rockets defense has been terrific

The Rockets are still dealing the defense this season, holding their opponents to under 40 percent shooting in consecutive games: .381 (32-84 FG) vs. Milwaukee (11/9/07) and .397 (31-78 FG) at Charlotte (11/11/07). Through Nov. 11, Houston ranks third in the NBA in points allowed per game (89.4) and seven in field goal percentage defense (.425). The Rockets have yet to allow more than 88 points in a home game this season.

Houston has now opened the 2007-08 campaign with a mark of 6-1, which stands as the best start to a season since the 1996-97 Rockets began 6-1.

How rare is it to allow less than 80 points and still lose?

The Knicks did something they used to do when they were good and that was allow less than 80 points. How rare is that these days for this defensive deficient team?

It is so rare that is has only happened 16 times since Isiah Thomas took over things on Dec. 22, 2003. Before Sunday’s 75-72 loss, they had won their last 13 games when allowing under 80 points but of that streak went back to a 77-67 loss against San Antonio on January 27, 2004.

So how about the rest of the league?

Boston Celtics – have won their last two when doing so dating a 79-74 loss vs. New Jersey on April 14, 2006.

New Jersey Nets – 13 in a row going back to a 79-67 loss vs. Seattle on 11/17/2004

Philadelphia – five in a row going back to a 77-76 loss vs. Houston on 12/4/2004

Toronto – six in a row going back to a 74-66 loss at Detroit on 4/9/2004

Chicago – lost one 78-72 at Milwaukee on November 3. had won 18 in a row going back to a 77-73 loss on 12/17/2003

Cleveland -22 in a row going back to 75-67 loss at Toronto on 1/7/2004

Detroit – 12 in a row going back to a 79-74 loss vs. New Jersey on 3/26/2006. Before that 23 in row going back to a 75-74 loss to Portland on 12/18/2004

Indiana – three in a row going back to a 78-71 loss vs. Minnesota on 12/23/2006

Milwaukee – 28 in a row going back to a 79-77 loss at Chicago on 4/18/1999

Atlanta – three in a row going back to a 77-75 loss vs. Portland on 11/27/2005

Charlotte – has only done it once

Miami – 14 in a row going back to a 78-77 loss at Detroit on 11/26/2004

Orlando – 16 in a row going back to a 75-68 loss vs. New York on 11/3/2003

Washington – seven in a row going back to a 79-76 loss vs. Indiana on 4/3/2005

Dallas – two in a row going back to a 75-71 loss at Denver on 4/6/2006

Houston – one going back to a 77-72 loss vs. Boston on 2/25/2006

Memphis – 21 in a row going back to a 78-67 loss at San Antonio on 12/15/2003

New Orleans – 1o in a row going back to a 76-67 loss at Denver on 11/29/2004

San Antonio – 28 in a row going back to a 73-67 loss at Houston on 1/15/2005

Denver – seven in a row going back to a 71-60 loss at Indiana on 11/4/2003

Minnesota – 70 in a row going back to a 79-78 loss at Dallas on 11/30/1991

Portland – five in a row going back to a 78-65 loss at New Jersey on 3/15/2006

Seattle – 35 in a row going back to a 79-77 loss at San Antonio on 2/8/2000

Utah – six in a row going back to a 79-70 loss vs. San Antonio on 11/30/2006

Golden State – five in a row going back to a 78-75 loss vs. Portland on 11/3/2004

LA Clippers – one in a row going back to a 77-75 loss at Seattle on 3/1/2007.

LA Lakers – two in a row going back to a 76-74 loss vs. Houston on 12/18/2005. before that 16 in a row going back to a 79-78 loss vs. New York on 4/1/2001

Phoenix – 56 times in a row, have never lost when doing so

Sacramento – 38 times in a row, have never lost since moving to Sacramento

Rockets send Steve Novak to D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that forward Steve Novak has been assigned to the team’s NBDL affiliate, Rio Grande Valley Vipers. Novak was designated an inactive for all six games this season. He is expected to report by Monday, and will remain on the Rockets 15-man roster. In his rookie season with Houston, Novak averaged 1.5 points and 0.7 rebounds in 35 games (one start).