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Report: Carmelo Anthony, wife La La have separated, stress of past season a factor

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This is not a happy story, and not entirely a basketball story. The breakup of any marriage, especially when children are involved, is serious, personal, and the parties involved deserve some space to work through it. However, there are basketball overtones, so here we are.

Carmelo Anthony and his wife La La have separated, according to TMZ.

Sources close to the couple tell us the actress and NBA superstar are now living separately. La La moved out of the family home last week and has her own place in NYC now.

We’re told the couple’s had ups and downs in the past, but the current NBA season has been extremely stressful on the marriage for several months. Carmelo’s been plagued by trade talks … with the Knicks looking to move him to another team.

Our sources say the split is still amicable. They were together just this past weekend at their 10-year-old son Kiyan’s basketball game.

Hopefully ‘Melo and La La can work out something that is best for them and everyone involved.

But there are two basketball topics we will note here:

First, the stress of this season — the losing, the trade rumors, Phil Jackson and ‘Melo’s rather public disagreements — undoubtedly led to a toll on Anthony personally. We’ve all had the stress from one aspect of our lives bleed over to another, and that can be something hard for those around us to understand.

Second, part of Anthony’s desire to stay with the Knicks was to be close to his family and wife, who is an actress and performer (which is a good reason to be in New York). Does this change things? Anthony is not going to just waive his no-trade clause so Jackson can trade him to Orlando or Phoenix for a package of picks/young players. However, he might be more open to a deal now not tied to New York. Or, maybe he doesn’t want to be far from his children now. There are no easy answers here, on any level.

For the sake of their family, I hope Anthony and La La can make this work.

Rockets’ Clint Capela on Warriors: ‘I expect to beat them’

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During the 2014-15 season, Rockets star James Harden said the Warriors “ain’t even that good.”

Golden State went on to reach the last three NBA Finals, twice beating Houston in the playoffs, and win two championships.

The Rockets have since re-tooled around Harden, Chris Paul and several quality role players and are in first place. Houston looks like the biggest threat to the Warriors in the Western Conference.

Rockets center Clint Capela on the Warriors, via Dave Schilling of Bleacher Report:

“I expect to beat them,” Capela says.

That’s a fine sentiment. Saying it publicly is another matter. Not even Harden did that a couple years ago. He was recorded during a pregame team huddle.

There’s a fine line between self-fulfilling confidence and providing bulletin-board material to the opponent. There’s already some animosity between the teams stemming from the Stephen Curry-Harden MVP race in 2015, and it has bubbled since. No matter how harmless Capela’s remark might have been intended to be, it’ll be met contentiously in the Bay Area.

PBT Extra Player of the Week: Victor Oladipo

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Oklahoma City traded for Victor Oladipo out of Orlando to be their third scorer, behind Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. It didn’t exactly work out that way, Durant bolted town and when Westbrook went off Oladipo was looking for a place to fit in.

That place turned out to be the Pacers.

Oladipo has been playing like an All-Star this season with Indiana, and last week he was key in snapping Cleveland’s 13 game win streak, then turned around and dropped 47 points on Denver. For the week he averaged 35.7 points a game, shot 45.7 percent from three, plus grabbed 7.7 rebounds per game.

That will get you named the PBT Extra Player of the Week.

Watch Pacers fan boo Paul George during introductions (video)

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Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.

Pacers fans delivered.

They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.

John Wall returns for Wizards-Grizzlies

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.

Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.

The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.

“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”

Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.