Hornets win NBA Draft lottery

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Hornets win NBA Draft lottery

NEW YORK -- New owner, and now a new star player coming to New Orleans.

And yet another loss -- in a historic season full of them -- for Michael Jordan and the Charlotte Bobcats.

The Hornets, recently sold by the NBA to New Orleans Saints owner Tom Benson, won the NBA's draft lottery Wednesday and the No. 1 pick overall -- which they almost certainly will use to pick Kentucky star Anthony Davis.

At least that's what the consensus college player of the year is expecting. Moments after the Hornets won the lottery, Davis said he was looking forward to playing professionally in the place where he led the Wildcats to a national championship in April.

The good news for the Hornets comes after a difficult season in which they traded All-Star Chris Paul.

"Just a first step for us to winning it all," Benson said in a TV interview after the lottery.

The Hornets moved up from the fourth spot, where they had a 13.7 percent chance, to earn the pick.

"Everything was surreal once they announced the fourth pick," said Hornets coach Monty Williams, who represented the team on stage. "I said, 'This is pretty cool.' I knew my wife and kids were home praying that things would go well and they did."

The Bobcats, after going 7-59 for the worst winning percentage in NBA history, fell to the No. 2 pick. Washington will pick third and Cleveland fell one spot to fourth.

Charlotte had a 25 percent chance of grabbing the No. 1 pick, but instead will have to take the best player after Davis, possibly his teammate, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

The team with the worst record hasn't won since Orlando drafted Dwight Howard in 2004.

"We will still take the best player available and when you win seven games you have a lot of holes," Bobcats general manager Rich Cho said. "From a competitive standpoint and for anyone who has played sports or been competitive, you want to win and be No. 1. We know we're still going to get a good player."

Cho and team vice chairman Curtis Polk said they hadn't heard from Jordan, the Bobcats owner.

"Being No. 2 isn't terrible. We'll be fine," Polk said.

The league bought the Hornets from owner George Shinn in December 2010 and the sale to Benson was completed in April. The NBA was criticized for the conflict of interest of a league owning a franchise, particularly when commissioner David Stern blocked a trade that would have sent Paul to the Lakers in December, then approved another that landed Paul with the Clippers.

The ownership uncertainty hindered the Hornets, but they were in a celebrating mood Wednesday after earning the No. 1 pick for the first time since 1991, when they were still in Charlotte and took Larry Johnson.

General manager Dell Demps said he pumped his first in the room where the drawing took place after seeing that the balls had been drawn in the Hornets' favor.

"When our combination came up, it was an exciting feeling," he said. "I got an incredible rush. ... We knew what the odds were. We hoped for the best. It was nothing we could control. We're just happy."

The Hornets, who went 21-45, also have the No. 10 pick. They played hard at the end of the season even as it reduced their lottery odds, winning eight of their final 13 games with a young roster.

"Obviously, we're very excited," Demps said. "This is a great day for the city of New Orleans, our fans. ... This is the start of a new beginning."

Though they didn't officially say it, it's expected to start with Davis, one of the most dominant defensive college players in years who was Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four even as he went 1 for 10 from the field in the championship game. He blocked a record-tying six shots and had 16 rebounds and three steals in the Wildcats' 67-59 victory over Kansas.

"Davis is not LeBron. He's not Tim (Duncan). But they were young once and Tim had four years of college," Williams said.

The Nets were the other big loser when they stayed in the No. 6 spot. They owed their pick to Portland for this season's Gerald Wallace trade unless they moved into the top three.

The Cavs beat the odds last year and moved up to take Kyrie Irving, the eventual Rookie of the Year, and tried to follow the same formula. Nick Gilbert, the 15-year-old son of owner Dan Gilbert, was back on the podium in his bow tie, and the Cavs' traveling party that included Dan Gilbert, and former Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar and current Browns players Josh Cribbs and Joe Haden sported the same dress.

But there was no repeat, as the Cavs went backward this time.

"Still feel very good about (number)4 pick," Dan Gilbert wrote on his Twitter page. "We are getting a great player there and good additions wour other 3 picks. I believe."

Sacramento rounds out the top five of the draft, to be held June 28 in Newark, N.J.

Chicago man steals the show at Oscars, gets gifts from hometown sports teams

Chicago man steals the show at Oscars, gets gifts from hometown sports teams

Leave it to a Chicago man to steal the show at the biggest awards ceremony on the planet.

Gary, an unsuspecting tourist who arrived on the Academy Awards stage as part of an elaborate Jimmy Kimmel gag, got the opportunity of a lifetime. Along with his fiance, he chatted up some of the most famous celebrities in Hollywood and even got Denzel Washington to preside over his wedding. 

Now, the internet sensation is getting some love from his hometown basketball squad. The Chicago Bulls tweeted an invitation for when he returns to the Windy City. 

Gary, who was rocking a purple iPhone case, will also be receiving a gift from the Bears.

Not bad for a vacation to California. Keep living the dream, Gary, but please don't let us find out that you're actually from the suburbs.

 

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

Dwyane Wade's near-miss of a triple-double caused by friendly Felicio fire

In a season where the triple-double has become commonplace to the point of stat chasing in the effort to chase history, Dwyane Wade didn't mind snatching his own piece of turf.

In a game where teammate Jimmy Butler reached the feat for the first time this season, it would've been doubly satisfactory for Wade to achieve the fifth triple-double of his career.

One rebound away in the final seconds of the Bulls' 117-99 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, the memo didn't reach Cristiano Felicio, who reached over Wade to grab a rebound, causing it to harmlessly fall out of bounds and ending Wade's chance at history.

After Wade finished with 20 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds in 34 minutes, he was asked if he "hated" Felicio for interrupting his moment.

"No hate. Just a strong dislike, though," said Wade with a wry smile. "You know how long it's been since I had a triple double? It's been a long time."

It's been six years, as his last triple-double came in the 2010-11 season with the Miami Heat, achieving the feat with a 22-point, 12-rebound and 10-assist performance against the then-Charlotte Bobcats on Feb. 4, 2011.

Even more than the statistical feat was Wade's variety, as he grabbed seven rebounds in the decisive third-quarter run that broke the game open, hitting Butler and Bobby Portis for long touchdown passes that would've had Jay Cutler or whichever quarterback the Cleveland Browns are banking on next fall, blushing.

Perhaps even more impressive was the fact it was on the second night of a back-to-back with the Bulls winning in overtime against the Phoenix Suns—a game where Wade turned it up late then threw it down over Alex Len in overtime.

"I think we just found our groove," Wade said. "We've had some injuries that have gone on but we're playing good basketball."

More pointedly, so is Wade, aided by him often finding Felicio for easy dunks on the pick and roll as they play second and fourth quarters together. 

Felicio was clearly bothered by his gaffe, which was made worse by the take-no-prisoners approach from Wade and Butler. When a member of foreign media approached him about an interview, Felicio said "you're not asking me about that last rebound, are you?"

Later in the evening, Felicio went to Twitter, posting "I did not know!!" in reference to Wade's night.

"I told him I didn't not even gonna act like I ain't mad at him. I'm very mad at him," said Wade with a laugh. "But he's all good. He said he didn't see me down there. So he took a shot at my height. It's cool. Jimmy had one. It would've been nice to have two triple doubles."

"I'm sure a stat would've came out that would've said, ‘Dwyane Wade and Jimmy Butler are the first duo to get a triple-double on a back-to-back since Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen', since they got every record around here."

He was close, although Jordan and Pippen didn't achieve their feat on a back-to-back but a random night in the 1988-89 season. Jordan scored 41 with 11 assists and 10 rebounds and Pippen had 15 with 12 assists and 10 rebounds in a 126-121 overtime win over the Los Angeles Clippers.

"We laugh about that often, but it's all good," Wade said. "I gotta work harder till I get another one one day."