LeBron, Grizzlies, NBA world reacts to death of Tyre Nichols
Hours after the excruciating was released, the Memphis Grizzlies chose not to open their locker room and not speak to the media about it — it was too raw, too painful.
“The senseless loss of life for Tyre Nichols has really hit us hard,” Grizzlies coach Taylor Jenkins said pregame in an interview with local broadcast partner Bally Sports (via the Associated Press). “It’s been tough being on the road, not being home. I wish I could extend my arms through this camera right now to the family. They’re going through a lot.”
The Grizzlies weren’t the only ones who felt that way around the NBA, emotions were high around the league Friday (as they were around the nation). Miami, Atlanta, Cleveland, Minnesota and Milwaukee released states echoing what the Grizzlies said.
LeBron James used his platform to make a statement, as he has in the past.
Statements were released from the NBA, WNBA, players, the players union and more.
Change is needed at all levels and we all need to do our part. We can’t lose our humanity as a society.
To the Nichols’ family and Memphis community, my heart is with you tonight.
“This is just crazy,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said unprompted to open his press conference, discussing the video and incident.
Nichols, 29, was pulled over in a traffic stop by Memphis police officers on Jan. 7 and was beaten to death by five officers. The bodycam footage shows Nichols being brutally beaten as he calls out for his mother and is defenseless. Nichols died in the hospital three days later. The five officers involved have been fired and charged with second-degree murder.
Clippers’ All-Star forward Paul George will be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks after an MRI confined a sprained knee, the team announced on Wednesday. That likely means George is out for the rest of the regular season.
It could have been worse. George was injured with 4:38 left in the Thunder’s win over the Clippers Tuesday night. George had after a collision with Lu Dort when both were for a rebound, Dort was called for a foul on the play.
George is critical for the Clippers, who sit as the No.5 seed in the West, just a game back of Phoenix at No.4 but also 2.5 games from falling out of the playoffs entirely in a crowded bottom half of the bracket. George isaveraging 23.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists a game this season, and the Clippers are 6.8 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.
The most likely outcome is the Clippers sit George for the rest of the regular season and if, if they can hold on to a top-six seed, that would mean he would have until April 15-16 before the Clippers would have their first postseason game.
It was Nov. 28 — 51 games ago — the last time Karl-Anthony Towns stepped on the court for the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“I’m super excited to get back out on the court and help my team because these next nine games are super important,” Towns said…
“I’m just trying to pick up where I left off,” Towns said. “I was telling my dad right before I got hurt, I felt the most complete as a player in my career. From defensive end, from offensive end, from a mental aspect, leadership aspect … I felt very complete.”
The Timberwolves sit ninth in the West, in the middle of a crowded bottom of the conference where they are just a game out of the No.6 seed but also half a game away from falling out of the play-in and missing the postseason entirely. The Timberwolves need wins, and adding an elite offensive player such as Towns should help with that (as would getting Anthony Edwards back from his sprained ankle, which could happen tonight but, if not, is expected soon).
Towns However, . Towns averaged 21.4 points and 8.5 rebounds a game this season before the injury.
How will injecting Towns back into that mix help the offense? How will it impact the defense? Unfortunately, coach Chris Finch and company don’t have time to experiment much and play around with lineup combinations, they need wins and they need them now to make the postseason.
Three things to Know: Win over Clippers shows Thunder future may be nowThree Things To Know is NBC’s five-days-a-week wrap-up of the night before in the NBA. Check out NBCSports.com every weekday morning to catch up on what you missed the night before plus the rumors, drama, and dunks that make the NBA must-watch.
If the playoffs started today, the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the No.7 seed in the West, only needing to win one of two play-in games — at home — to advance to the playoffs. They are only half a game back of the defending champion Golden State Warriors for the No.6 seed and not having to worry about the play-in.
The basketball world has talked about anything but the Thunder: When will those Warriors flip the switch? What happens when Dallas gets Luka Dončić back (or if the Mavs defend a little)? What will the Timberwolves look like when whole? When will LeBron James return and how big a threat are the Lakers?
Meanwhile, the Thunder quietly have been winning — 8-of-10 after beating the Clippers on Tuesday night 101-100, behind 31 points from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
He joins Russ and KD as the only Thunder players with 40 or more 30+ point games in a season. pic.twitter.com/hO8joRflhO
OKC’s one-point win over the Clippers was aided by Kawhi Leonard getting a tight technical called on him, and when Terrence Mann complained about that call he got him ejected. Leonard said after the game the referee admitted he missed the foul call on the play where the technicals were handed out.
Meanwhile, the Thunder just keep on rolling and look every bit a playoff team ahead of schedule — and with a lot of draft picks coming in the next few years to stockpile that roster.
Willis Reed is associated with one of the most iconic moments in NBA history — his dramatic entrance in Madison Square Garden minutes before Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals. He scored only four points and was clearly in pain and hobbled, but playing even a little sparked the Knicks to blow out the Lakers and win the franchise’s first title.
“Willis Reed was the ultimate team player and consummate leader,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “My earliest and fondest memories of NBA basketball are of watching Willis, who embodied the winning spirit that defined the New York Knicks’ championship teams in the early 1970s. He played the game with remarkable passion and determination, and his inspiring comeback in Game 7 of the 1970 NBA Finals remains one of the most iconic moments in all of sports.
Reed won a second ring with the Knicks in 1973 and was a two-time Finals MVP and seven-time All-Star.
Reed averaged 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds a season over the course of his career, and he had his No.19 retired by the Knicks. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1982.
3) Celtics get Robert Williams back, look like Celtics in win over Kings
Robert Williams was back on the court for the Celtics Tuesday night and the Celtics held the Kings and their best offense in the league to an offensive rating almost seven points below their league average. That is not a coincidence.
With Williams back, the Celtics were back to switching everything, which slowed the motion and passing of the Kings’ offense enough to earn the 132-109 Boston win. The 36 points from Jayson Tatum helped with that.
Highlights: Celtics finish the trip strong as they take down the Sacramento Kings and go 4-2 on the road
For the Kings, it was their fifth game in seven nights in four different time zones and it showed. Still, that loss dropped the Kings 1.5 back of the Grizzlies for the two seed in the West (and the Grizzlies may get Ja Morant back Wednesday).
Boston went 4-2 on their recent road trip. While they have slumped in recent weeks, they looked like their contending selves again with Williams back, who had missed the last eight games with a hamstring issue. He played 21 minutes off the bench.
Nobody should have written Boston off after this recent slide, even if those losses did make their path through the East rougher.
Bonus thing to know: Donovan Mitchell threw down a Dunk of the Year candidate in the Cavaliers’ win.
EVERY ANGLE of Donovan Mitchell's monster dunk tonight 🎬 pic.twitter.com/CPb9KMRp75
Hopefully this is not serious, not something that changes the playoff picture in the West.
The Clippers’ Paul George went down with 4:38 left in the game Tuesday night after a collision with Lu Dort going for a rebound.
Here’s the play where Paul George suffered what appears to be a leg injury. pic.twitter.com/k0JbXyrXvn
George had to be helped back to the locker room and struggled to put any weight on his leg.
PG was helped off the floor after an apparent leg injury 🙏 pic.twitter.com/1KQwlgbteg
After the game, Tyronn Lue said George was still being evaluated and had no update on his status. George was seen exiting the arena on the back of a cart with his right leg extended, according to the AP.
George had 18 points, seven rebounds and five assists before exiting the game. On the season he is playing at an All-NBA level averaging 23.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.1 assists a game, and the Clippers are 6.8 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court.