Heat eliminated from first-ever NBA In-Season Tournament

Per the Miami Herald:

Five takeaways from the Miami Heat’s 131-124 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks in its final group play game of the NBA’s In-Season Tournament on Tuesday night to open a homestand at Kaseya Center. The Heat continues the homestand, which will last at least three games, on Thursday against the Indiana Pacers:

It was a well-played competitive game, but the short-handed Heat couldn’t overcome the absence of three starters and is now eliminated from the NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament.

Adebayo missed the Heat’s first matchup of the season against the Bucks, but he made quite the impact in the teams’ second meeting.

The hope is that Butler and Highsmith will be back soon, while Herro’s return seems to be a few games away.

With so many key players out because of injuries, the Heat’s rotation looked different on Tuesday.

And per the Sun Sentinel:

And so there were the Heat, eliminated from the Tournament by results around the league earlier in the night, going toe to toe with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Damian Lillard despite playing in the injury absences of Jimmy Butler, Tyler Herro and Haywood Highsmith.

Down three starters, the Heat still had enough for that fight to the finish.

They just didn’t have enough at the finish, falling 131-124 to the Bucks at Kaseya Center for their third consecutive loss.

Adebayo led the Heat with 31 points and 10 rebounds, with Kyle Lowry adding 21 points and Josh Richardson 20.

The Bucks got 33 points and 10 rebounds from Antetokounmpo and 32 points and nine assists from Lillard.

The game opened a homestand for the Heat that continues with games against the Indiana Pacers on Thursday and Saturday nights.

Wizards get first win in a while, beat Pistons 126-107

The Wizards have now won nine straight games against the Pistons, extending the second-longest win streak against Detroit in series history (longest is 13, 2/10/68 – 1/22/70).

Washington has now claimed four straight road contests against Detroit. This marks the teams’ longest road win streak in series history (previously three games in a row from 3/7/80-1/15/81).

Washington connected at a .929 clip (26-28) from the free throw line as a team.

Washington amassed 46 bench points, outscoring Detroit 46 to 31 in that category. The Wizards have now tallied 40+ points from off the bench in three straight games.

Washington forward Kyle Kuzma scored a game-high 32 points on 10-of-23 shooting (10-11 FT), also grabbing 12 rebounds and dishing out eight assists for his team-leading fourth double-double of the season.

Wizards forward Deni Avdija amassed 16 points (6-9 FG), six rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes of action.

Washington forward Danilo Gallinari tallied 16 points (5-8 FG) in 19 minutes from off the bench, knocking down 3-of-6 three-point field goals and adding two rebounds and two assists.

Devin Booker hits clutch shot in Suns win over Knicks

Per the Arizona Republic:

Devin Booker loves playing at Madison Square Garden.

The New York Knicks should be thankful the Phoenix Suns only visit once a regular season.

Booker iced a cooler-than-be-cool fadeaway 3 with 1.7 seconds left to stun the Knicks, 116-113, Sunday evening before a sellout crowd of 19,812 that watched in disbelief.

Jalen Brunson missed a 3 at the buzzer that rimmed in and out on his game-high 35-point night.

Booker added 11 assists and committed just two turnovers.


Hornets guard LaMelo Ball leaves game with ankle injury of unknown severity

Per the Charlotte Observer:

Ball went up for a left-handed layup with 2:26 remaining in the second quarter and landed awkwardly as he got tangled up with Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, leaving Ball to crumple to the court in agony. The Hornets’ floor general had to be helped off the floor and went immediately into the locker room, unable to put much weight on his foot as he uncomfortably hopped off.

The main concern for the Hornets (5-10) and their never-ending woes? It’s the same ankle Ball had surgery on in March, the very injury that prevented him from being cleared for full basketball activities until a few weeks before training camp began last month. He’s worn ankle braces for extra support, hoping they would help keep him healthy.

Ball hasn’t made it through a full schedule yet since entering the league in 2020 and appeared in only 36 games last season after injuring his ankles four times. He was on a roll of late, compiling a multitude of impressive stats.


Derrick Rose speaks out about Grizzlies defensive struggles

Per the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

Derrick Rose was less than an hour removed from one of his strongest performances of the season, but the frustration on his face told a different story.

He was challenged when he joined the Memphis Grizzlies to use his 16 years of NBA experience to be more of a vocal leader. That is a role that didn’t come naturally to Rose when he was younger, but he accepted it with the Grizzlies.

That’s why when he described their struggles Friday after a 110-89 loss to the Phoenix Suns at FedExForum, he questioned when his message on the importance of communication would resonate with his teammates.

“If we’re not going to talk on the defensive end, there’s no way in hell we’re going to win these games,” Rose said. “That’s just honestly speaking.”


More from Derrick Rose:

Miami Heat guard Dru Smith out for season with knee injury

Miami Heat guard Dru Smith suffered a Third Degree ACL Sprain in his right knee during Miami’s win at Cleveland on November 22.

Smith will miss the remainder of the season.

Smith has appeared in nine games with the HEAT this season averaging 4.3 points, 1.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.00 steals and 14.5 minutes while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from three-point range and a perfect 2-of-2 from the foul line.

Grizzlies sign Jaylen Nowell and Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts

The Memphis Grizzlies have signed guards Jaylen Nowell and Shaquille Harrison to 10-day contracts.

Nowell (6-4, 201) has appeared in 184 regular season games (three starts) in four NBA seasons and has averaged 9.1 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 17.0 minutes for the Minnesota Timberwolves since he was selected 43rd overall in the 2019 NBA Draft. This season, the 24-year-old has started three games for the Stockton Kings during the NBA G League Showcase Cup and has averaged 13.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 3.3 steals in 24.3 minutes.

A native of Seattle, Nowell played collegiately at Washington, where he was named the 2018-19 Pac-12 Player of the Year.

Harrison (6-4, 195), a member of the Grizzlies’ 2023 training camp roster, has appeared in 180 regular season games (23 starts) in six NBA seasons and has averaged 5.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 15.4 minutes for the Phoenix Suns, Chicago Bulls, Utah Jazz, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trail Blazers since he went unselected in the 2016 NBA Draft. The 29-year-old also competed in eight postseason games with the Los Angeles Lakers last season and signed a 10-day contract with the Grizzlies during the 2021-22 season.

The Kansas City, Mo. native, who played collegiately at Tulsa, also has appeared in 143 games for four NBA G League teams. He was named the 2021-22 NBA G League Defensive Player of the Year as a member of the Delaware Blue Coats.

Nets medical updates on Ben Simmons, Cam Thomas and Dennis Smith Jr.

The Brooklyn Nets have announced the following medical updates.

Ben Simmons (left lower back nerve impingement) is continuing to improve with treatment and has begun light individual court work. Simmons, who has missed the past six games, will have his status updated again in 7-10 days.

Cam Thomas (left ankle sprain) has made significant improvement and has been cleared for increased on-court activity. He is expected to be integrated into team activities next week as he progresses with his return-to-play program. Thomas, who sustained the ankle sprain on Nov. 8, has missed the past five games.

Dennis Smith Jr. underwent an MRI, which confirmed the previous diagnosis of a lower back sprain. Smith, who has missed one game with the injury (Nov. 19 vs. Philadelphia), will continue to receive treatment and is currently listed as day-to-day.

Trail Blazers re-sign center Ibou Badji to two-way contract

The Portland Trail Blazers have re-signed center Ibou Badji to a two-way contract.

Earlier today, the team waived two-way guard Jamaree Bouyea.

Bouyea appeared in six games for the Trail Blazers and two games for the Rip City Remix this season.

In six games this season with the Wisconsin Herd, the NBA G League affiliate of the Milwaukee Bucks, Badji has averaged 3.5 points (71.4% FG, 33.3% FT), 2.5 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in 15.3 minutes per game. During the 2022-23 season, he posted 7.4 points (61.8% FG, 66.7% FT), 6.6 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.6 blocks in seven games (all starts) for the Herd prior to signing with the Trail Blazers. A native of Senegal, he also played for the country in the 2019 FIBA U19 Basketball World Cup and averaged 6.9 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.1 blocks in seven games.

Badji originally signed a two-way contract with the Trail Blazers on Nov. 18, 2022. He was re-signed on July 6, 2023 and later waived on Oct. 24, 2023.