Archive for November, 2017

Hassan Whiteside out with knee injury

The Miami HEAT announced today that center Hassan Whiteside will begin rehab immediately due to a left knee bone bruise. The rehab process will include a strength and conditioning program over the next one-to-two weeks.

Whiteside has appeared in 15 games this season averaging 14.9 points, 12.7 rebounds, 1.60 blocks, 1.07 steals and 26.8 minutes while shooting 58.1 percent from the field. Among league leaders, he ranks third in rebounding average and tied for ninth in blocks per game.

Terrence Ross out with multiple injuries

After further evaluation, including an MRI, Orlando Magic guard/forward Terrence Ross has been diagnosed with a sprained right medial collateral ligament (MCL) and a non-displaced fracture of his right tibial plateau, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced. Ross suffered the injury at the 4:38 mark of the second quarter during last night’s victory over Oklahoma City.

He will be out indefinitely and miss a significant amount of time. His return to play will depend on how the injury heals and how he responds to treatment.

Ross (6’7”, 206, 2/5/91) has played in all 22 games this season for Orlando (20 starts), averaging 9.0 ppg., 3.2 rpg., 1.6 apg. and 1.23 stlpg. in 26.2 minpg. He has scored in double figures nine times and had 20+ points once, including a season-high 22 points on Nov. 22 @ Minnesota.

Joe Johnson injury update

Joe Johnson injury update

The following is a team medical update on Jazz forward Joe Johnson:

Johnson re-consulted with a hand specialist on Tuesday and is showing progress to make a return. He will be reevaluated in two weeks. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Now in his 17th season, Johnson (6-7, 240, Arkansas) has appeared in seven games averaging 6.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 19.2 minutes per contest.

Teammates often get into it with each other during practices, but rarely are serious punches thrown, and even rarer do those punches actually land. But that’s what went down in Bulls practice earlier this season. Here’s ESPN Chicago with an update:

Nikola Mirotic accepts apology from Bobby Portis

Nikola Mirotic says he has accepted Bobby Portis’ apology and is hoping both he and the Bulls can move forward after a practice altercation between the pair last month. Speaking for the first time since an Oct. 17 fight with Portis that left Mirotic with multiple facial fractures and a concussion, the veteran forward made it clear that he feels he can coexist with Portis again in the future.

“We are teammates,” Mirotic said after Wednesday’s practice. “We are on the same team. Obviously we are fighting for this team. We both are going to do what we need to do to make it work. Yeah, I did accept his apology.”

Mirotic said he did not want to address events in the past and did not directly answer a question regarding whether the pair has actually sat down and spoken. When asked if Portis knew that he had accepted his apology, Mirotic responded that he would eventually.

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No Hassan Whiteside tonight vs Knicks

The Heat visit the Knicks in New York tonight, and they’ll be without one of their best players. Here’s the Palm Beach Post with the latest:

No Hassan Whiteside tonight vs Knicks

Heat center Hassan Whiteside, who missed practice Saturday because of soreness and swelling to his left knee, will sit out tonight’s game against the Knicks at Madison Square Garden because of the same lingering injury.

Whiteside, who missed five games earlier this season after banging knees with Magic center Nikola Vucevic in the season opener, has played just 40 minutes the last two games, none in the fourth quarter. Coach Erik Spoelstra has said the reduced playing time was not because of the knee but it was clear that Whiteside at times appeared affected by the injury.

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Pontiac Silverdome is being demolished

Any NBA or Detroit Pistons fans who have been around for a while know the Pontiac Silverdome. The Pistons called the Silverdome home from the late 1970’s through the late 1980’s. Well, that venue will soon be just a memory. Here’s the Detroit News reporting:

Plans are set for the public viewing and farewell for the demolition of the Pontiac Silverdome, which is scheduled to begin on Sunday.

The implosion at 8:30 a.m. will be the first phase in a yearlong demolition of the 400,000-square-foot former home of the Detroit Lions.

There will be a public parking and viewing area for the demolition at the Oakland County Water Resource Commission site at 155 N. Opdyke. Vehicles must be parked by 8:15 a.m.

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Knicks have logjam at center

The Knicks have roughly 47 centers, give or take. That’s too many. Managing the frontcourt rotation is tricky business. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

With Enes Kanter set to return from a three-game absence, the questions as to what the Knicks will do about their logjam at center continues to loom.

Primary backup Kyle O’Quinn earned three straight starts as Kanter sat with back spasms, while Willy Hernangomez got more than garbage time and Joakim Noah finally made his debut.

The 23-year-old Hernangomez, a member of the All-Rookie first team last season, averaged five points and 6.7 rebounds in 19 minutes during the stint without Kanter.

Noah, who was suspended for the first 12 games and inactive for the ensuing seven, received his first three minutes in a loss Monday to the Trail Blazers, scoring two points, blocking one shot, grabbing one rebound and committing one careless foul.

Jeff Hornacek was vague about how the rotation will take shape.

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NBA players need to show fight on the court in the form of competitive basketball. Not in the form of actual fighting. With that in mind, here’s the New York Daily News reporting on enthusiastic Knicks center Enes Kanter:

Enes Kanter urges teammate to fight opponent

Enes Kanter was warned by the Knicks and may even hear from the league about openly telling a teammate to fight the opponent.

“The front office told me I cannot say stuff like that,” Kanter confessed Tuesday following practice. “It’s a learning process. This is my second language. When I say fight it means compete, play hard, compete. You get a tech; you get a tech. They told me I cannot say stuff like that. I’m sorry about that. I’m sorry NBA, my fault.”

Following Monday’s loss to the Trail Blazers, Kanter said he told an unnamed teammate that he’ll pay his fine if he goes out there and fights with somebody. “It will get the energy up,” he said.

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Former NBA player Ben Gordon has been going through some things in 2017. There have been several incidents this year. Here’s TMZ Sports reporting the latest:

Ben Gordon reportedly arrested in Los Angeles

Ex-NBA player Ben Gordon was arrested in L.A. Monday afternoon — after allegedly roughing up a guy at an apartment building … and leaving with several thousand dollars of his money, TMZ Sports has learned.

Law enforcement sources tell us … the 34-year-old went to the apartment complex where he used to live in an effort to get his security deposit back. We’re told there was a dispute about the money and Gordon allegedly put hands on the guy and threatened him.

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Alex Len on bench for Suns lately

Alex Len is an interesting young prospect in Phoenix. But lately he’s been interesting while sitting on the bench. That’s not as interesting as being interesting on the court. You interested in this? Here’s the Arizona Republic reporting:

Alex Len on bench for Suns lately

This was supposed to be the season Alex Len showed off.

When Len didn’t get the free-agent contract he wanted over the summer and had to sign a one-year, $4.2 million qualifying offer from the Suns, he re-dedicated himself, working on his body to become stronger and, at the suggestion of the front office and coaching staff, trimming the fat in his game.

Forget the low-post moves or jumpers from the elbow. Phoenix wanted Len to do three things: defend, rebound and finish at the rim on pick-and-rolls.

“Simplify things,” Len said.

That’s exactly what Len has done. He’s averaging nine points per game on 48-percent shooting and pulling down a career-best 9.3 rebounds per game. At 36 minutes a game, his averages would jump to 14.1 points and 14.6 rebounds.

But there’s the rub. Len is averaging 22.9 minutes instead of 36. Recently, he’s become the odd man out among the Suns’ three centers. Len has not played in two of Phoenix’s past three games, the 119-108 loss to Minnesota on Sunday and the 113-107 overtime loss to Milwaukee last Wednesday. He sandwiched those games around 19 minutes in a blowout loss to New Orleans.

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Grizzlies fire head coach David Fizdale

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced that the organization has relieved David Fizdale of his head coaching duties. Grizzlies associate head coach J.B. Bickerstaff has been named interim head coach.

Fizdale was named the 13th head coach in franchise history on May 29, 2016 and compiled a 50-51 record (.495) during his two seasons in Memphis, including a 7-12 record (.368) this season.

“After a thorough evaluation, I decided a change in course was necessary to move forward and provide the team and organization its best chance at success this season and beyond,” Wallace said. “Coach Fizdale represented the Grizzlies and City of Memphis proudly, and we wish him well as he continues his career.”

“Coach Fizdale worked tirelessly to achieve on-court success, and for that, we are grateful. We wish him and his family all the best in the future,” Grizzlies Controlling Owner Robert J. Pera said. “We remain focused on achieving sustainable, long-term success.”

Before joining the Grizzlies as associate head coach in June 2016, Bickerstaff served five seasons (2011-16) with the Houston Rockets, originally as an assistant coach and then as interim head coach, guiding the Rockets to a 37-34 record (.521) to close the 2015-16 season with a berth in the 2016 NBA Playoffs. His previous NBA coaching experience also includes four seasons (2007-11) as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Timberwolves and three seasons (2004-07) as an assistant coach with the Charlotte Bobcats under his father, Bernie Bickerstaff.

Steve ‘Snapper’ Jones has died

Steve “Snapper” Jones, former Portland Trail Blazers player, team announcer and later NBA broadcaster, has passed away in Houston at age 75. Family members and friends confirmed Jones’ death this evening following a lengthy illness. Funeral services will be announced soon by the Jones family.

Jones played 64 games in a Trail Blazers uniform during the 1975-76 season, averaging 6.5 points per game in what would be his final year as a player. He was acquired by the Trail Blazers in October of 1975 for a sixth-round draft pick from the Golden State Warriors. The bulk of his pro career was spent in the American Basketball Association (ABA) where Jones was a three-time ABA All-Star and played for five franchises, including the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Rockets (now Nuggets) – both now teams in the NBA. His nine-year ABA/NBA pro career spanned 704 games, with an impressive 15.2 points per game average.

In more recent years, Jones carved a successful career as an NBA broadcaster, including providing color commentary for CBS Television when the Trail Blazers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 1977 NBA Championship. His broadcasting resume included work for ESPN/ABC, TBS, TNT, Fox Sports Net, USA Network and NBC, where he was an analyst for the “NBA on NBC” for more than a decade. Jones was also part of numerous Trail Blazers broadcasting tandems, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honoree Bill Schonely.

“Steve was as positive and good-natured a broadcasting partner as I could have had,” said Schonely of Jones, who would be a broadcasting fixture with the Trail Blazers for 26 years. “He loved to call me ‘Pops’ as a nickname, and we worked very well together on Trail Blazers games during some of the early years of the franchise. He was a terrific guy.”

In March 2012, Jones was honored at center court of the then Rose Garden arena (now Moda Center) by the Trail Blazers for his years of service to the franchise as a player and broadcaster. Among his Trail Blazers broadcasting partners along with Schonely were Pat Lafferty, Pete Pranica, Mike Rice and Mike Barrett. Jones moved to Houston in 2008 where he resided until his death.

As a collegiate player, Jones played for the University of Oregon from 1961-64, leading the team in scoring during the 1963-64 season. Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, but raised in Portland, Jones was a standout player locally at Franklin High School, leading his squad to an Oregon state championship in 1959. His younger brother Nick Jones, also a highly-touted player at Franklin and later Oregon, played for the Golden State Warriors and was a member of the Trail Blazers Community Relations staff for several years.

Celtics basketball is a beautiful thing this season. And the magic continued, err, against the Magic. Here’s ESPN.com reporting on the outcome of Friday’s matchup:

Before Friday’s visit to play the Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic coach Frank Vogel offered high praise for Boston big man Al Horford, calling him maybe the “most underrated guy in the league.” Then, his poor Magic team got a reminder of why Horford earned those plaudits.

Horford matched a career high by dishing out 10 assists, seven of which came in the first quarter, as the Celtics bucked their season-long trend of slow starts during a 118-103 triumph over the Magic at TD Garden.

Kyrie Irving scored a game-high 30 points over just 25 minutes, and Terry Rozier snapped out of a recent shooting funk to score a career-best 23 points off the bench. But it was Horford who set the tone after Celtics coach Brad Stevens subtly reminded his team that ball movement would be key to Boston’s avoiding the first-half lulls that plagued the Celtics even during their recent 16-game winning streak.

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Enes Kanter out with back spasms

Enes Kanter has done major work as a new member of the Knicks this season. Now his back needs a bit of a break. Here’s the New York Daily News reporting:

The Knicks were forced to shuffle their lineup and rotation Friday night because Enes Kanter woke up with back spasms.

The starting center - who often doubles as the team’s emotional leader - was replaced in the lineup by Kyle O’Quinn, but, more interestingly, the injury cleared the way for meaningful minutes from Willy Hernangomez.

It was the first time all season that Hernangomez was the first backup following his demotion to out of the rotation.

“I’ve been working hard every day, I’ve been doing what they told me to do. So now I have this big chance for me,” Hernangomez said before tipoff against the Hawks.

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Ben Simmons will miss game vs Magic

Star Sixers rookie Ben Simmons has a hurt elbow. Sounds minor. Hopefully, that’s the case. More will be known soon, but as for today and tomorrow here’s CSN Philly reporting:

The Sixers aren’t the same team without Ben Simmons, and on Saturday, they’ll see exactly what type of team they are this season without their 6-foot-10 point guard.

Simmons will miss Saturday night’s game against Orlando because of left elbow soreness. Simmons, the early Rookie of the Year favorite, is averaging 18.5 points, 7.7 assists and 9.1 rebounds.

The Sixers said, after reviewing footage from Wednesday night’s 101-81 win over Portland, Simmons appears to have suffered the injury at the 6:22 mark of the fourth quarter. He was in treatment during practice Friday and will be reevaluated Sunday.

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Sixers center Joel Embiid continues to provide fun to the basketball world, with excellent play on the court and fun quotes off of it. Here’s NBC Sports Philly reporting:

Joel Embiid sometimes looks like he’s having a party on the basketball court. It’s no surprise, then, he credits some actual partying with turning around his season.

Yes, that’s right. After Sixers practice Friday afternoon, Embiid said hitting the town in Los Angeles on the team’s recent road trip helped him out of a funk.

“All my close friends live in L.A., so before that, I wasn’t really doing anything, I was frustrated because I wasn’t in basketball shape and I wasn’t having fun on the court,” Embiid said. “So I won’t lie, I decided to go out, have fun a little bit. And that just kind of gave me the energy back, and the next game against the Clippers, I had more than 30 points [32], and then the following game I had more than 40 [46], so I think it’s just about having fun and making sure I can control what I can.”

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Jazz correct pronunciation of Ekpe Udoh

Jazz correct pronunciation of Ekpe Udoh

The Jazz have announced that the accurate pronunciation of Jazz forward/center Ekpe Udoh’s last name is “OO-Doe.” Many listings had the pronunciation as “YOU-Doe.”

Here are other pronunciation guides for other Jazz players:

Danté Exum (DAHN-tay x-umm)
Rudy Gobert (go-BARE)
Joe Ingles (ING-uhls)
Raul Neto (Hah-OOL Nett-oh)
Thabo Sefolosha (TAH-bo sef-a-LOW-sha)
Ekpe Udoh (EPP-ay OO-Doe)

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the Kings, who on national TV Wednesday beat the Lakers:

The much-hyped duel between rookie point guards did not serve as the main attraction.

Willie Cauley-Stein scored a season-high 26 points as the Kings ended a two-game skid with a 113-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday night at Golden 1 Center.

Zach Randolph had a season-high 22 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists for the Kings (5-13), who shot a season-high 55.3 percent.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers (8-11) with 20 points. Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points.

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Delon Wright out with shoulder injury

Delon Wright out with shoulder injury

Toronto Raptors guard Delon Wright visited specialist Dr. Riley Williams at the Hospital for Special Surgery on Wednesday in New York. After consultation with Williams, it was decided no surgery is required at this time, the team announced.

Wright will continue his rehabilitation with team medical officials. There is no timetable for Wright’s return, but updates will be provided when appropriate.

Wright’s right shoulder was dislocated in the second quarter of a game at New Orleans on Nov. 15th. He had surgery on the same shoulder in August, 2016 after sustaining an injury during an NBA Summer League game in Las Vegas.

The 25-year-old guard has averaged 7.6 points, 2.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists in 20.9 minutes this season for the Toronto Raptors.

Patrick Beverley undergoes season-ending surgery

The L.A. Clippers today announced that guard Patrick Beverley underwent an arthroscopic lateral meniscus repair, and a microfracture procedure, on his right knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. Walt Lowe at the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, in Houston.

Beverley is expected to miss the remainder of the 2017-18 NBA season.

Beverley, 29, has appeared in 11 games for the Clippers this season, averaging 12.2 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.73 steals in 30.3 minutes per game.

“The hits just keep rolling,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “That’s a tough one because you could see him trying to get back. He plays the one game and then his knee was really bothering him. We sent him back to have a look at it and he ended up having surgery, where we thought it would just be the meniscus. It turned out to be a lot more. So he’s out for the season. We just want him to get healthy.”

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