Posts Tagged ‘orlando’

Sullinger makes himself at home

ORLANDO — A couple of weeks ago on draft night, Jared Sullinger was at home in Columbus, Ohio watching on TV instead of hanging out with the other expected high picks at the big show in New Jersey.

There had been doctors exams, talk of a potential back problem and that’s how he slipped all the way to the No. 21 spot where he was scooped up by the Celtics.

On Monday afternoon Sullinger was right at home in the second half of Boston’s 73-65 win over the Thunder in the AirTran Orlando Pro Summer League.

The 6-foot-9 forward scored 14 of his game-high 20 points in the second half as he steadily grew more comfortable with the pace and the style of play.

“I didn’t want to come into the game thinking like its all about me, all about me playing the way I’ve played all my life, where everything goes through you. I didn’t want to play like that today, because I got some teammates that can really play.

“I was just trying to feel it out in the first half. Then in the second half I saw we were falling behind, so I tried to step and score the basketball.”

What the Celtics got from Sullinger in that second half was an assortment of nifty offensive moves, a 3-point bucket and most predictably a guy with a 270-pound frame that enjoys and even thrives on the contact inside.


Get Lin In Rising Stars Challenge Draft!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal have a chance tonight to do what 30 other NBA executives couldn’t, and that’s draft Jeremy Lin.

What more does the Knicks’ sensational point guard have to do to crash the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge draft party tonight? (7 p.m. ET on NBA TV.) All he’s done is spark the Knicks to seven straight wins and author the greatest underdog story in sports most anyone has ever seen.

So what if he wasn’t on the initial list of players considered for the game that will be played Friday night of All-Star Weekend in Orlando, pitting a mix of first and second year players selected by general managers Barkley and O’Neal.

With their TNT colleague Kenny Smith serving as the commissioner of the draft, all it would take is an executive order from him to grant Lin, and perhaps another deserving player who didn’t make the initial cut of 18 draft-eligible players, entrance into the draft pool. That would give us an even 20 and guarantee that Linsanity spreads its wings all the way through All-Star Weekend (the rumblings are he’ll be there anyway, might as well make it official).


No Magic Way Out In Orlando

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Foolish me, I thought cooler heads might prevail and that they’d be able to salvage a little something in Orlando this season.

They’re all grownups, right? They’ve learned from the mistakes of others, seen how dangerous that road to breakup can be. No one wants this to be more painful than it has to be. So I assumed that no one would let this situation deteriorate into some sort of mess.

Again, I was wrong. (I know, plenty of  you tried to warn me last week. Silly me.)

There is no magic way out for the Magic and their Dwight Howard dilemma. I just don’t see it right now on the heels of the Magic losing four of five games and coming apart in the process.

Howard started the weekend blasting his teammates after a despicable loss to the lowly New Orleans Hornets:

“I look at guys and they don’t look like they want to play,” Howard said following the lopsided loss. “I told them at halftime, ‘If you don’t want to play, just stay in the locker room, because it don’t make sense for a team who we should beat to just demolish us.’ ”

“It hurts to get out there and you play your hardest and you expect everybody to play the same way, and I’m not calling anybody out by no means because we all have to get better … but if you don’t want to be out there, don’t dress up,” Howard said. “If you don’t want to play, stay home. People work too hard. I want to win a championship. I work too hard every night for anybody to not want to go out there and play hard. …

“None of the — whatever, trade stuff — none of that stuff matters. Play basketball. That’s why we all get paid to do this, because we love the game and it’s basketball, so why not give it your all?”

He finished the weekend with crickets … Howard didn’t make himself available after the Pacers waxed the Magic in the second half Sunday at the Amway Center. And his silence says more to me than any emotional words he might utter after an ugly loss.

The fact is, five games in seven days has a way of exposing a team, and the cracks within its foundation, that the good times simply do not.


Melo, Knicks: ‘Almost Must-Win’ Baby!

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS — Finally, Carmelo Anthony, Mike D’Antoni and Knicks fans all agree on something.

Tonight’s game against Orlando is a “must-win” game, of sorts, for the Knicks.

Six straight losses, and nine losses in their last 10 games, has finally taken a toll on the entire outfit. There is no more preaching of patience, not with the Knicks at 35-38 and sliding down the Eastern Conference playoff ladder. The time is now … or almost now:

“We understand how important this game is for us,” Anthony told reporters after the Knicks’ shootaround practice this morning. “It’s almost a must win for us. That mentality, that’s something that I want to approach it, as a must-win game. We’ve been talking about that throughout the team.”

Told of Anthony’s must-win belief, coach Mike D’Antoni said: “We’ve had a few of those lately, and we haven’t seemed to get one, so every game we go out is a must win. It’s a must play well.”

“We’ve been using those cliches and trying to do this and that, and it’s almost time to draw a line in the sand and let’s play as hard as we can play,” D’Antoni added.

The Knicks are 7-12 since Anthony and Chauncey Billups joined Amar’e Stoudemire‘s Big Apple party. But lately, no amount of star power has been able to deliver the Knicks from themselves.

Historic sweeps for LA/Boston?

Posted by Art Garcia

LOS ANGELES — The 2-0 leads by the Lakers and Celtics are impressive. They’re also potentially historic. Though each team is only halfway to a sweep, the prospect of dusting off the Suns and Magic in four games would put LA and Boston in elite company.

Sweeping teams just don’t get swept.

The 1989 Pistons are the only team in NBA history to sweep a team coming off a sweep in the best-of-7 format, according to Elias Sports Bureau. Detroit routed the Lakers 4-0 in The Finals. Magic Johnson-led LA took the broom to Phoenix in the Western Conference finals. (The Lakers also swept Seattle in the West semifinals.)

The current Suns closed out San Antonio in four games in conference semis, while the Magic did the same with Atlanta. Arguments can be made for both the Lakers and Celtics reaching The Finals without a hiccup in conference finals.

The Lakers won the first two games at Staples Center decisively. Kobe Bryant has been unstoppable, leaving the Suns searching for answers with the next two games in the desert. The defending champs appear to be hitting their stride at the perfect time.

The Celtics appear to be in even better shape having won the first two in Orlando. Just taking care of business on the parquet floor has Boston playing for another title. The C’s beat the L’s in 2008.

The Celtics and Lakers probably aren’t focused on sweeps, even if Paul Pierce’s “hacked” Twitter account says otherwise. They’re work is only half done. Just check back if either series goes 3-0.

As for the Magic and Suns, they’re not thinking four straight. It’s about one game, as Phoenix coach Alvin Gentry said last night.

“No one just let us get to the Western Conference finals,” he said. “We earned the right to be here. And we’ll continue to try to plug away, and we’ll continue to try to find answers on how to get them stopped enough that we can win a game. Our goal right now is to win Game 3. That’s the only thing on our mind.”