NBA chooses All-Star reserves, with Zion among first-timers
New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson (1) goes to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics in New Orleans, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)New Orleans forward Zion Williamson now can be called an NBA All-Star, and only three others in the game’s 70-year history have gotten there at a younger age. Phoenix’s Chris Paul is an All-Star for the 11th time, and Brooklyn’s James Harden is one for the ninth consecutive year. The rest of the reserves include Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic from the Eastern Conference, along with the Los Angeles Lakers’ Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, Utah teammates Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, and Portland’s Damian Lillard from the Western Conference. But this will be his first time in the All-Star Game itself.
Curry goes off again with 10 3s as Warriors hold off Magic
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry, left, dribbles against Orlando Magic forward Gary Clark during the first half of an NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2021. Curry knocked down 10 3-pointers on the way to 40 points and also contributed eight rebounds and five assists, leading the Golden State Warriors past the undermanned Magic 111-105 on Thursday night. “I just told him he looks great, he looks quick, he looks healthy, he looks like he’s loving it,” Clifford said. Nikola Vucevic had 25 points, 13 rebounds and five assists as the Magic lost a third straight game, seventh in eight and ninth of 11. ... Golden State hasn't lost two in a row at home this season.
VanVleet sets Raptors mark with 54 in 123-108 win at Orlando
Toronto Raptors guard Fred VanVleet, left, drives around Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)ORLANDO, Fla. – Fred VanVleet set a franchise record with 54 points and hit a career-best 11 3-pointers as the Toronto Raptors beat the short-handed Orlando Magic 123-108 on Tuesday night. AdNorman Powell had 23 points for Toronto, and Kyle Lowry posted a triple-double with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Orlando, which has lost 12 of 14, tried almost every guard on its roster against the 6-foot-1 VanVleet with little to no success. AdMagic: Orlando was without Gordon, who severely sprained his left ankle later in Sunday’s game against Toronto. Magic: Orlando hosts Chicago on Friday and Saturday in a two-game set.
Harden debuts with triple-double, Durant scores 42, Nets win
He had no practice time with the Nets and sure didn't need it, becoming the first player in franchise history to have a triple-double in his debut. Durant made five 3-pointers in his 10th game back following an 18-month layoff after rupturing his Achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals. The Nets might still be even better when they get back Kyrie Irving, who missed his sixth straight game after leaving the team last week for personal reasons. Nikola Vucevic had 34 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the short-handed Magic, who lost their fifth straight. Nets: Durant has scored 25 or points in nine straight games, setting a new franchise record.
More NBA games off, as league continues struggles with virus
(AP Photo/Jeffrey McWhorter)Another three NBA games were postponed Friday, including one in Minnesota only a couple hours before game time, as the league's struggle with increasing coronavirus numbers continued. The Timberwolves' game with the Memphis Grizzlies was called off, as were what would have been Wizards' home games Sunday and Monday against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBA said earlier this week that 16 players tested positive in recent days, which was more than the NBA had seen in the last five weeks combined. The NBA gave Orlando coach Steve Clifford a call recently, telling him he had to do a better job of keeping his mask on during games. “I think there were seven of us who got a call from the league about ‘Keep your mask on,’” Clifford said.
Wood scores 22 to lead Rockets to 132-90 rout of Orlando
Houston Rockets forward Christian Wood shoots over Orlando Magic forward Gary Clark, left, and center Nikola Vucevic (9) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 8, 2021, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)HOUSTON (AP) – Christian Wood scored 22 points and tied a career high with 15 rebounds to lead the Houston Rockets to a 132-90 rout of the short-handed Orlando Magic on Friday night. Houston was up by 29 at halftime and had extended the lead to 81-43 after consecutive 3-pointers by John Wall and P.J. Harden had 15 points and 13 assists, and Tucker added 15 points. He scored 15 points on 5-for-5 3-point shooting.
'A sad day': NBA reacts to Capitol protest, Blake decision
And in Phoenix, the Suns and Toronto Raptors stood in a circle and linked arms for the American and Canadian anthems. “It’s an embarrassing and shameful day in our country,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy said. Wednesday's events came one day after the decision to not to bring charges against the officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year was announced. The NBA had a rule for decades that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem. The Bucks said after the game they held the ball for 7 seconds to reflect the seven times Blake was shot.
Practice time will be in short supply in NBA this season
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra watches during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Friday, Dec. 25, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/Joel Auerbach)The Miami Heat just wrapped up two consecutive days of practice, which is significant for this reason: It might not happen again for a while. Practice time is something that will be in short supply around the NBA this season; teams are basically playing every other day, and that — along with travel and mandated days off — realistically leaves time for no more than two practices per week. “I think you need to adjust and at least we’re all on an even playing field, so it’s all relative,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. Every team in the NBA will have similar practice quandaries, which comes with the territory of having plenty of four-game weeks.
Magic beat Wizards130-120 despite Westbrook's historic night
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz (20) shoots as Washington Wizards forward Isaac Bonga (17) and forward Deni Avdija (9) defend in the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Dec. 26, 2020, in Washington. (Geoff Burke/Pool Photo via AP)WASHINGTON – The Orlando Magic beat Washington 130-120 on Saturday night, overcoming another triple-double by Russell Westbrook in his home debut for the Wizards. Nikola Vucevic had 22 points and 17 rebounds, and Markelle Fultz added 21 points to help the Magic win its second straight to start the season. ... Two-way rookie guard Cassius Winston (hamstring strain) was inactive but has returned to practice…UP NEXTThe Magic and Wizards will complete their back-to-back in Washington on Sunday. It is the only meeting between the two Southeast division foes in the first half of the NBA schedule release.
The NBA preseason begins, with empty arenas as the stages
Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford talks to players during a timeout in the first half of the team's NBA preseason basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020, in Atlanta. The NBA preseason — a truncated 49-game, nine-day sprint — opened Friday with a five-game slate, action returning to NBA arenas for the first time in exactly nine months. Friday’s games:KNICKS 90, PISTONS 84At Detroit, R.J. Barrett scored 15 points and Toppin finished with 11 points and seven rebounds in his debut as the Knicks won their preseason opener. Julius Randle scored 11, while Elfrid Payton and Nerlens Noel each scored 10 for New York. Svi Mykhailiuk and Saddiq Bey led the Pistons with 14 points apiece.
A cautious start to NBA season, as camps open amid positives
Im very concerned if we can pull this off, Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. “I’m very concerned if we can pull this off,” Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers said. Golden State general manager Bob Myers said two Warriors have tested positive, meaning that club won't start individual workouts until Wednesday and won't have a full-scale practice until Monday. Washington coach Scott Brooks said the Wizards have one player who tested positive. And Orlando coach Steve Clifford said Magic center Mo Bamba — who tested positive several months ago — is still “a ways away” from being ready to play again.
Arenas, stadiums find new life as safer options for voting
Jen Cox poses for a photo on Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, after voting early at State Farm Arena in downtown Atlanta. “This was an amazing, fantastic experience,” Jen Cox said after voting at State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks were the first NBA team to commit their arena for early voting. There are 30 early voting locations scattered around Fulton County, which stretches 70 miles (112 kilometers) north to south. Florida has early voting at venues used by the NBA’s Orlando Magic, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Lakers, Bucks look to clinch second-round berths Wednesday
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)It was only a week ago when the sky was falling on the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. The Bucks lead the Orlando Magic 3-1; the Lakers lead the Portland Trail Blazers 3-1. The bottom line is weve come out and competed so much harder.The wake-up call helped the Lakers as well. James teams went 5-5 in his first 10 series-clinching opportunities; theyre 30-5 in those situations since. NEED TO KNOW: If the Bucks win, the Eastern Conference first round would be completed in just 17 games.
Williamson back in NBA quarantine, could be out on Tuesday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. Zion Williamson will be out of quarantine by the time New Orleans plays in the first official game of the NBA restart at Walt Disney World. The NBA said Saturday that Williamson will have to serve a four-day quarantine for leaving the leagues Disney bubble on July 16 to tend to an urgent family matter. He returned to Disney on Friday night and immediately went into quarantine. The most important thing is we hope everythings OK with him, Pelicans forward Derrick Favors said Saturday, shortly after the NBA revealed the four-day quarantine determination. COACHES PINSNBA coaches started wearing a large pin during games this weekend, the message reading Coaches for Racial Justice.Its not uncommon for NBA coaches to wear pins or ribbons to support various causes.
A whole new look, for a whole new NBA game experience
The NBA comes back Wednesday with a very different look. The leagues marketing motto for the restart of the season at Walt Disney World is Whole New Game, and in many respects, thats very true. Everything else about an NBA game setup is new. Ive just got to take it one game at a time, see what its like during these scrimmages, Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard said. Were looking at this as an opportunity to get better for both teams, Rivers said.
'Use our platform': NBA coaches saying change must occur
But two coaches said Saturday that once the league arrives at Disney, they would expect the NBAs visibility to be an asset again in the hope for actual change. Orlando coach Steve Clifford also seems convinced that the leagues players and coaches will take some sort of action when the season resumes. Well have a collective platform where everyone can collectively send a message condemning racism, racial injustice, calling for police accountability. Spoelstra has been on several calls with political leaders in South Florida in recent days for that same purpose. We all thought that that was going to move the needle and it didnt and it broke your heart, Spoelstra said.
Texas council member quits under fire over protest response
PARIS, Texas A member of a Texas city council resigned under fire this week over a social media response he made to a protest of the death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into his neck even after he stopped moving and pleading for air. Paris City Council member Benny Plata submitted his resignation Tuesday at a special meeting. Mayor Steve Clifford called the meeting to censure Plata after the council member messaged a protester, Why dont you leave America if its so bad, The Paris News reported. Our nation is in turmoil over the death of Mr. George Floyd and also due to the pandemic," the mayor said on Facebook. Paris is a city of about 25,000 residents, 90 miles (145 kilometers) north of Dallas near the border with Oklahoma.