Yogi Ferrell leads Mavericks to 108-104 win over Trail Blazers (VIDEO)

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) Yogi Ferrell scored 32 points to help the Dallas Mavericks beat the Portland Trail Blazers 108-104 on Friday night.

Ferrell, who signed a 10-day contract with the Mavericks six days ago, had 22 points at the half – shattering his previous career-high of 17. He’s scored 71 points so far this week.

Dallas built its lead up to 22 points before Portland rallied to within one. Farrell answered with a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left to give the Mavericks a cushion.

Former Blazers guard Wesley Matthews added 27 points for the Mavericks.

CJ McCollum scored 28 points, including buzzer-beaters at the end of the 2nd and 3rd quarters, to lead the Trail Blazers. Evan Turner added 24 points.

After a 4-17 start to the season, the Mavericks are well within striking distance for the eighth seed after winning eight of their last 11 games and four straight.

“It’s great that we’ve put ourselves in a position for these games to be meaningful,” Carlisle said.

Dallas is now two games back of the Denver Nuggets for final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

TIP-INS

Mavericks: Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle is the President of the NBA Coaches Association. Over the past few weeks, NBA coaches have worn bow-ties to honor the passing of their Executive Director Michael Goldberg. Coaches will wear pins to honor Goldberg for the rest of the season. “It will be a remainder of the year-long tribute to a great man. A great advocate for coaches in the NBA,” Carlisle said. “A guy who was part a key part of history, like the NBA-ABA merger in 1976. He’s done so many important groundbreaking things for coaches of the last 37 years that will be felt for decades.”

Blazers: The Blazers are 4-2 since moving Evan Turner and Noah Vonleh into their starting line-up. “The starting line-up has been very effective, especially defensively. That’s a nice bi-product of that,” head coach Terry Stotts said. Portland’s Ed Davis returned to the line-up for the first time since missing six games with a left wrist injury. Davis played 17 minutes.

UP NEXT

Mavericks: At Denver on Monday night.

Trail Blazers: At Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday afternoon.

Report: Knicks not interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis for Kyrie Irving

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With uncertainty around LeBron James‘ future in Cleveland — and good luck finding anyone around the league who thinks he is staying; LeBron’s options are open, but the sense is he has one foot out the door — the Cavaliers are prioritizing getting a young star to rebuild around back in any Kyrie Irving trade.

At the top of the Cavaliers’ wish list: Kristaps Porzingis.

Except the Knicks have no interest in this trade, reports Steven Marcus and Mike Rose of Newsday.

The Knicks don’t appear interested in trading Kristaps Porzingis, including a possible deal for Cavaliers All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, according to a league source…

“[Knicks president] Steve Mills and [Knicks general manager] Scott Perry on the record were very clear that Kristaps was part of the future,’’ the source said in reference to comments made last month by both executives. “In all the discussions since then — there were other rumors before that Cleveland would want Kristaps — and it didn’t seem that [the Knicks] were interested at all in a conversation.’’

Nor should the Knicks give him up — even if they could dump the anchor Joakim Noah contract in the process.

Irving is a sure thing, an elite scorer and All-Star who averaged 25.2 points and 5.8 assists a game last season and shot better than 40 percent from three. Irving, entering his seventh season, can do more to help a team win next season than Porzingis. He can get more buckets.

But Porzingis could be better — and will be better suited to build a contender around — in the future. Entering just his third season and with the triangle gone, and maybe the shadow of Carmelo Anthony, too, Porzingis should become the focal point of the Knicks next season, and we can see what he will do. KP scored 18.1 points and grabbed 7.2 rebounds a game last season, shot 35.7 percent from three, and while still learning he brings more defense than Irving. Porzingis is a 7’3″ “unicorn” — there isn’t another player like him — and for many years he could be the future of the Knicks. He has the work ethic, he’s shown flashes, they just need to give him a real chance.

Also, the Knicks need to work starting this fall to mend the relationship that Phil Jackson tried to poison.

Bottom line, Irving is good, but the Knicks could build a contender around Porzingis if they handle it right. Not sure they can do that around Irving, and he is older. No way you make that trade if you’re the Knicks. That’s obvious… which is one reason Jackson needed to go.

 

Watch the best ball fakes from the past NBA season

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While we grind through the slow part of the NBA offseason — when even Kyrie Irving trade rumors come with “when we get close to the start of training camp” qualifiers — we continue to get our hoops fix from the best highlights of last season.

Like the top 10 ball fakes, as compiled by NBA.com.

You knew Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving would be on the list, but nice appearance and moves by Ricky Rubio and D'Angelo Russell, too.

Kobe, LeBron, other NBA players react to President Trump’s stunning speech

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When President Donald Trump doubled-down on his support of the white supremacists and neo-Nazis who conducted a racist rally in Charlottesville, making a false moral equivalency with protestors of racism, it had television news anchors stunned, drew condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, and left most Americans queasy.

Count NBA players among those disgusted by the president’s comments.

That includes Kobe Bryant and LeBron James.

(Note: As part of that press conference, Trump said he owns one of the largest wineries in the nation right near Charlottesville.)

On Monday and earlier Tuesday — before the president’s latest salvo of stupidity but after the “unite the right” rally to “protect” a statue of a man who fought to keep slavery in place, where violence the protesters courted broke out and left one woman, Heather Heyer, dead — the Bucks’ Jabari Parker took part in an anti-racism rally, and LeBron had said this about Charlotte and moving the country forward.

Chris Paul had this to say before the latest press conference.

Maybe the only good thing to come of all this, you can now own a T-shirt of vintage Team USA Vince Carter dunking over Trump.

Report: Grizzlies about to hire Tayshaun Prince for front office job

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Tayshaun Prince spent 14 years in the NBA as a long, defensive minded wing, one of the early “3&D” guys but one who, in his prime, could be more than that. He won a ring in Detroit in 2004 and was a four-time NBA All-Defense selection.

Now he’s stepping into the front office.

The Grizzlies, one of his former teams, is about to hire him, reports Ronald Tillery of the Memphis Commercial Appeal.

Retired forward Tayshaun Prince will soon be named special assistant to Grizzlies general manager Chris Wallace, according to several NBA sources…

Prince is widely considered a big influence in NBA locker rooms and operated as a calming voice with Grizzlies players.

The Grizzlies believe Prince will bring a unique voice to front office decisions.

Prince came to the Grizzlies in the Rudy Gay trade and made a real impression there — and elsewhere — as a locker room leader and rational voice. He was in the NBA until last season.

This could and should be a good hire for a Grizzlies team transitioning out of the “grit n’ grind” era (albeit slowly, they could still bring Tony Allen back). The best GMs don’t go it alone but get information and perspectives from a lot of sources, and a high IQ former player would be a good one.