Anthony Davis scores 35, Pelicans beat Timberwolves 114-99

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Anthony Davis scored 35 points and the New Orleans Pelicans overcame an early 17-point hole to beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 114-99 on Tuesday night.

Jrue Holiday scored 19 points and Tyreke Evans added 13 for the Pelicans, who’ve won three of four and are four games out of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with their next six games at home.

Eric Gordon scored 11 points but left the game late in the third quarter after apparently jamming a finger on his right hand.

Andrew Wiggins scored 21 points and Karl-Anthony Towns added 20 points and 13 rebounds for Minnesota, which has lost 10 of 11. Ricky Rubio added 15 points, but the Timberwolves were outscored 63-39 in the second half.

Minnesota led 62-51 after Wiggins’ layup early in the third quarter, but New Orleans then surged to its first lead of the game with a 14-2 run that began with a 3 by former Minnesota player Dante Cunningham and ended with Gordon’s 100th 3-pointer of the season, making it 65-64.

Cunningham hit three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points in his 12th start this season.

The Pelicans wound up outscoring the Wolves 31-15 in the third quarter, which ended with the Pelicans scoring four points inside the last 3 seconds – first with Holiday hitting a 15-foot pull-up, then with Cunningham stealing Nemanja Bjelica‘s inbound pass and sprinting in for a layup just before the horn sounded.

Minnesota’s Gorgui Deng, standing under the hoop, caught the ball as it came through the net and disgustedly slammed it off the court. Whatever anger he and his teammates felt didn’t translate to production early in the fourth quarter. They needed more than 3 minutes to score their next points. By then, the Pelicans had taken their first double-digit lead on Davis’ 14-foot jumper.

Soon after, Anderson and Holiday both hit 3s, giving New Orleans a 92-79 lead, and Minnesota could not mount another serious threat.

The Timberwolves looked their best in the opening quarter, racing to their largest lead when Bjelica’s tip-in of Zach LaVine‘s miss made it 38-21.

At that point, Minnesota had hit 13 of its first 17 shots.

Towns had nine points and seven rebounds before the period ended.

Davis scored 22 of his points during the first half to help New Orleans trim its deficit back into single digits. New Orleans also appeared to get an emotional charge when Anderson was called for a foul despite appearing to take the worst of a collision with Kevin Garnett, with the Minnesota veteran’s forearm hitting the Pelicans forward flush in the face. Officials reviewed video of the incident, upholding their initial call as boos rained down from fans who could also see the replay on the scoreboard.

The Timberwolves still were able to carry a 60-51 lead into halftime after Wiggins scored his 14th point on an 11-foot jumper with 4 seconds left in the second quarter, but not much went right after for Minnesota after that.

TIP-INS

Timberwolves: Reserve center Nikola Pekovic, who did not make his season debut until Jan. 6 because of right Achilles tendon surgery last April 8, was given the night off to rest. … Minnesota was shooting 72.2 percent after the first quarter (13 of 18), but went 23 of 58 (39.7 percent) the rest of the way to finish at 47.4 percent.

Pelicans: Davis has eclipsed 30 points seven times this season, with a season-high of 43 (which tied his career high). … New Orleans improved to 9-9 at home this season. … The Pelicans have won six straight against Minnesota.

 

NBA players roast Kyle Kuzma over outfit posted to Instagram (PHOTOS)

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Kyle Kuzma is going to be expected to have a big year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks he can have the impact of a third star for L.A., a team that didn’t add Kawhi Leonard to go alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer.

That’s big talk from Kuzma, but perhaps that talk has boosted his confidence a little bit. In a photo posted to Instagram this week, Kuzma could be seen wearing… whatever this is.

Via Twitter:

Twitter had a great time with Kuzma outfit, which looks like something pulled straight out of an early 2000s episode of TRL.

Kuzma’s contemporaries in the NBA thought he was getting a little wild with it, too, with several hopping onto the post to roast the Lakers big man.

Via Twitter:

I don’t know what this means for the upcoming Lakers season, but I’m sure it’s something interesting.

Draymond Green says he’s ‘at a loss for words about’ DeMarcus Cousins injury

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Everyone has been upset about the recent ACL tear suffered by DeMarcus Cousins. The Los Angeles Lakers big man just can’t seem to catch a break, and has injured his Achilles, quad, and now ACL in the span of two years.

Last year was supposed to be one of retribution for Cousins with the Golden State Warriors, but the results were disappointing. Even still, the Lakers decided to take a chance on Cousins as they tried to push for supremacy in the Western Conference.

Meanwhile folks have shown their support for the former Sacramento Kings All-Star, with Draymond Green being the most recent star to offer comment. The former Warriors teammate of Cousins told ESPN how he felt about the injury this week.

Via ESPN and Marc Spears of The Undefeated:

“One of my goals coming into this season was for DeMarcus to destroy everybody and come back and show how great of a player he is and get what I think he deserves,” Green told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears. “I’m really at a loss for words about it. It’s one that really hurt me for sure.”

Cousins is now 29 years old, and the question is whether he will ever return to any kind of form approaching what he had in Sacramento. His injuries have been devastating, and they are the kind that few have returned from to play at an elite level in the NBA.

Cousins appears to be fast approaching a spot in NBA history with other potential greats whose careers were ruined by injury. Hopefully he can find a way to avoid that track.

Rumor: Jeremy Lin, open to playing in China, now in talks with Beijing Ducks

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Jeremy Lin does not appear to be on the radar of any NBA teams at this juncture. It has been an up-and-down summer for Lin, who won a championship with the Toronto Raptors back in June but finds himself a free agent here in August.

Lin has already said that it’s been extremely tough for him to go without a contract this offseason, and it was reported that he turned down a deal with CSKA Moscow to pursue further NBA opportunities.

Now there are murmurs that Lin could be headed to China to play for the Beijing Ducks. According to Sportando, Chinese reporter Sonx Xiang is saying that Lin and the Ducks are closing in on a deal.

NBA players can go on to have lucrative careers in the CBA. Lin is still a decent enough scorer at the NBA level, and it’s most likely he would fit into the Chinese game quite well.

As a branding and personal opportunity, China could fit Lin nicely. He’s currently on his annual tour of Asia, helping kids across several countries with basketball camps and charitable concerns.

The South China Morning Post has reported that Lin said he would be willing to play in the CBA. Lin also told website Radii of his trips to China that, “When I go there, I feel the most at home.”

Make no bones about it, Lin would much rather play in the NBA this season. Looking at his numbers on Synergy, it’s sort of surprising that nobody would want him as a third point guard on a minimum deal. But in the meantime, Lin has spent a significant amount of time in China and feels a kind of purpose when he’s there.

If he’s got to be away from home — and away from the NBA — this might be the best option for Lin available right now.

Victor Oladipo says Pacers “definitely” a playoff team, maybe more in wide-open East

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With a number of new faces — Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb, T.J. McConnell, Justin Holiday, T.J. Warren — and star Victor Oladipo out until mid-season, predicting where the Indiana Pacers will land in the East next season is difficult.

Oladipo himself has a good idea where, as he told J. Michael of the Indy Star.

“Playoffs, for sure. Definitely.”

And maybe more.

After Milwaukee and Philadelphia at the top, the East is wide open. Last season the Pacers were an impressive defensive team — third-best in the NBA, anchored by Myles Turner — but a middle of the pack offense (before Oladipo tore the quad muscle near his knee and was out, after that they fell off to bottom 10). The challenge was that after Oladipo the Pacers did not have a lot of shot creation options on the roster (Bojan Bogdanovic did well picking up the slack, he’s good but not elite in that role).

Ths season Brogdon can create, Lamb can create for himself, both can play off the ball, and there are just more options, especially once Oladipo returns and everyone gets on the same page.

A team that had difficulty with execution because it had a dearth of ballhandlers should score more on offense and be able to switch more on defense…

“We have the ability now to play that way. We have the personnel to play that way,” he said. “We have a lot of guys who can do things with the ball. Not only me. I don’t think we’ve had that before. It’s going to be a lot of opportunities for guys to go out there and make things happen.”

That kind of team could be very dangerous in the East.

Before that, however, there are a lot of new pieces to fit together in Indiana. Then mid-season their best player in Oladipo returns and there will be another round of adjustments, with guys needing to accept changing roles.

If it all comes together for Nate McMillan and crew, the Pacers are a playoff threat, but there are a lot of “ifs” to get to where the Pacers want to ultimately be.

For now, get to the playoffs, get healthy, and then we will see just what this team is capable of.