NBA News and Notes June - 12

NBA News and Notes June - 12

NBA Today - June 12
Tue, Jun 12, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Tuesday, June 12

San Antonio at Cleveland (9 p.m. EDT).

The Cavaliers, down two games to none to the Spurs, host their first-ever NBA Finals contest.

STAYING PUT

The Detroit Pistons have no plans to fire coach Flip Saunders despite disappointing endings the past two seasons. ''Just because we haven't gotten to the finals, it doesn't mean Flip has done a bad job,'' Joe Dumars, president of basketball operations, said Monday. With four of the same starters, the Pistons have lost in the Eastern Conference finals as the top-seeded team the past two years after winning a title in 2004 and falling just short of repeating the following year.

WHACKED

Game 2 of the NBA finals took a hit in the TV ratings, and the series finale of ''The Sopranos'' was the prime suspect. The San Antonio Spurs' 103-92 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday night drew a 6.9 overnight rating on ABC, down 24 percent from last year's 9.1 for Game 2 between the Dallas Mavericks and Miami Heat.

REFUNDS

The Orlando Magic are offering refunds to fans who bought season tickets just after Billy Donovan's hiring. More than 200 packages sold within 24 hours of the announcement of Donovan's hire. Donovan changed his mind a day after his May 31 introduction, deciding to return to the Gators. The Magic said they were contacting individual fans who bought tickets within 48 hours of the Donovan announcement. So far some have decided to keep the tickets, the team said without specifying an amount.

DEJA VU?

With a 2-0 lead the San Antonio Spurs are halfway to a fourth NBA title. However in the 2005 finals, San Antonio destroyed Detroit in the first two games, winning by a combined 46 points, but when the series shifted to Auburn Hills, Mich., the Pistons won by 17 points in Game 3 and 31 in Game 4.

SPEAKING

''I'm concerned about every game. It doesn't matter whether it's the first game or the seventh game. So there's no less concern for one game over another one. Coaches are paranoid that way. They worry about everything.'' - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich after San Antonio's 103-92 Game 2 victory over Cleveland on Sunday. The Spurs lead the Cavs 2-0 and head to Cleveland where the Cavaliers are 7-1 in the playoffs.

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Cavaliers, Spurs resume NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena
June 12th, 2007

(Sports Network) - The San Antonio Spurs and Cleveland Cavaliers resume the NBA Finals, as the teams meet for Game 3 of the set tonight at Quicken Loans Arena.

San Antonio leads the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 4 is scheduled for Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.

The Spurs looked dominant in Games 1 and 2 on their homecourt. On Sunday, Tony Parker poured in 30 points on 13-of-20 from the field San Antonio held off the Cavaliers, 103-92, at the AT&T Center in the second game of the NBA Finals.

Tim Duncan added 23 points, eight assists and nine rebounds for San Antonio, which won the opener, 85-76. Manu Ginobili scored 25 points and was 11-of-11 from the free throw line in the victory.

LeBron James, who was hampered by foul trouble early in the contest, ended with 25 points for Cleveland, which trailed by as many as 28 points in the first half and could never recover despite a late surge. Drew Gooden contributed 13 points and six rebounds for the Cavaliers, who outscored the Spurs 30-14 in the fourth quarter to make a run, but it wasn't enough to overcome their poor performance in the first three quarters of the contest.

James, who entered the championship round averaging 25.8 points, 8.3 rebounds and 8.3 assists in this year's postseason, has been held in check by San Antonio's tenacious defense. James is shooting just 35.1 percent from the field and has collected 19.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists against the Spurs.

Parker is averaging 28.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 4.5 assists in the first two games of the finals, while Duncan, who is a three-time NBA Finals MVP, has posted 23.5 points, 11.0 boards, 4.5 assists and is shooting and impressive 57.6 percent from the floor.

On the injury front for Cleveland, guard Larry Hughes (partial tear in left plantar fascia) is questionable for tonight's contest. Hughes is averaging 11.3 points in the playoffs.

Cleveland is 7-1 as the host in this year's playoffs, while the Spurs, who are 1-2 all-time in Game 3s of the NBA Finals, are 5-2 on the road in the postseason.

San Antonio, which was seeded third in the Western Conference, has advanced to the NBA Finals for the fourth time in franchise history and is a perfect 3-0 in this round. The Spurs defeated the New York Knicks in five in 1999, the New Jersey Nets in six in 2003 and the Detroit Pistons in seven in 2005.

The Spurs, who lost in seven to the Dallas Mavericks in last year's semifinals, knocked out No. 6 Denver in five games in the opening round, survived a tough six-game series with the second-seeded Suns and crushed No. 4 Utah, 4-1, in the conference finals. San Antonio is in the postseason for the 10th straight year.

Cleveland, which lost in seven to Detroit in last year's East semis, has reached the NBA Finals for the first time in franchise history. James has stepped up to the next level and has carried the Cavaliers, who were the second seed in the Eastern Conference, throughout the playoffs. They swept No. 7 Washington, 4-0, in the quarterfinals, beat New Jersey in six in the semis and surprised the top-seeded Pistons in six in the conference finals.

During the regular season, Cleveland defeated the Spurs twice. The Cavaliers picked up an 88-81 victory on November 3, 2006 at the AT&T Center and edged San Antonio, 82-78, on January 2nd in front of their home crowd.

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It's do or die time I think for the Cavs tonight.  :-","xx

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Carlisle steps down as Pacers VP
June 12th, 2007

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Rick Carlisle announced Tuesday that, after being fired last month as head coach of the Indiana Pacers, he will step down from his post as executive vice president.

"I met with both Larry Bird and Donnie Walsh last Friday and expressed my sincere appreciation for the opportunity to come back next year in a front office capacity, but felt it was better for both the Pacers and myself to part ways at this time. The Pacers organization has been a major part of the lives of myself and my family for seven of the last 10 years, and those years have been precious both personally and professionally," said Carlisle.

Indiana finished just 35-47 in 2006-07, good for fourth place in the Central Division. The Pacers failed to qualify for the playoffs for the first time since the 1996-97 campaign. Carlisle was let go in April, but the team offered him to stay in his front office job, which he was given before the start of last season.

In four seasons as the Pacers mentor, Carlisle compiled a 181-147 record and the team made the NBA playoffs in three of his four seasons at the helm.

His best season in Indianapolis was his first. In 2003-04 the Pacers posted a 61-21 record -- the best mark in franchise history -- and reached the Eastern Conference finals.

Jim O'Brien was hired to replace Carlisle on May 31.

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Hughes says he won't start tonight against Spurs

Cavaliers point guard Larry Hughes indicated this morning that he would not start in tonight's Game 3 because the pain in his injured left heel has increased, a move that presumably opens the door for rookie Daniel Gibson to slide into the starting rotation.

"Sometimes you can overcome the physical by mental," Hughes said after morning shootaround. "At this point, it's getting pretty tough."

Cavaliers coach Mike Brown said this morning that he had not made a decision on his starting point guard, and did not rule out Hughes' retaining his starting role.

"The team has a pretty good rhythm when he starts," Brown said.

Hughes has been battling a strained plantar fascia in his left heel since the Eastern Conference finals, but has not missed a game. He received injections of cortisone and novocaine throughout the series against the Detroit Pistons, but has elected not to receive the numbing shots in two games against San Antonio.

In the Finals, Hughes has made 1-of-10 attempts in an average of 22 minutes.

Gibson is averaging 15.5 points on 62-percent shooting in two games in the Finals.

www.cleveland.com

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