Kurt Helin

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J.R. Smith ate chicken with some Cavs’ fans

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In the world of odd NBA promotions, this is going to slide into the Top 10.

The Cavaliers worked with a local chicken-themed restaurant on a promotion — people threw rubber chickens at a bulls-eye at midcourt, and if you hit it you got to eat chicken wings with J.R. Smith. (Cleveland is a very different nightlife than Manhattan, J.R.)

One guy nailed it. Here’s his story.

Report: Rockets’ Patrick Beverley has torn ligament in wrist, to decide course in 7-10 days

Phoenix Suns v Houston Rockets
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This close to the playoffs — with just a dozen games and three weeks until the postseason tips off — the Rockets are going to take their time before making a move that will end a player’s season.

Such is the case with Houston’s starting point guard Patrick Beverley, who has been battling a wrist injury that has turned out to be a torn ligament, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

Houston Rockets starting guard Patrick Beverley suffered a torn ligament in his left wrist, and further evaluation in seven to 10 days will determine if season-ending surgery could be necessary, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Beverley is going to see a couple more specialists before a decision is made. The Rockets are going to explore all other options before settling on season-ending surgery.

Beverley’s pesky defense is important to a team about to get Dwight Howard back on the court and are looking to shore up that end of the floor before the postseason.

In the short term, Jason Terry will start at the point guard spot (the team is 6-0 when he has started this season).

The bigger news is the return of Dwight Howard to the court for Houston. But the loss of Beverley is something that could come back to bite Houston in the postseason — in a Western Conference loaded with quality point guards Beverley’s defense will be sorely missed. If the playoffs started today, the Rockets would draw Tony Parker and the Spurs. That could shift, and they might draw the Los Angeles Clippers and Chris Paul, or Portland and Damian Lillard. Jason Terry just is not the same for Houston.

But we will not know what is going to happen with Beverley for at least a week.

Joel Embiid working out, improving, targeting Summer League return

Indiana Pacers v Philadelphia 76ers
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The Sixers aren’t winning a lot, but Brett Brown is starting to build something (at least until GM Sam Hinkie makes another trade). Philadelphia has become a solid defensive team — with Nerlens Noel at its heart — plus there are guys like Robert Covington, who could be part of the future. But they still lack a franchise player.

That could be where Joel Embiid comes in.

The young center could be a cornerstone part of that future. However, he’s missed this entire season recovering from surgery to his right foot. Recently he has been going through hard workouts with the coaching staff, often before games. It looks like we will see if that work has paid off come July at Summer League. That’s what coach Brown told Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com.

“You see him drenched in sweat and shirtless. They are all fantastic signs that his needle is clearly pointing in the right direction,” Brown said. “We are trying to set the stage for a great summer. He sees his reward being the summer league and trying to get ready for playing basketball again. He is headed in the right direction.”

 

Embiid starred with the soon-to-be Rookie of the Year Andrew Wiggins at Kansas, and he was considered the better long-term prospect by some scouts. He fell a little due to the foot injury, but the potential is still there.

Hopefully, we’ll get to see that at Summer League.

DeMarcus Cousins with nifty pocket pass to Derrick Williams for slam (VIDEO)

DeMarcus Cousins
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DeMarcus Cousins in beast mode Tuesday against Philadelphia — 33 points, four blocks and four steals. He had a fantastic defensive game as well.

Oh, and there were three assists as well, one of which led to the best pass of the night. Cousins has become adept at passing out of the double team and here he makes a nifty pocket pass to Derrick Williams for the slam.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Tuesday: Warriors win Pacific Division, may win much more

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers
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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while finding Jesus in a landslide scar

1) Golden State has won the Pacific Division for the first time since 1976. They could win a whole lot more. As deep and as landmine filled as the Western Conference playoffs will be, the Golden State Warriors are the favorites. They have the most efficient offense in the NBA (109.6 points scored per 100 possessions) and the most efficient defense in the league (97.5 per 100 allowed) — the last team to have both in a season was the 72-win Jordan era Bulls. Tuesday night the Warriors pulled away in the second half to beat Portland and clinch Golden State’s first Pacific Division title since 1976. It happened because Stephen Curry had 33 points (on 22 shots) and a couple times went into his video game mode. It happened because Draymond Green — my pick for Defensive Player of the Year — had 14 points, 11 rebounds, and eight assists in 37 minutes. It happened because the Warriors shot 60.2 percent as a team. It happened because LaMarcus Aldridge is out with a sore hand. It happened because Golden State had 37 assists on 50 made shots. It happened because the Warriors are the best team in the NBA this season. Bar none.

2) Monta Ellis found his shot again, it makes Dallas a much tougher out. When Monta Ellis gets going Dallas is almost impossible to stop. You still have to pay attention to Dirk Nowitzki and Chandler Parsons, and something has to give. Ellis has been up and down in recent games, but he was on Tuesday night, and the Spurs paid the price. Ellis had 38 points — 23 in the second half — and was doing it by getting to the rim and knocking down his midrange shots. Consider Dallas beating San Antonio your daily reminder that the Western Conference playoffs will be amazing. Well, amazing for us fans, I don’t envy the coaches.

3) Khris Middleton is a thing, hits game winner to beat Miami. This summer Khris Middleton is going to be a good litmus test for how closely you follow the NBA. Middleton is a restricted free agent who is going to get PAID. Like max or close to it paid. He’s the darling of a lot of front offices and every team could use a guy like him. The Bucks likely match, but he will be making bank next year. Your friends who don’t follow the NBA will say “who?” and you’ll try to explain how he’s a fantastic “3 and D” player, he’s a guy who just a huge plus for your team on the court (the advanced stats love him), and he can evolve into much more. Or, you can just show them this shot to beat the Heat.

4) Toronto’s defense is a mess (and they would seriously miss Kyle Lowry). Toronto Raptors fans are awesome — they took over the Palace at Auburn Hills and turned Detroit’s court into a Raptors’ home game. Right now, that is the only thing that is awesome about Toronto. Their defense is a disaster — they allowed Detroit to score at a 119.3 points per 100 possessions pace Tuesday (in a Detroit win). For the month of March, the Raptors are allowing 110.5 points per 100, the worst in the NBA. Their offense has bailed them out a few times, but now they could be without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry for a while. He played just 11 minutes due to back spasms and hinted he is going to miss a little time to let it heal before the playoffs.

5) Just your weekly reminder DeMarcus Cousins is a beast. Philadelphia is a pretty good defensive team this season (it’s the other end of the court that’s the real issue) but they had no answer for DeMarcus Cousins in beast mode Tuesday. Cousins had 33 points (on 8-of-27 shooting), plus four blocks and four steals. He is just so strong he can do whatever he wants down low, and if you bring the double he’ll beat you with the pass. (And this video below doesn’t even get into his strong defense on the night.)