Iman Shumpert reportedly “on target” for January return

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The Knicks need Iman Shumpert back — they need perimeter defense and he is the one guy on the roster who can deliver it every night..

But he tore his ACL in the Knicks first playoff game (like Derrick Rose in Chicago) and his return is a little bit in flux.

Newsday caught up with Shumpert — who previously said he was hoping for a January return to the lineup.

“I have a steady rehab and we mix it up,” said Shumpert…. “There’s a little bit more I can do every day, but it’s definitely not the same thing being on the court sweating. I can’t wait until I get back….

“It’s getting better . . . Everything’s been good so far,” Shumpert said. “I haven’t had any bad days. I’m happy about that. I’ll be going to a MRI soon and see if we can pick up the intensity of my rehab.”

Eight months is the earliest someone can come back from an ACL injury (which would have Shumpert taking the court around Christmas and New Years. But like Rose Shumpert should not rush back — he has a long career ahead of him and consistent knee issues can shorten them. Take your time, do the rehab, make sure everything is 100 percent. No need to risk re-injury for a January date against the Magic. Get it right before you step on the court.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

AP Photo/Nick Wass
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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.

PBT Extra: Two months from trade deadline watch DeAndre Jordan and… Paul George?

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The NBA trade deadline got moved up this season to Feb. 8 so the league can avoid the spectacle of DeMarcus Cousins being traded during the All-Star Game and then doing an uncomfortable press interview afterward where he had to be told of the situation.

That means we are less than two months away from the trade deadline, and in this PBT Extra I look at the big names that could be on the market.

The Clippers seem likely to move DeAndre Jordan, the only questions are where and what will they get back? But three other teams have big decisions to make about their stars: Oklahoma City with Paul George, New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins, and Memphis with Marc Gasol. Right now none of those guys are on the market, but that could change.

Trey Lyles dunks on Jayson Tatum then disrespects him far worse (video)

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Trey Lyles made a nice play in the Nuggets’ loss to the Celtics last night, driving by Jayson Tatum then dunking on him.

On the other hand, that swirl around Tatum’s head was not very nice at all.