Jonas Valanciunas wasn’t exactly a marksman when he entered the NBA in 2012. In fact, in his first five seasons in the league, he went 1-of-4 from 3-point range. But those days are long gone. Valanciunas hit his first seven 3-pointers on Monday night — all in the first half — as he helped lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 123-104 win over the LA Clippers. The 6-foot-11, 265-pound bruiser has slowly started to add the three-point shot to his game since 2017, but he’s never had a night like Tuesday when he scored a career-high 39 points to go along with 15 rebounds. “Guys were calling him Dirk Valanciunas,” Pelicans coach Willie Green said, referencing Dallas Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki. “But we want him shooting the ball when he’s open and mixing it in. He still wants to go to the post, which I love about him. He’s a physical guy. But just explaining to him how it’s going to open our offense up with his ability to shoot the ball the way he can, it was amazing to see tonight.”
January 16, 2022 | 2:27 pm EST Update
“I feel like I can be a star,” Reddish said in his first comments as a Knick after his new team routed the Hawks at State Farm Arena. “I feel like I could be a legit star. That’s what I’m working to be. It’s pretty simple.” It hasn’t been simple at all for Reddish, who has battled injuries and a glut of wings in Atlanta. He requested a trade before the 2021-22 season started. The No. 10 pick in the 2019 draft has played in 118 career games in his 2½ seasons, averaging 11.1 points on a substandard 38.5 percent shooting. “I think I’m still on track,” Reddish added in an interview with the Knicks’ three traveling beat writers in the arena. “I’ll continue to put the work in. I think I’m still there for sure.”
According to multiple sources, Reddish and RJ Barrett weren’t especially close at Duke. Barrett and Zion Williamson were very tight and, according to sources, Reddish was on the outside looking in. But that was three years ago. Barrett said all the expected platitudes after the Reddish trade, mentioning the two talked on the phone after the deal’s announcement. “I mean, we talked for like five minute,” Reddish said when asked about that conversation. “It was quick because I was pretty busy that day. He was just saying come in ready to play hard. We were just catching up for the most part. Just coming in, working hard, getting used to the city.”
Anthony Slater: Steph Curry left the Warriors’ road trip early. He’s back in the Bay Area with Rick Celebrini. Belief is his hand injury is very minor. Steve Kerr said team is hopeful he will play Tuesday against the Pistons.
Marc Stein: Golden State’s Stephen Curry has returned home for additional treatment on his right hand injured in Friday’s rout of Chicago and will thus miss the final game of the Warriors’ road trip tonight in Minneapolis. No Curry or Draymond Green (calf) against the Timberwolves.
January 16, 2022 | 12:36 pm EST Update
Tim Reynolds: Heat are waiving Marcus Garrett, and plan to bring back Kyle Guy on a 10-day. Garrett needs season-ending wrist surgery and will rehab with the Heat.
How would you describe your game? Your dominance at the end of the Hapoel game as a 4 was impressive, your controlled the game. It was like that for 40 minutes. In this respect, it is possible to watch you at much higher levels. How do you see the possibility of returning to the NBA? Bonzie Colson: It has been my target since I came here. That’s my goal and also having played in Europe will help me when I get there. Playing in the NBA is easier than playing in Europe. There is more space. The three-second rule doesn’t exist here. There are many different rules. That’s why players are constantly changing places. Scoring is easier in the NBA. Because first of all, much more space is opening up. Also here are more systems. Every country has a system. A running game is being played in Spain. There is a game based on the physical struggle in Turkey. Every country has a different style of basketball. The NBA is opening up. There is a system, but you can’t be as aggressive as here. In Europe, you can be aggressive, push, hit, do a lot of things, but in the NBA you can’t do that. That’s why some of the players who play here look good there.