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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6-foot-6 swingman Quentin Richardson has just been traded to the Miami Heat, marking the fourth time an NBA team has dealt him away. Despite the fact that he hasn’t been able to really unpack anywhere, he manages to keep a positive attitude about the situation. “The funny part about it was I didn’t even get any of the jerseys,” said Richardson. “I have a Knicks jersey and obviously I have a Clippers jersey because I played there before. I don’t have a Minnesota jersey and what was the other team?” “The other team” was the Memphis Grizzlies; where he stopped after New York before arriving to LA. From there he went to Minnesota, and after filling out the necessary paper work for the T-wolves, he wound up in Miami. Best of luck to Q-Rich, who at this point is on pace to be acquired by every single NBA team by the end of the 2010 season.
Knowing the amount of times Richardson has changed locations, some teams have certainly made their fair share of deals this off-season. The Los Angeles Clippers recently traded for Rasual Butler to fill their outside shooting weakness. The 6-7 small forward averaged 11.2 points per game last year, shooting 39% from behind the arc during the regular season and 53% in the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic just signed free agent guard Jason Williams to add more depth and experience to their backcourt. Williams hasn’t laced up since September of 2008, when he retired after a season with the Miami Heat. He averaged 8.8 points a game in that season.
One of the most interesting developments this offseason has been talk of where veteran guard Allen Iverson will end up. Iverson is currently waiting for offers and has stated: “my people just informed me that we are getting close to a deal. I asked them to call me when it’s done. I am so ready to know!” The eight-time All-Star is expecting calls from Charlotte, Miami, and New York. After coming off the worst season of his career with the Detroit Pistons, AI feels as though he should address his new found work ethic through his twitter page. “When you see me again you will think that I am fresh out of Georgetown,” said Iverson. “Getting in shape, running, lifting and thinking about which team that I will help compete for a championship! Whoever gets me will be happy.”
Look for more NBA updates to come!
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Orlando Magic forward Rashard Lewis has recently tested positive for an elevated testosterone level and will be required to serve a ten game suspension. Lewis is the sixth player to test positive for performance-enhancing drugs since the NBA began testing ten years ago. The reported drug found in his system was DHEA, which is considered a definite precursor to steroids. Lewis did not think he was taking any type of illegal substance, and clarified that what he took was all purchased over the counter. The suspension will cost him $1.6 million of his $18 million earnings this season.
Lewis has already decided to speak out on the subject. “First and foremost I take full responsibility for the situation and accept the corresponding penalty,” said Lewis. “I apologize to Magic fans, my teammates and this organization for not doing the research that should come with good judgment.” Lewis will definitely be back in action when the Magic take on the Boston Celtics at the TD Banknorth Garden Friday, November 20th.
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Magic forward Hedo Turkoglu will be opting out of the final year of his contract. The 6’10″ native of Turkey helped the Magic top the defending Champion Celtics and the conference-favorite Cleveland Cavaliers along the way to a loss in the championship series against the Lakers. Turkoglu was 3rd in team scoring with 16.8 per game, and led the Magic in minutes on the floor with 36:36. With the team attempting to avoid paying luxury tax next season, it may be difficult to bring back one of the most integral parts of the Magic championship run.
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Orlando led after the first quarter of game five; but like the rest of the series it was all Lakers from there on. Kobe Bryant had 30 points, nearly playing the entirety of the game. Seven years since his last ring, Kobe finally proved that he could do it without Shaq. The finals MVP averaged over 32 points a game, with 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds in five games against the East’s best. After losing the 2004 finals to the Detroit Pistons, and a humiliating 38-point loss to the Celtics in game 6 last year, Bryant and company dominated the Orlando Magic.
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League MVP LeBron James had a benign growth removed from his jaw on Tuesday. The Cavaliers superstar had tissue removed from his parotid gland, where the body produces saliva. The procedure took five hours; requiring delicate work in an area filled with blood vessels and nerves. Doctors say that the procedure was a success, and that James should make a fast and complete recovery. Reports seem to indicate that the condition should not have affected his play. James averaged 38.5 points, 8.3 assists, and 8 rebounds in a losing Conference Finals series against the Orlando Magic.
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Despite immense amounts of media hype, video game simulations, and commercials featuring everything from sports drinks to muppets; the NBA is not getting a Kobe/Lebron finals match-up. The Lakers/Magic finals series could be far more entertaining, as Orlando is a more well-rounded squad than the Lebron-centric Cavs. On the way to the championship series, the Magic eliminated the last two Eastern Conference Champions (including the defending NBA Champion Celtics), and beat a very capable 76ers team.
The Los Angeles Lakers were taken to the brink by a Tracy McGrady-less rockets, and traded licks with a very tough Denver Nuggets squad. While neither of the two teams have played as many as last year’s 7-game-series-heavy Celtics, both have been through multiple drawn out matchups with tough opponents. Expect Laker forward “Candy Man” Lamar Odom and his Magic counterpart Hedo Turkgolu to vie for most 3-pointers, as an undercard to the Kobe/Howard athletics.
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Both the Boston Bruins and the Boston Celtics had their seasons end with game 7′s at home this week. The Bruins lost an overtime thriller to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday night. Scott Walker hit the game winner to earn the former New England franchise (the Hurricanes were previously the Hartford Whalers) a date with Sidney Crosby’s Pittsburgh Penguins in the conference championships. The Orlando Magic sent the Celtics packing on Sunday, led by a dominating performance by center Dwight Howard. Paul Pierce was 4-13 from the floor, and only managed to knock down one three in a 101-82 loss. The absence of Kevin Garnett and Leon Powe left the Celtics in a difficult position throughout the playoffs.
Though the action at the Garden is done, baseball weather is in full effect at Fenway park! In addition, the Patriots will be starting mini-camps and practices in the coming months.
The Boston Celtics beat the Orlando Magic 112-94 to tie up the series at a game apiece. Led by Eddie House’s dominant 31-point effort, and Rajon Rondo’s third triple-double of the playoffs, the Celtics hope to carry their newfound momentum to Orlando. “I’ve seen some great shooting shows in my life, but that was unbelievable,” Magic Coach Stan Van Gundy said of the C’s 4th quarter clinic. Magic center Dwight Howard finished with 12 points and 12 rebounds, seeming lost at times. The win was Boston’s first at home in the playoffs against the Magic, including a meeting between the two in 1995.In the midst of House’s dominant 20-point second half, he was the recipient of a head slap from Magic Guard Rafer Alston, resulting in a double technical. Alston will miss game three as a result.
The series continues on Friday night at 7:00pm. Boston Celtics Tickets are available now.
The Magic led by as many as 28 points in Monday night’s series opener against the Boston Celtics. In his first game back after being suspended, Dwight Howard racked up 16 points, 22 rebounds, and three assists. The Celtics mounted an impressive comeback in the fourth quarter, getting within 3 points on a Paul Pierce 3. With 6.6 left on the clock the Celtics fouled JJ Reddick, who made both shots to give Orlando the 95-90 win.
“The last 16 minutes was a debacle,” Orlando coach Stan Van Gundy said of the Magic’s late-game play. “We were sort of trying to run out the clock, and you can’t do that in games like this. Especially in the playoffs, teams are going to keep fighting and keep coming back.”
Despite the Magic putting the brakes on, Boston had trouble scoring. Both Ray Allen and Kendrick Perkins were held to single digits in scoring. Team captain Paul Pierce has led the Celtics to huge playoff comeback wins (down 21 points to Beat New Jersey in 2002, and down 24 points to the Lakers in game 4 of last-year’s finals), but the team was not able to pull it off on Monday. “We can’t wait until we’re down 25, 26 points until we wake up,” Pierce told the AP’s Jimmy Golen. “There’s no excuses for us not to be ready.”
Game 2 of the series will be on Wednesday night at 8pm at the TD Banknorth Garden. Boston Celtics playoff tickets are available now!