Archive for December, 2014

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has assigned guard Spencer Dinwiddie to the team’s NBA Development League (D-League) affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive.

Dinwiddie, drafted 38th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, has appeared in eight games for the Pistons this season averaging 3.0 points and 12.4 minutes per game.

Warriors destroy Sixers by 40 points

Here’s CSN Bay Area reporting on the Warriors, who have the best winning percentage in the NBA and yesterday had the pleasure of facing the 76ers:

This one was, for the Warriors, a case of a game playing out on the court as it does on paper. It was, to be kind, the result of a grotesquely unfair matchup.

Their 126-86 pulverizing of the profoundly awful 76ers Tuesday night was a matter of simple superiority at work. What was particularly noteworthy, though, was the way the Warriors finished the game.

They punctuated it with an authoritative performance by a bench squad that typically has given back much of the lead the starters have built.

“I was really pleased with the ball movement,” coach Steve Kerr said. “What made me most happy was the way our reserves closed the game. We’ve had some blowout wins where we didn’t close it right and got lethargic. Our guys really played through the final 12 minutes.”

Jazz assign Toure` Murry to D-League

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has assigned guard Toure’ Murry to the NBA Development League’s Idaho Stampede, the Jazz’s exclusive D-League affiliate. Murry is expected to be in uniform for the Stampede’s game Friday, Jan. 2 against the Bakersfield Jam.

This will be the second assignment this season for Murry, who was previously assigned to Idaho from Nov. 13-Dec. 2. In six games (five starts) for the Stampede, Murry averaged 14.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 2.3 steals in 31.5 minutes of play. Murry recorded two double-doubles, scoring in double figures in five of his six games and reached 20-plus points once. He has not yet appeared in a game this season for the Jazz.

Murry (6-5, 195, Wichita State) is the ninth different player in Jazz history to be assigned to the D-League, and the first under the new Jazz-Stampede single affiliation. Other players on the current Jazz roster with D-League experience include Patrick Christopher, Ian Clark, Rudy Gobert, Jeremy Evans and Steve Novak.

Al Jefferson injured, out at least four weeks

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson has been diagnosed with a strain of an adductor muscle in his left groin. Jefferson, who underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) earlier today, is expected to miss a minimum of four weeks.

In 32 games this season, Jefferson leads the team in scoring and rebounding with averages of 18.0 points (25th in the NBA) and 8.2 rebounds (T-17th in the NBA) in 32.2 minutes per game. The 6-10 center has scored in double figures in 28 of 32 games this season and has a team-leading 10 double-doubles along with a team-best 14 games of 20-plus points scored. He scored a season-high 34 points on Nov. 7 in the Hornets win vs. Atlanta.

The Miami HEAT announced today that they have assigned guard Shabazz Napier to their NBA Development League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce.

Napier has appeared in 25 games with the HEAT this season averaging 5.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 21.0 minutes while shooting 42.5 percent from the field. He scored in double-figures in six-straight games from November 16 through November 25, the longest such streak by a HEAT rookie since Michael Beasley did so in eight consecutive games from April 1, 2009 through April 15, 2009.

Napier was previously assigned to the Skyforce on December 13, appearing in one game recording 22 points, three assists, two rebounds and a steal in a, 124-105, victory against the Iowa Energy before being recalled on December 15.

Jazz guard Alec Burks out for season with shoulder injury

Alec Burks out for season with shoulder injury

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks, who has missed the last two games with a left shoulder injury:

After examination by the Utah Jazz medical staff it has been decided that Alec Burks will undergo a surgical repair on his injured left shoulder. The procedure will be performed by Jazz head orthopaedic team physician, Dr. Travis Maak, on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at the University of Utah. As a result, Burks will miss the remainder of the 2014-15 season. He is expected to be ready for the start of 2015 Jazz training camp.

“Alec’s long-term health has been our top priority throughout this process, and although it is unfortunate that we will be without his services on the court the rest of this season, we commend Alec’s commitment and continued effort to play through considerable pain to this point,” said Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey. “After continued consultation with our medical staff, Alec and his representation, we have unanimously agreed that it would be most prudent for Alec to have this procedure performed now in order to ensure that he will be healthy and ready for the start of next season.”

The 23-year-old Burks (6-6, 211, Colorado) appeared in 27 games (all starts) with the Jazz this season, averaging 13.9 points and career-highs of 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33.3 minutes. He also was shooting a career-high .382 from three-point range and .822 from the line while scoring in double figures in 22 of 27 games, reaching 20-plus points four times, and registered his first two career double-doubles. Prior to missing the last two games, Burks had seen action in 105 of a possible 111 games over the past two seasons, including 78 games in 2013-14. The fourth-year guard was originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (12th overall selection) of the 2011 NBA Draft.

The Los Angeles D-Fenders have acquired center Jarvis Varnado and a third round pick in the 2015 NBA Development League Draft from the Iowa Energy, in exchange for the D-Fenders’ first and second round picks, it was announced today by General Manager Nick Mazzella.

Varnado was drafted out of Mississippi State in the second round (41st overall) of the 2010 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, before signing with Carmatic Pistoia of the Italian Lega Basket Serie A, where he averaged 15.4 points, 8.9 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. The 6’9” center split the 2012-13 season with the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. From 2012-2014, Varnado appeared in 45 NBA D-League games for Sioux Falls and Iowa, making 44 starts and averaging 14.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in 31.1 minutes per game. Varnado was selected as an NBA D-League All-Star in 2014, before earning an NBA Call-Up from the Philadelphia 76ers, where he appeared in 23 games with averages of 4.3 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.

As a junior at Mississippi State, Varnado set the SEC single-season blocks record, passing Shaquille O’Neal with 170 blocks in 2008-09. Varnado was named SEC Defensive Player of the year in 3 consecutive seasons (2008, 2009, 2010), becoming the first player to do so. Finishing his career with 561 blocks, Varnado holds the record for most career blocks in NCAA Division 1 history. Varnado joins David Robinson as the only two players in NCAA history to tally 1,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 500 blocks in a career. In his senior season at Mississippi State, Varnado averaged 13.8 points, 10.3 rebounds and 4.7 blocks in 31.5 minutes per game.

Carmelo Anthony dealing with sore knee

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the 5-28 Knicks, whose star Carmelo Anthony is dealing with an issue of his own:

Carmelo Anthony dealing with sore knee

The Knicks are well on pace to finish with the worst record in franchise history, and it’s looking more and more as if Carmelo Anthony won’t make it to the finish line.

Anthony did not finish Sunday’s 101-79 blowout loss to the Trail Blazers, pulled at halftime by coach Derek Fisher after Anthony’s sore left knee acted up late in the second quarter.

Anthony stayed in the locker room and it hardly mattered as the Knicks were blown out from start to finish at the Moda Center. The Knicks fell to 5-28, losers of eight straight and 18 of 19 games.

Anthony would have sat out the game entirely after playing 45 minutes Saturday night had the club not been decimated by injuries. He played, and shot 5-of-14 for 13 points in the first half before Fisher pulled the plug on Anthony, who said his leg felt “heavy and weak.’’

Wizards begin road trip, starting in Houston

The Wizards begin their five-game road trip tonight in Houston. Washington will face five of the top nine seeds in the Western Conference while book ending the trip with two sets of back-to-backs.

Tonight’s matchup is the first of two meetings with Houston. The Rockets won last season’s season series 2-0. The two teams will meet again on Mar. 29 in Washington.

Through the first 14 games of December, the Wizards are 11-3 (8-2 at home). The Wizards are averaging 103.6 points per game on .482 shooting from the field during the month. Washington is holding opponents to 98.6 points per game on .440 shooting from the field.

Quick Hits

John Wall leads the NBA with nine games of at least 20 points and 10 assists.

Wall averaged 21.0 points and 12.0 assists in two games against Houston last season.

Wall is averaging 17.4 points, 11.7 assists and 5.0 rebounds while shooting .497 from the field in the month of December (14 games).

Kris Humphries is averaging 16.0 points and 7.5 rebounds in his last two games off the bench.

– Washington Wizards notes

Orlando Magic weekly notes

This week, the Orlando Magic will play a pair of back-to-backs sets this week, beginning tonight, December 29, in Miami where they will take on the Heat (7:30 p.m. EST). The team will return to Orlando for three consecutive contests at Amway Center as they host the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday, December 30 (7 p.m. EST). The Magic will start the New Year with back-to-back home games against the Brooklyn Nets on Friday, January 2 (7 p.m. EST), and the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, January 3 (7 p.m. EST).

Orlando showing improvement on the road: With their victory over the Charlotte Hornets on December 27, the Magic secured their eighth win away from Amway Center this season. Orlando has won twice as many games on the road in 2014-15 than they did during the 2013-14 season.

Magic start strong on the defensive end against Boston: On December 23, the Orlando Magic held the Celtics to only nine points during the first quarter, which is tied for the second-fewest in any first quarter in franchise history. The fewest points ever allowed during a first quarter is eight, set back on Nov. 23, 1994 vs. Houston and again on Apr. 22, 1999 vs. Miami.

Orlando’s marksmen among the best in the NBA: The Orlando Magic are shooting .377 (232-615 3FG) from three-point range in 2014-15, which ranks fourth in the NBA as of December 28.

Harris providing a consistent source of offense for the Magic in 2014-15: Magic forward Tobias Harris has scored in double figures in all 31 games that he has played this season (Oct. 28-present). This marks the longest streak of scoring 10+ points in his career. When Harris scores at least 20 points, the Magic are 7-5.

Vucevic gets his teammates involved: Magic center Nikola Vučević registered a career-high seven assists against the Cleveland Cavaliers on December 26 to go along with his 12 points and eight rebounds. Vučević’s seven assists ties him for the second-most in a single game by a center in franchise history.

O’Quinn turns in stellar performance against the Celtics: Magic forward Kyle O’Quinn registered 18 points and 13 rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting in Orlando’s win over the Boston Celtics on December 23. O’Quinn’s 18 points are the fourth-most he has scored in a game, while his 13 rebounds are tied for the third-most he has grabbed in a game in his career.

– Orlando Magic notes

Jonas Jerebko playing well for Pistons

Here’s Michigan Live reporting on the post-Josh Smith Detroit Pistons, who on Sunday handled the short-handed Cleveland Cavaliers in dramatic fashion:

Jonas Jerebko playing well for Pistons

The most direct beneficiary of the Detroit Pistons’ move to release Josh Smith last week already was playing well before it happened, but with more minutes entrusted to him, Jonas Jerebko has yet to disappoint.

Jerebko has played his most minutes of the season in the two games since Smith was released one week ago today, 28 Friday against Indiana and 27 in Sunday’s 103-80 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“It feels great to just come in there and move the ball, play with energy, play defense, and just share the ball,” Jerebko said. “My teammates trust me to make open shots and it’s just fun playing out there.”

Jerebko’s line against the Cavs was nearly pristine: 10 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal, one blocked shot, no fouls or turnovers, 4-of-8 shooting from the field, 2-of-3 shooting on 3-pointers.

Los Angeles Lakers add Tarik Black, waive Xavier Henry

The Los Angeles Lakers have been awarded center Tarik Black on a waiver claim, it was announced today by General Manager Mitch Kupchak. To make room on the roster for Black, the Lakers have waived Xavier Henry.

Black, an undrafted rookie from Kansas, appeared in 25 games (12 starts) for the Houston Rockets this season, averaging 4.2 points and 5.1 rebounds while shooting 54.2% from the field in 15.7 minutes per game. The 23-year-old Black was waived by Houston on December 26.

Henry appeared in nine games this season for the Lakers before suffering a ruptured left Achilles tendon in practice on November 24 that is expected to keep him out the remainder of the season. In his two seasons with Los Angeles, Henry averaged 8.7 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.0 assists over 52 games (five starts).

Here’s ESPN New York reporting some hard truths about several key Brooklyn Nets players:

Deron Williams, Brook Lopez struggling for Nets

They might be making a combined $432,604 per game, but Deron Williams and Brook Lopez are nothing more than sixth and seventh men right now, two max reserves coming back from injury and struggling to adapt to their new roles for the Brooklyn Nets.

On Saturday night at Barclays Center, Williams and Lopez looked like shells of their former All-Star selves. Williams shot 2-for-7 from the field and had three turnovers in 20 minutes off the bench, while Lopez missed all five of his field-goal attempts in 15 minutes and was held scoreless for the first time since Nov. 8, 2010 — the sixth game of his career.

“There are no excuses,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said after his team was pounded by the Indiana Pacers 110-85. “[Deron and Brook] didn’t play very well, and they have to play better for us to be better or for them to get more playing time and more consistent playing time.”

You want a strong statement from a head coach of a 13-15 team that is only alive and well because it plays its games in the Eastern Conference? Try that one.

No exact Ricky Rubio return date yet

Here’s the Minneapolis Star Tribune reporting on the banged-up Timberwolves, who can’t wait to get point guard Ricky Rubio back in action:

No exact Ricky Rubio return date yet

Christmas has come and gone, and Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio didn’t reach the target date he once set for his return from an ankle he severely sprained seven weeks ago.

He is back running and now refuses to prognosticate the date of his return.

“I wish,” Rubio said Saturday when asked if he knows when he will play again. “I’ve been saying it’s two weeks for the last month. I don’t want to say anymore dates. I’ve been saying in two weeks I think I’ll be ready and two weeks go by and I still can’t play and I get mad. I don’t want to get in a bad mood again. I’m not going to ask for a date again. I go as my body will let me do.”

For now, he can run and he did so with teammates for the first time at Friday’s morning shootaround in Denver, where he participated full-court running the team’s offense.

Hornets assign Noah Vonleh to D-League

Hornets assign Noah Vonleh to D-League

Charlotte Hornets General Manager Rich Cho announced today that the team has assigned forward Noah Vonleh to its NBA D-League affiliate, the Fort Wayne Mad Ants.

“We believe Noah would benefit greatly from additional game experience,” Cho said. “He will be able to get that playing time through this D-League assignment.”

Vonleh was selected by the Hornets with the ninth overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. The 6-10 rookie has appeared in four games this season, with averages of 2.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 8.0 minutes.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on the Heat:

Heat granted cap exception for Josh McRoberts injury

For the first time since July, the Miami Heat have more than pocket change to spend on personnel.

The NBA has granted the Heat a $2.65 million disabled-player salary-cap exception in the wake of forward Josh McRoberts undergoing knee surgery earlier in the week. The exception is worth half of McRoberts’ 2014-15 salary.

The move means an independent NBA physician has agreed with the Heat’s stance that McRoberts likely will be out for the balance of the season.

Should McRoberts, who has vowed to make the effort, return before the end of the season, the cap exception issued would not be impacted.

The exception must be utilized by March 10.

Kevin Durant health update

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on Thunder forward Kevin Durant, who is still recovering from injury:

Kevin Durant health update

On the night it occurred, Kevin Durant’s right ankle sprain was listed as ‘mild’ by the team. After the game in Oakland, he said he pushed to play the second half against the Warriors and hoped to play the next night against the Lakers.

But more than a week later, Durant still hasn’t returned to action. And the Thunder has made sure to let people know it is no longer listing it as a ‘mild’ sprain. It ended up being more significant than originally expected.

But that said, Durant does seem to be nearing a return, maybe as early as Sunday in Dallas.

Rondo, Mavs continue to adjust

Here’s the Dallas Morning News blog reporting on the Mavs:

rajon rondo

With every passing game, things get a little more normal for Rondo and his new teammates. He’s now had four games with the Mavericks and the Mavericks haven’t exactly set the world on fire – beating a Lakers’ team without Kobe Bryant and a San Antonio team without all five starters. But progress is measured in small increments and Rondo actually looked comfortable against the Lakers. Not just because he had a season-high 21 points, but he picked his spots correctly, hit 10-of-17 shots and also had seven assists to go with eight rebounds.

“He’s starting to run a great show,” said Dirk Nowitzki. “He’s starting to understand when he needs to be aggressive, when to shoot when they go under (the screens) and he’s obviously got the great passing gene that you need as a great point guard. So I think he looks pretty sharp and we got to get used to each other even more as the competition gets stiffer.”

Victor Oladipo ditches protective mask

Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting some happy news for Magic guard Victor Oladipo:

Victor Oladipo ditches protective mask

The best Christmas present Victor Oladipo received this year came from a doctor.

A physician gave the Orlando Magic guard permission to jettison the clear, protective mask that he had been wearing to protect the surgically repaired bones on the right side of his face.

Oladipo played without the mask during the Magic’s 98-89 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday night.

“I don’t have to wear it anymore,” Oladipo said. “That was my Christmas gift. So Merry Christmas.”

John Henson back in action for Bucks

Here’s the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reporting multiple good Bucks news — backup forward John Henson is back, and the team enjoyed a win Friday against a very hot Atlanta Hawks squad:

John Henson back in action for Bucks

John Henson missed being on the floor.

It’s evident the Milwaukee Bucks also missed the length, rebounds and shot-blocking skills of the 6-foot-11 Henson.

The third-year pro returned to the court Friday night after being sidelined 14 games with a sprained left foot, and he played a major role in the Bucks’ 107-77 drubbing of the Atlanta Hawks.

Henson contributed five points, five rebounds, two steals and two blocks in 18 minutes. He helped shore up a depleted Bucks front line that was missing Larry Sanders (illness) and Ersan Ilyasova (concussion).

“It felt good to get out there,” Henson said. “I’ve never been injured for as long a time and it kind of made me say, ‘I can’t take this for granted.’ “

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