Author: Brett Pollakoff

Milwaukee Bucks v Brooklyn Nets

Nets say Thaddeus Young has a left knee strain, out Friday vs. Cavaliers

Leave a comment

Midway through the third quarter of the Nets’ win over the Hornets on Wednesday, Thaddeus Young collided with Gerald Henderson, and did not return after going down with what appeared to be a knee injury.

An MRI revealed a left knee strain, and the team announced that Young would miss Friday’s home contest against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Brooklyn would have been hard-pressed to beat LeBron James and company even with Young in the lineup, but missing key rotation players at any point the rest of the way could bury the team’s slim hopes of sneaking into the postseason.

The Nets are part of a crowded group of four teams all vying for the eighth and final playoff spot in the East, and currently trail by a half-game, with both the Pacers and the Celtics ahead of them in the standings.

Young has averaged 13.6 points and 5.1 rebounds in 18 appearances since coming to the Nets via trade in the middle of the season.

Clippers, Hornets to play two 2015 preseason games in China

2014 Global Games - Brooklyn Nets v Sacramento Kings

As the NBA continues to work on expanding its global reach, the league has announced it will play two 2015 preseason games in China, and will be bringing the game to Shenzhen for the very first time.

From the official release:

The Clippers and Hornets will play the NBA’s first game ever in Shenzhen when they meet on Oct. 11 at the Shenzhen Universiade Center, followed by a rematch in Shanghai on Oct. 14 at the Mercedes-Benz Arena.  The games in China will be part of NBA Global Games 2015, with additional games announced at a later date.

The announcement took place today in Shenzhen with NBA China CEO David Shoemaker and Deputy Director of Shenzhen Municipal Bureau of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ke Gangming.  Eight-time NBA All-Star and NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo also participated in the announcement and hosted a basketball clinic for fans. …

The NBA in 2004 became the first American professional sports league to compete in China, with two exhibition games between the Houston Rockets and the Sacramento Kings in Shanghai and Beijing.  Following NBA Global Games China 2015, the NBA will have played 20 games in Greater China since 2004.  The NBA is the most popular sports league in China, and basketball is the nation’s number one team sport, with 300 million people playing the game.

The Nets and Kings played preseason games in China this year, and the league held two regular season games outside the country, as well — one in London between the Bucks and the Knicks, and one in Mexico City between the Timberwolves and the Rockets.

Andrew Bogut: Stephen Curry is the MVP, and ‘I don’t think it’s close’

Andrew Bogut, Stephen Curry

If you ask the teammates of legitimate MVP candidates who they think should win the award this season, they’re of course going to pick the guy on their own roster.

Well, usually.

In any case, Andrew Bogut did exactly that recently, and when talking up the merits of Stephen Curry, also said that in his eyes, the race wasn’t even close.

From Diamond Leung of Bay Area News Group:

… coinciding with Houston’s James Harden putting up huge numbers has been some discussion about why Curry might not win. One reason revolves around his usage, as he averages just under 33 minutes per game. Only previous award winners Bill Walton (33.3) and Steve Nash (34.3) come close to that figure.

Warriors center Andrew Bogut put it another way as far as the minutes being an indicator of why Curry should be MVP rather than something that should be held against the point guard.

“He only needs to play 25, 30 minutes, and we’re winning games by 15, 20 points,” Bogut said Tuesday after Curry scored 33 points and dished out 10 assists in a win at Portland. “If he had to play 45 minutes for us, I’m sure he’d be averaging greater numbers, so in a way, it’s kind of flawed. He’s the MVP in my opinion. We’re the best team in the league. We have the best record in the league. I don’t think it’s close in my opinion.”

Curry has been sensational this season, and there’s no argument to be made that he hasn’t been the most fun to watch. And, as the best player on what’s essentially been the league’s top team all season long, he may very well come away with the award once the year is finished.

But Bogut is wrong that the race isn’t close; in fact, it’s the closest it’s been in years.

James Harden’s case is perhaps even stronger than Curry’s, because he’s absolutely carried the Rockets in Dwight Howard’s absence. Harden has put up more 40-point games than anyone else this season, and has made more free throws (606) than any single player has even attempted; Russell Westbrook is the current leader in attempts (behind Harden) with 539.

And speaking of Westbrook, he’s single-handedly dragging the Thunder to the playoffs, while racking up an insane amount of triple-doubles — even if some are more dubious than others.

There’s also Anthony Davis to consider, and (oh yeah) some guy named LeBron James.

To me, it’s a two-man race between Harden and Curry. My hypothetical vote would go to Harden, but it would be difficult to find reasons to be upset if Curry ends up with it, just as Bogut expects.

Steve Nash says he’s open to helping recruit free agents to Lakers

Steve Nash

There is a certain segment of the Lakers fan base that will always hold a grudge against Steve Nash.

L.A. traded away four draft picks in order to get him, and health concerns prevented Nash from ever coming close to living up to the three-year, $28 million deal that he signed.

But on Nash’s end, he knows he did everything possible to try to come back from the multiple injuries he sustained.

Speaking at his retirement press conference on Tuesday, Nash had nothing but positive things to say about his time in Los Angeles, and is open to helping the Lakers franchise in any way he can moving forward — which includes participating in free agent pitches.

From Mark Medina and Mark Whicker of the LA Daily News:

Nash still left relishing his Lakers experience because of the front office and training staff providing endless support. So much that Nash said he would help with any free-agent pitches this offseason.

“Who knows what the future holds, but I’d love to see the franchise come back in full form,” Nash said at a press conference on Tuesday at the Lakers’ practice facility in El Segundo. “I’m definitely open to helping out.”

It’s unlikely that words from Nash would by themselves be enough to sway the opinions of any significant free agent players; things like market size, current roster construction and the ability to win immediately are all more important factors than a former player’s endorsement.

But should he be a part of an overall recruiting pitch that convinces a star-level talent to sign in Los Angeles, those fans that are unhappy with how things played out may begin to show signs of forgiveness.

Heat’s Hassan Whiteside needed 10 stitches to close cut in his hand, may miss some time

New York Knicks v Miami Heat

When Hassan Whiteside has had his head right this season, he’s been a productive addition to the Miami Heat on both ends of the floor.

But it’s his hand at the moment that’s the main cause for concern.

From Ohm Youngmisuk of

Whiteside needed 10 stitches to his right hand after suffering a gash between the middle and ring fingers on his hand. He sliced his hand hitting the rim and had to leave the game with 5:41 remaining in the second quarter of the Heat’s 89-88 loss to Milwaukee at the Bradley Center.

Whiteside had his hand heavily bandaged and also said he got multiple shots to numb the pain in his hand. His availability for the Heat’s game at Boston on Wednesday seems doubtful.

“I don’t know if I am going to be able to play tomorrow,” Whiteside said. “We are going to see how it feels, day to day.”

“I can’t feel my hand right now,” Whiteside added. “I’ll know tomorrow morning it will be throbbing and I will feel the pain a lot more.”

Miami has lost two straight, and nothing’s guaranteed in terms of a playoff spot for them in the East.

The Heat are currently in seventh, but are only up on the next four teams by a total of two and a half games. Boston is one of them, so if Whiteside can’t go, or is forced to miss an extended period of time, things could get difficult for Miami pretty quickly, with only 12 games left in the regular season.

Whiteside is averaging 11 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocked shots in 22.6 minutes per game this season.

MORE: CSNNE subscriber? Watch Heat-Celtics Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. ET