Nets’ Andray Blatche questioned in sexual assault case in Philly

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UPDATE 2:01 p.m.: We have more details about the incident and the player involved was Andray Blatche, something he himself tweeted but has since taken down. Here is what it said, via Howard Beck of the New York Times.

“Im ok and I didn’t do anything jus was n the area when it happened”

In the tweet he confirms what had been suggested in an early report — that he was not being investigated for the sexual assault itself. Nobody has been charged in the case yet, although it is early in the investigation. Two other men reportedly brought in for questioning are not part of the Nets traveling party.

Blatche was considered a head case in Washington that the Wizards wanted to get rid of. The Nets took a chance on him this summer and he has played well for them with 11.1 points and 6.1 rebounds a game, and he is shooting a career best 49.3 percent. He has a PER of 23.2 and is a guy discussed as a potential Most Improved Player candidate this season.

11:19 am: Be careful jumping to conclusions, we don’t have a lot of details yet. We don’t have any names.

What we do know from multiple reports is that a Brooklyn Nets player has been questioned in a sexual assault case at the Four Seasons hotel in Philly, where the team is staying in advance of their game against the Sixers Tuesday night.

Here are the few details we have, via NBCPhiladelphia.com.

Police tell NBC10 that a woman was taken from the Four Seasons Hotel on 18th and the Benjamin Franklin Parkway to a local hospital just before 4 a.m. The woman told police she was raped by someone inside the hotel, according to investigators.

They are questioning a man inside a Four Season’s hotel room regarding the incident. Police also say a Brooklyn Nets player was in the hotel suite at the time of the alleged incident but was not in the bedroom where it may have occurred.

This may not be the player himself but an associate (not that it in any way excuses the player, if this did indeed happen and he knew about it but did not stop it). Other reports have said a player and his “associates” were questioned at a police station (the Special Victim’s Unit office, to be specific). No charges have yet been filed against anyone for the alleged assault on the 21-year-old woman. The Nets released a statement essentially saying they know a player was questioned but nothing more.

We will update this as we get details.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.