Kurt Helin

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay, center, drives the lane for a shot as Charlotte Hornets guard Jeremy Lin, left, and forward Spencer Hawes defend during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Denver. The Nuggets won 95-92. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
Associated Press

Emmanuel Mudiay returns after missing 14 games with ankle injury

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DENVER (AP) — Nuggets rookie point guard Emmanuel Mudiay returns to the court Sunday night against Charlotte after missing 14 games with a sprained right ankle.

Just in time, too, as the Nuggets will be without Jameer Nelson after he strained his left hip flexor in a loss at Memphis on Friday. Denver also will be without forward Kenneth Faried, who’s helping out after the birth of his daughter.

Drafted with the seventh overall pick last summer, Mudiay is averaging 10.7 points and 5.7 assists this season. He hasn’t played since Dec. 11 against Minnesota.

Nuggets coach Michael Malone says Mudiay won’t have his playing time closely monitored, even more so with Nelson sidelined. Mudiay’s backup will be Randy Foye, with Will Barton and Danilo Gallinari possibly handling the ball as well.

Kristaps Porzingis uses length for ridiculous putback jam (VIDEO)


Early in the season, Kristaps Porzingis‘ putback dunks were a thing, but the pace of those slowed down over the course of the season.

He was back at it Sunday. Prozingis timed a Robin Lopez miss and used his ridiculous length to grab it and threw it down.

The Knicks have evolved into one of the most entertaining teams to walk in the league. That was very true of their win over the Bucks Sunday, where Carmelo Anthony had 24, Porzingis 15, and the Knicks got the 100-88 win.

Report: Billy King’s new job with Nets? Help them find new GM.

Billy King
Associated Press

What could go wrong here? Take the guy who made a number of outright terrible trades as GM and have him advise the company on picking his replacement.

But that’s what is happening in Brooklyn (the new leaders in dysfunction around the NBA). Sunday the organization decided to fire coach Lionel Hollins and re-assign GM Billy King, because the organization needs a new direction according to owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

What is King’s new job? Advise on picking his successor, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

After his dismissal as Brooklyn Nets general manager, Billy King’s reassignment is expected to include advising ownership on its search for King’s successor, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The arrangement is unorthodox, especially considering King was pushed out of the job by owner Mikhail Prokhorov.

Unorthodox is one word for it.

It’s going to be hard for anyone who steps into the GM job to turn the Nets around. They have a dearth of talent on the roster (10-27 record this season), and as part of the owner-ordered win-now build up when the Nets opened Barclays Center, they don’t have or control their own first-round pick until 2019. The Nets have the cap space to pay free agents, but what elite player is going to want to go there right now?

Wojnarowski mentions one name that has been cropping up all over the league — John Calipari.

One of the major influences in the search process promises to be Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who has remained an immense ally of Kentucky coach John Calipari since Calipari’s late 1990s tenure as Nets president and coach. Yormark has remained a proponent of making a lucrative offer to bring Calipari back to the Nets in a dual president and coaching role, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Calipari reportedly has some interest in returning to the NBA, and it would take the kind of money and power he would get in Brooklyn to lure him. But again, this franchise is far from being competitive again, it is a complete rebuild, and it’s going to take years even if done right (and Prokhorov has not shown to be the most patient of owners). This is not a job that guys with options are likely to take — and Calipari has options, including staying at Kentucky where he is a legend who built a powerhouse.

However, Billy King can talk to him about it.

Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford help Clippers beat Pelicans 114-111 in OT

Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan pulls his hair during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016, in Los Angeles. The Clippers won 114-111 in overtime. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Associated Press
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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Chris Paul had 25 points and 11 assists, Jamal Crawford added 21 points, and the Los Angeles Clippers extended the NBA’s longest active winning streak to nine games with a 114-111 overtime victory over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday.

Two-time All-Star Anthony Davis, the Pelicans’ leading scorer and rebounder, did not play because of a back contusion. He was hurt when he dove over the first row of seats chasing a loose ball early in the Pelicans’ 91-86 home loss to Indiana on Friday night.

The Pelicans forced overtime when Jrue Holiday made three free throws after he was fouled by Austin Rivers on a 3-point attempt from the top of the key with 1.6 seconds left.

Los Angeles native Holiday scored 12 of his season-high 29 points off the bench in the fourth quarter to help New Orleans erase a 12-point deficit. Tyreke Evans added 26.

Ryan Anderson, making his fourth start of the season in Davis’ power forward spot, had 16 points and 10 rebounds in 42 minutes.

The Pelicans have lost five of their last six, including a 95-89 defeat at home against the Clippers on New Year’s Eve.

Trailing 88-76 early in the fourth, the Pelicans narrowed the gap to 93-89 with a 13-5 run capped by Evans’ fast-break layup with 6:54 to play. Holiday cut it to 98-96 on a 3-pointer with 3:32 remaining, but Dante Cunningham missed a potential go-ahead 3-point shot with 8 seconds on the clock.

Wesley Johnson and Paul hit 3-pointers 1:07 apart in the final 2:22 of overtime to help the Clippers close it out.

The winning streak is the Clippers’ fourth of nine or more games during the past four seasons. They also had a nine-game run last season, an 11-game stretch in 2013-14, and won a franchise-record 17 straight in 2012-13 – going 16-0 in December.

Los Angeles is 8-0 since leading scorer Blake Griffin went down with a partially torn tendon in his left quad. Overall, they are 20-8 when the five-time All-Star has sat out due to injury or suspension – including a 9-6 mark last season.


Pelicans: The Pelicans are 0-4 with Davis out of the lineup. … Last season, New Orleans was 6-8 when Davis didn’t play – including a 108-103 home win against the Clippers in which Anderson and former Clipper Eric Gordon combined for 52 points. … The Pelicans are 2-6 since trading point guard Ish Smith to Philadelphia for a pair of second-round draft picks on Dec. 24. … The Pelicans finished with eight steals, after setting a franchise record against Indiana with 21.

Clippers: The Clippers missed 16 of 34 free throws. … The Clippers have won 14 of the last 19 meetings with New Orleans after losing each of the previous 14. They have beaten the Pelicans at home seven straight times. … Ten of the Clippers’ 25 victories have been decided by margins of five points or fewer. .. The Clippers are 9-4 at home when leading at halftime. They were 25-0 last season.


Report: Nets’ CEO wants to bring John Calipari back as coach, GM

Kentucky head coach John Calipari calls out to his team during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State Saturday, Dec. 19, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
Associated Press

John Calipari was the head coach and the guy with the hammer on personnel decisions with the then New Jersey Nets for three seasons in the late 1990s, and he was 72-112 with that team. And Jerry West fleeced him out of drafting Kobe Bryant. Eventually, Calipari went back to college and has done quite well for himself, returning Kentucky to a powerhouse position in the sport.

As soon as Lionel Hollins was fired as coach and GM Billy King was reassigned from his duties on Sunday, Calipari’s name started coming up again in rumors. With good reason, explains Adrian Wojnarowski over at Yahoo Sports.

One of the major influences in the search process promises to be Nets CEO Brett Yormark, who has remained an immense ally of Kentucky coach John Calipari since Calipari’s late 1990s tenure as Nets president and coach. Yormark has remained a proponent of making a lucrative offer to bring Calipari back to the Nets in a dual president and coaching role, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Calipari returning to the NBA rumors are an annual tradition — just like Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhogs Day, and just about as meaningful. That said, the Nets do have the money and they could give him the power that would make him consider a return to the NBA.

Do they have the situation to get him to return? Probably not. He’s a man with options, and the Nets GM job is set up to be the worst one in the league for the next few seasons. It’s going to take years to rebuild, and owner Mikhail Prokhorov has not shown himself to be the most patient of owners. The Nets don’t have a lot of talent on the roster (10-27 record this season), and what they do have is generally older and not going to get a lot on trades (outside Brook Lopez and rookie Rondae Hollis-Jefferson). If you’re thinking rebuild through the draft remember the Nets don’t have or control their own first-round pick until 2019.

Calipari would be counted on to use his charm and connections — his former players at Kentucky, and other players as well, love him — to lure free agents to Brooklyn. The Nets have the cap space. But elite free agents are going to see the rebuild ahead in Brooklyn, and even the pull of New York and Calipari together will not be enough.

Which is why Calipari will look at his options and stay in Kentucky.

That said, expect the Nets to make a run at Calipari. Well, probably. It’s hard to say who has control or what they are going to do in Brooklyn.