Solomon Hill’s 30 lead Pelicans past Rockets despite 41, triple-double from James Harden

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Solomon Hill scored a career-high 30 points and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame the absence of All-Star DeMarcus Cousins in a 128-112 upset over the Houston Rockets on Friday night.

Anthony Davis had 24 points and 15 rebounds for New Orleans, which has won three of four. Jrue Holiday added 19 points despite early foul trouble.

James Harden had 41 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists, but that was not enough to prevent Houston’s first loss in four games. Lou Williams added 14 points and Montrezl Harrell 13.

Cousins was sidelined by left knee and rib soreness. New Orleans is now 2-0 without Cousins and 3-7 when he’s played since trading for him Feb. 19.

Pelicans rookie guard Wayne Selden scored 11 points in his third career NBA game.

Although Cousins has been productive both scoring and rebounding since his trade to New Orleans, the Pelicans’ offensive sets appeared more fluid and balanced without him.

New Orleans shot better than 53.3 percent (49 of 92) and led by 23 points early in the fourth quarter.

The Rockets briefly pulled within 11 when Harden’s 11th assist set up Patrick Beverly’s transition layup with 5:27 remaining. But after a Pelicans timeout, Hill hit a 3 to set his personal single-game high. Then E'Twaun Moore set up Davis’ fast-break dunk to quickly push New Orleans’ lead back to 16, and the Rockets never got within single digits down the stretch.

Hill had 14 of his points in the opening period, hitting four of his first five 3-point attempts. He finished 8-of-13 shooting, hitting six of nine shots from 3-point range. Point guard Tim Frazier saw extended early minutes because of Holiday committing two early fouls and responded with 10 points on 4-of-5 shooting in the opening 24 minutes, helping New Orleans build a lead as large as 21 points in the first half.

Houston, meanwhile, shot relatively poorly early, hitting only 36.6 percent of its shots in the first half and finishing at 41.6 percent (37 of 89) for the game, including 13 of 40 from deep.

TIP-INS

Rockets: Eric Gordon had 12 points, but only six through three quarters. … Ryan Anderson missed six of nine shots and finished with eight points. … Houston had won each of the previous two meetings by 22 or more points. … Beverly and Anderson both were assessed technical fouls. Beverly disputed a foul called on him when he appeared to block Frazier’s driving shot. Anderson appeared frustrated when he went to the floor trying to guard Davis’ made layup. From his back, Anderson flipped the dead ball vigorously to official Ken Mauer, drawing his technical.

Pelicans: Coach Alvin Gentry said Cousins was day-to-day and would be re-evaluated on Saturday. Gentry added that while neither of Cousins injuries appears serious, it made sense to hold him out while he was dealing with two injuries at once. … The Pelicans went with their 24th different starting lineup this season, with Selden starting. Still, they have been much better off, injury-wise, than a season ago, when they used 42 starting lineups. … Rookie forward Cheick Diallo was recalled from the Greensboro Swarm of the NBA Development League but did not play.

 

LeBron James reportedly so frustrated with Kyrie Irving he is “tempted to beat his ass”

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Anyone else getting weary of the spin wars between the Kyrie Irving and LeBron James camps?

Irving thinks LeBron and his camp leaked the trade report and are trying to drag his good name through the mud. LeBron  — the man who led the way in teaching other players they should take control of their destiny and where they play — is angry that a player took control of his how destiny and is about to leave him high and dry. Right now both sides are trying to control the story — does Irving really envy Damian Lillard and John Wall‘s roles over his own, or is that spin? —  while fans come up with trade proposals. (No, a Kyrie for Carmelo Anthony trade is not happening.)

About the only thing that is clear is that this relationship is beyond repair. As evidence, we bring you the latest bit of spin, this from Stephen A. Smith’s sources, which are almost certainly are in the LeBron camp.

The full quote was: “If Kyrie Irving was in front of LeBron James right now, LeBron James would be tempted to beat his ass.”

I imagine if they were face-to-face right now it would look like every other NBA “fight” — they would push each other then make sure other guys jumped between them and held them apart so they could jaw but not actually have to throw a punch.

Right now, the fight between them is the sides trying to control the narrative.

No doubt LeBron is frustrated, he is in the legacy building part of his career and the Cavaliers were the consensus best team in the East with a shot at a ring next season. No Kyrie — almost no matter who Cleveland gets back in a trade — means the Cavs take a step back (while the Warriors and every other team in contention got better).  LeBron feels hurt and a little betrayed and is spinning that.

Irving is within his rights to ask out. There are certainly a variety of reasons he wants out, but at the top of the list is he wanted to control his own destiny before LeBron left next summer (probably) and Kyrie was left as the star on a team built to go around LeBron. Not that Cleveland did anything wrong, that is exactly the kind of team the Cavaliers should have built, LeBron will go down as an All-Time top 5 player, and this team brought Cleveland its first ring in 54 years. That doesn’t mean Irving can’t read the writing on the wall and want out.

For now, the drama will not stop between these two — nor will the spinning.

Timberwolves put out “0 for 30” video featuring Dave Chappelle missing a lot of jumpers

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The Minnesota Timberwolves are doing some work on their home arena, the Target Center, and it just so happens they had a special brick layer that got them started in 2013.

That extra helper was none other than comedian Dave Chappelle.

The team released a video on their social media platforms this week featuring Chappelle taking a bunch of jumpers on their floor in 2013. With a shot form somewhere between Shawn Marion and Stephen Curry, Chappelle wasn’t exactly a long range gunner.

Via Twitter:

I mean, it seems a little ridiculous to put up a video of the guy from four years ago hitting bricks and equating that to helping you remodel your home arena, but I feel like Chappelle can probably take it.

Either way, good work by the social team over in Minnesota.

Draymond Green reportedly to face civil lawsuit over 2016 Lansing incident

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Last summer, just before going to camp for the Rio Olympics, Draymond Green got into some kind of altercation with Michigan State University football Jermaine Edmondson. Green allegedly slapped him during this. Green was arrested, but the prosecutors had better things to deal with, so Green’s charges were reduced to a noise violation, where Green had to pay a $500 fine and $60 restitution fee. Because it was a civil infraction, there is no “guilty” or “not guilty” plea entered. And that was the end of it.

Or so we thought.

According to Marc Spears of ESPN, a civil suit is about to stem from this.

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green, facing a civil lawsuit believed to be tied to an incident last July in which he allegedly slapped a former Michigan State football player, is confident things “will be resolved soon.”…

The expectation from Green’s camp is that the lawsuit is in response to a sequence of events last July that culminated in Green allegedly slapping then-Spartan player Jermaine Edmondson. The alleged slap followed a verbal dispute outside an East Lansing bar in the early morning of July 10, 2016, and was preceded by an encounter two nights earlier allegedly involving Edmondson, his girlfriend, Green and two of the NBA star’s associates.

I’m not going to speculate on the validity of the claim, or the motive for the suit, I was not hanging out in a Lansing bar last July and I am not in the plaintiff’s head.

I can say, as someone who spent years as a young reporter covering courts and police, these kinds of cases are tough for the plaintiff to prove his/her case and get paid. While in a civil case the standard to reach drops to “a preponderance of the evidence,” the plaintiff has to prove damages.  The fact prosecutors wanted nothing to do with the case usually is a sign it’s a difficult case to make.

U.S. soldier shares pen pal letters from 2003 with Larry Nance Jr.

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Larry Nance Jr. is now a professional athlete for the Los Angeles Lakers, but back in 2003 Nance was just a 10-year-old kid with a dream of playing in the NBA.

During that time, Nance was apparently a pen pal with a U.S. soldier named Bianca Snow. Snow recently posted old letters from Nance to social media that shows the interaction between the two.

It’s pretty cool to see a moment in time like this.

Via Twitter:

The letters read as follows (transcription via SB Nation):

March 19, 2003

Dear U.S. Soldier,

My name is Larry Nance. I have 1 sister, 1 brother that annoy me all the time. My dad played in the NBA.

Thank you for fighting for us in the war. You must be brave and miss your family.

I hope you get home soon and see your family soon. Good luck.

Sincerely,

Larry Nance

Dear U.S. Soldier is the war almost over? Where is Saddam? How are you? I’m fine. Thank you for writing back. Where are you?

Are you good at basketball? I like the Lakers too they are wining there series with the Timberwolves. Who is your favorite player? Mine is Shaq. Who do you want to get LeBron James? I want the Cavs to get LeBron, that is because my dad played for the Cavs. His number is retired in the Gund Arena.

And again Thank you!!

from,

Larry Nance

Nance saw the post on social media and responded to Snow, inviting her to a future game.

Pretty neat stuff.