Sunday, December 29, 2013

Japeth Aguilar and Barangay Ginebra beats Meralco at the buzzer

c/o PBA website
Barangay Ginebra was down to Meralco five points with 15.1 seconds left, 82-77. The Bolts were at the cusp of being able to replicate their win over the current league leaders.

Then the following things happened:

Jay-R Reyes, whom Head Coach Ato Agustin inserted in place of Greg Slaughter, nails a corner three with 12.8 seconds remaining. Ginebra down two, 82-80. Reyes, prior to this game, missed his only three pointer he attempted this conference and is a career 26.5% shooter from there (he did shoot 40% in one season, back with Rain or Shine in 08-09).

Mark Caguioa immediately fouls John Wilson, who came into the game shooting 74% from the line and earlier in the game split his charities. He misses both free throws, yet puts out a wry smile. Ball goes out and in the ensuing review, the officiating trio of Mariano, Tankion and Gruta awarded possession to Ginebra.

With 11.8 seconds remaining, this is how it went down.

The Gilas Pilipinas standout finished with 15 points, 11 rebounds, an assist, four blocks and a reminder why Barangay Ginebra owns the mantra "Never Say Die."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Russell Westbrook has arthroscopic knee surgery, out until after All-Star Break
Brad Penner, USA TODAY Sports via Poughkeepsie Journal
The Oklahoma City Thunder announced that star guard Russell Westbrook underwent surgery on his right knee and is sidelined for at least seven weeks.

Westbrook needed arthroscopic knee surgery to relieve swelling that accumulated. Sam Presti explained that the team already has a medical plan set up during his return from his meniscal tear, one which includes multiple MRI scans and occasional knee drains, they discovered something that necessitated such a scope.

The team released this statement:
“Russell has been playing pain free, but recently had experienced increased swelling. After consultation and consideration by his surgeon in Los Angeles, a plan was established to monitor the swelling that included a series of scheduled MRIs,” said Presti. “On the most recent MRI it was determined by the surgeon that there was an area of concern that had not previously existed, nor was detectable in the previous procedures, and it was necessary to evaluate Russell further. The consulting physician determined that arthroscopic surgery was necessary to address the swelling that was taking place. We know that Russell’s work ethic and commitment will help him return to the level of play that we have all come to appreciate.” 
Russ is averaging 21.3 points, six rebounds and seven assists in 25 games this season, and is just fresh from putting up the eighth triple-double in the history of NBA games held on Christmas Day (14 points, 13 rebounds and ten assists in 29 minutes against the hapless New York Knicks)

He also is currently sixth in the All-Star game balloting for Western Conference guards (and will most definitely would have been a shoo-in for the West All-Star Reserves if healthy).

Looking at the schedule, the Thunder have 27 games until the All-Star break. Breaking that down further, they will face ten Western Conference teams (including three games against their Northwest Division rivals Portland, two games against the man that caused the injury (Houston) and two games against the team that eliminated them in the last postseason (Memphis), as well as one game against Golden State and the reigning conference champions (San Antonio). Among the Eastern Conference teams on its schedule, they would face Miami and Atlanta, which comprise 2/3 of the conference's teams with a win-loss record above .500.  They will also complete their matchups against the New York-based teams (twice against the Nets and a visit from the Knicks).

In the case that he comes back on time, the Thunder's campaign after the break will be a four game homestand against the Heat, the Clippers, the Cavs and the Grizzlies to close out the month of February. Do keep in mind that in the aftermath of his second surgery last October, he only missed two games.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Lebron James named as the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year
AP Photo/Chris Carlson
The King has some additional hardware.

LeBron James was named on Thursday, as the Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year. He beat out quarterback Peyton Manning and driver Jimmie Johnson for the nod with 31 out of the 96 votes. This was a day after tennis star Serena Williams was named as the AP's Female Athlete of the Year.

James joins such sporting legends as boxers Joe Louis and Muhammad Ali, Olympians Jesse Owens, Carl Lewis and Michael Phelps, and the likes of Joe Montana and Tiger Woods as winners.

He is the third NBA player to be bestown with this honor, following Michael Jordan and Larry Bird.

The award caps off a memorable year for LeBron, who took home his fourth MVP and second NBA title, and is on his way to laying the foundation for another possible title run.

Speaking to the AP, LeBron actually spoke of being more than just a basketball player:
"I'm chasing something and it's bigger than me as a basketball player. I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero ... those things mean so much, and that's what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don't think this is the biggest role that I'm going to have."

He adds:
"I don't think I've changed much this year. I've just improved and continued to improve on being more than just as a basketball player. I've matured as a leader, as a father, as a husband, as a friend."
Including their Christmas Day win over the Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron appeared in 98 games in 2013 (with three games still to be played), with the Heat winning 78 of them. That, of course, includes their memorable seven-game NBA Finals with the San Antonio Spurs.

NBA releases 2nd set of All-Star Balloting returns

The second set of returns from the 2014 NBA All-Star Balloting were released on Thursday, with LeBron James still maintaining his slim lead over Kevin Durant in the overall vote. The reigning MVP has over 854,000 votes, with an estimated 4,000-vote lead over the Texas alum. Kobe Bryant remains in third place with just over 720,000 votes.

Only two new faces popped up in the balloting in comparison to the first release, as swingmen Lance Stephenson and DeMar DeRozan entered the top ten in the Eastern backcourt at the expense of Evan Turner and Mario Chalmers.

The impressive play of the Portland Trailblazers has manifested itself on the balloting, with Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge each moving up a couple of spots. Otherwise, not much movement in the results.

Fans can vote via social media (including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al.), as well as via the NBA GameTime app. Deadline for casting of votes is until January 20.

Number in parenthesis is their ranking in the previous release of ballot returns. NR = Not Ranked.

Eastern Conference:


1. LeBron James (Mia) 854,105 (1)
2. Paul George (Ind) 712,808 (2)
3. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 580,795 (3)
4. Roy Hibbert (Ind) 304,829 (4)
5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 222,861 (5)
6. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 137,520 (6)
7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 101,308 (7)
8. Andre Drummond (Det) 91,132 (11)
9. Jeff Green (Bos) 78,693 (8)
10. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 77,496 (10)
11. Luol Deng (Chi) 73,418 (9)
12. Carlos Boozer (Chi) 64,861 (12)
13. Paul Pierce (BKN) 60,541 (13)
14. Brook Lopez (BKN) 52,907 (14)
15. Josh Smith (Det) 46,836 (15)


1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 565,455 (1)
2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 524,000 (2)
3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 299,950 (3)
4. John Wall (Was) 210,988 (4)
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 143,714 (5)
6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 111,335 (6)
7. Deron Williams (BKN) 74,047 (7)
8. George Hill (Ind) 66,030 (8)
9. Lance Stephenson (Ind) 50,444 (NR)
10. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 48,744 (NR)

Western Conference:


1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 850,728 (1)
2. Dwight Howard (Hou) 408,623 (2)
3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 399,357 (3)
4. Kevin Love (Min) 377,941 (4)
5. Tim Duncan (SA) 312,809 (5)
6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 282,613 (8)
7. Anthony Davis (NO) 188,589 (6)
8. Pau Gasol (LAL) 177,883 (7)
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 145,089 (9)
10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 126,025 (10)
11. Chandler Parsons (Hou) 106,369 (11)
12. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 99,903 (12)
13. David Lee (GS) 89,858 (13)
14. Omer Asik (Hou) 79,591 (15)
15. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 76,110 (14)


1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 723,031 (1)
2. Chris Paul (LAC) 533,647 (2)
3. Stephen Curry (GS) 481,698 (3)
4. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 358,725 (4)
5. James Harden (Hou) 270,476 (5)
6. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 216,070 (6)
7. Tony Parker (SA) 158,329 (7)
8. Damian Lillard (Por) 105,880 (10)
9. Ricky Rubio (Min) 81,829 (8)
10. Steve Nash (LAL) 81,377 (9)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Friday, December 20, 2013

Kobe Bryant injures left knee, out 6 weeks
Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images via ESPN

The Los Angeles Lakers announced on their Twitter account (@Lakers) that Kobe Bryant will be sidelined for six weeks due to "a fracture of the lateral tibial plateau in his left knee." He had just come back from his left Achilles tendon injury that sidelined him this past April.

Where is that? This image might help.

According to ESPNLA's Ramona Shelburne, Kobe played with the fracture in the fourth quarter of their 96-92 victory over Memphis. Bryant had said that he hyperextended his knee during the third quarter of said game, as seen from this clip from Silver Screen & Roll:

According to CBS Sports' Ken Berger, there will not be a need for surgery for that fracture, adding that "the bone will heal."

Six weeks means that he will be back by February at the earliest. Without Kobe, Xavier Henry and Jodie Meeks will comprise the Lakers backcourt in the meantime, starting this weekend against Minnesota at Staples. Henry has been acting as the point guard off the bench for Mike D'Antoni, who won't have his top FOUR point guard options due to injuries.

Bryant has averaged 13.8 points, 6.3 assists and 4.3 rebounds in the six games he has played, leading the Lakers to a 2-4 record.

Jordan Farmar will be the soonest to return from his injury (he suffered that on December 1), but Lakers doctors will re-examine his left hamstring on December 24 (one day before Heat vs Lakers). He had been estimated to be out for at least four weeks.

Steve Blake and his freak elbow injury (he suffered that on December 12) will have him out for six weeks, which puts that timetable to around the end of January.

As for Steve Nash, who has only played in six games this season, he will need four more weeks before being re-evaluated, which also pegs that to be around the end of January as well.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

License to Lillard - again...
c/o USA Today via BasketUSA

The other day, Damian Lillard hits a game-winner against Detroit. Apparently, he was not finished yet.

With an appetizing matchup against fellow young superstar guard Kyrie Irving, the Weber State alum decided to light up the Q, ending it in dramatic fashion.

36 points. 10 assists. And the win.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Joe Johnson erupts in the 3rd
h/t to Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images via ESPN

The Brooklyn Nets and the third quarter have never really been great bedfellows, but on one night against the free-falling Philadelphia 76ers, Joe Johnson reminded everyone of the power of the phrase "He's on Fire" on NBA Jam.

On his way to putting up 29 points in the 3rd quarter, he tied a NBA record for 3-pointers in a quarter with eight. He finished with 37 points (on a league-high ten conversions from deep) as the Nets won for the fourth time in the last five games. It also moves the Nets from once being at the bottom of the Atlantic to just middling in third place in the division, and a game out of eight place in the postseason picture.

Oh, here is his shot chart from that period.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

License to Lillard

The Portland Trailblazers have been the surprise team of the season, relying on their shooting and surprising depth. But when the going gets tough, either the lean on LaMarcus Aldridge and the exploits of Damian Lillard, as seen here rescuing Rip City in OT. 

Now from NBA Stats, here is Lillard's career stats in the extension periods: 45 minutes, 43 points, 15/19 FGAs (*10/10 inside 3PT arc), 8/8 FTAs, +31 on the floor, and the Blazers tote a 7-1 record.

Friday, December 13, 2013

NBA releases 1st set of All-Star Balloting returns

The first set of returns from the 2014 All-Star balloting were released on Thursday, with LeBron James leading in the overall vote count.

James has the most overall with over 609,000 votes, around 2,000 more than Kevin Durant. Kobe Bryant, with just two games under his belt, is a far third with over half a million votes to his name.

If the starters are to be named today, the lineups would be James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in the frontcourt and Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving in the backcourt for the East, while in the West, it would be Durant, Dwight Howard and Blake Griffin comprising the front court with Bryant and Chris Paul in the backcourt.

Fans can vote via social media (including Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, et al.), as well as via the NBA GameTime app. Deadline for casting of votes is until January 20.


Eastern Conference


1. LeBron James (Mia) 609,336
2. Paul George (Ind) 489,335
3. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 424,211
4. Roy Hibbert (Ind) 208,369
5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 156,364
6. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 102,825
7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 75,229
8. Jeff Green (Bos) 55,912
9. Luol Deng (Chi) 54,340
10. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 51,738
11. Andre Drummond (Det) 51,351
12. Carlos Boozer (Chi) 48,745
13. Paul Pierce (BKN) 45,145
14. Brook Lopez (BKN) 37,153
15. Josh Smith (Det) 32,025


1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 396,279
2. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 365,712
3. Derrick Rose (Chi) 272,410
4. John Wall (Was) 124,851
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 99,464
6. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 80,889
7. Deron Williams (BKN) 44,282
8. George Hill (Ind) 42,536
9. Evan Turner (Phi) 33,605
10. Mario Chalmers (Mia) 32,996

Western Conference


1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 607,407
2. Dwight Howard (Hou) 295,120
3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 292,925
4. Kevin Love (Min) 275,506
5. Tim Duncan (SA) 217,271
6. Anthony Davis (NO) 149,579
7. Pau Gasol (LAL) 133,199
8. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 132,818
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 109,745
10. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 89,093
11. Chandler Parsons (Hou) 77,179
12. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 60,923
13. David Lee (GS) 60,015
14. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 55,023
15. Omer Asik (Hou) 53,827


1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 501,215
2. Chris Paul (LAC) 393,313
3. Stephen Curry (GS) 327,449
4. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 240,404
5. James Harden (Hou) 198,667
6. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 149,065
7. Tony Parker (SA) 112,423
8. Ricky Rubio (Min) 63,096
9. Steve Nash (LAL) 60,782
10. Damian Lillard (Por) 55,847

Steph Curry cooks up a comeback vs Dallas

c/o Ben Margot / Associated Press via Washington Post
Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors were having a tough time against the Dallas Mavericks.

The Mavs wanted to bounce back after being embarrassed by a shorthanded Sacramento Kings team a few days earlier.

And they did, they even erected an 18-point first half lead.

Curry was held scoreless in the first quarter and was limited to nine points at halftime.

But the Dubs found an answer in the second half, they managed to cut the lead and even take over it for a brief moment in the fourth quarter by Draymond Green.

Former Warrior Monta Ellis tied the game with a split free throw, setting up the drama for this one.

But that YouTube highlight above was a sliver of what he really pulled off in this game...

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Kobe Returns

c/o Nike Basketball

The buzz from yesterday's action was all about how Kobe will fare in his first game back with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Understandably, there was a lot of hype. They started it with this one on their Facebook page:

Then they had this when introducing him.

And of course, there is the game.

Kobe finished with 9 points on 2/9 shooting with 8 rebounds and 4 assists as the Lakers lost to the Raptors, 106-94.

The road to redemption is set.

Japeth Aguilar saves Ginebra

c/o InterAKTV's Paolo Papa

How did we get here: Barangay Ginebra is down a point after Larry Fonacier nails a baseline jumper with 22.9 seconds left to give Talk 'N Text the lead. Ato Agustin uses a timeout, intending for LA Tenorio and Japeth Aguilar to work together on a pick or screen and roll situation. It's a familiar thing to see, since they played together for SMART-Gilas Pilipinas, after all.

Let's proceed from there, shall we.

Japeth finished with 21 points, 12 rebounds, and 7 blocks in a game that left us all awe-struck from Sunday night until now.

Carnival and Miami Heat follow-up on their Yolanda pledge

Carnival Corporation plc and the Miami HEAT announced a week ago that its pledge to support relief efforts in communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines will exceed $1.5 million, more than a $500,000 increase from its original pledge.

They had previously announced that the organization/s will pick and choose which charities the money will be allocated to:

UNICEF is to receive $500,000. Save the Children is to receive $300,000 (that includes a $50,000 donation from P&O Cruises Australia). Direct Relief is to receive $250,000. The International Red Cross is to receive $150,000 (that includes donations from P&O Cruises UK, Princess Cruises and Cunard), while the International Medical Corps is to receive $50,000 (donation from Princess Cruises).

In addition, nearly $350,000 funds (including $100,000 worth of grants from Carnival Cruise Lines and the Costa Group) have been made available to support Filipino employees (and their families) who were affected by the supertyphoon. This is of course, separate from the other local and independent fundraising initiatives being made.

According to Micky Arison, who owns the Heat and serves as the chairman of Carnival Corporation, plc., "The typhoon in the Philippines caused massive destruction, having a tragic impact on people and families there, including those members of our extended Carnival family who reside in the region. We evaluated a number of worthy organizations that are doing fantastic work in the Philippines and elected to go with these special organizations that are doing extraordinary relief work.”

Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra adds, "It is vitally important that we do everything possible to help those impacted by this tragedy. My thanks and appreciation to Carnival, Micky Arison and the entire Miami HEAT organization for their generous support and donations along with everything else they are doing to provide the critical relief that is so badly needed for so many people.”

Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Golden State Comeback

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez via ABC7

The Golden State Warriors were down, 75-48 to the Toronto Raptors, with 9:20 remaining in the 3rd quarter.

Then this happened...

From ESPN Stats and Info:

After falling behind by 27 points with 9:20 left in the third quarter, the Warriors outscored the Raptors 64-28 the rest of the way. Here's how the teams compared over the final 21:19.

Inside The Comeback - Final 21:19 of Game

Warriors Raptors
Pts 64 28
FG 21-37 10-28
3-pt FG 10-20 1-9
TO 3 8

To break that 64 points down, 42 of them came in the fourth quarter, with the remaining 22 coming in the third. In comparison, Toronto's fourth quarter meltdown saw them score just 15, one more than Steph Curry in the same stretch.

Here is the NBA's graphic of how they shot in the fourth quarter

Curry finished with 22 points in that final 21+ minutes of the game, with Klay Thompson contributing 15 (all on threes). David Lee added eight, while Andrew Bogut and Jermaine O'Neal each contributed six.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

ICYMI: Russell Westbrook will not be denied

Last time the Golden State Warriors and the Oklahoma City Thunder played, Russell Westbrook got out-clutched by Andre Iguodala.

This time, Westbrook made sure the Thunder are the victors.

The amazing understated thing about that play is that Westbrook pulled off a couple of neat feats to set up his game-winner.