With their acquisition of slam dunking forward Kelly Williams and high octane guard Ryan Reyes, Talk N’ Text has become a certified powerhouse and threat to the throne.
In their Tnt debut last Friday, the two stars helped the Tropang Texters get past the Coca-Cola Tigers while displaying a glimpse of what they could contribute for the team.
“For now we’ve got a pretty balanced line-up,” offered TnT coach Chot Reyes.
It may take a while for Williams and Reyes to fully get acquainted with their new roles so Reyes expects the rest of the team to approach the next couple of games with a great sense of urgency.
The next challenge for the Tropang Texters is B-Meg Derby Ace, a team that has been struggling offensively but has been surviving with their suffocating defense.
Reyes realizes the ability of the Llamados to dominate the game and he is prodding his troops to cOme with their A-game in the 7:30 p.m. showdown Wednesday at the Araneta Coliseum he dubbed as a battle of offense vs. defense.
Ryan Gregorio, the Derby Ace coach, is just as cautious.
He acknowledged that their defense will be put to test against the high scoring Texters, who are on a six-game winning streak, and it would be a disaster to challenge the league’s second best team (7-2) to a shootout.
Instead, Gregorio said, they intend to disrupt TnT’s rhythm with their lockdown defense that has been holding opponents to 77 points and keeping them in contention despite the absence of star frontliner Kerby Raymundo.
The B-Meg Derby Ace coach said the addition of Williams and Reyes has transformed TnT into a super power that no PBA team can match in terms of roster strength.
“They are very deep in every position and every team that they play against will be considered virtual underdogs. That is an added motivation for us,” Gregorio said.
Gregorio said their goal is to secure a spot in the top 5 that would secure them an outright quarterfinal berth. But a seventh win in 10 games will enable the Llamados, who are on a three-game winning run, to stay within striking distance of leader San Miguel (9-1) and stay in the hunt for an outright semifnal spot.
Alaska also tries to bolster its playoff chances against skidding Coca-Cola in the other game scheduled at 5 p.m.
“We want to see if we can follow up the positive things we established in our last game,” said Alaska coach Tim Cone referring to their defense, rebounding and execution down the stretch that earned them an 82-73 come-from-behind victory over Rain or Shine last Friday to improve to a 5-4 (win-loss) record.
The Aces escaped with a 104-103 decision against the Tigers in their first meeting on May 7 – a win that Cone didn’t find satisfying, calling it “tsamba.
But as the saying goes, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.
Bo Perasol, the Coca-Cola coach, would gladly take it anytime.
And why not?
After starting the conference with three consecutive victories, the Tigers have lost six of their next seven games, including a five-game losing run. Overall, Coca-Cola has not won in almost a month, or since beating B-Meg Derby Ace, 79-76, last April 14.“I hope we can find a way to arrest our losing skid. We’re not even thinking about the other remaining games. Just this one,” Perasol said.
James, favoring a tender right elbow that appears to hurt worse than he's letting on, scored 19 points — 16 in the second half — and added 10 rebounds and nine assists as the Cavs finally saddled the stubborn Bulls to win the series 4-1. Unable to lift his right arm, James was forced to shoot a free throw left-handed with 7.8 seconds left.
Antawn Jamison scored 25 points for Cleveland, which will face the Celtics, reuniting teams that don't like each other and who played a testy seven-game series in 2008.
Game 1 is Saturday.
"A lot of people are saying they're too old, but we know they're going to come out and give us their best shot," said Jamison, who was not with the Cavs the last time Cleveland met Boston in the postseason. "It's going to be a hard-fought series. It should be fun."
Derrick Rose scored 31 points and Luol Deng 26 for the Bulls, who had several shots roll in and out in the final minutes.
Delonte West had 16 points and Shaquille O'Neal added 14 while racking up fouls against Chicago's big men.
The Cavs were intent on closing out the series at home but they couldn't shake the Bulls, who were trying to send the series back to Chicago for Game 6.
When Jamison buried a 3-pointer with 3:30 left, Cleveland was up 93-84, and for the first time all night Cavaliers fans finally started thinking about a matchup with the Celtics, who eliminated Miami earlier.
The Bulls, though, had other plans.
Deng hit a jumper and two free throws before Rose, who made Cleveland defenders look silly all series, made four straight from the line to pull the Bulls within 93-92 with 1:32 remaining.
Two free throws by James then gave Cleveland a three-point lead with 1:11 left.
Rose then tried a short shot in the lane that went halfway down before spinning out.
Cleveland's Mo Williams, who shot a dismal 2 for 13, then missed a baseline runner but the ball went out of bounds off Chicago's Joakim Noah. The Bulls did get the ball back on a steal, but Rose forced up an awkward left-handed layup over Anderson Varejao that was short.
James grabbed the rebound and was fouled. He made his first attempt to make it 96-92, but with his elbow causing him pain, he tried his second shot left-handed and it was way off the mark.
Down four, the Bulls got a layin by Deng just before the buzzer.
James, who wore a sleeve on his right arm for the second straight game, refused to address his injury before the game.
"I don't know what is up with it, but I'm ready to play," he said.
So were the Bulls, who fought until the end to prolong their season — and for Del Negro.
Chicago, which had to win down the stretch to earn the No. 8 seed, entered the playoffs amid controversy surrounding its coach. Del Negro reportedly got into a physical confrontation with vice president of basketball operations John Paxson last month, an incident the team downplayed but could have long-term effects.
Rose said he would hate to see Del Negro lose his job.
"We both came in as rookies. It would be devastating," Rose said. "But it's not up to me, it's up to the front office. They're the ones that drafted me, so I guess I'm behind them."
Rose said it would be hard to imagine the Bulls firing their coach after making the playoffs.
"It would be unusual, especially since it's our second time (in the playoffs)," Rose said. "But the league changes constantly. I guess that's how it is in the NBA. It's tough to coach up here."
Cleveland's plan in the fourth quarter was to force the ball inside to O'Neal and let the Big Diesel power his way to the basket.
O'Neal drew two fouls in a five-second span on Chicago's Brad Miller, who was doing all he could to keep the 325-pounder out of the lane. Del Negro and the Bulls assistants protested the second foul and Miller had to be grabbed by his teammates before he got called for a technical.
One minute later, O'Neal got Noah to reach in and commit his fourth foul. The Cavs immediately went into O'Neal again, and this time he spun on Noah and dunked on the Bulls' outspoken center, sending the nervous, sellout crowd into a momentary frenzy. — AP
The deal was consummated yesterday and both parties claimed their teams will be better by the exchange.
Miller, the 5-foot 11 spitfire who earned the moniker the "Thriller," for his daredevil moves, adds a new dimension to a Ginebra team which, before he came on board, already teemed with star power.
Alaska coach Tim Cone said it was Miller who had sought for the trade, although no reason was given why the player asked to move to another team.
Cone said that he will surely miss Miller, whom he considers as "one of the real good guys in the league."
"He made it known to us for the last couple of years that he has wanted to be traded. It was only now that the Aces got what it felt a good deal," Cone said.
"I think it-s a good deal for us," said Joaqui Trillo, Alaska-s alternate governor to the PBA Board.
Miller is known as a prolific scorer and a fine closer � traits that landed him a spot in the Philippine team that finished 8th in the FIBA-Asia Championship in Tianjin, China.
Baguio, who blossomed into a fine all-around player during his stint with Barako Bull before he was acquired by Ginebra last conference from Air21, was also a member of that team handled by coach Yeng Guiao.
Interestingly, Ginebra and Alaska battle each other at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Araneta Coliseum.
This will be Miller-s fourth team in the PBA after starting his pro career with Red Bull, which took him as the No. 1 overall pick in the 2001 Rookie Draft. He also played for Talk -N Text.
Miller, the PBA Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 2002 and 2007, will have as teammates reigning MVP Jayjay Helterbrand, Mark Caguioa, Ronald Tubid, and Celino Cruz.
Ginebra mentor Jong Uichico said that he would rather "wait and see" on how to utilize a talented player like Miller, who will have his first practice session Thursday with the Kings at the Green Meadows gym in Green Hills, San Juan.
So far this conference, the 32-year-old Miller averaged 17 point, three rebounds and 4.5 assists.
It-s interesting to see if the native of Olongapo City will start for Ginebra or will come off the bench behind Caguioa and Helterbrand.
Both Miller and Baguio earn maximum salaries of P350,000 and their contracts will expire at the end of July 2010.
In what could be the biggest headache of opposing teams in the 2010 PBA Fiesta Cup Alaska Aces coach Tim Cone plans to field a twin tower combination of 6-7 Sonny Thoss at power forward and new recruit 6-9 Sam Eman at center.
Rather than alternating Thoss and Eman at the slot coach Tim will play the two big men on the floor at the same time.
Thoss welcomes the idea and is excited to show what he can do at his new position at the wing. He realizes however that it will entail a lot of hard work and sacrifice for the new plan of coach Tim to succeed.
I want to adjust to being able to play the wing and work with Sam on the court, said Thoss. That is pretty much my focus at the moment. We are both eager and excited during practices. We are getting used to playing together at the same time. Hopefully it will work out for us.
The Alaska big man says that he needs to be ready for the unique challenge of playing the forward spot.
Well I guess offensively I will have a huge advantage because of my size, said Thoss. But at the same time I will have to guard smaller, quicker forwards at the other end. So there is going to be a downside for me too.
Thoss says coach Tim explained to him what he needed to do and what were the expectations from him.
I will be working on my footwork and strengthening my legs, said Thoss. I will have to be quick on my feet all the time. We will see how I can guard smaller, faster forwards.
The Aces have been practicing for the past weeks with new additions Eman and import Diamon Simpson. Thoss and Eman have played not only against each other, but also alongside each other many times during scrimmages.
The Aces tested their huge frontline of Eman, Thoss and Simpson against the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos in back-to-back games in Cebu. The Aces lost the first game 87-88. They then overwhelmed the Ninos with their size and strength up front to post a rousing 87-75 victory in their second game.
Sonny and Sam have been playing great together. Sam is picking up things quickly. Sonny adjusting well to the wing position, said coach Tim.
Like the rest of his teammates, Thoss felt that the 0-4 defeat suffered at the hands of the Purefoods Tender Juicy Giants (now B-MEG Derby Ace Llamados) during the PBA Philippine Cup Finals only serves as a stinging reminder that will help the Alaska Aces try even harder this conference. The Aces did their best but still fell short of their target the past conference.
Everybody is down losing like that, said Thoss. But we are definitely hungry to go out again and go all the way this coming Fiesta Cup conference. It (defeat in the finals) only served to make us more determined this conference.
The Aces were impressive in Cebu but are getting better everyday as newcomers Eman and Simpson continue to become better acquainted with the Alaska system and their teammates.
Comfortable akong kalaro sa loob si Sonny, said Eman. Pwede talaga kaming magkasabay sa loob. Sa Los Angeles (Lakers) nga mas malalaki pa sa amin si Pau Gasol at si Andrew Bynum. Pero sabay din sila sa loob.
Even with Thoss and Eman playing their best, the Alaska Aces may not be able to beat the Los Angeles Lakers. But with the two playing smoothly together the Aces will most likely be good enough and big enough to beat the rest of the field and win the 2010 PBA Fiesta Cup crown.
That's how Kevin Garnett reacted after his Boston Celtics (36-21) lost to the New Jersey Nets (6-52) 104-96, a loss that may as well have been by 20.
The Celtics earned a smattering of boos from their home crowd after clocking in with their most lifeless first half of the season, and that's counting a hot start that led to a very early 12-2 lead. As the Nets mounted a 27-14 run to close out the first quarter, the Celtics displayed less energy and willingness to play defense than many teams show every night in the NBA Developmental League.
It was a horror show. It is the low point of Boston's season, and perhaps of the Garnett era. The collapses against the Clevelands and Orlandos of the league are one thing, but scoring 15 points in the second quarter and eventually losing to a team that could turn in the worst record in league history?
"They played better than us. It's not hard to explain," Celtics coach DocRivers said. "We told them yesterday, 'It ain't the system. It's our heads. It's between the ears. And we've got to come out and play. Everyone wants to beat you, you can bank on that.'"
They did mount a comeback, of sorts, though its success would not have removed this game from the category of a moral loss. With some generous shot-clock management from the local staff -- allowing Rasheed Wallace to catch, turn and shoot a 35-footer off an inbounds with one second on the clock -- the Celtics were able to close the deficit, once at 18, to six on two separate occasions in the final 2:09. But four missed threes, good looks all of them, and loose balls going the wrong direction stopped things short.
"I talk about it a lot with our guys, 'Those [plays] are the basketball gods punishing you," Rivers said. "'You have no right to get back in this game.'"
The loss was Boston's 11th of the year at TD Garden, just one less than in the previous two seasons combined.
"Guys are coming in thinking they can win at the Garden, and last year it was totally opposite," Rajon Rondo said.
The Nets' win was no mistake -- they knew they could win. It was a magnificent performance, and one that should not go forgotten in the wake of the doom and gloom that will follow the Celtics around for a couple days.
"I don't [think] it's so much difference between [the Celtics], it's a difference between us," Brook Lopez said. "As we progress through our season we've definitely improved. We finally broke through tonight."
Though the Nets strayed from him on offense in the fourth quarter, Lopez was the bull that brought the game home, playing excellent interior defense while scoring 25 points on just 11 shots, hitting 11-of-14 from the line. Free throws, in fact, were the single largest factor in the game. The Celtics shot a higher percentage -- 50 to 44 -- and made more field goals -- 42 to 32 -- but lost because New Jersey went to the line 41 times, making 34, to their 11 attempts. It was clear which team was the aggressor.
"A lot of the season we've been settling for jump shots at very inopportune times," Lopez said. "Tonight we were very assertive."
It helped that the Celtics were quite the opposite, committing lazy fouls and giving up 18 turnovers and 10 offensive rebounds for a total of 28 extra possessions, handed to the Nets. Those are not problems caused by the absence of Paul Pierce, or by an illness that has gone around the locker room.
"I'm not going to sit up here and give a bunch of excuses," Garnett said. "That's not my style. You lose, you lose. They kicked our [butts] tonight, period point blank.
"Players have to do more, including myself. We all have to dig deep and see what we're made of as a team."
source: Couper Moorhead, for NBA.com
After his forgettable debut game with Cleveland Cavaliers, Antawn Jamison has proven his worth as a Cavalier.
In his first game as a Cavalier against the Charlotte Bobcats, Jamison had an awful performance scoring only 2 points from the stripe, 0-13 from the field composed of few air balls and blocked shots. Cleveland fans in the forums quickly expressed their dismay on Jamison's performance and had doubts on the game of the former all-star forward.
It was really a nightmare-game for Jamison. I was not able to watch that game live but I stay tuned via livescore. He came off the bench (sixth man) for JJ Hickson. According to my friend who was able to watch the game on TV, Jamison evidently struggled with the offensive flow of the Cavs.
But Antawn Jamison has finally showed his stuff against Orlando Magic in a losing effort. He finished with 18 points and shooting decently from the field. Today, the Cavs finally break their 3-game skid with a win over the New Orleans hornets, 105-95. Jamison had his first game as a starter earlier than expected because Hickson had flu-like symptoms. He played for 37 minutes and shot 50% from the field, producing 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 assists.
Despite the win, I think Cleveland is not yet in its best form especially with the current performances of their guards. Mo Williams, Delonte West, Anthony Parker, and D. Gibson are not putting up the numbers just yet. In order for Cleveland to be a formidable team, Lebron and the rest of Cleveland's frontline needs their guards to hit from the outside.
I still believe that Cleveland will grab this year's NBA championship trophy. You can tune into bookmakers and place your bets on that. Go Cavs!
THEY are facing opponents who have come out and played as sharp as could be expected.
Yet Barangay Ginebra coach Jong Uichico and Purefoods counterpart Ryan Gregorio are pleading with their players to first hurdle their biggest enemy, ones that lie within themselves.
“We want players that, even when things are not going well, they’ll find a way,” said Uichico.
“They need to step up,” stated Gregorio.
The words came after the Giants and Kings suffered lopsided 104-79 and 99-83 losses to San Miguel Beer and Alaska, respectively, last Wednesday at the start of the 2009-10 KFC PBA Philippine Cup semifinal series at the Araneta Coliseum.
The second games of the best-of-seven duels resume Friday at the Cuneta Astrodome and the urgent calls were made in order for the trailers to avoid falling into a deeper hole.
Coaches Siot Tanquingcen of the Beermen and Tim Cone of the Aces shrugged off their Game 1 victories and pointed out they still need to win three more. They also gave much weight to the physical and emotional fatigue their opponents must still be suffering from after going through gruelling five-game quarterfinal affairs that ended only last Sunday.
Their main task, they added, is to brace for a much-improved adversary Friday.
“We have to make sure we don’t fall into a false sense of security,” said Tanquingcen. “First game, parang feeling-out stage lang. Sa second, parang mentality-wise, they’ll think, ‘Back into another series na.’ That’s the time na talagang bakbakan na.”
“We all know what Ginebra’s like, what coach Uichico’s like,” said Cone. “One thing about Jong, he doesn’t panic and because of that, Ginebra’s not gonna panic. They’re gonna take a deep breath, get more focused, then come out and play better.”
For the losing coaches, however, their players unable to find the will to come out and play with more energy is the very root of the problem.
“Nobody really stepped up except for Kerby (Raymundo) and Ping (Marc Pingris). The others were simply absent,” rued Gregorio.
Raymundo paced the team with 18 points while Pingris had 17 points and 10 rebounds. Roger Yap was the lone other double-digit producer for the Giants with 10.
Three days after scoring 28 points in the clincher against Rain or Shine, James Yap scored only eight points – all on charities – as he went 0-of-8 from the field.
“Unfortunately, James probably went full throttle against Rain or Shine in Game 5 and he didn’t have enough gas for today’s game,” noted Gregorio. “We really need James to step up for us and consistently score in order for us to compete and eventually win against San Miguel.”
James Yap’s main reliever, PJ Simon, still has not fully recovered from a knee injury and Paul Artadi is playing with a hamstring pull. That really puts the burden on the other Purefoods players to chip in more than their usual share.
San Miguel is tough enough, especially since its erstwhile injured players are back into their lethal forms.
Jay Washington, Danny Seigle and Danny Ildefonso, who suited up for a total 13 games in the 18-game eliminations, each had at least 10 points and two rebounds in the series opener, complementing usual go-to guys Arwind Santos, Dondon Hontiveros and Denok Miranda.
“When we (were about to) play San Miguel we just really worked on Arwind Santos, Dondon Hontiveros, Jay Washington. And now we have the two Dannys to prepare for,” said Gregorio.
Another player on the comeback trail, Mark Caguioa, showed the way for Ginebra against Alaska. The man who has played a total of only three games in the eliminations and sparingly used in the quarters wound up with 23 points.
But Sunday Salvacion was the only noticeable chipper for the Kings with 14 points as the likes of JC Intal, Ronald Tubid and Eric Menk were stifled. Worse, Celino Cruz and Menk suffered foot sprains in the opener and are doubtful starters Friday.
Which only aggravates Uichico more as he pointed an accusing finger at some of his remaining players who showed little of the spirit Ginebra is known for.“Iba naman iyung players that have bad games. There’s a difference between players that have bad games but are trying. Iyun ang importante doon, wala ka nang magagawa doon,” he said. “But players that are not trying, that’s really disappointing.”
The NBA is a week away from a trading deadline that has more to do with improving budgets than improving teams.
Well, sure, a handful of championship contenders will explore ways to nip and tuck themselves into better shape and possibly add a missing piece that'll give them an edge come spring and summer. That's always the case in the days leading up to the annual NBA swapping bazaar. Except this year is different.
This year, teams are studying salary averages a lot harder than they are scoring averages. This trading deadline will find plenty of teams trying to dump high salaries and bail from long contracts. This is a coupon-clipping, payroll-snipping, pocketbook-zipping trade deadline.
The teams looking to participate fall into one of three categories: Salary-dumpers hoping to clear cap space for the summer free agent market, cash-strapped teams hoping to chop salary to save money and balance the budget, and title-hunters looking to get-rich-quick by stealing a good player for next to nothing in return. In these risky economic times, and with a labor negotiation upcoming, everybody's trying to take advantage of the situation, one way or another.
As with all trade deadlines, there will be roughly 1,000 players speculated to go this way or that, and by the next day, the landscape will remain virtually unchanged. At least that's what history says. Still, in discussions with general managers, agents and scouts in the last few days, a handful of teams and players will be shopping or be shopped between now and then.
Everybody wants Camby. He's attractive because his salary is reasonable ($7.6 million), his contract is expiring and he's still a high volume rebounder and solid shotblocker. Several title-contending teams have called the Clippers about Camby, hoping to rent him for a half-season and perhaps re-sign him. But the Clippers want value in return, not someone who'll eat cap space and keep them from buying a free agent this summer.
They're carrying too much bloated weight, with Elton Brand (3 years, $51 million) and Andre Iguodala (4 years, $58 million) owed big money beyond this season, while attendance and results are down significantly. Philly knows an honest rebuilding attempt can't begin until at least one of those contracts is jettisoned. But what team wants to flirt with luxury tax issues by taking either player?
He's got the expiring contract, but nothing else. Nobody knows what he has left, and few teams will give the Rockets anyone of value for him, unless it's a salary dump. If there was a decent offer on the table, he would've been swapped by now. Besides, at this point in his career, can a T-Mac deal be defined as a blockbuster?
They're about to reach the fork in the road of their season. The Grizzlies are winning, yes, but face a big decision on Rudy Gay. He's a restricted free agent this summer and some team could blow him away with an offer that the cash-strapped Grizzlies can't touch. Does Memphis risk the season and trade him now to get something in return, or keep him and try to strike a deal in July?
With Chris Paul done for the year, the Hornets could take this time to trim costs and spare themselves the luxury tax. West is owed two years and $15.5 million, making him much easier to trade than Peja Stojakovic and Emeka Okafor, a pair of cap-killers.
The wrecking ball is coming to the Wizards sooner or later. They can get a jump by shipping Butler, the most reasonable trade bait on the club, since the Wizards want to keep Antawn Jamison. Of course, the big issue is Gilbert Arenas, but that'll have to wait until his sentencing next month and the Wizards take a closer look at the fine print on his contract, should he end up doing time.
If they really want a shot at Dwyane Wade and perhaps a B-list free agent this summer, then they'll need to free up additional cap room by seeking an expiring contract for Kirk Hinrich and Tyrus Thomas, two expendable players.
The phones are still ringing, but the Suns haven't gotten a decent offer yet. No good team will give up talent for Stoudemire unless they're certain they can re-sign him. Don't be surprised if he finishes the year in Phoenix.
A rival GM said he'd be shocked if the faltering Celtics made a major deal involving Ray Allen and his expiring contract, stressing that contending teams don't close shop so suddenly. True enough. While swapping Allen for a decent guard (Iguodala? Kevin Martin?) does make sense on some levels, the Celtics will likely ride out the Allen-KG-Paul Pierce era through one more postseason.
A few months ago, they each had a foot out the door, at least it seemed that way. But now the Jazz are winning big. And the Raptors are gaining ground on the Celtics in the division. Suddenly, winning a playoff round doesn't seem so far-fetched. Neither team seems willing to spoil the fun by pulling the plug on the season.Source: nba.com
Durant, who scored 33 points, found Green alone in the corner, rifled him a pass and Green tossed in a dagger from 23 feet with 1:42 left in the game to lead the Thunder to a 106-99 win over the Hawks.
The big 3-pointer seemed to take the life out of what had been a valliant comeback by Atlanta.
"I saw Jeff was open for a split second," Durant said, "so I threw it to him and I knew he was gonna hit it."
Green did not disappoint, finishing with 19 points inclduing 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.
Durant picked up another double-double by grabbing 11 rebounds to go along with his 33 points. Durant has now scored 25 or more in 22 straight games, the longest streak in the NBA since Allen Iverson put together a string of 27 straight in the 2000-01 season.
Hawks coach Mike Woodson was more than impressed and he didn't have to hear the chants of M-V-P coming from the Ford Center crowd to know what he was seeing.
"He's very unique," Woodson said. "I look at him now and he's playing like an MVP candidate in this league. He scores very, very easy. That's hard to do in this league. Only the great ones can do that."
Durant has now scored 30 or more points in 28 games, the most of anyone in the NBA.
"This is a good win to end the homestand on. We beat one of the best teams in the league," said Thunder coach Scott Brooks.
"You have to give them credit because defensively they got after us," Woodson said. "We made a game of it in the fourth by getting back in it."
Johnson put his team on his back in the second half, scoring 23 points to finish with a game-high 37. The Hawks went on a 25-12 run from late in the third quarter to the middle of the fourth, tying the game at 89.
"We gave up a couple of transition 3s and that's just unacceptable," Brooks said.
But from that point on Oklahoma City buckled down on defense and made stops and then made shots at the other end of the floor.
"We shot ourselves out of it by taking bad shots coming down the stretch," Woodson said.
OKC point guard Russell Westbrook took over the game during that time, making several key plays on offense and defense.
"I thought Russell's execution in the fourth quarter was as good as it gets," Brooks said. "He made a lot of great decisions and was aggressive at both ends."
Westbrook just missed a triple-double, scoring 12 points, dishing out nine assists and grabbing nine rebounds.
The first half was a back-and-forth battle where both teams struggled to hit baskets. Neither managed to make 40 percent of their shots with Oklahoma City (27-21) shooting only 37.1 percent and Atlanta (30-17) not much better at 39 percent.
The Thunder came in with the fourth-ranked field goal shooting defense in the NBA, limiting teams to 43.7 percent. Rebounds were almost even with OKC leading 23-22.
The Hawks had a sizeable advantage in a couple of areas at the break, leading in points in the paint, 24-16 and in second chance points, 12-6.
Durant led all scorers at halftime with 20 points, while none of his teammates were in double figures.
Johnson led the Hawks with 14 while Josh Smith added 11 through the first half.
Johnson tried to take over the game in the third quarter when he scored 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting to rally his team from a 13-point deficit to just seven, 79-72 at the end of the third.
Johnson's 37 points on 13-for-20 shooting led all scorers, Josh Smith added 15 for the Hawks and Al Horford contributed 14.
Oklahoma City had a big advantage on the boards, outrebounding Atlanta 45-35, the Thunder pulling down 17 offensive rebounds.
Atlanta lost both games to the Thunder this season but has still won nine of their last 13.
Oklahoma City is now on a three-game winning streak and the Thunder have now won six of their last nine as they head into a three-game road swing before the All-Star break.
By Randy Renner, for NBA.com
Posted Wednesday February 3, 2010 12:10AM
That's pretty much the reason why the Cleveland Cavaliers emerged with an easy 105-89 home win Tuesday night. More accurately, the Cavs refused to overlook a Grizzlies team that used to be considered a gimme on weeknight in February.
Of course, focus isn't an issue for the Cavs (39-11) these days. They have now won nine straight, and a lot of those have come rather easily.
Meanwhile, the forever-improving Grizzlies (26-22) were playing a rare deadly double, with back-to-back games against the best team from each conference on consecutive nights (they beat the Lakers on Monday).
Not surprisingly, the Cavs were never really threatened, beating the Grizzlies in every way imaginable -- to rebounds and loose balls, off the fast break and in the halfcourt. Not surprising because the Griz had to be exhausted, and more so, because the Cavs have just been that good lately.
On Tuesday, it was a systematic route, as the Cavs never trailed and led by as many as 28.
"They did a good job of taking us out of our offense," said Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins. "It was a methodical thing."
As usual, it was also a LeBron James thing. The reigning NBA MVP scored 22 points on 7-for-14 shooting, and that wasn't even when he was at his best. He also recorded 15 assists and yet another one of those chase-down blocks, in which he swats an unsuspecting opponent's shot off the backboard from behind.
Even when James plays less than 40 minutes, as he did Tuesday, he continues to give the league the right to proclaim that it truly is the place Where Amazing Happens.
"He's just a great player," Hollins said. "I don't know that there's much more you can say about him. He sees things that other players don't see. We are in a zone (defense) and he knows what's going on. He attacks the basket then throws it out for a 3-pointer. He attacks the basket, then throws it in for a layup."
Another staple of the Cavs' winning streak has been balance, and that was again the case on this night. Besides James, the Cavs received major contributions from guard Daniel Gibson (16 points, 6-for-11 shooting), forward J.J. Hickson (15 points, 8 rebounds) and center Shaquille O'Neal (13 points, 13 boards). Also, Zydrunas Ilgauskas (14 points) and Anderson Varejao (8 points, tons of hustle) came up big off the bench.
On top of all that, the Cavs were magnificent defensively, particularly when it came to guarding Zach Randolph. The Grizzlies' All-Star forward was limited to eight points, or 13 below his season average, on 3-for-14 shooting.
It's no wonder Cavs coach Mike Brown repeatedly used the word "fun" when describing his team's performance.
"For us to play the way we did defensively was extremely fun to watch," Brown said. "That first half was the most fun half I've had watching my team play this year. Even offensively, we were moving the ball side to side, driving and kicking, playing pick-and-roll on the backside, giving the ball to Shaq at the right time and spacing the right way. It was fun to watch."
It was considerably less enjoyable for the Grizzlies, who shot just 38 from the field, including 2-for-14 on 3-pointers. Just don't ask them if they had tired legs.
"(Monday) night had nothing to do with tonight," Hollins said in reference to the hard-fought win over the Lakers. "Tonight had to do with the Cleveland Cavaliers and what they did defensively and what they were doing offensively. We have been playing back-to-backs all year long, and we are going to continue to play them as long as these kids are in the league."
Rudy Gay led the Grizzlies with 15 points and Jamaal Tinsley contributed 12 off the bench.
The Cavs still have five games remaining on their seven-game homestand, the franchise's longest in 15 years. They are 20-3 at home, having avenged an early-season loss in Memphis.
"We're definitely conscious when we lose to a team," James said. "We wanted to play a better game than we did last time, and definitely came out with the mindset just to play to our abilities."
As an interesting aside, the Cavs are now 20-0 when Hickson scores seven points or more.
"I think it's all developing at one time," Hickson said of his game. "When I get myself going on the defensive end, it improves my offense because I'm more active."
By By Sam Amico, For NBA.com
Posted Tuesday February 2, 2010 11:00PM
Rain or Shine outlasted Coca-Cola Tigers to survive the wildcard and face Purefoods TJ Giants in the quarter finals of the PBA All Filipino Cup. Behind the stellar performance of point guard Solomon Mercado, Rain or Shine is on a good rhythm entering the quarter finals. However, fatigue is the main concern of Rain or Shine because they'll be against the well-rested Purefoods team which is also on a streak this 2010.
Controversial James Yap and team captain Kerby Raymundo will lead the charge for the Giants. But Purefoods has evolved into a better team this season, showing significant improvements in their assists per game output. Their bench headed by KG Canaleta, PJ Simon, Don Allado, and Roger Yap is also performing very well. More than their offensive firepower, Purefoods is the number one defensive team in the PBA today.
On the other end, Talk n Text will battle the injury-plagued Gin Kings. Despite losing their key players to injuries, Ginebra managed to advance to the quarters behind the guns of Cyrus Baguio, Ronald Tubid and JC Intal. This series will surely be a showdown of guards. Jimmy Alapag and Mac Cardona will surely won't back down against Ginebra's backcourt. It will be interesting to see how Ginebra will play defense against Mac Cardona.
At 5pm Purefoods battles Rain or Shine while Brgy. Ginebra Gin Kings faces Talk n Text Tropang Texters in the main game.
NBA 2K10 is a basketball video game developed by Visual Concepts and published by 2K Sports. It was released on October 6, 2009 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and PSP and on October 12, 2009 on PC.
The 2k10 version is not really that far from the NBA 2K9 release. They changed the control configuration a bit. I noticed very minimal improvements in terms of graphics. Gameplay though has really improved.
From 2k Sports:
NBA 2K10 is raising the bar again with another Championship season. NBA 2K9, the #1 selling & #1 rated NBA videogame, set the standard for all basketball videogames, and NBA 2K10 surpasses that by delivering an even better basketball experience this year with all-new gameplay components, out-of-this-world graphics, even more realistic Signature Style animations, all-new presentation elements and an unrivalled online system -- this season you won’t just play the NBA, you’ll TAKE OVER.I was really impressed when I first played the 2K10 PC version. Note that I've been playing NBA live since birth! Since EA Sports no longer provided PC version of their NBA live series, I learned to enjoy 2k Sports' offerings.
Like NBA game console fanatic, I'm still dismayed that the 2K series does not support multiplayer mode via local area network (LAN).
If you don't have a copy of NBA 2K10, give this link a try.
Coca-Cola defeated Burger King while Rain or Shine busted Sta. Lucia Realtors to seal tonight's battle. Coca-Cola is unbeaten this year. The trade with Burger King proved to be worthy for the Tiger. The sent Wesley Gonzales and ace-guard Alex Cabagnot to the Whoppers in exchange for Gary David and Chico Lanete. The revival of Asi Taulava who missed most of the elimination games due to injury is the main reason why Coke is roaring. Asi is producing double-double numbers each game.
Rain or Shine meanwhile, has been on a slump all season long. Fortunately they managed to win when it mattered the most. They outlasted the more favored Sta. Lucia Realtors in their duel last Sunday. Leading Rain or Shine are Sol Mercado, Gabe Norwood and special mention to their team captain, veteran Eddie Laure.
PBA fans are in for an epic battle tonight!
The 2010 NBA All Star weekend is coming this February. Fans can surely expect a stellar performance from NBA superstars who'll participate in various events.
Leading the cast of superstars are Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. It's also amazing to see how people voted for Tracy McGrady and Allen Iverson for the all-star game. Despite their lousy season, this only proves that the two have made their mark in the league.
The Sprite Slamdunk contest should also be more exciting this season. Although, I'm quite dismayed that Lebron James decided not to participate in this year's slamdunk competition. I guess he realized that he's no match for the other participants. Two weeks ago, Shaquille O'neal even encouraged Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter to join the show together with James for the cause of Haiti earthquake victims.
Many of my friends in the provinces are depending on live streaming channels in the internet to watch NBA games and other basketball leagues. I tried to help them out by searching for DIRECT TV offers that's available on their areas. Luckily, i bumped into one DIRECTTV site which offers affordable packages with great deals.
If you are looking for a DIRECTV provider, this one is really worth a look. All the information you need is stated in their website. With their flexible packages you'll surely be able to choose a deal that suits you best.
Now you can enjoy watching live NBA games and other sports in high-definition! Aside from watching live, there's no better way to watch the 2010 NBA All Star festivities in high-definition broadcast!
James hit two free throws after a scary tumble and blow to the head with 4.1 seconds left for the winning points, and Wade missed a jumper over the reigning MVP's outstretched arm at the buzzer as the Eastern Conference-leading Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Miami Heat 92-91 on Monday night.
"It came down to one possession," said James, who matched Wade with a game-high 32 points. "Whoever got the last stop was going to win the game. Luckily it was us."
Wade had 30 at halftime, then only two the rest of the way -- and missed two big free throws with 41.2 seconds left, part of a 1 of 6 showing from the line by the Heat in the fourth quarter.
It cost Miami dearly.
"We put ourselves in the right position," Wade said. "Just mistakes tonight that I made that I normally don't ... cost us."
As great as the back-and-forth between Wade and James was at times, the last half-minute might be all anyone remembers from this one.
Guarding his good friend for the first time all night, Wade blocked James' shot with about 28 seconds left, giving Miami the ball and a one-point lead. But on the ensuing possession, James -- defending Wade this time -- came up with a steal when the league's defending scoring champion tried a wraparound pass, drove in from halfcourt and created what became a frightening scene for both teams.
James and Wade went toward the hoop together, with Quentin Richardson defending as well. Both James and Wade landed awkwardly, and James writhed in pain for about 2 minutes as the entire Cavs' bench came out to check on their fallen leader. He got up, walked Richardson's foul off and made two free throws with 4.1 seconds left for a 92-91 lead.
"For him to get up after that collision and knock down two free throws the way that he did, he's got ice water in his veins, baby," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Ice water."
And in the ensuing huddle, Brown wanted to call a double-team on Wade. The coach was overruled.
"I got D-Wade," James said.
Wade's shot bounced off the iron, and it was over.
"The good, the bad, you're up, you're down," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "I'll take it all with this team."
Shaquille O'Neal scored 19, Daniel Gibson had 15 and Anderson Varejao finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Cleveland.
Wade had 10 rebounds and five assists for Miami. Jermaine O'Neal finished with 18 points, Michael Beasley had 16 and Rafer Alston and Udonis Haslem each scored 10 for the Heat.
Jermaine O'Neal had 14 in the first quarter, Wade had 13 in the period, and Miami was off and running with a 34-24 lead after the first 12 minutes.
That was only the warmup act.
The second quarter was pure theater, Wade vs. LeBron.
So good was the show that hardly anyone noticed that Wade's teammates missed 15 straight shots over a 15 1/2-minute stretch, including 0 for 12 in the second quarter alone. Miami missed 12 straight before Wade made a step-back jumper with 3:37 left in the half put Miami up 40-39, and he followed that up with a 3-pointer while getting fouled by Jamario Moon to ignite the crowd.
James answered, a 3-pointer of his own making it a one-point game again.
It was on.
"The competition," Spoelstra said, "was fantastic."
Wade made a jumper and couldn't contain his grin as the building roared, knowing it was seeing a glorified game of 1-on-1 between two of the game's elite. James cleared everyone else out against Richardson, rebutting with a fallaway jumper of his own.
They were just getting started.
"Two really, really good friends, one of my best friends that I have, just two great competitors not wanting to lose to each other," James said. "But at the same time, knowing that we're putting on a show not only for each other, but for the fans and whoever was watching the game."
Wade missed a free throw with 29 seconds left until intermission, ran down the rebound and gave Miami another possession -- which he capped with a 3-pointer with 6.6 seconds left, flashing dueling "3" signs behind his back after sealing the fourth 30-point half of his career. Undeterred, with 1.2 ticks remaining, James hit -- what else? -- a 3-pointer, cutting Miami's lead to 54-50.
The teams scored 46 points total in the second quarter. James (20) and Wade (17) combined for 37 of them.
And when it was over, the scene in the Miami locker room told the story.
"Tough one, right?" Beasley asked Richardson, who only nodded in silence.
All four instances of Wade scoring 30 in a half have come at home, two of them against Cleveland. ... The teams combined to miss their first 10 shots of the second quarter. ... Creative sign of the night: With a nod to this summer's expected free agent bonanza, a fan held up a placard during a second-quarter time-out with the Facebook logo, saying James had changed his status from "in a relationship with the Cavs" to "in a relationship with the Heat."
source: The Associated Press
Mo Williams is also a steady player for the Cavs this year. The Cavs usually wins when he scores more than 15 in a game. He'll be out for at least a month though with an injury. Bad boy Delonte West is also nursing an injury. High-flying Jamario Moon has become a contributor off the bench with his solid defense and gutsy moves to the basket. Former Raptor Anthony Parker is the regular starter for the Cavs at the shooting guard position and he has delivered well. He should be more consistent though on his outside sniping.
"Big Diesel," Shaquille O'neal is doing just fine with Cleveland. I think coach Mike Brown and the rest of Cleveland management is getting what they expect from Shaq at least at this stage of the season. I believe Shaq's worth will be displayed come playoffs time. It's very fortunate that Shaq has managed to stay away from major injuries this season.
When you talk about Cleveland, you can't miss out on their main gunner, Lebron James. Lebron has been doing it all for Cleveland. Aside from his offensive game, King James provides solid interior defense for the Cavaliers highlighted by chased down blocks on fastbreaks. Remember how he erased Kevin Durant's game-winning attempt to beat Durant and the Thunders. Lebron is a tenacious defender. I'm really very impressed with how he defends because being the best offensive weapon of his team, he doesn't have the mentality of being lousy on the defensive end. He has also professionally managed the issues about him being a free agent next year. Lebron is such a unique, elite basketball player.
Anyway, I've decided to get back into this blog. Why? Basically because there's so many things to blog about in the basketball scene here in the Philippines and overseas. It's playoffs time in the PBA while the NBA-All Star week is all set this February in Dallas. The Smart Gilas RP Team is also making some noise in the middle east.
So that's it.. I'm back to this game!