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Davis scores 59, grabs 20 rebounds as Pelicans top Pistons

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AUBURN HILLS, Mich. (AP) Anthony Davis scored a franchise-record 59 points and pulled down 20 rebounds as the New Orleans Pelicans beat the Detroit Pistons 111-106 on Sunday.

The previous club record was 50 points by Jamal Mashburn exactly 13 years earlier against the Grizzlies. Davis went 24 of 34 from the floor and made his only two 3-pointers. He added nine free throws in 10 tries.

Davis had 19 points in the fourth quarter and broke the scoring record for the Palace of Auburn Hills, set by LeBron James with 48 points in an Eastern Conference finals game on June 1, 2007. The star center joined Shaquille O’Neal and Chris Webber as the only NBA players with 50 points and 20 rebounds in a game since 1983.

Jrue Holiday came off the bench and scored 20 points for the Pelicans – the only other player to reach double figures for New Orleans.

Reggie Jackson led the Pistons with 34 points.

The short-handed Pistons lost another key player early on when Anthony Tolliver limped off the floor after banging knees with Andre Drummond. Tolliver didn’t return, so Marcus Morris shifted to power forward with Tobias Harris playing small forward in his second game with Detroit.

The Pistons led for much of the second quarter, but the teams went into the break even after a mental mistake by Drummond. Davis had tipped a missed shot at the buzzer, and the ball was clearly going to fall safely off the rim. However, Drummond lost focus and reached up through the basket to swat the ball off the rim. That made it goaltending and 55-all going into halftime.

The half was another defensive struggle for the Pistons, as the Pelicans shot 45.8 percent from the floor, but Detroit held them to 1-for-7 on 3-pointers. Detroit shot only 41.9 percent but hit five 3-pointers and was an unusual 73.7 percent from the free throw line, including 2 for 3 by Drummond.

Davis had 14 points in the third quarter, giving him 40 in the game, and the Pelicans led 80-75 going into the final period. Detroit scored the first six points of the fourth with Davis on the bench, but he returned with 10:02 to play and scored 19 points in the final 10 minutes.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: Omer Asik left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. That resulted in Kendrick Perkins starting the second half at center after not playing in the first half.

Pistons: Detroit dressed only 11 players, with guards Jodie Meeks and Spencer Dinwiddie injured, and Donatas Motiejunas and Marcus Thornton unavailable due to complications with the trade that brought them to the Pistons from Houston. Motiejunas still hasn’t been cleared after testing his back injury, and Detroit and the Rockets have been given an extension until 6 p.m. on Monday to complete the deal.

UP NEXT

The Pelicans visit Washington on Tuesday.

The Pistons visit Cleveland on Monday.

Nets fined $25K for injury-reporting violation

Brooklyn Nets
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Earlier this season, Kyrie Irving missed several weeks with a shoulder injury. Throughout the absence, the Nets provided few details and no clear timeline. Eventually, a report said Irving could miss 2-3 additional weeks with bursitis. The Nets denied it. Later, Irving confirmed he had bursitis then returned nearly three weeks after the report.

Finally, Brooklyn caught the league’s ire.

NBA release:

The NBA today announced that the Brooklyn Nets have been fined $25,000 for failing to comply with league policies governing injury reporting.

It’s unclear what specifically caused this violation. Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, Jamal Crawford and Rodions Kurucs have all appeared on the Nets’ injury report during the resumption. As 19-point underdog, Brooklyn pulled a historic upset of the Bucks. Remember, public injury disclosures are primarily about preserving gambling integrity.

For the NBA not to reveal even basic details while fining the Nets for their lack of transparency is ironic. It’s also ironic this fine comes amid a restart that featured the NBA being highly secretive about player heath.

The Clippers got fined $50,000 earlier this season for saying Kawhi Leonard was healthy. What did Brooklyn do that was less egregious but still worth of a fine?

LeBron James says Lakers have off-court issues, out vs. Rockets (groin)

Lakers star LeBron James
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The Lakers’ offense has stumbled so far in the bubble.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

LeBron gave a weird answer about this. He agreed that he and the Lakers were looking for a rhythm on offense. And then he said: “It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.”

Mike Trudell of the Lakers:

Was LeBron referring to his groin injury? I wouldn’t call that an off-court issue, but maybe he would.

LeBron knows how to work the media. This subtle comment will draw attention and sets up LeBron to look better if he leads the Lakers through this mysterious issue.

Without more context, it’s easy for imaginations to wander – especially about a team with Dwight Howard, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith. The Lakers could be facing a major hurdle. Or a minor nuisance. Who knows? But the unknown is scary.

It’ll be difficult to detect the Lakers’ progress during remaining seeding games. The Lakers have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and without a home-court advantage in the NBA Finals, there’s no reason to chase the NBA’s best overall record. That’s why LeBron missing tonight’s game against the Rockets could be mostly precautionary.

76ers: Ben Simmons suffered subluxation of knee cap, considering treatment options

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Ben Simmons injured his knee during the 76ers’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

The diagnosis is in, and the prognosis sounds worrisome.

Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

How quickly will Simmons recover? Once he recovers, will he face elevated risk of re-injury?

These questions now haunt Simmons and Philadelphia.

Simmons is a young star who’ll begin a max contract extension next season. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons opened Philadelphia’s championship window, and now rain is drizzling through. Philadelphia can’t reach it ceiling without Simmons healthy and providing value.

Even more modest goals in a disjointed season will be more difficult to reach.

The 76ers were just adjusting to playing Simmons at power forward. Now, they must again re-configure their plan – maybe for a significant chunk of the remainder of the season.

Even more burden falls onto Embiid, who has been shouldering so much with this mismatched roster. Simmons plays across the positional spectrum, so any number of 76ers could fill in while he’s out. Many of those lesser players will complement Embiid more smoothly than Simmons did. But the talent deficit without Simmons can’t be offset.

That’s the scary issue for now – and maybe a while.

Kelly Loeffler calls WNBA players supporting her opponent for senate ‘out of control cancel culture’

Sue Bird wears shirt supporting Raphael Warnock in senate race against Kelly Loeffler
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WNBA players and Kelly Loeffler hit a stalemate.

Players want to oust Loeffler as Atlanta Dream co-owner because Loeffler – a Republican U.S. Senator from Georgia – holds political stances they disagree with and is advocating against the league supporting Black Lives Matter. Loeffler said she won’t sell, and the league won’t force her out.

So, players have turned to Loeffler’s senate race, wearing “VOTE WARNOCK” shirts in support of Democratic challenger Raphael Warnock.

Holly Rowe of ESPN:

Loeffler statement:

ATLANTA—Today, political outsider and conservative businesswoman Kelly Loeffler issued the following statement in response to WNBA players wearing “VOTE WARNOCK” t-shirts. The shirts endorse Kelly’s Democrat opponent, Raphael Warnock, following her criticism of the league’s embrace of the Black Lives Matter political organization.

“This is just more proof that the out of control cancel culture wants to shut out anyone who disagrees with them. It’s clear that the league is more concerned with playing politics than basketball, and I stand by what I wrote in June:

“We come together around sports, but promoting a political agenda divides us rather than unites us. The lives of every African American matter, and there’s no place for racism in our country. But I oppose the BLM political organization due to its radical ideas and Marxist foundations, which include defunding the police and eroding the nuclear family. On the other hand, our flag represents our values of freedom and equality for all. If we can’t unite behind our flag, much less the national anthem during this struggle, then what keeps us together? It’s sad to see that there’s more interest in tearing our country apart than in solutions that bring us together. I’ll continue to defend American values and our flag, because this is not a game – it’s the future of our country. “

“Cancel culture” is a vague term with shifting definitions. But people supporting voting for one political candidate over another? That comes nowhere near any reasonable definition of cancel culture.

WNBA players are not just basketball players. They’re human beings with varied interests – including politics. That should come perfectly naturally to a self-described “political outsider” who’s a sitting senator and running for re-election. If it’s reasonable for Loeffler to be interested in politics (it is), it reasonable for WNBA players to be interested in politics.

As far as Loeffler restating her previous points, she remains errant.