Friday, January 21News That Matters

Tag: National Basketball Assn

What to Expect from the Nets and the Knicks in the Second Half

Sports
The Knicks and the Nets, as Carmine Lupertazzi Jr. of “The Sopranos” might say, are at the precipice of an enormous crossroad.More than halfway through the 2021-22 N.B.A. season, the teams have more questions about their rosters than they were supposed to have in training camp. Both have underachieved relative to their preseason expectations. The Omicron variant of the coronavirus has affected both teams — although the Nets can claim the crown here, given that Kyrie Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against Covid-19 has kept him off the floor the majority of the season.But there’s a lot of hope to go around, too. The Knicks, at 22-23, have almost the same record as they did at this point last year, when they went on a dominant second-half run to surprisingly get home-court advantage in th...
Amir Johnson Is More Than an Answer in N.B.A. Trivia

Amir Johnson Is More Than an Answer in N.B.A. Trivia

Sports
Amir Johnson felt warm, either from the temperature in the room or the gravity of the moment. He removed his shirt.Johnson stayed nervous throughout N.B.A. draft night in 2005 as hour after hour, pick by pick, slipped past. Instead of planning for prom or making a final decision on his college destination, Johnson, at 18, was studying the television screen at his aunt’s house as his professional future hung in the balance.The N.B.A. draft cut to a commercial as it neared its end. A ticker of draftees’ names continuously sprinted across the bottom of the TV screen. Then someone screamed.The Detroit Pistons had just selected Johnson, out of Westchester High School in Los Angeles, with the fifth-to-last pick, 56th overall.The room, full of Johnson’s relatives and friends, detonated. “We had h...

Sam Jones, Sharpshooting Celtics Star of the 1960s, Dies at 88

Sports
Sam Jones, the Boston Celtics’ sharpshooting Hall of Fame guard who played on 10 N.B.A. championship teams, a milestone exceeded only by his teammate Bill Russell, died on Thursday in Florida. He was 88. His death was announced by a Celtics spokesman, who did not specify a cause but said that Jones had been in failing health. He also did not say where in Florida he died, but Jones had been living in the Orlando area.When Jones was selected by the Celtics out of the historically Black North Carolina College at Durham (now North Carolina Central University) in the first round of the 1957 draft — he was the eighth player chosen overall — he was more astonished and apprehensive than thrilled. Since players at Black colleges had gained little national notice at the time, he viewed himself as a ...
‘Every Hooper’s Dream’: N.B.A. Hopefuls Get Their Chance During Crisis

‘Every Hooper’s Dream’: N.B.A. Hopefuls Get Their Chance During Crisis

Sports
On Tuesday, Dec. 21, Charlie Brown Jr. was walking through the lobby of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas when he saw his friend Zylan Cheatham looking joyous.Brown could tell just by looking at him that he had good news to share.Earlier that day, Cheatham had found out that the Miami Heat wanted to sign him to a 10-day contract. He started screaming, jumping and running around his hotel room, where he had been staying to compete in a showcase of the best teams in the N.B.A.’s developmental league, the G League. Cheatham canceled plans to go home to Phoenix for Christmas, and when he called his mother to tell her, she jumped around, too.Soon after, Brown heard another friend had gotten a call-up from the G League. And then one of Brown’s teammates on the G League’s Delaware B...
The NBA Cuts Covid-19 Isolation Time as Dozens Test Positive

The NBA Cuts Covid-19 Isolation Time as Dozens Test Positive

Sports
The N.B.A. has altered its coronavirus protocols to allow players and coaches who have tested positive but are asymptomatic to return to their teams sooner as a surge in cases has depleted several teams of their best players.The new rules will also permit those with low viral loads to follow this new protocol, even if they still test positive, according to a memo obtained by The New York Times.Players and coaches who have positive or inconclusive tests will be able to return after six days in isolation instead of 10 if they are asymptomatic by then and meet the requirements on tests for infectiousness.The N.B.A. and its players’ union agreed on the new rules.To leave isolation on the shorter timeline, players and coaches must test with a low enough viral load on the fifth and sixth days af...
Warriors and Suns Already Have an Eye on the NBA Standings

Warriors and Suns Already Have an Eye on the NBA Standings

Sports
Stephen Curry caught himself.What was he doing talking about the playoffs already?“Still four months away,” Curry mused.He had just had his best Christmas performance — 33 points to surpass his previous high of 19. His team had beaten the Phoenix Suns, who entered with the N.B.A.’s best record.He admitted the Warriors had just earned their best win of the season, but as he spoke postgame his thoughts kept returning to the postseason.“It’s all a part of that progress in terms of every opportunity you have, you’re taking a step forward,” Curry said. “Confidence that you’re getting better as a team. Tonight was a night like that for sure, especially because you got to feel what a playoff type atmosphere is.”The N.B.A.’s Christmas games offered a chance for all of the participants to gauge the...
NBA Christmas Day Games 2021: What to Know

NBA Christmas Day Games 2021: What to Know

Sports
The N.B.A. has long looked to Christmas Day as a highlight of the young season, a made-for-TV spectacle that brings together many of the best teams and best players for a daylong extravaganza of basketball fireworks.This year? Not exactly.Dozens of players have been cycling through the N.B.A.’s coronavirus health and safety protocols in recent days, forcing teams to improvise by signing scores of replacement players to 10-day contracts. So if you’re expecting to see Kevin Durant lead the Nets into their game against the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, you’ll be disappointed: On Friday, Durant remained in the protocols. But fans should be able to catch the surprise return of Joe Johnson, whom the Boston Celtics signed on Wednesday to shore up their own battered roster — the same Joe Johnson...

What Is a Foul in the NBA? It’s Always Evolving

Sports
For much of the 20th century, basketball favored the tallest players, who did most of their scoring in the paint. Defenders were allowed to hand-check — to use their hands to slow driving opponents. That put guards, who were typically the shortest players, at a disadvantage. But the 1990s Chicago Bulls, led by Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen on the perimeter, changed the calculations for the N.B.A.By 1994, Jordan and Pippen had won three championships together, but Jordan had retired and the league was looking for of a new perimeter star to fill the void. The N.B.A. instructed officials to begin calling fouls for most types of hand-checking on the perimeter, which would make it easier for guards to score.“Offensively, it will be great,” Pippen said at the time. “But on the defensive end,...
The N.B.A.’s Early Story Lines: Missing Stars, Big-Time Bulls, Jokic

The N.B.A.’s Early Story Lines: Missing Stars, Big-Time Bulls, Jokic

Sports
After two seasons that were dramatically disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the N.B.A. thought it was returning to some version of normal this year. Instead, a wave of infections in the past few weeks has had a major impact on rosters and schedules, prompting game postponements and sidelining key players.Before that, though, several key story lines had begun emerging on the court.Golden State and Phoenix have established themselves as the best teams in the Western Conference, while the Lakers, laden with former All-Stars, have struggled to find their way. And even though injuries have stymied the Nuggets as a team, their big man Nikola Jokic has been making a case to win the Most Valuable Player Award again.The Chicago Bulls have proved to be surprising contenders with a team of former...
Kyrie Irving Returns to the Brooklyn Nets, Part Time

Kyrie Irving Returns to the Brooklyn Nets, Part Time

Sports
In recent weeks, multiple N.B.A. teams have had to cancel practices, postpone games and place dozens of players in protocols as a result of rising cases. On Friday, the N.F.L. postponed three games as a result of outbreaks. Medical experts say the unvaccinated, like Irving, remain the most at risk from the coronavirus.Updated Dec. 18, 2021, 9:22 a.m. ETWhile 97 percent of N.B.A. players are vaccinated and the league has run advertisements promoting vaccines’ use, Irving is one of the league’s top stars and most visible vaccine holdout. His stance has made him a particular cause célèbre of conservatives in the United States, such as Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, who publicly praised Irving for holding out, and those who have spread vaccine misinformation.The Coronavirus Pandem...