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gameface_one
10-30-2006, 10:34 AM
Suns look to Stoudemire to bring home elusive title
abs-cbnnews.com


WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With Amare Stoudemire back in the line-up following a nightmare season, the Phoenix Suns look to have their best chance in recent years of ending a four-decade championship drought.

The run-and-gun Suns have the goods to capture the title but Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni knows it might take some time to blend the gifted 6-foot-10 Stoudemire back into the team's high-scoring offense led by reigning two-times MVP Steve Nash.

"We could stumble early, but we'll have to find our identity and how we're going to play," said D'Antoni. "Amare's a big piece, and it's something where you can just fit him in. He dominates.

"This is a guy the ball goes through a lot. We'll have to work with it. It's not going to be easy early, but in the end, we think it can pay huge dividends."

The 23-year-old Stoudemire was a second-team All-NBA center two seasons ago before undergoing an operation on his left knee that sidelined him for the first 66 games last year.

If Stoudemire can return to his previous form -- and that is still a major question -- Phoenix should improve on its 54-28 record from last season and challenge San Antonio and Dallas in the Western Conference.

With the NBA ready to tip off on October 31, D'Antoni is playing down his team's title chances of capturing their first title in the franchise's 39-year history.

"I think it's a question mark. But, if (Stoudemire) does get to 100 percent, and if we can integrate him into the team, we should be better than last year. I think we'll eventually get there," he said.

Perennial contender San Antonio is also a strong contender to unseat the Miami Heat as champions.

In fact, for the third straight year, the NBA's general managers believe San Antonio is the team to beat.

Duncan ready

Nine-times All-Star center Tim Duncan, 30, hobbled by foot problems last year, hit the weight room in the offseason and will anchor a veteran team featuring Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, Bruce Bowen and newly acquired free agent center Francisco Elson.

"We don't run like Phoenix runs or shoot as quickly, but we will continue to do what you have seen us do in the past," promised Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

The Spurs were the top seeded team in the West a year ago with a 63-19 record. But they were ousted in the conference semi-finals by Dallas, a talented and disciplined squad that ultimately lost to the Heat in the league finals.

Anchored by power forward Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (60-22) acquired veterans Greg Buckner, Devean George and Anthony Johnson to help Devin Harris stay with the Heat's incomparable Dwyane Wade.

"We feel we have upgraded in that area," said Mavericks coach Avery Johnson. "We didn't have any of those guys last year. Devin Harris had to try and stop Wade."

Despite an abundance of talent, many thought the Heat were too old last year to claim the title. After defeating the Mavericks in six games in the finals, the Heat spent the offseason admiring the trophy.

They made no personnel moves, and will once again rely on Gary Payton, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker and a host of other veterans to support the one-two punch of Wade and 34-year-old All-Star Shaquille O'Neal.

Full offseason

Heat coach Pat Riley, who captured his first crown since guiding the Los Angeles Lakers in 1988, said he did not have enough time in the offseason to re-tool his roster.

"The offseason was full," he said. "Anytime you play late in to June, things come at you fairly quickly. It's been a long time since that's happened to me."

New Jersey finished fourth in the East last season with a 49-33 record and appears ready to challenge the Heat for their first conference crown since the 2002-03 season.

Rookies Marcus Williams, Josh Boone and Hassan Adams provide the Nets with some fresh legs to support veterans Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson.

Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit could make some waves in the East but each lack a key ingredient to make the finals.

The Bulls were 41-41 last season and succumbed to Miami in a hard-fought six-game series in the opening round of the playoffs.

"We were close with Miami, it was 61-61 going into the fourth quarter of Game 5 and then we just went dry," said Chicago coach Scott Skiles, who added bruising rebounder and defensive stalwart Ben Wallace in the offseason.

"Dallas also had them down, but you have to tip your hat to the world champs. Just because we were close - we know we still have a long way to go."

gameface_one
10-31-2006, 04:47 PM
Yao out, Wang in for China's Asiad hoop hopes
abs-cbnnews.com


BEIJING (AFP) - Houston Rockets superstar Yao Ming has not been included in China's Asian Games basketball squad, which is led by former Miami Heat player Wang Zhizhi.

Yao is committed to the Rockets and his multimillion dollar endorsement deals with the regular season starting this week, leaving 2.14-meter (7-foot, 1-inch) center Wang as their key player.

Sun Yue, Liu Wei, Yi Jianlian, Du Feng, Zhu Fangyu, Wang Shipeng, Li Nan, Zhang Jinsong and Mo Ke form the core of their 16-man squad, which won last year's Asian Championships.

Wang is back in the fold after refusing to play for China as he pursued a four-year NBA career with the Dallas Mavericks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat, which meant he missed the last Asian Games in Busan in 2002.

A public apology in April this year saw him return to national duty as China seek to regain the Asiad title they lost four years ago in a thrilling final won by South Korea 102-100 in overtime.

It was the first time in 20 years China has failed to take gold at the Asian Games.

Their main challenge at the Games in Doha from December 1-15 will again be from South Korea, with Lebanon, host country Qatar, and Japan also in the hunt.

Squad:

Chen Jianghua, Du Feng, Hu Xuefeng, Huo Nan, Li Nan, Liu Wei, Mo Ke, Sun Yue, Tang Zhengdong, Wang Shipeng, Wang Zhizhi, Yi Jianlian, Zhang Jinsong, Zhang Qingpeng, Zhang Songtao, Zhu Fangyu

gameface_one
10-31-2006, 04:48 PM
NBA welcomes wealth of global talent
abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES (AFP) - While USA Basketball struggles to counter the international assault on American supremacy in the game, the National Basketball Association is nurturing a growing crop of global stars.

More than 80 foreign-born players representing nearly 40 countries dot NBA rosters as the 2006-07 season prepares for tip-off on Tuesday.

Some, like Milwaukee's Australian center Andrew Bogut - the No. 1 draft pick in 2005, honed their skills in US universities.

Others, like Toronto's 2006 top draft pick Andrea Bargnani of Italy, arrived Stateside after starring in their own home leagues.

It's the continuation of a trend that has already seen Chinese big man Yao Ming evolve into a force for the Houston Rockets.

After all, Steve Nash, the reigning two-time league Most Valuable Player, is Canadian, and Dirk Nowitzki, a key element in Dallas' run to the finals last season, is one of Germany's best-known exports.

Last year's Most Improved Player was Nash's Suns teammate Boris Diaw, one of a contingent of seven French players vying to make a mark in the NBA.

They follow in the footsteps of compatriot Tony Parker, who will be seeking a third championship with the San Antonio Spurs.

Days before making Bargnani the No. 1 draft pick in June, the Toronto Raptors tabbed Benetton Treviso general manager Maurizio Gherardini as vice president and assistant general manager, making him the first European senior executive in the league.

Raptors chief exec Bryan Colangelo, who helped establish the international character of the Suns before taking over in Toronto, is giving the Canadian team a foreign flavor as well.

However, Raptors coach Sam Mitchell said his team's mix of nationalities is merely coincidental.

"We're the Toronto Raptors, Canada's team ... we are an NBA team," Mitchell said. "All our guys are proven players, and like all players have a lot to prove once they get to the NBA, but basketball players are basketball players.

"As a coaching staff, we never walk out there and say, 'We have two guys from Spain, a guy from Italy, Rasho Nesterovic from (Slovenia).

"It's not that big of a deal to us."

Philadelphia 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks, whose team participated in the NBA Europe Live program that sent four NBA teams to Europe for pre-season training camps and exhibition games, says he saw plenty of NBA material in Europe.

"The Barcelona team that we played had a lot of nice players, players that can shoot the ball," Cheeks said.

"They've always been smart basketball players, and now they have inserted some bigger guys in there now - guys who do a little bit of everything - they rebound, they shoot, they pass, they move, they do a lot of things.

"I'm even breaking down a Barcelona tape because it's very good offensive basketball," Cheeks added. "I think the gap is closing. The basketball (in Europe) is very much moving up the charts."

Certainly home-grown talent continues to dominate the NBA, where veterans Shaquille O'Neal and Gary Payton teamed with youngster Dwyane Wade to bring the title to Miami last season.

Kobe Bryant was outstanding last season, although his Los Angeles Lakers fell in the first round of the playoffs.

Wade and his fellow 2003 draft classmates LeBron James of Cleveland and Carmelo Anthony in Denver are poised to shine for years to come.

Competing with and against such talent has made stars such as Yao, Pau Gasol of the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio's Manu Ginobili forces on their national teams.

Gasol's Spain captured the world championship crown in Japan in August, and Ginobili's Argentina won Olympic gold in Athens in 2004.

However, Portland Trail Blazers coach Nate McMillan said European players could offer at least one valuable lesson to the NBA - and to a US national team determined to regain international glory at the 2008 Beijing Games.

"Those guys use the fundamental aspects of the game," McMillan said. "I think our athletes, they're so athletic, that they rely on talent as opposed to the basics of the game.

"Our guys, they love the one-on-one, the isolation, the somewhat 'me basketball.' But they play together over there."

Sam Miguel
10-31-2006, 07:44 PM
Excerpts from something from Fox Sports online written by veteran sportswriter Mike Khan.

1. LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers, age 21, 6-foot-8, 240 pounds: 31.4 pts., 7.0 rebs., 6.6 assists

It remains to be seen how far James, who grew up down the road in Akron, can lead his hometown team. Every year he continues to astound with his growth in skills. Now we'll see how he responds after such a hectic off-season with the Senior National Team.

2. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat, 24, 6-4, 210: 27.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 6.7 assists

It would be impossible for Wade to have a better season than he did, topping it off at the NBA Finals. His demeanor on and off the court is exemplary, and he exemplifies excitement. But there is this unmistakable fear of his body breaking down because of the way he plays. And it is very real.

3. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers 28, 6-6, 220: 35.4, 5.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists

His overall skills are without question, and the way he led the Lakers to a 3-1 lead over the Suns in the playoffs was very special to watch. But when it was there to win, he didn't do it. And it remains to be seen if Bryant's mental maturity will ever reach his basketball maturity.

4. Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs, 30, 6-11, 260: 18.6 pts., 11.0 reb., 2.03 blk.

It was a rough year for Duncan and the Spurs with injuries and an impossibly difficult loss to the Mavs in the conference semifinals that easily could have gone their way. Well, this time, Duncan is the one who didn't play in the off-season, and he'll return presumably with a chip on his shoulder to take back the Western Conference crown.

5. Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks, 28, 7-0, 250: 26.6 pts., 9.0 reb., 1.02 blk

Finally, Nowitzki got validation by leading the Mavs to the NBA Finals and was often spectacular in doing it. Coach Avery Johnson got him to spend more time in the post, which in turn got him to the free-throw line. But he faded badly against the Heat, which leaves plenty of room for growth.

6. Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns, 32, 6-3, 195: 18.8 pts., 10.5 ast., .921 free throw percentage

To win the MVP two years in a row speaks volumes for a guy who led two different groups to the conference finals in two seasons. He is the best point guard in the game and by definition is unparalleled at making his teammates better. Next is actually reaching the NBA Finals.

7. Kevin Garnett, Minnesota Timberwolves, 30, 6-11, 230: 21.8 pts., 12.7 reb., 4.1 ast.

It was a really rugged year for KG and the Wolves, ending his NBA-record streak at six when he failed to reach 5.0 assists per game to go along with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. Nonetheless, he is a uniquely skilled player in dire need of better teammates and a chance to win.

8. Elton Brand, Los Angeles Clippers, 27, Los Angeles Clippers: 6-8, 270: 24.7 pts., 10.0 reb., 2.54 blk.

Finally, Brand got his due as the Clippers rose to play deep into the Western Conference playoffs for the first time. He added a very reliable 16-foot jumper, but those extraordinarily long arms make him devastating around the basket at both ends of the floor.

9. Shaquille O'Neal, Miami Heat, 34, 7-1, 325: 20.0 pts., 9.2 reb., 1.76 blk.

Right up front, Shaq got his title before Kobe got his since the breakup. That makes the score 4-3, Shaq. But there's more to it than that. He deferred to Wade because he is smart enough to know his skills have eroded. But that doesn't mean he can't and won't still dominate games, which he still does.

10. Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nugget,s 22, 6-8, 225: 26.5 pts., 4.9 reb., 2.7 ast.:

From everything we've seen the past year, he has shed the problems of immaturity off the floor to becoming the star he was expected to be in between the baselines. He led the NBA in game-winning shots and was the surprise of the Senior National Team. This season could be his coming-out party as a superstar.

11. Allen Iverson, Philadelphia 76ers, 31, 6-0, 165: 33.0 pts., 7.4 ast., 1.94 stl.:

Two consecutive early exits from the playoffs and the buzzards have been floating around the Sixers, but to place the blame on Iverson is way out of line. They just don't have a good mix around him. Then again, how much of the blame must fall on him because he dominates the ball so much? Regardless, he still plays with more passion and excitement than anybody else.

12. Yao Ming, Houston Rockets, 26, 7-5, 295: 22.3 pts., 10.2 reb.

Yao's game went to an entirely different level this past season, but unfortunately most of it was without injured Tracy McGrady; and the Rockets went nowhere. But if his toe problems don't set him back, Yao should become the most dominant interior force in the game this season and with a healthy McGrady, they'll be back in the playoffs.

13. Ray Allen, Seattle Sonics 31, 6-5, 205: 25.1 points, 4.3 reb., 3.7 ast.

The unofficial best perimeter shooter in the game, Allen's ability to score from anywhere on the floor and be such a vocal leader has always been impressive. But the Sonics went nowhere last season; and if they don't make the playoffs this season either, it will leave plenty of questions.

14. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics 28, 6-6, 230: 26.8 pts., 6.7 reb., 4.7 ast.

Statistically speaking, he is as talented and productive as anybody in the game. But there has always been a question of his priorities and attitude on the floor. He appeared to mature leadership-wise last year on such a young team, and we'll see just how patient and how much farther along he can help take them.

15. Jermaine O'Neal, Indiana Pacers, 28, 6-11, 250: 20.1 pts., 9.3 reb., 2.29 blk.

O'Neal was a top-10 and occasionally a top-five player - and could return to that status - but he has to stay on the floor and help the Pacers win. He still talks a great game and has the skills to dominate inside and take it outside as well. But being injury prone has prevented him from remaining among the NBA elite. This is a big year for him and the Pacers.

16. Tracy McGrady, Houston Rockets, 27, 6-8, 210: 24.4 pts., 6.5 reb., 4.8 ast

All things being equal, McGrady is a top-five player. But things are not equal because of his back and occasional knee problems that have prevented him from being there. We can only hear and see so much about what a wonderful player he is if he can't stay on the floor. This is the year McGrady, Yao and the Rockets need to make some noise in the West.

17. Vince Carter, New Jersey Nets, 29, 6-6, 220: 24.2 pts., 5.8 reb., 4.3 ast.

Whatever Carter lost those last couple of seasons in Toronto, he found the past season-and-a-half after being traded to the Nets. He not only remains exciting going to the basket, but he hits big shots from all over the floor in big games. He's still a big star.

18. Gilbert Arenas, Washington Wizards, 24, 6-4, 210: 29.3 pts., 6.1 ast., 2.01 stl.

Nobody seems to have noticed that Arenas has become one of the most dominant floor leaders in the game. He can score from anywhere on the floor and still manage to keep his teammates involved. That will be the key to his future success and the team's - keeping everybody involved.

19. Shawn Marion, Phoenix Suns, 28, 6-7, 230: 21.8 pts., 11.0 reb., 1.98 stl.

For some strange reason, Marion has become the game's most talented player that people hate to love. Maybe it's his unorthodox shot, or his occasional stinkers in the playoffs. But the fact of the matter is he played out of position last season at power forward, and his numbers should be even better this year.

20. Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons, 29, 6-3, 202: 18.5 pts., 8.6 ast., .894 free throw pct.

Billups had his best season as the Pistons raced to the best record. Recognized for his cool, clutch play, he consistently makes plays for the Pistons at the most crucial times. But along with his teammates, Billups faded badly against the Cavs and had nothing left for the Heat. We'll learn a lot about his level of play this season.

21. Amare Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns, 24, 6-10, 250: 26.0 pts., 8.9 reb., 1.63 blk.

Those statistics are from two years ago because microfracture knee surgery on one knee, then arthroscopic surgery on the other, limited him to four games last season. If he comes all the way back, he's easily a top-10, or even a top-five, player. But the Suns are taking it slow and so is he. It may not be until next season that we'll know how close he'll be to his old self.

22. Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic, 20, 6-11, 265: 15.8 pts, 12.5 reb., 1.40 blk.

If this guy continues at the pace he grew a year ago, he'll be a top-10 player next year. His skills and aggressiveness are unparalleled with his size and agility at both ends of the floor. Now, he just has to get strong and learn the game a little better. He has superstar written all over him.

23. Joe Johnson, Atlanta Hawks, 25, 6-7, 230: 20.2 pts., 4.1 reb., 6.5 ast.

Johnson has the comparable overall game of the upper-echelon guys in this league. But playing on the Hawks - a team that doesn't win - prevents him from being ranked comparable to his skill. Should they continue to grow, then his star will be recognized right along with it.

24. Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets, 33, 6-4, 210: 13.3 pts., 8.4 ast., 1.88 stl.

It would be wrong to assume Kidd is still the same player he was even five years ago, but he's responded from microfracture surgery as well as anybody and still is the guy who makes this team go. Of course, people keep buzzing about Nash, but Kidd has been doing the same thing for more than a decade - and more consistently.

25. Ben Wallace, Chicago Bulls, 32, 6-9, 240: 7.3 pts., 11.3 reb., 2.21 blk.

The biggest off-season move was Wallace bolting the Pistons for the Bulls. The Pistons wouldn't come close to the Bulls' offer and the buzz of diminished skills has continued. But his spirit and defensive intensity is what the Bulls needed and wanted. Overpaying him for four years is worth it if he lifts the team's level of play.

Sam Miguel
10-31-2006, 08:04 PM
^^ That above article was actually a Top 50 Players feature by sportswriter Mike Khan. Interestingly enough there are two international players in the Top 10, former teammates Dirk Nowitzki and Steve Nash, and another internationalist, Chinese superstar Yao Ming at Number 12. I was a bit surprised that Shaquille O'Neal was still a Top 10 player, although I totally agree with the Top 3 players, led of course by the youngest legend in the game, Lebron James. The rest of the article is can be found via MSN Sports online.

A few comments:

1. Lebron is indeed a phenomenal basketball talent. But am I the only one who sees him still dribbling too high to be a meaningful fulltime guard? He's a superior dribbler for a forward but just above-average for a guard. How the heck he could possibly compare to Magic Johnson at this point in his career is a stretch as far as I'm concerned.

2. Kobe Bryant is the best "pure player in terms of overall skills" or some words to that effect. So why wasn't he Number 1? Bryant has three championship rings and has shown what he can really do all by himself with that 81-point explosion just this past season. He's got so many skills you cannot guard him even by committee. D-uh?

3. And if we're talking about accomplishments and consistency, I strongly believe Chauncy Billups should be at least in the Top 10 and not just at Number 20. Billups was the heart and soul of a Detroit team that won one NBA championship in back to back Finals appearances. And Yao Ming is several notches ahead of him in the rankings.

4. I wonder if this ranking is based more on accomplishments (as Khan seemed to suggest with his Top 10) or more on pure skill (some of his choices in this Top 25) or with some room for improvement and upside (check out the rest online).

Of his Top 10 only four have championship rings: Shaq, Kobe, Dwayne Wayde and Tim Duncan. Only one other Top 10 player, Dirk, has ever been to the NBA Finals. To my recollection only Shaq and Duncan have been named regular season and Finals MVP's. Shaq, Kobe and Duncan are the only ones in the Top 10 with more than one championship ring. So how did he pick the other guys like Carmelo Anthony or even Kevin Garnett to the Top 10?

Maybe someone can help make sense of this selection...

full battle gear
11-01-2006, 01:58 PM
Heat is on Miami as season begins
By Joaquin Henson
The Philippine Star 11/01/2006

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is back with a bang. The new season got off to a rip-roaring start last night (this morning, Manila) and for the first time in a long time, soothsayers can’t seem to confidently put their fingers on a team that’s destined to win the championship.

Defending champion Miami returns with a virtually intact lineup that is older, slower and less hungry. Coach Pat Riley decided to give it a shot at two in a row but isn’t likely to succeed even if Dwyane Wade is now being hailed as the second coming of Michael Jordan with due apologies to Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

Shaquille O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, Gary Payton and Shandon Anderson are all in their 30s. If Miami’s future is in the hands of former Red Bull import Earl Barron, Jason Kapono, Udonis Haslem and James Posey acting as Wade’s choir boys, the Heat is in big trouble.

Riley is obviously not thinking long-term because he doesn’t figure to coach many more years. He’s looking at the dividends he can reap here and now without thinking of what’s next. O’Neal, Mourning and the rest of the aging cast are right on Riley’s wavelength. If it ain’t broke, why fix it, they chorus.

Last year’s losing finalist Dallas, in contrast, made dramatic lineup changes in the offseason to retool and regroup. Coach Avery Johnson got a vote of confidence from owner Mark Cuban with a contract extension and is hoping the Mavericks get the job done this time.

Dallas was two wins short of clinching the NBA title last season and came tantalizingly close to cooling the Heat in the Finals.

Gone from the Mavs roster are Darrell Armstrong, Adrian Griffin, Marquis Daniels and Josh Powell. Devean George, Austin Croshere, Greg Buckner and Anthony Johnson were recruited as veteran backups for the nucleus of Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Jerry Stackhouse, Devin Harris and Josh Howard.

Slam Magazine picked Miami and Dallas to advance to the Last Dance for the second straight year with the Mavs winding up on top.

"Dallas will be much improved with their experience," said Slam’s Lang Whitaker. "The key players have now been to the Promised Land as has Avery Johnson. This season, they’ll make it again and this time around, they’ll bring back the one thing money can’t buy — history."

Slam’s picks to top their divisions in the regular season were New Jersey in the Atlantic, Detroit in the Central, Miami in the Southeast, Denver in the Northwest, Dallas in the Southwest and Phoenix in the Pacific.

Sports Illustrated ruled out a Dallas return to the Finals and predicted Phoenix to win the title with Miami the loser in the title playoffs. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the weekly magazine chose Miami over New Jersey and in the West, it was Phoenix over Dallas. The choices to lead their divisions were New Jersey in the Atlantic, Cleveland in the Central, Miami in the Southeast, Utah in the Northwest, Dallas in the Southwest and Phoenix in the Pacific.

Player and coaching movements make for an unpredictable season. With so many shifts and a gruelling 82-game grind, anything can happen until the regular season ends on April 18.

Three new head coaches are in the spotlight. Don Nelson returns to Golden State in Mike Montgomery’s place. Isaiah Thomas bumped off Larry Brown at the New York helm and Eric Musselman took over from Rick Adelman at Sacramento.

Coaches in line to lose jobs in midstream include Milwaukee’s Terry Stotts, Toronto’s Sam Mitchell, Atlanta’s Mike Woodson, Portland’s Nate McMillan and New Orleans/Oklahoma’s Byron Scott unless they drastically reverse their fortunes.

Major player transfers involved Shane Battier to Houston, Sebastian Telfair and Theo Ratliff to Boston, Peja Stojakovic to New Orleans/Oklahoma, Tim Thomas to the Los Angeles Clippers, J. R. Smith to Denver, Derek Fisher to Utah, Speedy Claxton to Atlanta, T. J. Ford and Rasho Nesterovic to Toronto, Ben Wallace and P. J. Brown to Chicago, David Wesley to Cleveland, Flip Murray and Nazr Mohammed to Detroit, Al Harrington to Indiana and Charlie Villanueva to Milwaukee.

If Miami and Phoenix are favored to battle in the Finals, darkhorse contenders are New Jersey and Detroit with Chicago as the sleeper in the East and San Antonio and Denver with Houston as the sleeper in the West.

The Nets should crowd Miami in the race to the top of the Eastern pile. Jason Kidd, Vince Carter and Richard Jefferson are a formidable threesome and center Nenad Krstic can only get better. Whether they’ll be healthy the entire stretch is a question mark.

The Pistons were eliminated by Miami in six in last year’s playoffs and coach Flip Saunders is ready to bring the Motor City squad back to the top with Rasheed Wallace, Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups. The Bulls might just steal the thunder from the favorites with Wallace, Kirk Hinrich, Brown, Ben Gordon and Luol Deng in the trenches.

Orlando is a long shot but if Dwight Howard lives up to his billing as the next David Robinson and Grant Hill is healthy for 82 games, coach Brian Hill might be in luck.

The Spurs are still a force to reckon with even as Tim Duncan’s numbers aren’t as awesome as before. Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker and Michael Finley are back but coach Gregg Popovich’s problem is the hole in the middle because Francisco Elson just isn’t the answer.

Carmelo Anthony makes the Nuggets a legitimate title threat. If only Kenyon Martin’s head is in place, coach George Karl could take Denver to a rocky mountain high. Houston is a sleeping giant with Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Battier, Bonzi Wells and Vassilis Spanoulis in the mix.

As for the rookies, it doesn’t look like anyone will shake up the league like LeBron did in his first year when he averaged 20.9 points in 2003-04. Top draft pick 7-foot Andrea Bargnani isn’t likely to impress in Toronto which is parading a slew of foreigners, including 6-8 Jorge Garbajosa and 6-3 Jose Calderon of Spain, 7-0 Nesterovic and 6-10 Uros Slokar of Slovenia and 6-10 Pape Sow of Senegal. No. 2 pick 6-11 Lamarcus Aldridge will at least get playing time at Portland as will another freshman 6-6 Brandon Roy. 6-8 Adam Morrison, the third overall choice, is forecast to become a designated three-point gunner in the Steve Kerr mold at Charlotte whose new managing member of basketball operations is Michael Jordan.

Other rookies to watch are 6-4 Randy Foye of Minneosta, 6-9 Rudy Gay of Memphis, 6-9 Shelden Williams of Atlanta and 6-9 Tyrus Thomas of Chicago.

The NBA season kicks off with a back-to-back treat, live on Solar’s BTV channel starting at 9a.m. today with Chicago facing Miami and Phoenix meeting the Los Angeles Lakers. The Chicago-Miami game will be replayed at 6 tonight and the Phoenix-Lakers contest at 9:30.

full battle gear
11-01-2006, 02:12 PM
Bulls sign Hinrich to multi-year contract extension

www.abs-cbnnews.com


CHICAGO - Chicago Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich signed a multi-year contract extension on the eve of the new NBA season on Tuesday.

Financial terms were not announced but according to a report in the Chicago Tribune newspaper the contract is for five years and $47.5 million.

"Kirk Hinrich is imperative to the foundation of our organization and we are extremely pleased to have him with us long term," said Bulls executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson on the team's Web site.

"We are attempting to build a team based on character and commitment and these are both traits that Kirk possesses at a very high level.

"This is a very good day for the Chicago Bulls organization."

The seventh overall pick of the 2003 NBA draft, Hinrich averaged a career-high 15.9 points and a team best 6.3 assists per game last season.

Hinrich has led the Bulls to the playoffs in the last two seasons and played on the US team at this year's world championships in Japan. -- Reuters

full battle gear
11-02-2006, 02:37 PM
Heat blown out in opener by Bulls


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 03:01pm (Mla time) 11/01/2006

MIAMI, Florida -- Kirk Hinrich scored 15 of his 26 points in a dynamic first half as the Chicago Bulls embarrassed Miami 108-66 in the opening game of the 2006-07 National Basketball Association (NBA) season on Tuesday.

Hot-shooting Chris Duhon added 20 points in just 16 minutes for the new-look Bulls, who used their defense sparked by prized offseason acquisition Ben Wallace to generate a 37-point second quarter that broke open the game and abruptly ended a celebration.

It was the worst season-opening loss by a defending champion, surpassing the 132-117 setback suffered by the Los Angeles Lakers vs Golden State in 1982.

"We have a lot of guys that can create, catch and shoot, and also draw and kick. That will definitely be useful for us this year," Hinrich said.

In the only other opening night game, Lakers star Kobe Bryant sat out and Lamar Odom stepped up as Los Angeles defeated Phoenix 114-106 in a playoff rematch.

Bounced out of the first round of the playoffs by Miami last spring, Chicago spent the off-season adding Wallace -- a four-time Defensive Player of the Year -- and athletic rookies Tyrus Thomas and Thabo Sefolosha to a young, energetic roster.

Meanwhile, the Heat made very few changes since their stirring comeback from an 0-2 deficit against the Dallas Mavericks in the NBA Finals.

Their veteran group looked old and slow against the Bulls, who used all 12 players in the decisive first half.

"It was absolutely one-sided," Miami coach Pat Riley said. "Just a very embarrassing loss. They've got a lot to prove. They're hungry and they're very talented and they're very committed."

The ceremony in which Heat players, coaches and executives received their rings from Commissioner David Stern before a championship banner was hoisted to the rafters of AmericanAirlines Arena lasted 25 minutes.

After getting their rings, the Heat spent the first quarter running around in circles. They committed nine fouls -- two each by superstars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade -- and seven turnovers, digging a 22-16 hole.

It got worse in the second period, when the Bulls turned up their interior defense and started making shots. Consecutive dunks by Thomas and Luol Deng capped a 12-2 spurt that made it 38-21 with 7:39 left.

In the first half, Miami had 10 baskets and 13 turnovers.

Meanwhile, Chicago shot 51 percent (20-of-39) from the field and held a 26-15 rebounding advantage.

The Heat got no closer than 22 points in the second half, which was marked by a steady stream of fans exiting early. The building was nearly three-quarters empty at the final horn.

"Whether or not this is an eye-opener, I'm sure it is," Riley said. "We'll see how the players deal with it."

full battle gear
11-02-2006, 02:39 PM
Kidd, Nets off to quick NBA start


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:00nn (Mla time) 11/02/2006

EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Jason Kidd got off to a quick start in the 2006-07 National Basketball Association season, posting his 76th career triple-double in the Nets' 102-92 win over Toronto on Wednesday.

Kidd had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Vince Carter collected 25, 11 and six for the Nets, who shot 51 percent (40-of-78) from the field and held a 52-38 advantage in rebounds.

The Nets needed all that output as Raptors point guard T.J. Ford engaged Kidd in a fierce duel.

Ford, who was acquired in an off-season trade with Milwaukee and signed a three-year contract extension on the opening day of the season on Tuesday, had 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds.

Ford made a pair of sensational drives in the third quarter before his two free throws gave the Raptors a 68-66 lead with 4:17 left. But he took a seat just over a minute later, and Toronto never led again.

Without Ford at the controls, the Raptors missed four straight long jumpers and fell behind, 74-70, entering the final period.

full battle gear
11-02-2006, 02:52 PM
Heat come out cold in opening night loss to Bulls

www.abs-cbnnews.com


MIAMI - Miami Heat opened the new season with a party but finished with a hangover as the Chicago Bulls thrashed the reigning NBA champions 108-66 on Tuesday in the league curtain-raiser.

A capacity crowd dressed in white at the American Airlines Arena cheered and celebrated as the Heat accepted their championship rings from commissioner David Stern.

They then watched the championship banner raised to the rafters in a theatrical pre-game ceremony.

The party, however, was short-lived and the cheers turned to boos as the Bulls raced to a 29-point halftime lead then coasted to an easy win.

The loss was the worst opening night defeat by a defending champion in NBA history.

"The defense was carrying us, defense kept us in the game," the Bulls' prize off-season signing Ben Wallace told a courtside reporter. "A lot of emotion and energy is taken up in the ring ceremony and we wanted to come out and catch them off guard."

Bulls guard Kirk Hinrich, who just hours before the opening tip-off signed a five-year $47 million contract extension, celebrated with a 26-point performance while Chris Duhon hit for 20 points.

Wallace pulled down 11 rebounds while Argentine Andres Nocioni contributed nine points and 11 boards to the rout.

Dwyane Wade had 25 points for Miami but the NBA finals MVP was the only member of the Heat to hit double figures.

Shaquille O'Neal was a woeful 3-of-10 from the field and finished with just seven points and five rebounds.

"Welcome back to reality," Heat coach Pat Riley told reporters. "Obviously it was absolutely one-sided.

"There isn't really much to say .... there has been a gauge put on how much work we have to do."

In the night's other game, Kobe Bryant watched from the bench as the Lakers rallied to beat the Phoenix Suns 114-106. -- Reuters

full battle gear
11-03-2006, 11:07 AM
Fearful or fearless forecast
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 11/03/2006

Believe it or not, both Slam Magazine and Sports Illustrated picked Miami to make it back to the National Basketball Association (NBA) Finals this season although neither predicted the Heat to retain the crown.

Slam chose Dallas to win the title and Sports Illustrated, Phoenix. The picks meant the two widely-read publications foresee a shift in the balance of power from the East to the West.

Last year, I picked Miami to win it all–even before the regular season started and over 20 games before Pat Riley took over as coach from Stan Van Gundy. I stuck to my forecast as the playoffs got underway and didn’t budge even as Dallas loomed as most experts’ choice in the Finals. I just had the feeling the Heat could and would do it because Shaquille O’Neal plays with a lot of pride.

This year, my feeling is Miami won’t do it again. Riley wants another title and isn’t looking beyond the league’s 61st season. He couldn’t care less about the future because that’s a problem his successor will face. At the moment, Riley is exclusively concerned about now and how much blood, sweat and tears he can still squeeze out of the battered bodies of his aging warriors.

In the offseason, Riley got rid of two Andersons–Derek and Shandon–but retained a bunch of gladiators in their 30s, namely O’Neal, Antoine Walker, Alonzo Mourning, Gary Payton and Jason Williams. If he thinks surrounding star Dwayne Wade with a cast of players approaching retirement will lead to a second straight championship, Riley is dead wrong.

The Heat’s 42-point loss to East sleeper Chicago to open the season last Tuesday is an indication of tough times ahead. The motivation is gone for the Riley’s Old Boys Club to go the extra mile for one more ring. The veterans aren’t as hungry as they were last season. They’re back for another run, not to win a title but to extend their playing careers for one more fat paycheck. They’re nearing the end of the line and they know it.

Riley appears to be in the same boat as his oldtimers. They’re covering for each other at the Heat’s expense and poor Wade has to work doubly hard to compensate for all their foot-dragging.

If Miami doesn’t rise to the occasion in the East, Detroit will.

Pistons coach Flip Saunders piloted the Motor City squad to a 64-18 record last season–best in the league, in case you didn’t notice. Detroit, however, got derailed in the Eastern Conference Finals by Miami in six. This time, there won’t be any Heat from Miami to stop the Pistons from going all the way to the Last Dance.

Saunders lost Ben Wallace to Chicago but got Nazr Mohammed from San Antonio. Two years ago, Mohammed was the Spurs starter when San Antonio beat Detroit for the NBA title. Saunders also picked up sharpshooting Flip Murray for more perimeter firepower. His nucleus of Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Tayshaun Prince, Rasheed Wallace and Antonio McDyess is formidable and should be untouchable in the East.

In the West, Dallas is the cream of the crop. The Mavs came close to winning their first-ever title last season and were two wins short of doing it. There were painful lessons learned in losing to Miami. No doubt, Dallas will remember the missed free throws, the irresponsible defense and the ill-advised fouls with much regret. But coach Avery Johnson isn’t the type to sulk. He’s the type to bounce back with a vengeance and that’s exactly what the Mavs will do this season.

Reliables Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Terry, Josh Howard and Jerry Stackhouse return for another crack at the title with new hires Devean George, Austin Croshere, Anthony Johnson and Greg Buckner. Gone are Keith Van Horn and Marquis Daniels. Alternating at the slot are Erick Dampier and DeSagana Diop of Senegal. The big news is Diop’s improvement. He’s lost over 40 pounds and finally developed an offensive game.

Phoenix, Houston, Denver and the Los Angeles Clippers will threaten in the battle for supremacy in the West but Dallas should come out on top.

In the Finals, my crystal ball says Dallas will beat Detroit in six.

john_paul_manahan
11-06-2006, 11:25 AM
well.. Miami and Dallas are having slow starts.

Sam Miguel
11-06-2006, 09:12 PM
Save for Dwayne Wade Miami is an old team. Taking it easy early is the best way to ensure they don't suffer any injuries or burnouts late in the season when everyone is looking to make the playoffs. Regardless of where they eventually wind up in the playoffs no one would want to take them on in the postseason.

Sam Miguel
11-07-2006, 06:59 PM
THE DAY MAGIC JOHNSON CHANGED THE WORLD

Elliott Kalb

Every generation, it seems, has a moment in time in which something happens that affects everyone.

For folks a little older than me, there was a November day in 1963, when news of President Kennedy's assassination shocked the world.

For my generation, it was a November afternoon in 1991, 15 years ago when a different shocking announcement literally changed the world.

The announcement, of course, was that Earvin "Magic" Johnson, a basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers, was retiring because he had tested positive for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Everyone remembers where they were when they heard the news. This wasn't just any basketball player, or any retirement. And this wasn't just any disease.

At the time, the announcement sounded very much like a death sentence for Magic. At the time, it was. One headline the following day to a sidebar story on Magic was chillingly succinct: "Magic's life expectancy uncertain." That article began this way: "Now that Magic Johnson has been diagnosed as having the virus that causes AIDS, he could live for as little as months or for as long as a decade, physicians said ..."

On a subliminal level, it was the end of a lifestyle that many men (not just professional athletes) engaged in. No longer would it be possible to have multiple sex partners without thinking of - or paying - the consequences. The same week that Johnson announced that he had tested positive from having unprotected sex with women, Wilt Chamberlain (one of the very best players in NBA history) was promoting his book, in which he claimed to have had sex with 20,000 different women. AIDS had been in the public consciousness since 1981, but at the time it was largely viewed as a disease that only homosexual men contracted.

"Every person remembers where they were when they found out," New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas said recently. "He told me and Mark (Aguirre) and we talked and cried."

Even other NBA players who were in the league at the time who weren't close friends with Johnson were still stunned by the news.

"I was with Portland at the time, real early in my career," Robinson recalled. "I heard about it before the press conference, and just prayed that it was just a rumor. I didn't believe it. The only thing comparable to me was hearing the news that Len Bias had died suddenly. You just didn't want to accept the news. I felt for him."

I watched Earvin's press conference from Madison Square Garden, where the Knicks had a game that night. To say the entire Garden was deflated was to put it mildly. I remember being surprised a few months earlier, in June at the 1991 NBA Finals, when I had read an article that talked about a healthy but aging Magic Johnson possibly playing only one or two more years. It didn't seem possible, as Magic had finished 1991 as second in the MVP voting to Michael Jordan.

I had been part of the television network coverage for the 1991 McDonald's Open - an international basketball competition featuring an invited NBA team (this time, the Lakers) against champion clubs from other countries. I learned that Magic Johnson was a very popular figure in Europe - far bigger than I had imagined. He was one of the most famous - and popular and beloved - figures in the world. All I could think of when watching the Nov. 7 press conference on television was the movie Pride of the Yankees, when a dying Lou Gehrig told the Yankee Stadium crowd, "Today, I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth." I heard the words coming from Magic, about how it could happen to anyone. I heard Magic say that he's going to go on, and beat it. I heard how he vowed to become a spokesman for the disease.

I admired how he stood up and announced his fate to the world. I admired his courage, but thought it was an act. He couldn't have been so upbeat. How could any 32-year-old newly married man with so much to live for be so upbeat announcing this news?

But he was ... and has been since that day 15 years ago.

Soon after his retirement, I had a chance to work with him when he became a television analyst. He put everyone at ease. He talked to everyone on a personal level. How could I hope to have a conversation with one of the most powerful and recognizable figures in the world, for instance?

Magic made it impossible to be anything but your best friend. He remembered your favorite NFL team. He shared stories about his wife telling him he was gambling too much at the casinos. Even Magic had fears and worries about parenting toddlers, and worrying about their safety. If Magic noticed that all of a sudden, someone was taping and labeling his water bottles, he never let on.

And he did more than just talk basketball, or fight the disease for himself. He did more than any politician could have done to raise money and increase awareness for the HIV/AIDS pandemic. There's only been one athlete (Muhammad Ali) that comes close to doing as much for the worldwide community as Johnson has accomplished. The difference is that Magic has gotten bigger (literally and figuratively) after announcing his HIV. Ali - still a revered and beloved worldwide figure - shows the effects of Parkinson's disease. Magic still has his voice, and his body, and his smile.

Earvin has revitalized neglected communities by bringing Magic Johnson Theatres and retail centers into inner cities. He opened a series of 24-hour Fitness Magic Johnson clubs in minority areas. He had done everything from launching a platinum recording artist to hosting a talk show. His Magic Johnson Foundation raises money to fund community-based organizations serving the educational, health, and social needs of children residing in inner cities communities and HIV/AIDS organizations specializing in education, prevention, and care.

"It will be hard to find a person who has gotten more out of every single day of his life," said longtime friend Thomas.

According to the Center for Disease Control, at the end of 2003, over a million persons in the United States were living with HIV/AIDS, with 24-27% undiagnosed and unaware of their HIV infection. CDC has estimated that approximately 40,000 persons become infected with HIV each year in the United States. No longer is it the shocking apparent "death sentence" that it was not a generation ago. There are powerful combinations of drugs that have allowed patients - with far less resources than Johnson - to lead normal lives, while managing their HIV.

I am not a person that lives their life believing in preordained fate. Yet it is hard to believe anything else other than Magic Johnson being destined to test positive for this disease for a reason.

Magic has spent the last third of his life in the public eye fighting his HIV, after spending the previous 15 years thrilling the world on the basketball court, both at the college level and in the NBA. This is one anniversary - and one life - that should be celebrated every year.

Elliott Kalb is a frequent contributor to FOXSports.com.

Joescoundrel
11-07-2006, 11:16 PM
Even I remember exactly where I was that fateful November day when Magic made his announcement, in a friend's home watching on his cable because my cable was still on the fritz. We were thinking of catching a game on tap and both of us were literally stunned silent when Magic made his announcement. It was truly the day a lot of things stood still for the whole world and not just for hoopdom.

Kid Cubao
11-08-2006, 05:40 AM
no comment na lang ako where i was and what i was doing when i heard the news about magic's stunning announcement...

Joescoundrel
11-08-2006, 07:12 PM
no comment na lang ako where i was and what i was doing when i heard the news about magic's stunning announcement...


Getting tested pare?

christian
11-08-2006, 09:41 PM
Sorry guys, but i still don't know the rationale why Kobe changed his number, can someone pleae help me? Thanks!

Kid Cubao
11-09-2006, 01:14 PM
kobe changing his jersey number from 8 to 24 has been a favorite barroom and chatroom topic since the news broke out. the favorite pet theories are the following:

1. kobe wants to one-up jordan, hence 23+1=24

2. he wants to start anew as he embarks on the second part of his career

3. for sentimental reasons--he wore 24 when he starred for lower merion high school until his senior year, when he switched to 33. it's been said he would have wanted to wear 33 when he joined the lakers except that it's kareem's retired jersey number.

4. 2+4=6, which represents the number of NBA titles he wants to win before he retires--again the jordan comparison.

edited to add:

my own theory is that this is just kobe's way of jerking everybody off. think about it: now that he's wearing number 24, the old number 8 will automatically be relegated to throwback status. he can make a killing auctioning off his old jerseys and athletic gear at ebay, and he'll get the last laugh ;D

christian
11-09-2006, 08:40 PM
Hehehe thanks kid! it could also be 2x4 = 8 his old number :)

gameface_one
11-10-2006, 10:51 AM
Former Knicks coach gets $18.5M settlement
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks paid $18.5 million in a contract settlement with former coach Larry Brown, who was sacked after just one season with the club.

Cablevision, which owns the club, included the settlement in its third-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 66-year-old Brown had $41 million and four years left on his contract when the Knicks fired him in June.

The Hall of Famer coached the team to a dismal 23-59 record last season despite an NBA-high $120-million payroll. The team lacked chemistry and many of the players, including guard Stephon Marbury, openly bickered with Brown for much of the campaign.

Brown was paid $10 million last season so the Brooklyn, N.Y., native parts ways with the Knicks with $28.5 million in his pocket after coaching them for just one season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, who was serving as arbitrator in the dispute, announced the settlement on October 30.

Isiah Thomas left the Knicks' front office this year to replace Brown as coach and has led the team to a 2-3 record so far this season.

MonL
11-10-2006, 11:18 AM
Former Knicks coach gets $18.5M settlement
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks paid $18.5 million in a contract settlement with former coach Larry Brown, who was sacked after just one season with the club.

Cablevision, which owns the club, included the settlement in its third-quarter filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The 66-year-old Brown had $41 million and four years left on his contract when the Knicks fired him in June.

The Hall of Famer coached the team to a dismal 23-59 record last season despite an NBA-high $120-million payroll. The team lacked chemistry and many of the players, including guard Stephon Marbury, openly bickered with Brown for much of the campaign.

Brown was paid $10 million last season so the Brooklyn, N.Y., native parts ways with the Knicks with $28.5 million in his pocket after coaching them for just one season.

NBA Commissioner David Stern, who was serving as arbitrator in the dispute, announced the settlement on October 30.

Isiah Thomas left the Knicks' front office this year to replace Brown as coach and has led the team to a 2-3 record so far this season.



For some reason, that headline above reminded me of a Quinito Henson article in Sports Weekly Magazine in the 80s on former Knick guard Luther "Ticky" Burden's brush with the law entitled "Ex-Knick Turns Bank Robber."* *:P* La lang, just random breaktime thoughts during an ordinary working day.* :)

christian
11-10-2006, 02:03 PM
Ang tagal na nun sir... ;D

full battle gear
11-11-2006, 12:54 PM
Nuggets nab first win of NBA season

www.abs-cbnnews.com



PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania - The Denver Nuggets captured their first victory of the young National Basketball Association season on Friday, containing Allen Iverson to beat Philadelphia 108-101.

The Nuggets limited Iverson to 6-of-20 shooting as they handed the 76ers their third defeat in a row.

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points for the Nuggets, who won the Northwest Division title a season ago but were the last winless team in the NBA.

Denver lost its first three games by a combined six points, giving away leads in all three with porous defense.

It nearly happened again as Philadelphia - which trailed by 13 points midway through the fourth quarter - was shooting to tie the game in the final minute.

However, the Nuggets built that lead by stopping Iverson, who was held to 12 points on 3-of-15 shooting by a combination of defenders until coming on late, when the 76ers rallied.

He finished with 21 points, nine assists and five turnovers.

Anthony scored 10 points in the final 5 1/2 minutes to keep the Nuggets going. AFP

Kid Cubao
11-11-2006, 08:10 PM
Hehehe thanks kid! it could also be 2x4 = 8 his old number :)

you know the story why he chose 8 for his jersey number as a laker rookie? well, the story goes that growing up in italy (where his dad joe "jellybean" bryant wound up his pro career), his favorite player was his dad's teammate--a fiery and passionate italian-american guard who became a local legend as a player and coach. wearing number 8, he later brought his wares back to the states and essentially introduced the european style of play in the NBA. he's still very much around, this player and coach whom kobe idolized in italy--mike d'antoni.

christian
11-12-2006, 08:49 PM
Thanks kid!

full battle gear
11-15-2006, 11:24 AM
Jazz playing beautiful music
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 11/15/2006

It didn’t seem like the Utah Jazz would play beautiful music in the National Basketball Association (NBA) this season. Karl Malone and John Stockton were gone. The league’s longest active coach Jerry Sloan appeared ready for pasture. Recruits were neither stars nor impact players. And the team was fresh from a 41-41 mark that wasn’t good enough to bring Utah back to the playoffs.

But in the NBA where unpredictability is a trademark, no team isn’t a contender. And lo and behold, the Jazz is now setting the pace with a 6-1 mark. Utah is on top of the Northwest Division, the Western Conference and the entire NBA at the moment.

So far, the Jazz has upended Houston, Phoenix, Golden State, Detroit, Boston and Milwaukee with two of the wins on the road. Its only loss was to the Nets at New Jersey. Utah will be tested by the Los Angeles Clippers (5-1) in an early duel of division leaders this morning (Manila time).

The Clippers and San Antonio are the only other teams with a single setback in their records. No longer the laughing stock in pro sports, the Clippers opened the season on a sour note, dropping a 112-104 decision to Phoenix on the road. But since the defeat, L. A. has won five in a row. What makes the Clippers tougher than ever is a balance of talent at every position with Sam Cassell, Cuttino Mobley, Quinton Ross and Shaun Livingston in the backcourt and Chris Kaman, Tim Thomas, Elton Brand and Corey Maggette up front.

The Spurs continue to lord it over the Southwest Division with a 5-1 slate even as the jury is far from reaching a verdict on San Antonio’s competence because two of the wins were at lowly New York’s expense and one was over Toronto. The positive sign was the Spurs’ 97-91 conquest of Dallas on the road.

Teams showing unexpected progress are the Cleveland Cavaliers (5-2), Houston Rockets (5-2), Orlando Magic (5-3), Portland Trail Blazers (4-3) and Atlanta Hawks (4-2). Of those five overachieving teams, only the Cavs made it to the playoffs last season.

The underachievers are Dallas (2-4), Phoenix (2-5), Denver (2-3), Detroit (3-4), Memphis (1-5), Charlotte (1-5) and Boston (1-6).

Carlos Boozer has been the man of the hour for Utah. He’s getting the job done with help from Memo Okur, Andrei Kirilenko, Deron Williams, Matt Harpring, Gordan Giricek and newly-acquired Derek Fisher.

"If we stay healthy, we are a dangerous team," said Williams, a sophomore guard. "Anything less than the playoffs will be a disappointment."

Slam Magazine’s Lang Whitaker said Sloan’s work ethic is rubbing off on the Jazz.

"I love Jerry because he is what he is and that’s all that he is," said Whitaker. "You want to play for Jerry? Play hard. That’s all he asks and if getting benched hurts your feelings, tough luck. Which explains why this Jazz team is primed for a big season. Kirilenko and Boozer are both healthy, finally, and Williams should have the offense mastered. Rookie Ronnie Brewer can play throughout the backcourt and frontcourt, giving Sloan the flexibility he lacked last year."

Brewer, however, has been a cold factor. Utah’s other rookies Dee Brown and Paul Millsap are hardly contributing, too. Luckily, Fisher is fitting comfortably in Sloan’s scheme of things as a sixth man and is one of five Jazz players averaging in twin digits in scoring. The scary thing is Kirilenko isn’t even averaging 10 points a game.

While Utah should be able to advance to the playoffs, the Jazz won’t go far. There are too many formidable squads to knock off in the West and the Jazz, in the end, will realize Malone and Stockton aren’t easy to replace.

full battle gear
11-15-2006, 11:32 AM
Lakers center Mihm out for up to eight months

www.abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Los Angeles Lakers center Chris Mihm had surgery on his right ankle on Tuesday and is likely to be out of action for up to eight months.

The operation to repair a ligament and tendon and to realign his heel bone was performed in Baltimore, Maryland, the Lakers said in a statement.

The 27-year-old said last week he had expected to be sidelined for the rest of this season.

"Naturally I'm disappointed," Mihm added. "But I'm optimistic that, in the long run, this surgery will lead to a 100 percent recovery and I look forward to resuming my NBA career full-time at that time."

Mihm injured his ankle in a game against Seattle on March 12 and was out of action for 24 of his team's final 25 matches last season.

In his absence, 19-year-old Andrew Bynum, Kwame Brown and Ronny Turiaf will provide cover.

Mihm averaged a career-best 10.2 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.24 blocks for the Lakers in 59 games last season.

In two seasons with the Los Angeles he has averaged 10.0 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.35 blocks.

gameface_one
11-18-2006, 06:00 PM
O'Neal to undergo knee surgery, out four to six weeks
abs-cbnnews.com


MIAMI - Shaquille O'Neal will undergo knee surgery and is set to miss four to six weeks, the Miami Heat confirmed on Friday.

Tests revealed O'Neal tore cartilage in his left knee during last Sunday's game against Houston, but the injury was originally diagnosed as a hyperextended knee.

The 34-year-old practiced on Thursday in the hope of playing on Friday against the New York Knicks but the Heat announced the extent of his injury before the game.

The 13-times All Star has already missed two games with a bruised knee. Reuters

gameface_one
11-20-2006, 11:47 AM
Heat defeat Hawks, 93-88
abs-cbnnews.com


ATLANTA (Reuters) - Dwyane Wade scored 37 points on the day before Shaquille O'Neal undergoes knee surgery to lift the Miami Heat to a 93-88 overtime road win over the Atlanta Hawks on Saturday (Sunday in Manila).

Jason Williams put the Heat ahead with a three-pointer late in overtime and the defending NBA champions held on to snap a three-game losing streak and improve to 4-5 for the season.

O'Neal will have surgery on his ailing knee on Sunday and will be out of the line-up for an estimated four to six weeks.

After a woeful display in a 100-76 loss at home to the New York Knicks on Friday, the Heat survived an intense battle against a determined Atlanta team with Wade leading the way in place of O'Neal.

"A lot more is going to come on me," Wade told reporters after the game. "It's always that way if Shaq isn't in the lineup, I get more touches."

Wade also had nine assists and seven rebounds, while Udonis Haslem turned in a strong effort with 21 points and 17 rebounds.

Atlanta (4-4) lost its third straight game but those three losses have been by a combined eight points, with two of them coming in overtime, after a four-game winning streak.

Joe Johnson continued his strong start for the perennially weak Hawks with 22 points and eight rebounds.

Gilbert Arenas scored 45 points to help the Washington Wizards dominate LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, 111-99. James had just 20 points in a losing cause for the Cavs.

Zach Randolph had 20 points and 16 rebounds and the Portland Trail Blazers played tenacious defense to stifle the New Jersey Nets, 86-68. New Jersey shot just 33 percent from the field.

In Auburn Hills, Richard Hamilton had 30 points to lead the Detroit Pistons past the Houston Rockets, 104-92. Yao Ming had 33 points and 16 rebounds in a losing cause for the Rockets.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points, the sixth straight game he's had at least 30, as the Denver Nuggets won for the first time this season at home, downing the struggling Toronto Raptors 117-109. Toronto (2-7) has lost five straight.

gameface_one
11-21-2006, 02:31 PM
Yao, McGrady lift Rockets over Knicks
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (AFP) - Yao Ming scored 26 points and grabbed nine rebounds while Tracy McGrady added 24 points to spark Houston past the New York Knicks 97-90 in a National Basketball Association game here Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

The Rockets improved to 7-4 this season, winning for the sixth time in their past eight games and sweeping both games against New York for the second year in a row.

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who guided the Knicks to a 248-172 record from 1995 to 2002, improved to 6-2 against his former team.

Rafer Alston scored 17 points and Luther Head added 10 off the bench for the Rockets, who limited the Knicks to just 37 percent (32-of-86) shooting.

Knicks reserve Jamal Crawford scored 25 points while Channing Frye added 22 points and nine rebounds for New York, a loser in five of the past seven games that fell to 4-8.

full battle gear
11-28-2006, 11:54 AM
Martin comes of age
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 11/28/2006

SEATTLE — With two starters sidelined and fresh from back-to-back losses, the visiting Sacramento Kings were supposed to be easy prey for the Seattle SuperSonics in their National Basketball Association (NBA) game at the Key Arena here Friday night.

But the highly-favored Sonics, coming off two wins in a row, never bargained for an explosive performance by 6-7, 185-pound third-year offguard Kevin (K-Mart) Martin who’s an early pick for the league’s Most Improved Player award this season.

Martin, 23, is a long-armed, elongated sweet shooter in the Reggie Miller mold. He’s quick on the draw and a blur on the court. K-Mart wears No. 23 and it’s no coincidence he’s playing like a Michael Jordan for the Kings. He may not be as effective defensively as another play-alike Tayshaun Prince but with Denver’s Kenyon Martin out for the season, the only K-Mart to hog the headlines is the man from Sacramento.

Against the Sonics, the Kings were badly crippled. Forward Ron Artest sat out the action with a lower back strain while center Brad Miller is nursing a partially torn plantar fascia in the left foot.

New coach Eric Musselman used only eight players, opting to bench rookie Quincy Douby, five-year pro Jason Hart, 10-year pro Vitaly Potapenko and nine-year pro Maurice Taylor. Five of the eight Kings logged at least 32 minutes of playing time, meaning Musselman kept his rotation tight.

It was close in the first half as the teams battled to nine lead changes and six ties. The Kings led, 53-52, on a last second steal and breakaway dunk by offseason recruit John Salmons.

Then, Martin took over in the third period as he hit 14 points, including 10 straight, to silence the homecrowd of 16,757. He went on to knock in 10 more points in the fourth quarter and finished with a career-high 35 on 12-of-19 from the floor and 7-of-9 free throws.

Sacramento erected an 18-point lead on Corliss Williamson’s basket, 97-79, with 6:20 left and coasted to a 109-100 victory. Watson buried a triple at the buzzer to end the massacre.

Seattle coach Bob Hill’s thick white hair grew even whiter as he just couldn’t figure out how to stop the Kings‚ second half juggernaut. When the Sonics went small, the Kings took advantage by pounding the ball inside. When the Sonics went big, the Kings brought the offense to the perimeter.

Seattle assistant coach Detlef Schrempf told The Star the Sonics don’t play as tough with a small lineup and it was evident against the Kings who dominated the matchups in the frontline and the backcourt. Sacramento had more points in the paint, 54-46, and more triples, 9-6.

Hill sent in two point guards Watson and Luke Ridnour in a late experiment to try and save the game. He put Watson on Bibby and kept Ridnour in the mix because of his firepower. Ray Allen was assigned to Martin, leaving Ridnour in a mismatch against the burly Williamson at the three-spot. The result was disastrous.

The game exposed the Sonics‚ weakness in the middle. Kings frontliners Shareef Abdur-Rahim, Kenny Thomas and Williamson scored a combined 40 points on 19-of-29 field goals and 2-of-6 free throws. They also grabbed 27 rebounds.

The night clearly belonged to Martin who increased his scoring clip from 2.9 as a rookie in 2004-05 to 10.8 last campaign, marking the third highest rise in the league behind Boris Diaw and Mike James for a minimum of 40 games. Now, he’s averaging 24.7 points and turning heads around.

"Kevin had one of those nights where he needed a half an inch and it was on its way," moaned Hill. "And he was making them. Ray had a tough time guarding him. Damien (Wilkins) had a tough time guarding him. Earl had a tough time guarding him. We even put (Mickael) Gelabale on him. Kevin just had one of those nights."

Martin, a Western Carolina sports management major who was the Kings‚ first round pick in 2004 as a junior undergraduate, was modest in the wake of his eruption.

"I guess you could say I was in a bit of a groove," he said shyly. "It’s still Mike, Ron and Brad’s team. I’m just playing my role."

Martin showed his versatility in offense and the Sonics just couldn’t keep in step. When the Kings stuck close to him outside, K-Mart put the ball on the floor and drove against the Sonics interior defenders. When they sagged off, Martin knocked down jumpers from long distance.

Jon Naito of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer marveled at Martin’s performance.

"He worked his game outside," wrote Naito. "First, showing off his prodigious outside shooting touch. Then when they ran at him, he ran past them, right to the basket. Three-pointers from the wing. Three-pointers from the top of the key while losing his balance. Layups with defenders in his wake.Kevin Martin made them from everywhere. Pick a spot on the floor and chances are the Kings guard made a bucket from that mark."

Hill was hard on himself in absorbing the Sonics’ eighth loss in 14 outings, moving the club to last place in the Northwest. Schrempf, who was in Manila for an Adidas coaching clinic a few years ago, said he felt "terrible" after the loss.

"Our defense was like a sieve," said Hill. "We couldn’t keep anyone in front of us. Sideline pick and rolls were okay but we were a step behind them all night. No excuses, they deserve a lot of credit and we were bad."

The Kings raised their record to 6-5, good for third in the Pacific.

Fans will hear a lot more from No. 23 — K-Mart (and he’s not Kenyon Martin) — before the season’s over.

full battle gear
11-28-2006, 11:59 AM
Nets lose Robinson to knee surgery

www.abs-cbnnews.com


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AFP) - New Jersey Nets forward Clifford Robinson underwent surgery on Monday to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, the National Basketball Association club announced.

The 39-year-old veteran of 18 NBA seasons averaged 5.4 points and 2.4 rebounds in seven games this season but missed the Nets' past four games due to soreness in the knee.

No timetable was given for the possible return of Robinson, whose 1,337 career games rank seventh in NBA history. Robinson has career averages of 14.5 points and 4.6 rebounds a game.

The Nets obtained Robinson from Golden State in February of 2005. Robinson started 13 games last season, averaging 6.9 points and 3.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes. He shot 43 percent from the field, including 34 percent of 3-pointers.

On May 12, Robinson was found to have violated terms of the NBA's anti-drug program and was suspended five games. He missed the last three games of the Nets' loss to eventual NBA champion Miami in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Robinson also was suspended five games for violating the anti-drug policy in 2005 with Golden State just before being traded to the Nets.

full battle gear
11-28-2006, 12:00 PM
Off-form Bryant still leads Lakers past toiling Nets

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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Lamar Odom poured in 21 points and Kobe Bryant chipped in with 19 to power the Los Angeles Lakers to a 99-93 win over the New Jersey Nets on Sunday.

While Bryant had an off-night from the floor hitting just 8-of-24 shots, the Lakers all-star made other contributions dishing out a season-high 10 assists and pulling down six rebounds as Los Angeles recorded their fifth win in six games.

Kwame Brown and Smush Parker each added 13 points to the Los Angeles cause as the Lakers had six players in double figures.

Vince Carter paced New Jersey with 21 points and 11 boards, while Nenad Krstic added 20 and Jason Kidd handed out 16 assists and pulled down eight rebounds but it was not enough to keep the struggling Nets from slipping to their fifth straight defeat.

The Nets jumped out to a 33-24 first quarter lead and took a 48-43 advantage into the intermission, but the Lakers seized control in the third outscoring the Nets 30-18 and would never trail the rest of the way.

* Tony Parker hit for 20 points and Tim Duncan had 18 and 16 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs crushed the SuperSonics 98-78 in Seattle to remain unbeaten on the road this season.

* Carmelo Anthony bagged 33 points and J.R. Smith added 23 as the Nuggets dumped the Los Angeles Clippers 103-88 in Denver to extend their winning streak to five games.

* Chris Bosh had 17 points and 11 rebounds and Italian number one draft pick Andre Bargnani helped out with 14 points to guide the Raptors to a 92-83 win over the Indiana Pacers in Toronto.

john_paul_manahan
11-29-2006, 08:19 AM
from espn.com


The Los Angeles Clippers and coach Mike Dunleavy have reached a four-year contract extension worth more than $21 million, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday, citing multiple sources.

According to the report, the team and Dunleavy's agent have worked out a deal that will pay him more than $5.3 million a season. The Clippers have not made the deal public because bonuses tied to future playoff appearances were still being worked out, the Times reported.

The Clippers, long synonymous with losing, improved dramatically under Dunleavy last season, posting their best win total since the franchise's glory days as the Buffalo Braves in the mid-1970s. The team reached the playoffs for the first time in nine seasons and came within one win of reaching the Western Conference final.

The Times reported the offer is close to the $6 million a year Dunleavy's agent initially proposed and would make him among the highest-paid coaches in the NBA. Dunleavy, the NBA's 1999 coach of the year, currently earns $2.5 million a season, and his deal expires at the end of this season.


No headbands, no problems.

That was the message the Bulls sent Monday afternoon, two days after Chicago center Ben Wallace flouted a team rule against wearing a headband during a game.

Wallace was benched Saturday during a 106-95 victory over the New York Knicks for wearing the red headwear, which runs afoul of a rule set by executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson. A team meeting was held and the issue will be resolved quickly, Bulls coach Scott Skiles said Monday.

"I look at it like these things are, most times, inevitable," Skiles said. "This happens in pro sports. These things come up."

Paxson said he didn't like the cavalier way Bulls wore headbands when he took over for Jerry Krause in April 2003.

"It's not meant in any way to stifle anybody's individuality or creativity," Paxson said. "It was just simply part of a structure we were trying to create."

Wallace did not practice Monday after an MRI on his right wrist -- which was banged up in the Knicks game -- showed no significant damage. He declined to comment through a team spokesman.

The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year has struggled to fit in with his new team after leaving the Detroit Pistons for a four-year, $60 million contract. The 32-year-old center is averaging 5.5 points and 9.2 rebounds a game and the team's defense looks worse than last season.

Media reports in Chicago have indicated Wallace is unhappy with his new team. He has reportedly butted heads with the team on other issues, like playing music in the locker room, and has had problems with other coaches in the past.

Skiles and Paxson said they had a telephone conversation with Wallace on Sunday and don't believe the headband was a rebellion against the coach.

"I'm going to talk to Ben again and see if there's more to this than the headband issue," Paxson said.

While Wallace has struggled, so have the Bulls. Skiles hopes the conflict wakes up his young team, which ended a six-game losing streak and closed out a disappointing 1-6 road trip with the win over New York. The Bulls are now 4-9.

"I don't think it's the worst thing in the world for them to see some confrontation like that, as long as it gets resolved. I think it's something we can all learn from."

full battle gear
11-29-2006, 12:12 PM
NBA sees bigger TV deal with partners

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - National Basketball Association Commissioner David Stern said on Tuesday he expects to sign a new television deal, one that includes a "healthy" increase over the current $4.6 billion terms, before the end of the 2006-07 basketball season.

Stern, speaking at the Reuters Media Summit, said the NBA was already in talks with existing broadcast and cable partners Walt Disney Co. and Time Warner Inc about a deal to replace the current six-year contract, which expires after the 2007-08 season.

"We have begun the discussions a couple of years early," Stern said. "We would very much like to remain in business with our current partners."

The NBA also is exploring selling a stake in its digital assets, which includes its cable TV network and Web site, to a media company, and establishing an NBA-sponsored league in China, he added.

Stern said the new TV deal would likely be an expansion of the current contract, noting that it could include digital assets and overseas markets, and run over six years.

"I would say it's going to be a larger deal," Stern said, referring to the current terms, which pays the league $4.6 billion over the life of the contract, or $767 million a year. "We expect a healthy increase."

The NBA's current TV deal increased the league's annual payment by 25 percent from the prior four-year deal.

Regarding a deal involving the NBA's digital assets, Stern did not name possible investors, but pointed to the current TV partners.

"We are thinking about expanding the ownership base of our digital assets to include a media company," he said. "We anticipate a new deal will make both NBA TV and NBA.com more robust. We have made it clear that for us a discussion of all of our assets on a global scale is available.

"To be engaged with a company like Time Warner or a company like Disney on either a digital or global scale is to engage partners who bring their expertise and the scope of their businesses in ways that we don't have yet and might not even be the best investment of our resources," he added.

Time Warner owns a 2 percent stake in NBA TV and Stern said the cable company and the league are discussing an increase in that stake.

"As those negotiations unfold, you will see (Time Warner) having a larger opportunity in our digital assets," he told Reuters Television.

NBA TV, launched in 1999, airs about 100 NBA games a season. It is available in 70 million US homes and has 12 million subscribers.

The league's NBA.com Web site averaged more than 2.6 million daily visits last year, up 35 percent from the previous year. About 20 percent of the traffic originates from the league's Mandarin Web site, Stern said.

While the NBA in the past has discussed setting up a league in Europe, China is the more likely destination in the short term, he said.

"The model that we're working on now is the placement of all of our assets in China in an enterprise with all NBA rights," Stern said. That would include rights to sponsorship and merchandise revenue, TV deals there, and the ability to operate a league "such as NBA of China."

"It's something that will be articulated by the close of the (2008) Beijing Olympics," he added.

The key to the NBA's future success will be a geographic division of league assets, rather than by businesses, with each region including the right to operate a league under the NBA brand name.

full battle gear
11-30-2006, 11:13 AM
NBA fines Lakers coach Jackson

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson's criticism of officials earned him a $25,000 fine from the National Basketball Association on Wednesday.

Stu Jackson, the NBA's executive vice president of basketball operations, announced the fine.

Jackson was dismayed with the referees' handling of second-year center Andrew Bynum in Friday's 114-108 loss at Utah.

He was quoted in several newspapers questioning officials Derrick Stafford, Derek Richardson and Leroy Richardson.

On Saturday, Jackson was quoted in the Los Angeles Times saying the league "throws out some referee corps that you're dubious about to start with, and you know, the game ends up like that."

Jackson drew a $50,000 fine following a game in Utah in March 2004 for saying referee Bob Delaney was "prejudiced" against Shaquille O'Neal after the former Lakers center was ejected following two hard fouls in an 88-83 loss.

full battle gear
12-02-2006, 03:09 PM
Pistons edge heat to stretch win streak to seven


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:03pm (Mla time) 12/01/2006

MIAMI -- Richard Hamilton took control in the second half here Thursday as Detroit continued their winning ways at the expense of reigning National Basketball Association champions Miami.

Hamilton scored 24 points, Tayshaun Prince had 12 and Chauncey Billups 11 to lead the Pistons to their seventh straight victory, an 87-85 triumph over the Heat.

Facing Miami for the first time since the last season's Eastern Conference finals, the Pistons defeated the Heat for the 10th time in their last 12 regular-season encounters and improved to 4-0 on the road against Eastern Conference opponents.

After Dwyane Wade hit a jumper to give Miami a 57-52 lead with 6:01 remaining in the third quarter, Detroit closed the period with a 14-7 run. Hamilton hit three jumpers and Prince and Nazr Mohammed each made a layup during the burst.

Wade scored four points in the first half of the fourth quarter and then nailed a 20-foot jumper with 5:56 remaining to knot the score at 76-76. However, Billups and Rasheed Wallace sank 3-pointers and Hamilton made an eight-footer with 4:15 to go to put Detroit ahead 84-76.

Wade hit two foul shots and Udonis Haslem connected on a pair of jumpers to bring the Heat within 84-82 with 2:35 to play before Hamilton sank a 15-footer just 20 seconds later.

James Posey cut the deficit to 86-85 by making a basket from the arc with 1:47 to go. Moments later, Wade fell short on a 20-foot jumper with 1.2 seconds left before Hamilton made 1-of-2 free throws.

After becoming the first player since 1989 to record three straight games with 30 points and 10 assists, Wade made only 5-of-23 shots and scored 21 points. Haslem added 20 and Dorell Wright 11 for Miami.

full battle gear
12-02-2006, 03:19 PM
Bryant hits season-high 52 points as Lakers crush Jazz

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LOS ANGELES - After a slow start to the season Kobe Bryant pushed into high gear on Thursday, pouring in 52 points to help the Los Angeles Lakers crush the Utah Jazz 132-102.

Bryant, slowed by knee surgery, has struggled to find the touch that made him the league's leading scorer last year which was highlighted by an 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors.

But Bryant rediscovered his scoring touch against the Jazz on Thursday, hitting 19-of-26 from the floor and 12-of-15 from the free throw line to reach 50 or more points for the 12th time in his career.

Bryant did most of his damage in the third quarter, hitting for 30 points to match his own team record.

Leading 29-27 after the first quarter the Lakers broke open the tight contest, outscoring the Jazz 24-14 in the second to take a 53-41 cushion into the intermission.

Bryant then put the contest out of reach with his record- equaling show in the third as Lakers opened up a 95-73 lead and coasted to an easy win.

Maurice Evans contributed 17 points to the Los Angeles effort and Lamar Odom chipped in with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Carlos Boozer had 26 in a losing cause for the Jazz.

The Jazz, who got the season off to a sizzling start by winning 12 of their opening 13 games, have now lost three of their last four.

Richard Hamilton nailed 24 points and Tayshaun Prince added 12 and pulled down eight rebounds at the red-hot Detroit Pistons slipped past the NBA champion Heat 87-85 in Miami, extending their winning streak to seven games.

Reuters

gameface_one
12-03-2006, 07:14 PM
Bosch leads Raptors to rare road win
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Chris Bosh had 26 points and 13 rebounds as the Toronto Raptors extended the home court woes of the New York Knicks with a 103-100 victory at Madison Square Garden on Saturday.

T.J. Ford contributed 20 points and 10 assists for the Raptors, who won for just the second time in 10 road games this season.

New York (6-13) is a woeful 1-7 at MSG, losing again despite a 27-point, 12 rebound effort from Eddy Curry, with 11 of those points coming in the final 4:49.

Andrea Bargnani continued his strong recent play with 11 points for Toronto, as the Raptors won despite shooting just 40 percent. Toronto was helped by near perfect foul shooting, going 31-for-33 from the line.

Quentin Richardson scored 16 points and had 16 rebounds for the Knicks, and Stephon Marbury added 15 for the losers.

* Bruce Bowen had a season-high 23 points, including six three-pointers as the San Antonio Spurs edged the Sacramento Kings 100-98.

* Vince Carter had a season-high 41 points and Jason Kidd dished up 13 assists and had nine points and nine rebounds as the New Jersey Nets stopped the Philadelphia 76ers 112-107.

* In Houston, Yao Ming had 24 points and the Houston Rockets beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 81-63, despite the loss of Tracy McGrady due to concussion. Cleveland shot just 28 percent from the field.

* James Posey's three-pointer at the buzzer gave the Miami Heat a 98-97 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

gameface_one
12-04-2006, 07:43 AM
Great escape by Miami
mb.com.ph





MEMPHIS (AP) — James Posey hit a 3-pointer from 26 feet at the buzzer to give the Miami Heat a 98-97 win over the Grizzlies on Saturday night at Memphis, Tennessee.


Trailing 97-95, Miami controlled a jump ball with 1.8 seconds left and called timeout to set up the final play. Jason Williams threw the ball to Posey on the left baseline and he launched a shot over the outstretched arms of Mike Miller for the game-winner.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 23 points, including 12 in the fourth.

Antoine Walker scored 18 points, while Williams added 13 points and 14 assists.

Miller had 22 to lead Memphis, while Rudy Gay added 20, including a pair of free throws in the final 22 seconds to give Memphis a 97-95 lead and set the stage for the last-second shot.

Nets 112, 76ers 107

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vince Carter scored a season-high 41 points and Jason Kidd had 13 assists to lead New Jersey.

Kidd also had nine points and nine rebounds to just miss his 78th career triple-double which would have tied him for third place overall with Wilt Chamberlain.

Richard Jefferson added 24 points and Nenad Krstic had 20 as the Nets won their second straight after a six-game losing streak.

Allen Iverson scored 37 points and rookie Rodney Carney added a career-high 20 in his first NBA start as Philadelphia lost its sixth straight road game. Chris Webber returned to the 76ers line-up after missing six games with a back problem and had 15 points and 12 rebounds.

Spurs 100, Kings 98

At San Antonio, Bruce Bowen scored a season-high 23 points to lead San Antonio.

Bowen hit six 3-pointers as the Spurs went 11-of-22 from behind the arc. Tim Duncan added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Tony Parker scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half.

All five of the Kings’ starter scored in the double digits led by Kevin Martin with 30 points and John Salmons’ season-high 20.

Rockets 81, Cavaliers 63

At Houston, Yao Ming scored 24 points and Houston overcame a concussion to Tracy McGrady to beat cold-shooting Cleveland.

McGrady took an inadvertent elbow from Dikembe Mutombo in the first quarter and did not return.

LeBron James scored 21, but was 7-for-22 from the field.

Cleveland shot 28 percent (22-for-78) as a team, flirting with its all-time worst shooting performance (23.8 percent), set in 1970.

Bulls 112, Wizards 94

At Chicago, Ben Gordon scored 28 points and Andres Nocioni added 24 to lead Chicago to a victory over Washington, which set a franchise record with its eighth straight road loss to start the season.

Gordon hit 10-of-21 shots and Luol Deng added 18 points and nine rebounds. Kirk Hinrich had 10 points and nine assists, while Ben Wallace showed no sign of the stiff neck or right hand injury that have bothered him lately. He finished with 10 points and nine rebounds.

Caron Butler had 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Wizards.

Jazz 109, SuperSonics 107

At Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur hit a 3-pointer with 1.6 seconds left to lift the Jazz.

Ray Allen scored 20 of his 33 points in the fourth quarter, including a drive past Andrei Kirilenko for a layup with seven seconds left that gave Seattle a 107-106 lead.

Without calling a timeout, Deron Williams rushed the ball up the court and found Okur open in the right corner. Allen had one last chance but missed a 27-footer as time expired.

Carlos Boozer led Utah with 24 points

Lakers 97, Clippers 88

At Los Angeles, Kobe Bryant had a relatively quiet game with 29 points and it was still enough to lead the Lakers over the Clippers.

The Lakers’ Lamar Odom had 18 points and eight rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Smush Parker added 11 points as the Lakers downed their arena co-tenants for the second time in less than two weeks.

Cuttino Mobley and Elton Brand had 17 points apiece, and Sam Cassell added 16 for the Clippers, who lost for the sixth time in their last seven games.

Nuggets 121, Pacers 101

At Denver, Carmelo Anthony scored a season-high 38 points and J.R. Smith hit five 3-pointers for Denver.

Anthony and Smith, who finished with 19 points, entered the game as the league’s highest scoring duo, averaging a combined 48.6 points.

Indiana’s Jermaine O’Neal was a game-time decision due to a balky left hamstring, but he started and contributed 20 points and 16 rebounds.

Bucks 115, Warriors 110

At Oakland, California, Mo Williams scored 10 points in the fourth quarter after missing his first 12 shots of the game, and Milwaukee roared from behind for an improbable victory over Golden State.

Charlie Bell fell just short of his career high with 28 points for the Bucks, who ruined Golden State coach Don Nelson’s second attempt to become just the second coach in NBA history with 1,200 career victories.

Michael Redd scored 24 points and Ruben Patterson added 18 points and eight rebounds.

full battle gear
12-05-2006, 01:47 PM
Mavericks’ 12-game win streak ends

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Gilbert Arenas scored 38 points to lead the Washington Wizards to a 106-97 victory over Dallas on Monday (Tuesday in Manila), ending the Mavericks' winning streak at 12 games.

Former Maverick Antawn Jamison had 20 points and 12 rebounds for the Wizards, who shot 49.5 percent from the field.

The Mavericks hadn't lost since November 8, a 12-game streak that included a 107-80 trouncing of the Wizards in Dallas on November 21.

They had won by an average of 11.4 points during their run and had not trailed in their last four games.

But the Wizards turned the tables on the Mavericks, opening a 31-23 lead after one period as Jamison scored 10 points and Arenas added nine.

Washington broke open the game in the second quarter, when Arenas scored 10 points to push the advantage to 59-41 at halftime.

The All-Star guard has been struggling on the road but came in averaging 33.1 points on 48 percent shooting at home.

The Wizards also got a boost from guard DeShawn Stevenson. He scored eight points in the first half, when Washington shot a blistering 64 percent.

The Mavericks had been using quick starts triggered by forward Josh Howard to jump on their opponents. But Howard - defended by Caron Butler - made just 1-of-5 shots before intermission.

Meanwhile, Dallas guards Jason Terry and Devin Harris combined for one point on 0-of-7 shooting and had no answers for Arenas.

Any chance the Mavericks had of quickly getting back into the game ended when they missed their first nine shots of the third quarter. A 3-pointer by Jarvis Hayes gave Washington its largest lead at 76-45 midway through the period.

The Mavericks made a final push, closing to 100-92 with 2 1/2 minutes to go on consecutive 3-pointers by Dirk Nowitzki and Terry, but Arenas responded with a step-back jumper.

Dallas got no closer than seven points thereafter and saw their winning streak stopped two shy of the franchise record set in 2002.

Nowitzki scored 27 points and Harris, Jerry Stackhouse and Devean George added 14 apiece for the Mavericks.

full battle gear
12-05-2006, 01:47 PM
Dwyane Wade earns Sports Illustrated award

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NEW YORK (AFP) - The Miami Heat's dynamic guard Dwyane Wade has been named Sports Illustrated magazine's 2006 Sportsman of the Year.

The weekly sports magazine announced Wade as the winner of its prestigious annual award Monday on its web site. He will receive the award December 14 at a party in his honor.

Wade, 24, was selected for his achievements on and off the basketball court. The award goes to an athlete for "symbolizing in character and performance the ideals of sportsmanship."

Among those coming up short this year were 2000 winner Tiger Woods, who continued to dominate golf, and Switzerland's Roger Federer, who has enjoyed a two-year stranglehold on men's tennis.

Wade became the fifth National Basketball Association player - and the youngest - to win Sportsman of the Year, joining Bill Russell (1968), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1985), Michael Jordan (1991) and Tim Duncan and David Robinson (2003).

Wade was the 2006 NBA finals Most Valuable Player, averaging 34.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.67 steals as the Heat became the third team in NBA history to overcome an 0-2 series deficit and win the title.

Led by Wade, Miami upended Dallas in six games for its first NBA championship.

"He just went off the charts," former Heat coach Stan Van Gundy told Sports Illustrated. "Dwyane literally for six weeks played the game at a level that almost no one's ever played at. I don't know that Jordan ever played a better finals than he played."

The run to the championship elevated Wade above fellow 2003 draft class members LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony. Given their skills, humility and respect for the game, the trio is considered to be the future of the NBA, both on and off the court.

Off the court, Wade has become one of the league's most visible players, with endorsement deals with Converse and T-Mobile. He also is extremely active in the community.

Wade has created the Wade's World Foundation, a nonprofit organization that promotes social enrichment, education and physical fitness among youth and uses mentoring to assist young people in reaching their educational and athletic goals.

full battle gear
12-05-2006, 01:48 PM
Bench players help Bobcats upstage Pistons

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Reserves Sean May and Matt Carroll combined for 33 points off the bench as the Charlotte Bobcats ended the Detroit Pistons' eight-game winning streak with a 97-89 win in Charlotte on Sunday.

May had 17 points and Carroll added 16 for the Bobcats, as their bench players out-scored the Detroit reserves 46-14 to snap a two-game losing streak as Charlotte continued its success against elite NBA teams.

Despite a 5-12 overall record, the Bobcats have beaten San Antonio, Cleveland and now Detroit this season, handing the Pistons their first loss since November 15.

Detroit (11-6) shot just 41 percent from the field while the Bobcats shot 49 percent, including 6-for-13 from three-point range, with May making seven of the 10 shots he attempted.

Emeka Okafor led the Bobcats in scoring with 18 points and had eight rebounds, as Charlotte came back after trailing by one point at the half.

Raymond Felton chipped in with 15 points for the Bobcats, while Brevin Knight had a solid all-round game with eight points, 14 rebounds and seven assists.

Rasheed Wallace led the Pistons with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Tayshaun Prince and Richard Hamilton both scored 17 for the losers.

* Ricky Davis scored 22 points, including 14 in the pivotal fourth quarter, and Kevin Garnett added 15 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Philadelphia 76ers 95-84.

* Joe Johnson scored 33 points, helping the Atlanta Hawks beat the Portland TrailBlazers 107-96. Zach Randolph had 30 points in a losing cause for Portland.

gameface_one
12-07-2006, 12:06 PM
NBA suspends Kings forward five games for drug violation
abs-cbnnews.com

NEW YORK (AFP) - Sacramento Kings forward Maurice Taylor was suspended for five games without pay by the National Basketball Association Wednesday for a violation of the league's anti-drug program.

The banishment will begin with Thursday's home game against the defending NBA champion Miami Heat and also include games next week against Atlanta, Golden State, Utah and Phoenix.

Further details regarding the violation were not disclosed.

Taylor will be eligible to return when the Kings play host to the Dallas Mavericks on December 18.

The 30-year-old veteran is in his ninth NBA campaign, having spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, three-and-a-half with the Houston Rockets and one-and-a-half with the New York Knicks before joining the Kings.

His only trip to the playoffs came in 2004 when he averaged 9.8 points a game for the Rockets.

Taylor, who missed the entire 2001-2002 season with a torn Achilles tendon, had a career average of 11.2 points and 4.6 rebounds entering this season. He has played in only four games this season.

gameface_one
12-07-2006, 12:06 PM
Atlanta’s Pachulia suspended one game for flagrant foul
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (AFP) - Atlanta's Zaza Pachulia, a 22-year-old center from Georgia, was suspended one game without pay by the National Basketball Association here Wednesday for a flagrant foul in a loss to Seattle.

Stu Jackson, NBA vice president of basketball operations, announced the punishment stemming from an incident with 57 seconds remaining in the third period of Seattle's 102-87 home rout of the Hawks on Tuesday.

Pachulia elbowed SuperSonics center Johan Petro of France in the neck and head area to incur the punishment.

Petro was sidelined last month for a game after suffering an irregular heartbeat at a morning practice before a game.

Pachulia was forced to miss Atlanta's game Wednesday at Denver. He returns Friday when the Hawks visit the Los Angeles Lakers.

gameface_one
12-07-2006, 08:35 PM
Arenas leads Wizards to first road win of season
abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Gilbert Arenas scored 38 points to lead the Washington Wizards to their first road win of the season, a 113-102 victory over the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

The Wizards made an NBA season-high 14 of 20 three-point attempts to condemn the Knicks to another home defeat, with New York slipping to 2-8 in front of their fans.

One of those two victories came against the Wizards, who lost by 20 points on November 15 after tying an NBA record for futility by missing all 15 three-point attempts in the game.

It was a complete turnaround on Wednesday, however, with Washington tying a franchise record for most successful three-pointers in one game.

Arenas led the way on all counts, making six three-pointers while shooting 13-for-24 overall. Antawn Jamison also made six three-pointers and had 33 points.

DeShawn Stevenson added 15 points for the Wizards, who shot 49 percent from the field and took a commanding 66-45 lead at halftime.

Washington, who shot 81 percent from the foul line, improved to 8-10 overall.

Eddy Curry paced the Knicks with 22 points and 11 rebounds, while Quentin Richardson and Stephon Marbury both added 16 points for New York.

LeBron James scored 26 points and dominated late in the game, helping to rally the Cleveland cavaliers past the Toronto Raptors 95-91 in Cleveland.

Tim Duncan drained 25 points as the San Antonio Spurs got some revenge for an upset loss at home to Charlotte by crushing the Bobcats 96-76 on the road. Sean May had 18 points for Charlotte, which has failed to win back to back games at any time this season.

Rudy Gay's jumper with 2.6 seconds left in regulation lifted the Memphis Grizzlies past the Boston Celtics 98-96. Boston has lost four straight.

Kevin Garnett had 24 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 90-84 win over Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets.

gameface_one
12-07-2006, 08:36 PM
Hornets thump Lakers despite Bryant
abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The New Orleans Hornets pounded the Los Angeles Lakers, 105-89, despite the return of guard Kobe Bryant on Wednesday (Thursday in Manila).

Bryant had been questionable to even play the game after being forced to leave 2:27 into the third quarter of Tuesday's 101-87 victory over Indiana. He scored 18 of his 21 points in the first half.

Bryant rolled his right ankle on the foot of the Pacers' Jeff Foster while attempting an acrobatic layup. Bryant went to the locker room for treatment and returned to the bench for the closing minutes.

But the Hornets snapped the Lakers' eight-game home win streak thanks to 26 points by Chris Paul, 22 from Rasual Butler and 21 from Jannero Pargo. Lamar Odom added 20 for the Lakers, who fell to 12-6.

The Hornets, who rose to 9-8, had lost five of their past seven road games and 17 of their previous 21 meetings with the Lakers.

flsfnoeraekadad
12-09-2006, 12:59 AM
Latest news: Iverson to be dealt somewhere. He wants his way out of Philly.

full battle gear
12-09-2006, 11:03 AM
Nash helps Suns rise over Nets in double-overtime

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NEW YORK - Steve Nash scored a regular season career-high 42 points in leading the Phoenix Suns to a stunning 161-157 double-overtime win over the New Jersey Nets on Thursday, the fourth-highest scoring game in NBA history.

In a contest that featured 34 lead changes, Nash showed why he has been voted the NBA's top player for the last two seasons, nailing a three-pointer with just seconds left in regulation to tie the game before hitting nine points in the second overtime.

The victory extended the Suns' winning streak to eight games.

Nash overshadowed a brilliant effort from the Nets Jason Kidd, who had 38 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists for his 78th career triple-double to tie Wilt Chamberlain for third place on the all-time list.

The Suns also received double-figure efforts from five other players to compliment Nash's career night, that also included 13 assists and six rebounds.

Shawn Marion chipped in with 33 points and nine boards while Raja Bell had 24 points and Amare Stoudemire contributed a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

Leandro Barbosa and Boris Diaw both had 16.

The Nets also produced a solid team effort with seven players, including Kidd, hitting double digits.

Vince Carter poured in 31 points before fouling out in the final seconds of regulation while Richard Jefferson had 25 and Marcus Williams 18 in the loss.

Tied 157-157 with just over 30 seconds to play in the second overtime, Diaw hit a layup to put the Suns in front to stay.

Nash was then fouled and hit both free throws to seal the win.

* Tayshaun Prince scored 20 points and Rasheed Wallace added 19 as the Detroit Pistons eased to a 92-82 win over the Mavericks in Dallas.

Dirk Nowitzki scored a game-high 29 points for the stuttering Mavericks, who have lost two of their last three contests following a 12-game win streak.

* Dwyane Wade came up an assist short of a triple-double scoring a game high 32 points, grabbing 11 rounds and dishing out nine helpers as the NBA champion Miami Heat claimed a 93-91 overtime win over the Kings in Sacramento. Reuters

full battle gear
12-10-2006, 02:50 PM
Last-gasp Pierce basket sees Celtics down Nets

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New Jersey (Reuters) - Paul Pierce's basket at the buzzer helped the Boston Celtics snap a five-game losing streak with a 92-90 win over the New Jersey Nets in the NBA in East Rutherford on Saturday.

The Celtics overcame an early 20-point deficit and despite still being seven games under the .500 mark, moved right into contention for top spot in the woeful Atlantic Division thanks to the victory.

Despite the loss, their third straight, the Nets held on to a share of the lead in the Atlantic with the Toronto Raptors. Both teams are 7-12 but still good enough to lead the weak group, with Boston (6-13) now just one game out of first place.

The Nets offense was not nearly as proficient as it was on Thursday, when New Jersey lost a wild 161-157 double overtime game to the Phoenix Suns, which tied for the fourth highest scoring game in NBA history.

But it was still good enough to dominate early, as the Nets led 22-2 at one point in the first quarter, and 27-11 after one quarter was over.

The Celtics crept back in the game later in the first half before out-scoring the Nets 24-17 in the final quarter en route to the win.

Al Jefferson had 29 points and 14 rebounds for the Celtics, while Pierce added 17 points and Delonte West chipped in with 16.

Nenad Krstic led New Jersey with 20 points and Vince Carter added 19 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets.

NBA Results:
Houston 114 Washington 109, Orlando 86 Philadelphia 84, New York 115 Milwaukee 107, Cleveland 107 Indiana 75, LA Clippers 89 Memphis 82, Minnesota 91 Chicago 81, Dallas 105 Denver 90

full battle gear
12-10-2006, 02:52 PM
Iverson's Philadelphia era over after Wizards rout

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Allen Iverson's 11-year career in Philadelphia appears to be over after he was excluded from the line-up as the 76ers were routed 113-98 by the Washington Wizards on Friday.

Gilbert Arenas scored 32 points in the crushing win, but the bigger story was the absence of Iverson after he earlier in the week told the Sixers he wanted to be traded.

Iverson was told not to report to the arena before the game and later released a statement through his agent Leon Rose in which he admitted that he expects his time in Philadelphia to end.

"As hard as it is to admit, a change may be the best thing for everyone," Iverson said. "I hate admitting that because I love the guys on the team and the city of Philadelphia. I truly wanted to retire a 76er."

A former NBA MVP, Iverson led the Sixers to the Finals in 2001, but the club has languished in the standings since then. He was the No. 1 pick in the 1996 draft and has played his entire career in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia (5-13) are heading for another losing season with or without Iverson, blowing a 20-point second quarter lead in their latest loss at the Wachovia Center.

The Wizards won their second straight road game after opening the season with a franchise-record eight consecutive losses away from home. They beat the lowly Knicks in New York on Wednesday night to snap the skid.

Caron Butler added 20 points and had 11 rebounds for the Wizards, while DeShawn Stevenson scored 17 points and Brendan Hayward added 12.

Chris Webber had a season-high 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead the 76ers, while Kyle Korver chipped in with 20 points.

* The Houston Rockets conceded the fewest points in their franchise history in a 92-62 win over the Charlotte Bobcats. Tracy McGrady had 23 points, Yao Ming added 21 and the Bobcats shot a franchise worst 28 percent.

* Shawn Marion scored 29 points as the Phoenix Suns won their ninth straight game, downing the Boston Celtics 116-111.

* Kevin Garnett had a season-high 31 points and 14 rebounds, lifting the Minnesota Timberwolves past the Utah Jazz 110-103, leaving Utah coach Jerry Sloan stuck on 999 wins.

full battle gear
12-11-2006, 02:14 PM
Suns extend win streak

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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (AFP) - Amare Stoudemire scored 22 points and nabbed 12 rebounds Sunday (Monday in Manila) as the Phoenix Suns pushed their National Basketball Association winning streak to 10 games.

Boris Diaw had 17 points and Steve Nash added 11 points and 10 assists for the Suns in a 114-84 rout of Charlotte.

With the win Phoenix have now had a double-digit winning streak in each of their last three seasons.

"We just have a lot of good players and it's been that way," Suns coach Mike D"Antoni said. "Every guy can score. We passed the ball and weren't selfish, and just took what the other team gave us."

The Suns, who started the season 1-5, have won 12 of their last 13 games, and have averaged 128 points in their last five to explode to the top of the NBA in scoring average.

Stoudemire shot 8-of-11 from the field and had 10 points in the first period, 18 at halftime and 22 with four minutes left in the third quarter, when Phoenix outscored Charlotte 25-8.

"We just took what the defense gave us and (that) happened to be in the paint for me," Stoudemire said. "We played great basketball as a team and that's what it takes out there."

Charlotte trailed 57-54 at halftime, but Raymond Felton hit a 3-pointer to tie the game.

Over the next three minutes, Phoenix went on a 15-0 run in which reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nash scored seven points.

"We didn't play well in the first half and we were still up three points, and we wanted to take advantage of that," Nash said. "We just picked it up a little bit in the second half and certainly scored the ball well. I think we earned it in the second half."

full battle gear
12-11-2006, 02:15 PM
Bryant returns to lift Lakers over Spurs

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Kobe Bryant returned to action for the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday (Monday in Manila), scoring 34 points in a 106-99 National Basketball Association victory over the San Antonio Spurs.

Bryant led all five Lakers starters in double figures as Los Angeles won for the fifth time in six games.

After sitting out Friday's win against Atlanta with a sprained right ankle, Bryant bounced back in a big way.

He shot 13-of-25 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range, and also had eight rebounds and three steals in 39 minutes.

Bryant received plenty of help from his teammates as Lamar Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and Luke Walton scored 17 points. Kwame Brown added 11 and Smush Parker 10.

The Spurs entered on a four-game winning streak, including the last three by a combined 89 points. They also had won seven of the last eight meetings with the Lakers but were unable to overcome a 37-22 deficit in the third quarter, 19 turnovers and a 42-33 rebounding disadvantage.

full battle gear
12-12-2006, 11:36 AM
Kobe leads Lakers past Spurs

www.mb.com.ph


LOS ANGELES — Kobe Bryant had 34 points and eight rebounds, Lamar Odom just missed a triple-double and the Lakers beat the San Antonio Spurs, 106-99, yesterday at Staples Center for their fifth win in six games.

Odom had 18 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists and Luke Walton added 17 points for the Lakers (14-6), who snapped San Antonio’s four-game winning streak and knocked the Spurs (15-6) out of the Western Conference lead with just their third loss in 11 road games this season.

Bryant showed no ill effects of a sprained right ankle that caused him to sit out the Lakers’ 106-95 victory over Atlanta on Friday night.

Kwame Brown scored all 11 of his points in the second half and Smush Parker added 10 for the Lakers.

Manu Ginobili came off the bench to lead the Spurs with 23 points. Tony Parker added 21 points and nine assists, Tim Duncan had 16 points and 13 rebounds, and Bruce Bowen scored 16 before fouling out with 21 seconds left.

Duncan scored four points during a 10-3 San Antonio run that trimmed the Lakers’ lead to three points midway through the fourth quarter. But that’s as close as the Spurs would get.

A basket by Brown gave the Lakers a six-point advantage, and Brown blocked a shot by Parker, leading to a three-point play by Walton that made it 99-92 with 2:46 left.

Then, Duncan was called for a technical foul after being tied up by Bryant, whose free throw with 2:21 to play put the Lakers up by eight.

The Lakers turned the ball over twice in the next minute, but the Spurs couldn’t take full advantage as Duncan missed two free throws and Parker missed another pair down the stretch.

The Lakers trailed by five points before outscoring the Spurs 24-6 in the last five minutes of the third quarter for an 83-70 lead, and they were on top the rest of the way. Odom scored nine points and Bryant and Walton added five each during the spurt.

The Spurs were outscored 37-22 in the third period despite making 9-of-14 shots including 2-of-3 from 3-point range. That’s because they committed nine turnovers, leading to Los Angeles 19 points. San Antonio committed only one turnover in the final period.

The Lakers shot 48.9 percent to San Antonio’s 51.4 percent and outrebounded the Spurs 42-33.

Bowen, averaging 7.1 points, scored 14 of his team’s first 20, making three 3-pointers without a miss. The Spurs led 28-17 before Andrew Bynum made three baskets during a 13-2 run that tied the game 30-all, and Bryant scored his team’s next 10 for a 40-38 Los Angeles lead.

Ginobili scored eight points in the final 21/2 minutes of the second quarter, helping the Spurs take a 48-46 halftime lead.

full battle gear
12-12-2006, 11:38 AM
Yao takes his place as NBA's dominant big man

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sorry Shaq. Too bad, Tim Duncan. The most dominating big man in the National Basketball Association these days is a 7-foot-6 Chinese giant who puts the Ming in overwhelming.

Yao Ming has spent the past four years learning and improving against elite competition, enabling the 26-year-old center for the Houston Rockets to evolve into a formidable force that can seize command of a game almost at will.

"He's the most dominating center in the league now," Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson said. "He can pass. He has the offense and the defense. He has the whole package."

Six weeks into his fifth NBA season, Yao is averaging 25.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.0 blocked shots a game and has ignited the Rockets to a 14-6 mark, their best start in a decade and third-best in the league.

"We have got some strength. We have played together a lot better," Yao said. "I have been more aggressive."

Yao scored 38 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in a 114-109 victory Saturday at Washington, the Rockets' eighth triumph in 10 games. Yao scored 23 points in the fourth quarter after back spasms sidelined star guard Tracy McGrady.

"That's what the big fellow can do," McGrady said. "He is comfortable coming in and taking over the team. He showed that he can do it in the second half of last season and Yao has improved his game this year."

Yao was an All-Star Game starter in his first four seasons but this year he is playing longer, better and more consistent in crucial moments and making far fewer fouls than in prior years, avoiding an early seat on the bench.

"He's not getting in foul trouble like he did in the past," raved Washington playmaker Gilbert Arenas said. "It's hard because the big fellow has gotten a lot smarter. He doesn't help you stop him."

The Rockets allow the fewest points in the NBA and keep foes to a league-low shooting percentage while setting the NBA pace in grabbing defensive rebounds and ranking second in total rebounds. Much of that success is because of Yao.

"Yao is playing better than ever. He's the reason we have started so good," Rockets guard Luther Head said. "Yao is being Yao and it's tough for anybody to keep up.

"We always try to go to him. Yao has got a lot more respect around the league. He just keeps going to the basket."

Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, who has been fined a total of $125,000 for arguing that Yao was being called for too many fouls, has seen Yao win more respect from NBA referees.

Yao's second foul Saturday came with only four minutes to play and Van Gundy contends that Yao is unstoppable unless opponents foul him.

"He gets fouled and he's going to make his free throws. He can have bad nights but consistently he's going to score," Van Gundy said.

"Guarded legally, he's going to score."

Yao was named NBA Western Conference Player of the Month in November, the first Rocket to claim such an honor since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1995. Yao averaged 25.7 points and 10.1 rebounds and hit 54.4 percent from the floor in the month.

"When they put single coverage on me, all I have to go is catch the ball and go. It's my job," Yao said. "I need to learn the skills I need. I've got to keep working to get better."

Yao has averaged more points every season in the NBA and now ranks 13th in the league in scoring. He overpowered Miami superstar center Shaquille O'Neal for 34 points and 14 rebounds in a 94-72 victory on November 12.

"This guy has got an arsenal that I haven't seen before," said Wizards coach Eddie Jordan. "He is equally dominating on either end."

full battle gear
12-12-2006, 11:39 AM
NBA to dump new ball for old leather version

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NEW YORK (AFP) - The National Basketball Association will return to using leather balls rather than the microfiber composite version that brought numerous complaints from players, NBA commissioner David Stern announced Monday.

"Our players' response to this particular composite ball has been consistently negative and we are acting accordingly," Stern said.

"Although testing performed by Spalding and the NBA demonstrated that the new composite basketball was more consistent than leather, and statistically there has been an improvement in shooting, scoring, and ball-related turnovers, the most important statistic is the view of our players.

"In the meantime, we will work with our players and our partners at Spalding to determine the best possible ball for the NBA."

The official switch back to the leather model will occur on January 1.

In the preseason, the league signed a lucrative agreement with Spalding and introduced a microfibre composite ball, the first change since 1970.

The NBA claimed the new ball had a more consistent feel to it, but the ball has drawn widespread complaints.

Such stars as Shaquille O'Neal criticized the new ball when it debuted in October pre-season exhibition games, but little hope was seen for a change this season.

Stern was forced to act when several stars, including Phoenix guard Steve Nash and New Jersey playmaker Jason Kidd, complained of cuts to their hands caused by the high-friction cover on the new ball.

full battle gear
12-13-2006, 10:11 AM
Carter scores 9 treys as Nets win

www.mb.com.ph


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Vince Carter was unstoppable, just what the New Jersey Nets needed to get back on track.

Carter put on a long-range show, setting a Nets’ single-game record with nine 3-pointers in a 105-92 victory over the struggling Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night.

``He could have shot with anything tonight,’’ Grizzlies guard Cucky Atkins said. ``He was shooting with golf balls, that’s how big the rim was for him.’’

Carter finished with 37 points, hitting his first five 3-pointers and 7-of-10 in the first half in tying the NBA season high for 3-pointers. The final two came in the third quarter during a run of four 3-pointers that helped New Jersey tie a franchise record with 15.

``When you’re hitting them like that and your teammates are trying to find you, after a while you get tired,’’ said Carter, who tossed up 20 3pointers in helping the Nets break a three-game losing streak and win for the third time in 11 games. ``At least I’m in the record books for something.’’

So is Jason Kid.

The Nets point guard moved into sole possession of third place ahead of Wilt Chamberlain for career triple-doubles, registering his 79th with 12 points, 13 assists, 10 rebounds.

``I think Wilt, his name alone talks history,’’ Kidd said. ``It’s huge. He changed the game of basketball. To be able to pass somebody who had an impact on the game, it’s a great honor.’’

Richard Jefferson added 16 points for New Jersey, which rebounded after heart-breaking losses to Phoenix and Boston in their last two games.

Atkins had 26 points to lead Memphis, which was never in the game after scoring a season-low 10 points in the first quarter and falling behind by 15 points. Damon Stoudemire added 14 points for the Grizzlies, who have lost three straight and eight of 11.

Carter put the Grizzlies to sleep early.

The All-Star guard, who was 14-of-30 from the field, outscored the Grizzlies 12-10 in the first quarter, hitting four 3-pointers. His four baskets matched Memphis’ total for the quarter. The Grizzlies were 4-of-17 from the field.

He tied his career high for 3-pointers with No. 8 with 6:39 left in the third quarter. No. 9 came 31 seconds later from the right wing, and it was followed quickly by 3-pointers by Kidd and Jefferson.

``He’s one of the best scorers in the NBA, probably one of the best in history,’’ Jefferson said. ``Tonight he got hot and we were trying to get him the ball any chance we could.’’

Carter and Kidd held the old Nets’ single-game mark with seven 3-pointers. Carter had eight in a game with Toronto.

``They were hitting on all cylinders,’’ Grizzlies guard Dahntay Jones said. ``Jason Kidd was doing his job as the court general, and Vince and Richard Jefferson were hitting threes. They could have beaten anyone in the league. They had it going tonight and we didn’t.’’

full battle gear
12-14-2006, 11:38 AM
Nuggets shoot down Hawks

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ATLANTA (Reuters) — Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points to help the Denver Nuggets pull away in the fourth quarter and beat the Hawks 100-87 for a rare win in Atlanta on Tuesday.

The Nuggets had lost 15 of their last 16 games in Atlanta, but took over in the second half after the Hawks had opened up a 54-43 halftime lead.

Denver (12-7) rallied to lead 71-70 after three quarters and turned the game into a rout in the fourth, the Hawks missing their first 13 shots to fall behind by 17 points in the final quarter.

Anthony led the way as the Nuggets rebounded from a 105-90 loss to Dallas in the first game of their road trip on Saturday in which Anthony had just 18 points.

Earl Boykins had 19 points off the bench for the Nuggets, who had lost eight of their past 11 to Atlanta. The 5-foot-5 Boykins was eight-for-11 from the field.

Marcus Camby hauled down 17 rebounds for Denver, which out-rebounded Atlanta 46-36. J.R. Smith chipped in with 17 points.

Atlanta (8-12) lost its third straight game, shooting just 41 percent to 49 percent for the Nuggets.

Josh Smith led the Hawks with 21 points. Atlanta was once again without leading scorer Joe Johnson (28.7 ppg), who sat out his second straight game with a strained right calf.

Smith also had 10 rebounds and Tyronn Lue added 16 points for the losers.

*Michael Redd scored 22 points as the Milwaukee Bucks rallied to edged the Seattle SuperSonics 94-93. Andrew Bogut had 16 points, nine rebounds and six assists and hit the go-ahead free throw with 1:14 left.

*Kobe Bryant had 23 points, eight rebounds and seven assists as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Houston Rockets 102-94. Yao Ming had 26 points for the Rockets.

full battle gear
12-14-2006, 11:39 AM
Lakers star Odom out with knee sprain

www.abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES - Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom is expected to be out at least four weeks because of a knee injury.

Odom was examined by Los Angeles Lakers team doctor Steve Lombardo on Wednesday and has been diagnosed with a medial collateral sprain of his right knee.

Odom sprained the MCL in his right knee during an awkward fall when Houston Rockets forward Shane Battier blocked his shot in the Lakers' 102-94 National Basketball Association win at Houston on Tuesday. -- AFP/abs-cbnNEWS.com

Sam Miguel
12-14-2006, 08:37 PM
¨Remember that television commercial a few years back for some rental car company where a group of marketing executives is shown in a board room thinking up ideas to help the company? One of the execs suggests that "maybe we should do this or that" and then they all look up in wonderment, imagining the resulting scene of the idea, which is inevitably disastrous.

That's the scenario I'm guessing is taking place in NBA boardrooms across the country these days, as general managers and coaches debate the idea of acquiring Allen Iverson.

"What if we traded for A.I.?" one scout suggests to a room full of front office personnel. Then the group collectively imagines Iverson donning their team's uniform, hoisting 25 fade-away jumpers a game, blowing off practice, skipping team functions and undermining the coach. Oh yeah, and taking up $20 million in salary-cap room each of the next 2½ seasons. "Naaahh, bad idea," they all agree, and they move on.

That's the problem Philadelphia 76ers general manager Billy King is facing right now. He's trying to auction off a huge star who leads the league in scoring, yet most of the teams in the NBA have little interest in him. There's just too much risk involved.

While there is no doubting Iverson's talent – he's incredibly quick and fast, an explosive scorer and a fearless man who brings effort and energy every night – he's also a small, poor defender, an erratic shooter (42 percent for his career) and a guy who has a history of bad relationships with coaches. Add in the enormous contract, and the baggage is just too heavy.

That's not to say there aren't any suitors. It's just that because so few teams are interested in adding Iverson, the market isn't very rich, making King's job almost impossible. He is in a position where he must trade the face of the Sixers franchise without having much leverage. Ideally, King would like the trade to net some combination of cap relief, draft picks and young talent. But without much interest from around the league, King will be lucky if he can pull off anything that comes close to that.

Three other factors will make a deal difficult for King.

One, Iverson may scare off a potential suitor by making it known he doesn't want to play for that team – as he has already done with Charlotte. Two, because Greg Oden is expected to enter the draft in June, no team is going to offer Philly a first-round pick in 2007 as part of a deal, unless it is lottery protected. And three, teams that would be willing to take part in an Iverson trade – either directly or in a multi-team swap – will inevitably have interest in Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' best asset. Iguodala is a rising star who has a year and a half left on a contract that pays him $2.8 million this season and $3.8 next. But unless King includes Iguodala in the package, a lot of teams that might otherwise be interested in facilitating a deal for the 76ers might drop out. So if you're King and an Iverson trade costs you your best young player and doesn't bring back a high pick in what is expected to be a deep draft, you'd better at least get a great player in return. And at this point, it doesn't appear that teams are lining up to offer any great players.

So what happens next? Maybe the Sixers will settle for a bad deal, just to unload Iverson and get on with their business. Or perhaps Philly will be saved by a desperate team that is willing to take the risk and actually offer a decent package for Iverson. As time goes on, GM's of bad teams will remind themselves that despite all of Iverson's warts he is still one of the great scoring guards in league history, and the thought of adding him to their roster might be too enticing. Maybe someone will take the chance, trade for A.I. and hope that a change in scenery transforms him into a more professional team leader who helps foster a solid culture in the locker room.

But what if no one takes that risk? Then we could be looking at one of the oddest situations in NBA history: A future Hall of Famer with a cleaned-out locker and several good years left to offer someone else but with nowhere to go.

That can't possibly happen, right?¨

I picked this up from Steve Kerrś online column.

full battle gear
12-15-2006, 11:13 AM
Magic Johnson dubious whether Iverson fit for Heat

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NEW YORK - Earvin "Magic" Johnson, who led the Los Angeles Lakers to five NBA titles, is skeptical about his old coach Pat Riley adding Allen Iverson to his Miami Heat squad.

Riley this week expressed interest in four-time NBA scoring champion Iverson, who is estranged from the Philadelphia 76ers and awaiting a trade to another NBA team.

Johnson was unsure if Iverson could fit in at defending champions Heat with their key duo of Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade.

"You still got Shaq, you still got Wade. Then he comes in," Johnson, 47, told reporters Thursday before addressing high school students in the Bronx as part of a campaign to raise awareness about HIV/AIDS.

"It's going to be a tough situation because he's used to taking 30 shots a game. He's not going to get 30 shots. So will he accept that? And will the other guys accept him being there and dominating the ball, because Allen still needs the ball to be effective."

Miami are one of numerous teams keen to explore a deal with the Sixers, who have already cleaned out Iverson's locker after accepting the problematic point guard's demand for a trade.

"I would be delinquent in my responsibility if I wasn't interested in Allen Iverson," Riley told reporters Wednesday when informed that the seven-time All-Star had listed the Heat among his preferred destinations.

"That's all I'm going to say. I'm not going to comment anymore. Just like when Shaquille (O'Neal) came out, I was frothing at the mouth. So my level of interest can be gauged on that comment."

Riley pulled off a blockbuster trade in 2004 when he obtained O'Neal from the Lakers in exchange for Caron Butler, Lamar Odom and Brian Grant, plus a draft pick.

Johnson, a 12-times All-Star and three-times MVP who left the court in his prime 15 years ago after finding he was HIV positive, tops the NBA list with a career average 11.2 assists a game. Reuters

Sam Miguel
12-15-2006, 05:15 PM
If Allen Iverson is The Answer, what pray tell is The Question?

¨Who is the most talented but troubled superstar in the NBA?¨

¨Who loves the game so much he leaves his guts on the court every game but does not respect the game enough to attend practises and team functions?¨

¨Who has been a scoring champion the most number of times while shooting south of 42% from the field for his career?¨

¨Which pointguard can score 30 points in a game without ever handing out an assist?¨

¨Who has been the Face of his Franchise for a decade yet has been anything but a model citizen, demanding endless trades and ending the careers of several coaches?¨

¨What do you call a jackass who can run real fast on two legs?¨

I don´t know about the NBA but I think AI is too much of a cancer to be let into any organization. His ¨upstanding behaviour¨ on the losing 2004 Olympic Team was nothing more than PR gimickry at its most transparent worst. Before any team takes Iverson on they had better think long and hard whether or not he is not more trouble than he is worth. (He is.)

chocoks77
12-15-2006, 05:54 PM
I think Iverson will suffer the fate of Latrell Sprewell. He will get traded. definitely, but will soon suffer the ignonimity of having no teams after his contract expires. He'd beg teams to give him even the mid level exception or worse a veterans minimum.

BigBlue
12-15-2006, 06:09 PM
I think Iverson will suffer the fate of Latrell Sprewell. He will get traded. definitely, but will soon suffer the ignonimity of having no teams after his contract expires. He'd beg teams to give him even the mid level exception or worse a veterans minimum.


even if he's that good? if the kings took a gamble on ron artest, i guess there are other teams out there that are more than willing to gamble on iverson.

methinks the bigger issue is not iverson's behavior, but his contract.

chocoks77
12-15-2006, 08:50 PM
I think Iverson will suffer the fate of Latrell Sprewell. He will get traded. definitely, but will soon suffer the ignonimity of having no teams after his contract expires. He'd beg teams to give him even the mid level exception or worse a veterans minimum.


even if he's that good? if the kings took a gamble on ron artest, i guess there are other teams out there that are more than willing to gamble on iverson.

methinks the bigger issue is not iverson's behavior, but his contract.


You are right BigBlue. Iverson makes around 17.1M this year which will increase to 20.8M in two year's time. The comparison with Ron Artest ends here because Artest is being paid 7.4M "only". Iverson is more talented but looks like he is more of a head case since he has the bad superstar attitude, distinguishing him from the good superstars like T.D. and K.G.

The thing with Iverson is he lacks the professionalism of a man being given a huge chunk of the business finances. Will he change his attitude when he changes teams, maybe until the end of this season just to "redeem" himself. But eventually go back to being the head case that he is.

chocoks77
12-15-2006, 11:22 PM
NBA player's salaries at present:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/team.salaries/index.html?eref=si_nba

cub
12-17-2006, 12:11 PM
knicks nuggets brawl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHI2HYE2J0A

BigBlue
12-18-2006, 11:25 AM
NBA player's salaries at present:

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2006/basketball/nba/team.salaries/index.html?eref=si_nba


can you believe it: c-webb the second highest paid player??

i've been a webber fan for a while, but to see him rank second behind KG, that's just silly.

Kid Cubao
12-18-2006, 12:18 PM
¨Remember that television commercial a few years back for some rental car company where a group of marketing executives is shown in a board room thinking up ideas to help the company? One of the execs suggests that "maybe we should do this or that" and then they all look up in wonderment, imagining the resulting scene of the idea, which is inevitably disastrous.

That's the scenario I'm guessing is taking place in NBA boardrooms across the country these days, as general managers and coaches debate the idea of acquiring Allen Iverson.

"What if we traded for A.I.?" one scout suggests to a room full of front office personnel. Then the group collectively imagines Iverson donning their team's uniform, hoisting 25 fade-away jumpers a game, blowing off practice, skipping team functions and undermining the coach. Oh yeah, and taking up $20 million in salary-cap room each of the next 2½ seasons. "Naaahh, bad idea," they all agree, and they move on.

That's the problem Philadelphia 76ers general manager Billy King is facing right now. He's trying to auction off a huge star who leads the league in scoring, yet most of the teams in the NBA have little interest in him. There's just too much risk involved.

While there is no doubting Iverson's talent – he's incredibly quick and fast, an explosive scorer and a fearless man who brings effort and energy every night – he's also a small, poor defender, an erratic shooter (42 percent for his career) and a guy who has a history of bad relationships with coaches. Add in the enormous contract, and the baggage is just too heavy.

That's not to say there aren't any suitors. It's just that because so few teams are interested in adding Iverson, the market isn't very rich, making King's job almost impossible. He is in a position where he must trade the face of the Sixers franchise without having much leverage. Ideally, King would like the trade to net some combination of cap relief, draft picks and young talent. But without much interest from around the league, King will be lucky if he can pull off anything that comes close to that.

Three other factors will make a deal difficult for King.

One, Iverson may scare off a potential suitor by making it known he doesn't want to play for that team – as he has already done with Charlotte. Two, because Greg Oden is expected to enter the draft in June, no team is going to offer Philly a first-round pick in 2007 as part of a deal, unless it is lottery protected. And three, teams that would be willing to take part in an Iverson trade – either directly or in a multi-team swap – will inevitably have interest in Andre Iguodala, the Sixers' best asset. Iguodala is a rising star who has a year and a half left on a contract that pays him $2.8 million this season and $3.8 next. But unless King includes Iguodala in the package, a lot of teams that might otherwise be interested in facilitating a deal for the 76ers might drop out. So if you're King and an Iverson trade costs you your best young player and doesn't bring back a high pick in what is expected to be a deep draft, you'd better at least get a great player in return. And at this point, it doesn't appear that teams are lining up to offer any great players.

So what happens next? Maybe the Sixers will settle for a bad deal, just to unload Iverson and get on with their business. Or perhaps Philly will be saved by a desperate team that is willing to take the risk and actually offer a decent package for Iverson. As time goes on, GM's of bad teams will remind themselves that despite all of Iverson's warts he is still one of the great scoring guards in league history, and the thought of adding him to their roster might be too enticing. Maybe someone will take the chance, trade for A.I. and hope that a change in scenery transforms him into a more professional team leader who helps foster a solid culture in the locker room.

But what if no one takes that risk? Then we could be looking at one of the oddest situations in NBA history: A future Hall of Famer with a cleaned-out locker and several good years left to offer someone else but with nowhere to go.

That can't possibly happen, right?¨

I picked this up from Steve Kerrś online column.

sixers management have no one to blame but themselves for the iverson fiasco. una, they should have sealed any deal first that would eventually ship iverson out of the sixers when they asked AI not to come anymore for that fated home game vs orlando. ikalawa, habang naka-tengga sa bahay si iverson, nagpapalaki ng tyan, at nag-aabang kung saang team sya lilipat, sixers president billy king is slowly learning (too late, i'm afraid) the truth behind the loudest whisper in the NBA: that chris webber possesses neither the skills nor the intangibles to ever be a winner, which he never was in college and may never be in the pros. in iverson's absence, philly sank to the bottom of the atlantic division, and only memphis has a worse record in the entire league.

pat riley has reportedly expressed interest in acquring the troubled superstar, but i feel any move initiated by the heat coach and president will draw the attention of the league front office. riley is notorious for his "creativity" in going around the NBA salary-cap rules. if riley is keen in getting iverson, there's no other way around it but to trade him off for at least four or five heat second-tier performers like jason kapono, udonis haslem, dorell wright, and even jason williams.

BigBlue
12-18-2006, 12:52 PM
knicks nuggets brawl.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHI2HYE2J0A


wala na sa youtube!

"This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner National Basketball Association Properties, Inc. because its content was used without permission"

cub
12-18-2006, 03:55 PM
napapanood ko pa yan kahapon ah.. anyways, try niyo rin sa espn.com

Mikhail
12-18-2006, 05:06 PM
Melo did a Manny Salgado-type sissy hit. 'twas pretty funny!

Joescoundrel
12-19-2006, 04:41 PM
Pat Riley has already announced they won´t be making offers for AI. At least for now.

Yes, the Kings took a chance on Ron Artest and he seems to have found a neat fit in Sacramento. At least for now.

Allen Iverson is too good a player, and will still be a good player for another two to three years, for him to be in limbo. If I were a long-suffering club in need of a fast infusion of excitement to bring in the fans, fill the arena and sell jerseys, Iverson would indeed be The Answer. A team that has gone the old rebuilding process and is still rebuilding may finally want to bite the AI bullet. Shit, if rebuilding through drafts and trades got you nowhere, why not take your chances with a many-time scoring champion and perennial All Star?

Denver, with Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith suspended, would be a great place to stick Iverson. They give awayAndre Miller (erratic and ineffective the last two full seasons anyway), Maybyner ¨Nene¨ Hilario (not exactly the answer in the post they thought he be, and its been four or five years now), two First Round picks (2007 and 2008, but with Lottery protection for the 2008 pick), and some cash (maybe $6 or 8 million). They get that one other All Star who is trying to get a career in the commencement of its twilight and who will look to prove he is a winner after all.

Question: Will the peripatetic George Karl approve?

LION
12-19-2006, 05:40 PM
Pat Riley has already announced they won´t be making offers for AI. At least for now.

Yes, the Kings took a chance on Ron Artest and he seems to have found a neat fit in Sacramento. At least for now.

Allen Iverson is too good a player, and will still be a good player for another two to three years, for him to be in limbo. If I were a long-suffering club in need of a fast infusion of excitement to bring in the fans, fill the arena and sell jerseys, Iverson would indeed be The Answer. A team that has gone the old rebuilding process and is still rebuilding may finally want to bite the AI bullet. Shit, if rebuilding through drafts and trades got you nowhere, why not take your chances with a many-time scoring champion and perennial All Star?

Denver, with Carmelo Anthony and JR Smith suspended, would be a great place to stick Iverson. They give awayAndre Miller (erratic and ineffective the last two full seasons anyway), Maybyner ¨Nene¨ Hilario (not exactly the answer in the post they thought he be, and its been four or five years now), two First Round picks (2007 and 2008, but with Lottery protection for the 2008 pick), and some cash (maybe $6 or 8 million). They get that one other All Star who is trying to get a career in the commencement of its twilight and who will look to prove he is a winner after all.

Question: Will the peripatetic George Karl approve?*


Lesson for today. Peripatetic. The first time I encountered this word was in my history class back in college.*This is only the second time.* Only shows that I haven't been reading much since I graduated.* *:)*

I am a Boston fanatic since Larry Legend donned the green and white uniform.* I say AI is not a good fit for Boston. Remember AW who is a self-confessed volume shooter? There is no need to elaborate why he was traded by Boston.* Well, it is strange that Boston is interested in getting the services of the leader of the volume shooters. Primus inter pares.*

Kid Cubao
12-20-2006, 06:06 AM
joe, kung pagiging peripatetic lang, wala nang tatalo ka LARRY BROWN, hehehe! but yes, george karl is another of those tar heel alums that became basketball lifers.

anyway, the news will come out soon about denver's acquisition of allen iverson. i'm sure our devoted gameface regulars will post the official announcement as well as the terms and conditions of the trade. suddenly nuggets basketball has become must-watch TV ;D

chocoks77
12-20-2006, 08:41 AM
joe, kung pagiging peripatetic lang, wala nang tatalo ka LARRY BROWN, hehehe! but yes, george karl is another of those tar heel alums that became basketball lifers.

anyway, the news will come out soon about denver's acquisition of allen iverson. i'm sure our devoted gameface regulars will post the official announcement as well as the terms and conditions of the trade. suddenly nuggets basketball has become must-watch TV ;D


Kid, it came out already. Here it is coming from Yahoo NBA! Oh, he will be under a very good friend of his favorite coach(Larry Brown), George Karl. :D :D :D

http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news;_ylt=Aps5fGXTZAcL39sZp8Cbpdq8vLYF?slug=ap-76ers-nuggets-iversontrade&prov=ap&type=lgns

mighty_lion
12-20-2006, 10:41 AM
Damn! :o Wala na atang superstar sa East. Now its gonna be Phoenix vs Denver for Western Conference Finals.

gameface_one
12-20-2006, 11:54 AM
Prolific Iverson heads to Denver
abs-cbnews.com


NEW YORK – The Denver Nuggets sought to offset the suspension of high-scoring forward Carmelo Anthony by acquiring seven-times All-Star guard Allen Iverson from the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday.

Denver will send guard Andre Miller, forward Joe Smith and two 2007 first-round picks to the 76ers for the 31-year-old Iverson and rookie forward Ivan McFarlin.

The deal puts the league's two top scorers in the same team.

Anthony, suspended 15 games on Monday for his role in the Nuggets' brawl against the New York Knicks on Saturday, is averaging 31.6 points this season. Iverson, a four-times scoring champion, is at 31.2.

Two weeks ago, the six-foot, 165-pound Iverson demanded the 76ers trade him and club chairman Ed Snider said he would comply with the request.

Despite his dominant role in the Sixers' offence, the team cleared out Iverson's locker and refused to play him while they sought a trade.

Philadelphia, a poor club with Iverson and a miserable one without him, has lost 11 straight and has a 5-18 record, the worst in the Eastern Conference.

The Sixers will get two players who revel in team play, unlike Iverson, who, despite his scoring ability, needed to be the focus of the team's offence.

Miller, the NBA assists leader in 2002 when he was with Cleveland, is averaging 13 points and 9.1 assists this season while Smith, an 11-year veteran and the number one NBA draft choice in 1995, is scoring 5.1 points per game.

Iverson has a 28.1 career scoring average in 10 NBA campaigns but the Sixers were unable to reach a consistent level with the Georgetown product in the backcourt and reached the NBA Finals only once.

Since he arrived in Philadelphia as the NBA's top overall draft choice in 1996, Iverson has battled with coaches over several issues, most notably his questionable practice habits.

Despite his squabbles with the front office, Iverson has always been an electrifying scorer and was the league's MVP in 2001. Along the way, he captured the hearts of Philadelphia fans with his desire to play while injured.

The Nuggets are second in the Northwest Division with a 14-9 record and will need Iverson's scoring to keep pace with front-running Utah. Reuters

gameface_one
12-20-2006, 12:02 PM
Nuggets star suspended 15 games

NBA bans 7 players following Denver-NY brawl
mb.com.ph



NEW YORK (AP) — NBA scoring leader Carmelo Anthony was suspended for 15 games and six other players were penalized on Monday, two days after the brawl between the Denver Nuggets and New York Knicks.


Nate Robinson and J.R. Smith each were suspended for 10 games, and four other players also were banned.

League commissioner David Stern fined each organization 0,000. But there was no separate penalty for Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who had warned Anthony not to dribble into the foul lane before the melee started at Madison Square Garden.

"The NBA and its players represent a game of extraordinary skill, athleticism and grace, and, for good or bad, set an example for the entire basketball world, on and off the court," Stern said in a statement.

Anthony’s suspension was the sixth longest in NBA history. Mardy Collins, whose hard foul on Smith sparked the fighting, was suspended for six games and Knicks teammate Jared Jeffries will miss four. Also, the Knicks’ Jerome James and Denver’s Nene both were penalized for one game for leaving the bench area during the chaos.

Ten players were ejected after the fight, which started with 1:15 left in Denver’s 123-100 victory. It was the NBA’s scariest scene since the brawl between Indiana Pacers players and Pistons fans in Detroit two years ago.

Stern said the fines to the organizations were meant to show he was serious about cleaning up the game.

"It’s a more general message that I’m going to start holding our teams accountable," Stern said.

Collins prevented Smith from an easy basket by grabbing him by the neck and pushing him to the floor. Smith rose and immediately challenged Collins, and Robinson jumped in to pull Smith away.

Anthony shoved Robinson away, and Robinson and Smith then tumbled into the front row while fighting.

Just as things appeared to be calming, Anthony threw a hard punch that floored Collins, and New York’s Jared Jeffries sprinted from the baseline toward halfcourt in an effort to get at Anthony, but was tackled by a Denver player.

By the time security had finally contained Smith, they were nearly at the opposite end of the court from where the fighting started.

"I was very disappointed," Stern said. "Clearly, we’re not getting through or players in certain circumstances just don’t want to be restrained. I would suggest that those players will not have long careers in the NBA."

There was speculation Thomas would be penalized for his comments to Anthony. Stern acknowledged hearing about it, but said he relied only on "definitive information" when handing out punishments.

Stern made it clear he was annoyed by comments from Thomas, who didn’t back away on Monday from the Knicks’ postgame assertions that some of the problems were caused by Denver coach George Karl leaving his starters on the floor too long in a blowout.

"I can’t speak for him, but he put his players in a tough position," Thomas said. "I think he put his players in a very bad position."

Karl accused Thomas of a "premeditated" act, underscoring his disgust with the New York coach with expletives.

"It was directed by Isiah," he said. "I think his actions after the game were despicable. He made a bad situation worse. I’ll swear on my children’s life that I never thought about running up the score. I wanted to get a big win on the road.

"My team has had trouble holding leads at the end of games," he added. "I didn’t want the score to get under 10 points because if it would’ve gotten under 10 points it would’ve had a negative feeling on my team."

Karl has bigger problems now. He’ll be without Anthony until Jan. 20, and Smith will be gone until Jan. 8. That duo combines for more than 48 points a game.

BigBlue
12-20-2006, 01:40 PM
i seriously dont get what Denver is trying to do with this trade. Sure, they get a top-caliber star, but do they really need more scoring? The trade is great in the short term, while Melo and Smith are out, but down the line, what will this do for the team?

Kid Cubao
12-20-2006, 02:58 PM
^^ excellent observation. like you, i felt that denver moved to acquire AI primarily as a stop-gap measure since melo will be gone for a month. however, what happens after the honeymoon is over? is AI willing to mend his lackadaisical approach to practice under george karl, who like his friend and co-tar heel larry brown regards practice time as sacred? will carmelo defer to AI? how about AI, is he willing to accept the fact that his entry to denver means he's no longer the primary scorer, which he was for a long time at philly?

MonL
12-20-2006, 03:42 PM
i seriously dont get what Denver is trying to do with this trade. Sure, they get a top-caliber star, but do they really need more scoring? The trade is great in the short term, while Melo and Smith are out, but down the line, what will this do for the team?


Reminds me of the Paul Westhead-coached run-n-gun Nuggets in the late 80s, averaging 120 ppg on offense and giving up 130ppg. :P* Predictably, Westhead didn't last long after making a 44-120 mark over two seasons.

BigBlue
12-20-2006, 04:16 PM
i like the question posed by Adrian Wojnarowski in his Yahoo Sports column (http://sports.yahoo.com/nba/news?slug=aw-nuggets121906&prov=yhoo&type=lgns): Whose team is this?

Nuggets management supposedly has a long-term plan to bring Melo along not only as the face of the franchise, but perhaps as the face of the northwestern conference, developing his game as well as his ability to lead the team. How does AI fit into this?

The nuggets are bringing in perhaps the largest ego in the NBA. I thought last year's Magic-Knicks trade that brought Stevie Franchise and Starbury together in NY takes the cake, but now i hear about this. Is it a new trend to try and collect the biggest egos out there and stick them in one team? Lets not forget, even if he's out for the rest of the season, K-Mart is still part of the Nuggets.

john_paul_manahan
12-21-2006, 06:43 AM
hmmm....

i would still not discount the texan teams in the playoff picture. i admit... a denver-phoenix or denver-golden state game would have an over under of 250.

still, questions abound with ball-sharing, although this is the 1st time iverson will have a class-A star alongside him.

i think this will be fine. remember, anthony was a part of the national team. he has to be fatigued.

full battle gear
12-21-2006, 12:40 PM
Nuggets v Suns game postponed due to snowstorm

www.abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - The NBA game between the Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns was postponed on Wednesday due to a snowstorm in the Denver area.

High winds accompanied by an expected snowfall of at least 12 inches were expected in Denver on Wednesday, leaving road conditions treacherous and the airport closed.

Even though both teams were in Denver, the Nuggets and the NBA both felt that holding the game would not be appropriate and would endanger fans and players trying to get to the Pepsi Center.

The postponement came just 24 hours after the Nuggets pulled off a blockbuster trade with the Philadelphia 76ers, sending Allen Iverson to Denver. Iverson was not expected to be able to make it to Denver for the game due to travel restrictions already in place.

The Nuggets hope that Iverson will be able to join them in time for their Friday home game against Sacramento.

Phoenix is on a franchise record 15-game winning streak and the Nuggets are without their other top player, Carmelo Anthony, who is serving a 15-game suspension for his part in a brawl against New York on Saturday.

The Suns host Washington on Friday.

full battle gear
12-21-2006, 12:41 PM
Heat make 2006 their showtime season

www.abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The NBA in 2006 will be remembered for many things: the Miami Heat's stunning comeback in the finals, Steve Nash's second-straight MVP award, Kobe Bryant's 81-point performance and LeBron James' first playoff appearance.

Dwayne Wade became the first from the superb 2003 draft year to win a title elevating his game and the Heat to their initial NBA championship.

Inspired by coach Pat Riley's 15-strong motto in the playoffs, the Heat started their improbable climb by building a powerhouse team in the off season.

"This team believed all along even though we had a lot of doubters," said Dwayne Wade, who averaged 27.2 points per game in the regular season.

They surrounded three-time playoff MVP Shaquille O'Neal with a stellar supporting cast that not only included Wade but Gary Payton, Antoine Walker and Alonzo Mourning whose career-long quest for a championship ended triumphantly.

"The road to success is paved with adversity. We drove down that road as a team," said Mourning, who came back from a kidney transplant in 2003.

This time Wade was chosen playoff MVP after averaging 34.7 points and 7.8 rebounds a game and replacing Lakers star Bryant as O'Neal's latest sidekick.

Wade helped Miami rally from a 13-point fourth quarter deficit in game three by scoring 42 points in a 98-96 victory.

It was a year in which three players in the 2005-06 season averaged at least 30 points per game for the first time in over two decades.

Bryant headed the list wth a 35.4 point average making it the league's highest since 1987 when Michael Jordan averaged 37.1. Allen Iverson averaged 33.0 points and James averaged 31.4.

Bryant's high octane year peaked with a monster evening when he scored 81 points against the Toronto Raptors in January.

It was the second-highest total in history, next to Wilt Chamberlain's 100 points in 1962.

"Everybody called every player in the league because that's history right there," Wade said.

Dallas stormed through the playoffs and won the first two games of the finals series but then fell apart losing four straight and the championship to the Heat.

The players showed composure throughout the series but unfortunately the same couldn't be said for club owner Mark Cuban.

The defining moment for Dallas was Cuban's profanity-laced tirade directed at commissioner David Stern and the media after game five. The Heat won 101-100 and from then on it was just a matter of time before O'Neal would collect his fourth ring.

Nash validated his 2005 MVP season with another league MVP award. Nash became only the fourth point guard to win the award by leading Phoenix to 54 wins in the regular season.

There is an impressive array of rising stars like Wade and James and China's Yao Ming that are ready to challenge the traditional marquee players for all-star supremacy.

James is part of that new generation. The 21-year-old American made his first playoff appearance in 2006 taking Cleveland all the way to the Eastern Conference semi-finals where they eventually lost to defending champion Detroit Pistons.

"We did a great job of making the playoffs but our goal is higher now," James said. "We are going to try to get better and come back and win a championship."

The league also tried and failed to bring in a new microfibre composite ball but after much criticism from the players the league announced it would switch back to the old leather one.

gameface_one
12-23-2006, 07:54 AM
Pistons ease past Cavs in playoff rematch
abs-cbnnews.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Detroit Pistons proved to strong for LeBron James and his Cleveland Cavaliers in their first meeting since last season's Eastern Conference playoff series, easing to an 87-71 road win on Thursday.

Chauncey Billups had 17 points and 10 assists and Tayshaun Prince added 16 points and eight rebounds to lead six Detroit players in double-figure scoring as the Pistons opened up a 2 1/2 game lead on the Cavaliers in the Central Division standings.

The division rivals met in a thrilling seven-game East semi-final series in May, won by Detroit in the decider.

However, the Pistons (16-8) ended any drama in this one, pulling away in the fourth quarter.

Billups snapped a stretch of poor shooting to sink his first three shots of the fourth quarter to allow the Pistons to open up a 13-point lead with less than nine minutes left.

Detroit out-scored Cleveland (14-11) 30-16 in the final quarter and played stifling defense most of the night, holding the Cavaliers to just 34 percent shooting from the field.

Antonio McDyess had a season-high 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Pistons, who have the best record in the Eastern Conference. Detroit shot 44 percent from the field.

James led the Cavaliers with 26 points and 10 rebounds and also had five assists, including going 8-for-8 from the foul line. But the rest of the Cavs were just 7-for-15 from the line and 2-for-11 from three-point range.

Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points for the Cavaliers, who are now 11-3 at home this season.

Antawn Jamison had 33 points and 13 rebounds as the Washington Wizards beat the Sacramento Kings 126-119.

Gilbert Arenas added 30 points for the Wizards, who scored 73 points in the second half. Kevin Martin scored 40 points in a losing cause for the Kings.

chocoks77
12-23-2006, 10:36 AM
AI just made his debut as a Denver Nugget. He is 2-of-2 in the first quarter but is still feeling his way around his new circle.

gameface_one
12-23-2006, 09:46 PM
Iverson suffers debut defeat
abs-cbnnews.com

DENVER - Allen Iverson had 22 points and 10 assists on his Denver debut but the Sacramento Kings snapped a three-game losing streak with a 101-96 win over the Nuggets on Friday.

Iverson traveled all day to make it to Denver in time to pass a physical and wound up playing 39 minutes, shooting 9-for-15 from the field.

It was the first game in two weeks for "The Answer," who had been sitting at home awaiting a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers, the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 1996 and where he had spent his entire career.

The Nuggets used just eight players due to numerous injuries and the suspension of Carmelo Anthony, with the Kings finally wearing them down in the fourth quarter despite arriving just 90 minutes before the game due to bad weather in the area.

John Salmons had a triple double for the Kings with 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, while Brad Miller added 21 points and 14 rebounds. Earl Boykins led Denver with 25 points.

"They embraced me. It was a great feeling," Iverson told reporters about his new team mates and Denver fans after the game.

"Not having played for a while, the altitude was tough on me at the beginning. I had jet lag and car sickness and I only had five minutes to shoot."

Despite his late arrival Iverson turned in a solid effort, and said he looked forward to playing with Anthony,

"I know we're going to be good," Iverson said. "We'll be hard to stop."

Denver coach George Karl was impressed.

"For a guy who hadn't played in a couple of weeks, I think he looked pretty damn good," Karl said. "I'm just sorry we couldn't win the game for A.I." *Andre Igauodala scored 31 points as the Philadelphia 76ers ended their 12-game losing streak by beating the Celtics 98-83.

* In Charlotte, Emeka Okafor scored 21 points and had 10 rebounds as the Bobcats upset the Utah Jazz 101-89.

* Jamal Crawford scored 30 points as the Knicks beat the Chicago Bulls 103-92. Channing Frye scored 15 points and had 12 rebounds and David Lee scored 12 points and 14 rebounds for the Knicks as the team won three in a row for the first time since April.

* Kobe Bryant scored 21 points and had 11 rebounds as the Los Angeles Lakers beat the New Jersey Nets 99-95. Vince Carter scored 33 points for the Nets, who lost Nenad Krstic with an injured left knee in the third quarter.

* Andre Igauodala scored 31 points as the Philadelphia 76ers ended their 12-game losing streak by beating the Celtics 98-83.

* In San Antonio, Yao Ming scored 22 points as the Houston Rockets beat the Spurs 97-78.
Reuters

gameface_one
12-23-2006, 09:47 PM
Mavericks blast Clippers, 115-83
abs-cbnnews.com

DALLAS (AFP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 20 points and grabbed 12 rebounds despite playing on a sore left ankle to spark the Dallas Mavericks past the Los Angeles Clippers 115-83 here Friday.

Josh Howard scored 25 points and Devean George scored a season-high 21 points with 5-of-6 3-point accuracy as the Mavericks hit 15-of-27 from beyond the 3-point arc for their sixth victory in a row.

Nowitzki left Wednesday's game against Seattle in the first quarter after hurting his left ankle and had been questionable, but the 7-foot German star answered all soubts by shooting 7-for-15, 3-of-5 in 3-pointers, in 26 minutes.

Dallas led by as many as 43 points in the fourth quarter over the Clippers, who lost their six game in a row.

gameface_one
12-23-2006, 09:48 PM
76ers maul Celtics, 98-83
abs-cbnnews.com

BOSTON, Massachusetts (AFP) - Andre Iguodala scored a career-high 31 points and added nine assists to spark Philadelphia past Boston 98-83 here Friday, snapping the 76ers' 12-game losing streak.

On the same night as the Denver Nuggets debut of Allen Iverson, the star guard traded away by the 76ers this week, the league-worst 76ers snapped their slump with their first triumph of the month.

Kevin Ollie had 14 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the 76ers, who had not lost 13 in a row since the 1996-1997 season but had not won a National Basketball Association game since November 24.

The 76ers, 6-19, had lost all seven games since Iverson was benched while management tried to swing a trade deal. They had also lost 10 in a row on the road.

Boston's Paul Pierce is averaging 26.6 points, 7.4 rebounds and 4.3 assists but he was out with a left foot injury.

"I want two now," 76ers coach Maurice Cheeks said. "I thought that was just a great team effort by all of our guys. We all talked about hanging in there to win this game.

"After 12 consecutive losses, we were looking for the champagne when we went into the locker room."

The 76ers were without Chris webber, suffering with a sore right foot, as well as guard Andre Miller and forward Joe Smith, the players obtained from Denver in the Iverson deal.

Physical exams to complete the deal were made Friday, so Smith and Miller will make their 76ers debut when Philadelphia plays host to New York.

john_paul_manahan
12-25-2006, 10:36 PM
AI just made his debut as a Denver Nugget. He is 2-of-2 in the first quarter but is still feeling his way around his new circle.


22 pts and 10 assts is not bad... imagine with melo and jr smith

gameface_one
12-25-2006, 11:24 PM
Knight joins Smith atop all-time win list
abs-cbnnews.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bob Knight joined Dean Smith as the most successful coach in American men's college basketball history on Saturday when Texas Tech beat Bucknell 72-60 to give him career victory number 879.
In 41 seasons with stops at Army, Indiana and Texas Tech, Knight has won three national titles and amassed a record of 879-353. He will have a chance to take sole ownership of the all-time win record on Thursday when the Red Raiders host UNLV.

While the volatile Knight is poised to become college basketball's winningest coach he has long been one of the most colorful.

After leading Indiana to three NCAA titles Knight was sacked following a series of run-ins with players and school officials.

Controversy followed Knight to Texas. Earlier this season, he was accused of abusing one of his players by hitting him under the chin to get his attention.

At the 1979 Pan Am Games he was charged with assaulting a police officer after a dispute over the use of a practice gym.

There is, however, no disputing Knight's remarkable record on the court.

Knight has coached in 27 NCAA tournaments, another record he shares with Smith, and in 1976 guided Indiana to a perfect season of 32-0 and a national title. No men's team have gone unbeaten since.

He also left his mark on the international game, leading the United States to the basketball gold medal at the 1984 Olympics.

gameface_one
12-26-2006, 03:47 PM
deleted

gameface_one
12-26-2006, 03:56 PM
Wade scores 40 to spark Heat past Lakers
abs-cbnnews.com


MIAMI - Dwyane Wade scored a season-high 40 points and passed out 11 assists in a spectacular one-man Chirstmas performance to lead the Miami Heat past the Los Angeles Lakers 101-85 here Monday.

Wade hit 12-of-20 shots and contributed four steals, four blocked shots and four rebounds while playing spirited defense against Lakers star Kobe Bryant in sparking the defending National Basketball Association (NBA) champions to victory.

"This was a great game," Wade said.

"It's a great opportunity on Christmas Day. We wanted to go out there and take charge from the start and that's exactly what we did."

The Lakers, led by 16 points from Bryant and 13 from Frenchman Ronny Turiaf, fell behind by 14 points in the first half and could never overcome the Heat. Bryant hit only 4-of-17 from the field.

"We just try to throw different guys at him," Wade said.

Wade ranks fourth in NBA scoring with 28.1 points a game while Bryant ranks sixth with 27.8 points a game.

The Heat improved to 13-14, matching Milwaukee for eighth in the Eastern Conference with their first triumph of the season over a club with a winning record.

"We've been playing well of late," Wade said.

Miami star center Shaquille O'Neal, who won three NBA titles while playing for the Lakers, didn't play on Monday. He has been out for more than six weeks with a knee injury.

The Lakers slid to 18-10 on the season. Only San Antonio, Dallas and Utah have won more games this season.

Wade scored 18 points in the third quarter as the Heat, who led 47-40 at halftime, grabbed their largest lead to that point at 74-58 on a Wade jumper before the Lakers trimmed the deficit to 74-64 entering the fourth quarter.

Miami's Jason Kapono sank three 3-pointers in the final quarter and finished with 11 points.

Turiaf jammed in a slam dunk over Wade off a no-look, behind-the-back bounce pass from Bryant to pull Lakers within 41-35 late in first half after they had trailed the Heat by as many as 14.

Bryant shot 1-for-9 from the field in the first half, managing only four points but playing solid defense in the second quarter as Miami went more than six minutes without a basket.

gameface_one
12-28-2006, 09:09 AM
Arenas drops 31 as Wizards tame Grizzlies
mb.com.ph





WASHINGTON (AP) — Gilbert Arenas scored 31 points and the surging Washington Wizards used a big first half to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 116-101 in the NBA on Tuesday.


The Wizards, who have won 11 of their last 14 games, returned home without missing a beat from a four-game trip in which they averaged 131 points against the Los Angeles Lakers, Denver, Sacramento and Phoenix.

The Wizards scored 45 points in the first quarter, a Verizon Center record for any quarter. It was also a season high, eclipsing the 40 points recorded against the Miami Heat on Dec. 15.

The Wizards set another Verizon Center mark with 77 points in the first half, eclipsing the 71 they tallied on Feb. 26 of last season against the New York Knicks. Arenas and Antawn Jamison both were perfect on three shots from behind the arc and the Wizards shot 59 percent in the half.

Jamison had 26 points and nine rebounds for Washington. Caron Butler added 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. Brendan Haywood just missed his third consecutive double-double with 15 points and nine boards.

Pacers 81, Rockets 76

At Indianapolis, Al Harrington had 23 points and 14 rebounds and Jamaal Tinsley scored 17 points for Indiana.

Tracy McGrady returned to Houston’s starting lineup after missing seven games with back spasms and finished with 19 points. He shot 7-for-22 from the field and had seven turnovers, including two critical ones in the final 2 minutes while the Rockets were trying to come back.

The Rockets were playing their first game since All-Star center Yao Ming was lost for at least six weeks with a fractured bone beneath his right knee.

It was the fewest points Indiana has allowed this season. The Rockets fell to 14-7 with McGrady in the lineup.

Pistons 92, Nets 91

At Auburn Hills, Michigan, Chauncey Billups made two free throws with 7.2 seconds left to give Detroit its fifth straight win.

Billups, who missed nine of his 10 shots from the floor, was fouled by Vince Carter on a fast break after Jason Kidd missed a 3-pointer that could have clinched the game for New Jersey.

On the ensuing possession, Carter missed a pull-up jumper with 1.5 seconds to go after a collision that knocked Rasheed Wallace to the court. Nets coach Lawrence Frank argued the call and had to be restrained by assistant coaches from going after the officials at the buzzer.

Detroit got 21 points apiece from Wallace and Richard Hamilton.

Carter had 28 and Richard Jefferson added 18 for the Nets.

Bucks 114, Spurs 107

At San Antonio, Michael Redd scored 36 points, and Milwaukee rallied from a 13-point deficit to earn its fifth straight victory.

Redd was 14-of-22 from the floor and made all eight of his free throws as the Bucks won in San Antonio for the first time in five years.

Mo Williams added 23 points, Andrew Bogut 14 and reserve Ruben Patterson 13 for the Bucks.

Tony Parker scored 24 points — only two in the second half — and Tim Duncan had 25 for San Antonio.

Timberwolves 100, Bulls 98

At Minneapolis, Randy Foye made a runner with 1.8 seconds left, and Minnesota blew a 25-point lead before beating Chicago.

Foye, who finished with a career-high 25 points, took the ball from Kevin Garnett and drove to the right side before putting a shot over Kirk Hinrich.

Reserve Ben Gordon, who led Chicago with 27 points, drove past Garnett for a lay-up with 7.1 seconds left to complete a comeback for the Bulls, who trailed 70-45 midway through the third quarter.

Garnett had 26 points and 14 rebounds for Minnesota.

Mavericks 97, Bobcats 84

At Dallas, Josh Howard scored 27 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 23 to help Dallas stretch its winning streak to seven games.

Howard went 10-for-19 from the field and grabbed eight rebounds.

Dallas is 9-1 this season when Howard scores 20 or more points.

The Mavericks improved to 21-7, the best record in the league.

Rookie Adam Morrison scored 17 points, Gerald Wallace had 16 and Matt Carroll 14 for Charlotte.

gameface_one
12-29-2006, 10:24 AM
NBA's Grizzlies sack coach Fratello
abs-cbnnews.com


MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE - The Memphis Grizzlies, whose woeful 6-24 is the worst record in the National Basketball Association, sacked coach Mike Fratello on Thursday.

"I'd like to thank Mike for the contributions he made to the Grizzlies organization," president of basketball operations Jerry West said.

"He is a great coach and friend, and he did an outstanding job guiding this team to two playoff appearances in Memphis. We just felt it was time to make a change and move in a different direction based on our record and future goals," he added.

The team did not name an interim coach.

Hired in December 2004 after Hubie Brown resigned, Fratello posted a 95-83 record with the Grizzlies, becoming the franchise's all-time winningest coach.

He took the team to the playoffs the past two seasons.

"Unfortunately, this season has been one of disarray starting this past summer," Fratello said in a statement.

"I am sorry I have not been able to find a way up to this point to turn things around, and I understand why a change needs to be made," he added.

Fratello's third season in Memphis looked to be doomed from outset.

All-Star center Pau Gasol, the Grizzlies' best player, suffered a broken left foot while playing for Spain in the World Championship. He missed Memphis' first 22 games.

Since Gasol returned, the Grizzlies have gone just 1-7.

gameface_one
12-29-2006, 10:24 AM
Injured Heat star Wade eyes quick return
abs-cbnnews.com

Further tests on Thursday confirmed the wrist injury of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade is a sprain, and he will be a game-time decision for Friday's National Basketball Association game against New Jersey.
Wade, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA finals last June as the Heat downed Dallas to claim the title, was hurt with six minutes left in the opening quarter of Wednesday's 109-103 loss to Chicago.

The 24-year-old underwent an X-ray on Wednesday that indicated a sprain and an MRI on Thursday confirmed the diagnosis.

A two-time All-Star, Wade is averaging 28.6 points and 8.2 assists per game in 25 games this season. He currently leads all Eastern Conference guards in All-Star votes.

Thanks to the brilliant play of Wade, the Heat stormed to their first championship last June.

But the Heat have fallen on hard times this season, losing in embarrassing fashion to Chicago on the opening night of the season and dropping eight of their first 12 games.

Miami already is without All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal, who is still sidelined with torn knee cartilage. AFP

gameface_one
12-29-2006, 02:28 PM
Nowitzki delivers game-winner against Suns
abs-cbnnews.com


DALLAS, Texas (AFP) - Dirk Nowitzki sank the go-ahead jump shot with one second left here Thursday to lift the Dallas Mavericks to a 101-99 National Basketball Association victory over the Phoenix Suns.

Jason Terry scored 35 points for the Mavericks, who overcame a poor shooting night to pull of the victory over their Western Conference rivals in a thriller that produced a playoff atmosphere.

Nowitzki had 27 points for the Mavericks, who shot just 41 percent from the field but took advantage of the Suns' 21 turnovers to record their eighth straight win.

Despite shooting just 8-of-20 from the floor, Nowitzki was the catalyst down the stretch for Dallas, who used their star forward's heroics to eliminate Phoenix in six games in last spring's Western Conference finals.

With his team trailing, 99-97, Suns guard Steve Nash fed Shawn Marion for a wide-open dunk to tie the game with six seconds remaining.

But after a timeout, Nowitzki posted up Marion and drained a fadeaway jumper from the right wing to make it 101-99.

On the ensuing possession, Amare Stoudemire missed a desperation shot from the arc as time expired.

Terry shot 12-of-20 from the floor and 5-of-8 from the arc, attacking the paint at will to collapse the defense.

Stoudemire had 25 points and 13 rebounds for the Suns, who shot 52 percent.

The Suns have now lost two of their last three games after a club-record 15-game winning streak.

gameface_one
12-31-2006, 10:14 PM
Magic downs injury depleted Heat
abs-cbnnews.com


ORLANDO, FLORIDA - The Orlando Magic took advantage of an injury-depleted Miami Heat on Saturday to snap their NBA (National Basketball Association) skid.

Dwight Howard scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Trevor Ariza added 16 to lead the Magic to a 97-68 pounding of the defending champions, who were without NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Dwyane Wade for the second straight night.

Wade sat out with a sprained right wrist and Jason Williams was sidelined by quadriceps fatigue. Miami's All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal is still sidelined with torn knee cartilage.

Leading 32-31 with 10:21 left in the second quarter, Orlando went on a 16-6 run to take a 48-37 lead.

The Magic held the Heat scoreless for more than seven minutes during the second quarter before Miami broke the drought on two free throws by Earl Barron with 2:48 to play. Miami scored a season-low 10 points in the second quarter and scored only 11 in the fourth.

Tony Battie scored 12 points for the Magic, who held the Heat to their second-lowest output of the season. Miami scored just 66 points against the Chicago Bulls on opening night.

NBA Results:
Charlotte 113 Indiana 102; New Jersey 100 Minnesota 92; Memphis 110 Toronto 104; Chicago 103 Cleveland 96; Milwaukee 119 Washington 102; Dallas 94 New Orleans 80; Utah 96 Portland 86; Sacramento 119 Golden State 96

full battle gear
01-02-2007, 11:41 AM
Injured O'Neal could return for Heat in mid-January

www.abs-cbnnews.com


Miami's superstar center Shaquille O'Neal is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from knee surgery and could return for a January 15 clash with his former National Basketball Association team, the Lakers.

"He's ahead of schedule," Heat coach Pat Riley said Monday after the team's practice. "He has been on the bike and the treadmill. He has really worked to be ready, and now the test is when he starts to pound up and down the court. But now, we're in the stage of 'He's back. Thank you God.'"

Miami have lost 15 of 26 games this season without O'Neal, who hurt the knee on November 2 in a collision with New Jersey Nets forward Bostjan Nachbar.

The 34-year-old re-injured the same knee on November 12, and had surgery to repair torn cartilage on November 19.

O'Neal said he was eager to return, but wouldn't do so prematurely.

"I'm feeling real good now, but I haven't jumped or run yet," O'Neal said. "I want to get my basketball conditioning back as quick as possible. I probably need another couple of practices. It's no use for me to come back less than 100 percent."

He said he didn't feel pressure to return in time for the Lakers game, despite a well-publicized exchange of barbs with Lakers coach Phil Jackson that accompanied their Christmas Day contest.

Jackson said before the game that O'Neal was "the only one" among the great players he has coached who "didn't like to work."

O'Neal responded by referring to his former coach as "Benedict Arnold".

"I'm not really worried about any individual game," O'Neal said. "Individual games at this point of the season really don't mean much." AFP

gameface_one
01-02-2007, 07:41 PM
Timberwolves rally as NBA reverts to leather ball
abs-cbnnews.com

CHARLOTTE, North Carolina - Kevin Garnett celebrated the return of the National Basketball Association's leather ball Monday with a 32-point performance in Minnesota's 102-96 victory over Charlotte.

Garnett also grabbed 14 rebounds, while Ricky Davis added 25 points as the Timberwolves rallied from a 20-point deficit in a game that saw the NBA revert to its old regulation ball after player complaints about the high-tech synthetic ball introduced this season.

Minnesota posted the fourth-largest comeback in franchise history to win for the fourth time in six games.

After trailing 50-30 in the second quarter, Minnesota used a 14-0 run early in the fourth to take an 82-80 lead with 8:18 left.

Garnett, one of the most vocal critics of the synthetic ball, scored four points and Davis and rookie Randy Foye hit 3-pointers during the spurt.

Matt Carroll scored eight consecutive points for the Bobcats, including two baskets from the arc, to put them in front, 88-86, with 5:24 to go. However, Mark Blount converted a three-point play and Garnett hit two free throws and a basket as Minnesota took a 93-90 advantage with 3:33 remaining.

Garnett made 9-of-18 shots and Blount scored a season-high 21 points for the Timberwolves, who outscored Charlotte 34-18 in the fourth quarter. AFP

full battle gear
01-03-2007, 11:32 AM
Mavs’ Howard, Bucks' Redd named NBA players of the week


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 10:09am (Mla time) 01/03/2007

NEW YORK -- Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard and Milwaukee Bucks guard Michael Redd were named the National Basketball Association players of the week on Tuesday.

It was the second time this season that each had won the weekly award.

Howard was the Western Conference winner for the second week in a row. He averaged 21.5 points, 10.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.3 blocks in helping Dallas win four games and extend their winning streak to 10.

Howard had 28 points, 17 rebounds, five assists and three blocks in an 89-85 win at Denver on Sunday.

Redd received Eastern Conference honors for the second time this season, also winning for the period from November 27-December 3.

Last week, he averaged 27.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists in helping the Bucks to a 3-1 record.

Redd had a 36-point outburst in a win at San Antonio a week ago. He supplanted backcourt mate Mo Williams, who won the award last week.

full battle gear
01-03-2007, 11:40 AM
Giants coach says mediocre record irrelevant in playoffs

www.abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK - New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin said on Tuesday his team belonged in the National Football League playoffs despite posting the worst record of the eight teams who have qualified for the Super Bowl tournament.

"I think everybody starts zero-zero. That's the way this is designed. The important thing is to get into the playoffs and we've accomplished that," Couglin told WFAN radio."We're apologizing to no one. We're here."

The Giants, who began the season 6-2 before a series of injuries led to an unraveling, beat the Washington Redskins 34-28 in their regular season finale to reach the playoffs with an 8-8 record.

"That really was a playoff game for us," Coughlin said. "Win and you're in. Lose and you go home. And that serves us well right now."

New York go to Philadelphia for Sunday's game against division rival Eagles, the hottest team in the National Football Conference (NFC) after winning their last five games with back-up quarterback Jeff Garcia in place of injured Donovan McNabb to finish at 10-6.

The Giants split their home-and-home series against the Eagles, making a big comeback to win early in the season in Philadelphia and losing 36-22 to them at home last month.

"Obviously both teams know each other well. We played each other just a couple of weeks ago. There were things to be learned obviously from that game," the Giants coach said. "We did so many things to hurt ourselves."

The Giants, who have lost possession receiver Amani Toomer, left tackle Luke Petitgout, defensive end Michael Strahan and linebacker LaVar Arrington for the season among others, were down a touchdown late against the Eagles before a tipped pass was intercepted and run in for a decisive touchdown.

Coughlin said the play of the Eagles big offensive line was the key to their resurgence and number two offensive ranking.

"They are playing extremely well up front," he said.

"They are keeping people off the quarterback, they are running the ball very well and spreading the ball around in the passing game." Reuters

gameface_one
01-03-2007, 10:55 PM
76ers beat Nuggets, 108-97
abs-cbnnews.com

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Denver's Allen Iverson scored 30 points against his old team but the Philadelphia 76ers emerged with a 108-97 road win over the Nuggets on Tuesday after their former star guard was ejected late in the game.

Iverson has been publicly critical of his former team since joining the Nuggets in December, but Denver's latest defeat saw them slip to 2-4 since they acquired the player from Philadelphia.

The Sixers are 4-4 since the deal and scored 100 points for the first time in 16 games. Philadelphia also won on the road for just the third time in its last 17 games.

Iverson went 10-for-24 from the field before his ejection, which came with 1:44 remaining in the fourth quarter of his first game against the team where he played all 11 of his previous NBA seasons.

Kyle Korver led the Sixers attack with 26 points as Philadelphia (9-22) shot 46 percent from the field.

Former Nugget Andre Miller added 17 points and 10 assists, while Steven Hunter chipped in 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench.

Iverson added nine assists and five rebounds, while rookie Yakhouba Diawara added 23 points and Marcus Camby had 16 rebounds and eight points.

Iverson will not get a chance to face his former team in Philadelphia this season as the Nuggets have already made their lone trip there this campaign.

*Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points and hauled down a season-high 15 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 112-88 for their 11th straight victory.

*In Cleveland, LeBron James had 19 points as the Cavaliers beat the San Antonio Spurs 82-78.

*Jameer Nelson had a season-high 29 points as the Orlando Magic beat the Los Angeles Clippers 91-86.

* Matt Barnes had 29 points and 11 rebounds as the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Hornets 97-89 in Oklahoma City.

* Amare Stoudemire had 24 points and 18 rebounds as the Phoenix Suns edged the Bulls 97-96 in Chicago, despite 41 points from Ben Gordon.

full battle gear
01-05-2007, 12:05 PM
Arenas stays hot to lead Wizards past Bucks

www.abs-cbnnews.com


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Gilbert Arenas continued his hot streak with a three-pointer at the buzzer to lead the Washington Wizards to a 108-105 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday.

With the score tied at 105-105, Arenas launched a 32-footer from beyond the top of the key and remained expressionless as it sailed through the net to cap a 32-point performance.

"We knew it was going to be a close game but we just wanted to be the team to finish the game with a win," Arenas, who had 11 rebounds and eight assists, told reporters. "We pulled it out. We fought our butts off."

Antawn Jamison got a rebound with six seconds left and handed the ball to Arenas, who streaked up the court.

"We were not going to run a play at the end of the game," said Arenas. "The play was to get up the court and get a good shot."

Arenas, the Eastern Conference Player of the Month in December after averaging 34.1 points and 6.2 assists, calmly walked to the bench following the game winner as the crowd cheered; "M-V-P, M-V-P."

"He times it just right, he gets himself in position, and then it was just the flick of the wrist," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "He is amazing."

Milwaukee (16-16) was led in scoring by Michael Redd's 27 points and Mo Williams's 24.

Forward Caron Butler added 29 for the Wizards (18-13) on 13-of-17 shooting from the floor.

* In Toronto, Raja Bell scored 17 points as the Phoenix Suns edged the Raptors 100-98. Chris Bosh had 26 points and 14 rebounds on his return after missing 12 games.

* Elton Brand scored 28 points to lift the Los Angeles Clippers to a 110-95 win over the Miami Heat. The Heat was without coach Pat Riley, who missed his first game since taking an indefinite leave of absence.

* LeBron James claimed 32 points to help the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Boston Celtics 107-104.

* Mike Miller had 33 points as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Golden State Warriors 144-135. Pau Gasol had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the losers.

* Kevin Garnett claimed 27 points and 17 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves beat the San Antonio Spurs 103-101 in overtime.

full battle gear
01-05-2007, 12:06 PM
Heat coach Riley takes leave of absence

www.abs-cbnnews.com


MIAMI - Miami Heat coach and president Pat Riley has taken indefinite leave of absence to deal with persistent hip and knee problems.

Assistant Ron Rothstein will assume head coaching duties on an interim basis while Riley receives treatment on his painful right knee and left hip, the team said on its Web site (www.miamiheat.com) on Wednesday.

Riley, who guided the Heat to the NBA championship in June, is scheduled to undergo knee surgery on Friday.

The 61-year-old coach is also likely to have a hip replacement soon after, according to the Sun-Sentinel newspaper.

Riley's absence is another setback for the struggling Heat (13-17), who have played most of the season without injured All-Star Shaquille O'Neal.

It marks the second time Riley has left the team in mid-season.

He stepped down as coach in October 2003, handing over the reins to assistant Stan Van Gundy.

Riley, who also led the Los Angeles Lakers to four titles, returned to the bench when Van Gundy resigned for personal reasons in December 2005.

In 23 seasons as a coach with the Heat, Lakers and New York Knicks, Riley has compiled a regular-season record of 1,164-606 while going 171-107 in the post-season. Reuters

full battle gear
01-07-2007, 01:26 PM
Nowitzki and Mavericks make it lucky 13


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:57pm (Mla time) 01/06/2007

SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Dirk Nowitzki scored a season-high 36 points to help the Dallas Mavericks to their 13th straight National Basketball Association victory on Friday.

The Mavericks came up big when they had to in the stretch to down Western Conference rivals San Antonio 90-85, their second victory in as many attempts on the Spurs' home floor this season.

Dallas also won the decisive game seven here in last season's Western Conference semi-finals.

Nowitzki was the one who made sure the Mavs would continue their winning ways. The German superstar made 14-of-23 shots in 41 dynamic minutes.

In a fourth quarter that featured seven lead changes, Nowitzki made a number of big shots, including a tough fadeaway from the left side with 40 seconds left that gave Dallas an 88-84 lead.

After Tim Duncan split a pair of free throws eight seconds later to pull the Spurs within 88-85, Nowitzki made an errant pass on the Mavs' ensuing possession.

Following a timeout, Manu Ginobili drove to the basket and set up Bruce Bowen for a wide-open 3-pointer from the right corner.

But Bowen's shot bounced off the rim, and Josh Howard grabbed the rebound and made two free throws with six-tenths of a second left.

Howard scored 18 points, joining Nowitzki as the only Mavericks in double figures.
Dallas are now 27-3 after an 0-4 start to the season. They are in the midst of their second double-digit winning streak of this campaign, having amassed a 12-game winning streak earlier this season.

Ginobili scored 25 points and Duncan had 18 for the Spurs, who have lost a season-high three games to fall four behind the Mavs in the Southwest Division.

full battle gear
01-08-2007, 11:52 AM
Ginobili lifts Spurs over Grizzlies


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 08:48am (Mla time) 01/08/2007

MEMPHIS, Tennessee -- With Tony Parker sidelined by a sore hip, Manu Ginobili stepped up to help the San Antonio Spurs end their National Basketball Association skid.

Ginobili scored a season-high 34 points to lead the Spurs to a 110-96 victory over lowly Memphis on Sunday, snapping a three-game losing streak.

Ginobili, who was 10-of-15 from the field and 6-of-8 from 3-point range, outscored the Grizzlies 9-3 over the final 2:47 of the second quarter to push a 48-42 advantage to a 57-45 bulge at halftime.

France's Parker sat out Sunday's game with a strained right hip suffered during Friday night's loss to the Dallas Mavericks.

Pau Gasol's jumper with 5:13 left in the third quarter got the Grizzlies within 71-65, but the Spurs went on a 15-7 scoring run highlighted by Robert Horry's 3-pointer to boost their lead to 84-72.

Horry scored 18 points and fellow reserve Michael Finley added 12 for the Spurs, who outscored Memphis's bench 45-29.

full battle gear
01-08-2007, 11:56 AM
Cavaliers enjoy week of success

LeBron fuels win over Nets

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CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James scored 19 points and added a season-high 13 rebounds, helping the Cleveland Cavaliers cap their most successful week in nearly 14 years with a 96-91 victory over the New Jersey Nets on Saturday.

By beating San Antonio, Boston, Milwaukee and New Jersey since Tuesday, the Cavaliers have won four games in five nights for the first time since Feb. 2-6, 1993. It’s just the streak they were looking for before departing on a seven-game, two-week road trip.

Larry Hughes and Drew Gooden scored 21 points apiece and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 as the Cavaliers improved to 15-3 at home this season – and 26-3 since March 5 at Quicken Loans Arena.

Vince Carter and Mikki Moore had 18 points apiece and Richard Jefferson 17 for the Nets, who pulled within 93-91 on Jefferson’s 3-pointer with 17 seconds left.

Gooden gave the Nets a chance to tie it by missing one of two free throws with 9.3 seconds to go. However, Carter misfired on a 3-pointer with 2.9 seconds remaining and Gooden sealed Cleveland’s seventh win in eight games by hitting a pair of free throws in the final second.

Hawks 86, Clippers 74

At Atlanta, Joe Johnson scored 27 points, Zaza Pachulia added 22, and Atlanta downed the Los Angeles Clippers to snap an eight-game losing streak.

Atlanta won for the first time since a Dec. 15 victory at Memphis. It won at home for the first time since beating Charlotte on Nov. 29.

Elton Brand led Los Angeles with 26 points, including 12 in the first quarter, and Tim Thomas had 14.

The Clippers fell to 0-11 on the road when trailing after three quarters.

Pacers 100, Hornets 93

At Oklahoma City, Al Harrington and Stephen Jackson each scored 27 points and Jermaine O’Neal made two key layups in his first game since issuing a challenge to his Indiana teammates.

O’Neal hit back-to-back layups from the left block to break away from an 83-all tie and spark a 10-3 run that gave the Pacers control of the game in the final 4 minutes.

O’Neal finished with 22 points in his first game since calling the Pacers ``a very average team’’ and suggesting that he and the team should go ``separate ways’’ at the end of the season ``if I can’t take this team to another level.’’

Desmond Mason scored 28 points for New Orleans.

Bulls 106, Pistons 89

At Chicago, Luol Deng scored 30, Ben Wallace finished with 12 points and 14 rebounds in his first game against his former team, and Chicago beat Detroit.

Ben Gordon scored 23 and Andres Nocioni added 21 points for Chicago.

It was a good ending to a tough week for the Bulls, who lost 97-96 to Phoenix on Leandro Barbosa’s 3-pointer with 1.5 seconds left on Tuesday and fell 91-86 at New Jersey on Friday after scoring the first 18 points. Chicago had dropped 14 of 16 overall to the Pistons and 12 straight at home.

Richard Hamilton had his second straight 27-point game for the Pistons, and Nazr Mohammed scored 15.

Jazz 96, Nuggets 84

At Denver, Deron Williams tied a career high with 28 points and Carlos Boozer shrugged off a slow start to finish with 24 for Utah’s win over Denver.

Williams also had 12 assists and Boozer grabbed 12 rebounds. The Jazz are now 21-5 when Boozer records a double-double.

Utah saw a 19-point lead in the first half cut to 68-67 with 9:30 remaining in the game. However, the Jazz went on a 10-0 run to restore some breathing room and send the Nuggets to their season-high fifth straight loss.

Allen Iverson and Earl Boykins had 22 points apiece for Denver.

Warriors 108, SuperSonics 104

At Oakland, California, Baron Davis had 22 points and 11 assists to lead Golden State to its sixth straight home win.

Davis helped Golden State overcome 38 points from Ray Allen and 16 missed free throws to hand Seattle its 11th straight road loss.

Allen’s seventh 3-pointer tied it at 103 with 2:13 to play.

Both teams traded misses before Davis rebounded an errant 3-pointer from Monta Ellis, dribbled out from under the basket and fed Matt Barnes for the go-ahead score with 1:05 to go.

Ellis, who missed the previous five games with a bruised right shoulder, added 20 points for the Warriors.

Chris Wilcox scored 22 points for the Sonics.

Blazers 110, Kings 105, OT

At Sacramento, California, Zach Randolph had 30 points and 14 rebounds for Portland, which tied Sacramento at the buzzer in regulation and went on to win in overtime.

Trailing 95-93, Portland rookie Brandon Roy forced overtime with a 15-foot, fallaway jumper over John Salmons.

With the shot clock running down late in overtime, Randolph drove to the basket, made a spinning flip shot over Shareef Abdur-Rahim to put the Blazers ahead for good at 104-102 with 44 seconds left. Roy made two free throws with 9.3 seconds for 106-102 Portland lead.

Mike Bibby led Sacramento with 28 points.

Roy scored a career-high 23 points for the Blazers.

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01-09-2007, 01:02 PM
Garnett powers Timberwolves to fourth straight win

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Kevin Garnett scored 26 points and had 13 rebounds to power the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 103-99 overtime victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, their fourth straight win.

Garnett put the Timberwolves ahead with two free throws at 2:06 remaining in the game at Minneapolis, Minnesota. He then fed center Mark Blount the ball for a lay-up as Minnesota went up 97-94 with 1:30 to go.

Blount finished with 21 points and 10 rebounds.

Tracy McGrady scored 31 points to pace the Rockets, whose five-game winning streak was halted.

McGrady sent the game into overtime with a driving layup with 11 seconds remaining in regulation to tie the scores at 88-88.

Shane Battier added 20 points and Juwan Howard 19 for the Rockets, who were playing without injured center Yao Ming.

Manu Ginobili scored 34 points and had five steals as the San Antonio Spurs defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 110-96 in Memphis, Tennessee.

The Spurs played without Tony Parker, who was sidelined with a sprained right hip. Pau Gasol led Memphis with 24 points.

The Orlando Magic defeated the Boston Celtics 87-79 in Orlando, Florida despite scoring only 12 points in the third quarter.

Grant Hill had 21 points and Dwight Howard contributed 18 points and 12 rebounds as Orlando won their fourth straight game.

Tony Allen scored 21 points for Boston.

The Toronto Raptors ended the Washington Wizards' three-game winning streak with a 116-111 victory in Toronto. Chris Bosh had 24 points and 15 rebounds for the Raptors, who had six players in double figures. Gilbert Arenas led Washington with 33 points.

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01-09-2007, 01:02 PM
Lakers snap Dallas' winning streak

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LOS ANGELES - Kobe Bryant scored 26 points but unheralded Sasha Vujacic stole the spotlight with a game-deciding three-pointer that helped Los Angeles end Dallas' 13-game winning streak with a 101-98 win on Sunday.

Bidding for a club record-tying 14th straight win that began with a victory over the Lakers on December 13, Dallas squandered a nine-point fourth-quarter lead.

Bryant, who torched the Mavericks for 62 points in three quarters the last time the National Basketball Association teams met in the Staples Center on Dec. 20, 2005, was a surprising non-factor with just 12 points through the first three quarters.

He surpassed that output in the final 12 minutes alone, scoring five of his 14 points in a 27-second span to put the Lakers ahead, 97-96, with 55 seconds left.

After Mavericks superstar Dirk Nowitzki answered with a drive down the lane to regain the lead, Vujacic drilled his fourth 3-pointer of the game from the left wing to put Los Angeles on top for good, 100-98.

Vujacic, who entered averaging 3.6 points, played the entire fourth quarter and scored nine of his 16 points. AFP

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01-09-2007, 01:04 PM
Arenas earns weekly NBA honor

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Red-hot Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas was named the Eastern Conference player of the week on Monday by the National Basketball Association.

Arenas, who was the player of the month for December, claimed his third career weekly honor, while Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett was honored in the Western Conference.

Arenas averaged 33.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 2.7 steals in helping the Wizards win two of three games.

In Wednesday's 108-105 victory over Milwaukee, he had 32 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and sank a buzzer-beating 32-footer to win the game.

Garnett averaged 27.5 points, 14.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 1.5 blocks as the Timberwolves swept four games.

He collected 27 points, 17 rebounds, seven assists and three blocks in a 103-101 overtime win over San Antonio on Wednesday and beat Philadelphia with a 15-footer at the overtime buzzer on Friday.

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01-09-2007, 01:05 PM
Bucks lose Redd for up to six weeks

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NEW YORK – The Milwaukee Bucks will be without guard Michael Redd for four-to-six weeks, the NBA team said on Monday.

Redd suffered a knee injury during the Bucks' 95-86 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday. It was later diagnosed as a patellar tendon strain.

The NBA's fifth leading scorer was evaluated by the team's medical staff on Monday and put on a rehabilitation program that will last up to six weeks.

Redd is averaging 27.7 points per game this season and has been selected as the Eastern Conference's Player of the Week twice this season.

Milwaukee forward Charlie Villanueva, the team's top free agent acquisition in the off-season, will miss up to another week with his shoulder injury.

Villanueva has missed two games due to his right shoulder injury. Reuters

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01-09-2007, 01:05 PM
T-Mac rallies Rockets past Bulls

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CHICAGO - Tracy McGrady scored 25 of his 31 points in the second half, including a decisive jump shot that lifted Houston to an 84-77 victory over Chicago Monday in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Shane Battier solidified Houston's rally with two defensive stops against Ben Gordon in the final minute as the Rockets won their sixth game in seven starts and improved to 6-2 without injured center Yao Ming.

McGrady scored 10 points in the third quarter and Houston limited Chicago to just 11 points to overcome a 10-point halftime deficit and take a 54-51 lead entering the fourth.

But that just served as a warm-up act for the star, who hit consecutive 3-pointers early in the fourth to forge a 63-55 lead.

The Bulls responded behind Gordon, who scored 16 of his 24 points in the final period. His pull-up jumper from the right wing tied the game at 77-77 with 1:53 left.

But McGrady countered with his own pull-up over Luol Deng from just inside the 3-point line to give Houston the lead for good.

On Chicago's next possession, the defensive-minded Battier harassed Gordon into an airball from just inside the foul line with 60 seconds left.

After Battier missed a 3-pointer, Gordon drove the right side of the lane but Battier blocked the shot from behind with 23 seconds to play.

McGrady split a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left for an 80-77 lead and Houston sealed the win when Kirk Hinrich's short jumper with 13 seconds remaining.

McGrady finished 14-of-29 from the field for his sixth consecutive 30-plus point performance.

Juwan Howard had 16 points and nine rebounds and Dikembe Mutombo recorded his seventh consecutive double-digit rebounding performance with 16 for Houston.

NBA Scores: LA Clippers 100 New Orleans 90; Denver 104 Milwaukee 92

gameface_one
01-11-2007, 06:54 PM
New Jersey's Krstic has knee surgery
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EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey (AFP) - New Jersey Nets center Nenad Krstic underwent reconstructive knee surgery on Wednesday and is expected to be ready for the start of training camp in 2007-08.

The surgery was performed at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan.

Krstic tore his left ACL while making a spin move in a December 22 game against the Los Angeles Lakers.

He had to wait for the swelling to subside before having the surgery.

A third-year player from Serbia, Krstic averaged career highs in points (16.4) and rebounds (6.8) in 26 games this season.

gameface_one
01-11-2007, 06:55 PM
Parker spoils Smith's return to Nuggets
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DENVER, Colorado (AFP) - Tony Parker had 26 points and seven assists to lead four starters in double figures as the San Antonio Spurs posted a 92-83 win over the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Tim Duncan collected 19 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks and Manu Ginobili added 16 points and four steals for San Antonio, which has won three straight National Basketball Association games.

JR Smith returned after serving a 10-game suspension for his involvement in the brawl against New York on December 16.

The game also resulted in the loss of Carmelo Anthony, the league's leading scorer who has five games left on his 15-game suspension.

"It was fun. It was good to have him back," Denver guard Allen Iverson said. "He played well. You could tell he's been working while he's been out. It was just good to have him back. Another piece to our puzzle."

Smith looked a bit rusty, finishing with 12 points and two steals in 32 minutes off the bench. He made 5-of-13 shots.

"It felt good to get out there and play with my teammates," Smith said. "It felt real good.

"Instead of playing the same guys every day at practice, we finally get to go up against somebody else."

Iverson scored 33 points for the Nuggets, who fell to 3-7 since the four-time scoring champion was acquired in a trade from Philadelphia. It was just his third game with at least 30 points since December 22.

"I just really got into a little rhythm," Iverson said.

Late in the fourth quarter, Ginobili drained a jumper off the glass, then stole a pass and found Parker streaking for an easy fast-break layup 1:31 remaining as the Spurs built an 88-80 edge.

Iverson converted a three-point play with 40 seconds to go, making it 88-85. But Ginobili and Parker scored on consecutive layups in the final moments to seal the win.

gameface_one
01-11-2007, 06:56 PM
Mutombo vaults past Abdul-Jabbar on all-time block list
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HOUSTON, Texas - Dikembe Mutombo moved past Kareem Abdul-Jabbar into second place on the all-time blocks list as the Houston pulled away for a 102-77 win Wednesday over Los Angeles.

Juwan Howard scored a season-high 23 points and Rafer Alston 20 for the Rockets, who busted open a close game by outscoring the Lakers by lopsided 55-31 in the second half.

A driving force behind the Rockets' seventh win in eight games was the 40-year-old Mutombo, a four-time Defensive Player of the Year who continues to a play like he was 10 years younger.

Mutombo moved past Abdul-Jabbar with his 3,190th career block when he swatted a shot by the Andrew Bynum with 3:17 remaining in the third quarter. He celebrated the block with the customary wag of his finger.

"When I came in the league 16 years ago, I told myself before I walk away from this game, I just wanted to be remembered for one thing," Mutombo said.

"And that is to be remembered for being one of the greatest defensive players to ever play this game."

Mutombo added another block in the fourth quarter, finishing with five on the night.

He still is 639 blocks behind Rockets icon Hakeem Olajuwon for first place on the all-time list. AFP

gameface_one
01-11-2007, 06:57 PM
Knicks on fire as Sixers opt for Webber buyout
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stephon Marbury scored 24 points as the New York Knicks won their third straight game, downing the reeling Philadelphia 76ers, 106-99, in NBA play on Wednesday.

After the game the Sixers, who lost their fourth straight game, confirmed they had completed the paperwork on a buyout for veteran forward Chris Webber and forwarded it to the league office for approval.

Barring any problems, the club will waive Webber on Thursday. Webber had a year-and-a-half left on his contract that would pay him $21 million this season and $22 million in 2007-08.

Webber has missed 11 of the past 14 games with foot and ankle injuries, but he has reportedly been unhappy being involved with a team rebuilding as Philadelphia (9-26) clearly is.

The trade of Allen Iverson recently sent a clear message the team was going to try and rebuild with youth.

Acquired from Sacramento in a blockbuster trade in February 2005, Webber has been a disappointment in Philadelphia for the most part and had seen his role dramatically reduced in recent weeks by coach Maurice Cheeks when he was in the lineup.

On court, the Knicks never trailed and blew open the game with a big third quarter to improve to 7-4 since their brawl with the Denver Nuggets last month.

Eddy Curry added 20 points and had 10 rebounds for New York, while Quentin Richardson added 19 as the Knicks (16-21) won for the fifth straight time at home.

Samuel Dalembert scored 18 points and Joe Smith had 16 for the Sixers, who have lost 16 of their last 19 road games.

Raymond Felton led six Charlotte players in double-digits as the Bobcats upset the Detroit Pistons 103-96 in Auburn Hills.

Corey Maggette scored 21 points, including the go-ahead basket with less than five seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers past the Minnesota Timberwolves 92-91, ending Minnesota's four-game winning streak.

Dikembe Mutombo had five blocks to move into second place on the all-time list as the Houston Rockets crushed the Los Angeles Lakers 102-77. Mutombo also had a season-high 19 rebounds, and now has 3,191 blocks, moving past Kareen Abdul-Jabbar.

The Dallas Mavericks won for the 15th time in their past 16 games, routing the Portland Trail Blazers 99-74.

Tony Parker scored 26 points as the San Antonio Spurs edged the Denver Nuggets 92-83.

john_paul_manahan
01-12-2007, 05:27 AM
The Denver Nuggets need some breathing space from luxury-tax territory. The Milwaukee Bucks need backcourt scoring to counter their injury crisis.

That's why the teams combined on a trade featuring Earl Boykins on Thursday.

Now 10 games into the Allen Iverson Era, Denver has agreed to send Boykins, little-used guard Julius Hodge and cash to the Bucks for guard Steve Blake.

The surging Boykins has scored 20 points or more in eight of his 10 games alongside Iverson, but his shots and minutes were certain to dwindle when Carmelo Anthony returns from suspension on Jan. 22. Denver couldn't resist the opportunity to trade him now given that Boykins will soon be its odd man out and more so because this move ensures that the Nuggets will not be paying luxury tax at season's end.

The Nuggets, sources say, had hoped to keep Boykins for a few more games while Anthony completes his 15-game ban. But they had to make the trade immediately because Milwaukee's $4.3 million injury exception created by Bobby Simmons' season-ending ankle and foot surgeries -- its only mechanism for taking back Boykins' contract in this exchange -- expires Friday.

Blake averaged 3.6 points and 2.5 assists in 33 games for the Bucks this season.

"We're getting a classic point guard," Nuggets vice president of basketball operations Mark Warkentien told The Associated Press. "He's an outstanding shooter and solid floor leader."

Boykins' arrival will be a welcome boost to the Bucks, who have lost leading scorers Michael Redd (knee) and Mo Williams (shoulder) to injuries in the past week. Redd is expected to miss at least a month, with Williams sidelined two to three weeks. Charlie Villanueva (shoulder) is also out indefinitely and Simmons didn't play a single game this season before it was determined that he'd need two operations.

The Bucks are hoping Boykins' scoring can help keep them in the playoff hunt until Redd and Williams return. The 5-foot-5 dynamo makes $2.95 million this season and is scheduled to earn $3 million next season but has the right to decline his player option and become a free agent July 1.

Milwaukee, sources said, also managed to extract an estimated $700,000 from the Nuggets to pay the remainder of Hodge's $1.2 million salary.

Blake, meanwhile, will get an opportunity to win some back-up minutes in Denver's backcourt, with the Nuggets admittedly looking for pass-first facilitators who can play with Iverson, Anthony and swingman J.R. Smith. The Nuggets also created a $2.95 million trade exception through this transaction because, with Blake being swapped for Hodge, Denver sent out more salary than it received in the trade. The trade exception is good for one year.

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01-12-2007, 01:04 PM
Celtics guard Allen out for season with torn ligaments

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BOSTON (Reuters) - Boston Celtics guard Tony Allen will miss the remainder of the season after tearing ligaments in his left knee, the club said on Thursday.

"We don't know recovery time yet, but at least six months and probably longer," coach Doc Rivers told reporters.

Allen tore his anterior cruciate ligament, medial meniscus and lateral meniscus, the club said, after awkwardly falling during a home loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

He had been averaging 11.5 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 33 games.

His loss left the Celtics so depleted that Rivers practiced with the team on Thursday.

Top scorer Paul Pierce, forwards Wally Szczerbiak and Brian Scalarbine, guard Delonte West and center Theo Ratliff also are injured.

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01-12-2007, 01:05 PM
Bucks get Boykins in trade with Nuggets

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Milwaukee Bucks have acquired veteran guard Earl Boykins and reserve Julius Hodge from the Denver Nuggets in exchange for guard Steve Blake, the team said on Thursday.

"Given our current situation, we were able to make a deal to help us solidify our roster, both in the short-term and long-term," Bucks general manager Larry Harris said in a statement.

The Bucks have been playing without top scoring guards Michael Redd and Mo Williams with both expected to be sidelined for several weeks with injuries.

Boykins, a nine-year veteran, averaged 15.2 points, 4.3 assists and 2.0 rebounds in 31 games with Denver this season, including a 26-point performance against Milwaukee on Monday.

Hodge, a second-year guard/forward, has appeared in only four games for Denver this season.

Blake, who had two starts in 33 games with the Bucks, averaged 3.6 points, 2.5 assists and 1.4 rebounds.

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01-13-2007, 09:17 AM
Kidd helps Nets rally from 18-point deficit against Bulls

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NEW YORK - The New Jersey Nets overcame an 18-point deficit against Chicago for the second time in a week to defeat the Bulls 86-83 on the back of Jason Kidd's 82nd career triple-double on Thursday.

Kidd had 23 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists for the Nets, who trailed the Bulls 55-37 at one point, and only Oscar Robertson (181) and Magic Johnson (138) have more triple-doubles than the Nets star.

A 14-point run in the fourth quarter enabled New Jersey to assume command at 81-74 on Kidd's field goal, although the home team got to within two points on Andres Nocioni's three-pointer with 16 seconds remaining.

However, Kidd closed out the scoring with two free throws with 10 seconds remaining before forcing Kirk Hinrich to lose control of the ball as his game-ending shot was blocked by Bostjan Nachbar.

Vince Carter added 18 points, 10 rebounds and six assists for the Atlantic Division-leading Nets.

Nocioni had 28 points and Ben Gordon 23 for Chicago.

Gordon scored 20 of his points in the first half, which ended with Chicago leading 49-35. The Nets pulled within 65-61 in the third quarter before taking command in the fourth.

Chicago scored the first 18 points in a January 5 game with the Nets in East Rutherford, but New Jersey battled back to win 91-86.

* Steve Nash dished out 21 assists -- the most in the NBA this season -- as the host Phoenix Suns crushed the Cleveland Cavaliers 109-90 for their eighth consecutive victory.

Shawn Marion scored 19 points to lead five Phoenix players in double figures in the showdown between two of the league's top teams.

LeBron James had 34 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers, who had a five-game winning streak halted. Reuters

gameface_one
01-14-2007, 01:56 AM
Mavs edge Pacers in overtime
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INDIANAPOLIS - German star Dirk Nowitzki scored eight of his season-high 43 points in overtime as the Dallas Mavericks posted a 115-113 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Jason Terry contributed 30 points, including the go-ahead jumper with 27 seconds remaining in overtime for Dallas, which won Friday for the 16th time in 17 games.

Nowitzki hobbled to the sideline with 2:53 left in regulation after injuring his hip.

But after a timeout, he returned to the floor and continued to be a major headache for the Pacers.

"I think I hit (Al) Harrington or bounced off Harrington as he came off my pick," Nowitzki said.

"I felt a little twinge and twist of it in my hip. But it seemed to loosen up going into the overtime."

In an overtime that featured eight lead changes, Nowitzki drilled a jumper, a 3-pointer and made three free throws. He split two foul shots with two seconds left for a 115-113 lead, then the Pacers were unable to get off a final shot.

Nowitzki made 13-of-24 shots from the field and went 15-of-18 at the line.

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01-15-2007, 12:17 PM
Bulls stampede Grizzlies to end NBA skid

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CHICAGO - Ben Gordon made the most of a rare appearance in Chicago's starting lineup on Saturday, scoring 24 points to lead five players in double figures for the Bulls in a 111-66 drubbing of Memphis.

Kirk Hinrich had 20 points and eight assists and Luol Deng scored 18 points for the Bulls, who snapped a three-game National Basketball Association losing streak.

Chicago made it look easy, despite the absence of Ben Wallace and Andres Nocioni. Wallace sat out with a sore back and Nocioni was serving a one-game suspension for elbowing New Jersey's Mikki Moore on Thursday.

Gordon started the first six games of the season before bringing his scoring power off the bench. He is averaging 22.5 points as a reserve.

Pau Gasol collected 16 points and 13 rebounds and Chucky Atkins scored 14 points off the bench for the Grizzlies, who shot just 30 percent from the floor.

Arenas, Wizards no match for Spurs
In San Antonio, Gilbert Arenas, red-hot in late December and the first week of the new year, has gone cold, along with his Washington Wizards.

Arenas shot poorly for the fourth straight game Saturday as the Wizards fell 93-80 to the San Antonio Spurs, who posted their fourth straight National Basketball Association game.

Second in the league in scoring at 30 points per game, Arenas is in a slump similar to the one he went through earlier this season and dragging the Wizards down with him.

The All-Star guard has made just 23-of-74 shots in his last four games, three of which the Wizards have lost.

Against the Spurs, Arenas made just 6-of-20 shots and scored 17 points, his lowest total since managing 10 in a loss at Chicago on December 2.

He never got untracked as he was hounded by Manu Ginobili and Bruce Bowen, a pair of very good defenders.

The Wizards came in averaging better than 107 points per game but matched a season low.

Ginobili scored 19 points and Tim Duncan added 18 and 11 rebounds for the Spurs, who never trailed, scoring the first nine points and leading by as many as 21 late in the third quarter.

San Antonio held a 29-15 lead after the first quarter as Bowen scored all eight of his points, making a pair of 3-pointers. After Washington closed to 44-38 at halftime, Duncan scored seven points in a 15-0 burst in the third period that rebuilt the lead to 62-43.

The Wizards inched within 75-67 on a free throw by Brendan Haywood with 6:57 to play. Ginobili sank a 3-pointer to trigger an 11-0 spurt capped by Tony Parker's three-point play that made it 86-69 with 4:24 left.

Parker had 13 points, 10 rebounds and six assists and Fabricio Oberto also swept 10 boards for the Spurs, who held a 53-44 advantage on the backboards and overcame 22 turnovers. AFP

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01-15-2007, 12:17 PM
Wade helps Miami turn up the heat

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah - Dwyane Wade has the Miami Heat looking more like the reigning NBA champions.

Wade scored 32 points and Jason Williams added 20 as the Heat won their fourth straight game Saturday, downing the Utah Jazz 119-110.

The Heat had suffered through a five-game losing streak as Wade rested a sore right wrist.

While the Heat are still without injured superstar center Shaquille O'Neal, and coach Pat Riley has taken an indefinite leave of absence to address his own health concerns, Wade's return has provided a tremendous boost.

On Saturday Wade made 5-of-12 shots and sank 21-of-23 free throws. He also had 10 assists and a season-high six steals.

In the second quarter, Wade converted a three-point play and Williams drained a 3-pointer with 1:28 left as the Heat built a 61-44 lead. Miami scored 39 points in the period.

The Heat lead by as many as 22 points in the third quarter before the Jazz made a late charge.

Utah pulled to 99-92 on Carlos Boozer's 16-foot jumper with 9:37 remaining. But Miami answered with an impressive 10-0 surge highlighted by two 3-pointers by Jason Kapono.

Kapono scored 18 points and Alonzo Mourning had 13 and four blocks for the Heat, who improved to 4-1 on their six-game West Coast trip. AFP

full battle gear
01-16-2007, 12:40 PM
Webber says he plans to sign with Pistons

January 16, 2007
Updated 10:36:55 (Mla time)

Agence France-Presse

DETROIT, Michigan -- Chris Webber, a five-time National Basketball Association All-Star power forward, released a statement Monday saying he will sign with the Detroit Pistons once he clears waivers Tuesday.

Webber said he would return to his hometown and play for the Pistons, whom he watched lose 94-90 to Minnesota in overtime in a Monday home game.

"After careful thought and discussions with my family, I have decided I will sign with the Detroit Pistons," Webber said. "I thank all of the interested teams for their time and consideration.

"Joining the Pistons will allow me the opportunity to play the game I love in my hometown of Detroit, surrounded by my family. I look forward to joining a roster of talented athletes and working towards a fourth NBA title for the Pistons and the great city of Detroit," said Webber.

Webber, 33, was dumped last week by the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a contract buyout worth a reported 37 million dollars but must wait until Tuesday afternoon to clear waivers before he can sign a deal with any NBA club.

He reportedly also spoke to the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat.

The return allows Webber, a college star at the nearby University of Michigan with the "Fab Five" and a local youth hoops hero, to reconnect with his home community and try to return the Pistons to their 2004 NBA title form.

"He's a multi-dimensional player who makes other people better," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "He's a great passer. Last year, he averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds, so he's still going to give you scoring inside and rebounding. He'll take some pressure off our other front line people."

At 21-15, the Pistons have the second-best record in the Eastern Conference, two games behind Cleveland.

"Of course he's going to bring a spark, but more importantly, another veteran, some more leadership for the ball club," said Pistons forward Tayshaun Prince. "Great passer, very underrated passer, great passer in the post. He'll complement the other players on the team that are with him on the floor."

Webber played in only three of 13 games for the 76ers from December 13 until his release. He has been sidelined with ankle and foot injuries and averages a career-low 11.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 18 games.

In the 2003 playoffs, Webber suffered a knee injury that required surgery and has not been the same since. Webber was the top pick of the 1993 NBA Draft and played at Golden State, Washington and Sacramento, averaging 21.6 points and 10.4 rebounds a game for his career entering this season.

full battle gear
01-16-2007, 12:40 PM
Bulls snap Spurs' four-game NBA win streak

January 16, 2007
Updated 10:11:51 (Mla time)

Agence France-Presse

CHICAGO -- Kirk Hinrich scored 23 points and Ben Gordon added 20 to lead the Chicago Bulls over San Antonio 99-87 here Monday, the Spurs' first loss here in more than six years.

Both Bulls backcourt mates sank 9-of-18 shots, with Hinrich also contributing 10 points and seven rebounds to outplay San Antonio's star guard duo of Frenchman Tony Parker and Argentina's Manu Ginobili.

Sudanese forward Luol Deng scored 17 points and Argentina's Andres Nocioni added 12 for the Bulls, who held the Spurs to 34-of-86 shooting to beat the Spurs for only the third time in their past 17 meetings.

The Bulls seized a 42-32 half-time lead, Gordon sparking the way with 11 points in the second quarter, and broke open the game in the fourth quarter with a 9-0 run to grab an 83-67 edge.

Parker managed only six points, all of them coming in the first period, and made only 3-of-9 nine shots with just two assists. Ginobili scored 22 points but made only 7-of-20 shots from the field and went 0-for-4 in 3-pointers.

Tim Duncan had 21 points and 16 rebounds for the Spurs, who had a four-game win streak snapped.

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01-16-2007, 12:40 PM
Arenas scores 51 to bring NBA Wizards win over Jazz

January 16, 2007
Updated 06:34:09 (Mla time)

Agence France-Presse

WASHINGTON -- Gilbert Arenas scored 51 points, the last of them on a game-winning 3-pointer at the final buzzer, to lift the Washington Wizards past Utah 114-111 in a National Basketball Association game Monday.

Arenas produced his third career 50-point game, all of them in the past month, by scoring 12 points in the final 2:05 to bring the Wizards their eighth home victory in a row.

Nine days past his 25th birthday, the hot-shooting guard rivaled his 54-point effort last December 22 in a 144-139 victory at Phoenix and a 60-point performance in a 147-141 triumph at the Los Angeles Lakers on December 17.

Arenas sank three 3-pointers and three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point shot to decide a game that saw the Wizards lead by seven and the Jazz lead by as much as 96-91 with 5:50 remaining.

Utah led 104-100 before Arenas sank back-to-back 3-pointers to lift the Wizards into a 106-106 deadlock, then answered Mehmet Okur's 3-pointer with three free throws.

Jarvis Hayes finished off a scoop shot attempt by Arenas to give the Wizards a 111-109 lead with 25 seconds remaining but Utah's Carlos Boozer evened the score with 11 seconds to play, setting up the dramatic finish.

Arenas dribbled against Deron Williams as the last seconds ticked away, then took two steps forward, forcing Williams to retreat, before launching the winning shot.

Arenas made 14-of-29 shots, including 7-of-12 3-pointers, and 16-of-17 free throws.

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01-17-2007, 11:10 AM
Webber reenergized by joining NBA Pistons

January 17, 2007
Updated 07:19:30 (Mla time)

Agence France-Presse

DETROIT, Michigan -- Nothing Chris Webber has done in 14 National Basketball Association seasons has made him as excited about playing as his return to his hometown here Tuesday to join the Detroit Pistons.

"It's definitely special. I never thought I could be a Piston at this point in my career," Webber said Tuesday. "I feel excited and energized. I haven't felt this good about the game in a long time."

Webber, the 1993 NBA Draft top choice and 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year, was bought out of his contract last week by Philadelphia and chose to play in Detroit. He makes his debut in a Pistons uniform here Wednesday against Utah.

"My stomach will be in knots," Webber said. "It has been in knots since I decided."

The Pistons, 2004 NBA champions and 2005 runners-up, are 21-15 and second behind Cleveland in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference.

"I'm excited to be home in Detroit but I'm more excited to be on this team," Webber said. "This team was already great before I got here. I'm part of a great machine already. We can do great things here.

"Being home on a great team, that's what makes me feel good."

Webber watched the Pistons lose to Minnesota here Monday but when his image was shown on an arena video screen he was cheered by the crowd.

"To be home and hear the fans cheer you is a great feeling," he said.

Webber had to ditch his usual jersey number, 4, for 84, because Joe Dumars made famous the one-digit number in his playing days. When a six-year-old nephew suggested 84, Webber agreed.

"I thought about 44 because it was my high school number but when my nephew said that I said I'll go for it," Webber said.

The return allows Webber, a college star at the nearby University of Michigan with the "Fab Five" and a a local youth hoops hero, to reconnect with his home community and try to return the Pistons to their championship form.

Webber, 33, played in only three of 13 games for the 76ers from December 13 until his release. He has been sidelined with ankle and foot injuries and averages a career-low 11.0 points, 8.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 18 games.

In the 2003 playoffs, Webber suffered a knee injury that required surgery and has not been the same since. Webber was the top pick of the 1993 NBA Draft and played at Golden State, Washington and Sacramento, averaging 21.6 points and 10.4 rebounds a game for his career entering this season.

"The knee is fine. I feel really good," Webber said. "My conditioning is pretty good."

full battle gear
01-18-2007, 12:01 PM
Mavericks spoil McGrady's 45-point performance

www.abs-cbnnews.com


DALLAS, Texas - Dirk Nowitzki scored 30 points and hauled in 10 rebounds as the Dallas Mavericks posted a 109-96 National Basketball Association win over division rival Houston Rockets on Tuesday.

Josh Howard had 28 points and seven rebounds and reserve Devean George added 14 - all in the second half - for Dallas, which overcome a season-high 45 points by Tracy McGrady to win its fifth straight game.

With the Mavericks trailing 81-79 with 10:08 left in the fourth quarter, Nowitzki led Dallas on a 17-4 run to put them up 96-85 with 6 1/2 minutes remaining.

Nowitzki scored nine in the run and Howard added eight, including an 18-foot jumper which put the Mavericks ahead for good 83-81.

Dallas had also trailed 65-52 with 7:47 left in the third period after a three-pointer by McGrady.

However, George, who signed with the Mavericks in the offseason, sparked a 15-3 run to give Dallas a 70-68 lead with 3:01 left in the period.

George, who finished with 11 in the quarter, had eight points in the spurt and Howard had five for Dallas, which has won 18 of its last 19 games, upping its record to a league-best 32-8.

George was four-of-five from three-point range and Howard finished 12-of-21 from the field for the Mavericks, who shot 49 percent (41-of-84) and have won 11 straight at home.

Nowitzki was nine-of-19 from the floor and Jerry Stackhouse added 13 points off the bench for Dallas, which outrebounded Houston 44-32.

McGrady, who had 21 points in the first quarter and 29 at halftime, shot 17-of-29 from the field and also added seven assists for the Rockets, who saw their four-game win streak end.

Juwan Howard had 16 points and Dikembe Mutombo grabbed 10 rebounds for Houston, which shot 45 percent (34-of-75).

It was the 40-year center’s 11th straight 10-plus rebound effort in place of All-Star Yao Ming who is still out with a broken bone beneath his knee. AFP

gameface_one
01-18-2007, 01:03 PM
Pacers send Jackson to Golden State in eight-player deal
abs-cbnnews.com



NEW YORK - The Indiana Pacers shipped guard Stephen Jackson and forward Al Harrington to the Golden State Warriors as part of an eight-player trade on Wednesday.

Indiana (20-18) also sent guard Sarunas Jasikevicius and forward Josh Powell to the Warriors in exchange for forwards Mike Dunleavy, Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and guard Keith McLeod.

The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Dunleavy is in his fifth NBA season and was averaging 11.4 points, while Murphy, a six-year veteran, scored 8.9 points a game for Golden State (19-20).

"We feel we made a pretty significant trade for the franchise that will be good for both teams," Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird said in a statement.

"Trades are always painful because you give up players you like, but in this case, we think it's a good trade that works for both teams. We feel the players we got will make a significant difference in the franchise."

Harrington, 26, was averaging 15.9 points and 6.3 rebounds this season, while the 27-year-old Jackson added 14.1 points a game for the Pacers.

"We are excited about this trade," said Warriors Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Chris Mullin. "As I've said on several occasions, we are always looking to make our basketball team better and, with this move, I think we have accomplished that goal."

Jackson faces charges of firing a gun during a fight outside an Indianapolis strip club in October and has pleaded innocent in the case. Reuters

full battle gear
01-19-2007, 11:19 AM
Lakers keep rolling with win over Spurs

www.abs-cbnnews.com


SAN ANTONIO, Texas - Kobe Bryant scored 34 points, leading three players in double figures for the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday in a 100-96 National Basketball Association victory over San Antonio.

The Lakers posted their third straight victory as Bryant, last season's scoring champion, connected on 12-of-19 shots and made 10-of-11 free throws en route to his 12th game with at least 30 points this season.

Bryant also poured in 34 points in the Lakers' 106-99 victory on December 10 against the Spurs.

Bryant, who also passed out eight assists, snapped a 92-92 tie with a 17-foot pull-up jumper over Bruce Bowen with 1:23 to play.

After Brent Barry's 3-pointer from the corner with five seconds left pulled the Spurs to 98-96, Bryant made two key foul shots to seal the win.

Los Angeles bridged the third and fourth quarters with an 18-2 burst sparked by aggressive defense to grab an 83-73 advantage with 6:58 left. Reserve Vladimir Radmanovic led the charge with eight of his 13 points in the run.

Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili combined to score 10 points during a 12-2 surge to help the Spurs grab a 91-90 edge with 2:54 to play.

The Lakers' Luke Walton scored on a layup off a feed by Bryant and the Spurs' Tim Duncan split two free throws for San Antonio to tie the game at 92-92 with 1:42 left.

Duncan had 26 points and nine rebounds and Parker scored 25 for the Spurs, who have dropped two straight games after a four-game winning streak. AFP

full battle gear
01-19-2007, 11:20 AM
Williams and Jazz spoil Webber's Detroit debut

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DETROIT, Michigan - Deron Williams had a career-high 31 points and 10 assists for Utah on Wednesday as the Jazz snapped a four-game skid and spoiled Chris Webber's debut for the Detroit Pistons.

Mehmet Okur scored 22 points for the Jazz, who edged the Pistons 100-99 in the National Basketball Association contest.

Carlos Boozer collected 20 points and nine rebounds and Matt Harpring added 10 points off the bench for the Jazz, who have now won four straight meetings against the Pistons.

Newly acquired Webber had just two points in 17 minutes off the bench in his Pistons debut.

Webber, the 1993 NBA draft top choice, was bought out of his contract last week by Philadelphia and chose to play in Detroit, his hometown.

"I felt great, it was just unfortunate that we lost," Webber said. "People probably expected more, but you can't judge this on one night. This is fun. I'm telling you, this is going to be special."

"I thought Chris did well, for not knowing what we're doing," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said. "You could see at times that we functioned extremely well with him, and he's going to help us out a lot. It's a matter now of getting him at practice to understand what we're doing."

In their last matchup on November 6, Okur - a former Piston - came up with the game-saving block on Richard Hamilton's layup attempt as time expired to lift Utah to a 103-101 triumph.

In the fourth quarter, Okur connected on back-to-back jumpers during a 10-2 surge, giving the Jazz an 84-77 advantage with 6:18 left.

Chauncey Billups, who returned after missing eight games with a sprained right calf, scored five consecutive points for Detroit as the Pistons cut the deficit to 97-96 with 1:06 remaining.

After Williams and Detroit's Lindsey Hunter traded 3-pointers, the Pistons had one last chance to win, but Billups misfired from the wing as the buzzer sounded.

Billups scored 26 points and Tayshaun Prince chipped in 17 for Detroit, which shot 46 percent (37-of-80) from the floor. AFP

full battle gear
01-19-2007, 11:20 AM
Nash shines for Suns in win over Rockets

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HOUSTON, Texas - Steve Nash and the Phoenix Suns collected their 11th straight National Basketball Association victory here Wednesday, a 100-91 victory over the short-handed Houston Rockets.

Nash scored 21 points and handed out 14 assists, and Raja Bell scored nine points in a decisive fourth-quarter run.

Amare Stoudemire had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Suns, who shot 17-of-34 from the arc to extend their winning streak. After going on a franchise-record 15-game run last month, the Suns now have won a remarkable 27 out of their last 29 contests.

Houston's Tracy McGrady, who scored 45 points in Tuesday's loss at Dallas, was sidelined with back spasms.

The superstar swingman missed seven games earlier this season with the same balky back. With star center Yao Ming already out, the depleted Rockets now are 1-9 when both stars are absent.

Winner of the last two NBA Most Valuable Player awards, Nash entered Wednesday's contest averaging 19.5 points and 11.3 assists, his best season to date.

He continued his stellar play, shooting 8-of-10 from the field, including 3-of-5 on 3-pointers, while orchestrating Phoenix's remarkable high-powered attack.

After Houston guard Bonzi Wells' lay-up made it 79-77 just 20 seconds into the fourth quarter, Bell took over. Known for known for his defense, Bell went on a personal run to make it 88-82 with 7:13 left. Houston did not get any closer.

Bell shot 5-of-13 from the floor, including 5-of-10 from the arc.

Rafer Alston tied a career high with 29 points for the Rockets, who shot just 39 percent. AFP

full battle gear
01-20-2007, 11:22 AM
Mavericks stampede Lakers to avenge rare defeat

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DALLAS, United States - Josh Howard scored 29 points and Dirk Nowitzki added 27 here as the Dallas Mavericks steamrolled the Los Angeles Lakers 114-95 in a National Basketball Association contest.

Devean George, a former Laker, scored 14 points and Jason Terry chipped in 12 and 13 assists for the Mavericks, who have won six straight games and 12 straight at home.

Howard also grabbed 11 rebounds while Nowitizki nabbed 10 as the Mavericks avenged a loss to the Lakers on January 7.

In that game, Kobe Bryant's 26 points helped the Lakers put an end to the Mavericks' 13-game winning streak. It remains Dallas' lone defeat in January.

Anthony Johnson scored six of Dallas' final 10 points in the second quarter, including a running jumper with four seconds left to carry a 60-48 into intermission.

The Mavericks created more distance in the third period as Nowitzki netted nine points during an 11-3 surge to extend the lead to 79-57 with 5:43 remaining.

Dallas shot 63 percent from the floor in the third quarter en route to outscoring Los Angeles 35-24.

Bryant scored 26 points and rookie Jordan Farmar poured in 17 off the bench for the Lakers, who had their three-game winning streak snapped and fell to 8-10 on the road. AFP

full battle gear
01-22-2007, 11:53 AM
Barry comes off bench to boost Spurs

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AFP) - With starters Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili struggling, Brent Barry came off the bench and gave San Antonio a boost on Sunday.

Barry scored 23 points and Tim Duncan added 17 and 15 rebounds as the Spurs used superb outside shooting to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 99-85.

The victory was a rare one for the Spurs in Philly, where they have lost five of six National Basketball Association games since 1999.

The Spurs only victory at Philadelphia in that span came on November 18, 2004.

Struggling to a 5-5 record in their last 10 games, the Spurs received a huge contribution from their reserves, who scored 52 points.

Barry shot 8-of-11 from the field, including 5-of-8 from three point rainge. With San Antonio's starting backcourt struggling through a bad shooting night, Barry stretched the defense with his shooting ability and drove the ball effectively into the lane.

Parker and Ginobili combined for just 20 points.

Andre Iguodala scored 20 points and Steven Hunter added 10 and 15 rebounds for the Sixers, who lost for the fourth time in their last five games.

full battle gear
01-23-2007, 11:04 AM
Suns stretch streak to 13 with win over Timberwolves


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:39pm (Mla time) 01/22/2007

PHOENIX, Arizona -- The Phoenix Suns didn't need any luck to post their 13th straight National Basketball Association victory Sunday against the short-handed Minnesota Timberwolves.

Amare Stoudemire scored 25 points and Shawn Marion added 17 and a season-high 20 rebounds as the Suns downed the Timberwolves 131-102.

Minnesota were missing star Kevin Garnett, who was suspended one game by the NBA for taking a swing at Detroit's Antonio McDyess in a game on Friday.

The Suns have now won 31 of their last 34 games and own the NBA's second-best record behind Dallas (34-8).

After reeling off a franchise-record 15-game winning streak earlier this season, the Suns have embarked on another remarkable streak powered by their high-octane offense.

Phoenix visits Washington on Tuesday. The Wizards ended the Suns' 15-game run on December 22.

Stoudemire led the way for Phoenix, making 11-of-14 shots from the field and also grabbing eight rebounds.

Marion was 8-of-12 from floor, throwing down an assortment of emphatic dunks and controlling the boards for the Suns, who have averaged 112 points during their winning streak.

full battle gear
01-23-2007, 11:15 AM
Mavs defeat Heat, 99-93

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MIAMI (Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks gained a small measure of revenge over defending NBA champions Miami on Sunday, downing the Heat, 99-93.

Dallas won the first two games of last season's Finals but the Heat rallied to claim the championship by winning the next four. The Mavs sport this season's best record (34-8) after a run that saw them win 20 of their last 21 games.

Josh Howard scored 25 points and Jerry Stackhouse had 23 for the Mavericks, who had to withstand a determined Miami comeback in the second half.

"They're the world champions," Stackhouse told reporters. "You knew they were going to come back with a champion's heart.

"It was a great game which had some great players making great plays."

Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Mavericks, while Jason Terry added 11 points and had 11 assists.

Dwyane Wade had 31 points with six rebounds and six assists for the Heat, who had to make do without the injured Shaquille O'Neal yet again.

Wade also left the game with an injury in the first quarter but returned to play 44 minutes, though he missed a potential game tying three-pointer with 5.8 seconds left.

Jason Williams added 17 points for the Heat, who slipped to 18-22 with their second straight loss.

In Phoenix, Shawn Marion had 17 points and a career-high 20 rebounds as the Suns beat the Minnesota Timberwolves, 131-102.

Tim Duncan had 17 points and 15 rebounds as the San Antonio Spurs beat the 76ers, 99-85.

Brandon Roy scored 28 points as the Portland Trail Blazers edged the Milwaukee Bucks, 99-95.

full battle gear
01-23-2007, 11:16 AM
Timberwolves' Garnett suspended for one game

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Nine-times All-Star forward Kevin Garnett of the Minnesota Timberwolves has been suspended for one game for throwing a punch at Detroit Pistons forward Antonio McDyess, the NBA announced Sunday.

The incident occurred midway through the fourth period of the Timberwolves' 104-98 double overtime loss to the Pistons Friday at the TargetCenter.

Garnett, the league's MVP in 2003-04 who is averaging 22 points and nearly 13 rebounds this season, served the suspension Sunday as Minnesota faced the host
Phoenix Suns.

The Timberwolves are 20-18 this season and sit in third place in the Northwest Division.

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01-24-2007, 10:48 AM
Minnesota Timberwolves fire Casey

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PORTLAND, Oregon - Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Dwane Casey was fired Tuesday, the National Basketball Association club announced on Tuesday.

Casey was replaced by assistant Randy Wittman after less than 1 1/2 seasons in his first NBA head coaching job. He had a 53-69 record.

The Timberwolves (20-20) have been inconsistent this season with eight winning and losing streaks of at least three games. They have lost four in a row following a three-game winning streak.

Since reaching the 2004 Western Conference finals, the Wolves have not made the playoffs and twice have changed coaches in mid-season. They fired long-time coach Flip Saunders during the 2004-05 campaign.

Built around superstar forward Kevin Garnett - who has been the subject of trade rumors during the last two years - the Wolves have a mix of veterans and rookies who have been inconsistent this season.

Guard Randy Foye and forward Craig Smith are among the NBA's top rookies this season. However, guards Mike James and Marko Jaric - the team's primary point guards - have been very erratic. AFP

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01-24-2007, 10:51 AM
Bryant leads Lakers past Warriors

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - One year to the day since his 81-point outburst, Kobe Bryant scored 42 points and Luke Walton added six straight crucial points down the stretch as Los Angeles posted a 108-103 win over Golden State.

Notching his seventh game of 40 points or more this season, Bryant continued his dominance over the Warriors.

Averaging 38 points in his last five National Basketball Association games against Golden State, Bryant shot 11-of-22 from the field - including 4-of-7 from the arc - and 16-of-19 from the line.

For most of the game, Walton was not nearly as good. With the Lakers trailing by two points with three minutes left, the versatile forward was 0-of-8 from the field and had scored just two points.

However, he made two free throws, a floater in the lane and an acrobatic layup to make it 103-101 with 1:11 remaining.

After Sarunas Jasikevicius's turnover on the ensuing possession, Los Angeles then scored five straight points to secure the victory.

Walton finished 2-of-10 from the field with seven rebounds and five assists.

full battle gear
01-24-2007, 10:52 AM
Record-breaking Heat burn Knicks without star players

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MIAMI (Reuters) - An injury-depleted Miami Heat scored a franchise record 27 consecutive points on their way to a crushing 101-83 victory over the New York Knicks on Monday.

After the Knicks took an early 3-2 lead, the Heat scored 27 consecutive points to lead 29-3 despite playing without their two All-Stars, Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal.

New York (18-25) missed 10 consecutive shots as their one-point advantage became a 26-point deficit while the Heat made 13 of their first 19 shots much to the delight of their hometown crowd.

Wade was a late omission so he could rest the sprained ankle he picked up against Dallas on Sunday, while O'Neal missed his 35th consecutive game following knee surgery, although he is close to returning to action for the defending NBA champions.

Miami (19-22) surged to a 40-12 lead after the first quarter and although the Knicks did crawl back to within six points at one point in the second half, they never got any closer than that.

Jason Kapono scored 22 points to lead the Heat, while Udonis Haslem added 19 points and 10 rebounds and Jason Williams had 20 points.

Gary Payton dished off 13 assists, his highest total since joining the Heat in 2005.

"It's always tough without D-Wade and Shaq, but the NBA's not going to give us a break," Williams told reporters.

Eddy Curry scored 26 points to lead New York and Jamal Crawford had 23 for the Knicks. Their first quarter deficit was the second-largest in franchise history.

Stephon Marbury sat out the second half with a sore knee.

* Carmelo Anthony returned to the line-up after serving a 15-game suspension and teamed up with Allen Iverson for the first time to lead the Denver Nuggets to a 115-98 win over the Memphis Grizzlies. Anthony had 28 points and Iverson had 23.

* The San Antonio Spurs stretched their win streak to 18 games over the Boston Celtics with a 93-89 road win. The Celtics last beat the Spurs on January 8, 1997.

* Chris Bosh scored 20 points and Jose Calderon added a season-high 19 and 11 assists to lead the Toronto Raptors to a 105-84 win over the Charlotte Bobcats.

* The Orlando Magic snapped a five-game losing streak by beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-79. Grant Hill led Orlando with 22 points.

* Jermaine O'Neal had 22 points and 10 rebounds as the Indiana Pacers snapped a four-game losing streak and won for the first time since making an eight-player deal last week, downing the Chicago Bulls 98-91.

full battle gear
01-24-2007, 10:53 AM
Denver dumps Memphis as Anthony returns from suspension


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 03:53pm (Mla time) 01/23/2007
www.inquirer.net


DENVER, Colorado -- Denver's Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points in his first game back after serving a 15-game suspension and the Nuggets easily handled Memphis 115-98 on Monday.

Anthony, who was playing his first National Basketball Association game with the newest Nugget Allen Iverson, finished serving a lengthy suspension for his role in a brawl against the New York Knicks on December 16.

The Nuggets went a respectable 7-8 during his absence.

"I was just ready to get back out on the court," Anthony said. “I just wanted to not try to rush anything and just let the game come to me, and I think I did an OK job tonight for my first game back.”

"I think once we get the chemistry down pat and get to clicking, it's going to be tough for people out there," he said.

Anthony finished with 28 points, five rebounds and six assists while Iverson had 23, four and seven.

Denver came into the game riding a three-game win streak and was energized by the return of Anthony, racing out to a 38-18 lead after the first quarter.

"Guys were excited out there, the atmosphere was great and it was just electric in here," Iverson said. "Guys just wanted it for him [Anthony] and wanted it for each other."

The Nuggets led, 59-47, at the half behind 15 points from Anthony and 13 from Iverson.

"We just wanted to show the whole world that we can play together," said Anthony, who was suspended for sucker punching a Knick.

"That incident that happened got people thinking twice about me, but I can't really worry about what people are thinking about me right now."

Denver never trailed, and Iverson and Anthony put an exclamation point on the victory by connecting on a pair of ally-oop dunks in the fourth quarter, including a one-handed slam by Anthony off a feed from Iverson that made it 103-82 with just over six minutes to play and brought the crowd to its feet.

J.R. Smith added 19 points, Marcus Camby had 17 and 17 rebounds and Steve Blake had 12 assists for Denver.

Pau Gasol had 23 points and 17 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have dropped five of their last six contests and have surrendered at least 100 points in their last 18 games.

While his team is struggling through a lost season, Gasol expects the Nuggets to be a factor down the stretch judging by what he saw Monday.

"I think they played well. They had fun together and that's very important," Gasol said of Iverson and Anthony.

full battle gear
01-24-2007, 10:54 AM
Yao won’t play in NBA All-Star Game


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 07:13am (Mla time) 01/24/2007
www.inquirer.net


HOUSTON, Texas -- Yao Ming will not play in next month's National Basketball Association All-Star Game in Las Vegas, the Chinese center telling the Houston Chronicle that his fractured tibia will not yet be healed.

The 2.26m Houston Rockets star, an All-Star starter in his first four NBA seasons, has not played since breaking his leg December 23, halting a stellar season with averages of 25.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 27 games.

"It's going pretty well so far," Yao said. "Right now we're looking for some rehab to make the muscle stronger so when I'm back to play I'm not hurting."

Yao said he is scheduled to begin on-court workouts about the time of the All-Star Game break, February 16-18, but will "definitely not" be in Las Vegas. He said he hopes to return earlier than mid- to late March as is now planned.

"Actually it's pretty good to me to stay home, do my work and get back to the court," Yao said.

Yao has been the top vote-getter at Western Conference center in fan balloting for the starting all-star positions. Starters are expected to be named later this week.

mighty_lion
01-24-2007, 01:39 PM
Phoenix in a rund for another 15 game winning streak this season!!!! ;D wala lang hehe

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01-25-2007, 10:49 AM
Nash sparks Suns in rout over Wizards


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 04:17pm (Mla time) 01/24/2007
www.inquirer.net

WASHINGTON -- Steve Nash scored 27 points as the Phoenix Suns raced out to a huge lead en route to a 127-105 rout of the Washington Wizards on Tuesday.

Phoenix, which owns the second-best record in the National Basketball Association, seemingly toyed with the Eastern Conference-leading Wizards.

The Suns, winners of 14 straight, got revenge for an earlier defeat to Washington. The Wizards ended Phoenix's franchise-record 15-game win streak with a 144-139 overtime win on December 22.

"I think the first time [against Washington] we had our chances to win," said Canada's Nash.

"I don't want to make excuses, they were outstanding, but we had a tough day that day busing two hours and three hours of flying in right before the game."

"And just down the end of the game, especially, we made a lot of mistakes and didn't capitalize. Tonight we were a little sharper for the most part."

Said Washington coach Eddie Jordan, "They pass the ball well, and Nash is the ultimate playmaker. They played at a high level, one that we did not match."

Phoenix decided the issue early, racing out to a 41-20 lead after one quarter before stretching its lead to 76-51 at the half.

The Suns shot 65 percent (26-of-40) from the floor in the first half while the Wizards only shot 42 percent (16-of-38).

full battle gear
01-26-2007, 10:43 AM
Pacers spoil Shaq’s return to NBA


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 05:12pm (Mla time) 01/25/2007
www.inquirer.net


INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana -- Troy Murphy scored 17 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to give Indiana a 96-94 over defending National Basketball Association here Sunday, spoiling the NBA return of Shaquille O'Neal for the Miami Heat.

Murphy, who was playing in his third game with Indiana after arriving in a trade last week from Golden State, hit a 16-foot corner jumper off a pass from Tinsley to give the Pacers a 96-92 lead with 42 seconds remaining.

"I'm just trying to fit in at this point," Murphy said. "I'm learning better where I need to be offensively and defensively. Jamaal is looking for me more on the screen-and-roll and I'm getting some open shots."

Miami cut their deficit to 96-94 on a runner by Jason Kapono eight seconds later. After Indiana's Marquise Daniels missed a short jumper, Udonis Haslem rebounded and Miami called time out.

Kapono ended up with an open 3-pointer from the left wing, but the shot bounced around the rim before falling off.

"I saw two guys, and Gary Payton's guy started at me pretty hard," Kapono said. "I gave it up to him and he passed it back. His man stayed with him and mine stayed in the paint. Gary's guy came at me hard and it was a tough shot. It just didn't stay down."

full battle gear
01-26-2007, 10:47 AM
Suns stretch NBA win streak to 15 games

www.abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK - Amare Stoudemire scored 30 points while Canada's Steve Nash added 22 points to spark the Phoenix Suhns to their 15th consecutive victory here Wednesday, a 112-107 triumph over New York.

Stoudemire contributed 11 rebounds while Nash added 14 assists for the Suns, who matched the Suns club record win streak by winning for the 31st time in 33 games.

Shawn Marion added 20 points and 10 rebounds for Phoenix, which won 15 games in a row from November 20 to December 19 before Washington snapped their National Basketball Association win streak.

"We take care of business," Phoenix coach Mike D'Antoni said. "Guys come out and play hard every night. We know when we should win. There are all kinds of reasons. We are taking care of the schedule. Hopefully it keeps going and we get better."

Nash wants more with an NBA title in his sights.

"I guess it's something. At the same time, we don't really draw a lot from the regular season," Nash said. "We are trying to do the best we can in the playoffs and win a championship and that is really our only focus."

Jamal Crawford led New York with 29 points while Eddy Curry scored 25 as the Knicks lost for the fourth time in five games. AFP

gameface_one
01-27-2007, 10:23 AM
Bulls snap Mavs' win streak
abs-cbnnews.com


CHICAGO, Illinois (AFP) - Ben Gordon scored 30 points and Luol Deng added 21 and nine rebounds as the Chicago Bulls posted a 96-85 win on Thursday over the Dallas Mavericks, whose eight-game winning streak came to an end.

Kirk Hinrich had 15 points and grabbed eight boards and P.J. Brown added 12 and nine for Chicago, which had lost seven straight and 16 of its last 17 to Dallas.

Gordon, who had just 12 points in a 94-86 win against Atlanta on Tuesday, shot 12-of-23 from the floor for Chicago, which bolted out to a 23-6 first quarter lead and never trailed in the game.

Ben Wallace hauled down 17 rebounds for the Bulls, who outrebounded the Mavericks, 59-45, and shot 43 percent (36-of-84).

Dirk Nowitzki scored 28 points and collected 11 rebounds - his seventh straight double-double - for the Mavericks, who shot a season-low 31 percent (29-of-93).

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01-28-2007, 04:49 PM
Nowitzki sparks Mavericks past Kings

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DALLAS, Texas (AFP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 32 points and pulled down 11 rebounds here Saturday, lifting the Dallas Mavericks past Sacramento 106-104 for their 13th home triumph in a row.

The German star sank a key jump shot with 27 seconds to play to spark the Mavericks to a 36-9 record, trailing only Phoenix (35-8) in the fight for the National Basketball Association's best record.

"The men are working hard and they gutted this one out and I am really proud of them," Mavericks coach Avery Johnson said.

The Mavericks had an eight-game win streak snapped Thursday at Chicago and had not lost back-to-back games since starting the season 0-4.

"To lose two in a row would really be disheartening, so after we lose, everybody is pretty much like a self-check," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said. "We all look in the mirror to see what we could have done better and we come out really, really focused in that next game."

Sacramento led 77-65 but Nowitzki made a jumper and found DeSagana Diop for a layup to ignite a 14-2 run and tied the game. Nowitzki handed off to Devin Harris, who drove for a three-point play that gave the Mavericks an 82-79 lead with 10:10 to play.

"They were making shots and we really didn't have a lot of emotions out there and I thought it was time in the fourth quarter just to step it up on both ends of the floor," Nowitzki said.

The 7-foot superstar added an inside bucket and a 3-pointer that widened the margin to 89-81 with 7:43 to go.

"We had some good shots in transition, had some layups and that is really our game," Nowitzki said.

The Kings closed to 101-100 with 46 seconds remaining on a jumper by Mike Bibby over Nowitzki, who responded with a 15-footer from the right wing with 27 seconds remaining and two key free throws late to secure the victory.

"We'll just learn from losses and move on," Nowitzki said. "We didn't respond the way we wanted to today, but at least we did enough to get the win there in the fourth quarter."

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01-28-2007, 04:49 PM
Bulls brave the Heat, Shaq sits out again

www.abs-cbnnews.com


CHICAGO (Reuters) - Ben Gordon had 34 points and seven assists as the Chicago Bulls beat the Miami Heat 100-97 on Saturday.

The Heat were once again without Shaquille O'Neal, who continues to recover from knee surgery that saw him miss 35 consecutive games.

O'Neal has played twice since returning from his long layoff, scoring 11 points in 15 minutes in a loss to New York on Friday. The team plans to work him back into a regular playing schedule slowly.

The NBA champion Miami lost their third straight game and for the fifth time in their past six to slip to 19-25.

Kirk Hinrich added 26 points for the Bulls, who won their third straight game to improve to 26-19 and move into a first place tie in the Central Division.

Ben Wallace left the game with a left knee sprain with 5:01 left to play and did not return. His injury will be evaluated on Sunday.

Andres Nocioni added 19 points for the Bulls, while Wallace hauled down 15 rebounds before his injury, including 11 in the first half.

Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 24 points, eight rebounds and eight assists.

* The Dallas Mavericks improved to 36-9 with a 106-104 win over the Sacramento Kings.

* Zach Randolph had 42 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Portland Trail Blazers to a wild 135-132 double overtime win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

* Vince Carter scored 40 points as the New Jersey Nets beat the Denver Nuggets 112-102.

* Andre Iguodala had 24 points as the Philadelphia 76ers beat the Atlanta Hawks 104-89.

* Jermaine O'Neal scored 21 points as the Indiana Pacers won their third straight game with a 102-84 win over the Toronto Raptors.

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01-29-2007, 11:15 AM
Spurs edge Lakers in overtime thriller

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LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Michael Finley's game-winning 3-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining in overtime gave the San Antonio Spurs a 96-94 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers here Sunday.

After the Lakers squandered a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter, the National Basketball Association thriller saw five lead changes in the final minute, the last on Finley's clutch basket from beyond the arc.

Tim Duncan and Argentina guard Manu Ginobili scored 21 points each to lead the Spurs while French guard Tony Parker added 19, seven of them coming in overtime.

Duncan also contributed 14 rebounds and nine assists while Finley came off the bench to score 17 points as the Spurs avenged losses to the Lakers in their two prior meetings this season.

Kobe Bryant, who scored a game-high 31 points, connected on a jumper with seven seconds remaining in the extra session to give the Lakers one last lead, setting the stage for Finley's winner.

Serbian Vladimir Radmanovic, whose 3-pointer enabled the Lakers to force overtime, missed a desperation shot at the final buzzer.

The Spurs rose to 32-14, the third-best record in the NBA and the Western Conference but still 4 1/2 games behind Dallas in the Southwest Division. The Lakers fell to 27-17, sixth in the Western Conference.

Bryant made two key assists and an early basket in overtime to give the Lakers an 88-84 lead, but Parker followed two free throws with a 3-point play to lift the Spurs within 88-87.

Parker answered a Radmanovich basket and Ginobili followed with a pair of free throws with 1:13 to play to give the Spurs their first lead of the extra period. Bryant and Duncan followed with clutch hoops before the final drama.

The Spurs led 19-16 after the first quarter but Bryant - with 10 points in the second quarter and nine in the third - sparked the Lakers to a 44-36 half-time lead and a 67-57 edge entering the fourth quarter.

San Antonio rallied from the 10-point hole, going on an 11-1 run over 2:56 in the closing minutes to grab their first lead of the second half.

Ginobili hit a 3-pointer with 3:19 to play and Duncan followed with a layin with 2:11 remaining to lift the Spurs within 76-74.

After Bryant clanged off the seventh Lakers' miss in a row, Parker sank two free throws to equalize, although the Lakers moved ahead again when Lamar Odom answered with a free throw.

San Antonio guard Bruce Bowen, who missed his first six shots of the game, sank a 3-pointer with 54 seconds remaining in regulation to give the Spurs a 79-77 edge and Ginobili added a free throw 14 seconds later.

Bryant missed a slam dunk attempt, the Lakers' ninth miss in a row, but Serbian Vladimir Radmanovich dropped in a 3-pointer to pull the Lakers level again with 27.5 seconds to play.

The Spurs' Robert Horry missed a 3-point try and Ginobili blocked a Bryant shot at the buzzer to ensure over-time.

mighty_lion
01-29-2007, 12:29 PM
Phoenix streak to 17th consecutive in a row!!! ;D

mighty_lion
01-29-2007, 12:30 PM
Phoenix streak to 17th consecutive in a row!!!* ;D


hehe mali,

Phoenix winning streak reached 17th in a row!!! ;D

full battle gear
01-30-2007, 10:57 AM
wrong thread. please delete. thanks.

full battle gear
01-30-2007, 10:59 AM
wrong thread. please delete. thanks.

full battle gear
01-31-2007, 11:23 AM
T-wolves stop Suns' NBA win streak at 17 games


Agence France-Presse
Last updated 11:59am (Mla time) 01/30/2007
www.inquirer.net


MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota -- Kevin Garnett scored 44 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped Phoenix's 17-game National Basketball Association win streak, defeating the Suns 121-112 here Monday.

Garnett, who also grabbed 11 rebounds, sparked the Timberwolves to 22-22 while inflicting only the ninth loss in 45 games upon the Suns, who had not lost since December 28.

The Suns, whose former club record of 15 wins in a row was achieved earlier this season, had lost only twice since November 18 to achieve the longest NBA win streak since the Chicago Bulls won 18 in a row in the 1995-1996 season.

Raja Bell scored 26 points to lead the Suns while Shawn Marion contributed 24 points and 10 rebounds and Canadian guard Steve Nash added 20 points and 18 assists in a losing cause.

It was the fifth road game in seven days for the Suns, who fell two games shy of matching the second-best win streak in NBA history and 16 short of the NBA record streak of 33 set by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1971-1972 season.

full battle gear
01-31-2007, 11:24 AM
Lakers star Bryant suspended for striking Ginobili

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 05:46am (Mla time) 01/31/2007
www.inquirer.net


NEW YORK -- Los Angeles Lakers playmaker Kobe Bryant was suspended one game by the National Basketball Association here Tuesday for striking San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in the face during a game Sunday.

Ginobili, a Spurs guard who helped Argentina win Olympic gold at the 2004 Athens Games, was struck by one of Bryant's elbows with 2.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 96-94 overtime home loss to the Spurs.

Bryant, who will lose 196,875 dollars for missing one game, will miss the Lakers game at the Madison Square Garden in New York. He will return when the Lakers play on Wednesday in Boston.

"I'm surprised and shocked by it, actually," Bryant said. "It's basketball. You catch people with elbows accidentally all the time. I felt horrible about it."

With the game deadlocked, Bryant leapt for a shot and Ginobili blocked it. As Bryant landed and grabbed the loose ball, he struck Ginobili in the face.

Ginobili needed medical attention before overtime but returned to the game. Bryant said he checked with both Ginobili and Spurs forward Tim Duncan to see if Ginobili was all right after the incident.

Bryant, fourth in NBA scoring, leads the Lakers with 28.4 points and 5.5 assists a game and also contributed 5.4 rebounds a game to the team, which at 27-17 stands sixth in the Western Conference.

full battle gear
01-31-2007, 11:25 AM
LeBron James sidelined by toe injury

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 07:49am (Mla time) 01/31/2007
www.inquirer.net


CLEVELAND, Ohio -- Cleveland Cavaliers playmaker LeBron James has been sidelined with a sore right big toe, keeping him out of the team's National Basketball Association game here on Tuesday against Golden State.

The Cavaliers also said that James, who injured the toe several weeks ago and aggravated the injury in a loss to Phoenix on Monday, will consider sitting out several more games to rest the injury in hopes of a quicker recovery.

James sat out last Friday's game against Philadelphia but the Cavaliers defeated the 76ers. Cleveland's record is 7-2 in games without James since he joined the team in 2003.

The loss of James comes at a tough moment for the Cavaliers, who are 25-19 with the fourth-best record in the Eastern Conference. The Cavaliers have lost three in a row and seven of their past 10 games.

full battle gear
02-01-2007, 10:59 AM
Wizards down Pistons to remain atop NBA East

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:41pm (Mla time) 01/31/2007
www.inquirer.net


WASHINGTON -- Gilbert Arenas scored 36 points and passed out 11 assists to lead the Washington Wizards past Detroit 104-99 here Tuesday, keeping Washington atop the National Basketball Association Eastern Conference.

DeShawn Stevenson scored 15 points and Caron Butler added 13 and five steals for the Wizards, who improved to 27-17 to stretch their conference edge over Detroit, 25-18, to 1 1/2 games.

"We are just playing with a lot of confidence right now," Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said. "It's very early and there are a lot of games to be played."

The Wizards improved to 13-2 against East foes despite losing forward Antawn Jamison after just 5:31 with a sprained left knee.

"It's a great honor from the way we started the season to going on the type of run that we're on now as we approach the All-Star break," Wizards swingman Jarvis Hayes said. "This is great."

Stevenson scored eight points in the first quarter as the Wizards opened a 30-18 lead.

"We got some big stops early and made shots," Stevenson said. "We got our lead and kept fighting and pushing and kept our lead."

Arenas hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key to ignite a 7-0 Wizards run as Washington pushed the lead as large as 44-25 with 6:45 remaining in the second quarter.

"We're better than that," Detroit guard Richard Hamilton said. "We know that they are a great first-quarter team. We expect them to come out and try to hit first, but we just didn't get it done."

Detroit made a fourth-quarter rally, trimming the deficit to 80-73 with nine minutes remaining, but Arenas scored seven points in an 11-4 Wizards' run to seal the victory. He hit 10-of-20 shots in the game, 5-of-12 of his 3-pointers.

"We just played hard," Arenas said. "We hit shots and we had a big lead and we just managed it. We didn't try anything outrageous. They were playing with their heels back so they had to make all the gambling mistakes. We just capitalized on everything."

Jamison, who averages 19.7 points and 8.1 rebounds a game, will not travel with the team to their next game at Toronto.

"We don't know exactly what is wrong yet," Jordan said. "He has been sore. he is going to stay and get an MRI on Thursday and we will take it from there."

Chauncey Billups had 24 points and eight assists and Tayshaun Prince scored 19 for the Pistons.

"We let one slip away," Billups said. "They had us down 10 early, so we had an uphill battle the whole game. It's frustrating to lose these games, but that is a good team. I get a lot more frustrated when we come out and play teams that really should not beat us."

full battle gear
02-01-2007, 10:59 AM
Lakers lose after Bryant suspended

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:38pm (Mla time) 01/31/2007
www.inquirer.net


NEW YORK -- Kobe Bryant was suspended and denied an expedited appeal by the National Basketball Association here Tuesday, forcing the superstar guard to sit out the Los Angeles Lakers' 99-94 loss to New York.

Bryant was banished one game for striking San Antonio's Manu Ginobili in the face during a game Sunday, a suspension that stunned the guard since it came on what he considered an accidental contact.

Ginobili, a Spurs guard who helped Argentina win Olympic gold at the 2004 Athens Games, was struck an elbow from Bryant with 2.7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 96-94 overtime home loss Sunday.

Ginobili needed medical attention before overtime but returned to the game. Bryant said he checked with both Ginobili and Spurs forward Tim Duncan to see if Ginobili was all right after the incident.

"I'm surprised and shocked by it, actually," Bryant said. "It's basketball. You catch people with elbows accidentally all the time. I felt horrible about it."

Bryant, who lost 196,875 dollars for the ban, asked for a quick hearing before being forced to sit out but was denied despite being in the NBA league headquarters city. He will return when the Lakers play on Wednesday at Boston.

Bryant, fourth in NBA scoring, leads the Lakers with 28.4 points and 5.5 assists a game and also contributed 5.4 rebounds a game to the team, which at 27-18 stands sixth in the Western Conference.

Without Bryant, the Lakers allowed 27 points to Eddy Curry and 22 to Stephon Marbury as the Knicks won for only the third time in eight games. The Lakers lost for the third time in a row to open an eight-game road trip.

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02-01-2007, 11:08 AM
Iverson to miss NBA game with ankle sprain

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DENVER, Colorado (AFP) - Superstar guard Allen Iverson will miss Denver's game Wednesday against Portland because of a sprained right ankle, the Nuggets announced Tuesday.

Iverson suffered the injury in the first quarter of Monday's 105-101 Denver loss to Charlotte. He played through the injury and scored 31 points but said that his ankle tightened after he departed the game in the fourth quarter.

Iverson, 31, did not travel with the team Tuesday, the club said.

Since the Philadelphia 76ers traded him to the Nuggets in mid-December, Iverson is averaging 27.1 points in 19 games. His season average of 28.9 points a game ranks third in the NBA.

full battle gear
02-02-2007, 11:40 AM
Bryant returns to lift Lakers over struggling Celtics

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:03pm (Mla time) 02/01/2007
www.inquirer.net


BOSTON, Massachusetts -- Kobe Bryant returned with a vengeance on Wednesday, pouring in 43 points to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-98 National Basketball Association victory over the Boston Celtics.

The loss marked an unwelcome milestone for the Celtics, who tied a franchise record with their 13th straight defeat.

For Bryant, it was a triumphant return after he missed Tuesday's 99-94 loss at New York after being suspended for throwing an elbow at Manu Ginobili in a game with San Antonio on Sunday.

He shot 13-of-25 from the floor, including 7-of-9 from three-point range.

"It felt great, felt great," Bryant said. "I just had so much fun playing. I was just really excited to be out there playing. It was fun."

Smush Parker added 19 points as five players scored in double figures for the Lakers, who snapped a season-high three-game losing streak.

With the win, the Lakers improved to 1-1 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

Bryant had 16 points and four assists in the first half and got some help from Parker, who scored 14, as the Lakers held a 57-49 edge at the half.

Bryant poured in 15 more in the third period, including 3-of-3 shots from the arc, and his 40-footer at the buzzer gave Los Angeles an 83-73 lead.

It was a key shot because Boston had the ball with a chance to cut the deficit to five before Lamar Odom made a steal with three seconds left.

"I just got in a good rhythm and was able to put on a good show there," Bryant said.

Bryant capped his third consecutive 40-point effort against Boston when he converted a reverse slam on a right-to-left drive and followed with a 3-pointer with one minute to play.

Times have been tough for the 16-time world champion Celtics since the 1980s, when they seemed to play the Lakers every season for the NBA title.

Boston haven't won a title since the 1985-1986 season, haven't been to the NBA finals since 1986-87 and have advanced to the Eastern Conference finals just twice since.

The storied franchise hasn’t won a playoff series since the 2002-03 season.

"Well, I guess that's one way to get into the record books," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Not the way you want to."

The Celtics lost 13 straight games in the 1993-94 and 1997-98 seasons.

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02-02-2007, 11:52 AM
Anthony snubbed in NBA All-Star selection

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Denver forward Carmelo Anthony, whose season has been marred by a ban for fighting, was snubbed in the selection of the National Basketball Association All-Star reserves. Anthony wasn't among the reserves - selected by NBA coaches - announced on Thursday for the February 18 showcase in Las Vegas. He leads the league in scoring, but recently returned from a 15-game suspension meted out for his role in an ugly brawl in December. He could still be appointed as an injury replacement by NBA commissioner David Stern, who handed down the suspension. In addition to Anthony, Dallas forward Josh Howard and Utah center Mehmet Okur also were shut out and denied their first All-Star berths. Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer - who suffered a broken bone in his leg over the weekend - was the lone first-time selection of the coaches in the West, which has no shortage of quality forwards. The league-leading Dallas Mavericks had just one player chosen - superstar forward Dirk Nowitzki, who is making his sixth straight appearance. The Phoenix Suns, who have the top offense in the NBA, had three selections - point guard and two-time Most Valuable Player Steve Nash, forward Shawn Marion and center Amare Stoudemire. It is the fifth appearance for Nash, the fourth for Marion and the second for Stoudemire, who missed all but three games last season due to microfracture surgery. Guards Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs and Allen Iverson of Denver rounded out the West reserves. It was the second straight nod for Parker and the eighth straight selection but the first as a reserve for Iverson, a two-time All-Star MVP who started the last seven All-Star Games as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers but was traded to Denver in December. In the East, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard and Washington Wizards forward Caron Butler received their first All-Star selections. Joining Howard and Butler as East reserves were a quintet of previous All-Stars - guards Jason Kidd and Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets, guards Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton of the Detroit Pistons and forward Jermaine O'Neal of the Indiana Pacers. Howard and Butler were among the seven reserves selected by coaches in the guard-heavy East, who were not allowed to vote for players on their own teams.

full battle gear
02-02-2007, 11:53 AM
Bryant returns to lift Lakers over struggling Celtics

www.abs-cbnnews.com


BOSTON, Massachusetts (AFP) - Kobe Bryant returned with a vengeance on Wednesday, pouring in 43 points to lift the Los Angeles Lakers to a 111-98 National Basketball Association victory over the Boston Celtics.


The loss marked an unwelcome milestone for the Celtics, who tied a franchise record with their 13th straight defeat.

For Bryant, it was a triumphant return after he missed Tuesday's 99-94 loss at
New York after being suspended for throwing an elbow at Manu Ginobili in a game with San Antonio on Sunday.

He shot 13-of-25 from the floor, including 7-of-9 from three-point range.

"It felt great, felt great," Bryant said. "I just had so much fun playing. I was just really excited to be out there playing. It was fun."

Smush Parker added 19 points as five players scored in double figures for the Lakers, who snapped a season-high three-game losing streak.

With the win, the Lakers improved to 1-1 on a season-high seven-game road trip.

Bryant had 16 points and four assists in the first half and got some help from Parker, who scored 14, as the Lakers held a 57-49 edge at the half.

Bryant poured in 15 more in the third period, including 3-of-3 shots from the arc, and his 40-footer at the buzzer gave Los Angeles an 83-73 lead.

It was a key shot because Boston had the ball with a chance to cut the deficit to five before Lamar Odom made a steal with three seconds left.

"I just got in a good rhythm and was able to put on a good show there," Bryant said.

Bryant capped his third consecutive 40-point effort against Boston when he converted a reverse slam on a right-to-left drive and followed with a 3-pointer with one minute to play.

Times have been tough for the 16-time world champion Celtics since the 1980s, when they seemed to play the Lakers every season for the NBA title.

Boston haven't won a title since the 1985-1986 season, haven't been to the NBA finals since 1986-87 and have advanced to the Eastern Conference finals just twice since.

The storied franchise haven't won a playoff series since the 2002-03 season.

"Well, I guess that's one way to get into the record books," Boston coach Doc Rivers said. "Not the way you want to."

The Celtics lost 13 straight games in the 1993-94 and 1997-98 seasons.

full battle gear
02-03-2007, 10:44 AM
Stoudemire shines in Suns win over Spurs

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 03:37pm (Mla time) 02/02/2007
www.inquirer.net


PHOENIX, Arizona -- Amare Stoudemire scored 24 points and nabbed a career-high 23 rebounds on Thursday to help the Phoenix Suns post a 103-87 National Basketball Association victory over San Antonio.

Nash had 13 points and 11 assists for the Suns, who were a combined 0-6 against Western Conference contenders Dallas, Utah, the Spurs and Los Angeles Lakers entering the game.

The Suns were 16-2 against the rest of their Western Conference foes.

But the Suns broke through on the back of their superstar forward, who was selected earlier as a reserve for the West squad for the upcoming All-Star game.

Recovering from microfracture knee surgery, Stoudemire is slowly rounding into form this season. Matched up with former league Most Valuable Player Tim Duncan,
Stoudemire was dominant, shooting 9-of-18 from the field and controlling the glass.

Stoudemire powered home numerous dunks after snatching tough offensive rebounds in traffic.

Phoenix, leading 85-84 with 5:20 left, finished the game on an 18-3 run, capped by Leandro Barbosa's two free throws with 18 seconds left.

The Suns rebounded from a 121-112 loss to Minnesota on Monday that ended their 17-game winning streak.

It was the longest streak in franchise history -- surpassing a 15-game run earlier this season -- and matched the seventh-longest in NBA annals.

full battle gear
02-03-2007, 10:44 AM
Wade insures James leaves Miami empty-handed again

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:07pm (Mla time) 02/02/2007
www.inquirer.net


MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade scored 24 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter Thursday as the Miami Heat rallied for a 92-89 National Basketball Association victory over LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Wade, a three-time All-Star, connected on 9-of-20 shots and made 23-of-24 free throws for his third 40-point performance of the season.

He also had five assists and four rebounds.

In the fourth quarter, James snapped a 78-78 tie when he converted a three-point play and fouled out Miami's All-Star center Shaquille O'Neal with 3:14 remaining.

James had missed Tuesday's win against Golden State because of a sore right big toe. On Thursday, the 23-year-old finished with 17 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

But Wade responded with a jump shot and two free throws to make it 82-81 before Cavaliers' rookie Daniel Gibson drained a 3-pointer from the left corner.

Wade converted two more from the free throw line with 1:23 to go, tying the game once again at 84-84.

After James missed a pair of foul shots, Wade converted a three-point play with 46 seconds remaining.

But James pulled Cleveland to within 90-89 with his long shot from the arc that bounced in with just three seconds left. Wade then made two free throws to rebuild a three-point edge.

Cleveland had one last chance to tie the game, but James misfired as time expired and the Cavaliers absorbed their eighth straight defeat in Miami.

full battle gear
02-04-2007, 01:14 PM
Celtics set franchise record of 14 straight losses

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:28pm (Mla time) 02/03/2007
www.inquirer.net


BOSTON, Massachusetts -- The Boston Celtics, owners of more National Basketball Association championships than any other franchise, collected a more dubious record on Friday.

The Los Angeles Clippers, led by Elton Brand, handed the Celtics a franchise-record 14th straight defeat, 100-89.

Brand scored 26 points and pulled down a season-high 19 rebounds as struggles of once mighty Boston continued.

The Celtics, who have won an NBA-high 16 championships, eclipsed the previous low-water mark of 13 consecutive defeats, reached during the 1993-94 and 1997-98 seasons.

Perhaps even worse, Boston has lost 11 straight home games and is 2-21 since a season-high five-game winning streak, including a 100-77 road defeat against the Clippers on December 27.

The Celtics have not won a title since the 1985-86 season, have not been to the finals since 1986-87 and have advanced to the Eastern Conference finals just twice since.

The club hasn't won a playoff series since the 2002-03 campaign.

The Celtics overcame a five-point halftime deficit and took a 69-67 lead into the fourth quarter, but the Clippers opened some breathing room with 13-4 run for a 91-81 advantage with 3:25 left.

Corey Maggette started the burst with two free throws and added a three-point play before Cuttino Mobley hit a 3-pointer from the left corner. Tim Thomas knocked in a shot from the arc and Brand hit a turnaround in the lane.

Mobley scored 20 points and Maggette added 19 for the Clippers, who have won eight of nine.

If there was any good news for Boston, it was that leading scorer Paul Pierce - who has missed the last 22 games with a foot injury - spent 40 minutes shooting prior to the game.

full battle gear
02-05-2007, 11:43 AM
Okur lifts Jazz past Suns in clash of NBA division leaders

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:31pm (Mla time) 02/04/2007
www.inquirer.net


PHOENIX, Arizona -- Mehmet Okur scored 29 points and pulled down 12 rebounds here Saturday to lead Utah past Phoenix 108-105 in a showdown of National Basketball Association division leaders.

The Turkish big man was aided by Deron Williams' 28 points and 10 assists to frustrate the Suns, who had 28 points and 10 rebounds from Amare Stoudamire and 22 points and 10 assists from Steve Nash.

Okur scored nine fourth-quarter points, including the go-ahead basket with five seconds remaining, as the Jazz snapped the Suns' 10-game home win streak and improved to 3-0 against Phoenix this season.

The Jazz improved their Northwest Division-best record to 31-17 while the Pacific Division-leading Suns fell to 37-10, trailing Dallas for the best record in the Western Conference as well as the NBA.

While the Suns have enjoyed win streaks of 15 and 17 games, they are a combined 1-7 against some elite rivals in the West - Utah, Dallas, San Antonio and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Nash made 3-pointer from the key to give the Suns a 104-103 advantage with 1:06 remaining, but Okur responded with a hook to reclaim a one-point lead for the Jazz.

France's Boris Diaw split a pair of free throws, tying the game at 105-105 with just 30 seconds to play. But Okur hit a 19-foot jumper in the lane to beat the shot clock.

The Suns could have leveled the score with two seconds to play but Diaw missed two free throws.

full battle gear
02-05-2007, 11:44 AM
Hawks swoop for victory vs Nets

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 09:40am (Mla time) 02/05/2007
www.inquirer.net


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Tyronn Lue nailed a jump shot at the buzzer to lift the Atlanta Hawks to a 101-99 overtime victory over the New Jersey Nets Sunday in the National Basketball Association.

The Nets' Continental Airlines Arena had been a house of horrors for the Hawks, who had lost 15 of their last 17 games here, including nine straight since Dec. 26, 2000.

But Lue was undaunted by Atlanta's recent history here, scoring the Hawks' final seven points, including a deep jumper from the left wing for the win.

It was another heartbreaker for the Nets, who suffered three losses on a recent five-game road trip in the final seconds as victims of clutch shots by Sacramento's Mike Bibby, Golden State's Monta Ellis and Cuttino Mobley of the Los Angeles Clippers.

Atlanta's Joe Johnson scored 37 points but it was Lue, who played just 24 seconds in overtime that sent the Nets' reeling.

"I'm not playing a lot because I'm still injured from my hamstring, but being able to come back at the end of the game and have a chance to win, it's a great feeling," Lue said.

After sitting out the entire fourth quarter and the first 4 1/2 minutes of overtime, Lue entered the game with 33 seconds left and buried a jumper 19 seconds later to give the Hawks a 97-94 lead.

New Jersey's Vince Carter answered with a pair of free throws, but Lue sank a pair at the other end with nine second left to make it 99-96.

After a timeout, New Jersey ran a play for Carter on the right wing and the All-Star responded.

Coming off a good screen by Mikki Moore, Carter took a pass from Jason Kidd and buried a 3-pointer to tie the game, 99-99, with 2.9 seconds remaining.

With the Nets all over Johnson, Lue took the game into his own hands, taking a couple of hard dribbles at Antoine Wright and pulling up to send the Hawks to their third consecutive road win.

The Hawks mobbed Lue and halfcourt before carrying him off the floor as the veteran point guard gestured to the stunned crowd.

"I've made big shots for this team before so they have faith in me to make big shots," Lue said. "If I take them and I miss them, that's part of the game. If I make them, that's what they expect me to do."

full battle gear
02-05-2007, 11:45 AM
Bryant makes NBA MVP case as Lakers rip Wizards

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 11:37am (Mla time) 02/04/2007
www.inquirer.net


WASHINGTON -- Kobe Bryant could not match the 60-point performance that Washington's Gilbert Arenas inflicted on Los Angeles earlier this season, but he earned the Lakers a season split against the Wizards.

And Bryant most definitely made his case for National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player honors here Saturday, scoring 39 points and allowing his teammates to shine in a 118-102 rout of the Wizards.

Arenas scored 37 points but sank only 9-of-29 shots while being upstaged by the Lakers' playmaker, who also contributed six rebounds and six assists.

In the only other meeting of the teams this season, Arenas scored a club-record 60 points to spoil a 45-point effort by Bryant to give the Wizards a 147-141 overtime victory.

Bryant said after that December 17 defeat that Arenas had "no conscience" but in the rematch, he had no way of equaling Bryant.

The rival All-Stars each scored 20 points in the first half, each man making his 1-on-1 statement.

Bryant missed a dunk in the second quarter and was taunted by spectators, whom he quieted on the next Laker possession with a fast break complete spin slam dunk.

The Lakers led 54-50 at halftime and dominated the third period as Bryant's teammates caught fire. The Lakers led 86-76 entering the fourth quarter and never let the Wizards pull closer than nine points in the last 12 minutes.

While home fans chanted "M-V-P" for Arenas, it was Bryant who was thumping his chest and raising a finger to symbolize he was number one when the final buzzer sounded.

The Lakers improved to 29-19, sixth in the Western Conference, while the Wizards slid to 27-19, falling behind Detroit to the second-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Smush Parker added 20 points and Lamar Odom contributed 19 for the Lakers. DeShawn Stevenson scored 17 for the Wizards.

full battle gear
02-06-2007, 11:39 AM
Heat guard Payton suspended for one game

www.abs-cbnnews.com


NEW YORK (Reuters) - Miami Heat guard Gary Payton has been suspended by the NBA for one game without pay for verbally abusing officials in Saturday's win over the Milwaukee Bucks.

The 38-year-old, a veteran of 16 seasons in the NBA, will serve the suspension on Monday when the Heat host the Charlotte Bobcats.

Payton was guilty of "directing obscenities and other verbal abuse at game officials upon ejection," the NBA said in a statement.

The incident took place late in the second quarter of the Heat's 117-98 win over the Bucks when Payton was sent off by official Mark Davis for arguing against a call.

full battle gear
02-06-2007, 11:40 AM
Raptors beat Clippers for third successive win

www.abs-cbnnews.com


TORONTO (Reuters) - The Toronto Raptors hit a season high in points and won their third straight game, downing the Los Angeles Clippers 122-110 in National Basketball Association play on Sunday.

Chris Bosh led the Raptors with 27 points as Toronto (25-23) took a three-game lead in the Atlantic Division standings after New Jersey lost at home to Atlanta.

The Raptors, who won their fifth straight home game and now also play five of their next seven at the Air Canada Center, took their biggest division lead this season after shooting 59 percent.

Toronto also tied a franchise record for shooting in a half by shooting 70 percent from the field in the first half and scoring 66 points, a season high, to take a 66-54 lead at the intermission.

The Raptors never surrendered that lead in an impressive performance that saw them make 12 of their 20 shots from 3-point range before an enthusiastic crowd of 17,214.

Morris Peterson added 18 points for the Raptors, who had six players in double digits in scoring. T.J. Ford, Anthony Parker and Jorge Garbajosa all contributed 17 points for the winners.

The Clippers (24-23) had won seven of their last eight games, but could not keep up with the Raptors' fast-paced attack for most of the game.

Cuttino Mobley scored 24 points for the Clippers, while Elton Brand had 21 points and hauled down a game-high 10 rebounds.

* The Atlanta Hawks are on their first three-game road winning streak since 2000 after they edged the New Jersey Nets 101-99 in overtime. Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 37 points and Tyronn Lue hit a 23-foot shot at the jumper for the winning basket.

* Chauncey Billups had 18 points and 10 assists as the Detroit Pistons beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 90-78, Detroit's fifth straight regular season win over the Cavs. LeBron James had 21 points, six assists and five rebounds for Cleveland.

full battle gear
02-07-2007, 11:53 AM
Jackson hits 36 on ex-teammates as Warriors rip Pacers

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:59pm (Mla time) 02/06/2007
www.inquirer.net


INDIANAPOLIS -- Stephen Jackson scored a season-high 36 points against his former National Basketball Association teammates to lead the Golden State Warriors past Indiana 113-98 here Monday.

Jackson had several brushes with the law in 2 1/2 seasons with the Pacers, most recently in October when he fired a gun outside a strip club when he and then-Pacer teammates were confronted by other men.

The Pacers traded Al Harrington and Jackson to the Warriors on January 17 in an eight-play swap that also sent Golden State Sarunas Jasikevicius and Josh Powell in exchange for Mike Dunleavy Jr., Troy Murphy, Ike Diogu and Keith McLeod.

"It's always emotional when you're playing your old team," Jackson said. "We [ex-Pacers] talked about it and I think we got everything out before the game. We just wanted to come out and be aggressive."

Jackson shot 10-of-22 from the field, including 4-of-6 from beyond the 3-point arc and 12-of-13 from the free throw line, while Harrington contributed 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists.

"I'm not going to lie. It feels good to come back and beat your old team," Jackson said. "Like I told Al, I didn't know I was going to have this kind of game, but I knew that one of us was going to play well."

"If it would have been Al, I would have been just as happy."

Jackson and Harrington combined for 21 points in the first quarter, when the Warriors opened a 34-18 lead on their way to a dominating victory.

Jackson, also famed for leaping into the stands to confront fans during a melee in Detroit two seasons ago, was jeered by Indiana fans throughout the game but took out his frustrations upon the Pacers.

"I'm used to it," Jackson said. "I'm pretty sure they're going to boo me now. I don't play here anymore. They booed me when I was here, but there's no hard feelings. I thank the Pacers for everything they've done for me.

"A lot has went on in two years, good and bad, I thank them for standing behind me and I wish them the best."

Golden State's Monta Ellis added 21 points and 10 rebounds before leaving with a bruised left knee midway through the third period as the Warriors improved to 23-26, 1 1/2 games behind Denver for the last Western Conference playoff spot.

"Well, I think the force was with us today," Golden State coach Don Nelson said. "We played hard, played well, and all the rest of it, but the bottom line is they missed an awful lot of shots and we made a lot of our shots."

"I wouldn't judge the trade on this game. If the score was reversed, I wouldn't do it, and I wouldn't do when we won. I think the trade was good for both teams."

The Pacers, 26-22, sent away their second- and third-best scorers but have gone 6-2 since the swap. The Warriors had won only three of nine games since the trade but Golden State kept Indiana to 35 percent shooting, 33-of-94.

"Home sweet home, and we got a win. That's most important," Harrington said. "I was praying and hoping that one of us would have a big game. I definitely wanted it to be 'Jack', just because of what he's been through and being blamed for things that weren't his fault."

"I'm happy he had a good game and I'm happy that we won."

Jackson scored seven points in the second quarter as the Warriors pulled to a 65-42 halftime lead and the Pacers never came closer than 15 points in the second half.

Jermaine O'Neal scored 24 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Indiana.

"We were way too friendly with the [ex-Pacer] guys before the game. Obviously we have friendships there, but I think it softens you up a little bit when you greet them as extensively as we did," O'Neal said.

"We have got to be ready to play against teams we should beat, and we should beat these guys. We knew [Jackson and Harrington] were going to be aggressive. We talked about it before the game and we knew those guys were going to come out and get their shots."

"As a player, you know when you get traded, you are going to come back at the team that traded you. I wasn't surprised. The biggest surprise to me was that, collectively, we weren't ready to play."

full battle gear
02-07-2007, 11:54 AM
Nash injured but Suns still scorch Nuggets

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:46pm (Mla time) 02/06/2007
www.inquirer.net

DENVER, Colorado -- National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Steve Nash was on the bench with an injured right shoulder the entire second half but the Phoenix Suns still had enough skill to beat Denver.

Amare Stoudamire scored 23 of his 36 points in the second half and grabbed 13 rebounds to spark the Suns past the Nuggets 113-108 here Monday.

Canadian guard Nash, making a bid for a third consecutive league MVP award, scored nine points and added seven assists in 16 minutes but went out with the shoulder injury and missed the second half.

Leandro Barbosa scored 20 points and Shawn Marion added 19 for the Suns, who trailed 60-51 at half-time but outscored Denver 30-19 in the third quarter and help off a Nuggets rally late.

Carmelo Anthony produced his first career "triple double" with 31 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists to lead the Nuggets but could not sink the Suns.

Anthony's 3-point play with 13 seconds remaining lifted the Nuggets within 109-106 but Marion and Raja Bell each made two free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory.

Brazil's Nene scored 27 points and J.R. Smith added 18 for Denver, which was without superstar guard Allen Iverson due to an ankle injury and center Marcus Camby because of a groin pull.

full battle gear
02-07-2007, 11:55 AM
NBA stars worry about playing global events -- report

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 09:04am (Mla time) 02/07/2007
www.inquirer.net


WASHINGTON -- US National Basketball Association stars are concerned that playing in international events is hurting their ability to play their best in quest of a league crown, ESPN reported on Tuesday.

ESPN's Ric Bucher said that many players and coaches have expressed private reservations about US stars playing in events such as the World Championship in Japan last year and August's Americas qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Elton Brand, a power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers, told ESPN that he would need to see where his body condition was after the season before knowing if he could complete his three-year commitment to the US team.

Many top US players agreed to be available for three years to play in the world championships, Olympic qualifying and next year's Beijing Games, where ESPN reported that Dwyane Wade and LeBron James could make 500,000 dollars each simply from shoe endorsement contract provisions simply for playing.

That agreement came in the wake of a disappointing third-place US finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics and has given USA Basketball a pool of talent to field top teams as needed without an excessive load on those unwilling to bear it.

But the ESPNEWS report noted that James, suffering a big toe injury, and Wade, who has missed time for reigning NBA champion Miami, are among more than half the players from the US world team who have been hurt or struggled in this NBA season.

While having US talent in international events is a huge marketing boost for the NBA, the compromise of mental and physical wear and tear could contribute to similar woes as football club teams have with World Cup and UEFA campaigns.

full battle gear
02-07-2007, 11:56 AM
Bulls fine Thomas over ‘free money’ remark

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 09:48am (Mla time) 02/07/2007
www.inquirer.net


CHICAGO -- Chicago Bulls forward Tyrus Thomas considered taking part in the National Basketball Association Slam Dunk Contest "free money" but saying so has already cost the rookie $10,000.

The Bulls fined Thomas that amount on Tuesday for his comments after being invited to take part in the annual jam session on February 17, the eve of the NBA All-Star Game, in Las Vegas.

Asked by the Chicago Tribune if he was excited to be competing in the slam dunk contest with such legends as Michael Jordan and Julius Erving as judges, 20-year-old Thomas made it clear he was more concerned with income than honor.

"Not really. I'm just going to go out there, get my check and call it a day," Thomas said. "I'm just into the free money. That's it. I'll just do whatever when I get out there."

Orlando's Dwight Howard, Boston's Gerald Green and defending champion Nate Robinson of New York will also compete in the slam dunk contest.

The winner will receive $35,000 with $22,500 to the runner-up and $16,125 each for third and fourth. Wherever he finishes, Thomas will pay a portion his winnings to the fine levied by Bulls vice president John Paxson. "This fine is an appropriate response to the remarks Tyrus made," Paxson said.

“It's a poor reflection on Tyrus individually and a poor reflection on the Bulls organization and I am certainly disappointed,” he said.

“The league office has chosen Tyrus to participate in one of its premier All-Star events and that is an honor that should be accepted with humility,” he said.

"I spoke with Tyrun and I'm confident he understands that he made a mistake with his words and that he also understands the importance of representing the Bulls and the NBA in a positive way," he said.

Thomas is averaging 3.5 points and 2.7 rebounds in 41 games this season.

gameface_one
02-08-2007, 09:52 AM
US NBA stars worry about playing global events
abs-cbnnews.com


WASHINGTON (AFP) - US National Basketball Association stars are concerned that playing in international events is hurting their ability to play their best in quest of a league crown.

ESPN's Ric Bucher said that many players and coaches have expressed private reservations about US stars playing in events such as the World Championship in Japan last year and August's Americas qualifier for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Elton Brand, a power forward for the Los Angeles Clippers, told ESPN that he would need to see where his body condition was after the season before knowing if he could complete his three-year commitment to the US team.

Many top US players agreed to be available for three years to play in the world championships, Olympic qualifying and next year's Beijing Games, where ESPN reported that Dwyane Wade and LeBron James could make 500,000 dollars each simply from shoe endorsement contract provisions simply for playing.

That agreement came in the wake of a disappointing third-place US finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics and has given USA Basketball a pool of talent to field top teams as needed without an excessive load on those unwilling to bear it.

But the ESPNEWS report noted that James, suffering a big toe injury, and Wade, who has missed time for reigning NBA champion Miami, are among more than half the players from the US world team who have been hurt or struggled in this NBA season.

While having US talent in international events is a huge marketing boost for the NBA, the compromise of mental and physical wear and tear could contribute to similar woes as football club teams have with World Cup and UEFA campaigns.

gameface_one
02-08-2007, 09:53 AM
Celtics slump continues vs Pistons
abs-cbnnews.com

DETROIT (Reuters) - The slumping Boston Celtics lost 109-102 to the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, extending their franchise record worst losing streak to 15 games.

The Celtics allowed 100 or more points for the fifth straight game and have not won since beating the Memphis Grizzlies, the NBA's worst team, 128-119, on January 5.

As if things were not bad enough for the Celtics, the club sent forward Paul Pierce home with an infected elbow. He has missed the last 23 games with a foot injury and his latest setback is likely to keep him out of the lineup until at least the All-Star break.

Boston (12-35) trailed the Pistons by 22 points after three quarters.

"We really didn't have a chance," Boston coach Doc Rivers told reporters. "We played a better team tonight."

The Pistons led by as many as 24 points in the fourth quarter and allowed the Celtics to crawl back into the game after resting a few starters.

Chauncey Billups had 24 points and seven assists to lead the Pistons, who shot 58 percent. Antonio McDyess added 18 points in just 20 minutes on court.

Chris Webber scored 17 points and dished out six assists for Detroit, with Richard Hamilton contributing 10 points and 11 assists.

Jamal Crawford and Eddy Curry scored 23 points each to help the New York Knicks beat the Los Angeles Clippers 102-90.

Tracy McGrady had 33 points and eight assists as the Houston Rockets beat the Memphis Grizzlies 98-90. Memphis, which has the worst record in the NBA, lost its third straight game.

Ruben Patterson had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists, to lead the Milwaukee Bucks to a 116-111 win over the Orlando Magic.

lurkinggood
02-08-2007, 11:19 AM
Nakanamfota, magugunaw na talaga ang mundo!!! ;D :-[ ;D

=========================

Ex-NBA player Amaechi comes out publicly By BILL KONIGSBERG, AP Sports Writer
2 hours, 8 minutes ago


The small, exclusive club of openly gay professional male athletes has a new member.

Former NBA center John Amaechi, who spent five seasons with four teams, on Wednesday became the first NBA player to publicly come out.

His admission comes three years after his playing career ended, making him the sixth professional male athlete from one of the four major U.S. sports — basketball, baseball, football, hockey — to openly discuss his homosexuality.

Amaechi details his life in his autobiography "Man in the Middle," which will be released Feb. 14.

"He is coming out of the closet as a gay man," Amaechi's publicist Howard Bragman said.

Martina Navratilova, perhaps the most famous openly gay athlete in the world, praised Amaechi's decision and said it's imperative for athletes to come out because of what she called an epidemic of suicides among young lesbians and gays.

"It's hugely important for the kids so they don't feel alone in the world. We're role models," she said. "He will definitely help a lot of kids growing up to feel better about themselves."

Orlando's Grant Hill, who said he didn't know Amaechi when he was with the Magic, also applauded the decision to go public.

"The fact that John has done this, maybe it will give others the comfort or confidence to come out as well, whether they are playing or retiring," Hill said.

NBA commissioner David Stern said a player's sexuality wasn't important.

"We have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always 'Have you got game?' That's it, end of inquiry," he said.

LeBron James, however, said he didn't think an openly gay person could survive in the league.

"With teammates you have to be trustworthy, and if you're gay and you're not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy," James said. "So that's like the No. 1 thing as teammates — we all trust each other. You've heard of the in-room, locker room code. What happens in the locker room stays in there. It's a trust factor, honestly. A big trust factor."

Injured Philadelphia Sixers forward Shavlik Randolph acknowledged it's a new situation.

"As long as you don't bring your gayness on me I'm fine," Randolph said. "As far as business-wise, I'm sure I could play with him. But I think it would create a little awkwardness in the locker room."

News that Amaechi had come out surprised some players.

"For real? He's gay for real?" said Philadelphia center Steven Hunter. "Nowadays it's proven that people can live double lives. I watch a lot of TV, so I see a lot of sick perverted stuff about married men running around with gay guys and all types of foolishness."

Even so, Hunter said he would be fine with an openly gay teammate.

"As long as he don't make any advances toward me I'm fine with it," he said. "As long as he came to play basketball like a man and conducted himself like a good person, I'd be fine with it."

Orlando's Pat Garrity acknowledged reaction was bound to vary throughout the league.

"They would have teammates that would accept them for being a good person and a good teammate, and there would be people who would give him a hard time about it," he said. "I think that's true if you're playing basketball or in an office job. That's just how the world is right now."

In his book, Amaechi describes the challenge of being gay in a league where it's assumed all players are heterosexual. He describes the blatant anti-gay language and attitudes he experienced in NBA locker rooms.

"We're all insensitive at times. There's no taboo subject in the locker room," said Celtics coach Doc Rivers, who coached Amaechi in Orlando, where he said he had one of his strongest locker rooms. "I think if he would have come out they would have got on him jokingly. ... And I actually think that when guys do come out, when that day happens, it will make it easier."

Amaechi also writes that while playing in Utah, coach Jerry Sloan used anti-gay innuendo to describe him. Sloan said Wednesday that although his relationship with Amaechi was "shaky" because of the player's attitude, he didn't know Amaechi was gay. Sloan had no comment about Amaechi's contention that Sloan used anti-gay innuendo when referring to him. Amaechi said he found out about it in e-mails from friends in the Jazz front office.

Asked if knowing Amaechi was gay would have mattered, Sloan said: "Oh yeah, it would have probably mattered. I don't know exactly, but I always have peoples' feelings at heart. People do what they want to do. I don't have a problem with that."

Former NFL running back David Kopay came out in 1977; offensive lineman Roy Simmons and defensive lineman Esera Tuaolo came out more recently. Glenn Burke, an outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A's in the 1970s, and Billy Bean, a utility player in the 1980s and 1990s, also have come out.

Each did so after retiring. Burke died of complications due to AIDS in 1995.

Amaechi, 36, who was raised in England, writes in the book that he never touched a basketball before the age of 17. A quick study despite being a "terrible athlete," he found his confidence in the game and made it his goal to play in the NBA.

He competed for Penn State, then played in 301 NBA games over five seasons. The 6-foot-10 center averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds. He began his career with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1995-96, then spent a few years playing in Europe. He rejoined the NBA to play for the Orlando Magic from 1999-01, then played two seasons for the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz traded him to Houston, which traded him to the New York Knicks. When the Knicks waived him in January 2004, he retired.

Amaechi came out of retirement to help England's men's basketball team win the silver medal in the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia.

full battle gear
02-10-2007, 10:58 AM
Gay matter
THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco
The Philippine Star 02/10/2007

"Truth has no special time of its own. Its hour is now – always." – Albert Schweitzer, French physician and clergyman

John Amaechi dropped a bomb on the NBA. Sort of.

Amaechi, the 6’10", 270-pound former Penn State center and five-year NBA veteran, announced February 7 that he is gay. He will appear on the ESPN program "Outside the Lines" to discuss the secret life he reveals in his book "Man in the Middle", which will be released in the US on February 20.

The British center played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 1995-1996 season, then spent some time in Europe before returning to the league via the Orlando Magic from 1999 to 2001. He was later traded to the Utah Jazz. Ironically, it was in Salt Lake City, one of the more conservative communities in the NBA, where he started to come out, frequenting gay clubs and becoming more expressive.

Amaechi, who averaged 6.2 points and 2.6 rebounds a game before retiring from the NBA in January of 2004, also has some minor achievements of note to his credit. He was one of only seven undrafted NBA players to start a game in the 1999-2000 season, was voted to the NBA All-Interview team that year, and was tied for sixth in the voting for Most Improved Player that same campaign. On January 2, 2000, he became the first player to score a basket in Miami’s American Airlines Arena, the league’s first basket of the new millennium.

Today, Amaechi is a television personality in Britain, and personally funds the Amaechi Basketball Center in Manchester, where he lives a relatively quiet life.

Until now.

There were many swift reactions, most of a predictable nature. NBA commissioner David Stern said "We have a very diverse league. The question at the NBA is always ‘Have you got game?’ That’s it, end of inquiry."

Other players made it an issue of trust, like Cavs All-Star LeBron James, who said "With teammates, you have to be trustworthy, and if you’re gay and you’re not admitting that you are, then you are not trustworthy."

The general consensus among players is that the issue of homosexuality is a close second to talent on the basketball court. But for players like Amaechi (who insists there are other gay players still in NBA uniforms), the two matters are intertwined, making it emotionally wrenching to keep the secret, and potentially tragic to reveal it.

"It’s a frightening prospect. It’s terrifying," Amaechi was quoted as saying. "There are people for whom the entire world is based around this idea that people will look at them and when they look at them, they are NBA superstars. And any change to that would be physiologically devastating. Emotionally devastating, financially devastating."

Amaechi is the first NBA player to openly admit he is gay, and although it is timed to coincide with the release of his book, he is not the biggest athlete to do so. Tennis great Martina Navratilova came out in the 1970’s, former NFL running back Dave Kopay did the same in 1977, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Glenn Burke also came out, and multiple Olympic gold medalist diver Greg Louganis also admitted he is gay.

The can of worms this opened is that it brings to light bigotry and homophobia we do not want to talk about. Many of us have grown up making snide remarks against homosexuals and even women as a matter of course, as if we were yawning or sneezing. And it makes us uncomfortable that something done privately, as in the confines of an all-male locker room, gets out into the public and is judged.

What bothers me about what Amaechi and most of these athletes have done is that it is rare that admissions of this nature are made in the prime of one’s career. Statistically, there was a possibility that Magic Johnson may have contracted the HIV virus the same way, but the question was quickly squelched.

Another question that raises a lot of discomfort is: how would we have dealt with it? What would you do if you had a teammate who is gay? What if your brother or son had a teammate on his college or high school team who was a homosexual?

It drastically changes the dynamics of such an intimate environment. Obviously, the other players wouldn’t be as comfortable undressing or showering, no matter how talented a gay teammate might be. Look at it this way: what if you put a man in the girls’ locker room? No matter how much he insisted you weren’t his type, you’d still think twice about being at home with that person around.

What will happen next? A witch hunt to weed out the possible other gay players might ensue, but then again, it is a lifestyle choice that is hard to prove.

Perhaps what we are looking for is an even greater display of courage, the willingness to challenge the system, and stand up for your beliefs, no matter how unacceptable you think they may be.

full battle gear
02-12-2007, 11:47 AM
Wallace powers Pistons

www.mb.com.ph


AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (AP) — Rasheed Wallace made up for a fourth-quarter technical foul by scoring six points of his season-high 28 points late in the game, helping the Detroit Pistons beat the Toronto Raptors 98-92 on Saturday night.

Richard Hamilton added 21 points and eight assists for the Pistons, who won their sixth straight.

T.J. Ford had 17 points and 11 assists for the Raptors, whose five-game winning streak was stopped. Chris Bosh added with 14 points and 11 rebounds for Toronto, which has lost eight in a row at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

Detroit, which led 76-73 after three periods, continued to hold the lead for most of the fourth before getting frustrated by the officiating, culminating in Wallace’s technical foul. Anthony Parker’s free throw pulled the Raptors within 85-84, and Andrea Bargnani followed with a 3-pointer to put Toronto ahead.

Wallace answered with a three-point play that put Detroit back in front, and his 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining finished the Pistons’ 10-point run.

Nets 93, Magic 78

At East Rutherford, New Jersey, Vince Carter scored 32 points and reserve Marcus Williams added 12 clutch points to lead New Jersey.

Jason Kidd had 10 points and nine rebounds as the Nets extended their winning streak to three.

Dwight Howard scored 25 points on 11-of-15 from the field along with 12 rebounds for Orlando, which lost for the 12th time in 16 games.

Williams came in late in the third quarter to spell Kidd and immediately took charge by scoring the last six points for the Nets in the period as New Jersey took a 66-63 lead.

Hornets 114, Grizzlies 99

At Oklahoma City, Chris Paul had 23 points and 11 assists, and David West added 22 points to help New Orleans win its third straight.

After back-to-back overtime wins, the Hornets put this one away earlier – using a 17-3 push shortly after halftime to take control.

Tyson Chandler had 15 points and 16 rebounds for his seventh double-double in the last eight games, while Desmond Mason added 16 points.

Pau Gasol had 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who fell to 0-15 in the second game of back-to-back sets and 0-13 against Southwest Division foes.

Jazz 104, Knicks 102, OT

At Salt Lake City, Mehmet Okur forced overtime on a layup with 12 seconds left in regulation, and Derek Fisher scored with 3 seconds left in the extra period to lift Utah past New York.

Okur scored 29 points and Fisher finished with 14, including the winner on a pass from Deron Williams, who had 10 assists for Utah.

The Jazz ended a five-game losing streak against the Knicks.

New York had a final chance, but Jamal Crawford’s shot at the buzzer was off. The Jazz trailed by 10 late in the fourth quarter before rallying to win their fourth in a row.

Rockets 104, Bobcats 83

At Houston, Tracy McGrady and Juwan Howard each scored 16 points and Houston rebounded from a blowout at Dallas a day before to beat Charlotte.

Dikembe Mutombo, who has been great in place of the injured Yao Ming, added 14 points and 14 rebounds for Houston, and Rafer Alston had 14 points.

Nuggets 109, Bucks 102

At Milwaukee, Carmelo Anthony had 29 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds, and Nene added 17 points and 11 rebounds for Denver.

Nene hit three free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the victory as the Nuggets completed a short road trip with wins on back-to-back nights. Earl Boykins led Denver with 26 points.

Kings 114, SuperSonics 93

At Seattle, Kevin Martin scored 14 of his 26 points during a big second quarter that led Sacramento past Seattle.

It was Sacramento’s season-high fifth straight win, coming a few hours after learning they’ll be without center Brad Miller until after the All-Star break.

Martin and Ron Artest both scored 16 in the first half, as the Kings built a huge lead _ helped by a 36-point second quarter _ and were never challenged in the second half. Artest finished with 20 points, and sat most of the second half as the Kings coasted.

full battle gear
02-14-2007, 10:39 AM
Who will replace Nash?
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 02/14/2007

Another player originally picked to play for the West in the 56th edition of the National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Game this Sunday (Monday morning, Manila time) is down with an injury and will be replaced by someone chosen by commissioner David Stern.

The other day, Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash backed out of the annual classic because of inflammation in his right shoulder. Houston’s Yao Ming (right knee) and Utah’s Carlos Boozer (left fibula) withdrew earlier. Stern named Dallas’ Josh Howard to sub for Yao and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony for Boozer.

Under league rules, the commissioner has the power to select the replacement of an injured player in the All-Star Game. If a starter is scratched, the coach – not the commissioner – will choose whom to elevate from among the players on the team. Fans choose the starters for the East and West through an NBA-administered balloting program that includes voting via the internet. The coaches are chosen on the basis of the best records in both conferences two weeks before the All-Star Game. Coaches who called the shots in the previous All-Star Game are disqualified from making a second straight appearance.

In selecting the seven reserves, the votes of the 15 head coaches of each conference are tallied to choose two guards, two forwards, a center and two others regardless of position. Coaches are not permitted to vote for players on their teams.

Since Yao was picked to start by the fans and isn’t able to play, West coach Mike D’Antoni will name his replacement on the first five. My choice is Dirk Nowitzki who should’ve been MVP last year instead of Nash. D’Antoni, however, might just tap Amare Stoudemire for the job because they’re from the same team.

As for Nash’s replacement at point guard, that’s Stern’s call. My choices are either New Orleans’ Chris Paul who’s averaging 18.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 8.7 assists or Utah’s Deron Williams who’s averaging 17.3 points, 3.4 rebounds and 9.1 assists. A longshot is Dallas’ Jason Terry. If Stern is looking for an offguard, his candidates should include Seattle’s Ray Allen and Sacramento’s Kevin Martin.

Coach Eddie Jordan’s East starters are 6-4 Gilbert Arenas, 6-10 Chris Bosh, 6-4 Dwayne Wade, 6-8 LeBron James (last year’s All-Star Game MVP and this season’s top vote-getter with 2,516,049 ballots) and 7-1 Shaquille O’Neal. The reserves are 6-3 Chauncey Billups, 6-7 Caron Butler, 6-6 Vince Carter, 6-7 Rip Hamilton, 6-11 Dwight Howard, 6-4 Jason Kidd and 6-11 Jermaine O’Neal.

My opinion is Shaq doesn’t deserve the starting spot. Howard does. I also think Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala, Atlanta’s Joe Johnson and Milwaukee’s Michael Redd should’ve been chosen instead of Butler, Kidd and Hamilton.

The West starters are 6-6 Kobe Bryant, 6-8 Tracy McGrady, 7-0 Tim Duncan, 6-11 Kevin Garnett and Yao’s to-be-named replacement. The reserves are 6-8 Anthony (for Boozer), 6-0 Allen Iverson, 6-7 Howard (for Yao), 6-7 Shawn Marion, 7-0 Nowitzki (may be elevated to start), 6-2 Tony Parker, 6-10 Stoudemire and Nash’s to-be-named replacement.

Portland’s Zach Randolph, averaging 24.3 points, shouldn’t been named instead of Marion.

The All-Star Game will be aired by Solar Sports live at 9 a.m. Monday on RPN-9 with a 7 p.m. replay.

By the way, it must be noted that while Las Vegas is hosting its first-ever All-Star Weekend, there have been NBA games played in the world’s gaming capital in the past. Utah played 12 regular season home games in 1983-84 and 1984-85 in Las Vegas as a two-year concession and a 1992 playoff game between the Lakers and Portland was held in the city because of the Los Angeles riots. Additionally, the NBA has staged 18 preseason games in Las Vegas since 1987.

full battle gear
02-14-2007, 10:46 AM
Pistons beat Clippers to record seventh straight win

www.abs-cbnnews.com


DETROIT (Reuters) - The Detroit Pistons cruised to their seventh victory in a row on Monday, routing the road-weary Clippers, 92-74.

It was the Pistons' eighth straight win over Los Angeles, who wound up a seven-game road trip 2-5.

"This is the longest trip of the year, and we wanted it to turn out better than it did," Clippers coach Mike Dunleavy told reporters.

"There were a couple games on the trip that we played against teams that we felt we could beat, but we didn't get the job done."

Chris Webber had 19 points and nine rebounds for the Pistons, who improved to an Eastern Conference-best 32-18.

Tenacious Detroit defense had the upper hand for most of the night, limiting Los Angeles to just 32 percent from the field.

The Clippers were without Elton Brand, their leader in scoring, rebounds and blocks, who missed the game due to back spasms. His status for Wednesday's game against Atlanta is uncertain.

The Pistons held a 45-38 lead at the half and pulled away in the third quarter, opening the second half with a 13-3 run and taking a 15-point lead into the final quarter.

Cuttino Mobley led the Clippers (25-27) with 17 points.

Carmelo Anthony scored 28 points despite sitting out most of the fourth quarter with a bruised right thigh as the Denver Nuggets hammered the Golden State Warriors 123-111.

The Utah Jazz improved to 34-17 with an easy 102-76 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

full battle gear
02-14-2007, 10:46 AM
Grizzlies trade for Padgett

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MEMPHIS (AFP) - The Memphis Grizzlies acquired forward Scott Padgett from the Houston Rockets in exchange for Greek native Jake Tsakalidis.

The 6'9'' Padgett averaged 1.8 points and 1.9 rebounds in 24 games with the Rockets this National Basketball Association season.

He owns career averages of 4.2 points and 2.8 rebounds in 441 games over nine games with Utah, Houston and New Jersey.

The 7'2'' Tsakalidis is averaging 2.3 points and 2.8 rebounds in 23 games - seven starts - with the Grizzlies this season.

Centre Tsakalidis, who is in his seventh NBA season, has averaged 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds in 302 career games with Phoenix and Memphis.

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02-14-2007, 10:47 AM
Spurs stress toughness in NBA deal for Ely

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SAN ANTONIO, United States (AFP) - San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, seeking more toughness from his team, obtained frontliner Melvin Ely from the Charlotte Bobcats in a National Basketball Association deal.

The Spurs sent seldom-used forward Eric Williams and 2009 NBA Draft second-round selection to the Bobcats in exchange for Ely, a center-forward averaging 2.9 points and 1.6 rebounds in his fifth NBA season.

Ely will add frontcourt depth to a lineup that features veteran Robert Horry as a power forward and Argentina's Fabricio Oberto at center.

Ely averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds in 57 games for the Bobcats while in 254 career games with the Bobcats and Los Angeles Clippers he has averaged 6.3 points and 3.6 rebounds.

The Spurs, who won three NBA crowns from 1999 to 2005, are 33-18 this season, one loss less than they suffered all of last season as they try to fight off Houston for fourth place in the Western Conference.

Popovich challenged his players after a 100-85 loss Sunday at Miami.

"We are still not playing physically enough," Popovich said. "We are playing soft. Too many minutes in the game, we are just hoping and begging rather than playing our butts off.

"We are too soft."

BigBlue
02-14-2007, 12:02 PM
Who will replace Nash?
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 02/14/2007

Portland’s Zach Randolph, averaging 24.3 points, shouldn’t been named instead of Marion.



i dont get this line from Henson's column.. what is he talking about? Randolph wasnt named, so what's he talking about?

CM_Punk
02-14-2007, 09:06 PM
^ Poor editing skills on his part. That line probably should have read "Randolph... SHOULD HAVE been named instead of Marion." Still, Randolph as an all-star? I don't think so. Allen and Okur were named as replacements. Lots of guys on the Western squad are injured (Yao, Nash, Iverson, Boozer, etc.).

BigBlue
02-14-2007, 09:55 PM
Nahuli mo, CM Punk! Any NBA junkie will tell you that Marion deserves the all-star spot over Randolph. Marion is perhaps one of the most versatile two-way players out there. He does things that Randolph cannot and could perhaps never do. Marion's fault? he's always been a quiet player, and he's always been underated.

full battle gear
02-15-2007, 11:24 AM
Wade powers Heat past Blazers

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 06:08pm (Mla time) 02/14/2007
www.inquirer.net


MIAMI -- Dwyane Wade wouldn't let a sore shoulder slow him down scoring 16 of his 35 points in the fourth period as Miami won their sixth consecutive home win, a 104-85 triumph over Portland on Tuesday.

Wade, who was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for the second straight week on Monday, left for the locker room with a bruised left shoulder after falling on a driving layup at the 9:36 mark in the third quarter.

The award made Wade the only player in franchise history to have captured the honor in consecutive weeks.

But the injury could not keep the three-time All-Star off the court, returning with 1:59 to go in the third to help Miami win for the seventh time in eight games.

"When I fell I hyperextended it," Wade said. "I heard it pop. I didn't have any strength in it, so we had to take a look. I was never worried about not coming back; I knew I would be OK."

"I wasn't surprised he [Wade] came back," Miami interim coach Ron Rothstein said. "I expected him to come back.

"It's probably not fair, but that's my thought process. I probably looked at the tunnel about seven times. I caught myself looking back and stopped myself and said I have to pay attention to the game."

Juan Dixon's three-pointer brought the Trail Blazers within 79-75 with 9:14 left. But Wade answered with eight straight points during a 10-2 run, pushing the lead to 89-77 with 6:26 left.

"I had my rhythm still," Wade said. "I just kept it going."

Portland did not recover, suffering its second straight season series sweep to Miami.

The victory also helped the Heat reach .500 for the first time since being 3-3 on November 12.

"We are going in the right direction," Miami swingman James Posey said.

Udonis Haslem netted 12 points and Posey added 11 and eight rebounds for the Heat, who tied a franchise record with 14 blocks.

Zach Randolph scored 17 points and Jarrett Jack chipped in 16 for Portland, which shot 42 percent (33-of-78) from the field and committed 17 turnovers.

full battle gear
02-15-2007, 11:25 AM
Back strain benches Jason Kidd

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 08:57am (Mla time) 02/14/2007
www.inquirer.net


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Guard Jason Kidd will miss the New Jersey Nets' last two games before the NBA All-Star Game, raising questions if he will play in Sunday's classic match-up.

Eight-time All-Star Kidd will be benched with a strained lower back, Nets president Rod Thorn announced Tuesday. Kidd will miss games Tuesday against San Antonio and Wednesday against Toronto.

Should Kidd miss the All-Star Game in Las Vegas, he will complete a full five-man lineup of absentee heroes for the annual contest.

The Western Conference is already missing Chinese center Yao Ming of Houston, superstar guards Allen Iverson of Denver and Steve Nash of Phoenix and forward Carlos Boozer of Utah.

The Nets, 25-27, have won three games in a row to pull within 2 1/2 games of Atlantic Division leader Toronto.

Kidd is averaging 14.3 points, 8.7 assists and 8.0 rebounds in 52 games this season for the Nets, who are already missing Serbian center Nenad Krstic, out for the season with a knee injury, and Richard Jefferson, who underwent ankle surgery on January 22.

full battle gear
02-15-2007, 11:26 AM
Yao hopes to play again for Houston in March -- report

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 08:57am (Mla time) 02/14/2007
www.inquirer.net


HOUSTON, Texas -- Yao Ming, the Chinese star center for the Houston Rockets, told the Houston Chronicle he expects to resume workouts with the team within two weeks and be back in games by early March.

Yao said tests on his broken right leg show that he is progressing on schedule but he plans to return a bit earlier than the March 1 comeback the National Basketball Association club had expected.

"You know me. I'm always faster than (expected)," Yao told the Chronicle.

Yao has been running on a treadmill upon which trainers can limit how much weight Yao places upon the injured leg. He is also walking through jump shots and on-court movements.

"They are letting me do some jump shots, some practice but not real moves," Yao said. "I can walk on it, and do a lot more now."

Whenever Yao does make it back, the brace he is now using on the injured knee will be with him and it will remain for the remainder of the Rockets' season.

"I can get back to practice in 10 days to two weeks," Yao said. "It's hard to say (when I will play games again) -- hopefully the beginning of March."

The Rockets, 32-18, rank fifth in the Western Conference and are chasing San Antonio for the final spot that confers home-court advantage in the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

full battle gear
02-15-2007, 11:29 AM
More All-Star subs
SPORTING CHANCE By Joaquin M. Henson
The Philippine Star 02/15/2007

National Basketball Association (NBA) commissioner David Stern has spoken. He named Utah’s Memo Okur and Seattle’s Ray Allen to replace injured reserves Allen Iverson (ankle) and Steve Nash (shoulder) on the West squad in the All-Star Game at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas this Sunday (Monday morning, Manila).

Under league rules, the commissioner has the power to name substitutes for injured players in the All-Star Game. If a starter is replaced, the coach will choose his replacement from among the players in the team.

Okur and Allen are the latest to be tapped for the annual classic. Stern previously called on Dallas’ Josh Howard and Denver’s Carmelo Anthony to sub for injured Yao Ming and Carlos Boozer.

There has been no necessity for a replacement in the East team coached by Washington’s Eddie Jordan. The five starters and seven reserves seem to be ready for the All-Star climax.

Okur, 27, was a surprise choice by Stern. He’s averaging 18.2 points and 7.4 rebounds but surely, Portland’s Zach Randolph deserves a slot more than the Turk. Perhaps, Stern wanted to pay tribute to Utah’s phenomenal season. Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, the longest-tenured tactician in the league, has piloted the team to a 34-17 record so far. Only six Western Conference clubs have compiled at least 30 wins.

Allen, 31, was another surprise. The Seattle offguard is hitting at a 26.9 clip but the SuperSonics are buried deep in the Northwest Division cellar with a lowly 19-32 record. Memphis is the only other West team not to win 20 games this season.

I would’ve expected New Orleans’ Chris Paul to take over Nash’s spot. Instead, Paul was named to replace Nash in the skills challenge contest where Dwayne Wade, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are vying for honors.

Of the four replacements, Howard was the most deserving of a call-up. And it’ll be a crime if Dallas teammate Dirk Nowitzki isn’t elevated to the starting lineup in place of Yao. Anthony also deserved Stern’s call. But Stern could’ve picked better replacements than Okur and Allen – Paul and Randolph, for instance.

Still, the 56th edition of the All-Star Game promises to be a humdinger. Solar Sports is hosting a live viewing party at the National Sports Grill in Greenbelt, Makati, at 9 a.m. Monday and a full house is expected to catch the action as it happens.

What’s a bit unsettling is Jordan’s appearance as the East coach. He got the job when the Wizards posted a 27-18 record through games of Feb. 4, the cut-off for picking the coaches. The problem is since then, the Wizards haven’t been too magical and are coming off back-to-back losses to slip to 28-21. Detroit (32-18), Cleveland (30-21) and Chicago (29-24) now show more wins. Pistons mentor Flip Saunders is disqualified from making a second straight appearance as an All-Star coach but what about Cleveland’s Mike Brown and Chicago’s Scott Skiles?

The All-Star Game will be shown in 215 countries and broadcast in 43 languages with more than 300 international reporters attending.

To get the All-Star Weekend off to a rousing start, the interactive cage theme park "Jam Session" will open its doors to the public today at the 400,000 square-foot South Convention Center of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.

Solar Sports is providing full TV coverage of the All-Star Weekend through live morning telecasts on RPN-9 of the Rookie Challenge this Saturday, the four-in-one package (slam dunk, three-point shootout, skills challenge, shooting stars) on Sunday and the All-Star Game on Monday.

To complete your All-Star experience, don’t fail to join our write-in contest and you could be one of 20 lucky Star readers to win exclusive All-Star merchandise flown in directly from Las Vegas.

Just write who are this year’s winners of the slam dunk, skills challenge, three-point shootout and shooting stars competition, which team won and the score of the Rookie Challenge, which team won and the score of the All-Star Game and whom you think deserves the MVP in the All-Star Game and why in 50 words or less. Entries must be sent in or mailed to the "NBA All-Star 2007," Philippine Star sports, 13th and Oca Streets, Port Area, Metro Manila, by Friday, Feb. 23. Winners will be announced in this column on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Don’t forget to write your name, age, address, occupation (if student, what year/course/school) and telephone number.

full battle gear
02-15-2007, 11:32 AM
Johnson to replace Kidd in All-Star Game

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joe Johnson of the Atlanta Hawks will replace New Jersey Nets guard Jason Kidd in the All-Star Game, NBA Commissioner David Stern said on Wednesday.

An eight-time All-Star, Kidd is suffering from a back strain and is unable to play for the Eastern Conference in Sunday's game in Las Vegas.

Johnson, in his sixth NBA season, is averaging 25.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists a game and will be making his first All-Star appearance.

Kidd, a 13-year point guard, is averaging 14.3 points, eight rebounds and 8.7 assists this season.

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02-16-2007, 11:41 AM
Celtics halt 18-game NBA skid with win over Bucks

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:14pm (Mla time) 02/15/2007
www.inquirer.net


BOSTON, Massachusetts -- The Boston Celtics, one of America's most storied sports franchises, snapped an ignominious 18-game losing streak on Wednesday with a 117-97 victory over Milwaukee.

In just his third game back from injury, Paul Pierce scored 31 points and Gerald Green added 21 off the bench for the Celtics, who had already broken the club record losing streak and were five games shy of tying the NBA single season record of 23 straight defeats.

That record for futility is shared by the Grizzlies, now of Memphis and formerly of Vancouver, and the Denver Nuggets.

Cleveland dropped 24 in a row, bridging two seasons, including the final 19 games of the 1981-82 campaign and the opening five in 1982-83.

But the Celtics, who have won an NBA record 16 championships, halted their march along the road toward those dubious marks.

"The guys are so relieved," Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. "They are taking monkeys off each others' backs and all that kind of stuff. It's just a relief to get that done and win a game."

Al Jefferson collected 17 points and 10 rebounds for Boston, who received a standing ovation from relieved fans at the TD BankNorth Garden.

Despite the crowd's euphoria, Pierce was far from ecstatic.

"We're not going to get in a complete celebration," Pierce said. "It's only our 13th win of the season. Right now, we are just taking it one step at a time. We know it's going to be tough to make the playoffs, so we'll just take it one game at a time and try to get better as a team."

Things could have gotten worse for the Celtics, who embark on tough six-game road trip after the All-Star break against Western Conference contenders Sacramento, Phoenix, the
Los Angeles Lakers, Utah and Houston.

"We definitely eyed this game [as a chance to end the streak]," Pierce said. "Milwaukee had a lot of pieces missing so we wanted to take advantage of that. They are missing a lot of key guys so this was an opportunity to end that losing streak before heading out West."

Pierce played a key role in snapping the Celtics out of their funk, shooting 12-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range to give his team a go-to scorer down the stretch.

Green shot 8-of-9 from the field, including nailing all five of his 3-pointers in just 19 minutes.

Jefferson was 7-of-13 from the floor for the Celtics, who shot 55 percent.

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02-16-2007, 11:43 AM
Spurs shut down Pistons

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:13pm (Mla time) 02/15/2007
www.inquirer.net


DETROIT, Michigan -- Tim Duncan scored 23 points and pulled down eight rebounds Wednesday as the San Antonio Spurs ended the Detroit Pistons' seven-game National Basketball Association (NBA) winning streak.

Francisco Elson added 12 points and a season-high 18 rebounds as the Spurs complemented their low-post star with an effective transition game to stop the Pistons 90-81.

Manu Ginobili scored 20 points for the Spurs, who finished their annual eight-game road trip at 4-4.

The Spurs vacate their arena for prolonged period each year when the rodeo is in town.

The Pistons, who had been firing on all cylinders after the addition of forward Chris Webber, were taken out of their game on Wednesday.

One of the most efficient half-court teams in the NBA, the Pistons are known for the ability to run sets and score off screens and post-ups.

But San Antonio sped up the contest, relying on lightning-quick guard Tony Parker, who had 16 points and eight assists but made his biggest impact in setting up the secondary fast break.

Parker got his team into their offense quickly and was able to ignite San Antonio, which shot 51 percent.

Duncan, one of the game's premier big men, shot 9-of-18 from the field and Elson was an efficient 6-of-8

full battle gear
02-17-2007, 09:49 AM
All-Star ruminations
THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco
The Philippine Star 02/17/2007

The NBA All-Star Weekend was launched at a party in Makati the other night, and everybody’s looking forward to the biggest annual bash outside of the Finals. But the question is how come many All-Stars aren’t playing.

Fans are wondering why the players aren’t so hot on seeing action in an East or West All-Star uniform, considering how many of them dreamed of being in the game when they were kids. Perhaps the novelty has worn off. But perhaps it’s because many of the players are just so darned tired.

Imagine, if you will, being the average NBA player. You’re probably 6-6, 6-7 on a good day, and your regular day is pretty wearing. You’ve got practice for two to three hours, wherein your coach yells and screams at you and you’re banging bodies with really large people who are built like brick walls. Then, you go to the gym and hit the weights, the track and anything else you need to vent your excess energy on.

For some players, it ends there. They can go back to their gated communities, turn on their humongous television sets and other playthings, and vegetate.

But if you’re an All-Star, it never ends. There are product endorsements to do, appointments to make, business meetings to attend, and even the occasional autograph-signing. With the NBA’s dress code, the only time you actually get to put on shorts, ironically, is on the court or in the gym, when you’re working; the exact opposite of the rest of humanity.

And remember, in the US, everything requires great travel. The major tire companies allegedly lobbied the California government to build freeways not for travel convenience, but so people would go farther to get where they’re going, and therefore use more rubber on their tires. The problem is that everyone else followed suit.

So there you are, cooped up in your Escalade, trying to hustle from one place to another, to meet people you’ll probably never see again, and perhaps give words of wisdom or answer questions you’ve given thousands of times before, and still keep in a good mood. Then, it’s off to a hotel where the shower hits you in the chest, the beds are too small, and everyone wants a piece of your time. That’s the downside.

Ironically, now that the NBA is available in more places in the globe, the players have needed to be more available to more and more new audiences. And their endorsements have multiplied, so there are more ad agencies, directors, business partners and investors to please. For a two-day appearance, you’ll need to travel almost as much time as you’ll be on the ground, in a plane designed for people almost a foot shorter.

So you can’t really blame players who’ve turned away offers to do the slam dunk contest, or perhaps play in the All-Star Game, because it’s an extension of a job that sometimes threatens to consume them. Of course, they should do it for the fans. Who pays their salaries? But then again, why are they playing? Two reasons: to win games and to invest in their future.

Shaquille O’Neal once wrote that he hasn’t even touched a penny of his salaries, because his endorsements are more than enough to sustain the next three generations of his family. That’s probably why some people feel that he doesn’t take the game (or his weight) as seriously anymore. But for the major players, that’s a fact of life. They get big bucks, but they also don’t own their own lives.

But still, I don’t feel too sorry for them.

full battle gear
02-17-2007, 09:58 AM
Mavericks stretch winning streak with win over Rockets

www.abs-cbnnews.com


HOUSTON, Texas (AFP) - The Dallas Mavericks will head into the National Basketball Association All-Star break on a high after posting their ninth straight victory Thursday, over the Houston Rockets.

With superstars Dirk Nowitzki and Tracy McGrady locked in a fourth-quarter duel, Jason Terry emerged as the key for Dallas.

Nowitzki scored 26 points and grabbed eight rebounds and Terry scored the final six points of the game as the Mavericks edged the Rockets 80-77.

They enter this weekend's All-Star break with a nine-game winning streak and a league leading 44-9 record.

Nowitzki and McGrady combined for 27 points in their one-on-one scoring battle in the final period before Terry went to work.

The eight-year veteran made two free throws with 2:46 remaining to bring Dallas within 77-76.

The point guard then hit a pullup jumper from the right elbow with 69 seconds left to give the Mavericks a 78-77 lead.

After Luther Head missed a 3-pointer with 12 seconds left and clanked a runner in the lane with six remaining, Terry nailed two free throws to put the Mavericks up three with 4.2 seconds left.

McGrady tried to dribble up court, but was pressured by Dallas' defense and time expired on his pass to the 3-point line to Juwan Howard.

Jerry Stackhouse added 17 points and was crucial to the Mavericks' late rally in the third quarter.

Houston led by nine after a 3-pointer by McGrady with 4:24 left in the third quarter, Dallas went on a 12-0 scoring run over the next four minutes, capped by back-to-back shots from the arc by Stackhouse. Dallas entered the final period leading 58-57.

McGrady finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds - his eighth double-double of the season - and Juwan Howard had 14 points for Houston, who are still without superstar center Yao Ming.

Yao told the Houston Chronicle this week that he expects to resume workouts with the team within two weeks and be back in games by early March.

Yao said tests on his broken right leg show that he is progressing on schedule, but he plans to return a bit earlier than the March 1 comeback the Rockets had expected.

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02-18-2007, 10:53 AM
Hardaway's gay bashing draws ire of NBA stars

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - Former five-time all-star Tim Hardaway's anti-gay comments drew criticism Friday from players assembled to compete in the 56th annual All-Star Game in Las Vegas.

As a black athlete in the United States, Hardaway should know better than to bash another minority group, Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups said.

"I was surprised this came out like that," Billups said. "He, of all people, being an African-American should know better because of the way we have been discriminated against for so long.

"There is a right way and a wrong way to express yourself and he picked the wrong way."

Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal said he tries to treat everyone with respect no matter where they come from or their color of skin.

"My take on it is that I have been taught since I was a youngster that you never judge people," O'Neal said. "It is a personal preference of his. The way I was taught was if people gang up or make fun of someone you should defend them."

Phoenix Suns MVP Steve Nash said Hardaway may be liked around the league but he needs to change his thinking.

"It's sad. I like Tim a lot. He is a great guy," Nash said. "Unfortunately he wasn't exposed enough or educated enough about the subject to make an informed opinion.

"But we are moving in the right direction on this. Just look at the backlash from his comments. I am sure he will grow from this."

Hardaway's comments followed last week's disclosure by former NBA center John Amaechi that he is gay.

"You know I hate gay people, so I let it be known," the former Heat player Hardaway said on a Miami radio station on Wednesday.

"I don't like gay people and I don't like to be around them. I'm homophobic. It shouldn't be in the world or the United States."

Hardaway has since apologized for his comments.

Former NBA forward Charles Barkley said the fallout from Amaechi's disclosure has turned into a media firestorm.

"You don't think we all played with gay guys. Of course we have," Barkley said. "It has never been an issue.

"I just find it homourous and amazing people think we care if someone is gay or not.

"America discriminates against gay people but we all played with gay people."

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02-18-2007, 10:53 AM
Limping West stars still in the fight

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LAS VEGAS (AFP) - While Tim Hardaway managed to talk himself out of the National Basketball Association's 56th annual all-star game, the players were busy talking up the midseason festival on Friday.

"This is a spectacle. That's what it is," five-time all-star Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns said Friday.

Nash is one of four Western Conference players on the 12-man roster who are in Las Vegas but won't play due to injuries. Nash joins Utah's Carlos Boozer, Denver's Allen Iverson and Houston's Yao Ming on the sidelines with injuries.

With so many established stars in the infirmary it has created opportunities for players like Josh Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Mehmet Okur in the West and Dwight Howard and Caron Butler in the East to make their all-star game debuts.

Hardaway, who played in five all-star games in the 1990s, was banished from this year's lavish affair because of anti-gay remarks made to a Miami radio station.

The league had scheduled several appearances here this week for former NBA guard Hardaway before the remarks came out.

Shaquille O'Neal couldn't be more pleased to be playing in his 14th career all-star game. The three-time NBA Finals MVP said he was excited to be voted in this year as a starter.

"It is fun to mingle with the guys," O'Neal said on Friday. "There are a lot of superstars here."

This is the first time as a host for Las Vegas as the league has never played its showcase event in a city without an NBA team.

Detroit guard Chauncey Billups doesn't see himself dunking over the game's giants but rather feathering passes to those who like to hear the roar of the crowd.

"If I get the opportunity I will take it but I am not one of those flashy players that dunks it. So I am going to try to give the ball to the show people," said Billups, who is making his second appearance. "I will make sure I give those guys opportunities to show what they can do."

Nash said there would be no bragging rights regardless of who wins Sunday's game at the Thomas and Mack Centre Arena.

"Winning and losing is not the primary thing," Nash said. "No one really cares about the score although at some point it will get competitive though."
Utah Jazz centre Okur is the first Turkish player selected to the play in the all-star game.

Okur was named along with Seattle's Ray Allen as a replacement for Iverson and Nash.

"This is more exciting than anything in my basketball career," Okur said. "It is an honour for my country."

Phoenix's Mike D'Antoni is the head coach of the West while Washington's Eddie Jordan will guide the East.

Last year the East won 122-120 as guard LeBron James became the youngest to win the all-star game MVP by scoring 29 points and six rebounds.

James joins O'Neal as a starter on the East along with guard Dwyane Wade, Toronto forward Chris Bosh and Washington's Gilbert Arenas.

The East will be going for their third straight win and have a 35-19 overall lead since the first all-star game in 1951.

The game will be broadcast in 215 countries in 43 languages.

There are nine international all-stars scheduled to participate in the weekend festivities: Yao (China), Andrew Bogut (Australia), Nash (Canada), Pops Mensah-Bonsu (England), Tony Parker (France), Andre Bargnani (Italy), Jorge Garbajosa (Spain), Tim Duncan (US Virgin islands), Dirk Nowitzki (Germany).

Garbajosa and Bargnani will play in the rookie challenge while Nowitzki is entered in the skills competition.

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02-18-2007, 10:54 AM
Pippen talks of attempting comeback

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LAS VEGAS, Nevada (AFP) - Scottie Pippen, who won six National Basketball Association titles with the Chicago Bulls, is pondering a comeback at age 41.

Pippen used the 56th annual All-Star Game weekend as a platform to announce his intent, ESPN reported Friday.

"The last month I've been training and playing and my body is starting to feel good," Pippen said. "I think I can still be effective. I feel pretty good. I think I can compete at a high level."

Pippen retired in 2004 after 17 NBA seasons because of injuries. He teammed with Michael Jordan to form one of the best 1-2 punches in NBA history.

Claiming he is in his best shape in years and close to his playing weight, Pippen is hoping to join a playoff contender.

Pippen will get to test his fitness in Saturday's Shooting Stars competition in which a retired player and a current player compete together.

Former Chicago teammate BJ Armstrong said Pippen has a flair for the dramatic whether it is scoring a basket or making comeback pronouncements.

"I am not surprised he would reveal his secret in Las Vegas," Armstrong said. "I am sure he feels good and I want to see him do it."

Former NBA forward Charles Barkley has his doubts.

"I want to be skinny but it isn't going to happen. Scottie Pippen wants to come back?" Barkley said.

NBA Hall of Famer Bob Lanier suggested Pippen could be effective in a limited role.

"You look at him and he is in great shape," Lanier said. "He could help a team by playing 15 to 20 minutes a game."

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02-19-2007, 11:08 AM
Green captures Slam Dunk title with flying windmill

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LAS VEGAS (Reuters) - Gerald Green of the Boston Celtics flew over a table and sank a windmill jam to win the NBA's Slam Dunk title on Saturday.

Green's competition-closing dunk earned him a perfect score from a panel of judges including past champions Michael Jordan, Dominique Wilkins and Vince Carter.

In the other marquee event of the night, Miami Heat forward Jason Kapono upset Gilbert Arenas of the Washington Wizards and defending champion Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks to win the three-point shooting title.

The events are part of the festivities leading up to the All-Star game on Sunday in Las Vegas. This is the first time the annual event is being held in a city without an NBA team.

"It's tough to be creative since just about every kind of dunk has been done," Green said after winning the 22nd Slam Dunk title. "I tried to pull something out nobody had seen before."

The 6-foot-8 forward, playing in his second NBA season, soared over a table placed in the middle of the lane before slamming the ball home in front of 18,000 fans at the Thomas and Mack Center.

Miami's Dwyane Wade successfully defended his Skills Challenge title, defeating Kobe Bryant (Lakers), LeBron James (Cavaliers) and Chris Paul (Hornets).

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02-19-2007, 11:09 AM
Bryant: Possible Pippen comeback with Lakers

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LAS VEGAS, United States (AFP) - Nine-time NBA all-star Kobe Bryant says he would welcome Scottie Pippen to join the Los Angeles Lakers.

"He looked like he was in great shape when he was in camp with us last season," Bryant said. "I am going to tell him there is a place for him in the triangle."

Pippen retired in 2004 after 17 NBA seasons because of injuries. He teamed with Michael Jordan to form one of the best 1-2 punches in NBA history under current Lakers head coach Phil Jackson.

Pippen used the 56th annual All-Star Game weekend as a platform to announce he is considering a comeback at age 41.

"The last month I've been training and playing and my body is starting to feel good," said Pippen, who won six NBA titles with the Chicago Bulls and was a member of two gold-medal winning US Olympic teams.

"I think I can still be effective. I feel pretty good. I think I can compete at a high level."
Claiming he is in his best shape in years and close to his playing weight, Pippen is hoping to join a playoff contender.

Pippen will get to test his fitness in Saturday's Shooting Stars competition in which a retired player and a current player compete together.

Former Chicago teammate BJ Armstrong said Pippen has a flair for the dramatic whether it is scoring baskets or making comeback pronouncements.

"I am not surprised he would reveal his secret in Las Vegas," Armstrong said. "I am sure he feels good and I want to see him do it."

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02-19-2007, 11:10 AM
Stern: NBA won't tolerate minority bashing

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LAS VEGAS, United States (AFP) - David Stern defended his decision to banish Tim Hardaway from the 2007 All-Star Game festivities and said he hopes to speak to the former NBA player soon about his anti-gay comments.

NBA commissioner Stern removed the ex-Miami Heat star from any league-related appearances connected with All-Star weekend in Las Vegas after the 13-year NBA veteran launched into an anti-gay tirade recently on a Miami radio station.

"Somebody who was here representing the NBA said something that didn't make it appropriate for him to represent us," Stern said Saturday during his annual state of the league address at the 56th All-Star Game classic.

Stern also talked Saturday about Las Vegas' bid for an NBA team, suspensions, increased pension benefits and games planned for later this year in Europe.

He said he tried to contact Hardaway through the player's agent but is still waiting for a reply.

"Anyone can say what they want to say, but they can't work for whoever they want to work for if that is inconsistent with what is going on or what that view is.

"Given what we heard, the hateful speech, that we thought there was only one thing to do and that was to disassociate ourselves from it as quickly as we possibly could. And to send the message that it is not us."

Hardaway's comments followed last week's disclosure by former NBA center John Amaechi that he is gay.

"You know I hate gay people, so I let it be known," Hardaway said.

Hardaway has since apologized.

Stern said he doesn't expect the furore over Hardaway's comments to die down soon.

"We didn't ask for this but here we are. Welcome to the NBA. I am sure we haven't heard the end of this," he said.

Stern said he is not concerned about gamblers infiltrating NBA locker rooms if the league were to put a team in Las Vegas

"I'm not worried about games being fixed," Stern said. "Our fans for the most part, when they leave a game are happy if the home team has won. They're not unhappy because one team won and didn't cover the spread."

Stern said they would listen to any proposals from a group wanting to put an NBA team in Las Vegas.

"It is a great city," Stern said. "I don't know if it is natural fit."

He said part of the reason they chose Vegas for this weekend's festivities is that it has the tourist infrastructure in place and they can distribute tickets without having to worry about complaints from season ticket holders.

"What makes a neutral site more attractive is we don't have to displace season ticket holders. At NBA finals we have policy that if you are season ticket holder you get tickets all way through.

"So for us to get a neutral site has a lot of hotel rooms is very attractive."

Asked if there is a specific criteria for handing out suspensions for fighting Stern said, "We are well aware of previous suspensions. We try to see what is appropriate but it is not a fixed formula.

"The amount of fighting in NBA is so low that exceptions bubble up and makes it seem like more.

"We are determined to do everything to send message it is not tolerable.

"But with large men in tight spaces we will never stamp it out."

Earlier this season, Stern suspended Denver Nuggets superstar Carmelo Anthony 15 games for fighting.

Stern also announced Saturday that players who played prior to 1965 would receive a 50 per cent increase in their pension benefits. The pension program has also been expanded to include players with a minimum three years of service from the previous minimum of five.

Stern also announced Saturday an extensive tour of Europe by four NBA teams in October.

full battle gear
02-20-2007, 11:37 AM
Hasselhoff endorses Nowitzki for MVP

Associated Press
Last updated 01:15pm (Mla time) 02/19/2007
www.inquirer.net


LAS VEGAS -- Dirk Nowitzki picked up another MVP endorsement Sunday night -- from David Hasselhoff.

Hasselhoff, the well-traveled actor and German singing celebrity who's currently starring in "The Producers" at the Paris Las Vegas casino, was among the luminaries who walked the red carpet before entering the Thomas & Mack Center. He said he would choose the Mavericks star over two-time winner Steve Nash of Phoenix.

"I think Dirk's going to get it this year, and he deserves it," Hasselhoff said.

Hasselhoff's songs are popular in Germany, and Nowitzki said during last season's playoffs that he sang one of them to help him relax at the free throw line. Nowitzki later said he was joking, but Miami fans seized upon it to mock him during the NBA finals.

Hasselhoff even showed up to watch the Mavericks in the playoffs, but said he hadn't been able to catch up with Nowitzki this weekend because of his performance schedule.

Hasselhoff also loved the idea of All-Star weekend in Las Vegas -- and supports the idea of a team here full-time.

"This is the most amazing thing that's happened to Vegas," he said. "I think it would be an amazing attraction to have a team here," before adding "besides 'The Producers.'"

Also making early appearances on the red carpet were Michelle Wie, who can't play golf or gamble in Las Vegas because she's too young and has an injured wrist, and "Desperate Housewives" actor James Denton.

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02-20-2007, 11:38 AM
Bryant wins All-Star MVP as West snaps losing streak to East

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:55pm (Mla time) 02/19/2007
www.inquirer.net


LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- Kobe Bryant scored 12 of his 31 points in the fourth quarter as the West came away with a 153-132 win, snapping a two-game losing streak to the East in the National Basketball Association All-Star Game.

Bryant stepped up and imposed his will on his fellow all-stars winning the MVP for the second time.

The Los Angeles Laker superstar chipped in six assists and five rebounds as the West fell just two points shy of the All-Star Game points record.

"It felt good to come here and play," Bryant said. "I just wanted to come out and play hard and have a good showing."

The West displayed on Sunday why it is considered the more dominant conference, posting one of the most lopsided wins in All-Star history.

The midseason showcase featured enough showboating, behind the back passes, alley-oop lobs and windmill dunks to entertain the crowd of 15,694 at the Thomas and Mack Centre arena.

The winners picked up $35,000 while the losers collected $20,000.

There was an A-list of celebrities on hand at the Thomas and Mack Center arena, including Prince, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Beyonce, Adam Sandler, and Chris Tucker.

The West had no trouble finding their competitive urge, jumping out to a 12-4 lead and setting an All-Star record with a total of 52 assists.

There were six first time players in the game, comprising Washington's Caron Butler, Orlando's Dwight Howard, Atlanta's Joe Johnson in the East and Denver's Carmelo Anthony, Dallas Josh Howard and Utah's Mehmet Okur in the West.

Anthony, the leading scorer in the NBA, finished with 20 points and nine rebounds while Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire scored 29 points and nine rebounds.

"It is fun to be out on the court these guys," Anthony said. "This boosts my confidence another notch so hopefully I can carry this into the regular season."

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02-20-2007, 11:39 AM
Mavericks set pace but Yao, Kidd spice NBA title hunt

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 07:51am (Mla time) 02/20/2007
www.inquirer.net


WASHINGTON -- As the National Basketball Association prepares to start the second half of its season following the All-Star Game, it's clear the West is best and the East is least.

With the Dallas Mavericks leading the way at 44-9, the Western Conference has the clubs with the five best records in the league at the break. German star Dirk Nowitzki has led the Mavs to 30 victories in their past 32 games.

Breaking the NBA one-season record of 72-10 by the 1996 Bulls would require the 2006 NBA runner-up Mavericks to stretch their win streak from the current nine to 38 by avoiding another loss.

But it is a good omen for Dallas' title hopes.

The past three clubs with such a strong record at the All-Star break -- the 1996 and 1997 Chicago Bulls and 1983 Philadelphia 76ers -- went on to capture the NBA crown.

Phoenix is next at 39-13, although the Suns have lost three in a row without Canadian guard Steve Nash, the reigning two-time NBA Most Valuable Player. He has been sidelined by shoulder pain but plans to return on Tuesday.

Utah (35-17), San Antonio (35-18) and Houston (33-19) follow before Eastern Conference leader Detroit (32-19) to make this the first year one conference has had more than the NBA's three top clubs at the break.

Thursday marks the NBA trading deadline and such players as New Jersey's Jason Kidd and Vince Carter and Spanish center Pau Gasol of Memphis have drawn interest from clubs looking for talent to solidify a run at the championship.

Chinese center Yao Ming of Houston, sidelined since suffering a broken leg in December, will return in March and could ignite the Rockets, 17-8 without him, to new heights if he can recapture the form he showed before the injury.

East clubs have struggled against West rivals but have played enough games against each other to finally produce winning records, although Toronto (29-24) has the only winning record in the Atlantic Division.

Reigning NBA champion Miami (26-26) has struggled but Shaquille O'Neal is becoming healthy after missing most of the first half of the season and coach Pat Riley is expected back this week after hip replacement and knee surgery.

The Heat is clinging to the final East playoff berth but with "Shaq" back and Dwyane Wade serving as a major playmaker, Miami's chances to build momentum and be a formidable playoff force appear strong.

A similar late-season run to the play-offs could happen in Denver, where Carmelo Anthony and Allen Iverson have played only six games together due to injury and Anthony's 15-game suspension for punching.

The Nuggets are only 26-25, seventh in the West, but could be a threat to any opponent if the two potent scorers come together.

Kobe Bryant, the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player for the triumphant West, makes the Los Angeles Lakers a threat every time they play although they have not been as impressive since O'Neal departed for Miami.

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02-22-2007, 11:56 AM
Knee surgery to sideline Nuggets' Smith

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DENVER, Colorado (AFP) - No sooner did the Denver Nuggets have Allen Iverson restored to the lineup than they learned they will be without guard J.R. Smith for at least three weeks.

Smith suffered a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee in the second quarter of the Nuggets' 95-80 National Basketball Association loss at San Antonio on Tuesday.

Denver had just welcomed back Iverson, who scored nine points on 3-of-11 shooting in the loss to the Spurs. It was Iverson's first game since February 7 and just his second since January 29 due to a sprained right ankle.

Smith has averaged a career-high 15.4 points in 42 games this season. He leads the team in 3-pointers with 114.

The Nuggets acquired Smith from the Chicago Bulls in the offseason for guard Howard Eisley and two second-round picks in 2007.

A first-round pick out of high school by New Orleans in 2004, Smith averaged 9.2 points and 2.0 rebounds in 131 games with the Hornets in his first two seasons.

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02-23-2007, 08:02 AM
Carter shines, Kidd struggles for Nets amid trade talk

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 02:43pm (Mla time) 02/22/2007
www.inquirer.net


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Jason Kidd struggled in his return to the New Jersey Nets lineup Wednesday as trade rumors swirled around him on the eve of the National Basketball Association trade deadline.

Vince Carter, also the subject of trade talk, scored a season-high 46 points for the Nets, who nevertheless dropped a 111-107 decision to the New Orleans Hornets.

David West scored a season-high 32 points and Chris Paul added 19 and 11 assists for the Hornets, who snapped a six-game losing streak against the Nets, who are reportedly considering trading both star guards prior to Thursday's trade deadline.

"I don't think about [getting traded], I just keep playing," Carter said. "If it happens, it happens, if it doesn't, I'm going to try to keep putting up numbers and help my team win."

"That's the least of my worries. My job is to come out and be effective for my team every night, not worrying about being traded."

Carter connected on 15-of-25 shots and netted the last 15 points for the Nets. But he was the only New Jersey player to make a basket in the last 7 1/2 minutes of the game.

Kidd, an eight-time All-Star point guard, missed the two games before the All-Star break with a sore back.

In his return, he shot just 2-of-14 from the field and misfired on two pivotal 3-pointers down the stretch with the Nets making a comeback.

"My back injury hasn't affected me at all," Kidd said. "I had eight days off, this is my first time in a game situation for over a week, I felt great. A lot of those shots I would take any day of the week. A lot of them went in and out. You have to live with those shots, but I had good looks. My back is fine."

While the Nets had been mentioned in media reports as one of the teams most actively seeking to make moves before the trade deadline, team president Rod Thorn said Wednesday evening that the team likely wouldn't make any changes.

"There's nothing going on," Thorn said. "I've have had a lot of conversations. But I would probably say nothing is going to happen."

The possibility that Kidd would be sent to the Los Angeles Lakers was one of the most talked-about potential deals on Wednesday, prompting one fan at Wednesday's game to brandish a sign reading: "L.A. is no place 4 a Kidd."

"This is as much attention as I've ever seen on the possibility of a trade," Kidd said. "So we'll see what happens."

"If I'm traded to who everybody is speculating, I think that could work out, too," Kidd said. "I love to play the game no matter if it's here in New Jersey or if it's who everybody is speculating. So whatever happens, happens. I have no say in it. I'm just an employee."

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02-23-2007, 08:02 AM
Ginobili scores 40 points to lift Spurs over Hawks

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:58pm (Mla time) 02/22/2007
www.inquirer.net


ATLANTA, Georgia -- Manu Ginobili scored a San Antonio season-high 40 points and Tim Duncan chipped in 30 and nine rebounds Wednesday to lead the Spurs to a 103-96 National Basketball Association victory over Atlanta.

Ginobili scored 24 points in a row for the Spurs from the 2:27 mark in the first quarter to the 9:40 mark in the second.

San Antonio began the second quarter with a 16-2 run as Ginobili scored all the points in just 2:20.

It was the most points scored by one player this season against the Hawks.

"He was pretty special tonight," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said about Ginobili. "He's just a heck of a hard cover for any defense because he does everything a little bit different than most players. Tonight he was really on and he got us over the hump."
Ginobili took charge in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter to give the Spurs the lead for good - posting a 7-2 scoring run over the Hawks.

"I had some good stretches tonight," Ginobili said. "Some of those stretches were the best of my career. After I hit those first four field goals I started feeling good and Popovich started running every single play for me, and all of them worked."

The win was the fourth in a row for the Spurs, who have won 14 of their last 17 against the Hawks.

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02-23-2007, 08:03 AM
Heat’s Wade hurt in loss to Rockets

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:34pm (Mla time) 02/22/2007
www.inquirer.net


HOUSTON, Texas -- The early departure of injured superstar Dwyane Wade marred the anticipated return of coach Pat Riley to the Miami Heat sidelines on Wednesday.

The Houston Rockets handed the heat a 112-102 National Basketball Association defeat, but the potentially devastating loss was the apparently serious left shoulder injury that saw Wade taken from courtside in a wheelchair.

Wade banged into Shane Battier on a reach in and immediately grimaced in pain and left the game.

After he was wheeled from the bench, he was taken to hospital for further tests, and after the game Riley said Wade wouldn't accompany the Heat to their next game in Dallas.
Wade had 27 points before leaving the game with 9:17 to play.

The injury to the reigning NBA finals most valuable player overshadowed Riley's return to the sidelines after taking a 22-game leave of absence to undergo operations on his knee and hip.

Houston's Tracy McGrady had 32 points and put the game out of reach with back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the fourth quarter.

The second capped a 9-2 run and gave Houston a 103-88 lead with 6:11 to play.

Rafer Alston scored 20 points and Juwan Howard added 15 for the Rockets, who swept the season series with the Heat.

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02-24-2007, 11:53 AM
Mavs beat Heat, 112-100

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DALLAS, Texas (AFP) - Dirk Nowitzki scored 31 points and Dallas completed a season sweep of Miami with their 10th straight victory 112-100 on Thursday in a rematch of last season's finals.

Dallas pulled away in the second quarter and led by as many as 32 early in the fourth before Miami fought back to make the final score respectable.

Miami was making its first appearance in Dallas since winning the NBA title in Game 6 last June.

The Finals MVP, Dwyane Wade is considering season-ending surgery after dislocating his left shoulder in a loss at Houston on Wednesday.

Nowitzki added 11 rebounds and Jason Terry scored 16 of his 21 points in the second quarter as the Mavericks outscored the Heat, 39-21, to open a 65-42 lead.

Dallas let up in the fourth but still became just the fourth team in league history to have three winning streaks of at least 10 games. The Mavericks are 45-5 in their last 50 games and have all but forgotten about an 0-4 start.

Shaquille O'Neal and James Posey each had 17 points and Jason Williams added 13 for the Heat.

gameface_one
02-26-2007, 09:54 AM
The First Power Forward
SPORTS COLLECTIBLES By Bobby Motus
The Freeman 02/25/2007

The Lakers of the 1950's era was one of the most successful basketball dynasties of all time. George Mikan was the established star center of that team. Another skilled center was a Dutchman from the University of Hamline and to solve the problem of having two very large and talented centers, the Lakers moved the Dutchman to the forward position.

A hard-working and dedicated athlete, Vern Mikkelsen was born and raised in a variety of small Danish communities all over the US. His family moved to the Danish community of Afkove in Minnesota when he was in the seventh grade and it was here that he was introduced to basketball.

His upbringing alienated Mikkelsen from the rules of most of the major sports so that when he went into his school's gym and seeing some kids playing basketball, he had no idea what the game was all about. After observing them for some minutes, he was asked to play and was given the ball and responded by running the ball to the basket and did a lay-up. All the while, the other kids were yelling "travelling!" but Mikkelsen had no idea what that meant and continued running down the court anyway without dribbling the ball once.

Mastering the game, Mikkelsen became a legend at his high school but since he lives in a small Danish community, he was as foreign as a cactus outside of his town.

As fate would have it, a flat tire on the car of the basketball head coach of the University of Hamline was fixed by a local mechanic. He told the mechanic that he was on his way to recruit a hot-shot highschool player from northern Minnesota. The mechanic was quick to mention Mikkelsen and for some reason, the coach decided to have Mikkelsen's address and found him harvesting vegetables on his parent's farm.

Hamline, in the 1940's is among the best small college teams and played all the big school teams in the area. At 17, being a large, tall and strong player, Mikkelsen was positioned at center and learned to score with his back to the basket. During those times, a truly gifted 6-10 athlete is a rarity.

Again fate would play a role. His first college game was against DePaul and the reigning Mr. Basketball himself, George Mikan, who later became his professional teammate, winning together 4 NBA championships for the Lakers (1951, 1952, 1953 and 1955).

Their first meeting was memorable. Right at the start of the first game of the season, Mikkelsen scored a basket against Mikan. The funny thing is that he apologized to Mikan for making the basket. Mikan responded, "That's ok, you won't get anymore."

Graduating from Hamline in 1949 after leading the school to an NAIA championship, the Minnesota Lakers picked Mikkelsen, but during that time, since he was still 20 years old, he could not sign any legal document until he reaches the age of 21. So he had to wait for his father to drive to Minnesota and have his professional basketball contract signed.

Mikkelsen adjusted his game from center to forward, having to face the basket and score from different spots away from the cylinder. Applying the attributes of his previous position to his new game, he literally invented the power forward spot. Mikkelsen was the sixth player ever to score more than 10,000 points and played an ironman-type 699 games out of a possible 704 professional games.

Being one of the most widely respected players of his era, Mikkelsen was genuinely nice and good hearted. Teammate and Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor sums up Mikkelsen's personality. "I remember Vern as a hardworking, dedicated veteran. He was always willing to share his knowledge and give me advice about the game. Vern helped to make the transition from college to pro ball easy for me. I have a great deal of respect for Vern as a person and a player."

Mikkelsen's cardboards are on the $20-$30 price range. His rookie card, 1957-1958 Topps #28 costs $100. His second year card is one of the rarest in the hobby - a 1950 Scott's Potato Chip card valued between $1,000 to $2,000. Check out Fleer's 2005-2006 Greats of the Game for Mikkelsen's autographed card, as well as 'graphs of other basketball greats.

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02-26-2007, 11:59 AM
Redd, Williams shine as Bucks snap skid

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:57pm (Mla time) 02/25/2007
www.inquirer.net


MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin -- Mo Williams scored 26 points and handed out seven assists and Michael Redd also scored 26 Saturday as the Milwaukee Bucks snapped a seven-game National Basketball Association skid.

The Bucks beat the lowly Philadelphia 76ers 109-90 to stop the rot.

Ruben Patterson had 13 points and 10 assists for the Bucks, who went 3-17 with Redd sidelined by a knee injury.

After dropping their first three since his return, Milwaukee finally broke through on Saturday.

One of the league's premier sharpshooters, Redd scored just 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting in Friday's controversial loss at New York.

On Saturday, Milwaukee's backcourt made sure the outcome would not come down to a disputed final play.

Redd and Williams combined to shoot 19-of-31 from the field, including 8-of-14 from three point range.

Leading by one point at halftime, the Bucks outscored the 76ers 62-44 in the second half to secure the victory.

Andre Iguodala scored 22 points for the Sixers, who shot 51 percent but absorbed its fifth loss in their last six games.

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02-26-2007, 12:05 PM
Mavericks remain unbeaten at home

www.mb.com.ph


DALLAS (AP) — Dirk Nowitzki had 31 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists as the Dallas Mavericks stretched their club-record home winning streak to 19 games with a 115-95 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday.

Nowitzki fell two assists short of his first career triple-double and 28th in the history of the Mavericks, who won their 11th in a row overall.

Josh Howard, playing on a sore right ankle, added 27 points for the Mavericks. Jerry Stackhouse scored 16 for Dallas, which has won 46 of 51 after opening the season at 0-4.

Carmelo Anthony scored 34 points and Allen Iverson had 26 for the Nuggets, who lost their fourth in a row. Marcus Camby added 10 points and 17 rebounds for Denver.

Spurs 102, SuperSonics 71

At San Antonio, Tony Parker scored 21 points and Robert Horry added 17 to lead San Antonio to its fifth straight win.

Matt Bonner had 13 points, Manu Ginobili scored 11 and Tim Duncan added six points and 15 rebounds for the Spurs.

Ray Allen scored 12 points to lead the Sonics, and Rashard Lewis and Damien Wilkins had 10 each. Seattle had a season-low scoring total and lost for the sixth time in the last 10 games.

Jazz 105, Celtics 87

At Salt Lake City, Derek Fisher scored 17 of his 21 points in the second half and Carlos Boozer had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Utah.

Deron Williams finished with 10 assists and helped lead Utah’s rally in the third quarter after Boston narrowed a 15-point margin down to one but never quite caught the Jazz, who were without starters Mehmet Okur (back) and Andrei Kirilenko (knee).

Paul Pierce had 19 points to lead the Celtics, who have lost 22 of 23.

Bucks 109, 76ers 90

At Milwaukee, Michael Redd and Mo Williams scored 26 points each and Milwaukee beat Philadelphia to snap a seven-game losing streak.

Redd started strong and Williams, who finished 10-of-13 from the field including 5-of-7 from 3-point range, helped finish off Philadelphia, which has now lost five of six.

Andre Iguodala, averaging 17.4 points, scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half and went 9-of-18 from the field for the 76ers.

Samuel Dalembert added 15 points, Willie Green scored 11 and Andre Miller had 10 points and 11 assists.

Milwaukee won for just the second time in 13 games and is 4-22 since Jan. 1. The Bucks erased a 12-point first-half deficit and began to steadily pull away in the third. The Bucks started the quarter on a 22-3 run and led by as many as 30 in trash time.

Raptors 93, Bobcats 76

At Charlotte, North Carolina, Chris Bosh scored all 24 of his points in the second half and added 11 rebounds to help Toronto snap Charlotte’s team-record four-game winning streak.

Bosh, who missed his first five shots and didn’t score until midway through the third quarter, dominated the inside after Charlotte lost leading rebounder Emeka Okafor to a strained left calf in the third quarter.

Bobcats leading scorer Gerald Wallace also left in the third quarter with a strained groin, and Charlotte quickly wilted.

Jose Calderon added 16 points and T.J. Ford scored 15 for the Raptors, who limited the Bobcats to 32 percent shooting to win for the 12th time in 15 games.

Matt Carroll and Adam Morrison scored 13 points apiece for Charlotte, and Wallace had 12 before leaving.

Clippers 103, Warriors 90

At Los Angeles, Elton Brand had 31 points and 12 rebounds and tied a career high with eight blocked shots to help Los Angeles snap a four-game skid.

Corey Maggette scored eight of his 18 points in the final 5:18 in his sixth start of the season for the Clippers. Tim Thomas had 17 points and 10 rebounds before leaving the game because of back spasms in the fourth quarter.

Los Angeles has won 11 of the last 15 meetings and six straight at Staples Center.

Al Harrington led the Warriors with 24 points. Second-year point guard Monta Ellis had a career-high 13 assists along with 17 points.

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02-26-2007, 12:09 PM
Wade-less Heat sink LeBron's Cavaliers

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MIAMI (AFP) - Shaquille O'Neal scored 19 points and the Miami Heat showed they could win without injured star Dwyane Wade, beating Cleveland 86-81 Sunday thanks to an impressive defensive effort.

"Shaq" also grabbed 11 rebounds as the Heat improved to 2-7 in games without Wade, who has a dislocated left shoulder and will be sidelined indefinitely from the National Basketball Association season.

The playmaking guard who average s 28.8 points a game is talking to doctors and pondering season-ending surgery to repair the injury, but fighting for a playoff berth without Wade will be a huge challenge for the reigning champions.

Wade's absence has put more pressure on Miami's bench and the Heat answered the challenge by holding LeBron James and his teammates to only 37 percent shooting in Miami's first win in 12 games this season with less than 90 points.

Jason Kapono added 17 points and 11 rebounds while Alonzo Mourning contributed 15 points for the Heat.

James scored 29 points but Miami improved to 27-28 by winning at home for the seventh time in a row, the Heat clinging to the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavaliers fell to 32-24 and dropped 4 1/2 games behind Detroit in the fight for Eastern Conference supremacy and a home-court playoff advantage.

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02-26-2007, 12:09 PM
Webber spoils Wallace's return to Detroit

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DETROIT (Reuters) - Chris Webber scored with 2.2 seconds left to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 95-93 win over the Chicago Bulls and spoil Ben Wallace's return to Auburn Hills on Sunday.

Webber matched a season-high with 21 points for the Pistons, who won their fourth successive game and 15th in the 18 games since he has been in the starting lineup.

"I'm not trying to replace Ben (Wallace)," Webber told reporters. "I'm just playing like a guy who is happy to be a Piston."

The usual sell-out crowd at The Palace was not happy to see Wallace in a Chicago uniform and the four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was booed every time he touched the ball.

Wallace signed a four-year, $60-million contract with the Bulls in the off-season and seemed to enjoy being the center of attention in a building where he enjoyed his greatest success for six seasons.

"I wanted to see how loud they would boo," Wallace said.

The streaking Pistons opened up a 4 game lead in the Central Division with their 11th in 12 games after the Bulls had squandered a 16-point third-quarter lead.

Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 22 points, Chauncey Billups had 15 points and nine assists and Tayshaun Prince added 14 points and nine rebounds for Detroit.

Ben Gordon scored 21 points to lead the Bulls and P.J. Brown matched a season high with 19 points. Luol Deng added 18 points for Chicago, whose three-game winning streak was snapped.

*Tracy McGrady scored 34 points against his former team mates to lead the Houston Rockets to a 97-93 win over the Orlando Magic.

*Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Miami Heat edged the Cleveland Cavaliers 87-81. Miami won for just the second time in nine games with Dwyane Wade out of the lineup. LeBron James had 29 points to lead Cleveland.

*Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 17 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended a three-game losing streak by downing the Washington Wizards 98-94.

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02-27-2007, 11:45 AM
Jamison looks to shake off rust for return

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WASHINGTON - Injured Washington Wizards forward Antawn Jamison says he is trying to shake off the rust as he prepares for his much anticipated return to the team.

"Most of it is to trying to get the rhythm back," he told reporters on Monday after participating in his first practice since the injury.

"I think my rhythm is coming back, but you don't know that you are really back until you are playing against tough competition."

Jamison suffered a left knee sprain against the Detroit Pistons on January 30 and the Southeast Division-leading Wizards have gone 4-6 without their third-leading scorer.

The eight-year NBA veteran was expected to be out for up to six weeks but after a month was practicing with the team in non-contact drills.

Wizards coach Eddie Jordan said Jamison, who averages 19 points and eight rebounds per game, "looked good" in practice but was not ready for the rigors of the NBA.

"He made every shot, it seemed," Jordan said after the practice in East Rutherford, N.J. "I didn't see him take a hit. He was cutting and he was defending cutters but he did not drive in and take a hit."

The Wizards have been hit with a slew of injuries but still lead the Southeast Division by 4 games over the defending NBA champion Miami Heat (27-28).

Gilbert Arenas, the NBA's second-leading scorer, has soreness in his right shoulder, and fellow All-Star Caron Butler is battling back spasms.

Jamison said he was desperate to return.

"I just want to go out there and play, but I want to know that when I'm out there that I am definitely helping my team and not hurting them," he said.

The Wizards (31-23) visit the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday before hosting the Heat on Wednesday. Reuters

full battle gear
02-27-2007, 11:46 AM
Webber spoils Wallace's return to Detroit

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DETROIT (Reuters) - Chris Webber scored with 2.2 seconds left to lift the Detroit Pistons to a 95-93 win over the Chicago Bulls and spoil Ben Wallace's return to Auburn Hills on Sunday.

Webber matched a season-high with 21 points for the Pistons, who won their fourth successive game and 15th in the 18 games since he has been in the starting lineup.

"I'm not trying to replace Ben (Wallace)," Webber told reporters. "I'm just playing like a guy who is happy to be a Piston."

The usual sell-out crowd at The Palace was not happy to see Wallace in a Chicago uniform and the four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year was booed every time he touched the ball.

Wallace signed a four-year, $60-million contract with the Bulls in the off-season and seemed to enjoy being the center of attention in a building where he enjoyed his greatest success for six seasons.

"I wanted to see how loud they would boo," Wallace said.

The streaking Pistons opened up a 4 game lead in the Central Division with their 11th in 12 games after the Bulls had squandered a 16-point third-quarter lead.

Richard Hamilton led all scorers with 22 points, Chauncey Billups had 15 points and nine assists and Tayshaun Prince added 14 points and nine rebounds for Detroit.

Ben Gordon scored 21 points to lead the Bulls and P.J. Brown matched a season high with 19 points. Luol Deng added 18 points for Chicago, whose three-game winning streak was snapped.

*Tracy McGrady scored 34 points against his former team mates to lead the Houston Rockets to a 97-93 win over the Orlando Magic.

*Shaquille O'Neal had 19 points and 11 rebounds as the Miami Heat edged the Cleveland Cavaliers 87-81. Miami won for just the second time in nine games with Dwyane Wade out of the lineup. LeBron James had 29 points to lead Cleveland.

*Kevin Garnett had 26 points and 17 rebounds as the Minnesota Timberwolves ended a three-game losing streak by downing the Washington Wizards 98-94.

full battle gear
02-28-2007, 12:49 PM
Livingston likely out for season after ugly incident

www.abs-cbnnews.com


LOS ANGELES - Shaun Livingston, who is considered one of the cornerstones of the Los Angeles Clippers, suffered multiple torn ligaments in his left knee and likely will miss the remainder of the season.

Livingston suffered the injury early in a sickening scene during the first quarter of Monday's National Basketball Association victory over the Charlotte Bobcats.

Driving to the basket on a fast break, he collapsed to the floor after taking an awkward step, bringing a shocked silence over the crowd at the Staples Center.

The injury initially was diagnosed as a dislocated knee cap.

Team doctor Steven Shimoyama popped the knee back into place on the court, and Livingston was removed taken to the hospital on a stretcher. AFP

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02-28-2007, 12:50 PM
Knicks too good for Heat in red-hot playoff race

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Knicks outgunned the Heat in the closing seconds for a 99-93 win on Monday that further tightened the ferocious battle for Eastern Conference playoff berths.

With the Knicks leading 94-93, Miami's Udonis Haslem tipped away a pass headed for an open Eddy Curry under the basket as the 24-second clock was running out.

The ball skittered into the corner where Jamal Crawford corralled it and hoisted up a three-pointer to give New York a 97-93 lead with 20.7 seconds left.

That set up a victory that moved the Knicks (26-32) within two games of Miami (27-29) and a game and a half from the last playoff spot.

"This might be one of the more interesting races ever," Miami coach Pat Riley told reporters.

"We had a great defensive possession but Jamal was in the right place at the right time and that was it."

Knicks coach Isiah Thomas admitted his team had enjoyed some fortune.

"Sometimes you have to be a little lucky and we were lucky out there," he said.

New York was also very good against the NBA champions.

The emerging Curry matched Miami mainstays Shaquille O'Neal and Alonzo Mourning in the middle for three quarters before Stephon Marbury took over in the fourth.

Marbury, who tallied just seven points in the first three quarters, erupted for 18 points in the last, mixing up unerring jumpers with dazzling dashes to the hoop.

Thomas was proud of the way Marbury seized the initiative.

"He just pushed the button, like the great players can," said Thomas, who has been coaxing Marbury to utilize his scoring prowess to lead the team.

"I was really proud of how he played. I tell Stef, you only have to do it for a four or five-minute stretch," Thomas said about his guard. "To be able to read it and press that button, it was beautiful to watch."

Marbury scored 25 points and Curry had 28 points to go with 11 rebounds, including five on the offensive end.

O'Neal had 20 points but just three rebounds. Mourning, the NBA's best back-up center, added 12 points and six boards. Three-point sharpshooter
Jason Kapono was 4-of-5 from the arc and scored 24 points.

The hard-fought battle featured a large discrepancy at the foul line, where the Knicks had 39 chances, converting 30 of them, compared with just eight free throws taken by Miami.

O'Neal, expected to pick up the slack since a shoulder injury sidelined guard Dwyane Wade, was not surprised.

"They are very, very aggressive taking it to the hole," said O'Neal.

full battle gear
02-28-2007, 12:50 PM
Mavs rout Hawks to extend record home streak to 20

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DALLAS (Reuters) - The Dallas Mavericks extended their franchise-record home winning streak to 20 games with a 110-87 thrashing of the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, easing to a victory that was also their 12th straight overall.

Dirk Nowitzki led the way with 27 points and eight rebounds for the Mavericks to help Dallas improve to 27-3 at home with their 47th victory in 52 games after starting the season 0-4.

Jason Terry added 21 points for the winners, who are one of just four teams in NBA history to have three winning streaks of 10 or more games in the same season.

Dallas already enjoyed a 13-game streak and another 12-game run earlier this year.

It may have been a costly victory for the Mavericks, however, as Josh Howard left the game with a sprained right ankle with 6:11 to play after scoring 20 points.

Howard was already playing with a sore ankle and had to be helped off the court after diving for a loose ball. He is listed as day-to-day but did make the trip with the team to Minnesota after the game.

"Hopefully he'll be OK," Dallas coach Avery Johnson told reporters.

The Hawks had won six of their previous eight road games, but were over-matched against the Mavericks, who have the best record in the NBA.

"Dallas is good, they try to do things the right way," Atlanta coach Mike Woodson said. "They have so many weapons, it's like, pick your poison out there."

Jerry Stackhouse added 19 points for the Mavericks, who shot 54 percent from the field and raced into a 60-45 lead at the half.

Joe Johnson led the Hawks with 29 points, while Zaza Pachulia had 24 points and nine rebounds.

* In New York, Stephon Marbury scored 25 points as the New York Knicks beat the Miami Heat 99-93.

Shaquille O'Neal became the 14th player to reach 25,000 points in his career with a 20-point game, but Knicks coach Isiah Thomas was pleased with his team's effort against the defending NBA champions.

"This was a very good win," Thomas said. "We were pretty gritty tonight. I liked what I saw."

* The San Antonio Spurs extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 107-91 win over the Toronto Raptors.

* Carmelo Anthony had 33 points as the Denver Nuggets snapped a four-game losing streak with a 111-107 win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

* Samuel Dalembert had 20 points and 17 rebounds as the Philadelphia 76ers got past the Sacramento Kings 89-82.

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03-02-2007, 10:53 AM
Ankle op to end season for Celtics forward Szczerbiak

www.abs-cbnnews.com


BOSTON, Massachusetts (AFP) - Boston Celtics forward Wally Szczerbiak will have season-ending surgery on his ankle March 8, the struggling National Basketball Association team said Wednesday.

The news could prove a blessing in disguise for the Celtics, who have the worst record in the NBA at 14-42.

They will have to play their final 26 games without their second-leading scorer, but that could help their chances of receiving the top selection in the draft.

Szczerbiak has missed 24 games this season, all but one due to ankle sprains. He sat out November 11 against Cleveland, five games from December 4-11, three games from December 20-26, nine games from January 10-26 and two contests from February 9-11.

After scoring 14 points against Milwaukee on February 14, Szczerbiak returned after the All-Star break but hurt his ankle for the fourth time this season early in a loss at

Sacramento on February 20 and hasn't played since.

In his eighth NBA season and first full campaign with the Celtics, Szczerbiak averaged 15.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 32 games.

He was an All-Star in 2002 with Minnesota.

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03-02-2007, 10:54 AM
Sixers beat Suns, 99-94

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PHILADELPHIA, Pennsylvania (AFP) - The Philadelphia 76ers ended the Phoenix Suns' bid for a piece of National Basketball Association history on Wednesday.

Andre Iguodala scored 24 points and Willie Green added 20 as the Sixers posted a 99-94 triumph over Phoenix, ending the Suns' bid to become the first team to go undefeated on the road against rivals from the opposite conference.

The victory also helped Philadelphia (11-38) avoid getting swept in the season series against Phoenix for the third year in a row.

Philadelphia led by as many as 14 points in the third quarter, but Phoenix cut the deficit to 65-64 on consecutive baskets by reigning Most Valuable Player Steve Nash with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

But the 76ers were able to create some distance behind an impressive 10-0 surge with 11:45 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The Suns battled back again, tying the game at 84-84 when Leandro Barbosa drained a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner with 4:25 left.

Andre Miller connected on an 18-footer and Kyle Korver made a pair of free throws for the Sixers, who grabbed a four-point lead two minutes later.

Barbosa's shot from the arc closed the Suns within 88-87 at the 2:16 mark. But on the ensuing possession, Iguodala sank a 3-pointer of his own to keep Phoenix at bay.

Amare Stoudemire had 31 points and 13 rebounds and Nash added 23 and nine assists for the Suns, who were without fellow All-Star Shawn Marion due to hand and quadriceps injuries and without Boris Diaw (back injury).

The Suns had won their 14th straight road game over an Eastern squad by erasing an 18-point third-quarter deficit en route to a 103-92 victory over Indiana on Tuesday.

They went into Wednesday's contest 23-3 overall against Eastern Conference teams.

As it was, the Suns' 14-1 record on the road against the East set a league record for winning percentage (.933).

The 76ers seemed unlikely candidates to reverse the trend. They had lost five of their last seven games going into Wednesday's clash.

But the Sixers were determined spoilers. They outrebounded the suns 50-37 and helped make sure that the Suns, the NBA's best three-point shooting team, connected on just 10 of 26.

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03-02-2007, 10:55 AM
Shaq shines to lead Heat over Wizards

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Shaquille O'Neal turned in one of his strongest performances of the season Wednesday to lift the depleted Miami Heat to a 92-83 victory over the Washington Wizards.

O'Neal scored 12 of his season-high 23 points in the final period and Jason Williams added 23 points as the Heat dug in defensively down the stretch.

Udonis Haslem collected 12 points and 15 rebounds for Miami, which improved to just 3-8 with superstar Dwyane Wade sidelined.

Wade, the reigning NBA finals Most Valuable Player, decided that he will wait until the end of the week to decide whether to undergo season-ending surgery or rehabilitate his injured shoulder.

Missing 38 games after knee surgery earlier this season, O'Neal had been sluggish in his return. With Wade sidelined, Miami's playoff hopes rest on O'Neal's wide shoulders and he responded.

On Wednesday, he played with energy, shooting 11-of-17 from the field and grabbing 10 rebounds. Showing his complete repertoire in the fourth quarter, O'Neal torched Wizards center Brendan Haywood with a combination of jump hooks and ferocious dunks.

All-Star Gilbert Arenas struggled all night, scoring 15 points on 3-of-18 shooting - missing all eight of his shots from the arc - for Washington, which lost its third straight game.

The Wizards continued to play without All-Star Caron Butler and star forward Antawn Jamison, who both may return within the next two games.

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03-02-2007, 10:55 AM
Defending champions Miami struggling for playoff berth

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Miami Heat center Alonzo Mourning bristles at the thought of the defending NBA champions having to sneak into the postseason.

"Sneaking won't do it," he snapped in a locker room interview.

"I hate sneaking. I hate cats. I hate anything that sneaks. Our goal is to win games and position ourselves for the playoffs."

The Heat surprised many with their improbable run to the NBA crown last season but this year have stunned just as many by struggling to maintain a winning record.

Injuries to stars Shaquille O'Neal and Dwyane Wade have left the defending champions on the brink of having to watch the playoffs on TV.

Miami must make the top eight in the Eastern Conference to qualify for the postseason and has been toggling between the eighth and ninth spots.

The Heat defeated the Southeast Division-leading Washington Wizards 92-83 on Wednesday to climb within one game of the .500 mark at 28-29.

The Heat will need to have Wade, the team's leader who averages 29 points a game, back in the line-up if they are to have any chance of advancing deep into the playoffs.

Injury woes
Wade dislocated his shoulder against the Houston Rockets last week and is weighing up whether to rehabilitate and return for the playoffs or have season-ending surgery.

"Whether he's going to make the decision to rehab and delay surgery or whatever, we have to play," said coach Pat Riley.

"We know it's going to be an extended period of time without him."

O'Neal, limited to just 17 of Miami's first 56 games this season because of a knee injury, will have to pick it up at both ends of the floor if the Heat are to make another run.

But the 13-times All-Star center still believes the Heat can win back-to-back titles.

"Our goal is to always win the whole thing," said O'Neal, who scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Wizards.

"It's never been a goal of ours to just to make it to the playoffs."

Most of the Eastern Conference is mired in mediocrity, giving the Heat a chance to grab a high seed if they can shake the injury bug and return to their winning ways.

"I think we can win it," said O'Neal. "If everyone sticks to the script, we can win it. I'm 100 percent sure."

The Heat met with President Bush at the White House on Tuesday, a reminder of last year's success.

"To have the president and the White House recognize us, it was a great sense of accomplishment," he said.

"But based on what's been going on this season with us, the doom-and-gloom, it dampened the experience."

full battle gear
03-02-2007, 10:55 AM
Nowitzki, Billups earn NBA player of month honors

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Dirk Nowitzki, superstar forward of the red-hot Dallas Mavericks, was named the National Basketball Association Western Conference player of the month for February.

Detroit Pistons guard Chauncey Billups was honored in the Eastern Conference when the awards were announced on Thursday.

On his way to leading the Mavs to a 10-0 record for the month, Nowitzki averaged 27.1 points and 9.7 rebounds. The German scored at least 30 points four times during the month.

The Mavericks (48-9) are in the midst of a 13-game winning streak, their third run of at least 12 games this season.

Billups averaged 17.9 points and 7.5 assists while leading the Pistons to a 10-1 record for the month.

Other nominees were Cleveland's LeBron James, New Jersey's Vince Carter, New Orleans' Tyson Chandler, New York's Eddy Curry, Philadelphia's Andre Iguodala, Phoenix's Amare Stoudemire and Toronto's Chris Bosh.

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03-04-2007, 01:29 PM
O’Neal scores 31 as Heat burn Pistons

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:35pm (Mla time) 03/03/2007
www.inquirer.net


MIAMI -- Superstar Shaquille O'Neal collected 31 points and 15 rebounds Friday to lead the depleted Miami Heat to an 85-82 victory over Eastern Conference rivals Detroit in a National Basketball Association game.

Antoine Walker scored 22 points and James Posey added 10 and seven rebounds for the Heat, who won for just the third time in 14 regular-season matchups against Detroit.
The Pistons saw their four-game winning streak end.

Behind 25 points by O'Neal, the Heat held an impressive 50-31 lead after two quarters. But the Pistons stormed back in the third to make things interesting.

Detroit made 10-of-19 shots en route to outscoring Miami, 26-11, to close within 61-57 at the start the decisive fourth period.

Antonio McDyess drained a jumper from the top of the key and Tayshaun Prince scored on a breakaway layup with 3:14 left in the game, giving the Pistons their first lead of the game - 74-73.

A few minutes later, O'Neal drew a charge against Prince, then found Walker for a 3-pointer as the Heat grabbed an 80-78 lead with 1:04 left. It was just O'Neal's second charge taken this year.

After both teams traded baskets, Jason Williams and Eddie Jones made 3-of-4 free throws as Miami opened an 85-80 bulge with 12 seconds to play.

Following two foul shots by Chauncey Billups, Detroit had a chance to send the game into overtime after Prince picked off Gary Payton's pass. But Billups misfired on a 3-pointer and Richard Hamilton also missed from long range as time expired.

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03-04-2007, 01:30 PM
Ginobili does the trick for Spurs against Magic

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:26pm (Mla time) 03/03/2007
www.inquirer.net


SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- Manu Ginobili, with a textbook performance from 3-point range, scored 31 points off the bench for San Antonio Friday as the Spurs defeated Orlando 98-74 in a National Basketball Association contest.

Tim Duncan added 19 points and 10 rebounds as the Spurs won their seventh straight game and avenged a 106-104 loss to Orlando in a February 9 thriller.

In that game, All-Star Dwight Howard made a one-handed dunk off an alley-oop pass with less than a second left to lift Orlando to the victory.

Ginobili made sure there was a different outcome this time around, shooting 11-of-19 from the field - including 6-of-9 from 3-point range.

He was on an incredible roll, draining shots from all angles.

Leading, 62-57, with eight seconds left in the third quarter, the Spurs closed the game on a 36-17 run.

Ginobili scored 12 points during the burst, including two 3-pointers and two three-point plays during a remarkable stretch.

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03-04-2007, 01:30 PM
Nets blow late lead in overtime loss to Celtics

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 08:26am (Mla time) 03/04/2007
www.inquirer.net


EAST RUTHERFORD, New Jersey -- Al Jefferson scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 18 rebounds, leading Boston to a 96-88 overtime National Basketball Association victory Saturday over New Jersey.

The Celtics, who trailed by seven points with less than a minute remaining in regulation, rallied to stun the Nets thanks to Delonte West, who scored seven points in the last 45 seconds of regulation.

West's 3-pointer with four seconds remaining sent the game into overtime level at 83-83.

Paul Pierce, a horrid 8-of-28 overall after missing his first 11 shots, made back-to-back baskets 27 seconds apart in overtime to give the Celtics the lead for good at 92-88. Pierce finished with 17 points.

The Celtics won their third game in a row to stand at 16-42, finally moving past Memphis to not be the NBA team with the fewest victories even though their 16-42 record remains the worst in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets slid to 28-31, only one-half game ahead of Orlando for the last Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Vince Carter led the Nets with 25 points and 10 rebounds. New Jersey made 21 turnovers and had a three-game win streak snapped.

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03-04-2007, 01:35 PM
Shoulder injury sidelines Lakers forward Odom

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LOS ANGELES, United States (AFP) – Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom will be sidelined indefinitely with a left shoulder injury, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday.

According to the newspaper, Odom suffered a torn labrum when he was injured in Friday's National Basketball Association contest against Sacramento.

It was the same shoulder that caused Odom to miss the final 17 games of the 2004-05 season.

The eight-year veteran was sidelined for 22 games earlier this season with a sprained knee before returning on January 26. He is averaging 16.4 points, 9.4 rebounds and 4.7 assists in 38 contests.

The Lakers, who travel to Phoenix on Sunday, are already without forwards Luke Walton (ankle) and Vladimir Radmanovic (separated shoulder).

gameface_one
03-05-2007, 10:26 AM
Remembering Dennis Johnson
THE GAME OF MY LIFE By Bill Velasco
The Philippine Star 03/05/2007

It seems that silence seems to follow Dennis Johnson, even in his death. He was always respected, perhaps even envied. But he was seldom talked about, despite his consistent ability to win even in the most difficult situations.

Johnson was just 5’9" as a guard at Dominguez High School, playing only a minute or two each game. When he graduated, the coach at Harbor Junior College saw him playing on the street, noticed his tough defense, and asked him to enroll. Johnson traded in a job at a local warehouse for the classroom. Growing seven inches in the next two years, DJ averaged 18.3 points and 12.0 rebounds and helped Harbor to a state junior college title.

Despite the success, the understated guard received only two scholarship offers: from Pepperdine and Azusa Pacific, choosing the former, and a move to Malibu. In his only season there, Johnson normed 15.7 points and helped the Waves crack the Top 20 and make the NCAA Tournament. With his signature tough defense, Pepperdine beat Memphis State and then put a scare into UCLA at Pauley Pavilion. What made that game memorable was Johnson getting all over Bruins playmaker Andre McCarter. Seattle scouts sat up and took note of the tough guard who also jumped center. After that season Johnson applied as a hardship case for the 1976 NBA Draft.

Johnson was actually shocked when the SuperSonics made him their second-round pick, considering the firepower in their backcourt. The Sonics already had Don "Slick" Watts and "Downtown" Freddie Brown. DJ barely stuck, scoring 9.2 points per game in dramatically limited duty as a rookie.

Then coach Bill Russell left after the 1976-77 season, and his successor Bob Hopkins lasted only 22 games in 1977-78. In stepped another hard-nosed guard, Lenny Wilkens, taking over a 5-17 team. Wilkens traded Watts, gave Johnson a starting job paired with the smooth Gus Williams, and led Seattle to a 12-game home winning streak. The Sonics finished at 47-35 and jumped into the NBA Finals against the Washington Bullets after eliminating the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA champion Portland Trail Blazers, and the Denver Nuggets. But Seattle wasn’t ready for it, and squandered a three-games-to-two lead, losing in seven games.

Then Johnson improved his scoring to 15.9 points per game and made his first appearances on both the All-Star and All-Defensive teams. He would be an All-Star five times and make his home on the Defensive Team nine straight times. In a rematch against the Bullets in the 1979 NBA Finals, Seattle dropped the first game but won the next four to claim the team’s first championship and only one to date. Johnson scored 32 points in a Game 4 overtime victory and was named Finals MVP.

After the following season, the Sonics traded Johnson to the Phoenix Suns for All-Star guard Paul Westphal. In his first year in Phoenix, Johnson guided the Suns to a Pacific Division title over the Lakers. He averaged 18.8 points that year and was selected to the All-NBA First Team, joining Julius Erving, Larry Bird, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and George Gervin. Imagine that.

In 1981-82 Johnson tallied a career-high 19.5 ppg. He made his fourth straight All-Star Game appearance and continued to terrorize the league with his stifling defense. After tailing off a bit in 1982-83 to 14.2 points per game, Johnson was traded to Boston for big man Rick Robey. The 6’11" Robey played only three more years, peaking at a measly 5.6 points per game. DJ, meanwhile, went on to win two championships during his seven seasons with the Celtics.

Johnson’s consistency bound together a team of stars that included Bird, Robert Parish and Kevin McHale. In his first year in Boston, the Celtics won their 15th NBA title, and in his third year they won their 16th. And the highlights weren’t all Bird’s. Johnson’s postseason heroics – shutting down Magic Johnson in the 1984 Finals; his buzzer-beating jumper to win Game 4 in the 1985 Finals against the Lakers; and his game-winning basket off Larry Bird’s steal in Game 5 of the 1987 conference finals against Detroit – placed him among the best-loved Celtics.

Not too many people also know that Dennis Johnson was also a relatively frequent visitor to the Philippines, especially earlier in his career. He died, fittingly enough like another contemporary, Pete Maravich: after coaching a practice and playing one-on-one against one of the younger players on his Austin Toros team. Two sides of the same coin.

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03-05-2007, 11:03 AM
Terry shines as Mavericks win 15th straight

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:37pm (Mla time) 03/04/2007
www.inquirer.net


DALLAS, Texas -- The Dallas Mavericks stretched their National Basketball Association winning streak to a club-record 15 on Saturday with a 103-98 victory over Orlando.

Jason Terry had 29 points and a season-high 15 assists, while Dirk Nowitzki collected 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists.

His fellow All-Star Josh Howard scored 21 for the Mavericks, who also extended their home winning streak to a franchise-best 22 contests.

The win also helped the Mavericks (50-9) become the first team in the NBA to reach the 50-win plateau this season -- and the sixth-fastest do so in league history.

Dallas made it 96-92 when Nowitzki converted a three-point play with three minutes remaining.

But All-Star Dwight Howard and Jameer Nelson both sank a pair of free throws, tying the game one minute later.

However, Terry drained the go-ahead, pull-up jump shot in the lane and, following a turnover by Nelson, Josh Howard also completed a three-point play to give Dallas a 101-96 edge at the 1:30 mark.

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03-05-2007, 11:07 AM
Wizards defeat Warriors amid controversy

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WASHINGTON (AFP) - Washington edged Golden State 107-106 here Sunday in a National Basketball Association contest that ended amid controversy over a technical foul that gave the Wizards the chance to claim the victory.

Golden State coach Don Nelson was slapped with a technical foul for arguing a last-second call, a decision that gave Washington's Gilbert Arenas an extra free throw that proved the difference for the Wizards.

"We have lost a lot of close games this season, but none like this one," Golden State guard Monta Ellis said.

The wild finish saddled the Warriors with their sixth straight defeat. They dropped to 0-4 on their six-game road trip and appear destined to miss the playoffs for the 13th straight year.

"I think the league will be very disappointed in this game, the way it ended, when they review the plays," Nelson said.

"It's just unfortunate that the refs made a very, very, very bad call," Warriors forward Al Harrington said. "I don't know if I'm going to get fined for that, but that was just an awful call."

The Warriors held a 106-104 lead after two free throws by Harrington with two seconds left. The Wizards called timeout and designed a play for Arenas, an All-Star who drove to the basket on Mikael Pietrus.

"I was going to drive to the hole on the final play," said Arenas, who has won a pair of games with buzzer-beating 3-pointers. "I thought they were going to play for the 3-point shot. They didn't, so I figured that I would just drive to the basketball and try and draw a foul."

The horn sounded as the whistle blew, with Pietrus called for a questionable foul. Nelson burst off the bench and vehemently argued the call, drawing the technical. Wizards coach Eddie Jordan also was on the court but did not receive a technical foul.

"I really don't mind the foul, because if it's a foul and he makes two free throws, we're playing an extra five minutes," Harrington said. "But the technical was just ridiculous, because now you just take the game completely away from us."

"Eddie was on the floor as well," Nelson said. "If they give me one, they have to give him one. They said I was out on the floor, but we were both on the floor. I was standing right next to him for a minute."

The referees put a tenth of a second back on the clock before Arenas drained the free throw awarded for the technical. After he made the first of his two foul shots to tie the game, the Warriors called timeout.

Unrattled, Arenas returned to the line and sank the winning free throw. The former Warrior scored 32 points, making all 12 of his foul shots.

"Gilbert has ice water through his veins and he knocked them down," Jordan said. "It was a very strange ending."

"We knew the game was over as soon as they called the technical," said Warriors guard Jason Richardson, who had a season-high 28 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

After the game, Nelson refused to be drawn into criticism of the officials.

"It was clear to me, but I'll let you look at it and make your own decision. I'm sure the league will, too, although you're not going to replay the game."

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03-05-2007, 11:08 AM
Marion returns as Suns down depleted Lakers

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PHOENIX, Arizona (AFP) - Shawn Marion returned after a two-game absence on Sunday and helped the Phoenix Suns hold off the Los Angeles Lakers for a 99-94 National Basketball Association victory.

Marion had 13 points and 12 rebounds while drawing late defensive duty on Kobe Bryant as the Suns claimed their seventh victory in eight games.

Steve Nash had 23 points and 10 assists and Leandro Barbosa scored 20 points off the bench for the Suns, who used a third-quarter surge to take control and survived a late push by the Lakers, who have lost two in a row and eight of 11.

An All-Star forward, Marion missed Wednesday's defeat at Philadelphia and Friday's win over Indiana with injuries to his hand and quadriceps.

He was back in the starting lineup Sunday and played a team-high 42-plus minutes.

Marion sank 6-of-15 shots and added two blocks and a steal. He appeared to be still feeling pain in his hand, although he made a pair of key shots down the stretch.

After Marion's basket gave the Suns an 88-78 lead with 6:22 to go, the Lakers closed to 90-85 on a tough shot by Bryant, who scored 31 points on 11-of-28 shooting.

Marion answered by spinning off the baseline for a short banker with 4:13 left - Phoenix's last basket of the game.

A 3-pointer by Shammond Williams made it a four-point game and Bryant's bucket cut the deficit to 93-90 with 2:46 remaining. But the Lakers got no closer.

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03-06-2007, 11:34 AM
Rockets center Yao cleared to play

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 12:09pm (Mla time) 03/05/2007
www.inquirer.net


LOS ANGELES -- Houston Rockets center Yao Ming has been cleared to play Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Houston Chronicle reported on Sunday.

Yao broke his right leg on December 23 in a collision with Tim Thomas and teammate Chuck Hayes during a National Basketball Association game against the Los Angeles Clippers.

In a story from Cleveland posted on their website, the Chronicle said Rockets athletic trainer Keith Jones and general manager Carroll Dawson had said that Yao would be on the active roster for Monday's game, while coach Jeff Van Gundy has said the Chinese superstar would start as soon as doctors give the green light.

"When they say he can play," Van Gundy told the paper on Friday, "I'm playing him."

That go-ahead came on Sunday after Yao went through a morning workout attended by team doctor Tom Clanton and test results were examined by specialist doctor Brian Cole in Chicago.

"His workouts have been tremendous," Dawson told the Chronicle. "They were kind of blown away. Clanton was really impressed. So we're going ahead as scheduled. He will be on the active list."

Yao returns to a Houston team that has lost five of its past eight games, including a 97-74 rout by San Antonio on Saturday.

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03-06-2007, 11:38 AM
Gordon out-guns Redd in Bulls-Bucks NBA shoot-out

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MILWAUKEE, United States (AFP) - Ben Gordon scored 24 of his career-high 48 points in the fourth quarter and overtime Sunday to lift Chicago to a victory over Michael Redd and the Milwaukee Bucks.

Redd made a season-high eight 3-pointers and scored 52 points, five shy of his career high, but it wasn't enough to prevent the Bulls from winning 126-121 and snapping Milwaukee's three-game winning streak.

However, the prolific guard managed just eight points after the third quarter as the Bucks squandered an 18-point fourth quarter lead.

Gordon's jumpshot with 11 seconds to play in regulation gave the Bulls their first lead at 111-110 and capped a furious 29-10 run during which he scored 11 points.

Milwaukee's Ruben Patterson had a chance to win the game but split two free throws to sent it into overtime. Chicago scored seven of the first eight points of the extra session to take control.

Luol Deng scored 27 points on 11-of-16 shooting and Kirk Hinrich added 23 for the Bulls.

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03-06-2007, 11:39 AM
Kings' Ron Artest arrested on domestic violence charge

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SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Sacramento Kings basketball player Ron Artest, who was involved in one of the most notorious brawls in US sports history in 2004, was arrested on Monday on domestic violence charges, officials said.

"Artest was booked on the charge of domestic violence and preventing a victim from reporting a crime, so two charges," said Dena Erwin, a spokeswoman for the Placer County Sheriff's office.

Local police arrested Artest, 27, at his residence in Loomis, California, a suburb of the state capital Sacramento on Monday morning and released him on $50,000 bail by 2 p.m. Citing privacy laws, officials would not say whether the victim was his wife.

Artest, then playing for the Indiana Pacers, lost about $5 million in earnings after a 73-game suspension when a 2004 fight spilled into the stands. He has also generated headlines with volatile behavior on and off the court on other occasions.

Officials set an arraignment date of March 22.

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03-07-2007, 11:37 AM
Chinese giant Sun rises to NBA challenge

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ROCKVILLE, Maryland - The only thing that rivals the size of 2.36m (7ft 9in) Chinese giant Sun Ming Ming, the world's second-tallest man, is his dream of playing in the National Basketball Association.

The 23-year-old goliath plays for the Maryland Nighthawks of the American Basketball Association, a developmental league for NBA hopefuls where Sun hopes to improve his speed, fitness and skills for a place among the sport's elite.

"I try every game to learn something," Sun said. "It can't make you fast. It can't make you strong. You can only learn the game. If you want to move fast, you need a long time to work hard."

Lumbering up and down the court in size 20 shoes with a 170kg frame, Sun is often relegated to the bench if there is a tense climax in the run-and-gun fast-paced games, complete with hip-hop music blaring during the action.

The 7-foot-9 man-mountain wearing jersey number 79 has his moments, a spectacular behind-the-back pass for an uncontested lay-up or a slam dunk when defenders become careless.

"My strength is OK, at the NBA level. It's no problem," Sun said. "I lift weights. Before not a lot. Now every day. And I try very hard to be much better with the pass."

Curiosity lures crowds, 6,800 in Rochester and a sellout of 1,800 for the home debut here of the man teammates call "Big Homey". People will see more of him in "Rush Hour 3" with Asian film star Jackie Chan.

Sun's head touches the bottom of the net and nearly reaches the bottom of the backboard. A ballboy barely as tall as Sun's waist helps him on pre-game shooting drills.

He is the first man back practicing on the court after halftime despite having to duck low to make it through the gymnasium doorway.

But beneath the freak show attraction is a determined man overcoming a pituitary tumor that caused his gigantism, one who signs dozens of autographs for children after every game.

After playing on China's junior national team, Sun struggled with fatigue. He was allowed to come to the United States in 2004 where doctors discovered a tumor near his brain and optic nerve. Most of the tumor was removed.

"I had some friends but when I first came here it was very, very hard," said Sun, who works to learn English and adapt to American culture. "I miss home a little bit. I call my family once or twice a week. I miss them a lot."

Sun takes medication that has finally stopped his growth and allowed him to improve his fitness, stamina, footwork and coordination.

"(My health) is good. It's a lot better," Sun said. "(Surgery) has given me a lot more energy. My feet hurt sometime but it's not a problem. My speed is better. After the surgery, I never grow.

"Will I reach the NBA? I don't know. I can only play my game."

Nighthawks guard Randy Gill is optimistic Sun will rise to the NBA level.

"I think he definitely can play at the NBA level," Hill said. "He improves every day. He works very hard."

Sun is not in the picture for China's 2008 Olympic squad, although a team called Beijing Olympians plays in his league and could be a playoff opponent later this month.

"No, I can't play in 2008," Sun said. "Beyond that, I don't know the future. I want to play. But now you need to play very, very good. You need to play games, games, games against very good teams."

Sun works with 2.31m Romanian Gheorghe Muresan, a former Washington NBA player whom he replaced as the tallest player in pro basketball history.

"He taught me some lessons like taking the ball and going inside," Sun said. "He helps me a lot. He teaches me about position."

Sun has never met Chinese NBA star Yao Ming but learns what he can from watching Yao on television.

"When I watch him, I can learn a little," Sun said. "I've never met him. Sometime if he had the time I would like to."

Sun averages 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 blocked shots and 1.0 assist a game for the Nighthawks, 14-17 overall and 3-6 with Sun.

He scored five points and grabbed three rebounds in a 128-108 victory Sunday over the Montreal Royals and scored 10 points and grabbed five rebounds in a season-high 27 minutes Saturday in a 116-111 loss to the Quebec Kebekwa.

"He's a worthwhile project," ex-Nighthawks coach Will Rankin said. "He puts in the work. He has to learn spacing and position. That comes from practice. He's coming along. He has shown improvement. He's not soft. He has talent." AFP

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03-07-2007, 11:38 AM
Not even Yao's return can stop LeBron's Cavaliers

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CLEVELAND, Ohio (AFP) - Chinese center Yao Ming scored 16 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in his first game since December 23 but could not lift the Houston Rockets past LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

James produced game highs of 32 points and 12 rebounds to spark the Cavaliers past Houston 91-85 here Monday, stealing the thunder from the National Basketball Association return of 7-foot-6 Yao.

Five-time NBA All-Star Yao missed 32 games with a broken bone under his right knee and was understandably rusty in his return after 11 weeks of rehabilitation, hitting only 5-of-15 shots from the field in 27 minutes.

Yao also swatted aside a pair of shots and hit 6-of-8 free throws against the Cavaliers, against whom he scored 24 points in a December victory before his injury against the Los Angeles Clippers two days before Christmas.

Yao was having his best NBA season when he suffered the injury, averaging a career-high 26.8 points and 9.7 rebounds in 26 games.

The Rockets, 36-24, rank fifth in the Western Conference after going 20-12 without Yao, although the loss was Houston's fourth in the past five games.

The Cavaliers, 35-25, remained second in the Eastern Conference and pulled within three games of the pace-setting Detroit Pistons.

Larry Hughes added 22 points for the Cavaliers, but James made the difference by hitting 12-of-24 from the field and contributing eight assists.

Tracy McGrady, who led Houston with 25 points, made a 3-point shot to pull Houston within 88-85 with 36 seconds remaining, but Hughes sank three free throws in the last 10 seconds to seal the victory.

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03-07-2007, 11:38 AM
Heat suffer another blow as Kapono out indefinitely

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MIAMI (AFP) - Jason Kapono, a key playmaker for the Miami Heat since star guard Dwyane Wade was hurt, has been sidelined at least 10 days with a sprained left ankle, the defending NBA champions announced here Tuesday.

The 26-year-old sharpshooting forward who won the NBA 3-Point Shootout during All-Star Game festivities was injured late in the third quarter of Miami's 88-81 victory Monday over Atlanta.

Kapono landed awkwardly on teammate James Posey while attempting to challenge a shot by Atlanta's Joe Johnson and an MRI exam Tuesday showed a bone bruise and high ankle sprain.

A cast will be placed on Kapono's ankle Wednesday and he will be re-evaluated after at least 10 days.

The setback casts doubts on Miami's ability to win back-to-back crowns as Dwyane Wade, the NBA's third-best scorer, is out with a dislocated shoulder while Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Williams have had long injury layoffs.

Kapono leads the NBA with a 3-point shooting accuracy rate of 51.3 percent and ranks third on the Heat with 11.1 points a game.

The Heat, 30-29 and above level for the first time since a 3-2 start last November, rank sixth in the Eastern Conference.

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03-08-2007, 12:06 PM
Spurs star guard Parker doubtful for NBA road swing

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 07:48am (Mla time) 03/07/2007
www.inquirer.net


SAN ANTONIO, Texas -- French guard Tony Parker is doubtful for the remainder of the San Antonio Spurs' road trip because of lingering pain for a left hip flexor strain he suffered last week.

Parker was expected to miss Tuesday's game at Portland and Thursday's game at Sacramento because of the injury suffered during a victory last Friday over Orlando, the San Antonio Express-News reported Tuesday.

"When he's ready, he'll be ready," Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. "I don't even think about it. When they tell me he's ready, then he's ready."

Parker, who skipped a practice session, is not someone the Spurs wish to have return too fast for fear he might make the injury worse.

He has not missed more than two games in each of the prior two seasons but had already missed a game with a strained right hip earlier this season.

Asked what Parker was able to do, Popovich joked, "Eat steak, watch TV, go to Hollywood parties."

Parker is scheduled to wed actress Eva Longoria on July 7.

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03-08-2007, 12:13 PM
Mavericks beat Nets for 16th straight win

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DALLAS, Texas (AFP) - Jason Terry scored 24 points and German star Dirk Nowitzki had 22 points and 11 rebounds, leading the Dallas Mavericks to their 16th victory in a row, a 102-89 triumph over New Jersey Tuesday.

The Mavericks improved their National Basketball Association-best record to 51-9. Only 3 teams in NBA history have had a better record after 60 games and all three went on to win the NBA title in that successful season.

Vince Carter scored 32 points to lead the Nets, who at 28-33 are a game behind Orlando for the eight and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Mavericks, who won their 23rd consecutive home game, have already clinched their seventh consecutive trip to the playoffs, doing so when New Orleans lost Sunday to Utah.

Dallas defeated New Jersey for the 13th time in their past 14 meetings. The Mavericks have not lost since January 25 and have not dropped a home game since December 7.

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03-08-2007, 12:14 PM
Raptors' turnaround boosted by international players

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Despite coaching a youthful Toronto Raptors team packed with international players, Sam Mitchell knows the time to win is now.

"As a coach I can't afford to think it will take years to build a winner," Mitchell told reporters. "If it's going to take years, it will be for somebody else. I'll be gone."

The Raptors are one of the biggest surprises of the season, leading the Atlantic Division with a roster featuring Spaniards Jorge Garbajosa and Jose Calderon, Italian Andrea Bargnani, and Slovenians Rasho Nesterovic and Uros Slokar.

Mitchell's team may lead the league in languages spoken in the locker room but that has not affected their results.

"It's the same as coaching a guy if he was from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, New York, Wisconsin," Mitchell told reporters. "It's no different. They're basketball players."

The Raptors' turnaround is all-the-more remarkable considering only four players were with the club a year ago. Toronto (32-29) is mired in a modest three-game losing streak but considering they were 27-55 last season, Raptors fans have little to complain about.

Washington whipped Toronto 129-109 on Tuesday but the plans hatched by Mitchell and General Manager Bryan Colangelo to stockpile international talent have been a success.

"It's never been an issue for us," Mitchell said. "Bryan and I never thought about that when we put this team together. We never thought about where people were from. We thought, 'Could they help our basketball team?'

"We wanted to know what kind of man they were. Are they going to fit in with what we do, the fabric of our team? Those are the questions."

Team leader

All-Star forward Chris Bosh is the undisputed team leader, averaging 22.8 points a game, but Bargnani (11.1 points), Garbajosa (8.5 points) and Calderon (5.1 assists) are making significant contributions.

"From the first day of practice all he cared about was winning," said Garbajosa, a 29-year-old first-year Raptor who played seven seasons in the Spanish pro leagues and four in Italy. "He didn't care if you were from Spain, Italy or wherever. He said it's all about winning."

Bargnani, a 21-year-old seven-footer, said despite differences between the NBA and European game they were all just basketball players.

"We have nine new players so we need some time to become a team," said Bargnani, who led Benetton to Italy's Lega A Championship a year ago. "We just have to learn to play together. Basketball is basketball. It doesn't matter where you're from."

Mitchell said he has had no problem communicating with the international players and if they failed to understand him in practice it was probably his own doing.

"Their English is fine. If I said something they didn't get it was because I'm from the South and my English isn't that good," he said.

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03-08-2007, 12:14 PM
Bryant suspended one game for striking Jaric

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant has been suspended one game for striking Minnesota Timberwolves guard Marko Jaric in the face, the NBA announced on Wednesday.

The incident occurred on Tuesday night with 58.7 seconds left in the fourth period of the Lakers' 117-107 double-overtime loss to the host Timberwolves at the Target Center.

Bryant, an eight-times All-Star, will serve his suspension on Wednesday night when the Lakers visit the Milwaukee Bucks at the Bradley Center.

The incident marked the second time this year Bryant has been slapped with a one-game suspension.

Bryant, 26, struck San Antonio guard Manu Ginobili in the face late in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' 96-94 overtime loss against the Spurs on January 28 and was forced to sit out the team's next game against the New York Knicks.

He is averaging 29.2 points per game this season, second-best in the league.

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03-08-2007, 12:15 PM
NBA suspends Detroit's Hunter 10 games for doping

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NEW YORK (AFP) - Detroit Pistons guard Lindsey Hunter was suspended 10 games without pay Wednesday by the National Basketball Association for violating the league's anti-doping program.

The league announced in a statement that Hunter tested positive for phentermine, an amphetamine that is banned under the NBA's anti-drug program.

Hunter's 10-game ban began Wednesday with Detroit's game against Cleveland. Hunter would be eligible to return to Detroit's lineup on March 25 at Milwaukee.

At 37-21, the Pistons have the best record in the Eastern Conference and a three-game edge on Cleveland in both the conference race and in the Central Division.

Hunter will miss a five-game Pistons' road trip that opens Friday at Denver and includes games at the Los Angeles Clippers, Seattle, Portland and Phoenix from March 11-16.

Hunter, who is averaging 4.6 points and 1.8 assists a game, will also miss home games against NBA pace-setter Dallas and Philadelphia plus road games at Houston and San Antonio.

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03-09-2007, 11:46 AM
Nuggets star Anthony becomes a father

Agence France-Presse
Last updated 01:41pm (Mla time) 03/08/2007
www.inquirer.net


OAKLAND, California -- Denver Nuggets All-Star Carmelo Anthony became a father Wednesday as his fiancée La La Vazquez gave birth to a son, Kiyan.

The new arrival meant Anthony wasn't available for the Nuggets' Wednesday night National Basketball Association game against Golden State, having stayed behind in Colorado to be present at the birth.

His absence perhaps delayed a test of just how serious coach George Karl was when he said he might bench his young superstar.

While Anthony leads the NBA in scoring at better than 30 points per game, Karl said he would bench him if he didn't mature.

Anthony said he disagreed, and what's more Karl was sending mixed signals.

"I'm not an immature person, I know that," he said. "Hopefully you guys know that. Just last week I was the most mature person in the whole NBA. Now I'm immature."

Second-year forward Linas Kleiza was expected to start in place of Anthony for the Nuggets, who have won three of their last four games and are seventh in the Western Conference, one game in front of the Los Angeles Clippers.

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03-09-2007, 11:54 AM
James pours in 41 points to lift Cavs over Pistons

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DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) - LeBron James scored 41 points to lead four Cleveland starters in double figures Wednesday as the Cavaliers posted a 101-97 overtime triumph over the Detroit Pistons.

Drew Gooden collected 22 points and 10 rebounds and Zydrunas Ilgauskas chipped in 14 and 10 for the Cavaliers, who picked up their first win against Detroit in six National Basketball Association contests.

James continues to be a major force of late, scoring at least 32 points in his last five games. It was the All-Star's first 40-point outburst since he scored 47 last April 1 against Miami.

In the extra session, Ilgauskas drained an 18-footer to break a 95-95 tie and Gooden scored on a two-handed jam with 2:31 remaining. Detroit pulled within 99-97 on two free throws by Richard Hamilton one minute later.

After forcing the Cavs into a 24-second shot-clock violation, the Pistons had a chance to tie the game, but Chauncey Billups missed a reserve layup with 22 seconds to play.

Detroit had chance to send the contest into another overtime after James hit 1-of-2 foul shots, but Rasheed Wallace misfired from the arc and Anderson Varejao split a pair of free throws to seal the win.

With Cleveland trailing by one point in regulation, James scored on a spinning floater in the lane for a 91-90 bulge with 27 seconds left. But Hamilton converted a three-point play eight seconds later to regain the lead, 93-91.

James responded with a two-handed jam with five seconds left, tying the game once again. James appeared to hit a deep 3-pointer as time expired, but it was wiped away following review by officials.