Fultz back With 76ers For Rehab – Guard Markelle Fultz has rejoined the Philadelphia 76ers to continue therapy on a shoulder condition, pushing for a return to the lineup this season, league sources told ESPN. There’s no timetable yet on Fultz playing again this year, league sources said. Fultz flew on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles and arrived Saturday where he met with Sixers officials prior to today’s game against Oklahoma City, sources said. Fultz, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has been mostly away from the Sixers since seeing several medical specialists in late November and leaving the team for what has been termed a condition called thoracic outlet syndrome. Fultz has been working with therapists in Los Angeles since December 6, but did return East for a short visit at Christmas. Fultz left the Sixers to meet with medical specialists on November 21, and hasn’t played a game since.
Pelicans’ Davis Injures Finger, To Miss 1-2 Weeks – New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis is expected to miss one to two weeks with a sprained left index finger, the team announced Saturday. Davis suffered the injury late in the fourth quarter of Friday’s 128-112 loss to Portland. He had his fingers taped together and played briefly before exiting with 1:18 left to play. He finished with 27 points and seven rebounds. Davis had an X-ray after the game, a team official told reporters. For the season, Davis, a five-time All-Star selection, is averaging 29.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game — all above his career averages. He has missed five games due to injury and illness this season.
- Memphis Grizzlies 116 – Boston Celtics 122
- Miami Heat 93 – Detroit Pistons 98
- Brooklyn Nets 117 – Orlando Magic 115
- San Antonio Spurs 116 – Minnesota Timberwolves 113
- Cleveland Cavaliers 99 – Utah Jazz 115
- Golden State Warriors 112 – Los Angeles Clippers 94
- New Orleans Pelicans 112 – Portland Trail Blazers 128
Faried Reaches Buyout, Will Join Rockets – Brooklyn Nets forward/center Kenneth Faried has agreed to a contract buyout, clearing the way for him to sign a free-agent deal with the Houston Rockets, league sources told ESPN. The Rockets plan to immediately insert Faried into the lineup as a stopgap big man to help replace some of the defense and rebounding lost with starting center Clint Capela, who is expected to be out several weeks following surgery on his right thumb. Faried will be released Saturday, sources said, with his $13.7 million salary expected to clear waivers on Monday. The Rockets are aggressively working to find a trade for the exiled Carmelo Anthony before Monday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline to clear a roster spot for Faried, league sources said. The Rockets will need to trade a player to a team with an open roster spot, or waive a player, before signing Faried. It is possible for Houston to hold off on signing Faried to find a way to create the roster spot, but there’s a need to get him into the team’s depleted frontcourt as soon as Monday night against the 76ers.
Nuggets Hopeful Of Feb. Return For IT – There is optimism that former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas will make his debut with the Denver Nuggets prior to the mid-February All-Star break, league sources told ESPN on Friday. Thomas has been gathering momentum in his rehabilitation process from hip surgery in March, and there’s hope among Thomas and the Nuggets organization he could return as soon as a Feb. 11-13 homestand against Miami and Sacramento, sources said. There’s strong confidence that he will return no later than the first game after the All Star break on Feb. 22 in Dallas, league sources said. The final hurdle for Thomas remains playing full 5-on-5 scrimmages. He is expected to start that process soon. Thomas signed a one-year deal with Denver in July.
Docs Recommend Bulls’ Carter Undergo Surgery – Chicago-based hand specialists have recommended Bulls rookie Wendell Carter Jr. undergo surgery to repair a left thumb injury. If Carter opts to have the surgery, the recovery time is 8-12 weeks. Carter sprained his thumb during a Jan. 15 game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Carter played the entire game with medical tape on his thumb. He underwent testing on Thursday that left both Carter and the Bulls optimistic that the injury was not serious. Carter even told reporters that he hoped to play in the Bulls’ home game against the Miami Heat on Saturday. Further testing Friday morning revealed a more grim diagnosis. Carter has averaged 10.3 points, 7 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 1.3 blocks per game through 44 games.
Chicago Bulls 105 – Denver Nuggets 135
Highlights: The pledge from Jamal Murray: More effort. The promise from Nikola Jokic: More aggressiveness. It added up to just the sort of confidence-restoring, bounce-back performance the Denver Nuggets needed. Murray scored 22 of his 25 points in the third quarter, Jokic finished two rebounds shy of another triple-double and the Nuggets cruised past Chicago 135-105 on Thursday night for their 12th straight home win over the Bulls. Another rough night for the Bulls, who haven’t knocked off the Nuggets at the Pepsi Center since Feb. 8, 2006. The Bulls also remain winless in 2019, with their losing streak stretching to nine in a row. “We’re just trying to keep our head up,” said Lauri Markkanen, who scored 27 as his team that finished up a fruitless five-game trip.”
Chicago Blackhawks 3 – New York Rangers 4
Highlights: After a rough stretch, theNew York Rangers are playing their best hockey in nearly two months. Chris Kreider had a goal and an assist, Henrik Lundqvist moved into a tie for sixth place on the NHL’s career wins list and the Rangers beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-3 Thursday night for their third victory in four games. The Rangers won nine of 11 to move to 12-8-2 heading into Thanksgiving, but then followed that with just five wins in 21 games (5-11-5). Now, coming off a 6-2 win over Carolina on Tuesday night, New York has consecutive wins for only the second time since a three-game streak Nov. 17-21. Mats Zuccarello, Filip Chytil and Mika Zibanejad also scored for New York. The line of Zibanejad, Zuccarello and Kreider has totaled nine goals and 10 assists over the last four games. Lundqvist stopped 24 shots to tie Terry Sawchuk with 445 wins, nine behind Curtis Joseph for fifth place. Brandon Saad, Alex DeBrincat and Dominik Kahun scored for Chicago, which has lost five straight (0-3-2) and seven of eight. Collin Delia, making his eighth start of the season, finished with 29 saves.
- New York Knicks 100 – Washington Wizards 101
- Sacramento Kings 95 – Charlotte Hornets 114
- Philadelphia 76ers 120 – Indiana Pacers 96
- Phoenix Suns 109 – Toronto Raptors 111
- Chicago Bulls 105 – Denver Nuggets 135 (See Chicago Sports News)
- Los Angeles Lakers 138 – Oklahoma City Thunder 128
‘Plan A’ Is For Mavs, Smith To Reconcile – The Dallas Mavericks are optimistic that they can reconcile and move forward with point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and are insistent they won’t trade their 2017 lottery pick unless they get good value in return, sources told ESPN. The Mavs have shopped Smith, 21, throughout the season but haven’t received any offers that have tempted them to pull the trigger on trading a player whom the Dallas front office still believes has potential to develop into a star, sources said. “Plan A is still to fix this,” a team source told ESPN. Smith has recently expressed that he hopes to be traded, and he is frustrated with his role, as Rookie of the Year front-runner Luka Doncic has seized the reins of the offense and has had friction with coach Rick Carlisle, sources said. Smith has not played in the last four games under suspicious circumstances, sitting out three games due to what the team announced as back soreness and having his agent call in sick for him before he missed Tuesday’s practice and Wednesday’s loss to the San Antonio Spurs.