Archive for March, 2018

It doesn’t take a long glance at the standings to know what’s on the line.

No, it’s not quite do-or-die, but it’s awful close.

The New Orleans Pelicans matchup against the Oklahoma City Thunder is the most important game of the season to date, and if the past two months of jockeying felt urgent, Game 77 of the season might as well be Game 7 in the playoffs.

At 5 p.m. Sunday in the Smoothie King Center, the stakes are clear.

A win would not only leapfrog the eighth-placed Pelicans ahead of the Thunder in the standings, it would provide the added advantage of jumping a team who it holds a tiebreaker advantage against. Currently, New Orleans owns the tiebreaker against none of its peers in the Western Conference jumble.

The Advocate

Klay Thompson set to return for Warriors

Warriors guard Klay Thompson is expected to return Saturday night at Sacramento from a fractured right thumb that has sidelined him more than two weeks.

“He just went through shoot-around fine,” Golden State head coach Steve Kerr said. “We’ll see how he goes tonight, but I’m assuming he’ll play.”

Thompson fractured his thumb during the second quarter of the Warriors’ March 11 loss to Minnesota, but continued to play, finishing with 21 points on 8-for-22 shooting and four turnovers in 40 minutes. He was initially ruled out for at least four games, though Kerr conceded at the time that Thompson was “probably looking at (missing) a couple weeks.”

SF Chronicle

George Hill out with ankle sprain

Cavaliers point guard George Hill will miss Sunday’s home game against the Dallas Mavericks after an MRI Saturday confirmed he suffered a sprained left ankle in Friday’s home victory over the Pelicans.

The Cavs gave no timetable for Hill’s return.

On Sunday, the Cavs will also be without shooting guard Kyle Korver, who continues to receive treatment on his sore right foot. Korver has not played since March 19, leaving the team as his 27-year-old brother Kirk passed away on March 20.

Akron Beacon Journal

The Houston Rockets have signed free agent guard Tim Quarterman for the remainder of the season.

In a related move, the Rockets have released forward Le’Bryan Nash.

Quarterman (6-6, 190) was called-up from the NBA G League’s Agua Caliente Clippers. In 11 games with five starts, he averaged 8.9 points, 5.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.

As a rookie with Portland last season, Quarterman appeared in 16 games and recorded career-highs of 10 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists in the Blazers season finale vs. New Orleans on April 12, 2017. He also averaged 11.2 points, 7.1 assists, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.7 steals in 22 games played while on assignment in the G League.

Quarterman will wear #55 for the Rockets.

After suffering an injury at the 11:50 mark of 2nd quarter of last night’s game against New York, Joel Embiid was initially evaluated in the locker room and later taken to Jefferson Hospital for further evaluation and testing. Immediately following the injury, Embiid was assessed for a concussion, was asymptomatic at that time, and passed the NBA’s locker room concussion assessment tool.

However, he later began experiencing symptoms, has since been diagnosed with a concussion, and has been placed in the NBA’s concussion protocol. Embiid also underwent a CT scan, which revealed an orbital fracture of his left eye.

Surgery will be performed in the coming days to address the orbital fracture, and further updates will be provided as appropriate.

The Orlando Magic have signed guard Rodney Purvis for the remainder of the 2017-18 regular season, the team announced yesterday.

Purvis (6’4”, 205, 2/14/94) has played in six games with Orlando, averaging 6.3 ppg. in 13.7 minpg. He has led (or tied) the team in scoring once and netted a career-high 19 points on Mar. 22 vs. Philadelphia. Purvis appeared and started in 39 games this season for the Lakeland Magic, Orlando’s NBA G League affiliate, averaging 20.5 ppg., 3.9 rpg., 3.4 apg. and 1.38 stlpg. in 38.1 minpg. He finished the season second in the NBA G League in minutes played and tied for fifth in scoring. Purvis led (or tied) the team in scoring 17 times and in assists 10 times. He scored 30+ points four times, including a season-high 40 points on Dec. 21 @ Westchester.

Purvis was selected to participate in the USA World Cup Qualifying Team training camp Feb. 15-20 and the G League International Challenge on Feb 18. After camp, Purvis was then selected to the 12-man team for the USA’s World Cup Qualifying first round, second-window games, including Cuba on Feb. 23 and Puerto Rico on Feb. 26 in Santa Cruz, Calif., where he averaged 13 ppg. in 23.0 minpg., while shooting 50 percent from the field. The FIBA World Cup Qualifying games are being used to qualify 31 of the 32 nations that will compete in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

Purvis played in 137 career games (100 starts) during four years at both North Carolina State (2012-13) and the University of Connecticut (2014-17), averaging 11.6 ppg., 3.0 rpg. and 1.8 apg. in 29.1 minpg. Last season, he appeared in 33 games (32 starts), averaging 13.8 ppg., 4.2 rpg., 2.5 apg. and 1.03 stlpg. in 36.9 minpg. As a sophomore (2014-15), Purvis led the Huskies in scoring during the postseason, averaging 17.8 ppg., and was named to the 2015 American Athletic Conference’s All-Tournament Team.

The Utah Jazz have signed guard David Stockton to a second 10-day contract.

Stockton has appeared in one game for the Jazz this season, tallying two points in three minutes at Golden State on March 25.

Prior to signing two 10-day contracts with the Jazz, Stockton played for the NBA G League’s Reno Bighorns, where he appeared in 39 games (15 starts), averaging 16.3 points, 5.2 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.8 steals in 28.2 minutes per game this season. He was also selected to the official 12-member 2017 USA Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team, coached by Jeff Van Gundy, where he saw action in two wins against Cuba and Puerto Rico, owning averages of 8.5 points, 3.5 assists, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 18.4 minutes per game.

The Spokane, Wash., native has additional NBA experience, signing a 10-day contract with the Kings on Feb. 20, 2015, and then to a multi-year contract by Sacramento on April 12, 2015. During his stint with the team, he saw action in three contests with averages of 2.7 points and 3.0 assists in 11.0 minutes.

Stockton has played in the NBA G League the past four seasons with the Reno Bighorns (2014-18), having averaged 18.0 points, 7.1 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 1.7 steals in 142 career games (106 starts). He was named to the 2015 All NBA D-League Rookie Second Team following his first professional season.

He has also competed internationally, having played with the New Zealand Breakers of Australia’s National Basketball League (2016-17), appearing in 10 games (six starts), averaging 8.3 points, 5.2 assists and 2.7 rebounds and Cedevita Zagreb of the Croatian ABA League (2016), where he averaged 13.8 points, 6.0 assists, 2.8 boards and 2.3 steals in league play.

Stockton was a four-year collegiate player at Gonzaga, appearing in 138 career games (39 starts), posting averages of 4.8 points, 3.1 assists, 1.6 rebounds and 1.2 steals in 19.9 minutes per game. In his senior season, he averaged 7.4 points, 4.2 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 27.8 minutes per game. He helped Gonzaga to four-straight NCAA Tournaments and earned 2014 All-WCC Tournament Team honors, helping the squad to a 2014 WCC Tournament Championship.

Memphis Grizzlies General Manager Chris Wallace today announced the team signed guard MarShon Brooks to a 10-day contract. In addition, the team waived forward Brice Johnson.

Brooks (6-5, 200) recently completed his third season with the Jiangsu Dragons of the Chinese Basketball Association. The 29-year-old started 28 of his 36 games and averaged 36.6 points, 7.2 rebounds, 5.7 assists and 2.00 steals in 37.6 minutes while shooting 51.0 percent from the field, 40.7 percent from three-point range and 80.7 percent from the free throw line in leading the Dragons to a 26-12 regular season record. He has averaged at least 35 points per game in all three of his seasons with the Dragons.

Selected with the 25th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft following a four-year collegiate career at Providence, Brooks has appeared in 164 regular season games (49 starts) during his three-year NBA career and has averaged 7.7 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 17.5 minutes for the New Jersey/Brooklyn Nets (2011-13), Los Angeles Lakers (2013-14), Boston Celtics (2013-14) and Golden State Warriors (2013-14). He was named to the 2011-12 NBA All-Rookie Second Team.

The Long Branch, New Jersey native also has played in the NBA G League for the Maine Red Claws (2013-14) and Santa Cruz Warriors (2013-14) and internationally for Emporio Armani Milano (2014-15) in the Italian Lega Basket Serie A.

Johnson (6-10, 230) has appeared in 21 games as a reserve during his two-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies and has averaged 2.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 5.1 minutes. The 23-year-old University of North Carolina product made nine appearances off the bench for the Grizzlies after he was acquired from the Detroit Pistons on Feb. 8.

Bulls waive Jaylen Johnson, sign CJ Fair

The Chicago Bulls signed forward CJ Fair today. And in a related move, prior to signing Fair the Bulls waived forward Jaylen Johnson.

This season, Fair (6-8, 218) appeared in 47 G League games (25 starts), splitting time between the Windy City Bulls and the Fort Wayne Mad Ants. On the year, he averaged 10.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 assists in 25.4 minutes per game.

The Atlanta Hawks signed guard Damion Lee to a second 10-day contract today.

Lee has appeared in five games (two starts) with the Hawks, averaging 10.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.2 steals in 23.7 minutes (.447 FG%, .375 3FG%, .800 FT%).

He’s also played in 38 games this season (13 starts) with the Santa Cruz Warriors of the NBA G League, putting up 15.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 1.5 steals in 29.7 minutes (.454 FG%, .915 FT%).

The Memphis Grizzlies signed guard Marquis Teague to a 10-day contract today. The move is a “Call-Up” from the NBA G League’s Memphis Hustle.

Teague (6-2, 180) started in all 47 of his games with the Hustle this season and averaged 17.6 points, 3.4 rebounds and 6.1 assists in 32.5 minutes while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 42.7 percent from three-point range and 78.2 percent from the free throw line. He has led the Hustle in total points, total assists and free throws made and attempted during the team’s inaugural season in the G League. In the month of March, Teague averaged 22.7 points, 3.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists in 34.7 minutes for the Hustle.

Selected in the first round (29th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft following his freshman year at the University of Kentucky, Teague has appeared in 88 regular season games (three starts) during his two-year NBA career and has averaged 2.3 points, 1.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 9.5 minutes for the Chicago Bulls and Brooklyn Nets. The 25-year-old has appeared in 161 G League games (125 starts) and has averaged 15.6 points, 2.7 rebounds and 5.7 assists in 30.8 minutes for the Iowa Energy, Oklahoma City Blue, Fort Wayne Mad Ants and Memphis Hustle.

The Indianapolis, Indiana native also has played internationally for Ironi Nahariya in Israel (2016) and BC Avtodor Saratov in Russia (2016-17).

Bulls sign Jaylen Johnson

The NBA season is winding down, but teams are still adding to their benches. Even teams that won’t be in the playoffs.

Today, the Chicago Bulls signed forward Jaylen Johnson.

Johnson (6-9, 230) has played in 49 games (37 starts) this season for the Windy City Bulls. He holds G League averages of 11.7 points, 7.6 boards and 2.9 assists in 29.0 minutes per game.

Here’s what the Boston Celtics say about Kyrie Irving’s knee procedure:

Celtics guard Kyrie Irving today underwent a minimally-invasive procedure to remove a tension wire in his left knee. The wire was originally placed as part of the surgical repair of a fractured patella sustained during the 2015 NBA Finals. While removal of the wire should relieve irritation it was causing in Irving’s patellar tendon, the fractured patella has fully healed and Irving’s knee has been found to be completely structurally sound. Irving is expected to return to basketball activities in 3-6 weeks.

The Lakers signed forward Travis Wear for the remainder of the season today.

Wear has averaged 4.8 points, 2.2 rebounds and 12.1 minutes in 10 games since signing the first of two 10-day contracts with the Lakers on March 2. Initially called up from the South Bay Lakers, the Huntington Beach native is shooting 40.0 percent from three-point range.

The Lakers roster stands at 16, including two two-way players.

Bulls guard Antonio Blakeney underwent an MRI today on his left wrist, followed by an examination by the team’s hand specialist, Dr. John Fernandez. Initially diagnosed with a left wrist sprain, the MRI confirmed that he sustained a non-displaced scaphoid fracture in his left wrist. As a result of the injury, Blakeney will miss the remainder of the season.

Blakeney incurred the injury in Chicago’s game at New York on Monday night. A two-way player who split time this season between the Bulls and the Windy City Bulls, Blakeney saw action in 19 games with Chicago and averaged 7.9 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 16.5 minutes.

The Dallas Mavericks have signed guard Aaron Harrison to a 10-day contract.

Harrison (6-6, 210) went undrafted in the 2015 NBA Draft and joined the Charlotte Hornets at the Orlando Pro Summer League. The Hornets signed him to a mulit-year contract on July 14, 2015. In two seasons with Charlotte, Harrison saw action in 26 games and averaged 0.7 points and 0.7 rebounds in 4.2 minutes per contest. He was waived by the Hornets on January 3, 2017.

This season, Harrison is averaging 18.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 26.9 minutes in 41 games while shooting .437 from the floor, .425 from behind-the- arc and .839 from the foul line with the Reno Bighorns of the NBA G-League. On Saturday, the shooting guard registered a 45-point effort in the Bighorns loss to the Oklahoma City Blue. In that game, Harrison knocked down 8 three-pointers while also collecting 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals.

The Richmond, Texas native was a two-year player at Kentucky and helped lead the Wildcats to back-to- back Final Four appearances. He played 79 games (78 starts) as a Wildcat and had career collegiate averages of 12.4 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 29.2 minutes per contest. As a senior at Fort Bend Travis High School, Harrison and his twin brother, Andrew, were both named McDonald’s All-Americans. Andrew currently plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Harrison will wear number 9 for the Mavericks.

Dwight Howard suspended due to techs

Charlotte Hornets center Dwight Howard has been suspended one game without pay for receiving his 16th technical foul of the 2017-18 season, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

Under NBA rules, a player or coach is automatically suspended without pay for one game once he receives his 16th technical foul during a regular season. For every two additional technical fouls received during that regular season, the player or coach will be automatically suspended without pay for an additional game.

Howard received his most recent technical foul with 10:48 remaining in the third quarter of the Hornets’ 111-105 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on March 21 at Barclays Center. Howard will serve his suspension March 22 when the Hornets play host to the Memphis Grizzlies at Spectrum Center.

The Atlanta Hawks have signed rookie guard Jaylen Morris to a multi-year contract. He was previously signed to consecutive 10-day contracts on February 28 and March 11.

Morris is averaging 4.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 16.4 minutes in six games with Atlanta after posting 12.6 points, 4.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.2 steals in 31.4 minutes in 39 appearances (all starts) earlier this season with Erie, the Hawks’ NBA G League affiliate.

Derrick Favors out with knee soreness

The Jazz (40-30) have been one of the hottest teams in the league of late, and are on a 9-game winning streak. Starting power forward Derrick Favors is contributing 12.0 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this season. The Jazz should be fine without his services against the lowly Hawks. Still, better that he be healthy, of course. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Atlanta’s own Derrick Favors won’t be facing his hometown Hawks on Tuesday night.

The Utah Jazz forward will miss the game with left knee soreness.

Favors isn’t the only one on Utah’s injury list: Backup point guard Raul Neto won’t be playing for the fourth consecutive game with a left wrist fracture and rookie center Tony Bradley is still in the concussion protocol.

Full article

Russell Westbrook has some big-name players alongside him in OKC this season, but he’s still been a one-man wrecking crew, and again flirting with a triple-double as a season average, after accomplishing that incredible task last season. For more on his 2017-18 campaign, here’s the Oklahoman reporting:

But even as Oklahoma City seeks to extend its six-game winning streak in Boston on Tuesday after an attention-grabbing triumph at Toronto on Sunday, Westbrook is a forgotten man in the MVP conversation. There’s talk about Anthony Davis and LeBron James and DeMar DeRozan and Kyrie Irving and Damian Lillard belonging on the ballot with Harden. Those guys deserve a spot in the MVP discourse. All of them are having great seasons.

But so is Westbrook.

He could average a triple double again this season.

Yes, the seemingly unattainable height that he scaled last season is reachable once again. Only Oscar Robertson and Westbrook have ever averaged a triple double for a season, and no one has ever done it twice much less in back-to-back seasons.

But with less than a month left in the regular season, the possibility grows by the day.

Full article

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