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Basketball News And Notes 3/29

Basketball News And Notes 3/29

NBA Today - March 29
Thu, Mar 29, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD
Thursday, March 29

Detroit at Chicago (8 p.m. EDT).

The Central Division-leading Pistons have a four-game lead over the third-place Bulls.

STARS

Wednesday

- Rashard Lewis, SuperSonics, scored 33 points in Seattle's 100-97 win over Denver.

- Paul Pierce, Celtics, scored 32 points to lead Boston to a 105-96 double-overtime win over Orlando.

- Gerald Wallace, Bobcats, scored 31 points in Charlotte's 101-87 win over Atlanta.

THE BIG 6-0

Dallas got its 60th win Wednesday night, 105-103 over Milwaukee to match the Mavericks' franchise record. It is the third time the Mavericks have won 60 games, all in the last five seasons. The top team in the Western Conference has 11 games left in this regular season, the one that started with four straight losses.

WELCOME BACK

Caron Butler scored 21 points in his return from a knee injury to help Washington beat the Philadelphia 76ers 111-108 Wednesday night. Butler provided Washington with a spark following a 1-4 road trip during which the team fell out of first place in the Southeast Division.

TENACIOUS D

San Antonio held New Orleans to just 13 fourth-quarter points in the Spurs' 92-88 win Wednesday night. San Antonio entered the period down by nine, but outscored the Hornets 26-13 in the fourth.

MOVIN' ON UP

Charlotte beat Atlanta 101-87 Wednesday night to set a franchise record with its 27th win, one more than last season. The Bobcats also moved a half-game ahead of the Hawks in the standings. Beating another lottery-bound team may mean fewer chances for the third-year Bobcats to get the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.

SNAPPED

New York beat Cleveland 97-93 on Wednesday night to end a four-game losing streak.

OH, CANADA

Toronto beat Miami 96-83 Wednesday night to move ahead of Miami in the Eastern Conference standings. If the season ended now, Toronto would be seeded third and open its series against Miami with two games at the Air Canada Centre.

BOONE BOON

Rookie Josh Boone scored a career-high 22 points Wednesday night to lead the Nets to a 118-94 victory over Indiana. Boone came off the bench to hit 11 of 13 from the field. He also pulled down 10 rebounds in his second strong game. Boone was perfect on all 10 shots from the field in the Nets' 113-107 overtime win in Charlotte on Saturday.

SPEAKING

''I don't pay any attention to the draft. Once April 19 comes and I see were not in the playoffs, I don't think about basketball anymore. ... I go watch my kids play baseball.'' - Charlotte's Gerald Wallace, after scoring 31 points Wednesday night to help beat Atlanta 101-87 and move the Bobcats behind the Hawks in the likely draft order.

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Nowitzki leaves Mavericks game with hurt left ankle
Wed, Mar 28, 2007
By Associated Press

DALLAS -- Dirk Nowitzki hurt his left ankle late in the first half of the Dallas Mavericks' game against Milwaukee on Wednesday night, then played only about a minute after halftime before leaving again.

Nowitzki got hurt with 3:42 left in the first half after he appeared to step on the foot of Milwaukee's David Noel while moving under the Dallas basket. Nowitzki bent over and put his hands on his knees, then left the court and went to the locker room.

He came back out to start the second half, then moved gingerly while playing only 64 seconds. On Milwaukee's first possession to start the half, Nowitzki stumbled under the basket. He told coach Avery Johnson he was OK, but the All-Star forward missed a short jumper at the other end, then came out and went back to the locker room.

His status wasn't immediately clear.

Nowitzki had 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting, leaving him one short of 15,000 points for his career.

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Johnson could miss rest of season with calf injury
Wed, Mar 28, 2007
By Associated Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Atlanta Hawks leading scorer Joe Johnson might be done for the season due to a right calf strain.

''He could be out for the rest of the season,'' Hawks coach Mike Woodson said Wednesday before the Hawks' game against Charlotte.

Johnson was injured in a loss at Miami on March 5 and hasn't played since for the Hawks, who are out of the playoff picture.

''He just got off crutches. We're not going to rush him back,'' Woodson said.

The Hawks acquired Johnson in a sign-and-trade deal two years ago, giving the 6-foot-7 guard a five-year, $70 million contract that makes him their highest-paid player.

Johnson is averaging 25 points a game and became the first Hawk in five years to be named to the All-Star team.

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Knicks' Francis leaves game with right ankle injury
Wed, Mar 28, 2007
By Associated Press

NEW YORK -- Even when Steve Francis is producing he can't stay on the court.

Francis left New York's game against Cleveland in the first quarter Wednesday night with a sprained right ankle, the latest injury for the struggling Knicks.

Francis was off to a strong start, with seven points and three assists in 10 minutes. He had made all three of his field goal attempts.

But while dribbling right, Francis tried to stop and plant, and the Cavaliers' LeBron James bumped into his leg. Francis fell to the court in pain and had to be helped off. He was taken for X-rays, which were negative, and the Knicks said his return was questionable.

Francis has been bothered lately by his inconsistent playing time. He played only 12 minutes and scored one point Monday in a loss to Orlando, saying afterward that he was ''definitely confused'' with his role.

The Knicks were already without Jamal Crawford (ankle), David Lee (leg) and Quentin Richardson (back).

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Caron Butler returns to starting lineup
Wed, Mar 28, 2007
By Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Caron Butler returned to the Washington Wizards' starting lineup Wednesday night against Philadelphia after missing six games with a left knee contusion.

Washington went 2-4 without its All-Star forward, including four losses on a five-game West Coast road trip. The decision to start Butler was made following a pregame workout and shootaround. He stopped short, however, of saying he is 100 percent healthy.

''I'm healthy enough to play,'' Butler said. ''I'm looking forward to playing.''

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Jermaine O'Neal misses game against the Nets
Wed, Mar 28, 2007
By Associated Press

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Jermaine O'Neal missed the Indiana Pacers' game against the New Jersey Nets on Wednesday night with left knee and ankle sprains.

Troy Murphy started at forward in place of Indiana's leading scorer, who is averaging 20 points and 9.9 rebounds a game. O'Neal scored 39 and 32 points in his last two games.

O'Neal's absence is a major blow for the Pacers, who started the night one game behind the Nets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

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Nowitzki, Howard hurt in victory for Mavs

March 28th, 2007
Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki and fellow forward Josh Howard, the team's two leading scorers, both hurt their ankles during a 105-103 victory over Milwaukee on Wednesday.

Nowitzki, who is averaging a team-best 24.9 points and 9.3 rebounds, twisted his left ankle with 3:42 remaining in the first half. He came back to play a minute in the third quarter before departing again.

Howard hobbled off the court after hurting his right ankle with 2:31 left in the fourth quarter. He's averaging 19.1 points and 7.1 boards this season.

Nowitzki and Howard both finished the game with 17 points. Nowitzki is one point shy of 15,000 for his career.

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Celtics' Olowokandi out for remainder of season

March 28th, 2007
Boston, MA (Sports Network) - Boston Celtics center Michael Olowokandi will miss the remainder of the season with a fractured cuboid bone in his left foot.

The 31-year-old Olowokandi, who re-signed with the team during the offseason as a free agent, averaged 1.7 points and 2.0 rebounds in 24 games off the bench. His best game came against San Antonio when he posted a season-high eight points with five rebounds and two blocks.

The University of Pacific product has averaged 8.3 points and 6.8 rebounds over his eight-year career.

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Pistons Tayshaun Prince (elbow) has been added to the injury report as probable for tonight's game.

Pistons Chris Webber (flu) has been downgraded to questionable for tonight.

Pistons Richard Hamilton is questionable (flu)

Pistons Chris Webber is probable (flu).

Bobcats Sean May has missed the last six games, and told the Charlotte Observer that he's finished for the season because of his ongoing knee pain.

Grizzlies Chuck Atkins is questionable (groin)

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mvbski wrote:


Pistons Tayshaun Prince (elbow) has been added to the injury report as probable for tonight's game.

Pistons Chris Webber (flu) has been downgraded to questionable for tonight.

Pistons Richard Hamilton is questionable (flu)

Pistons Chris Webber is probable (flu).


Teammates try to avoid suffering of Webber, Hamilton and Davis, who are questionable.


Joanne C. Gerstner / The Detroit News

AUBURN HILLS -- Perhaps the Pistons should get Machiavellian with their potential playoff opponents the next few games.

They should cough and shake hands with the Bulls before tonight's game at United Center.

Or maybe sneeze a little Friday on the Nets at The Palace.

Why? Judging by the way flu-like illness has spread through the Pistons, they might as well make their opponents miserable, too. Chris Webber, Richard Hamilton, and now Dale Davis are sick.

The trio missed Wednesday's practice, and there is some doubt to their availability tonight.

"It's a good time that it's come right now," guard Chauncey Billups said. "Hopefully it doesn't affect us later on -- next month or something. I'm just trying to make sure I don't get it."

Webber has been struggling to overcome his illness for a week. Hamilton has been down for a few days. Davis was felled Wednesday.

"That stuff almost got me," Rasheed Wallace said about the lurking germs. "Hopefully, it's just the 24-hour thing and guys won't miss too many games. But, of course, when you're sick and you try to play, it messes with your wind, and you've got to start all over again. So the majority of guys that aren't sick now are just trying to stay healthy. Or orange juice, more vitamins, things of that nature."

Proving it

The Pistons and the Bulls have split their season series, each winning at home.

Wallace was asked if the Pistons, who lead the Bulls by four games in the Central Division, need to make a pre-playoff show of superiority tonight.

"It might be bigger for them, it's still a regular-season game for us," Wallace said. "The playoffs are a whole different attitude. A whole different persona. That's one thing that Ben (Wallace ) knows. And he's trying to (instill) it in those young guys, is that the playoffs is a whole different world."

Black and blue

Tayshaun Prince admitted he's still sore from the hard fall during Monday's victory over the Nuggets. He was driving to the basket in the first quarter, when he had his legs cut out from underneath.

He crashed to the floor, landing in an awkward way on his right side. He was down for a few minutes but recovered and stayed in the game. He's left with bruising and soreness.

"Of course there's lingering effects after something like that, some guys are lucky to even come back into the game," Prince said.

He said he considered his options after the injury.

"The thing is, after a hard fall, the best thing to do is get right back up and get back in the game," he said. "If you sit for a little while, it's going to make it worse."

Wallace-to-Wallace hotline

Rasheed reported his trash-talking line is going to Ben, keeping up their friendly, season-long conversation over who is superior.

Last month, Ben told Rasheed not to get a technical and then get suspended for the Bulls-Pistons game. Rasheed text-messaged Ben back, telling him not to miss Chicago's team plane to Detroit.

So, what's brewing this time around between the two Wallaces?

"I can't tell y'all what we say … but we're definitely talking," Wallace said with a sly smile.

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Nets' House out indefinitely
March 29th, 2007

East Rutherford, NJ (Sports Network) - New Jersey Nets guard Eddie House will be sidelined indefinitely after being diagnosed with a mild concussion and partial tear of the left hip muscle.

House sustained the injuries in New Jersey's victory over the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday.

In 56 games this season, House has averaged 8.4 points per game and leads the Nets with a .429 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

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Re: Basketball News And Notes 3/29

Insiders report Detroit's Richard Hamilton did not make the trip to Chicago and Chris Webber was sent home after making the trip, meaning Jason Maxiell and Flip Murray will start in their place tonight.

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