Kurt Helin

Elfrid Payton, Toney Douglas

It’s official: Pelicans sign Toney Douglas to help out at point

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It’s now official: Nate Robinson is out and Toney Douglas is in.

As expected, the Pelicans have signed Douglas to step in at the point and help the banged up team. He will make up the point guard rotation along with Jrue Holiday (on a 20 minutes a night limit) and Ish Smith.

The Pelicans had Douglas previously, and while he isn’t a traditional playmaker he can hit some threes, fit in the system and play good defense. All things the Pelicans need right now.

New Orleans was looking depth at the one because both Norris Cole (high ankle sprain) and Tyreke Evans (knee surgery) remain out. The Pelicans have started the season 0-2 and looked bad in the process (including Anthony Davis, who has looked a little lost at times on the court, particularly on defense.

 

LeBron James says he plans to play all 82 regular season games

LeBron James
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Riiiiiight.

One of the goals for David Blatt and the Cavaliers this season is to get their key guys some rest and make sure that the core — specifically LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love — is rested and ready for the postseason. The Cavs will sacrifice regular season games to make this a reality. Their season starts in late April.

But that doesn’t make a good narrative. It’s not how LeBron wants to tell his story. So we get this today, from Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

We all see LeBron lying on the floor because of his back when he’s not in the game, right?

He may plan on it, but my guess is the number ends up being in the lows 70s. He has already said he would take time off if his body needed it — and after a while he will feel that way. I wouldn’t even be shocked to see a couple of weeks off for another anti-inflammatory back injection before the playoffs.

It wouldn’t sound good for the league if coaches and players were honest about the plans for rest during the season. If Gregg Popovich said “I only expect to play Tim Duncan 65 games at most this season” or if Byron Scott said that about Kobe Bryant, it would be a big screw you to the fans who spend good money on tickets to see those players. It’s not a narrative the NBA wants out there.

But it’s the reality. I’d be shocked if LeBron plays a full 82, regardless of his plans. Or even if his minutes stay at 33 or more a game.

NBA unveils new Christmas Day uniforms — they’re fantastic

christmas
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Adidas may be on their way out the door as the NBA’s uniform manufacturer, but they nailed this one.

Check out the special Christmas Day game uniforms for this season, which the league unveiled on Friday. These uniforms use a script to spell out the team names across the front — plus they come with matching Christmas socks from Stance (the league’s official sock maker — they do good work). On the back is a small NBA logo in a red wax-looking seal — a nod to holiday greeting cards.

I’m no fashion critic but I know what I like, and I like these. A lot.Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Spurs 1

Here’s the Christmas game lineup (all times Eastern), which includes a Finals rematch, in case you were curious. Or, just keep scrolling to see more of the uniforms.

12 p.m. New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat (ESPN)

2:30 p.m.  Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder (ABC)

5 p.m. Cleveland Cavaliers at Golden State Warriors (ABC)

8 p.m.  San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets (ESPN)

10:30 p.m.  L.A. Clippers at Los Angeles Lakers (ESPN)

Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Derrick Rose Laydown

Christmas Day Jersey 2015 Group

Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis with steal, spin, breakaway dunk (VIDEO)

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He’s not exactly John Wall fast with the ball, but he got the job done.

Knicks’ rookie Kristaps Porzingis had the steal, spin move, and breakaway dunk all in slow motion against the Hawks on Thursday. It’s about the one Knick highlight out of the night (Porzingis had 10 points on 10 shots).

The speed of Jeff Teague (23 points) and Dennis Schroder (13 points) was too much for the Knicks, who were out of this game the entire second half as the both teams moved to 1-1 on the young season.

Three Takeaways from an NBA Thursday: Blake Griffin is attacking again

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NBA Thursday night was back and Kenny, Charles, Ernie, and Shaq were in midseason form. Oh, and there were three games as well (only one of which was interesting). In case you were out at a concert, here are three things you missed.

1) Blake Griffin is attacking the rim like old times. Last regular season, Blake Griffin seemed to fall in love with his jumper. The best finisher in the game took 32.8 percent of his shots at the rim (0-3 feet) and 37.8 percent on long twos (16 feet out to the arc). He can hit that midrange now (he shot 40.4 percent on those long twos) but he wasn’t attacking the same way. At least until the playoffs. Through a dozen Clipper postseason games, he was arguably the single best player in the playoffs, and 40.1 percent of his shots came at the rim while 21.5 percent were long twos. He was attacking (and playing better defense). He admitted he had held something back during the season to be fresh for the postseason.

It’s just a couple of games into the season, but Griffin isn’t hesitating this season, he’s getting to the rim. Check out his shot chart from dropping 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting on the Mavericks Thursday (he grabbed 10 boards, too).

Griffin shot chart vs. Mavs

Griffin should pick his spots this season, get some rest, make sure that by the playoffs his batteries are fully charged. But he is attacking early, not settling, and he is 25-of-37 shooting (67.6 percent). And the Clippers are 2-0.

2) Steve Ballmer and Mark Cuban were on the kiss cam together. Well played, Clippers staff.

3) Indiana still has a lot to figure out. Entering the fourth quarter Indiana was up two on Memphis, but one thing became very clear in the second half of that quarter — Memphis has an ingrained identity, they know exactly who they are; Indiana is still trying to figure it out. The result was Memphis putting up 39 points in the fourth quarter, Marc Gasol looking like a stud, and the Grizzlies winning 112-103. Paul George put it this way, via the fantastic Candice Buckner of the Indy Star.

“That’s the biggest problem we’re having,” Paul George said, “just the inconsistency of who we’re playing with. Trying so many different groups, we got to establish an identity, and we have yet to do so.”

Indiana looks far more like a work in progress than some thought, but it will be interesting to see what this team looks like come December.

One Pacer that impressed was rookie big man Myles Turner. In 18 minutes off the bench he had a good outing with eight points on 4-of-6 shooting, showed some range, had four rebounds, and most importantly brought a combination of aggressiveness and energy the team needed. Keep playing like that and the rookie will get more run.