Andre Drummond remains out, but did go through full practice

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UPDATE 3:01 pm: Just to make me look bad, Andre Drummond went through a full practice on Thursday, tweets Keith Langlois of He described Drummond as “upbeat.”

There is officially still no timetable for his return. Everyone will want to wait a day and see how his back and body respond to the workout. But it sounds like his return is close.

10:37 am: When Andre Drummond went out with a back injury, the Pistons became far less interesting to watch. He averaged 7.4 points and 7.5 rebounds a game, but he was efficient — shooting 59.2 percent with a PER of 22.3.

Without him the Pistons are just not very good — they are 5-19 since he sat down, they have lost nine in a row, and since Drummond went down Detroit is bottom six in the league in both offensive and defensive efficiency (points per 100 possessions). In their last 20 games the Pistons are a -12.5 points per 100 possessions, second worst in the NBA in that time.

The one hope is that Drummond — who was looking like a dark horse candidate who could make a run at Damian Lillard’s Rookie of the Year trophy — would come back this season and make things a little more interesting, forming a good young front line next to Greg Monroe.

But Drummond is still out with no timetable and when speaking with the Detroit Free Press he doesn’t sound all that confident he will be back this season at all.

“Oh, of course,” he said, when asked about wanting to return this season. “I don’t want to sit out, but if it has to come to that, then that’s what it has to come to.

“We’re just going day by day really. (Trainer Arnie Kander) tells me every day I’m closer and closer, so I just go from what he tells me and continue to follow his instructions.”

Rightfully, the Pistons don’t want to pressure his return (although when I saw him do a pregame workout a couple weeks ago he seemed to move pretty well). And with the season lost more Ping-Pong balls in the lottery is not a bad thing. But when Drummond and Monroe are next to each other and healthy (with Brandon Knight in the back court), you can see some hope for the future. Which is why the last 19 games have been so hard to watch, that hope is in a suit on the sidelines.

Dwight Howard posts just second 30-30 game in last 36 years

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Dwight Howard never played for the Nets. He almost got traded to Brooklyn by the Magic, but the deal never happened.

Which puts a dent in Dennis Schroder‘s theory Howard gets up for games against only his former teams.

Howard dominated Brooklyn for 32 points and 30 rebounds in the Hornets’ 111-105 win tonight. That’s just the second 30-30 game in the last 36 years, Kevin Love notching the other in 2010.

All 30-30 games since Wilt Chamberlain, who had a ton:

  • Dwight Howard (Charlotte Hornets, 3/21/2018): 32 points, 30 rebounds
  • Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves, 11/12/2010): 31 points, 31 rebounds
  • Moses Malone (Houston Rockets, 2/11/1982): 38 points, 32 rebounds
  • Swen Nater (Milwaukee Bucks, 12/19/1976): 30 points, 33 rebounds
  • Elvin Hayes (Capital Bullets, 11/17/1973): 43 points, 32 rebounds

Howard helped Charlotte erase a 23-point second-half deficit and a 10-point deficit with four minutes left. The Hornets are playing out a lost season, and Brooklyn has looked overmatched most of the year, particularly at center. But no matter the situation, Howard says he still feels super-sized expectations.

Tonight, he exceeded them by leaps and bounds.

Giannis Antetokounmpo leaves Bucks’ loss to Clippers with ankle injury (video)

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The Bucks lost, 127-120, to the Clippers tonight.

More importantly, Milwaukee lost Antetokounmpo to an ankle injury.

He limped off in the second quarter and didn’t return. The Bucks called it a sprain.

Any more time Antetokounmpo misses would be a huge loss. Hopefully, he recovers quickly.

No matter how many other good players – Khris Middleton, Eric Bledsoe – Milwaukee has put on the floor, the team has struggled without its star. Antetokounmpo is a commanding force offensively who just does so much, and his defense impresses.

The Bucks (37-34) are eighth in the East. They’re safely in playoff position, five games ahead of the ninth-place Pistons. But this hurts Milwaukee’s chances of avoiding a first-round matchup with the excellent Raptors – though the way Toronto has regressed in the playoffs in previous years, that might not be so bad. Still, the Bucks should probably chase the seventh-place Heat, who are up 1.5 games on Milwaukee, and a likely first-round matchup with the injury-ravaged Celtics.

Obviously, a healthy Antetokounmpo would be central to that pursuit.

Cavaliers beat Raptors, become first team in 27 years to surrender 79 first-half points and win


The Cavaliers haven’t been good enough throughout the season, especially defensively. The Raptors have – offensively, defensively, starters, bench. Hope has grown in Toronto of winning the Eastern Conference after getting eliminated by Cleveland the last two years.

But LeBron James and Cavs showed why it’s hard to pick any other team – even the first-place Raptors – to win the East in a 132-129 win over Toronto tonight.

Cleveland allowed 79 first-half points and fell behind by 15. But a LeBron-led offense was just too potent. This was the first time since 1990 (Nuggets over Spurs after trailing 90-83) a team surrendered so many first-half points then still won.

LeBron finished with 35 points, 17 assists and no turnovers. No forward has ever dished so many assists without a turnover in Basketball-Reference’s database, which dates back to 1963-64.

And LeBron led the Cavaliers to this win despite Tristan Thompson, Rodney Hood, Larry Nance Jr., Kyle Korver and Cedi Osman being out.

It’s only one game, and it was in Cleveland. But even with home-court advantage in a potential playoff series, the Raptors must grapple with even more lingering doubt now about their ability to beat the Cavs.

Report: Becky Hammon staying with Spurs, not coaching Colorado State men’s team

AP Photo/Darren Abate

Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon was a candidate to coach the men’s team at Colorado State, her alma mater. That would have made her the first woman to coach a Division I men’s team.

Alas, it won’t happen.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports:

It’s unclear whether Hammon was ever actually offered the job.

She’s still on the right track for a head-coaching job somewhere. Most importantly, by all accounts, she’s doing good work in San Antonio. There’s also more attention on her career because of her pioneering status, and that will appeal to some teams.

This dalliance with Colorado State raises her profile even further and shows just how close she is.