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Friday, February 22, 2019

Basketball

Karl-Anthony Towns questionable against Knicks following car accident

Karl Anthony Towns

The Minnesota Timberwolves may be without Karl-Anthony Towns in their first game back from the All-Star break on Friday, as the big man was involved in a car accident the day prior.

Timberwolves coach Ryan Saunders told reporters Towns got into a car accident on his way to the airport on Thursday but was able to take a commercial flight to New York later that night. He is listed as questionable to face the Knicks, and the Timberwolves are monitoring him.

Fortunately, it does not sound like Towns suffered any type of serious injury. The former No. 1 overall pick is averaging 23.1 points, 12.0 rebounds and a career-high 1.8 blocks per game this season. He has also been responsible for some dramatic moments that have kept Minnesota in the playoff hunt.

Even if Towns misses Thursday night’s game, he likely is not looking at a lengthy absence.

Damian Lillard criticizes Kings coach over handling of Buddy Hield

Dave Joerger

Sacramento Kings coach Dave Joerger has been criticized this year for the way he has handled some of his young players, and one of the NBA’s biggest stars feels he saw a perfect example of that on Thursday night.

The Kings lost a tough game to the Golden State Warriors that ended when Buddy Hield missed a fadeaway jumper from the top of the key. Joerger clearly was not happy with the former first-round pick.

But that wasn’t the whole story. A few possessions earlier, Hield dribbled up the court with the Kings trailing 123-117 and pulled up from about 30 feet. Though he drained the shot to cut Golden State’s lead to one possession, he still caught an earful from Joerger.

It seems like that exchange between Hield and his coach resulted in Hield being gun-shy on the final possession. To his credit, Hield took responsibility after the game and said he had “no excuse” for not taking the three-pointer. However, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard ripped Joerger for his coaching methods.

Hield is averaging 20.5 points per game in his third NBA season, and he’s one of the main reasons Sacramento is in the playoff hunt. While he has a tendency to take some ill-advised shots, some of them have worked wonders in past games this season. You can understand why a coach would want a player to avoid those low-percentage plays, but scolding Hield in the middle of the game probably wasn’t the right approach.

LeBron James now ‘happy’ with Lakers’ roster

LeBron James

Just a few short weeks ago, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office seemed dissatisfied with the team’s roster and ready to trade everyone for Anthony Davis. No trade materialized, and now the Lakers are left with their original roster. And LeBron has made peace with that.

The Lakers came back from a 19-point deficit to beat the Houston Rockets 111-106 in their first game back from the All-Star break. After Thursday’s win, LeBron expressed confidence in his team’s roster.

“The trade deadline is over with. This is our squad. I’m happy with with we got. I love our squad and I look forward to seeing how we continue to battle the rest of the season,” James said in a postgame interview with TNT’s Ros Gold-Onwude.

That’s the way it has to be. The trade rumors are in the past, and now it’s up to the Lakers to perform regardless of whether or not the team was dangling them in trades. They have a chance to prove the front office wrong. LeBron has said his playoff mindset is activated, and it showed on Thursday night.

The Lakers are now 2.5 games out in the Western Conference playoff standings.

James Harden: Scott Foster should not be allowed to referee Rockets games

James harden

James Harden was among the Houston Rockets who were frustrated with referee Scott Foster following the team’s loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and he made an extreme suggestion afterwards.

Harden was called for two offensive fouls in the final three minutes of the game and fouled out for the first time all season and just the seventh time in his career. The calls took away Houston’s best player and resulted in two turnovers during a close part of the game.

After the loss, Harden called Foster “rude” and “arrogant” and said he probably shouldn’t be allowed to officiate Rockets games because of a personal issue with the team.

Chris Paul says he has met with the league about Foster in the past and doesn’t know what else to do.

Paul had an issue with Foster last year as well.

In a 2016 survey conducted by the Los Angeles Times, players and coaches named Foster the worst referee in the league — by a significant margin.

Charles Barkley mocks Jussie Smollett over alleged crime

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley made a mockery of the Jussie Smollett situation during a segment on TNT Thursday night.

During halftime of the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets game, the TNT crew was talking about some of their more ridiculous predictions that had no chance of happening. That’s when Barkley went off-script and said “two black guys beating a black guy up,” — a reference to the Smollett matter.

Smollett, an actor, has been charged with disorderly conduct for staging a beating against him that he claimed was rooted in racism and homophobia. Barkley continued to go off on Smollett over the incident, mocking the actor for allegedly paying the two men by check, among other things. Stay for the end with the Liam Neeson joke.

That, my friends, is why Barkley makes the big bucks.

Watch: Chris Paul yanks down LeBron James’ arm

Chris Paul Rockets

Chris Paul and LeBron James may be good friends off the court, but CP3 showed his buddy no love on it.

Just before halftime of the Houston Rockets’ game against the Lakers in Los Angeles on Thursday night, Paul made a controversial move on James. LeBron was driving and put up a shot in the paint that missed. James and Paul then battled for the rebound, with the much smaller guard yanking on LeBron’s arm:

James was on the Staples Center floor afterwards cradling his left arm. He was helped up and then went to the free throw line.

Maybe that was incidental contact by Paul, but it’s not like we haven’t seen him pull off dirty plays before.

Watch: Steph Curry imitates meme after throwing down rare dunk

Steph Curry surprised meme

Steph Curry had a funny reaction to throwing down a rare dunk during a game.

Curry jammed during the first quarter of the Golden State Warriors’ game against the Sacramento Kings on Thursday. After throwing down along the baseline, Curry put his arms up by his face and acted surprised.

That seemed to be an imitation of this online meme:

What made the dunk so shocking? It was Curry’s first of the season and first at home in nearly two years.

Yeah, that reaction was deserved.