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Celtics Break Up Their Fantastic Five by Sending Perkins to the Thunder – New York Times

Rivers said the same thing last year when Perkins blew out his right knee in Game 6 of the finals and the Lakers prevailed in Game 7.

Now, the Celtics will try to win a championship without the familiar five. On Thursday, the Celtics’ director of basketball operations, Danny Ainge, traded Perkins and the reserve guard Nate Robinson to Oklahoma City for 24-year-old Jeff Green, a 6-foot-9 forward, and the veteran center Nenad Krstic.

“They go down as never having lost a playoff series,” Phil Jackson, tongue in cheek, said Thursday.

The trade was the most significant deal engineered before Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports and confirmed by two executives briefed on the trade.

Many league executives took a cautious approach in the days leading to the deadline, with the uncertainty of the league’s expiring labor agreement and how trades could affect payrolls. Some teams sought financial flexibility while others tried to strengthen themselves for the playoffs.

The Houston Rockets were among the most active teams. They made a point guard switch — dealing Aaron Brooks for Phoenix’s Goran Dragic — and traded the defensive specialist Shane Battier to the Memphis Grizzlies for a former second overall pick, Hasheem Thabeet, and a first-round pick. Brooks will play behind the All-Star point guard Steve Nash.

The Clippers and the Cavaliers exchanged former All-Star point guards — Baron Davis and Mo Williams. The Clippers also received Jamario Moon in the deal and sent Cleveland what will most likely be a top selection in next year’s draft for taking on Davis’s salary.

In other moves, Portland acquired the former All-Star forward Gerald Wallace from the Charlotte Bobcats for Joel Przybilla, Dante Cunningham and two first-round picks.

The Celtics-Thunder deal could have the most impact on the playoffs. Perkins is a bullying center, an enforcer who started alongside four All-Stars. Now he will be asked to perform the same tasks alongside the young All-Stars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Many considered the absence of a quality center like Perkins a hindrance to the Thunder’s truly challenging the Lakers in the Western Conference.

Perkins has played in 12 games after extensive rehab and will be out at least another week after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Boston is gambling its interior players will get healthy. Shaquille O’Neal has been out with a strained Achilles’ tendon and Jermaine O’Neal has been sidelined most of the season (knee).

Boston sought perimeter help in Green, a forward with inside-outside skills. He is averaging 15.6 points and 5.6 rebounds and will be a restricted free agent after the season

The Celtics also sent Marquis Daniels to Sacramento for a future conditional second-round pick, and dealt Semih Erden and Luke Harangody to Cleveland for a future second-round pick.

Oklahoma City further solidified its frontcourt by adding Nazr Mohammed in a trade with the Charlotte Bobcats for D. J. White and Morris Peterson.

In a twist, Green played a side role in Boston’s re-emergence. The Celtics drafted him in 2007 and then traded him, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West to the Seattle SuperSonics, which became the Thunder, for Allen and Glen Davis.

BULLS EDGE HEAT Derrick Rose scored 26 points and Luol Deng hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer to lift the host Chicago Bulls past the Miami Heat, 93-89, in an Eastern Conference game that could have playoff seeding implications. The Bulls watched a 9-point lead in the fourth change into a 4-point deficit before winning. (AP)

KINGS MAY BE ON THE MOVE In the latest and perhaps strongest signal yet that the Sacramento Kings are considering a new home, the franchise filed a request for an extension on the N.B.A.’s March 1 deadline to inform the league if they intend to seek permission to relocate next season. (AP)

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Kirk Hinrich And Mike Bibby Continue NBA Betting Odds Shift – Casino Gambling Web

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Odds makers spent the early part of Wednesday attempting to find the right betting odds for the New York Knicks to win the Eastern Conference and a possible NBA championship. Just as they were finishing up those odds, the Deron Williams trade broke.

Williams was moved to New Jersey from Utah in a move that changed the gambling odds for both teams. The bettors who had New Jersey winning more games than their win total will be overjoyed with the Nets addition of a player that some analysts believe is the best point guard in the NBA.

Wednesday night provided yet another challenge for sports books. Kirk Hinrich was traded to Atlanta, and Mike Bibby ended up in Washington. The Hinrich trade is expected to help the Hawks compete for the Eastern Conference crown. All of a sudden, a conference that was viewed just last week as the weaker of the two, has emerged with some of the best talent in the NBA.

The Heat and Celtics appeared to be locks to make the Eastern Conference finals this season, but the Anthony and Hinrich trade may make the road through the playoffs tougher on both Miami and Boston. The Knicks provide the most dangerous path, with both Anthony and Amare Stoudemire capable of taking over a series.

Late Wednesday night there were several rumored trades still floating around that could alter the betting odds even more by the morning. Gerald Wallace was rumored to be on his way to Portland, but the Bobcats have denied that they are trading their star player.

The team that may benefit the most from the Anthony and Williams trades is the Los Angeles Lakers. L.A. has struggled at times this season, and they faced the prospects of playing either Anthony’s Nuggets or Williams’ Jazz in the first round of the playoffs. Now, neither team looks to have enough weapons left to derail the two-time defending champs should they meet in the first round.

February 24, 2011
Posted By Vincent Tapoglia III
Staff Editor,

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Knicks’ Stoudemire scores 29 in East defeat – New York Post

LOS ANGELES –Not that Amar’e Stoudemire needed to convince Carmelo Anthony any further, but the Knicks’ power stud put on a show last night in the NBA All-Star Game at Staples Center, racking up 29 points with six rebounds and a block in 28 minutes.

No wonder Carmelo Anthony would rather play for the Knicks than the Nets. “He played great, man,” Anthony said after the West hung on for a 148-143 shootout win. “Amar’e played great. If the East had won, he would’ve had a chance to be the MVP.”

The East made a huge rally in the fourth quarter, cutting an 17-point deficit to two points. LeBron James led the fourth-quarter charge with Stoudemire, who donned new white-framed goggles as he became the first Knick to start an All-Star game since 1992.

James tied Stoudemire with 29 points. Stoudemire notched 14 in the fourth quarter when he made all six of his free throws. Kobe Bryant won the MVP as he amassed 37 points. “You could tell Kobe from the start wanted to get the MVP,” Stoudemire said. “He was not passing the ball.”

Anthony was waiting on the Nuggets to decide whether they would trade him to the Knicks or force him to the Nets. Anthony said he’ll be a Nugget for Tuesday’s game “unless I look at my phone and have an urgent call.”

Asked about what he thought of meeting Russian owner Mikhail Prokhorov Saturday night in a Los Angeles restaurant, Anthony said, He’s cool, really cool.

“It was just some generic meeting the Nuggets allowed me to take but there was nothing specific,” Anthony said. A report suggested Anthony met with the Nets only so he could get permission to meet with Knicks officials.

Stoudemire shot 11 of 20, even hitting a 3-pointer late to slice the West’s lead to four. “We had fun, those guys scored about 300 points,” Stoudemire joked. “Defense was, (rather) the lack of defense.”

Asked about the Knicks-Nets competition for Anthony, Stoudemire said, “It’s probably good for the league basketball is coming back to New York or New Jersey. But the team we have, no, we are not too bad

“But you never know how things may end up here in the next few days.”

Stoudemire, who recorded a handful of power dunks, said, “My dunks aren’t as hard as they used to be. Blake [Griffin] is jumping over cars. My high-jumping days are over.”

Returning to the game he dominates after a one-year absence, Bryant added 14 rebounds in a spectacular performance in front of the usual celebrity-filled crowd that turns out to see his Lakers.

“It feels great, being at home here and playing in front of the home crowd,” Bryant said after receiving the MVP trophy. “This will be my last All-Star game in front of these home fans, so it feels good to do it.”

Kevin Durant chipped in 34 points, scoring five straight after the East cut a 17-point deficit after three quarters to two points with 2:34 to play.

LeBron James powered the East rally, finishing with 29 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists to join Michael Jordan as the only players with a triple-double in the All-Star game. Miami’s Dwyane Wade had to leave with an ankle injury after scoring 14.

Additional reporting by The Associated Press.

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