VIDEO: The Fast Break: January 2
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1:Curry reinjures leg, Warriors win in overtime — After leading the Golden State Warriors to a historic 29-1 start to the season, Stephen Curry missed the last two games while resting a shin injury. It is no coincidence that the Warriors went 1-1 without Curry, the NBA’s leading scorer at 29.7 points per game. Curry made his return last night against the Denver Nuggets, but had to exit in the second quarter after aggravating his injury. As Ethan Strauss writes for ESPN.com, even down to six players, the Warriors managed to win in overtime even without the MVP…
After missing the two previous games with a left shin contusion suffered Monday against the Sacramento Kings, Curry reinjured the shin and departed to the locker room with 2:15 remaining in the second quarter.
According to Curry, the injury occurred when a Nuggets player made contact with his leg in the second quarter.
“I got kicked,” Curry said after the game.
Curry confirmed it was a reinjury of his earlier contusion and said he was hit “right in the same spot, playing defense. It’s funny. I guess whenever you hurt something, [if] you try to play through a little bit of discomfort and try to get out there, something happens. Just got to deal with it.”
Curry’s injury left the Warriors with only six available players due to myriad other injuries.
Of the overtime victory Golden State gained despite depletion, Curry praised, “Chips stacked against them, short bench, guys playing 40-plus minutes, found a way to scrap and claw, get stops down the stretch, fight through the fatigue factor, make a couple plays on the offensive plays as well. Gutsy win.”
On how he felt going into the game, Curry said, “I felt pretty good, just somewhat fresh legs and didn’t have to compensate for anything. Just sucks that was the spot that I got hit in. See how it feels for Monday.”
Further elaborating on his prognosis, he added, “I know exactly what happened. It’s just a matter of how it feels tomorrow and go from there. It’s not as bad as the first time it happened, so that’s good news.”
VIDEO: Curry reinjures left leg
No. 2:Jack injures knee, will have MRI — While the Brooklyn Nets aren’t fighting for a playoff berth this season, they have had their moments, such as last night’s win over the Boston Celtics. Point guard Jarrett Jack has played a large role in their success this season, but after going down with knee injury last night that required his being carried from the court, Jack will require an MRI today to uncover the extent of the injury, writes ESPN’s Mike Mazzeo…
Brooklyn Nets starting point guard Jarrett Jack will undergo an MRI on his right knee Sunday.
He left his team’s 100-97 victory over the Boston Celtics on Saturday at TD Garden after injuring the knee late in the third quarter. He did not return, due to what the team called a sprained right knee.
At the time the injury occurred, it looked much more serious than that. As Jack planted his right leg on a fast break after receiving a pass from teammate Wayne Ellington, his knee buckled, which caused him to go down to the floor. He then had to be helped off the court.
“I had never felt pain like that before, so I knew it was something,” Jack told reporters in Boston. “I’m going to try to stay positive and try not to speculate. I’m still optimistic, still hoping for the best, and tomorrow we’ll find out what the future may hold.”
Jack told the medical staff he did not want crutches, “but they said it’s better to have them than not, so I’m about to go back and get fitted.”
He told reporters he had never suffered a knee injury before. While he didn’t know the extent of the injury, he posted on Instagram that it was the “worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Jack left Saturday’s game with two points and nine assists in 23 minutes. The 32-year-old veteran came in averaging 13.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.4 rebounds while shooting 39.7 percent from the field.
VIDEO: Jack injures knee against Boston
No. 3:Pistons, Pacers end with theatrics — The Indiana Pacers defeated the Detroit Pistons last night, 94-82, but it was the way the game ended that made headlines. First, Detroit coach Stan Van Gundy received his first ejection as coach of the Pistons, and then Pistons forward Marcus Morris and Indiana’s Paul George tangled at halfcourt and had to be separated. As David Mayo writes for MLive, the Pistons are struggling just as they enter a key part of their schedule …
Stan Van Gundy, the Pistons’ head coach, had been kicked out 22.6 seconds earlier, so he had a little more time to ponder the events leading to his dismissal by official Lauren Holtkamp, but was no more insightful to the cause of the discord than Jackson.
“I just said something that she didn’t like,” Van Gundy said.
Maybe some self-awareness is in order around here.
The icy-shooting Pistons lost 94-82 to the Pacers, and while reluctance to test the NBA’s tolerance for levying financial penalties may have been at heart of the tight-lipped responses — Jackson was in the heart of the scrum, and Van Gundy surely knows the magic words that earned his first Detroit ejection — they did offer up some explanations for much more difficult questions.
Like why the Pistons are mired in a ragged 1-4 stretch just as their schedule stiffens. The Indiana game was the opener in a 19-day period during which the Pistons play eight out of nine games against teams which would be in the playoffs if the season ended today.
Like why this offense sometimes plays like strangers.
Like why the reserves, with Brandon Jennings triggering at point guard, suddenly look more cohesive than the first unit — a dynamic in constant flux with this team.
“Our starters tonight got destroyed,” Van Gundy said. “Our bench did a pretty good job keeping us in the game.”
But when it came to the reasons for defeat, the man with no answers about his ejection ticked them off professorially.
“Paul George got it going at the end, we shot 35 percent, we were 3 for 20 from three, and we missed a bunch of free throws. It makes it really, really tough to win,” Van Gundy said.
That pretty much covers it.
The Pistons (18-16) stayed just below the Eastern Conference playoff cut line, at ninth place, a half-game behind Boston, because George erupted for the Pacers’ final 21 points after he had been limited to 11 through three quarters.
George attempted seven field goals, including three 3-pointers, plus four free throws in the fourth quarter.
He did not miss.
“He just got hot and he made some great one-on-one moves,” Jackson said. “He took the shots we wanted him to take. Just he made them.”
Marcus Morris has drawn the primary defensive assignment against George three times this year. George has shot 18 of 51 (35.3 percent) from the field in those games. Yet the Pacers have won two of three, which is why they have pulled 1 1/2 games clear of Detroit for now.
“I cheated screens a couple times at the end and gave him some good shots at the end,” Morris said. “I take the blame on that. I thought I did a good job guarding him throughout the game and he just got hot.”
As the fourth quarter ended, George and Morris chattered. George bumped Morris with his chest and Morris shoved back.
Within seconds, at least 11 Pistons players and eight Pacers players were at midcourt. Game officials and team staffers quickly broke up the brouhaha before it escalated.
“I don’t really want to discuss too much of that,” Morris said. “We played a good game, ended up losing it, but ready for the next one.”
No. 4:Pop says Crawford will be missed — News broke yesterday that after 39 seasons calling NBA games, longtime NBA referee Joey Crawford would retire following this season. And while the 64-year-old Crawford has had interactions with nearly everyone in the NBA today, his long history with the San Antonio Spurs is often invoked. Upon hearing of Crawford’s impending retirement, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said that when Crawford finally hangs up his whistle, writes Jeff McDonald of the Express News, Crawford will be missed…
Despite the Spurs’ at-time checkered history with Crawford, easily the NBA’s most famous official, Popovich said the veteran of 39 NBA seasons will be missed.
“Everybody’s got to retire sometime. You and I will too,” Popovich said before the Spurs faced Houston on Saturday. “But you hate to see someone who is that good at his craft not be doing it anymore. He’s obviously been an iconic figure for a long time.”
Crawford forever became a villain to fans in San Antonio in 2007, when he ejected Tim Duncan from a game in Dallas for laughing on the bench. The league ultimately deemed that an overreaction, and suspended Crawford for the playoffs that year.
In 2008, Crawford’s no-call at the end of Game 4 of the Western Conference finals, when Derek Fisher bumped Brent Barry on the potential game-tying shot, allowed the Lakers to take a 3-1 lead back to Los Angeles. A day later, the NBA ruled Crawford should have sent Barry to the line, leading to one of a best quotes in the quotable guard’s career.
Even so, Crawford consistently has graded out as one of the league’s top officials. He has worked 50 NBA Finals games, a number he hopes to add to after returning in March, as planned.
“He lives and breathes what he does and he does it very, very well,” Popovich said. “He will definitely be missed.”
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Denver’s Kenneth Faried went to a Bay Area hospital last night as a precaution following a neck injury … Tyreke Evans missed last night’s game with a sore knee, the same knee on which he had surgery earlier this season … Jeremy Lamb talks about his time in Oklahoma City … David Blatt says Kyrie Irving‘s minutes restriction is nearly over … Damian Lillard appears to be close to returning from injury … Nets rookie Chris McCullough is working toward making his NBA debut … DeMar DeRozan didn’t do much on New Year’s Eve