Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NBA: New York Knicks to ensure colour clash won't happen again

It did not take long on Saturday night for fans and commentators at Madison Square Garden to realize something was amiss between the New York Knicks and the Atlanta Hawks. Their uniforms looked alike. Too alike.

The Knicks have worn their new orange alternate jerseys four times already this season, but in each previous outing, the other team arrived wearing a contrasting shade. Not the Hawks. The result was a jumble of blood red versus burnt orange that became an exercise in facial recognition, looking twice, squinting, guessing: Which ones are the Hawks?

According to the NBA rule book, the home team is mandated to wear light color jerseys, and the visitors dark jerseys, unless otherwise approved. This would explain Atlanta's uniform choice.

"Neither team was at fault," Tim Frank, the NBA's vice president for basketball communications, said. "The Knicks orange has been designated as a light alternate home uniform. Going forward, we'll ensure that the opponent wears a more distinguishing color uniform when the Knicks wear orange."

The color scheme drew mostly critical notice from fans via Twitter and the MSG Network broadcaster Mike Breen, who said he thought even the players might have been having a difficult time telling one another apart. The first half especially was filled with sloppy play and errant passes.

Carmelo Anthony dismissed a question that the uniforms had any effect on the game, which the Knicks lost 110-90. He referred to the suggestion as "nitpicking."

"That ain't got anything to do with why we're losing basketball games," Anthony said, albeit with slightly more colorful language.

The Knicks have already worn the orange jerseys four times this year (all losses) and plan to wear them at least six more times. The NBA has had other games in which teams have worn single-color uniforms - with separate shades for each team. But ESPN's Paul Lukas, the founder of Uniwatch.com, which tracks and analyzes aesthetics in sports, wrote in an email that Saturday's game "definitely had less uniform contrast than any NBA game in recent memory."

It is not the first time this fall that on-field attire by teams made headlines. On September 8, the Arkansas State football team was assessed two penalties - one at the start of each half - for wearing dark gray uniforms at home against Auburn, which wore navy blue.

Arkansas State coach Bryan Harsin told reporters after the game that wearing the uniforms was his decision.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said of the penalties, "You don't hear about that very much."

In September, two baseball games featured opposing teams wearing dark uniforms: the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers, each in red; and the Tampa Bay Rays and the Minnesota Twins, each in blue).

Basketball, with its close confines and fast pace, is a different form of sport, and uniform colors would perhaps play a bigger role in helping fans, broadcasters and even players keep pace.

In 2004, Wisconsin and Illinois met at Assembly Hall in Champaign, Illinois, both wearing dark jerseys in a memorable matchup of bright orange versus bright red. Wisconsin committed 17 turnovers. But the uniforms were probably toughest on those fans straining to discern one team from the other.

New York Times

Friday, September 27, 2013

Rose back for Bulls, says he wasn't ready in 2012-13

CHICAGO (AP) -- Derrick Rose's long-awaited return is just about complete.

The former MVP point guard was back wearing his familiar uniform No. 1, looking ready to lead the Chicago Bulls back to contention in the Eastern Conference after sitting out a season following knee surgery.
He said Friday at the team's media day he understands why fans were frustrated he didn't return last season, but he had to be careful.

"Of course, I would want my favorite player to be back out there," Rose said. "At the same time, I have to be selfish with the idea. The thought of me injuring myself again, I don't want to put myself in that position. I just tried to stay far away from it and just think everything through and stay positive."

One big concern for him was his ability to handle double teams, particularly in the playoffs. He never felt ready to face them.

His confidence is not an issue now, though. He has said he sees no reason why he can't dominate again, and he has no regrets about the way he handled his recovery.

He's expected to suit up for the first time at Indiana on Oct. 5, and general manager Gar Forman anticipates him playing in every preseason game.

That hinges on how Rose feels, and the same goes for his minutes once the season starts.

"I think with Derrick, it'll remain fluid as we go," Forman said. "I think it's difficult at this point to look ahead and say where his minutes will be two weeks from now, four weeks from now, whatever time frame you want to put on it. I think it's something that from a medical standpoint, from a front-office standpoint, from a coaching standpoint that we'll evaluate day to day."

Forman said he expects some "ups and downs as we go" but has little doubt Rose will overcome them. He also said the decision not to play last season "absolutely" was the right one.

Coach Tom Thibodeau called the criticism Rose absorbed unwarranted, saying he followed chairman Jerry Reinsdorf's orders by taking a cautious approach.

"You talk about a guy who's as loyal as they come to his family, to his teammates, to our organization, to the city - he's already done a lot and will continue to do a lot," Thibodeau said. "That's who he is.

"When I look at it, when I look back and I've been thinking about it, he followed Jerry's orders exactly. Jerry made it very clear from the beginning as to how he wanted him to approach it: to be cautious, to be cautious, make sure you're completely healthy. He told him he didn't want him to come back until he was 100 percent, and that's exactly what he did. And then, he got criticized for it."

Rose tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Game 1 of the 2012 playoffs against Philadelphia, sending the top-seeded Bulls toward a first-round exit. His recovery became a running soap opera, particularly after he started practicing with the team in midseason.

The Bulls never publicly ruled out a return by Rose, and as injuries and illnesses to teammates mounted, his image took a hit. If he dominates again, that would go a long way toward repairing it.

The Bulls are aiming high after winning 45 games and a playoff series last season. With Rose, they believe they can challenge Miami for supremacy in the Eastern Conference. After all, they captured the NBA's top seed the last two seasons he played.

While his health figures to be scrutinized, particularly in the early going, it's not the only story line.
There's Joakim Noah's plantar fasciitis in his foot, an issue for him two of his past three seasons.
There's Luol Deng, coming off a season that ended with him in the hospital after complications from a spinal tap to test for viral meningitis. He has an expiring contract and will likely hit the market at the end of the season.

"I just have to go out there and do what I've been doing, just play basketball," he said. "We have a great opportunity ahead of us. Derrick is back. Everybody's healthy. We love the makeup of the team. The potential is great."

NOTES: The Bulls filled out their training camp roster on Friday, signing of free agents Patrick Christopher, Mike James, Dahntay Jones, Kalin Lucas, Dexter Pittman and D.J. White.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Top 10 PR Blunders in NBA History

I love the NBA just as much as the next guy. I would even go so far as to say I’m an ardent, die-hard fan. I am dazzled by the physical prowess and skill of the players and the brilliant minds of the coaches. I’m devastated when my team loses and am filled with fiery vengeance during the rematch. But one of my most favorite aspects of the sport doesn’t even take place on the hardwood—it’s the press conferences.

Public relations in sports is a tricky lady. On one hand, you’ve been hired to play, coach, or officiate a game at an exceedingly high level—not much talking required. But on the other hand, you’re expected to be a role model. Dealing with a scandal or other PR blunder can be more difficult than shooting free-throws is for Shaq. Here are 10 PR blunders from the past few decades that made an already bad situation even worse.

10. Kobe Bryant’s Sexual Assault Case
When you’re on top of the basketball world, everything you do is analyzed under a microscope. So when superstar Kobe Bryant was accused of sexual assault and eventually sued for the same charge, the public, the press, and each of his sponsors knew his days on top would be short-lived. Or so we thought. Ever the clutch player, Bryant attempted to shoot his way out of this scandal by not only admitting adultery, but by also purchasing a $4 million, 8-carat diamond ring for his wife (you know, to show there were no hard feelings).

Maybe in the long run, this wasn’t so much a blunder because he somehow managed to get us all to like him again. He retained all his sponsorships, his wife dropped the divorce claim, and he went on to win a couple more rings for himself.

9. Tony Parker Cheating Scandal
All-star point guard Tony Parker seemed to have met his match when he married the beautiful actress Eva Longoria in 2007. The prenuptial agreement the pair signed at the beginning of their marriage, while smart, should have reminded us all that celebrity marriages tend to have short shelf-lives. Not only did Longoria discover her husband’s infidelity, but she also learned that he had been cheating with Erin Barry—wife of former teammate, Brent Barry.

This story might not have gotten Parker such bad press had he cheated on someone a bit less pretty than Eva Longoria.

8. Kevin Garnett, Kevin Garnett, and Kevin Garnett
KG is one mean dude. Both on and off the court he’s simply not to be messed with. A veteran of the game, he is not above getting creative with his trash talk. In Round One of the 1999 Western Conference Playoffs, Garnett’s Timberwolves squared off against Tim Duncan and the Spurs. As Duncan was preparing to shoot a free-throw, Garnett yelled out, “Happy Mother’s Day.” This might’ve seemed like an innocent jest had Tim Duncan’s mother not passed away from breast cancer when Duncan was only 14-years old. And the insensitivity continues! Something similar occurred in 2010 when Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva, accused Garnett of calling him a “cancer patient.” Villaneuva suffers from alopecia universalis, an autoimmune disease that results in hair loss. Most recently, KG told Knicks guard Carmelo Anthony that his “wife tastes like Honey Nut Cheerios.”

In other words, if you really don’t want people to like you, take a page from Kevin Garnett’s book.

7. Rodman (Need I Say More?)
It should come as no surprise that Dennis Rodman finds himself on this list. The first real “bad boy” of the NBA could all but escape the tabloids—that is, if he even wanted to escape. Long after his myriad of drug and alcohol abuses, marriages and divorces, and legal troubles, the Worm once again found a way to crawl into the limelight by forming a most unlikely and taboo friendship with North Korean supreme leader Kim Jong-un. This alliance came at a dangerous time between North Korea and the U.S. as the supreme leader announced that North Korea had conducted its first underground nuclear test that very month. Rodman later said that Kim was a “friend for life.”

6. LeBron: The Decision
With unrestricted free agency in his sights, then rising star LeBron James would soon face a decision common among all unrestricted free agents: renew his contract or get a fresh start with a new team. Trades are a big part of professional sports. Without trades, Dirk would never have gone to Dallas, Wilt would have stayed in Philly, and Bill Russell would have won his record number of championships somewhere other than Boston.

But there’s a classy way to go about a trade, and then there was LeBron’s way, which involved a 90-minute live TV special in which James would not reveal his decision until the very end, keeping everyone—his own team included—in the dark. At the words, “I’ve decided to take my talents to South Beach,” Cleveland fans all but rioted in the streets.

Three years and two rings later, most would agree that he made the right move for his career.. Most.

5. Ron Artest’s (Metta World Peace’s) Courtside Brawl
Kobe Bryant once said of his now former teammate, “he’s the one guy that I can rely on night in and night out to compete and play hard.” This is true. Whenever Metta World Peace sets his mind to beating you, he usually accomplishes that feat—even if you’re not necessarily wearing a jersey . . . or are a member of the opposing team . . . or a member of any team.

Towards the end of a heated game between the Pistons and the Pacers, an altercation erupted between Artest and Pacers center Ben Wallace. After the fight broke up, Artest retired to the scorer’s table in an effort to calm down. An allegedly drunk spectator threw a drink at him, then all hell broke loose. In one of the worst melees in basketball’s—and probably any sport’s—history, players, fans, officials, coaches and police squared off in an all-out war. This free-for-all resulted in several suspensions, probations, and even a few hospital bills. It also revealed key insight into just how unstable Ron Artest can be.

While Artest’s name change to Metta World Peace in 2010 came as a bit of a shocker, all of his subsequent assault charges did not.

4. Jason Kidd’s DWI
There are few things more awe-inspiring than seeing an NBA veteran making plays with the same ease as the rookies half his age. On the other hand, there are few things more disappointing than seeing that same veteran player-turned-coach being arrested for a younger man’s misdemeanor—namely driving while intoxicated.

3. Jayson Williams’ Manslaughter Case
In 2002, Jayson Williams officially established himself as one of the dumbest people alive.

While giving a tour of his 30,000 sq. ft. mansion to his NBA charity basketball team, the former New Jersey center shot and killed Gus Christofi, the team’s limo driver. Now, before you start mentioning Williams in the same breath as OJ and Aaron Hernandez, you should know that this tragedy was in no way premeditated—it wasn’t even meditated! Williams shot Christofi by accident. Accidents happen all the time, but he brought even more bad press upon his head when he attempted to cover up the incident by tampering with evidence.

Why Jayson Williams thought it was necessary to carry a shotgun during the tour, we may never know.

2. Tim Hardaway, Sr. and the LGBT Community
Sometimes what a person says in the public arena can easily be taken out of context. In the case of Tim Hardaway, Sr., well, read this statement from 2007 and you can decide for yourself:

”Well, you know I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It should not be in the world or in the United States.”

Kudos to Tim for his honestly. He did later apologize for his comments, but this statement has taught me at least one lesson: ignorance is not bliss.

1. Tim Donaghy Fixes Games
Remember those awful replacement refs from last year’s NFL season? Well, at least they were unintentionally awful. In the case of NBA referee Tim Donaghy, there was a definite method to the madness. After steeping himself in massive debt resulting from a gambling addiction, Donaghy was approached by a low-level mob representatives who told him there was a way out: fix the games. From 2003 to 2007, Donaghy placed bets on games that he himself officiated.

When this story broke, all the positive PR in the world could not have saved him; his decision not only ruined his career, but also tarnished the reputation of the entire league.

Jake Magleby has written extensively about effective sales and financing strategies to help small business owners succeed in the fast-paced and ever-changing business world. He also helps Calgary SEO companies with marketing strategies.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Oden chooses to sign two-year deal with Miami Heat

MIAMI (AP) -- Greg Oden still needs some time to get ready for the rigors of playing in the NBA.

He no longer needs a new team, however. The former No. 1 overall draft pick has chosen to sign with the two-time defending NBA champion Miami Heat, ending months of suspense over where the center whose career has been decimated by a series of knee problems would be attempting his comeback. The Heat were long perceived as the frontrunners to land Oden, and now have a 7-footer to help them try for a third straight title.

Mike Conley Sr., one of Oden's agents, said Friday night that the former Portland center accepted an offer worth about $1 million for this coming season and would have a player option for 2014-15.

"He just thought that it was the best fit for him, where he's at and especially for how it relates to him coming back," Conley said. "He can be on a winning team and be working his way in slowly."

The contract is expected to be formally signed early next week, Conley said.

"I think a 7-footer can help any team," Heat point guard Mario Chalmers said. "They're hard to find. I've known Greg since our high school days, talked to him a couple of times about this and you just hope for the best."

Oden told ESPN.com on Friday night that he still has "a lot of work to do."

And during their recruiting process, the Heat were obviously cognizant of that. Oden has not played in the NBA since fracturing his kneecap in a game on Dec. 5, 2009, but the Heat surely will not expect him to play big minutes right away, given that they are bringing back most of the rotation that won the last two league titles and will almost certainly be favored to win a third next season.

When meeting with Oden last month in Indianapolis, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra laid out what Miami's plans would be as far as potential roles and the former Ohio State star's ongoing rehabilitation, and whatever got said in that conversation resonated throughout the remainder of the decision-making process.

"The fact that Coach Spoelstra said all the right things, understood where he was at and what he wants, that impressed Greg quite a bit," Conley said.

Oden is the second No. 1 pick on the Heat roster, joining LeBron James, the top overall draft selection in 2003 - and someone who developed quite an affinity for Oden's game when the center was at Ohio State. Oden wound up leaving college after one season, then was taken by Portland at the top of the 2007 draft.

It was a spectacular failure, thanks to an array of injuries. Oden played in just 82 games - the equivalent of one full NBA season - during his four-plus years in the Blazers' organization, averaging 9.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks on 58 percent shooting.

Oden's health issues have dogged him since he was drafted. Right knee microfracture surgery - a procedure used to develop new, healthy cartilage - ended what would have been his rookie season before it ever started. He made his long-awaited NBA debut on Oct. 28, 2008, and sprained his right foot in that game, sidelining him for two weeks.

His next major injury issue came in February of that season, when he chipped his left kneecap and missed about a month. Oden returned for the final 21 games of that season - 15 before the playoffs, then six more in the postseason, when Portland was ousted by the Rockets.

He's played in a total of 21 games since, and the fractured kneecap in 2009 came just as he seemed to be hitting his best NBA stride. Another microfracture surgery awaited him in November 2010, and a third one was needed early in 2012, essentially ending his career with the Blazers. He was waived in March 2012.

"Time will tell," Heat president Pat Riley said earlier this summer, when asked if Oden could still be effective.

San Antonio, New Orleans, Dallas, Atlanta and Sacramento also were believed to be seriously vying for Oden this summer, with a handful of other clubs expressing a lower level of interest.

"The scenario at San Antonio made sense for him also," Conley said. "You have a coach there in Gregg Popovich that's used to bringing players back slowly and Tim Duncan to learn from. He was definitely impressed with Mark Cuban in Dallas and meeting him, and he's really good friends with (coach) Monty Williams at New Orleans. It wasn't cut and dry across the board for Miami."

Still, the Heat won out, and did so at a bargain price.

Miami used the amnesty provision on Mike Miller last month, a move that could save the team more than $35 million in luxury-tax payments over the next two years. Oden likely could have gotten more money elsewhere, but the Heat have shown many times over the last three summers that they can get players to take less money in exchange for being part of a title-contending team.

"He wants to compete for championships," Conley said.

Original post @ http://www.nba.com/2013/news/08/02/oden-to-sign-with-heat.ap/

Saturday, July 27, 2013

LeBron voted NBA's most popular player; Rose fourth

Kobe Bryant, take a backseat because LeBron James is once again the most popular NBA player.

According to an ESPN fan poll, the Miami Heat forward has unseated the Los Angeles Lakers star for the first time in four years.

Nearly 13 percent (12.9) of NBA fans said James was their favorite player this season, while 12.5 percent said Bryant was their favorite.

The Bulls' Derrick Rose placed fourth in the poll.

James had been the most popular player until "The Decision," when he announced he would leave Cleveland and be "taking my talents to South Beach."

Two NBA championships and a couple of Finals MVP awards have changed fans' perceptions, although casual followers still don't like him as much as when he was with the Cavaliers, according to the poll.

Rounding out the top five in the poll are: Kevin Durant, Rose and Dwyane Wade.

Source: http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/basketball/bulls/chi-lebron-james-nba-most-popular-player-20130727,0,3327032.story

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Lakers hire former player Madsen as coach

Original post @ http://www.nba.com/2013/news/07/19/lakers-hire-madsen-as-coach.ap/ 

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) -- It didn't take long for the Los Angeles Lakers to promote Mark Madsen.

The former Stanford player who was part of the Lakers' NBA champion teams in 2001 and '02 was hired as the team's player development coach, along with Larry Lewis.

In May, Madsen was hired to coach the Los Angeles D-Fenders this season. Instead, he will help Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni, who says Madsen "has endless energy and is a workaholic."

Madsen played nine seasons in the NBA and spent the last two years as a Stanford assistant

Lewis spent last season as an assistant with the D-Fenders and before that was head of player development for the team.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

NBA: Bucks formally announce signing of ex-Mavericks guard O.J. Mayo

Source: http://host.madison.com/sports/basketball/professional/nba-bucks-formally-announce-signing-of-ex-mavericks-guard-o/article_c7b7290a-83bc-58ae-96af-8353d5249fe2.html

One day after reportedly losing guard Monta Ellis to the Dallas Mavericks, the Milwaukee Bucks officially added free-agent guard O.J. Mayo to the roster.

In a deal in the works for more than a week, the Bucks on Saturday announced the signing of the former Mavericks standout. The news comes less than 24 hours after ESPN reported that Ellis will leave Milwaukee and sign with the Mavericks in deal reportedly worth $25 million over three years.

Mayo, 25, averaged 15.3 points and 4.4 assists for Dallas last season, when he was the only Mavericks player to see action in all 82 regular-season games. He shot 44.9 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent from the free throw line in 349 attempts.

Originally selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves with the third overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft, Mayo was dealt to Memphis on draft night. He played his first four seasons with the Grizzlies before signing with Dallas as a free agent prior to the 2012-13 season.

The former USC athlete has appeared in 383 games in his five-year career, averaging 15.2 points, 3.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.1 steals per contest. Mayo’s 383 games played are the fifth-most in the league since the start of the 2008-09 season, and he’s avoided missing a single game in four of his five seasons thus far.

Friday, July 5, 2013

NBA's Howard makes decision, moves from LA - reports

The tug-of-war between five teams to sign Dwight Howard appeared to be over on Friday with multiple media outlets reporting that the seven-time All-Star center was heading to the Houston Rockets.

Howard, who joined the Los Angeles Lakers from the Orlando Magic in a blockbuster 12-player trade in August 2012, had been favouring a move to Houston, despite facing a substantial paycut by opting to leave the Lakers, reports said.

The 27-year-old, who had also been courted by the Dallas Mavericks, the Atlanta Hawks and Golden State Warriors, was eligible to sign for five years and $118 million with Los Angeles or four years and $88 million with any other team.

ESPN said on Friday that Howard had informed the Mavericks, the Hawks, the Warriors and the Lakers that he would not be signing with any of them, though the Lakers said they had not yet been given news about Howard's decision.

"He hasn't finalised his decision but we hope and expect him to make a decision today or tomorrow," Howard's agent, Dan Fegan, was quoted as saying by the Los Angeles Times.

Earlier in the day, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey tweeted: "While we are excited & cautiously optimistic @DwightHoward might choose Houston, we have not yet heard about his decision."

Free agent Howard, a three-time NBA defensive player of the year who is popularly known as 'Superman' because of his athletic prowess, consulted all five teams earlier this week.

The Lakers met up with Howard on Tuesday and their pitch focused on the future -- on how they would be able to embellish Howard's brand off the court while returning on-court greatness to a franchise that has piled up 16 NBA championship titles.

Lakers All-Star Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played a key role in trying to woo Howard, telling him: "You need to learn how it's done first, and I can teach you here.

"I know how to do it and I've learned from the best - players who have won multiple times over and over."

However, Bryant and Howard did not always see eye-to-eye last season under the guidance of coach Mike D'Antoni before the Lakers were eliminated from the first round of the playoffs.

The prospect of being the kingpin on an ambitious Rockets team which also includes James Harden, Chandler Parsons, Jeremy Lin and promising center Omer Asik was always likely to be an alluring one for Howard.

His arrival in Houston would instantly make the Rockets genuine contenders for the Western Conference championship.

Original post @ http://tvnz.co.nz/basketball-news/nba-s-howard-makes-decision-moves-reports-5495997

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Heat, Spurs set for Game 7 of NBA Finals

(Sports Network) - The Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs will engage in one of the greatest spectacles in sports on Thursday night, a Game 7 for the NBA Championship.

After an entire preseason, an exhausting 82-game regular season and a grueling postseason, the Larry O'Brien Trophy is at stake in just one game.

"The moment is going to be grand," MVP LeBron James said on Wednesday.

Grand and rare.
The last Game 7 in the NBA Finals took place in 2010 when the Los Angeles Lakers held off the Boston Celtics. Prior to that, in 2005, these Spurs won their third NBA title in a seven-point victory over the Detroit Pistons.

Both home teams triumphed in those Game 7s. That's a theme. The last five Game 7s in NBA Finals history have all gone to the host. The last time a road team pulled off the enormous feat of winning a Game 7 on the road came in 1978 when the Washington Bullets beat the Seattle Supersonics in Seattle.

"I think we should be happy about that opportunity to try to make history," said Spurs guard Tony Parker. "It's a great challenge. We know we can beat them here. We just have to do it again.

"If you told me before the season that we'll be 3-3 in The Finals against Miami, I think everybody on the team will sign up for it." Everyone on the Spurs might, but they will have a tough time shaking the notion that a seventh game shouldn't have been required.

Up five points with 28 seconds on the clock in Tuesday's Game 6, the Heat got an offensive rebound and James made a 3-pointer. San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line, then, once again, an offensive rebound doomed the Spurs.

Chris Bosh of Miami poked the ball to Ray Allen, who made a desperation trey with five seconds left. That tied the game and in overtime, San Antonio had another chance at the title.

Manu Ginobili, who was as dreadful in Game 6 as he was brilliant in Game 5, took the ball to the basket, down one, with less than 10 seconds left, but committed his eighth turnover. There was contact, but Allen buried two foul shots for a three-point Heat lead. Tim Duncan hit Danny Green with a beautiful, cross-court inbounds pass with under two seconds, but Bosh blocked the shot. Again, there was some contact, but the question now is, how can the Spurs put such a crushing loss, one Ginobili characterized as "devastating," behind them for Game 7?

"We've been through a lot," said Duncan, who had a monster first half of 25 points, but finished with 30. "Our core of guys have been through a lot together. We have some young talent here, but they're going to feed off of what we do. And Tony, Manu and I have been in this position before. We're excited about the opportunity."

Any loss like that, when you are tantalizingly close to a title, is heartbreaking. But some curious decisions by Spurs coach Gregg Popovich made the loss confusing to boot.

He sat Duncan during both Heat 3-pointers late in the fourth when a defensive rebound would have clinched the game, and the title. "It's not that simple. That's not why they got the 3s," explained Popovich. "Switching makes sense just to take away the 3. But on an offensive rebound, it's one of the toughest things in the NBA, to pick up people. And we had one guy who didn't pick up. "And then on the last possession we were switching at the 3-point line to take away the 3, and Boris Diaw has a little more speed than Tim Duncan, so it makes sense to have him out there reading at the 3-point line. Unfortunately we had two guys that went to LeBron and didn't switch with Bosh, and he went right to the hole. He's the guy who got the rebound.

"So it has nothing to do with Duncan."

Fine. But at the end of overtime, Parker, still one of the league's best penetrating guards, was on the bench.

But the Spurs will have to do their best to forget about Game 6. The team went to dinner following the loss and the experience was deemed positive.

"It helped. It did," said Duncan. "The other option is a bunch of us go back to our rooms and sit in our rooms and sit there by ourselves and beat yourself up. So it's always good to be around teammates and kind of get some stuff out in the open. We did exactly that."

The Spurs haven't faced a Game 7 since the 2008 Western Conference semifinals when they beat New Orleans.

The Heat are in their third Game 7 in the last two years. They eliminated the Boston Celtics in last season's Eastern Conference finals, and bettered the Indiana Pacers in this year's conference finals. Both of those wins came at American Airlines Arena. "We've been in Game 7s before, so we just try to stay in the moment," said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.

James was brilliant in Game 6 with 32 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. It was his second triple-double of the series and he was the catalyst in Tuesday's fourth-quarter comeback.

With the Heat down 10 to start the fourth quarter, a headband-less James scored five buckets in the paint and swatted Duncan in a crucial moment. The Heat took the lead on an Allen layup, but what was interesting was, Dwyane Wade and Bosh were both on the bench. The unit that reclaimed the lead was James, Mario Chalmers, Allen, Mike Miller and Chris Andersen, who didn't play in the previous two games.

"It creates a lot of space," James said of that lineup. "With Mike and Ray, they stayed home on those guys a lot, it allows me to get downhill and get to the paint."

Now, the Heat have a chance to become the first repeat champions since the Lakers in 2009-10. It would be the franchise's third title.

"I want our team to go down as one of the greatest teams," said James. "And we have an opportunity to do that. Hasn't been many people to win back-to-back championships."

San Antonio can get its fifth ring. Duncan can become the second player in NBA history to win a title in three different decades. "We feel that obviously we like our chances, and to be in this situation, a Game 7, we're just going to leave it all out there and see what happens," said Duncan.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Tony Parker On Game 4: ‘I Will Be Ready’

SAN ANTONIO – Tony Parker will play tonight in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

“I will be ready,” the All-Star point guard said after participating in the San Antonio Spurs’ Thursday morning shootaround.

Parker provided no other information about the status of his ailing right hamstring. An MRI on Wednesday revealed a Grade 1 strain and he was listed as day-to-day. With each inquiry about pain or limited mobility, Parker stuck with the mantra, “I’ll be ready to play.”

The Spurs lead the series, 2-1.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was first to break the good news, but also kept any information regarding Parker’s ability to play at or near full strength, or if he’ll take precaution in how he’ll utilize Parker to himself: “He’ll play,” Popovich said. “Tony’s ready to go.”

That’s huge news for the Spurs, who desperately need their leading scorer and assist man of the postseason to orchestrate the offense against the Heat’s defense.

“When he’s going, he’s pretty much our whole offense,” said reserve guard Gary Neal, who said Parker looked good during a light shootaround. “We pretty much feed off of him as far as him scoring or him making plays for other people to score. That’s a big brick off of our shoulders that Tony’s coming out and playing tonight.”

Parker is averaging 23.1 ppg and 7.1 apg while shooting 47 percent in the playoffs.

Source: NBA.com

Friday, April 26, 2013

Westbrook injury hurts Thunder's NBA title hopes

Russell Westbrook injury hurts Thunder's NBA title hopes

The Oklahoma City Thunder suffered a massive blow to their NBA title hopes today, when All-Star guard Russell Westbrook was ruled out indefinitely because of upcoming surgery on his right knee.

The 24-year-old suffered a lateral meniscus tear during the second quarter of Oklahoma's 105-102 victory over the Houston Rockets on Thursday (NZT), a win that put them up 2-0 in the first-round best-of-seven playoff series.

Westbrook, a three-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star who averaged 23.2 points during the regular season, will have surgery in the coming days, but no timetable has been set for his return, the team said in a statement.

"Our players' health is our first and foremost concern," Thunder general manager Sam Presti said. "The Thunder's medical team and several specialists we consulted with determined that Russell undergo a procedure to address the issue.

"We have thoroughly discussed this with Russell. Despite being the competitor and team-mate that he is, he respects and understands the decision, and is committed to come back even stronger.

"Certainly, Russell is a leader and core player for this team, but we are in the midst of the playoffs, and I know other players are determined to step up and contribute."

Westbrook, who has never missed an NBA game during five seasons in the league, was injured while going for a steal, when his knee collided with Rockets rookie Patrick Beverley's hip.

Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant, a four-time All-Star, said the team would have to "rally around each other and play Thunder basketball" in Westbrook's absence.

"We're not trying to rush him or bring him back ahead of schedule," Durant, 24, said. "We want to make sure he's healthy and his knee is right.

"That's our only concern with it right now. All he has to worry about is him getting healthy."

The top-seeded Thunder, who won the Western Conference last season, are widely regarded as the biggest challenger to the NBA champion Miami Heat during this campaign.

Original post @ http://tvnz.co.nz/basketball-news/westbrook-injury-hurts-thunder-s-nba-title-hopes-5418995

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clippers' Paul wins Kia Community Assist Award for April

Clippers' Paul wins Kia Community Assist Award for April

NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul is the recipient of the "Kia Community Assist Award" for April in recognition of his outstanding efforts in the community, ongoing advocacy, and philanthropy, the NBA announced today.

Kia and the NBA are honoring Paul for his commitment to the well-being of youth, as well as his continuous efforts through the CP3 Foundation. The six-time NBA All-Star is passionate about using his influence to enhance the work of national and international non-profit organizations to help communities around the world. April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month and Paul is showing his support as a spokesperson for Prevent Child Abuse America, a national organization that works to ensure the healthy development of children. Paul is currently featured in Prevent Child Abuse America's Ties for a Cause campaign, with proceeds benefitting the organization, and also participated in a fundraising auction to raise additional funds for the organization.

"I learned at an early age that you can make a major difference in someone's life by supporting your community," said Paul. "Community service is not something I have to do; it's something I want to do. While donating money is important, it is also important to be visible in the community and sharing time with people so that they know you care."

Paul demonstrates an even greater commitment to service through the CP3 Foundation, which strives to enhance and promote education, health, sports, and social responsibility for youth and families. Established in 2005, the foundation focuses on enriching communities through a number of initiatives, including the Nathaniel Jones Scholarship Fund, the CP3K Walk for Kids, CP3 Afterschool Zone, and the Jada Paul Prom Dress Giveaway.

This month, the CP3 Foundation held its 2nd annual Jada Paul Prom Dress Giveaway for 130 high school juniors/ seniors. Teenage girls from the Los Angeles area took part in a day full of dress selection, beauty giveaways, and motivational speakers. Prior to tonight's home game against the Memphis Grizzlies, NBA Cares Ambassador Bob Lanier will be on hand to present Paul with the "Kia Community Assist Award." Paul will receive the David Robinson Plaque with the inscription, "Following the standard set by NBA Legend David Robinson who improved the community piece by piece." In addition, Kia and the NBA will donate $10,000 on Chris Paul's behalf to the CP3 Foundation.

Kia Motors has been an NBA Cares partner since 2010. The league presents the "Kia Community Assist Award" monthly throughout the season as well as a final award at the end of the season to recognize players for their year-round charitable efforts. The award honors the NBA player who best reflects the passion that the league and its players have for giving back to their communities.

To learn more, please log on to www.nba.com/kiacommunityassist.

Original post at NBA.com

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Heat, Cavaliers delayed by spill on floor

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The start of the Miami Heat's game against the Cavaliers was delayed 35 minutes Wednesday night because of liquid dripping from the scoreboard onto the floor.

The Cavaliers said the pool was caused by condensation from a carbon dioxide container in the scoreboard.

LeBron James and members of the Heat were in position near the midcourt line and ready for tip-off in Quicken Loans Arena when a large pool of liquid and some debris were discovered. As ball boys and arena workers used towels and mops to clean up the area, a referee went to the official scorer's table with something in his hand.

Both teams were sent to their locker rooms during the delay, and the near-capacity crowd was entertained with music and giveaways.

After the problem was fixed, the teams had a five-minute warmup period before the game began at 7:45 p.m.

The Heat are trying to win their 24th consecutive game and extend the second-longest winning streak in NBA history.

original post @ http://www.nba.com/2013/news/03/20/heat-cavs-game-delayed.ap/index.html

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kobe starts, then sits with ankle injury

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- Kobe Bryant played 12 minutes Friday after starting for the Lakers at Indiana, missed all four shots and then went to the bench for good.

It was all his severely sprained left ankle could take.

Bryant spent two days trying to fight his way back after landing on the foot of Atlanta's Dahntay Jones in the waning seconds of Wednesday's loss at Atlanta. Throughout the day, he looked better and after going through warm-ups, the Lakers put Bryant in the starting lineup.

He wasn't the same. His four shots all came up short and when he went to the bench at the end of the first quarter, he never returned. It was only the 15th time in Bryant's 17-year NBA career he was held scoreless in a game.

Original post @ http://www.nba.com/2013/news/03/15/bryant-ankle-warming-up.ap/index.html

Saturday, March 9, 2013

VIDEO: Deron Williams sets an NBA record with nine first half 3s

There's hot, there's a sidewalk in Texas in the summer, there's the of surface of the sun and then there's Deron Williams' hand Friday in the first half.

In the first half, Williams set an NBA record with nine 3-pointers, seven of them coming in the first quarter. Seven!

(Is there anything better than when a player is feeling it and he's got the ball crossing halfcourt and you just know he's about to crank one from deep? I love that.)

He finished the game 11-16 from 3 for 42 points, one off the NBA record for most in a games held by Donyell Marshall and Kobe Bryant.

Williams was going for it too. With his team up 16 with 1:52 left, he splashed his 11th 3. And with his team up 17 with 1:07 left, he launched his 16th 3 of the game. Mark Jackson would've hired a hitman to take a bat to his knees before his got that one off.

And as you might expect, his Nets cruised over the Wizards 95-78.

for the original post visit: http://www.cbssports.com/nba/blog/eye-on-basketball/21834330/video-deron-williams-sets-an-nba-record-with-nine-first-half-3s

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

NBA suspends Magic's Turkoglu for positive steroid test

NBA suspends Magic's Turkoglu for positive steroid test

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Orlando Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu was suspended 20 games by the NBA on Wednesday after testing positive for steroids.

The NBA said Turkoglu tested positive for methenolone, an anabolic steroid. He began serving the suspension Wednesday night when the Magic hosted the Atlanta Hawks.

Turkoglu took full responsibility for the positive test and apologized to the Magic organization, fans and fellow teammates. He said he took medication from a trainer in Turkey this past summer to help him recover from a shoulder injury and mistakenly neglected to check it against the NBA's list of banned substances.

"As a player this is the worst situation that you want to be in," Turkoglu said. "I'm just sorry to put the organization in this situation. ... I should have double-checked and researched and shouldn't be in this situation."

He is the eighth player suspended for performance-enhancing drugs under the NBA's drug testing policy. He is the second Magic player to be suspended under the policy in four years. Former Magic forward Rashard Lewis was suspended 10 games in 2009 after testing positive for an elevated testosterone level.

Turkoglu said he was tested by the league in December and learned of the suspension Tuesday night. General manager Rob Hennigan said Turkoglu informed the team of the positive test a week ago.

Turkoglu sat out the Magic's past three games for what the team said were flu-like symptoms and a sore back. Hennigan said those ailments were legitimate and unrelated to the positive test.

It is the latest in a string of bad news for Turkoglu during the past year.

He missed 10 games at the end of last year's regular season for a fractured bone above his eye and then missed 28 straight games at the start of this season after breaking a bone in his hand. He's appeared in just 11 games in 2012-13 with only one start. Turkoglu is in the third year of his second stint with the Magic. He is averaging 2.9 points, 2.1 assists and 2.4 rebounds, all down from his career numbers over the previous 12 seasons.

"It's been really nightmare," Turkoglu said. "It wasn't a really good year for me. Now I'm facing this. As a player, you face a lot of injuries. It just comes and goes. But this kind of situation, you don't want to put yourself in. This is the worst one I'm dealing with now."

Hennigan said he doesn't believe there are any issues with the NBA's drug testing policy or the culture of the team in light of Lewis' previous test.

"Clearly we need to continue to educate our players on what's safe to take and what not to take," he said. "We'll move forward. We don't support the decision he made, but we support Hedo."

After seeing his rotation disrupted throughout the season because of injuries, Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said there is no choice but to move on.

"There's a great thing called reality and you have to accept it," Vaughn said. "Today was an unfortunate reality and you accept it and move forward."

Turkoglu is making about $11.8 million this season. He has one more year remaining on his current deal, but it is only partially guaranteed. He was picked as the NBA's Most Improved Player in 2008 while with Orlando.

The Magic came into Wednesday night's game with a 15-36 record in their first season of rebuilding following the departure of All-Star center Dwight Howard to the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason.

Asked about Turkoglu's future, Hennigan said it is yet to be determined.

"I think we're going to get through this step. We'll worry about the summer when the summer comes," Hennigan said. "Contracts are what they are. We have to make decisions about a lot of different things in the summer and certainly the Hedo situation will be one of them. But we're not able to comment now on what the decision will be."

Turkoglu said he is focused on serving his suspension.

"I've had my best years in Orlando and I've tried to play as much as I can here. Certain situations are out of my hands," he said. "So like Rob said, we'll wait for the summer to come and we'll see what happens. Right now I want to deal with this and get it over as quick as I can."

For the original post visit: http://www.nba.com/2013/news/02/13/magic-turkoglu-suspended/index.html

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Northeast storm disrupts travel for Knicks, Spurs, Nets

NEW YORK (AP) -- Several professional and college sports teams were forced to rearrange their travel plans as a massive storm swept through the Northeast.

The NBA's New York Knicks were stuck in Minnesota after playing the Timberwolves on Friday night, hoping to try to fly home sometime Saturday. The San Antonio Spurs were also staying overnight in Detroit after seeing their 11-game winning streak end against the Pistons, awaiting word on when they might be able to fly to New York for their game Sunday night at Brooklyn.

Airlines canceled more than 5,300 flights through Saturday, and New York City's three major airports and Boston's Logan Airport closed.

The Brooklyn Nets planned to take a train home instead of flying from Washington D.C. after losing to the Wizards on Friday night.

Source: NBA.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Howard returns to Lakers' starting lineup

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard is back in the Los Angeles Lakers' starting lineup after missing three games with a right shoulder injury.

Howard started at center for the Lakers against Cleveland on Sunday night as Los Angeles attempted to end its six-game losing streak.

Howard apparently tore the labrum in his shoulder earlier this month during a game against the Clippers, and he aggravated the injury last Sunday while grabbing a career high-tying 26 rebounds against Denver. He sat out for the past week to rest the injury.

Howard is averaging 17.3 points and 12.4 rebounds per game in his first season with the struggling Lakers, who are on their worst skid in six years.

Pau Gasol missed his fourth straight game for Los Angeles with a concussion.

Source: NBA.com

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Stoudemire makes debut, Anthony back in lineup

NEW YORK (AP) -- Amare Stoudemire is making his season debut and Carmelo Anthony is back in the starting lineup for the New York Knicks against Portland.

Stoudemire will come off the bench as he plays his way back into shape following left knee surgery Oct. 31. Both Stoudemire and coach Mike Woodson said the forward's minutes would be limited in Tuesday night's game.

"It's been a long time coming. I've been so ready to play, I put in so much hard work this offseason and then to have to sit out for the first half of this season, but now to be back, I'm so ready to go," Stoudemire said. "I'm ready to provide whatever my team needs to improve, so that's what I'm here for."

Anthony missed two games with a hyperextended left knee, an injury that occurred in the Knicks' loss to the Lakers on Christmas. The Knicks are still without point guard Raymond Felton because of a broken right pinky, and Rasheed Wallace remains out with a sore left foot.

That makes Stoudemire's return even more important for the Knicks, though it was unclear how much he would play. Woodson would only say it would be less than 30 minutes. Stoudemire said he wasn't worried about warming up and then going back to the bench at the start, though Woodson said it was something to monitor.

"That's always a concern, but again, it's what we're faced with," Woodson said. "That's why big minutes at the early stage of him going through this process won't be to his advantage, so we've just got to slowly work him back in."

Woodson said he wasn't sure who he wanted Stoudemire to play with, or whether the reserve role would remain permanent.

"I'm not going to discuss that. I mean, first things first. We've got to get him back on the floor and get him acclimated to what we're doing, and then we'll go from there," Woodson said.

With Stoudemire sidelined, Anthony has slid into his power forward spot and flourished, averaging 28.5 points in leading the Knicks to a 21-9 start. The Knicks have had little success with the two stars playing together, and Woodson could try to avoid that problem by splitting them as much as possible.

However, he has said the Knicks need to have both on the floor to truly contend for an NBA title. He sent Stoudemire to work on his low-post skills this summer, hoping that could become a bigger part of his game.

Stoudemire hardly got to use what he learned, appearing in just one preseason game before having the surgery to clean up loose tissue in his knee. He practiced with the Knicks twice since they returned from their Western trip and decided now was the time to play, even while not yet feeling 100 percent.

"To get back out there now will be great for me to really get my feet wet and see how it goes," Stoudemire said.

Source: NBA.com