Missed a game last night? Wondering what the latest news around the NBA is this morning? The Morning Shootaround is here to try to meet those needs and keep you up on what’s happened around the league since the day turned.
The one recap to watch: You knowit was a great night in the NBA when our choices this morning are a triple-double game or a player scoring 47 points in 48 minutes. The triple-double performance? That came courtesy of Denver’s do-it-all star Andre Iguodala, who led the way in the Nuggets’ win over the Spurs. The 47-point effort — with eight rebounds, five assists, four blocks and three steals thrown in for good measure — came from Kobe Bryant in a close win against the Blazers. Which one do we pick? As great as Iguodala’s performance was, we’ve got to give it up for Bryant. It was a classic will-the-Lakers-to-a-win performance from the Black Mamba as he is doing everything he can down the stretch to make sure the Lakers keep hold of that No. 8 seed out West.
News of the morning
Williams impresses in win over Celts — Over the last week or so, we’ve had plenty of posts praising Nets guard Deron Williams for the revival in his game (as well as news that he’s giving up cortisone shots on his ankle). If the Celtics were unaware of just how much better D-Will has been playing, though, they got an education last night. Williams toasted Boston for 29 points and 12 assists and in the process made Boston look silly on several occasions, writes Tim Bontemps of the New York Post:
Deron Williams looks ready for the playoffs to start.
Williams was spectacular against the Celtics last night, finishing with 29 points and 12 assists as the Nets came away with a 101-93 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 18,624 inside TD Garden.
With the win, the Nets moved closer to wrapping up fourth place in the Eastern Conference and clinching homecourt advantage in the first round. They own a 3 ¹/₂ -game edge over idle Chicago with four games left to play in the regular season.
Williams even was able to make Avery Bradley, one of the league’s elite on-ball defenders, look silly. Bradley, Boston’s starting point guard, managed to play just 10 minutes after Williams saddled him with four fouls, and none of Bradley’s teammates fared much better.
It’s the kind of virtuoso performance the Nets have come to expect from Williams in recent weeks, as he continued his dramatic resurgence since the All-Star break. Williams came into last night’s game averaging 22.5 points and 7.8 assists a night.
He did a large portion of his damage in the second quarter, when the Nets took control of the game for good after the two teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter.
Williams finished with 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting and four assists in the second quarter alone, including a pair of slick passes to Brook Lopez and Joe Johnson, respectively, for buckets in the final minutes of the half to send the Nets into the locker room with a 53-43 lead, an advantage they basically maintained for the rest of the game.
Davis hurt vs. Kings; Hornets hope for best — Our own Scott Howard-Cooper was on the scene last night in Sacramento for a game between the lottery-bound Hornets and Kings. What should have been a good late-season assessment game for two young clubs took a nasty turn in the fourth quarter when the Hornets’ prized rookie, Anthony Davis, went down with a knee injury. The Hornets were a bit ambiguous in how Davis is doing, but are hoping for the best with his health:
But that gave way to the uncertainty of the centerpiece, Davis, limping out of the locker room and headed for the flight back to New Orleans and a likely MRI exam on his left knee.
The initial diagnosis was a sprain, the result of Sacramento’s Marcus Thornton landing hard on Davis’ knee when Davis was on the court after challenging a Thornton drive under the basket in the fourth quarter of the 121-110 Kings victory. Davis, walking under his own power, left the arena with security and was not talking.
“I think he’s OK,” coach Monty Williams said. “I don’t want to jump the gun. I didn’t see the play yet, but he said Marcus landed on his knee. He said he’s a little sore. I’m just glad it wasn’t a buckle or a ligament or anything like that. We don’t know that for sure. But usually when somebody lands on it, it could be a contusion. It’s probably more scary than anything else. We’ve got to let the doctors check him out and make sure. He’s walking around. He’s got ice on it.”
Williams added that “I’m pretty sure we’ll rush him right over to our people” after the team lands in New Orleans to get an MRI.
Gortat healing up, eying return — It has been more than a month since the Suns have had the services of center Marcin Gortat, who has been out since severely spraining his foot in a game against the Raptors. But the Phoenix big man has been working out hard and has plans to get in at least one more game before the end of the season, writes Paul Coro of The Arizona Republic:
Suns center Marcin Gortat has been all over the place on a possible return but has narrowed down the scenarios to the possibility of a comeback for the Suns home finale against Houston. He is with the team on the road for the first time since suffering a right foot sprain March 6.
“I’ve really been lifting hard,” Gortat said. “I started taking true jump shots. I’m coming back fast. I just need a little more time. I need to get in basketball shape. My jumper is so messed up. I don’t have a feel for the ball much. I’ll be back. I don’t know if it’s this year or next year. I’ll try to go against Houston at home on Monday. I need practice to see how I feel. I’d love to play. But if there is a little thing that doesn’t feel right, I’m not going to play. There’s no reason for me to risk it.”
Gortat acknowledged that he would receive a Nike contract bonus with one more appearance but he said the statistical portions of that bonus are now unattainable. Gortat averaged 11.1 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks in 61 games this season.
ICYMI of the night: Chris Anderson, formerly of the Nuggets, has just been getting victimized by his old teammates. The latest to slam on him? None other than Washington’s Nene … :