Spartans in the NBA: Miles Bridges has breakout season, Denzel Valentine on the move
Aaron Henry, Philadelphia 76ersHenry has seen action in six NBA games this season for the Philadelphia 76ers, scoring his first NBA basket during a Jan. 7 game against San Antonio. In 44 games, he’s averaging 16.2 points per game and career-highs with 5.7 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. Xavier Tillman Sr., Memphis GrizzliesTilllman has seen a smaller role in his second NBA season, playing 14.2 minutes per game off of the bench for the Grizzlies. Denzel Valentine, Utah JazzValentine has been well-traveled in his fifth NBA season. For the season, he’s averaging 2.9 points in 9.0 minutes per game.mlive.com
Spartans in pro hoops: Tracking former Michigan State players from the NBA to Iceland to Kazakhstan
The last year saw a Michigan State player win an NBA title, another traded, two sign with new teams and one more join the NBA ranks. He averaged an even 10.0 points per game in the regular season while shooting a career-best 45.2 percent from 3-point range. Draymond Green, Golden State WarriorsGreen enters his 10th NBA season after putting up his lowest scoring average (7.0 points per game) since 2014. Injuries limited him to only 39 games last year, but he enters his eighth NBA season as a veteran on a young Magic team. Trice spent last season playing in Turkey.mlive.com
Jokic powers Nuggets by Lakers, Davis re-aggravates Achilles
(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DENVER – The sight of Anthony Davis limping off the court was hard for the Los Angeles Lakers to shake. Nikola Jokic recorded his sixth triple-double of the season and the Denver Nuggets beat the Lakers 122-105 on Sunday night in a game in which Davis re-aggravated his sore right Achilles. Now, the only thought for the Lakers is the result of Davis' MRI on Monday for what the team called a strain. For his big game, Jokic credited a new mindset. Entering the game, Davis was questionable with what was described as right Achilles tendinosis.
Middleton, Antetokounmpo lead Bucks past Nuggets 125-112
Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, right, moves to the rim as Denver Nuggets forward JaMychal Green defends in the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Feb. 8, 2021, in Denver. Middleton had 29 points and a career-high 12 assists, Antetokounmpo scored 30 points and the Milwaukee Bucks won their fifth straight game by beating the Denver Nuggets 125-112 on Monday night. “We still find ourselves trying to figure out how to be a team that plays a lot better in the second half,” Malone said. “We’ve lost three in a row because we haven’t defended anybody.”TIP-INSBucks: The Bucks outrebounded the Nuggets 50-38. “Hope that he's going to be well.”MAIN ATTRACTIONAsked about the marquee matchup between Jokic and Antetokounmpo, Malone feigned hurt feelings.
LeBron's triple-double powers Lakers past Nuggets, 114-93
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, right, is defended by Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic (15) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)LOS ANGELES – LeBron James had 27 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists, Dennis Schröder added 21 points and the Los Angeles Lakers roared away in the second half for a 114-93 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night. Jamal Murray scored 20 points and Monte Morris added 16 for the Nuggets, who struggled down the stretch of their second loss in eight games. Nikola Jokic managed just 13 points and 10 rebounds after getting 47 points and 12 boards Sunday in the Nuggets' most recent outing against Utah. ... Kentavious Caldwell-Pope twisted his left ankle in the first half, but had it re-taped in the locker room and returned for the second half.
Jokic has 47 points, Nuggets end Jazz winning streak at 11
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, right, fights for control of a rebound with Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in the second half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, Jan. 31, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)DENVER – Nikola Jokic matched his career high with 47 points and the fast-starting Denver Nuggets beat Utah 128-117 on Sunday to end the Jazz’s winning streak at 11. AdJaMychal Green had all 11 of his points in the fourth quarter when the Nuggets got the lead back to 20. ... Utah outscored every opponent but one by double digits during the 11-game winning streak. The winning streak was the team’s longest since a 12-gamer Feb. 11-Mar.
Spartans in the NBA: Xavier Tilman scores in double digits, Cassius Winston makes debut
But the NBA is still in full swing, where eight former Spartans players are on rosters across the league. His first double-digit game came on Wednesday, when he scored 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting, with five rebounds, three assists and two steals. Cassius Winston, Washington WizardsAfter being inactive for the Wizards’ first 10 games of the season, Winston saw his first action of the season on Monday in Washington’s 21-point win over the Suns. The Detroit native saw 2:10 of action in his NBA debut, recording one assist, one missed 3-pointer and one foul. His scoring numbers are low, at 4.0 points per game, but he’s averaging 6.6 assists per game.mlive.com
Durant scores 34, Nets charge back from 18 down, top Nuggets
(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)NEW YORK – Kevin Durant had 34 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds, Bruce Brown made a huge contribution while starting for the absent Kyrie Irving, and the Brooklyn Nets rallied from 18 down to beat the Denver Nuggets 122-116 on Tuesday night. Durant followed with Brooklyn's next six points, including a 3-pointer that essentially put it away at 120-113 with 27 seconds to play. They want to come out and compete, and everybody came with it tonight, especially in the second half,” Durant said. Nets: Before the game, coach Steve Nash wasn't sure if Durant would play Wednesday at New York. “We have to judge these things day to day and moment to moment.” Durant said afterward he planned to play.
Denver tops short-handed 76ers hit with virus, injuries
The team met the minimum eight active players by including injured forward Mike Scott, who was not actually able to play. Gary Harris scored 21 points for the Nuggets, who played without Michael Porter Jr. (19.5 points per game) because of health and safety protocols. Danny Green was the only regular in Philly's starting lineup, joined by backups Dakota Mathias, Dwight Howard, Joe and Maxey. “I don’t know enough about any of this.”Sparked by Maxey, the undermanned, feisty Sixers stuck with Denver throughout the first half. Nuggets: Play Saturday in New York.
Chris Paul helps Suns hold off Nuggets, improve to 5-1
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, looks for a shot over Denver Nuggets guard Facundo Campazzo during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 1, 2021, in Denver. Moments like this are precisely why the Suns acquired Paul in a deal with Oklahoma City. “Him being able to knock down shots, and the ability and will to take those shots, is huge for us,” Suns coach Monty Williams said. But on the advice of Paul, Williams decided to challenge the play. The Denver big man is posting big numbers but his production isn’t translating into wins as the Nuggets fell to 1-4.
Spartans in the Pros: Former Michigan State players still hooping across globe despite COVID-19
But it hasn’t stopped a host of former Michigan State players from finding ways to still suit up on the hardcourt. The pandemic appears to have thinned out the ranks of former Michigan State players playing in overseas leagues compared to recent years, but at least eight former Spartans are still suiting up somewhere overseas. And the ranks of former Michigan State players in the NBA is growing, as two new members are set to join the league as rookies. But Green is still there, getting ready for his ninth NBA season after turning 30 earlier this year. He’s played in five countries, most recently in Russia for two years.mlive.com
Murray, Jokic help Denver stun Clippers 104-89 in Game 7
Murray scored 40 points, Jokic had a triple-double by the third quarter and Denver again overcame a double-digit deficit to shock the Los Angeles Clippers 104-89 in Game 7 on Tuesday night. Denver became the first team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 series deficit twice in the same postseason. The 7-foot Jokic had a monster game with 16 points, 13 assists and 22 rebounds, which were the most by a Nuggets player in an NBA playoff game. Murray helped the Nuggets pour it on down the stretch to give coach Michael Malone a 49th birthday present. The team also rallied back from double-digit margins in their last two games as well to stun the Clippers.
Nuggets do it again, taking Clippers to Game 7 in West
The never-say-die Nuggets pulled off another season-saving comeback — and, after rallying from 19 points down with 22 minutes remaining, they’ll see the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 7 on Tuesday night for a berth in the Western Conference finals. Nikola Jokic had 34 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists, and the Nuggets topped the Clippers 111-98 on Sunday to even their West semifinal series at three games apiece. They saved themselves again in Game 5 of this series, getting down by 16 before coming back to save the season again. Over the next 10 minutes, the Nuggets outscored the Clippers 30-8. SCHEDULES SETWith Denver's win, the Western Conference finals — Clippers or Nuggets vs. the Los Angeles Lakers — are now certain to start on Friday, with games every other day until someone wins the series.
Millsap helps Nuggets rally, stun Clippers 111-105 in Game 5
Denver — down 16 in the first half — trailed 61-46 with 9:42 remaining in the third before rallying behind the 35-year-old Millsap. The Nuggets took their first lead on Nikola Jokic's 3-pointer with 7:06 left and extended it to eight. After the Clippers pulled within a basket, Porter hit a deep 3-pointer with 1:11 remaining to all but wrap it up. Jamal Murray finished with 26 points, and Jokic added 22 points and 14 rebounds to help the Nuggets pull to 3-2 in the best-of-seven series. 9/11 MEMORIESClippers coach Doc Rivers and Nuggets coach Michael Malone reflected on their memories on the 19th anniversary of Sept. 11, 2001.
George, Leonard lead Clippers to 113-107 win over Nuggets
Clippers coach Doc Rivers called a timeout to calm down the Clippers with 8:29 left and trailing 97-90. Denver was cruising along in the second quarter, leading by 12 points with 3:34 left before halftime, before the Clippers roared back. ... F Marcus Morris had 12 points. Nuggets: Denver outscored the Clippers by a 58-42 margin in points in the paint. He played a little more than 12 minutes in Game 1 and 15 minutes in Game 2.
Nuggets lead wire-to-wire, top Clippers to tie series at 1
Gary Harris and Paul Millsap each added 13 points to help Denver knot the series at a game apiece. Paul George scored 22 points for the Clippers, who got 15 from Ivica Zubac and endured a rare off night offensively from Kawhi Leonard. The Clippers trailed by 23 and got as close as five in the fourth quarter, but no closer. The Clippers' best run eventually came in the fourth, with George going on a personal 7-0 spurt to get the Clippers within 91-86 the smallest lead for the Nuggets since it was 7-2. It was the second-best scoring quarter in Nuggets NBA playoff history, after scoring 47 in the fourth against the Los Angeles Lakers on May 14, 1985.
Leonard scores 29 points; Clippers rout Nuggets in Game 1
Nikola Jokic scored 15 points for the Nuggets, who were coming off a seven-game series with Utah that just ended Tuesday. The Clippers took charge in the second quarter, outscoring the Nuggets 38-20 to take a 69-51 lead at halftime. Los Angeles held Denver to 25% shooting into the second quarter. Los Angeles' biggest lead in the quarter was 29 points. ... F Jerami Grant scored 11 points on 4-for-4 shooting in the first quarter but scored one point the rest of the game.
Murray scores 42, Nuggets beat Jazz 117-107 in Game 5
The Nuggets trail the sixth-seeded Jazz 3-2 with Game 6 on Thursday. With the game tied at 101, Murray scored nine straight for Denver to help the Nuggets gain some separation. Hes the third player in the series to have five in a quarter, joining Murray (fourth quarter in Game 4) and Mitchell (third in Game 2). He had six by in the second quarter on April 28, 2002. His last NBA game was March 11.
Doncic and Mitchell reaching new heights in the postseason
The dynamic Doncic made sure of that with a buzzer-beating, 3-pointer in overtime Sunday to cap another triple-double. Not to be outdone in the nightcap, Mitchell erupted for 51 points in Game 4 to give the sixth-seeded Utah Jazz a 3-1 lead over Denver. Mitchell is playing out of this world right now, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. Both Doncic and Mitchell are accomplishing rarely seen postseason feats inside the bubble. Whats more, his 28-foot buzzer-beat to win was the second-longest in postseason history, the Mavericks announced on social media.
Donovan Mitchell scores 30 points, Jazz rout Nuggets 124-105
He helped the Jazz break open the game in the third quarter and increase the lead to 31 in the fourth. His performance was on the heels of scoring a Jazz playoff-record 57 points in a 135-125 overtime loss in Game 1. Jordan Clarkson scored a personal playoff-best 26 points on a day the Jazz shot 51.7% from the floor. We need the same energy and intensity.Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. had 28 points, and Nikola Jokic added 28 points and 11 rebounds. All of our games are usually close games and this one got away from us, Nuggets coach Michael Malone said.
George, Leonard lead Clippers past Nuggets for No. 2 seed
The Clippers took control with 13 straight points midway through the third quarter and barely let the Nuggets get back in it. Jerami Grant, who missed Denver's last game due to injury, led the Nuggets with 25 points. Clippers: Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell have both returned to the NBA's bubble, although neither could play as yet. ... Ivica Zubac had 15 points and a team-high 12 rebounds for Los Angeles. Clippers: Play Oklahoma City on Friday.
Butler, Adebayo score 22 each as Heat top Nuggets 125-105
Kelly Olynyk scored all of his 20 points in the fourth quarter for the Heat, who shot 56% from the field. But we started playing a lot harder in the second.Nikola Jokic and Jerami Grant each scored 19 points for Denver. ... F Jae Crowder made his second start of the season. Nuggets: The 1 p.m. Eastern start time -- 11 a.m. in Denver -- was the Nuggets second earliest of the season. Nuggets: Play the Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday.
Family issues outside bubble calling some NBA players home
The key is can we finish, said Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Austin Rivers father. Whether it be a family problem, a kid problem, a wife problem, anything, there are issues that come in these guys life. Doc Rivers said in a weird way, there can be a positive to seeing players dealing with various issues. I think in a good way in this, the public actually sees that the NBA players actually are human and they do have regular life issues going on, the Clippers coach said. The problem is usually with the life issues you can come back to the team and play the next day.