The current Orangemen are not the only Orangemen whose postseason plans were derailed this week. Josh Pace and the East Kentucky Miners were bounced from the CBA playoffs Tuesday by the Pittsburgh Xplosion. This was a “play-in game” between the two teams, so there is no second chance here. Hmm, sounds familiar. Pace scored just 17 points, well below his season average, and the question now is where will he go? Back to New Zealand, where the season started just two weeks ago? Insert himself into the mix in some other overseas league? Will he try to catch on as an NBDL free agent? Or maybe he will actually spend a few weeks not playing competitive basketball for a change….
The remaining former Orangemen playoff news is slightly better. Preston Shumpert had a whopping 32 points on 11-16 shooting to lead Besitkas to a tie against Red Star. Yes, a tie. This round of ULEB competition is decided in the same manner as was the last round, i.e. a home-and-home series where the team with the higher aggregate score after the two games gets to advance. Shumpert’s team was on the road in this first game, so pulling out a tie is a pretty good result. This means rather than worrying about margins, instead it will come down to “win and you’re in” in the next game, which will be played in Istanbul next week. (Road trip!)
Following up on last week’s post, I was able to get enough of a response from the Latvian Basketball League site to peek at Gerry McNamara’s stats in their league games to date. I will link to the box scores but if you choose to follow these links, be prepared to wait a long time for all the data to be transferred. In his first game (back on Feb 22) he scored 10 points in 7 minutes of action, hitting a pair of 2’s and a pair of 3’s in 6 total shot attempts. In his second game with the team (on March 4) he had 7 points in 21 minutes, and shot much worse (2-8). Since then they have had one more Latvian League game, an 40-point win on Tuesday in which Gerry did not play — I just assumed he’d sprained an ankle (it’s a safe bet at this point) until I realized that none of their American players participated in this game. I don’t know why though. Ventspils also played a Baltic League game over the weekend: Gerry was scoreless (0-4) in 17 minutes, but did have a steal and two assists. By the way, here is the logo of the team they beat by 40:
Let’s go Buks!!
And now, for your viewing pleasure, a quick rundown of the rest of the European/Asian results from last weekend:
- Otis Hill had 13 points, 5 boards, and 3 assists in a win Sunday. His team remains tied for 4th place in the league, but still losing the tiebreaker at the moment.
- Elvir Ovcina missed Telindus Oostende’s game over the weekend, and another one on Wednesday (a make-up game that was missed back in January) due to a shoulder injury. The team split th two games and are tied for first place in the league.
- Matt Gorman had 21 points, 11 rebounds, and 4 blocked shots Friday as Neptune rolled to an easy win in what appears to be their last game of the regular season. They have finished in third place in their conference — which is sufficient to get them into the playoffs. The next step is a 2-vs-3 matchup in each conference, while the first-place teams in each conference get a bye to the semifinals. Playoffs begin this weekend. Gorman ends the regular season averaging 23.7ppg, 11.9rpg, and 2.4bpg.
- Damone Brown had 4 points and 3 assists in a win Sunday.
- Ryan Blackwell had 23 points, 7 boards, and 4 assists Saturday, but just 7 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists Sunday as the 89ers split a pair with the Oita Heat Devils, and lost one game of their lead in the standings to Niigata who won both of their games.
Back here in the states, remember that NBDL game I was watching live last Friday? Iowa eventually lost the game. Demetris Nichols finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds; Darryl Watkins chipped in 8 points and 8 boards. They lost again on Sunday to Gerry’s former club the Bakersfield Jam. Nichols had 20 points, 2 rebounds, and 3 steals, while Watkins committed 5 fouls in 7 minutes and did not tally a single point (though he did manage three rebounds). Iowa got back to their winning ways on Tuesday with a victory over Damone Brown’s former mates the Sioux Falls Skyforce. Mookie showed up this time, contributing a double-double of 14 points and 13 rebounds, while Demetris poured in 25 points on 10-20 shooting.
As for the actual NBA, Carmelo Anthony and Hakim Warrick faced off against each other last night. Melo and the Nuggets got the better of the matchup. Carmelo scored just 14 points but also grabbed 13 rebounds in 30 minutes of action. Warrick had but 12 points and 5 rebounds, and had 4 fouls while getting abused by Kenyon Martin (I assume Hak was guarding him and not Melo). In his two games prior to this one, Hakim had 15 and 5 vs. the Celtics and just 7 and 2 against the Suns, in a game in which he was removed from the starting lineup (for matchup reasons I assume) and played just 15 minutes. Meanwhile, Carmelo had 25 & 8 in a win over the Spurs last Friday, 24 & 6 in a loss to the Jazz on Saturday, and 18 & 7 in a rematch with the Spurs on Monday which the Nuggets lost. Despite the talent on their roster, the Nuggets are beginning to lag behind in the ultra-competitive Western Conference playoff race. They may need to get hot, and soon, to overtake the teams in front of them, none of whom show any signs of collapsing at this stage.
Finally, Jason Hart has played a total of 5:30 in two of the Jazz’s last four games, and has not registered a single point (he went 0-2 from the floor and also from the foul line in the Nuggets game) or rebound. He does have one assist in that time frame. Etan Thomas participated in a full Wizards practice on Monday including 5-on-5 scrimmaging, although there is not et a timetable for his return to game action.