PBT’s Monday Night NBA Winners/Losers: LeBron, Hawks have good nights

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Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while finding Jesus on a tortilla

source:  LeBron James. No NBA game is over six minutes in, but this was about as close as it gets as Cleveland opened the game on a 21-0 run. It was another comfortable win for the Cavaliers, although an uneven one (Charlotte did come back). Of course, LeBron was at the center of it all with 27 points (on 19 shots), 13 assists (which were his most impressive plays), seven rebounds, three blocks plus late in the fourth when the Hornets were still hanging around and just close enough he hit a couple of key jumpers to seal the win.

source:  Atlanta Hawks. Their recent winning streak came against a soft schedule, there was only one likely playoff team in the group. We all wanted to see a real quality win. We got that Monday. The Hawks withstood a fourth quarter run by the Bulls to pick up the win, 93-86. Down the stretch the Hawks were making defensive plays and getting key buckets from Al Horford (21 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in a throwback game) and others. That should make Hawks fans happy.

source:  Los Angeles Lakers. That. Was. Ugly. The first half was statistically the worst half of basketball the Lakers have played since they moved to Los Angeles. They shot 16.3 percent, which is 7-of-43 from the floor. They gave up 60 points to a hapless Pacers offense. A Lakers team that had won three in a row clearly ran out of gas for a night.

source:  Khris Middleton. Sure, he called bank. Down 94-93 to Phoenix with just 3.5 seconds left, Bucks’ coach Jason Kidd called a play where Middleton inbounded the ball then came out and took a handoff from the guy with the ball and used him as a screen. It didn’t really work, the defender turned him back, leading to an ugly shot and… it’s all about the results.

source:  Kelly Olynyk. Yes, it still counts if it’s against the Sixers. Olynyk scored a career-high 30 points as the Celtics picked up a win over the Sixers. Actually Philly opened the game on an 11-2 run, but the Celtics turned it around when Olynyk entered the game (he had 14 first quarter points on 5-of-7 shooting). It was an impressive game as Olynyk was hitting threes and getting to the bucket (and finishing with confidence. Boston would like more of that please.

source:  Robin Lopez. It was a fluke play, but the results for Lopez are a real problem — a fractured hand that will keep the Blazers center out for a while. It means more Chris Kaman and less of the Sideshow Bob hair of the Lopez brother. That’s not a win for anybody (save Kaman).

WNBA suspends Riquna Williams 10 games for domestic violence

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NEW YORK (AP) The WNBA has suspended Los Angeles Sparks guard Riquna Williams 10 games for a domestic violence incident.

The WNBA handed down the suspension Tuesday. Williams was arrested on April 29 and charged with two felony counts, one involving the assault of an individual with whom she was in a relationship and the other involving a threat to another person with a firearm. Her criminal case is ongoing.

The league conducted its own investigation and consulted with a panel of experts in the field of domestic violence. Among other factors, the WNBA said it took into account the nature and seriousness of the allegations, including the involvement of a gun.

The WNBA also will require Williams to participate in counseling.

Williams’ suspension will begin with Thursday’s game against the Dallas Wings.

Report: Bulls signing Luke Kornet for guaranteed $4.5M over two years

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Just three 7-footers have averaged 3.5 3-pointers per game and made 35% of them each of the last two seasons:

The Bulls will now have most of them.

Markkanen is Chicago’s top young player. Kornet will join him with the Bulls next season.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

I’m a little surprised Kornet got more than his minimum ($3,383,360 over two years). But it’s worth taking a flier on him.

In addition to his outside shooting, Kornet has shown good timing as a shot-blocker in two seasons with the Knicks. The 24-year-old must get stronger and improve as a rebounder to play major minutes.

But the Bulls won’t have to press him into action. They also have Thaddeus Young, Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr., Daniel Gafford and Cristiano Felicio as bigs.

Pistons claim Christian Wood off waivers

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The Bucks waived Christian Wood late last season to ensure avoiding the luxury tax. The Pelicans claimed him. Wood had played well in limited minutes with the 76ers, Hornets and Bucks and in the NBA’s minor league since going undrafted in 2015.

New Orleans gave him his biggest opportunity yet. In 24 minutes per game over eight games, he averaged 17 points and eight rebounds.

But the Pelicans filled their roster for next season and waived Wood.

Detroit will take advantage.

Pistons release:

The Detroit Pistons announced today that the team has claimed forward/center Christian Wood off waivers.

Wood’s $1,645,357 minimum salary is unguaranteed until the regular season. So, Detroit could still waive him before the season. But it seems he’ll at least go to training camp and get a shot at a regular-season roster spot.

The Pelicans also could’ve kept him through the preseason then waived him before the regular season. They seemingly did him a favor of allowing him to get somewhere he has a realistic chance of sticking.

Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will start in the frontcourt for the Pistons. Markieff Morris and Thon Maker appear to be first in line is backups.

But don’t be surprised if Wood earns playing time. At minimum, the 23-year-old should provide nice depth at both power forward and center.

The Pistons have also now acquired four members of last year’s Bucks – Tony Snell, Thon Maker, Tim Frazier and now Wood.

Knicks: Reggie Bullock has spine injury

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Reggie Bullock had his agreed-upon salary cut by more than half with the Knicks. He’ll reportedly miss at least a month of the regular season.

All because of a mysterious health issue.

The Knicks have finally disclosed what’s happening.

Knicks release:

Reggie Bullock underwent successful surgery today at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York for a cervical disc herniation. The team will plan to provide an update on his rehab and progress around the start of training camp.

Bullock is a good shooter from the wing. New York could use him. Many teams could use him.

But Bullock must get healthy first.

At this point, we probably shouldn’t expect much from him any time soon. The best indication: how eagerly his agent praised the Knicks for their handling of this situation. Again, Bullock settled for less than half his initially agreed-upon salary.