Carmelo Anthony is a go for the Knicks when they host the Brooklyn Nets Wednesday night.
Anthony tweaked his ankle in the third quarter of the Knicks blowout win over the Lakers last Thursday night (he left the game, but the game was decided at that point). He missed one game but was testing the ankle on the court when he arrived at the arena on Wednesday night and tweets from Brian Mahoney of the Associated Press and multiple other reports says he is a go. That is not the official word from the team, but this is the Knicks so who knows if they will get around to that. As if it gives them some advantage because Avery Johnson never could have seen it coming.
Carmelo is having the best season of his career, averaging 27.9 points per game on 47.3 points per game, shooting 45.5 percent from three, with a PER of 26. But what is really separating Anthony this season is his hustle and focus on defense, his passing, his leadership. He has injected himself into the early season MVP conversation (it is way, way to early to have a real leader in that race, talk to me halfway through).
The Knicks are 18-6 and the top seed in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile the Nets are 2-7 in their last nine as they start to come undone with Deron Williams struggling and their defense never really wowing anyone for long stretches. But the two New York teams have split what feel like their weekly games now. This is the third game of the series, the rubber match.
This not only changes the Kings dreams of making the playoffs in the West, it also alters the trade deadline and free agency.
Rudy Gay, the Kings wing and second-leading scorer, has been diagnosed with a torn left Achilles tendon, according to the team. During the third quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Pacers, Gay drove out of the right corner and, untouched, fell to the floor hard. He had to be helped off the court by teammates.
Team doctors made the initial torn Achilles diagnosis, which will need to be confirmed by an MRI scheduled for Thursday. He would be out not only for this season but likely the start of the next one as well.
Without Gay, a lot more will fall on Matt Barnes and, once he returns from his calf injury in a couple of weeks, Omri Casspi. Those two are a drop off from what Gay brought to the Kings, and with that team’s playoff chances have taken a hit (they are 1.5 games out of the eight seed after Wednesday’s loss to the Pacers). Don’t be surprised if the Kings look to add a scorer at the trade deadline.
Gay was not happy in Sacramento and said he planned to opt out of the $14.3 million final year of his contract to be a free agent next summer, which made him someone potentially traded before the deadline (although the Kings being in the playoff hunt impacted that). Gay averaged 18.7 points and 6.4 rebounds a game for the Kings, and while his game was a little old school — more isolation and midrange shots than teams prefer — he put up points. Enough that he was drawing trade interest heading toward the deadline from Oklahoma City and other squads.
That is all off the table now. At age 30, if Gay does still opt out of his contract for next season this will impact what he would make on the free market.
Kevin Durant playing the Thunder invites extra emotions.
Russell Westbrook felt them – in the form of a flagrant foul by Warriors center Zaza Pachulia, who stood over Westbrook for emphasis.
Pachulia is really embracing his role doing the dirty work for star-studded Golden State.
That rumor No. 1 pick Ben Simmons won’t play this season?
It just won’t die.
Even after Simmons tried to quash it, even after the 76ers’ CEO outright denied it, even after Simmons returned to practice, even in an otherwise optimistic report.
Chris Haynes of ESPN:
76ers rookie forward Ben Simmons could make his much-anticipated NBA debut shortly after the All-Star break, league sources told ESPN.
Barring a setback in his recovery, sources say the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft has a chance to take the hardwood near March. There still remains the possibility Simmons sits the entire season, sources said, but his situation will continue to be thoroughly evaluated throughout his comeback quest.
76ers coach Brett Brown said there’s “no chance” Simmons plays in Philadelphia’s nationally televised game against the Rockets next week. Other than that, there isn’t much clarity.
It mostly sounds as if Simmons is still too far from returning to say something definitive.
The Hornets did so much right in their 107-85 win over the Trail Blazers, even a bad pass went through the hoop.
Roy Hibbert reacted fantastically to blunder/basket (blasket?).