Posts Tagged ‘Sam Dalembert’

Davis Latest To Go Down For Suffering Pels


VIDEO: Anthony Davis sprains left shoulder on rebound attempt in Dallas

New Orleans’ dreadful injury situation worsened Wednesday night with All-Star forward Anthony Davis spraining his left shoulder in the second quarter at Dallas, the first leg of a five-game road trip.

Pelicans coach Monty Williams said he didn’t “know much right now” regarding the severity of Davis’ injury, but it was bad enough to keep him out of the remainder of New Orleans’ fifth consecutive loss, 108-89, to the red-hot Mavericks. When Davis left with 4:13 to go, Dallas led by one, 37-36, and had just made a run to dig out of a 28-20 hole.

Davis played just 12 minutes, 37 seconds and exited with six points, nine rebounds, two blocks and one sweet bounce pass to a streaking Eric Gordon for a layup. Davis hurt himself when he jumped straight up and extended his arms attempting to rebound his own miss against Mavs center Sam Dalembert. Even on replay it’s difficult to discern exactly how the injury occurred, but Davis quickly grabbed the upper part of his left arm, squeezing it as if trying to pinch away the pain.

He attempted to stay in the game, but less than a minute later checked out and headed to the locker room. He returned to the bench during the third quarter with his left arm appearing to be immobilized underneath his warmup jersey. He did not speak to the media after the game.

Davis’ name now moves next to point guard Jrue Holiday, sixth man Ryan Anderson and center Jason Smith on the injured list. Those are four of the Pelicans’ top six scorers. The latter three could all be done for the year. New Orleans can only hope that’s not the case for their 20-year-old face of the franchise who is having a marvelous sophomore season averaging 20.2 ppg, 10.2 rpg and leading the league as the lone player topping 3.0 bpg (3.02). Still, at 23-34 and 10 games out of the final playoff spot, the Pelicans won’t rush their star back until he’s ready.

“That’s life,” Williams said shaking his head earlier in the day as he discussed his team’s crippling injury plight that has robbed it of a playoff chase. Four months ago, that was the goal.

In Wednesday’s first quarter, a Dallas team virtually healthy all season and now 9-2 in February, got a scare of its own during an eerily similar moment with Dirk Nowitzki. The 7-footer didn’t appear to hurt himself in any dramatic fashion after making a lob pass from the perimeter, but something happened as he quickly grabbed the upper part of his left arm. Nowitzki left the floor for the training room, but he did return a few minutes later and checked back into the game.

Afterward Nowitzki said he felt his shoulder pop a little bit, a recurring situation, he told reporters, ever since Karl Malone hacked him in a game back in 1999.

Davis’ severely shorthanded teammates tried to hang tough, going into halftime down six following a spurt by Dallas that threatened to blow the game open. The Mavs, winners of four in a row, were too much and built a 23-point cushion as rudderless New Orleans turned it over 14 times in the second half for 24 Dallas points (21 turnovers for 30 points overall).

“Obviously he’s our best player and it was tough for us, but I didn’t think that was the problem,” said point guard Brian Roberts, the fill-in starter for Holiday. “I think it was the turnovers. We just had too many and they scored off of them.”

The American Airlines Center has been a painful stop for several players this season. Bobcats small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist broke his left hand against the Mavs on Dec. 3 and missed six weeks. On Jan. 3, Clippers All-Star point guard Chris Paul separated his right shoulder there and didn’t return until Feb. 9.

No one can blame the injury-plagued Pelicans if they’re fearing the worst. Hopefully, for their sake, on Thursday positive news will prevail.

A Fresh Start For Oden In … Miami?

– For the latest updates check out: NBA.com’s Free Agent Tracker

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – When we spoke in June about wanting to see Greg Oden get a fresh start to this next phase of his career, we were absolutely sincere. We viewed it as a cathartic move for Oden that meant the same for the Portland Trail Blazers and their fans.

Too much has happened to Oden during his time with the Trail Blazers. The injuries and time missed because of them has left a scab that we’d just as soon everyone try to ignore and move on from, if at all possible.

But move on to what?

For Oden, could that next move include relocating to Miami?

Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com’s Heat Index reports that the Heat have interest in the restricted free agent big man, who is expected to be examined later this week to determine when he can return to contact action since his latest knee surgery. Sure, it sounds like a reality TV-dream waiting to happen, Oden teaming up with Miami’s Big 3 of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in their second season.

The Heat would certainly provide the fresh start we believe Oden needs. And he couldn’t pick a place more opposite than Portland in so many different ways. How realistic a move this could be will be determined by that examination later this week and by how serious Heat boss Pat Riley is about pursuing a big man with Oden’s injury history, as Windhorst explains:

Oden has a one-year qualifying offer from the Portland Trail Blazers for $8.9 million on his plate at the moment. The most the Heat could offer is the bulk of the $5 million mid-level exception.

For these reasons, it would seem like an easy choice for Oden if he can return to the floor, which could come as early as January. By making the hefty qualifying offer, the Blazers indicated they have not given up hope even though Oden has only played 82 games since being taken with the No. 1 overall pick in 2007.

But Heat president Pat Riley is known for his powers of persuasion and last year convinced free agent after free agent to take less money to sign in Miami. Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Udonis Haslem and Mike Miller all took less money than they were offered elsewhere.

It happened right up until March, when Mike Bibby gave up $6 million guaranteed for this season so he could sign with the Heat for a few months at a portion of the league minimum.

The Blazers maintain matching rights for Oden but sources say Riley still is interested in making the pitch.

It is apparently one of a number of options the team is considering. According to sources, they also have been in contact with free-agent centers NeneSamuel Dalembert and Kwame Brown.

The financial risk seems minimal compared to the potential rewards, provided Oden can resuscitate his career in a fashion that allows him to stay on the floor and use his sheer size to become a factor. And if we learned anything about the Heat during their run to The Finals last season, it’s that they need more of an inside presence than what we saw in the playoffs (no particular offense to Juwan Howard, Eric Dampier and HT fave Joel Anthony.)

At the same time, it seems a bit twisted to take Oden and thrust him into the fish bowl that will be the Heat locker room this year. If he wanted to find his game again, doing it somewhere without as much glare might make more sense.

Still, the voyeur in us can’t help but be intrigued by the idea of the Big 3 adding Oden to their mix …

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Hump Day Hoops Roundup

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – We know, we know, it’s just the preseason.

Tell that to the schedule makers, who had a nine-game preseason schedule last night that we could have sworn looked like something we’d see in the middle of December.

This month of action is indeed the warm up act for the “real thing.”

But that doesn’t mean we can’t get down with the Hump Day Hoops Roundup on a Wednesday morning:

DALEMBERT OUT, BOOGIE IN?

The Kings will play the next month to six weeks without the services of Sam Dalembert because of a groin injury. That could put rookie center DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins into the starting lineup for the start of the regular season, per Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee.

It’s a big loss for the Kings, who were hoping to become a better defensive team behind Dalembert’s shot-blocking.

“It’s a problem because the perimeter has to play tight because we want to protect them and the foul situation,” said Kings coach Paul Westphal. “We don’t have the size to clog the lane like we’d like to, so our defense has to be a little different on the perimeter as well.”

The Kings have started rookie DeMarcus Cousins at center during the preseason, and that could continue in the regular season. When Jason Thompson isn’t at power forward, he is Cousins’ backup.

Cousins fouled out of the previous two games.

“DeMarcus can block some shots, he can take some charges and clog the middle,” Westphal said. “But he fights foul trouble, and he’s not going to just be an eraser like Dalembert, like Hassan can be.”

THE NBA = THE NEW COOL IN RUSSIA

A visit from CSKA Moscow brought out some interesting sights and sounds in Miami. Who knew that the NBA was the new cool in Russia? Linda Robertson of the Miami Herald observed the scene and highlights the league’s truly global appeal.

While driving to AmericanAirlines Arena on Tuesday, brothers Pavel and Yuri Kopeche listened to Russian rap music to get into the mood for the Heat’s game against CSKA Moscow.

The rapper, Don Zagru, is known for satirizing the state of Russian society and wearing LeBron James jerseys.

We know that King James has worldwide appeal. Here was confirmation that LeBronsky is the ultimate symbol of cool in cool-hungry Moscow.

Somewhere, basketball salesman David Stern is smiling.

“The NBA is the new vodka in Russia,” said Yuri Kopeche, a Russian native who has lived in Miami for five years. “People cannot get enough basketball. If you’re wearing a LeBron James shirt or a Knicks or Lakers cap, people know you are Americanized.

“Of course, Russia is usually about five years behind the United States. Britney Spears is very popular right now.”

NO BOOZER INJURY INVESTIGATION

The Bulls and Carlos Boozer have squashed all this talk of an investigation as to how Boozer broke his hand, an injury that will keep him out of the first month of the regular season. Both Boozer and Bulls officials denounced a New York Daily News report that the team was digging into the matter, per Nick Friedell of ESPNChicago.

“The guy was trying to create a story out of no-story,” Boozer said of the report after Bulls shootaround Tuesday morning. “Horrible [report]. Obviously, you want to get your facts right before you decide to write something that’s not true. Horrible report. My Bulls are behind me, my teammates are behind me. For me, it’s disgusting when you have a reporter write something that’s not true.”

Boozer, who over the summer signed a five-year deal worth as much as $80 million, expects to have his cast off in three weeks. He hopes to return faster than the eight weeks that was anticipated by team doctors.

“I hope I’ll be back quicker than the normal time,” he said. “But [I’ll] let the bone heal and see how it feels when I get my cast off in three weeks.”

Boozer admitted that he was upset by the report but said he was just trying to focus on getting back on the floor.

“I can’t worry about that, man,” he said. “I can’t worry about what people write. I know what’s real and what’s going on and for me, I’m just here for my team, supporting my team. I’ve got the support of my team, my organization, and I’m just looking to forward to getting back out there when my hand’s ready.”

BLAZERS MOVING ON WITHOUT ODEN?

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Gasol=The New Standard

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Do you remember the draft of 2001?

We do.

We remember the jokes that floated around the league on draft night when Pau Gasol‘s name was called.

Pau who?

The Grizzlies must be crazy, taking some string bean from Spain with Eddy Curry still on the board?

A decade worth of work has shown many the error of their foolish ways.

Gasol has turned out to be the truly transcendent talent in his draft. There are other standouts from the class, including NBA Finals MVP Tony Parker. All-Stars like Joe Johnson and Gilbert Arenas, Zach Randolph and Gerald Wallace also entered the league that year, as did solid role players like Richard Jefferson, Brendan Haywood, Troy Murphy, Tyson Chandler and Sam Dalembert.

But Gasol has evolved into the true headliner. No one can dispute it anymore.

The annual GM survey, which is always a good gauge of who’s hot (and who’s not) around the league, serves as our most compelling confirmation. Seeing Gasol’s name in the slot as the league’s top power forward (he tied with Dirk Nowitzki as they both edged Tim Duncan with 28.6 percent of the vote to 21.4) suggests that he or Dirk, and not the dethroned Duncan, is the league’s new standard-bearer at a position skyscraper deep in talent (Amar’e Stoudemire, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh have all been discussed for the top spot, along with several others) .

Just a year ago Duncan was the runaway winner with nearly 60 percent (58.6) of the vote. But back-to-back championships with the Lakers (Dirk is still ringless) have done nothing but fuel the rise of respect for Gasol’s game around the league — he’s always been held in the highest regard around the world, even when he was labeled as “soft” during his years with a Grizzlies team that couldn’t find a way to win a playoff game.

Granted, you have to take with a grain of salt any survey results that find Kevin Durant among the top three players at shooting guard, small forward and power forward (he might have even received a few votes at point guard and center, too).

And Gasol does play alongside the league’s best player when it matters most (survey schmurvey, Kobe Bryant is the league’s alpha dog until someone knocks his crown off).

Still, the significance of Gasol moving up to the top of that list is not lost on us.

The trade that sent him to the Lakers shifted the league’s balance of power immediately. The Lakers have made it to the NBA Finals in each of his seasons with the team. According to 63 percent of these same GMs, you should expect to see Gasol and the Lakers collecting their third straight Larry O’Brien trophy in June.

Miami has the league’s most high-profile team these days, courtesy of the Big 3, but only the Lakers can boast of having the top two players at their respective positions.

*** The 2010 Europe Live tour wraps up as the Lakers take on FC Barcelona in Spain (2:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2) ***

Leaders Of The Revival

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Posted by Sekou Smith

HANG TIME HEADQUARTERS – Surely, folks in Sacramento weren’t happy to learn that Tyreke Evans was one of the first four players trimmed from the USA Basketball roster for this summer’s world championships (O.J. Mayo, JaVale McGee and Gerald Wallace were the others).

Evans, the NBA’s reigning T-Mobile Rookie of the Year, couldn’t have been pleased either.

But there’s a silver lining in this for the hometown Kings. Because now Evans can get in the gym and develop some chemistry with the guy that must be his new best friend, DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins (he’s the big fella in the video above).

And if the Kings are intent on escaping lottery country and returning to relevancy in a packed Western Conference, they’ll have to do it on the backs on their new inside-out combo of Evans and Cousins.

If Cousins has anywhere near the season and impact that Evans had in his first year in a Kings uniform, the franchise revival being planned in Sacramento could come much sooner than expected.

Our skepticism about this team here at the hideout was fueled by the still to be determined ability of all the new pieces to fit together (Kevin Martin‘s been on the HT fantasy team since his rookie year, so we’re still not over the Kings dumping him last season). There is also clearly a lack of backcourt depth to suit our liking (and we’re guessing this means we’re kicked out of the Beno Udrih fan club).

But the rest of the supporting cast seems to be in place. We love what Omri Casspi brings to the party. He’s a ferocious competitor with the versatility and skills to work in a variety of capacities, depending on what coach Paul Whestphal decides works best. Guys like Carl Landry, Sam Dalembert, Jason Thompson and Donte Green give Westphal a multitude of frontcourt options to play with this season.

That also means “Boogie” won’t have to deliver huge numbers right away. If he just comes along at a solid rate and does his best to avoid the some of the pitfalls that can derail a rookie season, these Kings could be on the way to making some noise after the All-Star break.

The playoffs might be too ambitious … but what’s wrong with a little ambition this time of year?

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