Posts tagged Spurs
Even a late rally couldn’t end the longest losing streak of Tim Duncan’s career.
Kevin Martin scored 33 points, including nine in overtime, and the Houston Rockets handed the San Antonio Spurs their sixth straight loss with a 119-114 victory on Friday night in Houston.
San Antonio hadn’t dropped six in a row since April 10-20, 1997, and the big lead it held atop the Western Conference continues to dwindle over the hard-charging Los Angeles Lakers.
The Spurs lead the Lakers by only 11/2 games with another meeting scheduled.
“We’re going to see what we are made out of, if we can dig down deeper,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ll see if we are worth the way we played this season or not.”
The Rockets withstood the Spurs’ best comeback efforts in the second half.
Lakers 96, Jazz 85: Kobe Bryant scored 21 points as visiting Los Angeles erased a 17-point first-half deficit to beat Utah and eliminate the Jazz from playoff contention. Utah (36-40) becomes the first team in NBA history to start 15-5 and 27-13 and not make the playoffs.
The Lakers outscored the Jazz 52-35 in the second half to win their ninth straight game.
Hawks 88, Celtics 83: Atlanta is looking more like a postseason contender again after a renewed commitment to defense delivered a second straight win over a playoff-bound team. Al Horford capped his 35th double-double with a key tip-in with 7.9 seconds remaining, Jamal Crawford scored 20 points and the host Hawks surged in the fourth quarter to beat travel-weary Boston.
The Hawks’ first win in three tries against Boston this season followed an 85-82 win over Orlando on Wednesday, giving Atlanta four straight wins after losing 14 of 21. “I’ve been waiting for this kind of quality effort,” Hawks coach Larry Drew said.
Bulls 101, Pistons 96: Derrick Rose scored 13 of his 27 points in the first quarter and had a key assist in the final minute of the game, helping visiting Chicago hold off Detroit. The Eastern Conference-leading Bulls enjoyed a comfortable lead for much of the game but the lowly Pistons pulled within three a couple times late in the final period.
Pacers 89, Bucks 88: Danny Granger scored 17 points to lead host Indiana to a victory over Milwaukee, solidifying the Pacers’ playoff position while pushing the Bucks to the brink of elimination in the Eastern Conference race.
The Bucks trailed the entire second half but could have won in the closing seconds, when Drew Gooden missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Indiana is currently in the final playoff spot in the East, two games ahead of Charlotte and four ahead of Milwaukee with five to play.
Trail Blazers 98, Thunder 91: LaMarcus Aldridge scored 32 points, and host Portland snapped Oklahoma City’s five-game winning streak with a victory over the Thunder. Nicolas Batum added 19 points for the Blazers, who have won seven straight at the Rose Garden.
Magic 89, Bobcats 77: Dwight Howard had 26 points and 14 rebounds and Jameer Nelson chipped in 15 points and six assists as host Orlando ran past short-handed Charlotte. Quentin Richardson added 14 points off the bench for the Magic.
Grizzlies 93, Hornets 81: Zach Randolph scored 28 points and Tony Allen added 17 as visiting Memphis held New Orleans to a season-low 12 points in the first quarter. The Grizzlies out-rebounded New Orleans 40-28 and answered every run with easy baskets, pulling into a tie with the Hornets for seventh place in the Western Conference.
Heat 111, Timberwolves 92: Dwyane Wade scored 32 points and LeBron James added 27 points and 10 assists as Miami turned a tight game into a rout in the third quarter against host Minnesota.
Chris Bosh added 24 points and 11 rebounds for the Heat, who trailed at halftime but opened the third quarter with a staggering 25-1 run to take control.
The Portland Trail Blazers took down the San Antonio Spurs, 100-92, last night and it’s no wonder: The Spurs had four starters out of the game with injuries. Tony Parker(notes), Antonio McDyess(notes), Manu Ginobili(notes), and Tim Duncan(notes) all sat on the sidelines watching.
And NBA.com has it that Duncan’s sprained ankle and Ginobili’s quadriceps contusion that had him hobbling out of the arena after Sunday’s game will both be out again on Thursday when the Spurs take on the Boston Celtics and “the remainder of the week at least.” The site also reports that Parker’s left patella contusion could also miss Thursday’s game.
Pulling Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili out of the lineup takes a whopping 48.6 points per game out of the team’s usual lineup.
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Related: Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, San Antonio Spurs
Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers are the hottest team in the NBA having compiled the best record of any team since the All-Star break 14-1. The two-time defending NBA champions are reminding the rest of the league that the path to the rings still goes through Los Angeles.
If there was any doubt about which team in Los Angeles, the Lakers defeated the Clippers Friday night 112-104. Bryant led the way with 37 points and six assists. Pau Gasol dominated with 26 points and eight rebounds. Andrew Bynum returned after a two game suspension and provided 11 points and 12 rebounds.
The Lakers earned a thrilling triple-overtime victory 139-137 over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday in arguably one of the best NBA games of the season. Critics will argue that the Lakers blew a 21-point lead, and the win came against a Phoenix Suns team that is currently below .500 and not in the playoff picture.
However, the Suns are still a force with three of the game’s top-100 players of all time (Vince Carter, Grant Hill, and Steve Nash). Nash nailed three 3-pointers in a row to bring the Suns back, and finished with 19 points and 20 assists. It was a playoff-type of intensity that the Lakers needed to prep them for the postseason battles ahead.
All of the Lakers weaknesses were overcome in the victory; Kobe’s shooting woes, Lamar’s inconsistency, Artest’s perimeter shooting, Gasol’s poor free-throw percentage. Bryant shot near 50 percent with a season high 42 points, and nine assists with 12 rebounds. Lamar Odom, who started in place of the suspended Bynum, was magnificent with a season high 29 points, 16 rebounds, five assists, and one block.
Ron Artest found his 3-point shot and scored 18 points and was clutch in the final overtime session, hitting two baskets to propel the Lakers to victory. Gasol scored 24 points which included two free-throws with the game on the line in the second overtime.
The Lakers are on pace to earn the best post-All-Star break record Phil Jackson’s tenure as a coach in L.A. The previous record is 30-4 (.882). The Lakers have ten games remaining in the regular season.
The champion Lakers near perfect run in the past 15 games for the best record in the NBA has propelled them past the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, and Dallas Mavericks, all threats to the throne. The only team that stands in their way is the San Antonio Spurs.
Duncan sprained his ankle Monday against Golden State and could miss the rest of the regular season. The Spurs have been fading ever since, dropping losses to the Denver Nuggets and the Portland Trailblazers. Tim Duncan’s ankle injury is a deep concern for the heart of Texas as the Spurs try to hang on to the best record in the NBA with a challenging remaining schedule against the Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trailblazers, Boston Celtics, Houston Rockets, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, Sacramento Kings, plus the Lakers.
If the Lakers’ winning streak and the Spurs’ losing continues, the April 12 showdown between these teams could be the decisive game for the best record in the NBA.
Other articles by Adam Spencer:
Kobe Bryant deserves the MVP award
LeBron James is better than Dwayne Wade?
Associated PressSpurs guard Manu Ginobili walks off the court after his three-point attempt with 3 seconds left missed against Denver.The five most interesting stories, rumors and notes in the NBA:
1. No Duncan, kind of a problem: If you caught the Spurs-Nuggets game last night, you saw a heck of a shootout, with the Nuggets getting the 115-112 win after Wilson Chandler made a tough 14-foot jumper with 29 seconds left for the Nuggets.
The Spurs, playing without injured All-Star forward Tim Duncan, controlled much of the game before the Nuggets surged in the fourth quarter. Sure, they didn’t win, but San Antonio showed they remain vital team that is not about to spiral downward with their veteran star out.
“We had a great opportunity. We were up 10-12 for a big part of the game,” Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. “But they got us on our heels. We stopped being aggressive. We settled for too many jumpers and they made more than us.”
The long-term question is about Duncan, who sprained his right ankle against Golden State on Monday. In Denver, coach Gregg Popovich said he expects Duncan to definitely be back in time for the playoffs, and guessed he would be out at least four to five games, the San Antonio Express-News’ Jeff McDonald reports.
That means Duncan should be out for the Spurs’ two upcoming games against the Blazers, in Portland on Friday and at San Antonio on Monday.
The Blazers, you will recall, beat the Spurs 99-86 on Feb. 1 as LaMarcus Aldridge had 40 points and 11 rebounds in one of the best — if not the best — games of his career.
On Friday, however, the Spurs could have a different starting lineup than they last had in Portland. Last month, Duncan and DeJuan Blair shared the duty of guarding Aldridge, but neither started against the Nuggets last night, with Blair just returning from a wrist injury.
Instead, rookie Tiago Splitter and veteran Antonio McDyess started in their places. McDyess remains a heady player, and he got 13 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out.
However, it seems Splitter still has to gain the trust of coach Gregg Popovich, who played him 17 minutes — and not all in the fourth quarter. Splitter finished with four points and seven rebounds and shot 1 for 5 from the field.
Still, the Spurs looked really good for much of the game and will certainly be a tough test for the Blazers and the other teams that face them with Duncan out.
2. Answering the hot team: Houston figured to have a great chance Wednesday to close on Memphis for the No. 8 spot in the Western Conference. The Rockets did their part with a 131-112 win over Golden State.
But they were let down by, of all teams, the Celtics, who could have done them a huge favor by beating visiting Memphis. Instead, the Grizzlies, one day after learning they had lost forward Rudy Gay for the season, got a solid road win, beating Boston 90-87.
This was a gut-check win for Memphis (40-32), which maintained a two-game lead over Houston. The Grizzlies got a subpar effort from Zach Randolph, who had 13 points and eight rebounds. But they got strong games from two former Celtics in Tony Allen (eight points, seven rebounds) and Leon Powe (13 points), both whom played on Boston’s 2008 championship team.
“It was a great team victory and we had to gut it out, and scratch and claw,
Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said.
Hollins is doing a terrific job this season, getting Memphis in position for its first playoff berth in five seasons. He’s even shown up on ESPN’s Awards Watch list as the co-No. 5 candidate (along with Portland’s Nate McMillan) for Coach of the Year, behind No. 1 Tom Thibodeau of Chicago, No. 2 Gregg Popovich of San Antonio, No. 3 Doug Collins of Philadelphia and No. 4 George Karl of Denver.
That’s a strong field for that honor.
APHow wide is the scrutiny the Heat are under, Erik Spoelstra?3. Heating up again: All the hand-wringing about the Miami Heat’s struggles seems so two weeks ago. Remember that? When the Heat lost at home to the Blazers on March 8, it was their fifth loss in a row, causing all kinds of panic and I-told-you-so’s.
Don’t look now, but the Heat have won six of their last seven, including last night’s 100-94 win at Detroit. The run included wins over the playoff-bound Lakers, Grizzlies, Spurs, Hawks and Nuggets.
Miami (49-22) is actually in position to make a run at the No. 2 spot in the East as its win and the Celtics’ loss last night narrowed Boston’s lead to 1.5 games. The Heat, in fact, are only 2.5 behind East-leading Chicago, and eight of their final 11 games are against teams that would not be in the playoffs if they started today.
Which is not to say there’s not the usual array of side issues with the Heat. For example, Dwyane Wade said the Bulls have had it “easy” because “all the focus has been on us.” And Mike Bibby moved into the starting lineup at point guard after Mario Chalmers was shelved for two weeks with a knee injury, continuing the never-ending scrutiny of the big three’s supporting cast.
So the hand-wringing does, in fact, continue.
4. Still coming: Wednesday’s game between the Cavaliers and Nets wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, with the teams shooting a combined 66 for 185 from the field (35.7 percent).
But it was exciting at the end, with New Jersey’s Brook Lopez tipping in an offensive rebound with 4 seconds left to send the game to overtime, where the Nets prevailed 98-94.
But maybe the most striking thing was the announced crowd of 18,923, which cheered and was loud in key stretches. Yes, Cleveland, despite LeBron James bolting for Miami and having the league’s worst record, continues to draw fans. The Cavaliers, in fact, still rank No. 3 in the NBA in average attendance at 20,084, behind only the Bulls and Blazers.
Now, it should be noted that Cleveland, like so many NBA teams, ignores the “attend” aspect of attendance and does not announce a turnstile count, but rather tickets sold (this comes up every game at the Rose Garden, where the Blazers have a 150-game sellout streak despite many empty seats). People who’ve gone to games at Quickens Loans Arena this season often comment on the empty seats they see, something your rarely saw during the James era.
And there’s a reason Cavs games are sold out. Last year, the team made season ticket holders renew in March, meaning fans gambled on James returning. So the real test comes next season.
But for now, the league’s worst team still has fans cheering for it. Amazing.
5. Game-changer in Sacramento? Fox40.com broke the news that there could be a major development in the Kings situation, and “a move to Anaheim is no longer inevitable.”
Fox40.com’s story has direct, attributed quotes, one of which says, “I know the specifics, but I cannot share the details yet, because it could jeopardize a very sensitive discussion that is about to take place.”
The quote giver was … oh … Jim Crandell, the sports director of Fox40.
Crandell claims that, according to his source (he being Fox40.com’s source), there is an “innovative new plan” for a new arena that has a funding source. Holy Hail Mary pass, Batman.
The tease … err, report … came as the Sacramento Bee’s Dale Kasler reported on the major role of billionaire Henry Samueli — owner of the Anaheim Ducks, whose company also runs the city-owned Honda Center — has in the potential move of the Kings to Orange County.
But Crandell’s report — not to mention Fox40.com’s report on Crandell’s report — gives Kings fans renewed hope, right? Surely no responsible journalist would tease something this big and not deliver.
Of course, Crandell is the guy who sent a tease on Twitter that said, “Coming up in my show at 10PM, David Stern makes the announcement no Kings wants to hear…” On the teased broadcast, Crandell showed a video from 1987, announcing the Kings move to Sacramento from Kansas City, then reshowed the clip with the “Anaheim” dubbed in for Sacramento and “Sacramento” dubbed in for Kansas City.
Yup, it was just a joke. You hope for Kings fans’ sake this “gamechanger” Crandell is promising isn’t one, too.
– Mike Tokito; follow him on Twitter
TIME: 08:30 P.M. EST
VENUE: AT&T Center
With sizable leads in the Southwest Division and the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs have started looking ahead to the postseason by giving their top players some rest.
Given their 25-game home winning streak against the Golden State Warriors heading into Monday night’s game between the teams, it may not matter who Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decides to rest.
With a 7 1/2-game advantage over Dallas, San Antonio (56-13) is closing in on its eighth division title in 11 seasons. The NBA’s best team also has a 6 1/2-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers for the West’s No. 1 seed.
That helped make it easy for Popovich to give star forward Tim Duncan his first night off this season Saturday as the Spurs defeated visiting Charlotte 109-98. Starting guard Manu Ginobili also played just 19 minutes – far below his season average of nearly 31.
Rookie Tiago Splitter got his first NBA start in place of Duncan, but it was reserve forward Steve Novak who proved more pivotal with a season-high 19 points. Fellow bench players Gary Neal added 15 points and George Hill had 12.
“It was great to have the bench come in, so Manu (Ginobili) wouldn’t have to play too many minutes,” Popovich said. “I wanted to play Tony (Parker) even less, but he’s the youngster of the group. Everyone off the bench came in and did a great job.”
Even with his team’s large leads in the division and conference, Ginobili said the Spurs starters might get only get one or two nights off over the final 3 1/2 weeks of the regular season.
“We got to keep in shape and keep playing. Because when you realize the playoffs are here you don’t want to lose your conditioning,” Ginobili said.
The Spurs’ conditioning has rarely been an issue of late against the fast-paced Warriors (30-40). The 25-game run at home is the NBA’s longest active streak against one opponent, and San Antonio has won 11 in a row in the series.
Duncan played just 18 minutes in a 111-94 win over Golden State at the AT&T Center on Dec. 8, finishing with eight points and five rebounds. Parker, meanwhile, had 19 points to lead six players in double figures. DeJuan Blair was one of those with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Golden State got a career-high eight 3-pointers and 31 points from Reggie Williams in that game, but Stephen Curry sprained his right ankle in the second quarter. Curry was held to 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting Sunday when the Warriors suffered their fourth consecutive defeat and fourth in a row on the road, 101-73 at Dallas.
Golden State, averaging 103.1 points, had just 10 in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks and missed 24 of 33 shots in the second half. The 73 points were the team’s second lowest-scoring total this season.
“It was just an off night for guys. Guys couldn’t find their shot,” forward Dorell Wright said. “I feel like shots that we usually make were going in and out, and we were just missing it. It’s like that at some times. So, we’ve just got to let this one go and get ready for tomorrow.”
Ginobili has averaged 20.5 points on 54.0 percent shooting in his last four games against Golden State. San Antonio has also limited the Warriors’ Monta Ellis to 18.7 points – 5.7 below his team-leading average – on 34.8 percent shooting.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Charlotte Bobcats Gameday Q&A
Written by Jeff Garcia | 19 March 2011
The San Antonio Spurs (55-13) host the Charlotte Bobcats (28-40) in their last meeting of the NBA season.
The last time these teams met, it was a 95-91 win for the Spurs in Charlotte. Manu Ginobili led the way with 26 points, while Tim Duncan posted a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
The Spurs hold an 11-2 advantage in the all-time series against the Bobcats and are 5-1 in San Antonio versus Charlotte. Currently, the Spurs have won three straight over the Bobcats in San Antonio and the Spurs have never lost a series to Charlotte.
To discuss tonight’s matchup, I turn to fellow NBA Bloguin blogger Andrew Lail and Bruce Barker of Trade Street Post. The best Bobcats site on the Internet. Period!
In this Q&A, Andrew and Bruce talk about the recent trade of Gerald Wallace to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Bobcats’ new coach, what Spurs fans can expect from Charlotte tonight and more.
Jeff: What was the overall feeling of Bobcats fans when All-Star Gerald Wallace was traded to Portland?
Trade Street Post: Lots of words could be used to describe the feelings felt. We all felt betrayed, lied to, stabbed in the back, and most importantly, that the CEO and FO were giving up on the team. Cooler heads felt upset, but understood the reasoning behind it all. It didn’t make the pill any easier to swallow, but we all know in the long run, the first round picks and salary savings will pay of in the future of this team.
This might be a question that will cause you to write a novel but under the Michael Jordan era, the Bobcats have gone through some major ups and downs. Trade Street Post recently wrote an open letter to him but how much of the blame falls on Jordan for the recent “downs” – i.e. Larry Brown, the struggles under former coach Sam Vincent, etc., in the Charlotte franchise?
Larry Brown was a very logical move after the nightmare that was Sam Vincent. I prefer to forget that Sam Vincent ever was a coach, and perhaps it will cease to have happened. We do not blame Jordan, per se. Bob Johnson was trying to build a “budget” franchise from day 1. Long term contracts, poor roster moves, no local business support and very few investors, stacked the deck against Michael Jordan from his arrival to now. Now that he is majority owner, it will take time to get the bad contracts gone. Nothing can be done about past roster moves because they are in the past. All we can do is let MJ do his thing. Anyone who doesn’t believe that the FO in Chicago was asking MJ what pieces he thought the Bulls team needed to build a champion is simply fooling himself. Jordan knows what he needs, and he knows it will most likely take 3-5 years to become a perennial contender.
Recently, the interim tag was removed from Paul Silas and is now the head coach of the Bobcats. Good move or should Charlotte have brought in someone else?
Coach Silas is greatly loved by the city of Charlotte. He was a successful coach of our Charlotte Bobcats back in the day, and he has proven to be a players coach. I believe that he was a great fit. He said that coaching the Bobcats in the city he calls home would be his dream job. Charlotte needed a leader that they love for fans to buy into the team. His current record shows that he is still a very good coach, and being a “player’s Coach” was something our team needed. Larry Brown had everyone’s confidence in the toilet, and Silas came in, believing in ALL of the guys. Great move in our opinion.
The last time these two teams met, it was a 95-91 win for the Spurs in Charlotte. It was a close game so what did the Bobcats do in that game to put a scare into the NBA’s number one team?
You can never count the Bobcats out. Tough defense, playing as a team, and hitting shots are the keys to our success. That was exactly what they did, however, playing a team with the chemistry that the Spurs have, it was, and always will be a tough team to overcome.
What match up would you tell Spurs and Bobcats fans to keep a close eye on tonight?
The Bobcats have struggled over their past 2 games. Scoring has become an issue, because our main scorer, Stephen Jackson, has fallen into a slump. I have reason to believe that after the win against the Raptors, Jax grimaced in pain. He was seen leaving the court with his left hamstring wrapped in ice…hidden with an ace bandage. No injury report came out on it, but his shooting slump began after that game. I may be reading into it too much, but I believe he’s playing hurt, and I could be wrong, and I hope I am. Me being wrong means that Jax, Augustin, and Diaw each drop at least 20 points in this game, and Gerald Henderson can shut down Manu. It will also take a dynamic duo of Tyrus Thomas and Kwame Brown to keep Duncan in check. With all that said, beware of a hot Jax, a hungry Augustin, and a strong bench in DJ White and Dante Cunningham.
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The San Antonio Spurs may have been dropkicked by the Miami Heat on Monday, but our top team in the NBA Power Rankings still wears silver and black. The Heat recovered from their March swoon just in time to beat two of the West’s best three teams, and the Chicago Bulls continue to roll.
1. San Antonio Spurs (54-13, Previous: #1) – Prediction: predictions about how well the Spurs will handle the playoffs will be erratic. Some fear the team’s age and relative luck in terms of injuries this season. Others accede to the team’s incredible experience with each other and the mystical beast that is postseason basketball.
2. Chicago Bulls (47-18, Prev: #4) – As Chris Clark pointed out here on SBNation.com last week Luol Deng has greatly downgraded his prospensity to take long two-pointers, going from 6.7 per game to 3.6 this season That’s resulted in more threes (4.2 from 1.2), which Deng hits at a lower rate but with a much higher reward. Wonderful trade-off for the Bulls.
3. Miami Heat (46-21, Prev: #6) – Things turned out OK for the Heat. Erik Spoelstra didn’t, as columnists claimed he would, get fired. LeBron James didn’t choke himself during any meals. Chris Bosh didn’t melt into tears at the first mention of potential loss. Instead, the Heat waxed the Lakers, Grizzlies and Spurs. Well done!
4. Boston Celtics (47-18, Prev: #3) – Kevin Garnett could very deserve Defensive Player of the Year; anyone who argues vociferously for any of about four or five candidates at the expense of players like Garnett or Andre Iguodala simply has a made mind. The Celtics are ridiculously more put together on defense when KG’s in the game.
5. Los Angeles Lakers (48-20, Prev: #2) — The Lakers survived their biggest injury scare of the season when Kobe Bryant left Saturday’s game with an ankle sprain. I’m a big believer in Pau Gasol’s importance (in wins and losses), but the Lakers simply can’t lose Kobe. There’s no depth in the backcourt, and no scorer to pick up the load who doesn’t already have a massive load to carry.
6. Dallas Mavericks (47-19, Prev: #5) – As it turns out, Shawn Marion — not Sasha Pavlovic, not Peja Stojakovic, not Corey Brewer, not DeShawn Stevenson — is the answer at small forward. Especially in the postseason as Rick Carlisle’s rotation will shorten, Marion’s the right answer there.
7. Orlando Magic (42-26, Prev: #7) – Orlando’s schedule the remainder of March is fairly light, so the Magic could make a nice run to further guarantee their No. 4 playoff seed. But it should be more about tuning for the playoffs — and getting that defense to championship level — than anything.
8. Denver Nuggets (40-27, Prev: #9) – It’s not just that the Nuggets are winning — they are winning by quite a lot. Denver is +96 in six March Games. That includes victories of 30 (over Detroit) and 40 (Charlotte), but those count too. The schedule gets a bit rougher from here. It might not matter. Denver looks awesome.
9. Oklahoma City Thunder (43-23, Prev: #8) – OKC has dominated a light March schedule, which is what teams of its ilk are supposed to do. Kendrick Perkins is in the lineup, and the Heat await Wednesday. Can’t see how that gets chippy not at all.
10. New Orleans Hornets (39-30, Prev: #12) — Chris Paul has come back with a vengeance, but Carl Landry isn’t offering a whole lot off the bench, just 10 points per game. Is there a fundamental reason Monty Williams struggles to get much out of obviously good bench players? (See: Marcus Thornton dropping 42 in Sacramento.)
11. Memphis Grizzlies (37-31, Prev: #11) – Rudy Gay may not be back for a while still, but the Grizzlies have thrived with him. Offense hasn’t been a problem, and the team finally seems to have the backcourt depth needed to compete.
12. Houston Rockets (34-34, Prev: #14) – This isn’t Rick Adelman’s best coaching job — the 2005-06 Sacramento Kings hold that honor — but it’s up there. So many critics have repeatedly bleated that Kevin Martin can’t be the best player on a good team. Guess what? Kevin Martin’s the best player on a .500 team fighting to make the playoffs. Haters stand down.
13. Philadelphia 76ers (34-33, Prev: #13) – Is Elton Brand a dependable option for next season and beyond? His play remains high-level, and though he’s the old man of this crew, Philadelphia has enough young horses (Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner) to expect year-over-year improvement from within.
14. Portland Trail Blazers (37-29, Prev: #15) — Gerald Wallace is the rare All-Star who could fit on any team. He’s shooting less frequently in Portland, but keeps on doing the things that made him famous: tough defense and rebounding, and occassional bursts of dynamism. A dude anyone could love.
15. New York Knicks (34-31, Prev: #10) – Team Bizarro is, if nothing else, deflating the legend of Mike D’Antoni. To see George Karl use the Knicks’ spare parts in such bombastic fashion as Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire play dual isolation in New York reminds me of how Mo Cheeks turned the Andres Iguodala and Miller into a fierce transition show when Karl let Allen Iverson and ‘Melo race to each new scoring opportunity with little integration. Where’s the magic?!
Tony Parker has been named the NBA’s Western Conference Player of the Week.
- W. Scott Bailey
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The NBA awarded San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker its Western Conference Player of the Week award on Monday.
Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat has been named Eastern Conference Player of the Week.
Parker and Wade received the honors only hours before their respective teams were scheduled to meet up in South Florida, where Miami hopes to avenge a 30-point loss in San Antonio several days ago.
The awards represent Parker’s and Wade’s on-court work in games played from March 7 to March 13.
During that stretch, in which the Spurs clinched their 14th consecutive playoff berth, Parker led the Black & Silver to a spotless 3-0 record.
In those three games, Parker led the Spurs in scoring, averaging 23.7 points per contest.
Parker has now received the Western Conference Player of the Week honor twice this season.
Miami was 2-1 during the week for which Wade has been honored. He averaged 28.7 points per game in that stretch.
Wade has been named as an Eastern Conference Player of the Week three times this season.
The Spurs are 54-12 and still owners of the league’s best record.
Miami is 45-21, having lost six of its last 10 games.
ESPN, which is telecasting the Monday night match-up between San Antonio and Miami, has characterized the Spurs as the “anti-Heat.”
That’s because while the Spurs have piled up wins, the Heat have been caught up in the hype.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra, comparing his team to the Spurs, says, “They can focus on what’s real — getting better and preparing to compete for an NBA championship. That’s what we’re doing as well. But there are so many distractions every single day.
“For us, we’re in a different situation than San Antonio,” Spoelstra adds. “Completely different.”
The difference, some would argue, is night and day.
Miami’s LeBron James has nicknamed his team the “Heatles,” in reference, no doubt, to a certain hugely popular British band with a similar-sounding name.
The Spurs are treated by the national press like an opening act.
But Parker and company believe if they can keep their groove they will get their own nickname this spring: Champs.
NBA Analysis: Rockets Fall to Spurs
Spurs 115, Rockets 107
I will start by prefacing that I only watched the last quarter of the game. At work, I didn’t get done with my duties until the first three periods were finished, and I surprisingly flipped the channel to see the Rockets up by one. The 4th Quarter was all I needed to see. In what was an extremely frustrating game, and in a dream world a possible preview of a first round playoff matchup, Houston pushed San Antonio around for a majority of the game.
But the Spurs finally figured out…hey they don’t have a 7-foot shot blocker so let’s take it to the hole. Gary Neal, Richard Jefferson, and Parker all scored off drives hitting crucial buckets down the stretch in the 4th. Another turning point was second chance points. While the Rockets were only outrebounded by one, but the Spurs made the most of their opportunities outscoring Houston on second chance points 18-8.
The turning point came with the game tied at 107, Duncan was able to turn back the clock and nail a short jumper over the Chuckwagon to give the Spurs the lead for good. Duncan also hit a pair of free throws, ON AN ABSOLUTELY HORRENDOUS FOUL CALL (see picture above), that pushed San Antonio’s advantage to 111-107 with 30.8 seconds left to play. Lee and Duncan were both going for the ball on an errant pass, Lee tipping it away to Lowry which would have given Houston possession, down by two, with 30 seconds left. Instead, a foul was assessed to Lee and Duncan hit the two free throws putting the game out of reach.
The Rockets fought hard, and like they have all season came up just short. It was another disappointing loss, but one that can sum of this year in its entirety. With the Blazers and Grizzlies both losing yesterday it would have been huge to steal a win vs the best team in the Western Conference.
-I love the Lowry/Dragic combination. Bill Worrell summed it up best when describing the two: “It is like being attacked by two bulldogs at the same time.” Dragic put in some quality minutes going 5-6 from the field for 10 points. While a lot was good, the two did combine for 10 of Houston’s 18 turnovers.
-Chuck Hayes: Fellow writer, Dustin, and I used to play a Rockets drinking game where if the Chuckwagon would hit two consecutive free throws we would have to shotgun a beer. The fact that Chuck hit two free throws with around a minute left to play must require something bigger.
-Steve Novak sighting last night. I didn’t even know he was still in the league. I was very disappointed Chase didn’t take it to the rack every single possession Novak was guarding him, should have put up at least 10 in that span.
-Clutchness: While K-Mart was the leading scorer for the Rockets, he was 1-6 in the 4th Quarter, yet Houston kept running the offense through him. He was getting good looks, just not hitting his jumper.
Kobe Bryant scored 26 points as the Los Angeles Lakers routed the San Antonio Spurs 99-83 in a matchup of National Basketball Association division leaders.
The Lakers halted the Spurs’ franchise-record 22-game home winning streak, racing to a 34-13 advantage after the opening quarter and leading by as many as 32 points at AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas.
The Spurs had entered the game with an NBA-best 51-11 record, including a 29-2 mark at home. The Lakers improved to 45-19, the fifth-best record in the NBA and the third-best in the Western Conference behind San Antonio and Dallas.
“Today was a good test to see how much we’ve improved since the All-Star break and we passed,” Bryant, who added seven rebounds and five assists, said in a televised interview. “We’re not making as many mistakes as we were the first half of the season. That’s a big difference.”
Pau Gasol added 21 points for the Lakers, who won for the first time in four games against their Western Conference rivals by holding the Spurs’ five starters to a combined 29 points. Tim Duncan was limited to two points and Manu Ginobili scored six on 3-of-10 shooting.
The Spurs lost at home for the first time since Nov. 26 against Dallas.
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