Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns

Report: P.J. Tucker arrested for DUI, registers .222 blood-alcohol content


After a breakout season, P.J. Tucker signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns.

It seemed like a feel-good story for a second-round pick who spent five seasons playing overseas before breaking into Phoenix’s lineup.

But Tucker loses a lot of goodwill with this report.

Paul Coro of azcentral:

Tucker’s blood alcohol content registered at .201 on a preliminary breath test in the field on May 10, according to Scottsdale police. A driver is considered legally drunk for a DUI charge in Arizona at .08 blood-alcohol content. A blood test administered after Tucker was taken to jail and later analyzed by Arizona DPS showed his blood alcohol-content to be .222, according to the police report. A super extreme DUI is .20 or more.

A Scottsdale police officer reported spotting Tucker, 29, driving his 2011 Mercedes-Benz slowly through a stop sign at North Buckboard Trail and East Camelback Road, near a popular downtown Scottsdale nightlife area. According to the report, the vehicle ran that stop sign northbound at about 12:30 a.m., turned wide left into the right lane on westbound Camelback and turned wide again while straddling two lanes on northbound Scottsdale Road before the officer pulled the vehicle over.

Tucker had “thick and slurred” speech and “watery and bloodshot” eyes, according to the report, and the officer detected a “powerful” alcohol odor as he interviewed Tucker. Tucker told the officer that he was coming from the W Scottsdale Hotel, where he had one beer. During a walk-and-turn test, Tucker stumbled to the side and caught himself on a construction fence, the report stated.

The Suns were aware of the charges before signing Tucker to his deal.

In no way do I condone anyone driving over a .08, but I can see someone teetering over that line and driving without realizing they’re intoxicated. That doesn’t excuse the transgression, but it changes the severity. Drivers should be responsible for ensuring they’re not drunk, but there’s a difference between accidentally falling over the line and showing absolutely no regard for it.

A .222 is inexcusable. If that reading is accurate, it shows Tucker deliberately put everyone in his path at risk.

He must answer for this, and he will in court. The Suns should also explain why they re-signed Tucker while they – and not the public – knew about this incident.

They weren’t necessarily wrong for rewarding Tucker with a large contract regardless. But they should explain their reasoning.

Gallinari ready to take big role in new Nuggets offense

Danilo Gallinari, Jimmy Butler
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DENVER (AP) — Danilo Gallinari wants everyone to know this: His surgically repaired left knee, the one that took three procedures to fix and nearly two seasons to fully trust, no longer bothers him.

The Denver Nuggets forward doesn’t need to be on any sort of minutes restriction. He doesn’t need days off during the season. And he certainly doesn’t need to be coddled.

He’s Gallo again, the hard-to-guard Italian playmaker who can knock down the 3-pointer just as easily as drive to the hoop or even post up. He believes he will fit in quite nicely into new coach Michael Malone’s system.

“The thing I’m focused on is trying to get (this team) back to the same level that the Nuggets were when I got to Denver, when we were going to the playoffs easy. When we were clinching a playoff one or two weeks before the season was over,” said Gallinari, who was acquired in the 2011 blockbuster deal that sent Carmelo Anthony to the New York Knicks. “We need to get back to that level.”

Almost seems so long ago, given that the Nuggets have missed the playoffs two straight seasons after consistently making it for nearly a decade.

Gallinari returned last season for the first time since blowing out his knee in a game on April 4, 2013. His minutes were closely monitored early in the season. He never really got completely on track until late last season, when he averaged 20.5 points over the final 10 contests, including a career-high 47 against Dallas. He’s hoping to carry that kind of confidence this season.

“I’m good to go. I was good to go as soon as the beginning of last year,” Gallinari said. “I was not on the same page with the coach that we had.”

That would be Brian Shaw, who was fired last March after 1 1/2 seasons in charge and going 56-85. Exactly why he wasn’t on the same page with Shaw, well, Gallinari preferred the past remain the past.

“I’m ready to play the new season,” he said. “We need to win games, and get back to the same level we were before.”

Gallinari thinks the Nuggets have the personnel to do just that, especially with a rookie point guard in Emmanuel Mudiay and Gallinari’s knee feeling better than it has in a while. He feels like he has some ground to make up, too, since he said that knee robbed him of some of his prime.

“Playing my best basketball right before I got injured,” the 27-year old said. “Now, we’re back to the same level, hopefully better.

“My knee has been feeling great. It felt great last year. Feeling great during the summer. Feeling great now. I just feel good.”

He spent the summer playing for the Italian team at the EuroBasket tournament, where he averaged nearly 18 points a game. In those games, Gallinari saw quite a bit of time at the four spot on the floor, forcing teams to either use a bulkier big man to cover him and risk getting burned on a drive or a smaller player that Gallinari could simply shoot over.

Malone plans to employ a similar type approach, something they discussed over gelato when the coach visited Gallinari in Italy soon after he was hired.

“He’s 6-foot-10. He can handle the ball. He can play pick-and-roll. He can stretch the floor and shoot the 3,” Malone said. “There’s not a lot he can’t do offensively.”

Gallinari wants the responsibility of being the go-to player for the Nuggets this season, especially at crunch time.

“I’ve always been trying to do that, since I came to Denver,” Gallinari said. “That’s what I like to do. I feel good filling those shoes.

“I want to have the ball in my hands. I do want to have the ball in my hands a lot more.”

Knicks’ Rookie Jerian Grant gets up, throws it down (VIDEO)

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The Knicks did well trading for Jerian Grant on date night — he’s going to be able to walk in this year and play quality minutes off the bench.

And, he can get up and throw it down.

Carmelo Anthony had 18 points to lead the Knicks to a 94-88 win over the Sixers.