Monthly Archives: December 2012

Nets Fire Coach Avery Johnson

Avery_Johnson_firedOn December 26th the Brooklyn Nets head coach Avery Johnson was named Eastern Conference Coach of November. Then the very next day the Nets General Manager Billy King had a press conference to announce the decision to fire Avery Johnson. King said “the search for a new head coach will begin immediately.” In the meantime assistant coach P.J. Carlisemo has stepped up as interim head coach.

At the end of November the Nets were 11-4, which is the best start in their franchise history. Then in December the Nets only won 3 of their 13 games. King said, “I just got a sense, as I told Avery this morning (Thursday morning), that he just wasn’t reaching them anymore.” Then the principle owner Mikhail Prokhorov added, “The Nets ownership would like to express thanks to Avery for his efforts and to wish him every success in the future.”

Coach Johnson was in the last year of his three-year, $12 million contract and was not expecting to be fired. Johnson said, “You never think when you’re a .500 team and then you’re going into two more home games at home that something like this would happen. But this is ownership’s decision, and this is what we sign up for. This is part of our business. Fair or unfair, it doesn’t matter. But again, it’s time for a new voice, and hopefully they’ll get back on track.”

I don’t feel this was a fair decision at all but that is life and sometimes ownership feels they need to make big changes when their team goes through a slump. I feel they should have given it just a little more time and I bet they would have seen a turn around. If the team was doing good in the first month of the season and not so great the second month you would think ownership would wait maybe a couple more weeks or another month and see how things go. But truth is I am sure there is more to the story that others will not know.

Avery_Johnson_Nets_CoachOver the summer the Nets re-signed their top player Deron Williams. This season Williams has not been playing to the best of his ability with a shooting percentage of only 39.8.   ESPN.com Mike Mazzeo stated that Williams “criticized Johnson’s isolation-heavy offensive system, saying he felt uncomfortable.” Could this have something to do with why Johnson was fired? The organization claims that is unfair and not true. King said, “To pinpoint this all on Deron is not fair. He was not the deciding factor in this decision. It was something in talking with ownership we didn’t like the direction we were going.” Even Johnson disagreed with the assumption that Williams had anything to do with the decision. Johnson said, “I don’t think it’s fair for anybody to hang this on Deron. He’s one player. We have 15 players, and it’s up to the coach to really maximize the team. But at the end of the day, ownership, they’re the ones that own the team. We just went through a bad stretch, a bad spell, we couldn’t make a shot. But I always thought we were gonna get it turned around, knowing full well that we weren’t necessarily finished with (assembling) this roster.”

Knowing the blame was coming, Williams denied any bad conversations ever happened with Johnson.

“First of all, I have not had one conversation with (King) about not being happy with Avery, wanting him gone, etc. It’s not my fault. But as soon as I heard the news, I knew what was coming,” Williams said. “I knew folks would blame me, would assume that its history repeating itself because of what was said about coach Sloan and me after he resigned. The last thing I would want to do is get coach Johnson fired. Any coach, for that matter. Coach Johnson is a big reason why I came back to the Nets this summer, along with Billy. I enjoyed playing for him last year. We never had an argument or a fight. We never got into it, on or off the court. I don’t even know why people would assume that.”

This being the second time the blame of a coach leaving was placed on Williams really gets you thinking. Was Williams apart of this? Or was he just in the wrong place at the wrong time? Is Williams struggles a result of the new arena, Johnson’s coaching strategy, or something entirely different? Either way what is done is done. I don’t believe it was fair, but it was not up to me. I like Avery Johnson and believe he is a good coach. I wish Johnson the best and hope to see him back in a coaching position soon.

Resources:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/sports/sns-nets-fire-avery-johnson-2012,0,5310979.story

http://espn.go.com/new-york/nba/story/_/id/8783854/avery-johnson-fired-brooklyn-nets-starting-14-14

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J.R. Smith’s 2nd Buzzer Beater of the Month

JR_Smith_Buzzer_Beater

The New York Knicks played the Phoenix Suns last night in Phoenix. Since Nash left to join the Lakers during the off-season the Suns just have not been the same. Before last night’s game the Suns record was 11-17, so this should have been a pretty easy win for the 20-8 Knicks. Then came the news that two of the Knicks starting players, Carmelo Anthony and Raymond Felton would not be playing in the game. Anthony was out with a hyper-extended left knee and Felton out with a fractured right pinkie finger.

Last night the Knicks starting five were Tyson Chandler (12.6), Jason Kidd (8.1), Ronnie Brewer (5.2), Kurt Thomas (2.2), and James White (1.6). All together the starting five have an average of 29.7 points per game; only about one more point than Anthony’s average of 28.5 ppg. Maybe this game would not be as easy of a win as it should have been.

For most of the game the Knicks kept a good lead, 54-44 at the half and 68-54 with 7:13 left in the third. After that the Suns took over the lead with a 20-4 run. With only 34.5 seconds left in the game the Suns were up 97-95. Then with 10.6 seconds left J.R. Smith made a fade away that tied up the score 97-97. The Suns next possession resulted in a turnover when Sebastian Telfair stepped out-of-bounds with only one second left in the game. After the Knicks 20-second timeout J.R. Smith walked onto the court preparing himself. Smith said, “I was like you’re going to make it! You’re going to make it!”

Jason Kidd had the ball looking for an open teammate to pass the ball to and Smith was that guy. Kidd said, “We looked at each other and he knew he was going to get the ball.” Smith caught the pass and took the last shot of the game. As the ball left his hands it soared in the air to the basket, the buzzer went off, and then the ball went in. A dramatic game winning shot that was very exciting to watch. The Knicks won the game 99-97 thanks to J.R. Smith.
This December has been pretty exciting for J.R. Smith since this was J.R. Smith’s second buzzer beater this month. The first came in the Knicks game against the Bobcats in pretty much the same location on the court. J.R. Smith is doing his part on the court and has proven to be someone the organization and his teammates can count on. The 21-8 Knicks have been a pretty exciting team to watch this season. They are playing well together and, as seen in last night’s game, seem to have all the right backups when unexpected injuries happen. I would not be surprised to see the Knicks make it far this year in the playoffs.

Resources:

http://scores.espn.go.com/nba/recap?gameId=400278141

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=8782994

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/smith-nails-buzzer-beater-knicks-top-suns-article-1.1227975

http://www.nba.com/standings/team_record_comparison/conferenceNew_Std_Cnf.htm

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Kobe Bryant is Youngest Player to get 30,000 Points


Kobe Bryant set a new NBA record last night when the Lakers beat the New Orleans Hornets 103-87, the team that drafted Bryant in 1996. Bryant is one of the best scorers in the league and has now proved it by being the youngest player in NBA history to score 30,000 points. Bryant, 34-years-old, currently has 30,001 points in the NBA.

Before Wednesday’s game Wilt Chamberlain held the record reaching 30,000 NBA points when he was 35-years-old. Bryant is the 5th player to ever reach 30,000 points in their NBA career.

  • Kobe Bryant – 30,001 and counting
  • Wilt Chamberlain – 31,419 points
  • Michael Jordan – 32,292
  • Karl Malone – 36,928
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – 38,387

After the game Bryant said, “It’s just a tremendous honor. I don’t really know how else to put it. I’ve just been very, very fortunate.”

Expecting the moment to come, NBA commissioner David Stern was happy to witness the memorable moment. Stern said, “I want to shake his hand. I think Kobe is, as a talent and a competitor, he’s up there on the pedestal with Michael Jordan as one of the greatest. Kobe has such an extraordinary run playing at the highest level for so long with the championships to prove it in a league that is extremely competitive. Kobe and the Lakers have been an important part of the league, and I wish him well for this season and beyond.”

Congratulations to Kobe Bryant on this tremendous accomplishment. Bryant is not my favorite player, but there is NO arguing that guy can play basketball.

Resources:

http://espn.go.com/los-angeles/nba/story/_/id/8718559/kobe-bryant-los-angeles-lakers-becomes-youngest-player-nba-history-score-30000-career-points

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/296834/kobe-completes-30000-nba-points.html

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Rockets’ Radio Announcer, Craig Ackerman Said It Best

The L.A. Lakers is a team full of talented players this season including Steve Nash, Pau Gasol, Dwight Howard, and of course Kobe Bryant. Some may also include Metta World Peace in that group as well. But so far the Lakers have not been playing to their talent potential whether it be back luck, old age, no chemistry, or whatever the reason may be.

On October 31st Steve Nash, in the game against Portland, fractured his leg in a collision with Damian Lillard. Nash has yet to join tKobe_Bryant_on_benchhe Lakers back on the court.

At the end of November the Lakers fired the head coach Mike Brown and replaced him with Mike D’Anton. It was very early in the season for this kind of decision, but the Lakers had to make some kind of change.

Before Sunday the Lakers had a record of 8-8 and were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic. After the game the media asked Bryant about Gasol who has been mentally checking out during games. Bryant said, “Put your big-boy pants on. C’mon . . . just adjust. You can’t whine about it or complain about it. Heck, I’m 34 years old, and I’m running screen-and-rolls out there because Steve (Nash) is out, and my ass is running up and down the court more than I ever have in my entire career. But you have to adjust to it. I stay after practice and work on my ball-handling and screen-and-rolls, and when you have the talent to adjust to it, you just . . . have . . . to . . . adjust . . . to . . . it. We’re not going to lose (Pau). This is just not going to happen. I’ve been around him long enough to know how to deal with him.”

Then Lakers lost again last night to the Houston Rockets. The game started off looking good for L.A. as they led by as many as 17 points in the first half. At the end of the 3rd quarter L.A. was up by 10 points. Then Houston took over the game and as the game ended 107-105 Houston’s radio announcer, Craig Ackerman had the best announcement I have ever heard. In response to the lost and Kobe Bryant’s comment about Gasol, Ackerman said, “The Lakers have just pooped their big boy pants.” Great one Ackerman! I love it! This is easily my most favorite announcement ever.

Resources:

http://www.foxsportswest.com/12/02/12/Kobe%20sounds%20off%20after%20latest%20Lakers%20loss/msn_landing.html?blockID=829843&feedID=8686

http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nba-ball-dont-lie/rockets-radio-announcer-time-zing-lakers-just-pooped-150900785–nba.html

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