Miami Heat v Orlando Magic

Dwight Howard suffers herniated disc in back, may miss rest of regular season


The Orlando Magic announced Friday night that Dwight Howard who has missed several games with a back injury has suffered a herniated disc in his back. From the AP:

Magic spokesman Joel Glass said Howard was examined by Dr. Robert Watkins after Howard flew out there earlier Friday for a second opinion for what had previously be called back spasms since he injured his back at the end of March.

There is no timetable for his return and it will be based on how he responds to treatment.

Howard is scheduled to fly back to Orlando on Saturday.

The Magic are now 1-4 without him this season.

Howard had gone to L.A. to seek a second opinion after continued pain in his back had kept him out five games, including a double-digit loss to the Atlanta Hawks Friday night. Without Howard, the Magic are in freefall. For all the talk of how much he’s underutilized by Stan Van Gundy’s offense, in reality the entire system on both sides is built around Howard. The Magic stand three games out of the eighth spot above both the New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers. The Orlando Sentinel reports that Howard is unlikely to return for the regular season:


So things could get very intense for the Magic down the stretch in what has already been a mentally exhausting season for the Magic, what with Howard demanding a trade, then retracting it, then re-extending it, then wanting to stay, then not wanting to stay, then wanting to stay and signing a waiver, then having it revealed by his coach that he had asked his ownership to fire his coach. So, you know, not a great way to end what has already been a really difficult season for the Magic.

Carmelo Anthony says he can play at high level 4-5 more years

USA Basketball Men's National Team Training Camp

Carmelo Anthony can flat-out score the rock — that has never been the question. Even hurting last season for many of the 40 games he played, he averaged 24.2 points a game, had a true shooting percentage of 53.1 percent (right near the league average) while having the entire weight of the Knicks offense on his shoulders (32.2 usage rate, fifth highest in the NBA). When people (or players) talk about him being overrated, the discussion turns to defense or if he makes his teammates better. But there should be no doubt Anthony is an elite scorer.

He thinks he will be for a while longer — like another five years. Via Ian Begley of ESPN:

In fact, the 31-year-old Knicks star is confident that he can play at a high level for the next “four or five years.”

“Without a doubt. Without a doubt,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ final training camp practice on Saturday.

The Knicks better hope that’s true, they already made that bet with that massive five-year contract they gave him last summer.

Anthony’s age combined with him coming off knee surgery have a lot of people — myself included — expecting him to take a step back. Not a big one, but he is coming up at the point in his career where some open shots he used to get are now contested because he’s half-a-step slower, and some of those looks don’t fall as often. His jumper isn’t suddenly going to look like Rajon Rondo‘s, ‘Melo is going to get his points, but he may not be as efficient.

Fortunately, the Knicks have an improved supporting cast around him this season. That should take some offensive load off his shoulders, and maybe the Knicks offense will see better ball movement and start to resemble the triangle. If it’s just more isolation Anthony, it’s not going to be pretty.

Kings pick up option on G Ben McLemore

Ben McLemore, Rodney Hood
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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) The Sacramento have picked up the 2016-17 option on guard Ben McLemore‘s contract.

General manager Vlade Divac announced the move Saturday.

McLemore was Sacramento’s first-round pick in 2013. He averaged 12.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season.