Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is currently projected to miss 2-4 weeks with a right knee MCL sprain. Nance was injured in Tuesday night’s game at Quicken Loans Arena against the Indiana Pacers in the first quarter and did not return to action. Additional evaluation and an MRI today confirmed the sprain.
He will now undergo a period of treatment and rehabilitation. His status will be updated as appropriate.
About Last Night: An improbable comeback’s unlikely hero
Of course it was Rondae.
On a night when the comeback was the story, when D’Angelo Russell’s career-high 44 points made everything happen, when Jared Dudley hit the three that finally gave the Brooklyn Nets the lead after a franchise-best 25-point fourth-quarter climb, it was the longest-tenured member of the team who hit the game winner.
Acquired on Draft day 2015, Billy King’s final remnant – all-3-and-D but buried in the rotation – on this night, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson got to play hero.
The Nets, who had trailed the Sacramento Kings by as many as 28 points on Tuesday, completed the fourth-largest fourth-quarter comeback since the advent of the shot clock. The 123-121 victory snapped a three-game slide, and kept Brooklyn solidly in the East’s seventh slot.
That final play, of course, wasn’t drawn up for him. It was for Russell. He of the 27 fourth-quarter points, the rainbow 3s and the ice-cold veins.
Hollis-Jefferson screened De’Aaron Fox, then stepped toward the sideline to collect the inbounds with Marvin Bagley III defending. He took one open dribble toward the top of the key, looking to handoff to Russell and set up a full-speed charge down the lane.
Russell quickly realized Fox was cutting off his path to the ball and … ceded the spotlight with a simple command and a backwards step, pulling Fox clear of the path.
“[Russell] said, ‘Go!'” Hollis-Jefferson told YES Network’s Michael Grady immediately after the whistle. “I looked at Bagley and said, ‘It’s gametime, let’s get it.'”
Hollis-Jefferson crossed left-to-right, then back left for one head-down stumble-bumble alongside Bagley. Here, Hollis-Jefferson sensed Bagley’s presence and twisted ever-so-slightly as he leapt, an outside spin making the final attempt appear to pop out over his head before softly banking and rolling in off the rim.
Staggered reactions ensued on the Nets bench, and one errant heave later, bedlam.
“He’s the guy on our team that’s heart and soul, it’s as simple as that,” Russell said. “You can’t explain it. He came out ready to play. Didn’t play the whole first half, but came out and took care of business.”
On this upstart Nets team, the one that finally turned the culture corner in Year Three under Kenny Atkinson and Sean Marks, Hollis-Jefferson counts as seasoned. He is 25. Six Nets are younger. None exceed his four seasons in Brooklyn. Many exceed his minutes.
Hollis-Jefferson played 17 of them Tuesday; he had received but 12 minutes in the five games prior, with four “DNP – Coach’s Decision” lines sprinkled about. He credited assistant coach Jacques Vaughn with helping him to maintain a positive outlook and stay prepared.
“Not playing, man, it’s tough sitting on that bench watching your guys go to war,” Hollis-Jefferson said. “But I was always ready. They called my name, I came out and competed and that’s all you can ask for.”
That and an obligatory dousing, anyway. Cheers.
Harden nicks all 29 teams
No surprise in the Rockets beating the Hawks, or James Harden (again) scoring 30-plus. But in the wild ridiculous statistical accomplishments department, that marked the 29th opppoent Harden had dropped 30 on this season.
Yes, 29 of 29 teams caught a 30-piece this year (and several many more).
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 20, 2019
Per Elias, he’s the first player to make the 29-team circuit and the first to tag everyone since Michael Jordan’s ridiculous 1986-87 campaign.
Also, he put Kent Bazemore in the blender. So there’s that.
Redick doubles up … finally
On a day the Sixers smoothly turned away a feisty challenge from the Hornets, J.J. Redick knocked a longstanding check off the NBA bucket list.
More than 12 years and 800 games into his NBA career, Redick (27 points, career-high 10 rebounds, 8 assists) finally notched a double-double. At 826 games, it’s the third-longest streak without one all-time, trailing only Steve Kerr (856) and Bruce Bowen (none in all 873 career games).
“Ten rebounds,” Redick said during the postgame interview on court. “I never thought the day would come.”
Clear out for Karl-Anthony
Stephen Curry might have stolen the show in Minnesota with a 22-point third-quarter, but Karl-Anthony Towns threw down the dunk that we’ll remember from this one.
Kevin Durant 100 percent had a “Yes, yes, nope!” moment in the thought process there. Bailing out was the right call, ha.
Brook Lopez is a large man
There was a unique wedgie in the second quarter of the Bucks-Lakers game, with the ball lodging above the shot clock. The refs paged the nearest friendly giant — true 7-footer Brook Lopez — for an assist, which he gladly provided once handed a mop, much to the crowd’s delight.
Sidebar: I worked at the Nets from 2008-13, so Brook and I were “rookies” the same season and two of the only everyday faces for the next 5 1/2 years. When I told him I was heading off to MSG for the Knicks gig, he bent all the way over to dap me up, which was simultaneously dope and embarrassing, because I am a full-sized human. On the plus side, I don’t like trash comics. Make mine Marvel!
Doc Rivers attempts to end speculation about coaching Lakers
Doc Rivers on Tuesday night attempted to quash rumors that he was considering leaving the Clippers to coach the other Los Angeles team, the Lakers.
“I’m going nowhere” – Doc on Lakers “rumors. “Let me end this right now…”
— Dan Woike (@DanWoikeSports) March 20, 2019
“I have a job and the Lakers have a coach,” Rivers said. “Straight and upfront, I’m going to be here until Steve says ‘Get out.’”
Rivers’ denial of any interest in coaching the Lakers comes on the heels of reports Monday by Stephen A. Smith and Peter Vecsey that Rivers is liked by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and would be interested in the Lakers challenge.
But Rivers said in pregame comments to reporters that he and Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer have agreed on a contract extension that has yet to be finalized.
Doc Rivers puts an end to any speculation of him and the Lakers coaching job by saying that he and Steve Balmer have agreed earlier this season to a new extension that still needs paperwork to be finalized. But Rivers, who had an option out of his… https://t.co/XGT7I4iqe3
— Ohm Youngmisuk (@NotoriousOHM) March 20, 2019
Rivers said he had an option to opt out of his Clippers contract this summer, but he and Ballmer mutually agreed to remove the clause.
The LeBron James-led Lakers are 31-39 under coach Luke Walton, whose job status is widely believed to be in jeopardy.
The Clippers are 41-30 going into Tuesday night’s game against Indiana at Staples Center. They own the eighth and final Western Conference playoff berth.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Warriors’ Cousins (ankle) to miss game vs. Timberwolves
The Golden State Warriors are in the thick of the chase for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference. As they face they Minnesota Timberwolves tonight (8 ET, NBA League Pass), they’ll be doing so without their best big man.
DeMarcus Cousins, who has been hobbled by a sore right ankle, has been ruled out for tonight’s game. He missed last night’s contest against the San Antonio Spurs, which the Warriors lost 111-105. That loss, combined with the Nuggets’ road win against the Boston Celtics, put Golden State into a tie with Denver for No. 1 in the West.
Injury report for tonight’s game at Minnesota: Andre Iguodala (dental work) is probable. Jacob Evans (illness) and Shaun Livingston are questionable. DeMarcus Cousins (right ankle soreness) and Damian Jones (left pectoral surgery) are out.
— Warriors PR (@WarriorsPR) March 19, 2019
Tonight’s game marks the end of a four-game road trip for Golden State, which it has gone 2-1 on, logging wins against the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. In addition to Cousins being out tonight, Andre Iguodala is listed as probable. He had dental work done recently and missed Monday’s game against the Spurs.
Additionally, Shaun Livingston and Jacob Evans (illness) are both questionable tonight. With Cousins out, it means newly acquired center Andrew Bogut will likely start in his place.
Bogut made both his Warriors debut and his first start of the season last night, logging seven points, seven rebounds, an assist and a block in 19 minutes. Bogut spent four seasons with Golden State before rejoining the team as a free agent weeks ago.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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