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05-12-2007, 07:00 PM
Warriors roar back into series with win over Jazz

OAKLAND, California - The Golden State Warriors climbed back into their National Basketball Association Western Conference playoff series Friday with a 125-105 victory over the Utah Jazz.

Baron Davis had 32 points, nine assists and a playoff career-high six steals as the Warriors narrowed the gap in the best-of-seven second-round series to 2-1.

Jason Richardson added 25 points, including five shots from 3-point range, Al Harrington scored 15 points, reserve Mickael Pietrus scored 14 and Andris Biedrins added 13 with 13 rebounds for Golden State, which made 15-of-32 3-point attempts.

The Warriors, who shot 53 percent for the game, tied an NBA playoff record with 11 baskets from the arc in the first half to seize control of the contest.

The 3-pointers by halftime were matched on four other occasions in playoff history, last by Dallas against Sacramento on May 8, 2003.

"That's the way our team plays. We take a lot of 3s early," Richardson said. "Especially when they're going down, it feels good, and the crowd's in the game.

"It seems like every time you touch the ball, they're going to go in, even before they leave your hand."

After the Jazz took an early 7-4 lead on a 14-foot jumper by Deron Williams, Golden State exploded for a 15-0 run, capped by a 26-foot 3-pointer by Davis - the fourth shot from the arc in the spurt - from the right corner with 6:50 left in the first quarter.

After the Jazz used a 20-7 run of their own to take a 27-26 lead on a 10-foot jumper by Andrei Kirilenko with 29 seconds left, Golden State closed out the period when Richardson's second 3-pointer at the buzzer gave the Warriors a 30-27 lead.

Davis had nine points while Richardson finished with eight in the quarter.

Golden State began the second period on a 17-6 run to take a 47-33 lead with 5:58 left in the half, thanks to seven points by Davis and five by Pietrus. After layups by Carlos Boozer and Matt Harpring cut Utah's deficit to 48-37 just 35 seconds later, the Warriors ran off a 12-3 burst, capped by Pietrus' shot from the arc to take a commanding 60-40 lead with 2:39 left in the half.

Matt Barnes and Richardson added 3-pointers to help the Warriors take a 70-49 halftime lead.

In the third quarter Golden State opened its largest lead at 92-62 and cruised the rest of the way.

"They just ate us alive," Jazz coach Jerry Sloan said. "They came at us like a wild dog. We couldn't execute."

Boozer finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds but took just 10 shots while Kirilenko and Mehmet Okur each had 15 points for the Jazz, who fell to 1-4 on the road in the 2007 playoffs.

The other Western Conference semi-final series continues on Saturday, when San Antonio host the Phoenix Suns. That series is tied 1-1. AFP

05-15-2007, 07:49 AM
Nowitzki expected to receive NBA MVP award

NEW YORK - The National Basketball Association will name its Most Valuable Player (MVP) here on Tuesday with several reports declaring German star Dirk Nowitzki will receive the honor despite an early playoff exit.

The Dallas Mavericks star forward would become the first European-born player to win the award but would also become the first MVP whose team was ousted in the first round of the playoffs since Houston's Moses Malone in 1982.

The Mavericks, whose 67-15 record was the NBA's best in the regular season, were eliminated by bottom-seed Golden State in a stunning first-round Western Conference upset.

Canada's Steve Nash, a former Dallas teammate of Nowitzki, has won the MVP award the past two seasons.

Media voting is conducted following the season, just before the Mavericks' playoff collapse. Much of the blame for the failure falls upon Nowitzki, who averaged only 19.7 points on 38 percent shooting against Golden State.

During his ninth NBA season, Nowitzki averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and a career-high 3.4 assists. Nowitzki finished 10th in scoring, 12th in rebounding, 13th in field-goal percentage and second in free-throw percentage.

He was the only NBA player to shoot at least 50 percent from the field (.502), 40 percent from beyond the 3-point arc (.416) and 90 percent from the free-throw line (.904).

If Nowitzki is indeed named the MVP, he will join Nash, Tim Duncan of the Virgin Islands and Nigerian-born Hakeem Olajuwon of as the only non-US-born players to take the award. AFP

05-17-2007, 09:46 AM
Nowitzki becomes first Euro to win MVP

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki was named the NBA's Most Valuable Player on Tuesday, the first European player to win the award.

The MVP award capped a roller-coaster campaign for Nowitzki, a versatile seven-foot German who played brilliantly during the season but poorly during the Mavericks' colossal playoff collapse.

A six-times All-Star during his nine-year NBA career, Nowitzki totaled 1,138 points, including 83 first-place votes, from a panel of 129 journalists.

Twice-MVP Steve Nash of the Phoenix Suns, Nowitzki's good friend and former team mate, finished second in the voting with 1,013 points (44 first-place votes).

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers was third with 521 points, followed by San Antonio's Tim Duncan (286 points) and Cleveland's LeBron James (183 points).

Nowitzki led Dallas to a 67-15 record, tying for the sixth-best winning percentage in NBA history. He averaged 24.6 points, 8.9 rebounds and a career-best 3.4 assists.

He joins Hakeem Olajuwon of the Houston Rockets, Duncan and Nash on the list of international players who have captured the MVP award. The 28-year-old Nowitzki finished third in voting the last two seasons.

Despite being named to the All-NBA First Team for the third consecutive year, Nowitzki was unable to lead top-seeded Dallas past the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.

The Golden State Warriors, taking advantage of an ineffective Nowitzki, defeated the Mavericks four games to two in the best of seven series.

Sam Miguel
05-18-2007, 10:39 AM
Now if only he could lead a team to the championship...

05-26-2007, 10:11 PM
The ring thing
Saturday, May 26, 2007

Deep into the NBA playoffs, this writer has received queries about how the greatest players in NBA history would stack up in terms of championships and Most Valuable Player awards. Although some people were disappointed with Dirk Nowitzki’s being named the league’s best player, the fact of the matter is that he was the MVP of the regular season, not the playoffs. Nowitzki is one of the most accomplished players to never have won a championship.

Although the league released its list of fifty greatest players over a decade ago, a lot has happened since, and even the original list itself was met with some strong disagreement. Some experts – including long-time NBA TV statistician Elliott Kalb – believe that some players did not deserve to be on the list, while some superstars left out should have been considered.

Bob McAdoo is the only MVP who is not part of the league’s official list of 50 greatest players. In a three-year span in the 1970’s, the gangling center averaged 30 points and 15 rebounds a game. In 1982, McAdoo (who had sacrificed his offense to fit in with the Showtime era Lakers), averaged 16 points per game. In the deciding Western Conference Final game against San Antonio, McAdoo hit 12 of 16 shots for 26 points, shoving the Lakers into the Finals. In Game 5 of the Finals, he hit 11 of 14 and finished with 23 points.

Dennis Rodman is considered the greatest defensive forward of all time, and yet, his off-court antics detracted from his credibility as a player. Elliott Kalb, who has been following the NBA for over two decades, actually ranks Rodman at number 30, ahead of Walt Frazier, Allen Iverson, Kevin McHale, Kevin Garnett, Patrick Ewing, Pete Maravich, Reggie Miller, Dominique Wilkins, Clyde Drexler and many others. James Worthy didn’t even make Kalb’s list.

Rodman was the NBA’s leading rebounder seven times, with three different teams. In the 1996 Easetern Conference Finals with the Chicago Bulls, Rodman had 13 points and 21 rebounds in Game 1 and 15 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. He averaged 11.5 points and 15.8 rebounds against Shaquille O’Neal. In the Finals, Rodman normed 7.5 points and 14.7 rebounds. Rodman was also a good luck charm. Each team he played for (except for the Dallas Mavericks), became NBA champion within one ot five years: Detroit, San Antonio, Chicago, Los Angeles.

Of the 50 players named to the all-time list, eight of them never won a championship. They are Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Dave Bing, Patrick Ewing, Karl Malone, John Stockton, Nate Thurmond and Lenny Wilkens. A whopping 29 of them never won the Most Valuable Player Award, including Rick Barry, Elgin Baylor, Billy Cunningham, Ewing, George Gervin, John Havlicek, Elvin Hayes, Jerry West, Pete Maravich, George Mikan, Scottie Pippen, Pete Maravich, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish.

Outgoing Memphis general manager West has been the tragic hero in many heart-breaking finals moments in NBA history. He was second in MVP voting in 1966, 1970, 1971 and 1972. He finished second to Wilt Chamberlain, Willis Reed and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (twice). The courageous Los Angeles Lakers guard was on the All-NBA First team 10 times. In 55 Finals games, West averaged 43.1 minutes per game. West is the only player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP from a losing team.

Among today’s players, who would make it to the league’s 50 greatest, and who would they displace? Would Setev Nash, LeBron James, Dirk Nowitzki, Kobe Bryant, Gilbert Arenas, Yao Ming and others crack the elite list? Who would drop out?

Time will tell.

* * *

This writer received some reactions from other sources regarding Monday’s piece, wherein this column told the story of how one-armed high school basketball player Sep Miranda transfered back to San Beda College after what his family considered as unfair selection of players from the high school he had previously transferred to. Sources close to the basketball team of the school in question phoned to confirm that the selection of players was not influenced by any affiliation with the school, and parents of the players concerned are not alumni. In addition, parents of the players do not make financial contributions, so it is not a factor in the recruitment or selection of players.