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Posts Tagged ‘Mike D’Antoni’

NBA/Mike D’Antoni knows how talented both Sergio Rodriguez and Rudy Fernandez are. The New York Knicks head coach – formerly of the Phoenix Suns– helped draft and subsequently trade both Sergio and Rudy to Portland at different times of his tenure in Phoenix.

The Suns selected Sergio as the 27th overall pick in 2006 before trading him for cash considerations that same day. A year later, Phoenix snagged Fernandez in the first round (24th overall) only to turn around days later and trade him along with James Jones for cash considerations.

On Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, D’Antoni might have been calling for a couple draft day do-overs.

A good hour after the “Rudy-Rudy-Rudy” chants faded from the Garden and a first quarter that saw Portland shoot an abysmal 29%, Fernandez slowly shook-off a case of the “clanks.” He hit his first two shots of the game – both from beyond the arc – only to miss his next three attempts.

Clank.

Rudy hasn’t delved into too many funks this season. And he didn’t stay that way for long. You just had a feeling he was going to get it going on a big stage like New York with a large Spanish contingent on hand. His two enormous three-pointers early in the fourth quarter contributed to a 14-0 Blazers run, which in essence salvaged another Portland win – their fifth-straight. Very impressive final numbers for Rudy: 18 points, 5-11 from the field, 4-8 from three 4-4 from the line in roughly 21 minutes.

More chants.

Let’s not forget Sergio’s role in Portland overcoming a Knicks 10 point lead. Setting up Rudy is one thing, but getting into the lane and hitting a stop-and-pop off the glass over Tim Thomas late in the fourth was nothing short of smooth. That is unless you count Rodriguez’s step-back three minutes later. He put together a solid yet non-flashy game: 5 points, 5 rebounds, 1 steal and 0 turnovers in 19 minutes.

Win.

In the end though, victory over New York didn’t come easy for Portland. There probably isn’t a scrappier eight player team in the NBA than the Knicks right now. They just wore down. For the Blazers, they need to get a good night sleep with Washington up on Wednesday. The Wizards won in New Jersey by 20 points and now both Washington and Portland prepare for a little back-to-back action after a quick flight to D.C. 

Can the Blazers make it 7-6 on the road?

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Okay, so Portland didn’t make it on the short list of the NBA’s “Biggest Surprises In November” (a rundown story that ran yesterday on HOOPSWORLD). But with their winning ways, Brandon Roy’s wow factor and the typical cliche’ of an all-around nightly team effort, they are worthy of an honorable mention….

pic via: daylife

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stephonThe drama never stops at Madison Square Garden. It was that way when I covered the New York Knicks for three seasons and it’s that way right now. That’s the thing. It’s not worse with Stephon Marbury’s antics, insubordination and house arrest. It’s simply the same.

No buy out yet. Just bye-bye.

Even 3000 miles away from Manhattan, I know one thing is for certain: the Knicks locker room is a better place without Marbury in it.

So while the Knicks deal with the typical distractions, Portland looks to make it five-straight wins and their second consecutive win on a five game roadie. But believe it or not, all the talk coming out of New York isn’t necessarily Knicks-centric and all about Starbury. There is some Blazers banter making its way down Broadway…..

First Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh voiced his concern for Greg Oden over the weekend.

“I’m a little worried about Oden,” Walsh told the New York Daily News. “He’s young and these young guys come in, but their bodies are not ready for the NBA, and they do get hurt. I think with real young players, they’re not ready for the NBA. All of a sudden they’re playing at our speed and our tempo against men. It seems that even if they don’t get hit, they start breaking down a little bit.”

Then on Monday, Alan Hahn of Newsday – who writes the paramount blog on the Knicks beat by the way – gave the rumor mill a fresh spin making a ploy for a couple Blazers.

“They (the Knicks) have a pretty good test Tuesday against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Garden. Keep an eye on Travis Outlaw…think he might fit in the (Mike) D’Antoni system if the Blazers ever would consider moving him. Sergio Rodriguez is looking for a change of scenery as well….Hmmm.”

Who would the Knicks offer in return with Outlaw and/or Sergio likely expendable? With the Knicks failing to sign forward David Lee to a contract extension back in October, his future in New York appears tentative at best according to two sources familiar with the situation.

pic via: newsday

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reggie_main_topI highly doubt Reggie Theus is on Facebook. But if he were, it’s likely his status update would read: Reggie Theus is feeling the pressure….

As the Sacramento Kings prepare to take on Portland Monday night at the Rose Garden, it’s hard not to think about Theus being on the hot seat. In only his second season in Sacramento, Theus has been the topic of conversation about his pending future with the Kings. Most recently co-owner Joe Maloof took to the air-waves openly questioning the poor start to the season. The Sacramento Bee’s own Sam Amick then followed-up with General Manager Geoff Petrie who confessed “it’s just way too early to make a fair assessment of what we have here.”

So when is the right time then? At what point in the season do the Kings assess Theus’ job, knowing his departure could be the result?

Regardless of the time, two seasons – or one season and 15 games – is far too soon to expect greatness from a head coach, particularly for a team hobbled by injuries (Kevin Martin, Francisco Garcia, Mikki Moore) and relying on a couple vets and some novices. Theus earned 38 wins last season – his first with the Kings. Now at 5-10, Sacramento may have a tough time improving or drawing close to that number. But does that mean Theus should go?

Gregg Popovich only won 17 games his first year in San Antonio. We all know what he’s been able to do capturing four rings since.

Mike D’Antoni only mustered 21 wins taking over the Phoenix Suns in 2003-04. We all know he made the Suns go in 7 seconds or less for five years.

Heck, even Nate McMillan won 21 games his first season in Portland. Last year the Blazers ended the season at .500, and this year they have a chance to win nearly 50 games and perhaps make the postseason. Could you imagine if McMillan had been let go two years in?

These things take time. Ask P.J. Carlesimo about that. Rebuilding can’t be rushed. In Theus’ case, two seasons may not be enough to put a franchise like Sacramento back on the track to success. Then again, it appears ownership and upper management are at odds on his evaluation as Theus’ hot-seat heats up. 

Reggie’s in a tough spot.

pic via: nbapa.com

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zboThat didn’t take long. Late word out of New York has Zach Randolph on the move once again.

Multiple sources have confirmed and are reporting a three-way trade between the Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors. Randolph would head to the Clippers and Jamal Crawford to the Warriors, with the Knicks receiving Al Harrington from the Warriors and Tim Thomas and Cuttino Mobley from the Clippers.

Ink hasn’t dried yet but it appears to be a done deal.

Essentially it’s a salary clearing tactic for the Knicks. All three contracts they receive expire in 2010.

The deal could be finalized as early as Friday afternoon.

After averaging 17.6 points and 10.3 rebounds his first year in New York, Randolph is putting up 20.5 points and grabbing 12.5 rebounds playing out of position at center for head coach Mike D’Antoni.

But money talks. And right now the Knicks coin is saying “we’re trying to free up room for LeBron James or another marquee free agent.”

Welcome back to the Western Conference Z-Bo.

pic via: all-nba

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