Toney Douglas

J.R. Smith reacts to Cavaliers signing Toney Douglas with…

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J.R. Smith may have LeBron James in his corner, but Smith and the Cavaliers remain at a contract impasse. Smith feels he deserves more money — it’s rumored he wants $15 million a year — and more security, plus he has a hard-driving agent in Rich Paul. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers are way over the tax line and know whatever they pay Smith they can multiply by four in dollars it will cost them.

Then on Monday, the Cavaliers signed Toney Douglas as a possible reserve guard. Smith, how do you feel about that?

That tweet came right after the news of the Douglas signing broke.

If I were Smith, I would be frustrated as well.

Although to be fair, Smith is a two guard and Douglas was brought in as a potential backup point (who could play a little two in a pinch). With Mo Williams retirement, things are thin behind Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers are looking for help. Douglas may provide that.

As for Smith, a veteran missing some training camp is no big deal, but at some point in the next couple of weeks the two sides need to reach a compromise. The defending champs don’t need this distraction — what Pat Riley used to call “the disease of more ” — heading into the season.

Searching for point guard depth, Cavaliers sign Toney Douglas for camp

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With Mo Williams making his retirement official, the Cleveland Cavaliers need point guard depth. They have Kyrie Irving, but after him it’s Kay Felder and then…

Maybe Toney Douglas. Monday Cleveland announced the signing of Douglas to a non-guaranteed contract, giving the veteran guard a chance to make the roster. Eric Moreland was waived to create the roster spot.

Douglas was with the Pelicans the last couple of seasons, he played in 61 games for them last season (starting 18) and averaged 8.7 points and 2.6 assists per game, he shot 39.9 percent from three (taking nearly half his shots from beyond the arc), and he played solidly for them. That was not enough for a team that needs point guard depth to keep him.

Douglas isn’t a traditional playmaker, he’s looking more for his own shot, but he plays decent defense and is enough of a veteran to know how to fit into a system on the court and in the locker room off it. While there are a lot of players vying for the last couple of roster spots in Cleveland — Jordan McRae and DeAndre Liggins are striving to make it as a reserve point guard as well — it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Douglas make the cut.

 

76ers avoid NBA record for losses in a season

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PHILADELPHIA — These 76ers are relieved not to be part of history.

Carl Landry scored 22 points to lead Philadelphia to a 107-93 victory over the injury-depleted New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night, ensuring that the 76ers won’t tie their own league record for fewest victories in an 82-game season.

“We didn’t want to be a part of that,” Landry said. “We tried to do whatever it took to lock in, in practice, in film sessions and just have a carryover to each and every game.”

Philadelphia improved to 10-68 and now is one win clear of the 1972-73 76ers, who set an NBA mark for futility with a 9-73 mark. The 76ers have four games remaining.

“We hope to get a few more before our season ends,” Philadelphia coach Brett Brown said, adding he was happy for his players.

“They’re good people, they genuinely care (and) they put in a fantastic day’s work,” he said. “Our record wouldn’t indicate that, but they do. And so to get a win and just move on, they deserve that.”

Isaiah Canaan added 16 points for the 76ers, who snapped a 12-game losing streak while winning for just the second time in the last 27 contests.

Landry made his first nine shots before finishing 9 for 10 from the field, including tying a career high with two 3-pointers.

Dante Cunningham led the Pelicans with 19 points and Alexis Ajinca chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds.

Data curated by PointAfter

The game had more of a D-League feel to it.

The Pelicans started five players who have combined to start just 76 games this season. And only Tim Frazier, whom the Pelicans signed on March 16, entered averaging more than 7.6 points. Joining Frazier in New Orleans’ starting five were Luke Babbitt, Toney Douglas, Ajinca and Cunningham.

The Pelicans were missing nearly 100 points of scoring without injured players Anthony Davis (left knee), Ryan Anderson (sports hernia), Tyreke Evans (right knee), Eric Gordon (fractured right ring finger), Jrue Holiday (right inferior orbital wall fracture) and Norris Cole (lower back).

“We don’t have any excuses,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “You have to make do with what you have. There’s no sympathy in this league.”

Helped by Landry’s 10 third-quarter points in just 4 1/2 minutes, Philadelphia took an 88-73 lead into the final period.

The 76ers used a 10-3 run to open the final quarter to go in front 98-78 with 9 minutes remaining. T.J. McConnell capped the spurt with a spinning, driving layup that drew fans in the crowd of 10,978 to their feet.

“I didn’t see it tonight,” Gentry said. “I thought we were trying, but we just didn’t have that energy we usually have.”

M-V-P! M-V-P!

The fans serenaded Landry with chants of “M-V-P! M-V-P” late in the game, something not heard on Philadelphia’s home court since the days of recent Hall of Fame inductee Allen Iverson.

Even Landry was surprised by the crowd’s reaction.

“I was like, `What? MVP? Me?”‘ he said. “It was funny. It definitely put a smile on my face, and it makes me feel good.

“It definitely made me feel good that the fans of Philly, blue-collar people, the majority of them, appreciate the effort that I put in, each and every day.”

VILLANOVA PROUD

Cunningham, a member of Villanova’s 2009 Final Four team, wore his Final Four jersey and a Wildcats hat in the visiting locker room after the game.

He’s been connecting with former teammates and coach Jay Wright over the last 24 hours.

“I haven’t been able to keep my phone charged,” he said. “I’ve been texting the whole time. It’s been awesome.”

Along with his Pelicans teammates, Cunningham watched the championship game from a private room in a Philadelphia steakhouse.

“I was screaming the whole time,” he said. “It was good.”

He hoped to catch up with Wright and the Wildcats upon their return to Philadelphia on Tuesday, but their arrival didn’t match the Pelicans’ schedule.

Cunningham received cheers during pregame introductions.

TIP-INS

Pelicans: The Pelicans beat the 76ers 121-114 on Feb. 19 in New Orleans. … The Pelicans, who entered on a two-game winning streak, last won three straight games Jan. 19-23. … Frazier averaged 5.7 points and 7.2 assists in six games with the 76ers last season. He finished with 12 points.

76ers: The crowd erupted in loud cheers in the first quarter when the 76ers replayed Kris Jenkins’ game-winning shot from Villanova’s national championship victory over North Carolina on Monday night. … Canaan strained his left shoulder in the third quarter but later returned. … Elton Brand made his first start in his 15th game for the 76ers. Brand finished with two points.

UP NEXT

Pelicans: At Boston on Wednesday night.

76ers: Host Knicks on Friday night.

Jrue Holiday’s 22 points leads Pelicans past Clippers, 109-105

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jrue Holiday scored 22 points and the injury-riddled New Orleans Pelicans beat the Los Angeles Clippers 109-105 on Sunday night.

Omer Asik scored a season-high 15 points and tied his season best with 14 rebounds for New Orleans, while Dante Cunningham scored a season-high 19 points. Reserve guard Tim Frazier added a season-high 17 points.

Chris Paul and J.J. Redick each scored 24 points, and Paul also had 13 assists for the Clippers, who lost in Memphis on Saturday night and were playing their second game in less than 24 hours. Los Angeles missed 19 3-point attempts and 13 free throws.

Still, despite trailing by 11 with 1:23 left, the Clippers could have tied it when DeAndre Jordan dunked as he was fouled. But Jordan missed his free throw with 27 seconds left. Former Pelican Austin Rivers also missed a 3-point shot that would have tied it in the final seconds.

The Pelicans tipped off shortly after announcing All-Star forward Anthony Davis, who hurt his left knee on Friday night, would miss the rest of the season to treat that injury as well as a torn labrum in his left shoulder that played with for much of the season.

Davis’ knee injury was not believed to be serious, but with the Pelicans virtually eliminated from playoff contention, coach Alvin Gentry said it seemed prudent to shut down the club’s franchise player during the final few weeks of the regular season.

Yet New Orleans found plenty of ways to score, thanks to several players either surpassing or approaching season highs in scoring. Luke Babbitt scored 14 points, including two free throws with 14 seconds left that gave the Pelicans a 108-105 lead. After Rivers’ missed 3, Toney Douglas capped his 15-point night with a free throw that sealed it with 1.5 seconds left.

Jamal Crawford had 14 points, and the Clippers wanted him to shoot the potential tying 3, but Holiday’s defense led Crawford to give the ball up and Rivers wound up having to put it up as time wound down.

Jordan finished with 12 points, but missed five of 11 free-throw attempts.

New Orleans’ lead got as large as 14 when Holiday’s driving layup made it 102-88 with 2:18 left.

TIP-INS

Clippers: The Clippers rested starting forward Jeff Green, who was elbowed in the head during Saturday night’s loss at Memphis. Paul Pierce started in Green’s place. … When fans heckled Clippers coach Doc Rivers for complaining about a foul called against his team, he turned to the crowd and shouted, “You really think that was a foul?” When several spectators answered in the affirmative, Rivers responded, “You better be honest. It’s a Sunday.”

Pelicans: The Pelicans’ announcement that Davis would miss the rest of the season meant New Orleans would be without four starters for its final 14 games, including small forward Quincy Pondexter (who never played this season), and guards Tyreke Evans and Eric Gordon. … Two of the Pelicans five starters against the Clippers still have fewer than 10 starts apiece this season. Douglas made his sixth start and Babbitt his seventh.

 

Stephen Curry scores 27 points playing on 28th birthday, Warriors win 60th

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Stephen Curry had 27 points, five rebounds and five assists on his 28th birthday, and the Golden State Warriors beat the New Orleans Pelicans 125-107 on Monday night for their record 49th straight regular-season home victory.

Draymond Green added 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Warriors (60-6), who are 31-0 at Oracle Arena this season. With 16 games to go, they remain one game ahead of the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ pace in their record 72-win season.

Birthday songs, MVP chants, and a serenade and piece of cake from his toddler daughter, Riley, made it a great day for Curry – all after his fifth Western Conference Player of the Week award this season and second in two weeks.

He shot 4 for 9 from 3-point range and 10 of 16 overall.

Anthony Davis had 22 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, while Toney Douglas drew the tough task of defending Curry.

Klay Thompson added 18 points for Golden State, which swept the teams’ first-round playoff series last year 4-0.

The Warriors clinched the Pacific Division during their off day Sunday, giving the franchise back-to-back Pacific titles for the first time since the 1974-75 and 1975-76 seasons.

“It’s going to go unnoticed for the most part because of our record and because of our goals,” coach Steve Kerr said. “It’s a major accomplishment.”

The Pelicans opened the season at Oracle Arena on Oct. 27 and New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry received his championship ring after serving as Warriors associate head coach last season as the franchise captured its first title in 40 years.

The teams played twice in five days to start the season.

“I told the guys: `This is a game you should embrace. They’re doing something special,”‘ Gentry said of Golden State.

The Warriors trailed 40-38 with 7:18 before halftime, then went on a 19-6 run late in the second quarter for a 59-50 lead at the break. Marreese Speights had 14 points and seven rebounds, and Anderson Varejao scored seven during the second quarter in another productive night by the reserves.

MOST 3-POINTERS BY TEAMMATES

Curry (322) and Thompson (209) have the most combined 3s by teammates during a single season in NBA history with 531, topping their previous-best mark of 525 from last season.

Curry played on his birthday for the third straight year and fourth time overall.

KERR CREDITS GENTRY

Kerr was on a leave of absence for the season opener last fall while recovering from complications after two back surgeries, so he didn’t get to coach opposite good friend Gentry that night – or in the second game four days later.

Gentry meant so much to the then-first-year coach last season as his right-hand man on the bench.

“Alvin was just huge given that it was my first year coaching,” Kerr said. “His impact no doubt helped us win the championship and helped me kind of settle in to my new job.”

Gentry isn’t surprised by Golden State’s success under Kerr.

“Steve is a terrific leader,” Gentry said. “This isn’t anything that’s new. He’s been preparing for this for a long time. He put in so much work. When we worked together in Phoenix, he would ask questions. He wanted to know about specific plays. I didn’t have any doubt he was going to be a great coach. He worked at it so hard. I learned so much from him just being here the one year that I was.”

TIP-INS

Pelicans: New Orleans hasn’t won on the Warriors’ home floor since April 24, 2012. … The reeling Pelicans used their 33rd different starting lineup. … New Orleans is 6-17 on the road against the Western Conference.

Warriors: C Andrew Bogut had a 3-pointer on one end and a block on the other in one third-quarter sequence. It was his third career 3. … The Warriors moved to 2-2 in four games with Curry playing on his birthday. … Golden State has a seven-game home winning streak against New Orleans and three in a row overall.