Joe Johnson, J.R. Smith

Joe Johnson out Sunday for Nets against Suns

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PHOENIX — Joe Johnson will miss Sunday night’s game against the Suns due to soreness in his right quad, Nets head coach P.J. Carlesimo told reporters about 90 minutes before tip-off.

Johnson suffered the contusion in the third quarter of the Nets’ loss to the Clippers on Saturday and finished the game, but the condition apparently worsened overnight.

Keith Bogans will get the start in Johnson’s place.

Johnson has been bothered by a plantar fascia injury to his left heel since just before the All-Star break, and his numbers have been affected. He has largely played through the pain, however, appearing in 10 of his team’s last 14 games.

While the quad injury is a new one, Carlesimo expressed concern due to the way Johnson’s overall play has been affected.

“I’m concerned because he’s come back and he’s not healthy yet,” he said of Johnson playing through injury. “I just think that it’s very similar to what we saw with [Deron Williams]. You saw the difference when Deron came back, and he’s felt the best he’s felt all year. It made a big difference.”

Carlesimo said he simply wants Johnson healthy so he can return to playing at the level the Nets are accustomed to seeing.

“Joe has not said … every time I ask Joe how he feels, he says it’s OK,” Carlesimo said. “Again, he wants to play, which is good, and he doesn’t want to use that as an excuse. I think that if you look at the numbers and you look at what Joe’s done since the injury, it’s not the same Joe. We need to get Joe Johnson back healthy. I think if he’s healthy, then he’ll play the way Joe Johnson plays.”

Johnson is averaging 16.4 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 3.6 assists in 37.2 minutes per game this season.

Is Stephen Curry the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Lionel Messi
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Stephen Curry has reached the transcendent point in his career. We’re now talking about if he has passed LeBron James as the best player on the planet (he has), and we’re starting to think about his legacy as the perfect point guard for a modern NBA small-ball, space-and-pace offense. Plus he’s just a joy to watch play.

Does that make him the Lionel Messi of the NBA?

Curry was asked to compare himself to the Barcelona/Argentinian player who (arguably) is the greatest soccer player in the world, certainly as elite a finisher as that sport has ever seen. Here is his answer, via the Sydney Morning Herald of Australia. Is Curry the bigger international star now?

“I don’t know – it’s a chicken and egg kind of conversation,” Curry said while laughing.

“We both have a creative style, a feel when you are out on the pitch or the court. I’m trying to do some fancy things out there with both hands, making crossover moves and having a certain flair to my game and that’s definitely the style Messi has when he is out there in his matches.”

I love Curry, but Messi is the bigger international star.

But I love the comparison in terms of the must-watch nature of the two stars, the flair in their games, the sense that you have to keep an eye on them at all times because the spectacular could happen any time they touch the ball. When the ball comes to them, everybody leads forward in their chairs. That is the sign of a real superstar.

Jahlil Okafor fights man in Boston (video)

Jahlil Okafor

The 76ers lost a heartbreaker to the Celtics last night, dropping Philadelphia to 0-16.

Jahlil Okafor was apparently in a foul mood after the game.


We’re told everyone got up and fled the scene and no arrests were made.

We’re told the altercation began because one of the men in the other group yelled at Jahlil, “The 76ers suck.”

We spoke with a rep for Jahlil who tells us … Okafor says he was being heckled from the moment he left the club and felt threatened because people swarmed him on the street.


This video obviously doesn’t show everything, but it certainly makes Okafor look like the aggressor.

Okafor will probably face punishment from some combination of the legal system, NBA and 76ers.

Kristaps Porzingis envelops Victor Oladipo’s dunk attempt (video)

Nikola Vucevic, Kristaps Porzingis
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Scott Skiles moved Victor Oladipo to the bench, because the Magic coach wanted to give Oladipo a chance to be more aggressive.

It worked.

Oladipo scored a season-high 24 points in the Magic’s 100-91 win over the Knicks.

But Oladipo’s aggressiveness also produced this fantastic Kristaps Porzingis block: