Kurt Helin

Kevin Durant forced out for game vs. Wizards with hyperextended knee, MRI coming

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This is scary for the Golden State Warriors. Hopefully, it’s not as bad as it looks.

Just one minute into their game against the Wizards in Washington Tuesday night, Marcin Gortat threw Zaza Pachulia to the floor and out of his way to get a rebound — and Pachulia fell into the left knee of Kevin Durant.

Durant instantly limped off the court and went straight to the locker room. He is done for the night with an MRI coming soon, the Warriors announced.

The injury looked bad and people around Durant reportedly expect the MRI to show real damage.

There were a lot of Durant fans in the building as he grew up in the Washington D.C. area.

Obviously, this is a potentially huge blow to what has been the best team in the NBA this season. He is averaging 25.8 points per game on 53.8 percent shooting overall and 37.8 percent from three — this has been one of his most efficient seasons ever. Plus, he’s providing rim protection to the tune of 1.7 blocks per game (a career high). He’s a guy mentioned as getting MVP votes (down the ballot, after Westbrook and Harden) because of how well he has fit in and played with the Warriors.

MRI shows Bucks’ Michael Beasley with hyperextended knee, out at least three games

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This is fantastic news because it looked much, much worse when it happened.

The Bucks announced Tuesday at an MRI on the left knee of Michael Beasley shows a hyperextension and that he will be out at least three games (he will be re-evaluated at that time).

Again, considering how nasty it looked this comes as good news.

Beasley has always been able to score the rock, and he has been solid off the bench in a sixth man role for the Bucks this season, averaging 9.7 points a game with a and with a PER of 17.6 (above the league average).

Reports: Brandon Jennings to sign with Wizards once he clears waivers

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The Wizards need better depth at the point guard spot. When they got Trey Burke from Utah they thought they’d have it, but his score-first mentality doesn’t mesh well with setting up and running an NBA offense. Wizards coaches have been frustrated the way Jazz coaches were the past couple seasons. Washington has been looking for a better option.

They think they found one in Brandon Jennings, who was waived by the Knicks and is expected to sign with the Wizards once he clears waivers, according to multiple reports (Chris Haynes of ESPN was first in my timeline to make it official).

That player is expected to be Burke, who is in the final season of his rookie deal.

Jennings had a rough season with the Knicks as a backup to Derrick Rose. While the Knicks played faster and the ball moved better with Jennings on the court compared to Rose, Jennings shooting held the offense back — Jennings is shooting just 38 percent from the field and 34.0 percent from three. He was not happy with his role on a losing team and the two sides had little trouble reaching a buyout and waiver for Jennings.

While he is no perfect fit for the Wizards, he’s an upgrade at the backup point guard spot at a time the Wizards need it — they have not won since the All-Star break and have slid back behind Toronto in the standings to the four seed. The Celtics, Raptors, and Wizards are trying to avoid the four seed because the Hawks would not be an easy first round series, and the reward for winning it is Cleveland in the second round.

Report: Thunder to sign Norris Cole as backup point guard for rest of season

Associated Press
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Can you name Oklahoma City’s backup point guard behind Russell Westbrook?

Semaj Christon.

If you knew the answer, you probably went to Xavier for college. He’s a rookie on a minimum contract, a guy who has played more than 600 minutes this season for the Thunder with a PER of 5.4, a player way below replacement level in the league — not a guy the Thunder want to lean on down the stretch and into the playoffs. So they have reached a deal with NBA veteran Norris Cole, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

After creating roster space in a trade that included Cameron Payne, the Oklahoma City Thunder and free agent Norris Cole have agreed to a contract for the remainder of the season, league sources told The Vertical.

You probably remember Cole as a reserve guard with the Heat during that team’s title runs with LeBron James and company. He was with the Pelicans for a couple of years, but they chose not to offer him a contract last summer (and when you consider their guard situation, that is saying something). So Cole started the season playing in China, but returned to the United States in December following an injury.

Cole will be an upgrade at the point off the bench for the Thunder, although not a dramatic one. The Thunder will still go as Russell Westbrook goes, they just may not be quite as bad when he sits.

Pelicans searching for right plan with DeMarcus Cousins in fold

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) — As Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins hoisted up extra shots near one another after practice, Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry stood in a far corner of the club’s practice gym, trying to explain why New Orleans hasn’t won in three games since the All-Star big men became teammates.

“We have to become more consistent, and the only way you can become more consistent, I think, is that you’ve got to consistently have the same people out there so that you’re learning the ins and outs of a system and learning the ins and outs of each other,” Gentry said Monday.

“I do feel good about the progress we’ve made the last three games, and I think we’re just going to continue to get better,” Gentry added. “Unfortunately for us, we’ve got to do it on the fly. That’s really tough to do in some situations.”

The trade that brought in Cousins last week sent three guards – Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway – to the Kings. New Orleans then added two free agent guards – Hollis Thompson and Jarrett Jack – to the regular rotation in the past week.

“We’ve just got to stay with it,” Pelicans forward Solomon Hill said. “Minutes change for people, and we have new roles that we have to learn.”

That seems to be the case for everyone but Davis and Cousins. Davis has averaged 35.3 points and 10 rebounds in the past three games. Cousins has averaged 23.3 points and 13 rebounds despite being limited to less than 30 minutes per game by foul trouble. During a loss at Oklahoma City on Sunday night, Cousins had 31 points and 10 rebounds in only 21 minutes before fouling out.

However, Gentry has noticed instances when Davis and Cousins may be trying too hard to defer to one another.

“They are producing in the team concept, but unfortunately right now, after three games, they’re much better when one or the other one is off the court,” Gentry said. “We have to find a way to make that work when both of them are on the court.”

That might not be an issue on Wednesday night, when Cousins is expected to serve a one-game suspension for receiving his 18th technical foul this season Sunday night in Oklahoma City. He’ll only play if the league rescinds that technical on appeal from the club.

Cousins’ arrival also seems to have affected point guard Jrue Holiday‘s game in unexpected ways. Holiday averaged 21.4 points and eight assists in the 10 games before the trade. Since, he has averaged 10 points, six assists and 5.3 turnovers.

Davis said part of Holiday’s problem is that “he’s looking to be a pass-first point guard.”

“We don’t need him to come out and try to be a guy who’s getting 15 assists. That’s not who he is,” Davis said. “He’s a great scorer and a great defender. … When you’ve got two guys that you want to give them the ball as much as possible, you just overthink a lot.”

Holiday said he appreciates the advice but added that it’s hard to ignore the temptation to pass to Davis or Cousins when “they’re so dominant in the paint.”

“We’re trying to figure something out that’s new to us and trying to get as good at it as possible as quick as we can,” Holiday said.

The Pelicans often don’t practice the day after ending a road trip, but Gentry decided to bring them in on Monday and instead give them off on Tuesday, which is Mardi Gras, a state holiday in Louisiana. Davis and Cousins were invited to ride in the historic Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club parade – the same one in which Louis Armstrong rode in 1949.

Gentry thought it was important to encourage participation in Mardi Gras, suggesting that those who’ve never experienced it in person don’t have “any idea of the magnitude of what it means to the city and what it means to the people.”

Perhaps the chance to celebrate Mardi Gras like a local will inspire the Pelicans to make Lent, which starts Wednesday, more festive than usual for area basketball fans.