Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Enough with the injuries already


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 thinking you need to go see Birdman…

1) Would NBA stars stop getting injured, please. No Stephen Curry. No Anthony Davis. No Kevin Durant. No. LaMarcus Aldridge. No Blake Griffin. And that’s just the guys injured the past couple weeks, we’re not even getting into the Paul George’s of the world. Enough with the injuries already, basketball gods. We have a potentially epic playoffs coming up in the Western Conference, don’t go messing with that. Enough is enough.

2) Richard Jefferson can still get up and dunk hard. This dunk was near the top of the list of things I never thought I’d see at this point in his career. And there is no way that’s an offensive foul in my book.

3) Durant or no Durant Oklahoma City keeps on rolling. I’m not saying Russell Westbrook should be the NBA MVP; I’m just saying it’s a five-person ballot that gets handed out and Westbrook should be on that list. Durant is out for at least a week (expect more like two or three, they will be cautious with him) and on Sunday Westbrook responded with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting plus 17 assists in OKC’s win over hapless Denver. The Thunder also got 20 points and 12 boards out of Enes Kanter and nearly 30 minutes out of D.J. Augustin. That can help keep this team in the playoffs while Durant gets healthy.

4) Amar’e Stoudemire had some bounce in his Dallas debut. Lest you had any doubts, Amar’e Stoudemire can still get up and throw it down. In just more than 11 minutes in his Dallas debut, Stoudemire had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and he got most of that right at the rim. I have my questions about if he can sustain that level, but if he keeps throwing down dunks like this he’ll do just fine.

5) If you’re sleeping on Memphis you’ll reget it. Consider this your weekly reminder that the Grizzlies are very good — there are three 40-win teams in the NBA so far and Memphis is one of them (Golden State and Atlanta). On Sunday, Portland looked like it would run away with this game when they put up a 39 spot in the third quarter at home. But Memphis just keeps grinding, keeps making plays, they went on a 12-0 run of their own in the fourth quarter and made the comeback. The dagger came on a simple little pick-and-roll where Mike Conley fed Marc Gasol for the midrange jumper. Sleep on Memphis at your own risk, this team is elite.

Bradley Beal admits he gained 20 pounds of sympathy weight with pregnant partner last year

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If you’ve had a pregnant wife/girlfriend, you know what Bradley Beal went through. I added 15 pounds when my wife was pregnant with our second daughter — a pregnant woman’s metabolism needs more calories and for energy, “they’re eating for two,” and often what they want is comfort foods. And deserts. Put that around a non-pregnant person and the temptation can be overwhelming at times, leading to simple overeating.

Washington’s Bradley Beal says he gained 20 pounds of sympathy weight last season while his partner Kamiah Adams was pregnant with their son Bradley Beal II. He spoke about it to TuAnh Dam of Yahoo Sports.

“Oh, pizza. It was always late-night pizza for me,” Beal said. “It was just pizza and ice cream. That’s all we ate — pizza and ice cream, pizza and ice cream.”

He said those extra 20 pounds went straight into his legs, but even that wasn’t enough to slow Beal down too much. The guard had one of the best years of his career, starting all 82 games while averaging 22.6 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

He’s lost the weight though, starting his cleaner diet the first week of the offseason, so don’t expect to see him waddling around the court this year.

Every training camp we hear about players having lost 15 pounds or gained 10 pounds of muscle and never having been in better shape. Veteran observers greet these proclamations with shrugs — some of them are true, but if everybody says it every year there’s some boys crying wolf out there.

Beal I believe. Nobody wants to admit to gaining sympathy weight.

Beal and the Wizards enter another season with their core intact, a new piece added (this year Dwight Howard, once he gets healthy), and questions believers pointing out on paper they should be a threat in the East. At this point, it’s like a player saying he lost 20 pounds in the offseason — fine, but show me how things are now going to be different on the court because of it. I’m not sold these Wizards are much different than the previous versions. They need to prove it.

Devin Booker to play in Suns’ opener Wednesday

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Devin Booker — the Suns’ newly minted max contract player — had been working hard to recover from off-season hand surgery in time for the opening of the season (the original timeline after surgery had him missing the first week or two of the season).

Looks like he made it, according to coach Igor Kokoskov, via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic.

Booker is young, 21, and hopefully he just healed quickly. There is no reason to rush Booker back here, the Suns need to approach this season with a long-term view, not thinking win now.

This is going to be an interesting young Suns team with Booker, rookie Deandre Ayton, Josh Jackson, T.J. Warren, Mikal Bridges, and now with some veteran voices in Trevor Ariza and the newly added Jamal Crawford in the locker room. This team is not playoff bound in the West, but nightly they will be improved and not a pushover.

Portland, NBA community react to passing of Paul Allen

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For 30 years, Paul Allen has owned the Portland Trail Blazers. In that time the team made the NBA Finals a couple of times, was a model of consistency making the playoffs 23 times, and providing a city unforgettable memories filled with some of the biggest personalities and best players in the game.

Allen passed away Monday, losing his battle to cancer. He was just 65 years old.

It has led to an outpouring from the entire NBA community, especially around Portland.

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. “As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small.  He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies.  He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him.  Our condolences go to his family, friends and the entire Trail Blazers organization.”

Russell Westbrook listed as out for season opener vs. Warriors

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No Russell Westbrook. No Andre Roberson. Maybe no Steven Adams.

This is not what the NBA had in mind when they sent Oklahoma City to Golden State for the second game of the NBA’s opening night doubleheader on national television. But, that’s the reality due to injury.

Westbrook had arthroscopic surgery on right knee back on Sept. 12 and it was expected to be re-evaluated around the start of the season. However, with the marathon of the NBA season about to start no way the Thunder were never going to rush him back, national television and the Warriors or not. While it’s less than ideal, getting it dealt with and missing training camp and a few games is better than to risk something worse during the season (or miss a month of the season in a Western Conference where there is little margin for error because of the depth of quality teams).

The Thunder called it “maintenance,” but this is Westbrook’s fourth surgery on that knee, although it’s the first in more than four years. His issues with this knee date back to the 2013 playoffs when Patrick Beverley crashed into it and tore the meniscus.

Westbrook is about to turn 30, has some heavy-usage miles on that body, and just signed a five-year, $205 million contract extension.