VIDEO: Highlights from games played Jan. 19
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Gordon suffers fractured ring finger — Injuries have made a mess of the New Orleans Pelicans’ high hopes for 2015-16. Just when it seemed like the team is fully healthy, another injury has cropped up. This time the victim is shooting guard Eric Gordon — who has had his share of injury woes over the last few seasons — as he suffered a fractured ring finger in last night’s home win against the Minnesota Timberwolves. John Reid of The Times-Picayune has more:
Starting shooting guard Eric Gordon fractured his ring finger on his right shooting hand after grabbing a rebound with 1:07 remaining in the third quarter during the Pelicans’ 114-99 victory against the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Smoothie King Center.
Gordon came off court, holding his finger and appearing to be in pain. He did not return and was not made available after the game. Gordon scored 11 points in 24 minutes, hitting three 3-pointers with three assists and a steal.
Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said he wouldn’t know Gordon’s possible timetable until after doctors examined him on Wednesday. Prior to Tuesday, Gordon was the only Pelicans’ player to start 40 of the first 41 games.
Gordon ranked eighth in the NBA with 98 3-pointers made. In the previous five games, he had averaged 13.0 points and shot 40 percent from 3-point range.
”We’ve got to try and figure it out,” said Anthony Davis, who led the Pelicans with 35 points against Minnesota. ”It’s time for guys to step up now and we’re going to miss him for sure because he brings a lot to the table. He was shooting the ball well. It’s going to be tough without him but we still got to find a way to win.
”(Eric) is a big key to our team with shooting the 3-ball and driving and things,” Tyreke Evans said. ”It’s part of the league and guys like [Norris] Cole and Jrue [Holiday] got to be ready. I believe they will be. We’re all competitive and we want to help each other out. I think we’ll be ready.”
After halfway point, 10 Pelicans players have been sidelined with injuries that caused a total of 125 games to be missed.
Knowing the importance of needing solid contributors, Holiday said they have to overcome not having Gordon, who could be sidelined up to four to six weeks.
‘Again, it’s another opportunity for someone else to step up,” Holiday said. ”Obviously it’s bad because it always seems like every year somebody getting hurt like that. It’s a pretty big injury, but again I’ll say we’ll have to step up.”
VIDEO: Alvin Gentry talks after the Pelicans’ win Tuesday
No. 2: Warriors’ assistant coach hoping team keeps chasing Bulls’ mark — As a showdown tonight with the Chicago Bulls looms (8 ET, ESPN), the Golden State Warriors find themselves a game off the pace the Bulls had in 1995-96 when they won an NBA-record 72 games. Players and coaches on the team can’t help but realize their shot at history (what with it being brought up to them so often) and one assistant has a good idea of what it will take for the team to get to (or pass) Chicago’s mark. Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group has more :
Warriors assistant Ron Adams‘ two decades of NBA coaching experience includes a season spent on the Chicago Bulls’ staff in Scottie Pippen‘s final season.
Adams went on to coach for eight seasons in the organization, a place that knew the meaning of the standard set by the 1995-96 Bulls team that won 72 regular-season games.
The 38-4 Warriors play at Chicago on Wednesday only one game shy of that Bulls’ team mark at the same midway stage of the season.
“You have to be on,” Adams said of what a 72-win season says about a team. “It means that you’ve played most possessions in a game seriously. That’s what we’re striving for.
“Probably the last few weeks, we’ve gotten away from that. San Antonio has internalized that this year. They have a phenomenal record (36-6). They’re in the same boat as we are. Can they continue their winning, maybe they’re a 70-win team this year. But it just takes a lot of focus.
“When you have a team — and the Spurs are a veteran team — that recognizes every possession in every game is important and for the most part plays that way, that’s how you get 70 wins.”
Warriors interim head coach Luke Walton said the Bulls’ mark isn’t discussed as a team. Stephen Curry said he and his teammates don’t think about it much.
“It’s pretty insane with the start we’ve had and how well we’ve played and the streak we started the season with that we’re still a game behind where they were,” Walton said. “It just shows how hard it is to do what they did, and obviously we’ve got a lot of season left and a lot of really tough games left. It would be nice, but it’s not our top priority.”
Walton said he didn’t feel the players were pushing too hard trying to extend the season-opening streak. He said that in doing so, the Warriors avoided natural letdowns such as the one that came in their worst loss of the season against the Pistons.
So if the Warriors were to get close to the Bulls’ record toward the end of the season or wish to become the second NBA team to reach 70 wins, the defending champions could decide to shoot for history.
“To be in the same conversation as them and be a part of history like them, it’s special,” Klay Thompson said of the Bulls.
“It’s something that no one ever thought would be done. That’s a long ways away, though.”
No. 3: Gortat: Players responsible for own injuries — Much like the New Orleans Pelicans, the Washington Wizards had hopes before 2015-16 started of making some serious noise in the hierarchy of their conference. Much like the Pelicans, injuries and inconsistent play have sapped those hopes for the Wizards, too. As player after player seems to go in and out of Washington’s lineup with ailments, veteran center Marcin Gortat says the players themselves — and not other circumstances — are to blame for their woes. Gene Wang of The Washington Post has more:
Gortat took a moment to collect his thoughts when asked after practice on Tuesday afternoon about how the Wizards have managed the myriad injuries this season.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of vets. We’ve got a lot of older guys. They’ve got to take care of their bodies. At the end of the day it’s the players’ responsibility. I personally can’t understand how this is possible, how people can get constantly hurt.
“You’ve got to do something. You’ve got to change something in your routine to become a bigger pro, to become a better player and more professional about stuff you do.”
Players listed as out for Wednesday night’s game against the Miami Heat include Otto Porter Jr., Kris Humphries and Drew Gooden III, all key contributors.
Gortat included himself in his criticism. A left knee ailment kept him out for three consecutive games, all wins, from Jan. 11 through 15.
Gortat has been taking medication to combat what’s believed to be an infection in his knee and said the discomfort and swelling are nearly gone. Monday was the first time this season Gortat was on the court in tandem with front-court mate Nene, who missed extensive time with a strained left calf and most recently one game with a strained right triceps.Guard Bradley Beal also missed more than a month with a stress reaction in his right fibula but has played in three of the last four games.
“I personally take responsibility, too,” said Gortat, who has played in 34 of 40 games this season. “Stuff with my knee, somewhere down the line I could prevent that, but I haven’t. I feel like it’s my responsibility to make sure this thing isn’t going to happen again, so if everybody else is going to take the same approach, then we’re going to be a better team.”
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