Kurt Helin

DES MOINES, IA - JANUARY 23: Jordan McRae #4 of the Delaware 87ers drives along the baseline against the Iowa Energy in an NBA D-League game on January 23, 2016 at the Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines, Iowa.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2016 NBAE (Photo by Jason Bradwell/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Suns sign high-scoring D-League player Jordan McRae

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PHOENIX (AP) — The Phoenix Suns have signed high-scoring NBA Development League player Jordan McRae to a 10-day contract.

McRae set a D-League record by scoring 61 points for the Delaware 87ers in a 130-123 overtime victory over the Canton Charge on Tuesday night. He made 21 of 34 shots and 16 of 18 free throws.

The 6-foot-5 guard is third in the D-League in scoring at 23 points per game. A second-round draft pick by San Antonio in 2014 out of Tennessee, he was traded to Philadelphia on draft night. He played professionally in Australia in 2014-15 before joining Delaware for the final 13 games of that D-League season.

McRae was with the 76ers in the preseason but was waived by the team on Oct. 26.

Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis back in Knicks’ lineup; Calderon out

New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) gets a high five from forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in New York.  The Knicks won 102-94. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)
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NEW YORK (AP) — Carmelo Anthony and Kristaps Porzingis are back in the lineup for the New York Knicks in their game Friday night against Phoenix.

Jose Calderon remains out with a groin injury, so Langston Galloway will start in his place.

Anthony has missed two straight games with a sore left knee, and Porzingis joined him on the sidelines Thursday in a loss at Toronto because of an upper respiratory illness.

Coach Derek Fisher says he doesn’t believe Porzingis is 100 percent and expects the rookie’s energy to be below normal but says he feels well enough to play.

J.J. Redick gets flopping warning for wide-open jumper

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Do You want to know why players still flop? Two reasons. Both evident in this case involving J.J. Redick.

First off, he was the offensive player, and he flopped on a wide-open jumper — and it worked. Kent Bazemore got called for the shooting foul, and he was three feet away. Players flop because officials fall for it. Sometimes you can understand how an official misses a call, if two guys are bumping into each other in real time, it can be difficult to pick out the flop. In this case, it was obvious. But Redick got the call anyway.

Second, there is no real punishment.

The league announced Friday that Redick officially has been warned about flopping for this incident. If he does it again this season, he gets a $5,000 fine. Redick is making $6.9 million this season. So that $5,000 fine is not exactly a deterrent. Certainly not more than the embarrassment of that shot.

Adam Silver: NBA to “take a fresh look at” fan All-Star voting on social media

Commissioner of the NBA Adam Silver speaks to the media ahead of a regular season basketball game between Orlando Magic and Toronto Raptors at the O2 arena in London, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
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Dallas Mavericks’ center Zaza Pachulia came within 14,000 votes of becoming an All-Star starter.

Pachulia is having a renaissance season for him, meaning 10.4 points and 10.7 rebounds a game. He’s one of the reasons Dallas is a surprise playoff team in the West. But he is not an All-Star. He is not a guy who should have gotten more votes than Draymond Green, or DeMarcus Cousins, or Anthony Davis, or Tim Duncan, or Dirk Nowitzki, or Blake Griffin, or… you get the idea. Pachulia got a boost from his native Georgia, received constant plugs from Hayes Grier, plus he got a Wyclef Jean bump.

Pachulia’s case, plus the case of the NHL’s John Scott, has given the NBA pause. Particularly with fan voting in Twitter or social media — on Twitter all someone had to do was retweet an existing vote with #NBAVOTE in the tweet and it counted. So when Justin Bieber sends out a tweet asking fans to retweet for Chris Paul to get a vote, the player will quickly pick up 48,000 votes (which happened this year).

At a Total Health Forum this week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver talked about All-Star voting, as reported by Sam Amick of the USA Today.

“On (fan) balloting, it’s something we’ll continue to look at,” Silver said. ”We love the fact that fans have input into who the All-Stars are. As social media changes the world and is disruptive, it’s been mildly disruptive to our balloting systems as well. I know that’s something we’ll take a fresh look at.”

It’s a tough line to walk. The NBA wants the fans to pick the starters, and they want to make it easy to vote. But they want people to take voting seriously and not vote for joke candidates. (Insert your own Donald Trump joke here.)

Consider it something to watch heading into next season, the NBA may tweak the system (no more just retweeting to get a vote?).

 

After ugly loss to Denver, Wizards conduct players-only meeting

Washington Wizards coach Randy Wittman watches during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets, Thursday, Jan. 28, 2016, in Washington. The Nuggets won 117-113. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
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The Washington Wizards are a team in search of an identity. As J. Michael of CSNMidAtlantic.com and I discussed in the latest PBT Podcast, this was a team that started the season talking small ball (like they did in the playoffs), but the defense has been pedestrian and in recent games they have gone back to more of the big lineup with Nene and Marcin Gortat up front. John Wall has played like a deserving All-Star, but nothing else on the team has worked out as planned, including Bradley Beal staying healthy.

Thursday may have been the season low point, a loss at home to struggling Denver team that was on the second night of a back-to-back. Mike Malone has the Nuggets playing hard, that’s the difference.

After the game, there was a players-only meeting, reports the Washington Post (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

“It’s kind of similar to the past years. We’ve been through the same thing,” Beal said. “It always takes a team meeting or two to figure it out, but we’re at the point now where we know what we need to do. We’re still in a great position to make the playoffs with 40 or however many games we have left. We have a great opportunity to make a run so it’s up to us to be able to put it together and get out here and get some wins.”

Jared Dudley made this assessment.

“For us, let’s be honest … except for this game none of the games have been close. It’s not a positive. But we have to be positive. We’re close to the halfway point but we got to get some wins and we got get some good flow and we got to get back to our style. This team can’t score 80 points. This team is in the 100s. We have to be able to defend the three and stop turning the ball over.”

The Wizards need to figure out who they are. Players-only meetings rarely solve that problem.

The team needs to get back to defending again, it was a top-five defense a season ago that has been middle of the pack this season — and that’s not just because of the small-ball lineups. They tried to streamline and simplify pick-and-roll coverages, but none of it has worked. And without stops, they can’t get out and run to take advantage of Wall’s ridiculous speed.

Maybe this team can get it together and make the postseason (they are only three games out), maybe they can start to play with a sense of urgency every night. In the playoffs, they have pulled upsets in recent seasons.

But teams rarely make that kind of change mid-season. If the Wizards don’t, changes will come this offseason, likely starting with the coaching chair.