Phoenix Suns - LA Clippers 93-88 Goran Dragic scored 19 of his 24 points in the first half and the Phoenix Suns held on to beat the Los Angeles Clippers 93-88 on Thursday night, improving to 2-0 under interim coach Lindsey Hunter. Marcin Gortat (6'11''-C-84) added 15 points, including two free throws with 23.3 seconds left. Luis Scola and Markieff Morris had 14 apiece for the Suns, who had not won two in a row since a season-high, four-game winning streak ended on Dec. 19. Dragic also had eight assists. The Clippers, who lost their third straight, were without Chris Paul for the fifth time in seven games because of a bruised right kneecap. The team is 3-2 without him. Jamal Crawford (6'5''-G-80, college: Michigan) led Los Angeles with 21 points. Eric Bledsoe (6'1''-PG-89, college: Kentucky) scored 15 for Los Angeles and Blake Griffin 12. With the victory, Phoenix pulled out of the cellar in the Western Conference at 15-28 to New Orleans' 14-28. The Clippers slipped to 32-12, 1 1/2 games behind West leaders Oklahoma City and San Antonio. The three-game losing streak is Los Angeles' second-longest of the season. The Suns, who won at Sacramento on Wednesday night, scored six in a row to go up 86-79 on Gortat's layup on a pass from Dragic with three minutes left. But the Clippers reeled off the next six. Bledsoe blocked Dragic's shot and Crawford sank a 3-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 86-85 with 26 seconds remaining. After Gortat's two free throws with 23 seconds left put Phoenix up 88-85, Crawford was fouled on a drive to the basket, narrowly missing a chance at a game-tying, three-point play. Instead, Crawford, an 88 per cent free throw this season, missed one of two free throws and the Suns led 88-86. Phoenix got the inbounds pass to Shannon Brown, who was fouled on what officials ruled was a clear path to the basket. Brown made both free throws to make it 90-86 with 15.4 seconds left and the Suns retained possession. One free throw by Morris and two by Dragic wrapped up the scoring. Hunter became the fourth coach in Suns history to win his first two games. The other three - Gentry, Scott Skiles and Jerry Colangelo - also did it as midseason replacements. The wins came despite a rocky change of power. Earlier in the day, Elston Turner confirmed he has left the organization after being passed over to replace the fired Alvin Gentry in favour of Hunter, who was director of player development and had never coached before. Dan Majerle also left as an assistant coach after being passed over for the interim job. Dragic scored the final nine Suns points in the first half, the last two on free throws after Clippers coach Vinny Del Negro and Crawford were called for technicals with .3 seconds left to put the Suns up 50-46 at the break. Crawford scored seven straight points, the last two on a drive, to put Los Angeles ahead 62-59 with 4:17 left in the third quarter. Phoenix finished the quarter with a 6-2 spurt to lead 68-66 entering the fourth. Courtesy of: timescolonist.com
Boston C. - New York K. 86-89 BOSTON - There was more passion, more fire, more of everything that Doc Rivers has been imploring the Boston Celtics to bring to the floor for weeks. Sadly, it still wasn't enough as the New York Knicks pulled away in the second half for a 89-86 win. New York pulled ahead 80-70 in the fourth, looking as though they were ready to put the C's away and the Celtics at that point, seemed more than willing to oblige. But the Celtics started making shots, which as we've seen, is usually followed by better defense. It shouldn't be that way, but it is what it is. With Rajon Rondo (6'1''-PG-86, college: Kentucky) leading the way, the C's went on a 12-4 run to come within two points. A tip-in by New York's Tyson Chandler (7'1''-C-82) made it a four-point game, only for Rondo to come back with a pair of free throws to cut New York's lead to 86-84. Rondo was getting it done on the defensive end as well, drawing an offensive foul against Carmelo Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) with 1:53 to play. The C's couldn't capitalize on the turnover, as the Knicks eventually got a 3-pointer from J.R. Smith with 1:11 to play to lead, 89-84. Smith's shot was huge, but the hero for New York was Carmelo Anthony, who just used and abused the Celtics defenders most of the night with either the pull-up jumper or driving to the basket before finishing with a game-high 28 points. Even with Carmelo Anthony having a big game, Boston had its chances afterward. A Rondo jumper followed by a Jason Kidd miss, gave the Celtics a chance to tie the game with 13.1 seconds to play. Following a Celtics timeout, Paul Pierce lost the ball out of bounds with 7.1 seconds to play. Making matters worse, the C's could not get close enough to any of the Knicks players as time expired, a sequence that reinforced the fact that the C's continue to fail at executing effectively in late-game situations. Pierce led the C's with 22 points -- only 3 in the second half -- while Rondo collected his 27th career triple-double with 23 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists. Boston (20-22) has now lost five straight for the first time this season, and just the third time (twice last season) since the 2008 title run. With so much attention paid to the post-game events in their Jan. 7 matchup involving Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett, it took much of the attention off what was a game that both teams desperately needed for different Knicks. New York (26-14) came in atop the Atlantic Division by half a game, with the Brooklyn Nets nipping at their heels. The Celtics came in having lost four in a row and were looking to avoid a five-game losing skid. Both teams delivered the kind of high intensity play that kept the game relatively close in the first quarter which ended with the Celtics ahead 24-20. One of the keys to Boston's slim lead was what turned out to be a near-perfect quarter with the C's committing zero turnovers. The second quarter did not go quite as well for the Celtics, with the Knicks going almost exclusively with multiple zone coverages. Rather than attacking the interior of the zone, the C's relied on what they have relied on all season -- jumpers. And has been the case often this season, those shots were off the mark which allowed the Knicks to spend a good chunk of the second quarter with a lead. Boston eventually snapped out of his jump-shooting trance and began to try and score around the basket, or penetrate and kick out for what were open shots. That was hit and miss for the C's, but the driving to the basket led to a surprisingly high number of free throw attempts. But it was New York's work from the free throw line that proved to be the difference in the half, which ended with three made free throws by the Knicks which put them ahead, 50-48, at the half. For Boston, Pierce was having a big night with 19 points in the first half, which was more points scored by the Captain than he had in each of the C's previous four games - all losses. Boston pulled ahead 66-65 on a Jeff Green 3-pointer in the third quarter, but the Knicks closed out the third with a 7-0 run and the C's spent the rest of the game playing from behind. Courtesy of: http://www.csnne.com
Orlando M. - Toronto R. 95-97 The conditions were right for the Orlando Magic to pick up a rare win, but they fell short once again on Thursday, this time to the Toronto Raptors, by a 97-95 final as Demar DeRozan (6'7''-F/G-89, college: USC) drilled a long, fading two-pointer over the defense of Arron Afflalo (6'5''-G-85, college: UCLA) and Glen Davis as time expired. Toronto was playing the second night of a back-to-back following an overtime loss to the Miami Heat on Wednesday, whereas the Magic had the benefit of a day of rest. In addition, Toronto had lost five of its last six. But the Raptors, using a balanced offense and accurate shooting, would take control in the second half and fend off a late Magic rally to complete their four-game sweep of Orlando, their first since the 2006/07 season. The Magic yielded 50 percent shooting, while DeRozan led six Raptors in double-figure scoring with 22 points, including 14 in the fourth. A small, unconventional lineup, featuring Davis at center alongside four guards, helped Orlando turn the tide in the third quarter. A three-point play by Davis brought Orlando within a point at 81-80 with 6:50 to play. Moments later, E'Twaun Moore scooped up a loose ball, and though Jameer Nelson's first shot attempt missed, Davis recovered the offensive rebound and hit a cutting Nelson for a layup to give Orlando an 84-83 lead, its first since the 1:26 mark of the second quarter. A mental error cost Orlando one key possession with 3:04 to play. Under Toronto's basket after a timeout, Moore failed to inbound the ball within five seconds, resulting in a turnover. DeRozan responded with a fading jumper on Toronto's next trip to give the visitors a three-point lead. After a Davis miss, Alan Anderson (6'6''-G/F-82, agency: Priority Sports, college: Michigan St.) scored an easy driving layup to put Toronto up five with 2:09 to go. A four-point play by J.J. Redick (6'4''-G-84, college: Duke) tied the score at 93 with 53 seconds to play, but DeRozan answered with another fading jumper. Moore knotted the score again with a put-back of an Afflalo miss, giving Toronto possession with 20.9 seconds to play. Toronto scored on its first six possessions of the third quarter to build a 62-55 lead. Nearly four minutes elapsed before a short-rimmed Jose Calderon jumper gave the Magic their first defensive stop of the half. One third-quarter play typified the Magic's energy level on the night: off an out-of-bounds play, Amir Johnson launched a long two-pointer with six-tenths of a second remaining on the shot clock. As the shot was in the air, Johnson and three other Raptors retreated to get back defensively. The rebound landed between Magic players Maurice Harkless, Jameer Nelson, and Nikola Vuevi, but Ed Davis--the lone Raptor not sprinting back in transition--came up with the loose ball to keep the possession alive. Toronto was the team on the second night of a back-to-back, but one wouldn't know it based on its energy and approach. A long three-pointer by rookie Terrence Ross, off the dribble with the shot-clock winding down, gave the Raptors a 10-point lead, their largest of the night, with 1:16 to go in the third. A free throw by Vuevi marked the only scoring for either team for the remainder of the period, giving Toronto a nine-point edge. The officials changed Ross' basket to a three-pointer after a video review between the third and fourth quarters. The game was close, if not exciting, in the first half: the Raptors led by just one point at halftime, 48-47, and the game featured 10 lead changes and seven ties to that point. Nikola Vuevi had 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting despite hardly having any plays called for him: he went 5-of-6 on tip-ins and layups in the half. Moore, too, made his presence felt: the second-year player drove to the basket and drew three fouls, setting a new career-high with six free-throw attempts in the half alone. But, in a familiar story, Orlando's defense suffered because it failed to force turnovers or wall off the paint. Like Vuevi, Johnson feasted as a finisher inside, scoring 14 of his own on 6-of-10 shooting. Coming off a miserable night against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, some of Glen Davis' fortunes changed against the Raptors. He shot 3-of-5 before halftime for six points and he snared three rebounds as well, but he also picked up three fouls and drew a technical foul, his third of the season, for getting physical with Raptors center Aaron Gray. After referees whistled Davis for his third foul, the veteran big man tossed his hands into the air and walked away, muttering to himself, before approaching official David Jones to discuss the play. Later in the quarter, Davis lingered on Orlando's bench while his teammates huddled with coach Jacque Vaughn during a timeout. Davis did eventually join the huddle, but his frustration was plain to see. Davis' night soured just 43 seconds into the second half, when he picked up another foul trying to take a charge against Johnson. To make matters worse, Johnson made the shot, leading to an and-one situation. Vaughn kept Davis in the game. Courtesy of: http://www.orlandopinstripedpost.com
When that Something Hits the Fan by Tim Shea - May 18, 2013
Highwater rising the shacks are sliding down,Folks lose their possessions, the folks are leaving town.Reformation shook it, broke it, then she hung it on the wall,Say you dancin' with whom they tell you to or you don't dance at all.It's tough out there,Highwater everywhere.Bob DylanXXX The Spanish Players Association the ABP, has given a 48 hour ultimatum to the Spanish League offices, the ACB to attend to its demands [read more]
Highwater rising the shacks are sliding down, Folks lose their possessions, the folks are leaving town. Reformation shook it, broke it, then she hung it on the wall, Say you dancin' with whom they tell you to or you don't dance at all. It's tough out there, Highwater everywhere. Bob Dylan
XXX The Spanish Players Association the ABP, has given a 48 hour ultimatum to the Spanish League offices, the ACB to attend to its demands. If not a players strike is threatened 10 days before the league playoffs are scheduled to begin.
From the mouth of the Player Associations President the Spanish version of the NBA Derrick Fischer, Jose Luis Llorente, these words: "Our Association has left the negotiating table because the league has absolutely broken the basis of the negotiations, has broken the actual ground rules. From the very first moment of our reunion the actual, in force and legally valid collective agreement was the basis of negotiations. From the very first moment the league has broken this basis and collective agreement therefore we have left the table until these conditions are recovered. We have given the league 48 hours to return to continue negotiations".
Some of the demands of the Players Association include: 1. Increase the Minimum Salary which at the moment is 25,000 Euros. 2. Double the actual coverage of the Guaranteed Salary Fund and ease the recovery process. 3. Teams that are not up to date on salary payments to players lose their right to first refusal on said players. 4. No restrictions on procuring a contract for those players that utilize the labor law (Real Decree #1006) to terminate their contracts with their clubs
Other negotiating points include: Christmas vacations, the conditions of unfulfilled contractual obligations to present players and that these clubs be prohibited from contracting new players, the ability of clubs to declare bankruptcy and continue to compete in the league and points regarding labor laws, free agent status, and the clubs social fiscal contributions. - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - The economic situation is Spain is in dire straits with 27% general unemployment and in the age group of most players that unemployment figure reaches almost 50%. It is a bad time all around. Take my word for it... Right now the times are worse than a Ponzi Scheme and there seems no end in sight.
Highwater risin', rising night and day, All the gold and silver are being stolen away. Big Joe Turner looking east and west from the dark room of his mind, He made it to Kansas City, twelfth street and vine. Nothin' standing there, Highwater everywhere. Bob Dylan
Tim Shea is an American and long time European basketball coach and former NBA International Scouting Director residing in Spain. He is a frequent contributor to Eurobasket.
Knicks defeat Pacers to force Game 6 - May 17, 2013
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New York K. - Indiana P. 85-75
Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) and the Knicks broke out just enough to stay in it. Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 last night. Reserves J [read more]
New York K. - Indiana P. 85-75 Carmelo Anthony (6'8''-SF-84, college: Syracuse) and the Knicks broke out just enough to stay in it. Anthony scored 28 points and the Knicks avoided elimination in the Eastern Conference semifinals with an 85-75 victory over the Indiana Pacers in Game 5 last night. Reserves J.R. Smith (6'6''-G-85) and Christopher Copeland (6'8''-F-84, college: Colorado) each had 13 points for the Knicks, who trail 3-2 and will need a victory tomorrow in Indiana to force a seventh game at Madison Square Garden on Monday. They are trying to become the ninth NBA team to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a series. "I was totally impressed because we met the challenge," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said. "I think as a coach you come into games like this and you want to see who's going to step up and make plays, and I thought we did that tonight. We were the better team in terms of doing that." Anthony, who didn't make a basket in the fourth quarter of either game in Indiana, made a jumper midway through the fourth quarter after Indiana closed within four points. He followed with two free throws, Raymond Felton made a layup, and the Knicks were never in jeopardy again. Paul George (6'9''-G/F-90, college: Fresno St.) had 23 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Pacers. They played without point guard George Hill because of a concussion and committed 19 turnovers. "We've just got to play more solid. There's no other way to put it," Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. But George battled foul trouble and couldn't contain Anthony quite as well as he had while the Pacers easily won the previous two games. Anthony made his first two shots as the Knicks raced out to a 7-0 lead in a game it never trailed. He finished only 12 of 28, but got plenty of bench help. David West (6'8''-F-80, college: Xavier) had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who were trying to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time since 2004. "We didn't play well. It was a bad game for us and we were still there," George said. The winner will face the defending NBA champion Miami Heat in a series that will start Wednesday. The Knicks didn't really shake their scoring slump, shooting only 41 percent from the field, but put together a few runs during the game to open just enough space against a Pacers team that shot 36 percent and was a dismal 19 of 33 at the free throw line. They clearly missed Hill after learning about four hours before the game they would be without him. Vogel said Hill was hurt after a collision with Knicks center Tyson Chandler (7'1''-C-82) during the first half of Indiana's 93-82 victory on Tuesday. Hill finished the game and scored 26 points, but experienced some headaches and showed concussion symptoms since and wasn't able to pass the league's concussion tests so he could play last night. The Knicks went back to their regular lineup, reinserting Pablo Prigioni, after going with a bigger group in Game 4 in a futile effort to match Indiana on the boards. The smaller group did a better job, getting outrebounded only 43-40. The Knicks finally opened it up midway through the third quarter with a 12-4 run, started by Smith's bank shot and featuring a 3-pointer and follow shot from Copeland, who got more playing time while Woodson gave little to veterans Amare Stoudemire and the slumping Jason Kidd, who missed his only shot and remains scoreless in the series. "Coaching is a feel. It's not always what players want at the end of the day, it's about winning," Woodson said. "That's all I'm in it for." Anthony made a jumper and a 3-pointer on his first two shots, and Iman Shumpert followed with another jumper for a 7-0 start. Smith got a big ovation when he checked in, which grew much louder when he made his first shot, dribbling back behind the arc for a 3-pointer that made it 17-12 with 2:56 left in the opening quarter. Smith has endured a miserable stretch since elbowing Boston's Jason Terry in the fourth quarter of Game 3 in the first round. Suspended for Game 4, he hasn't relocated his shot since, hitting 28 percent in the first four games and has been criticized for not being focused after he was seen out a nightclub with singer Rihanna the night before Game 1 - a day game. He was only 4 of 11, but hit the jumper that started the Knicks' run in the third quarter. The Knicks extended their 19-15 lead after one to 32-23 on Copeland's 3-pointer with 7:06 remaining in the second. The Pacers chipped away for most of the half but couldn't take the large in part because of their sloppy free throw shooting, going 8 of 16 in the half that agonizingly wouldn't end when both Chandler and the Pacers' Sam Young committed fouls more than 30 feet from the basket in the final 2.4 seconds. Courtesy of: nj.com
Spurs head to Western Conference Finals after win over Warriors - May 17, 2013
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Golden St.W. - San Antonio S. 82-94
It all proved to be too much, the injuries, the minutes, the machine that is the San Antonio Spurs. Will simply wasn't enough. Golden State's dramatic playoff run came to an exhausting end Thursday night at Oracle Arena. The Spurs advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 94-82 win over the Warriors, winning the best-of-seven series 4-2 [read more]
Golden St.W. - San Antonio S. 82-94 It all proved to be too much, the injuries, the minutes, the machine that is the San Antonio Spurs. Will simply wasn't enough. Golden State's dramatic playoff run came to an exhausting end Thursday night at Oracle Arena. The Spurs advanced to the Western Conference finals with a 94-82 win over the Warriors, winning the best-of-seven series 4-2. By the time the game ended, Warriors starting center Andrew Bogut was glued to the bench, hobbled and rendered ineffective for the second consecutive game. Their emerging rookie star, Harrison Barnes (6'8''-F-92, college: N.Carolina), was in the locker room with a head injury that forced him to sit out the entire fourth quarter. And star guard Stephen Curry (6'3''-PG-88, college: Davidson), hounded and harassed for the 12th consecutive game and playing on a tender left ankle, didn't have enough in him to put the Warriors on his back. He missed his last four shots, all of them carried the Warriors' last hopes. In the end, the Warriors couldn't score enough, shooting just 39.3 percent from the field. They couldn't defend well enough, torched by San Antonio's precision execution that produced 27 assists on 32 baskets. As a result, the Warriors - who entered the playoffs as a No. 6 seed, upset the Denver Nuggets in the first round and had the No. 2 Spurs tied after four games - were bounced from their first postseason appearance in six years. The Warriors tried to put together a comeback, and was in striking distance to do so. Back-to-back jumpers by Klay Thompson (6'6''-G-90, college: Washington St.) and Curry, both after missed jumpers by San Antonio, cut Golden State's deficit to 77-75 with 4:52 left in the game. After a Spurs turnover, the Warriors had a chance to tie, but Curry missed back-to-back jumpers. San Antonio then snapped a three-minute drought when Parker, thanks to a blown assignment by the Warriors, drilled a wide-open 3-pointer from the left corner. After a Thompson missed jumper and a loose ball foul, the Spur went back up 82-75 with a pair of free throws by forward Kawhi Leonard. The Warriors answered with a floater in the lane by Jack. After another stop, a pair of free throws had the free throws down to four. But Leonard answered with a 3-pointer from the left corner, putting the Spurs back up by six. Thompson and Curry each had 3-pointers rattle out on the next possession. Then Spurs guard Tony Parker (6'2''-PG-82), who finished with 13 points on 3 of 16 shooting, iced the series with a 3-pointer from the right side. Curry finished with 22 points, six assists and four rebounds. Guard Jarrett Jack had 15 points. Forward Carl Landry had 11 points and six rebounds off the bench. For the second consecutive game, the Warriors put together a brutal first-half for the home crowd. They managed 40 points on 40.9 percent shooting. Curry and Barnes combined for 24 points on 11 of 21 shooting. The rest of the Warriors: 16 points on 7 of 23 shooting. The Warriors went three minutes without scoring early in the second quarter and San Antonio turned that drought into a 10-point lead. And it wasn't the usual suspects who hurt the Warriors, but the role players. Big man Tiago Splitter (6'11''-C/F-85, agency: Interperformances) scored five points during the run. Matt Bonner hit a turnaround in the lane to put the Warriors down 35-35. Curry and Barnes got the Warriors back in the game. Curry converted back-to-back baskets off drives. A minute later, his 3-pointer cut the Spurs lead to five. Barnes caught Tim Duncan (6'11''-F/C-76, college: Wake Forest) guarding him out by the three-point line and drove by him for a reverse layup. Another layup by Curry and Golden State trailed 39-36 with 3:11 left in the half. But the Warriors couldn't sustain the run and trailed 47-40 at the half. Curry opened the second half with a floater and the Bogut split a pair of free throws. But Golden State put together another drought, this time three minutes, 22 seconds. The Spurs scored six straight, the last four by Tim Duncan, and the Warriors were back down double-digits 53-43. It was a trend for most of the second half. Golden State got the stops. But they couldn't score. Golden State trailed by six after a jumper by Jarrett Jack but missed its next five shots. The Spurs scored five straight to push the lead to 61-48. The Warriors trailed 65-55 late in the third quarter. The Spurs failed to score on five straight possessions, but Golden State was only able to shave four points off the lead. A free throw by guard Manu Ginobili sent them into the fourth quarter down 66-57. At that point, the Warriors were shooting 39.1 percent from the field, making on 3 of 11 from deep. They took eight more shots than the Spurs and failed to take advantage. The Warriors simply looked tired, a step slow and running on fumes. Courtesy of: mercurynews.com
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