Basketball News And Notes 3/14

Basketball News And Notes 3/14

Wednesday's NBA betting news & notes
Wed, Mar 14, 2007
By Associated Press


Phoenix at Dallas (9 p.m. EDT). The Mavericks had their 17-game winning streak ended at Golden State on Monday night.

STARS - Tuesday

-Kevin Garnett, Timberwolves, had 30 points and nine rebounds to carry Minnesota to an 86-81 win over Indiana.

-Allen Iverson and Carmelo Anthony, Nuggets. Iverson had 31 points and 10 assists, and Anthony added 29 points in Denver's 107-99 victory over Portland.

-Ben Wallace and Tyrus Thomas, Bulls. Wallace had 19 points and 16 rebounds, and Thomas scored a career-high 23 points to lead Chicago over Boston 95-87.

BETTER LATE

Antoine Walker scored all 13 of his points in the final 11 minutes of Miami's 88-86 win over Utah on Tuesday night. The Heat erased a 17-point second-half deficit and were down 14 entering the fourth quarter before outscoring Utah 28-12 in the period to win their seventh straight game overall and 13th in a row at home.

NO PROBLEM

With LeBron James as a late scratch from the lineup due to back spasms, Sasha Pavlovic scored a career-high 25 points and Larry Hughes added 25 to lead Cleveland to a season-high sixth straight victory, 124-100 over Sacramento on Tuesday night. The Cavaliers are 3-0 this season without their superstar.

IMPERFECT 10

Indiana lost its 10th straight game, 86-81 to Minnesota on Tuesday night. The Pacers blew a 13-point lead and made their streak the team's longest in 18 years.

LUCKY 13

San Antonio beat the Los Angeles Clippers 93-84 Tuesday night for its 13th straight victory. With the Dallas Mavericks' 17-game winning streak ending Monday with a loss at Golden State Warriors, San Antonio now owns the league's longest streak.

FEELING BETTER

Richard Jefferson had his best game since returning from ankle surgery, scoring 18 points Tuesday night in New Jersey's 112-108 win over New Orleans in Oklahoma City.

BYE BYE, BERNIE

Michael Jordan, part-owner of the Charlotte Bobcats, said Tuesday that Bernie Bickerstaff will not return as coach next season, although he will complete this one. He will be invited to stay with the team and help Jordan pick the expansion team's next coach.

DOING FINE, THANKS

Atlanta has won four straight without leading scorer Joe Johnson. In the Hawks' 104-92 win over Philadelphia on Tuesday night, Josh Smith had 26 points and a career-high 17 rebounds to help end the 76ers' seven-game winning streak.

SPEAKING

''I like being left open.'' Chicago's Ben Wallace after taking a career-high 21 shots in the Bulls' 95-87 win over Boston on Tuesday night. Wallace made nine of his shots and finished with 19 points.

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Wizards F Butler game-time decision Wednesday
Tue, Mar 13, 2007
By Associated Press

INDIANAPOLIS -- Washington Wizards forward Caron Butler didn't practice Tuesday because of a sore left knee and might be sidelined against the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

Butler's status will be a game-time decision, Wizards spokesman Zack Bolno said. Gilbert Arenas sat out of practice to rest but participated in individual drills and weightlifting and will play Wednesday.

Butler injured his knee during Washington's loss at Atlanta on March 7. He attended practice but did not participate in drills.

Butler is averaging career highs in most statistical categories this season, including points (19.4), rebounds (7.6), assists (3.8) and steals (2.14). When he missed three games last month with lower back spasms, the Wizards - also missing Antawn Jamison at the time - went 0-3.

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LeBron James a late scratch Tuesday
Tue, Mar 13, 2007
By Associated Press

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James was a late scratch Tuesday night from the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against the Sacramento Kings because of back spasms. He will travel with the team for tonight's game against the Memphis Grizzlies, but it his status for the game is unclear.

James did not mention the injury during his pregame interview, and team spokesman Tad Carper said it was coach Mike Brown's decision.

James felt something in his back Monday night and then again after the team's shootaround Tuesday.

The Cavaliers had won five straight behind James, who has been on a tear recently.

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Darren Collison listed as probable in Weber St.-UCLA game
Wed, Mar 14, 2007
By Associated Press

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA point guard Darren Collison sprained his ankle during practice Tuesday but will likely be ready to play in the Bruins' NCAA tournament first-round game against Weber State.

Collison suffered a first-degree sprain to his left ankle during practice Tuesday, UCLA spokesman Marc Dellins said. The sophomore guard is listed as probable for Thursday night's game in Sacramento.

Collison is third on the team in scoring at 12.6 per game and leads the team in assists with 179.

The Bruins are the second seed in the West Regional.

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Marquette's McNeal to miss first round of NCAA tournament
Tue, Mar 13, 2007
By Associated Press

MILWAUKEE -- Marquette guard Jerel McNeal will miss the first round of the NCAA tournament because of an injured right thumb.

The sophomore has been sidelined for Marquette's last three games and won't play in the Golden Eagles' game against Michigan State on Thursday, associate athletic director Mike Broeker said Tuesday.

McNeal is a second-team all-Big East selection who's averaging 14.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 2.6 steals.

Golden Eagles coach Tom Crean said Sunday that he was ''not holding out great hope'' that McNeal would be available for their first-round NCAA tournament game.

''Would we love it? Would he love it? No question,'' Crean said. ''Are we going to go into the week planning on having him? Probably not. But we'll just wait and see how it turns out, what goes on with it. We'd love to have him. I mean, it's just not there yet. There's no way it's there yet.''

Marquette beat Pittsburgh at home without McNeal on March 3, then beat St. John's in the Big East tournament last week before losing to Pittsburgh.

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Nardi pulls himself out of practice
Tue, Mar 13, 2007
By Associated Press

VILLANOVA, Pa. -- Villanova point guard Mike Nardi suffered a setback Tuesday when he left practice because of lingering discomfort in his sprained left ankle.

Nardi, who also has a strained calf, hurt the ankle against Syracuse on March 3, and hoped a few days off would help. He played sparingly in the Big East tournament, but said nothing would keep him out of the Wildcats' NCAA tournament game against Kentucky on Friday night.

''He struggled today,'' coach Jay Wright said. ''He started a little bit yesterday. Then he tweaked it. He said he felt good today. He started again and pulled himself out. I don't know. It's not drastic, but it's not where we want it to be.''

Villanova (22-10) earned its third straight trip to the tournament and is seeded ninth, scheduled to go against No. 8 Kentucky (21-11) in the West Regional.

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LSU's 'Big Baby' contemplating NBA Draft

Baton Rouge, LA (Sports Network) - LSU junior forward Glenn "Big Baby" Davis will announce next week if he plans to leave college early in favor of the NBA.

"Glen Davis and I met yesterday (Monday) for about an hour and a half," said LSU head coach John Brady in a statement released by the school. "We are going to meet again next Tuesday (March 20) and probably set up a press conference next Wednesday (March 21)...Glen is gathering some information. I've called the NBA. I've called some NBA scouts. Glen's also, I think, talking to some people who may or may not represent him which is legal for him to do. He's just trying to get a grip on where he is in the draft and what he's comfortable with."

Davis contemplated leaving LSU after is sophomore season, but he returned and the Tigers went 17-15 and missed the post-season. Davis averaged 17.7 points and 10.4 rebounds this season. Last year, LSU advanced to the Final Four.

"My role in this as it has been for other players that have been here is to gather information for him, present him the facts and be supportive of him in whatever decision he makes," added Brady.

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Knicks Quentin Richardson didn't practice Tuesday due to a tender back, and has been downgraded to doubtful for tonight's game.

Vermont's Chris Holm has been added to the injury report as questionable (ankle) for Wednesday's game.

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Wizards Caron Butler is a game-time decision tonight, but is even talking about shutting it down for a few games if pain in his left knee persists.

Bobcats Brevin Knight will not play tonight due to a groin strain, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Pacers Jermaine O'Neal will not play in tonight's game due to a knee injury.

Celtics Ryan Gomes will be reevaluated Friday, and will not return this week due to an ankle injury according to the Boston Globe.

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Stotts fired as coach of Bucks

Terry Stotts was fired Wednesday as coach of the Milwaukee Bucks, who are struggling this season after injuries to key players.

An interim coach was not announced for Thursday night's against San Antonio, general manager Larry Harris said.

"Terry has done the best he could in a difficult situation, especially with all of our injuries," Harris said of his coach for less than two seasons. "I felt it was in the best interest of our organization to make the decision now and move forward, rather than wait until the end of the regular season."

The Bucks have dealt with a spate of injuries, including the loss of Michael Redd for 20 games as the team went 3-17 without him. The team is 23-41, last in the Central Division.

Stotts was hired as the team's ninth coach in history in June 2005 after Harris let Terry Porter go. Stotts was a favorite of owner Herb Kohl. The U.S. senator got to know the 13-year NBA veteran coach while Stotts was an assistant under then-Bucks coach George Karl. Stotts and Harris made good on their promise to return to the playoffs in 2005-06, but the Bucks stumbled badly down the stretch and finished 40-42 with the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference.

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