Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Kiwi Power (Pro Update 3-10)

Posted by Josh on March 10, 2007

Wanted to get this slipped in before the Madness takes hold.

The New Zealand basketball season started Friday, and it didn’t take long for Josh Pace to make his presence known. Pace led his team to victory with 25 points and 5 assists. (box score) Then again, considering he was on the all-league first team last year, this shouldn’t be too surprising. You can look forward to more Pace-based domination in the months to come — the season runs into June.

NBA

Etan Thomas missed the last two Washington Wizards games, Tuesday and Wednesday. The official statement from the team says that he was excused to attend to “family matters”. However, reading between the lines in this report (specifically the quote from Coach Jordan about E needing a “clear head”), and having followed Etan’s frustrations since he came back from his injury, I have a sneaking (and totally unsubstantiated) suspicion that the “family matters” are just a case of Etan needing a mental break from the team. He is expected to be back for tonight’s game vs. the Knicks.

Carmelo also missed a game last week for the birth of his son Kiyan. The guy was born kinda small for having a 6′-8″ father — under 6 pounds. (Hmm, maybe that’s the real reason the Nuggets traded Earl Boykins…??) But he’s healthy (and wealthy) and Carmelo was all smiles — until he shot 6-21 and had 7 turnovers in a loss last night to the Pistons.

Meanwhile, Jason Hart got his first start last night for the Clippers vs. the Warriors. He played 30 minutes with a real solid statline: 11pts (3-6 shooting), 4 assists, 3 steals, 3 turnovers. He did have 5 fouls, suggesting that he is a step slow on defense at the moment. Or just a bit too “grabby”. Coach Dunleavy is giving him some love, though it is not unconditional just yet.

Hakim Warrick had no significant personal or professional moments this week. He just went to work, scoring 8 and then 7 in consecutive losses — his first games under 10 points since Feb 7. This article is from about a week ago and is an excellent summation of Warrick’s second pro season so far: the early success, the downturn, the difficulties, and the reemergence. In short, everything we’ve chronicled here at Cuse Country. But with quotes.

D-League

Damone Brown continued his solid play last night, scoring 13 points and grabbing a team-high 11 rebounds as the Skyforce defeated Albuquerque. You may remember from a long-ago Pro Update that Albuquerque is the current team of Tony Bland — he had 23 points and 13 assists in this game in case you’re interested (and I know you are). For Damone, this was a much better showing than the previous night’s game (also in Albuquerque) where he had just 4 points and 7 boards, only his second game under double figures since joining the team.

Gerry’s Jam have not played since the last Pro Update but they have two games this weekend. Tonight vs. Anaheim, and then tomorrow night they host Damone Brown and the Skyforce. However, there is now available online a video segment from NBATV News about Gerry and his burning desire to get to the Association. The link above does not open the video directly, but it takes you to an nba.com page with the video link on it.

Europe

Preston Shumpert had 17 points and 4 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as Benetton dropped a close one to Unicaja in the Euroleague playoffs preliminary round. Preston hit a three with under a minute to go to tie the game but his team did not score after that. Benetton is now 2-2 and in third place in the 4-team group with two games remaining. They are still in the hunt for a spot in the next round but will probably have to win their final two games to advance.

All the other European leagues have Saturday games, some in progress as I write this, but no final results to report yet from Poland, Italy, Germany or Belgium. Same for Japan. I’ll get those updates in next week somewhere.

ABA

As first reported in a comment in the last update by loyal reader Matt, Z Sims had 19 points and 11 assists on Tuesday as Rochester successfully preserved their home court winning streak by defeating the top team in the league, the Vermont Frost Heaves. And Dennis Rodman was nowhere to be found. Z followed that performance with 18 points and 14 dimes as Rochester closed out their regular season with a thumping of the Strong Island Sound on Thursday, a game that at one time was going to be against Buffalo. What seems to have happened was that Strong Island was running out of money and didn’t want to make the road trip up to Rochester, so Buffalo was going to take the game in their place. But then SI decided to make the trip after all, and they got waxed 114-88. Rochester gets a bye into the second round of the ABA playoffs; they will host a second-round game on Sunday March 18, opponent TBD.

Meanwhile, with Buffalo’s plans to play in Rochester scrapped, and having not played a game since late February, the Silverbacks scheduled a last-minute road trip to Montreal to stay sharp before the playoffs. They beat Montreal last night, but there are no game stories available (yet). Buffalo is definitely in the playoffs, but will not get a bye. Playoff schedules will be announced tomorrow and we’ll keep you updated. Also we’re hoping that game reports from the playoffs will be a bit more substantial and available.

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