Marcus Smart suspended for striking Matt Bonner

Marcus Smart suspended for striking Matt Bonner

Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart has been suspended one game without pay for hitting San Antonio Spurs center/forward Matt Bonner in the groin, it was announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, which resulted in a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejection for Smart, occurred last night with 8:56 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Celtics’ 101-89 loss to the Spurs at AT&T Center.

Smart will serve his suspension tomorrow when the Celtics host the Detroit Pistons.

To view the play, click on this link.

Paul George may return soon for Pacers

Paul George may return soon for Pacers

The 30-38 Indiana Pacers could receive a big boost in the very near future. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Paul George may return soon for Pacers

The Indiana Pacers are targeting the next week for Paul George’s season debut, multiple sources told ESPN.com.

The team was considering bringing back George as early as Saturday’s home game against the Nets, but after the Pacers fell to the Cavs 95-92 on Friday night, coach Frank Vogel said George would not face Brooklyn.

A Pacers official said the team plans to update George’s status Monday.

The Pacers repeatedly have refrained from publicly putting a timetable on George as he’s progressed in his long recovery from a broken leg suffered in a Team USA intrasquad scrimmage in August.

Lakers sign Jabari Brown to second 10-day contract

The Los Angeles Lakers have signed guard Jabari Brown to a second 10-day contract, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak.

Brown, originally signed to a 10-day contract on March 10, appeared in four games for the Lakers, averaging 7.0 points, 1.3 rebounds, and 1.0 steals in 20.0 minutes per game.

Prior to joining the Lakers, Brown was a member of the Lakers NBA Development League affiliate, the Los Angeles D-Fenders, where he led the D-League in scoring at 24.4 points per game to go along with 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 39 games (25 starts). A 2015 NBA D-League All-Star, Brown tallied two of the highest single-game scoring outputs in the D-League this season, finishing with 50 points on January 10th at Sioux Falls and 48 points on February 28th versus Bakersfield.

The 6’4” rookie out of Missouri averaged 19.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in his final collegiate season in 2013-14 before declaring himself eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft. An Oakland, Calif. native, Brown was in training camp with the Lakers prior to this season before being waived on October 25.

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today they have signed forward Jordan Hamilton for the remainder of the season.

Hamilton appeared in eight games (two starts) for the Clippers averaging 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 0.3 assists in 9.6 minutes.

Hamilton, who was the 40th GATORADE call-up of the 2014-15 season, appeared in 27 games (22 starts) for the Reno Bighorns of the NBA Development League and averaged 18.1 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists in 28.6 minutes.

Originally drafted by the Dallas Mavericks with the 26th overall pick in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft, Hamilton was traded to the Denver Nuggets on Draft Day. He has career averages of 5.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 13.1 minutes over 134 games (17 starts) with the Nuggets, Houston Rockets and Clippers.

The Los Angeles native spent two years at the University of Texas, earning second team All-American by the USBWA following his sophomore season. He averaged 14.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.8 assists for his career at Texas over 70 games.

Bucks: No timetable for return of OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel blog with a health update on the banged-up Bucks:

Bucks: No timetable for return of OJ Mayo, Jared Dudley

It doesn’t sound like key reserves O.J. Mayo and Jared Dudley will be back soon.

Bucks coach Jason Kidd said at Friday’s shootaround that there is “no timetable” for the return of the two players, both sidelined by injuries. Mayo is out with a right hamstring injury and Dudley has a lower back issue.

Mayo and Dudley accompanied the team on its last road trip but were sent home when the Bucks arrived in New Orleans, in an effort to get better treatment for their injuries.

Mayo played 27 minutes against Utah on Feb. 28 but has played very limited minutes in just two games since then. Dudley has been out the last three games after trying to fight through knee and back ailments.

LeBron misses shootaround due to illness

LeBron misses shootaround due to illness

LeBron James is human, people. Like you, he occasionally doesn’t feel well. And can get ill. These things happen, even to LeBron. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

LeBron misses shootaround due to illness

LeBron James missed the Cleveland Cavaliers’ shootaround with illness and is questionable for the team’s home game against the Indiana Pacers on Friday night.

James, who attended the team’s practice on Thursday, last missed a game on Feb. 27, which also was against the Pacers. He has missed 11 games this season — mostly to rest a sore back and wrist — and the Cavs are just 2-9 in those games.

Kevin Durant removed from basketball activities

This is bad news. Bad for Kevin Durant, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the NBA in general. We all want Kevin Durant back in action. But his foot isn’t cooperating with us. Here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

Kevin Durant removed from basketball activities

Kevin Durant is being removed from basketball activities and will be out indefinitely, Thunder general manager Sam Presti announced Friday.

Durant has experienced multiple setbacks from an October surgery to repair a fractured bone in his right foot. He was expected to return to the lineup next week.

“He’s not making the progress that we had hoped and anticipated him making,” Presti said. “He still has some soreness in his foot, and the protocol that’s in place calls for him to be able to compete on the floor without that at this stage.”

Durant underwent a second surgery on Feb. 22 to alleviate persistent swelling, which was said to have stemmed from the screw that was initially placed in his foot pressing against another bone in the foot. In the second surgery, the original screw was replaced with a new screw that didn’t have a head that would push against the other bone.

James Harden drops 50-point game on Nuggets

Even the biggest stars of the Houston Rockets’ past couldn’t outshine James Harden on Thursday night.

Harden scored a career-high 50 points with 10 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a 118-108 win over the Denver Nuggets on a night when the team celebrated the 20th anniversary of the franchise’s back-to-back NBA titles in 1994 and 1995.

Harden got a boost by knowing players such as Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler were watching from the front row.

“That’s a special group right there,” Harden said.

– Associated Press

Joakim Noah frustrated by limit on playing time

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on the Bulls, whose health issues this season have been a major problem:

Joakim Noah frustrated by limit on playing time

Joakim Noah remains on a limit of 32 minutes per game, but he hopes that the restriction imposed before the season by the Chicago Bulls’ front office will be lifted before the postseason.

The restriction, which has been in place all season, returned to the forefront after Sunday’s loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder — a game in which Noah barely played down the stretch. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said he “ran out of minutes” for Noah.

“It’s frustrating,” Noah said, his first public comments since before Friday’s loss to the Charlotte Hornets. “But I think I’m not the only one who’s frustrated sometimes. I think it’s part of the grind. But I’m just trying to stay focused on what’s important: trying to win basketball games. I’m not trying to get caught up in any noise or anything like that. I don’t want to be a distraction. We’ll figure it out internally and do what’s best for the team.”

Timberwolves sign guard Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

The Minnesota Timberwolves today announced the team has signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract. The Timberwolves were granted an NBA hardship exception for a 16th roster spot due to having four players out due to injury.

Kilpatrick, 25, has averaged 13.6 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 42 games this season with Delaware and Santa Cruz of the NBADL. Kilpatrick, 6-4, went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft after a four-year career at the University of Cincinnati. Kilpatrick finished his career with averages of 15.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 140 contests, earning Second-Team All-America honors his senior season. Kilpatrick was signed by the Golden State Warriors on October 20, 2014 and waived on October 24, 2014 after playing with the Philadelphia 76ers on their 2014 NBA Summer League team.

Marcin Gortat fined by NBA for flopping

Marcin Gortat fined by NBA for flopping

Marcin Gortat fined by NBA for flopping

Washington Wizards center Marcin Gortat has been fined $5,000 by the NBA for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules for the second time this season.

The incident occurred with 4:31 remaining in the fourth quarter of Washington’s 88-84 victory over the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, March 18, at EnergySolutions Arena.

To view the play, click on this link.

Knicks team physician Dr. Lisa Callahan named 2014 Physician of the Year

New York Knicks Team Physician Dr. Lisa Callahan has been named the 2014 Physician of the Year, as voted by members of the National Basketball Athletic Trainers Association (NBATA).

The NBATA Physician of the Year Award is an annual honor recognizing an NBA team physician for exceptional service to their respective team, NBA, and NBATA.

“Dr. Callahan has always provided guidance and had an extraordinary rapport with the members of the NBATA,” said Gregg Farnam, NBATA Chairman and Athletic Trainer of the Minnesota Timberwolves. “When our team’s players are in need of medical attention, she has always gone above and beyond what she needs to do to care for them. There is a comfort level in knowing that she is willing and able to assist at anytime.”

Dr. Callahan is currently in her 11th season overseeing the medical staffs of both the Knicks and the WNBA’s Liberty, and in the summer of 2014, was promoted to chief medical officer and senior vice president of player care for MSG Sports, adding the NHL’s New York Rangers, the NBA D-League’s Westchester Knicks and the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack. She was elected secretary/treasurer of the NBA Team Physicians Society in 2013 and is the team physician for the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team.

She is the co-founder and medical director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Center at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, rated the Northeast’s top orthopedic facility for the last 24 consecutive years (and best in the nation for five straight years) by U.S. News and World Report, and in addition, she is the founding director of the Primary Care Sports Medicine Fellowship Program at HSS.

The award will be presented to Dr. Callahan pregame tonight at center court of Madison Square Garden by Farnam and Knicks Head Athletic Trainer Roger Hinds.

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo to 10-day contract

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo to 10-day contract

Knicks sign Ricky Ledo to 10-day contract

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has signed guard Ricky Ledo of the NBA Development League’s Texas Legends to a 10-day contract, marking the 50th overall NBA Development League “Call-Up” this season.

Ledo, 6-7, 195-pounds, averaged 15.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists over 32.8 minutes in 26 games (23 starts) for Texas this season. Over the past two seasons with the Dallas Mavericks, he recorded 20 total points over 44 minutes in 16 games. He was originally selected by Milwaukee in the second round (43rd overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft, following his freshman year at Providence College.

Thabo Sefolosha should return soon for Hawks

The Atlanta Hawks are 53-14 through Tuesday’s games, enjoying an incredible season, and should get deeper any game now. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:

Thabo Sefolosha should return soon for Hawks

Thabo Sefolosha competed in three-on-three work following Hawks shootaround Wednesday, a sign the guard/forward is close to a return from a calf injury.

Sefolosha has missed the past 20 games due to a Grade 3 strain of his right calf suffered against the Trail Blazers on Jan. 30. The original diagnosis called for Sefolosha to miss 6 to 8 weeks.

Last week Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said Sefolosha is “making the progress that we expect.”

Heat sign Michael Beasley for remainder of season

Heat sign Michael Beasley for remainder of season

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have signed forward Michael Beasley for the remainder of the season.

Beasley has appeared in 10 games with the HEAT this season averaging 9.5 points, 3.9 rebounds and 22.9 minutes while shooting 42.4 percent from the field. He has scored in double-figures five times, including a season-high 18 points vs. Sacramento on March 7, and grabbed a season-high nine rebounds at Toronto on March 13.

Beasley, who was signed to a 10-day contract by the HEAT on February 26 and then re-signed to a second 10-day contract on March 8, was originally drafted by Miami in the first round (second overall) in the 2008 NBA Draft. The six-year NBA veteran has appeared in 419 career NBA games (199 starts) averaging 13.2 points, 4.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 24.8 minutes while shooting 45 percent from the field.

Former NBA player Jack Haley dead at 51

Former NBA player Jack Haley dead at 51

Here’s the Orange County Register reporting sad news about a former NBA role player:

Former NBA player Jack Haley dead at 51

Former NBA player Jack Haley, who grew up in Orange County and took up basketball relatively late before playing at UCLA and with the Lakers, died Monday, according to the Orange County Coroner Divison on the Orange County Sheriff’s website. He was 51.

The coroner’s site said Haley died at Los Alamitos Medical Center on Monday afternoon and that there were no signs of foul play.

His family said in a statement released by the Lakers that an autopsy was performed and found heart disease as the cause of death.

Haley grew up in Seal Beach and attended Huntington Beach High before taking up basketball at Golden West College and moving on to UCLA. He then managed to stick around the NBA from 1988 through 1998, even though he played in only 341 games and started only 54.

Road to playoffs about to get tougher for Pacers

Here’s the Indianapolis Star reporting on the Pacers, who have played excellent basketball for a long stretch of time and have their eye on the postseason:

The Indiana Hoosiers aren’t hearing Brad Stevens’ footsteps. The Indiana Pacers are.

It is not only Stevens’ Boston Celtics creeping up on the Pacers, though. Indiana, Boston and Miami are tied for seventh in the Eastern Conference at 30-36. Charlotte, which was to play the Los Angeles Clippers late Tuesday night, was a half-game behind at 29-36.

No more than two of those four — Indiana, Miami, Boston, Charlotte — will make the NBA playoffs.

The once-moderate schedule confronting the Pacers? That’s over…

The combined winning percentage of the Pacers’ remaining opponents is .512. Of the six teams with a realistic shot at the No. 7 and 8 playoff spots, only the Brooklyn Nets (.523) have it tougher. But Brooklyn, which visits the Pacers on Saturday, has 11 home games out of 17 remaining; the Pacers have seven at home, nine on the road.

Serge Ibaka out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

Serge Ibaka out 4-6 weeks after knee surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder forward Serge Ibaka underwent successful arthroscopic surgery today to address right knee soreness, Thunder Executive Vice President and General Manager Sam Presti announced.

“After monitoring the soreness in Serge’s knee and having taken several intermediate steps to assess and manage the discomfort, it was determined that the necessary next step in the evaluation was to see a specialist to discuss options to help alleviate the soreness and swelling he had been experiencing,” said Presti. “During the consultation with Dr. David Altchek, his recommendation, in agreement with Thunder medical personnel, Serge and his representatives, was for Serge to have arthroscopic surgery to remedy the problematic area.”

Ibaka will be out approximately four to six weeks.

According to the Oklahoman, “the team initially treated Ibaka’s discomfort with medication and a modified practice schedule to allow him more time to rest. Ibaka then had his knee drained earlier this month to address what Presti called “roughening underneath his kneecap,” but that process resulted in swelling, stiffness and limited mobility.”

This season, Ibaka has recorded 17 double-doubles, while averaging 14.3 points, 7.8 rebounds, 2.42 blocks and 33.1 minutes in 64 games (all starts).

Greg Monroe out tonight with knee strain

Greg Monroe out tonight with knee strain

Greg Monroe out tonight with knee strain

The Detroit Pistons announced this morning that forward/center Greg Monroe will miss tonight’s game vs. Memphis with a right knee strain. The injury occurred during Monday’s practice and was confirmed following an MRI exam.

Monroe will be re-evaluated on Wednesday to determine his status for Detroit’s game at Philadelphia.

Clippers find Nate Robinson fun to have around

Clippers sign Nate Robinson to second 10-day contract

The Los Angeles Clippers announced today they have signed guard Nate Robinson to a second 10-day contract.

Robinson has appeared in five games for the Clippers, averaging 4.0 points, 1.4 rebounds and 2.0 assists in 14.6 minutes.

A nine-year NBA veteran, the Seattle native has played in 612 career games (106 starts) with averages of 11.1 points, 3.0 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 22.6 minutes with New York, Boston, Oklahoma City, Golden State, Chicago, Denver and Los Angeles.

Originally drafted with the 21st overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft by the Phoenix Suns before being traded to New York on draft day, Robinson is a three-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion (2006, 2009, 2010) and was a key contributor in helping Boston reach the 2010 NBA Finals. He spent three years at the University of Washington where he was a two-time first-team All-Pac-10 performer.

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