Bullock says playing against Mavericks made him want to play for them

Dallas Mavericks Press Conference
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The Dallas Mavericks offseason was underwhelming. They had a lot of cap space but were not able to use it to bring in a true No. 2 to play next to Luka Doncic. However, they did overhaul the front office and bring in Jason Kidd to replace Rick Carlisle as coach (a move that may have been needed for personality reasons but is not seen as an upgrade around the league).

The one good move: Adding wing Reggie Bullock on a three-year, $30 million contract (he signed for the mid-level exception, but the third year of the contract is only partially guaranteed). He scored 10.9 points a game last season for the Knicks but more importantly shot 41% from 3 — the kind of shooter needed around Doncic.

At his introductory press conference, Bullock said it was playing against the Mavericks last season that made him want to come to Dallas. From the Mavericks’ official site.

“From when I played against the Mavericks last year, I liked the way that they competed as a team,” Bullock said. “They’ve got great players, so it was an easy no-brainer for me (to sign with the Mavs)…

“Being with the Knicks last year — we made it to the playoffs — but I see [Dallas] as a team that has taken that next step to be in the postseason,” Bullock said. “I felt like the skill set that I have was easy for me to be able to make this move to be able to come back down here and be around a great organization and a great city around great fans and just bring my game here.”

The 76ers, Lakers, and Celtics, among others, showed some interest in Bullock, but Dallas offered him the most money on the table and a defined role. He and also-added Sterling Brown bring the kind of 3&D play that Dallas lacked in its first-round playoff loss to the Clippers.

Is that enough in a West with LeBron in Los Angeles, plus Phoenix and Utah bringing back rosters that had a strong season (the Jazz stumbled in the postseason due to injuries)? Time will tell. Any team with Luka Doncic is a threat, but who is the secondary playmaker and No. 2 scoring option on this team? Kristaps Porzingis? (Don’t put much stock in the Goran Dragic trade rumors.)

That said, Bullock makes the Mavericks better. And he is where he wants to be.

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.