Watch Murray force OT, Jokic score 29 points with 22 boards as Nuggets beat Suns

0 Comments

PHOENIX — There was extra basketball played in Phoenix for a second straight night and it was all Jamal Murray‘s fault.

The fifth-year Nuggets guard has done some of the finest work in his NBA career against the Suns and the good times lasted deep into Saturday evening largely because of his clutch shooting.

Murray’s difficult, off-balance 3-pointer at the end of regulation forced overtime and Denver outlasted Phoenix 120-112 in two overtimes.

Nikola Jokic scored 29 points and grabbed 22 rebounds while Murray added 26 points.

“This felt like a playoff game,” Denver coach Michael Malone said. “Playing the same team, starters playing in double OT, you ask a lot of your starters and they deliver.”

It was the second straight impressive win for the Nuggets, who have won eight of their past 11 games. Denver won 130-126 in a single overtime Friday after rallying from a 14-point halftime deficit.

Saturday’s game was even more entertaining with the two teams trading last-second, game-tying 3s.

Murray hit his while falling out of bounds with Deandre Ayton in his face as time expired in regulation. Phoenix’s Jae Crowder responded with a 3-pointer with 0.7 seconds left in the first overtime to send the game deeper into the night.

By comparison, the final minutes were boring. The Nuggets scored the first five points of the second overtime and never trailed.

The Suns played without All-Star guard Devin Booker for the first time this season. Averaging a team-high 22.9 points, he hurt his left hamstring Friday.

Jokic scored 12 of his 29 points during the two overtimes. Michael Porter Jr. came off the bench to score 14 points and grab 11 rebounds.

“I was feeling good,” Jokic said. “When you’re playing, you’re feeling good … It’s after the game when you feel it.”

Chris Paul hit a 15-foot jumper with 12 seconds left in regulation to put the Suns ahead 98-95 but Murray responded with his clutch 3-pointer. The 6-foot-11 Ayton had a hand right in his face, but the ball splashed through the next anyway.

Murray came into the game averaging 20.8 points against the Suns in his career, which is his most against any team.

The first overtime was just as tight as the fourth quarter. Jokic made a smooth move in the post to get past Frank Kaminsky, making a layup while being fouled with 28 seconds left. He made the free throw to put the Nuggets up 104-102.

The Suns had a chance to take the lead when Abdel Nader was fouled on a 3-pointer from the corner, but he missed two of three free throws. Jokic’s two free throws put Denver ahead 106-103 before Crowder responded with a 3 with 0.7 seconds left to tie it and force even more basketball.

It was Crowder’s sixth 3-pointer of the night. Crowder and Paul led the Suns with 21 points each. Paul also had 13 assists. Cam Johnson scored 19 points but didn’t play in the final minutes because of muscle cramps.

“We did play very hard, put it out there,” Johnson said. “It is frustrating, very frustrating.”

Suns coach Monty Williams said it was hard to be mad about his team’s effort. He added that he felt his team – playing without Booker – got tired in the final minutes and couldn’t quite finish.

“I was just unbelievably proud of how they competed tonight,” Williams said. “We could have mailed it in coming off a tough one.”

The Nuggets got a big boost from their bench, which added 52 points.

Ayton had 15 points and eight rebounds in the first half as the Suns pushed to a 61-58 halftime lead. Paul had 12 assists before the break, one day after tying a franchise record with 14 assists in the first half.

 

Dolan says he he has no plan to sell Knicks, retire, but he loves facial recognition

Celebrity Sightings In New York City - October 06, 2022
James Devaney/GC Images
0 Comments

Knicks owner James Dolan has been better in recent years about staying out of the way of the front office and staying out of the media spotlight — both of which are good for the Knicks and their fans’ sanity.

However, he stepped back in the spotlight the past couple of days — doing an interview on “Good Day New York” on Fox 5 Thursday then WFAN sports talk radio on Friday — and reminded everyone why it’s best when he stays out of it. Here are the highlights of these interviews.

• Dolan isn’t going anywhere, saying to WFAN he is not selling the team, nor does he plan to retire. Via Fred Katz at The Athletic:

“I have no plans whatsoever to sell at this point. I’m not retiring anytime soon. It’s a family-controlled asset, so someone in the family will eventually own it.”

That was a bit of a pipe dream for Knicks fans, there had been no rumors of a sale. With the value of NBA franchises rising rapidly and Dolan enjoying being the owner of one of the biggest brands in the sport, there has been little chance of a sale.

• Dolan defended Madison Square Garden’s controversial use of facial recognition technology to ban attorneys from firms involved in lawsuits against the Knicks or MSG from entering the property (or other Madison Square Garden properties, such as Radio City Music Hall).

“At Madison Square Garden, if you’re suing us, we’re just asking of you — please don’t come until you’re done with your argument with us. And yes, we’re using facial recognition to enforce that…

“If someone is suing you, that’s confrontational. It’s adversarial. If you’re being sued, you don’t have to welcome that person into your home.”

Except, it isn’t a home, it’s a public building where sports and entertainment events take place for which tickets are sold. Also, there are fans saying they have been banned from the building because of social media posts critical of Dolan.

• This policy has created a considerable backlash, including from the New York Attorney General, who said the policy could violate anti-discrimination laws in the state. Lawmakers in the New York state assembly introduced a bill prohibiting sports venues — such as Madison Square Garden — from refusing entry to attorneys or others involved in lawsuits against the organization.

• Dolan said on FOX 5 that the State Liquor Authority reached out to the Madison Square Garden company saying the use of facial recognition technology in this manner could lead to a suspension of their liquor license.

“This isn’t going to bother me because I’ve been sober 29 years. I don’t need the liquor.”

Dolan even hinted he could do a dry New York Rangers game on Fox, but he backed away from that idea the next day speaking on WFAN.

• Dolan reiterated his support of current Knicks decision-maker Leon Rose.

Dolan also went on to say he expects the Knicks to make the playoffs this season, however, there is no timeline for the team to contend for a ring.

What will Rockets do at trade deadline? Send out Gordon? Bring in Collins?

Minnesota Timberwolves v Houston Rockets
Logan Riely/NBAE via Getty Images
0 Comments

There’s a sense in league circles that this is the final season Houston will be okay with having one of the worst — as of today, the worst — record in the NBA. The Rockets hope to grab one of the big names at the top of the draft board this season, but they already have drafted Jalen Green at No. 2 (2021) and Jabari Smith Jr. at No. 3 (2022), plus made a draft night trade for Alperen Şengün (who is playing well). With cap space to spend and extensions coming up, the tanking days will be over.

How will that impact the Rockets at this trade deadline? Here are a few names to watch.

Kelly Iko at The Athletic reports the Rockets have interest in the Hawks’ John Collins and the sides have talked, but there is no real traction yet.

There has been nothing concrete from the Rockets — merely ideas floated by the Hawks to Houston among other teams — but the interest is real.

The Rockets could also be part of a larger, three-team trade to move Collins.

Eric Gordon remains on the trade block, as he has been for more than a year. Gordon has been frustrated waiting, but the Rockets have held out for what they thought was fair — a first-round pick — to no avail. That price likely comes down, and according to Iko at The Athletic, the front office is “more inclined to trade him now” than in the past, but the proof will be in a deal.

• Teams also are calling about K.J. Martin, according to Iko.

K.J. Martin, there continues to be interest in the 22-year-old combo forward who has been quite productive as a starter — averaging 14 points and seven rebounds on 35 percent shooting from 3 — but nothing concrete at this juncture in terms of offers on the table.

The Rockets like Martin, it’s going to take a serious offer to get them to consider it.

Knicks reportedly offered multiple first-round picks for OG Anunoby, got nowhere

Boston Celtics v Toronto Raptors
Cole Burston/Getty Images
0 Comments

What are the Toronto Raptors going to do at the trade deadline?

It’s less than two weeks before the trade deadline and the entire NBA is still asking that question, the Raptors are the one team that could turn this trade deadline from a dud to epic if they decide to pivot toward a rebuild. Are they willing to trade players like OG Anunoby or Pascal Siakam, or will they look to add a more traditional big man such as the Spurs’ Jakob Poeltl, who has been linked to the Raptors in rumors? Everything seems to be on the table.

Anunoby is a player a lot of teams covet, including New York. The Knicks reached out to the Raptors, reports Ian Begley of SNY.TV.

“And Anunoby with Toronto, I mean, that would cost you a lot. That would cost you significant draft compensation. Maybe the Knicks are there, maybe they’re feeling like they could make the playoffs and make a big push if you added in Anunoby. I know that we reported they contacted Toronto on Anunoby and I was told in that conversation they offered multiple firsts. But this was a while back… Toronto has done a lot since then. But I don’t think the league is crystal clear on what [the Raptors] want to do on Anunoby.”

Anunoby is an elite on-ball wing defender who can be a finisher, averaging 17.3 points and 5.6 rebounds a game at age 25 — the asking price will start at two unprotected first-round picks in this market. The Knicks may have thrown some of their protected picks in the conversation, but Toronto’s asking price is reportedly sky-high because they’re not eager to get rid of him.

Anunoby is making $17.4 million this season and is under contract for $18.2 million next season, a fair price for what he brings to the court (he has a player option at $19.9 million in 2024-25). What the Raptors do with him may signal their direction.

At the deadline, most people around the league expect Toronto to trade Gary Trent Jr., but that’s it. Any other big moves are likely this offseason. If ever.

Reprots: Luka Doncic day-to-day with “mild” ankle sprain

Washington Wizards v Dallas Mavericks
Tom Pennington/Getty Images
0 Comments

While there are grades of ankle sprains, ask anyone trying to walk around on one if there is a “mild” version.

Yet that’s what Mavericks sources say about Luka Doncic’s ankle sprain suffered against the Suns on Thursday night. He is “day-to-day” with the injury, a story first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (and since confirmed by others).

Doncic has been playing through ankle soreness in recent weeks and it’s fair to expect the Mavericks to give him a few games off. However, it can’t be too many for a team fighting for a playoff spot, the Mavs are 0-5 in games Doncic has rested this season and have been outscored by 5.3 points per 100 possessions this season when he sits (although they did beat the Suns largely without him Thursday). Doncic is an All-Star starter averaging 33.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 8.6 assists a game.

Dallas plays next on Saturday against the Jazz. It would be a surprise to see Doncic suit up for that game.

https://twitter.com/CallieCaplan/status/1619016699289956353