Author: Kurt Helin

New Orleans Pelicans v Sacramento Kings

Jrue Holiday returns to Pelicans’ lineup Friday, on minutes restriction


The last time we saw Jrue Holiday on the court it was Jan. 12. Back then, he was key to the Pelicans’ backcourt averaging 15.2 points and 7.1 assists a game, plus he was shooting 36.7 percent from three. Even more than that, he’s a quality defender that the Pelicans need on the perimeter.

However, a “stress reaction” in his right leg sidelined him for more than three months.

Friday night Holiday will be back albeit in a limited role. Coach Monty Williams said this at shootaround, as reported on the Pelicans’ official site.

“He won’t be playing more than 15 minutes a game for the rest of the season,” Williams said. “Unless he feels better and we feel like he’s not in harm’s way – then we’ll increase it. But I doubt that he’ll get to his normal minute allotment. Jrue’s a guy who can play 35 to 40 minutes a night, but he won’t get to that.”


Holiday likely takes minutes away from Toney Douglass and Norris Cole. That’s an upgrade.

In Holiday’s absence the Pelicans have transformed — Tyreke Evans is the guy with the ball in his hands more — but they have battled back and are currently the eighth seed in the West. They are tied with Oklahoma City, but the Pelicans have the tie breaker.

Holiday returns against Phoenix, a team with a quality backcourt where his defense could be useful. The Pelicans need wins to stay in the playoff mix.

Blake Griffin says he’d give MVP to James Harden

Donatas Motiejunas, Blake Griffin, James Harden

My sense among media members is that Stephen Curry is going to win the MVP award. It’s close, but talking to people I think that’s where the majority of votes would go.

My sense is that players are leaning toward James Harden. Blake Griffin is the latest in the list of players to back the Rockets’ star, with the theory that he had to do more to carry the Rockets to a top playoff seed. Hat tip to the LA Times for the video.

Which will make it interesting when the players vote for their own awards at the end of the season. There probably aren’t going to be radical differences, but who ends up on top of the MVP ballot may be one of them.

Trail Blazers’ Arron Afflalo out 1-2 weeks with shoulder strain

New Orleans Pelicans v Portland Trail Blazers
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It didn’t look like much when it happened; it was just Portland’s Arron Afflalo fighting for post position with Golden State’s Stephen Curry. But it ended up being fairly serious.

Afflalo left the game at the time with shoulder/triceps pain, and today’s MRI did not bring great news.

That means Afflalo’s regular season is done. However I’d expect to see him back when the playoffs start in just more than a week (April 18). Guys play through pain when the postseason starts. That said, this likely doesn’t impact the Trail Blazers much in playoff positioning, they are pretty locked into the four seed (as winners of the Northwest Division they can fall no lower) but will not have home court in the first round.

Afflalo has been starting with in place of the injured Wes Matthews. With him out expect C.J. McCollum to start and get a lot of run, with Allen Crabbe and Alonzo Gee getting some run.

Stephen Curry says James Harden “might have been a little aggressive” with MVP comments. Really?

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors

This is the time of year everyone seems to be campaigning for the MVP Award. LeBron James would vote for himself. Kevin Love would vote for Russell Westbrook. Mark Jackson would vote for James Harden.

James Harden would vote for himself, as well.

Somehow Harden saying that rubbed Curry the wrong way, reports Monte Poole

Informed of Harden’s comments after leading the Warriors to a 116-105 win over the Blazers, Curry merely shrugged as he strolled toward the trainer’s room.

“Ahh . . . that might have been a little aggressive,” the point guard told CSN Bay Area.


First off, on the Dan Patrick Show Curry admitted he would vote for himself if he could (Curry said if he couldn’t vote for himself he’d vote for LeBron). How is that different than Harden?

And if that’s not over the top, what about the PR staff for the Warriors personally calling all 177 media members with award votes to campaign for Curry? (Only 125 have MVP votes, broken out by region.) That’s happening according to the report. Is that not aggressive?

Everyone is campaigning for their guy, Curry and the Warriors are no exception. Own up to it.

John Wall to rest Friday night, nice break for Brooklyn

Philadelphia 76ers V Washington Wizards
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The Brooklyn Nets could really use a win Friday night — they are currently tied with Boston for the 7/8 seeds in the East, just one game ahead of Indiana and a game-and-a-half over Miami.

The Nets are catching a break Friday night — Washington without John Wall. This will be his second game missed in a row.

Washington could use a win too — they are currently the five seed, just a game back of four seed Toronto and home-court in the first round — but Wall chose to rest himself looking at the big picture, reports J. Michael of

“I’m just resting tonight,” Wall said. “I’m just getting extra shots up and just trying to keep my rhythm and shape doing extra running.

“Just give me time to let my body heal, my ankles heal, my (right) knee heal and see these guys come out with a lot of confidence and build their confidence, build their rhythm these last couple of games.”

Wall has been playing through minor injuries much of the second half of the season. This is about him trying to be healthy and right come the playoffs, which is what he should be doing this time of the season. Whether his coach loves it or not.

The Wizards won the last game without Wall, but that was against the lowly Sixers. Wall being out is a break for the Nets as Wall is the focal point of the Washington offense and without him they can struggle to score. Ramon Sessions will get the start for Wall.

What this means for the Nets is more room for Deron Williams to operate. Although, what has driven the Nets recent run is the play of Brook Lopez, the two-time Eastern Conference player of the week.

Nene went through shootaround for the Wizards and is expected to play. He and Marcin Gortat have their work cut out for them containing Lopez and his versatile offensive game.