Charlotte Bobcats

Around the Rim: Bobcats bounce Boston

1. J-Rich cashes in
The Boston Celtics are making a run at history and the Charlotte Bobcats with a 1-11 road record were supposed to be another notch on the belt of the Leprechauns. Well, what was supposed to be an easy win for Boston turned into a 12-point loss, 95-83, at the hands of one of the conference’s worst teams. Guess that is why they actually play the game. Jason Richardson blew up for 34 points and nine rebounds, sticking the dagger in the Cs hearts and twisting it several times during Boston’s attempts to make a comeback. “The Boston Three Party” was a man short on Wednesday as Ray Allen rode the pine with a pinched nerve in his neck, leaving Kevin Garnett (24 pts) and Paul Pierce (13 pts) with all the heavy lifting. So far, Charlotte practically has the Celtics number in their back pocket, winning in Boston and coming one last-second shot away from winning at home. Game three comes in late February in Beantown.

2. Portland’s prosperity

Brandon Roy fell to the court in the second quarter with an apparent knee injury, followed by Steve Blake’s calf clutching on the hardwood in the second half. But the good times kept on rolling as both players’ injuries turned out to be minor and the Trail Blazers picked up their 17th win in 18 games, downing Golden State 109-91. However, the biggest reason to celebrate in Portland wasn’t the victory or the victories or even the successful injury scare. Nope, the real reason for the Blazers smiles is because for the first time since 2001, Portland is atop their division. The Blaze currently owns a ½ game lead over Denver in the Northwest Division, but holding the position won’t be easy with a seven-game, East coast road trip on tap.

3. Suns win a track meet against Pacers
Indiana and Phoenix played five extra minutes and scored a whopping 251 combined points. Unfortunately for the Pacers, Phoenix ended with a majority of the points scored – 129 to be exact. Without Grant Hill who will miss some time (2-3 weeks) after undergoing an appendectomy, the Suns received a lift from Raja Bell (27 pts, 9 reb) and Leandro Barbosa. The Brazilian Blur finished with 27 points off the bench to compliment the double-doubles from starters Shawn Marion (23 pts, 12 reb) and Amare Stoudemire (25 pts, 11 reb). Led by Danny Granger and Shawne Williams who each scored 22 points, six players reached double-digits offensively for Indiana, but it just wasn’t enough against the short-handed Suns. In addition to Hill’s absence, Steve Nash departed from the game early due to a stomach flu, playing just 24 minutes.

Wednesday’s Player of the Day: Yao Ming @ New York 42 min, 36 pts (FG: 14-21, FT: 8-9), 11 reb, 3 ast, 2 blk

Thursday’s Game to Watch: Detroit (26-9) @ San Antonio (23-10)
It wasn’t that long ago when these two teams were hooking up to see who would be the NBA champions. Now, both clubs are just playing to get off the schnide. The Pistons own the East’s second best record, but are losers of their previous two games against Boston and Dallas. In order to avoid their first three-game slide of the season, the Bad Boys must win in San Antonio against a Spurs team bitter about another road loss. The Spurs are a league-best 17-2 at home and know they have to take care of business in San Antonio considering their sorry 6-8 road record.

Buzzer Beater: Good news in Clipper land. Looks like Shaun Livingston could be returning to the other L.A. team’s lineup at some point this year.

The medical team feels he’s going to make a full recovery,” team president Andy Roeser said at halftime of Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic. “There’s a pretty good chance he’ll be on the court before the end of the season.

“The most significant thing is whether he makes a full recovery. It’s significant that we think he can make a full recovery.

Pretty amazing stuff considering it looked like Livingston was going to be made into glue after turning stomachs in late February of 2007.

LA Clippers

Top 10 Most Gruesome sports injuries: #6 Shaun Livingston

[Sportscolumn is running down the ten most gruesome sports injuries. Here’s #6]

Our No. 7 injury showed you just how painful a dislocated elbow can be. Now just imagine the same thing happening to your knee. Actually you don’t have to imagine, because Shaun Livingston took all the guess work out of the equation and provided photographic evidence of the pain. But if you want to experience the full effect of the injury, you’ll have to throw in some torn ligaments for good measure.

That’s exactly what happened to the Clippers’ Livingston when he picked up a loose ball and took it the length of the court for a routine lay-up. However, the landing was anything but routine as his leg twisted up like a pretzel beneath him, ending the point guard’s season. Livingston’s knee was ripped to shreds as he tore the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral meniscus. Wow, now that’s an injury!

Back to #7 | Forward to #5

NBA General

Around the Rim: Hawks High-Flier Gets Grounded

Which is more gruesome?

1. Another Guard Goes Down
Thanks to a nagging bruise in his right calf, Joe Johnson is going to be benched for at least the next three to four weeks and it’s possible that Johnson could be done for the year. So, if you thought that the Hawks were pitiful before, just wait til you get a load of this lineup. Atlanta was the league’s worst offense (92.9 ppg) before losing Johnson’s 25 points per game which equals to missing 27 percent of their total offense. But so far, it’s worked out all right for Atlanta. The Hawks hit the century mark in a win over the Wizards in Hotlanta on Wednesday in the first game without their superstar, and they have a series of creampuffs waiting for them. Games against Memphis, Minnesota, Philadelphia and Boston should help ease the transition.

2. Going Under The Knife
It’s been a week and a half since Shaun Livingston suffered one of the ugliest injuries that has ever occurred on the pro hardwood, now he’ll have to wait four days until he will undergo major reconstructive surgery on his left knee on Tuesday. Then the fun starts; Livingston will have between nine months and year’s worth of rehab before he can even hope of suiting up with the Clips. If it’s not bad enough that LA has lost their future at the point guard position, they’re also going it without their point guard of the present. Sam Cassell, a.k.a. Gollum, a.k.a. ET, a.k.a. the ugliest man alive, has missed the last three games with a groin injury. The situation has gotten so dire that the Clippers are forced to play Dukie Daniel Ewing at the point as they quickly slide out of the playoff picture. Probably a good thing; the world would most likely implode should the Clippers make the postseason in consecutive seasons.

3. Do Not Adjust Your Television
OK, the league could be getting carried away with this one. With St. Patrick’s Day approaching, the Sonics will honor the drunken holiday by wearing their green road uniform at home while the Celtics will also be in green, as always. But two other teams will also be donning alternate green uniforms for the occasion: Chicago and New York. Yup, the Bulls and Knicks are going to be wearing green! How strange is that going to look? Why not just have the Spurs were neon-orange uniforms on Halloween? And the Magic can were camouflage on Memorial Day. The NBA will do anything for a buck; they’ll even desecrate two of the most traditional uniforms in the history of the game. At least go and screw up some ugly uniforms like Atlanta’s or Memphis’.

Thursday’s Player of the Day: Manu Ginobili @ Sacramento 29 min, 31 pts (FG: 9-16, 3FG: 5-9, FT: 8-10), 5 reb, 3 ast, 4 stl

Friday’s Game to Watch: New Jersey (28-33) @ Houston (37-24) It’s going to be a family reunion in Houston as cousins Vince Carter and Tracy McGrady get together for what could be a highlight filled affair. New Jersey has lost three straight but still remains just behind the eighth place Magic in the East, but if they could ever could get their act together they could make a run at the division leading Raptors and grab one of the top four seeds. Houston, on the other hand, won’t be able to improve on their fifth seed so they are simply looking to finish the season strong and remain healthy for the post season. The team’s biggest concern at the moment is simply implementing Yao Ming back into the game plan.

Buzzer Beater: Stephon Marbury is already planning for his life after basketball and the first step toward his post retirement career begins today. That’s because his show, “Stars on Stars” will debut today at 4:30 on Fox SportsNet. His first guest will be Kobe Bryant, but don’t expect Marbury to bring up Bryant’s recent suspension for whacking Marko Jaric in the head because the show was actually taped before training camp. This should be interesting; Marbury is the only active NBA player to have his own TV show. But as long as he can form complete sentences and not fall off the set, he will have already hurdled the bar set by Magic Johnson.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Livingston’s Road to Recovery

1. In Kneed of Therapy
Shaun Livingston will miss the remainder of the season after ripping his knee to shreds in a game versus the Bobcats. If you just heard the diagnosis, you’d probably think we were talking about Daunte Culpepper or Carson Palmer. The MRI on Livingston’s left knee showed tears in the anterior cruciate ligament, posterior cruciate ligament, medial collateral ligament and lateral meniscus. If you saw the injury, you’d probably think you were reliving the Joe Theisman twig snapping. In addition to his ligament damage, Livingston also dislocated his patella. But the Clippers weren’t the only ones receiving bad news on Tuesday. New York also found out that they will lose their starting shooting guard. Jamal Crawford has a stress fracture in his right ankle that will require season-ending surgery. Oh well, those are the breaks.

2. Colossal Collapse
The Suns were down by 18 points at one point in the third quarter last night against the Pacers, but Phoenix came roaring back in the fourth quarter and ended up taking their 14 straight victory on the road against the Eastern Conference this year. With only one interconference road game remaining on the Suns schedule, they are one win away from becoming the first team in NBA history to go undefeated in the category. Indiana was rolling right along until 4:24 remained in the third quarter when they were leading Phoenix 77-59. Over the remainder of the game, the Suns scorched Indiana with a 45-15 run as Conseco Fieldhouse witnessed one of the most pathetic Pacers collapses of all time.

3. No Alumni Love in Detroit
Bill Laimbeer is upset that he didn’t receive any consideration for the available assistant coaching positions in Detroit before the season began. The Pistons didn’t even interview Laimbeer before hiring Terry Porter and Dave Cowens. One thing Laimbeer hasn’t done since retiring is mellow out, which could have something to do with why the Pistons don’t want to touch the original Bad Boy. Hell, Laimbeer was yelling at the referees during the worthless Shooting Stars competition over All-Star weekend. You would have thought he was back in the Finals again the way he was going off on the refs. Maybe if he could settle down a bit in his old age more NBA teams would give him consideration.

Tuesday’s Player of the Day: Jermaine O’Neal vs. Phoenix 40 min, 28 pts (FG: 13-24, FT: 2-2), 13 reb, 7 ast, 2 stl, 6 blk

Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Toronto (31-26) @ Houston (35-21) Tracy McGrady is making some noise for the MVP award as he has the Rockets in fifth place in a tough Western Conference. Since Yao Ming went down with an injury, T-Mac has stepped up big in his absence and Houston has won 10 of their last 15 games because of it. The Rockets are 20-8 at home this year, which is where they will host the Atlantic Division leading Toronto Raptors tonight. Chris Bosh has been making a run at MVP for the entire season as he averages 23 points and 11 rebounds per game. Despite losing to San Antonio on Monday, the Raptors have been playing excellent ball lately and could end up making some noise in the Eastern Conference’s postseason.

Buzzer Beater: One of the concerns brought up about the NBA’s All-Star game being held in New Orleans next year had to do with the lack of police protection. Now, does this speak poorly of the city or of the league? How many police officers does it take to handle David Stern’s fans? This is New Orleans isn’t it? They put on a little booze infested party every year called Mardi Gras that doesn’t exactly draw the most civilized of crowds. But after large crowds and additional crime swept through the streets of Las Vegas a few weeks ago, the league and city are worried about whether the recovering city is capable of hosting such a large event. I guess New Orleans can handle boobs and booze, just not ballers and bling.

LA Clippers

So this is what a dislocated knee looks like

We haven’t seen a photo this disgusting since those tabloid pics of Britney’s cooter surfaced.

If you’re looking for more cringe inducing visuals, watch the video.

NBA General

Around the Rim: Another Retiree Returns?

1. It’s Always Miller Time
First it was Scottie Pippen. Then it was Shawn Kemp. And now there’s a rumor that Reggie Miller could be returning to the court. Actually, Miller’s name was brought up by Mark Cuban before the Mavs went out and destroyed the Hawks, 110-87, on Monday night. This could all be completely fabricated, but if the skinny shooting guard is really considering making a return with Dallas it could spell disaster for the rest of the league. This is the absolute best opportunity for Miller to pick up a ring, but after fighting for 18 seasons in Indy, there’s no guarantee the greatest 3-point shooter of all-time will be content with a brief stint on a team in return for a championship.

2. More Mavs
The Mavericks also made some news on the court last night as they became the first team in league history to three winning streaks of 12 games or more. Dallas is currently on their second 12 game win streak of the season, with their first streak also being 12 and their second streak lasting for 13 games. In all, only four teams have been able to put together three separate streaks of at least ten wins with the last one coming in 1999-2000 when the Lakers ripped off win streaks of 16, 19 and 11. And for just a bit more perspective on this accomplishment, there are 11 teams that have never had a 12 game winning streak in the history of their franchise: Charlotte, Cleveland, Golden State, Indiana (as an NBA franchise), L.A. Clippers, Minnesota, New Orleans/Oklahoma City, Orlando, Toronto, Memphis and Washington.

3. Clipper Clipped
The Clippers had a serious scare last night when Shaun Livingston hurt his left knee early in the game. His knee completely twisted underneath him in a gruesome manner as he fell while running on a break away slam. Luckily, X-rays were negative but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some serious damage. Livingston was coming of a career-high game with 14 assists on Saturday but the kid has never played a complete season. The Clips want Livingston to start taking over the ball handling responsibilities with Sam Cassell approaching the end of his career, but it’s going to be tough for L.A. to ever find consistency with a player who is chronically injured. Livingston has now dislocated each of his knees during his brief NBA career. But what do you really expect; they are the Clippers after all.

Monday’s Player of the Day: Tim Duncan vs. Toronto 34 min, 24 pts (FG: 11-15, FT: 2-4), 16 reb, 4 ast, 2 stl, 4 blk

Tuesday’s Game to Watch: Dallas (47-9) @ Minnesota (26-30) The Mavs have won 12 straight but they are right in the middle of a tough stretch in which they play six games in ten days. Tonight’s game is also the second of a back-to-back for Dallas after they defeated Atlanta last night. Despite dropping two in a row in Minnesota, the Timberwolves are actually a pretty tough opponent in their own gym. On the season they are 17-11 in Minnesota where they have defeated teams like Washington, Phoenix, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago and Utah. Kevin Garnett has been attacking the glass lately with 36 boards in his last two games.

Buzzer Beater: Kobe Bryant led the Lakers past the Jazz on Monday night with 35 points, but they probably didn’t come in the fashion your thinking about. As he does sometimes, Bryant struggled from the field but like any good superstar he drove to the hoop and created contact. Kobe basically camped out at the free throw line where he was 21-24 for the game, while he was only 7-21 from the field. LA got big efforts from Smush Parker and Lamar Odom, but that’s not typical for the Lakers. Next up for the purple and gold is a rivalry game against the Kings.