Posts Tagged ‘Michael Redd’

Hot Suns are worthy of discussion





HOUSTONMarcus Camby pulled down 18 rebounds in the first half on Friday night and gave the Suns something to talk about during the intermission.

“It was a discussion,” said coach Alvin Gentry. “Very much a one-way discussion. I think the point was well-taken.”

On the receiving end of the “discussion” were Gentry’s big men, center Marcin Gortat and forward Channing Frye. It was suggested that perhaps someone could possibly do something to make collecting rebounds a little more difficult than plucking daisies on a spring day for Mr. Camby.

So the Suns played with more energy, more urgency, more desperation and Camby didn’t get a single rebound in the second half, while Phoenix got a 112-105 win.

“We just got yelled at,” said Gortat, who finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds. “We just came out harder. Let’s say the first half was just a warmup. There’s not a situation with the team. We’re all committed to winning games.

“Yes, let’s call it a discussion. But there were no issues, no problems at all. I already talked to him four times as soon as the game was over. If the guy grabs 18 rebounds in one half, then someone is not doing his job, someone has got to get yelled out. Unfortunately, it was me. Really, it was a funny situation, a story that you can put in a book.”

If the Suns continue their amazing stretch drive, it could eventually be a chapter in a real-life fairytale. Phoenix appeared dead in the water just over six weeks ago, sitting at 14-20. But now the Suns have reeled off 17 wins in 8 games and are sitting just one game behind Houston for the final playoff spot.

“It was hard not to think of this as a must-win game,” said Steve Nash.

It’s hard to not think of the stretch run of the schedule that way for the Suns. Starting tonight in San Antonio, Phoenix will play six of its last seven games against teams with records above .500, all of whom have something at stake in the West race.

A few days ago, the Rockets appeared to be in good position, but stumbled twice at home. Denver has been up and down. Utah lost on Friday night in New Orleans. The door could be open for the Suns.

With Grant Hill back in the lineup just two weeks after knee surgery, with Nash on top of his game and feeding Gortat, Jared Dudley stepping up and the long-suffering Michael Redd just happy to be able to play and contribute again, would you really bet against the surging Suns?

That’s worth another discussion.

Bucks Again Getting A D In ‘O’

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Scorers come, scorers go and still the Milwaukee Bucks struggle to light up the scoreboard.

For the second time in as many offseasons – or what passed for one this time in the post-lockout rush job between Thanksgiving and Christmas – the Bucks have tried to spruce up their offense. With dreary results.

Prior to 2010-11, it was Corey Maggette, John Salmons and an offensive-boarding Drew Gooden who were going to get buckets for the Bucks. Instead, Milwaukee slipped from 23rd in points per game to dead last in the NBA (91.9), from 29th in field-goal percentage to last (.430) and from 12th in 3-point shooting to 24th (.342).

This time around, Stephen Jackson, Mike Dunleavy and Beno Udrih were brought aboard with similar hopes and expectations. And yet, after 10 days and five games, Milwaukee is having trouble scoring again. It ranks 24th, 25th and 27th in the three categories above, while its raw numbers have declined – 90.8 ppg, .412 and .253 – in part due to lockout rust but in part, frankly, because the Bucks and coach Scott Skiles earn their scoring shortcomings.

The 85-73 loss at Utah Tuesday was the latest example of Milwaukee putting the uh-oh in offense, as blogged by Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Drew Gooden, starting in place of Andrew Bogut after the Bucks starting center had to leave the team for personal reasons, scored 24 points and was the only Milwaukee player to shoot better than 50% from the field (12 of 20).

Take Gooden’s shots out of the mix and the rest of the team made 22.7% on field goal attempts (17 of 75).

“We’ve got to recognize when we’re not scoring, and when we’re going through droughts, slow down and try to execute,” Bucks guard Shaun Livingston said. “Try to get great shots, not good shots.”

An asterisk was in order, because Bogut was joined in absentia by Dunleavy (groin injury) and Udrih (shoulder). Also, Milwaukee did average 98.3 points in its first three games, hanging 95 on the Bobcats, 98 on the Timberwolves and 102 on the Wizards. But then the Bucks’ output dropped to 86 at Denver Monday, followed by 73 last night. And remember, this is with Jackson and Carlos Delfino presumably green-lighted by Skiles and his staff and Ersan Ilyasova firing away as if he is, at least, healthy.

One contributing factor is point guard Brandon Jennings, who is back down to 37.6 percent (32-of-85) after bumping his accuracy ever so slightly from 37.1 percent as a rookie in 2009-10 to 39.0 last season. And let’s face it, bad shooting can be contagious same as good; if a defense can sag off one or two men, it can devote more attention to others. Utah contested a lot of shots at Energy Solutions Arena – Derrick Favors had five blocks and Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap swatted two each – but there were open clangs as well that made life a little easier on the Jazz.

The question now is whether the Bucks have both the personnel and the wherewithal to improve offensively. Michael Redd is gone. Ray Allen, Marques Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar aren’t walking through that door, either. The pattern under Skiles isn’t promising: Since he took over in 2008-09, Milwaukee has not ranked in the top 10 in any of the three areas above, getting as high as 12th in 3-point shooting two seasons ago.

Everyone knows, and many appreciate, the bulldog defense that Skiles preaches. But it seems odd that the guy who, as a Magic point guard, holds the NBA record for most assists in a game – 30, Orlando vs. Denver, Dec. 30, 1990 – can’t set up his team for more easy buckets.

The Sunday Read: Grudge Match

The Sunday Read is a look at the best Sunday columns around the NBA.

The Denver Nuggets are 9-4 since they traded Carmelo Anthony. The New York Knicks are 7-7 since acquiring him.

Those results have certainly made for a fascinating epilogue to the ‘Melo drama that lasted six months. But do they mean that the Nuggets are a better team without Anthony than they were before him?

Harvey Araton of The New York Times thinks they’re at least better than the Knicks. And though such a series won’t ever be happening, Araton breaks down the matchups between the only two franchises Anthony has played for …

Consider the compelling and contrasting franchise agendas:

By winning 9 of their first 13 games to start the post-Carmelo era, the Nuggets instantly became a testimonial for the superstar-less collective via the power of 12 opportunistic men. By losing twice each to Cleveland and to Indiana, the Knicks made people at least pause to rethink the rush to marry any combination of the league’s most gifted and talented along the presumed path to championship bliss.

These post-trade records are bound to even out some, but the Nuggets wasted little time in crowing about “playing the right way” and being rid of “sticky fingers” and making a full-blown “commitment to defense.”

Meanwhile, after a 119-117 loss to Indiana on Tuesday, Anthony sniped at his teammate Jared Jeffries and questioned Coach Mike D’Antoni’s defensive schemes. During a defeat to the Pistons in Auburn Hills, Mich., Friday night, Anthony shot miserably, 2 for 12, looked distracted and annoyed with teammates and fans and blew off the news media afterward. Fourteen games into his instantly acclaimed Knicks career, these were disturbing signs if not yet a trend.

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Additional reading…

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

Stackhouse signs with Heat

Jerry Stackhouse is taking his talents and guile to South Beach. The veteran signed with the Miami Heat on Saturday to help ease the loss of injured swingman Mike Miller.

“Grateful for this kind of opportunity at this point of my career,” Stackhouse told NBA.com. “Mike Miller is a key part of what the Heat envisioned with this team. Hopefully, I can come and provide some depth while he’s out, as well as provide some intangibles the team could use for the long haul.”

Miller could be sidelined until January with a thumb injury. Stackhouse, 36 next month, brings 15 years of experience to Miami. Once one of the game’s more prolific scorer, he’s transitioned into a support role/locker room presence over the last few years.

Stackhouse was praised for job he did in Milwaukee last season, helping fill the void left by an injured Michael Redd as the Bucks reached the Eastern Conference playoffs. Stackhouse was an integral part of the Mavericks’ run to the 2006 Finals. He’s played for six teams since starting his career with Philadelphia in 1995.

He’s never won a ring. Now he’s got a pretty good shot at some jewelry teaming up with LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

“I’ve been fortunate to have played for so many great organizations and alongside great players, but to join the Miami Heat organization and to play alongside Dwayne, LeBron and Chris and have a chance to compete for a championship,” Stackhouse said, “I just thank God.”

Stackhouse signed a non-guaranteed deal that contains several injury exceptions. While a guaranteed contract would have been nice, he’s not complaining.

“What the hell,” Stackhouse said, “it beats sitting at home watching.”