Archive for November, 2018

Dwyane Wade out on paternity leave

The Miami Heat are 5-7 this season and while they’re focused on winning now and in the coming seasons as they hope to pivot towards being a contender, the season is also a celebration of the career of Dwyane Wade, who will hang up his sneakers at the end of 2018-19. Of course, D-Wade is still playing, and competing, averaging 14.3 points in 25.7 minutes per game. But after each final buzzer, fans in Miami but also around the league are aware that they’re waving goodbye to Wade, at least as an NBA player. But Wade hasn’t actually been on the court lately. He’s on paternity leave. Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting:

The paternity leave of Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade will extend for another week, with the guard in Los Angeles with his newborn daughter.

After missing the past three games, Wade posted an Instagram photo Sunday that he was in Los Angeles.

Asked last week if Wade would be taking a paternity leave, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said, “It’s day to day, but as much time as he needs.”

Wade has missed the past three games, a victory over the San Antonio Spurs and losses to the Indiana Pacers and Washington Wizards.

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The Knicks are rebuilding, awaiting eventual return of Kristaps Porzingis, and mostly relying on very young players to compete. There will be some wins, but plenty of losses, and hopefully positive signs from their youth along the way. And although the Magic won a decisive victory against the Knicks yesterday, center Mitchell Robinson put on a block party. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Knicks rookie center Mitchell Robinson was drafted 30 slots behind Orlando’s rookie Mo Bamba, but only one of them made the history books Sunday at the Garden.

Robinson set a new Knicks rookie record for blocks with nine as the lone home-team standout in Sunday’s 115-89 shellacking by Orlando. Robinson, who had a handful of rejections at the perimeter, broke the record shared previously by Kristaps Porzingis and Lonnie Shelton, who both had seven.

“I can thank coach,” Robinson said of David Fizdale. “He puts me in position to get those blocks. He was like drop back, don’t worry about my guy. If you see him going full speed at the rim just go get him and meet him at the rim.”

Robinson was one off the Knicks franchise record for blocks — which he said he believes he will break one day.

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On the Blazers win vs Celtics

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Trail Blazers, who are off to an excellent start this season and on Sunday enjoyed a big win against the Boston Celtics:

For all the Blazers had accomplished heading into Sunday’s game against the Celtics, one thing had eluded them: A close victory.

Eight of their first nine wins had come by double-digits and they owned the NBA’s third-highest point differential (10.0 points per game) prior to facing the Celtics. What’s more, the Blazers had lost their only close games of the season, falling 125-124 to the Washington Wizards in overtime and 114-110 to the Los Angeles Lakers. They also failed to capitalize on chances down the stretch in a closer-than-it-sounds 120-111 loss to the Miami Heat.

So it was notable Sunday that they won a two-possession game in which they had to hold off the Celtics, who had rallied from a 21-point deficit to make things interesting in the closing minutes.

“You’ve got to win close games in this league,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think a lot of times, winning close games over the course of your season, makes the difference of how you look back on your season.”

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The Lakers began the season 0-3, then won 7 of their next 10 games, and at 7-6 are currently the 8th seed in the Western conference through Sunday’s games. Rotation adjustments will likely continue for weeks or longer as head coach Luke Walton continues to learn how to mesh LeBron James with young players that the team hopes will be around for a long time with the team’s veterans, many of whom are signed to one-year deals.

As for how they closed things out in a one-point win Sunday against a rebounding Hawks squad, here’s the LA Times reporting:

With the outcome of the game in the balance, Lakers coach Luke Walton chose to use an unconventional lineup — with no point guard — to close against Atlanta on Sunday, a decision he made because he wanted his best defenders on the court.

In the final minutes of a tense game at Staples Center, Walton’s resolve to leave point guards Lonzo Ball and Rajon Rondo on the bench served the Lakers well.

Ball had replaced Rondo with seven minutes, 41 seconds left in the game. Ball had not played in the fourth quarter of the previous two games, but now he was getting his opportunity.

Then with 4:32 left and every defensive stand being crucial in a game the Lakers were trailing by three points, Ball was replaced by Josh Hart, who the Lakers consider to be one of their better defenders because of his ability to guard multiple positions.

Hart closed out the game with LeBron James, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram and Tyson Chandler.

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Grizzlies 5-0 at home so far this season

Grizzlies 5-0 at home so far this season

The Grizzlies were not on on the national radar entering this season. Which was understandable. There was no reason for them to be. Mike Conley and Marc Gasol are both over 30 years old. The rest of the roster is filled with youth or role players. But they’ve earned some attention, thanks to a 5-0 home record, and a 7-4 overall record which ties them with the Spurs for the 6th best win-loss percentage in the league. The season is still young — it began four weeks from tomorrow — but for now, this squad deserves real respect. Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal reporting on that along with a look at home attendance:

Entering Monday night’s game against the Jazz in Memphis, the Grizzlies are 5-0 at FedExForum, making them the last team in the Western Conference undefeated at home…

The 5-0 home start is the second-best in franchise history, trailing only the 2014-15 team’s 8-0 home start. Memphis started 13-2 overall that year. Crowds of 17,000 or more packed FedExForum for six of the eight games that were part of the prolific beginning to a 55-27 season…

Just one crowd of 17,000 saw one of the team’s first five home games this year, and that was for the home-opener against Atlanta when Chandler Parsons purchased 1,000 tickets to give away for free…

The Grizzlies are averaging 88.1 percent of FedExForum’s 18,119 capacity.

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Philadelphia Inquirer: The 76ers got their third star. The team will acquire All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton from the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, and a 2022 second-round pick.

More from the Inquirer: Butler can opt out of the final year — 2019-20 — of his contract next summer to become a free agent. He and the Sixers expect to reach a deal on a long-term contract then, according to ESPN. That makes sense, because the Sixers will have his Bird rights once the trade goes through. The Sixers can offer him a five-year, $190 million max contract next summer. Teams that don’t have his rights would be able to offer Butler only a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. If you were to design the ideal player to star alongside Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, there are a lot of ways in which he would differ from Jimmy Butler. From his volume-dependent point production to his mediocre three-point shot to his habit of clashing with younger players, the 29-year-old star is hardly the perfect fit for a Sixers team that has less than a year to put the finishing touches on the core it will rely upon for the next half decade. But the one overriding takeaway from the organization’s decision to acquire the disgruntled veteran from the Timberwolves, while parting ways with two beloved starters is this: Not only does Butler makes the Sixers better right now, in the midst of a sputtering 8-5 start, but he has the potential to make them a whole lot better come April, by which time the Sixers will need to have experienced a radical transformation to compete in an Eastern Conference playoff field that includes powerhouses in Boston and Toronto and an upstart Bucks squad in Milwaukee.

The Celtics are a modest 7-5 so far this season and look like they have a way to go in their quest to become an NBA Finals contender. It’s early in the season so there’s no reason to panic. One key young Celtics that certainly should improve as the season progresses is Jayson Tatum, who through 12 games played is shooting just 40.3% FG. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Jayson Tatum facing tougher defense this season

Asked about the way opponents are guarding him differently this season, Jayson Tatum is understated but direct.

“They’re not giving me as much space this year,” the Celtics forward said this week.

Intensified attention was a given for Tatum after having quite possibly the best year by a Celtics rookie since Paul Pierce.

Pierce fought his way through by becoming one of the best in the NBA at scoring through contact. Tatum, who admits he’s getting bounced around a bit, is learning how to adjust to more physical play now.

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Wizards keep struggling, fall to 2-9

The Wizards lost to the Magic 117-108 on Friday and are now 2-9 for the season, which is the second-worst record in the Eastern conference, ahead only of the 1-10 Cleveland Cavaliers. Dwight Howard made his Wizards debut on November 2, but the team has lost three of the four games he’s played in. It’s tough to say what the short-term answer is. Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting:

The Washington Wizards are far from tapping out on the young season even though Friday’s 117-108 loss to the Magic dropped their record to a shocking 2-9. When it comes to talking about all that’s wrong during this rough start to the season, they’ve run out of explanations.

Sure, there are general responses about sticking together despite the trying times, and playing with the intensity displayed during a second-half rally that cut a 25-point deficit to one with 2:30 remaining. The mistakes on both ends of the court remain. If the players knew an obvious fix, they would execute or at least explain. The situation is beyond that for a team last league-wide in points allowed and tied with the Phoenix Suns for the NBA’s second-worst record.

“It’s the definition of insanity, I guess,” Bradley Beal said postgame when asked what can be said about consistent defensive lapses. “Just have to do it. Just have to get it done. There’s nothing else to say, nothing else to even talk about. Just go get the damn job done, and do whatever it takes to get it done, win games. That’s what we’re going to do.”

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The New York Knicks today unveiled their City Edition alternate jersey, which features the New York City Skyline as the central design element and a symbol of the diverse cultures united across New York City.

The Knicks will debut these uniforms on Sunday, November 11 when the team takes on the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden and will continue to wear the jerseys at various theme nights throughout the 2018-19 season.

According to the team, “the City Edition design was inspired by what it means to be a New Yorker and utilizes one of the City’s most iconic and defining attributes – its skyline—as a representation of the many cultures that make up New York and their shared ambitions and dreams. To unveil the uniforms to the team, six Junior Knicks members were invited to the Knicks practice facility where they read letters describing how the Knicks inspire them as New Yorkers.”

The Miami Heat are just 5-6 this season, which is the 9th best record in the Eastern conference through Friday’s games. But on a positive note, lately they’ve enjoyed some monster rebounding outputs from Hassan Whiteside. Here’s the Miami Herald reporting:

Josh Richardson was incredulous, but not necessarily surprised to hear the actual numbers to go along with Hassan Whiteside’s performance in the Miami Heat’s 110-102 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Friday. For the second straight game, Whiteside pulled in 20 rebounds and hearing this number once again caused Richardson’s eyes to widen and seek confirmation from no one in particular.

“He had 20 rebounds again?” Richardson said in the Heat’s locker room after the game Friday. “He’s locked in right now. He’s bringing a lot of good things to the table.”

Even before this four-game homestand began Wednesday against the San Antonio Spurs in Miami, Whiteside sat behind only Detroit Pistons post player Andre Drummond on the NBA leaderboards for rebounds per game and the center’s first two games back at AmericanAirlines Arena have caused his numbers to balloon. For the first time in his career, Whiteside recorded 20 rebounds in back-to-back games, lifting his average per game to 15.7 entering a Saturday home game against the Washington Wizards, up from 14.6 per game when the homestand began. Early on, he’s on pace to break his own single-season franchise record of 14.1 rebounds per game, set during the 2016-17 season.

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Cavs PG George Hill hurt

The Cavs aren’t having the best of NBA seasons. Here’s the News Herald reporting the latest:

The Cavaliers are losing games and players at an alarming rate.

Starting point guard George Hill could miss two weeks with a sprained right shoulder, the latest setback for the Cavs, who have won just one game and are expected to be without All-Star forward Kevin Love for at least another five weeks following foot surgery.

Cleveland is also missing forward Sam Dekker, who sprained his ankle and is out for a month.

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Cavs sign Andrew Harrison, waive John Holland

The Cleveland Cavaliers signed guard Andrew Harrison to a Two-Way contract today.

And in a related move, the Cavaliers waived Two-Way forward John Holland.

Harrison (6-6, 213) appeared in one game with the Memphis Grizzlies this season. He owns career averages of 7.4 points, 2.1 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 21.7 minutes per game over 129 games (64 starts) in three seasons with Memphis. Harrison also played in six postseason contests for the Grizzlies during the 2017 Playoffs, averaging 6.5 points and 2.2 assists in 19.8 minutes per game. The 6-6 guard out of Kentucky was originally selected by the Phoenix Suns with the 44th overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft.

Per NBA rules, teams are permitted to have two Two-Way contract players on their roster at any given time, in addition to their 15-man regular season roster. A Two-Way player can spend up to 45 days with the Cavs.

Celtics rally to beat Suns in OT

The Celtics aren’t off to as good a start as was expected so far this season. And things looked more bleak than ever earlier today as they were outscored 32-13 in the first quarter by the lowly Suns. But the Celtics improved as the game progressed, and then exploded in the 4th quarter to reach overtime, and took away a win that featured big scoring from Kyrie Irving. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

Brad Stevens wants to see his team play a full 48 minutes with consistent effort, consistent execution, and, well, a few shots wouldn’t hurt.

And the Celtics coach is still waiting for that end-to-end masterpiece. But in the meantime, there’s last night’s 116-109 overtime win over the Phoenix Suns.

Kyrie Irving saved what started as an offensive slog with a season-high 39 points — the Celtics guard’s second straight 30-plus performance — and the C’s withstood an equally withering 38-point performance by the Suns’ Devin Booker.

The Celtics got off to a horrid start offensively in the first half. Stevens scrambled to make changes in the second half, starting Marcus Smart ahead of Jayson Tatum, who sat for the first nine minutes of the third quarter. The result was an energized second half that found the C’s cutting the Suns lead from 20 points at the half, to 15 by the end of the third quarter, to a point with 7.3 seconds left.

Marcus Morris’ 3-pointer with three-tenths of a second left in regulation tied the score at 100-100, and both sides steamed into overtime.

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Norman Powell out with shoulder injury

Toronto Raptors guard/forward Norman Powell will be out indefinitely due to a subluxation of the left shoulder.

The injury occurred in the second quarter of Monday night’s win against the Jazz in Utah. Powell is averaging 5.0 points, 2.0 rebounds and 14.9 minutes in 11 games (two starts) this season.

There is no timetable for Powell’s return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

I’m all in on any Vice-related themes the Miami Heat utilize this season and beyond. So, there’s some good news, from the Miami Herald:

The Heat is expanding its Vice campaign to include a Vice-themed court this season.

After unveiling its black “Vice Nights” City Edition uniform Monday, the Heat unveiled a new court Tuesday to go along with the very Miami look. The Heat will play on the Vice-themed court in the 14 home games it’s scheduled to wear the alternate uniforms…

This season’s black uniform is “with the classic Heat silhouette from 1988 colored in laser fuchsia and blue gale, and features the original Miami Arena script across the chest and a re-imagined Heat ball and flame logo sporting the Vice Nights color combination,” according to a press release issued by the team.

And here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel with more:

The twist this season is that there will be the matching court as part of the theme.

“That’s the coolest thing,” Heat guard Dwyane Wade said. “It’s not just the jersey, but to be able to go all in, all the way around. That makes it even more a special night, when we get the opportunity to get on the court.

“I think it’s going to bring some excitement to even the players. So it will be cool to the fans, definitely, to come in and feel a different environment, a different vibe. So look forward to it.”


Knicks rookie Kevin Knox returns to action

We’re in MSG at the Bulls at Knicks game right now and will post a recap after the game, plus a player interview tomorrow or the next day, but right now here are some words from the New York Post on Knicks rookie guard Kevin Knox, who had been injured but became available to play today and entered this game in the second quarter, even throwing down a nice-looking dunk:

Knicks lottery pick Kevin Knox is back.

David Fizdale wasn’t going to dispute the doctors and allowed the rookie to play Monday versus the Bulls, despite not going through a five-on-five scrimmage before his return from an ankle sprain.

The doctors cleared him after missing seven games, and Fizdale was not going to stand in the way of the ninth pick in June’s draft.

The Knicks had been targeting Monday’s game for his return. However, Fizdale decided not to have a full-scale practice on Saturday and Knox participated in just a three-on-three contact scrimmage.

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The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed Larry Drew to a new head coaching contract.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Coach Drew to continue leading the team on the court. He brings important experience and many qualities that we expect to translate well with our team as the head coach,” said Altman. “We’re looking forward to the ways he can impact the team and help our players continue to grow and find success.”

Drew was named associate head coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers in September of 2016. He spent his first two seasons with the Cavaliers as an assistant coach (2014-2016).

Before his arrival in Cleveland, Drew served as the head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks in 2013-14. Prior to that, he was head coach of the Atlanta Hawks from 2010 through 2013, where he compiled a 128-102 (.557) overall record and led the Hawks to the postseason in each of his three campaigns on the bench.

Bulls vs Knicks pregame thoughts

Chicago Bulls vs New York Knicks
Madison Square Garden
7:30 p.m. ET


Entering the game, the Knicks have a 3-7 record (2-3 at home), while the Bulls are 2-8 (1-3 on the road)

Leading scorers for the Knicks: Tim Hardaway Jr. at 23.3 ppg, Enes Kanter 14.5 ppg, Damyean Dotson 12.6 ppg and Allonzo Trier 10.6 ppg.

Leading scorers for the Bulls: Zach LaVine at 26.6 ppg, Jabari Parker 14.3 ppg, Justin Holiday 12.1 ppg and Antonio Blakeney 11.4 ppg.


The Bulls have had a tough time at Madison Square Garden of late: Chicago is 3-7 over its last 10 games in New York City, including losses in five of the last six road matchups with the Knicks.

Zach LaVine scored 21 points vs. Houston on Saturday. It was his 11th game in a row to score at least 20 (3/15-11/3/18), which is a career-long streak. The last Bulls player to post a double-digit streak of 20-point scoring was Jimmy Butler with 15 such games from Nov. 7 to Dec. 6, 2016.

Justin Holiday has made at least three 3-pointers in each of the last five games, which is a career-long streak. Over that span, he has shot .465 from long distance (20-of-43).

Wendell Carter Jr. blocked a career-high four shots vs. the Rockets on Saturday. His 1.90 blocks per game leads all rookies. He has recorded at least one block in nine of 10 games this season.


This is a golden opportunity for the Knicks, who are still playing without Kristaps Porzingis, to put together a good game and impress the home crowd. Both the Knicks and Bulls have extremely young rosters, but the while the Knicks are without their leading star, the Bulls have a host of injuries. The Knicks just yesterday lost to a struggling Wizards team. Teams are often tired on the second night of a back-to-back, but if the Knicks can grab a win today, they then face a beatable Hawks team Wednesday in Atlanta and gather up some momentum before heading to Toronto for a tough matchup against an excellent Raptors squad.

The Phoenix Suns and Tyson Chandler have reached an agreement to buy out the veteran center’s contract. Chandler has now been officially waived.

According to the Arizona Republic, “Chandler is in the final year of a four-year deal in which he is guaranteed to make $13.6 million.”

“We want to thank Tyson for his contributions to the Suns over the past three-plus seasons,” said Vice President of Basketball Operations James Jones. “With respect for Tyson’s accomplished career, today’s move gives him the chance to pursue a new opportunity while allowing our younger players to continue developing. Tyson is a consummate professional and we wish him all the best.”

“I am grateful for my time in Phoenix and want to thank my teammates, my coaches, the front office and the fans for an amazing experience.” said Chandler. “I wish them the best and I am excited for the next stage in my career.”

More from the Arizona Republic: “ESPN is reporting Chandler plans to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers after clearing waivers with the Suns. The 7-footer is from Compton, Calif.”

Chandler initially signed with the Suns as a free agent on July 9, 2015, and played in four seasons with the club. He averaged 7.2 points and 9.5 rebounds while shooting 62.8 percent from the field in 166 games during his time in Phoenix. On Jan. 23, 2016, Chandler tied the Suns’ single-game record with 27 rebounds vs. Atlanta, matching Paul Silas’ mark which had stood untouched for over 45 years.

Pacers waive forward Ben Moore

Pacers waive forward Ben Moore

The Indiana Pacers waived forward Ben Moore today.

Also today, the team recalled center Ike Anigbogu from the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, their affiliate in the NBA G League.

Moore appeared in two games for the Pacers this regular season, but barely — playing just 4.5 minutes per outing.

The Pacers are 6-3 so far this season through Friday’s games and are being led in scoring by Victor Oladipo at 22.3 ppg.

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