The race for the 8-seed in the Eastern Conference might be won by whichever team can simply stay healthy. Boston has obviously suffered big blows, but Philadelphia is right there with them. Already missing Thaddeus Young for three weeks because of a hamstring strain and Andrew Bynum for who knows how long, the Sixers received even more bad injury news today on guard Jason Richardson:
Philadelphia has actually played pretty well since Richardson last played in a game, going 4-3 during that period. Still, even with Richardson’s struggles shooting the ball, the Sixers just need capable bodies on the floor given their injury and depth issues. Richardson was averaging 10.5 points a game this year on 40 percent shooting from the field and 34 percent from 3-point land — both near career-lows — but you’d like to think he would have turned it around with more time in a new system.
At 32-years-old with a lot of recorded miles, we’ve probably seen the last of the high flying guard that was one of the league’s most underrated dunkers in his prime. Richardson had evolved his game to become a deadly spot-up shooter over the years, but with his shot abandoning him this year and his athleticism falling off, he struggled to contribute much in 33 starts for the Sixers this season.
Getting surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee is a tough break for Richardson, but it’s hard to think it’s the end of the line. Richardson has played in a variety of different systems, and he’s shown he can adapt his game for what his body is capable of doing. Here’s to a healthy recovery from knee surgery and hopefully, a few more big time dunks from Richardson in the future.
The Spurs beat the Mavericks by 26 points on Friday night, a game all of the Dallas players would love to forget. But there was a funny moment for rookie big man Salah Mejri: after a dunk, he appeared to yell something at the San Antonio bench. Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan were completely nonplussed.
For what it’s worth, Mejri later tweeted that he wasn’t intending to be disrespectful.
Hassan Whiteside recorded a triple-double last night against the Hornets, and his tenth block was particularly impressive. He didn’t so much block Marvin Williams‘ layup attempt as pluck it out of the air with one hand. It almost looks like it should count as a block, rebound and steal at the same time.
The NBA world has taken notice of the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. In Thursday night’s home game against the Knicks on TNT, Pistons players wore warmup shirts that read “FLINT NOW,” and the organization announced a $500,000 donation towards providing clean water for residents of the town.
Former Pistons great and general basketball legend Rasheed Wallace went even further, according to a tweet from his alma mater, the University of North Carolina:
Sheed obviously has a connection to Michigan, having played in Detroit for six years (including on the 2004 title team) and serving as an assistant coach for the Pistons during the 2013-14 season. This was an incredible gesture by him for the residents of a town that has been without drinkable water for a long time.
The Kings are a complete mess right now. After a loss to the Nets on Friday night, the team is reportedly considering firing head coach George Karl, who has been with the team for just about one year, and DeMarcus Cousins says they have “a bigger issue than the players.”
But, on the bright side, Cousins is still a monster on the court. During the Nets loss, he posted a triple-double with 24 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, showing why he’s the one thing about this franchise that is going to be worth talking about long-term.