Kurt Helin

Man convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father seeks hearing

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Attorneys for the man convicted of killing Michael Jordan’s father in North Carolina in 1993 and dumping his body in South Carolina say they have new evidence to bolster their request for a new trial.

The Charlotte Observer reports (http://bit.ly/1RZpEgE ) that court documents claim misleading testimony and misconduct by the prosecutor and jury helped wrongfully convict Daniel Green of murder. His attorneys have long argued that Green helped get rid of James Jordan’s body but didn’t participate in the carjacking.

They’re seeking a hearing on their evidence.

Green and his friend Larry Demery were convicted 20 years ago of killing 56-year-old Jordan along U.S. 74 near Lumberton. Both were sentenced to life in prison.

A jury found Green fired the fatal shot. The verdict has been upheld on several appeals.

Information from: The Charlotte Observer, http://www.charlotteobserver.com

Billy Donovan’s philosophy rest vs. rhythm: Players have the ultimate say

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SACRAMENTO — Gregg Popovich is playing his core guys against Golden State, but is resting them in other games. Steve Kerr would like to rest his core players more, but they are chasing history. Every coach with a team headed to the playoffs is struggling with the same question:

Rest or rhythm?

Thunder coach Billy Donovan played his core guys against Sacramento in the final game at Arco/Sleep Train Arena (a Kings win), but the decision on how much to use his guys the last couple weeks is something he is wrestling with.

“When you rest guys, you’re breaking a rhythm,” Donovan said. “And then all of a sudden you’ve got guys going into that game where players are rested that start when they don’t normally start, they log more minutes than they normally log, they’re in a role they’re not normally in, and then you’re asking them to go back to the way it was before.”

Donovan said there is a clear priority that drives their decision tree — health.

But that decision is made collaboratively.

“I always think you’ve got to put the players’ health first and foremost,” Donovan said. “I think that every team that’s going into the playoffs, the number one focus and goal is you want to go into the playoffs healthy. But not too far behind that is you want to be playing well….

“The decisions we are making are how many minutes have guys played? Do they need a rest? We really rely on them, on our medical staff, it’s a collaborative effort.”

In the end, everyone ways in, but it’s the players that have the hammer and make the decision (something Kerr is dealing with particularly).

“(Players are) going to have the ultimate say so, and what I appreciate about (Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook) is they have been open-minded to how they feel, where they’re at. So they are very involved…

“We played in Detroit (second night of a road back-to-back on March 29) and Russell said he felt great. We went back and looked at his minutes, our medical staff looked him and said he’s fine and if he wants to play he can play. They’re going to be heavily involved.”

Expect Westbrook and Durant to get a little rest before the playoffs start, because as of this weekend there are no more nights off.

LeBron James had monster slam against Bulls (VIDEO)

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The night didn’t go as the Cleveland Cavaliers planned — the Bulls won and kept their playoff dream alive for 24 more hours.

But LeBron James did have his moments, like this impressive slam that went around or over a few Bulls. LeBron finished with 33 points to lead all scorers, it just wasn’t enough.

LeBron James wanted to take potential game winner, watched Matthew Dellavedova miss instead

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It was a clean look.

But was there a better option?

The Cleveland Cavaliers were down two points to the Chicago Bulls with 8.7 seconds left when J.R. Smith missed a free throw and grabbed the offensive rebound. Smith dished to Kevin Love, who quickly moved the ball to an open Matthew Dellavedova, who took the shot and missed it badly.

LeBron — who was at the top of the key and the next pass — wanted to take that shot, he told Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Of course, LeBron wanted to take the last shot — he’s LeBron James, he should want to take that shot. I’d be worried if he didn’t want the rock under pressure.

The other question here is would you prefer the hot hand or the guy that’s been the better shooter all season? Dellavedova is shooting 12 percentage points better from three than LeBron, but Delly was 1-of-4 from three for the game while LeBron was 4-of-5.

It’s not like Dellavedova took a Kobe-esque contested jumper over a double team (or triple, in Kobe’s case), he took a clean shot. LeBron may be frustrated, but if you get an open shot under pressure you take it.

The Bulls won the game 105-102, keeping their very slim playoff hopes alive for one more day.

On nostalgic night, Kings send Arco/Sleep Train Arena out in style

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SACRAMENTO — It was deafeningly loud.

For one last time, the former Arco-turned-Sleep Train Arena sounded like a jet plane was taking off inside the building — just like it had been in the days that Chris Webber was powering in the paint and Jason Williams was dishing without looking.

Saturday night those same fans screamed when Scott Pollard fired them up before the start of the fourth. They cheered when 50 former Kings players took the court at the half. Those fans grew louder when the 2002 Kings were introduced — Mike Bibby, Vlade Divac, Doug Christie, Pollard and more of the best Kings’ team ever. Then the sound swelled to a roar when Rick Adelman’s name got called. They stood and cheered when Kevin Johnson — the former player turned Sacramento mayor that kept the team in town — was shown on the big screen.

There were countless cowbells being rung one last time. One more chant of “Sac-ra-men-to.” It was the Sacramento fans celebrating their history for one final night in the building that will now be retired.

It was also those fans celebrating one more win — Darren Collison hit a couple of big shots down the stretch that shook the old building like it was 2002. The crowd stood the final minutes of Sacramento’s dramatic 114-112 victory over Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder. It felt like old times.

“The building had electricity in it from the very beginning,” said George Karl. “It helped us. We rode the way of the crowd and the energy.”

Next season the Kings will move to a beautiful new building in the heart of downtown, one with all the amenities — better seats, sight lines, food options and wi-fi for the fans, not to mention much-needed locker room upgrades for the teams.

“I know one thing: the visiting locker room sucks…” said Rudy Gay with a smile. He had come to the arena as a visitor before joining the Kings. “When I used to come here and play it sucked. I’m glad that’s going to change for them.”

All those things with the new arena had to come to keep the Kings in Sacramento — something those fans fought for. That’s the future.

Saturday started out as a night for nostalgia.

“One thing about this building was, when we had really good teams and all that, it was loud,” said former Kings’ coach Adelman. “There was no building like it…. when we got it going, those people went crazy. The home court advantage was incredible. I remember that. Those were good times.”

“There’s been a lot of great history in this building, a lot of great players, a lot of great teams,” Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. “On one hand it’s probably starting a new phase, moving on to an arena downtown. You’re closing down a lot of memories in this building. When I had Jason Williams (at the University of Florida), and he was drafted and was playing here, I followed him closely just because Jason was there. That was a time when they were striving for an NBA championship, they were really close, they had a heck of a team. We were watching games on TV and this place was just electric, and it was alive, and it’s always been a hard place to play.”

At every break in the action Saturday — as well as before and after the game — Kings’ legends were on the court and taking part in the entertainment. Brad Miller in a tricycle race can be funny, and the fans soaked it all up.

“I was here four years, and they came out and cheered hard for four years,” said Spud Webb.

But as the game wore on and the Kings — who are just flat out better when Darren Collison plays instead of Rajon Rondo — hung with the Thunder, the fans wanted one more memory. One more win. The building was at it’s loudest all night when Collison hit a few key shots down the stretch, and when Gay hit the free throws that earned the win with a second left.

“The fans were amazing as always,” said DeMarcus Cousins, who fouled out of his final game in the arena, which just felt appropriate. “The energy in the building, all the legends in the building, the support, just a fantastic night all around…

“It shows the passion of this city, it shows the passion of these fans, the loyalty is there. You couldn’t ask for a more perfect place, in my opinion.”

Next year that passion will be on display in a much nicer, more comfortable building. It’s not going anywhere.