Cleveland’s starting center Anderson Varejao tore his Achilles tendon in the third quarter of a Cavaliers win over Minnesota, something first reported by Brian Windhorst of ESPN and since confirmed by multiple other outlets.
This is what the Cavaliers feared after the injury happened. Varejao was averaging 10 points a game on 55 percent shooting, plus he grabbed six rebounds a game. He’s often the big setting the pick for LeBron James out high, those two have a strong chemistry.
Varejao landed awkwardly after going up near the basket Tuesday night and immediately went to the ground, where he stayed for several minutes with his teammates around him. He was eventually carried back to the locker room unable to put any weight on his leg, and was seen leaving the arena on crutches an in a boot.
For the 32-year-old Varejao, this will be a very difficult injury to come back from. It could spell the end of his NBA career.
It’s also going to be rough on Cleveland on the court. In the short term expect the Cavaliers to start Tristan Thompson, who has played well of late, in what is a smaller lineup. The only other option right now is to give Brendan Haywood minutes — he has barely seen the court this season (four total minutes in the last seven games) and is really more contract trade bait than player to the Cavs. There is Louis Amundson on the bench, too.
Which means expect the Cavaliers to really step up their efforts to trade for a big man. They have been working the phones all season going down the ladder of potential trade partners, including guys like Timofey Mozgov in Denver, Kosta Koufos in Memphis, and now Brandan Wright in Boston. All to no avail.
That needs to change soon now. The Cavaliers defense already struggled without rim protection in the paint, and while Varejao’s numbers were not great this season — the team is 5 points per 100 possessions better when he was off the court — he was still by far their best option.
Knicks president Steve Mills is reportedly laying the groundwork to fire coach David Fizdale.
One step: Mills and general manager Scott Perry addressing the media after Sunday’s loss to the Cavaliers while Fizdale was still in the locker room. Mills and Perry stressed that the team wasn’t meeting expectations, seemingly a veiled shot at the coach.
Adrian Wojnarowski on ESPN:
The dismissal of David Fizdale is inevitable, and there was, I think, a bond broken between management and their head coach with how they handled things after that loss Sunday night.
Coaches are hired to be fired, but this sounds far more urgent than that.
As long as Fizdale has his job, he has a chance to save it. If the Knicks start playing better, they could keep him.
But that seems unlikely with this underwhelming roster.
Which is why New York is reportedly also considering a front-office change.
When Doc Rivers coached Austin Rivers on the Clippers, accusations of favoritism ran rampant. Playing with the Rockets against the Clippers tonight, Austin showed where his loyalties lie.
Not with his father.
The Clippers were letting the game (an eventual 102-93 Houston win) get away from them when Doc argued a call. Austin stood nearby and urged the referee to call a technical foul. The official eventually obliged and ejected Doc.
That’s when Austin really hammed it up – waving off Doc then making the call-me gesture. The disrespect!
Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant has had a game-saving block and game-winning assist.
Now, he has the glory of a game-winning shot.
Morant sealed the Memphis’ 119-117 win over the Hornets with a driving scoop in the final second tonight. He led Memphis with 23 points and 11 assists.
I want to give P.J. Tucker a break. He’s the Rockets’ most (only?) reliable defender. He has such a heavy burden covering for James Harden, Russell Westbrook and just generally undersized lineups.
But this missed layup was so bad. And that stumble over the stanchion really seals the goof.