Category Archives: NBA

Kyrie Irving to have season-ending shoulder surgery

Kyrie Irving tried to keep playing through pain, a cortisone shot no longer providing enough relief.

Eventually, he and the Brooklyn Nets decided it’s best to get his right shoulder taken care of now and get healthy for next season — when Irving and Kevin Durant can lastly play together.

Irving will have arthroscopic surgery and miss the rest of the campaign, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Thursday.

“Kyrie mentioned he was playing through pain and you have to give him a lot of credit for that.

He wants to be out there and playing with his guys,” Marks said. “But there comes a point where you say enough is enough and again, it goes to long-term health. And the best thing that (we) could do is to shut it down and get this taken care of once and for all.”

Coach Kenny Atkinson said the point guard was still having trouble with the shoulder that started troubling him in October and sidelined him for 26 matches earlier this season.

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“Some days it was OK and other days it bothered him,” Atkinson said before the Nets faced the Philadelphia 76ers. “Obviously, it is difficult to perform under those circumstances.”

Irving said pain in the shoulder initially worsened after a game on Nov. 4. The Nets then went on a five-game road trip, where Irving continued to play until the pain got so bad he was having trouble lifting his shoulder.

He got a cortisone shot on Dec. 24 and was able to return on Jan. 12, but he acknowledged that surgery might still be necessary. Irving met with a specialist this week and by deciding to have a procedure now, his first season in Brooklyn ends after just 20 games.

Irving averaged 27.4 points, with a 50-point game on opening night and a 54-point performance versus Chicago on Jan. 31. He played only one more game after that.

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Clippers to land bought-out Reggie Jackson

After agreeing to a contract buyout with the Detroit Pistons, guard Reggie Jackson plans to sign with the LA Clippers upon clearing waivers, league sources told ESPN.

Jackson had become the highest-impact player available in the buyout marketplace. Several compatitors had interest in him, but his focus had been on the Clippers in the event he was able to secure a contract buyout, league sources said.

Jackson, 29, will play a significant role on the Clippers’ second unit, where coach Doc Rivers is eager to implement Jackson’s playmaking and scoring abilities on a roster that could be the NBA’s deepest.

Jackson was completing the final season of a five-year, $80 million contract with the Pistons. The Pistons and Jackson’s agent, Aaron Mintz of CAA Sports, completed the buyout terms earlier Tuesday before reaching an agreement with the Clippers on Tuesday afternoon.

Jackson has been a longtime friend of Clippers star Paul George and had long hoped to play with him, sources said.

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Jackson has averaged 14.9 points and 5.1 assists in 14 games this season. He missed several weeks to start the season due to a back injury.

In nine NBA campaigns with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Pistons, he has averaged 12.9 points, 4.4 assists and 3.0 rebounds a game. Jackson was a key performer in a backup role to Russell Westbrook and James Harden in Oklahoma City earlier in his career.

Jackson is expected to be one of the top guards available in summer free agency.

The moves leaves just Derrick Rose and Brandon Knight as the teams’ only true point guard options but expect two-way player Jordan Bone to have more of a role down the road.  Also Bruce Brown should see plenty of time once again at PG like he did when Jackson was injured.

This also opens up a potential reunion with Tim Frazier who was released when the team made the two for one deal at the deadline moving Andre Drummond to Cleveland for John Henson and Knight.

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Houston Rockets to sign verterans Green, Carroll

The Houston Rockets are keeping busy during the All-Star break, with plans to sign veteran forwards DeMarre Carroll and Jeff Green, according to multiple media reports Monday.

Green, who has been a free agent since Utah Jazz waived him on December 24, is estimated to sign a 10-day contract as early as Tuesday, according to league sources at ESPN.

Sources indicate he will be offered a deal for the rest of the season if he feels comfortable enough to commit to it.

Carroll, who took a buyout from the San Antonio Spurs on Monday after playing only 15 games (averaging 2.2 points, 2.1 rebounds a game), needs to clear waivers before signing with the Rockets.

“I don’t know what went wrong, what happened,” Carroll said via the San Antonio Express-News about his short stint with the Spurs after signing as a free agent last summer.

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“I felt like San Antonio was going to be a great place for me, for my talents, but it didn’t work out.”

Carroll, 33, is in his 11th NBA campaign, having started his career with the Memphis Grizzlies in 2009 after they made him a first-round pick in that year’s NBA draft.

During the 2010-11 season, he played for the Rockets, and also had stints with the Denver Nuggets (2011-12), Utah Jazz (2011-13), Atlanta Hawks (2013-15), Toronto Raptors (2015-17) and Brooklyn Nets (2017-19). In 569 career games, he has averaged 9.0 points and 4.3 rebounds.

The six-foot-eight Green, also 33, has career averages of 13.0 points and 4.4 rebounds a game while playing for eight NBA franchises, beginning his 13-year career with the Seattle SuperSonics in 2007-08.

During his time with the franchise that became the Oklahoma City Thunder, Green was team-mates with current Rockets players James Harden and Russell Westbrook. His other stops included the Boston Celtics, Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Orlando Magic, Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards.

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Suns Debin Booker replaces injured Damian Lillard in All-Star Game

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker was among the NBA’s biggest All-Star Game snubs and loudest critics of its selection process. As it turns out, the 23-year-old scoring savant is an All-Star after all.

Booker will substitute injured Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard in both Saturday’s 3-point contest and Sunday’s All-Star Game, the league informed on Thursday morning. NBA commissioner Adam Silver had the final say on which Western Conference player replaced Lillard.

Booker will fill Lillard’s spot on Team LeBron. That he was not already on the roster came as a surprise. The Suns star’s 26.4 points per match currently rank 10th in the NBA, and he is doing so on 50/36/92 shooting splits. Booker is also averaging 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds a night. His first All-Star selection cements his status as one of the game’s best young players.

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Lillard withdrew from the All-Star Game and 3-point contest after suffering a right groin strain (grade 1-2) late in Wednesday’s beat to the Memphis Grizzlies.

He plans to rehab during the break in hopes of leading the Blazers to a seventh straight playoff appearance. Portland currently trails Memphis by four games for the eighth seed.

Although this is his first All-Star Game, Booker has been part of All-Star Weekend in each of his five NBA campaigns. He has been in the 3-point contest three other times, winning the title in 2018 and also competing in 2016 and 2019. He was a finalist in that event as a 19-year-old in 2016, alongside Golden State’s sharpshooting duo of Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry.

Booker still holds the 3-point contest records for most points in any round and most points in a final round — he had 28 points in the finals to win the title two years ago. Booker took part in the skills challenge in 2017.

He also scored 25 points in the 2016 Rising Stars game and 17 points when he returned to that game for first- and second-year players the following season.

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Williamson’s pushes Pelicans past Blazers

Zion Williamson scored a season-high 31 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans used a dominant second half to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers 138–117 Tuesday night.

”I expect to make an impact but I don’t expect to do nothing like this,” Williamson said in his usual, grinning, affable manner. ”I just kind of look to come in, just kind of fit in, just not try to mess up, but my teammates and coaches are always pushing me.”

‘I do hold myself to high expectations, but I think it’s just finding the line between reality and dreams,” Williamson added. ”If my teammates find me, they find me. If not, just got to make another play, get the rebound and just play defense.”

Playing 28 minutes in just his ninth NBA game, Williamson used his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame, quick feet and explosive vertical to have his way with every defender Portland tried against him.

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Williamson was either too strong, too fast, or both. He mixed spinning dribbles and sudden baseline drives into his usual arsenal of soaring transition dunks and tenacious putbacks. Six of his nine rebounds came on the offensive end.

”I don’t really think he’s comparable to anyone that I have seen,” Portland forward Carmelo Anthony said of Williamson. ”Someone who is as powerful as that, who jumps like that … you can tell he’s getting better and getting a feel for the game.”

JJ Redick scored 20 points for New Orleans, which trailed by as many as 16 in the first quarter before taking command en route to a third consecutive triumph. Portland star Damian Lillard scored 20 points — less than half of his 42-point average over his previous 10 matches. 

Brandon Ingram was ruled for the game due to a sprained ankle.

The victory against Portland brings the Pelicans to 25–30, only three matches behind the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Warriors trade D´Angelo Russell to Wolves for Andrew Wiggins

D’Angelo Russell’s time in Golden State was short-lived.    

The Warriors traded the star guard to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Andrew Wiggins, a 2021 protected first-round pick and a 2021 second-round pick, Minnesota informed on Thursday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the deal.

Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman will also head to Minnesota as part of the blockbuster deal.

The Warriors obtained Russell, 23, in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets this offseason, shocking the NBA world.

The Timberwolves and Los Angeles Lakers were expected to be his primary suitors.

There were questions about how Russell and Steph Curry would coexist on both ends of the floor, especially defensively, as neither player is stout on that end.

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Offensively, the Warriors figured to work more pick-and-rolls into their scheme to highlight Russell’s strengths, while Curry would be asked to play off the ball a bit more as well, which didn’t seem like a stretch given his effectiveness as a shooter coming off screens.

With Klay Thompson recovering from an ACL tear and Kevin Durant now in Brooklyn, the Warriors had to make the Russell-Curry partnership work. Those plans hit a snag, however, when Curry broke his left hand in late October.

While Russell averaged 23.6 points and 6.2 assists with the Warriors, shooting 43.0 percent from the field and 37.4 from three, he was always an option to be traded ahead of the deadline for a more natural fit as the Warriors attempt to restock for a playoff run next campaign.

He now heads to his third team in the past year, where he’ll bring his scoring and playmaking out of the pick-and-roll. Russell was never a natural fit in Golden State. A change of scenery should benefit both sides.

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Nets´ Kyrie Irving out at least a week with knee injury

After departing Saturday’s contest versus the Washington Wizards midway through the fourth quarter, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving has been diagnosed with a medial ligament sprain in his right knee and will miss at least the next week before being re-evaluated, the team informed Sunday.

The injury occurred as Irving attempted to secure a rebound, but he got caught up with Wizards guard Bradley Beal. The two tussled for possession, which led to Beal’s weight forcing Irving’s leg/knee into what appeared to be an uncomfortable direction.

Irving remained on the ground for a few moments before eventually heading to the locker room. It has been an injury-hampered first season in Brooklyn for Irving, who has played in just 20 of his team’s first 48 matches.

A shoulder ailment previously kept him out of the mix, paving the way for Spencer Dinwiddie to take on an increased role in the offense, a role that he figures to reclaim over at least the next week while Irving is absent.

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With a 21-27 record following play Saturday, the Nets still in possession of the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference.

After a splashy offseason in which the team made headlines by inking Irving, Kevin Durant and DeAndre Jordan to free-agent deals, the team was expected to be better, even with KD sitting out all campaign.

Irving will miss at least his team’s next three matches, with Feb. 10 being the next contest that falls beyond the one-week timetable. But with the All-Star break fast approaching, Brooklyn could opt to play it safe, if Irving is even cleared to return in the near future.

Irving had his highest-scoring game of the season the previous night, scoring 54 points in a triumph over Chicago. Irving has already missed a career-high 28 games this season.

He missed 26 games due to a right shoulder impingement and one each because of a strained hamstring and to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant.

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LA Clippers hold out Kawhi Leonard with back tightness

After feeling lower back tightness that developed during pregame warm-ups, LA Clippers star Kawhi Leonard was ruled out for Thursday night’s matchup versus the Sacramento Kings after halftime.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said he found out Leonard would not start the game “literally five seconds” before tip. Leonard then spent half the game, a 124-103 Clippers loss, trying to get his back to loosen up. “His back just locked up,” Rivers said.

“I think he was shooting before the game and his back locked up. He was in stretching and trying to do everything he could to get on the floor, and he just couldn’t.”

Rivers said he did not know the severity of Leonard’s back injury. The Clippers play again Saturday afternoon at home versus the Minnesota Timberwolves. Later that night, Leonard will have his jersey retired by San Diego State during the Aztecs’ game against Utah State.

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Without Leonard, the Clippers were routed by Sacramento. 

Paul George returned from a nine-game absence due to a strained left hamstring and missed 8 of 10 shots, finishing with eight points, four rebounds and four assists in 19 minutes.

Rivers said George and Patrick Beverley, who returned after missing three games with a sore groin, were on a minutes restriction and that it was hard for George to get a rhythm.

George, who has played in six All-Star games, was not named among the Western Conference reserves this year and will not play with Leonard in the Feb. 16 All-Star Game at Chicago.

“The fact of the matter is, I didn’t deserve to be an All-Star,” said George, who has played only 27 games so far this season while dealing with various injuries and his recovery from offseason shoulder surgeries.

“I didn’t play enough games and I wasn’t out there enough. So, honestly, it’s nice to have those three extra days. I’ll take it with a smile on my face, and I’ll root Kawhi on from whatever beach we decide to go to.”

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Sixers´ Joel Embiid returns from injury against Warriors

The Philadelphia 76ers held serve at home versus the Golden State Warriors 115-104 on Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center.

Joel Embiid led the 76ers with 24 points and 10 rebounds in his first game back after missing nine matches with a torn radial collateral ligament in his left hand.

All five 76ers starters scored in double digits. Big man Al Horford was two assists shy of a triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight dimes. 

Raul Neto dropped 19 points off the bench, all in the first half.

Philadelphia led by only four points heading into the final quarter, but Embiid keyed a 9-0 run to start the fourth with a pair of buckets and an assist. Philadelphia never led by fewer than seven from that point forward. 

The match was the first in Philadelphia since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Maria died Sunday along with seven others in a helicopter accident.

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The 76ers paid a pregame tribute by holding a moment of silence and sounding a bell nine times.

In what has became a leaguewide norm since Sunday, the two teams started the game with an eight-second backcourt violation and a 24-second shot clock violation in honor of Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 jerseys.

Embiid paid tribute to the former Laker for the night by changing his jersey number from 21 to Bryant’s 24, which he wore in the latter half of his career.

Bryant was born in Philadelphia and played high school basketball at Lower Merion High School in nearby Ardmore, Pennsylvania.

For the Warriors, D’Angelo Russell led all scorers with 28 points. Draymond Green added a near-triple-double with nine points, 12 assists and nine boards.

The 31-17 Sixers have won six of their last seven. The 10-38 Warriors lost their fourth consecutive.

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Lakers fall in their heaviest defeat of the season

More than half of the fourth quarter remained when the Lakers started to admit defeat.

LeBron James sat, so did Anthony Davis, and the Boston Celtics started pulling their starters too. They led the Lakers by 31 points — the largest deficit the Lakers had faced all campaign.

On the parquet floor versus their hated rivals, there were few friendly faces, and much of the crowd at TD Garden kept the arena packed in garbage time to revel in the one-night derailing of one of the NBA’s hottest teams.

The Lakers came into the match having won 10 of their last 11 games, including four of five without Davis, and the Celtics came into the game on a three-game losing streak, having lost six of their last eight.

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But their recent history wasn’t predictive. The Celtics beat the Lakers, 139-107.

“It was just a good ol’ …” James said before pausing. Then he continued. “Good ol’ fashioned butt-whooping. That’s all. They beat us in all facets of the game. Outside, interior, points off turnovers, offensive rebounds, so it’s the main ingredients in the L.”

The loss dropped the Lakers to 34-9, still best in the West, while the Celtics improved to 28-14, good for fourth in the East.

Davis returned and finished with nine points, two assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. James scored 15 points with 13 assists and seven rebounds. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points with five rebounds and three assists. Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker also notched 20 points each for the Celtics. It was the first time in his career, out of 29 tries, that Walker won a game versus James.

The Lakers have been remarkably consistent versus teams with poor records — they are 22-1 against them. But their games against the NBA’s better teams have had peaks and valleys. They are 10-4 against the top seven teams in the Western Conference, but have lost to four of the top five teams in the East — Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Indiana.

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