Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

The Indiana Pacers signed 6-8 forward Ben Moore to a two-way contract today. He’ll mostly play with their G League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

Moore, who participated in Pacers’ training camp, has spent this season playing for the Mad Ants. The former SMU player has played in 24 games for the Mad Ants, averaging 11 points per game on 52 percent shooting and averaging 6.6 rebounds.

Charlotte Hornets head coach Steve Clifford has been medically cleared to return to coaching the team on a full-time basis.

Clifford will officially re-join the team starting with practice on Tuesday, Jan. 16, before returning to the sidelines on Wednesday, Jan. 17, vs. the Washington Wizards.

He has been away from the team since Dec. 6 to address his health. Hornets Associate Head Coach Stephen Silas served as the team’s acting head coach while Clifford was out.

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The Nuggets are 21-20 this season, being led in scoring by SG Garry Harris (16.9 ppg), PG Jamal Murray (16.1 ppg), C Nikola Jokic (15.7 ppg), PF Paul Millsap (15.3 ppg, though he’s been injured and played in just 16 games so far this season, and may return in February), and SG Will Barton (14.5 ppg, mostly off the bench. But right after Barton is young power forward Trey Lyles. Now in his third NBA season, Lyles in just 19.9 minutes per game is putting up 10.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Solid backup numbers. Here’s the Denver Post with more:

At the start of the season, Trey Lyles was the odd man out amongst Denver’s crowded frontcourt. But since Paul Millsap went down, Lyles has used his versatile inside-outside game and admirable work ethic to thrive as the Nuggets’ first big man off the bench. While playing both forward spots and center, Lyles has compiled 13 consecutive double-figure scoring outings while also averaging 7.5 rebounds per game during that span. His emergence is partially why Kenneth Faried has essentially been pushed out of Denver’s rotation. A tip of the cap here should also go to Torrey Craig, who has parlayed a career in Australia into an NBA two-way contract and, now, a rotation spot as a perimeter defensive stopper.

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Report: Dion Waiters to undergo season-ending surgery

The Miami Heat are having a very good season. With a 24-17 record, they’re 4th in the East, which is better than most observers expected. But they’re about to lose a key dose of backcourt scoring.

According to a report by Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports, guard Dion Waiters, who has been out of action since December 22, “is expected to” undergo season-ending surgery on his injured left ankle.

Waiters’ stats aren’t mind-blowing: 14.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game, shooting just 39.8% from the field and 30.6% from three-point range in 30 games played. But he’s provided heart, hustle and a confidence that’s helped the team formulate a winning culture this season.

According to the Palm Beach Post, “The Heat are 7-2 since Waiters was injured (8-2 including the Dallas game in which Waiters played 8:34 before being injured) and have picked it up offensively. In the last 10 games, Miami is averaging 104.3 points and shooting 46.4 percent as opposed to 99.9 points on 45.2 percent shooting the first 31.”

 

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The Wizards currently have the fifth best record in the Eastern conference, behind the Miami Heat. Solid. But more was expected from a team that brought back last year’s roster and should presumably be improving, not staying the same. Here’s the Washington Post reporting:

But now that the 2017-18 Wizards have reached the crossroads of the regular season, they look strikingly similar — or only slightly better, in some instances — to last year’s team.

The Wizards are 23-18, just one game better than last year’s pace despite the organization going all in on its belief that continuity with Wall, Beal and Otto Porter Jr. would lead to greater heights.

Through the first 41 games, Washington has produced an offensive rating of 106.3, the 11th best mark in the league — the exact same number and ranking the team held at this point in the season a year ago. While the Wizards have shown marked improvement on the defensive end, ranking eighth in the league with a 104.0 defensive rating, that progress has not helped the team win more games.

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And here’s NBC Sports Washington with more:

The positive side is that the Wizards are comfortably in the Eastern Conference playoff race at fifth despite missing several key players at times due to injury. Wall has missed 11 games, Markieff Morris missed eight and Otto Porter has missed four.

Health has been a big difference between last year and this year. Last season they didn’t have any significant injuries to their starting lineup and after 41 games they were 22-19, a game behind their current pace. That team advanced all the way to the seventh game of the second round of the playoffs.

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Pelicans waive Jalen Jones

The New Orleans Pelicans yesterday waived forward Jalen Jones.

Jones was originally signed to a two-way contract by the Pelicans on August 2. He appeared in four games with New Orleans, totaling five points and three rebounds in 19 minutes. Jones has appeared in 17 G League games this season with the Greensboro Swarm and Texas Legends, averaging 19.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.2 assists.

New Orleans’ roster currently stands at 16, including one two-way player (Charles Cooke).

The Milwaukee Bucks yesterday converted guard Sean Kilpatrick’s contract from a two-way deal into a standard NBA contract.

The team also parted ways with Joel Bolomboy, waiving the forward.

Since signing a Two-Way contract on Dec. 18, Kilpatrick has played in five games with the Bucks. He’s averaging 5.2 points on 52.6 percent shooting, in 9.2 minutes per game.

Kilpatrick was waived by the Brooklyn Nets on Dec. 7 after averaging 4.9 points and 2.2 rebounds over 16 games.

Bolomboy played in six games with the Bucks this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.7 rebounds in 6.3 minutes per game. Bolomboy was also on the active roster for 10 games with the Bucks’ G League affiliate, the Wisconsin Herd, and averaged 15.0 points and 11.2 rebounds per game while shooting 54.3 percent from the field.

The Bucks roster now stands at 16 players.

Wizards lose competitive game to Bucks

 

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The Wizards dropped a competitive game to the Milwaukee Bucks last night, 110-103. The Wizards fell to 4-2 this season in the second game of a back-to-back.

The loss snapped a five-game home winning streak for the Wizards, who last lost at home to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 17.

Markieff Morris recorded his third consecutive double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Three-straight double-doubles is the longest streak of Morris’ career. Morris has also led the Wizards in rebounding for six-straight games now.

John Wall tallied 16 points and 16 assists in the game, a season high for assists this year. It was the most assists Wall has recorded in a game since his career-high 20 against the Bulls on March 17 last season.

The Wizards lost for the first time this season when all five starters scored in double-figures, Washington is now 5-1 in those games this season.

– Wizards Notes

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LaVar Ball is currently in Lithuania, where his teenage sons will soon be playing pro basketball against disgruntled 30-year-olds with something to prove. Like anybody else, he can watch Laker games on TV. But unlike almost anybody else, son Lonzo is a key part of the team and obviously has a pulse on the squad’s situation. Here’s ESPN.com reporting LaVar’s take on the current state of the team, who have lost nine games in a row and have the second-worst winning percentage in the league:

Ball, who was up at 5 a.m. local time Saturday to watch his son Lonzo Ball in his first game back with the Lakers since suffering a shoulder injury on Dec. 23, expressed his frustration with Walton in an exclusive interview with ESPN.

“You can see they’re not playing for Luke no more,” LaVar said from the spa resort in Birstonas, where he is staying while his two youngest sons get ready to make their professional debuts. “Luke doesn’t have control of the team no more. They don’t want to play for him.”

“That’s a good team,” he added of the Lakers, who have lost nine straight games. “Nobody wants to play for him. I can see it. No high five’s when they come out of the game. People don’t know why they’re in the game. He’s too young. He’s too young. … He ain’t connecting with them anymore. You can look at every player, he’s not connecting with not one player.”

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Lakers waive Andrew Bogut

Lakers waive Andrew Bogut

Andrew Bogut’s time with the Lakers is over. The young team, built for the future, waived the veteran center today.

Since becoming a Laker on September 19, Bogut appeared in 24 games, including five as a starter. He did little, putting up 1.5 points and 3.3 rebounds in 9.0 minutes per outing.

The team’s roster now consists of 16 players, including two Two-Way players.

The Lakers are a disappointing 11-27 this season, which is the second worst record in the NBA, just above the rebuilding Atlanta Hawks (10-28).

 

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The Trail Blazers are a modest 20-18 this season. A solid record, good for 7th best in the Western conference through Friday’s games, but not spectacular. More was expected. But not a lot more. There’s no reason to think this squad should be fantastic this year. But perhaps a bit better than they’ve been. Should that put the coach on the hot-seat? Not in our opinion. But as for the local chatter, here’s NBC Sports Northwest:

Amid chatter that Terry Stotts is on the coaching hot seat and in jeopardy of losing his job, several Trail Blazers players said their coach not only has the team’s attention and respect, but has become a rallying point for the players.

“We all know what’s going on,’’ veteran Ed Davis said. “The guys on the team, we read about it, and I know Coach does … that ‘Hot Seat’ stuff and things like that. Everybody sees it, and I know while I’m here, (along with) a bunch of the rest of the guys in the locker room, we are going to fight for Coach. Every night. There is no quit in us. He’s our leader.’’

The Blazers (20-18) are seventh in the Western Conference, but have a losing record at home (9-10), and have scuffled for much of the season with inconsistent, disjointed play that several times has led disgruntled Moda Center crowds to leave games early, and in exodus.

Stotts, who is under contract through next season, has become a lightening rod for fan discontent as the team has struggled offensively and at times looked unmotivated as it dropped games to bottom-tier teams like Atlanta, Brooklyn and Sacramento.

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Blazers Team Notes on Stotts

Now in his sixth season with the Trail Blazers, Terry Stotts was hired as the franchise’s 14th head coach on August 7, 2012. Stotts led the Trail Blazers to a 41-41 record in 2016-17 and has compiled a 243-205 record in fi ve-plus seasons with Portland. Stotts is the fourth-winningest coach in franchise history, and the fi rst Trail Blazers head coach since Mike Dunleavy (1998-2001) to reach the playoffs in four consecutive seasons (fourth overall in franchise history). Stotts was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month in March 2017 after guiding Portland to an NBA-best 13-3 record for the month. With Stotts at the helm, the Trail Blazers have ranked in the top-10 in scoring for each of the past four seasons (’13-14 to ’16-17).

The Knicks need Tim Hardaway Jr in action. He’s their main young building block aside from Kristaps Porzingis. Here’s the NY Daily News with the latest on Hardaway:

The $71 million guard, who has already missed five weeks with a stress injury to his leg, progressed Saturday to contact practice for the first time Saturday. He will be re-evaluated next week and is hoping for a return when the Knicks are on a Western Conference road trip from Jan. 17-26.

The 25-year-old said he’ll have another bone scan next week…

The Knicks are 7-11 without Hardaway Jr. and have lost seven of their last eight. More than anything, the offense has suffered without New York’s best transition scorer.

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Some recent Knicks game notes:

After Doug McDermott drained a game-tying triple to send the game into overtime, the Miami Heat regrouped and were able to outlast the New York Knicks on a Friday night 107-103 at AmericanAirlines Arena. Courtney Lee paced the Knicks with a game high 24 points on 9-16 shooting, three rebounds and two steals over 40 minutes. Michael Beasley continued his hot streak with 20 points, 10 rebounds, two assists and two steals over 23 minutes for a double-double. Kristaps Porzingis added 15 points and seven rebounds. Wayne Ellington led the Heat with 24 points and four rebounds off the bench. Josh Richardson recorded 18 points, three steals and two assists over 40 minutes. Goran Dragic added 19 points, six rebound and six assists over 40 minutes.

 

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The Warriors are 31-8, leading the NBA in winning percentage as well as in multiple important stat categories, and as good as expected. Draymond Green continues to be one of their key contributors. He’s described as a role player, but if a “superstar role player” is a real thing, Green is that. And he just crossed an amazing milestone, becoming the all-time Warriors franchise leader in triple-doubles, despite only being in his mid 20’s. For more, here’s NBC Sports Bay Area reporting:

Few guys in the NBA are as good as Green is at sensing what his team needs and finding a way to deliver it. Which is why he is, at [age 27], already the Warriors all-time leader in triple-doubles.

His 21st came Thursday night in a 124-114 win over the Rockets. The Warriors were without Kevin Durant, so Green provided 17 points and 14 rebounds. With Stephen Curry spending a fair amount of time at shooting guard, the Warriors needed another playmaker. So Green dropped 10 assists.

Add it all up, and he’s the franchise leader in a category that illustrates versatility. The Warriors are 21-0 when Green posts a triple-double.

“It’s not something I ever thought about or thought would happen, especially not playing much my first two years,” Green said. “It’s kind of crazy. But it’s definitely something to be proud of.”

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Gary Harris scoring big for Nuggets

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The Nuggets are 20-17 this season, good for sixth in the Western conference, narrowly ahead of the Trail Blazers and Pelicans. A solid record, considering they’ve been without new addition Paul Millsap for much of the season. Leading the team in scoring this season has been guard Gary Harris at 16.6 ppg. As for what he’s been producing lately, here’s the Denver Post reporting:

Gary Harris went 9-of-10 from the field in Wednesday’s first quarter against the Suns, unleashing a combination of “easy” cuts and finishes, jumpers from all over the floor and transition buckets.

So when Nikola Jokic glanced up at the scoreboard and saw 20 points next to Harris’ name, any initial surprise quickly subsided.

“I was like, ‘What?! That’s a lot,’ ” Jokic recalled after the game. “You see how he’s aggressive. That’s how he’s supposed to be.”

That was the start of the latest offensive gem for Harris, who went a blistering 14-of-17 from the floor Wednesday night to tie his career-high with 36 points. And that offensive gem was the latest example of the fourth-year guard’s blossoming offensive repertoire, which is now stretching well beyond his reputation as an outside catch-and-shoot threat and benefactor of backdoor passes from Denver’s big men.

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Judging by their season records, the Mavericks (13-26) and Bulls (13-25) are two of the less potent teams in the league. But a glance at recent play suggests that it’s worth looking a bit deeper: The Mavs play solid basketball these days when rookie Dennis Smith Jr is healthy and on the floor, and the Bulls have been a much better squad ever since Nikola Mirotic returned to action. They two teams face each other tonight. For more, here’s the Dallas Morning News:

The Mavericks have won five of eight since Dennis Smith Jr. has returned from injury. The Bulls are 10-5 since Nikola Mirotic returned from injury. He’s averaged better than 18 points and seven rebounds in 25 minutes per game during that run.

“He’s one of the best plus-minus guys in the league since then,” Mavericks’ coach Rick Carlisle said. “It’s really changed their team. They were playing well but losing a lot of close games until then. He’s just given them more juice, more scoring, he’s a deceptive rebounder and the efficiency is there. With him and (rookie Lauri) Markkanen, you got two of the stretch fours in the game. And they’re really good at what they do.”

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Growing process for young Lakers

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The Lakers through Tuesday’s games are 11-25, which is the second worst winning record in the league. They’ve got lots of young, undeveloped talent. Fun to see who develops. But there’s a lot of losing. For more, here’s the LA Times:

What young players such as rookies Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart, and second-year forward Brandon Ingram are experiencing now, their veteran teammates remember well.

“It’s tough when you’re a rookie; everybody hits the wall,” said Corey Brewer, who is in his 10th NBA season. “Mentally you’ve got to just figure it out. … They’re kids still in my mind. They’re kids. They’re gonna learn. We’re only gonna get better.”

Jordan Clarkson, in his fourth year, says his second NBA season was much easier than his first. Clarkson started getting significant minutes in January of his rookie year. He became a starter in his second season.

“I understand,” Clarkson said. “They’re coming fresh from college, their season probably would be over by now. Travel, everything probably catching up to few of those guys. You gotta learn what fits you recovery wise, how to take care of your body, eating, stuff like that.”

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Look. When it comes to the Sixers, we have no choice but to trust the process. That’s just how it is. As part of the process, each important Sixers rookie gets hurt, and then eventually they’re not hurt, and then I guess we’ll see what happens. How’s that for a summary? Just trust it. As for the latest, here’s NBC Sports Philly:

According to the team, Fultz is cleared to begin “the final stage of his return-to-play program.” This final stage for Fultz will consist of “gradual re-integration into team practices and training, complemented with additional conditioning work to support fitness readiness for gameplay.”

What exactly does that mean? Tuesday, Fultz played half-court 4-on-4 with his teammates at practice. He also played some 1-on-1 with Jacob Pullen and James Michael McAdoo and did individual skill work after practice, including pull-up jumpers from about 15 to 18 feet (see more here).

“I think he looked OK,” Brett Brown said. “I think everybody shouldn’t get too far ahead of ourselves in relation to what does that mean, but it is the most he’s done with me in a while. What I saw today was just encouraging to see him playing with his teammates, and playing live basketball.”

It’s not as if Fultz is on the brink of game action, but it’s the closest he’s been since he was shut down in late October.

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The Cavs are 25-12 this season through yesterday’s games, They’re led by LeBron James (27.7 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 9.2 apg, 1.62 spg and 1.03 bpg), Kevin Love (20.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg), Derrick Rose (14.3 ppg, though that’s only in seven total games played), Dwyane Wade (11.3 ppg, almost entirely as a reserve) and Jeff Green (10.8 ppg, entirely as a reserve). But Tuesday was a huge day: new point guard Isaiah Thomas made his long-awaited debut for the squad. And in the limited minutes he played, it was a complete success.

Here’s the News Herald reporting:

The Cavaliers played nearly half the season — 43.9 percent of it to be exact — without getting any return from their biggest dividend in the trade that sent Kyrie Irving to the Celtics.

The waiting officially came to an end Jan. 2 at The Q when 5-foot-9 guard Isaiah Thomas with 4:29 left in the first quarter entered a game for the first time since May 19 of last year when a hip injury prematurely ended his playoff run with the Celtics…

“It was a special moment,” Thomas said. “I hadn’t even played in a game, so you think I would have been here a few years and battled in the Finals with this team. It was special to have my wife and kids here to see that. That was genuine love right there”

Thomas scored 17 points and had three assists in 19 minutes in the Cavaliers’ dominating 127-110 demolition of the Trail Blazers. He looked at ease. He looked confident, and if he was rusty, he’s going to be fun to watch when he shakes the rust off.

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And here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting:

Thomas entered at the 4:33 mark in the first quarter to a standing ovation and 28 seconds later passed to former Celtics teammate Crowder for a layup.

Thomas’ first field goal was a 14-footer off a James assist with 1:11 to go in the quarter. His most daring play came at the 32.8 second mark when he drove for a layup, somewhat of a prayer heave, and was fouled by Al-Farouq Aminu as he went down behind the basket. Thomas converted the free throw.

Lue called a timeout at 9:32 in the second quarter to get Thomas out. At that point, Thomas had made 3-of-6 field goals, 1-of-4 3-pointers and his only free throw with one assist for a plus/minus of plus-7.

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The headline is no surprise. Of course a head coach will almost always compliment his own players, especially a young, talented rookie like Lonzo Ball. But the exact wording a coach uses when doing so is always of interest. The Lakers are 11-25 this season, which through Monday’s games is the second worst record in the league. Ball has a long way to go on his shot, but his rebounding, passing and overall court awareness is very impressive. He’s averaging 10.0 points, 6.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, 1.0 blocks and 1.4 steals per game. The shooting is an issue: 34.9% FG and 29.7% three-pointers. Still, an excellent rookie, as head coach Luke Walton is happy to explain. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball’s injured left shoulder will be reevaluated on Tuesday while the Lakers take a day off of practice…

“Whether he’s making shots or not, the way he plays the game of basketball makes us a better team,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said of Ball after Monday’s game. “Tyler and Josh [Hart] did a great job last night but, yeah, we missed him last night too.

“Zo’s someone that we believe makes big plays, makes winning plays, whether it’s a steal or throw ahead to end the run — whatever it is — he’s constantly making those throughout a game.”

Although possible, it’s unlikely that Ball will be cleared to play Wednesday against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

While his team was away, Ball underwent treatment.

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Knicks rookie Frank Ntilikina has shown some nice flashes on the defensive side of the floor. But on offense, he is very hesitant, and appears aware of his limitations in shooting the basketball. In 21.4 minutes per game so far this season, he’s averaging 6.0 points, 3.5 assists and 1.3 steals. But he’s shooting just 37% from the field, and that’s with pretty selective shot-taking. For the latest on him, here’s the New York Daily News:

Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is planning to increase rookie point guard Frank Ntilikina’s minutes, but explained his rationale on Monday as to why he will not just throw the 19-year-old in immediately with the starters.

“Sometimes it’s who meshes well with what group,” he said. “Frank is meshing well with our second group, Jarrett (Jack)’s meshing well with the first group. We see times when they do mesh with other group and it’s not so comfortable. It’s Frank’s continued work. He’s learning the teams in this league, the guys in this league, he’s going to get better as the season goes on.”

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