Tag:Phoenix Suns
Posted on: December 18, 2010 3:38 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Magic/Suns/Wizards trade: what they're saying

The Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards engaged in a blockbuster trade on Saturday involving Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, picks, cash, Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas and Rashard Lewis. Here's what various NBA experts have to say about it. Posted by Ben Golliver

Any time a big trade goes down, the reaction comes in fast and furious on Twitter and the rest of the blogosphere. Here's what various NBA experts, players and writers are saying about Saturday's trades between the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards.

Ken Berger, CBSSports.com : "It is a swing-for-the-fences for Orlando, which came under immense pressure to make a big trade while losing five of its last six games and taking an obvious back seat to Boston and Miami in the East. Turkoglu, who struggled in stints with Toronto and Phoenix, returns to Orlando -- where he was a key piece in Orlando's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.  Arenas is the bigger name, but the key to the deal could be Richardson, a perimeter sniper who fits the Magic's style and gives them a clutch scorer and big-time shooter to further space the floor for Dwight Howard."

Matt Moore, CBSSports.com : "Do not underestimate the value of getting Richardson here. Forget Hedo."

Adrian Wojnarowski, Yahoo! Sports : "The Magic are desperate to please Dwight Howard and keep him out of free agency in two years. Will this be enough? Why wouldn't Orlando try out this new cast, and wait on adding Agent Zero? That Lewis-Arenas deal will always be there for them."

Jason Richardson : "It's been a great 2 1/2 yrs Suns fans! My family and I enjoyed out time around such a great organization and fans. I'm excited about opportunity to play in Orlando! Thanks for all the love and support you guys showed me. God Bless!"

Steve Nash, Phoenix Suns : "Everyone wish @Jason Richardson the best in Orlando. Great player and great teammate! He will be missed. Damn."

Jared Dudley, Phoenix Suns : "Man I'm goin to miss my boy @jrich23 .. Great teammate, good luck in Orlando boy do work."

Michael Lee, Washington Post : "This is not a basketball move, folks. This is business. The #Wizards' record past 53 games with Gilbert Arenas is 15-38."

David Aldridge, NBA.com : "The deal would rid the Wizards of one of their biggest public relations headaches in years. While Arenas helped Washington make the playoffs for the first time in a decade and became an All-Star playing alongside Caron Butler and Antawn Jamison, his infamous suspension for bringing guns into the Verizon Center locker room last December as part of a prank and/or confrontation with then-teammate Javaris Crittenton cast a shadow over the franchise. Arenas was suspended by Commissioner David Stern for the final 50 games of last season and served time in a halfway house in the D.C. suburbs after pleading guilty to one felony count of carrying a pistol without a license."

Chad Ford, ESPN.com : "I'm not a big fan of that deal for Orlando. Rarely pays to panic in December. Better deal for Phoenix in the future w/ pick & Gortat. This one feels more of a wash. Arenas if healthy helps, but Magic now pretty weak up front. After Howard & Bass, there isn't much there. Magic didn't want to re-sign Turkoglu in 09. He was overpaid by Raptors. Underperforms in Tor & Phx & now fans excited to have him back?"

Bill Simmons, ESPN.com : "1. Total panic trade by Orl but their cap was kaput anyway. As a C's fan I'm slightly more scared of them now. JR > VC + Hedo thrived there. 2. Hedo-Barbosa deal was always idiotic for Phx. Confirmed by Phx being forced to dump JRich to dump Hedo's contract 5 mths later. Savvy! 3. Phx comes within a hair of making the '10 Finals, dumps JRich-LB-Amare-Amundson...now they're way worse off + cap-wise no better. Savvy!"

Vincent Goodwill, Detroit News : "A lot of guys need the rock in Orlando. Hedo loves, Gil needs it and So does Dwight...what about Jameer too? This will be interesting. It will be interesting, whether you think it's a hot mess, I have no qualms with a team and ownership going all-in to win."

Evan Dunlap, Orlando Pinstriped Post : "Richardson, a ten-year veteran swingman, is scoring 19.3 points in 31.8 minutes per game this season and connecting on 41.9 percent of his three-point tries. He strikes me as the most significant player in this trade from Orlando's perspective, as his ability to knock down open three-pointers and elevate for jump shots off the dribble should boost its weak offense. His contract expires after this season.

The bigger draw, from a narrative perspective, is Turkoglu's return to Orlando. The Magic acquired Carter following their 2009 NBA Finals run ostensibly to upgrade Turkoglu's spot on that team, with Turkoglu departing in free agency a few weeks later. When viewed this way, the Magic had a second chance to choose between Carter and Turkoglu, and this time they sided with Turkoglu. The combo forward with point guard skills has struggled since leaving the Magic; perhaps a return to Stan Van Gundy's offense, which helped make him the league's Most Improved Player in the 2007/08 season, will fix what ails him. As my SB Nation colleague Seth Pollack writes, Turkoglu has frustrated the Suns in myriad ways this year."

Chris Vernon, Fox Sports Memphis : "Everyone has noticed how bad Rashard Lewis has been since he got caught with 'performance enhancement', right? goes on in NBA too."

Scott, Waiting For Next Year : "Orlando is the new Cleveland; adding big contracts, veteran pieces in attempt to keep Dwight Howard happy."

Seth Pollack, SB Nation Arizona : "At this point, losing Turkoglu probably wouldn't upset too many people in the locker room, as he's not been here that long. Swapping Richardson for Carter, however, could create a potential chemistry crisis that might be the final straw for Steve Nash, who's repeatedly expressed his frustration at the lack of stability on the team over the past several years."

Mike Prada, Bullets Forever : "There will be lots of time to reflect on the end of the Arenas era, and in fact, we are planning a day-long tribute to Arenas sometime early next week.  At this point, though, I'm just sad.  I wish we could have receive more than Lewis back, but we don't really know just how much discontent Arenas was showing behind the scenes.  It's possible that he was prepared to leave anyway and this was the only thing Ernie Grunfeld could get for him.  Orlando isn't going to be this desperate again this year, so maybe the trade possibility would have passed by.  Still, it's a disappointing return on the surface for someone who gave us so many memories.

Kyle Weidie, Truth About It : "Trade or whatever, Ernie Grunfeld's time in Washington has gotten rather stale. 7 years is a long, good run as a GM/team pres. #MoveOn.org"

Art Garcia, NBA.com : "Gotta admire Otis for doing something in Dec rather than Feb. Two extra months to make it work."

Ethan Skolnick, Palm Beach Post : "Offensively, on the perimeter, the Magic will be more dynamic. Lewis was in a funk, and Carter — now just an erratic jump-shooter without his old spring — was never a good fit. The Magic moved the ball better without him, as was evident when he missed the last meeting with the Heat. Arenas is a volume shooter, but at least he’s shown this season that he can still create his own shot. Richardson is a tougher player than Lewis and just as good from deep. And if anyone can salvage Turkoglu, it’s Stan Van Gundy — Hedo hasn’t been motivated or effective since he left.

Adding Arenas, Jason Richardson and Turkoglu to a shooter like J.J. Redick and a functional two-player like Quentin Richardson, plus a point guard trio of Jameer Nelson-Chris Duhon-Jason Williams, and the Magic has more depth on the outside than any team in the NBA."
Posted on: December 18, 2010 2:38 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Magic/Suns swap Carter, Gortat, Richardson, Hedo

The Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns have reportedly agreed on a trade that includes Vince Carter, Marcin Gortat, Mickael Pietrus, Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu, Earl Clark, a draft pick and cash. Posted by Ben Golliver

Earlier today, we noted a report from CBSSports.com's Ken Berger  that outlined the developing possibility of a trade between the Orlando Magic and the Phoenix Suns. Yahoo! Sports and ESPN.com are both reporting on Saturday that a deal has been consummated between the two teams.  The Orlando Magic will reportedly send guard Vince Carter, center Marcin Gortat, wing Mickael Pietrus a first round pick and $3 million (the maximum amount allowed in a trade) to the Phoenix Suns for Jason Richardson, Hedo Turkoglu and Earl Clark. For the Magic, they get a proven playoff scoring threat in Jason Richardson and a versatile forward with whom they are familiar in Turkoglu. They also get a heavy burden with Turkoglu's contract and sacrifice depth in the middle with the departure of Gortat. The Suns immediately address their needs for defense and rebounding with the acquisition of Gortat and shed the remaining years of salary owed to Turkoglu. They also roll the dice on Carter, who is in the final year of his guaranteed contract.  Berger confirms  the Suns/Magic trade reports and additionally reports that a trade between the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards sending Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas to the Magic for forward Rashard Lewis is a "done deal."
CBSSports source confirms: Magic get Turkoglu, JRich, Earl Clark from Suns, Arenas from Wizards. "Done deal," CBSSports source says. Wizards get Rashard Lewis, while Suns get Carter, Gortat, Pietrus.
Here's a link to Berger's full trade report . The move of Lewis for Arenas is a swap of horrible contracts, but it makes some sense for Orlando as it was going to be difficult to find minutes for Lewis, Turkoglu and the team's two other power forwards, Ryan Anderson and Brandon Bass. The Magic add two scoring threats on the perimeter in Arenas and Richardson, but the trades leave them extremely vulnerable in the middle should anything happen to Dwight Howard.  For a full breakdown of the Suns/Magic trade, click here .
Posted on: December 18, 2010 2:00 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Suns, Magic, Wizards trade rumors continue

The Phoenix Suns and Orlando Magic continue to talk trade, and the moves may include Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, Vince Carter and Marcinrichardson-carter Gortat. The Wizards and Magic also continue to talk. Posted by Ben Golliver Earlier, we noted Ken Berger's CBSSports.com's report that the Phoenix Suns were engaging in ongoing talks between the Washington Wizards and the Orlando Magic, and that the talks likely included trading wing Hedo Turkoglu, one of the most overpaid players in the NBA. We noted that the nature of Phoenix's participation wasn't entirely clear Saturday morning but that they are motivated sellers after a slow start and a log jam on the wings. ESPN.com reports on Twitter that the Suns and the Magic are "closing in on a deal" that would send send Hedo Turkoglu and Jason Richardson to Orlando for Vince Carter and Marcin Gortat. The report adds that there is a "90% chance" of the trade happening "within 24 hours." As a standalone trade for the Magic, this isn't bad at all. Richardson is still a very productive player, a dynamic offensive force who can knock down the open shot, can create off the dribble and is a good rebounder for his position. He averaged 15.7 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.8 assists last season and was a major key in Phoenix's deep playoff run last year. His scoring numbers are up to 19.3 points this year because Amar'e Stoudemire left town, but he's better as a second or third option, which is what he would be in Orlando. He's also in the final year of his contract, so he's not a financial anchor if things don't work out. Turkoglu's contract, which is fully guaranteed through 2012-2013, is the tax the Magic would pay for Richardson's production, but Orlando's team and coaching staff are familiar with his game, and Turkoglu's best years, by far, came in an Orlando uniform.   The Magic would be relinquishing two solid trade chips: the expiring contract of Vince Carter and trusty backup big man Marcin Gortat. Carter has proven he won't be able to help Orlando get over the hump and Howard is an extremely durable big man, rendering Gortat, a physical and skilled big man, more valuable on paper than he is on the court for Orlando, where he plays just 15.8 minutes per night this season.  For Phoenix, this move will be a tough sell to the fanbase. Richardson's playoff heroics aren't soon forgotten and his departure would likely be a bitter pill to swallow. However, there are others on Phoenix's roster who can pick up the scoring slack. The issue for Phoenix this season (and in years past) has been defense and rebounding. The Suns are currently dead last in defensive efficiency and second to last in rebound rate. Gortat pencils in as their starting center and would make an immediate impact. He's also on a reasonable contract that extends through 2013-2014, so the Suns would be receiving a fair bit of frontline certainty here as well. Carter is of a lesser concern for the Suns. He could provide some highlights and make up for some of the scoring that leaves with Richardson's departure, but he's in the last fully guaranteed year of his contract and may or may not have a long-term future in Phoenix. ESPN.com also confirms reports that this trade could also happen in conjunction with another deal that could send forward Rashard Lewis to the Washington Wizards for Gilbert Arenas and an unnamed big man. If that trade were to happen, minutes would be open for Turkoglu at both forward positions and Arenas would presumably be used in a reserve role behind starting point guard Jameer Nelson and Richardson. Orlando Pinstriped Post notes that other pieces involved in the Suns / Magic trade could include Magic wing Mickael Pietrus and little-used Suns forward Earl Clark. The site also reports that Magic wing Quentin Richardson could also be traded, which happens frequently.
Posted on: December 18, 2010 12:42 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:41 pm
 

Suns join Wizards, Magic in Arenas trade talks

The Phoenix Suns are the latest team to join trade rumors involving the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards on a possible Gilbert Arenas deal.gilbert-arenas Posted by Ben Golliver

We've been carefully tracking the Gilbert Arenas trade rumors for months. On Friday, whispers that began back in October and got warm in December intensified, when it was reported that the Orlando Magic and Washington Wizards were zeroing in on a deal for the former Agent Zero. As the night progressed, Magic big man Marcin Gortat, Magic wing Vince Carter and forward Rashard Lewis both found their names in various rumors, although the final framework of the deal that would reunite Arenas with a mentor, Magic GM Otis Smith, hasn't yet emerged, although reports continue that a deal is close. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com reports that a third team could wind up crashing the Washington / Orlando party.
League sources say a third team is involved, with the Suns possibly contributing Hedo Turkoglu to the equation. The Magic, trying to make a bold move to close the gap with Boston and Miami, would wind up with Arenas and Turkoglu, who would return to the team he led to the NBA Finals before a frustrating year in Toronto. Magic center Marcin Gortat is "100 percent involved," though it's unclear whether the Magic would be sending out Rashard Lewis, Vince Carter, or both. 
One of the guarantees coming into this season is that Phoenix, run by cost-conscious, impulsive owner Robert Sarver, would be active prior to the trade deadline if they didn't start hot. By handing out relatively big contracts to the likes of Josh Childress and Hakim Warrick, trading for the massively-overpaid Turkoglu, and re-signing Jared Dudley, the Suns simply had way, way too much money committed at the same position, making adequate roster and positional balance virtually impossible. The Suns have started 12-13, which is good enough for second place in the terrible Pacific Division, but puts them on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture looking in. Until more details emerge, it's unclear what Phoenix's role will be, whether it's as a facilitator to make salaries work or as a legitimate partner.  Meanwhile, Berger also reports that landing Arenas in Orlando may not be as easy as first thought.
But according to a person familiar with the situation, Smith faces two significant obstacles in bringing Arenas to Orlando. The first is Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, who has told friends he is extremely reluctant to add Arenas to the roster. The second, and even more important impediment, is Orlando ownership, which has serious reservations about absorbing Arenas' contract. Arenas has one more year left than Lewis and two more than Carter -- essentially three more with Carter's partial guarantee in 2013-14. Turkoglu's contract could ease some of that pain, as the Turkish star agreed to accept a reduced guarantee in '13-'14 as part of his trade from Toronto to Phoenix. 
In Arenas, Turkoglu and Lewis, you're looking at three of the worst contracts in the entire league, so there's no question it will take some internal selling from management on all sides of this trade to convince their own owners that the grass is greener on the other side.  But that doesn't necessarily mean this will fall apart, as all three teams are very motivated sellers.  Washington needs to turn the keys over to John Wall and start a new chapter. That's a no-brainer, and has been clear since the Wizards drafted Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft. Orlando needs an aggressive scoring spark on the wing to avoid taking a half-step back this season. Saturday morning, the Orlando Sentinel quotes Smith as saying trade talks with the Wizards are at an "8" on a 1-10 level of seriousness. The Associated Press reports that Smith confirmed that talks are ongoing but also said that "nothing is imminent" with regard to an Arenas trade.  The Sentinel also notes that Magic brass "would much rather have" Denver Nuggets all star forward Carmelo Anthony or New Orleans Hornets all star point guard Chris Paul, but Anthony appears headed elsewhere and Paul hasn't seen his name in serious trade rumors since the season started. Phoenix, as explained above, could use better roster balance, as coach Alvin Gentry has struggled with setting his bench rotation all season, in part because of so many relatively similar pieces on the wing. Given Smith's comment about the seriousness of these talks, surely there will be more developments as the weekend continues.
Posted on: December 15, 2010 3:03 pm
Edited on: December 15, 2010 4:27 pm
 

Boston's trouble with running favors Knicks

You may think that New York has little shot against the mighty Celtics Wednesday night. While Boston is the best team in the league, the evidence says they may have their hands full against the Knicks

Posted by Matt Moore




You know what Boston's point differential was last year? 3.6 points per game. They won on average by a margin of 3.6. The New York Knicks lost by average of 3.8 points last year. As the Celtics are very good and the Knicks were very not, you'd imagine that the Celtics would have blown them out, as they did the year before when their average margin of victory over the Knicks was over 12 points per game. 

Except it wasn't. It was 3.75 points per game, including one three-point loss to the Knicks, and a two-point win in overtime. This against a much lesser team than the Amare-Stoudemire and Raymond Felton led squad they're visiting this evening. 

Huh. 

So while Boston is very busy talking about how this is not a rivalry and everyone's laughing off talks that the Knicks are in Boston's league as the two prepare to meet Wednesday night, it should be noted that perhaps this might be a game. Why? Because Boston doesn't like run-and-gun, that's why. 

The Celtics lost twice to Amar'e's old club in Phoenix by a combined 25 points . They split with Golden State, the fastest team in the league according to pace (number of possessions per game), winning by 14 , and then losing by 10 . Boston also split with Denver (fifth in pace), Houston (sixth in pace), and Memphis (7th in pace). (They drubbed Indiana and Minnesota the second and third fastest teams, because, well, they were terrible.)

Even account for the late season swoon by the Celtics as they coasted to the playoffs, running teams have had success against Boston. The reason that becomes evident if you watched those games is that it's an overload of what Boston tries to hard to stop. Offense. There's no balance on these clubs. They simply get up and down the floor as quickly as humanly possible. Try and slow the game down to out-maneuver them and the Celtics will always be in place. The only way through is over. You have to stampede them with speed and shooting, perplex them with threes in transition and make those old legs work. 

According to 82games.com , The Celtics have played slow-pace teams ten times, and fast paced teams eight times. They're 9-1 against slow teams, and 6-2 against fast teams. Yeah, that's still an impressive win percentage, but notice that they do have more trouble (relatively speaking) against fast teams.  New York is third in pace this year

Throw in the fact that Amar'e Stoudemire is a tougher cover for Kevin Garnett than most and you've got possible problems for Boston. Stoudemire may not be a defensive stalwart, but on offense he's not soft. He's the Anti-Bosh. He's aggressive, strong, and forceful, throwing down jams and screaming with the best of them (and Garnett is the best of them). The Knicks will get pounded inside tonight by Boston's bigs, but making Shaquille O'Neal and Glen Davis romp up and down the floor will wear on them (Shaq's a game time decision right now). Ray Allen and Rondo will like the fast pace just fine, but Paul Pierce doesn't prefer it. And in the meantime, Mike D'Antoni can ratchet up the speed without concern tonight. There's no need to try and slow  down, play good defense, and play good solid traditional basketball. That's how Boston kills you. No, instead, D'Antoni can let loose the dogs of Madison Square Garden and go Four Seconds or Less. The faster the Knicks go, the better chance they have. 

Boston's been nearly unbeatable his season, so they're still the clear favorite in this game. But while conventional wisdom says that a team with as solid of a defense as Boston should dominate a trigger-happy team like the Knicks, the evidence shows otherwise. Sometimes you've got to run if you want to get over the mountain, apparently. 

Boston meets New York in Madison Square Garden Wednesday night.
Posted on: December 14, 2010 6:27 pm
Edited on: December 14, 2010 6:28 pm
 

3-Up, 3-Down: The top keeps rising

Posted by Royce Young



Three teams that are rising and three that are falling in this week's edition of our Power Rankings:

3-UP

Chicago Bulls (6): The Bulls are quickly becoming a strong riser in the East. They made the biggest jump going up five spots in the rankings. They're winning with a ton of defense and with Carlos Boozer back, are a cool 6-1 and winners of six straight. Now with Boozer playing at a high level, coupled with Derrick Rose's MVP emergence and the fact Luol Deng is a capable third scorer, the Bulls have every right to stake a claim as one of the East's true contenders.

Oklahoma City Thunder (10): Floundering a bit here and there, they have. While the Thunder just rose up two spots this week, they are definitely in the category of rising. Oklahoma City is playing better and have three more home games after blowing the doors off the Cavaliers Sunday by 29 (largest win ever by the Thunder in OKC). Expectations were a bit inflated before the season so some were a little discouraged with OKC's up and down start, but the Thunder appear to be settling in. Kevin Durant is regaining his scoring machine swagger, Russell Westbrook is tearing apart opponents and even James Harden is finding some offensive game.

Milwaukee Bucks (16): The Bucks were a big riser, going up five spots this week. A lot of that is because of their big road win over the streaking Mavericks, but the Bucks are winners of three straight and of four of five overall. Plus, the wins are against quality opponents (Magic, Pacers, Rockets, Mavs). At 10-13, Milwaukee has been disappointing after its playoff run last season, but it appears that the Bucks might be finding themselves a bit lately.

3-DOWN

Phoenix Suns (19): The Suns have slipped five spots and could be heading for an even bigger dip as the schedule doesn't get easy ahead. After a winnable game against Minnesota, the Suns play at Dallas, at Oklahoma City, at San Antonio and home against the Heat. Yikes. They've lost three straight and have fallen below .500 at 11-12. After next week, Phoenix could be multiple games under.

New Orleans Hornets (14): The fall continues. The Hornets are 3-7 in their last 10 and have dropped three straight. And this is after starting the season 8-0 and then 11-1. Consider this fun fact: The Hornets haven't scored 100 points in their last 13 games. Offense is a big issue late in games with Chris Paul desperately looking for scoring options. Trevor Ariza hasn't been the answer and coach Monty Williams continues to sit potential spark Marcus Thornton.

Denver Nuggets (12): This feels like a temporary fall, as the Nuggs have dropped three of four, but all were on the road against decently decent teams. They're quite inconsistent though, so Denver is certainly a candidate to drop multiple games. But at the same time, the Nuggets also look like one of the top teams in the West on any given night, so who knows, they could be headed up. But Chauncey Billups is now battling a wrist injury and with the Carmelo stuff reaching its apex, the distractions could weigh heavily on the Nuggets.

Be sure to check the full rankings out here.

Posted on: November 19, 2010 5:59 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 8:54 pm
 

Amar'e sought greater guarantees from Suns

New York Knicks power forward Amar'e Stoudemire says he wanted greater financial guarantees from the Phoenix Suns. Posted by Ben Golliver  Earlier this week, we noted that Amar'e Stoudemire blasted his New York Knicks teammates recently for a lack of "urgency" that he believes has led to their poor play.  At the time, we noted that Stoudemire forecast his own fate this summer, turning his back on a veteran, talented Phoenix Suns group that made the Western Conference finals last year to sign with a young, untested Knicks team in free agency. Yahoo! Sports quotes Stoudemire today saying that his free agency decision was motivated in large part by the structure of the contract Phoenix offered him, which included only partial guarantees on the final years of the offer to hedge against the risks that come with Stoudemire's not insignificant injury history.
"It was a little difficult for me to grasp because of all the hard work I put in to stay healthy on the basketball court, and the effort I gave,” Stoudemire said. “I felt I should have had a little bit more leniency towards my contract. As I told Phoenix before and I told the fans, my first option was to return to Phoenix. But obviously they didn’t look at it that way.
“Let’s say I would have twisted an ankle or something, it has nothing to do with a knee or any other structural problems, my contract would have been voided. Security-wise, that wouldn’t be a great situation for me and my family, so I didn’t feel comfortable signing it.”
Stoudemire's desire for maximum financial security is completely understandable, but his reasoning only reinforces his own decisive role in his current predicament. Dealing with the Knicks struggles is on his broad shoulders alone. Any further comments regarding frustration with his teammates should be directed, first and foremost, to himself.
Posted on: November 19, 2010 8:56 am
Edited on: November 19, 2010 8:58 am
 

Game Changer: 11.19.10: Streamers and snarls

Posted by Royce Young

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  

THE BIG ONE: GEORGE KARL MIFFED AND IMPRESSED

By Ben Golliver


It's not every night you see Denver Nuggets coach George Karl storming across the floor as streamers fall, but that's what happened in the Rose Garden on Thursday night after a non-call on a last gasp Arron Afflalo three-point attempt allowed Portland to sneak away with a 86-83 home win. Amid a chaotic scene of cheerleaders, streamers and celebrating players, Karl and guard Chauncey Billups pleaded Denver's case, that Portland guard Wesley Matthews fouled Afflalo on the release, but to no avail.

"Obviously everybody in the building thought it was a foul," Karl told reporters afterwards. "I thought the fans even thought it was a foul. The fans went 'huuuuuhh.' I didn't look at it so I don't know for sure, but it was a tough whistle to get, you don't usually get that on the road, but I thought that was a foul."

Karl said he would send tape of the play to the league office for review but seemed resigned to the loss. "If they just miss it, it's just part of basketball. 

Another part of basketball is injuries, and both Denver and Portland have dealt with their fair share this season. Both teams really only played eight players on Thursday night, although Denver's Melvin Ely saw the court for 30 seconds. Karl said he was impressed by the Blazers, who fought through a tough week with news that center Greg Oden is done for the season with microfracture knee surgery and played without all star guard Brandon Roy on Thursday night. "They're still a very good team," Karl told CBSSports.com. "Every team goes through injuries. [Portland Trail Blazers coach] Nate [McMillan] doesn't cry about it. They're a talented, playoff team with the injuries they have."

Karl's Nuggets held the short-handed Blazers in check defensively for most of the game, but 24 points and 10 rebounds from LaMarcus Aldridge helped put Portland over the top. "I thought we did a hell of a job on [Aldridge] except for one thing: offensive rebounding. He was Pau Gasol'ing us on the tips on the rim, tipping the balls in. He's going to make some shots, but if you take away his offensive rebounds I think probably we defended him as well as I expect us to defend him."

POST-GAME AUDIO FROM GEORGE KARL

GO-GO-GADGET LINES

Wesley Matthews was a beast for Portland. He notched 20 points and 10 rebounds and essentially shot the Blazers back in the game in the first half.

Despite the Suns getting pummeled, Grant Hill still scored 21 points on 8-9 shooting. The old guy just keeps playing well. Send Brandon Roy and Greg Oden to Phoenix, k thanks.

Kind of a weak night for good box scores, so let's give Marcus Camby and his 14 boards a small shout-out.

ORLANDO TRIES TO ONE-UP

It hasn't been a great trip to Florida for the Phoenix Suns. Wednesday, the Heat put a beating on them, basically sending them to a Orlando with their tails between their legs.

And then Thursday against the Magic, the Suns got more of the same.

They played without Steve Nash who sat out with a sore groin. That didn't matter too much as the Suns couldn't score, couldn't stop anybody and basically, couldn't play intelligent basketball.

Phoenix turned the ball over 18 times, went just 3-18 from 3 (remember when they hit 22?) and missed nine free throws. The final score was 105-89, but that only came from a 30-14 fourth quarter for the Suns where Orlando's starters didn't play a minute.

But enough about the Suns. The Magic looked pretty impressive. It was like they watched the Heat whoop Phoenix and said, "Oh yeah? Well watch us!" Dwight Howard was outstanding notching 20 points on 8-9 shooting and showcased a number of his increasingly polished post-game. Jameer Nelson had 12 assists and set up teammates wonderfully. And Orlando had all 11 guys that played score, with even distribution throughout.

It was a total dismantling and something the Magic needed after having a lackluster week. I guess if you need a pick-me-up in Florida, just invite the Suns over.

FACE, Roy Hibbert

Eric Gordon is becoming almost a nightly posterizer. His latest victim was the Indiana big man as Gordon went high and threw down hard.


DON'T MISS

PARTING THOUGHT

Somehow, the Clippers are awful. They lost again, this time falling to Indiana 107-80 which drops them to 1-12. Before the season, this was really kind of unthinkable. In fact, after the Clips' first game, it was unthinkable. They lost the opener, but they looked good. They looked like a team that might be able to surprise some people.

But despite solid play from Blake Griffin, the team just stinks. There isn't a go-to scorer, they don't play defense and the young guys aren't performing all that well. They're extremely young which is a good excuse, but still, one and twelve?

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com