Heat take 3-0 series lead over Knicks

LeBron James scored 32 points, including eight straight to start the fourth quarter as the Miami Heat pull away late to take a 3-0 lead over the New York Knicks, winning 87-70 on Thursday night at the Madison Square Garden.

LeBron James led the Heat to an 87-70 victory, scoring 32 points, 17 in the final quarter. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

James had 17 points in the final period for the Heat, who held the short-handed Knicks to eight field goals in the second half and will go for the sweep Sunday afternoon.

Dwyane Wade added 20 points for the Heat and Mario Chalmers had 19, hitting consecutive 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, that put the game away.

Carmelo Anthony scored 22 points but shot 7-of-23 for the Knicks, who are playing without Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Iman Shumpert and needed a super effort from Anthony that he didn’t come close to providing.

The Heat won the opener by 33 points and took Game 2, 104-94 on Monday, when the Knicks’ biggest problems came after the game.

Stoudemire punched a fire extinguisher case in the arena and badly cut his left hand, needing surgery Tuesday to repair a muscle. He sat on bench with his arm in a sling.

Spurs Frontrunner to sign Diaw?

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

The Charlotte Bobcats and Boris Diaw have agreed to a buyout, making the versatile forward available once he clear waivers. According to league sources, the San Antonio Spurs might have emerged as frontrunner to sign Diaw.

Acquiring Diaw could be a coup for the San Antonio Spurs.

San Antonio is looking to bolster their frontcourt going into the playoffs, and getting a big man with Diaw’s talent should be a coup.

Earlier this month, Tony Parker expressed his interest of adding the soon to be 30 year-old forward to Spurs roster if he becomes available.

However, Diaw is clearly not in his best basketball shape at the moment.

In 37 games this season, including 28 starts, the former Bobcats forward has averaged 7.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.3 assists while shooting 41 percent from the field and a woeful 26.7 percent from behind the arc.

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Mills to join Spurs

Patrick Mills (#8) could give the Spurs immediate help at the point.

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

Patrick Mills has signed a contract with the San Antonio Spurs and could join the team within a week, pending the resolution of work visa issues.

“We had previously noted that Mills’ delay was a result of government work visa issues, so this should have been expected” said agent Aaron Goodwin.

Mills, 23, an Australian national who could be in line for immediate minutes backing up Tony Parker, is eager to resume his NBA career.

The former Portland Trail Blazer who last played in China during the NBA lockout, averaged 5.1 points and 1.5 assists in limited minutes during his first two NBA seasons in Portland. He is also a member of the Australian national basketball team coached by Spurs assistant Brett Brown.

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Spurs could make move at waiver deadline

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

The San Antonio made a good move last week acquiring Stephen Jackson in exchange for Richard Jefferson, it’s a deal that made more sense money wise.

Gregg Popovich and company has some work to do later this week at the waiver deadline.

However, roster tinkering won’t end with Thursday’s trade deadline. Playoff-bound teams including the Spurs will likely seek to add players who have been or will be bought out of their contracts before Friday’s waiver deadline.

A few players have been waived already, including Derek Fisher (Houston Rockets), Brian Cook (Washington Wizards), Ronny Turiaf (Denver Nuggets) and J.J. Hickson (Sacramento Kings).

The Spurs who currently hold the West second-best record, still need to add depth if they want to make a deep playoff push this season.

They have expressed interest in signing Patty Mills to replace T.J. Ford as the team’s backup point guard, but the development of the 23 year old guard’s signing has slowed down lately.

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Spurs’ Ford retiring

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball.

San Antonio Spurs backup point guard T.J. Ford abruptly retired Monday following the latest scare to his surgically repaired spine, which once sidelined him for an entire NBA season and hampered the dazzling promise that made him a college star.

Spurs' T.J. Ford chose to retire after his latest injury at the age of 28.

Ford told reporters that lying motionless March 7 on the court against the New York Knicks wasn’t the first time it had happened, and he decided to walk away while he still had a chance. He was playing just his 14th game in an injury-prone season when Knicks guard Baron Davis elbowed him in the back, knocking him to the ground.

The 28-year-old Ford didn’t move for several minutes and wobbled while being helped off the court.

“I think I succeeded at beating the odds, of being the little guy, making it to the NBA and lasting as long as I did. I think I achieved a lot.”

“If it’s anybody else, it’s just a regular play,” Ford said at a Spurs practice before Monday’s game against Washington. “But because of me and my condition, a simple elbow in the back has a different outcome than hitting someone else in the back.”

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Duncan won’t play elsewhere

Buck Harvey of Spurs Nation wrote this great piece about why Tim Duncan will stay in San Antonio. A MUST READ for all Spurs fans.

Tim Duncan has been the face of the Spurs franchise since his rookie year. He is one of the main reasons why San Antonio have won four (4) NBA titles.

Duncan won’t leave San Antonio as Peyton Manning did Indianapolis.

For one, Duncan won’t wear a suit and tie and field questions on live television.

He’d play until he was 60 to avoid that.

But he also won’t face what Manning did Wednesday, because everything is different for Duncan. From his sport to the economics to his franchise.

The Spurs will be careful this summer — when Duncan is as free as Manning is now.

The Colts made the right move this week. Various contractual and salary cap implications made Manning’s return to the Colts tricky, and Andrew Luck made it illogical.

But the Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay, was clumsy with an already combustible situation. He’s fired off tweets in the middle of the night, refuting both medical and media opinions, which is why he needed Wednesday’s press conference more than Manning did.

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All Star Parker is San Antonio’s Catalyst

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball

With San Antonio Spurs star guard Manu Ginobili injured for most of the season, the Spurs have manage to stay near the top of the standings with a 24-10 record.

Tony Parker has been the Spurs' difference-maker this season

Thanks in large part to Tony Parker who has been carrying much of the Spurs’ offensive load this season.

Parker made his fourth All-Star appearance in Orlando scoring six points, dishing out four assists and grabbing two rebounds in 12 minutes of action, and seem to enjoy the All Star weekend.

As the regular season resumes on Wednesday for the Spurs, Parker will be back to his task of directing and leading his team on offense.

With Tim Duncan at age 35 and slowing, and Ginobili these days spending more time in street clothes than in uniform, Parker has emerged as the lead horse of a team that still harbors credible NBA title aspirations.

“He’s been our everything,” said Duncan, who will miss the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. “He’s played MVP caliber, he really has.”

Ginobili put it even more starkly.

This is Tony’s team now,” he said.

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Parker wins 2012 All Star Skills Challenge

This article is cross-posted at Spurs Basketball

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker won the Skills Competition of the NBA’s All-Star Saturday night festivities.

Tony Parker won the 2012 All Star Skills Competition (Photo via NBA.com)

Parker was the only one of six participants to break 30 seconds in the first round (29.2) and this time of 32.8 in the final run on the obstacle course was better than Boston’s Rajon Rondo (34.6) and New Jersey’s Deron Williams (41.4).

The speedy Parker put together an impressive display on the skills obstacle course, which involves participants moving through a dribbling circuit, successfully throwing chest passes through a hanging tire and driving for a layup.

Williams, the 2008 winner, holds the record for the skills’ course at 25 seconds, but had trouble completing a pass in the final round on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Team New York, consisting of former Knicks star Allan Houston, current Knicks guard Landry Fields and Cappie Pondexter of the WNBA’s New York Liberty, won the Shooting Stars event.

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Bowen’s Long Climb to the Rafters

Ken Rodriguez of Spurs.com wrote this nice piece about Bruce Bowen’s journey to basketball success. A MUST READ for all Spurs fans.

Bruce Bowen was a major part of San Antonio's 3 Championship runs.

Bruce Bowen, retired Spur, is making news again. In the tail of an NBA comet named Jeremy Lin, Bowen garners noteworthy mention.

The story of Lin’s ascent from obscure Harvard grad to NBA phenom has spawned sidebars about the best undrafted players in league history. Every Top 10 list I’ve seen includes Bowen.

Unwanted out of Cal-State Fullerton, Bowen became one of the great perimeter defenders of all-time. Dismissed as a one-dimensional player, he led the NBA in three-point shooting in 2002-2003 and retired with three championship rings.

His No. 12 jersey will be hung next month in the AT&T Center rafters. The story of how Bowen secured a place in Spurs lore alongside The Iceman and The Admiral is remarkable. Behind the light of Bowen’s legacy is a journey that began in shadow.

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Parker makes 4th All-Star Game, Duncan snubbed

When the NBA announced All-Star reserves Thursday night, San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker found his name on the list, an accomplishment that pushes him further into rarified air in Spurs history.

Tony Parker will play in his fourth All Star game in Orlando later this month.

“It will be a great reward for my team and the whole Spurs organization,” Parker said.

However Tim Duncan, for the first time in his career, did not make the All-Star team. His omission not only snaps a string of 13 consecutive appearances, it ends a streak of 12 consecutive starts that was the longest in NBA history.

Only Bob Cousy (13) had a longer one.

By rule, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich could not vote for his own players while casting a ballot for the reserves, but he offered Parker a heavy endorsement in recent weeks.

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