Three things to know: More than postponed game, NBA players frustrated after another shooting


The NBA season is deep into its second half, and we will be here each weekday with the NBC Sports daily roundup Three Things to Know — everything you might have missed in the Association, every key moment from the night before in one place.

1) Postponed Nets/Timberwolves game just tip of iceberg

It’s a feeling of helplessness that frustrates many NBA players.

For some, the past 24 hours felt similar to the Jacob Blake shooting that took place during the bubble last August (and led to a stoppage of games for a couple of days) — players have spent a year speaking out, using their platforms, raising awareness and money, and making concrete steps to see change in communities nationwide.

Yet they felt helpless when another unarmed Black man — 20-year-old Daunte Wright — was shot and killed by a police officer during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, just 14 miles from where George Floyd died at the hands of police.

The NBA postponed the Brooklyn Nets at Minnesota Timberwolves game scheduled in Minneapolis Monday night. The league made the move after talking to the players on both teams, and saying it was “in light of the tragic events in the Minneapolis area yesterday.”

It was the right thing to do. The Minnesota Twins also postponed their game Monday against the Boston Red Sox, and the NHL’s Minnesota Wild postponed their matchup against the St. Louis Blues.

There were reactions from around the league to the shooting, with Doc Rivers among those speaking out.

As he tends to do, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich expressed the frustration of many.

Those are all good words, but many NBA players — and a lot of people outside of basketball — are looking for actions and real-world answers. Not just a lot of platitudes until the next shooting.

And they are understandably frustrated that young Black men keep losing their lives at the hands of police officers.

(As for the Timberwolves/Nets game, if it is not made up on Tuesday it will create a back-to-back-to-back for at least one team down the line, but no announcement has been made.)

2) Stephen Curry puts up 53, passes Wilt to become Warriors greatest scorer

It was a vintage Stephen Curry.

He entered the night needing just 19 points to pass Wilt Chamberlain and become the Warriors’ all-time leading scorer — and he did that in the first quarter.

Curry was far from done. He went on to score 53 on the night, hitting 10 threes, to lead the Warriors to an upset win over the red hot Denver Nuggets. This was a night of classic Curry; there is nothing anyone can do to stop him.

After the game, Steve Kerr gave Curry the game ball, and the future Hall of Famer was overwhelmed.

There was one scary moment in the final minute of this game: Nuggets star point guard Jamal Murray went down with a non-contact left knee injury and had to be helped off the court. This looks scary.

The Nuggets are waiting for an MRI to determine what the injury is and what the next steps will be. But if Murray is out for the playoffs, it is a huge blow to a Nuggets team that had looked like contenders.

3) Joel Embiid, 76ers dominate Dallas

That was MVP-level Joel Embiid.

Not just back but now fully healthy, Embiid put up a 36-point, seven-rebound night where he just dominated the Mavericks.

Dallas threw everything at Embiid. Maxi Kleber started at center for Dallas but quickly was in foul trouble. Nicolo Melli took a turn but was overwhelmed. Dorian Finney-Smith got a chance, but he’s just too small. Then came the double-teams, with smaller players, but Embiid just split them. Then Dallas went big with Boban Marjanovic and his goldfish, but he is not quick enough. Willie Cauley-Stein got his chance and shoved Embiid to the ground, but that just made Embiid mad and he came back down and posted Cauley-Stein up and got a bucket.

Dallas had no answer — and 29 other teams may not, either.

Luka Doncic finished the night with 32 points, but with Kristaps Porzingins out the Mavs offense wasn’t the same and wasn’t enough.

Next up for Philadelphia is a showdown with Brooklyn, although we’ll see how many of their stars play in Wednesday’s game.

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

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

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

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

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.

Boban? Crowder? Holmgren? Exploring player votes for All-Star starters

CrawsOver Pro-Am
Cassy Athena/Getty Images

Four NBA players — not one as a joke, but four… as a joke — voted for injured Thunder rookie Chet Holmgren to start the NBA All-Star Game.

The NBA All-Star Game starters were announced Thursday, chosen from a weighted vote of fans (50%), media (25%) and current players (25%).

While most NBA players may take their All-Star Game starter votes seriously, some do not — they vote for friends, college teammates, guys with the same agent, or just whoever they feel like.

Which is comedy gold once we comb through the public vote (Note: names are not attached to who cast a vote, but we do see who got votes). This season, that list of players getting at least one vote to be an All-Star starter include:

Bol Bol (Orlando Magic, he got six votes)
Willy Hernangomez (New Orleans Pelicans, he got five votes)
Juancho Hernangomez (Toronto Raptors, he got three votes)
Omer Yurtseven (Miami Heat, he got three votes)
Georges Niang (Philadelphia 76ers, he got five votes)
Ochai Agbaji (Utah Jazz, he got four votes)
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Oklahoma City Thunder, he got three votes)
Bismack Biyombo (Phoenix Suns, he got three votes)
Jae Crowder (Phoenix Suns, he got two votes)
Udonis Haslem (Miami Heat, he got two votes)
Blake Griffin (Boston Celtics)
Boban Marjanovic (Houston Rockets)
Kemba Walker (Dallas Mavericks)
Kendrick Nunn (Los Angeles Lakers)
Ish Smith (Denver Nuggets)
Torrey Craig (Phoenix Suns)
Luka Garza (Minnesota Timberwolves)
Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings)
Furkan Korkmaz (Philadelphia 76ers)
R.J. Hampton (Orlando Magic)
Johnny Davis (Washington Wizards)
Cedi Osman (Cleveland Cavaliers)
MarJon Beauchamp (Milwaukee Bucks)
Paul Reed (Philadelphia 76ers)

That is just a fraction of the entire list.