Lorenzen Wright's death ruled a homicide

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Thumbnail image for lwright.jpgPolice are investigating the death of former NBA player Lorenzen Wright as a homicide after a coroner’s report listed the official cause of death as a gunshot wound.

The timeline starts just before midnight on July 18, when Wright left the house of his ex-wife who lives in the Memphis area, where he had been visiting his children. Several hours later a brief 911 call came from Wright’s cell phone to a Germantown, Tenn., dispatcher and gunshots were heard. On July 22, Wright’s family filed a missing person’s report.

On July 28 police found Wright’s body in the area where the 911 call had come from.

The Memphis Commercial Appeal has another chilling detail in its new story on the murder.

Sherra Robinson Wright opened her front door one day in recent weeks to find three men she had never seen before, each with guns tucked in their waistbands.

They looked serious and wanted to know if her ex-husband, former NBA star Lorenzen Wright, 34, happened to be inside the Whisperwood Drive home visiting his six children.

No, she assured them, and they drove away.

The frightened Collierville mom rushed to tell her divorce attorney, Gail Mathes, about the scary ordeal and her fears for herself, her children and the ex-husband she still loved, Mathes said.

Police are saying very little about the investigation, which is customary. Often in these cases, the more police think they are close to solving the case the less they say publicly for fear of tipping their hand to suspects.

Wright played his college ball in Memphis and also was a member of the Grizzlies during his 13-year NBA career, which ended just two seasons ago.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.