Kurt Helin

NBA players take to twitter sending thoughts, prayers to Paris

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Seeing the images and hearing the news out of Paris — terrorist attacks that have killed innocent people in one of the world’s great cities — has left all of us sickened, saddened, and feeling sympathy for the victims and their families. It’s senseless.

A number of NBA teams had a moment of silence before the game to honor the victims in France.

The NBA has 10 French players in the league, and some of them took to Twitter — as did non-French players — to express their thoughts and sympathy with the people of Paris. What follows is just a sampling of that outpouring.

Kobe Bryant to return to Lakers’ lineup Friday vs. Dallas

Kobe Bryant

Kobe’s back. Thanks to his back.

Kobe Bryant had sat out the last two Lakers games on this road trip — in Miami and Orlando — due to back issues, but he will return to the Lakers’ lineup on Friday night in Dallas, the team announced.

Bryant has averaged 29.2 minutes a game to start the season; we will see if Byron Scott lowers that number after he missed a couple of games.

Through six games Bryant has looked, well, like a 37-year-old coming off multiple major surgeries. He is scoring 16.5 points per game to lead the team, but is shooting just 32 percent overall and 20 percent from three. The stagnant, old-school Lakers offense isn’t helping any as defenders can load up on him, but Bryant can’t create the separation nor hit the contested shot the way he once could.


Bruised hip will keep Anthony Davis out vs. Raptors Friday

Anthony Davis
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In the last five full games he played, Anthony Davis had averaged 26.6 points on 52.9 percent shooting. After a rough start to the season, he was getting back to his old self, the one that many thought could be MVP worthy.

However, on Friday night he will miss his second straight game due to a bruised hip, coach Alvin Gentry has announced. The Pelicans are in Toronto to take on the Raptors (who will get DeMarre Carroll back from his injury).

This isn’t a surprise, he missed the last game and was listed as questionable for this one. Gentry had said before the team would err on the side of caution with bringing their franchise big man back from injury.

Kendrick Perkins (pectoral injury) is out as well for New Orleans up front, so expect to see a lot of Ryan Anderson and Omer Asik.

The Pelicans are 1-7 this season, tied with the Lakers for last in the Western Conference. It’s going to be very difficult to climb out of that hole and reach the playoffs.

Watch high school freshman Karl-Anthony Towns interview Kevin Durant

2015 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot
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There is a generation of players coming up who view Kevin Durant as their idol. Which shouldn’t be a surprise.

Maybe what’s surprising is they are already here — Karl-Anthony Towns is one. The NBA rookie — averaging 16.1 points and 10.5 rebounds a game, with a true shooting percentage of 54.3 percent and a PER of 20.9 through eight games — is a massive Durant fan.

You can see it from this interview when Towns was a high school freshman in New Jersey who got to interview KD for a segment on MSG Varsity, a website trying to teach youth about journalism.

The crew at NBA on TNT found the video.

Notice that even at that age, Towns is almost looking Durant in the eye.

Grizzlies unveil tight ABA-inspired throwback jerseys

Grizzlies throwbacks

From 1970-75, there were the Memphis Sounds of the ABA (they were called the Tams before that and the Pros before that).

It was the first professional basketball team in Memphis — long before the Grizzlies moved from Vancouver and kept the regionally inappropriate name — this ABA team played and represented the city.

For five games this season — starting next Monday against the Thunder — the Grizzlies will wear some tight, ABA-inspired throwback jerseys (and of course, there will be plenty of gear for fans to buy).

From the official press release:

This season, the Grizzlies are celebrating basketball’s rich legacy in Memphis and the Mid-South through the Hardwood Classics Nights at FedExForum. On five home dates this season, the team will wear throwback Memphis Sounds uniforms in recognition of the ABA (American Basketball Association) team that once called Memphis home from 1974-75.

Hardwood Classics at FedExForum will feature groovy entertainment programming and unique “old school” giveaways including Monday’s Memphis Sounds Pennant giveaway (to the first 5,000 fans in attendance) and Memphis Sounds Tacky Holiday T’s and Memphis Sounds Car Air Fresheners on future Hardwood Classics nights.

These may be the best throwbacks a team has done. Love them.

I’m not sure jerseys are going to help turn around the slow start of a team that has lost four straight and has the worst offense in the NBA this young season. But at this point, maybe a little uniform luck can’t hurt.

Now, if they’d just play with the old red, white, and blue ABA ball, that would be perfect.