Rudy Gay day-to-day with ankle sprain

Sacramento Kings forward Rudy Gay suffered a left ankle sprain early in the first quarter of tonight’s game at Brooklyn. A subsequent X-ray taken following the contest were negative and he will be listed as day to day going forward.

The National Basketball Association announced today that the Jan. 23 game between the Utah Jazz and Washington Wizards, which was postponed due to severe weather conditions in the Eastern United States, has been rescheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 at 7 p.m. ET at Verizon Center.

Suns sign Orlando Johnson to 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns have signed guard Orlando Johnson to a 10-day contract. A two-year NBA veteran, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star for his play with the Austin Spurs this season.

A 6-5, 220-pound guard, Johnson has previous NBA experience with Indiana in 2012-13, also playing with Indiana as well as Sacramento in 2013-14. Originally selected by the Kings with the 36th overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft, he has appeared in 96 total games averaging 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds in 10.5 minutes. The 26-year-old has four career double-digit scoring games, including a career-high 15 points against Atlanta on March 25, 2013, while with the Pacers.

Johnson has averaged 15.2 points while shooting 44.1 percent from the field, 48.6 percent from beyond the arc and 80.6 percent from the free throw line in 28 games with Austin in 2015-16. For his efforts, which include 22 double-digit scoring games and a season-high 29 points at Los Angeles on Jan. 16, Johnson was named a 2016 NBA D-League All-Star on Jan. 29.

Johnson also played with Austin in 2014-15, averaging 17.4 points in 43 games; one of the team’s assistant coaches was current Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson.

A native of Monterey, Calif., Johnson played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara where he led the Gauchos to two NCAA tournament appearances.

Johnson will wear number 0. The Suns’ roster now stands at 15.

Jazz sign Erick Green to second 10-day contract

The Utah Jazz have signed guard Erick Green from the Reno Bighorns to a second 10-day contract. Green signed his first 10-day with the Jazz on Jan. 26 and has appeared in two games, averaging 2.0 points in 3.0 minutes.

Green (6-3, 178, Virginia Tech) appeared in 23 games (22 starts) for the Bighorns this season, averaging 26.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting, 4.4 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 1.4 steals in 39.0 minutes of action. He scored in double figures in 22 games, including 20-plus points on 19 occasions. He scored 30-or-more points in nine contests and a career-high 40 points in two games. Green was named the NBA D-League Player of the Month for January, and was also selected as an NBA D-League All-Star.

manu ginobili injury

Manu Ginobili underwent surgery earlier today in San Antonio after suffering a testicular injury in last night’s Spurs-Pelicans game.

Ginobili, who is out indefinitely, will be sidelined for at least one month.

The Spurs are 41-8 this season, second only to the 45-4 Warriors. Ginobili is averaging just 10.0 points in 19.7 minutes per game and has come off the bench for all 43 of the games he’s played.

Here’s the South Florida Sun Sentinel reporting on Heat center Hassan Whiteside, whose game was cut short on January 20 and just returned to action last night:

Hassan Whiteside happy to be back in action for Heat

It wasn’t about working back into a lather, again breaking into a sweat under the brightest lights. Those were the residuals. For Hassan Whiteside, getting back on the court meant the opportunity to again soak up what has transformed his life with the Miami Heat over the past year.

“I really missed playing basketball,” the shot-blocking, dunking-on-people center said after returning from a six-game injury absence in Wednesday night’s victory over the Dallas Mavericks. “A lot of times, you don’t realize how much you miss the game. I know I was just out for like a week and a half, I can’t imagine being out any longer.”

So he worked the coaching staff like he works the paint, essentially posting up coach Erik Spoelstra.

“I was expecting him to play in Charlotte,” Spoelstra said of Friday’s third and final stop of this three-game trip. “That was the plan.

“He really wanted to give it a go right now, so we gave him the green light.”

The Atlanta Hawks (29-22) are getting just 4.7 points in 15.4 minutes per game from Tim Hardaway Jr this season. But in recent games he’s gotten 20 or more minutes. Baby steps. Here’s the Atlanta Journal Constitution reporting:

Tim Hardaway Jr getting more minutes from Hawks

Defense got Tim Hardaway Jr. on the floor.

Trust is keeping him there.

The guard had season-highs in six statistics as part of a balanced attack that led to the Hawks lopsided 124-86 win at the 76ers Wednesday night. It was the 16th straight game played for Hardaway after appearing in just four of the Hawks’ first 35 contests.

“You earn the trust off your teammates; you earn the trust of your coach,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said prior to the victory. “He’s doing all those little things in a way that earns that.”

Hardaway had a team-high 13 points, along with Dennis Schroder, as the Hawks had all 13 players score with eight in double-figures. The point total was a season-high for Hardaway, eclipsing the 10 points he scored at the Heat just three days earlier. He also set season-highs in minutes (25:47), field goals (5), rebounds (7) and assists (4). He tied his season-high in field goal attempts (8).

Kings re-assign Duje Dukan to D-League

The Sacramento Kings have re-assigned rookie forward Duje Dukan to the team’s NBA D-League affiliate, the Reno Bighorns.

Dukan is averaging 13.4 points (.336 FG%, .727 FT%, .318 3PT%), 4.6 rebounds, and 1.0 assists in 31.0 minutes per game in nine games in which he started for the Bighorns.

Here’s ESPN Boston reporting on the mindset of Celtics head coach Brad Stevens as trade possibilies are thrown around:

Celtics coach Stevens plays it cool with trade rumors

Former Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers calls it “silly season,” the time of year when trade rumors fly like 3-pointers at a Celtics game. Still two weeks out from this year’s deadline, the “quietly aggressive” Celtics have already found themselves linked to some big names, including Houston center Dwight Howard.

Current Celtics coach Brad Stevens admits that he occasionally checked with the team’s front-office staff to substantiate rumors during his first year on the job. Now a grizzled veteran — he’s an “elderly” 39 when you consider that recent in-season hires Tyronn Lue (38), J.B. Bickerstaff (36), and Earl Watson (36) are all younger — Stevens doesn’t pay much mind to the chatter.

“The guys that have been in the league longer probably feel a lot like I do. It’s like, we’re just all like listening and laughing and trying to figure out what’s real and what’s not, but not putting a lot of a stock into it until somebody knocks on our door,” Stevens said. “And that’s the way I feel about it. I probably followed up on every third rumor my first year. And I don’t think I’ve followed up on one yet. If [Celtics president of basketball operations] Danny [Ainge] wants to talk to me about something, he knows where to find me.”

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

Suns hire Bob Hill as assistant coach

The Phoenix Suns have added experienced NBA head coach Bob Hill as an assistant coach, the team announced today.

“Coach Hill is a creative and innovative teacher of basketball,” said Suns Interim Head Coach Earl Watson. “He brings a wealth of knowledge to our program and will be very beneficial to everyone involved in our basketball family.”

Hill compiled a 310-293 (.514) record over parts of nine seasons as an NBA head coach, last leading Seattle in 2005-06 and 2006-07 where he coached Watson. In addition to Seattle, Hill served as head coach for New York (1986-87), Indiana (1990-93) and San Antonio (1994-96), guiding his teams to the playoffs on five occasions. Hill’s best season as a head coach came in 1994-95 when he led the Spurs to a 62-20 record and reached the Western Conference Finals.

The 2015 NBA champion Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win it again in 2016. Logic suggests they will an appealing free agent destination for anybody and everybody this upcoming summer who wants to join up with success. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and friends should remain highly competitive for years. But until there’s reason to believe otherwise, we assume Durant will stick with OKC. Anyway, with that said, here’s the San Francisco Chronicle following up on a Yahoo Sports report:

Rumor: Kevin Durant may want to join Warriors this summer

Warriors small forward Harrison Barnes says he stopped following scuttlebutt about NBA transactions after his rookie year trade deadline, so he seemed genuinely surprised Tuesday to hear that Kevin Durant might be replacing him.

“Oh man, that’s part of the business,” Barnes said on a phone call before the team’s plane left New York for Washington, D.C. “He’s a great player. If that’s the move they want to make, you know, hopefully, it works out.”

Hours earlier, Yahoo Sports reported that the Warriors are determined to recruit Oklahoma City’s All-Star forward Kevin Durant when he becomes a free agent this summer. That much was a well-known fact, but the report went further.

According to league sources, Yahoo wrote: “The truth is that (the Warriors are) the most intriguing destination to him. If Durant leaves the Thunder, the Warriors are the significant frontrunners to sign him.”

Jeff Green doing big things for Grizzlies

Here’s the Memphis Commercial Appeal reporting on the 29-20 Grizzlies, who are getting 12.1 points and 4.5 rebounds per game from forward Jeff Green this season — though Green has done much bigger things in the past four weeks:

Jeff Green doing big things for Grizzlies

He’s always been able to put the ball in the basket on drives to the rim and via spot-up 3-pointers. When that is combined with his hustle and effort in other areas, Green transforms into the versatile and productive player who makes coaches contented.

Green arguably has been the Grizzlies’ best player since he was benched for an entire second half of a Jan. 12 loss to Houston.

Zach Randolph has brought vintage performances during that span. Marc Gasol, Mike Conley and Tony Allen also have been on point with regard to their respective duties.

But only Green can claim this: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Green’s 24 points in the Grizzlies’ win at New Orleans made him the first NBA player in more than 21 years to come off the bench in four consecutive games and finish each one as the game’s high scorer (outright or tied) as his team won. The last player to put together four consecutive games like that was Dan Majerle with the Phoenix Suns in January of 1995.

The L.A. Clippers announced today the team has signed forward Jeff Ayres to a second 10-day contract.

A five-year NBA veteran, Ayres, 28, has appeared in three games with the Clippers scoring two points and grabbing two rebounds.

In 223 career regular season games with Portland, Indiana, San Antonio and Los Angeles, he is averaging 3.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 10.0 minutes. Ayres was a member of the 2014 NBA Champion Spurs and has played in 36 career Playoff games.

The Ontario, CA native most recently played for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA Developmental League, averaging 16.3 points and 9.5 rebounds in 23 games this season and was named a 2015 D-League All-Star.

A stand-out at Etiwanda High School in Rancho Cucamonga, CA, where he played with former Clippers guard Darren Collison, Ayres was originally drafted with the 31st pick in the 2009 NBA Draft by the Sacramento Kings and traded to Portland on Draft Night.

The 6-foot-10 inch forward played four seasons at Arizona State (2005-2009) earning All-Pac 10 First Team honors in 2009 when he averaged 14.5 points and 8.2 rebounds.

Erick Green named D-League Player of Month

Erick Green formerly of the Reno Bighorns and now with the Utah Jazz after signing a 10-day contract on Jan. 26, has been named NBA Development League Player of the Month for games played in January.

Green (6-4, 185, Virginia Tech) sparked Reno to a 9-3 month (7-2 in games that he played) averaging 27.6 points, 4.7 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists. He shot 55.0 percent from the field (83-for-151) and connected on 54.0 percent of his three-point attempts (34-of-63).

On Jan. 4, he tied a season-high with 40 points on 12-of-21 shooting (57.1 percent) and nailed four of his seven attempts from behind the arc to go with seven assists, five rebounds and three steals in a 126-122 win over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. On Jan. 8, he connected on six-of-seven three-point attempts as part of a 37-point effort in a 115-114 loss to the Westchester Knicks at the NBA D-League Showcase.

Green was selected with the 46th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft by the Jazz. With Reno he averaged 26.7 (third in the league) points on 53.3 percent shooting to go with 4.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.4 steals.

Other players receiving consideration for the monthly award were Austin’s Orlando Johnson, Bakersfield’s Xavier Munford, Delaware’s Jordan McRae (of the Phoenix Suns), Grand Rapids’ Devin Ebanks, Iowa’s Alex Stepheson, Idaho’s Phil Pressey, Los Angeles’ Vander Blue, Maine’s Terry Rozier (on assignment from the Boston Celtics), Raptors’ Ronald Roberts Jr., Rio Grande Valley’s Raphiael Putney, Sioux Falls’ Tre Kelley, Texas’ Brandon Ashley and Westchester’s Jimmer Fredette.

Suns name Earl Watson interim head coach

Suns name Earl Watson interim head coach

The Phoenix Suns have named assistant coach and former NBA player Earl Watson interim head coach, the team announced today.

Now the 17th head coach in franchise history, Watson joined the Suns as an assistant coach this past offseason after working last season as an assistant coach for the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League. Watson became a coach following a 13-year NBA career as a point guard in which he appeared in 878 career games with Seattle/Oklahoma City, Memphis, Denver, Indiana, Utah and Portland from 2001-2014. Watson averaged 6.4 points, 4.4 assists and 1.0 steals for his career, posting highs of 10.7 points and 6.8 assists with the SuperSonics in 2007-08. Watson played for three NBA Coach of the Year Award winners throughout his 13-year career (Hubie Brown, George Karl, Scott Brooks), as well as Hall of Famer Jerry Sloan.

Prior to being selected 40th overall in the 2001 NBA Draft, the Kansas City, Kan. native was a four-year starter at UCLA, helping guide the Bruins to three Sweet 16 appearances and earning All-Pac-10 First Team honors in 2000-01.

This week in the NBA

Monday, Feb. 1: All-Star starters LeBron James of Cleveland and Paul George of Indiana go head-to-head in the first game of NBA TV’s doubleheader (7 p.m.), followed by Milwaukee visiting Sacramento.

Tuesday, Feb. 2: If both players are healthy, this would mark the final regular-season matchup between Timberwolves forward Kevin Garnett and Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (10:30 p.m., NBA TV). Garnett and Bryant are two of five players in NBA history to play 20 or more seasons.

Wednesday, Feb. 3: Guards Stephen Curry of Golden State and John Wall of Washington, both All-Stars for the third year in a row, square off at 8 p.m. in the opener of ESPN’s doubleheader, which concludes with Timberwolves-Clippers at 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, Feb. 4: New York begins this week as one of four teams within three games of eighth-place Detroit in the East. The Knicks visit the Pistons in the opener of TNT’s doubleheader (7 p.m.). The Lakers and Pelicans meet in the second game (9:30 p.m.).

Friday, Feb. 5: Along with ESPN’s doubleheader of Pacers-Hawks (7 p.m.) and Spurs-Mavericks (9:30 p.m.), the Cavaliers play host to the Celtics (7:30, NBA LEAGUE PASS). Boston is one of only four teams to beat the Cavs in Cleveland since Jan. 19 of last season.

Saturday, Feb. 6: The Thunder and Warriors meet for the first time season in a game featuring five 2016 All-Stars and the current top two offenses in the NBA (9 p.m., ESPN). Golden State will bring a 40-game home regular-season winning streak into the matchup; a victory would give the Warriors sole possession of the second-longest home winning streak of all time.

Sunday, Feb. 7: In an ABC matinee (2 p.m.), the Clippers play the Heat in the second game of a four-game road trip. The Clippers open the week with a 15-9 road record, tied for the second-most road victories in the NBA.

– NBA News

Dwyane Wade doing big things lately

d-wade

On Jan. 19, Heat guard Dwyane Wade scored two points in 21 minutes during a loss to Milwaukee, the second time in his career he had played that much and scored that little in a regular-season game. He missed the next game with shoulder soreness, a loss to Washington, Miami’s sixth defeat in seven games. Since then, however, Wade has gotten back on track — as has the Heat. Wade is averaging 23.6 points (on 50.0 percent shooting), 6.4 assists and 4.4 rebounds in his last five games, lifting Miami to a 4-1 record and victories in its last four. Wade is now tied with Bernard King for 42nd place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list (19,655 points). Miami (27-21), which trails Chicago (26-20) by percentage points for third place in the Eastern Conference, puts its season-high winning streak on the line Tuesday at Houston (8 p.m. ET, NBA TV).

deandre jordan

Clippers center DeAndre Jordan shot 70.7 percent from the field, down from 74.7 percent in December, as he takes aim at Wilt Chamberlain’s record 72.7 percent in 1972-73. Jordan, who leads the NBA in field goal percentage (71.5) for the fourth straight season, picked a good time to have his best overall month of the season, with forward Blake Griffin sidelined and rivals such as red-hot Memphis looking to overtake the Clippers in the standings. He averaged 13.8 points and 15.1 rebounds in January as the Clippers went 11-3 to improve to 32-16, good for fourth place in the West. Jordan is within striking distance of leading the NBA in both field goal percentage and rebounding for the third season in a row: He is the only qualified player shooting better than 62 percent, and he ranks second in rebounding (13.8 rpg) behind Detroit’s Andre Drummond (15.0 rpg).

– NBA News

Trail Blazers putting up wins lately

The Trail Blazers didn’t just lose four starters during the offseason. They lost four starters who, along with Damian Lillard, comprised a unit that helped Portland win at least 50 games in back-to-back seasons. The revamped Blazers are building a new identity, though, and hanging tough in the Western Conference playoff race. An emerging CJ McCollum (20.7 ppg) has joined Lillard to form one of the NBA’s highest-scoring backcourts, and other young players such as guard Allen Crabbe (11.2 ppg) and center Meyers Leonard (9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have made the most of their expanded roles. The Blazers (23-26) have won a season-high four consecutive games and eight of 10 to move into eighth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Utah (21-25). Portland is 4-1 on its seven-game homestand, which wraps up with games against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Toronto on Thursday.

– NBA News

d-wade

Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant were today named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Jan. 25 through Sunday, Jan. 31.

Wade led the Heat to a 4-0 week, which included wins over the Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks, behind averages of 24.0 points (tied-third in the Eastern Conference), 7.0 assists (fourth in the conference), 4.8 rebounds, 2.0 steals (tied-eighth in the conference) and 1.75 blocks (tied-fifth in the conference). On Jan. 26, he tallied 27 points, eight assists, four rebounds, three steals and two blocks during a 102-98 win over the Brooklyn Nets.

kevin durant

Durant’s league-best 34.7 points on the week helped the Thunder to a 3-0 record. He ranked fourth in the Western Conference with 11.7 rebounds, contributed 4.3 assists and averaged a conference-high 40.0 minutes. Durant recorded point-rebound double-doubles twice, including a 44-point, 14-rebound outing on Jan. 26, as the Thunder topped the New York Knicks 128-122 in overtime.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Indiana’s Monta Ellis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Chris Paul, Memphis’ Jeff Green, New Orleans’ Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry.

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