Associated Press

Three Things to Know: Anthony Davis leaves game with injury, frustrated Pelicans beat Thunder

1 Comment

Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Anthony Davis leaves the game with an injury, frustrated Pelicans take anger out on Thunder. Alvin Gentry and the Pelicans are weary of the Anthony Davis saga — and that drama continued Thursday night.

In the final game before the All-Star break, Davis injured himself on the last play before the half. He went up to contest a Nerlens Noel shot and in fouling the Thunder big Davis suffered what was later described by reports as a shoulder contusion. He didn’t play the second half.

There was plenty of amateur doctors on Twitter questioning if the injury was real, although I have no doubt it was (Davis and his agent Rich Paul were just going to be cautious once it happened, so they left the building to get an MRI). The question becomes will Davis play in the All-Star Game Sunday?

After the game, Pelicans’ coach Alvin Gentry was quickly hit with questions about Davis and he admitted this has been tough on the team.

Then Gentry got tired of answering those questions.

Don’t forget about the game. The “getaway day” before the All-Star break is a great day to bet the underdogs around the NBA because players treat their final games like you treat the last day at work/school before a vacation. They have mentally checked out. Russell Westbrook didn’t — he was all in and had another triple-double with 44 points, 14 rebounds, and 11 assists.

But the Pelicans got a big night from Jrue Holiday (32 points) and Julius Randle, who bullied his way to shooting 6-of-7 in the restricted area and finished the night with 33 points and 11 rebounds. They led the Pelicans to the 131-122 win against a Thunder team not playing focused defense on the night (they have not been as sharp on that end for a few games now).

2) Knicks win! Knicks win! Knicks win! Your lovable loser New York Knicks had lost 18 straight and were setting franchise records in futility coming into the All-Star break, but that couldn’t last forever. Could it?

No, Thursday night New York picked up a 106-91 win in Atlanta. Dennis Smith Jr. was leading the way scoring 19 points with a few acrobatic layups thrown in.

The Hawks couldn’t buy a shot. Trae Young was 6-of-19 shooting, and as a team Atlanta shot 36.3 percent overall and 26.3 percent from three. The looks weren’t falling and the Hawks looked like a team watching the clock until vacation started.

3) Orlando’s Terrence Ross tried to give us a little Dunk Contest preview. Terrence Ross isn’t in the Dunk Contest on All-Star Saturday night (Dennis Smith Jr., Miles Bridges, Hamidou Diallo, and John Collins are) but he threw down a Dunk Contest worthy one on Thursday night, just a little taste of what is to come.

With the 127-89 victory over Charlotte, Orlando has won five straight, 7-of-8, and are just half a game out of the playoffs in the East.

Sebastian Telfair’s sister charged with threatening witness who testified against him

Alex Goodlett/Getty Images
Leave a comment

NEW YORK (AP) The sister of former NBA player Sebastian Telfair was accused on Monday of threatening a woman who testified against him at his New York City gun-possession trial.

Octavia Telfair was charged in federal court in Brooklyn with transmitting an interstate threat. There was no immediate response to an email seeking comment from her lawyer.

Sebastian Telfair – a once highly touted point guard with a disappointing NBA career and a history of brushes with the law – was convicted last month of carrying loaded guns in his pickup truck. Witnesses included his estranged wife and a girlfriend.

Shortly after the guilty verdict, Octavia Telfair made threatening phone calls to one of the witnesses in California, according to a criminal complaint that didn’t identify the alleged victim. The sister told the woman she either was “gonna die” or going to have to live with a “rearranged face,” the complaint says.

The Brooklyn-born Sebastian Telfair was a first-round draft pick out of high school in 2004. He started with the Portland Trail Blazers and spent time with the Boston Celtics, Minnesota Timberwolves and other teams before ending his career in China in 2014.

Telfair and a friend were arrested in 2007 after a traffic stop during which police found a loaded handgun in the vehicle. He pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a weapon and was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Telfair faces 3 + to 15 years in prison at his sentencing next month for his current gun case.

James Ennis opting out of 76ers contract

Mitchell Leff/Getty Images
Leave a comment

James Ennis was the 76ers’ lone reliably good backup this postseason.

He’s hoping to parlay that success into a salary above $1,845,301 next season.

Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

James Ennis will decline his player option and become a free agent, his agent, Scott Nichols from Rize Management, confirmed Monday morning.

Teams can’t get enough versatile forwards like Ennis. He can defend multiple positions and, sometimes, shoot adequately from outside. The 28-year-old should remain a helpful player.

With his Non-Bird Rights, Philadelphia can offer him a starting salary up to 120% of his minimum salary. That projects to be about $2.3 million. Paying Ennis more would require using another exception (like the mid-level) or cap space.

Of course, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris are the main priorities in free agency. But the 76ers sacrificed a lot of depth to acquire those two. Philadelphia must build back up its roster.

So, whether or not they re-sign Ennis, the 76ers should keep pursuing more capable reserves.

Rob Pelinka: Magic Johnson saying I betrayed him ‘simply not true’

Ethan Miller/Getty Images
2 Comments

Frank Vogel – at was ostensibly his own introductory press conference – sat quietly while Lakers general manager Pelinka fielded six straight questions.

Finally, at Pelinka’s urging, Vogel chimed in.

“What I’d like to add, quite frankly, is the perception of our organization is very far from the reality,” Vogel said, “from my experience coming in here, of just the thoroughness of the work, the collaboration of how things are being done with the decision-making.”

Vogel has worked one week for the Lakers. His claims of stability carry far less weight than the description Magic Johnson – who ran the front office for two years before stunningly resigning last month – gave in an explosive interview earlier in the day.

Johnson said Pelinka betrayed him. Johnson said business-side executive Tim Harris interfered in basketball operations. Johnson said mid-level employees Joey Buss and Jesse Buss thought they should be general manager or president.

And Johnson said Lakers owner Jeanie Buss enabled this toxic environment.

Pelinka stressed how much he enjoyed working with Johnson. Pelinka said he had spoken positively with Johnson several times in the last month. So, Pelinka called Johnson’s characterizations “saddening and disheartening.”

“They’re just simply not true,” Pelinka said. “I stand beside him. I stand with him as a colleague and a partner. I’ve always supported everything he’s done and will continue to.”

Pelinka is fighting an uphill battle on his reputation. Johnson remains so popular because of his greatness as a player and endearing personality.

Johnson effectively admitted today to being an absentee executive. He even contradicted his own tweet:

But most still view Johnson as more credible than Pelinka.

Really, this whole saga was sad for Frank, who was clearly excited about this opportunity after failing with the Magic. He was often a bystander at his own press conference.

Ultimately, it won’t matter Johnson-Pelinka drama upstaged Frank. He still takes over a team with LeBron James. a good amount of young talent, the No. 4 pick and max cap space. Vogel can succeed in this job.

If he does, everyone will come around. Pelinka was right about one thing: Winning will solve most of the Lakers’ issues.

But it’ll be harder for them to win because of their issues.

Frank can do his part by coaching well and, as he said he was up for, instilling energy and cohesion around him.

He can’t simply say the Lakers have their act together and expect us to believe him. Neither can Pelinka. And Johnson is obviously saying the opposite.

The next big question: How will they pitch free agents and stop these problems from spiraling even further?

Magic Johnson: Former Pelicans GM Dell Demps leaked Anthony Davis trade-talk details

Getty Images
2 Comments

The Pelicans reportedly blame the Lakers for details of Anthony Davis trade negotiations leaking.

Former Lakers president Magic Johnson blames former Pelicans general manager Dell Demps.

Johnson on ESPN:

I told Dell Demps, “Let’s just do it in private. What we offer, let’s keep it between us.” Well, Dell didn’t do that. So, that’s how it got out.”

The Lakers have intriguing assets – Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart, the No. 4 pick, all their own future first-round picks. Los Angeles will likely try again to land Davis.

Johnson and Demps are out. So, maybe these sour grapes don’t matter.

But enough people remain in each organization – including Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, whom Johnson blasted today – from those winter trade talks. Whether or not there’s an edict in New Orleans forbidding new lead executive David Griffin from sending Davis to the Lakers, there’s clearly mistrust between these franchises. That makes it harder to reach a deal.