Andre Iguodala on Warriors: ‘We’re going to have another run at it. It’s not over.’

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Around the Western Conference (and the NBA), the reaction has been basically universal:

The West is wide open.

Golden State is not seen as a contender. Kevin Durant has a torn Achilles and likely misses most or all of next season, will not be quite the same when he returns, and when he does retake the court it may well not be wearing a Golden State “The City” uniform. Then there’s Klay Thompson, coming off a torn ACL, an injury that could sideline him all or most of next year (he’s a free agent, too, but he will re-sign with the Warriors according to sources — and his father).

Don’t tell Andre Iguodala that.

He will be back with the Warriors, and on ESPN’s “First Take” Friday said (hat tip NBC Sports Bay Area):

“But I’m confident in us. Klay will be back in February I hope. He’s a fast healer. We’re going to have another run at it. It’s not over.”

February would be eight months after Thompson’s torn ACL, and players have returned that quickly before (healing time depends upon the specifics of the tear and injury). However, that’s about two months before most players come back, some take even longer (Kristaps Porzingis), and the Warriors have a history of being cautious in bringing players back from injuries.

If Thompson is back for the playoffs, and the Warriors can add a little depth this offseason, they would absolutely still be a threat considering they still have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green. The Warriors are not dead, but they are vulnerable now, and teams in the West are lining up. Utah made its move with the Mike Conley trade. Denver should be improved with Jamal Murray an Nikola Jokic. And Houston is still a force… if it stops shooting itself in the foot.

And then there’s the Lakers, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Iguodala also praised his former agent, Rob Pelinka, who is now the GM of the Lakers.

“I expected them to make a lot of moves,” Iguodala said… “Rob Pelinka, my old agent, I knew he would use that brain of his, that Michigan brain. And then, you got LeBron, he’s in the later stages of his career. He wants to win now.”

In the next few weeks, we’ll get a sense of where the Lakers stand, they still have a team to build out.

Just know the Warriors still plan to be in the mix, next season and beyond.

Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns out 4-6 weeks with calf strain

Minnesota Timberwolves v Washington Wizards
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It’s not good news, but it looked like it could have been much worse.

Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is out for weeks with a right calf strain, the team announced Tuesday following an MRI exam. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports it is likely 4-6 weeks.

The injury occurred midway through the third quarter Monday when Towns started to run back upcourt and went to the ground without contact, grabbing his knee and calf. It looked scary — Achilles scary — and he had to be helped off the court.

Towns has averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and while his numbers are down this season — just 32.8% on 3-pointers — the team has struggled at times without him, particularly lineups with Rudy Gobert and Anthony Edwards together, an -11.8 net rating (in non-garbage time minutes, via Cleaning the Glass).

Kevin Durant on chasing MVP: ‘Not really, I’ve been there, done that’

Orlando Magic v Brooklyn Nets
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Kevin Durant carried the Nets to another win Monday night, scoring 45 points on 19-of-24 shooting, plus seven rebounds and five assists.

If you’re having an MVP conversation a quarter of the way into the NBA season, Durant has to be part of it: 30 points per game on 54.8% shooting (and a ridiculous 65.9 true shooting percentage), 6.6 rebounds and 5.5 assists a game, plus playing solid defense and being the anchor of the Nets. After his 45-point outing to get Brooklyn a win over Orlando, Durant was asked about MVP chants and the chase for the award and was clearly not interested.

Durant has MVP numbers, but so do Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jayson Tatum and others. If Durant is going to move to the front of the conversation, the first thing that has to happen is Brooklyn has to win a lot more games — 11-11 is not going to cut it when Tatum’s Celtics and Antetokounmpo’s Bucks have the two best records in the NBA. Winning games and finishing on a top-three team in the conference matters to some voters (and traditionally is one measure of an MVP).

Watch Herb Jones inbound off Pokusevski’s back, seal win for Pelicans

Oklahoma City Thunder v New Orleans Pelicans
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With 2.3 seconds left in the game and the Thunder down 2, they needed to steal the inbounds pass from New Orleans to have a real chance. That’s why when Aleksej Pokusevski walked on the court it looked like he was going to guard the inbounder, Herbert Jones.

Instead, Pokusevski turned his back to Jones, putting himself in position to step in front of anyone cutting to the ball to catch the inbounds. Except, Jones made the clever play to seal the game.

Pokusevski fouled Jones, who sank both free throws and sealed the 105-101 Pelicans win.

The Pelicans got 23-8-8 from Zion Williamson and picked up a win without CJ McCollum or Brandon Ingram in the lineup. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continued his dominant start to the season and scored 31.

Watch Lakers fan drain half-court shot to win $75,000

Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers
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It might have been the loudest the crypto.com Arena was all night.

Between the third and fourth quarters, Lakers fan Jamie Murry of Downey won $75,000 draining a half-court shot — and he got to celebrate with Anthony Davis.

Murry’s celebration is the best part — with Anthony Davis coming out to celebrate with him (and seeming a little shocked by the hug).

One other big shot fell at this game, but Lakers’ fans didn’t like it as much — Pacers’ rookie Andrew Nembhard drained a game-winning 3-pointer as time expired.