Category Archives: NBA

Blazers’ Mo Williams enjoying new role in new winning situation

CLEVELAND – Mo Williams knows winning.

He was a point guard on Cavaliers squads that won 66 and 61 games in back-to-back seasons (2008-09 and ’09-10). He’s now a member of a Trail Blazers team that entered Tuesday’s game at Cleveland with a league-best record of 21-4.

But these Blazers don’t necessarily remind Williams of those Cavs.

“It’s a totally different team,” he said. “But it’s a similar a feeling. We’re winning a lot. We do take the approach like it’s our last game, like it’s a must-win.”

Williams is averaging just more than nine points per game, coming off the bench behind reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard.

Williams is enjoying the role.

“It doesn’t take me long to get comfortable anywhere,” he said. “I’m pretty much a smart, intelligent basketball player. I’m not ignorant in the sense of guys feeling they can do more than they can. You gotta know what the team needs and what they ask of you.”

That type of mentality and team-first attitude is why the Blazers are having early success, according to Williams.

“That’s what separates the really good teams from the bad,” he said. “I knew where I could fit with this team and be good. It’s all about accepting everybody, and here, one through 15 has accepted everyone. That goes for any good team. You might not like (your role); I’m sure guys 13 through 15 want to play. But at the end of the day, they have to accept where they are. Their time will come. And even for six through10 — they may get called on and have to step up.

“But when everybody’s healthy, you have to accept that this is our team, this is who we are, this is what we have to be in order to be successful. Guys here have bought into that.”

Williams was traded by the Cavs to the Clippers in 2010-11 in the deal that eventually netted Kyrie Irving with the No. 1 overall draft pick.

“Worked out OK for them, huh?” Williams once said, smiling.

But today, it appears to be working out OK for Williams, too.

Onuaku’s perfect night lifts cruising Charge

CANTON, Ohio – Forward Arinze Onuaku erupted for 29 points on 11-of-11 shooting, and guard Robert Hite made his season debut with 13 points, and the Canton Charge cruised to a 105-96 win over the visiting Erie BayHawks in NBA D-League action Saturday night.

The Charge (7-1) also received 11 points from former Cleveland State guard Shane Edwards.

Scott Suggs paced the BayHawks (0-6) with 22 points and rookie C.J. Leslie added 14 points and five rebounds.

Canton led 60-41 at halftime and 83-64 at the end of the third quarter.

The teams meet again tonight at the Canton Memorial Civic Center. Tip-off is scheduled for 7.

Cavs G/F Carrick Felix to miss game at Orlando

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – Cavaliers guard/forward Carrick Felix did not travel with the team Thursday to Orlando because of left knee soreness. The Cavs play at the Magic on Friday (7 p.m., FOX Sports Ohio).  Felix is not expected to join the Cavs in time for Saturday’s game at Miami.

He will remain in Cleveland for additional examination and treatment at Cleveland Clinic Sports Health.

The 2013 second-round pick is averaging 1.3 points for the Cavs and 9.3 points and 5.3 rebounds for the Canton Charge.

Small-Time Basketball Report: Elliott Williams stepping up for Sixers

Note: The Small-Time Basketball Report is Sam Amico’s regular feature covering the NBA, the NBA D-League and pro basketball overseas.

Former Trail Blazers first-round draft pick Elliott Williams is off to a solid start with the 76ers.

Williams, a 6-foot-5 guard, is only averaging 2.9 points and 1.4 rebounds in 9.5 minutes, but has offered underrated intangibles that don’t show up on a stat line. The Sixers signed Williams (along with rookie guard Lorenzo Brown) on Nov. 20, when they waived center Kwame Brown, a former No. 1 overall pick, and guard Darius Morris.

Williams was selected with the No. 22 pick in 2010 but appeared in just 24 games with the Blazers after suffering an array of injuries. They included multiple knee surgeries and a ruptured Achilles tendon.

He was not re-signed by the Blazers over the summer — although he did attend training camp with the Cavaliers. Williams appeared in six of the Cavs’ eight preseason games, and was waived before the regular season started.

He has appeared in nine games for the Sixers.

• Former Akron center Zeke Marshall was obtained by the D-League’s Maine Red Claws in a three-team trade with the Reno Bighorns and Santa Cruz Warriors. Marshall, a 7-foot center, was not drafted by an NBA team after his senior season this past summer. Nor has he played for a D-League team. He most recently played with Yulon Luxgen in the Taiwan league, compiling averages of 12.7 points and 4.0 rebounds.

• Former Cavs forward Jamario Moon is averaging 10.6 points and 6.6 rebounds as a member of the Los Angeles D-Fenders of the D-League. Moon, 33, has started four the D-Fenders’ first five games.

• The D-Fenders also obtained the rights to ex-Cavs guard Manny Harris from the Canton Charge for a 2014 first-round D-League draft selection Harris last played for the Charge in 2011-12.

• Speaking of the Charge, second-year forward Kevin Jones (another ex-Cav) has caught the eye of NBA scouts with his start to the season. When asked Wednesday about the odds of a call-up, Jones says he feels “like I have a pretty good shot.”

• Former Lakers and Cavs forward Luke Walton discussed his role with the D-Fenders on podcast on Ridiculous Upside, a website devoted to D-League coverage. Listen to it or read more here.

• Ex-Cleveland State forward J’Nathan Bullock has signed to play professionally in Finland.

• Also, former Youngstown State forward Damian Eargle has signed with the Saint John Mill Rats of NBL Canada. Eargle was named Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year last season.

Twitter: @SamAmicoFSO

Celtics’ Sullinger on tanking: ‘Y’all can kiss out butts’

After trading Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to the Nets, and losing coach Doc Rivers to the Clippers, the Celtics were supposed to stink.

They still might — although they’ve been OK so far (7-12 heading into Tuesday’s game vs. the Bucks).

Either way, second-year Celtics forward Jared Sullinger is not about to lose on purpose. In the NBA, this is what fans and media refer to as “tanking.” But players and coaches aren’t into it all, and Sullinger has made that perfectly clear.

“I don’t know why people keep talking about tanking,” said the former Ohio State star. “We have competitors out here. We’re really not like that.”

The 2014 draft class is among the most highly anticipated in a decade with names like Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins, Duke forward Jabari Parker and Kentucky big man Julius Randle.

Any team could certainly use any of those guys, the Celtics among them.

But for now, Sullinger and the Celtics are content aiming for the playoffs.

“We just want to win and show everybody that y’all can kiss our butts about the tanking stuff,” he said.

Sullinger is starting at power forward for first-year coach Brad Stevens and averaging 13.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. He is coming off a 21-point, 14-rebound performance vs. the Bucks.

Globe compares Cavs to Thanksgiving turkeys

Cleveland fans aren’t the only ones taking their fair share of shots at the Cavaliers. Even out-of-towners are getting snarky at the Cavs’ expense.

Following the visiting Cavs’ 103-86 loss to the Celtics on Friday, Boston Globe reporter Baxter Holmes wrote:

“On Friday, the Cavaliers suffered the same fate as many turkeys this time of year. They were slaughtered.”

Holmes didn’t stop there.

“The Cavaliers landed the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft, and they look like they’ll be in contention to do it again after their pathetic effort in a 103-86 loss to the Celtics at TD Garden,” he wrote.

There’s more.

“To call it a competitive game is to really stretch the definition of the word ‘competitive,’” Holmes wrote. “The Celtics began with a game-opening 18-2 run that was really a game-closing run, too.”

Without a doubt, things are bad for the Cavs (4-12) right now. And it’s no longer just the local folks who have something to say about it.

On the bright side, this is the NBA, and there’s always another game. (The Cavs play at home vs the Bulls on Saturday.) So there’s still time to turn those jeers from tears to cheers. And maybe prove that, hey, some turkeys can fly.

As an aside, Holmes is one of my favorites on the NBA beat. You can check out his full Celtics-Cavs recap right here.

Popovich not afraid to speak mind after injury to Spurs’ Diaw

Spurs forward Boris Diaw was a late scratch for Saturday’s game against the Cavaliers with bruised ribs. Not that it really mattered, since the Spurs led by as many 40 points on their way to a 126-96 win.

Diaw an 11-year veteran who’s off to a strong start with the 12-1 Spurs, suffered the injury after falling into the clan of photographers and TV camera operators on the baseline. The incident happened during Friday’s win over the Grizzlies.

Not surprisingly, always honest Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered a strong opinion on the matter.

“As we’ve often said in the past, it’s an accident waiting to happen and it never seems to change,” Popovich told reporters in San Antonio. “We’re going to continue to moan and groan about it. We have many times. It’s a problem that needs to be taken care of because it’s going to make a big difference at some point.

“It’s sort of like you complain in the street about cars here and there, we need a stop sign. The stop sign doesn’t go up until a little kid gets killed. I have a feeling when one of the big boys breaks an ankle … then maybe something will get done.

“I think it should be addressed. Nobody can deny it’s a safety issue. And it takes away from the rhythm of a game. I don’t think it can be ignored.”

Diaw is averaging 11.1 points on 56 percent shooting for the Spurs, winners of 10 straight.

Meanwhile, Popovich offered some advice on how the Cavs, or any young team, can try to improve.

“To not skip steps,” he said. “Just concentrate on execution because in the end, that’s what wins. That steady, habitual play that forms through repetition and daily work, there’s no substitute for it.”

Charge waive center Longar

CANTON, Ohio – The Canton Charge have waived center Longar Longar, team officials announced Thursday.

The roster now stands at 15 and must be down to 10 by Nov. 21.

The Charge are the official NBA D-League affiliate of the Cavaliers and open the season Nov. 22 at Erie. Their home-opener takes place the following night against expansion Delaware. They also play an exhibition game Saturday at Fort Wayne.

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Charge obtain two in separate trades

CANTON, Ohio – The Canton Charge acquired two players in separate deals Wednesday, obtaining center Longar Longar from the Tulsa 66ers for a 2014 third-round pick and guard Rashad Anderson from the Texas Legends for center Micheal Eric.

Longar is 6-foot-11 and was selected with the No. 65 overall pick in last week’s D-League draft. He has three years of D-League experience and most recently played in Japan.

Anderson, 6-5, was the 22nd overall selection in the draft. His professional basketball stops include the D-League, Italy and Venezuela.

Eric, 6-9, played for the Charge all of last season. He was in training camp with the Cavaliers in 2012.

Cavs’ Brown: New-look Nets know game well

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio – The Brooklyn Nets enter the season as perhaps the NBA’s most intriguing story, with the biggest names this side of the Miami Heat. That will happen when you trade for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce, as the Nets did on draft night this past June.

Add Garnett and Pierce to Brook Lopez, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson (with Jason Terry and Andrei Kirilenko off the bench) … and you may have the makings of something special. You could also have a major disappointment, but that’s why you play the games.

Anyway, these new Nets open the season at Cleveland on Wednesday, and Cavs coach Mike Brown shared his thoughts. Here they are:

“I’ve watched a little bit of film on them, I know a little bit about what they do. Obviously, they’re a veteran team and they’ve been around a long time. They’ve got multiple All-Stars and future Hall of Famers on the team, so you’ve got to respect the talent with that group.”

“They’re a team that is big, so they have multiple post-up guys. Their point guard can try to post you up, their two-guard can post you up, their threes can post you, their fours can post you. Obviously when you talk about their five, Brook Lopez, he can post up. We have to make sure we’re prepared for any position 1 through 5 trying to take advantage of us in the post.

“We also have to be ready to play defense against a lot of random offense because these guys are so good they don’t necessarily have to execute plays the right way. They can just play off each other.

“It’s like when you or your buddies go to the park and play against younger guys. Younger guys are out there doing stuff that we can’t do, but you just run a simple pick and roll and you space the floor the right way, and move the ball the right way — and you can do things because of the feeling that you have, that a younger team may not be able to do. We have to be able to defend a lot of random action with our base defense, and survive from there.”