Cuse Country

Home Away From Dome for Syracuse Orange Fans

Lose And Go Home (Pro Update 5-3)

Posted by Josh on May 3, 2007

The Syracuse presence has been purged from the NBA playoffs, unless you count Marvin Aufrichtig who is calling games for TNT. Last night the Denver Nuggets were bounced by the Spurs. After winning game 1, Denver lost the next four in a row to San Antonio. The Spurs’ defense was relentless, frustrating the pants off the Nuggets who scored well below their season average in all four losses. Carmelo Anthony played very well in all four games but didn’t get enough help from his teammates. Melo averaged 26.8 ppg and 8.6 rpg in the five games. He shot 48% from the floor overall. But Allen Iverson got stuffed in games 2 thru 5, scoring 20.8 ppg but shooting only 34%. With AI struggling to put the ball in the hoop, and the role players basically a no-show on offense (other than Nene), Denver was unceremoniously dumped. Carmelo will probably call this a disappointing season because of the playoff loss but in most respects he should feel good about the year. His scoring and rebounding averages were both career highs, and his 28.9 ppg was second in the league behind Kobe. He shot nearly 50% from the field, made his first All-Star team, and generally cemented his position among the NBA elite. You just have to overlook this. All of the Nuggets’ main contributors are signed through next year at least with the exception of Steve Blake (who, though a starter, wasn’t a huge factor this year, especially in the playoffs) so, barring a significant trade, this year’s Nuggets team will look a lot like next year’s.

The Wizards were swept out of the playoffs by Cleveland. This was an unsurprising result, as the Wiz’ two All-Stars were both out with injuries. Etan Thomas did not suddenly become an offensive force to help make up for the injured scoring. He averaged 21 minutes per game in the four games, with 5.0 ppg and 5.5 rpg. Overall for the year, Etan averaged 6.2 ppg and 5.1 rpg. Not great numbers, but if you have been reading this space you know that his playing time fluctuated wildly over the course of the year — if you extrapolate to 35 minutes per game he’d be averaging 10.4 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. (Hypothetically of course.) His highs for the year were 19 points, 15 rebounds, and siox blocks (twice). The Wizards have some soul-searching to do regarding their center position, with Etan and Brendan Haywood both signed to big contracts for the next three years, it would not be surprising to see one of them get traded in the offseason.

But not every former Orangeman has been bumped from the playoffs. Otis Hill and Anwil have rallied to tie their playoff series with #1 seeded Prokom Trefl at 2 games apiece. Over the weekend, Anwil won both home games. Otis had just 4 points in the first game in 9 minutes of action Saturday, then came back with 11 points in 20 minutes on Monday. It’s actually a 7-game series (different than what I hypothesized in the last post) because games 5 and 6 are listed on the website. So someone might still take home a ring this year!

Elsewhere in Europe:

  • Preston Shumpert dropped 30 points on the team which released him earlier this year as Benetton topped Bologna last Wednesday. He followed that with 17 points and 7 boards in a win on Sunday. They have two games remaining and wil not make the playoffs.
  • Elvir Ovcina had 17 points and 5 rebounds in a win Sunday. His team remains tied for 2nd place with two other teams, both of whom also won over the weekend. They have two games left to secure themselves a playoff berth.
  • Ethan Cole had 10 points and 15 rebounds in a loss Saturday. This concludes his season in the German Jungeliga, as his squad does not make the playoffs. Overall he played in nine games for Union Shops Rastatt, averaging 10.0 points and 11.3 rebounds.

In New Zealand last week, Josh Pace’s Nelson Giants played two games (it’s an unusual scheduling system — most weeks a team plays one game, but sometimes they play two and sometimes none). They won both games, with Pace leading the way. He had 26 points and 11 boards last Wednesday, then dropped in 29 points with 10 rebounds on Saturday. This week they are playing two again, back to back home games today and tomorrow. Today’s game is already concluded, and it was a statement win for Josh and the Nelson Giants, 83-59 over the previously undefeated Appliance Shed Harbour Heat. Josh had 25 points and 10 rebounds. Nelson is now 8-3 and 1.5 games out of first place.

I was able to to track down the USBL box scores. Interestingly, you don’t get sent to this page if you click on “Box Scores” on the USBL website. However, a scan through the Albany Patroons’ boxes for their recent road trip indicates Craig Forth played a total of one minute in their past five games. They were all road games, most of them during the week, so if he has not given up teaching then it’s unsurprising that he wouldn’t be in those games. (The one he played in was on a Sunday.) They have three home games scheduled over the next three days, starting tonight; these will indicate whether Craig has really missed the games due to his job or whether he is just riding the pine.

And finally, even though the NBA Draft Lottery hasn’t even taken place yet, and there are still underclassmen declaring or undeclaring, there are some mock drafts out there. This one has Nichols and Watkins both going in the middle of the second round. This one has Nichols as the 2nd-best undrafted player, with Watkins at the end of the undrafted list. ESPN’s you have to pay for, so screw that. This one has Nichols in the late 2nd round. We’ll keep peeking at these as the draft gets closer. The draft lottery is in 20 days and the draft itself is on June 28.

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