Pistons beat Warriors 113-95

Before the game, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy said Golden State simply has more margin for error than other teams, meaning the Warriors can win even when they don’t play their best.

Not on this night against Van Gundy’s Pistons.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope held his own against Stephen Curry for most of the night, scoring 20 points as the Pistons handed the Warriors their second loss in three games, 113-95 on Saturday.

Much of the pregame talk centered around how well Caldwell-Pope might be able to defend Curry. The Golden State star scored 38 points, but Caldwell-Pope gave the Pistons a boost offensively.

“I think we know that we’re capable of beating anybody,” Van Gundy said afterward…

Drummond had 14 points and 21 rebounds, and Reggie Jackson scored 20 points for Detroit. The Pistons had six players in double figures, while Golden State had only three. Klay Thompson scored 24 points for the Warriors.

– Associated Press

Joakim Noah needs shoulder surgery, will miss 4-6 months

During last night’s game against Dallas, Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah sustained a dislocation of the left shoulder which was reduced in the training room. Earlier today, he was evaluated at Midwest Orthopedics at Rush, where it was determined that he will undergo surgery to stabilize his left shoulder.

His recovery time is estimated at four to six months. The details of the timing, location, and rehabilitation program have not yet been finalized.

The Bulls say Noah is expected to have a full recovery.

Chicago is 23-16 this season — the third best record in the East, though they are just half a game ahead of both the Hawks and Heat.

Noah came off the Bulls’ bench for 27 of the 29 games he played this season but was still a huge part of the team. Averaging just 4.3 points per game, Noah is Chicago’s second-leading rebounder with 8.8 rpg, and is third on the team in assists at 3.8 apg.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, “Noah was likely to be on the shelf for the next four-to-six months, which is not only a season-ender for the veteran big man, but could close the book on his career with the Bulls as he’s headed to free agency this summer. “It hurt,’’ Rose said, when asked what it was like seeing Noah in the locker room following the injury. “It hurt just knowing how hard he works, how hard he wants to be on the court, how much he means to this team. It’s devastating, but we have to come back in here and make sure the guys are ready. Everybody has to be ready, but you never know. He’s a big piece, he’s a big piece.’’

And according to ESPN Chicago, “In the short-term Noah’s absence means more time for rookie Bobby Portis in the rotation, but the reality for the team is there is a chance that Noah may have played his last game as a Bull. His contract is set to expire at the end of the season and he will become an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.”

Earl Clark currently playing in D-League

Here’s the Arizona Republic with an update on Earl Clark, who is averaging 20.2 points, 8.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 blocks in 35.1 minutes per game in the D-League this season:

Earl Clark currently playing in D-League

After 4 1/2 NBA seasons, Earl Clark had to swallow hard on his basketball-sized pride this season to play in the D-League.

With credentials as a former Suns draft lottery pick bumped to the bottom of his resume, Clark left his family and nice cars in Florida to share an apartment and rides to the grocery store while rebuilding his name in the game on a $26,000 salary for Suns affiliate Bakersfield.

Passing up more money overseas, Clark bet on his ability to prove his NBA worth with hopes pinned on January call-ups as 10-day contracts began.

Instead, Clark was traded Saturday by Bakersfield, which sent him to Delaware for a D-League second-round draft pick. The move, a familiar one after three NBA trades, keeps his quest alive with a clean slate after a frustrating stretch for Bakersfield.

Jazz sign JJ O`Brien to 10-day contract


The Utah Jazz today signed forward JJ O’Brien from the Idaho Stampede to a 10-day contract. The Stampede are the Jazz’s exclusively owned and operated NBA D-League team, and O’Brien becomes the NBA’s eighth overall NBA D-League Call-Up of the 2015-16 season and the second Stampede player to be called up.

O’Brien (6-7, 220, San Diego State) has appeared in 24 games (23 starts) for the Stampede this season, averaging 9.9 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.6 steals in 33.4 minutes of action. He has scored 10-plus points on 10 occasions, including two games of 20-or-more points. O’Brien has also recorded seven-or-more rebounds in seven contests. The 23-year-old forward attended training camp with the Jazz and appeared in one preseason game after also competing for the Jazz entries in both the Utah Jazz Summer League and NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. He was waived by the Jazz on Oct. 13.

He played one season at University of Utah (2010-11) before transferring to San Diego State (2011-15) to finish his collegiate career. A native of San Diego, O’Brien played high school basketball at Alta Loma High School in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

O’Brien will wear No. 22 for the Jazz. He will be available for tonight’s game vs. the Los Angeles Lakers.

Following the move, Utah’s roster now stands at 15 players.

Nikola Mirotic moved to bench for Bulls

Nikola Mirotic is no stranger to coming off the bench. After all, that’s how he spent most of his first year in the NBA last season.

So call Friday a reunion.

Not exactly a good one for the second-year power forward.

Prior to the game with Dallas, coach Fred Hoiberg announced that not only was Mirotic was out of the starting lineup, but the experiment to play him at the three-spot was going to take a few steps back.

“The big thing is talking to him, try and build up the confidence,’’ Hoiberg said of Mirotic.

Chicago Sun-Times

Ronnie Price undergoes toe surgery

Phoenix Suns guard Ronnie Price today underwent successful surgery to remove loose bodies in his right great toe. The surgery was performed by Dr. Gus Armendariz in Phoenix. Price is anticipated to return to basketball activities around the All-Star break.

Currently in his 11th NBA season and second with the Suns (also 2011-12), Price is averaging 4.2 points, 1.7 assists, 1.1 steals and 14.8 minutes in 34 games (one start) this season.

The Philadelphia 76ers are 4-37 this season and are still all about the future. Here’s The Intelligencer with an update on center Joel Embiid, whose NBA career so far has been spent on the injured list:

Joel Embiid is still not playing this season

Injured center Joel Embiid playing this season has “never been a consideration,” according to Jerry Colangelo.

During an oncourt interview prior to Thursday’s game against the Bulls, the 76ers’ chairman of basketball operations said that despite Embiid being ahead of schedule, the organization is targeting the outset of the 2016-17 season for him.

“No one’s rushing him back — there’s no reason to,” Colangelo said. “The goal and objective at the start of next season is to do everything we can do to get him in the best position to be successful. Because if he can hold up and he’s OK, he’s a game changer.”

The Chicago Bulls announced today the team has assigned forward/center Cristiano Felicio to the Canton Charge of the NBA Development League, pursuant to the Flexible Assignment Rule.

In three games with Canton this season, Felício has posted 15.0 ppg and 4.7 rpg in 24.7 mpg.

Trevor Booker suffers concussion

Trevor Booker suffers concussion

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz forward Trevor Booker:

Booker has been diagnosed with a concussion by the Jazz medical staff after being hit in the face at the 5:03 mark of the third quarter during tonight’s game vs. Sacramento.

Per the NBA’s Concussion Policy, Booker will now begin the NBA-mandated protocol for return-to-participation following a diagnosed concussion and his status moving forward is day-to-day.

Raptors beat Magic in London

Thursday in London, the Toronto Raptors beat the Orlando Magic 106-103 in overtime. In the win, Kyle Lowry scored 24 (on just 5-20 shooting), and had eight rebounds and seven assists. Cory Joseph was great off the bench, shooting 9-of-11 for 19 points. In the loss, Victor Oladipo scored 27, and Evan Fournier had 21. Here’s the Toronto Sun reporting:

A visit to the O2 just wouldn’t be right without overtime.

For the second time in three games here, the Raps found themselves providing a deserving English fan base a little more than they were actually entitled.

The last time it took triple overtime and it resulted in a loss to the then New Jersey Nets.

But this is a different Raptors team, a “relevant” team as Masai Ujiri likes to call them, and they proved their GM right with a professional overtime period that included timely shooting, some patient offence and some determined defence to pull out a 106-103 win over the Magic on Thursday.

The Magic had a match for the Kyle Lowry/DeMar DeRozan backcourt but they didn’t have the bench support or the defence the Raptors brought with them across the Atlantic.

And by the slimmest of margins, the Raptors will head back across that ocean with a well-deserved win.

Jarrett Jack undergoes ACL reconstruction surgery

Brooklyn Nets guard Jarrett Jack underwent anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction surgery this morning at the Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan. The surgery was performed by Nets’ Medical Director, Dr. Riley J. Williams and Dr. David Altchek.

A full recovery is expected, and it’s anticipated that he will be ready to participate in full basketball activities for the 2016-17 season.

Jack, who sustained the injury during the second half of the Nets’ game at Boston on Saturday, January 2, played and started in 32 games for Brooklyn this season, and posted averages of 12.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and a team-high 7.4 assists per game.

Cavs continue to lead the East

With a 27-9 record, the Cleveland Cavaliers have the third best winning-percentage in the league. They are 4.5 games ahead of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern conference standings. Last night in Dallas they hung on in overtime to beat the Mavericks. Here’s ESPN Cleveland with more:

The Cavs like their chances against anyone these days as they’ve now won 14 of their past 16 games to surge to the top record in the Eastern Conference by a 4.5-game lead over Toronto. As they entered into their toughest portion of the schedule all season on Tuesday — over a six-day stretch their schedule reads at Dallas, at San Antonio, at Houston (on a back-to-back) and home against the defending champion Golden State Warriors — the manner in which they beat the Mavs makes you think they’re ready for whatever comes next.

That’s not to say they’ll sweep the next three games of this murderer’s row to extend their streak to double digits while handing the Spurs their first home loss of the season in the process. It’s just that the way they approached the Dallas game seems like a solid formula for success along the way.

No, not the way they fell down 23-7 in the game’s first seven minutes. And not the way they settled for 44 3-pointers out of their 97 shots. But the way it was a true top-to-bottom type of effort. Seven of the nine players to see the court scored in double figures. Everyone took care of the ball, amassing only nine turnovers as a team in 53 minutes. Everyone shared the ball, too, notching 28 assists on their 40 made field goals.

Celtics lose 4th straight game

The Boston Celtics lost 120-114 in New York to the Knicks last night. Here’s the Boston Herald reporting:

The Celtics weren’t able to win last night, despite the fact the Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony for virtually the entire second half and rookie star Kristaps Porzingis fouled out with the Celts ahead by one and 2:44 left in the game.

Anthony sprained his right ankle late in the first half when he stepped on referee Rodney Mott. He tried to start the second half, but the Knicks had to call a timeout to remove him 19 futile seconds in.

The Celts also weren’t able to win with Isaiah Thomas scoring 34 points. That gives him a combined 69 in the past two games.

“He’s playing awfully well,” Stevens said. “My concern is we’ve lost them both.

Pistons unable to upset Spurs

As is usually the case in this era of the NBA, the San Antonio Spurs are one of the league’s best teams this season. On Tuesday they won their 9th game in a row. Here’s Michigan Live reporting:

Stan Van Gundy could only shake his head.

Tony Parker had just scored a season-high 31 points, newcomer LaMarcus Aldridge 25, and the aging San Antonio Spurs, playing some of the best basketball in the NBA today, handed the Detroit Pistons a 109-99 defeat Tuesday night in front of 14,273 at The Palace of Auburn Hills.

His team had only played to their potential half the time, Van Gundy said, making it a game down the stretch before the Spurs used their multiple scoring threats to bludgeon Detroit for good.

“Look. They’re very, very good,” Van Gundy said. “But we came out, started the game … we played hard with good energy, defended. Then they went to their bench and their bench destroyed us in the first half. Then our starters came with nothing to start the second half defensively. Absolutely nothing.”

Raphiael Putney of the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Jan. 4 through Sunday, Jan. 10. The honor is the first of Putney’s career.

Putney (6-10, 255, Massachusetts) led Rio Grande Valley to a 2-1 week averaging 28.3 points (third in the league) on 47 percent shooting (29-of-62) to go with a league-leading 15.7 rebounds and 3.7 blocks (third).

For the season, Putney is averaging 20.3 points (tied for ninth in the league), 10.0 rebounds (fifth), 3.1 blocks (second) and 1.8 assists.

Other top performers considered include Bakersfield’s Xavier Munford, Delaware’s Sean Kilpatrick and Jordan McRae, Erie’s Keith Appling, Idaho’s Bryce Dejean-Jones, Iowa’s Alex Stepheson, Maine’s Terry Rozier (on assignment from the Boston Celtics), Oklahoma City’s Marquis Teague, Sioux Falls’ Josh Richardson (on assignment from the Miami Heat and Texas’ Brandon Ashley.

Cavs trade Joe Harris to Magic

Cavs trade Joe Harris

The Cleveland Cavaliers have acquired the Portland Trail Blazers’ protected 2020 second round pick from the Orlando Magic in exchange for guard Joe Harris, the Sacramento Kings’ 2017 protected second round pick, owned by the Cavaliers, and cash, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today.

This season, Harris appeared in five games for the Cavs and 10 games for the Canton Charge.

He was originally selected by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round (33rd overall pick) of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Today, Harris underwent successful surgery in Indianapolis on his right foot for excision of 5th metatarsal apophysis.

The Cavs roster now stands at 14.

Nuggets sign Sean Kilpatrick to 10-day contract

The Denver Nuggets have signed guard Sean Kilpatrick to a 10-day contract, General Manager and Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.

Kilpatrick, 6-4, 210, has appeared in 22 games (21 starts) for the Delaware 87ers of the NBA D-League this season, averaging 27.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.14 steals in 38.5 minutes per game. He is the seventh D-League-to-NBA “Call-Up” of the season to date.

The New York product played four years at the University of Cincinnati where he was named AP All-American First Team and All-AAC First Team as a senior. He went undrafted in the 2014 NBA Draft.

The Nuggets roster now stands at 15 players.

Quincy Pondexter injured, out for season

The New Orleans Pelicans announced today that forward Quincy Pondexter will undergo left knee surgery and miss the remainder of the season.

“After undergoing further evaluation from our medical staff, additional specialists, and consulting with Quincy and his representatives, we have collectively concluded that it is best for the long-term interest of Quincy to have an additional surgical procedure to correct the cartilage injury in his left knee,” said Pelicans Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations/General Manager Dell Demps. “This decision was determined due to a lack of progression in the recovery process.”

Pondexter, who previously had a left knee surgical procedure on May 6, 2015, has appeared in 279 career games (47 starts) and holds career averages of 5.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 18.1 minutes per game over five NBA seasons with New Orleans and Memphis.

Here’s Cleveland.com reporting on veteran Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao, who has struggled with injuries for many years but this season is healthy yet spending most of his time on the bench, playing just 8.8 minutes per game:

Anderson Varejao getting little playing time on Cavs this season

The 33-year-old big man has seen a dramatic reduction in his playing time this season. His statistics all across the board are the lowest of his 12-year career. He has not seen action in eight of his last 10 games.

Despite being fully recovered from an Achilles’ tendon injury he suffered last year, he hasn’t been able to crack the rotation.

“Of course, it’s not easy,” Varejao said. “It’s a different season for me. I said at the beginning of the season that my goal was to stay healthy and help this team. I’m not getting a lot of playing time, but I know the season is a long season. We still have the playoffs coming and anything can happen. I just have to stay ready and help the team when coach needs me.”

His focus on the postseason is telling in that he believes he’ll still be a Cavalier after the Feb. 18 trade deadline.

Knicks frontcourt playing well

The Spurs’ home winning streak nearly ended Friday, when Knicks guard Jose Calderon missed a potential game-winning three-pointer at the buzzer in San Antonio. The narrow defeat is the only loss in the last five games for New York (19-20), which has already surpassed last season’s win total and sits only 1.5 games behind Orlando for eighth place in the Eastern Conference. The Knicks’ starting frontcourt has flourished in those five games, with forward Carmelo Anthony averaging 20.6 points, 9.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists, forward Kristaps Porzingis contributing 17.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.8 blocks and center Robin Lopez chipping in 13.8 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocks. Sunday’s home victory over Milwaukee tipped off a stretch in which the Knicks play 12 of 17 at Madison Square Garden leading into the All-Star break.

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