Monta Ellis, not afraid to shoot

Here’s the Dallas Morning News reporting on Mavericks shooting guard Monta Ellis, who knows very well that he’s on the court to fire the rock:

Monta Ellis, not afraid to shoot

You may not always like the way Monta Ellis plays or some of the decisions he makes. But there is no denying he’s not afraid in any situation. He knew he was going to be questioned for shooting so much against the Bulls. And yet, he kept shooting. And he made a good enough number of those 35 shots (16) to make this an all-star caliber night. Kobe Bryant would be very proud. And Ellis’ 38 points were his most as a Maverick. He had 37 twice last season. And none of his buckets was as big as the 3-pointer with 39.9 seconds left in the second overtime, which put the Mavericks up by a point. Oh, unless it was the three free throws he made with 1.2 seconds left to get to the first overtime. So, you get the picture. He made a slew of big plays.

Knicks off to 4-15 season start

Here’s the New York Post reporting on the 4-15 Knicks, who weren’t expected to do big things this season but on paper at least appeared capable of playing a bit better than they have thus far. Through Tuesday’s games, the team has the third worst winning percentage in the NBA:

The 4-15 Knicks lead the NBA in the unofficial stat of “comeback losses.’’

You’ve seen the drill. The Knicks get pummeled for three quarters, then come roaring back when their opponent relaxes to nearly steal the win.

Tuesday’s 98-93 Nets heartbreaker marked the fourth time this season the Knicks fought back to within one possession of tying or winning the game after trailing by at least 15 points in the third quarter — only to lose.

Hence comes a misleading stat — and Derek Fisher’s misleading perception — on how close they are to turning this around. According to the Wall Street Journal, the Knicks are 2-10 in games separated by 5 points or fewer with five minutes to go. In the Knicks’ 19 games, a league-high 12 have been separated by five points or fewer entering the final five minutes of regulation.

Here’s the Akron Beacon Journal reporting on the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are still adjusting as a team and have more work to do as they aim to reach their potential:

Mike Miller may get increased role on Cavs

Mike Miller’s role with the Cavs appears to be expanding.

Cavs coach David Blatt conceded Wednesday he’s going to try to get Miller consistent rotation minutes after he provided the much-needed spark in a victory Tuesday against the Milwaukee Bucks. Miller had six points, seven rebounds and a huge block in 18 minutes – all in the second half – to give the Cavs their fourth consecutive victory.

Asked if the performance merited a larger role, Blatt simply responded, “Hopefully, yes.”

Paul Pierce fitting in on Wizards

Here’s CSN Washington with a look at veteran Paul Pierce, as he and his new team, the Washington Wizards, continue to adapt to each other. So far, they’re off to a good start, as the team is 11-5 to begin the season:

Paul Pierce fitting in on Wizards

Pierce is averaging a career-low 12.5 points. Watching the small forward on a regular basis, the sense he’s waiting for the right moment to take over and giving space for his new teammates to establish themselves. When needed, Pierce produces. He scored five straight points inside the final three minutes to put the Wizards up for good in Saturday’s 83-80 win over the New Orleans Pelicans and had 25 in a victory over the Milwaukee Bucks last month when Washington trailed by double digits early and lost Nene to injury. Never known for his athleticism even during his younger days, Pierce has helped the Wizards maintain the defensive high standard set during last season’s playoff run.

DeMarcus Cousins remains out with viral infection

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins underwent additional evaluation on Tuesday evening as he continues to recover from a viral infection.

Team physicians, led by Dr. Jason Brayley of Kaiser Permanente in Sacramento, admitted DeMarcus to the hospital for treatment and rest. His condition is improving daily and a full recovery is anticipated.

Cousins will not be in uniform this weekend, with a return to competition expected by next week.

The Memphis Grizzlies recalled forward/center Jarnell Stokes from the NBA Development League’s Iowa Energy, the Grizzlies’ exclusive D-League affiliate, the team announced today. Stokes began his second assignment with Iowa on Dec. 1.

Stokes (6-9, 263) recorded 15 points and 8 rebounds in 22 minutes in his Energy regular season debut on Dec. 2 at Fort Wayne. During his first assignment in Iowa (Nov. 8-10), he posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds on Nov. 8 vs. Sioux Falls in an exhibition played in Memphis at FedExForum.

The 20-year-old has totaled eight points and seven rebounds on 3-of-3 shooting in 21 minutes through six appearances for the Grizzlies this season.

Stokes was selected by the Utah Jazz in the second round (35th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft after three seasons at the University of Tennessee (2011-14). The Memphis native was traded to the Grizzlies on draft night for a 2016 second round draft pick.

Alec Burks recovering from shoulder issue

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Alec Burks:

Alec Burks recovering from shoulder issue

Burks (left shoulder inflammation) will be listed as OUT for tonight’s game vs. Toronto and Friday’s game vs. Orlando while undergoing additional testing on his left shoulder. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

The 23-year-old Burks (6-6, 211, Colorado) has appeared in 18 games (all starts) and is averaging 13.3 points and career-highs of 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 33.7 minutes. The fourth-year guard was originally selected by the Jazz in the first round (12th overall selection) of the 2011 NBA Draft.

Ersan Ilyasova injury update

Ersan Ilyasova nasal fracture

Milwaukee Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova was inadvertently struck in the face/nasal area late in the second quarter of yesterday’s game at Cleveland. After being examined in the locker room at halftime, he was taken to the Cleveland Clinic where he underwent a CT scan that revealed a nasal fracture. He also displayed symptoms of a mild concussion. Ilyasova was held overnight for observation, released this morning, and is returning to Milwaukee.

Ilyasova will not play in tonight’s contest and is not expected to travel on the team’s next trip to Dallas (Dec. 7) and Oklahoma City (Dec. 9). Further updates will be made when appropriate.

In 19 games this season, Ilyasova is averaging 10.1 points and 3.8 rebounds in 18.5 minutes per game. Prior to last night’s game he had scored in double figures in eight straight games, averaging 15.8 points while shooting 56.0 percent from the field.

Cavs want to host 2018 All-Star weekend

Cavs want to host 2018 All-Star weekend

Hosting an All-Star weekend brings lots of attention to a city as a destination, as well as its NBA team. Not every city is cut out for the job. Ideally there’s an easy-to-navigate, hotel-filled, main central area, with an arena but also lots of event space for all the side attractions, parties, etc. And, it helps if the local team has players who are participating in the weekend, hopefully with an All-Star jersey on their back. Anyway, here’s the Cleveland Plain Dealer reporting:

Cavs want to host 2018 All-Star weekend

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission have submitted a bid to host the 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

Cavaliers Chief Executive Officer Len Komoroski and President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission David Gilbert both confirmed to Northeast Ohio Media Group that the bid has been placed.

Cleveland has gone through a transformation in recent years and is already primed to host some big-time events.

The return of LeBron James certainly helps, and in March for the first time the city will host the regional semifinals and finals of the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament. Cleveland also was awarded the Republican National Convention in 2016.

Rockets recall Clint Capela from D-League

Houston Rockets recall Clint Capela from D-League

Rockets recall Clint Capela from D-League

Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey announced today that the team recalled center Clint Capela from Houston’s single-affiliation NBA D-League partner Rio Grande Valley.

Capela (6-10, 245, France), appeared in six games with the Vipers averaging 9.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks in 14.1 minutes per game. Prior to his D-League assignment, Capela appeared in one game with the Rockets on November 6th versus San Antonio, recording three rebounds and one assist. The former Elan Chalon player out of France was selected by the Rockets 25th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.

2015 NBA All-Star jerseys

2015 NBA All-Star jerseys

The 2015 NBA All-Star jerseys were unveiled by adidas today. This for the 64th NBA All-Star Game, taking place on February 15 in New York City.

Designed by adidas, the 2015 NBA All-star jerseys pay tribute to New York City’s basketball history and unique boroughs while personifying the city’s legacy as the mecca of sports, music and fashion. The clean, timeless design is inspired by classic sports uniforms and barnstorming basketball teams from the early 20th century.

The jerseys feature a side panel of five stars, each representing New York City’s five boroughs with a unique pattern. Here are photos of the jerseys:



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Kevin Durant should return soon for OKC

Kevin Durant should return soon for OKC

Here’s the Oklahoman reporting on OKC Thunder star Kevin Durant, who should make his return from injury in the very near future:

Kevin Durant should return soon for OKC

Scott Brooks stopped and thought about the question before answering.

“Any lineup changes?” the coach was asked Monday.

Brooks began with an “Um” before proceeding with a pregnant pause that left all in attendance at the end of the Thunder’s practice wondering if this would be the moment he announced Kevin Durant is back.

“No,” Brooks then said, finally. “Nothing as of yet.”

The “as of yet” part left Durant’s timetable up to interpretation, and it’s looking and sounding more and more like the reigning MVP is extremely close to making his season debut, perhaps as early as Tuesday at New Orleans.

joe alexander

Santa Cruz Warriors forward Joe Alexander was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Nov. 24 – Sunday, Nov. 30. The honor is the first of Alexander’s career.

Alexander (6-8, 220, West Virginia) averaged 26.7 points on 57 percent shooting from the floor (35-of-62) to go with 9.3 rebounds as the Warriors went 2-1 last week. He scored a season-high 35 points on Nov. 25 against the Bakersfield Jam in defeat before recording double-doubles in the team’s next two contests, both wins over the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

The eighth overall selection in the 2008 NBA Draft, Alexander is in his second year with the Warriors. For the season, he is averaging a Warriors-best 21.4 points, good for 12th in the NBA D-League, to go with 8.6 rebounds and 29.7 minutes.

Other top performers considered include Austin’s Bryce Cotton, Bakersfield’s Elijah Millsap, Idaho’s Joel Wright, Maine’s Tim Frazier, and Texas’ Eric Griffin.

Video: NBA bloopers from November, 2014

Enjoy these video highlights of NBA bloopers from the month of November, 2014:

Cavs add A.J. Price, waive Will Cherry

Cavs add A.J. Price, waive Will Cherry

The Cleveland Cavaliers have received guard A.J. Price by waiver claim (waived by Indiana) and have also waived guard Will Cherry, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts.

Price, a six-year NBA veteran, played in 10 games for the Indiana Pacers this season with averages of 10.5 points on .438 shooting, including .385 from the three-point line, 1.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 19.3 minutes per game. Price, who was part of the 2014 Cavs training camp and preseason roster, appeared in six preseason games with Cleveland in October, averaging 7.2 points and 1.5 assists in 13.3 minutes per game. He was inactive for the Cavs first two regular season games before being waived on November 1st.

Cherry, an undrafted rookie out of Montana, played in eight games for the Cavs this season, averaging 1.9 points in 8.6 minutes per game.

The Cavs roster now stands at 15.

The New Orleans Pelicans have waived Darius Miller and Patric Young.

Miller appeared in five games (one start) this season for the Pelicans, averaging 0.4 points and 0.2 rebounds in 8.6 minutes per game. Selected by New Orleans in the second round (46th overall) of the 2012 NBA Draft, Miller has appeared in 102 career games (10 starts) over the last three seasons and averaged 3.1 points and 1.3 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.

Young, who signed with the Pelicans as an undrafted free agent prior to the 2014-15 season, played in seven preseason games for New Orleans and averaged 1.4 points and 3.0 rebounds in 9.3 minutes per game.

The Pelicans roster now stands at 13 players.

The Denver Nuggets are 8-8 this season, and after a very tough start have won six of their last seven games. Things are looking up lately. But the team still hopes for more from power forward Kenneth Faried, who shined for Team USA this summer and inked a huge new contract, but has been off to a relatively slow start.  Here’s the Denver Post reporting

Kenneth Faried off to slow start this season

Faried knows the start of his season hasn’t been up to standard — by his standard or anyone else’s who knows he has so much more to give. So he doesn’t mince words. He has been a shell of himself, a half-Manimal through the first 16 games, desperately seeking his whole self again.

“I just haven’t been playing my game,” Faried said. “I know it. My teammates know it. My coaches know it. Hopefully, this month of December, I turn everything around. But for me, it’s awful. You’ve got to be able to look at yourself, look at the man in the mirror and say that to yourself. And be able to correct yourself.”

Faried’s averages — 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 50 percent shooting — all are down from last season. And this was to be the season of his true ascension, when he built upon his strong finish of 2013-14. It still can be.

Nene returns to practice for Wizards

Here’s the Washington Post blog with an update on the 10-5 Wizards, who have been without the services of starting power forward Nene (10.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg in 27.1 mpg this season) in recent action:

Nene returns to practice for Wizards

Nene missed his third straight game with right plantar fasciitis Saturday — an 83-80 win over the New Orleans — but took part in practice for the first time in over a week Sunday and is officially listed as questionable for Washington’s meeting with the Miami Heat Monday. Garrett Temple, nursing a sore right heel, is also officially questionable.

Temple was the Wizards’ starting shooting guard in their first 13 games until Bradley Beal was inserted in the starting lineup on Wednesday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. Temple played just 26 seconds in Cleveland and didn’t play at all Saturday.

Here’s ESPN Chicago reporting on the Bulls, who are currently in Brooklyn, New York playing the Nets. Chi-town remains without the services of forward Taj Gibson.

Taj Gibson recovering from ankle sprain

Chicago Bulls power forward Taj Gibson remains unsure when he will return to the floor as he continues to recover from a sprained left ankle suffered against the Portland Trail Blazers on Nov. 21.

“He felt pretty good [Saturday],” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said before Sunday’s game against the Brooklyn Nets. “There’s no timetable, but we’ll see where he is [Monday], but he’s feeling a lot better.”

Gibson has had trouble with the same ankle several times over the past year and has been open about how he needs to be cautious this time with his rehab.

Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting a bit of positive news from the loss-heavy world of the 76ers:

Michael Carter-Williams puts up big game

If Michael Carter-Williams ever needed a confidence boost, he received one Saturday night.

The 76ers point guard recorded his third career triple-double in a closer than expected 110-103 loss to the Dallas Mavericks at Wells Fargo Center.

Carter-Williams finished with 18 points, a career-high 16 assists and a season-best 10 rebounds. The second-year player struggled from the field, making just 4 of 13 shot attempts. But he made up for that by going 10-for-12 from the foul line. Last season’s rookie of the year was also the Sixers’ unquestioned floor general on this night.

Carter-Williams credited his teammates for his best game of the season.

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