Anderson scores 36, leads Pelicans past Kings, 114-105

Associated Press
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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Ryan Anderson tied his career high with 36 points and New Orleans beat the Sacramento Kings 114-105 on Thursday night, the Pelicans’ sixth victory in eight games.

The Pelicans won despite the absences of newly named All Star Anthony Davis, who suffered a concussion on Monday night, and Tyreke Evans, who has right knee tendinitis. Jrue Holiday had 25 points and eight assists for New Orleans, while Norris Cole had 17 points and a career-high 10 assists.

Bryce Dejean-Jones, making his first NBA start, added 14 points.

DeMarcus Cousins had 26 points and 10 rebounds for the Kings, who have lost three straight. Ben McLemore added 26 points for Sacramento and Rajon Rondo had 17 points and 15 assists.

Kings associate head coach Chad Iske stood in for head coach George Karl, who was out sick.

New Orleans, which lost 11 of its first 12 games this season, is now 17-28 and just three games behind Portland for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Pelicans’ only two losses in the past eight games came by two points at Memphis and by one point at home to Houston on Monday night.

The Kings, who trailed by as many as 19 in the second quarter, were as close as five in the third period when James Anderson‘s driving layup made it 82-77.

But Ryan Anderson responded with his fifth 3 of the game, and New Orleans steadily rebuilt its lead to 19 again when Cole’s driving bank shot made it 101-82 with less than eight minutes to play. Sacramento never got closer than eight after that.

Despite missing two of their top three scorers in Davis and Evans, New Orleans raced to an 18-point lead in the first quarter, when Ryan Anderson scored 18 of his points on 8-of-12 shooting, highlighted by a pair of 3s and an array of mid-range turnaround jumpers.

The lead grew to 19 when Holiday’s 3 made it 42-23 early in the second quarter.

Cousins, who had nine points in the second quarter, helped Sacramento briefly whittle its deficit to single digits before Anderson hit a step-back jumper to give him 30 points in the first half and push the Pelicans’ lead back to 11.

Rondo’s free throw cut New Orleans’ lead to 63-53 at halftime.

TIP-INS

Kings: Rondo reached double-digit assists for his 14th straight game, tying the franchise record set by Nate “Tiny” Archibald in 1972. … The Kings fell to 8-14 on the road, where they have lost two straight.

Pelicans: Alonzo Gee scored 10 for New Orleans. … The Pelicans, plagued by injuries all season, sent out their 21st different starting lineup of the season. … The Pelicans improved to 1-5 when Davis does not play. … New Orleans had at least 10 3s for the 18th time this season, compared with 14 all of last season. It was also the Pelicans’ sixth game in the last eight with 10 3s.

 

Markelle Fultz will miss start of training camp, at least, with broken toe

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The basketball gods continue to turn their backs on Markelle Fultz.

A torn ACL had limited him to 26 games over the past two seasons, but he was healthy and ramping up to a larger role this season with a young and interesting Magic team. Then came the news he fractured his left big toe during a training session. As a result, he will be out for at least the start of training camp, the team announced. From the official announcement:

“He has been placed in a walking boot and his return to play will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation and treatment. Fultz suffered the injury during a preseason workout prior to returning to Orlando and imaging confirmed the fracture.

He will not need surgery, according to the team.

Fultz was set to split point guard duties with Cole Anthony, this injury means RJ Hampton could see more run at the point for now. Fultz should be able to return either during the end of the preseason or early in the season.

Fultz was the No.1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft but never found his footing with the 76ers (in part due to injury). However, since getting out of that spotlight and allowed to develop in Orlando he’s been a solid rotation point guard when healthy. Last season in 18 games he averaged 10.8 points and 5.5 assists a game, and while he’s still not an efficient shooter he can run a team.

How Anthony and, eventually, Fultz will work off the ball as rookie Paolo Banchero gets the opportunity to create more offense will be just one of the interesting things to watch with this Magic team this year. We’ll have to wait a little while to see Fultz.

 

Vintage Kobe: Redeem Team recalls him running over Pau Gasol

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If the goal of a trailer is to get you to want to see the movie, then well done Netflix. I’m in.

Netflix released a trailer for its upcoming Redeem Team documentary on the 2008 Olympics, featuring some vintage Kobe Bryant. Just as a quick refresher, in 2008 the USA’s toughest opponent would be a deep Spanish team led by peak Pau Gasol but also with Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, José Calderón, Rudy Fernández, Juan Carlos Navarro and more. This was a legitimately dangerous team and one the USA would face first in group play.

Kobe wanted to set a tone — and did by running through his friend Gasol. (Warning: There is NSFW language in the video clip below.)

“‘First play of the game I’m running through Pau Gasol.’ And we was like, ‘What?’ He said, ‘First play of the game, I know what they’re gonna run.’ And he knew Pau was gonna be the last screen and he said ‘I’m running through him,'” Dwayne Wade said

Spoiler alert: The USA thrashed Spain in group stage play. However, come the Gold Medal game it was a lot tougher for the Americans to beat the Spaniards, with Kobe having to have a big fourth quarter and — what often goes unremembered — a master class from Chris Paul in game management to control the tempo and flow.

I’m all in for the documentary, which drops on Oct. 7 on Netflix.

Spurs’ Keldon Johnson to miss start of training camp with shoulder injury

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Keldon Johnson is poised to have a monster season on a rebuilding Spurs team.

Except he’s going to miss the start of training camp and the team’s preseason games. And could be out longer.

Johnson suffered a “right shoulder posterior dislocation during Spurs open gym” the team announced Saturday. Posterior dislocations are rare (less than 5% of all dislocations) and are usually from a fall on an extended arm. Recovering from the injury depends on many factors but can extend out for months. However, the Spurs said Johnson is expected to be available for the start of the regular season less than a month from now.

Johnson averaged 17 points and 6.1 rebounds a game last season, and is an elite perimeter shooter off the catch-and-shoot (39.8% from 3 overall), who also can put the ball on the floor and finish at the rim. He was the team’s second-leading scorer last season (to Dejounte Murray, who is now in Atlanta).

The Spurs will be cautious with bringing Johnson back. Even in what could be Gregg Popovich’s last season as coach the Spurs are looking more to be part of the Victor Wembanyama sweepstakes than push for a playoff spot. Johnson is a quality player who helps San Antonio win games, which both is why they want him back healthy and why they are not going to rush him.

Cavaliers reportedly extend Dean Wade for three years, $18.5 million

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This could be a steal for the Cavaliers — Dean Wade could be the starting three for the Cavaliers by the end of this season and he’s got a genuine upside.

The Cavaliers have extended Wade for three years, $18.5 million, a story where multiple sources were on top of it, including Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

Wade’s counting stats aren’t eye-popping — 5.3 points a game and shooting 35.7% from 3 — but he is a quality wing defender who has improved as a floor spacer (sometimes setting picks and popping out). He’s a two-way player who has put in the work and could pass Isaac Okoro on the depth chart this season.

The Cavaliers have four All-Stars who will undoubtedly be starting for them — Darius Garland and Donovan Mitchell in the backcourt, Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley up front — and the looming question is at the three. Wade has a chance this season to step into that role.

Which makes extending him at a little over $6 million a season a potential steal for the Cavaliers.