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No Catchy Title This Time (Pro Update 3-19)

Posted by Josh on March 19, 2007

In the interest of preserving space on the CC front page, I’ve stuck the entire content of this update after the jump…

NBA

Life is suddenly good for the Nuggets again. They’ve won four games in a row, including beating the ridiculously good Phoenix Suns on Saturday and topping the Lakers, with whom they are battling for playoff positioning, on Thursday. Carmelo had 29, 29, 26, and 29 in the four games, and had 8 rebounds in each of the last three games. His shooting percentage is going back up and his turnovers are going down. This coincides with his “making up” with coach George Karl. (Karl had given Melo a bit of a public dressing-down about two weeks ago, when the Nuggets were losing.) The Nugs have a five-games-in-8-days road trip starting Tuesday night; luckily for them, it’s all against Eastern Conference teams so they have a good chance to win most of ’em.

Speaking of the Eastern Conference, things are still tough in Washington for Etan Thomas. His best game last week was a 9-point, 6-rebound, 20-minute performance in a loss to the Heat. But when Washington does not face a team with a huge frontcourt, E’s playing time shrinks. Exhibit A is Saturday’s game vs. the Hornets in which he played only 7 minutes and scored 1 point. This follows an 8-minute, 4-point effort vs. Indiana. I did find a good story on him in the Washington Times (of all places) that reminds you that he’s so much more than a ballplayer.

Hakim Warrick has been reinserted into the starting lineup for the past four games, and has had some good results. Most recently he had 15 points, including the game-winning free throw, and 10 rebounds in a one-point win over the Bulls on Saturday. This is his fifth double-double on the year. He also played 38 minutes in this game, his highest total since November (when he was starting in place of Gasol). The increase in rebounds is important for his continued time on the court, because he’s playing power forward and there are no real ‘bruisers’ on Memphis’ front line (Gasol and Rudy Gay). The more he can rebound, the more they can leave him out there. He had 8 rebounds against the Nets Monday (and 10 points), and 9 points and 5 boards vs the Cavs on Wednesday.

Jason Hart won for the first time with the Clippers on Friday, beating the Bobcats, although he had his worst game as a Clipper (just 2 points and 3 assists in 30 minutes). He’d scored 10, 10, and 4 in their previous games this week (all losses). The downward trend continued as he went scoreless in 21 minutes last night in a loss to the Nets. So, it looks like the experiment was less than a rousing success for LA. Sam Cassell is back playing, though he’s not 100% yet so Jason will continue to see minutes, but it’s likely that Cassell will be back starting soon and that Jason will back him up for the remainder of the year, and then have to find himself another job in the offseason.

NBADL

The Jam met the Skyforce last Sunday, in another clash between the two SU alums in the D-League. Gerry had 14 points on 6-9 shooting, while Damone Brown had 15 points and 8 rebounds (and the last laugh, as his team won). The next game, Gerry had 10 points in 15 minutes, but twisted his right ankle and missed most of the second half. Then last night he scored just 2 points in 13 minutes (on 1-2 shooting). You and I know that a simple twisted ankle would not keep Gerry off the floor — and we’re right. It turns out that during this game he actually injured the other ankle. Meanwhile, in South Dakota, Damone Brown has continued his solid play. Following the win over Gerry’s Jam, he had 18 points and 6 rebounds in a win on Tuesday, then had 13 & 10 last night in yet another win. After hovering below .500 for most of the year, Sioux Falls has been on a ridiculous hot streak (9-2 since mid-January) and are now bunched with two other teams at the top of the standings in their division.

Europe

Preston Shumpert led his team with 17 points in a key Euroleague playoff win on Wednesday. Benetton moved to 3-2 in their group, and will face the other 3-2 team, Dynamo Moscow, this coming Wednesday, in a “win-and-you’re-in” scenario. (Unicaja, at 4-1, has already clinched a spot in the next round.) Undistracted by the upcoming pressure game, Benetton took care of business in the Italian League on Saturday, with Preston again leading the team in scoring (21 points) and, this time, also in rebounds (8). This follows a 14-point game the previous Saturday (a one-point loss). Looks like maybe he is elevating his game at just the right time.

Other European results from the past two weekends:

  • Elvir Ovcina had 11 & 7 in a Belgian League blowout win this past weekend, but only 2 points and 3 rebounds in another convincing win the weekend before.
  • Otis Hill had 25 points and 6 boards in a Polish League win last weekend, then led his team in both scoring (19) and rebounds (6) in another win this past Saturday, though he did not start the game for some reason.
  • Ethan Cole is a beast on the boards. He had 10 points and 12 boards last weekend,, then 7 & 10 on St. Patrick’s Day (which I’m sure is huge in Germany). This makes double-digit rebounds in all three games he’s played so far. Note: to get the boxscores, follow the links above, then click the small white box next to the results on the scoreboard for Union Shops Rastatt which is his team.

New Zealand

Josh Pace and his new ‘fro led the Nelson Giants with 24 points and 9 rebounds Saturday but they dropped their home opener, a close one to the Auckland Youthtown Stars, which sounds like a touring AAU team or something but is really one of the teams in the NBL. However, last Sunday (the 11th) the Giants won with Pace tallying 21 points and 12 boards. There are a couple of Pace photos from the game here, in a Flash slideshow so I can’t link them into this post. But really all you get from looking at the pictures is that the photographer needs a camera with a faster shutter speed.

Japan

Ryan Blackwell did not play in either of his team’s games for the second consecutive weekend. My assumption is that he is injured. I’m working on getting confirmation of that hypothesis, and if I can, it will be in the next Update.

ABA

Playoff fever in the ABA! Buffalo has advanced to the Final 8 of the playoffs by toppling #2-ranked Jacksonville. And no, there are still no box scores or game stories online, with the exception of a few paragraphs in the Florida Times-Union. Thus, no Duany news. Buffalo now awaits the winner of San Diego vs. Beijing (who play their home games in LA). Z Sims and Rochester’s first playoff game is Monday night.

What about Buffalo’s first-round game, you may ask (if you’ve been paying attention to previous Updates, at least)? How did they make it to the second round? The answer is that they did it without beating anyone. Their expected opponent the Gallup Outlaws dropped out of the playoffs, either because the team folded entirely or they simply lacked the money to travel from New Mexico to Buffalo. So Duany & Co. got a free pass to the 2nd round. In fact, if you compare the current ABA playoff bracket to this list of the teams who qualified for the playoffs just one week ago you will see that about a half-dozen teams that made the playoffs are not participating, including the #5 and #6 teams (which resulted in two squads having to play in the first round, but then getting a bye to the third round once they won). In the case of #5 (Arkansas) they decided to withdraw from the entire league, not because they were losing money but because the league administration dicked them around in terms of playoff scheduling and other stuff. The league then called them “suspended” for failing to meet league policies regarding scheduleing or something like that. It’s quite a soap opera. If you feel like wasting some time, I recommend reading some of the posts on this message board, where fans of teams in the ABA vent their anger at the stupendous mismanagement by the ABA brass. It’s fairly entertaining, in a car-fire sort of way, especially if you have no stake in the matter. Many of these fans think the small group of successful ABA teams in the Northeast should split off over the summer and form their own league. Not sure where that would leave the Syracuse Bullies.

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3 Responses to “No Catchy Title This Time (Pro Update 3-19)”

  1. Jeff said

    Great updates. Keep ’em coming.

  2. voteprime said

    It can’t be easy to track all these updates down, but your work is definitely appreciated.

    And that lopsided fro juts adds to the chronically high look that Pace already had. I love it.

  3. Mark said

    Excellent work!! Thanks!

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