Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Villanueva’

Draft Comparisons: Leonard, Marshall, Zeller and Rivers





HANG TIME NEW JERSEY – As Draft time rolls around and we learn about the next class of NBA rookies, there’s a desire to compare each to players we’re already familiar with.

No two players are exactly alike and some players are more unique than others. But you can find comparisons by watching video, crunching stats or matching measurements. For this exercise, we did the latter two.

Listed below are four of the top picks, along with the current NBA players they compare with most. For this exercise, we looked at 10 stats from each player’s last season in college, and eight measurements taken at the annual pre-draft combine.

Because we used college numbers and combine numbers, the only current players we could compare this year’s prospects to were the ones who played in college (so no LeBron James or Dwight Howard) and participated in the combine since 2000 (Rajon Rondo is one notable name missing in that respect).

The following comparisons aren’t gospel, of course, but they’re one way to get ready for the Draft on Thursday (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN). (more…)

Top Four Clinch Semifinal Spots At FIBA Americas

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – With two more days of pool play left, we already know the four teams that will be playing for two berths in next year’s Olympics. Thanks to wins on Tuesday, Argentina, Brazil, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico have all clinched spots in the semifinals of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina.

Those two games will take place on Saturday, with the two winners earning trips to the Olympics and the two losers being relegated to the Olympic qualifying tournament in early July. But we still don’t know who will be playing whom (the other three teams would surely like to avoid Argentina), and we still don’t know who will finish fifth and earn the final spot in that Olympic qualifying tournament.

Trending up: Venezuela (2-4)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (5-1)

Puerto Rico 79, Canada 74 (Boxscore)

Canada came oh so close to putting themselves in position to finish fifth, coming back from a 17-point deficit to tie the game with two minutes left. But they couldn’t get over the hump and now will surely need some help to qualify for meaningful basketball next summer. Canada needs to beat both Uruguay (Wednesday) and Panama (Thursday) and hope that Uruguay can beat Venezuela (Thursday).

Puerto Rico lost control of this game with both Carlos Arroyo and J.J. Barea on the bench early in the fourth quarter. But Arroyo saved them with two huge pull-up jumpers in the final two minutes.

  • Arroyo is clearly the better FIBA player of Puerto Rico’s two NBA guards. He finished with 26 points on 9-for-15 shooting on Tuesday. Barea did add five rebounds, six assists and four steals to his 11 points, but he simply hasn’t found a groove offensively.
  • Joel Anthony, nursing a bad ankle, did not start for Canada. So for the second straight game, Daniel Santiago provided a size advantage for Puerto Rico. But Santiago was lost late in the first quarter with his own injury. Santiago is out for the rest of the tournament with a plantar fasciitis tear in his right foot.
  • Anthony did play six minutes in the second quarter, but was not moving well and didn’t play at all in the second half.
  • Andy Rautins had his best game of the tournament, leading Canada with 18 points, nine of which came in the fourth quarter.
  • Puerto Rico is missing wings Larry Ayuso and A.D. Vassallo, but they may have found a suitable replacement in Alex Galindo, who has been their secondary scorer in each of the last two games. Against Venezuela and Canada, Galindo has totaled 31 points and hit six of his 10 attempts from 3-point range.

Dominican Republic 84, Uruguay 76 (Box Score)

The Dominican Republic had an up-and-down first round, but opened the second round with a strong win over Panama on Monday. A day later, they looked to be down again, or at least slow to recover from the gruesome injury Edgar Sosa suffered at the end of the Panama game.

Uruguay led this one by 11 midway through the second quarter, but the Dominican took a two-point lead into halftime thanks to Elpidio Fortuna‘s buzzer-beating three off a full-court baseball pass from Al Horford. The teams traded runs and it was still a one-possession game early in the fourth. But the Dominican got big shots from Luis Flores and Sosa’s replacement Ronald Ramon down the stretch to hold on for the victory.

  • Horford filled the box score with 23 points, 12 rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block.
  • Charlie Villanueva had his second straight solid game, scoring 11 points on 4-for-8 from the field.
  • Martin Osimani was the star for Uruguay, scoring 22 points on 9-for-19 shooting.
  • Uruguay is still alive for a chance to qualify for the Olympics. If they win their last two games against Canada and Venezuela, they’ll finish fifth and play in next summer’s 12-team Olympic qualifying tournament.

Argentina 111, Venezuela 93 (Box Score)

This was a matchup of the best offensive team in the tournament thus far (Venezuela) vs. the best defensive team (Argentina). The defensive team won, but as you can see from the score, it was very much an offensive game.

Venezuela hung tight and was down just five early in the fourth quarter, but Argentina relentlessly picked apart their zone and pulled away with their long-range shooting. The hosts were a ridiculous 18-for-28 from 3-point range for the game, and that included an 0-for-4 performance from Carlos Delfino.

Check out these numbers… Manu Ginobili: 6-for-8 from downtown. Pablo Prigioni: 6-for-7. Andres Nocioni: 4-for-5. And with Luis Scola doing his typical work (17 points on 7-for-11 from the field) inside, it didn’t matter how good the Venezuelan offense was.

Venezuela needs to take care of business against Panama on Wednesday and then they should be playing for fifth place against Uruguay on Thursday.

Brazil 90, Panama 65 (Box Score)

Brazil picked up its third straight easy victory, again allowing its stars to stay fresh. It gets tough from here on out though, as they’ll face Argentina on Wednesday, Puerto Rico on Thursday, and then play the semifinals on Saturday.

The Argentina game (5 p.m. ET) is a rematch of a terrific round-of-16 matchup at last year’s World Championship (arguably the best game of the tournament) and should certainly be entertaining. Of course, Brazil has fewer NBA players on their squad this year (no Leandro Barbosa or Anderson Varejao) and Argentina has more (Ginobili and Nocioni were not in Turkey last year).

Faves Roll At Americas’ Second Round

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – The second round of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina got underway on Monday, but it was marred by a gruesome injury to Dominican Republic point guard Edgar Sosa.

The four matchups were all pretty straightforward, with the favorites to make the semifinals all cruising to comfortable victories. Tuesday’s games should be similar, and we’ll have to wait until Wednesday before we see the heavyweight squads on the floor together.

Trending up: Dominican Republic (4-1)
Trending down: Canada (2-3)

Dominican Republic 92, Panama 68 (Boxscore)

The good news for the Dominican Republic is that they took care of business against a weak opponent (they led by 26 at the end of the third quarter) and that Charlie Villanueva (13 points, five rebounds, 5-for-13 from the field) looked better than he did in the first round.

The horrible news is that Sosa suffered a career-altering injury in the final minute of the game. On a drive to the basket, Sosa took some contact and fell hard to the floor. When he looked down at his right leg, he saw that it was bent in the middle of his shin.

It was an awful sight for anyone watching and the players on both teams were visibly shaken. After Sosa was taken off the floor in a stretcher, Panama respectfully dribbled out the clock and both teams gathered at center court in prayer.

Going forward, the absence of Sosa puts a lot of pressure on back-up point guard Ronald Ramon, who hasn’t made much of an impact through the first five games.

Puerto Rico 94, Venezuela 82 (Boxscore)

This was the matchup with the most potential for a close game and Venezuela was down by just two midway through the third quarter. But then they got hit with a 17-0 Puerto Rico run that decided the game.

Carlos Arroyo had another solid game, but J.J. Barea had another underwhelming performance. And it was Daniel Santiago that made the difference for Puerto Rico. Venezuela’s bigs couldn’t match up with Santiago’s size and the FIBA veteran led all scorers with 22 points on 8-of-9 shooting. He even beat Venezuela down the floor in transition a couple of times.

Santiago’s dominance inside freed up Alex Galindo on the perimeter. Galindo hit three of his five attempts from 3-point range and finished with 18 points.

For Venezuela, Greivis Vasquez had a rough day, shooting just 1-for-7 from the field. And after his huge 28-point game against Canada, Hector Romero came back down to earth. Romero failed to score on Monday, missing all seven of his shots.

Unfortunately, like the previous game, this one was marred by an incident in the closing minutes. With 5:37 left in the fourth quarter, Vasquez fouled Renaldo Balkman hard in the post and Balkman retaliated by head-butting Vasquez in the cheek. Then Nestor Colmenares shoved Balkman to the floor. Both Balkman and Colmenares were ejected.

Argentina 79, Canada 53 (Boxscore)

Like most of Argentina’s games, this one was over early. Canada got to within nine late in the third quarter, but there was never any doubt that Argentina would remain unbeaten.

Argentina’s offense is a thing of beauty and Canada’s offense is pretty much the opposite. Canada shot just 28 percent from the field and had 18 more turnovers (22) than assists (four). Kelly Olynyk (19 points and 12 rebounds) was their lone bright spot.

Luis Scola led all scorers with 22 points on 7-for-15 shooting, while Manu Ginobili had 16 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals.

Argentina should get a tougher test on Tuesday against Venezuela. Canada, meanwhile, probably needs to upset Puerto Rico in the early game to have a shot at finishing in the top five and qualifying for next year’s Olympic qualifier.

Brazil 93, Uruguay 66 (Boxscore)

Brazil put this one away with a 28-12 third quarter. The potency of their offense was on full display as they connected on 58 percent of their shots, including 10 of their 18 attempts from 3-point range. Tiago Splitter got plenty of rest, scoring nine points and eight rebounds in just 21 minutes.

Canada Pulls Off An Upset

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 3 of the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata brought us our first upset of the tournament. It also brought us some upset Paraguayans.

Trending up: Canada (1-1)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (2-1)

Panama 89, Paraguay 86 (Boxscore)

There are 10 teams in this tournament, and after four first-round games, eight of them (four from each group) will reach the second round. There are four solid teams in Group A and we don’t have any problems with Canada or Venezuela playing three more games next week.

But after Argentina and Puerto Rico, there’s a big drop-off in Group B. Of the Panama-Paraguay-Uruguay group, two of those teams will advance to the second round, so this matchup meant a lot to both teams.

Panama was in control, up 70-55, after the third quarter. But Paraguay came all the way back and had a chance to tie the game or take the lead with 19 seconds left. Enrique Martinez found Guillermo Araujo under the basket with five seconds left and Araujo was hammered hard by Ruben Garces.

The Paraguayans were looking for an unsportsmanlike foul call (which would have resulted in two shots and the ball back), but they only got a standard foul. Still, Araujo had the opportunity to send the game to overtime.

But he missed both freebies and Panama escaped with the win.

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Argentina, P.R. Continue To Dominate

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – Day 2 of action at the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 in Mar del Plata, Argentina, featured a near-upset, a couple of blowouts, and a critical game between two teams who have a shot at the top five (and a spot in the Olympics or the Olympic qualifying tournament next summer).

Trending up: Venezuela (0-2)
Trending down: Dominican Republic (2-0)

Dominican Republic 92, Venezuela 89 (Box Score)

For the second straight day, Venezuela looked poised to pull off an upset. This time, they were up by as many as 17 points early in the third quarter and by 11 heading into the fourth. But the Dominican Republic turned up the defensive intensity in the final 10 minutes, swarmed Greivis Vasquez whenever he came off a pick, and pulled out a three-point victory.

More notes from Dominican Republic vs. Venezuela:

  • For most of the game, the Venezuela zone kept Edgar Sosa out of the paint and Al Horford out of the post. But Horford was able to find opportunities near the rim by moving without the ball. He finished with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting, adding 10 rebounds.
  • Jack Michael Martinez, the Dominican’s starting center and their version of Ben Wallace, added 18 points and 14 rebounds. A lot of those points followed his seven offensive boards.
  • The Venezuela offense was a little more balanced than it was on Tuesday, but Vasquez still filled the box score. He came one assist short of a triple-double, finishing with 16 points, 10 rebounds and nine dimes.
  • Once again, both Francisco Garcia and Charlie Villanueva were largely disappointing. Garcia was mostly invisible and Villanueva looked sluggish. There’s talk of Villanueva being under the weather, but the only good thing about him through these first two games has been the way the FIBA announcer pronounces his name.
  • With the game going down to the wire, neither Garcia nor Villanueva were on the floor for the Dominican Republic.
  • Luis Flores was on the floor, and he hit two big jumpers in the closing minutes.
  • After trailing by six with 45 seconds left, Venezuela had a chance to tie with a three on their final possession. But the play that ex-Warriors and Kings coach Eric Musselman drew up in the timeout was not executed on the floor and Vasquez drove baseline and had no one to pass it to.
  • By playing well against both Brazil and the Dominican Republic, Venezuela has been a pleasant surprise in this tournament. They might have a shot at finishing fifth, but they need to start turning those fourth-quarter leads into Ws. They’ve got Cuba on Thursday and then a huge game against Canada on Saturday.
  • The Dominicans looked strong against Cuba on Tuesday, but took a step backward on Day 2.

Puerto Rico 101, Paraguay 55 (Box Score)

Not much to see here. Neither Carlos Arroyo nor J.J. Barea needed to play more than 20 minutes in this blowout. Through two games, Puerto Rico has an effective field goal percentage of 0.582. They’ve got another mismatch (Uruguay) on Thursday before facing Argentina on Friday night.

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Horford, Splitter Stand Out On Day 1

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS (NEW JERSEY BUREAU) – With the United States already holding a ticket to London next year and happy to sit out the event for the second straight time, the FIBA Americas Championship 2011 got underway in Mar del Plata, Argentina on Tuesday.

The top two finishers in the tournament will qualify for next year’s Olympics in London. The third, fourth and fifth-place finishers will qualify for the 12-team qualifying tournament next July. The top three finishers in that tournament will qualify for the Olympics.

Eight of the FIBA Americas’ 10 teams were in action on the first of five days of preliminary-round action. Here’s a rundown…

Dominican Republic 90, Cuba 60 (Box Score)

Of the three NBA players on the D.R. roster, Al Horford clearly stood out. After a slow start (two points on 1-for-5 shooting in the first 8:58), he dominated the action in the Dominican’s easy win.

Horford’s 24 points came mostly in the post, where the Cuban big men were completely overmatched. But he did have a handful of buckets on the move and on the break. The highlight was a fast-break alley-oop throw down off a toss from Edgar Sosa midway through the second quarter.

After that 1-for-5 start, Horford connected on 11 of his final 13 shots. He added nine boards to his 24 points.

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The (FIBA) Games Must Go On

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Mike Fratello has spent decades making himself comfortable on the basketball court wherever he’s been. But Fratello has always felt especially at ease in the baby blue and gold he wore at Hackensack High back in his native New Jersey.

Those North Jersey roots were on Fratello’s mind as he prepared his latest team for EuroBasket 2011, where Ukraine’s national team will sport the same colors this week as they attempt to chase one of the top spots in the tournament and the spoils that come along with being one of the best teams in European basketball.

“I do feel very comfortable putting the old blue and gold on,” Fratello said with a chuckle. “Plus, this competition is as big as it gets right now in the game of basketball, given the circumstances with the lockout and everything else that’s going on right now in the NBA.”

You’ve read about it all summer, this wave of NBA talent that will hit foreign soil to play ball if the regular season is delayed because of the lockout.

You won’t have to wait around to see NBA talent in action now. With EuroBasket in Lithuania Aug. 31 through Sept. 18 and the FIBA Americas being played in Argentina Aug. 30 through Sept. 11, there will be plenty of familiar faces on display, including reigning Finals MVP Dirk Nowitzki and Clippers center Chris Kaman leading the German team in EuroBasket. Brothers Pau Gasol of the Lakers and Marc Gasol of the Hang Time Grizzlies headline the Spanish team.

Spurs star Manu Ginobili and Rockets star Luis Scola are the biggest names for the host team in Argentina. Mavericks point guard Jose Barea and Celtics point guard Carlos Arroyo will run the show for Puerto Rico while Hawks All-Star center Al Horford will team up with Kings swingman Francisco Garcia and Pistons forward Charlie Villanueva for the Dominican Republic.

Our nearly two month hiatus from basketball as we know it comes to a momentary end this week with the game itself back on the global stage with national teams on both sides of the globe vying for those coveted early invites to the London Olympics. Every game can be seen on ESPN3.com.

Automatic bids to the Olympics are at stake for the top two teams in each competition. Four more teams — the third through sixth place finishers from EuroBasket — will also earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July. Three more teams — the third through fifth place finishers from FIBA Americas — will earn bids to the Pre-Olympic Qualifying tournament next July.

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StatsCube: More Miami Misses

It’s the story that won’t go away until they make a(nother) shot.

So when the Miami Heat host the Portland Trail Blazers tonight (7:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), they’re probably hoping to get another chance to make a big bucket down the stretch.

Here are the up-to-date numbers, according to NBA.com StatsCube

When the score is tied or the Heat are trailing by 1-3 points in the final 30 seconds of the fourth quarter or overtime, they’re shooting 5-for-26 (19.2 percent) from the field. League-wide, shooting is generally bad (31.6 percent) in those situations, but only four teams have been worse than Miami.

Lowest FG%, Last 30 seconds of fourth quarter or OT, tie game or down 1-3

Team FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3PT% FTM FTA FT%
Houston 4 24 16.7% 0 9 .0% 3 3 100.0%
New Orleans 4 24 16.7% 0 10 .0% 8 11 72.7%
New York 2 11 18.2% 2 5 40.0% 1 2 50.0%
Philadelphia 4 21 19.0% 1 7 14.3% 2 2 100.0%
Miami 5 26 19.2% 2 15 13.3% 12 14 85.7%
Portland 3 15 20.0% 1 4 25.0% 7 11 63.6%

Now, when you look at just the last 10 seconds of the fourth quarter or OT, the Heat’s numbers look even worse. They’re 1-for-18 from the field and 0-for-11 from 3-point range when looking to tie or take the lead. And though league-wide shooting is worse in those situations (25.1 percent) than when you look at the last 30 seconds, that 1-for-18 mark is the worst in the league.

The one make came back on Nov. 20 in Memphis, when LeBron James tied the game with a fast-break dunk off a turnover with 5.5 seconds to go. But on the next possession, Rudy Gay beat the buzzer and beat the Heat with a pull-up fadeaway jumper over James.

So not only are the Heat 1-for-18 in those situations, but the one shot they made was a wide-open, fast-break dunk, not a half-court situation. And they still lost that game.

And it shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that Gay is the guy that victimized them. He’s one of four players with four buckets in the final 30 seconds with the game tied or his team down 1-3.

Most field goals, Last 30 seconds of fourth quarter or OT, tie game or down 1-3

Player FGM FGA FG% 3PM 3PA 3PT%
Dirk Nowitzki 4 5 80.0% 0 0 -
Russell Westbrook 4 8 50.0% 0 1 .0%
Rudy Gay 4 10 40.0% 1 2 50.0%
Derrick Rose 4 11 36.4% 1 4 25.0%

Twelve different players have three makes in that situation. Here’s the list (with number of attempts in parentheses):

Carmelo Anthony (5), Michael Beasley (6), Monta Ellis (5), Tyreke Evans (10), Channing Frye (6), Manu Ginobili (7), Stephen Jackson (9), Tayshaun Prince (4), Charlie Villanueva (7), Deron Williams (9), Mo Williams (4)

One more note: The Heat haven’t done too well in protecting a close lead either. In the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime, the Heat are just 1-for-6 from the field when they’re ahead by 1-3 points.

Obviously, they go to the line often in that situation, but when it comes to hitting a dagger shot from the field in the final minute, only the Bucks (1-for-8) and Pacers (2-for-13) have been worse. The league as a whole shoots 41.5 percent from the field in that situation.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

The Pistons’ Player Revolt

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Things have gone from bad to worse for the Detroit Pistons after Thursday’s trade deadline.

Several Pistons missed this morning’s shootaround practice in Philadelphia in some sort of “player protest” against coach John Kuester, per the Detroit Free Press.

Tracy McGrady, Tayshaun Prince, Richard Hamilton and Chris Wilcox all missed the shootaround. But that’s just the start. More from the Vince Ellis of the Free Press:

Team spokesman Cletus Lewis said Rodney Stuckey and Austin Daye missed the team bus as well, but they did arrive toward the end of the media session.

Lewis said McGrady had a headache, Prince had an upset stomach and Hamilton and Wilcox missed the bus from the team hotel.

Ben Wallace also missed the shootaround. Lewis said Wallace was dealing with a family matter. Wallace has missed games and practices over the past month because of the issue.

Only Greg Monroe, Will Bynum, Ben Gordon, Charlie Villanueva, Jason Maxiell and DaJuan Summers were full participants in the morning shootaround.

Sources indicated that the discontent is directed at Pistons coach John Kuester, who has clashed with players repeatedly this season. The organization downplayed the absences, insisting Prince and McGrady were ill.

One source, who asked not to be identified, said he didn’t know what the next step would be, and didn’t say who organized the absences. But he said it was an organized protest, with some players deciding it was best to show up anyway.

Has it come to this for the Pistons?

Have things really gotten this bad for this Kuester, who said he will go with whoever is available for tonight’s game against the Sixers?

Maybe the players thought there was going to be some mass exodus at the trade deadline. And when that didn’t happen, they decided to take matters into their own hands.

Either way, this is a disastrous start to the stretch run of the season for a Pistons team that certainly didn’t need any more distractions.

About Last Night: At The Buzzer

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – What did we do to deserve this?

We had 11 games on the Wednesday night schedule and all 11 it seemed ended in dramatic fashion (the kill shots started blurring together by the end of the Hang Time Grizzlies-Phoenix Suns overtime finish, which was made possible by a buzzer beater).

Rudy Gay, Andrew Bogut, Raymond Felton and Derek Fisher all got a piece of the action last night, making sure their teams left the floor victorious with shots that made the Top Plays reel (above).

We could go two weeks without a buzzer beater, so to get four in one night is a gift from the basketball heavens. And one that we won’t dismiss without enjoying at least a few more times today.

Believe it or not, the buzzer beaters were just a small part of a night loaded with drama.

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