Hornets coach says Eric Gordon could return Saturday

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Finally, the Hornets could get Eric Gordon back on the court.

The two guard expected to be part of the future of the franchise along with No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis (notice how Austin Rivers is not in that conversation anymore) has missed the entire season due to pain in his knee. But Gordon has been back practicing with the team and coach Monty Williams told the Times-Picayune Gordon could play this weekend.

“If I had to guess it would be Saturday against Charlotte,’’ Williams said before Wednesday night’s game against the Orlando Magic. “A lot of that is me, and we want to make sure that we bring him back when he’s in a lot better shape. He’s spent so much time rehabbing and getting his quad stronger, but we have to make sure he’s in a good place before he comes back.’’

Gordon has been out all of this season rehabbing his knee injury, one that caused him to miss all but 10 games of last season as well. Since coming to New Orleans as the key piece in the trade that sent Chris Paul out Gordon has done little on the court — but he did sign a max offer sheet with Phoenix while saying that was where his heart really was.

He’s got a lot of work to do to repair his relationship with the New Orleans fans — fans don’t care much for the business side of sports and why Gordon said what he did. How he does that is go out, play hard and play well. He was seen as a key part of the Clippers future, the best young two guard in the game before his injury. He needs to play like that again.

If he does, New Orleans has a bright future. We will see what happens… starting Saturday. Maybe.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.