Stephen Curry

Antetokounmpo, James Head All-Star Starters; Embiid Falls Short

Lakers forward LeBron James tied Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on Thursday with his 19th NBA All-Star selection. James, who currently shares the record with Abdul-Jabbar for most All-Star Games played with 18, was chosen as a starter, according to a league press release.

All of the starters were revealed on Thursday night.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, Pelicans forward Zion Williamson, Warriors guard Stephen Curry and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic were the other starters chosen out of the Western Conference. James will serve as a team captain for the sixth straight year, since he received the most votes.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, named a team captain for the third time, heads the list of starters out of the Eastern Conference. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Nets forward Kevin Durant, Nets guard Kyrie Irving, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell will join him, but the league’s second-leading scorer, Sixers center Joel Embiid (33.4 PPG), didn’t garner enough votes.

The starters are selected by a weighted voting process with the fan vote accounting for half of the final outcome. The player and media portions of the vote each counted for 25 percent. Three frontcourt players and two guards were selected from each conference.

Embiid finished third in the player and media voting among Eastern Conference frontcourt players but fourth in the fan voting. All voting results can be found here.

The game will be played Feb. 19 in Salt Lake City. James and Antetokounmpo will choose their teams shortly before the game begins. James will set the league record for most All-Star appearances if he plays, since Abdul-Jabbar did not play in the 1973 game after being chosen.

The reserves, which are chosen by the league’s coaches, will be announced Feb. 2.

Injury Notes: Haliburton, Davis, Warriors, K. Porter

Appearing on JJ Redick’s Old Man and The Three podcast, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton provided an update on his recovery from the elbow and knee injuries he sustained earlier this month. The team announced on January 12 that Haliburton would be reevaluated in two weeks, and he’s hoping that he won’t be out much longer than that.

“Starting to get stronger every day, feeling better every day,” he said (hat tip to Tony East of “Got my second opinion, so things are going well. Hopefully in the next 11, 12 days, I feel better and can get back to start February. That’s the goal.”

A strong candidate to earn his first All-Star nod, Haliburton had been averaging 20.2 points and 10.2 assists per game for the surprisingly competitive Pacers, with shooting averages of 48.0% from the floor and 39.9% on threes, before he went down.

Indiana had a 23-18 record entering the game in which Haliburton got injured, but lost that night and have dropped four more contests since then to fall to .500 (23-23). While they won’t rush back their star player, the slumping Pacers would certainly be happy if he’s able to make it back sooner rather than later.

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

  • Although Shams Charania has repeatedly stated that Anthony Davis is on track to return in early February, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter video link) suggested in a TV appearance that the Lakers star could be back before then. “If everything continues to go the right way, he will be back playing for the Lakers next week at Arena and be with them for that entire road trip,” McMenamin said. Los Angeles plays home games next Tuesday and Wednesday before embarking on a five-game road trip that begins on January 28.
  • Stephen Curry (hip tightness), Draymond Green (toe soreness), Andrew Wiggins (foot soreness), Klay Thompson (Achilles injury management), and Andre Iguodala (hip soreness) will all miss Friday’s game in Cleveland, but the Warriors could have reserves Jonathan Kuminga (foot sprain) and JaMychal Green (leg infection) back, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Kuminga, out since December 30, and Green, out since Dec. 18, are both listed as probable.
  • Rockets guard Kevin Porter Jr. visited a specialist on Friday to further evaluate the left foot contusion that has caused him to miss the last four games, tweets Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Porter and rookie forward Jabari Smith Jr., who sprained his right ankle on Wednesday, have both already been ruled out for Saturday’s game in Minnesota, notes Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle (Twitter link).

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Curry, Holmes, C. Johnson

The Warriors tried out a new starting and closing lineup on Thursday in a Finals rematch again Boston, subbing in Jordan Poole for Kevon Looney. The five-man unit of Poole, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins was less stout defensively, but was more dynamic on offense — it’s a look head coach Steve Kerr suggested he plans to stick with for now, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

“Just wanted to open up the floor,” Kerr said. “Give us a little different look. Maybe get a spark. We’re past the halfway point and we’re .500. Like, let’s try something different. … It’s a lineup we know can be explosive. Against Boston, in particular, you have to open up the floor. I think I’ll keep doing it.”

Following Thursday’s loss, the defending champions are now 22-23, a game below .500. It makes sense that Kerr would be looking to generate a spark with a lineup shake-up, and his players are on board with giving the new starting group a shot.

“There’s strength and weaknesses to it,” Curry said after Thursday’s game. “But we got great shots with it tonight. Came out with a lot of juice. We gotta be better at rebounding. If we give up size, we gotta be more physical, prepared to rebound. But it gives us great space and gets us great shots, and you gotta like the way we can play fast and put pressure on defenses.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • In a Substack conversation with Marc Stein, Curry expressed interest in joining Kerr and Team USA in Paris for the 2024 Olympics and discussed how much longer he might want to play in the NBA. As the Warriors star explained, his hope when he entered the league was to match the 16 seasons his father Dell Curry played, but once he gets beyond that figure, he has no specific target in mind. “I don’t have any (longevity) goals other than maintaining the feeling that I have right now in my body and the night-in, night-out expectation of how I play and having that energy and joy and being able to recover from game to game,” Stephen Curry said.
  • With Domantas Sabonis out on Wednesday due to a non-COVID illness, Kings center Richaun Holmes got his first start since last February and played a season-high 31 minutes, registering 16 points (on 7-of-7 shooting) and 11 rebounds. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee outlines, it was a major achievement for a player who has gone through both professional and personal hardships in the last year. “It’s a testament to his character, his professionalism and his ability to play the game at a high level,” head coach Mike Brown said of Holmes. Sabonis is listed as questionable to play on Friday vs. Oklahoma City.
  • Cameron Johnson‘s return to action on Thursday – which saw him score 19 points in 22 minutes – provided a huge lift for a Suns team that has been mired in a lengthy slump, perhaps giving them a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel, writes Doug Haller of The Arizona Republic. Head coach Monty Williams said Johnson “brought a level of juice to the arena that we haven’t felt in a while,” while Deandre Ayton said his teammate “definitely gave us a breath of fresh air.”

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Powell, Kawhi, Warriors, Metu

Last week, with the Clippers in the midst of a six-game losing streak that dropped their overall record to 21-21, veteran swingman Norman Powell spoke to his teammates to reiterate his confidence in the group and to remind them what they’re capable of, writes Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. Powell, along with Kawhi Leonard, was a member of the Raptors team that won a championship in 2019 and believes this year’s Clippers have a similar ceiling.

“I talked to the team. I told them: ‘This team is deeper than the Raptors team I was on. It’s all about identity and who we are and how we’re going to play,'” Powell said. “I feel like every team goes through it. If you look back at championship teams and top teams, there’s always a point in the season where you get here. And we’ve been here a couple times for whatever reason it is, and it’s just gutting up and taking it and coming out of it.”

The 2018/19 Raptors were far more consistent than this year’s Clippers have been, but Powell pointed to a stretch in January 2019 when Toronto lost three of four games (the third at home to Milwaukee on national TV) as a turning point for that club. There’s hope that the Clippers’ recent slide can galvanize this team in the same way and compel them to play with more urgency in the second half.

“The identity of who we are every single night that we’re on the floor is the biggest thing that we have to figure out, and that doesn’t matter who’s suiting up that night,” Powell said. “It’s just, we’re going to be a hard-nosed, tough-playing defense. We’re going to be an offense that moves the ball, attacks you, puts pressure on the rim and generates open shots. And that’s not — PG (Paul George) doesn’t have to play for that, Kawhi doesn’t have to play for that. That’s just an identity and style of basketball we have to start really locking into now.”

The Clippers snapped their losing streak and got back over .500 with a victory over Dallas on Tuesday.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After leading the Clippers past Luka Doncic and the Mavs on Tuesday by scoring a season-high 33 points in 36 minutes, Kawhi Leonard acknowledged that he’s relieved to no longer be on the minutes limit that he faced earlier in the season. “If you’re basing it on minute restriction, it is frustrating,” Leonard said, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. “Because I’m not going in there jacking shots, so I’m trying to play team basketball. It was frustrating (with the restriction). We were losing games. From a minute restriction, I’m not the only one either that was on it. Guys have been in and out the lineup all year, getting injured.”
  • The Warriors had their full starting lineup available on Tuesday for the first time since December 3, but lost at home to the shorthanded Suns in a game that showed Stephen Curry and the rest of the rotation still have dust to shake off, writes Kendra Andrews of ESPN. Curry, who scored 16 of his 24 points in the fourth quarter, said he “felt like myself again” by the end of the game. “I’m hoping that fourth quarter was the team that I have come to know and love and recognize,” head coach Steve Kerr said. “But we have to show in the first quarter, not in the fourth quarter.”
  • Chimezie Metu rejoined the Kings‘ rotation as the backup center on Monday for the first time since early December and had his best game of the season, with 11 points and nine rebounds in 14 minutes. The performance went a long way toward rebuilding head coach Mike Brown‘s trust in Metu, according to Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee. Brown said he thought the big man “relaxed just a little bit” before losing his spot in the rotation last month.

Pacific Notes: Clippers, Morris Sr., Green, Looney, Curry

The Clippers headed into Tuesday’s game against Dallas on a six-game losing streak. However, coach Tyronn Lue drew some positives from the way the team competed in a four-point loss to Atlanta on Sunday, Janis Carr of the Orange County Register writes. “We had a conscious effort of playing the right way and so I could live with the results,” Lue said. “We have to keep working. Nobody’s going to feel sorry for us. But I’m encouraged.”

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Clippers forward Marcus Morris has been fined $15K for directing inappropriate language toward a game official, the league’s PR department tweets. The incident occurred at the conclusion of the Clippers’ 128-115 loss to the Timberwolves on Friday.
  • The Warriors are active in the trade market, looking to add size and shooting, according to Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. However, coach Steve Kerr’s main concern right now is giving players who have logged heavy minutes recently, such as Draymond Green and Kevon Looney, some down time. “I’m really proud of them, of that whole group, but of Loon and Draymond in particular, given the circumstances,” Kerr said. “What they’ve done for us the last couple weeks, keeping us afloat, has been really impressive. But, yes, it would be nice to give them a little rest.”
  • Stephen Curry returned to action on Tuesday from a shoulder injury and the Warriors desperately need his offense after losses to Detroit and Orlando, Poole writes in a separate story. “We’re having a lot of possessions where we’re going stagnant,” Kerr said. “We’re not getting a ‘dive man.’ Or we’re ‘five out’ on the perimeter. And just pass, pass, pass, without anybody setting a screen and diving to the rim and pulling the defense in.”

Stephen Curry Set To Return On Tuesday

The Warriors‘ lineup will get a major upgrade on Tuesday night, according to Kendra Andrews of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Stephen Curry will return and start as Golden State hosts the Suns.

Curry’s minutes limit is still being determined, Andrews adds.

Curry suffered a left shoulder subluxation in the Warriors’ loss to Indiana on December 14 and has missed the last 11 games as a result of the injury. President of basketball operations Bob Myers said last week that the club was hoping Curry would be able to return this Friday — the former MVP will be back on the court even earlier than that.

Golden State has had an up-and-down run since Curry went down. The team lost three of its first four games without him, including a pair of blowouts, then reeled off a five-game winning streak before losing its last two contests at home to Detroit and Orlando. The Warriors will take a 20-20 record into Tuesday’s home game vs. Phoenix before departing for a five-game road trip.

Curry is the third Warrior to return from an injury absence in the past week. Andrew Wiggins was back on Saturday after missing 15 games due to an adductor strain and illness, while Andre Iguodala made his season debut in the same game after being sidelined for most of the first half with a hip issue.

Warriors Notes: Curry, Thompson, Wiggins, Iguodala, Buyout Market

Stephen Curry‘s return could be imminent. Curry participated in Monday’s practice and scrimmages, according to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews, and he’s listed as questionable to play against Phoenix on Tuesday. Curry hasn’t played since Dec. 14 due to a shoulder injury.

Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins were also full participants while Jonathan Kuminga, James Wiseman and JaMychal Green sat out.

Kevon Looney, Draymond Green, Donte DiVincenzo and Jordan Poole did not participate in the scrimmages because they’ve played heavy minutes in recent games (Twitter links here).

We have more on the Warriors:

  • Wiggins missed 15 games due to an adductor strain and illness. In his return against Orlando on Saturday, he scored 12 points in 19 minutes but shot just 4-for-12 from the field. He told The Athletic’s Anthony Slater that he’ll need some time to regain his best form. “It just felt a little rusty out there just trying to get my feet right, get back in rhythm,” Wiggins said. “But I know it’s going to take a little time.”
  • Andre Iguodala made his season debut in the same game and also needs to scrape off some rust. He wasn’t much of a factor in 12 minutes. However, Iguodala isn’t a crucial rotation piece like Wiggins, Slater notes in the same piece.
  • The trade deadline is a month away, followed by the buyout market. The Warriors, who have an open roster spot, need to add another piece, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic opines. What do they need the most? In Thompson’s estimation, an athletic big would be ideal. They could also pursue a wing capable of stressing defenses off the dribble.

Warriors Notes: Two-Way Players, Curry, Wiggins, Iguodala

The Warriors have been forced to rely more than they expected on two-way players Anthony Lamb and Ty Jerome, and both are starting to get close to their game limits for the season, writes Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area.

NBA rules state that two-way players can’t be on the active roster for more than 50 games and they’re not eligible for the playoffs. With the season not quite at the halfway point, Lamb has already appeared in 31 games, while Jerome has played 25 and had two more in which he was active but didn’t get on the court.

“We have to navigate that,” coach Steve Kerr admitted. “There will be some games where those guys will not suit up.” 

Lamb, who is on his third team in three years, signed with the Warriors in October shortly before the start of the regular season. He has earned a consistent role off the bench, averaging 6.6 PPG in 19.3 minutes per game. Jerome also came to Golden State in October, after being traded and waived during the offseason, and is putting up 7.5 PPG in 18 minutes per night.

“It says a lot about the culture,” Andre Iguodala said, “just with them looking for guys like that who will make the most of their time here and even extend their time because of their work ethics.”

There’s more on the Warriors:

  • Stephen Curry felt good after taking part in Friday’s practice, tweets Kendra Andrews of ESPN. He was able to play 5-on-5 with contact and said his conditioning is fine after missing nearly four weeks with a left shoulder subluxation. President of basketball operations Bob Myers indicated this week that Curry might be able to return January 13, but the former MVP wouldn’t commit to that, saying he plans “to be ready when I’m ready.” (Twitter link)
  • The Warriors confirmed that Andrew Wiggins will be in the starting lineup for tonight’s game against the Magic, ending a 15-game absence due to an adductor strain and an illness, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Donte DiVincenzo will return to his role off the bench. Wiggins will be on a minutes restriction, although Kerr wasn’t specific about how long he will play, according to Andrews (Twitter link).
  • Iguodala, who will make his season debut tonight, will also play restricted minutes, Andrews tweets. Kerr didn’t reveal how long that will be, saying the team is working out a long-term plan for Iguodala, including whether he will be available for back-to-back games.

Warriors Hopeful Stephen Curry Can Return Next Week

Warriors president of basketball operations Bob Myers is optimistic that reigning Finals MVP Stephen Curry can return to action sometime next week, possibly next Friday in San Antonio, according to ESPN’s Kendra Andrews.

He’s working out on the court, and the two-week mark to reevaluate him this weekend,” Myers said on Bay Area radio station 95.7. “There have been no setbacks, so (next Friday) would be a hope. That’s what we would be shooting for, something in that range when he could be back. He’s been, not contact, but out there doing all this stuff. He looks like the same guy. He’s got a sleeve on his shoulder and arm.”

The Warriors announced earlier today that Curry would be reevaluated on Saturday. He sustained a left shoulder subluxation on December 14 while trying to strip the ball away from Pacers big man Jalen Smith. Next Friday, January 13, would be just over four weeks since he was initially injured.

Head coach Steve Kerr confirmed that next Friday is a realistic timetable for Curry’s return, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.

I think so. He’s progressed really well,” Kerr said.

When Curry first went down, there was some fear that Golden State’s season might spiral out of control. The team lost three of its first four contests without the star guard, including a couple of blowouts.

However, the Warriors have righted the ship, reeling off five straight home wins to move to 20-18, the No. 9 seed in the West. The Warriors finish off their lengthy home stand against Detroit (Wednesday), Orlando (Saturday) and Phoenix (next Tuesday) prior to the January 13 contest in San Antonio.

The eight-time All-NBA guard was having another stellar season prior to getting injured, averaging 30.0 PPG, a career-high 6.6 RPG, 6.8 APG and 1.0 SPG on .500/.434/.919 shooting through 26 games (34.4 MPG). Until he returns, Jordan Poole and Klay Thompson will continue to carry a heavy offensive load.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Klay, Kawhi, Clippers, Kings

The Warriors provided updates (via Twitter) on several injured players on Wednesday evening. Star guard Stephen Curry will have his left shoulder reevaluated on Saturday, which is in line with what the team previously announced.

Starting forward Andrew Wiggins has begun practicing and is ramping up his conditioning after missing the past 14 games due to a strained right adductor and then an illness. He will be reevaluated later this week, per the team.

The Warriors also announced that JaMychal Green (right lower leg infection), Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) and James Wiseman (left ankle sprain) will all be out at least one more week — that’s when they’ll be reevaluated.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Klay Thompson missed two-plus seasons after a couple of major injuries, first a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by a torn Achilles tendon. On Monday, he scored a season-high 54 points in the Warriors‘ double-overtime victory over the Hawks, a performance he doesn’t take for granted. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Thompson said, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “There were some hard days for me when I didn’t know that this would be possible in real time. I am just going to embrace the heck out of it.”
  • After missing Monday’s loss to Miami with a non-COVID illness, Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the Clippers‘ injury report for Thursday’s contest in Denver, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Paul George, who tweaked his hamstring on Monday, is listed as questionable, while Nicolas Batum is out with a left ankle sprain.
  • Can Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue find lineups that work whether or not Leonard and/or George are in the lineup? Law Murray of The Athletic explores that topic, writing that if Lue is unable to optimize the current group, trades could be in order for a team that hopes to compete for a championship.
  • The Kings have three players — Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke and KZ Okpala — on partially guaranteed deals, and none are locks to have their salaries guaranteed for the rest of the season, writes James Ham of It’s possible one or more might be released in the next few days (the deadline to waive partially and non-guaranteed deals before they become fully guaranteed is January 7) in order to create roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline, according to Ham, who says the Kings figure to be aggressive in their push to break their lengthy playoff drought.