Jrue Holiday with Eric Gordon could be one of the more interesting backcourts in the NBA. Throw in an improved Anthony Davis, Tyreke Evans at the three, Ryan Anderson to space the floor and suddenly that is a potentially dangerous team in the Big Easy.
The question is how much Gordon can do? He wasn’t horrible last season scoring 17.3 points a game, but he shot just 40.2 percent overall and 32.4 percent from three, well off his career averages. He wasn’t healthy and it showed. After battling knee issues for more than a season he had his ankle scoped in May.
“Health-wise, I’ve been doing pretty good, been taking it slow but moving around really well,” he said. “As long as I get to the 100 percent point before training camp, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”
When the Pelicans got Gordon he was the centerpiece of what was coming back to them in the Chris Paul deal. But injuries and at times an attitude on the court that made him look like he wanted to be anywhere else has held him back. Now with a good team there, will things be different? Pelican fans hope so.
Gordon sounds like a guy who wants to move forward.
“It’s not like I’ve been playing terrible, I just haven’t been fully effective to where I should be,” he said. “I look forward to that this year.”
If Gordon is back to his pre-injury self, New Orleans is going to be a team to watch this season. They may be anyway.
Grizzlies’ Troy Williams hits falling, stumbling circus shot (VIDEO)
CLEVELAND (AP) Cavaliers starting shooting guard J.R. Smith will miss at least one game – and probably more – with a hyperextended left knee.
The Cavs said an MRI taken on Smith’s knee on Tuesday did not reveal any structural damage, but he will sit out Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks. Smith got hurt in the first quarter of Cleveland’s win in Toronto on Monday night.
While his teammates flew to New York, Smith returned to Cleveland to undergo tests. The team said he is day to day while he receives additional treatment.
Smith’s knee buckled after he dropped a short shot in the lane in a 116-112 win over the Raptors. He had been bothered by soreness in his knee for the past week, and that may have contributed to his slow start this season.
Smith, who did not report to training camp before signing a four-year, $57 million contract before the opener, is averaging just 7.8 points and shooting a career-worst 31 percent from the floor. He’s shooting only 19 percent (8 of 42) in his last six games.
It’s not clear who will take Smith’s spot while he’s out. Cavs coach Tyronn Lue has several options, including veterans Mike Dunleavy and Richard Jefferson. On Monday, Lue gave more playing time to DeAndre Liggins, who scored five points as the Cavs beat the Raptors for the third time this season.
Three things we learned Tuesday: Even John Wall’s 52 can’t get Wizards win
We know you were busy Tuesday night assembling your hipster nativity scene — complete with bacon — so here are the three big takeaways from the night around the NBA.
1) John Wall puts up career-best 52, but that’s not enough to get Wizards win. There is no more disappointing team in the NBA than the Washington Wizards, and Tuesday we saw exactly why. This season the Wizards have gotten good play from Bradley Beal (when healthy he has shot 41.5 percent from three and scored 21.4 points per game), Otto Porter (who has been sneaky good averaging 14.4 points on 53.9 percent shooting, plus 7.9 rebounds a game), and in particular John Wall. But that hasn’t been enough to overcome a poor defense and indifferent bench.
Tuesday night Wall had a career game — 52 points on 18-of-31 shooting, plus eight assists. He was getting into the middle of a good Orlando defense off the pick-and-roll and hitting shots he hasn’t consistently over the course of his career, plus of course getting his buckets in transition. He was fantastic.
It didn’t matter, Washington still lost to the Magic 124-116. Orlando has a bottom five offense, yet the Wizards allowed them 65 points in the first half and 96 points after three — the Magic were getting the shots they wanted, and these are NBA players if you let them do that they will hit those shots. The Wizards were bad defensively the night before against Brooklyn but still won because, well, Brooklyn. Orlando is too good for that. It was all the same problems for Washington, primarily an indifferent defense and a serious lack of depth.
But it’s not just the defense and bench — the issues are deeper than that. Wall’s postgame quote sums up the problem and should depress Wizards fans.
“Not even just defense, just playing hard. Our job is to wake up and just play hard. Before you made it to the NBA or got any college scholarships, you played hard everyday to get to where you wanted to. To still be talking about playing hard, that’s something that you should be able to just do waking up.”
2) Zach Randolph returns and Grizzlies keep on winning. It was great to see Zach Randolph back on the court — he had missed seven games following the death of his mother and the home crowd in Memphis roared their support when he entered the game.
The Grizzlies beat a shorthanded Sixers team (no Joel Embiid, second night of a back-to-back) 96-91, thanks to Marc Gasol’s 26 points and 12 rebounds (the night after his first triple-double of the season). While it may not have been the most impressive outing, the victory gives Memphis a four game winning streak — without Mike Conley. That’s huge. We said when Conley went down for six weeks (give or take) that the Grizzlies needed to find a way to stay afloat in the West playoff race, and the Grizzlies have gone 4-1. Granted, all the teams they beat are below .500, but they are beating the teams in front of them. Things are about to get tough (the next four games are Portland, Golden State, then a home-and-home with Cleveland) but this little streak is helping Memphis keep it’s head above water with it’s point guard out. This team always just seems to find a way.
3) Carmelo Anthony puts up 35, Knicks pick up a solid win. This game was close through the first half, but if you watched it you kept thinking, “the Knicks are going to get on a run and blow this thing open at some point.” New York just missed shots in the first 24 minutes — they started 0-of-11 from three — but the looks were often clean and there was a sense those shots were going to start to fall. They did after halftime, and it was the Knicks bench with Carmelo Anthony that went on an 8-0 run late in the third as the Knicks started to pull away and win comfortably over the Heat, 114-103. Depth was key in this game, Miami’s stars (Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson) played well but the bench was a mess, while the Knicks got strong performances from their reserves, particularly from Kyle O’Quinn.
Mostly, this was one of those nights where when the Knicks needed a bucket, ‘Melo went and got it. He had 35 points on 27 shots, and while it wasn’t terribly efficient and was the kind of game he can give the Knicks some nights to propel them to a win.