Posts tagged: NBA

Ilgauskas’ long road to longevity a lesson for Yao, Oden by Scott Howard-Cooper (nba.com)

by Scott Howard-Cooper (nba.com)

 

z

David Dow/NBAE/Getty Images

 

 

He is 34 years old now, in his 14th season in the NBA and his 12th season actually playing in the NBA, in a new role in Cleveland that could be seen coming and a new role in the league that no one could have envisioned.
What an unlikely record holder.
What an unexpected inspiration.
“I think if I can do it, if I can come back, then anybody can,” Zydrunas Ilgauskas said. “I’m not special.”
Except that he is.
That Ilgauskas is playing, period, in 2009-10, is meaningful. That he is playing an important role anywhere, let alone for the 27-9 Cavaliers, is the stuff of Vegas long shots. His is a comeback story for all-time in the NBA and especially in this time, in the season when the careers of Greg Oden and Yao Ming pretty much ended.
Just like the career of Ilgauskas pretty much ended a couple dozen times.
Oden has the coincidental and unfortunate linkage to Sam Bowie and Bill Walton in the tradition of centers picked very high in the draft who gimped their way through frustrating Trail Blazers careers. Yao has the burden of an entire country (China) and a city (Houston) aching at every gloomy medical bulletin, but they also have Ilgauskas as the reminder that a happy ending is possible. “Big Z” is the walking, talking Get Well card, proof that there is a future after all.
Ilgauskas and Yao talked a few times in the summer and met when the Cavaliers were in Houston last month. He’d be glad to speak with Oden, if Oden would like, with the same message that patience and sticking with the rehab even as the hours of long, tedious work pile high.

“Nobody but me knows what it takes to come back from all those injuries,” he said. “You obviously take that [people wanting to talk to him] as a compliment. But you don’t take that for granted, what it took you to get here.”
Ilgauskas the inspiration. Incredible.
Remember when he was Ilgauskas the incapacitated?
The rookie campaign, 1996-97, as the No. 20 pick in the draft, was zero appearances thanks to a broken right foot and subsequent surgery, the same injury that caused Big Z to miss the season before in his native Lithuania. The NBA debut was playing all 82 games in 1997-98. The tease. Next, five games, due to a fractured left foot, followed by missing all 1999-2000 while continuing to rehab the left foot, including another surgery. Cleveland signed him to a six-year extension on Jan. 29, 2000. Suckers. The payback was 24 games in 2000-01, before more pain in the left foot, more surgery, more end-of-career talk.
Some of that was in conversation with himself, some in conversation with those close to him. He was realistic enough to realize that retirement could be very near.
And then the strangest thing happened. Z got healthy. Then kept getting healthy.
He returned Dec. 4, 2001, the first game in about 50 weeks, and played 62 of the final 65 contests, losing one on a coach’s decision and two because of back spasms. He missed one game each of the next two seasons, three in each of the next three and nine in 2007-08 before sitting out 17 games last season, mostly because of a sprained ankle.
From the brittle life of missing two full campaigns and playing less than one-third in two others to seven seasons of good health plus 2009-10 that has started in the same positive direction. From one stretch of 29 appearances over three seasons to a pair of All-Star games. From having no future to setting the team record for the most games played, making his 724th appearance with the Cavaliers on Dec. 2.
“When you have somebody that’s that good of a person have a chance to accomplish something like this, especially with the hardships that he’s been through, it’s special,” coach Mike Brown said. “You’re happy for him and for him getting that mark. But it’s the type of person and it’s his makeup that helped him get to that bar or that goal.”
That was the night anything officially became possible for Oden and Yao. It was the special game in Cleveland when the team that gave a wobbly player a long-term contract lived to see it become a good investment … and the popular big man who couldn’t make it through a season stepped into the record books for longevity. It didn’t matter that it was part of his new assignment as a backup, established once the Cavs traded for Shaquille O’Neal. Ilgauskas was historically linked with durability.
Inspirational, if a couple other centers noticed.
“Just be patient,” he said of the message to Yao and Oden. “Listen to your doctors. And the biggest thing is just patience. A lot of guys tend to get overzealous. They feel good and they want to make the next step. Just be patient. Don’t rush anything. Listen to your body, more than anything.”
Because things can get better.
“Yes,” the special center said. “Of course.”

*YAWN* LeBron PotM… again

January 6, 2010 – LeBron James was named today as the NBA’s Eastern Conference Player of the Month for games played in the month of December.

PotM Nov & Dec

James averaged 28.6 points on .482 shooting, 7.4 rebounds and 7.6 assists in 38.8 minutes per game, leading the Cavs to an NBA-best 14-3 (.824) record for the month of December, which also marked the Cavaliers most wins in any December in franchise history. James has now won the award for the 13th time in his career; for the second time this season, four times in 2008-09; two times during 2007-08, once in 2006-07, twice in 2005-06 and twice during the 2004-05 campaign.

During the month, James ranked first in points per game (28.6) and field goals made per game (10.2), tied for first with one triple-double, ranked second in assists per game (7.6) and free throws made per game (6.4), and was fourth in steals per game (1.7) among Eastern Conference players. He scored 25 or more points in 12 of the 17 games this month, including three games of 40 or more points and dished out at least 10 assists in four consecutive contests for the first time in his career (Nov. 28 – Dec. 6).

In a 104-99 victory over the Trail Blazers on December 11th, James scored 33 points on 14-24 (.583) shooting from the field, added seven rebounds, seven assists, two blocks and one steal. It was the fourth time this season that James had reached those levels in all five categories while no other player in the league has done that even once this season. On December 16th at Philadelphia, he tallied a game-high 36 points, six rebounds, seven assists, one block and three steals, which marked the 11th straight game that he had at least 10 points, five rebounds and five assists (making that his fourth such streak of 10+ games). The only other player to do so since 2003-04 besides James is Kevin Garnett (11 games in 2004).

James finished with 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in their 109-91 win over the Phoenix Suns on December 21st. That victory snapped the Suns’ 19-game home win streak dating back to March 12, 2009, also a loss to the Cavaliers, and snapped the Suns’ 36-game home steak of scoring 100 or more points. In a 117-104 overtime victory at Sacramento on December 23rd, he posted his second triple-double of the season, scoring 26 of his 34 points in the first half and adding a season-high 16 rebounds and 10 assists. He was the first player since Vince Carter during the 2006-07 season to total at least those numbers in a single game.

In the final game of the month, he posted a season-high 48 points versus Atlanta on his birthday (Dec. 30). The only other player to score 40 or more points on his birthday at age 25 or younger was Mark Aguirre, who scored 40 on his 24th birthday in 1983. It was the third most points scored by a player on his birthday in NBA history (Dominique Wilkins 53 points in 1987 at age 27 and teammate Shaquille O’Neal 61 points on his 28th birthday in 2000).

LeBron Named PotW for Week Ending Dec. 27th 2009

LeBron James named Player of the Week
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant today were named the Eastern andWestern Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 21, through Sunday, Dec. 27.
James led the Eastern Conference in scoring (28.8 ppg), was second in assists (7.3 apg) and added 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 steals as Cleveland went 4-0 on the week, including three wins on the road. On Dec. 23, James recorded his second triple-double of the season with 34 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a 117-104 overtime win at Sacramento. James’ 29 points on Dec. 21 helped the Cavaliers snap Phoenix’s 19-game home win streak. This is James’ second Player of the Week nod this season.
Here is a recap of the week for James:
Dec. 21 @ Phoenix: Posted 29 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals in a 109-91 win over the Suns.
Dec. 23 @ Sacramento: Scored 34 points to go along with 16 rebounds and 10 assists in a 117-104 win over the Kings.
Dec. 25 @ L.A. Lakers: Tallied 26 points, four rebounds, nine assists and two steals in a 102-87 win over the Lakers.
Dec. 27 vs. Houston: Recorded 29 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals in a 108-83 win over the Rockets.
This is LeBron’s 22nd Player of the Week award in his career.
We keep track of this stuff here

James Named PotW for Week Ending Nov 22nd, 2009

 

I Dunk on Your Face

I Dunk on Your Face

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ LeBron James was named the Eastern Conference Player of the Week, for games played Monday, Nov. 16, through Sunday, Nov. 22.

 

James averaged a league-best 34.3 points on .583 shooting from the field, 5.8 rebounds and a team-high 9.3 assists, leading the Cavaliers to a 3-1 week. James was the only Eastern Conference player to score 30 or more points in each of his games and recorded his first 40-point game of the season in a 105-95 win over Indiana on Nov. 20.

Here is a recap of the week for James:
Nov. 17 vs. Golden State: Posted 31 points, five rebounds and 12 assists in a 114-108 win over the Warriors.
Nov. 18 @ Washington: Scored 34 points to go along with two rebounds, nine assists and two steals in a 108-91 loss to the Wizards.
Nov. 20 @ Indiana: Poured in 40 points and added nine rebounds, seven assists, one block and one steal in a 105-95 win over the Pacers.
Nov. 21 vs. Philadelphia: Tallied 32 points, seven rebounds and nine assists in a 97-91 win over the Sixers.

We keep track of this stuff here.

LeBron on the Daily Show Again. Gets Hassled about the Knicks Again

You’re funny John Stewart, but you stay the hell away from him.

(interview starts at 13:46, you’ll have to watch a commercial)

Dwight Howard Talks Shaq and Cavs – (and does Shaq impression)

via ESPN

ESPN Sunday Conversation

LeBron is the master of the tease. Is he teasing us? Is he teasing the rest of the NBA? Is he teasing Rachel Nichols?

Watch it here.

Here are my comments:  Its the Summer.  Nothing is happening.  2010 is a year away.  WHY is this a story on TV right now?

 

The Tease in Effect

The Tease in Effect

Relax, it’s just him making the rounds for his movie.  LBJ is smart.  He knows he can get TV time with anyone if he dangles the promise of talking about free agency with them.  In other words, he’s trading talking about the SAME OLD STORY for face time to promote “More Than a Game

 

Savvy

Cavs take chance on Powe (Associated Press)

Associated Press

CLEVELAND — Leon Powe once thought he was the nation’s top 10th-grade basketball player. Then he saw one of his AAU teammates play: LeBron James.

Powe asked his coach if James was in his graduating class. He was.

“Aww man,” Powe said. “There goes my No. 1 spot.”

He’ll gladly take a backup role to James again, as soon as his repaired left knee allows it. Powe signed a two-year deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers on

Powe and Brotha Red Bush in their formative years

Powe and Brotha Red Bush in their formative years

Wednesday, even though he isn’t expected back on the court until sometime around the All-Star break. The Cavaliers are paying Powe the league minimum for a three-year veteran.

“The money is not the issue with me,” Powe said. “The issue is I want to get my knee back healthy and go out there and play basketball. The money will come.”

The Celtics let the 6-foot-8 forward leave following a third surgery on his left knee, this time to repair a torn ACL suffered in the playoffs. Powe is strengthening the knee in Los Angeles and should begin running in about a month. He is expected in Cleveland in two weeks to continue his rehab.

“It’s always tough leaving the place you started,” Powe said in a conference call on Thursday. “I gave them every opportunity to have me over there, which didn’t work out. It wasn’t my fault. I had to move on.”

Powe averaged 7.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 70 games last season.

He is reuniting with James after the two stormed the country on AAU teams and at summer camps during their high school years. Powe, 25, watched James take over games long before he became an NBA superstar.

After Powe broke into the NBA alongside stars such as Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen, Powe now joins James and Shaquille O’Neal.

“Shaq is one of the greatest players of all time and ‘Bron is going to be right there in that category,” Powe said. “Those are two great personalities. That’s the fun thing about playing with guys like them. They’re easy to get along with and it’s easy to play with them.”

By remaining in the Eastern Conference, Powe might not have to wait long for a reunion against his old team. The Cavaliers and Celtics are likely to again be two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference, and Powe admits he’s already dreaming of a postseason meeting.

“If that happens, that’s going to be fun for me,” he said. “I know Boston is a challenge, but our team, the Cavaliers got better and we’ll take on all challengers.”

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

Cavaliers Sign Leon Powe

via cavs.com

The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed free agent forward Leon Powe to a contract, Cavaliers General Manager

Our Agent Zero

Our Agent Zero

Danny Ferry announced today. Per team and league policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Powe, 25, played in 70 games (seven starts) this past season for the Boston Celtics and averaged 7.7 points on .524 shooting and a career-best 4.9 rebounds in 17.5 minutes per game. In his seven starts, he averaged 14.3 points on .576 shooting, 8.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks in 25.9 minutes per game. The 6-foot-8 forward recorded career highs in scoring (30), blocks (5) and assists (3) and added 11 rebounds in 41 minutes versus Memphis on March 13th. He scored in double figures on 25 occasions and notched five double-doubles during the season. He experienced a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee during Game 2 against the Chicago Bulls in the First Round of the 2009 NBA Playoffs and missed the remainder of the playoffs. In 189 games (14 starts) during his three seasons in Boston, he has career averages of 6.6 points on .523 shooting and 4.2 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game.

“Leon is a high quality player and person. His tough, gritty play has already contributed in big playoff games during his young career,” Ferry said. “As he continues to work rehabilitating his injury, we would look to hopefully see him return towards the end of the season.”

The California native played 23 of his 25 career postseason games during the Celtics’ run to the 2008 NBA Championship. He averaged 5.0 points on .493 shooting and 2.7 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game in the 2008 postseason, including a 21-point performance against the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 2 of the NBA Finals.

Cavs Looking at Rob Kurz (who is that exactly?)

Not a whole lot about him out there, but the Cavs are looking to fill the early season gaps left early by JJ and Powe being out.  From his picture on NBA.com he looks like a pleasant fellow.