Howard_Wall

John Wall, welcome to the NBA

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The first time John Wall came around a high pick in the NBA — just seconds into the opening game against Orlando Thursday — he had plenty of room.

Jameer Nelson had gone under the pick. Way under. We’re going to dare you to take that uncontested jumper under. So Wall did — and he missed.

Welcome to the NBA, Wall. You’re going to be good, but your mama warned you this wasn’t going to be easy.

Wall was given the outside shot — called the “Rajon Rondo treatment” — all night long. Wall finished with 14 points on 6-of-19 shooting. But if you take away the five times he got to the rim for a dunk or a layup out of the equation, he was 2-of-14 shooting. And when he did want to drive there was Dwight Howard waiting for him in the paint.

This was not a fair fight. Washington is a young and just thrown together team that had to take on a title contender with a lot of veterans that can hit the ground running.

Wall also had a team that seemed disinterested or intimidated (take your pick). The Wizards did not get out and run their way to easy baskets, their defense was lethargic. At best.

Wall, to his credit, kept scrapping. But this was a splash of cold water on the face of the Wizards and Wall, a reminder that despite all the hope and hype they are a long, long, long way from where they want to be.

You’re not in Kentucky anymore.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.

Wife of former Pelicans coach Monty Williams dies in car accident

NEW ORLEANS, LA - DECEMBER 12:  Ingrid Williams, wife of New Orleans Pelicans head coach Monty Williams and other member of the Pelicans organization feed the homeless on December 12, 2013 at the New Orleans Mission in New Orleans, Louisiana. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2013 NBAE (Photo by Layne Murdoch/NBAE via Getty Images)
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There are no words to describe how sad this is.

Ingrid Williams, the wife of Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach and former New Orleans Pelicans head coach, Monty Williams, died Wednesday at the age of 44 from injuries suffered in a car accident the day before.

Williams’ car was hit head-on by another vehicle that had crossed over the center divider, according to the Oklahoman.

The Monty and Ingrid had been married more than 20 years and have five children, ranging in age from 17 to 5. Williams is one of the better respected and personally liked coaches around the league, and the tributes have just started to pour in.

Our thoughts are with Williams and his family.