London Calling: Knicks have no trouble with Pistons

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This is what the Knicks needed — a little vacation, a little rest, a chance to catch their breath and get a little healthy in the middle of the season.

Oh, and throw in an easy win.

The Knicks went to London technically as the road team but they made themselves at home against the Pistons and cruised to a 102-87 win over the Pistons in the O2 Arena in London.

Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler remain undefeated in London — they helped lead Team USA to gold in the Summer Olympics there.

New York just seemed more comfortable on the big stage at the start. After giving up a couple free throws at the start of the game the Knicks rattled off 16 straight points and were up 16-2 before half of London found it’s seat. Anthony was off to fast start with 18 first half points, Stoudemire had 12, and J.R. Smith added 10.

The Knicks shot 50 percent for the first half, the Pistons shot 42.9 percent. The only Piston looking really good in the first half was Andre Drummond with nine points, five rebounds and two blocks.

Maybe the best part of this game for the Knicks was the return of Iman Shumpert, who at the start of the third quarter nailed a three, then had a steal that became a fast-break dunk, and that seemed to cement the Knicks win.

Detroit made a run at one point in the second half against the Knicks bench, but you just had a feeling when the starters got back this game would be done. And then Knicks did get some good bench play from Amare Stoudemire, who had 17 points.

Will Bynum had a good game for the Pistons, 22 points off the bench for him. Kyle Singler added 15.

It wasn’t a perfect game for New York — 16 turnovers, 44 points allowed in the paint — but they looked a little fresher, a little healthier and they took care of business against a lesser opponent. They are now 25-13 on the season and have a few more days off. That’s a good mid-season vacation.

Report: Knicks’ Joakim Noah to be suspended 20 games for violating league drug policy

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Joakim Noah hasn’t set foot on an NBA court since Feb. 4, and his season was all but ended when he had knee surgery at the end of February. Last summer, Phil Jackson took a $72 million gamble on an aging Noah that has not worked at all, and left New York with an anchor of a contract for three more seasons after this one.

Tomorrow it will be official Noah is done for this season, but not because of the Knicks or his injury.

During his recovery, Noah violated the NBA’s drug policy and will pay for a 20-game suspension, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

Noah tested positive for an over-the-counter supplement that is prohibited under the outgoing Collective Bargaining Agreement, league sources said.

Noah, 32, is expected to serve 10 games of the suspension to finish out the 2016-17 regular season and 10 games to start the 2017-18 season, league sources said.

The National Basketball Players Association’s investigation concluded that Noah hadn’t “knowingly or willingly” violated the policy and cooperated fully with the league’s probe, league sources said.

According to reports, this is not a substance banned in the new CBA that kicks in July 1, but was covered in the previous CBA. Over-the-counter supplements could be something put in his regular workout recovery drinks that he was unaware of, although we are unsure of the details.

Traditionally, the player has to be healthy enough to play before the league starts the suspension. Noah has been out for more than a month, but if a league doctor says he is healthy enough to play the then the clock on the suspension can start. The 10 games this season is no big deal for the Knicks, he wasn’t going to play anyway, but the 10 at the start of next season could sting (depending on how they plan to use him).

 

 

Devin Booker drops 70 points for Suns in loss to Celtics (VIDEO)

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Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker is just 20 years old. He’s a League Pass favorite, and indeed he should be a favorite in Phoenix for years to come. On Friday, Booker dropped 70 points — yes, 70 — in a loss to the Boston Celtics.

Booker’s 70 points is the best outing of the season. It also made him the youngest player to ever reach 70 points.

His final stat line, as you might imagine, was ridiculous. Booker shot 21-of-40 from the field, going 4-of-11 on 3-pointers and a whopping 24-of-26 from the free-throw line. The Suns phenom also grabbed eight rebounds to go with six assists.

Despite the loss to Boston, 130-120, it’s still an incredible milestone for Phoenix and for Booker. There’s a bright spot out there for the Suns.

Magic’s Aaron Gordon skies to finish amazing alley-oop (VIDEO)

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Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.

As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.

Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.

Former Hawk Pero Antic’s celebration accidentally punches teammate in face in Eruoleague (VIDEO)

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Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.

Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.

Maybe a little too pumped.

Ouch.

That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.

Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.

(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)