Mike D'Antoni, Raymond Felton

With Lin out, Felton told he will be Knicks starting point


This is the thing that should make Knicks fans nervous about Jeremy Lin being allowed to walk off to the Rockets — the two point guards left on the Knicks roster were not really good last year.

Felton was out of shape, turned the ball over nearly on nearly 20 percent of the possessions he used, shot 40 percent overall and 30 percent from three, and was nothing like the guy most Knicks fans remember from the fall of 2010. There is a reason the Trail Blazers wanted him gone. Jason Kidd is 39, can’t defend much any more and while he can knock down threes and has an undoubtedly high hoop IQ, his ability to execute what he needs to do is fading.

But those are your guys, and Felton is your starter according to a tweet from Marc Berman of the New York Post (via Sulia).

As we reported, Felton was promised starting PG guard when he signed, with Kidd as backup. Felton, Kidd, Spanish League warhorse Pablo Prigioni as third string will be fine. Unsure of Linsanity clamor once Felton came aboard. Why create an uncomfortable logjam filled with controversy. That’s not exactly what feel-good Disney Movie from last February/March was about. That was an unforgettable moment in time and would never be same. It passed when Lin redid offer sheet.

The on the court gamble the Knicks took is this: That the 26 games that Lin played for the Knicks were a bit of a mirage and he would not be as good with Carmelo Anthony dominating the ball. And they bet that Raymond Felton can return to form, not All-Star form but average form with some threes would be good enough.

A lot of Knicks fans don’t like that gamble. I can’t blame them, I wouldn’t have made it either.

76ers tie NBA-record losing streak, dropping heartbreaker to Celtics

Isaiah Thomas, T.J. McConnell

After a rare period of on-court competence, the 76ers led the Celtics by five with two minutes left tonight.

Then, Philadelphia snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.

The 76ers yielded a 9-0 run to close an 84-80 setback.

They’re now 0-16. Combined with their 0-10 finish to last season, that’s a 26-game losing streak – tied for longest in NBA history. Last year’s 76ers already shared the record.

Philadelphia is also in danger of the worst start to a season. The 2009-10 New Jersey Nets began 0-18, and last year’s 76ers won only one game sooner.

The 76ers will try to avoid the all-time longest streak at the Rockets on Friday. If that goes unsuccessfully, they’ll try to avoid matching the worst season start at the Grizzlies on Sunday. And if both fail, they could set the worst-start record against the Lakers on Tuesday.

76ers-Lakers – it’s shaping up to be a big one.

Timberwolves read mean tweets about themselves (video)

Flip Saunders, Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones
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The Timberwolves didn’t select the meanest tweets about these players, but credit Karl-Anthony Towns, Tyus Jones, Shabazz Muhammad and Zach LaVine for being good sports.

LeBron James: I’m healthier than a year ago


LeBron James received an injection in his back before the season.

It’s working.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

LeBron James now says he feels better than he did even a year ago.

“I feel better in the mornings; I feel better throughout the games; I feel better throughout the day,” James said before a Cavs shootaround Wednesday in preparation for their game against the Toronto Raptors. “It was a rough start to the season for me last year and for our team. Obviously the way we’ve been playing, a lot is predicated on my health and being able to lead these guys out on the floor and not from the sidelines.”

LeBron certainly looks healthier than he did at this point last year. He’s moving much better and giving more effort.

But comparing November to November means very little for the Cavaliers, who hope to play deep into June.

The key question: Did LeBron properly time his injection? There’s a limit on the number he can have in a year, and it takes time to recover after one. Cleveland doesn’t want LeBron to peak to early.

It’s good for the Cavs that LeBron feels better now, but his health in the playoffs remains the priority.

Report: Suns signing Bryce Cotton

Bryce Cotton
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Eric Bledsoe missed the Suns’ loss to the Spurs on Monday with a knee injury.

So, Phoenix is bringing in a reinforcement – Bryce Cotton.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

The Jazz waived Cotton before the season despite Dante Exum‘s injury leaving them with just two other healthy point guards. That says something about Cotton – but also Utah’s depth.

Cotton – who went undrafted out of Providence last year – is quick, varies his speed well and can leap. There’s reason to believe in his potential at age 23. But his 6-foot-1 frame limits him defensively, and he’s not much of a distributor.

Phoenix will rely on Brandon Knight and Ronnie Price at point guard if Bledsoe is unavailable. The Suns can also use fewer two-point guard lineups – giving more minutes at shooting guard to Devin Booker, Archie Goodwin and Sunny Weems.

Cotton provides insurance while Bledsoe is banged-up with what seems to be a minor injury. But he might have to show something to keep drawing an NBA paycheck once Bledsoe gets healthy.