Lakers beat injured Clippers on Xmas Day

Lakers beat injured Clippers on Xmas Day

A win offers breathing room for the Los Angeles Lakers, and on Christmas Day, they got some.

Fittingly, Laker Nick Young hit the game’s last field goal. He is the only Laker who was also on the team in 2013, the last time the Lakers beat the Clippers before an 11-game losing streak — the longest such streak they’ve had to any team since the franchise moved to Los Angeles.

Below are five takeaways from last night’s 111-102 victory.

1. The L.A. Clippers were shorthanded, missing starters Blake Griffin and Chris Paul. Raymond Felton, the point guard who started, was battling a fever, and J.J. Redick left the game in the second half with an injury. But the Lakers have also been hurting for most of December. That led Young to offer this: “ A win is a win. Nobody cared when we were hurt and injured. Why should we?”

2. In the second quarter, Lakers rookie Brandon Ingram picked up a technical foul. That call seemed to energize him, and he was suddenly more aggressive and assertive offensively.

LA Times

Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr., who suffered an injury to his left knee December 20 at Charlotte, was examined prior to Sunday’s game by team physician Dr. David McAllister of UCLA Health. The diagnosis is a bone bruise.

Nance Jr. is expected to be out approximately four weeks.

The Lakers are 12-22 this season, which is the 11th best record in the Western conference.

The team’s leading scorer this season has been guard Louis Williams, averaging 18.7 ppg. Williams has come off the bench for all 34 of his games this year.

The 2017 Sixers draft situation

In possession of their own pick and the Los Angeles Lakers’ top-three protected pick, the 76ers will probably be picking twice in the lottery. The good news for the Sixers is that this draft is shaping up to be a pretty deep one. Even better news is that it’s deep with what they need: guards and wings.

Markelle Fultz is the front-runner to be the No. 1 overall pick. He’d be an excellent fit as a point guard who is more of a scorer/shooter (49 percent from three) than a facilitator to play with Simmons (not to say Fultz is a poor passer). Malik Monk of Kentucky is an undersized combo guard who, like Fultz, can light up the scoreboard. Lonzo Ball of UCLA is another combo guard with the ability to shoot (43 percent from three) and dish (8.3 assists).

Then there’s athletic wings like high-flying Kansas freshman Josh Jackson who can do a little bit of everything. The ACC has two long, athletic wings that can wreak havoc on both ends in Florida State’s Isaac Austin and Duke’s Jayson Tatum. Landing one of these guys would give the Sixers scary length and a potentially disruptive defense.

– CSN Philly

Quick Take: At some point, two things have to happen for the Sixers: 1) Full health. 2) A clear indication that their season will be one of serious competition, and not riding the bottom of the standings anymore. Perhaps that’ll happen in 2017-18.

NBA national notes, December 25, 2016

demarcus cousins

50-Point Games: Sacramento’s DeMarcus Cousins (55 points vs. Portland on Tuesday) is already the fifth player with a 50-point game in 2016-17, joining Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Washington’s John Wall, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. The NBA record for most players with 50-point games in a season is eight, set in 1989-90.

Tyler Johnson, Heat: He scored 32 points in Tuesday’s double-overtime loss to Orlando, the highest total for a Miami reserve in franchise history. His 13.4 points per game is the second-highest scoring average among players with no starts this season.

Deron Williams, Mavericks: Williams, who recently passed Derek Harper for 21st place on the NBA’s career assists list, is averaging 19.8 points (on 53.6 percent shooting) and 6.8 assists in his last four games.

Shaquille O’Neal: Miami will retire Shaq’s No. 32 jersey at halftime of tonight’s game against the Lakers (8 p.m. ET, TNT), while the Lakers announced this week that they will unveil a bronze statue of the Hall of Fame center at Staples Center on March 24, 2017.

Dennis Schröder, Hawks: In his last 12 games, the 23-year-old guard from Germany is averaging 21.8 points (on 53.1 percent shooting) and 7.6 assists.

nikola jokic

Nikola Jokic, Nuggets: The second-year center’s run of six double-doubles in his last 10 games includes a 27-point, 15-rebound, nine-assist performance against Dallas on Monday, making him the first Denver player to reach those three totals in a game since Fat Lever in 1988.

Myles Turner, Pacers: The second-year center has scored in double figures in nine consecutive games, averaging 18.0 points while shooting 55.2 percent from the field.

Marc Gasol, Grizzlies: He scored a career-high 38 points and made 14-of-17 shots (82.4 percent) from the field in Wednesday’s victory against Detroit, becoming the first Grizzlies player to score 38 points or more while shooting at least 80 percent in a game since Shareef Abdur-Rahim on Jan. 7, 2001. Gasol raised his scoring average to a career-high 20.1 points.

evan fournier

Evan Fournier, Magic: In his last six games, Fournier is averaging 22.2 points and shooting 52.0 percent from the field.

Hall of Fame Class of 2017 Candidates: Muggsy Bogues, Tracy McGrady, Ben Wallace and former NBA referees Sid Borgia and Jake O’Donnell are among the first-time nominees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

– Via NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

2016 NBA Christmas Day game matchups

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks, noon ET, ESPN
Boston: Isaiah Thomas, who ranks seventh in the NBA in scoring at 26.6 points per game, is second in the league in fourth-quarter scoring (8.1), behind Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook (9.8). Thomas has scored at least 20 points in each of his last 12 games, the longest active streak in the league.
New York: Carmelo Anthony (23,112) needs 38 points to pass Elgin Baylor (23,149) for 28th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. Anthony and the Knicks host Orlando tonight before facing Boston on Christmas Day.

Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers, 2:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Golden State: The Warriors have climbed to second in the NBA in defensive rating – allowing 100.8 points per 100 possessions – which matches their No. 2 ranking in offensive rating. Golden State has held each of its last three opponents to 90 points or fewer.
Cleveland: Kyrie Irving set a career high with 13 assists in Wednesday’s victory over Milwaukee, which came four days after he had equaled his previous career high of 12 assists in a win against the Lakers. Irving has also scored at least 20 points in 15 of his last 16 games and in a team-high 22 games overall.

Chicago Bulls at San Antonio Spurs, 5 p.m. ET, ABC
Chicago: In a conference call with international media this week, Jimmy Butler discussed playing on Christmas Day, the key to his emergence as an All-Star, his admiration for Kawhi Leonard and Manu Ginobili, and more. Click here for the transcript.
San Antonio: Kawhi Leonard has scored at least 30 points seven times in 28 games this season. He entered the year with four 30-point games in 324 career appearances.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Minnesota: The Timberwolves are attempting to become the first team in NBA history to have three players – Karl-Anthony Towns (22.1 ppg), Andrew Wiggins (21.9) and Zach LaVine (20.7) – who were under the age of 22 at the start of the season each average at least 20 points for the season.
Oklahoma City: Enes Kanter (12.6 ppg) ranks third on the team in scoring despite placing seventh in minutes per game (19.4). Kanter’s seven double-doubles are good for second on the Thunder behind Russell Westbrook, who is tied for the league lead with 23.

LA Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
Clippers: Chris Paul (7,970) needs 18 assists to pass Rod Strickland (7,987) for 10th place on the NBA’s career list. Paul is 30 assists from 8,000 for his career.
Lakers: Earlier this month, Lou Williams had the highest-scoring four-game stretch for a bench player (137 points) since at least the 1970-71 season. For the season, the 30-year-old guard leads the Lakers in scoring with a career-high 18.8 points, coming off the bench in all 31 appearances.

– Via NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified this week by the NBA players and NBA Board of Governors. The new agreement will take effect on July 1, 2017 and run through the 2023-24 season.

The parties voted based on a term sheet that outline the key deal points. Once the NBA and NBPA finish drafting and execute the complete agreement, specific details will be released.

Will Barton hopes to stay with Nuggets

Will Barton hopes to stay with Nuggets

Denver Nuggets guard Will Barton doesn’t have to seek it out to know what’s going on. The information comes to him.

In the past calendar year he’s been one of the most coveted players on the Nuggets roster. The Nuggets were offered a first-round pick for him last year, but they declined.

Barton hopes he stays with Denver.

“It’s tough but you hear a lot of stuff going around,” Barton told The Denver Post. “I don’t pay any attention to it, I try not to let it enter my mind and enter things that I’ve got going on. I’m here, I like it here. I just try to work hard every day, perform, and just get wins for my teammates. That’s all I care about, just focusing on the Denver Nuggets.”

– Denver Post

Quick Take: Averaging 14.3 ppg, Barton is the third leading scorer on the 12-17 Nuggets this season, behind Wilson Chandler (16.8 ppg) and Danilo Gallinari (16.4 ppg). He’s having a solid season.

jr smith

Cavalier guard J.R. Smith’s surgery to repair a complex fracture of his right thumb was completed this morning at the Crystal Clinic Orthopaedic Center in Montrose, Ohio. The surgery was performed by renowned hand surgeon Dr. Thomas Graham of Northwell Health of New York. Dr. TJ Reilly of the Crystal Clinic assisted. Also present was Dr. Richard D. Parker of Cleveland Clinic Sports Health. Smith will now undergo a period of recovery and rehabilitation for his thumb and his return to play timeline is currently projected at 12-14 weeks. His status will be updated as appropriate.

Shortly after Darryl Dawkins’ and Moses Malone’s sudden heart-related deaths sent “shock waves” through the NBA community in August of 2015, Adam Silver picked up the phone and called Michele Roberts.

The NBA commissioner and NBA Players Association executive director both agreed that something had to be done before the NBA lost another beloved retired player due to health. Soon after that, today’s stars and the game’s biggest name from the past, Michael Jordan, joined the cause.

With Jordan, now the league’s most famous owner, working over his fellow co-owners to lend a very influential assist along with current stars like Chris Paul, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony voicing their desire to take care of the previous generations of NBA players, the NBA will become the first professional sports league to offer retired players medical benefits as part of a comprehensive and enhanced player retirement package.

– ESPN.com

Our Quick Take: This is long overdue, and the right move. Looking forward to hearing the finer details once they become official.

George Karl takes shots at Carmelo Anthony in new book

It has been more than five years since Carmelo Anthony played for George Karl, but that hasn’t stopped his old coach from taking shots at him.

Karl has a new book coming out in January, Furious George, which might make his former Nuggets players angrier than anyone. Karl’s book features a number of blindsided attacks on Anthony, who he coached in Denver from Anthony’s second season until he was traded in 2011.

““Carmelo was a true conundrum for me in the six years I had him,” Karl wrote. “He was the best offensive player I ever coached. He was also a user of people, addicted to the spotlight, and very unhappy when he had to share it.

“He really lit my fuse with his low demand for himself on defense. He had no commitment to the hard, dirty work of stopping the other guy. My ideal – probably every coach’s ideal – is when your best player also is your leader. But since Carmelo only played hard on one side of the ball, he made it plain and simple he couldn’t lead the Nuggets, even though he said he wanted to. Coaching him meant working around his defense and compensating for his attitude.”

Anthony knew the questions were coming and he took the high road after the Knicks beat the Magic, 106-95, mostly laughing off the comments.

“Nothing disappoints me anymore,” Anthony said. “I’m past being disappointed. I just hope that he finds happiness in what he’s doing. His book, hopefully will bring him happiness.

– Bergen Record

Quick Take: This is great publicity for the book. We’ll be reading it.

Larry Nance, Jr knee injury update

Los Angeles Lakers forward Larry Nance, Jr., who suffered an injury to his left knee in last night’s game in Charlotte, had an MRI exam today in Miami. Results showed a bone bruise, which will keep Nance, Jr. out indefinitely, but further results were inconclusive due to swelling in the knee. He will be re-examined by team physician Dr. David McAllister of UCLA Health on Sunday in Los Angeles, and an update will be given at that time.

Blake Griffin injury update

Blake Griffin injury update

L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a successful routine arthroscopic procedure on Tuesday, Dec. 20 to remove loose bodies from his right knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. Neal ElAttrache and assisted by Dr. Steve Shimoyama at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic.

Griffin is expected to miss approximately four-to-six weeks and will continue to undergo treatment and evaluation by the Clippers medical staff.

The five-time NBA All-Star has appeared in 26 games and is averaging 21.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season.

DeMarcus Cousins scores 55 points, gets un-ejected

Following a tumultuous day for Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, he scores a season-high 55 points to help his team defeat Portland 126-121. The game was not without drama, however, and a late technical foul call on Cousins that was overturned.

Ty Lawson, Aaron Afflalo and Anthony Tolliver combine for 38 points off the bench in the Kings’ win over the Trail Blazers.

The Kings fined DeMarcus Cousins $50,000 on Tuesday, but overall, they’re almost shameless apologists for their All-Star center’s poor behavior.

– Sacramento Bee

Quick Take: I think Cousins has always felt that some people were out to get him. He’s had that chip on his shoulder throughout his NBA career. What that stems from might require a psychologist (not saying that as an insult). In some cases, like bad techs, it’s understandable. But in other cases it’s mostly on him.

Ian Mahinmi will have surgery on both knees

Wizards center Ian Mahinmi will undergo PRP (platelet-rich plasma) treatment on both knees following consultation with Dr. James Andrews and Wizards Head Team Physician Wiemi Douoguih. He is expected to miss approximately six weeks.

Mahinmi underwent surgery to repair a partially torn medial meniscus in his left knee on Oct. 14. During the rehabilitation process, he aggravated patellar tendinitis in his right knee and sustained a bone bruise to his left knee. The PRP treatment will be administered at the Andrews Institute for Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in Pensacola, FL.

Derrick Rose returning for Knicks tonight

Derrick Rose returning for Knicks tonight

Knicks point guard Derrick Rose was one of the last players to leave the court after Monday’s practice as he tested his back to make sure he will be able to return to the lineup.

Rose went through the entire practice and reported no lower-back pain. He said the plan is for him to play Tuesday night when the Knicks face the Indiana Pacers to start a three-game homestand.

The former MVP, who missed about 58 percent of his team’s games during the previous five seasons as a member of the Chicago Bulls, said he’s not concerned that this will be a lingering issue despite missing the past two games and four of the last six with the back issue.

NY Newsday

Quick Take: The Knicks are 14-13 this season, which is tied with the Bulls for the 6th best record in the Eastern conference. The 3rd and 8th seeds in the East are only separated by one game. As for the Knicks, they need Rose healthy and effective if they hope to leapfrog that group.

Blake Griffin will have knee surgery, out 3-6 weeks

After playing just 35 games last season, Clippers forward Blake Griffin is hurt again.

Griffin will undergo a routine arthroscopic procedure on Tuesday, December 20 to remove loose bodies from his right knee.

Griffin is expected to miss approximately three-to-six weeks and will continue to undergo treatment and evaluation by the Clippers medical staff.

The five-time NBA All-Star has appeared in 26 games and is averaging 21.0 points, 8.9 rebounds and 4.6 assists this season

DeMar DeRozan, James Harden named NBA Players of Week

Raptors scoring guard DeMar DeRozan and Rockets do-everything guard James Harden were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week today, respectively, for games played Monday, Dec. 12 through Sunday, Dec. 18.

DeRozan led Toronto to a 3-1 week, averaging a league-high 31.5 points on 60.5 percent shooting to go with 4.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists. This marks the second time this season he has scored at least 30 points in four consecutive games. DeRozan also shot over 50.0 percent from the field in all four games. On Dec. 16, he tallied 34 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals in a 125-121 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. On Dec. 18, he finished with 31 points, three rebounds and three assists in a 109-79 victory over the Orlando Magic.

james harden

Harden led Houston to a 4-0 week behind averages of 27.0 points (third in the West), a league-best 12.8 assists, 9.8 rebounds and 1.0 steals. He recorded back-to-back triple-doubles in victories over the Sacramento Kings and New Orleans Pelicans, giving him six for the season and 15 for his career. Harden surpassed Hakeem Olajuwon for most triple-doubles in Rockets franchise history. He tallied at least 20 points and 10 assists in three of four games, giving him 18 such games this season, tops in the league.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week include Golden State’s Kevin Durant, the LA Clippers’ Blake Griffin and Chris Paul, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Washington’s Bradley Beal and John Wall.

Report: Blake Griffin needs minor knee surgery

Clippers forward Blake Griffin is expected to undergo a minor knee surgery that will sideline him through the remainder of the month.

News of the surgery, which could allow for a January return, was first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Griffin played in the Clippers’ 117-110 loss to Washington on Sunday, scoring 26 points to go with seven rebounds and seven assists.

– OC Register

Quick Take: The Clippers have proven in the past that they can continue to play well while Blake Griffin is out. Still, it’s unfortunate that they need to go through this again. Hope Griffin recovers soon.

Russell Westbrook dishes career-high 22 assists

Russell Westbrook could have taken a 3-pointer, but he stutter-stopped and drove left. The slight hesitation and a screen from Steven Adams was enough to provide a mismatch Westbrook identified immediately.

When he picked up his dribble, the 7-foot Adams was on the weak side towering over Westbrook’s initial defender, 6-5 P.J. Tucker. Westbrook saw it and lofted a perfectly-weighted pass over Tucker to Adams for an easy layup.

It was one of a gamut of brilliant passes from Westbrook, as the assists reached double digits before the points or rebounds in his league-leading 13th triple-double.

In the Thunder’s 114-101 win, Westbrook finished with 26 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high 22 assists.

Oklahoman

Quick Take: Victor Oladipo was out, so Westbrook had to do even more than usual. His production is incredible. Westbrook is doing things few players in the modern era of pro basketball are capable of doing.

Derrick Rose dealing with back spasms

Derrick Rose dealing with back spasms

Carmelo Anthony will return to the Knicks’ lineup Saturday against Denver after missing Thursday’s game because of soreness in his shoulder, the team said. Derrick Rose, however, will sit because of lingering discomfort from back spasms. He has missed four of the Knicks’ past six games because of the ailment.

Brandon Jennings is likely to start at point guard in place of Rose on Saturday.

Anthony’s return against his former team will be a welcome one for the Knicks, who are 0-11 in games Anthony has missed over the past two seasons.

– ESPN NY

Quick Take: Knicks fans definitely don’t want to hear the words “Derrick Rose” and “injury concerns.” I felt uncomfortable even typing that sentence. Hopefully he recovers soon.

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