VIDEO: Highlights from games played Jan. 12
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Warriors likely to rest Green in next 2 games — Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green has made a pretty solid case already this season that he’s perhaps the most versatile player at his position. If nothing else, he’s proven to be quite durable and resilient this season, what with the 36.1 minutes a game average and five triple-doubles he’s amassed since Dec. 1. As the schedule picks up for the Warriors, though, the team doesn’t want to burn out Green and is more than likely going to rest him over the next two games. Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle has more:
The Warriors plan to rest their versatile power forward the next two games (Wednesday at Denver and Thursday at home against the Lakers), leaving open only the slight possibility that the vociferous competitor might persuade them otherwise.…
Green is averaging a team-high 34.9 minutes per game, and joins Andre Iguodala as the only Warriors to play in each of the team’s first 38 games. He averaged 37 minutes per night when Harrison Barnes missed 16 games from Nov. 28 through Jan. 2.
The Warriors are in a grueling portion of the season, which with Thursday’s game, will have included five games in seven nights. The fourth game during that stretch is the always-arduous trek to Denver — a trip that usually involves losing an hour because of the time change, a long bus ride from the airport to the hotel and a game played at altitude.
Green is averaging 15.2 points, 9.7 rebounds and 7.3 assists and was third among Western Conference frontcourt players in the latest All-Star balloting, with updated results expected to be released Thursday.
His legs hurt, but he never wants to sit.
“They always want to play, but they also understand the big picture,” Walton said. “Earlier in the season, it was tough to have them included in the conversation, but this is a hard part of the season. Guys are worn down, and I think they understand now that if we come to them with the training staff saying it’s a smart idea to give them a night off here or there, they’ll be more receptive to that.”
Green had a long chat with head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers after Tuesday’s practice. If Green is persuaded to rest the next two games — an official announcement is expected at Wednesday morning’s shootaround — the Warriors could play small by starting Barnes at power forward or go with a more conventional lineup by inserting reserve big men Marreese Speights or Jason Thompson.
No. 2: Wall to have MRI on knee Thursday — If the season ended today, the Washington Wizards would find themselves out of the playoffs for the first time in three seasons. Injuries have made a mockery of Washington’s high hopes for 2015-16, but thankfully, star point guard John Wall has played in every game and done all he can to keep the Wizards as close as they are to the playoff mix. However, according to Jorge Castillo of The Washington Post, Wall isn’t immune to the injury bug as he needs an MRI to address a sore muscle in his left knee:
A few hours before leading the Washington Wizards to an impressive 14-point road win over the Chicago Bulls Monday, Wizards point guard John Wall said he was slated to undergo a precautionary MRI in Washington Tuesday on his VMO [vastus medialis obliquus] muscle located just above his left knee after arriving from the Windy City. The examination, however, has been scheduled for Thursday, Wall confirmed Tuesday. The Wizards host the Milwaukee Bucks at Verizon Center Wednesday.
Wall has played through soreness in the muscle in recent games, which he figures is just a bruise and has made bending the knee difficult. He has started and played in every one of Washington’s 36 games this season despite various ailments, ranging from a sprained MCL to a sprained ankle to bruised ribs, and doesn’t anticipate having to miss time because of the VMO injury.
“I know you’re going to deal with nagging injuries throughout the year,” the 25-year-old Wall said after the Wizards’ victory over the Orlando Magic Saturday. “I’m perfectly fine with that. But it’s the ones that – I can’t even bend my knee without it being sore. So that’s the thing that gets frustrating.
“But other than that, just got to go out there and compete. But like I always tell you, when I step between those lines I make no excuses. If I play like [crap], I play like [crap]. Some people can’t commit to that. But if I play like [crap], I play like [crap]. If I felt like I couldn’t have done [crap], I wouldn’t have suited up.”
After missing significant chunks of games because of injury during his first two seasons, Wall has sat out just three regular season games over the last three seasons and three playoff games after fracturing his left hand and wrist in five places last spring.“He’s going to play. He doesn’t feel the greatest but that’s who he is,” Wizards Coach Randy Wittman said. “He loves the game. He loves playing. He doesn’t like sitting out and it took five broken bones to get him to sit out last year and then he still came back. And so that’s who he is and he’s obviously the motor for us. And when he moves the ball like that and sees the floor like that,, it just makes everybody better. It makes everybody’s job easier.”
VIDEO: Wall shines in Wizards’ road win against Bulls
No. 3: Report: Davis set to ink D-League deal — The No. 3 pick in the 1999 NBA Draft. A two-time NBA All-Star. The driving force behind one of the biggest playoff upsets in NBA history. Those are just a few of the accomplishments on Baron Davis‘ resume. As he tries to revive his dormant NBA career — he hasn’t played in an NBA games since May 6, 2012, he is on the verge of signing a deal with the NBA D-League. Yahoo Sports’ Marc J. Spears has more on the move and what Davis’ ultimate goal is:
Two-time NBA All-Star guard Baron Davis is expected to sign a contract with the NBA’s Development League by Wednesday, his agent Todd Ramasar told Yahoo Sports.
Davis, 36, decided over the weekend that he would sign a contract to join the D-League after contemplating the move for two years. Ramasar said that Davis’ wife recently gave birth to their second child, which pushed his hopes of joining the D-League until after Jan. 20. The Dallas Mavericks, who have been known to add NBA veterans to the roster of their D-League affiliate, the Texas Legends, worked out Davis in Los Angeles last Sunday, Ramasar said.
“He is looking forward to playing in the D-League and showing teams what he is capable of,” Ramasar told Yahoo Sports. “He feels that the timing is right. More than anything Baron has put in the training and is confident in his body. He feels he is ready to return to the NBA.”
Davis has been working out daily with former NBA assistant and player development coach Rico Hines, his former UCLA teammate, in Los Angeles. The 6-foot-3 combo guard last played competitively in the Drew League Pro-Am in Los Angeles last summer.
“Every pro athlete wants to retire on his terms,” said Ramasar, who also played with Davis at UCLA. “His current last game wasn’t the way he wanted to go out. He is very excited about the D-League.”
Once Davis’ signs his D-League contract he will be entered into its player pool. As of Tuesday evening, the D-League waiver preference order included Austin (San Antonio Spurs), Delaware (Philadelphia 76ers), Texas (Dallas Mavericks), Fort Wayne (Indiana Pacers) and Westchester (New York Knicks), in that order. Ramasar said that Davis had no preference in D-League team. Former NBA guards John Lucas III and Russ Smith are also available to be claimed in the D-League player pool.
Davis could make as much as $25,000 playing in the D-League and as little as $13,000. He made $147 million during his NBA career. Since departing from the NBA, Davis has been involved in acting and also producing a documentary about the Drew League.
No. 4: Rose’s knee to be re-evaluated today — Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Chicago Bulls star point guard Derrick Rose left a game with a knee injury and now, the team and its fans nervously wait to see what the problem is. Thankfully, though, it seems Bulls fans and the team’s front office may not have to worry too much about the knee troubles that forced Rose out of last night’s eventual road loss to the Milwaukee Bucks. ESPN.com’s Nick Friedell has more:
“Just felt something with my left knee, like jumper’s knee or something like that,” Rose said after the game. “It just didn’t feel right while I was out there. Just got to be cautious with my body.”
Rose said an MRI on the knee has not been scheduled, and he didn’t seem too concerned about the injury after the game. Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg said Rose would be reevaluated Wednesday.
It is unclear exactly when Rose suffered the injury. He exited the game early in the third quarter and was checked out by Bulls trainer Jeff Tanaka. Tanaka worked on Rose’s left leg for a while, and then Rose rubbed a device along his leg in trying to get the muscles to loosen up.
Rose spent time during the first and second halves riding a stationary bike. He tried to come back into the game at the 5:48 mark of the fourth quarter but was moving gingerly. He was taken out after a few possessions and replaced by veteran Aaron Brooks. Rose was escorted back to the locker room area by Bulls head of security Eric Buck.
“I just remember at the half just feeling it,” Rose said. “Telling [Tanaka] when I came back out from half and actually just going through it and just being smart about it.”
“I’m not concerned,” Rose said. “I’m not concerned but just trying to be smart. Coming into this year, I was trying to play in consistent games, see how many games I could play this entire year, and go from there.”
Veteran Pau Gasol suffered a strained right shoulder during Monday night’s loss to the Washington Wizards and said his Achillles tendons have been “bothering me a little lately.”
Hoiberg acknowledged Monday that the organization has had some discussions regarding whether to rest Rose or Gasol during the Bulls’ four-games-in-five-nights stretch. Gasol said he is hoping to play through the nagging injuries, but when asked whether he would play in Philadelphia, he was noncommittal.
“We’ll talk about it,” Gasol said. “I also have a couple things going on myself. But we’ll talk about it with the training staff and make a decision on it.”
No. 5: Mavs still struggling against elite teams — Undoubtedly, the Dallas Mavericks are in the midst of a solid (if not standout) season on offense as they rank in the NBA’s upper crust in Offensive Rating, Effective Field Goal percentage, True Shooting percentage and other fancy metrics. They’re the No. 5 team in the Western Conference and could easily finish with 50 wins this season. Yet for all those accolades, they continue to have trouble beating the best of the best in the NBA and last night’s loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers proved that point. ESPN.com’s Tim MacMahon was on hand and has more on that topic:
What a way for the Dallas Mavericks to start their toughest schedule week of the season.
The Mavs managed to outplay the Eastern Conference’s best team for the majority of the night. But it didn’t matter.
The Cleveland Cavaliers, who didn’t take their first lead until early in the fourth quarter, walked out of the American Airlines Center with a 110-107 overtime win. The Mavs left home in a bad mood, and headed north for the short flight to Oklahoma City to face a team just as talented in less than 48 hours.
“It’s a bad feeling,” Chandler Parsons said after the Mavs fell to 20-1 this season in games they led entering the fourth quarter. “We put ourselves in position to win the game and couldn’t close it out. Didn’t get enough stops and couldn’t make enough shots.
“We can’t hang our head. We’re going to have this same type of monster tomorrow night in OKC. It’s not getting any easier from here going forward, so we’ve got to lock in.”
They failed to beat an elite team Tuesday night, in large part because LeBron James (27 points, 10 rebounds, seven assists) put on the crown during crunch time.
A team that expects to do damage in the playoffs takes no consolation from competing with the Cavs.
“When you say that, it seems like we’re the team like, ‘Hey, they almost had it,’ like we weren’t expected to be in this game,” Wesley Matthews said. “No. We’re a damn good team. We are. We just need to be that all the time. We need to be that in the late stages. We need to know, [tight] game under a minute, this is what we do. This is who we are. We can’t continue to lose games like this, because we’re going to have to beat good teams.
“They were in the [NBA] Finals for a reason, but this was our game. We should have won it. We didn’t.”
The ugly truth is that the Mavs (22-17) haven’t won very often against good competition this season. They are 7-11 against .500-plus teams, which is worse than every team currently in playoff position except for the Los Angeles Clippers and Orlando Magic. The Mavs are only 2-7 against the top four teams from each conference — and one of those wins was against Golden State without Stephen Curry.
That’s why this loss stung so much. The Mavs let a chance for a signature win slip through their fingers — or get knocked out of their hands, as Iman Shumpert did to the ball when Dirk Nowitzki was trying to get a game-winning shot at the end of regulation.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Washington Wizards star guard John Wall has reportedly fired agent Dan Fegan to sign with LeBron James‘ agent, Rich Paul … ESPN.com names its top 10 point guards ever. Your thoughts? … Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose says he has no desire to leave the team when he becomes a free agent … New York Knicks rookie Kristaps Porzingis was happy his fellow rookie, Jerian Grant, had a big game yesterday against the Boston Celtics … Speaking of the Knicks, star Carmelo Anthony suffered a sprained ankle last night … Why Qunicy Pondexter‘s season-ending injury may be the death knell to the New Orleans Pelicans’ faint playoff hopes … Got your PowerBall ticket? NHL star Alex Ovechkin and Knicks star Carmelo Anthony do … Orlando Magic swingman Evan Fournier is thrilled to be playing a regular-season game so close to his homeland of France …