Meyers Leonard having season-ending shoulder surgery

Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard will undergo surgery to repair his injured left shoulder and as a result will miss the remainder of the season.

The surgery is scheduled to be performed on Friday, April 8 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Through 61 games this season, Leonard is averaging 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

The Houston Rockets are 35-37 this season and half a game out of the playoff race, behind the 8th seed Utah Jazz. James Harden is putting up monster stats: 28.5 points, 6.3 rebounds, 7.4 assists and 1.75 steals per game. But in an effort to carry this squad, he’s also averaging 4.6 turnovers per game. That’s a ton. Here’s the Denver Post blog with more:

Huge James Harden season stats also include a ton of turnovers

Houston Rockets guard James Harden has a chance to break the league’s all-time single-season turnovers record. At 332 with 10 games remaining, Harden needs just 34 to tie Artis Gilmore’s 39-year-old mark, according to basketball-reference.com. He is on pace for 372.

The four-time all-star became the first player in a decade to reach at least 321 turnovers last season, the first since Miami’s Dwyane Wade (321) and Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson (344) in 2004-05. Iverson was the first to reach at least 340 since Clippers guard Ron Harper in the 1986-87 season.

In second place this year, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook has 303 through 71 games. He’s on pace for 350 — that’s tied with Charles Barkley’s 1985-86 season in Philadelphia. In third, Washington’s John Wall (291) is trending toward 336 — top-20 all-time.

Alan Anderson day-to-day with groin injury

The Washington Wizards are 35-36 and if the season ended today would miss the playoffs. Here’s the Washington Post blog with a health update:

Alan Anderson day-to-day with groin injury

Alan Anderson has not played in three of the last four games for the Washington Wizards and the team has listed him as out because of ankle ailment. Coach Randy Wittman has said it’s been Anderson’s left ankle, which he had surgery on in October, which forced him to miss the first 55 games of the season.

But Anderson’s agent said Thursday that Anderson is dealing with a groin injury, not an ankle problem, and his status is “day to day.” The Wizards host the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday before beginning a five-game west-coast trip Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers.

Jazz enjoy big win road vs Rockets

The NBA playoff race is heating up, and in the West the Utah Jazz are now the 8th seed, slightly ahead of the Houston Rockets. Utah also now has the same record as the Dallas Mavericks, who are currently the 7th seed. Here’s the Deseret News reporting:

Before Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder didn’t want to hear about how important the game was, even though the two teams are jockeying for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

“It gets you on a slippery slope,” he said, pointing out that the game against the Rockets two months ago was just as big in the grand scheme of things and that every Jazz game is important.

But after a gutsy, come-from-behind 89-87 victory over the Rockets at the Toyota Center, Snyder was all smiles, reveling in his team’s resolve in overcoming an 18-point first-half deficit and sort of admitting how big the win was.

“We had big performances, guys stepped up,” he said. “Our guys composed themselves and started getting some stops and that opened things up for us.”

Help coming soon for the Pistons

The Detroit Pistons are 38-34 and one game ahead of the Chicago Bulls for the 8th spot in the Eastern conference. We’re down to the wire in the 2016 NBA playoff race. For this squad especially, each remaining win/loss matters. Here’s Michigan Live with a health update:

Help coming soon for the Pistons

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Reggie Bullock were back at the Detroit Pistons’ practice facility today and presumably will be recovered well enough from their illnesses to play Friday against the Charlotte Hornets.

The two guards both fell ill Wednesday and missed that night’s 118-102 victory over the Orlando Magic.

Darrun Hilliard got his first NBA start in their absence.

The Warriors are 63-7 this season. That’s a 90 percent winning percentage. And they’ll be even better when backup center Festus Ezeli, the team’s fifth leading scorer (7.5 ppg), third leading rebounder (5.9 rpg) and third leading shot-blocker (1.23 bpg) returns to action. Here’s the San Francisco Chronicle reporting:

Festus Ezeli ahead of schedule in knee rehab

Festus Ezeli said Wednesday that he’s ahead of schedule in his return from left knee surgery, adding some optimism to an otherwise choppy contract year for the Warriors’ backup center.

“I mean, to be honest, this is not an ideal contract year for me,” Ezeli said in his first public statements since the team updated his progress from a Feb. 8 arthroscopic procedure. “I started off, and I felt like I was gaining confidence and I was playing pretty well. I was getting a feel for the chemistry of the team, and we were bonding.

“Getting hurt right there in the middle is not ideal, but you can only focus on what you can control. Right now, I’m just working on my rehab and working on getting back, so I can work toward our main goal, which is to win a championship.”

Huge Jazz-Rockets game tonight

Through Tuesday’s games, the Rockets have the 8th seed in the Western conference, with the Jazz just half a game behind them for 9th. The two teams play against each other tonight in Houston. Huge matchup. Here’s the Salt Lake Tribune reporting:

Gordon Hayward began celebrating his 26th birthday on Wednesday in as much style as is possible for an NBA player about to play his biggest game of the regular season. There was a brief shootaround. He was serenaded by the Utah Jazz rookies. Assistant coach Steven Schwartz penned a hip-hop verse in his honor.

Besides that, there weren’t too many smiles and laughs coming from Hayward, the Jazz small forward. A win over the Houston Rockets is all he and anyone associated with the organization really wants.

This is the chance the Jazz have been waiting for. They are currently a half-game behind the Rockets with 12 to play. The tie-breaker for the season between the two teams is at stake, which means tonight essentially counts as two games in the standings. With four teams jostling for the Western Conference’s last three playoff spots, the enormity of tonight’s game at the Toyota Center can’t be understated.

The Minnesota Timberwolves today signed forward/center Greg Smith for the rest of the season. Smith was originally signed to a 10-day contract on March 2, then signed to a second 10-day contract on March 12.

Smith is used sparingly, and in 10.3 minutes per game is averaging 2.3 points, on 56.3% shooting, and 1.6 rebounds over nine games for the Wolves this season. He scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in 18 minutes Mar. 4 at Milwaukee and tallied six points and four rebounds in the Wolves’ win over Mar. 5 vs. Brooklyn.

The 25-year-old Smith also appeared in 16 games with the Raptors 905 in the NBA D-League this season, averaging 12.4 points, on 51.0% shooting, and 8.3 rebounds in 27.9 minutes per game.

Smith spent three seasons with the Houston Rockets (2011-14) before joining the Dallas Mavericks in 2014-15. He holds NBA career averages of 4.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 12.5 minutes over 131 career games (12 starts).

If you were Phil Jackson, getting paid massive money by the New York Knicks to make a few decisions here and there but mostly just relax and enjoy life, would you mess that up and return to the coaching grind? Of course not. There is no reason to think that Jackson will be coaching the Knicks next season, or ever. Here’s the New York Post reporting:

phil jackson

If you’re still holding out a shred of hope Phil Jackson will run the Knicks bench at the Garden next season in light of recent rumors, stop.

Charley Rosen, Jackson’s confidant, met with the Zen Master before Sunday’s loss to Sacramento, and told The Post there is “zero percent” chance that proposed home-and-away scenario occurs next season.

“Phil said it’s absolutely not true — there’s no chance he’s going to coach,’’ Rosen told The Post. “It’s total fantasy — an old rumor.’’

What made the idea not so preposterous is Jackson, who will be 71 in September, wouldn’t have to put his body through the travel grind.

Jahlil Okafor undergoes knee surgery

Jahlil Okafor undergoes knee surgery

Philadelphia 76ers rookie center Jahlil Okafor, the team’s best building block for the future, underwent a successful arthroscopic procedure today to fix a slight meniscus tear in his right knee. He won’t play again this season.

The team describes the procedure as minor.

Okafor will begin his rehabilitation program tomorrow under the guidance of Sixers Director Of Performance Research & Development Dr. David T. Martin.

The Sixers are a league-worst 9-62 this season. Okafor has been their leading scorer and second-leading rebounder, averaging 17.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game.

Chandler Parsons out with knee injury

Chandler Parsons out with knee injury

Dallas Mavericks forward Chandler Parsons will not travel with the squad on their upcoming road trip due to a right knee injury. The team says that treatment options are currently being explored.

Between Wednesday, March 23 and Monday, March 28 the Mavericks play on the road against the Trail Blazers, Warriors, Kings and Nuggets.

Chandler (6-10, 230) has played in 61 games (51 starts) and averaged 13.7 points, while shooting .490 from the field and .414 from 3-point range in 29.5 minutes. He also has averaged 4.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Terrico White of the Bakersfield Jam was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, March 14 through Sunday, March 20. It’s the second Performer of the Week award for White this season.

White (6-5, 213, Mississippi) helped Bakersfield to a 2-1 week, averaging 29.7 points (tied for fourth) on 62.1 percent shooting to go with 7.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.7 steals. He connected on 10-of-22 three-point attempts.

For the season, he is averaging 18.8 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals.

Other top performers considered were Delaware’s Christian Wood and Russ Smith, Los Angeles’ Vander Blue, Idaho’s Treveon Graham, Iowa’s James Ennis, Reno’s David Stockton, Rio Grande Valley’s Jaron Johnson, Sioux Falls’ Jarnell Stokes, Texas’ Tu Holloway and Westchester’s Jimmer Fredette.

Notes from around the NBA: March 21

These are through NBA games of Sunday, March 20:

Thunder forward Kevin Durant has scored at least 20 points in 55 straight games, one shy of his career high.

The Pacers need one victory at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to secure a winning home record for the 27th consecutive season, the longest active streak in the NBA. Indiana has three home games this week, starting tonight against Philadelphia.

Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki needs one three-pointer to pass former teammate Steve Nash (1,685) for sole possession of 15th place on the NBA’s career list. Nowitzki, 37, made three triples as part of a 40-point effort in Sunday’s overtime win over Portland, becoming the oldest player to score 40 points in a game since 39-year-old Karl Malone scored 40 for the Jazz against the Magic on March 12, 2003.

Raptors center Bismack Biyombo has three double-doubles in his last four games, including 16 points and a franchise-record 25 rebounds in a victory at Indiana on March 17.

Jazz guard Shelvin Mack is averaging 16.8 points, 8.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds and shooting 60.9 percent (14-of-23) from three-point range in his last six games – a 5-1 stretch for Utah.

The Cavaliers have made 10 or more three-pointers in a season-high seven consecutive games. Their season average for threes made (10.3) is on pace to be a franchise record.

The Pistons are 2-1 on their franchise-record nine-game homestand.

Bulls forward Doug McDermott has scored at least 20 points in three of his last four games.

Lakers guard Marcelo Huertas, a 32-year-old rookie from Brazil, is averaging 8.6 points and 6.0 assists in his last eight games.

Guard Isaiah Thomas has scored 20 or more points in nine games in a row, the longest streak by a Celtics player since Paul Pierce’s 16-game run in February-March 2006. Thomas is averaging 26.3 points in those nine games.

In the Kings’ win over the Knicks on Sunday, Sacramento center DeMarcus Cousins (24 points, 20 rebounds) and New York center Robin Lopez (23 points, 20 rebounds) became the first opposing players to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds since Cleveland’s Michael Cage and San Antonio’s David Robinson on Jan. 10, 1996.

Swingman Joe Johnson is averaging 15.7 points and shooting 57.1 percent from the field and 59.0 percent from three-point range in 11 games with the Heat. Miami is 8-3 with Johnson in the lineup.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

Lots of NBA triple-doubles this season

Triple-doubles are piling up around the NBA. Through games of Sunday, March 20, the league has produced 59 triple-doubles this season with more than three weeks still to play. That number is a single-season record for a 30-team league, as well as being the fifth most all time and only six behind the second most. The NBA record is 78 triple-doubles in the 1988-89 season, followed by 65 in 1961-62 (when Oscar Robertson recorded 41 and averaged a triple-double). This season’s barrage is led by Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who on Saturday became the first player to post 11 triple-doubles in a 30-game span in one season since Michael Jordan in 1989; Oklahoma City is 14-0 when he puts up a triple-double this season. Also Saturday, Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph registered his first triple-double in his 974th game, an NBA record for most games before a triple-double.

– NBA Broadcasters Bulletin

Justise Winslow aiming for better 3-point shot

This can’t wait for the summer. Miami Heat forward Justise Winslow is adamantly working on his jumpshot with the hope of fine-tuning his form by the end of the season.

He’s had a tough rookie season shooting-wise after hitting 48.6 percent (including 41.8 percent on 3-pointers) in his one year at Duke. He is shooting 43 percent for the Heat, which isn’t terrible, but has made just 25.5 percent of his 3s.

“Whatever I need to change, I’m trying to do it right now,” Winslow said after staying late to take jumpers after practice today. “For me it’s just about trying to shoot every shot the same and shoot it with confidence.

– Palm Beach Post Blog

Pistons guard Jodie Meeks remains out

Pistons guard Jodie Meeks remains out

He was supposed to have returned by now.

Instead, guard Jodie Meeks remains sidelined and could stay that way as the Detroit Pistons bid for their first playoff berth since 2009.

Acknowledging but choosing not to elaborate, Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said Monday he doesn’t expect Meeks back in game-ready shape before the end of the season.

“No, I don’t,” Van Gundy said. “Unfortunately.”

– Michigan Live

Grizzlies sign Jordan Farmar to 10-day contract

For the next 10 days, veteran guard Jordan Farmar is back in the NBA.

The badly-injured Memphis Grizzlies today announced that the team has signed Farmar (pronounciation: FAHR-mahr) to a 10-day contract.

The 6-2, 180-pound guard has played in 490 games (30 starts) across eight NBA seasons and averaged 7.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 19.4 minutes for the Los Angeles Lakers, New Jersey Nets and Los Angeles Clippers. He holds career shooting percentages of 42.3 percent from the field, 37.4 percent from three-point range and 73.4 percent from the free throw line.

Originally from Los Angeles, Farmar was selected by the Lakers in the first round (26th overall) of the 2006 NBA Draft following a solid collegiate career at UCLA.

Farmar returned to Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv for the first part of the 2015-16 season after playing with the club during the 2011-12 season. He also has played overseas in Turkey for Anadolu Efes (2012-13) and Darussafaka Dogus (2014-15).

Kings co-owner lists house for $35 million

Like you, I don’t have $35 million sitting around. Well, some of it is sitting around. The rest is invested in bonds, cupcakes, basketball cards, etc. You know how it is. Anyway, here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting:

Mark Mastrov, a Sacramento Kings co-owner and founder of 24-Hour Fitness, is selling his waterfront Lake Tahoe home for $35 million.

The 13,686-square-foot, secluded home has five beds, six baths and enough amenities to keep an owner fit. There are two gyms, a three-hole golf course with practice green and room to build a basketball court - whether you’re an NBA team owner or not. The house sits on 13.6 acres with a swimming pool and spa, boathouse, pier, sand beach, waterfalls, trout ponds, guest house and caretaker’s home.

Stephen Curry jokes about awful game against Spurs

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry had his worst performance of the NBA regular season Saturday in San Antonio, but he didn’t let that dampen his spirits after the game.

Not long after the Warriors’ 87-79 loss to the Spurs, the reigning NBA MVP poked fun at himself on Twitter.

“I don’t know about y’all, but I thought I played my best game of the year,” Curry joked. “Live and Learn. On to the next!”

Curry struggled mightily against the Spurs’ league-best defense and shot just 4-from-18 from the field, including a career-worst 1-for-12 from 3-point range.

– CSN Bay Area

Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green stood outside the losing locker room late Saturday night in San Antonio, trying to figure out exactly what his team has to accomplish in their final 13 NBA regular-season games to break the all-time single-season wins record.

When someone suggested that the Warriors need to close the season 10-3 to match the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, who won 72 games, Green quickly issued a correction.

“No, we need 11 wins, because we want to break that thing,” Green said. “Hey, we’ve won 11 games in a row this season. There’s nothing we can’t do. It’s possible. We’re going after it, so it’s possible. …

“I’m not going to shy away from saying we want the record. We want the record, and we’re going after it.”

– San Francisco Chronicle

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