david blatt

The Cleveland Cavaliers’ David Blatt and the Golden State Warriors’ Luke Walton today were named the NBA Eastern and Western Conference Coaches of the Month, respectively, for games played in October and November.

Blatt guided the Cavaliers to an Eastern Conference-best 13-4 (.765) record for games played in October and November. After dropping their season opener to the Chicago Bulls, the Cavaliers reeled off eight consecutive victories from Oct. 28 – Nov. 13. The defending conference champion Cavaliers own a 9-0 record at Quicken Loans Arena, and rank sixth in the NBA in both scoring (103.1 points) and team defense, limiting opponents to 96.5 points.

luke walton

While filling in for head coach Steve Kerr (back surgery), Walton has led the defending champion Warriors to the best start in NBA history at 19-0. The Warriors lead the NBA in scoring at 115.3 points, and enjoy the largest point differential in the league at 15.4 points. Walton is in his second season on the Warriors’ staff, and previously served as a player development coach with the NBA D-League’s Los Angeles D-Fenders during the 2013-14 season.

Other nominees for Coach of the Month were Charlotte’s Steve Clifford, Indiana’s Frank Vogel, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Doc Rivers, Miami’s Erik Spoelstra, Oklahoma City’s Billy Donovan, Orlando’s Scott Skiles, San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich and Toronto’s Dwane Casey.

The NBA clarified today the league’s rules regarding coaching records: the head coach of record is credited with team wins and losses. Steve Kerr remains the head coach of record for the Golden State Warriors and is credited with those results.

Additionally, any team head coach, interim head coach or acting head coach is eligible to be recognized with league coaching awards. Therefore, Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton is eligible for NBA Coach of the Month.

The winners for the season’s first month were announced after this clarification, and Walton did in fact win Coach of the Month for the Western conference, while Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt received the honor in the East.

reggie jackson

Detroit Pistons guard Reggie Jackson has been fined $25,000 for directing inappropriate language toward a fan, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred during the Pistons’ 103-87 loss on the road to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Nov. 27 at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

In the loss, Jackson, whose NBA career began with the Thunder, shot just 4-of-16 against his former team, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds and four assists.  

Warriors winning streak continues

Warriors winning streak continues

The 2015 NBA Champion Golden State Warriors set a franchise record with their first undefeated full calendar month following tonight’s 106-103 win at Utah, finishing the November slate with a perfect 16-0 mark. The Warriors are the sixth team in the NBA’s 70-year history to finish a month of at least 16 games with an undefeated record.

Golden State’s 16 wins in November also ties the franchise mark for most wins in a month, set last season when the Warriors posted a 16-2 ledger in March 2015. Golden State’s winning percentage this month tops the club’s previous record of .929 (13-1), set in January 1972 behind former Warriors guard Jim Barnett’s averages of 16.0 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds on 50.3 percent shooting from the field.

With tonight’s win, the Warriors have extended the best start in NBA history by beginning the season with a 19-0 record. Dating back to 2014-15, the Warriors have won 23-straight regular-season games (19-straight this season, four-straight to end last season), extending a franchise-record streak and becoming the third team in NBA history to win 23 consecutive regular-season contests. The Warriors have also won nine-straight regular-season road games, the second-longest regular-season road winning streak in franchise history behind only the team’s record of 10-straight wins away from home set last season.

The Warriors, who posted a franchise-best record of 67-15 last season before capturing the 2015 NBA title, are now 86-15 (.851) in the regular season dating back to 2014-15 and 102-20 (.836) including the playoffs.

Al Jefferson out 2-3 weeks with calf injury

Charlotte Hornets center Al Jefferson underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) earlier today which confirmed the team’s initial diagnosis of a strained left calf. Jefferson, who suffered the injury in the first quarter of Sunday’s 87-82 win vs. Milwaukee, is expected to be sidelined for approximately two to three weeks.

Jefferson is averaging 13.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game this season. The 30-year-old has led the team in rebounding in five contests and has four double-doubles in 17 games. The Prentiss, Miss. native recorded 26 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks vs. Philadelphia on Nov. 20, becoming only the second player in the NBA this season to record at least 25 points, 10-or-more rebounds and five blocks in a game. Jefferson recorded a season-high 31 points (15-of-18 from the field) and grabbed nine rebounds at Dallas on Nov. 5.

paul george

The Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Nov. 23 through Sunday, Nov. 29.

George led the Pacers to a 3-0 week behind an Eastern Conference-leading 37.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals. He shot 54.7 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range and 86.7 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 24, George tallied 40 points on 14-of-19 shooting, including 7-of-8 from beyond the arc, during a 123-106 win over the Washington Wizards.

kevin durant

Durant led the Thunder to a 3-0 week behind averages of 30.3 points (second in the Western Conference), 8.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.3 blocks (fourth in the Western Conference). He shot 58.5 percent from the field, 52.2 percent from three-point range and 94.4 percent from the foul line. On Nov. 27, Durant recorded 34 points, 13 rebounds, five assists and three blocks during a 103-87 win over the Detroit Pistons.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Houston’s James Harden, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Blake Griffin, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo, Philadelphia’s Robert Covington, Portland’s Damian Lillard, and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

Jazz assign Tibor Pleiss to D-League

The Utah Jazz announced today that the team has assigned center Tibor Pleiss to the Idaho Stampede, the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team. Pleiss is expected to be in uniform for the Stampede’s game on Tuesday, Dec. 1 at Oklahoma City.

Pleiss (7-3, 262, Germany) has seen action in four games for the Jazz this season, averaging 1.0 points in 3.3 minutes per game. He spent the 2014-15 season with FC Barcelona of the Liga ACB in Spain, averaging 5.7 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.3 minutes per game.

Pleiss is the fourth player to be assigned to the D-League under the new Jazz-Stampede single affiliation. Other players on the current Jazz roster with D-League experience include Rudy Gobert, Chris Johnson and Elijah Millsap.

Wizards waive Martell Webster, sign Ryan Hollins

The Washington Wizards announced today that the team has waived forward Martell Webster and signed center Ryan Hollins.

“Martell, with his contributions on the court and ability to connect with the fans and the community off the court, has been a great example of the type of player we want to represent our organization,” said Wizards President Ernie Grunfeld. “He worked extremely hard to fight through his injuries but unfortunately was not able to make a healthy return. We appreciate everything he contributed to the team and wish him and his family nothing but the best.”

Webster appeared in 186 games (75 starts) with Washington and averaged 9.3 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting .397 from behind the arc. His best season in a Wizards uniform came during the 2012-13 campaign, when he averaged a career-best 11.4 points and 3.9 rebounds in 76 games while shooting .442 from the field and a career-best .422 from deep. The 10-year veteran was originally signed by the Wizards as a free agent on August 29, 2012.

Hollins is a nine-year NBA veteran who has averaged 3.7 points and 2.2 rebounds in 481 career games (64 starts), with Charlotte, Dallas, Minnesota, Cleveland, Boston, the Los Angeles Clippers and Sacramento. Last season with the Kings, he appeared in 46 games (nine starts) and averaged 3.0 points and 2.2 rebounds in 9.6 minutes per contest. He was originally selected with the 50th pick in the 2006 NBA Draft by Charlotte out of the University of California.

Sixers fall to 0-18

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on the 76ers, who are 0-18 this season and being outscored by an average of 12.1 ppg:

Sixers fall to 0-18

The Sixers again made some dubious history in Sunday night’s 92-84 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies at the FedEx Forum.

In addition to extending the longest losing streak in the history of major league North American sports to 28 games, the Sixers also tied the NBA record for longest losing streak to open a season, tying the 2009-10 New Jersey Nets’ mark of 18 in a row.

The Sixers also lost for the fifth straight game in which they led midway through the fourth quarter.

Here’s the Orange County Register reporting on the upcoming retirement of Kobe Bryant, which will occur at the end of this NBA season:

Kobe Bryant will retire at end of season

Kobe Bryant, maybe the greatest Laker in the organization’s history, announced his plans to retire following the 2015-16 season Sunday.

The announcement came in a letter written for The Players’ Tribune.

“This season is all I have left to give,” Bryant wrote. “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Bryant is in the midst of his 20th season and struggingly like he’s never have before. Bryant is shooting a career-worst 31.5 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from 3-point range.

Unusual early-season schedule for Thunder

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on the OKC Thunder schedule, which has kept things moving, to say the least:

Unusual early-season schedule for Thunder

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

Flight. Game. Flight back home.

That’s how it’s been so far for the Thunder this season — a strange scheduling quirk that hasn’t sent OKC on a multiple-game road trip through the first month.

This week, that finally changes, with the Thunder heading southeast for a Monday night game in Atlanta and a Thursday night game in Miami. OKC, surprisingly, doesn’t have a three-plus game road trip until early January.

Adam Silver statement on Kobe Bryant retirement announcement

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement regarding Kobe Bryant’s announcement today that this will be his final season in the NBA:

“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.

“I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”

Here’s the Los Angeles Daily News reporting on the not-so-existent relationship between Lakers center Roy Hibbert and his former team, the Indiana Pacers:

Roy Hibbert has not kept in touch with the Pacers

Roy Hibbert’s past and present will collide on Sunday when the Lakers host the Pacers. He maintained he has “great memories” of his seven-year NBA career in Indiana. But his last season ended on a sour note amid a reduced role to accommodate a quicker and smaller lineup. The Pacers then traded Hibbert to the Lakers last summer for a second-round draft pick.

“I’m going to feel something,” said Hibbert, who will become a free agent next summer after making $15.5 million this season. “But I have to move on and try to get a win.”

Hibbert insisted he has no hard feelings, but admitted he has not kept in touch with anyone associated with the Pacers.

“I haven’t talked to them in a while,” Hibbert said. “I haven’t watched any of their games. No offense, but I don’t think many of them are on TV.”

Here’s the Detroit Free Press reporting on Pistons center Andre Drummond, who has quieted down a bit lately:

Andre Drummond must keep bringing energy, says Van Gundy

Whether it’s the aftereffects of a cold or the grind of ranking in the top 20 in minutes played, Andre Drummond isn’t showing the same energy from earlier this season.

Drummond, the NBA’s leading rebounder, only grabbed seven in the Detroit Pistons’ 103-87 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night.

He scored 15 points, but he was only 7-for-16 from the field.

The lackluster effort had Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy looking back to another mediocre effort from earlier in the week.

“I didn’t think he brought much energy to the Milwaukee game, and I didn’t think he brought much energy tonight,” Van Gundy said of the two beatings the Pistons received this week. “Why that is, I don’t know. But we need a lot more from him than we got tonight.”

Defense stays strong for Spurs

Here’s the San Antonio Express-News blog reminding everyone that the Spurs’ defense is still a force to be reckoned with:

The Spurs’ 91-80 win over the Nuggets on Friday night was the club’s latest in a string of outstanding defensive efforts.

But this one was even more impressive than the others because it came while Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili were home in San Antonio resting.

It seems no matter who is or isn’t in the lineup, there is one constant with the Spurs: They play great defense.

“It’s what we rely on,” Boris Diaw said in the visitor’s locker room at the Pepsi Center after the Spurs limited the Nuggets to 40.3 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers that led to 15 points.

Now this is a huge story that may shake up the entire sports world. It will certainly create drama out in the streets. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

Robin Lopez says Brook Lopez`s cat is very two-faced

Leading up to Friday’s Nets vs. Knicks face-off, two of the competing athletes are having a real catfight.

The Knicks’ new 7-foot center, Robin Lopez, has harsh words about his twin brother, Brook, who plays for the crosstown competition.

More specifically, he’s trash-talking his sibling’s pet.

“Brook’s cat is very two-faced,” Robin tells The Post. “Everybody loves Brook’s cat. To everybody’s face, he’s such a nice cat. And it may sound like I’m joking, but I am dead serious. He acts like a lazy, sweet cat when everybody is looking. But when their heads turn, he’ll try to chase after [my cat] Edward. The second I lay eyes on him, he’ll act like, ‘I’m a cherub. I’m innocent.’ I’m not buying it.”

In fact, the brothers don’t live together because of their felines: Brook’s kitty Poupin — French for “chubby” — and Robin’s majestically monikered Prince Edward Zephyr.

The Lakers are struggling badly this season, as is the legendary Kobe Bryant. And each shot that Kobe takes is a shot that young players who represent the future of the franchise are not taking. But fans want to see Kobe, especially since this may be his final season. As for Kobe’s minutes, here’s the Los Angeles Daily News blog reporting:

Kobe Bryant playing time remains a discussion point

Well before Kobe Bryant stepped on the court in his 20th and likely last NBA season, it appeared obvious the Lakers’ slate of 18 back-to-back games would represent a major factor in his workload.

But Lakers coach Byron Scott conceded uncertainty how will handle Bryant’s playing time when the Lakers (2-12) play the Portland Trail Blazers (6-10) on Saturday at Moda Center before hosting the Indiana Pacers (9-5) on Sunday at Staples Center.

“Tomorrow we’ll play him,” Scott said following Friday’s practice at the Lakers’ facility in El Segundo. “Then we’ll see how he looks for Sunday.”

Scott’s approach with Bryant changed through the Lakers’ first set of back-to-backs. Bryant wanted to play as many games as possible considering his admission this will likely mark his last NBA season. But Bryant missed games two weeks ago in Miami and Orlando because of back soreness. Last week, Scott played Bryant 36 minutes in a win over Detroit before deciding to sit him the next night in Phoenix.

Here’s the Toronto Star reporting on Raptors forward James Johnson, who isn’t spending much time on the court these days:

Little playing time in Toronto for James Johnson

James Johnson was in a long conversation with Raptors assistant general manager Jeff Weltman on Friday morning when the media was ushered into practice, one of a series of chats between management, coaches and the seemingly disgruntled forward over the previous 30 hours or so.

Johnson didn’t talk with reporters after that conversation and neither did anyone from management, but coach Dwane Casey said Johnson’s mid-week Twitter description of himself as “under-utilized” has been dealt with internally and the matter has been put to rest.

“In today’s NBA, you’re not surprised by anything,” Casey said. “It’s not a big deal, he tweeted something he probably shouldn’t have tweeted. We talked to James and handled it internally. Everybody understands their role and what his job is. We’ll move on.”

Johnson stepped back from his initial tweet hours later on Thursday, but the central issue is there just isn’t a lot of playing time available to him.

Bucks coach Jason Kidd suspended one game

Bucks coach Jason Kidd suspended one game

Milwaukee Bucks head coach Jason Kidd has been suspended one game without pay for aggressively pursuing and confronting a game official, slapping the ball out of his hands, and not leaving the court in a timely manner upon his ejection, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Kidd was assessed a technical foul and ejected, occurred with 1:49 remaining in the fourth quarter of Milwaukee’s 129-118 loss to the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Nov. 25 at BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Kidd will serve his suspension tonight when the Bucks play the Orlando Magic at Amway Center.

To view the play, click on this link.

Suns sign Bryce Cotton

The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed free agent guard Bryce Cotton. The third “Call-Up” from the D-League in the NBA this season, Cotton has averaged 22.0 points on 58.7 percent shooting from the field, 61.9 percent from three-point territory and 91.3 percent from the free-throw line in four games with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League.

Cotton, a 6-1, 165-pound guard, played in 15 games as a rookie with the Utah Jazz last season. He averaged 5.3 points for the season and scored in double-digits in each of his final four appearances, including a career-high 21 points on April 13 against Dallas.

Undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft, Cotton played in 34 games with the Austin Spurs in 2014-15 before joining the Jazz. Cotton was named All-NBA D-League Second Team and NBA D-League All-Rookie First Team after averaging 22.4 points (47.0 FG%, 44.3 3FG%, 90.0 FT%), 4.7 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.3 steals in 34 games with Austin.

A native of Tucson, Cotton was named First Team All-Class 4A in the state by The Arizona Republic in 2010 as he completed a standout career at Palo Verde High School. Cotton played collegiately at Providence College where he twice earned First Team All-Big East distinction and was named Big East Tournament MVP in 2014 after leading the Friars to the title.

Cotton will wear number 8. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15.

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