Morning Shootaround — Dec. 28


VIDEO: The Daily Zap for games played Dec. 27

NEWS OF THE MORNING

LeBron suffers strained groin | Beal injures left knee | Kidd losing support | Dolan talked to Knicks | Pacers can get better

No. 1: LeBron suffers strained groin — If Russell Westbrook‘s and Al Horford‘s injuries weren’t enough, there were a couple of more significant ones suffered during Friday’s nine-game slate. And the four-time MVP, one of the most durable players in recent memory, was not immune. In the process of passing Larry Bird and Gary Payton on the all-time scoring list, LeBron James suffered a strained groin, as reported by Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report:

It wasn’t especially apparent when LeBron James made the first three-pointer, or the second, or third, that late spree of nine points in 31.3 seconds of overtime nearly saving the night for the Miami Heat.

But after he spoke to the media and revealed that he’d strained his groin sometime way back in the second quarter, James’ discomfort became painfully clear.

The simple walk to the shower was a struggle.

“It ain’t feeling too good right now,” James said.

And so, now, after the Heat dropped a 108-103 decision to the Sacramento Kings—their sixth loss this season to a team currently under .500—there’s a cloud over another of the team’s highly anticipated showdowns.

After a day’s rest, James scored 24 points, with nine rebounds and seven assists in a Dec. 18 victory against Indiana. This time, though, only 20 hours separate James and the Heat from tipoff against the team with the NBA’s best record, the Portland Trail Blazers.

Will James play?

“See how it feels tomorrow,” James said.

***

No. 2: Beal injures left knee — Earlier in the night, the Wizards suffered a scare when Bradley Beal injured his left knee in the fourth quarter of a loss in Minnesota. Michael Lee off the Washington Post has the story:

Bradley Beal banged left knees with Minnesota Timberwolves forward Luc Mbah a Moute, spun around and dropped on his back side. He tried to stand but collapsed again. Gasping and grimacing as he looked down, with his hands and knees on the hardwood, Beal kept pushing, telling himself to get up from the floor and walk over to the Washington Wizards’ bench. Until he finally relented.

“I really couldn’t get up,” Beal said. “I just fell because it was no way I could possibly move after that.”

The Wizards were well on their way to a humiliating 120-98 loss to the Timberwolves when Beal caused a panic amongst his teammates and fans with 4 minutes 27 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Martell Webster had just hit a three-pointer to bring the Wizards within 21 points. He turned and walked away but quickly was running back to check on Beal, who didn’t leave the floor until teammates Trevor Ariza and Jan Vesely lifted him on their shoulders and carried him to the locker room.

After having a precautionary X-ray, Beal moved down the hallway with the assistance of crutches but left the arena on his volition, limping and holding back his emotion. Beal will have an MRI exam Saturday in Washington but was encouraged about his outlook.

“The X-ray was pretty positive,” Beal said before smiling to catch himself. “It was negative. My bad. It was negative. That’s a good thing. I was hoping it wasn’t anything too, too serious or too crazy. Hopefully, I’ll be good moving forward.”

So, as the Thunder and Hawks (and Bulls and Nets and Lakers and Celtics) already dealing with extended absences from their All-Stars, the Heat and Wizards await further word on James’ and Beal’s injuries.

***

No. 3: Kidd losing supportThe Nets ended their four-game losing streak with a comfortable win over the Bucks on Friday, but it will take a lot more than a win over the worst team in the league to get Brooklyn back on track. And Jason Kidd might not have the answers needed. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! reports that Kidd has begun to lose some support within the organization:

The Nets had tried to be supportive of Kidd, but patience is running low on the belief he can deliver the structure and organization desperately needed. As the Nets have devolved into chaos, Kidd has increasingly isolated himself within the locker room and organization, sources told Yahoo Sports. From management to players, Kidd has shown an inability to manage crisis and keep the respect of his players.

Rifts exist between old players and new, trust eroded with every humiliating loss in this 9-19 season.

And yet, somehow, Kidd believes he can keep publicly eviscerating his players’ character and desire and spare himself blame and responsibility. For those around the Nets with a sense of history and irony, they remember Kidd running ex-coach Byron Scott out of his job for offenses born of this failed playbook.

Here’s the question management is grappling with: Does Brooklyn start unloading its star players and stay the course with the coach, or unload the coach and let someone else manage these star players?

***

No. 4: Dolan talked to KnicksThe Knicks may be in worse shape than their neighbors in Brooklyn, but apparently they have owner James Dolan‘s word that they shouldn’t fear for their jobs. As Marc Stein of ESPN reports, Dolan spoke to his players and coaches on Thursday, telling them that he’s not looking to shake things up:

Knicks chairman James Dolan told New York players in a meeting Thursday that there are no trades or changes to the coaching staff forthcoming, ESPN.com has learned.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that Dolan gathered the team before the first practice in the wake of New York’s embarrassing 29-point home loss to Oklahoma City on Christmas Day largely in an attempt to hush the growing speculation about coach Mike Woodson’s job security following the Knicks’ 9-19 start.

The discussion came amid increasing signs the Knicks’ effort and focus under Woodson is waning on top of the significant injury issues that have plagued them all season.

It’s believed Dolan took the step in an attempt to persuade Woodson’s players to band together and throw their full support behind the embattled coach to help dig New York out of the sizable hole it finds itself with essentially one-third of the regular season in the books, the sources said.

When an emboldened Woodson met reporters after Thursday’s practice, he promptly announced he still thinks New York can rally from its poor start to win the Atlantic Division.

“We won it last year, and I expect us to win it this year,” he said.

***

No. 5: Pacers can get betterDanny Granger has shot just 5-for-22 in his first three games back from a strained calf, but his healthy return means that the Pacers have room for improvement. Indiana now has a two-game lead in the loss column at the top of the Eastern Conference, but they don’t feel like they’re a complete team until Granger has been fully integrated into the rotation, as Candace Buckner of the Indianapolis Star writes:

Though Indiana (23-5) has outscored its past three opponents by an average of 25.8 points – and a repeat rival, the Brooklyn Nets, fills the dance card Saturday at Bankers Life Fieldhouse – coach Frank Vogel sees room for improvement, specifically with the full integration of Danny Granger in the rotation.

“I think (the rotation) will feel like it’s complete when Danny’s complete,” Vogel said. “Danny’s going to have ups and downs over the next six weeks where he’s just getting his legs under him, getting his rhythm and timing back. That’s going to be a process. Once he gets up to speed then it will feel complete.”

Since Granger made his season debut on Dec. 20, the Pacers have looked like a mighty force. That’s not to credit Granger as the cause for the three-game winning streak – shooting just 23 percent from the floor, he has consistently preached patience about getting his conditioning and rhythm back. Still, the Pacers have moved Granger from the end of the bench to 20 minutes per game quite effortlessly.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Avery Bradley can put the ball in the basketChris Paul takes the blame for the Clippers’ two-game losing streakComing off the bench has worked well for Danny GreenMichael Kidd-Gilchrist had his cast removed … and Metta World Peace revealed that he’s an alien.

ICYMI: Derrick Favors beat the Lakers with this throwdown on Friday…


VIDEO: Favors’ game-winning putback

50 Comments

  1. King James 4ever says:

    i was waiting to watch this game for a long time and just now i knew about him not being able to play.. its 5 am in my countryy haha hard luck i guess

    I hope you get healthy soon lebronn.. :D

  2. HEAT~HATER says:

    Excuses,excuses…lebron makes his excuses again..hahaha..bla bla bla…i don’t care if you comment here you HEAT fans..that guy makes his excuses..he only win a championship because of heat..it’s not his team…It’s WADE’s team..

  3. Let's go Heat says:

    Though I am a Heat fan, the Heat deserved the loss by the Kings. In fact, the Heat beat itself in the last few minutes in Q4, esp the stupid fragranut foul by Mario.

    • Let's go Heat says:

      For coach level, in what hell can they sit D-wade, Ray Allen and Birdman at the same time? Rest and ready for Poland game? Hope they can pay off. What a stupid decision by Heat’s coach!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. kobeballhog says:

    these people are so dumbwits heat lose not because of lebron, they lose because of chalmers boneheaded plays, that guy is dragging the whole team down that flagrant foul, just like the elbow he gave nowitzki and denying after that he did anything, he dont deserve to be a starting pointguard in any team in the nba.

  5. kingbld says:

    Oh I miss the days of Jordan when people appreciated and admired the greatness of the players who took to the court rather than hate on them for every little thing, no matter how unfounded, ridiculous, and flat out misguided they sound. LeBron is injured, why would he lie. Let’s hope we can all watch one more game from a player who has a legitimate, albeit slight, shot at going down as the greatest player ever to pick up a basketball.

  6. Moe says:

    LEBRON is a good player but the best player in the world no way get over it. As soon as his athleitsm declines it’s over for him.

  7. Catmeow says:

    Shape up already Brooklyn, that joke for a coach has got to go now!

  8. Raymond Harris says:

    Who’s The Best ? The Stats Says It All Read It,It Will Tell You Who’s The Most Commplete Players Are, Whats All The Fuss About ?.

  9. Freida says:

    For all you LeBron haters, stop judging LeBron. I saw the way LeBron was walking and how he was grimacing after the King game, and you could see something was wrong. LeBron doesn’t like to show any pain and he is always up to a challenge!

  10. D WADE says:

    Miami get Andrew Bynum and put him at center. Put C. Bosh at power forward. Shane Battier struggles to guard bigger players like David West. Also, Chris Bosh can space the floor just like Shane Battier

  11. dustydreamnz says:

    I agree Nameless, having an opinion is what this forum is about. No need to shout at anyone, just give your view.

  12. kenny says:

    LBJ is faking him and Ray Allen are the two best shaped players in the NBA

  13. Nameless says:

    I hate it when people call each other names and use profanity in their comments. No one knows if Lebron is really injured or if he exaggerated the severity of his injury. So all we can do is speculate.. This is NBA.com for god’s sake. They need something to talk about and this type of stuff make people (like myself) talk. Which is a good thing! So in response to some of you above posters, NO it doesn’t make you an idiot for having an opinion about all this gossip talk in sports…But reading these comments entertain me..

  14. Freida says:

    You guys are idiots who say LeBron is not injured. LeBron would love to play against the Blazers. He had a sprained ankle and still played against Indiana. I hope LeBron rests before he develops a major injury. Look at Carmelo Anthony with a sprained ankle. Carmelo would never rush back and rightfully so. Of course the Knicks are not good with Carmelo playing or not playing so he might as well rest up until that ankle is better. They rest Wade, they need to start resting LeBron. LeBron wants to play but I want to see him healthy when the playoffs come. I have been watching basketball for the last 5 years and I have never seen so many injuries so early in the year. And I have never seen the East this bad with only 3 teams over 500. With Horford now injured, there might only be 2 teams left–Pacer and the Heat. LeBron is now the best player in the world and you can’t take that away from him. When LeBron’s career is over, then you can make a judgment about Kobe, Jordan and LeBron. He is 28 and will turn 29 soon. Stop comparing him–LeBron is the best overall player that ever played the game.

  15. magic fan says:

    lebron will never b as great as kobe. the nba has to make it seem that way to keep the fans interested

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      Lebron is better than Kobe LOL. Everyone knows that Lebron is a far more complete player. Stop Hating cause its getting pathetic. I’m a D Wade fan, Wade is my favorite player but I wont lie Lebron is a beast and the best player in the world. Get over the hate and appreciate!

  16. magic fan says:

    kwame is paid. quite obvious he did something right

  17. Rudy says:

    LeBron injured ? Please, He’s scared to play against the blazers as he knows they will lose and will show that his team is washed up and all hype. The past is gone and the Blazers are the future!

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      @Rudy, You are the dumbest Fan boy ever! Respect the back to back Champs you chump. The blazers are real, I like them but don’t crown them yet LOL. Your gonna learn the hard way about respect.

    • adonis says:

      PLEASE MAKE SENSE… YOU’RE OBVIOUSLY A HATER, IF THAT’S THE CASE THEN HE SHOULDN’T HAVE PLAYED AGAINST THE PACERS WITH A SPRAINED ANKLE.

  18. okc2014 says:

    Metta World peace is an alien? Are there “others?” I wonder why they dropped him off on this planet? Do they not have basketball where he came from? Can he return? Can he take Bynum with him when he goes back?

  19. B-Baller says:

    Lebron needs to play tonight. Several reasons. 1 I paid 700 dollars to see him play against my Blazers. 2. Beating the champs without their best player will take a lot away from a potential big win for my guys. 3. I greatly enjoy watching him play and will be terribly disappointing to not see him suite up.

    • Aaron says:

      Baggonwagger

      • skrutz says:

        What? What was “bandwagon” about that? Stupid fan.

        No reason to call someone a bandwaggoner for liking good basketball. I get rooting for your local team, but why not for a fun, talented team?

        Secondly, some people, like myself, have no NBA team to relate to (I’m in Canada). Why the h*ll wouldn’t I like a good team? I can’t think of any good reason I’d cheer for the Bobcats!

  20. John Sally says:

    ATTENTION! ATTENTION!! ATTENTION!!! “The Miami heat management”: PLEASE go after Andrew Bynum now, if you really want the team to win a 3rd championship. The likes of Lebron and D’ Wade are tired doing too much game to game rebounding e.t.c. The only way the Heat can defeat the Pacers of any team in the west is to have an active and trusted big man like Andre Bynum. Right now, the Cleveland Cav’s is looking to move Andrew Bynum. As a committed fan, I am pleading with Pat Riley and others in management to get the right big man by going after Andrew Bynum. Please! Please! Please!

    • HeatFan says:

      I trust Andrew Bynum about as far as I can throw him. As a fellow Heat fan I am begging Pat Riley and management to never, ever consider bringing that loser onboard.

    • HEATFANSINCEWADE says:

      You do understand that we have been to the finals 3 straight years and probably be there for a 4th straight. Don’t get panicky lol. Miami doesnt need Bynum or anyone new guy. We are just fine the way we are! Remember 27 straight wins? Until someone beat the Heat they are still the Champs!

    • adonis says:

      True. The Heat need a REAL bigman.

  21. Bill Kovacs says:

    Shame on the Nets for hiring Jason Kidd in the first place. there were and still are better choices out there waiting for a phone call, Billy King, pick up the phone and try one of those better coaches .

  22. ABar 34 says:

    That’s a bunch of bs! LeBrons always saying he’s hurt whenever the Heat lose or whenever they are about to play a hard team like he did when they played Indiana and now Portland.

    • Raps says:

      Or maybe you’re just trying to find a way to hate on LeBron? His ankle was actually sprained before playing Indian Pacers, if you saw the game last night when the quarter ended, the way he paused for like 30 seconds and then he went to the bench. Or when the start of the 3rd quarter he was bending over on the court (It was begining of 3rd, he doesnt need rest, he just sat full half time) and then the fact he sat on the bench till 4 minutes remained in the 4th quarter. I’m sure LeBron doesn’t want to loose to just gain some drama.

      You should learn to appreciate LeBrons greatness. He hit 3 pointers in less than 23 seconds last night.

  23. Fred says:

    I hope MWP isn’t deported. He’s legal, isn’t he?

  24. rcast says:

    GO CLIPPERS

  25. Jefrey Landicho says:

    The most surprising fact about this article is World Peace is an alien

  26. Da Beast says:

    Really? Injury bug? It’s just a strained groin (if that). Ask the Bulls and the Nets what an injury bug is. They’ll tell you. Just trying to get people to read your stories so you put titles like “Injury Bug Hits”.

  27. rn says:

    Rly moodi rly

    • mee(a)t says:

      Makes more sense than the 3 he tried to jack up. Watch 3 games where Lebron tries to end a quarter. Give him space, he’ll dribble and jack up either a 2 or a 3. Close up on him, he’ll drive in.

  28. Moody says:

    Well that explains why LeBron didn’t drive to the basket in the final seconds of the 4th qtr to end the game and instead took a long 3 pointer, Get better LeBron (and Wade too)

  29. Vinícius Manhães Andrade says:

    I don’t think that LeBron is injured. I’m not buying it.

    • Mine the Gap says:

      The r a fckin moron!

    • joe says:

      I agree. It’s his go-to , built in excuse in the anticipation of losing. He’s done it several times this season. Lamarcus had wisdom teeth pulled and had only been eating soups for 4 days prior to playing clips the other night. He didn’t whine to the media about it previous to playing. He mentioned it after the game. Lamarcus and the Blazers and their fans are ready, sounds like between wade,allen,anderson sitting out during a loss last night & branbrans little groin, the heat are not.