Anthony has 28, Knicks rout Nets 108-91 to get back to .500

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NEW YORK (AP) โ€” Kristaps Porzingis hit one 3-pointer and then another, with hardly a Brooklyn player in sight.

“He’s 7-, 8-feet tall, so I don’t how they missed him,” Carmelo Anthony said.

They missed just about everybody in Knicks uniforms until it was far too late.

Anthony scored 28 points, the 7-foot-3 Porzingis had 19 and New York beat Brooklyn 108-91 on Friday night to get back to .500.

“Well, that was a nightmare,” Nets coach Lionel Hollins said. “I guess everyone can quit talking about rivalries. We didn’t come ready to compete early and they jumped on us.”

Arron Afflalo added 18 points for the Knicks (10-10), who dominated lowly Philadelphia and Brooklyn in their last two games after a four-game losing streak. They reclaimed city bragging rights with ease, leading by as much as 31 points.

Players on both sides still debate whether the teams have a rivalry after the Nets moved from New Jersey to New York in 2012.

It sure looked like this one really mattered to the Knicks.

“We wanted to come in and we wanted to win this game,” Anthony said. “This will always be kind of a special game when we play Brooklyn.”

Brook Lopez scored 21 points, and Thaddeus Young had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Nets. They had won two in a row and have a lot to fix before they host the unbeaten Golden State Warriors on Sunday.

Lopez beat twin brother Robin to take the opening tip, and it was soon clear that was all the Nets would be winning. The Knicks blitzed them with seven 3-pointers and a season-best 42 points in the first quarter, led 65-42 at halftime and opened their first lead of 30 or more since the 2013-14 season in the third period.

“We stunk it up in that first quarter and it just carried over throughout the rest of the game,” Nets forward Joe Johnson said.

The Nets had allowed 91 points or fewer in three straight games, but the Knicks already surpassed that with a 92-67 cushion heading to the fourth quarter. Brooklyn fell to 1-11 on the road.

“I thought the guys were very intent on playing together and really sharing the basketball and sending the message that they’re capable of doing that,” Knicks coach Derek Fisher said.

The Nets swept the series last season for the first since winning all four games in 2006-07. They lost Johnson in the fourth quarter when was called for a flagrant foul and ejected for elbowing Jose Calderon in the face.

Porzingis finished with 10 rebounds for his 10th double-double. He was the Eastern Conference rookie of the month for October/November, the first Knicks player to win that award since Landry Fields in December 2010.

Jose Calderon had 10 assists, his most since coming to the Knicks in a June 2014 trade.

TIP-INS

Nets: Shane Larkin, who spent last season with the Knicks, finished with six points in his return to Madison Square Garden. Andrea Bargnani, who spent two injury-disrupted seasons with the Knicks before signing with Brooklyn in the offseason, sat out with left hamstring injury. … Rookie center Willie Reed made his NBA debut, finishing with eight points in 11 minutes.

Knicks: The Knicks’ last 30-point lead before Friday was a 33-point bulge, also against Brooklyn, in a 110-81 victory on April 2, 2014. … The 42 points New York scored in the first quarter were 10 more than its previous best in the period in a loss at Cleveland on Nov. 4. The Knicks’ best showing in any quarter had been 36 points on a couple of occasions.

 

Zach LaVine reacts to Chicago hiring Billy Donovan: ‘Wow, that’ll be good’

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Zach LaVine learned about the Chicago Bulls hiring Billy Donovan as their head coach while playing Call of Duty.

Which means there is a recording of his real-time reaction to the news.

“Damn, we just got Billy Donovan as our next head coachโ€ฆ wow, that’ll be good.”

LaVine also Tweeted about the hire.

He wasn’t the only Bulls’ player excited about the hire.

Bradley Beal, a former Donovan player at Florida, loved the hire.

Donovan takes over a Chicago team that seems on the cusp of something. How big a something remains up for debate. The roster has young talent: Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter, and the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Donovan is an upgrade over Boylen, both in terms of player relations and tactics, making the Bulls better.

Even with Donovan, what is the ceiling for these Bulls? Next season they are not going to be better than the Celtics, Bucks, Heat, or Nets, and likely not the 76ers or Raptors either (unless Toronto tears down the roster). That’s six. And a lot of people would put the Indiana Pacers on a level above the Bulls as well. Bottom line: Even with a coaching upgrade and player improvement, the Bulls are likely scrambling for a bottom playoff spot in the East.

The Bulls are looking beyond next year. Expect Chicago head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to spend the next season deciding who fits and who doesn’t, and shake up the roster accordingly. By then the Bulls may be in a better place to be a threat in the East.

Whatever happens, the Bulls got better with this hire, and their biggest star likes it.

Vanessa Bryant sues sheriff over Kobe Bryant helicopter-crash photos

Kobe Bryant crash site
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LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff claiming deputies shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others.

After the Jan. 26 crash, reports surfaced that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Vanessa Bryant was “shocked and devastated” by the reports, the lawsuit states.

The suit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The victims died when the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, during cloudy weather. They were traveling to a youth basketball tournament at Bryant’s sports facility in Thousand Oaks. The National Transportation Safety Board has not concluded what caused the crash on the outskirts of Los Angeles County but said there was no sign of mechanical failure in the Sikorsky S-76. helicopter.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously told news media that eight deputies took or shared graphic photos of the scene and he ordered the images deleted. The sheriff said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.

“That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist,” Villanueva previously told NBC News. “We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit alleges the sheriff’s actions constituted a “cover-up” of the misconduct. The suit claims the photos could still exist.

“Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” the lawsuit states.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet signed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime. The legislation was prompted by the crash photos.

A statement from the sheriff’s department Tuesday incorrectly said such actions are now criminal. The bill has not yet been signed into law.

“Shortly following this tragic crash, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored legislation which now makes it a crime for public safety personnel to take and share non-official pictures of this nature,” the statement said. “Due to the pending litigation, we are unable to offer further comment.”

Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Gary C. Robb, declined to comment.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the allegations that the graphic photos had been taken and disseminated in February.

Bryant previously filed a claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, in May. The suit was filed Thursday.

Separately, Vanessa Bryant has also filed a lawsuit alleging the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, was careless and negligent to fly in the fog and should have aborted the flight.

The brother of the pilot has said in a court filing that Bryant knew the risks of helicopter flying and his survivors aren’t entitled to damages from the pilot’s estate, while the helicopter company, Island Express, says it is not responsible for damages, calling the crash, among other things, “an act of God” and “an unavoidable accident” that was beyond its control.

Chicago Bulls hire Billy Donovan as coach

Billy Donovan coaches Thunder-Bulls
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Billy Donovan left the Thunder despite them offering a new contract. Maybe it wasn’t as much money as he desired to coach a team that could be entering rebuilding. But active head coaches rarely turn down an NBA job unless they know they’ll land on their feet.

Donovan will land on his feet โ€“ with the Bulls.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first broke the story, the Bulls confirmed it soon after.

โ€œWe are very pleased to welcome Billy and his family to the Chicago Bulls. The success that he has sustained over the course of his coaching career puts him on a different level,โ€ Chicago head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement. โ€œWe feel his ability to help his players reach their potential, both individually and collectively, will mesh well with our roster. Whether as a player or as a coach, he has won everywhere his career has taken him, and we hope that will continue here in Chicago.โ€

This is a major credibility upgrade for Chicago, which fired Jim Boylen. Donovan is a solid NBA head coach who adapts to his players rather than putting them through extreme measures.

Considering they just hired Arturas Karnisovas as president, the Bulls might have the patience for a rebuild. Donovan will be tasked with overseeing the development of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft. Donovan’s time as a college coach at Florida shows he can help players progress.

But Chicago also frequently faces pressure, especially internally, to win sooner than later. Donovan inherits veterans like LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. Donovan showed at Oklahoma City he could manage a team with immediate expectations.

Is this group’s long-term future inspiring? No. Is this group’s present inspiring? No.

But Donovan provides a little boost in both areas.

Celtics: Romeo Langford out rest of playoffs after wrist surgery

Celtics guard Romeo Langford
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The Celtics don’t have quite enough dependable players to fill a playoff rotation. So, beyond its core, Boston has juggled deep-bench minutes throughout the postseason.

One of those options โ€“ Romeo Langford โ€“ will no longer be available.

Celtics release:

Celtics guard Romeo Langford this morning underwent successful surgery to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. He will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.

A rookie, Langford also suffered a right-hand injury last season at Indiana. A pattern? Probably not. But it’s another interruption in the 20-year-old’s development.

For Boston’s playoff hopes, this is a minor setback โ€“ one made even smaller by Gordon Hayward returning (and staying). Though more of a forward, Hayward clears the way for Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to handle more guard minutes, a few of which could have gone to Langford.