Tagged in: NBA

Nets’ Irving suffers facial fracture in pickup game

Brooklyn Nets star point guard Kyrie Irving suffered a left-side facial fracture after being elbowed in the face during a workout at the team’s practice facility, the team announced Wednesday.

Brooklyn sent Irving to the hospital for further evaluation Tuesday after he was injured during a pickup game. League sources told the New York Daily News that Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson accompanied him to the hospital following the injury.

The Nets signed Irving in July after two seasons with the Boston Celtics.

He had to wear a protective mask during games to protect a previous facial fracture, including early in the 2017-18 campaign after he was elbowed by former teammate Aron Baynes.

The good news for the Nets is that the injury doesn’t seem too serious, and Irving shouldn’t miss any significant period of time. Still, you never want your best player dealing with a broken face a few days before training camp is about to begin. That’s not a good way to get the season started. 

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However, even if Irving has to miss a few days of practice, the signing is already paying dividends for the team. During a press conference on Tuesday, which was already scheduled before the incident, Nets GM Sean Marks praised Irving’s professionalism and commitment to the team, saying the “leadership, the work ethic and the competitive nature that he has brought to the group has been terrific.”

The Nets will start training camp on Sept. 28, a few days earlier than most teams due to their preseason trip to China. They’ll be playing two preseason games against the Los Angeles Lakers in Shanghai and Shenzhen on Oct. 10 and 12. Assuming no further complications, Irving should be ready to go for those contests.

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Wizards’ Brown out for a month with hurt calf

When players report early to build chemistry with their teammates ahead of training camp, it is usually a good thing. For the Wizards this summer, it has led to an unfortunate string of bad injury luck.

First Isaiah Thomas tore a ligament in his left thumb, on his shooting hand, and required surgery that will keep him out of all of the preseason and likely the start of the regular season as well. Now, as the Wizards announced on Tuesday, Troy Brown Jr. is dealing with a left calf strain. His timeline is four weeks.

That will put the start of the regular season in jeopardy for Brown as well.

The news broke four weeks and one day before the Wizards’ first game, on Oct. 23 at the Dallas Mavericks. These injuries are on top of forward C.J. Miles’ foot surgery in July. He was at a Mystics’ playoff game last week still in a walking boot, which is not a great sign for his availability in training camp, which begins Tuesday. When he had the surgery on July 25, the Wizards said he would be re-evaluated in six weeks. It has now been two months.

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Thomas, Brown, and Miles are three rotation players. The Wizards are also missing John Wall, who remains sidelined as he rehabs from a ruptured Achilles. The injuries are piling up and they haven’t even held their media day.

Brown’s injury is extra pertinent because he figures to be in the same position mix as Miles. If you are filling out a starting lineup for the Wizards, those are probably your two best choices at small forward. And the Wizards don’t exactly have a lot of depth behind them.

Up next could be Justin Anderson, who is a roster-fringe journeyman at this point. Second-round pick Admiral Schofield is probably not ready for important minutes. First-round pick Rui Hachimura seems more suited to play the four. And Jordan McRae seems to be a better fit at guard.

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Andre Iguodala to stay away from the team as Grizzlies look for trade

Andre Iguodala will not report to the Memphis Grizzlies’ training camp as he and the team continue to work toward his expected exit.

The Golden State Warriors traded Iguodala and a protected first-round draft pick to Memphis on July 7 in exchange for forward Julian Washburn.

Multiple media outlets have reported that the Grizzlies do not intend to buy out the $17.2m that Iguodala is owed this year in the final season of his three-year, $48m contract, instead looking to find another team willing to trade for the three-time NBA champion and 2015 NBA Finals MVP.

The 35-year-old veteran will continue to work out separately from the Grizzlies but might remain on their roster into the regular season, according to the Daily Memphian. Iguodala told NBC Sports Bay Area on Monday regarding his status with Memphis: “We’ll see. OK, maybe I shouldn’t say we’ll see. But we’re trying to figure out things on both sides. They’re trying to figure out some things, and I’m trying to figure out some things.

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As of today, we’re on the same page.

Camp opens the next week. We’ll see. We’re on the same page, though.”

He added: “At this point, the only buyout that makes sense – if I’m speaking on someone else’s behalf, thinking as an agent – is you don’t leave money on the table. Especially in this league. Because you’ll never get it back, no matter what people say.

“Negotiations are a tactic, so you’ve got to be careful how you approach it, or how you verbalise what you would do going forward. But you can’t leave anything on the table.”

Iguodala, an All-Star in 2012 when he played for the Philadelphia 76ers, was part of five consecutive NBA Finals teams with Golden State. Last season, he averaged 5.7 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 68 games (13 starts). For his career, he is averaging 12.1 points, 5.1 rebounds and 4.4 assists in 1,108 games (779 starts).

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Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat

Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat

The Raptors are back in Toronto after dropping a disappointing 94-87 overtime loss in Miami, allowing the Heat to tie up the series at two games apiece. With the best of seven series essentially a best of three now, Toronto hopes to take advantage of home court in Game 5 at the Air Canada Centre on Wednesday night.

The Heat and Raptors are one extra session away from tying the record for the most overtime games in a series.

The Miami Heat were able to level the series at 2-2 with a hard-fought 94-87 overtime win over the Raptors on Monday. Dwyane Wade led the charge with a game-high 30 points on 13 of 24 shooting while Joe Johnson and Goran Dragic added 15 points each as the Heat battled hard to come back from a late nine-point deficit to force overtime where they would dominate by 11-4. Hassan Whiteside was absent for the game so coach Spoelstra inserted Amar’e Stoudemire into the starting lineup but he played just 12 minutes as the Heat relied heavily on smaller lineups to spread the floor for Wade to attack the basket.

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The Toronto Raptors were playing without their leading big man in Jonas Valanciunas who has been key to their success in this series. Bismack Biyombo stepped into the starting role and had a double-double of 13 points with 13 rebounds, DeMarre Carroll also added 13 points while Terrence Ross and Cory Joseph chipped in with 14 points each, but the Raptors once again needed so much more from their All-Star backcourt duo of Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan who disappointed mightily with combined figures of just 19 points on six of 28 shooting.

Key matchup:

DeMarre Carroll vs. Dwyane Wade.

It will fall to Carroll to try and slow Wade, who had 30 points in Miami’s Game 4 win and is averaging 27 points per game in the series. Of Miami’s 94 points in Game 4, Wade, Joe Johnson and Goran Dragic (15 each) accounted for 60 of them. Keeping Wade in check — a historically challenging task — will be crucial to the Raptors taking Game 5.

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Boston Celtics at Atlanta Hawks

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In what has become a competitive first-round playoff series in the Eastern Conference, the Atlanta Hawks hope to use their home court to regain an edge against the Boston Celtics in Game 5 on Tuesday.

The Boston Celtics can take control of this series by winning their third straight game and taking a 3-2 lead. The Boston Celtics are averaging 97 points on 39.1 percent shooting and allowing 97.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting. Isaiah Thomas is averaging 28.3 points and 4.3 assists while Evan Turner is averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds. Jae Crowder is grabbing 7.5 rebounds and Marcus Smart is dishing 3.8 assists. The Boston Celtics are shooting 29.7 percent from beyond the arc and 77.1 percent from the free throw line. The Celtics are allowing 27.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 47.3 rebounds per game. The Boston Celtics have lost five of their last seven road games. Kelly Olynyk is questionable with a shoulder injury.

Boston won Game 4 in overtime 104-95 on Sunday, covering the spread as a one-point home underdog and overcoming a monster 45-point performance from Atlanta power forward Paul Millsap, who connected on 19 of 31 shots from the field and also grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds.

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 Atlanta is a bigger favorite in Game 5 than either Game 1 or Game 2 at Philips Arena, as the team has failed to cover the spread in three of the first four overall. The lone cover for the Hawks came in Game 2 when they won 89-72 as 6.5-point favorites on the NBA betting lines.

The Atlanta Hawks hope to continue the trend of the home team winning every game in this series. The Atlanta Hawks are averaging 97.3 points on 40.1 percent shooting and allowing 97 points on 39.1 percent shooting. Paul Millsap is averaging 17.8 points and 9.3 rebounds while Jeff Teague is averaging 18 points and seven assists. Al Horford is grabbing 9.8 rebounds and Kent Bazemore is dishing two assists. The Atlanta Hawks are shooting 27.6 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free throw line. The Hawks are allowing 29.7 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 48 rebounds per game. The Atlanta Hawks have won six of their last seven home games.

 

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Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers

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The Atlanta Hawks and Indiana Pacers meet Thursday night at the Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

The Atlanta Hawks look for some consistency after splitting their last 10 games. The Atlanta Hawks are averaging 102.5 points on 46.1 percent shooting and allowing 100 points on 44 percent shooting. Paul Millsap is averaging 18.4 points and 8.8 rebounds while Al Horford is averaging 15.2 points and 2.9 assists. Jeff Teague is dishing 5.6 assists and Kent Bazemore is grabbing 4.5 rebounds. The Atlanta Hawks are shooting 34.1 percent from beyond the arc and 79.3 percent from the free throw line. The Hawks are allowing 35.6 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 40.8 rebounds per game. The Atlanta Hawks have lost five of their last eight road games.

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The Indiana Pacers need a victory after losing six of their last seven games. The Indiana Pacers are averaging 102.3 points on 44.6 percent shooting and allowing 100 points on 44 percent shooting. Paul George is averaging 23.9 points and 7.3 rebounds while Monta Ellis is averaging 13.7 points and five assists. George Hill is dishing 3.1 assists and Jordan Hill is grabbing seven rebounds. The Indiana Pacers are shooting 34.8 percent from beyond the arc and 74.7 percent from the free throw line. The Pacers are allowing 33.4 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 43.6 rebounds per game. The Indiana Pacers have won six of their last 10 home games.

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Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

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The San Antonio Spurs come into tonight’s game coming off their worst loss of the season, one of ESPN’s patented “Game of the Century of the Week”s against the Golden State Warriors. As the Dubs like to do, they ran through the Spurs to the tune of a 30-point win. Luckily for the Rockets they will get a pissed off Spurs squad looking to get back on track.

Houston comes into the game on a 3-game winning streak, coinciding with Josh Smith’s return to the team. Smoove’s presence has been noticeable in every area except the points column in the box score. He’s doing everything else for Houston that the Rockets don’t normally do, including nurturing ball movement and actually playing defense.

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The Houston Rockets look to stay red hot after winning nine of their last 12 games. The Houston Rockets are averaging 104.9 points on 44.6 percent shooting and allowing 105.6 points on 46.4 percent shooting. James Harden is averaging 27.7 points and seven assists while Trevor Ariza is averaging 12.3 points and 4.7 rebounds. Terrence Jones is grabbing 4.7 rebounds and Patrick Beverley is dishing 2.6 assists. The Houston Rockets are shooting 35.4 percent from beyond the arc and 71.4 percent from the free throw line. The Rockets are allowing 36.1 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 42.9 rebounds per game. The Houston Rockets have split their last 10 road games. Dwight Howard is questionable with an ankle injury.

The San Antonio Spurs haven’t lost back-to-back games since February. The San Antonio Spurs are averaging 103.9 points on 48.9 percent shooting and allowing 90.4 points on 42.8 percent shooting. Kawhi Leonard is averaging 20 points and 2.6 assists while LaMarcus Aldridge is averaging 15.6 points and 8.7 rebounds. Tony Parker is dishing five assists and David West is grabbing four rebounds. The San Antonio Spurs are shooting 38.4 percent from beyond the arc and 78.8 percent from the free throw line. The Spurs are allowing 32 percent shooting from deep and are grabbing 45 rebounds per game. The San Antonio Spurs haven’t lost a home game since March 12th. Tim Duncan is questionable with a knee injury.

The Spurs last played the Rockets earlier this month in a win that coincided with the first scoreless game of Tim Duncan’s career. Duncan’s sitting out a second straight gamedue to his knee, suggesting his DNP against Golden State was likely not part of a calculated mindgame by Gregg Popovich.

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Minnesota Timberwolves at Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers certainly didn’t benefit from any bump in performance in their first game under Tyronn Lue, who says it might take some time to implement his vision for an up-tempo offense.

Things are likely to come easier against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Looking to give Lue his first coaching victory, the Cavaliers hope to avoid dropping consecutive home games for the first time in a year Monday night while dealing the Timberwolves their ninth consecutive road defeat.

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Cleveland (30-12) is 24-6 in its last 30 regular season games against Western Conference opponents (10-5 this season). The Wine and Gold have also won 12 of their last 13 regular season games over the West at The Q.

Minnesota (14-31) is trying to win consecutive games for only the second time since late November following Saturday’s 106-101 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. In the victory, Shabazz Muhammed bucketed a season-high 25 points and Andrew Wiggins added 19 points.

Last game: The Cavs came up flat in Lue’s debut, losing to the Chicago Bulls 96-83 on Saturday at The Q.

Cavaliers’ probable starting lineup: 6-3 Kyrie Irving (15.8 ppg, 3.8 apg), 6-6 J.R. Smith (12.2 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 39% 3-pt range), 6-8 LeBron James (25.0 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.2 apg), 6-10 Kevin Love (15.6 ppg, 10.9 rpg) and 7-2 Timofey Mozgov (6.3 ppg, 4.3 rpg).

Timberwolves’ probable starting lineup: 6-4 Ricky Rubio (9.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 8.6 apg), 6-8 Andrew Wiggins (20.8 ppg, 3.9 rpg), 6-9 Tayshaun Prince (3.2 ppg, 2.0 rpg), 6-11 Kevin Garnett (3.2 ppg, 3.9 rpg) and 7-0 Karl-Anthony Towns (15.8 ppg, 9.7 rpg, 1.8 bpg).

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Los Angeles Clippers at Cleveland Cavaliers

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The Cleveland Cavaliers will begin their four-game homestand on Thursday night against the Los Angeles Clippers. Tipoff is at 8 p.m.

The Cavaliers have already lost to the top two Western Conference teams over the past week, getting routed 132-98 by the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors as 3.5-point home favorites on Monday.

The Clippers currently sit in the fourth spot in the West and saw their season-high 10-game winning streak come to an end with a 110-103 loss to the Sacramento Kings as four-point home favorites last Saturday.

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It’s the second game in as many night for the Cavaliers (29-11), who beat the Brooklyn Nets, 91-78, on Wednesday night.

In the win, Kevin Love bounced back from his worst game of the year, scoring 17 points and grabbing 18 rebounds. LeBron James chipped in with 17 as well. Timofey Mozgov made his third straight start, getting the nod over Tristan Thompson in an attempt to combat the size of Brook Lopez. Mozgov scored 11 points.

Los Angeles (27-14) has won 11 of 12, including a 140-132 overtime win against the Houston Rockets. The Clippers’ quality stretch has coincided with Blake Griffin’s absence. The power forward is expected to miss his 12th straight game with a partially torn left quad.

Point guard Chris Paul has elevated his play with Griffin sidelined. Paul is averaging 18.2 points and 9.6 assists, which ranks fourth in the NBA.

This will be the first meeting between Los Angeles and Cleveland this season, with the latter sweeping two games last year. The Clippers are just 3-14 SU and 4-13 ATS in the past 17 meetings dating back to 2007, with the under cashing in four of the last five.

The Cavs have not performed particularly well when playing the second game of a back-to-back lately, going 3-3 SU and 1-4-1 ATS in their previous six.

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Washington Capitals at Columbus Blue Jackets

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The Washington Capitals and Columbus Blue Jackets meet Tuesday night at the Nationwide Arena.

In their first eight games of the 2016 calendar year, the Washington Capitals have only lost two games: once against the Blue Jackets in Columbus (more on that later) and once against the Sabres in Buffalo.

The Washington Capitals look to stay hot after winning six of their last seven games. The Washington Capitals are averaging 3.3 goals per game and are scoring on 26.1 percent of their power plays. Alex Ovechkin leads Washington with 27 goals, Evgeny Kuznetsov has 29 assists and Justin Williams has 115 shots on goal. Defensively, the Washington Capitals are allowing 2.1 goals per game and are killing 85.2 percent of their power play chances. Braden Holtby has allowed 71 goals on 1,024 shots faced and Philipp Grubauer has given up 20 goals on 267 shots. Holtby has allowed six goals in his last three games.

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The Columbus Blue Jackets look for some consistency after splitting their last eight games. The Columbus Blue Jackets are averaging 2.5 goals per game and are killing 17.5 percent of their power plays. Brandon Saad leads Columbus with 16 goals, Scott Hartnell has 16 assists and Boone Jenner has 114 shots on goal. Defensively, the Columbus Blue Jackets are allowing 3.2 goals per game and are killing 81.5 percent of their power play chances. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed 60 goals on 713 shots faced and Curtis McElhinney has given up 39 goals on 349 shots. Bobrovsky has allowed three goals in his last three games.

The Capitals are 8-3 in their last 11 road games and 38-15 in their last 53 overall. The Blue Jackets are 2-6 in their last 8 vs. Eastern Conference and 7-15 in their last 22 overall. The home team is 8-3 in the last 11 meetings.

Previous meeting

The Blue Jackets opened the 2016 portion of their campaign against the Capitals on Jan. 2 at Nationwide Arena. It was a crazy game, to say the least, with a lot of adversity for Columbus, but the Jackets found a way to win in a shootout.

Jack Johnson and Brandon Saad each scored twice during regulation to match Washington’s four goals from T.J. Oshie, Jason Chimera, Johansson and Evgeny Kuznetsov. Both of Johnson’s goals were scored on the power play, and Saad’s second goal of the night came at 18:52 of the third period to tie the game and push it to overtime.

Columbus goaltender Curtis McElhinney had to leave the game with 4:05 left in overtime when he fell and was unable to return to the game. McElhinney suffered a sprained ankle on the play, was placed on injured reserve on Jan. 4 (out indefinitely).

Backup goaltender Anton Forsberg, on emergency recall, took over netminding duties in a tough spot and stopped six shots in overtime and two of three in the shootout to help the Jackets defeat the Capitals, earning his first NHL win.

The Blue Jackets are 9-10-4 in the all-time series against the Capitals and 4-1-1 in their last six at home, including the aforementioned shootout win on Jan. 2.

 

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