Archive for November, 2018

 

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You remember guard Brandon Knight. He has talent. He played a few seasons each with the Pistons, Bucks and Suns. As recently as 2015-16, he put up 19.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 5.1 assists per game for Phoenix. Then got hurt in 2016-17 and hasn’t played since. Now he’s on the Rockets and hasn’t been heard from until pretty much right now, thanks to a big step in his eventual return. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Rockets guard Brandon Knight, who has been out since the 2016-17 season when he had knee surgery to repair a torn left ACL, took a major step in his comeback, playing for the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Rockets’ G League affiliate.

Knight, 26, had a follow-up surgery this summer, pushing back his return to the court after he was acquired along with center Marquese Chriss in the trade that sent Ryan Anderson and De’Anthony Melton to the Suns.

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Heat take break from Vice jerseys

 

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When something is broke, you fix it. Even if that means taking a break from wearing extremely cool jerseys. Even if losing games probably had nothing to do with which jerseys were being worn. Now that you have surely gained a wealth of clarity from those sentences, here’s the Miami Herald with a Heat update:

The Miami Heat has apparently given up on trying to win in the Vice Nights jerseys for now. The Heat’s Friday game against the New Orleans Pelicans was scheduled to be the seventh straight home game for Miami to wear its black alternate jerseys, but when the Heat arrived on the court — still the Vice-themed variant Miami has used — the Heat donned its typical red and black warmups. A team spokesman said the team made a last-minute decision to wear red, instead.

The Vice Nights jerseys drew plenty of attention for Miami, but also coincided with a recent home losing streak. The Heat (7-13) debuted the black, pink and blue jerseys Nov. 9 against the Indiana Pacers and haven’t won at AmericanAirlines Arena since. Miami is 0-6 while wearing the alternate jerseys

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And here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel on the situation:

The Heat had the Vice Nights black jerseys in their locker stalls during the media viewing period just an hour prior to Friday night’s game.

The team continued to play on the special Vice Nights court trimmed in pink and blue pastels, again opening with the team’s special Vice Nights introduction video.

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Nene set to make Rockets season debut

The Rockets aren’t off to a good start this season. Their defense has dropped off considerably from last year. Having Nene in action to add depth to the frontcourt should help a bit. Not sure how much. But some. Here’s the Houston Chronicle reporting:

Rockets center Nene is expected to make his season debut on Saturday against the Bulls, with the Rockets holding him out one more day on Friday in part because they are playing a back-to-back but also because he went through his most demanding practice on Thursday.

“The important thing is I feel better,” Nene said. “I feel good. I’ve been working. In the last two, three practices I did what I need to do to see the movement I’m going to use in a game, especially in my style, my game style. I feel OK.”

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Washington Wizards center Dwight Howard underwent an L4-L5 lumbar microdiscectomy earlier today. The team says the procedure went as planned with no complications.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Robert Watkins in Marina Del Rey, CA, and was recommended after consultation with Dr. Watkins and Wizards Director of Medical Services and Orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih determined that the disc herniation was causing severe nerve irritation and gluteal pain.

Howard’s progress will be re-evaluated in around two to three months.

Yes, the headline sounds like an attack on Jimmy Butler. It isn’t. It’s just a factual look at how the Timberwolves have been playing lately. Here’s the St Paul Pioneer Press reporting:

Since Nov. 10, the day the Timberwolves agreed to trade Jimmy Butler to Philadelphia, Minnesota has been the NBA’s best defensive team.

“We’re paying more attention to the detail, understanding what we have to do, watching film,” Timberwolves forward Taj Gibson said. “You’re seeing more guys watching film, pulling in the coaches (and asking), ‘What hand does he want to use? What hand doesn’t he want to use? What do you want me to do more?’ ”

Over their past nine games, including Wednesday’s 128-89 victory over perpetual nemesis San Antonio, the Wolves have ranked No. 1 in defensive rating (99.8 points allowed per 100 possessions), opposing field-goal percentage (41.8 percent), fast break points allowed (7.9 a game) and points allowed in the paint (40.9).

They’re also second in steals per game (10.1) and, most important, 7-2, since trading their best player.

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Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie has started zero of the 22 games he’s played this season, yet is 3rd in scoring at 16.0 ppg in 27.6 minutes per game for the 8-14 Nets. With the recent injury to Caris LeVert there has been even more pressure than expected on Nets guards, including Dinwiddie. But beyond that injury and focusing on the future more than the present, the Nets will soon have a huge decision to make. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

A week from Saturday, the Nets can give Spencer Dinwiddie up to a four-year, $47.5 million extension, and he hopes they do.

He prefers staying in Brooklyn to free agency. But even though the deal looks like a bargain for the Nets, it’s certainly no lock they make it.

“I’d love to have an extension. I’d love to be here for a long time. If I don’t get an extension, I’ll be looking forward to unrestricted free agency and going through the season trying to help the Nets win games as much as possible,” Dinwiddie said. “Either I’m going to sign an extension or I’m going to be an unrestricted free agent, simple as that. The ball is very much in [general manager] Sean Marks and the Nets’ court.

“Everybody knows what my extension number is: Four for $47 ¹/₂ million. … Can’t go above. It’s not like I’m really looking to go below. It is what it is. I’ll find out when you guys find out. We’ll either see something on the ESPN ticker that says ‘Spencer Dinwiddie offered $47 ¹/₂ million from the Brooklyn Nets,’ and then you guys will know how much money my bank account has at that moment in time.”

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The Celtics are a disappointing 11-10 so far this season. Not the start that was expected of them. Fortunately, it’s a long season, and if as the playoffs approach they start playing more like they contender they have the ability to be, October and November’s results will mostly be forgotten about. One bright spot so far has been the play of Marcus Morris. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

In the realm of predictions, perhaps only Marcus Morris could see this happening.

The Celtics forward, who became irreplaceable over the first 21 games this season as an off-the-bench scorer, has also emerged as the Celtics’ best two-way player.

And after Monday’s win in New Orleans, when the additions of Morris and Marcus Smart to the starting lineup helped galvanize one of the team’s few impressive performances this season, he may be part of a new-look starting lineup.

“May,” because when Jaylen Brown returns from back trouble (he’s expected to be a scratch tonight against Cleveland) there’s a chance Brad Stevens returns to his former rotation. The Celtics coach is clearly still weighing various rotational possibilities.

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Orlando Magic head coach Steve Clifford wants his squad to stop watching rebounds and to start grabbing a lot more of them. Here’s the Orlando Sentinel reporting:

The Magic have been out-rebounded in two consecutive games and Clifford wants his squad to be far more physical. The NBA has evolved into a perimeter-shooting league, which means there often are longer rebounds coming off the rim. But far too many times Wednesday, shots caromed off the rim and the Magic did not even have a player in the paint to battle for the ball.

“It’s hitting more, getting more guys in there. I know it sounds silly but if we got five guys in there fighting for the ball and they got three … I just showed them a couple of clips where it happened last night, where [if] we got everybody in there fighting for the ball, then we have a better chance to get it,” Clifford said. “It’s a major challenge for our team and we gotta get better at it.

“Say what you want, Lillard was phenomenal last night (41 points), both [Kevin] Durant (49 points) and [Klay] Thompson (20 points) were great at Golden State and if we rebound better, we win both of those games. We’re doing a lot of good things, but if we don’t get the rebounding stuff down, it may not matter.”

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Nuggets sign guard Brandon Goodwin

Nuggets sign guard Brandon Goodwin

The Denver Nuggets have been granted an injury hardship relief exception from the NBA and will use that exception to sign guard Brandon Goodwin of the G League.

Goodwin, 6-2, 180, has played in nine games with the Memphis Hustle this season, averaging 23.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.67 steals in 33.7 minutes per game.

Goodwin transferred to Florida Gulf Coast University after spending two seasons at the University of Central Florida. In two seasons with Florida Gulf Coast, Goodwin averaged 18.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.28 steals in 32.5 minutes per game. In 2018, Goodwin was selected as the Atlantic Sun Player of the Year, an AP All-American Honorable Mention and to the NABC All-District (3) First Team.

He will wear #6 for the Nuggets.

 

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The 10-11 Spurs have won just 3 of their last 10 games, and could some good news. Unfortunately, it won’t come in the form of a Pau Gasol health report. Playing just nine games so far, Gasol won’t be returning anytime soon, according to this report from the San Antonio Express-News:

Pau Gasol did not make the Spurs’ four-game road trip that ended Wednesday in Minnesota.

It could be a while before he is back on the court at all.

Further testing has revealed a stress fracture in the troublesome left foot that has already caused Gasol to miss the past 12 games.

The 38-year-old center had recently progressed to some on-court work before getting the disappointing news.

Well past his prime, Gasol plays a supporting role on the Spurs these days, but he’s still important and does a lot in very limited playing time. This season, his minutes per game have been a career-low 17.4, yet in that time he’s still putting up an impressive 6.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists on 51.2% FG. But it sounds like he won’t be back in action any time soon.

 

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Once an NBA player is in his mid 30’s, there is nothing surprising about retirement talk. The only exceptions to that would perhaps be if a player was still at his best yet talking about hanging the sneakers up earlier than expected, or if he was clearly all washed up yet insisting on playing many more years. The extremes. Anything in the middle, there’s no shock. Still, it’s always interesting to keep up with how players feel about their career wrapping up. Here’s NBC Sports Bay Area on Warriors veteran Andre Iguodala, who will turn 35 years old this coming January:

Andre Iguodala is counting down the remaining years of his NBA career. No need to count the days or weeks, because others have been doing that since, oh, about 2015.

“I’m going to be done soon,” he told NBC Sports Bay Area this week. “I could probably play a legit five more years, but I’ll probably max out at three more after this year – maybe three more.

“But if I’m not here, that will weigh heavily on what I will do. I possibly have another year here – if we win. That’s it. I know that. I’m fine with it.”

Possibly? Reminded that he is under contract for the 2019-20 season, at 17.2 million, the final year of the three-year, $48 million deal he signed in July 2017, Iguodala waves it off.

Since joining the Warriors in the 2013-14 season, Iguodala has yet to average double-digit points. But his defense and various intangibles as a veteran leader has definitely been helpful. This season he’s putting up just 4.5 points per game, but also a decent 3.1 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 22.8 minutes per game of playing time.

Here’s the LA Times with an update on the murder of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright:

More than eight years after the bullet-riddled remains of former Clippers player Lorenzen Wright were found in Memphis, Tenn., a trial date has been set for his ex-wife and another man charged with the killing.

During a hearing Thursday, Shelby County Circuit Court Judge Lee Coffee ordered the trial of Sherra Wright and Billy Ray Turner to start on Sept. 16, 2019.

“Unless there is some unavoidable act of God that makes it impossible to try this case, this case will be tried on that date,” Coffee told the defendants.

Lorenzen was a 6-11 center who played in the NBA from 1996-2009, spending real time as a member of the Grizzlies, Hawks and Clippers, while also playing briefly for the Cavs and Kings.

 

 

 

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Here’s NBC Sports Washington with a look at the 8-13 Wizards and center Dwight Howard, who has only played nine games this season, averaging 12.8 points and 9.2 rebounds per game:

With Howard, the Wizards have allowed their opponents to score 112.6 points and grab 43.7 rebounds per game. In their 12 games without him, Wizards opponents have scored 122.5 points and averaged 51.8 rebounds per game.

That means the Wizards are giving up nearly 10 more points per game without Howard than they are with him. That is a huge margin.

With Howard, they have been a mediocre defense and without him they have been historically bad. Their 118.2 points allowed average per game this season is highest in the NBA and already on pace to be the worst since the 1990-91 Denver Nuggets.

So far, the Wizards are only 4-5 with Howard. But they are 4-8 when he’s out of the lineup and they were out-rebounded in all eight of those losses.

The Wizards are off today. Tomorrow they play the Sixers in Philadelphia.

 

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The 7-16 Knicks are 30th in the league in field goal percentage. Considering that there are 30 teams in the league, there’s room for improvement there. They are 25th in three-point shooting percentage, so that’s slightly better. But shooting is an issue. While it’s a team thing, young guard Frank Ntilikina is scoring 5.9 points per game on 33.3% FG and 26% from three-land. For more on him, here’s New York Newsday:

A scoreless night in a one-sided loss on 0-for-5 shooting, which came a night after another scoreless night in Detroit, raised questions again about the progress and development of the second-year guard, a former lottery pick and now a mystery in the Knicks’ rebuilding plans.

A lost rookie season in which he missed summer league, much of preseason and then found himself buried by since-fired coach Jeff Hornacek led to this sophomore season. While new head coach David Fizdale arrived with a mandate to focus on player development, Ntilikina remains a project without a clear direction.

Ntilikina’s defensive skills are nice. His shot and offense are a work in construction.

Cavs, Jazz trade Alec Burks, Kyle Korver

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired guard Alec Burks and two future second round draft picks from the Utah Jazz in exchange for guard Kyle Korver.

The two draft picks that Cleveland is receiving in the deal are Utah’s own 2020 second round pick and a 2021 second round pick from the Washington Wizards via the Jazz.

“Kyle’s on-court accomplishments are well known,” said Cavaliers General Manager Koby Altman. “More importantly, though, Kyle is a great person and teammate. He sets an example in everything he does. His work ethic, character and dependability are all at a very special level and something we will always respect and be thankful for. We wish Kyle and his family the best as he continues his career back in Salt Lake City.”

“Alec is a young vet that’s versatile and talented,” said Altman. “We welcome him to Cleveland and we’re looking forward to him getting started with us soon.”

Burks (6-6, 214) has appeared in 17 games for Utah this season, averaging 8.4 points in 15.8 minutes per game. He has scored in double figures on six occasions in 2018-19, including a season-high 22 points in 27 minutes on Nov. 5 versus Toronto. Playing in his ninth NBA season, Burks holds career averages of 9.6 points and 2.9 rebounds in 20.8 minutes per game over 382 career contests (43 starts) with Utah. He also competed in the 2012 and 2018 NBA Playoffs for the Jazz, averaging 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds in 14.1 minutes per game through 13 contests. The 6-6 guard out of Colorado was originally selected by Utah with the 12th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Currently in his 16th NBA season, Korver (6-7, 212, Creighton) has appeared in 1,120 career games (422 starts) with Philadelphia, Utah, Chicago, Atlanta and Cleveland, owning averages of 9.9 points on 44.4 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point range, 3.0 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 26.0 minutes per contest. Named an All-Star during the 2014-15 season, the Pella, Iowa native currently ranks fourth all-time in NBA history for three-point field goals made (2,238). Along with Stephen Curry and Ray Allen, Korver is one of only three players in NBA history to hit over 2000 three-point field goals on better than 40 percent from beyond the arc in their career.

Korver appeared in 180 games during his first stint in Utah (2007-10), totaling 1,570 points, 468 rebounds and 294 assists, 95 steals and 65 blocks, also helping the Jazz to the postseason in each of his seasons as a Jazzman. He ranks second in Jazz history in three-point field goal percentage (.416) and third in free-throw percentage (.879). During the 2009-10 season, he shot 53.6 percent from three, which set an NBA single-season three-point field goal accuracy record.

Originally selected in the second round (51st overall pick) by the Nets, Korver won the 2014-15 NBA Sportsmanship Award, as voted on by fellow NBA players.

Suns waive Isaiah Canaan

Suns waive Isaiah Canaan

The Phoenix Suns waived guard Isaiah Canaan today.

Canaan re-signed with the Suns on August 3 and appeared in 19 games this season, averaging 7.5 points and 3.3 assists in 26.5 minutes.

The Suns’ roster now stands at 14 players

John Henson undergoes wrist surgery

John Henson undergoes wrist surgery

Milwaukee Bucks center John Henson had successful surgery Wednesday afternoon to repair his torn left wrist ligament. The surgery was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York under the supervision of Bucks team physician Dr. William Raasch of the Froedtert & the Medical College of Wisconsin health network.

In 14 games this season, Henson is averaging 5.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 13.4 minutes per game while shooting a career-high 35.5 percent from 3-point range.

Henson will be listed as out. There isn’t an estimated return date yet.

George Hill may return soon for Cavs

The Cavs are 4-15 this season, tied for the second worst record in the league. They need bright spots. Is one such bright spot the return of their not-too-impactful veteran point guard? I guess. Here’s Cleveland.com with the latest on George Hill, who has started all 10 of his games this season and put up an average of 12.6 points and 3.0 assists per game:

George Hill played four-on-four with teammates and coaches, taking contact once again, prior to the Cleveland Cavaliers leaving for their two-game road trip Tuesday afternoon.

He’s “progressing,” according to head coach Larry Drew. Hill could even make his return Wednesday night against Oklahoma City, a team source told cleveland.com.

The Cavs had him go through the post-practice contact session and he’s expected to take part in Wednesday’s shootaround in Oklahoma City. His official status will be determined after that, as the training staff wants to see how Hill responds after two straight days of on-court work.

Goran Dragic remains out for Heat

The Heat will be without Goran Dragic tonight as they face the Hawks. They still should be able to win, because, they’re playing… the Hawks. But it will still be nice when Dragic finally returns from an injury that is lingering a bit longer than expected. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

Goran Dragic’s seemingly minor knee issue has extended into a major absence with the Miami Heat point guard out for a fifth consecutive game Tuesday night against the Atlanta Hawks at AmericanAirlines Arena.

Dragic initially missed two games with the knee injury before returning for an uneven four-game span that included pair of 20-point games but also pair of games when he went scoreless in one and scored eight in the other.

He has been out since, starting with the Nov. 18 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. He then had his knee drained the following day, missing the Heat’s just-concluded two-game trip against the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors.

EuroLeague: Alexey Shved injured

Here’s Euroleaguebasketball.net with an update on guard Alexey Shved, who played in the NBA from 2012-15:

Khimki Moscow Region suffered a big injury blow on Saturday, learning that it will be without services of its leader and this season’s most productive player Alexey Shved. This past week Shved earned back-to-back MVP of the Round performances in a span of just 48 hours, and led Khimki to a pair of important victories, but also injured his left pinkie finger during Round 9 road win against Zalgiris Kaunas.

During his NBA years, Shved played for the Timberwolves, Sixers, Rockets and Knicks, averaging 7.4 points per game over that stretch.

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