Tip-Off: Previewing Wednesday’s game slate

The NIT Season Tip-Off in Madison Square Garden feature strong matchups.

      
 

 

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Denver Nuggets: Ty Lawson deserves spot in All-Star game

For some strange reason, Denver Nuggets’ point guard Ty Lawson has never seemed to receive the full credit he deserves since he first came into the league back in 2009. Maybe it’s because he’s one of the shorter players in the league, standing at just 5’11. Maybe it’s because he wasn’t a high lottery pick or because he had the enormous shoes of Chauncey Billups, Denver’s biggest and most beloved basketball legend, to fill when he was anointed Billups’ heir as the Nuggets’ starting point guard. Maybe it’s because he has always played in the Western conference, a conference stacked with numerous point guards with all-star capabilities such as Tony Parker, Seth Curry, Chris Paul or Russell Westbrook. Whatever the reason or reasons are, they need to end this season.
Lawson appears to have finally fully embraced his role as the sole leader of the Nuggets, something Denver fans have been waiting to see for about three seasons now. Lawson has been the key to the Nuggets recent success in turning

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Derrick Rose Leaves Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets Game Due To Hamstring Tightness

According to Nick Friedell of ESPN Chicago, the Chicago Bulls PR has announced Derrick Rose will not return tonight after leaving the Bulls game vs. the Denver Nuggets due to left hamstring tightness on Tuesday night. Rose was playing in his 2nd game back after missing four consecutive games.
The former MVP has not played 40 or more games since his MVP season in the 2010-2011 season. The Bulls will hope this is a minor injury and Rose will be able to return in the next game vs. the Boston Celtics on Friday afternoon.
The post Derrick Rose Leaves Chicago Bulls vs. Denver Nuggets Game Due To Hamstring Tightness appeared first on Basketball Bicker by Joey.

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Warriors Injury Update: Leandro Barbosa and Andrew Bogut are considered ‘questionable’ for tonight’s game vs. the Heat

The Golden State Warriors will put their impressive 10 – 2 record on the line today when they meet up with Chris Bosh and the 8 – 6 Miami Heat. Unfortunately, the Warriors will be without the services of both Leandro Barbosa and Andrew Bogut for today’s contest. Both players sustained injuries during Sunday’s 91 – 86 victory over the Thunder. Barbosa scored only one point before leaving with a right knee sprain six minutes into the first quarter, while Bogut played only eight minutes before suffering an orbital contusion. The good news is, according to R.J. White of CBS Sports, the CT scan on Bogut’s head came back negative. As reported by our very own KKauffman1969, David Lee will remain ‘out’ and likely won’t return until sometime in December. 
Today’s tip-off between the Warriors and the Heat is scheduled for 4:30 PM EST and can be found on NBA TV. Follow @RyJones4 Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our email list for daily injury updates! Email Add

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Marreese Speights on Kendrick Perkins: His game is terrible

Golden State Warriors forward Marreese Speights had one of the best games of his career off the bench on Sunday. Speights scored a game-high 28 points and grabbed seven rebounds in his team’s win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. He did all that damage despite playing just 25 minutes. Warriors fans can thank Kendrick Perkins…Read More

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Bucks Injury Update: Brandon Knight considered ‘questionable’ for tonight’s game vs. the Pistons

The Milwaukee Bucks announced Monday afternoon that point guard Brandon Knight is ’questionable’ for Tuesday’s game against the Detroit Pistons due to a right quad strain.Brandon Knight is questionable for #MILvDET tomorrow with at right quad strain.— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) November 24, 2014 Knight is averaging a career-high 18.1 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per game in 14 games played.The Bucks will tip-off against the Pistons inside the BMO Harris Bradley Center. Milwaukee comes into tonight’s game with a 7-7 record, and the Pistons stand at 3-10. Like what you’re reading? Subscribe to our email list for daily injury updates! Email Address Follow @sprtsinjryalert For more commentary and analysis, visit our friends at Last Word on Sports!

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Cleveland Cavaliers Destroy Magic in ‘Must-Win’ Game, and Monday NBA Takeaways

For LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, this was how things were supposed to go.

James got in, dominated and got out early in a 106-74 victory over the Orlando Magic on Monday, giving the Cavs a win they desperately needed—according to Kevin Love’s comments ahead of the pivotal contest, via ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin:

Now, to be fair, it’s difficult to assign any real significance to an NBA game in November. But the Cavs came into this one reeling. They were disjointed, lethargic, stagnant and, most worryingly of all, losers of four straight. At home, against a young Magic team, the Cavs had to win—convincingly.

Win they did, and convincing it was.

LeBron got off to a tone-setting start in the first quarter, looking bouncier than he had in weeks and breathing life into a Cavaliers team that needed a little resuscitation. Sometimes, we exaggerate by saying a player “carried” his squad, but James really did toss his teammates on his back in the first quarter against Orlando, according to the stat sheet, at least, recap courtesy of Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Cleveland ended that first period with a 10-point lead and won the next two quarters by eight and five points, respectively. The resulting 23-point advantage after three periods allowed James to sit out the entire fourth quarter.

The Cavs needed this result, and they needed it to happen just like this—with James responding to his own toughest critic in regal fashion, via comments shared by Fox Sports’ Sam Amico:

LBJ’s 29 points, 11 assists, four rebounds and three steals on 9-of-17 shooting looked more like a stat line from his Miami Heat days than any he’s posted to this point in Cleveland. It was James being James, and it seemed to put things in order for the Cavs.

Kyrie Irving put up 12 points on an efficient 5-of-9 effort from the floor. Love added 12 points, eight rebounds and five assists in 32 minutes.

As a team, Cleveland shot 51.9 percent from the field and registered 30 assists against just 12 turnovers. In short, it was the Cavs’ best, most fluid offensive performance in weeks.

James’ activity and confidence had an effect on Cleveland’s defense as well. Yes, the Magic are a shaky offensive team that lacks perimeter shooters. But the Cavaliers were active, attentive and more eager to help than they’d been in recent games. It looked suspiciously like James and friends were actually trying on D.

One game does not a season save, but we were reminded of something about the Cavaliers on Wednesday: When motivated, they can overwhelm teams with their athleticism, skill and passing. That’s hardly a newsflash; it’s what everyone expected when the roster came together.

The real test will be maintaining the urgency that spurred this effort. The temptation to coast will continue to be there. And there are still very real issues—pertaining to ball movement, defense and chemistry—that we can’t pretend are gone after one solid effort.

James’ return to form was the most encouraging aspect of the Cavs’ thorough win, but it’s unrealistic for Cleveland to rely on superhuman performances from James on a nightly basis.

That sounds blasphemous (“LeBron is superhuman,” some of you are shouting), but as he nears his 30th birthday in a body that has officially lost some of its fast-twitch dominance, the rest of the Cavaliers must find a way to mimic James’ effort—not just fall in line behind it.

Coach David Blatt, despite the “gloomy days,” remains optimistic about the Cavs’ ability to get back on track, per Amico:

The Washington Wizards are up next on the schedule, and it’ll be telling if the Cavs don’t come out with the same intensity they showed on Monday. Remember, Washington handed LeBron and Co. a 91-78 thumping on Nov. 21.

If the Cavs can’t get up for two games in a row (with a score to settle, no less), there’ll be just as much cause for concern as there was before James’ big night against the Magic.

 

Around the Association

Marvin Williams Almost Did It

A power forward’s trip to the free-throw line isn’t normally newsworthy, but when Marvin Williams stood at the stripe midway through the second quarter of the Charlotte Hornets’ 113-92 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers, he was making history.

Well, avoiding history, actually.

Williams hadn’t been to the line in his first 360 minutes this year, and he needed to play just five more to pass Luke Walton for the most single-season minutes in NBA history without a foul shot, per Basketball-Reference.com.

Walton’s record remains intact, and Williams, despite a lack of practice, made both.

Unfortunately, the Hornets dumped their sixth straight game, falling to a Clippers team that got 22 points, 16 rebounds and nine assists from Blake Griffin and 22 points, 15 assists and five rebounds from Chris Paul.

 

Halfway There, Sixers

For just the fifth time all season, the Philadelphia 76ers took a lead into halftime. Up 52-50 over the Portland Trail Blazers, who kindly offered up 14 turnovers in the first half, Philly was in unfamiliar waters.

As you’d expect, Portland woke up after the break, blitzing the Sixers with a 39-point third quarter. The Blazers turned the ball over just once in the entire second half, and LaMarcus Aldridge finished with a game-high 33 points.

To put it mildly, Philly’s defensive effort was a little disjointed in that decisive third period. Example: Damian Lillard was so open for so long that he didn’t quite know what to do with himself:

The Sixers are now 0-14 after the 114-104 loss. Moving on.

 

Trouble in Dallas?

The Dallas Mavericks could be forgiven for a three-point defeat to the Houston Rockets on Nov. 22. It was a road contest, the second in a back-to-back set, and James Harden got loose for 32 points. The game could have gone either way; it’s a long season, etc.

No worries.

But a 111-100 loss to an Indiana Pacers team missing Roy Hibbert (ankle sprain)—at home, on regular rest, in a game that saw the immortal Donald Sloan erupt for 29 points—is different. Coach Rick Carlisle described his team’s defeat as “a physical demolition,” per Bryan Gutierrez of MavsOutsider.com:

Worries.

Dallas still leads the universe in offensive rating with a cool 115.2, according to NBA.com. But getting stops has been a real issue, as evidenced by Indy’s 48.1 percent accuracy rate from the field and its red-hot 50.0 percent from long range. Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News noted the Mavs’ concerns on the defensive side of the ball:

Going forward, head coach Rick Carlisle will have to transfer some of his strategic offensive magic to the other end of the floor. Otherwise, Dallas may find itself too unbalanced to profile as a real contender.

 

Bulls Get Rose Back…for Now

The Chicago Bulls’ 97-95 win over the Utah Jazz was just so…Bulls.

Despite Derrick Rose and Pau Gasol returning, Chicago found itself engaged in a sloppy slugfest against a Jazz team that held a four-point advantage with under four minutes to play. Mike Dunleavy’s layup with 22 seconds left gave the Bulls a lead that would stick, but the game was an either-way affair throughout the final period.

Credit Utah’s 36-22 advantage in the third quarter for breathing life back into this one.

Rose finished with 18 points and five assists on a tidy 5-of-10 from the floor in 25 minutes, while Gasol chipped in 23 points and nine boards in 37 minutes.

Jimmy Butler, because he’s Jimmy Butler, played a grueling 44 minutes and contributed 25 points.

The Bulls got healthier, but they only narrowly defeated a Jazz team that now sits at 5-10. And we’re going to need to see Rose and friends stay on the floor for more than one game before buying in completely.

Same goes for head coach Tom Thibodeau, per his comments, via ESPNChicago.com’s Nick Friedell:

 

Melo’s Injury Takes Knicks From Bad to Worse

Carmelo Anthony played just 18 minutes in the New York Knicks’ 91-86 loss to the Houston Rockets on Monday, and his early exit, noted by Tina Cervasio, should be cause for concern:

The Knicks don’t need this. Not after dropping to 4-11 and surrendering 36 points to James Harden. Not at the outset of a three-game road trip out west. Not after watching Melo struggle with knee pain, noted by the New York Post‘s Marc Berman, for much of the season:

And, because this is how cruel the NBA can be, New York gets what’ll surely be a laser-focused Mavs club in Dallas on Wednesday. Save a little time: Mark the Knicks down for 4-12 now.

 

Lou Williams Cannot Be Stopped

Reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week Lou Williams kept rolling in the Toronto Raptors’ 104-100 win over the Phoenix Suns. His 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting helped Toronto get out to an early lead before the team rode Jonas Valanciunas’ 27 points and 11 boards home.

The Raps are 12-2, thanks largely to Williams looking very much like the bench dynamo he was a couple of years ago.

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Philadelphia 76ers Are Underdogs in Every Remaining Game of NBA Season

It’s been another ugly NBA season for the Philadelphia 76ers, who are currently 0-13 to start the year.

Because they have yet to win a game this season, the oddsmakers don’t exactly have a lot of confidence in the 76ers. ESPN’s Marc Stein tweeted that, according to numberFire, the 76ers are favored in exactly zero remaining games this year:

The Sixers are bound to get a win at some point, but odds like this aren’t going to inspire much confidence.

[Philly.com]

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Bulls Injury Update: Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose could return for tonight’s game against the Jazz

Chicago Bulls stars Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose are both expected to return to the court tonight during the team’s contest in Utah against the Jazz. Gasol will likely start barring a setback in warm ups, while Rose will test his injured hamstring prior to the game as well.Rose has missed four consecutive games after injuring his left hamstring on the 13th in the fourth quarter of a game in Toronto. Gasol strained his left calf the following game, when the Bulls battled the Indiana Pacers on Saturday the 15th. While originally thought to be a more serious injury, Rose’s hamstring strain was simply diagnosed as ‘mild’, and the point guard was only thought to miss a game or two. This was not the case however, and after missing the past four games Chicago’s assist leader has now missed eight of the Bulls’ 13 games on the year. Gasol’s injury was more surprising, because of the fact that the seven-footer from Spain had never missed a game due to a calf injury in his career. The Spaniard’s absence was even more cr

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Miami Heat vs. Charlotte Hornets Game Recap: Nail Biter

(Miami, FL) — The Miami Heat (8-6) defeated the Charlotte Hornets (4-10), 94-93, on Sunday night at the American Airlines Arena.
It took a turnaround jump shot by Chris Bosh, two missed shots by Kemba Walker, and a failed Al Jefferson tip-in in the last 31 seconds of the game to give the Heat their second straight victory. Luol Deng scored 26 points to lead the Heat in scoring, while both Bosh and Mario Chalmers notched double-doubles to hand Charlotte their fifth straight loss.
Bosh hit the game-winning shot with 31.1 seconds remaining in the game on a turnaround fadeaway jump shot from the right baseline. He finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Chalmers contributed 20 points and 10 assists for just his third career double-double. Miami’s victory over Charlotte boosted their record to 4-1 in the latter game of back-to-back sets so far this season.
In regards to both Bosh and Chalmers’ strong offensive performances in recent games, the veteran center stated their play together i…

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