Saturday, March 31, 2012

NBA: Nowitzki drains jumper to edge Mavs past Magic

Dirk Nowitzki

Dirk Nowitzki banked in a jumper with 5.9 seconds left and scored a game-high 28 points to lead the Dallas Mavericks past the Orlando Magic 100-98 on Friday night.

Jameer Nelson scored 24 points to lead the Magic. Ryan Anderson added 21, while Dwight Howard finished with 19 points and 15 rebounds.

The Mavericks trailed by 15 points in the third quarter before rallying in the final period, aided by a plethora of turnovers by the Magic. Jason Terry had 10 points in the quarter and 17 in the game. Delonte West and Shawn Marion each added 15.

Orlando had 16 turnovers, which led to 20 points for the Mavericks. The Magic lost to Dallas for the sixth straight time at home.

HEAT 113, RAPTORS 101 
In Toronto, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh scored 30 points each as the Miami Heat beat Toronto, marking their seventh straight win over the Raptors.

Wade scored a game high 30 points, but said he played with a "heavy heart" after learning his adult nephew had been one of six men shot during a shooting spree in Chicago’s South side on Thursday.

LeBron James had 26 points and nine assists, while Mario Chalmers added 14 points as the Heat won for the second time in two nights after beating Dallas at home on Thursday.

DeMar DeRozan scored 28 points and Andrea Bargnani had 27 for Toronto. Amir Johnson had 12 points and 12 rebounds, while Jose Calderon had 16 assists, one shy of his season high, but the Raptors lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Miami came in having lost six of eight away from home, but improved to 16-11 away from American Airlines Arena.

In Los Angeles, Chris Paul made a driving layup with 5 seconds to go, lifting Los Angeles past Portland for their season high-tying fourth straight victory.

The Clippers trailed by two when Paul got the ball to Randy Foye, who hit a three-pointer with 47 seconds left to put the Clippers ahead 96-95. Jamal Crawford responded with a 22-footer and Portland led by one with 13 seconds left.

Paul dribbled around before driving to the basket for the winner. Wesley Matthews missed a jumper in the waning seconds for the visitors.

Paul, Blake Griffin and Randy Foye led six Clippers in double figures with 20 points each.

J.J. Hickson led the Blazers with a season-high 29 points and 13 rebounds.

WIZARDS 97, 76ERS 76 
In Washington, Cartier Martin tied a career-high with 20 points in his second game under a 10-day contract, as Washington built a big lead and held on to it for a change, breaking a five-game losing streak.

The loss knocked Philadelphia out of first place in the Atlantic Division, putting them one game behind Boston. The 76ers began the day tied with the Celtics, who beat Minnesota.

The Wizards had blown double-digit leads in their past three home games, but this time they did not let up.

Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young scored 14 apiece for the 76ers, who have lost six of nine.

In Minneapolis, Minnesota, Kevin Garnett had 24 points, 10 rebounds and four assists in his return to Target Center as Boston outmuscled Kevin Love and Minnesota.

Paul Pierce had 21 points and nine rebounds, while Rajon Rondo had 17 assists for the Celtics, who have won four in a row and six of their past seven.

Love had 22 points and 11 rebounds, but succumbed to Garnett’s physical defense in a battle between the face of the Timberwolves past and present.

Luke Ridnour had 15 points and eight assists, but the Wolves turned the ball over 21 times to see their playoff hopes take a hit. They entered two-and-a-half games out of the eighth spot in the West.

In other games, it was:

‧ Bucks 121, Cavaliers 84

‧ Nuggets 99, Bobcats 88

‧ Rockets 98, Grizzlies 89
‧ Bulls 83, Pistons 71
‧ Kings 104, Jazz 103
‧ Nets 102, Warriors 100


NBA Rumors: Steve Nash Would Ensure Miami Heat Dynasty

Even at 38 years old, Steve Nash remains one of the best point guards in the NBA. The Miami Heat are still desperately seeking a point guard who can ease the burden on LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.

While it would take a lot to actually get a deal done, Nash did not dismiss the idea when asked about it during an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday.

He said that if James were to call and ask him about coming to South Beach, he would "listen":
I love what they are doing there. Obviously, a lot of people don't like them because they put all that talent together. But they're professional, they play hard, they play together, and the coaching staff has done a great job.
It's not like Nash is saying that he is going to run to South Beach after the season is over, but the allure of winning will probably control where he plays next season.

There was some talk of Nash being traded before the deadline this year, because the Phoenix Suns are not going to the postseason. They are entering a rebuilding phase, and Nash is in the final year of his contract.

Nothing ever came of those rumors, but this offseason Nash will have a big decision to make. The Suns would love to have him back, obviously, but he will likely not be competing for a title with them anytime soon.

Bringing Nash to the Heat would not only make them even bigger title favorites than they have been for the last two years, but he would all but guarantee that they would become the next great dynasty in the NBA.

James and Wade need the ball to be effective, as does Nash, so it could be a big cluster that might turn some people off. But Nash would actually open up the offense more than it has been.

Nash wants to be a table-setter. He is going to put them in the best position possible to put the ball in the hoop. That will save their legs when they get to the postseason, which will make them more lethal.

Nash would have to take a major pay cut to play with the Heat. According to ESPN, they only have about $3 million to spend on free agents. That will likely be as much of a factor as winning in any decision Nash makes.

The Heat should pursue Nash as hard as they can and hope that he will take the bait, because the possibilities with him in Miami are endless.


NBA: Distraught Wade leads Heat over Raptors

Dwyane Wade

Dwyane Wade led the Miami Heat to a 113-101 win over the Toronto Raptors on Friday but admitted played with a "heavy heart" after learning his adult nephew had been among those injured in Chicago shooting spree.

Wade scored a game high 30 points in the Heat's 113-101 win over the Toronto Raptors but was understandably preoccupied with the fate of his unnamed nephew, one of six men shot in the incident in Chicago's South side on Thursday.

"I played with a heavy heart," Wade, 30, told reporters, adding he learned of the shooting following the Heat's home win over the Dallas Mavericks late on Thursday. "I played for him, with him in mind. He's my nephew, I was nine years old when he was born."

"A lot of thoughts go through your mind. My prayers go out to all families involved, especially the ones who lost a child. It's tough."

The Chicago shooting spree follows a more high profile shooting involving Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black Florida teen who was shot dead last month by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman.

The shooting has sparked rallies and protests across the United States and Wade helped put the spotlight on the incident by posting a picture of himself on social media wearing a "hoodie" similar to the one Martin was wearing when he was shot.

Wade's Heat teammates, including LeBron James, also posed together for a photo wearing "hoodies" with their heads bowed.

Eight-time NBA All-Star Wade grew up in Chicago and has established Wade's World Foundation to help curb violence in the city's notorious South Side.

"It's very concerning. A lot of the work I do in Chicago is about this and to have a family member be involved is sad," said Wade.

"It hurts your heart to think about, not only your family but other families going through it. I'm just glad he's fine and hope he recovers."

"It's troubling, it's why not only me but others try to do what we can that we can make a change."

"I remember marching over there a couple of years ago for my foundation with many kids in the community to stop the violence. When it hits home it really hits you hard." — Reuters


NBA Teams

Boston Celtics

Dallas Mavericks

New Jersey Nets
Houston Rockets

New York Knicks

Memphis Grizzlies

Philadelphia 76ers

New Orleans Hornets

Toronto Raptors
San Antonio Spurs

Chicago Bulls
Denver Nuggets

Cleveland Cavaliers

Minnesota Timberwolves

Detroit Pistons
Portland Trail Blazers

Indiana Pacers

Oklahoma City Thunder

Milwaukee Bucks

Utah Jazz


Atlanta Hawks

Golden State Warriors

Charlotte Bobcats
Los Angeles Clippers

Miami Heat
Los Angeles Lakers

Orlando Magic

Phoenix Suns

Washington Wizards
Sacramento Kings

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Blazers' Aldridge out with sprained left elbow

LaMarcus Aldridge

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- LaMarcus Aldridge won't play for the Portland Trail Blazers against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday night because the All-Star forward has a sprained left elbow.

Blazers interim coach Kaleb Canales says Aldridge hurt himself in a 99-93 win over New Orleans on Thursday night and is day-to-day.

Aldridge is averaging 21.4 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Blazers. J.J. Hickson was set to start in Aldridge's place.


Rose remains sidelined for Bulls

Derrick Rose

CHICAGO (AP) -- Bulls star Derrick Rose remained sidelined by a right groin injury and was not available for Friday's game against the Detroit Pistons.

The league's reigning MVP has missed nine straight games.

The Bulls' Richard Hamilton was in uniform but not in the starting lineup against his former team after missing the previous 12 games because of a sprained right shoulder. The veteran guard has been sidelined by a variety of injuries this season - his first in Chicago after spending nine in Detroit.

The Pistons were hardly a picture of health, with Austin Daye starting at shooting guard over the injured Rodney Stuckey (sore left hamstring) and Ben Gordon (sore right groin). Coach Lawrence Frank says they're day to day.


Allen misses fifth straight game for Boston

Ray Allen

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Boston Celtics guard Ray Allen is out for the fifth game in a row with a sore right ankle.

Allen tested his ankle in the team's shootaround Friday morning and was planning to play against the Minnesota Timberwolves. But coach Doc Rivers says Allen wasn't able to go once he arrived at Target Center.

Getting the sharp-shooter back would be a big lift for the surging Celtics, who have won three in a row and five of their last six. Allen is averaging 14.6 points and hitting 46.3 percent of his 3-pointers this season.

The Timberwolves are missing center Nikola Pekovic for the sixth straight game with bone spurs in his right ankle. Michael Beasley (toe) and J.J. Barea (thigh) also were out.


Woodson shrugs off return to Atlanta to face Hawks

Mike Woodson

ATLANTA (AP) -- Mike Woodson shrugged off his return to Atlanta on Friday, saying he was more concerned about getting his own team healthy.

Woodson, now the interim coach of the New York Knicks, coached the Hawks for six seasons. He guided Atlanta to a better record each year and three straight playoff appearances, only to be fired in 2010 and replaced by one of his assistants, Larry Drew.

While Woodson wanted to finish what he started with the Hawks, he insisted that facing his former team from the opposite bench held no special meaning for him. This was the first time he has coached at Philips Arena since his firing.

"Not really. I truly mean that when I say that," Woodson said. "I wish these guys here nothing but the best, but again, I'm in New York now and I have an opportunity to coach a great New York team."

Woodson was out of coaching last season, but he returned as a Knicks assistant this year, focusing on defense. Then, he was promoted on an interim basis when Mike D'Antoni quit with New York mired in a slump.

The Knicks won eight times in Woodson's first nine games, strengthening their bid for a playoff spot even with a rash of injuries. Four players, including star Amare Stoudemire and point guard sensation Jeremy Lin, did not play against the Hawks.

"I'm just excited about the opportunity," Woodson said. "I'm just trying to see who's going to step up and play, the fact that we are a little shorthanded."

Woodson praised Hawks star Joe Johnson, who was hurt and didn't play when the teams met in New York on Feb. 22. The Knicks won that game 99-82.

"He's a big piece of their puzzle," Woodson said. "He's been a big-time player over the last five, six years he's been with this organization, and before that. He's an All-Star. He plays like an All-Star. I have a great deal of respect for Joe and how he carries himself on and off the court. So I've got to think he's going to come out tonight and try to have a big game."

Drew said it shouldn't be a problem coaching against his former boss.

"I've been in enough situations now to deal with this," the Hawks coach said. "He and I, having played together, having coached together, it will be a little different."


Knicks' Lin misses third straight game with knee

Jeremy Lin

ATLANTA (AP) -- New York Knicks guard Jeremy Lin will miss his third straight game because of a sore left knee.

Knicks coach Mike Woodson ruled Lin out for Friday night's contest against the Hawks, depriving Atlanta of a chance to get its first sampling of "Linsanity."

The team is hoping Lin will return to the lineup next week.

The Knicks have been faring just fine without him, winning eight of nine -- including the last two without Lin -- since Woodson took over as interim coach. New York holds a 2 1/2 game lead over Milwaukee for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

New York is also without forwards Amare Stoudemire (back), Jared Jeffries (right knee) and Bill Walker (left elbow).


Suns' Hill undergoes 'successful procedure' on knee

Grant Hill

PHOENIX (AP) -- Grant Hill has undergone what the Phoenix Suns labeled a "successful procedure" to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.

The team said in a news release announcing Friday's 30-minute procedure that, if Hill's rehabilitation goes well, he should return before the end of the regular season.

The medial meniscus tear was discovered when the 39-year-old forward underwent an MRI on Thursday. He had been sidelined for two games because of inflammation in the knee.

Hill is the NBA's second-oldest player, one day younger than Portland's Kurt Thomas. He is averaging 10.7 points per game and is considered the Suns' best defensive player.

Shannon Brown has started in Hill's absence.

After his earlier career was decimated by injury, Hill -- in his 17th NBA season -- has been remarkably durable since coming to the Suns in 2007. He missed only one game in 2009-10 and two in 2010-11. He and 38-year-old teammate Steve Nash were held out of the second game in the two instances that Phoenix played on three consecutive nights this season.

Entering Friday's schedule, the Suns, with 15 games to play, were two games behind Utah, Houston and Denver. Those three teams are tied for the seventh and eighth spots that will be the final two playoff berths in the Western Conference.

After losing to the Clippers in Los Angeles on Wednesday, the Suns are off until Sunday, when they are home against the New Orleans Hornets


Cavs sign guard Hudson to 10-day contract

Lester Hudson

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cavaliers have signed guard Lester Hudson to a 10-day contract.

Hudson had been playing with Austin of the NBA's Development League. He will be available for Friday's home game against Milwaukee.

The Cavs are short in the backcourt following an injury to Daniel Gibson, who has a torn tendon in his foot and will likely miss the rest of the season. Cleveland has dropped five straight games and eight of nine to drop out of the playoff chase.

The 6-foot-3 Hudson was drafted by Boston in 2009. In addition to the Celtics, he has played in the NBA with Memphis and Washington. He averaged 17.6 points, 6 rebounds and 4.2 assists in five games for the Toros.


NBA Power Rankings: Carmelo Anthony has Knicks rebounding up list

Carmelo Anthony

Carmelo Anthony must be loving this.

Amar'e Stoudemire isn't around to challenge for shots because he's got a bulging disk in his back and is out for perhaps the final 15 games of the regular-season. Jeremy Lin has been on the shelf, taking care of an injured knee.

The Knicks now are 'Melo's team, and at least for the time being, they're in great shape. By going 8-1 under Mike Woodson and with everything being centered around Anthony in recent games, they've rocketed back up the charts in our weekly rankings. They were 20th two weeks ago, but now they're a solid No. 11.

The Heat, meanwhile, has had some slippage, even with their big home win over Dallas on Thursday. Miami has slipped from No. 2 to No. 4.

Here's how we see the NBA, from top to bottom:

1. Chicago Bulls (Last Week: 1) We know they've been rolling merrily along without Derrick Rose, but we're hoping he can play in Sunday's showdown against Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, the one and only time these two powerhouses meet in the regular-season.

2. Oklahoma City (Last Week: 3) The Thunder started off a key stretch of statement games, against the Lakers, Bulls and Heat, with a solid win over Kobe Bryant and L.A. on the road.

3. San Antonio Spurs (Last Week: 4) The Spurs have had Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker all take the court in the same game for only 17 games this season, but they're 13-4 in those contests.

4. Miami Heat (Last Week: 2) Things have been falling apart since the All-Star Game, with the Heat going only 9-6 and talk that the Big Three is not happy with Erik Spoelstra's offense. Sounds like they're bored with the regular-season.

5. Orlando Magic (Last Week: 5) From what we saw in the Garden with the Magic's disgraceful lack of effort, Dwight Howard will be making a coaching change at season's end and Stan Van Gundy will be looking for a new job.

6. Los Angeles Lakers (Last Week: 6) When the Lakers couldn't stay with the Thunder, and lost their third recent game on their home floor, the West officially became a two-team race between Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

7. Memphis Grizzlies (Last Week: 7 ) As they embark on a three-game swing over next four days vs. Houston, Milwaukee and Oklahoma City, Grizzlies are 4-4 in road games in March, including a win over the Lakers in L.A.

8. L.A. Clippers (Last Week: 9) Despite the Clips losing 12 of 19 games, owner Donald Sterling says he's fine with coach Vinny Del Negro. But let's not forget: Del Negro is on the final year of his contract

9. Indiana Pacers (Last Week: 8) When the Pacers pounded the Heat this week by 15 points, it was their first big victory since winning in Dallas on Feb. 3. Then they went out and lost to the Nets, which kind of took the luster right off that win over Miami.

10. Atlanta Hawks (Last Week: 11) The Hawks welcomed Knicks coach Mike Woodson back Friday night in his first game since he was sent packing by Atlanta after the 2009-10 season.

11. The Knicks (Last Week: 20) If Mike D'Antoni had stepped down earlier, they might be leading the Atlantic Division by now, instead of still being in a fight to move out of the No. 8 spot in the East.

12. Boston Celtics (Last Week: 12) Sunday's game vs. the Heat kicks off a brutal seven-game stretch over 11 days, with other matchups vs. San Antonio, at Chicago, at Indiana, Philly, at Miami and Atlanta. There's not an easy game in the bunch for Doc Rivers' team.

13. Philadelphia (Last Week: 10) It can't be good for Doug Collins that Andre Iguodala has been KO'd by tendinitis in his left knee.

14. Dallas Mavericks (Last Week: 14) They scored only 32 points after halftime in their blowout loss Thursday to Miami, but Delonte West is back and soon they're going to have Brendan Haywood back in the middle.

15. Utah Jazz (Last Week: 17) The Jazz has been on a mini-run, winning 8 of 10 and still with a shot to finish as high as fourth in the West, incredibly enough.

16. Houston Rockets (Last Week: 16) The Rockets are hanging tough despite not having their starting backcourt of Kyle Lowry and Kevin Martin over the last two weeks due injuries and illness.

17. Denver Nuggets (Last Week: 13) They didn't exactly build off their surprisingly easy win in Chicago by losing up in Toronto. But they're still 13-2 against the East, with their only other loss by a point to Cleveland.

18. Phoenix Suns (Last Week: 19) The Suns have been one of the hottest teams in the Western Conference in March, winning 11 of 17. Now the bad news: Four of their losses were to the NBA's top teams.

19. Minnesota Timberwolves (Last Week: 15) Including their loss at Memphis _ their 10th in their last 11 games vs. the Grizzlies _ thee Timberwolves ended a stretch of 19 straight games against Western Conference teams with an 8-11 record.

20. Portland Trailblazers (Last Week: 21) As long as long-time owner Paul Allen puts business over basketball, it's going to be tough to get this thing turned around.

21. Milwaukee Bucks (Last Week: 18) The Bucks have only two wins since Feb. 1 against teams with winning records (the Sixers and Hawks). For the season, they're just 6-18 against teams that are .500 or better, which means that even if they make the playoffs, they're going nowhere.

22. Golden State Warriors (Last Week: 22) Old Warrior coach Don Nelson has made the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. So celebrate the way Nellie will: Pop a beer and light up a cigar.

23. Toronto Raptors (Last Week: 26) Dwane Casey's team has had two big wins lately, against the Knicks and Nuggets. But they'll really start to turn heads if they can upend the Heat Friday night in Toronto.

24. Detroit Pistons (Last Week: 23) The Pistons broke a five-game losing streak, but this is a rebuilding team that should tank the rest of the way to help improve their chances of landing a top pick in the draft lottery.

25. The Nets (Last Week: 25) During a recent home loss to his old team, the Jazz, Deron Williams heard a fan yell that Dirk Nowitzki was waiting for his arrival in Dallas. Which is the one thing Williams still has going for him.

26. Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Week: 24) Losers of five straight games, they should keep losing and make sure they come away from the season with some good draft picks to help rookie phenom Kyrie Irving.

27. Sacramento Kings (Last Week: 27) Time to shore up the D, fellas: The Kings can't stop anybody, giving up 109 ppg in their last nine games.

28. New Orleans (Last Week: 28) Eric Gordon _ remember him, the one-time Clipper who was the key to the Chris Paul deal? _ expects to finally return off knee surgery in the coming days. He hasn't played since Jan. 4. 29. Washington Wizards (Last Week: 29) The Wizards started cleaning house at the trading deadline, getting rid of two of their headaches, by sending off JaVale McGee and Nick Young. But the next major changes have to come off the court, in the front office.

30. Charlotte Hornets (Last Week: 30) Michael Jordan recently told his GM, Rich Cho, to follow the Oklahoma City model for building a winner. Sounds like a plan, but the trick is going to be to find the next Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Cuban says return to Miami isn't sentimental

Mark Cuban

MIAMI (AP) -- Mark Cuban says his return to Miami comes without much sentiment.

Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks made their first trip to the arena where they hoisted last year's NBA championship trophy, facing the Miami Heat on Thursday night. Cuban says he has barely worn his championship ring and that he didn't see a need to bring it on this trip.

Cuban also says it's "certainly more fun" to be defending a championship than it was to chase one for so many years. The Mavericks beat the Heat in six games in last season's NBA finals, turning the tables after a six-game loss to Miami in the 2006 title series.


UNC's Barnes, Henson, Marshall entering NBA draft


Harrison Barnes, John Henson and Kendall Marshall have decided now is the time for the NBA.

North Carolina said Thursday the three stars will enter the draft, ending a two-year run in which the Tar Heels made deep NCAA tournament runs only to fall a game short of the Final Four each time.

The school didn't state whether all three planned to hire an agent in its release announcing the departures, though it appears they're in the draft to stay.

"It's a great day for three youngsters who are taking another step toward their ultimate goal of playing professional basketball," coach Roy Williams said in a statement. "On a very small stage, it's a sad day for me because I won't get to coach them again. All Tar Heel fans will miss them greatly, as well."

Henson was a freshman during Williams' worst season as a head coach in 2010. Barnes arrived a year later as the nation's No. 1 recruit, though it wasn't until Marshall took over at point guard midway through that season that the Tar Heels took off.

UNC lost to Kentucky in a regional final that year, but Barnes, Henson and rising senior Tyler Zeller put off entering the draft for another shot at a championship despite being likely first-round picks.

The Tar Heels (32-6) were the preseason No. 1 and won the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season championship for a second straight year, but they fell in the NCAA regional final again amid a dizzying run of injuries - including wrist injuries to both Henson and Marshall.

"I wish we'd have been able to bring our fans a national championship, but it wasn't meant to be," Henson said in a statement. "I am proud of what we accomplished, especially the last two years."

Both Barnes and Henson said in their statements they planned to continue working to complete their undergraduate degrees. Barnes, a 6-foot-8 sophomore, averaged about 17 points to lead the team. Henson, a 6-11 junior, averaged about 14 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks, and was a two-time ACC defensive player of the year. Both were all-ACC first-team picks.

Marshall, a 6-4 sophomore, won the Cousy Award presented to the nation's top college point guard earlier Thursday and set the ACC's single-season assists record. Throw in the graduating Zeller, a 7-footer who was ACC player of the year, and those four starters accounted for 66 percent of the team's scoring and 59 percent of its rebounding.

While Barnes and Henson have been considered bigger NBA prospects, Marshall's departure could be the biggest loss considering how he flawlessly ran Williams' fast-paced offense. The pass-first point guard also upped his scoring late in the year and reached double-figures in his last six games to improve his draft prospects.

"It's been the greatest two years of my life," Marshall said in a statement. "I have always put the team before myself and I am extremely proud of what we've accomplished. My lifelong dream has been to play basketball at the highest level possible and I feel now is my greatest opportunity to fulfill this goal."

Marshall's father, Dennis, said Thursday night the family planned to start looking for an agent in the next two weeks and Williams had told Marshall he should be "a solid first-round pick."

"I know it's been a lifelong dream of his to play in the NBA," Dennis Marshall said. "I think both of us were kind of shocked it happened this soon because coming into college, I always thought he'd be a four-year guard and he thought he'd be a four-year guard. His game evolved and he was able to do the things that people have been telling me all my life he'd be able to do at that point, so it just kind of happened that way."

Kendall Marshall's value was never more apparent than when he missed the Tar Heels' last two games after breaking his right wrist.

The Tar Heels barely beat 13th-seeded Ohio in overtime despite a season-high 24 turnovers - the program's most in an NCAA game in 24 years - in the round of 16. They didn't manage a field goal in the last 5 1/2 minutes and were outscored 12-0 to close the 80-67 loss to Kansas in Sunday's regional final.

As for Barnes, he entered each year as a preseason all-American, but for the most part, he never quite lived up to the lofty expectations.

Armed with a polished all-around game but no clear go-to move, he overcame a slow start to his freshman year with some clutch late-game shooting and a 40-point showing against Clemson in the ACC tournament. He seemed more prepared to handle the expectations as a sophomore, but was dominant only in stretches and faded badly late in the year.

Barnes averaged 14 points on 36 percent shooting in the last 10 games. He shot a combined 8-for-30 overall and 2 for 14 from 3-point range in his final two games without Marshall.

The departures mean Reggie Bullock will be the leading returning scorer at about nine points per game for what likely will be a guard-heavy lineup. Dexter Strickland and Leslie McDonald are both expected back from knee injuries along with P.J. Hairston, who struggled with his outside shot through his freshman year.

Ronnie McAdoo, the father of freshman forward James Michael McAdoo, said his son plans to return to school but will review his NBA options with the family this weekend.

North Carolina also has a recruiting class that includes likely Marshall successor Marcus Paige, a McDonald's All-American from Marion, Iowa.


Muggsy Bogues Shortest Players In NBA History

Muggsy Bogues

SPORTKU.COM - Muggsy Bogues shortest player in NBA history. Height is indeed one important aspect of the sport of basketball. But in the 90's myth was broken by an NBA basketball player, Tyrone Curtis Bogues.

'Only' with height 165 cm [5 foot 3 inch], he is trying to be like David beat Goliath . Nimble and agile on the field makes the point guard is the mainstay of Charlotte Hornets as the shortest player in NBA history.

At first not many would have thought if the man born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 9, 1965 it will be a star player. Come from poor families often make it difficult to adapt under pressure while hanging out college life.

His past life was so dark. at age 12 he had seen his father in jail due to robbery. "I grew up as hard as you can get it," he told Bruce Newman of Sports Illustrated.

The player with the famous names Muggsy Bogues is starting his professional career for the Washington Bullets and then moved to the Charlotte Hornets. Together with the Hornets he spent the golden ages by bringing the Hornets entered the playoffs for the first time in the season 92/93.

In the season 97/98 he decided to move to the Golden State Warriors club. Injury which struck to make the maximum contribution is not at his new club. And, at the Toronto Raptors he ended his professional career in the NBA.

This time his love of basketball has never faded, he still chose basketball as a cornerstone of his life by becoming a coach for the Charlotte Sting, one of the WNBA club. Posture and walks of life who are drawbacks seem to be a reason for him not to continue flying through the air.


Video courtesy Youtube:

The tallest and the shortest player in NBA - Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues

Please have a look at the tallest ever NBA player and the shortest ever NBA player – Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues.

The tallest and the shortest player in NBA - Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues

The tallest and the shortest player in NBA - Manute Bol and Muggsy Bogues


Dallas Mavericks Scoreboard

Miami Heat Scoreboard

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NBA Game Summary - Dallas at Miami

Final Score: Miami 106, Dallas 85 

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - LeBron James and Chris Bosh both scored 19 points and pulled down nine rebounds as the Heat blew past the Mavericks, 106-85, in a rematch of last year's NBA Finals. Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem contributed 16 points apiece while James, playing despite dislocating a finger on Monday against Indiana, handed out five assists and recorded two steals.

Miami snapped a two-game skid in its return home from a three-game road swing.

"You always want to defend your home court. Hopefully this will give us a bit of momentum," said Bosh. "As long as we keep elevating our play day by day, we will be in the right spot come April."

Dirk Nowitzki paced all scorers with 25 points, Lamar Odom finished with 12 and Vince Carter and Brandan Wright supplied 11 apiece for Dallas, which saw a two-game winning streak end in its first trip to Miami since hoisting the championship trophy in the city last June.

The Mavericks made 5-of-11 three-point attempts in the first quarter to take a 29-24 lead after one, but the Miami put on a veritable shooting clinic in the second quarter to take control.

Haslem made all four tries from the field, Norris Cole hit 4-of-5, Wade knocked down 3-of-4 and James converted his lone attempt. In all, the Heat shot an astonishing 75 percent (15-of-20) from the floor in the frame.

By the time the horn sounded on the fist half, the hosts had their largest lead of the game to that point at 60-53.

They went cold in the third, shooting just 21.7 percent, but still managed to win the quarter 20-19 behind a 9-of-10 mark from the charity stripe.

"It was disappointing because our start to the third quarter was strong and then they answered back," said Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle. "When we started, we had some real momentum. It was a tough loss."

Dallas never seriously threatened in the final stanza, trailing by at least seven throughout as Nowitzki missed all five of his shots -- part of an abysmal 15.8 percent clip by the Mavericks -- and the Heat rolled to victory.

Game Notes Mavericks guard Delonte West played for the first time since breaking a finger on Feb. 15. He finished with seven points in just over eight minutes...Cole scored 10 points while Mario Chalmers had 12 for Miami...The Heat held a 44-29 rebounding advantage and a 46-24 scoring advantage in the paint.


Nuggets' Fernandez has successful back surgery

Rudy Fernandez

DENVER (AP) -- Denver Nuggets guard Rudy Fernandez has undergone what the team termed successful back surgery on Thursday.

The operation was performed by Dr. Sanjay Jantana.

Fernandez is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season but might be back for the playoffs.

He missed a dozen games with a lower back strain, which flared up against Dallas on March 19, prompting further evaluation.

Fernandez was acquired by the Nuggets along with Corey Brewer in exchange for a future second-round draft pick last December. He averaged 8.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.03 steals in 31 games for Denver.