Archive for the ‘ NBA Teams ’ Category

Gary Harris scoring big for Nuggets

A post shared by Gary Harris (@thats_g_) on

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.

Full article

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.”

Full article

Growing process for young Lakers

A post shared by Los Angeles Lakers (@lakers) on

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.”

Full article

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.

Full article

A post shared by Cleveland Cavaliers (@cavs) on

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.

Full article

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.

Full article

 

 

A post shared by Lonzo Ball (@zo) on

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.

Full article

 

A post shared by Frank Ntilikina (@frank_ntilikina) on

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.”

Full article

A post shared by James Harden (@jharden13) on

The Rockets are about to face a serious test in the coming weeks. News today came out that superstar guard James Harden suffered a Grade 2 hamstring strain during yesterdays game against the Lakers. He’ll miss two weeks of action, and then will be re-evaluated by the team to see if he’s ready to return.

There’s no guarantee that two weeks will be enough time for Harden to fully heal.

According to the Houston Chronicle, “The Rockets have gone 13-0 with the starting lineup available, but when Harden sits out - starting Wednesday in Orlando - P.J. Tucker will be the only player to have played in every game.”

The Miami Heat said goodbye to one player and hell to another yesterday, waiving Matt Williams Jr and signing Derrick Jones Jr. to a two-way contract.

Jones Jr., a forward/guard, played for Phoenix’s G League affiliate, the Northern Arizona Suns this season, and in 16 games (11 starts) averaged 15.4 points, 7.2 rebounds, 1.88 blocks, 1.8 assists, 1.19 steals and 29.1 minutes, shooting 48.5 percent from the field. He also played in six Phoenix Suns games this season, for a total of nine points, four rebounds, four blocks, three assists and a steal in 33 minutes of action.

He will wear jersey No.5 for the Heat.

Williams Jr. played in 16 games (all 16 were as a starter) in the G League with the Sioux Falls Skyforce this season, putting up 9.6 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.3 assists in 30.3 minutes per outing.

Raptors suspend Serge Ibaka one game

Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka has been suspended by the team for one game after a violation of team rules.

The suspension stems from an altercation between Ibaka and a Raptors team staff member after their December 27 game against the Thunder in Oklahoma City.

Raptors president Masai Ujiri: “Both parties have apologized. We’ve discussed this internally as a team, and we won’t be discussing it any further.” … “Now we’re focused on moving forward together, and we look forward to having Serge back in the lineup.”

Ibaka won’t play tonight (Friday) night against the Hawks.

When discussing Kevin Durant, we usually think of his scoring ability first, overall superstar skills second, and then maybe people stop and remember that he’s also a good defensive player. The guy has super-long arms and legs that flail around everywhere on defense. He’s a presence on that end of the court. And this season, maybe more than ever before. Here’s the San Francisco Reporting:

Count the reigning Defensive Player of the Year among those who think Kevin Durant should be the Defensive Player of the Year front-runner.

“If I had a vote, I’d vote for him right now,” Green said.

Long known more for his scoring than his defense, Durant is putting together his best defensive season to date. A player who had never averaged more than 1.6 blocks per game is second in the NBA behind Indiana’s Myles Turner with 2.3. With Stephen Curry out the past 10 games with a sprained right ankle, Durant has anchored a league-best defense.

Full article

Knicks play 16 of next 20 games on road

The Knicks are 17-16 this season, and still playing without Tim Hardaway Jr., who at 17.8 ppg (42.0% FG) is the team’s second leading scorer behind Kristaps Porzingis (24.6 ppg, 44.8% FG). Solid play so far. But a serious extended test now begins. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Now here are the Knicks (17-16), a game over .500, heading on the road again after a Christmas Day loss at home, the start of the minefield part of the schedule. Of the next 20 games, 16 are on the road — where the Knicks are a dreadful 2-10.

“The important thing is good teams bounce back quick,” center Enes Kanter said Tuesday. “We got three games coming up in four days, so you’re going to see how good of a team we are.”

By then, either the Knicks will have reassured their fans this season will not follow last year’s ominous path, or history will be repeating itself. They are trending in the wrong direction, having lost three of four, following a four-game winning streak. But last year’s team was an older group hampered by injuries and off-the-court issues. There was Derrick Rose going AWOL, the Carmelo Anthony/Phil Jackson feud. There have been no signs of anything like that from this team through 33 games.

“These guys are going to fight until the end of the season no matter what our record is,” coach Jeff Hornacek said.

Full article

And here’s NY Newsday reporting:

The Knicks benefited from a heavy home schedule early in the season and took advantage of it. The team is 17-16 after its Christmas Day loss to the 76ers at the Garden. But only two of those victories have come away from MSG, where the Knicks are 2-10 and have lost eight games by at least 12 points. They have played the fewest road games of any team in the league.

The team starts a three-game trip — its longest of the season to this point — Wednesday night in Chicago. From there they go to San Antonio and New Orleans. The always-confident Kanter said we will learn a lot about the Knicks over the next four days.

Full article

Clippers dominate in win vs Kings

A post shared by LA Clippers (@laclippers) on

The Clippers are 14-19 and should get power forward Blake Griffin back in action pretty soon. The Kings are 11-22 and pretty much just building for the future. The two sides did battle yesterday, and LAC came away with a convincing win. Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting:

The Kings, young and old, had a part in a 122-95 beating the Los Angeles Clippers handed them Tuesday night at Staples Center.

The Clippers had their way most of the night as Sacramento’s defense allowed season highs in points for a quarter (41 in the second), half (71 in the first) and be reserves(72)…

The Kings (11-22) watched Milos Teodosic post 10 assists, a season high for the rookie. Montrezl Harrell came off the bench to score a game-high 22 points, also his season high…

The Kings scored 30 points in the first quarter, but offered no resistance on defense. So while the Kings’ shots stopped falling, the Clippers continued to score at will.

Full article

The Pistons are 19-14 this season, which is the 4th best winning percentage in the Eastern conference. They’ve stumbled lately, however. The squad was putting up more wins earlier in the season. Although they’ve won two in a row, they’ve secured victories in just five of their last 10. And now guard Reggie Jackson is hurt. Results on his injury should be known today. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Detroit Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson will undergo an MRI Wednesday to determine the severity of the sprained right ankle he suffered during Tuesday’s 107-83 victory over the Indiana Pacers at Little Caesars Arena.

Jackson was injured with 5:25 to play in the third quarter, when he jumped to make a pass and landed on Myles Turner’s foot, twisting the ankle.

Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said after the game that X-rays came back negative.

Full article

The Raptors are 23-9, which is the second best record in the Eastern conference. The Thunder are 19-15, tying them for the West’s 5th best winning percentage - though OKC are on a five-game winning streak and have been recently playing their best basketball of the season. The two teams battle tonight in OKC. It’s a matchup worth watching. Here’s the Norman Transcript reporting:

The Toronto Raptors have run through the Eastern Conference with a similar core and thus, a similar type of isolation-heavy offense over the past few years. But the Oklahoma City Thunder’s next opponent will look different than many fans might expect come Wednesday night.

Even with players like point guard Kyle Lowry and binge scorer DeMar DeRozan carrying over, the Raptors have implemented far more motion into their offense this year. They’re taking 36 percent fewer mid-range shots. And lately, DeRozan, who spent the first eight years of his career dominating on long 2s, has taken his success to the 3-point line. He’s hit 13 triples over the past three games.

It will be a special task for OKC defensive stopper Andre Roberson, who has guarded DeRozan well historically, but who will have to deal with a different type of player come Wednesday.

Full article

The Heat are 18-16 this season, and winners of seven of their last 10 games. They’re led in scoring by Goran Dragic (16.4 ppg), Hassan Whiteside (14.4 ppg), Dion Waiters (14.3 ppg), Josh Richardson (12.2 ppg) and Tyler Johnson (11.5). The team got a boost yesterday as Whiteside made his return from injury. Here’s the Palm Beach Post reporting:

Hassan Whiteside returns to action for Heat

The Magic entered on an eight-game losing streak and Heat center Hassan Whiteside returned from injury.

It was supposed to be easy. But it wasn’t.

The Heat (18-16) rallied from a 10-point third-quarter deficit to defeat the struggling and shorthanded Magic 107-89 on Tuesday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami closed the game on a 60-32 run to make it look easier than it was against Orlando (11-24).

Whiteside finished with seven points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes in his return after missing 13 consecutive games with a bone bruise on his left knee. He spent the final 17 minutes and eight seconds of the game on the bench.

Full article

Utah Jazz City Edition uniforms

The Utah Jazz have released their final 2017-18 uniform design today, their “City Edition” uniforms.

The team describes the design as the result of inspiration from the natural beauty and wonders of their home state. And accompanying the new jerseys is a new alternate matching court design.Both the new uniforms and new court design will make their debut on January 30 as the team hosts the Warriors.

“Our family is proud to have the Jazz jersey represent various parts of the state we all love,” said Greg Miller, NBA Board of Governors member for the Utah Jazz. “This year we feature the red rocks and canyon lands of Utah where we have spent so much time as a family.”

The “City Edition” Jazz uniforms are the only ones with the word “UTAH” across the chest. The team says that the color range, including gold and deep burgandy, represent famous rock formations, canyons, vistas, etc. found throughout southern Utah.

Here’s the design:

It’s always fun to see how a star player performs against his former team. But that gift will not be presented to us on Friday. Here’s the LA Times reporting:

Friday night was supposed to a matchup between the new-look Clippers and former teammate Chris Paul, who requested a trade to the Houston Rockets last summer because he no longer wanted to be a part of the team’s future.

But that matchup will not happen because Paul is out after straining his left adductor during Wednesday night in the loss to the Lakers…

It just won’t be the same without Blake Griffin (left knee), Danilo Gallinari (partially torn left glute), Wesley Johnson (sore left foot) and Patrick Beverley (season-ending right knee surgery).

Besides Paul being out for the Rockets, they won’t have forward Luc Mbah a Moute (dislocated right shoulder). He joined the Rockets as a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Clippers. The Rockets also have listed center Clint Capela as doubtful with a bruised left heel.

Full article

The Celtics are a super-impressive 26-7 this season. Far better than anyone expected, considering one of their key stars, new addition Gordon Hayward, suffered a serious injury mere minutes into Game 1. Also impressive has been the play of rookie forward Jayson Tatum. Although he was a high draft pick, it’s still generally safe to assume that rookies aren’t ready to be serious contributors on winning teams. But Tatum has been an essential part of Celtics success. Here’s NESN reporting:

Jayson Tatum having excellent rookie season

Jayson Tatum has exceeded expectations in his rookie season.

The 19-year-old forward has been a mainstay in the Boston Celtics’ starting lineup throughout the season, and he’s become one of the leading contenders for the NBA Rookie of the Year Award. Through 33 games, Tatum is averaging 13.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per contest.

While Tatum seemingly has impressed in all facets of the game, his stellar 3-point shooting has been the biggest surprise. After being a 34 percent shooter from beyond the arc in his freshman campaign at Duke, Tatum currently boasts the league’s highest 3-point percentage with a 51.5-percent clip.

Full article

The Dallas Mavericks have signed guard Kyle Collinsworth to a two-way contract.

In a related move, the team today waived guard-forward Antonius Cleveland and center Jeff Withey.

Collinsworth (6-6, 210) has been with the Mavericks’ G League affiliate, the Texas Legends, for the past two seasons. He has averaged 8.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 30.1 minutes per game in 54 career G League games (34 starts). In 18 games (all starts) for the Legends in 2017-18, he averaged 11.4 points, 8.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 1.7 steals in 35.8 minutes per game.

Not selected in the 2016 NBS draft out of BYU, Collinsworth played for Dallas at the 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He spent the 2016 preseason with the Mavericks before being waived by the team on Oct. 22, 2016.

A native of Provo, Utah, Collinsworth played four years at BYU and averaged 12.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals and 30.9 minutes per game in 140 games. He was a three-time First Team All-WCC selection (2014-16) and set the NCAA career triple-double record with 12.

As a senior for the Cougars (2015-16), Collinsworth averaged 15.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 7.4 assists, 2.0 steals and 33.8 minutes per game en route to being named the WCC Player of the Year. The 6-6 point guard also tied the NCAA single-season triple-double record (set by himself in 2014-15) with six.

Collinsworth will wear No. 8 for the Mavericks.

Cleveland (6-6, 195) played in 13 games for Dallas in 2017-18, averaging 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds in 6.2 minutes per game.

Withey (7-0, 230) appeared in 10 games for the Mavericks this season, averaging 1.5 points and 1.0 rebound in 3.9 minutes per game.

The 2017-18 season marks the first year NBA two-way contracts will be implemented. NBA teams are allowed to have up to two players under two-way contracts who will spend the bulk of the season in the NBA G League and not more than 45 days with their NBA team.

Two-way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days they play in each league. Only players with four-or-fewer years of NBA experience are able to sign two-way contracts, which can be for either one or two seasons.

Basketball blog