Reggie Jackson

Injury Notes: Porzingis, J. Allen, Murray, KCP, Jackson

Appearing on Zolak and Bertrand on 98.5 The Sports Hub on Tuesday, Celtics head coach Joe Mazzulla offered an encouraging update on the progress Kristaps Porzingis is making in his recovery from a calf strain, per Brian Robb of MassLive.com.

“It’s definitely better than we thought,” Mazzulla said. “I think one thing about KP is, I don’t know what his timetable is, but I know his mentality, and he really pushes himself to get back as quickly as he can. He does a great job working to take care of himself. He’s walking a little bit better, and every day he’s in there doing whatever it takes to try to get back as fast as he can. I appreciate that.”

Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter video link) said that “all early indications are super positive” on Porzingis’ recovery, adding that there’s “nothing but optimism” coming from the organization. The big man was on the court for the Celtics’ practice on Wednesday, notes Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link), though he was just doing stationary shooting and wasn’t moving around much.

Previous reporting indicated that the Celtics are hoping Porzingis will be able to return for the Eastern Conference Finals, assuming Boston makes it.

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

  • Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen (right rib contusion) has been ruled out for a fifth straight game, according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com, who confirms (via Twitter) that the big man will miss Game 2 on Thursday in Boston. As he did in Game 1, Isaac Okoro will once again start in Allen’s place.
  • The Nuggets are listing three players as questionable to play in a crucial Game 3 in Minnesota on Friday, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette: Jamal Murray (left calf strain), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope (right abdominal contusion), and Reggie Jackson (left calf contusion). Murray has repeatedly been listed as questionable due to his calf issue and likely isn’t any danger of missing Friday’s game. However, Caldwell-Pope’s and Jackson’s injuries are new ones.
  • In case you missed it, the Knicks are listing OG Anunoby (hamstring) as out and Jalen Brunson (foot) as questionable for Friday’s Game 3 vs. Indiana. We have more details here.

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Malone, Jackson, Long Odds

It was a miserable night on Monday for Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who scored just eight points on 3-of-18 shooting, didn’t make a three-pointer, and committed four turnovers as Denver lost a second consecutive game at home to the Timberwolves to fall behind 2-0 in the Western Conference semifinals. At one point in the second quarter, a frustrated Murray was captured on camera throwing a heat pack onto the floor from the bench during a live play (Twitter video link).

The incident, which Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch referred to after the game as “dangerous” and “inexcusable,” wasn’t caught in the moment by game officials, writes Dave McMenamin of ESPN. In a pool report interview after the game, referee crew chief Marc Davis said Murray would have been assessed with a technical foul – but not ejected – if the officials had realized he was the one who threw the heat pack.

“We weren’t aware it had come from the bench,” Davis said. “If we would have been aware it came from the bench, we could have reviewed it under the hostile act trigger. The penalty would have been a technical foul. … For an ejection, you would have to determine it was thrown directly at somebody versus thrown in frustration.”

“We tried to impress upon [the referees] there probably aren’t many fans in the building that have a heat pack, so it probably had to come from the bench, which they found logical,” Finch said. “I’m sure it was a mistake and an oversight and nothing intentional by the officiating at all, but certainly can’t allow that to happen.”

Murray – who left the arena without speaking to reporters for a second consecutive game, according to Bennett Durando of The Denver Post (Twitter link) – figures to be disciplined by the NBA for the heat pack toss. A fine is more likely than a suspension unless the league determines that Murray was aiming for Davis. We’ll have to wait to see if the penalty reflects the fact that the Nuggets guard evaded any repercussions during the game.

Here’s more on the reeling defending champs:

  • Nuggets head coach Michael Malone was also lucky to avoid a technical foul in the first quarter of Monday’s loss — he came onto the court to angrily confront Davis (Twitter video link) after Karl-Anthony Towns wasn’t called for an offensive foul following a collision with Murray (video link). Davis explained after the game that Malone didn’t “say anything unsportsmanlike” that warranted a technical. “When [Murray] is out there battling a guy like [Towns] and trying to take charge in what I thought was an easy call and he is not rewarded, I owe it to Jamal Murray or anybody else in that situation to voice my opinion, to voice my concern or disagreement,” Malone told reporters, per McMenamin. “That wound up being a big play because things after that did not go our way. Which is unfortunate, but that is my job. I am going to fight for my guys. I think I have to fight even more for them.”
  • Backup point guard Reggie Jackson, who has battled ankle issues this year, limped to the locker room with medical staff in the fourth quarter and didn’t return, tweets Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. Jackson will have three days off before Friday’s Game 3 to rest and recover, but his status for that game isn’t yet known.
  • The Nuggets will face long odds as they look to pull off a comeback against the Wolves, according to Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette, who notes that teams facing a 2-0 deficit in an NBA playoff series have a record of 33-421 (27-319 in best-of-seven series). No team has ever come back from a 3-0 hole.
  • The way in which the Nuggets have lost the first two games of the Western semifinals has been especially “disturbing,” says Troy Renck of The Denver Post, writing that the team hasn’t matched Minnesota’s “intensity or physicality.”

Northwest Notes: Daigneault, Edwards, Wolves, Nuggets, Jazz

A day after Mark Daigneault was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year for 2023/24, Thunder center Chet Holmgren lauded his head coach for his “crazy X’s and O’s” and his ability to connect with one of the NBA’s youngest rosters, per Rylan Stiles of SI.com.

“Shoutout to Mark man. Helluva coach,” Holmgren said. “… (He) puts us all in position to be successful. … He’s not that much older than us. He’s one of the bros.”

As John Hollinger of The Athletic, the world of NBA coaching is a “thankless” one, so now that he has shown the sort of success he can have in the regular season, Daigneault will be judged going forward on how and the Thunder perform in the postseason. Daigneault is off to a promising start on that front, notes Hollinger, pointing to an instance in Saturday’s win in which the Thunder extended their lead by using Gordon Hayward as a small-ball center.

As Hollinger writes, it would have been easy for Oklahoma City to take a conservative approach on Saturday with a 2-0 lead in the series, but Daigneault has shown repeatedly that he “doesn’t do safe and predictable.” His unorthodox strategies – which lean heavily on data and analytics, Hollinger points out – have the Thunder one win away from their first second-round series since 2016.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Fourteen-time All-Star Kevin Durant, who was on the receiving end of plenty of trash talk from Anthony Edwards during the Timberwolves‘ four-game sweep of Phoenix, had nothing but praise for the young star after Game 4, tweets Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “I’m so impressed with Ant. So impressed with Ant,” Durant said of Edwards, who averaged 31.0 PPG during the series. “My favorite player to watch. Just grown so much since he came into the league.”
  • The Timberwolves‘ dominant first-round victory over the Suns serves as a reminder that many NBA analysts were wrong about the Rudy Gobert trade, according to Jim Souhan of The Star Tribune. There was skepticism about the ability of Gobert and Karl-Anthony Towns to be effective alongside one another, but they’ve proven over the course of this season that’s not a problem, Souhan adds.
  • While both Nuggets point guards are banged up, neither Jamal Murray (left calf strain) nor Reggie Jackson (left ankle sprain) has missed a game yet during the team’s first-round series vs. the Lakers. That streak is up in the air with Murray still considered questionable for Monday’s Game 5, but Jackson seems good to go — he’s listed as probable to play, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette.
  • In a report for The Salt Lake Tribune, Andy Larsen, Blake Apgar, Kevin Reynolds, and Robert Gehrke take a look at how the Delta Center – the Jazz‘s home arena – might be affected by team owner Ryan Smith‘s plan to bring the NHL to Utah.

Injury Notes: Leonard, Gafford, Lillard, G. Allen, Jackson

Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard was listed as questionable heading into Friday’s Game 3 against Dallas due to right knee inflammation, but he was later upgraded to available, notes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (via Twitter).

Leonard returned to action on Tuesday after being sidelined for three-plus week with the knee injury. He played 35 minutes in Game 2 and it’s unclear if two-time Finals MVP will be ready for more than that tonight.

Not sure yet,” head coach Tyronn Lue said on Thursday, per Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “That’s something we got to talk about with medical. I’m not sure if the minutes will go up but he feels good.”

Leonard was understandable rusty in his first game back and needs to find his timing, Lue added, according to Janis Carr of The Orange County Register.

I think mentally he felt OK (thinking) ‘I got over that hurdle. I feel good. I can do this,’” Lue said of Leonard. “I’m hoping he continues that at the start of (Game 3).

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

  • After previously being listed as questionable, Mavericks center Daniel Gafford (back spasms) went through his pregame routine unscathed and will be active on Friday, the team announced (via Twitter). Gafford made a big impact for Dallas in the second half of the season after being acquired from Washington at the trade deadline.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard appeared to suffer a left knee injury in the first quarter of Friday’s Game 3 vs. Indiana after his heel area was accidentally landed on by Pascal Siakam (Twitter video link via ESPN). Lillard was in significant pain and went back to the locker room to get checked out, tweets Jim Owczarski of The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. However, the eight-time All-Star returned to action at the start of the second quarter and remained in through the conclusion of the overtime loss, so evidently the injury isn’t a serious one.
  • Suns wing Grayson Allen, who sustained a right ankle sprain in Game 1 in Minnesota and then re-injured the ankle in Game 2, said he felt “better than expected” on Thursday, per Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). Allen was a partial practice participant on Thursday and is questionable for Friday’s Game 3 in Phoenix. However, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 expressed doubt about his status tonight, tweeting that Sunday’s Game 4 looks like a more “realistic” return date.
  • Nuggets reserve guard Reggie Jackson was in a walking boot and using crutches on Friday, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. Head coach Michael Malone said Jackson has a sprained ankle and he’ll be questionable for Saturday’s Game 4 vs. the Lakers, with the boot a “preventative” measure, according to Brendan Vogt of DNVR Sports (Twitter links).

Nuggets Notes: Murray, Nnaji, Playoff Rotation, Spurs

Nuggets guard Jamal Murray missed his seventh consecutive game in Thursday’s two-point loss to the Clippers, but head coach Michael Malone said his team’s second-best player is “getting closer and closer,” to a return, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).

Murray is officially questionable for Saturday’s contest vs. Atlanta due to right knee inflammation, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette.

Here are a few more notes on the defending champs:

  • While he didn’t get any playing time, big man Zeke Nnaji was active on Thursday for the first time since March 17. He has been dealing with a right adductor injury the past few weeks. The 23-year-old isn’t on the injury report ahead of Saturday’s game.
  • In addition to Christian Braun and Reggie Jackson, Malone mentioned Peyton Watson and Nnaji as players who might crack the playoff rotation, though he suggested others could get a look depending on the matchup, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. “A lot of it’s gonna come down to who we’re playing, to be honest,” Malone said. “If we’re playing a team that’s really big, I’ll probably have to play a bigger lineup and some other guys. Obviously, trying to get Zeke Nnaji back healthy. He’s been out for a little while now. We know that we can go with Aaron (Gordon) as our backup five. … But there’s a lot of guys that we can throw into games. And obviously, Christian, Reggie, Peyton, Zeke, D.J. (DeAndre Jordan) — whoever the game calls upon, those guys will all be ready. I have no doubt about that.”
  • It’s a tall order, to be sure, but general manager Calvin Booth says the Nuggets hope to emulate the Spurs‘ dynasty in the years to come, per Troy Renck of The Denver Post. Led by Tim Duncan, San Antonio won four championships from 1999-2007, and a fifth title in 2014. “It is of utmost importance and something I believe in a lot. As a front office, we understand the importance of studying historical patterns and what things have worked,” Booth explained. “The Spurs are the standard.”

Northwest Notes: SGA, Bazley, I. Thomas, R. Jackson

Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played in his 65th game of the season on Thursday, meaning he now officially qualifies for end-of-season awards such as Most Valuable Player and All-NBA, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

If Gilgeous-Alexander makes an All-NBA team this year – which is a virtual lock – he’ll become eligible to sign a super-max extension with Oklahoma City during the 2025 offseason. He’ll have met the performance criteria by having earned an All-NBA spot in each of the past two years, but will remain one season shy of the service time requirement — he’ll have six years of service after this season, and a super-max deal (which starts at 35% of the cap instead of 30%) can’t be signed until a player has at least seven seasons under his belt.

Given that Gilgeous-Alexander has been performing at an MVP level this season and shows no signs of slowing down, it seems safe to assume that super-max offer will be waiting for the two-time All-Star on July 1, 2025.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • The terms of Darius Bazley‘s new three-year deal with the Jazz are virtually identical to those of Kenneth Lofton‘s contract, Hoops Rumors has learned. Bazley will make $500K the rest of this season via Utah’s room exception, with various trigger dates on non-guaranteed minimum salaries in 2024/25 and ’25/26. Because this is Bazley’s fifth NBA season, his minimum salaries are worth more than Lofton’s, so the overall value of his contract is approximately $5.74MM, whereas Lofton’s is about $4.9MM. The other difference between the two deals is that Bazley’s final year is simply non-guaranteed, rather than a team option.
  • Isaiah Thomas, who is playing with the Salt Lake City Stars as he pursues an NBA comeback, credited Jazz CEO Danny Ainge for pulling the strings to get him a shot with the team’s G League affiliate, per Jay King of The Athletic. “Danny helped make this thing happen,” Thomas said of the veteran executive who previously had the guard on his roster in Boston. “He connected the dots.”
  • Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, making just 36.8% of his attempts from the field and 25.5% of his three-pointers since February 4. However, he appreciates the fact that his teammates and coaches have encouraged him to shoot his way out of the slump, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post (subscription required). “They want me to continue to be myself. Continue to be aggressive. They’ve been kind of upset at me for not playing my game the last few,” Jackson said. “So then I started playing aggressive. Even still in the midst of missing shots. … But just hearing the encouragement from my teammates … once you have a great group like that — front office, coaches, teammates — believing in you like that, you can’t do anything but start believing in yourself again.”

Nuggets Notes: Gordon, Holiday, Jackson, KCP

Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon may not be out of action long after being bitten by a dog on Christmas Day, writes Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports. Gordon will remain away from the team while he recovers, and Wind gets the feeling that he could be back within a couple of weeks.

The incident, which left Gordon with lacerations on his face and his right shooting hand, occurred after Monday’s game. Gordon’s teammates were informed of his condition at today’s practice.

“Right now it’s open-ended. We’re not going to put any pressure on him,” coach Michael Malone said of a potential timetable. “We need him to heal inside and out. Going through something like that is not something you come back from easily. That’s something where you have to heal from the physical, but you also have to heal from the mental and what you just went through. We want him back. We know we’re better off with him. But I want to support Aaron Gordon and make sure when he comes back, he’s ready to come back and play at the level he’s capable of.”

Gordon has appeared in 28 of Denver’s first 32 games and is averaging 13.6 points, 6.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists per night. He played an integral role on last season’s championship team and has helped the Nuggets rise to second in the Western Conference standings with a five-game winning streak.

“I think he’s one of the more underrated players in the league,” Malone said. “We have his back. We love him and we’re here for him. Whenever he’s able to come back, we’re going to open our arms up and embrace him.”

There’s more on the Nuggets:

  • Malone didn’t announce how his starting lineup will be affected by Gordon’s absence, but Wind speculates Michael Porter Jr. will shift to power forward and Justin Holiday will be used as a starter. Denver has gone 4-0 with that lineup in the games that Gordon has missed.
  • Reggie Jackson briefly left Monday’s game, but he’s not listed on the injury report for Thursday, tweets Vinny Benedetto of The Denver Gazette. “I fully expect him to be able to go tomorrow,” Malone said. “He was dealing with a slight injury, but it’s nothing serious.”
  • Malone was impressed by the defensive performance Kentavious Caldwell-Pope turned in against Golden State, Wind adds in a separate story. As the primary defender on Stephen Curry, Caldwell-Pope helped hold him to 18 points on a 7-of-21 shooting night. “If that guy is not considered one of the best perimeter defenders in the NBA, I don’t know who is,” Malone said. “I just have to say that because I don’t think KCP gets the respect that he deserves, to be honest.”

Northwest Notes: Conley, Thunder, Nuggets, Jackson

Timberwolves point guard Mike Conley is feeling revitalized at age 36 as a leader for the team with the West’s best record, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic.

“You see it, not only with his approach but his ability to make huge plays, whether it be a steal in transition, obviously the threes, get the ball to the right people at the right time, close the game, quarterback the defense,” head coach Chris Finch said. “On and on it goes.”

“This is probably the best shape I’ve been in, in a long, long time,” Conley said. “I’m prepared to play however long I need to play. I tell [Finch] if I get tired, but I never do that. I want to be on the court as much as I can and help the guys, so we just keep communicating, and hopefully I can just keep going.”

The six-footer is averaging 11.5 PPG on .464/.445/.952 shooting, along with 6.3 APG and 2.9 RPG. Conley is in the final season of a three-year, $68MM million deal he signed when still with the Jazz. He’ll reach unrestricted free agency this summer, and if he can keep playing like this, he may still have more solid salaries waiting for him.

“I’ve still got it,” Conley said. “My age doesn’t matter, man. I’m still moving good, so I’m happy.”

There’s more out of the Northwest Division:

  • A trio of former Thunder stars offered high praise for Oklahoma City’s upstart young club and fanbase, following an up-close-and-personal encounter this week, writes Justin Martinez of The Oklahoman. Clippers stars Russell Westbrook, James Harden and Paul George, who all had multiple successful seasons with the Thunder, fell 134-115 in Oklahoma City on Thursday. “This reminded me of when I was here in the beginning of the Thunder Up days,” Harden said. “And it’s beautiful. It’s been a long time as far as the rebuilding process, but I think it’s exciting. These fans deserve some good basketball.” Harden was drafted by the Thunder in 2009, and was flipped in 2012 to the Rockets. George spent 2017-19 with Oklahoma City, alongside Westbrook. And while he only spent two seasons with the Thunder, he developed a strong connection with the community. He had high praise for Thunder center Chet Holmgren. “He’s a talent,” George said. “We didn’t quite figure it out because he’s not necessarily a big. He can play and move like a guard and a wing, so he gave us some problems.” Westbrook was drafted by the Thunder in 2008, and played there until 2019, winning an MVP in 2017. “It’s like home for me,” Westbrook said. “I grew up here… I’m grateful and gracious for their appreciation of the way I play basketball and the way I compete.”
  • The Nuggets, much vaunted for their offense, have seen their efforts on the other end of the ball come to the fore of late, as Bennett Durando of The Denver Post details. In the second half of an eventual 102-95 win over the Hornets, Denver outscored Charlotte 17-0 to start the third frame, while the Hornets went 0-for-20 from the field at the opening of the quarter. “We wanted to win tonight because of our defense, not our offense,” defense-first power forward Aaron Gordon said.
  • Nuggets sixth man Reggie Jackson, who was a high school legend at nearby Palmer High School, is reveling in his pro time with Denver, Durando writes in another piece. A big element of his time in town now has been his ability to reconnect with old friends and teammates. “That’s the best part of being back,” Jackson said. “If I have the urge to go see somebody, I can just go drive down there. Getting to see my childhood friends, their families grow, and getting to experience that and actually be around. Being gone so long in the NBA, it’s fun to finally have these moments and be close to them. I’m happy to be back home.”

Northwest Notes: R. Jackson, Thunder, K. George, Wolves

It’s a little too early in the season to project 2023/24 award winners, but Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon told reporters after Monday’s win over Dallas that Reggie Jackson deserves serious consideration for Sixth Man of the Year honors (Twitter video link via DNVR Sports).

Jackson, who has technically started 14 of 28 games so far due to Jamal Murray‘s injury, didn’t play regular minutes during Denver’s championship run in the spring, but he has emerged as a key rotation player this season. He has averaged 13.6 points and 4.5 assists per night with shooting percentages (.495 FG%, .407 3PT%) well above his career rates.

The veteran guard has been “huge for us,” according to Gordon, who wanted to make sure to get Jackson’s name into the Sixth Man conversation.

“He has to be in the running,” Gordon said. “I know being in Denver you don’t get a lot of pub, you don’t get a lot of media nods as far as the All-Star team, All-Defensive team, MVPs, and Sixth Man of the Year. But Reggie is arguably the Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA right now.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Sam Presti has referenced the Thunder‘s losing record last season and has tempered expectations for the team in the short term, suggesting that Oklahoma City won’t be in any rush to add win-now reinforcements to its roster. However, appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio (Twitter audio link), Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports says some people around the league are skeptical of that claim and expect Presti’s front office to be active in the coming weeks. The Thunder have an air of unpredictability about them, according to Rylan Stiles of Thunderous Intentions, who says it wouldn’t be surprising to see the club go in any direction at the trade deadline.
  • Rookie Jazz guard Keyonte George has missed the past three games due to left foot inflammation, but he’s progressing toward a return. As Andy Larsen of The Salt Lake Tribune relays (via Twitter), George is now traveling with the team and participating in on-court activities.
  • The bond that Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards are building is one that the Timberwolves previously envisioned Towns having with Jimmy Butler, writes Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. The Butler era in Minnesota crashed and burned in dramatic fashion five years ago, but Towns and Edwards have always respected each other’s skill sets and have had one another’s backs, as Krawczynski details.

Northwest Notes: SGA, OKC, K. George, Jazz, R. Jackson

After finishing fifth in NBA MVP voting in 2022/23, Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is building another strong case for the award this season, according to Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman.

Gilgeous-Alexander is once again averaging over 30 points per game through his first 21 contests, and he’s scoring those points more efficiently, with career highs in field goal percentage (55.0%) and free throw percentage (91.7%). He’s also dishing a career-best 6.2 assists and is leading the NBA with 2.8 steals per night, establishing himself as a legitimate All-Defensive candidate, Mussatto opines. On top of all that, Oklahoma City’s 15-7 record is good for second place in the Western Conference.

According to Mussatto, if he were casting an MVP ballot today he’d have usual suspects Nikola Jokic and Joel Embiid at the top, but Gilgeous-Alexander would come be at No. 3.

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Oklahoma City voters will head to the polls on Tuesday to decide whether or not to approve a six-year, one percent sales tax that would help fund a new arena for the Thunder. Sean Murphy of The Associated Press has the story on the vote and the plan for a new arena, which is expected to cost at least $900MM.
  • The Jazz were beaten soundly in Oklahoma City on Monday to fall to 7-16 on the season, but the play of rookie guard Keyonte George was a silver lining, as he scores 30 points for the first time in his professional career, per Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune. “Tonight is good for his mentality,” head coach Will Hardy said. “Now he’s seen himself do it. … There’s always a part of your brain that’s not sure if you can actually do it.”
  • After the good vibes that last season generated, the Jazz have to tread carefully as they struggle to compile wins this season, writes Tony Jones of The Athletic. While Utah isn’t expected to be a playoff or play-in team, the club needs to make sure it’s competing hard and playing the right way to avoid developing a losing culture, Jones notes.
  • Speaking to Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, Nuggets guard Reggie Jackson discussed what it meant to win an NBA championship, taking on a bigger role in Denver this season, and the opportunity to play alongside Nikola Jokic (“the best player in the world”), among other topics.