Drug dealer beaten at NBA star's home?

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Drug dealer beaten at NBA star's home?

From Comcast SportsNet Thursday, August 24, 2011

WEST LINN, Ore. (AP) -- A man who went to the Oregon home of Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph to sell marijuana said he was beaten with a pool cue in a dispute over the price of pot.

The man told sheriff's deputies at least three men assaulted him but Randolph was not among them. No arrests have been made, and authorities said none were expected on Monday.

Police identified the victim as 26-year-old James Beasley of Portland.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Sgt. James Rhodes said Randolph was in his home outside Portland when the beating occurred early Saturday. Beasley was treated for head and face injuries and released from a hospital later that afternoon, when he called police, Rhodes said.

Officers served a search warrant early Sunday. They spoke with 10 people in the home at the time and recovered pool cues and blood evidence. They did not find drugs in the home.

Rhodes said the evidence "was consistent with the victim's statement about where and how he was assaulted," and authorities were trying to figure out who was involved in the assault.

The victim told officers that he recognized Randolph and was certain he wasn't involved in the beating, but he didn't know the names of the people who assaulted him.

The victim said there were about 20 people at Randolph's home at the time.

Rhodes said detectives will probably ask Beasley to pick the suspects from a line up.

Randolph has not spoken to the officers based on the advice of his lawyer, Rhodes said. He didn't know the lawyer's name.

Attempts to reach Randolph have been unsuccessful. Nobody answered the intercom system at his gated home in West Linn on Monday. Two sport-utility vehicles drove away, and their occupants did not stop to speak with a reporter from The Associated Press.

The Grizzlies declined to comment.

There was no listed phone number for Beasley.

Randolph averaged 20 points and 12 rebounds per game with Memphis last season. He was drafted in 2001 by the Portland Trail Blazers and played there six seasons before being traded to New York. He was later traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, then to Memphis in 2009.

The Grizzlies signed Randolph to a four-year contract extension in April during the first-round of the playoffs. He became only their second All-Star during the 2009-10 season.

Randolph's past troubles also have included an arrest for driving under the influence of intoxicants after a police officer said he smelled marijuana in Randolph's car and a practice fight in which he broke former teammate Ruben Patterson's eye socket.

In 2009, he was suspended for two games for punching a Phoenix Suns player.

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

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Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

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Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

The pressure that comes with a tight game in the fourth quarter can be a weighty proposition for some NBA players.

Then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who continues to save his best work for the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s 107-106 win at Philadelphia had yet another Thomas-like finish for the Celtics as the 5-foot-9 guard was at his most dominant state in the game’s final minutes.

Thomas finished with a season high-tying 37 points which included a stretch in the fourth in which he scored 12 straight.

“I just love the fourth quarter,” Thomas told reporters following the win. “I just want to win. Whether it’s making plays for myself or making plays for my teammates, it’s about making the right play. I get ultra- aggressive in that fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve always done.”

And his teammates appreciate how Thomas elevates his play in the game’s most pivotal moments.

“A lot of the credit is to Isaiah, how he was able to finish the game tonight,” said Avery Bradley. “He was able to make shots when we needed him to.”

And while Thomas knows his shots won’t fall all the time down the stretch, his fourth quarter mentality does provide him with a level of confidence that no matter what the defense does to him or what the score may be, he can swing the game’s momentum in his team’s favor.

“Some guys get a little tight, they get a little timid (in the fourth quarter),” Thomas said. “I embrace it. I want to be great. I want to be somebody my teammates can call on when the game is close.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: There was no more dominant player on Saturday night than Thomas. He finished with a game-high 37 points along with seven assists.

Dario Saric: It was a breakout game for the 22-year-old rookie who led the Sixers with 21 points as well as 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Both his points and rebound totals tied his career highs in those categories.

STUDS

Avery Bradley: Boston’s surge towards victory did not kick in until the third quarter which is when Bradley elevated his play offensively. In the third he scored 10 of his 20 points on the night, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

Ersan Illyasova: He finished with 18 points which included a pair of three-pointers in the closing seconds of the game. He also grabbed six rebounds and two assists.

DUDS

Celtics first half defense: There wasn’t much to like about Boston defensively in the first half. The Celtics struggled to take away or limit Philadelphia’s only strength Saturday night which was three-point shooting. The Sixers nailed nine of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half in addition to hurting the Celtics’ transition defense which gave up seven fast-break points to Philly compared to Boston scoring just one point in transition.