Spurs fans like what they see in Tiago Splitter

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Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for Tsplitter.jpgTiago Splitter was solid and professional, not spectacular. A guy who got things done but without flair.

That is to say, he was a Spur.

Tiago Splitter — who joins the Spurs this fall — got a real test against NBA talent when Brazil took on the United States in the FIBA World Championships. Well, frankly he got a lot of real tests playing in the ABC, the top Spanish league the last couple years. But we stateside fans have gotten few real good comparisons we’ve gotten to watch of him against NBA talent. We did Monday.

Splitter had 13 points and 10 rebounds, and Spurs fans loved what they saw, as the San Antonio Express-News Spurs Blog shows (thanks for the heads up Andy).

Splitter’s final line — 13 points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals and a block — is one he ought to be able to approximate on a nightly basis with the Spurs. He was 6-of-12 from the floor, scoring most of his points on pick-and-rolls, flashing that basketball IQ the Spurs have been raving about. Splitter doesn’t appear to be much of a one-on-one post scorer — though he did throw in one nice jump hook — but then again the Spurs aren’t asking him to average 20 points per game…

Defensively is where Splitter shone brightest, both physically and intellectually. His pick-and-roll defense — an area of concern for the Spurs last season — was superb. His soaring block of Russell Westbrook, meanwhile, hinted at Splitter’s athleticism. Splitter was also good defending Lamar Odom in one-on-one situations.

Splitter outplayed Lamar Odom, but that often has more to do with Odom’s head than anything any opponent does.

Still, it was a positive. You can see him coming off the bench for Antonio McDyess and the Spurs getting better at the five. You can see Splitter finishing games. And you can see him making smart plays.

He is not going to blow you away with his athleticism, but he’s plenty athletic. He is not Dirk Nowitizki shooting, but he shoots well. He does not bring the energy that DeJuan Blair does off the Spurs bench, but he’ll bring professionalism and a high basketball IQ.

He’ll be a Spur. A vintage Spur.

Watch DeMarcus Cousins swat James Harden in his first game with the Pelicans

DeMarcus Cousins answers questions from the media as the New Orleans Pelicans announce that they've acquired him along with forward Omri Casspi during a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017 in Metairie, La.  Cousins maintained  that he liked Sacramento and initially wasn't happy about being traded Sunday night, but added he'd become frustrated with the lack of another elite talent on the Kings' roster.  (Ted Jackson /NOLA.com The Times-Picayune via AP)
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DeMarcus Cousins, Anthony Davis, and the New Orleans Pelicans will take some time to mesh together. In his first game with New Orleans, Cousins saw a difficult opponent and massive deficits against the Houston Rockets. But there was some glimmers of hope.

Cousins, for example, had a productive statistical evening. The former Sacramento King put up 27 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals, and 4 blocks — just one swat shy of the rare 5 x 5.

Plus, he had this sweet block on Rockets star James Harden:

The Pelicans lost to the Rockets, 129-99, but it’s going to be fun to watch New Orleans battle it out for the 8th seed in the West.

Kristaps Porzingis injures ankle, leaves Cavaliers game in walking boot

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New York Knicks star big man Kristaps Porzingis left Thursday night’s contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers with a sprained right ankle. He could be seen limping back to the locker room late in the second quarter, and reports after the game saw Porzingis in a walking boot.

That’s a major bummer for Knicks fans.

Porzingis, 21, dealt with a left Achilles issue earlier in the season and no doubt would like to remain on the court for the Knicks full-time to close the season.

Then again, it’s important to keep in mind that walking boots can be precautionary, especially as a team plays away from home. New York heads back home tonight and will play Philadelphia on Saturday, so there should be plenty of time for the Knicks to get their full medical staff working on assessing and treating Porzingis.

It’s not as though the Knicks were primed for a late-season run at just 23-35, but there will be less for New York fans to watch for with their best player off the floor.

After trading for DeMarcus Cousins, Pelicans release Terrence Jones

AUBURN HILLS, MI - FEBRUARY 01: Terrence Jones #9 of the New Orleans Pelicans gets off a shot next to Aron Baynes #12 of the Detroit Pistons during the first period at the Palace of Auburn Hills on February 1, 2017 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
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Terrence Jones is no longer a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. The University of Kentucky product was removed from the team roster on Thursday after head coach Alvin Gentry said there just wasn’t enough minutes to go around after the team traded for DeMarcus Cousins.

The Pelicans roster now houses a frontcourt with most of the minutes going to Cousins, Anthony Davis, Donatas Motiejunas, Dante Cunningham, and Solomon Hill.

Gentry, via Nola.com:

“We released him because, obviously, if you look at the bigs situation we have now and there was not going to be a whole lot of minutes,” said Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry. “He wants to play. Obviously, he’s going to be a guy in a contract year and things like that, so we thought it was best to let him go.”

Jones, 25, was playing nearly 25 minutes per-game for New Orleans. While he was having a productive year, he wasn’t close to the kind of efficient numbers he put up early in his career with the Houston Rockets.

That said, Jones could be a potential candidate to bolster the frontline of a playoff team, so look for some action around him sooner rather than later.

Charles Barkley swears on live TV, says Spike Lee is “dying to get kicked out of the Garden”

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Charles Barkley has a tendency to say some pretty wild stuff, but he’s typically guarded as a TV professional when it comes to swearing. Apparently the heat of the moment got the better of him on Thursday night as he was talking during the matchup between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the New York Knicks.

Speaking about New York, Barkley accidentally let fly with a not-for-primetime word on live television as he discussed Spike Lee and the overall mood around the team.

Via Twitter (NSFW obviously):

In case you can’t hear that, Barkley said (in part):

“I was talking to Spike Lee at All-Star Weekend, he’s dying to get kicked out of the Garden. He don’t wanna watch this s–t.”

The TNT crew then razzed on him for committing the cardinal sin of live TV.