Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura to miss more time than expected

The Wizards injury train continues to plow through the station (I don’t actually know what that means, but it does leave you, the reader, with a correct impression, that the Wizards have a lot of injuries, so for the fun of it let’s go with that), as talented rookie forward Rui Hachimura isn’t close to returning to action just yet. Here’s NBC Sports Washington reporting:

When Wizards rookie Rui Hachimura first went down with a groin injury and underwent a minor procedure, the team said he would miss at least five games before getting re-evaluated. He has since missed seven and now several more weeks can be tacked on to his return timeline.

Head coach Scott Brooks revealed that after the team’s practice on Tuesday, suggesting Hachimura would again be re-evaluated sometime in early- to mid-January. Hachimura, 21, has not only been held out games, he hasn’t been with the team.

And the Washington Post on some of the big picture:

Injuries have plagued the Wizards this season and it appears the start of the new year will not usher in good health.

Before the season started, the Wizards set into motion a cautious approach with injured players and applied for a disabled player exception for John Wall, who suffered an Achilles’ injury in February 2019. Only teams with a player who is expected to miss the season, as determined by a league-appointed doctor, can qualify for the exception. The NBA did not grant the exception. Still, almost 11 months after his surgery, Wall remains out and could sit the entire season.

Along with Bradley Beal scoring big and forward Davis Bertans showing big-time shooting ability, Hachimura turning out to be a talented rookie has been a bright spot for the Wizards this season. Hopefully he does return to action fairly soon.

Badly-injured Wizards step up and beat Heat 123-105




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After being outscored by 10 points in the first quarter, an incredibly short-handed Washington Wizards stepped up at home, outscored the Miami Heat 42-29 in the second quarter, and controlled the 4th quarter for a 123-105 win.

Inactive for the Wizards today were John Wall, Bradley Beal, Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Moritz Wagner, CJ Miles and Davis Bertans. Their starting lineup was Isaiah Thomas and Gary Payton II at guard, Troy Brown Jr. and Johnathan Williams at forward, and Ian Mahinmi at center.

Here’s the Washington Post reporting:

Although seven players were inactive Monday night as one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference came to play, the Wizards rolled past the Miami Heat, 123-105. And the final score doesn’t begin to tell the story of a bizarre yet delightful night.

The Wizards’ trio of Ian Mahinmi, Jordan McRae and rookie Garrison Mathews — the least likely Big Three — played like stars. Mahinmi made his first seven shots and scored a career-high 25 points. Mathews poured in 28 points — including a remarkable 20 in the second quarter alone — on 6-for-9 shooting overall and 4-for-7 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, by far the best night of his young professional career. And McRae finished with a season-high 29 points and eight assists, the most he has ever had.

Although Miami (24-9) had a healthy team led by Jimmy Butler, who finished with 27 points, and a large contingent of fans who periodically started “Let’s Go Heat!” chants, the Wizards (10-22) closed the decade with one of their most shocking wins of the season.

Mahinmi shot 10 for 11. And McRae shot 9 for 14, including 6 of 8 three-pointers, for his 29 points in 35 minutes off the bench.

After the game, Mahinmi had this to say: “It’s huge, it’s huge. This is part of building character. When you’re down and you have a lot of injuries and stuff going on and not going your way… To have the toughness of a young player to come out and step up, make big plays, be aggressive, make the right read, play good defense and give everything you have is huge. All of our young guys are taking tremendous advantage of their opportunity, so it’s good. There’s a lot of stuff not going our way, but I’m very proud of what everyone is doing: Isaac Bonga, Scho [Admiral Schofield], Gary [Gary Payton II], obviously Garrison [Mathews] tonight, Johnathan [Williams] and Troy [Brown Jr.]. It’s great.”

It was a magical day for D.C. If you’re a Wizards fan and don’t have New Year’s Eve plans, staying home and watching a replay of this game isn’t the worst way to bring in the new year.

Jaylen Brown and Brandon Ingram named NBA Players of the Week

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown and New Orleans Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram have been named NBA Players of the Week, for games played December 23-29, 2019. With Brown as the Eastern conference Player of the Week and Ingram from the West.

It’s the first time in Brown’s four-year career he’s received Player of the Week honors.

Brown, 23, averaged a team-high 27.0 points on 62.2% shooting (57.9% 3-PT), 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.0 steal over three games at Toronto and at home against Cleveland and Toronto. He was the only Eastern Conference competitor to produce at least 25.0 points on 60.0% shooting throughout the week.

The fourth-year forward reached the 30-point mark in both of Boston’s victories, including a career-high 34-point performance on 13-of-20 shooting (5-10 3-PT) against the Cavaliers on Dec. 27. Brown scored 30 points (76.9% FG) the previous game on Christmas Day in Toronto, marking the first time in his career he’s produced 30+ points in consecutive games.

Brown is the first Celtics player to receive Player of the Week honors since guard Isaiah Thomas did so in Feb. of 2017.

In 27 games this season (all starts), Brown is averaging 20.6 points (51.8% FG, 40.0% 3-PT), 7.0 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 33.6 minutes played. He’s one of four NBA players averaging at least 20.0 points on 51.0% shooting in 2019-20, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo, Karl-Anthony Towns and DeMar DeRozan.

Ingram helped lead New Orleans to a 4-0 week while averaging 25.3 points on .493 shooting from the floor, including .542 from three-point range and a perfect 1.000 from the free throw line, as well as 7.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. The fourth-year pro finished the week ranked fourth in the NBA in total points scored (101), was one of four players to average at least 25.0 points while shooting over .450 from the field and over .500 from three-point range (of the four, Ingram held the highest FT%), and was one of just two players in the NBA to average at least 25.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.0 steals. Ingram led the Pelicans in scoring three out of their four games, and assists twice. On Christmas Day, Ingram connected on a career-high seven three-pointers at Denver, setting a new NBA Christmas Day record for three-point field goals by an individual.

Ingram becomes the eighth player in franchise history to earn Player of the Week honors, joining Baron Davis, Jamaal Magloire, Chris Paul, David West, Greivis Vasquez, Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins. It is the first time in Ingram’s career he has earned Player of the Week honors.

In 30 games this season, Ingram is averaging 25.3 points (10th in NBA), 7.0 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.0 steals.

Lonzo Ball shines, Pelicans win 4th straight game

The Pelicans on Sunday faced a badly-injured Rockets team that was without James Harden, Russell Westbrook and Clint Capela. But no win is automatic in the NBA. Work must still be put in. But the Pelicans have a bit of a flow lately and handled business. Here’s the New Orleans Times Picayune reporting:

The Rockets were forced to insert Austin Rivers and Eric Gordon into the starting lineup and dust off other little-used pieces. Somehow, their skeleton crew still set off fireworks.

Houston hit 15 3-pointers, but New Orleans countered with 18 makes of its own from behind the arc to pull out a 127-112 win. A sizzling Lonzo Ball hit seven 3s, a new career high, and E’Twaun Moore scored 25 points off the bench as the Pelicans won their fourth game in a row.

New Orleans, which outscored Houston 41-19 in the fourth quarter, has ripped off five wins in six games. It is now just 3½ games back of the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Ball played perhaps his best all-around game in a Pelicans uniform, finishing with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.

For much of the season, the story of the Pelicans has just been wait-and-see until Zion Williamson is eventually healthy enough to make his NBA regular season career debut. And yes, that’s still the big season-long picture, but lately, New Orleans is playing solid basketball.

Heat beat Pacers, improve record to 23-8

Despite the Pacers missing point guard Malcolm Brogdon, while awaiting the eventual return of shooting guard Victor Oladipo, Friday’s matchup between the Pacers and Heat was still an anticipated battle worth watching. The game proved worthy of attention. Here’s the Miami Herald reporting:

In a game that included 20 lead changes and eight ties, the Heat (23-8) survived to defeat the Indiana Pacers 113-112 on Friday at AmericanAirlines Arena. Miami improved to 14-1 at home this season, and 23-8 marks its best 31-game start to a season since starting 24-7 in 2013-14.

With the Heat trailing by one with less than a minute to play, guard Goran Dragic made a 9-foot game-winning floater with 6.8 seconds remaining. Offensive rebounds from Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler kept Miami’s final offensive possession alive before Dragic hit the shot.

In the win, the Heat had six players put up double-digit points. They were led by Jimmy Butler’s 20 points, nine rebounds and six assists, Bam Adebayo’s 18 points, 15 rebounds and six assists, Duncan Robinson’s 18 points, and Kendrick Nunn’s 17 points.

The Pacers had seven players score double-digits, and put up a respectable effort.

Hawks guard Trae Young exits game vs Bucks with ankle sprain

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young sustained a right ankle sprain during Friday’s home game against the Milwaukee bucks.

He underwent an X-Ray at State Farm Arena, which was negative. Young will not travel with the team to Chicago and will remain in Atlanta to receive treatment.

According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “Young was called for an offensive foul when he drove the lane with 1:32 remaining in the second quarter. He appeared to twist his ankle as he fell to the ground following a collision with the Bucks’ D.J. Wilson. Young needed to be helped off the court by John Collins and Kevin Huerter. He immediately went to the locker room.”

The Bucks, who are already without guard Eric Bledsoe and today were without superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, won the game, 112-86.

Young scored 12 points in 15 minutes before exiting the game with the injury. He’s having a fantastic season for the struggling Hawks, who have a league-worst 6-26 record.


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Health updates on Kings players De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley III

Kings guard De’Aaron Fox (back spasms) exited Thursday’s game versus Minnesota with 10:02 remaining in the first quarter. A precautionary MRI conducted this morning revealed no structural damage and he will be listed as day-to-day moving forward.

Kings forward Marvin Bagley III (left foot) exited Thursday’s game versus Minnesota with 4:05 remaining in the third quarter. He will be evaluated by a foot specialist tomorrow and an update will be provided as appropriate.

A third-year guard and fifth overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, Fox has accrued averages of 17.6 points (.465 FG%, .333 3pt%, .686 FT%), 4.0 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 1.1 steals and 29.3 minutes per game in 14 games (12 starts) for the Kings during the 2019-20 season.

A second-year forward and second overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft out of Duke, Bagley III has averaged 13.7 points (.459 FG%, .214 3pt%, .800 FT%), 6.9 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 0.4 steals and 23.6 minutes per game in nine games (three starts) for Sacramento this season.

Sixers announce basketball operations department promotions

The Philadelphia 76ers announced promotions within the team’s basketball operations department today.


Zach Sogolow has been promoted to Director, Basketball Operations after previously serving as Senior Manager, a role he held since joining the team in August 2017. Sogolow will oversee day-to-day basketball staff operations, working closely with the Assistant General Manager on league rules and compliance, as well as contract and salary-cap-related matters. He joined the 76ers after nearly two years at the NBA League Office, where he served as Basketball Operations Coordinator. Sogolow also spent the summer of 2014 with the League Office as a Basketball Operations Analytics Trainee. A four-year team manager for the Harvard Crimson men’s basketball team, Sogolow spent the 2014-15 season as a head manager, while pursuing his degree in psychology.

Mary Purcell-Davis has been promoted to Manager, a title she adds to her already-existing Executive Assistant position. She will continue to oversee basketball operations staff travel, manage day-to-day logistics of all basketball operations staff and serve as Executive Assistant to 76ers Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Alex Rucker. Purcell-Davis started her career with the 76ers in February 1987 as a receptionist and worked in advertising sales before transitioning full-time into basketball operations in 1997. A Philadelphia native, Purcell-Davis credits longtime 76ers Executive Assistant Marlene Barnes, who spent 39 years with the franchise, as a mentor. Purcell-Davis has worked with 15 different head coaches, including serving as Executive Assistant for current 76ers Sr. Advisor to the Head Coach Jim O’Brien, Oklahoma City Thunder Assistant Coach Maurice Cheeks and Phoenix Suns Assistant Coach Randy Ayers, among others.


John Boyles has been promoted to Director, Research & Development, a role in which he will be responsible for the leadership and direction of the team’s developers and data scientists. John originally joined the team in July 2018 as a Developer, creating custom applications for use within the basketball operations department. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in computer science from the University of Pittsburgh, John spent 15 years working on distributed file systems, most notably rising to Technical Director at Avere Systems, a company eventually acquired by Microsoft. Just prior to joining the 76ers, John worked for Curalate in Philadelphia as the Technical Lead of the Metrics Team.

Grant Fiddyment has been promoted to Manager of Research after previously serving as Data Scientist within the same department. Fiddyment originally joined the 76ers in December 2016 and immediately began developing tools to analyze team training, performance and in-game strategies. He spent the previous five years as a Graduate Researcher at Boston University, where he assisted a team of mathematicians and epilepsy clinicians. Fiddyment holds degrees in several different disciplines, including bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Georgia and a PhD in computational neuroscience from Boston University. He has also served as an Adjunct Professorial Lecturer at American University since December 2016.


Patrick Rees has been promoted to Vice President of Communications after previously serving as Senior Director within the same department. In this expanded role, Rees will continue to oversee the team’s basketball communications efforts, while also supporting the organization throughout the year on brand initiatives, launches and campaigns. In his third season with the 76ers, Rees has also worked in the PR department for the Washington Wizards, New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs over the past 15 years.

Rockets sign William Howard to two-way contract

The Houston Rockets signed forward William Howard to a two-way contract today.

Howard (6-8, 207) was playing for Salt Lake City in the NBA G League and is the eighth GATORADE Call-Up of the season. In 15 games for the Stars, Howard averaged 13.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 2.1 3-pointers made on 43.7% shooting.

Prior to joining the Stars, Howard was with Utah during training camp and the preseason. He spent the past seven seasons playing professionally in his home country of France.

Rockets give Chris Clemons a standard NBA contract

Earlier today, the Houston Rockets converted the two-way contract of guard Chris Clemons into a standard NBA contract.

Clemons (5-9, 180) was eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft and originally signed with Houston on July 3. He has appeared in 20 games for the Rockets this season and is averaging 21.1 points and 5.5 3-pointer made per 36 minutes played. Clemons has also averaged 21.6 points in five G League games for the Rockets affiliate, Rio Grande Valley.

As a senior at Campbell University last season, Clemons led the nation in scoring with 30.1 ppg. He finished his career with the third-most points (3,225) and the fifth-most 3-pointers made (444) in NCAA Division I history.