Morning Shootaround

Shootaround (Jan. 17) -- Carmelo Anthony says he's proven loyalty to Knicks

NBA.com Staff

Anthony cites his loyalty to Knicks | Paul needs MRI on thumb | Green: Warriors-Cavs is a rivalry | Davis suffers thumb, hip injuries

No. 1: Anthony says he’s been loyal to Knicks ‘day in, day out’ — The talk of late surrounding the New York Knicks is that Carmelo Anthony’s time as the team’s superstar may be coming to an end. After yesterday’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks, Anthony didn’t comment much on that but did explain how he feels he has always been loyal to the team and will continue to do so. Ian Begley of ESPN.com has more:

A day after saying he hasn’t thought about waiving his no-trade clause, Carmelo Anthony said he remains loyal to the New York Knicks and doesn’t feel the need to prove that loyalty to anyone.

“I think I’ve proven that. I don’t have to speak on that. I think I’ve proven that over the years, day in and day out,” Anthony said after the Knicks’ 108-107 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Monday. “Regardless of what’s going on that’s surrounding this team, any talk, anything I’ve still showed that me being here, coming to work, being professional, got to answer your guys’ questions every day, got to deal with you all, I still remain positive about that. I don’t think I have to prove that to anybody.”

Anthony was asked about his loyalty to the organization Monday after he wondered a day earlier about the organization’s loyalty to him.

The issue arose Sunday after reporters in Toronto asked Anthony about his no-trade clause because Charley Rosen, a confidant of Knicks president Phil Jackson, wrote a column about the Knicks that included several critiques of the 32-year-old Anthony, including the conclusion that “Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.”

Jackson plans to meet with his star in the next few days to discuss Anthony’s feelings toward the organization following the publication of the critical column, sources told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne.

Neither Jackson nor general manager Steve Mills addressed the situation with Anthony on Monday, the star forward said. Anthony added that he didn’t feel it was necessary to have a conversation with management about the topic.

“My clarity is playing ball right now and getting some wins. If they want to come talk to me, I’m around them guys every day,” he said. “I don’t want this to be kind of going back and forth between me and the front office, management, because it’s really nothing, I responded to an article that I read. That was that. There’s nothing between myself and management at this point.”

The Knicks are in a free fall on the court, having lost 11 of their past 13 games after a one-point loss to the Hawks on Monday. New York has lost the first two games of a four-games-in-five-nights set. The club plays next in Boston on Wednesday night.

“We’re trying to stay positive around here, trying to gather the troops and still believe in one another,” Anthony said. “Guys want to win. At the end of the day, guys know that we’re all we have. We got to have each other’s back during this time.”

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No. 2: Paul needs MRI on thumb — The LA Clippers are waiting for power forward Blake Griffin to return, but in his absence have amassed a 9-6 mark, including last night’s victory against the Oklahoma City Thunder. While that win gave LA its seventh straight victory, it also was one in which point guard Chris Paul was injured in the second quarter and had to leave the game. Broderick Turner of the Los Angeles Times has more:

Chris Paul was upset as soon as it happened, obviously knowing his body well enough to recognize he had suffered an injury that would prevent him from finishing the game at Staples Center on Monday night.

That injury, incurred late in the second quarter of the Clippers’ easy 120-98 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, was diagnosed as a sprained left thumb. The team said Paul had X-rays during the game that were negative for broken bones.

Paul, who had eight points, six assists and three rebounds when he left the game shortly before halftime, will undergo an MRI exam Tuesday to determine how serious the injury is, the Clippers said.

“Guards know. That’s the one injury we get,” said Clippers Coach Doc Rivers, who was a point guard during his NBA playing career. “It’s that reach, thumb, flip-back, and you know the pain. I’m sure CP was thinking the worst at that time.

“He’s already got pretty good news with the normal X-ray being negative. But we’ve just got to hope for the best. But I guarantee you he was thinking the worst at the time. There’s no doubt about that.”

The Clippers reported after the game that Paul was experiencing swelling in the thumb. Paul was not made available for comment.

Paul appeared angry as he stalked off the court alongside Jasen Powell, the Clippers’ director of medical services and head athletic trainer.

“I guess they said Westbrook came down on it,” Rivers said. “But whenever you see a guard pull their hand out, just from being a guard, you pretty much know it just happened.”

Paul also suffered a sprained left thumb during the exhibition season, but did not miss the start of the regular season. He missed seven games recently because of a left hamstring injury.

The Clippers, though concerned about Paul, pushed forward without their floor leader to win their seventh consecutive game.

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No. 3: Green says Warriors-Cavs is a rivalry — Two days ago, LeBron James came out and didn’t pull any punches — to him, the Golden State Warriors are not a rival to his Cleveland Cavaliers. Then came last night’s Cavs-Warriors game in Oakland, which the Warriors won by 35 points and one in which James suffered a hard foul from Golden State’s Draymond Green. After the game, Green affirmed that Warriors-Cavs is indeed a rivalry, writes Chris Haynes of ESPN.com:

After the Warriors served the Cleveland Cavaliers up with a 126-91 thumping Monday night, vocal Golden State leader Draymond Green disagreed with LeBron James’ assertion that the teams aren’t rivals.

“Yeah, I think this is a rivalry,” Green said quickly, not allowing a reporter to finish his question. “It’s definitely fun. A team that you beat, beat you, it’s definitely fun. If you look at the last two years and this year, we’ve been the top two teams in the league each year, and so I look at it as a rivalry, and it’s definitely a fun game to play in.

“But I don’t really care if anyone else sees the game the way I see it. I see how I see it, and they can see it how they see it.”

James had said Sunday that the team he has faced in the NBA Finals the past two years isn’t on rival status, and he maintained his stance after Monday night’s loss.

“I don’t think there’s a rivalry,” said James, who also was the recipient of a hard hit by Green that was ruled a flagrant foul 1. “It’s two great teams that have aspirations. I don’t believe I’ve ever had a rivalry in the NBA. It’s just that too many guys move and go places and change different locations. It’s totally different from the ’80s, when obviously we saw the Celtics and the Lakers go at it so much, and I don’t look at it as a rivalry.”

Most viewed this game for Golden State at Oracle Arena as close to a must-win situation as possible, considering it was still a regular-season affair.

“I don’t really think it’s about losing the last four that you want to win this game,” Green said. “Regardless of if LeBron thinks this is a rivalry or not, I know he wants to beat us and we want to beat them. And that’s enough in itself. You see each other two times a year; you want to beat each other. And then obviously if you’re fortunate enough to make it to the NBA Finals like the past few years, you see each other again.”

Green was assessed a flagrant 1 after a hard collision with James midway through the second quarter. James was in a full sprint in transition when Green tried to cut him off near half court. Green ran shoulder first into James’ chest area, and the Cavaliers star fell to the floor upon contact.

“I think his shoulder hit me in the face,” James said. “It happened so fast, I didn’t even know who it was. But I’m all right. I’m a football player.”

Green checked on James while he was on the hardwood but seemed to think the four-time MVP had flopped and was milking the collision by remaining on the floor. He appeared to mock James’ tumble.

Teammates from both sides converged on the incident, and words were exchanged. After the officials reviewed the play, Green was hit with the flagrant 1.

Green also was assessed a technical foul on the play, as was Cleveland’s Richard Jefferson, who got in Green’s face while coming to James’ defense.

“I fouled him to stop the break, and he went down,” Green said. “And in the aftermath, I don’t know, I told RJ to get out of my face. Got a tech.”

Green was subbed out, but he appeared to continue to suggest James had flopped.

“It just looked like a normal foul, where a guy is in transition and you want to foul him and take away the fast break,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said. “Obviously, he went down hard and sold it pretty well. But when I look at the replay, I might think, ‘Oh yeah, that was definitely a flagrant.’ But I haven’t seen it, so it’s tough to assess, but [he’s] a pretty big, strong guy.”

Green downplayed the incident.

“Just in the heat of the moment in the game,” he said. “Having some fun. Nothing major.”

James also told ESPN that a Vine circulating on social media that made it appear like he was talking trash to Green was actually him responding to a courtside fan.

“I didn’t say anything to Draymond all night,” he said.

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No. 4: Pelicans’ Davis suffers hip, thumb injuries — Relative to his 2015-16 season, this season has been a healthy one for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis. Entering last night, he had appeared and started in 38 games and made his 39th start as well and, for the record, has only missed three games this season. However, he suffered a hip and thumb injury during last night’s game against the Indiana Pacers and had to leave the game from that point forward. Justin Verrier of ESPN.com has more:

Anthony Davis left during the third quarter of the New Orleans Pelicans’ game in Indiana after suffering right hip and left thumb injuries from a hard fall underneath the basket.

X-rays came back negative, and Davis did not return to the Pelicans’ bench.

“Don’t know anything yet,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry told reporters in Indianapolis after the game. “We’ll just check with the doctors and see. I’m sure it’s going to be a bruise, and we’ll see to what extent it will be.”

Davis collided with the Pacers’ Myles Turner on a dunk attempt with 7:08 to play in the third quarter and landed hard on his tailbone. The 23-year-old immediately reached for his lower back and writhed in apparent pain before being tended to by Pelicans trainer Duane Brooks.

He ultimately stayed in the game to take two free throws, but Buddy Hield immediately took a foul in order to get Davis out of the game for forward Terrence Jones. Davis then went to the locker room.

Davis missed last Thursday’s win in Brooklyn and the fourth quarter of last Monday’s win in New York after hitting his left hip on a chair after a hard foul from the Knicks’ Kyle O’Quinn sent him into the stands.

The Pacers game marks the sixth time this season Davis has left during a game and the third time he has left and did not return. Davis has sat out three full games this season, including one for planned rest.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Why was New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee posting “Dumb and Dumber” photos to social media yesterday? … Speaking of the Knicks, Carmelo Anthony referred to one of his teammates as “Ron Burgandy” during a halftime interview … Good one-on-one interview with Houston Rockets guard Eric Gordon … Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside is reportedly not being made available for trades by the team … Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson is a big fan of his former Utah Jazz teammate, Gordon Hayward … Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores still has a lot of confidence in coach Stan Van Gundy …

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