Jrue Holiday

Central Notes: Mitchell, Cavs, Osman, Ingles, Caruso, Ivey

Donovan Mitchell says the Cavaliers believe they can make a deep playoff run this season, as he tells Chris Mannix of SI.com.

You got to get there and see it,” Mitchell said. “We’ve put the work in. It’s tough going from the hunter last year to the hunted. But you see the progression. That tells you the mindset is there. That tells you this team believes.”

Mannix notes that there are signs Cleveland should be viewed as a contender — the team is first in net rating, second in defense, and Mitchell is having a career year and is surrounded by talented young players. However, only Mitchell and Jarrett Allen have postseason experience among the starters, and inexperienced teams rarely advance far in an initial playoff run.

Here’s more from the Central:

  • Cavaliers forward Cedi Osman has been in and out of the rotation in recent weeks, but he provided a major spark on Tuesday with Mitchell out, finishing with 24 points and six three-pointers in the victory over Charlotte. He admits the inconsistent playing time has been a challenge, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscriber link). “It’s tough. It’s not easy,” Osman said. “I feel like when you don’t play and then you do play, sometimes you’re trying to do more than you would normally do because you’re trying to stay in the game, you’re trying to show you deserve to be out there and that’s what is best for the team. I’ve learned how to deal with that throughout the season. I would say it’s going better for me now.”
  • Joe Ingles signed with the Bucks for the taxpayer mid-level exception last offseason, which was a risk by Milwaukee considering he was coming off a torn ACL suffered in February 2022. The veteran forward showed his worth at the end of Tuesday’s victory over Phoenix, with point guard Jrue Holiday calling on Ingles to handle the play-making duties. As Eric Nehm of The Athletic writes, the Bucks went on a 17-4 run once Ingles started running the show. “He just gives us a presence in the locker room, practices,” Budenholzer said of Ingles. “As a coach, you have to figure out how to best put him in his spots and the spacing around it and the players, they gotta keep developing that chemistry, so it’s still growing. I wish you could just snap your fingers and have it immediately, but that’s just not how basketball works, but he’s been invaluable to us, especially recently.”
  • Bulls head coach Billy Donovan says Alex Caruso has been ruled out of Wednesday’s game against Sacramento, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago (Twitter links). The defensive stalwart had previously been listed as questionable with an illness. The Bulls are competing for a spot in the play-in tournament, so Caruso will certainly be missed versus the Kings.
  • Pistons guard Jaden Ivey, who entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols last Friday, is listed as probable for Thursday’s matchup with Denver, tweets Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. The No. 5 overall pick of last June’s draft, Ivey is averaging 15.4 PPG, 3.9 RPG and 4.9 APG on .415/.331/.732 shooting through 62 games (30.2 MPG) as a rookie.

Bucks Notes: Middleton, Holiday, Roster Moves, Wigginton

The Bucks have been almost unbeatable when Khris Middleton has played this season, but coach Mike Budenholzer was in no rush to put him back in the starting lineup, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Before posting 24 points and 11 assists in a starting role Tuesday night, Middleton had been used off the bench since returning to action on January 23.

Budenholzer was being deliberately cautious with Middleton, who missed the first 20 games of the season due to injuries. Milwaukee is now 18-4 in games that Middleton has played, and Budenholzer plans to keep him in the starting unit for the rest of the season.

“I think it’s just more important to get the minutes,” Middleton said. “I mean, starting is kind of up in the air or whatever. Finishing games and playing minutes I think is what most guys want to do. They want to finish games, they want to play as many minutes as they can.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • Jrue Holiday missed Tuesday’s game with soreness in his neck, and Budenholzer called it more of an ongoing issue than a sudden injury, Owczarski adds. “Visiting with him a little bit, I think it’s just kind of been coming … it’s just kind of gotten kind of progressively worse,” Budenholzer said. “Hopefully it’s short term. We’ll just see how he feels day to day.” Holiday has been listed as probable for Thursday’s game against the Nets, Owczarski tweets.
  • Players are supportive of moves to bolster the roster with veterans such as Jae Crowder and Goran Dragic, even though it cuts into minutes for some players already on the team, Owczarski notes in another Journal-Sentinel article. “They do a great job of bringing high quality guys in, guys that are unselfish that want to sacrifice anything they can for the team to win,” Middleton said of the front office. “But then also I think we have an easy locker room, easy guys to get along with, many guys from different backgrounds but we have one common thing in mind and that’s to win. When you put all that together it’s easy for guys to come in and fit.”
  •  Lindell Wigginton‘s two-way deal with the Bucks is for two years, Hoops Rumors has learned.

Injury Notes: Sexton, Bucks, Pokusevski, Celtics

Jazz guard Collin Sexton, who strained his left hamstring in the team’s final game before the All-Star break, still hasn’t played since participating in the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday in Salt Lake City.

According to Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link), Sexton will be reevaluated next Monday, as Utah continues to rule him out one week at a time. He has missed the Jazz’s last five games and will be sidelined for at least three more, with the team playing in Dallas (on Tuesday), Orlando (Thursday), and Charlotte (Saturday) this week.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • The Bucks will be without All-Stars Giannis Antetokounmpo (non-COVID illness) and Jrue Holiday (neck soreness) when they visit Orlando on Tuesday, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. However, there has been no indication that either ailment should be a long-term issue.
  • Thunder forward Aleksej Pokusevski was briefly assigned to the Oklahoma City Blue to practice with the G League team as he recovers from the left leg fracture that has kept him on the shelf since late December, per Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter links). Pokusevski will probably assigned and recalled for practice purposes a few more times, Mussatto adds, noting that the 21-year-old’s return isn’t imminent quite yet.
  • Jayson Tatum (left knee contusion) and Al Horford (low back stiffness) both missed the Celtics‘ double overtime loss to Cleveland on Monday. As Tim Bontemps of ESPN observes (via Twitter), Horford played 45 minutes on Sunday and still hasn’t played both ends of a back-to-back set this season, so his absence came as no surprise. Tatum sustained his injury in a collision on Sunday.

Doncic, Irving To Start For Team LeBron

Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving are not only Mavericks teammates, they’re also starting together for Team LeBron at the All-Star Game Sunday in Salt Lake City.

LeBron James selected his former Cleveland teammate Irving and Doncic, the league’s leading scorer, during the first captain’s draft conducted on the same night as the All-Star Game. Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid will start up front for Team LeBron. The reserves for LeBron’s team include Anthony Edwards, Jaylen Brown, Paul George, Tyrese Haliburton, Julius Randle, De’Aaron Fox and Jaren Jackson Jr.

Donovan Mitchell and one of the players he was traded for, Lauri Markkanen, will start for Team Giannis. Ja Morant and Jayson Tatum round out the starting lineup. Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeMar DeRozan, Pascal Siakam, Bam Adebayo and Domantas Sabonis will be the reserves for Team Giannis.

Bucks Notes: Antetokounmpo, Holiday, Middleton

Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t participate in Saturday night’s skills challenge, but he doesn’t seem overly concerned about the right wrist sprain he suffered Thursday, writes Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

The Bucks star brushed aside questions about his wrist Friday as he prepared for his role as a coach in the celebrity contest. It still hasn’t been determined if Antetokounmpo will try to play in Sunday’s All-Star Game, in which he will serve as captain for one of the teams.

Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer expressed optimism about Antetokounmpo’s condition following Thursday’s game, saying X-rays didn’t show any damage beyond the sprain. ESPN reported that he will continue to be re-evaluated while participating in All-Star Weekend.

“What fall?” Antetokounmpo responded when reporters asked about the play that led to the sprain. “That was yesterday, man. That’s old news. It’s a brand new day, man. A good day to be alive.”

There’s more on the Bucks:

  • The celebrity coaching experience may eventually lead to a new career for the two-time MVP. Antetokounmpo tells Jim Owczarski of The Journal-Sentinel that he’s considering coaching in the NBA once his playing days are over. “Afterward, when I retire, I want to be a head coach,” he said. “A lot of people don’t know that about me, but I want to be a head coach. I really want to be. It’s kind of hard, because you have no control. And, I know the game of basketball, I know how to play the game of basketball, so it’s hard.”
  • Jrue Holiday has agreed to take Antetokounmpo’s place in the skills challenge, Owczarski adds in a separate story. Holiday, who was also part of the skills competition during his last All-Star appearance in 2012/13, is enjoying the chance to return to the game after such a long absence. “I think just it being 10 years later,” he said, “me being able to just get a chance to perform at the highest level and on a really good team and just showcase my talent, just really being able to be the best that I can, it’s awesome to be recognized for it.”
  • In an interview with Mark Medina of NBA.com, Holiday says he originally wasn’t planning to watch the announcement of the All-Star reserves because he didn’t expect to be selected.
  • Khris Middleton was held out of the Bucks’ final game before the break because of soreness in his right knee, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Middleton recently returned from a knee injury, but Budenholzer indicated that his status on Thursday shouldn’t be considered a sign of trouble. “We just have to take it day by day, and in some ways, that’s how all the guys are,” Budenholzer said.

2023 NBA All-Star Reserves Announced

The league has announced its 2023 All-Star reserves during a pregame broadcast on TNT, as voted on by NBA head coaches. As usual, the list of 14 selections featured some interesting surprises.

For the Eastern Conference, coaches voted in Sixers center Joel Embiid (the reigning Player of the Month in the East), Heat center Bam Adebayo, Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan, Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, and Knicks forward Julius Randle.

Holiday, who is making his second overall All-star appearance this year, last earned an All-Star nod a decade ago while playing for Philadelphia.

Randle will receive a $1.2MM salary bonus as a result of being named an All-Star this season, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Marks adds (via Twitter) that Holiday will get a $324K bonus. And as long as he appears in at least 65 contests this year, Brown will earn a $1.55MM bonus after having qualified for the All-Star game, Marks tweets.

Among the most notable omissions in the East were a handful of point guards: the Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, the Hawks’ Trae Young, the Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, and the Sixers’ James Harden. Miami swingman Jimmy Butler also missed out. Young, Harden and Butler all made the cut last season.

In the Western Conference, Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, Kings center Domantas Sabonis, Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers forward Paul George, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. were selected as reserves.

Being named to the All-Star team again this year will earn Sabonis a $1.3MM bonus, per Marks (Twitter link).

Lakers center Anthony Davis, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Suns guard Devin Booker, and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon were among the Western Conference snubs.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Markkanen and Jackson are the lone first-time All-Stars among these 14 picks.

All-Star weekend tips off on February 17 in Salt Lake City. Los Angeles power forward LeBron James and Milwaukee power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the captains of their respective conferences, will draft their teams ahead of the 2023 All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19.

And-Ones: Napier, All-Star Bonuses, Trade Proposals, Biggest Needs

Former NBA guard Shabazz Napier has signed with Olimpia Milano for the remainder of the season, according to a team press release. Coach Ettore Messina said Napier will be thrown into the fray immediately against Baskonia, Allesandro Maggi of Sportando relays.

“Shabazz Napier had just one team practice, but we will use him, hoping for some minutes in a position where we need them badly,” he said.

Napier last appeared in the NBA during the 2019/20 season, when he played a combined 56 games for Minnesota and Washington.

We have more from the basketball world:

  • Several NBA players could cash in if they’re selected as All-Star reserves, Bobby Marks of ESPN notes. Among that group, the Celtics’ Jaylen Brown will earn a $1.5MM bonus if he’s chosen and also appears in 65 regular season games (he has missed six games so far). The Bucks’ Jrue Holiday will collect $324K if he’s chosen, while the Kings’ Domantas Sabonis will receive $1.3MM if he’s selected. The Knicks’ Julius Randle will get an additional $1.2MM if he gets the nod.
  • What are some of the bold moves that playoff contenders could make to improve their chances of success? The Ringer’s Michael Pina explores potential trades that could make the Suns, Clippers, Thunder, Lakers and Pelicans better.
  • The Bulls and Hawks need 3-point shooting.  The Nuggets need defensive help and the Warriors require a stretch wing. The Athletic’s staff runs down the biggest need for every team as the trade deadline approaches.

LeBron James, Jrue Holiday Named Players Of The Week

Lakers forward LeBron James and Bucks guard Jrue Holiday have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced (via Twitter).

James led the Lakers to a 3-1 week with averages of 35.0 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 7.0 APG and 1.3 BPG on .510/.323/.842 shooting. He continues to play at an incredibly high level at 38 years old, having won the award a couple weeks ago as well. The Lakers are currently 22-25, the West’s No. 12 seed, but are only 2.5 games back of the No. 5 seed Mavericks.

Holiday had an outstanding week himself, leading Milwaukee to a 2-1 record with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton sidelined. He averaged 33.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 9.3 APG and 1.7 SPG on a stellar .569/.478/1.000 shooting slash line. The Bucks are currently 29-17, the East’s No. 3 seed, and are expected to get both of Holiday’s aforementioned teammates back on Monday.

According to the NBA (Twitter link), the other nominees in the West were Mikal Bridges, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kawhi Leonard and Jamal Murray, while Joel Embiid, Darius Garland, Kyrie Irving, Dejounte Murray and Fred VanVleet were nominated in the East.

Health Updates: LeBron, Walker, Prince, Bucks, SGA

LeBron James has been helping to keep the Lakers in the play-in race, averaging 36.6 points per game on 58.5% shooting during the club’s 3-2 road trip that wrapped up on Monday.

However, James won’t be available when the Lakers return home and host the Heat on Wednesday. He has been ruled out for the game due to a non-COVID illness, tweets Dave McMenamin of ESPN.

Lakers guard Lonnie Walker will also miss his third consecutive contest, McMenamin adds. Previously listed as out due to a tailbone contusion, Walker is now on the injury report with left knee soreness.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Timberwolves forward Taurean Prince intends to make his return to action on Wednesday night vs. Portland, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). Prince, who was dealing with a right shoulder subluxation, last played on November 23 — he has missed Minnesota’s last 20 games.
  • After playing on Tuesday night vs. Washington, Jrue Holiday (non-COVID illness) and Joe Ingles (left knee injury management) have been ruled out for the second half of the Bucks‘ back-to-back set on Wednesday in Toronto, tweets Eric Nehm of The Athletic. Khris Middleton (right knee soreness) and George Hill (non-COVID illness) will also remain sidelined.
  • Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander missed Tuesday’s game due to a non-COVID illness, but he’s not on Wednesday’s injury report, so it appears he’ll be available tonight in Orlando, tweets Rylan Stiles of Locked on Thunder.

Central Notes: Antetokounmpo, Holiday, LaVine, Drummond, Mitchell

Giannis Antetokounmpo and Jrue Holiday are both available to play for the Bucks tonight against Washington, Eric Nehm of The Athletic tweets. Antetokounmpo sat out Sunday’s loss to Washington due to left knee soreness. Holiday has not played since Christmas Day due to a non-COVID illness.

The Bucks have listed Khris Middleton (right knee soreness) and George Hill (non-COVID illness) as out.

We have more from the Central Division:

  • Zach LaVine, in the first season of a five-year max contract, admits he needs to do a better job giving consistent effort on the defensive end, he told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. “That might just be finishing plays as well as the possession goes on,’’ the Bulls’ wing said. “Getting a rebound, one more contest, one more rotation, one more effort … and you know, you can take that on the chin and say, ‘Yeah, there’s been possessions where if I have to make that last rotation, I have to give a better effort toward that.’ That’s something I do have to be better at.’’
  • Bulls center Andre Drummond thought he’d spend his entire career with the team that drafted him, the Pistons, he told Mike Curtis of the Detroit News (subscription required). “For me, (Detroit) was always a place that I thought I was going to be for my entire career. But, it didn’t go that way,” he said. “They had other plans; I think they wanted to restart their team again and it’s never any hard feelings. I know the way of the business. It’s always love. I love (Pistons owner) Tom Gores. I love his family. I love the city of Detroit and I love the staff there.” Drummond played seven-and-a-half seasons with Detroit before he was traded to Cleveland.
  • Donovan Mitchell‘s 71-point eruption on Monday has washed away his disappointing postseason performances with Utah last season, Michael Pina of The Ringer writes. The 25-year-old Mitchell has been as efficient offensively as he’s ever been during his career. If he can sustain that, the Cavaliers got a special talent that rarely gets traded, particularly before the player reaches age 30.