Knicks 102, Hornets 80: Carmelo Anthony breaks bad

19 Comments

Carmelo Anthony is on a sort of “basketball diet.” After years of not maximizing his full potential, Anthony has shown great restraint against the temptations of chucking this season, and as a result, he looks the best he ever has. He’s motivated. He has the desire to defend. He’s taking only what he needs and dispersing what’s leftover elsewhere. It’s a healthy, steady diet, and it’s one that has led the Knicks to the league’s best record to start the season. Anthony trending away from his gluttonous appetite for isolation jumpers has been the most notable change in the Knicks this year, and it’s had a positive effect on the rest of their roster.

This diet is working…but.that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t treat yourself every now and then.

Carmelo Anthony is human, and he’s been so good that Knicks fans shouldn’t mind that he reverted back to old Melo tonight, the one who fires up heat checks with 18 seconds on the shot clock. So he had a few spoons of ice cream that turned into a bowl that turned into the whole carton. We’ve all been there, and you know what? It’s okay.

It’s okay because Anthony’s scoring binge (12-for-22, 29 points in 28 minutes) was well deserved. Anthony has been so good that you’re almost glad he rewarded himself for his efforts. Against a Hornets team without Anthony Davis (ankle), Eric Gordon, or a prayer, it’s almost like Anthony decided right from the start that this was his game. Put in the work, reap the benefits. Once those first few shots fell, there was no going back and denying Melo from packing on the points. It was the right opponent at the right time, which gives hope that shot “selection” is really a choice that Anthony can now control. The Hornets put up about as much resistance as the lid on the ice cream carton does, so that helped too, but Anthony got his, got some rest, and got his team another win.

In a 102-80 blowout, the rest of the Knicks displayed a familiar formula of 3-point shooting and ball control. The Knicks knocked down 14 3-pointers on the evening and killed the Hornets with skip passes to open shooters in the corner time and time again. Even with the entire fourth quarter consisting of garbage time, the Knicks remained on pace to set the NBA record for the least amount of turnovers per game over the course of a season, which is incredible given their roster composition and their style of play.

Yes, there is a lot of season left ahead of the Knicks. 73 games is an eternity. But for now, it’s hard to deny that the Knicks are shaping up into something great, even when their star occasionally breaks bad.

Portland’s Jusuf Nurkic undergoes surgery to repair leg, full recovery expected. Eventually.

Associated Press
2 Comments

As expected, Jusuf Nurkic underwent surgery on Tuesday repair the frightening leg injury he suffered on Monday night, a fractured left tibia and fibula that left his leg bending in a way that no leg should ever bend.

The good news is the surgery went as well as could be hoped, according to the team and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Even with a successful surgery, this is going to take a long time to come back from.

As Jeff Stotts of In Street Clothes noted, the only comparable injury like this in the NBA was Paul George‘s frightening leg injury with Team USA. George made a full recovery, but it was eight months before he got back on the court and much longer until he was comfortable enough to be the MVP candidate he is this season.

Nurkic had made a leap this season, averaging a career-high 15.4 points per game this season on 50.7 percent shooting. The advanced stats loved him — his PER of 23.1, true shooting percentage of 57, value over replacement player of 3.5, and other advanced stats are all career bests. He was the anchor in the middle of the Portland defense, using his big body to cut off drives on pick-and-rolls. He was serving as a playmaker on offense: When he’d set a high pick for Damian Lillard, teams would trap the guard, Lillard would pass to Nurkic, and the Bosnian had become a good passer or he just take it in and scores himself

All of that came after Nurkic signed a four-year, $48 million contract extension last summer.

His injury also devastates the Blazers heading into the postseason, where they could have been a tough matchup but have now lost a key piece of their puzzle.

 

Celtics’ Kyrie Irving to rest against Cavaliers, his former team

Maddie Meyer/Getty Images
1 Comment

CLEVELAND (AP) — Kyrie Irving said returning to Cleveland tonight won’t mean anything to him.

He won’t even play.

The Celtics will rest rest the star against his old team, the Cavaliers.

Irving is averaging 23.8 points and the Celtics want to keep him as fresh as possible going into the postseason.

The Celtics have lost four straight and are fifth in the Eastern Conference entering Tuesday night’s game in Cleveland.

Irving played his first six seasons with Cleveland. The six-time All-Star demanded a trade following the 2016-17 season and was dealt to Boston. He hasn’t played in Cleveland since the 2017-18 opener.

Celtics center Al Horford (sore left knee) and forward Jayson Tatum (back contusion) could return Tuesday. Coach Brad Stevens said both were “questionable to probable” at the team’s shootaround.

Kris Humphries retires

Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images
2 Comments

At one point, Kris Humphries was one of the NBA’s most-hated players. Because he married Kim Kardashian, I guess. I’m not sure his critics could articulate precisely why they loathed him.

Now, two years after last playing in the NBA, Humphries is retiring.

He announced his decision in The Players’ Tribune, also elaborating on his relationship with Kardashian:

Look, I should have known what I was getting into. I was definitely naive about how much my life was going to change. But the one thing that really bothers me is whenever people say that my marriage was fake.

There’s definitely a lot about that world that is not entirely real. But our actual relationship was 100% real. When it was clear that it wasn’t working … what can I say? It sucked. It’s never easy to go through the embarrassment of something like that — with your friends, with your family…. But when it plays out so publicly, in front of the world, it’s a whole other level. It was brutal.

I didn’t know how to handle it, because I never thought I was going to be famous in that way. I remember having this moment when I was getting booed so hard in Philly, and I thought to myself, “Why exactly are they booing me, though? Is it just because I’m That Guy from TV? Do they think I was trying to be famous? Is it because they think I disrespected the game of basketball?”

The last one killed me, because all I’ve ever wanted to be known for was basketball.

Humphries’ playing style was built for anonymity. He was a rebounding journeyman who spent 13 seasons with the Jazz, Raptors, Mavericks, Nets, Celtics, Wizards, Suns and Hawks.

But he had a knack for drawing attention.

As a kid, he swam faster than Michael Phelps. As he shifted attention to basketball, he tried to take on Michael Jordan’s persona (as detailed in his essay) and came across like a jerk. Then, he hooked up with Kardashian.

Their 72-day marriage will be the lasting memory of his career. It’s what exposed him to a far wider audience.

Maybe that’s not what he wanted, and he still had a successfully long NBA career. But that’s what he got.

D’Angelo Russell gets ball snatched from his hand in backcourt while not paying attention (video)

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Leave a comment

D'Angelo Russell has had an excellent season. He became a first-time All-Star. He’s a Most Improved Player candidate. He put himself in line to earn a lot of money.

But this wasn’t his finest moment:

CJ Fogler:

The Nets lost to the Trail Blazers, who were boosted this Maurice Harkless steal (but suffered a much bigger loss in Jusuf Nurkic).