Dan Feldman

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson beats buzzer from beyond halfcourt (video)

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The Raptors didn’t need these extra three points in their 122-95 win over the 76ers.

But it’s sure fun to watch Patrick Patterson get them anyway.

Nikola Vucevic not happy to be coming off the bench for Magic

CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 07: Nikola Vucevic #9 of the Orlando Magic looks to pass against the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on November 7, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Bulls defeated the Magic 112-80. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Magic overloaded their frontcourt this season, adding Serge Ibaka, Bismack Biyombo and Jeff Green to a big-man rotation that already included Nikola Vucevic and Aaron Gordon. Nobody knew how Orlando would handle it.

But Vucevic had one request: Himself starting.

The Magic tried for 16 games. But after a 6-10 start, they overhauled their starting lineup:

  • D.J. Augustin for Elfrid Payton at point guard
  • Evan Fournier remaining at shooting guard
  • Gordon for Green at small forward (reversing the lone prior change to the starting lineup)
  • Ibaka remaining at power forward
  • Biyombo for Vucevic at center

The new lineup debuted yesterday against the Bucks, who handed Orlando its fourth straight loss.

Vucevic, via Zach Oliver of Orlando Pinstriped Post:

“I spoke to Frank [Vogel] about it last night, and obviously I wasn’t happy with the decision they made,” said Vucevic. “I didn’t think that there was a reason for me to go to the bench, but it’s coaches decision. All I can do is control what I can control, which is when I’m on the court, play to the best of my ability and help the team win. Stay professional and whatever is going on, I’ll keep giving my best and give them my full effort.”

I don’t blame Vucevic for feeling aggrieved. Vucevic started strong, struggled and then started to pick up his play again – just to get benched. He never asked for this logjam, and it’s making it hard for him to produce. As long as he maintains his focus and works hard, that’s all you can ask.

Magic coach Frank Vogel has little choice but to keep tinkering until he finds a combination that works, and that won’t be a comfortable process given the ill-fitting pieces on the roster. Orlando is 6-11 and has the NBA’s worst offense due to their lack of ball-skilled offensive players and spacing.

Vogel ought to be careful about demoting Payton, though. Benching the front-office favorite contributed to the last coach’s departure. That Payton isn’t getting the job done might matter only so much.

Like Vucevic, Vogel didn’t request this roster. They were just handed it and forced to deal with it.

Tiago Splitter injured while rehabbing previous injury, out at least six weeks

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 18:  Tiago Splitter #11 of the Atlanta Hawks looks on during the third quarter against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on December 18, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Tiago Splitter has missed 63 regular-season games, 10 playoff games and the Olympics since the Hawks traded for him last year.

Overdue to return from a hamstring injury, Splitter hurt himself yet again.

Hawks release:

While rehabbing from off-season hip surgery and related hamstring strain, Atlanta Hawks forward/center Tiago Splitter sustained a grade 2 right calf strain. An MRI performed at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center confirmed the injury.

He will be out a minimum of six weeks and his status will be updated as appropriate.

The Hawks wanted Splitter to provide a bigger presence at center off the bench. That became far less relevant when Atlanta swapped Dwight Howard for Al Horford last summer. Howard provides a better version of that style.

Sure, Splitter would be useful in relief, but the Hawks should be fine without him. After all, they’re 10-7 with the NBA’s best defense and much-improved rebounding this season – all without Splitter, anyway.

Bulls’ Michael Carter-Williams out at least another couple weeks

CHICAGO, IL - OCTOBER 27:  Michael Carter-Williams #7 of the Chicago Bulls handles the ball during a game against the Boston Celtics at the United Center on October 27, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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Bulls guard Michael Carter Williams was expected to miss 3-4 weeks with knee and wrist injuries.

Add a couple more weeks.

Bulls release:

On Wednesday, Nov. 23, Michael Carter-Williams was examined again by a Bulls hand specialist, John Fernandez. The following is a statement from Dr. Fernandez and Bulls Team Physician Dr. Brian Cole.

“Michael still has a significant amount of wrist swelling. A new MRI and CT scan were ordered with findings consistent with a significant wrist sprain as initially diagnosed. The CT scan identified a small “bone chip” consistent with the initial injury mechanism. The course of treatment remains the same, including immobilization and rest until symptoms permit play (4-6 week estimate). His cast will be removed and the wrist will be reassessed by Dr. Fernandez for symptom improvement in two weeks.”

Carter-Williams originally suffered the injury on Oct. 31 at Brooklyn.

The Bulls looked good with Carter-Williams backing up Rajon Rondo in their first few games. But Chicago has more than gotten by since, outscoring opponents by 5.8 points per 100 possessions when Rondo sits. Isaiah Canaan and Jerian Grant have been adequate backups, and Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade provide playmaking from the wing.

Carter-Williams fell into the Bulls’ lap when the Bucks were so desperate for wing help, they traded for Tony Snell. Carter-Williams is essentially a luxury in Chicago, one the Bulls won’t get to fully enjoy just yet.

Jordan Clarkson wears kilt after Lakers win (video)

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The Lakers are a surprising 9-9 after three straight dismal seasons, their latest win coming by 15 over the Hawks yesterday.

Just how high has their swag level gotten?

Jordan Clarkson wears a kilt” high.