VIDEO: Highlights from games played Jan. 6
NEWS OF THE MORNING
Curry won’t sit 4 weeks to heal injury | Gentry rips Pelicans’ effort vs. Mavs | Report: McCollum could have played last night | Raptors try to get by while Carroll mends | Lee officially out of Celtics’ rotation
No. 1: Curry unlikely to rest four weeks to heal troublesome shin — Several storylines follow the Golden State Warriors on a near-nightly basis now — whether or not they can surpass the NBA record of 72 wins set by the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls, when coach Steve Kerr will return to the sidelines and whether or not Stephen Curry will suit up each night as he deals with a nagging shin injury. The first two questions remain unclear in terms of an immediate answer, but for the time being, Curry won’t be out of the lineup for weeks on end to heal the injury. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Rusty Simmons has more on why Curry isn’t at risk if he keeps playing on the injury:
Warriors point guard Stephen Curry isn’t interested in sitting out four weeks to let the painful contusion on his left shin heal, and a noted orthopedic surgeon with a specialty in treating sports injuries says that’s just fine.
“He’s not risking his career or anything by this,” said Dr. Brian Schulz, who works for the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. “He’s just going to have to deal with pain, which he’s proven in the past is not a big deal for him.
“It’s not a serious thing, but it’s definitely something that could annoy him.”
Curry has been plenty annoyed by the injury, which occurred in the Warriors’ victory over Utah on Dec. 23. He has been kicked three times in the same spot since then, despite sitting out the Warriors’ back-to-back set last week in Dallas and in Houston.
It happened again in the third quarter Tuesday, when Curry’s shin smacked into the leg of Lakers center Roy Hibbert. The Warriors had to call a timeout calm the pain for Curry, who talked his way back onto the court.
“I’m not going to sit out four weeks, so we’ve just got to figure out how to protect it when I’m out there on the floor and keep playing,” said Curry, who is listed as questionable for Friday’s game at Portland on the team’s injury report. “We’ve done a good amount. I’ve just had a couple of unlucky plays. We’ll keep addressing it and keep treating it, I’ll keep playing, and hopefully, over time, I’ll get through it.”
The Warriors have been experimenting with different shin pads to protect Curry, and Schulz says anything that limits the force of the impact on the sensitive area is the correct way to go about it.
“The other option, which I know he’s not going to do, is just sit out until it goes away,” Schulz said. … “It’s not a structural-damage kind of thing. He’s not risking further damage, other than the fact that if he keeps banging it, it may linger around longer.”
No. 2: Gentry rips team’s effort after loss to Mavs — Just yesterday in this very space, we brought you news of how New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis is more than fine with criticism from his coach, Alvin Gentry. Good thing that’s been made clear because Gentry wasn’t in the mood for praising words after last night’s home loss to a Dallas Mavericks team that rested starters Deron Williams, Dirk Nowitzki, Wesley Matthews and Zaza Pachulia. John Reid of The Times-Picayune has more:
The Pelicans (11-23) had a chance to gain some ground, entering only four games behind the Utah Jazz for the elusive eighth seed in the Western Conference. Even Dallas coach Rick Carlisle gave New Orleans a break.
Carlisle held out starters Dirk Nowitzki, Zaza Pachulia and Wesley Mathews because they played extended minutes in Tuesday night’s double overtime win the Sacramento Kings.
But the Pelicans gave a less than desirable performance, losing 100-91, in front of 15,256 at the Smoothie King Center.
”It’s not fair to the fans,” Gentry said. ”It’s not fair to anybody for us to come out and have that kind of effort. I’m really disappointed in the way we approached the game. We tried time and time again to say it doesn’t matter who is playing and who is not playing.”
New Orleans went 7-of-30 (23.3 percent) from 3-point range and shot just 37 percent from the field (34 of 92). Backup forward Ryan Anderson shot 2-of-12 from the field and missed all six attempts from 3-point range. Backup guard Norris Cole, who started last Saturday against the Mavericks and scored 16 points, was held to four points on 1-of-6 shooting.
”One day, you play great offensively, the next day you don’t,” said Pelicans guard Eric Gordon, who scored 14 points. ”It’s just inconsistent all around. I don’t have many answers because we have the talent to do it, but it’s just nowhere getting there.”
Several players that included point guard Jrue Holiday and Anderson showered quickly after the game and promptly left. Davis stuck around and sat slumped in his chair, looking disappointed.
”Nobody has fun when you’re losing,” Davis said. ”The way we played tonight wasn’t fun, but everyone should stay positive. It’s frustrating, more so the fact that we had the opportunity to move up in the rankings but we just can never seem to do it.”
”We got to play the people that’s going to give us night in and night out what we expect,” Gentry said. ”We got to develop consistency and we’re just not getting it.I don’t have answers, but we’re going to come up with answers.”
VIDEO: Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry was irked by his team’s effort Wednesday
No. 3: Report: McCollum could have played, but Rivers declined it — By now you’ve likely heard about how Portland Trail Blazers guard C.J. McCollum couldn’t play last night because of a ‘clerical error’ with the team’s pregame lineup sheet. That much is true and McCollum spent the evening on the bench as Portland fell at home to the Los Angeles Clippers. But some deeper digging by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian revealed McCollum actually could have played last night had Clippers coach Doc Rivers OK’d it:
Damian Lillard was sitting along the Trail Blazers’ bench waiting for his name to be bellowed during pregame introductions whenCJ McCollum turned to him with a startling declaration.
“He just leaned over and told me: ‘I might not be able to play tonight,'” Lillard said, recalling the final moments before Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers at the Moda Center.
Seconds later, McCollum’s words became reality as public address announcer Mark Mason announced to a stunned crowd of 18,598 that Allen Crabbe would be starting at shooting guard instead of McCollum.
The Blazers and coach Terry Stotts had made a “clerical error in the NBA’s active list reporting,” accidentally leaving McCollum off the team’s active roster and forcing them to play without their second-leading scorer. Confused?
Before every game, coaches are required to submit a list of active and inactive players, designating up to 13 players as “active” on their 15-man roster. So Wednesday night, in a ritual that takes place every game night, a team official approached Stotts with the roster and Stotts signed it. Then it was delivered to the arena’s official stats crew.
Active rosters are due one hour before tipoff and cannot be changed after that 60-minute mark. By the time the Blazers discovered their error — that they had included rookie Luis Montero instead of McCollum on the active list — it was too late to fix the mistake.
But, in reality, that wasn’t quite that. Behind the scenes, the Blazers were fighting for McCollum to play. They sought a rules clarification from the NBA and disputed the timing of the incident. Don Vaden, the NBA’s director of officials, was at the game and mediated the situation with both teams.
In the end, according to a league source, the NBA gave Clippers coach Doc Rivers the option to let McCollum play. He declined.
About 30 minutes before tipoff, the Clippers’ coaching staff was noticeably animated outside the visiting locker room. When asked why after the game, Rivers said they were trying to get a handle on McCollum’s playing status.
“We were trying to figure out what the heck,” Rivers said. “We knew you couldn’t change the rule, because it happened to us. But it’s not on us to do that. That’s all on them.”
The reason behind McCollum’s absence was a mystery to his teammates throughout the game. They learned he wouldn’t play along with the Moda Center crowd and didn’t get a full explanation until after the game, when Stotts told the team in the postgame locker room. But they refused to blame their uneven play Wednesday on McCollum’s absence and they defended their coach, despite his costly and unusual gaffe.
“I think everybody in here knows it was an honest mistake,” Lillard said. “He’s not just going to leave one of our players out of a big game for us. He made a mistake. We all do. We’ve got to move on from it.”
VIDEO: C.J. McCollum wants to move on from the roster snafu on Wednesday
No. 4: Raptors plan to make do while Carroll mends — The Toronto Raptors added one of the marquee free agents of the summer of 2015 when they signed DeMarre Carroll to a deal. However, Carroll has appeared in just 23 of a possible 37 games and has dealt with a lingering knee issue since early December. A routine checkup with his doctor yesterday, though, revealed Carroll needed arthroscopic surgery on that knee and will be out indefinitely. Doug Smith of The Toronto Star has more:
“Just happened to be here in New York, seeing Dr. (Richard) Altcheck on the way through, they consulted and decided to get it cleaned out,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey said. “(It was) kind of the (way the) treatment situation was going — it kept continuing to swell so they decided to do it.”
No one’s predicting how long Carroll will be on the sidelines — to guess is folly — but it does mean a substantial change to Toronto’s rotation.
“I call it ‘unfortunate opportunity,’ ” Casey said, before the Raptors met the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday. “Guys have to step up, we have guys who want playing time. James (Johnson) has been patient with D.C. coming back, he hasn’t had a lot of run and now is his opportunity.
“I think it’s going to be a fluid situation between he and (Terrence) Ross at that (position).”
Even before Carroll’s surgery — when it was obvious he was in some level of distress — his teammates were hoping he would find a way to be 100 per cent for a stretch run and the post-season.
The Raptors have always pointed to March and April as the time they had to be fully functional and healthy; Carroll will presumably have time and be ready for that moment.
“I mean, yeah, that’s what it’s all about, having him 100 per cent when things matter, especially as we get closer to the playoffs,” DeMar DeRozan said after Carroll hobbled through a Sunday loss to the Chicago Bulls in his last appearance before surgery.
“Before we know it we’re going to look up and it’s going to be March, April. As long we get guys 100 per cent, that’s all that matters.”
Wednesday’s game in Brooklyn was the first of five this month against Atlantic Division opponents (Brooklyn twice, New York, Boston and Philadelphia once each) and they are playing a string of 13 consecutive games against Eastern Conference teams.
There is also no arduous stretch. With four days off before a game in London, England, against Orlando next week and three idle days after the trip, Toronto has just three games in 11 days. Then begins the season’s longest homestand — seven games every other night beginning Jan. 18 against the Nets.
Carroll’s long-term absence will most likely be felt defensively by Toronto. He hadn’t been seamlessly fitting into the offence but his scrappiness and ability to defend multiple positions will be missed.
VIDEO: Raptors coach Dwane Casey discusses DeMarre Carroll’s injury
No. 5: Lee officially out of Celtics’ rotation — A few months after winning the 2015 championship, the Golden State Warriors sent former starting power forward David Lee to the Boston Celtics in a cost-cutting move. The thinking at the time was Lee, who fell out of the rotation in Oakland (although he did provide a momentary boost in The Finals) would get minutes on the thin frontline in Boston. That hasn’t been the case — Lee is averaging 15.7 minutes, the fewest since his rookie season — and is now officially out of the mix for the Celtics. ESPN.com’s Chris Forsberg has more on why that has taken place and Lee’s reaction to it:
Lee logged his second consecutive DNP — Coach’s Decision during Wednesday’s loss to the Detroit Pistons. Lee is averaging 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.8 assists over 15.7 minutes per game in 29 appearances this season.
“Coach [Brad Stevens] came to me and said we’re going to try and go small at the 4, which means Kelly [Olynyk] and Jonas [Jerebko],” Lee said. “That’s why [Jared Sullinger] has been out of the starting lineup. That was his theory on some changes he wanted to make after us losing a couple of games, so I told him while I disagree with it, I also told him he’s the coach and can choose to do that.”
Lee’s advanced numbers have not been good for a Boston the team that owns a net rating of minus-2.6 when he’s on the court. While Lee said this is different from last season, when the Golden State Warriors asked him to take a backup role behind Draymond Green, he pledged to accept it for now.
“I can either choose to be pissed off or I can choose to keep working hard, and I’m going to keep working hard,” Lee said.
“Even last year I didn’t accept that, and last year was way different. It was more of an injury-based thing where I got injured to start the year and came back. This situation is a bit more frustrating, and by no means am I accepting of the situation, and that’s the first thing that I told Brad. He’s the coach, the one making the decisions. I also trust my teammates and want what’s best for the team. So we’re going to have to see how this plays out. The most important thing is making sure the Celtics get a W in the win column. We’ve been up and down as a team, so coach is trying to find some consistency.”
Lee said that he hasn’t pondered a trade request quite yet.
“We’ll see moving forward how permanent this is,” Lee said. “Obviously, I’m very confident I can help a team win. I hope that’s the Boston Celtics. So, no, I haven’t spoken about that. I haven’t really thought about that yet. Right now it’s about continuing to be ready, and if that was talked about it would be between my agent, the Celtics and other teams.”
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