Allen Iverson has been rumored to go back with the Philadelphia 76ers as early as next Monday night for their game against his old Denver Nuggets squad. This would make for quite the celebration, knowing Iverson pondered the possibly of retiring a few days ago. This season the veteran guard lasted just three games with the Memphis Grizzlies. He and the organization parted ways when he basically declared that it’s not an option for him to come off the bench.
Iverson and the Sixers are expected to agree on something around the $1.3 million veterans minimum contract. Reserve guard Royal Ivey is hopeful for Iverson to join the team, saying “he’s a Hall of Fame-type player. He’s a great leader. I think he’d help us if he decided to come back. He’s a great contributor. I’d like to have him as a teammate. It’s that clear and simple.” Philadelphia currently ranks third in the Atlantic Division with a 5-13 regular season record. They are next scheduled to matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder tomorrow night.
Veteran guard Allen Iverson has been waiting all summer as a free agent, but has just recently received the official call from the Memphis Grizzlies. Pending a last minute snag, the Grizzlies have offered Iverson a one-year $3.5 million deal with incentives to make the deal larger.
Iverson through his Twitter page has stated “God chose Memphis as the place that I will continue my career. I met with Mr. Heinsley, Chris Wallace, and my next head coach Lionel Hollins.” He continued to express his enthusiasm by saying “I feel that they are committed to developing a winner and I know that I can help them to accomplish that. I feel I can trust them.”
After below average years put in with the Denver Nuggets and Detroit Pistons, Iverson will look to really focus in and bring up the young talent surrounding him. The Grizzlies besides Iverson will rely on Mike Conley Jr., O.J. Mayo, and Rudy Gay. The franchise heading into their 2009-2010 campaign produced a very successful off-season, adding center Hasheem Thabeet and forwards Sam Young and DeMarre Carroll in the NBA draft. They have also acquired forward Zach Randolph from the Clippers this summer.
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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said earlier this week that his aged veterans Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili have been taking it easy and should be more than 100% heading into the upcoming season. Duncan struggled with knee problems during their short lived playoff run last year. The All-Star forward has rested well since then and plans to start working out next week. Ginobili, who played just 44 games last season due to ankle problems has been limited to treadmill workouts. “He is healthy,” Popovich said. “He’ll come back out of shape but healthy.”
The Spurs front office has really put in work lately, acquiring Richard Jefferson and Antonio McDyess to give floor general Tony Parker more options down the court. If Ginobili and Duncan can really come back like trainers and coaches are suggesting, the Spurs may be looking at another championship run ahead of them. Overall San Antonio has made the most improvements heading into the 2009-2010 season. They will certainly show as top contenders in the West with the LA Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. The scary part about the this off-season is it seems like all of the best teams just got better.
The Lakers only re-signed Lamar Odom and also added one of the best defensive players in the league (Ron Artest) to their championship roster. The Cleveland Cavaliers kept their core intact and were simply able to make room for future hall of fame center Shaquille O’Neal. The Boston Celtics clearly have their front court in line after acquiring Shelden Williams, Rasheed Wallace, and re-signing Glen Davis. The Orlando Magic seemed very pleased after signing Vince Carter and Jason Williams to go along with a healthy Jameer Nelson and Dwight Howard. It will be interesting to see how the season will pan out, because virtually no predictions can be made at the present moment.
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Atlanta Hawks 81, Miami Heat 71.
Azaza Pachulia dominated the glass for the Hawks with 18 rebounds, helping Atlanta regain their home court advantage with a 81-71 win over the Miami Heat. The Hawks scoring was basically split between Bibby, Johnson, and Smith scoring 15, 14, and 13. Atlanta coach Mike Woodson stated that Pachulia was the crucial factor to the win. “Zaza was huge throughout the whole game,” said Woodson. “I mean, 18 rebounds, 12 points for us, and we needed all that tonight to survive.” Dwayne Wade scored 22 for the Heat and Jermaine O’Neal contributed 20, but Miami was never ahead and only shot 38 percent.
Denver Nuggets 121, New Orleans Hornets 63.
Carmelo Anthony led the Nuggets with 26 points and was taken out in the fourth quarter due to the 58 point blow out over the New Orleans Hornets. The victory matched the biggest lopsided contest in NBA playoff history, which came in 1956 when the Minneapolis Lakers beat the St. Louis Hawks 133-75. The Hornets will need their All-Star point guard Chris Paul to step up in order for them to stay in the series. The Nuggets held Paul to just 4 points and 6 assists. Denver leads the series 3-1.
Los Angeles Lakers 107, Utah Jazz 96.
Kobe Bryant led the Lakers to finish the series in 5 games with 31 points against the Utah Jazz last night at the Staples Center. The Lakers were in control the whole game, winning every quarter in scoring aside from the fourth. Utah made a run at the end cutting the 20-point deficit to just six with 3:15 remaining. From there Lamar Odom came up with two clutch finishes after LA kicked in its defense to officially decide the series. “We out did them,” said Lakers head coach Phil Jackson. “I thought it was a disappointment to them but they played hard; they played together and you have to give them credit. I thank them for giving us a run and a good, hard series.”
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The Boston Celtics shot 50% from the field and 61% from 3 point range last night in Denver, leading to a 114-76 blow-out victory over the Nuggets. Rajon Rondo covered his point guard duties well with 14 points, 8 assists, and 8 rebounds. Paul Pierce (22 points) and Ray Allen (26 points) served as the main scorers for Boston, combining for 48 points. Last nights victory marked their second win in a row after handling the playoff bound Suns in Phoenix last Sunday night 128-108.
The C’s are gaining confidence that they can come together and win games without All-Star teammate Kevin Garnett, who should be cleared to play in 2-3 weeks after straining a muscle in his right knee. Leon Powe stepped up last night, netting 16 points in his 30 minutes played. Powe along with Glen Davis have recently been receiving more minutes due to KG’s absence and have assured their team they can pick up the slack.
Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith scored for 19 and 18 points respectively for the Nuggets, but their efforts were not able to help Denver close the gap at any point in the game. Boston lead at the half 60-37 and the lead blossomed even more from there. The C’s were looking for revenge after Denver gave them one of their four total losses this season in November at the Garden. Rajon Rondo said coach Doc Rivers “gave a great motivational speech. He told us they bullied us last time.” This time around the Celtics certainly showed who the better team was, increasing the deficit to 38 points by the time the final horn sounded.
Look for the Celtics next game as they travel to LA this Wednesday to take on the Clippers at 10:30 pm.
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