Kurt Helin

Jarrett Jack leaves game with knee injury, “Worst pain I’ve ever felt”

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Non-contact injuries are the scariest.

That’s what Brooklyn’s Jarrett Jack suffered Saturday. He was on a 2-on-1 fast break in the third quarter in Boston, got the ball, and you can see his right knee just kind of buckled, his left foot kind of slips and he goes to the ground in pain. He did not return to the game, and the Nets officially called it a sprain, but there will be more examinations Sunday when we will find out the full extent of the injury.

Jack posted on Instagram and thanked his fans — and sounded concerned.

George Karl draws a technical, DeMarcus Cousins daps his approval (VIDEO)

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You may find this hard to believe, but DeMarcus Cousins was not happy with the officiating against the Phoenix Suns Saturday.

Kings’ coach George Karl wasn’t happy either — he was barking at the official much of the game and at one point drew a technical for something he said while still sitting down. He didn’t get up.

But Cousins approved, he went over and gave Karl a dap (hat tip Eye on Basketball for the video).

Karl wasn’t done barking, he probably should have picked up another “T” later, but the referees went easy on him.

They didn’t go easy on the Suns’ Tyson Chandler, who did get ejected for arguing a call.

Jared Sullinger with flagrant foul on Brook Lopez, scuffle breaks out

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Boston’s Jared Sullinger earned the flagrant foul on this one. That takedown of Brooklyn’s Brook Lopez was worthy of a WWE undercard, and if you do that in an NBA game you get a flagrant foul.

That is followed the usual NBA “fight”/tough guy posturing — Jarrett Jack comes in to say something to Sullinger, Jae Crowder defends Sully, and pretty soon it’s about Jack and Crowder for no reason in particular. Jack and Crowder each got a technical foul for trying to make it about them. From where I sit, the refs got all that right.

The Nets upset the Celtics 100-97, behind 30 points and 13 boards from Lopez.

Nuggets’ Jusuf Nurkic, Kings’ Willie Cauley-Stein likely return Saturday

Sacramento Kings center Willie Cauley-Stein drives to the basket between Minnesota Timberwolves' Damjan Rudez, of Croatia, left, and Gorgui Dieng, of Senegal, right, during the second half of an NBA basketball game on Friday, Nov. 27, 2015, in Sacramento, Calif. The Timberwolves won 101-91. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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While the NBA world is watching the Bay Area to see if Stephen Curry will make his return (it seems likely, however Steve Kerr will not return yet), a couple of other returns to the NBA could happen on Saturday worth noting.

In Sacramento, it appears rookie Willie Cauley-Stein is ready to return from the severe finger dislocation he suffered earlier this season (as CSN Kings insider James Ham told us in the PBT Podcast, it wasn’t a break but a dislocation so severe it broke the skin).

The Kings’ defense improves when Cauley-Stein is on the floor, 2.3 points per 100 possessions (he still misses a lot of reads, but his athleticism covers some mistakes), but that does not make up for the 8.1 points per 100 the offense drops when he is on the floor. Cauley-Stein can only score at the rim, every team helps off him on the other Kings’ shooters, and he isn’t comfortable in the offense and often just seems more in the way than anything. Getting him back is good for his needed development, but it’s not a huge “here come the wins now” kind of boost for the Kings.

The bigger boost may be in Denver, where Jusuf Nurkic is back. That word comes straight from the man himself.

Last season Nurkic contributed more than expected as a rookie, particularly with physical play around the rim. The Nuggets were 3.4 points per 100 better last season when he was on the court than sitting (and he got a lot of run after the Timofey Mozgov trade). He is a beast of a player inside, but he has to learn to pick his spots defensively (his aggression led to seemingly constant foul trouble). He can defend the pick-and-roll fairly well for big man, which the Nuggets can use.

Denver needs to get Nurkic and rookie Emmanuel Mudiay working together. These two can be two parts of the Nuggets future, and they need to start letting them develop pick-and-roll chemistry and see how they fit together.

Kobe Bryant’s advice to Celtics’ Isaiah Thomas: “Be a lion”

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Even after Kobe Bryant walks away from the game at the end of this season, it’s easy to picture him as the guru on the mountaintop that many future players seek out for advice. Sort of like Hakeem Olajuwon has become for anyone wanting to work on post moves.

That has started out already, and not just with the young players on the Lakers.

Boston’s dynamic guard Isaiah Thomas wanted just to meet and talk with Kobe for a minute before the Lakers took on the Celtics this week, but as Thomas told the Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach, it became much more than that.

Thomas hoped to simply say hello and perhaps have him sign a jersey.

“But he came and sat down and talked, just me and him, for like 20 minutes,” Thomas said Friday. “It was probably the best talk I’ve ever had….

“He told me this story about how a lion seeks food, whatever he’s gonna kill and eat,” Thomas said. “And you know how many bugs are on the lion’s eyes and gnats on his body? He’s so locked in on that zebra that he doesn’t get distracted by anything else. He said if you get distracted by little things, then you’re not as locked in as you think you are. He said for me to be a lion, and that’s gonna stick with me the rest of my life.”

Thomas has some lion in him already, or a 5’9″ guy drafted 60th wouldn’t have become a 20 point a game scorer in the NBA. Also, that lion story is about the most Kobe story there can be — the hunter ignoring distractions to focus solely on his prey.

Thomas had 24 points on 7-of-13 shooting in the game, but Kobe had the strong fourth quarter and sunk the dagger into the Celtics one last time in the Lakers 112-104 win.