NBA rumors: Nets resting Kevin Durant against Portland

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Kristian Winfield: Steve Nash says his preference is that Kevin Durant does not play tomorrow night in the second game of a back-to-back against Portland. The Nets will determine whether Kyrie Irving (groin) can play in the morning.
Gerald Bourguet: Jae Crowder (right ankle sprain) is out tomorrow against the Nets. So is Dario Saric (left ankle injury management), Langston Galloway (personal reasons) and Abdel Nader (right knee soreness)

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Jonathan Feigen: Rockets guard John Wall listed as out in Orlando tomorrow, the first game of a back-to-back, for injury management. With Brown, Augustin, Gordon, House, Nwaba also out, Rockets down to three guards, Porter Jr., Bradley, Brooks.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Clippers say Marcus Morris is out due to rest tonight. He was just added to the injury report.
Malika Andrews: Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin (and James Harden) are all OUT tonight against the 76ers, according to the Nets' injury report. Kyrie Irving is not listed on the injury report and could play against the Sixers.
Andrew Greif: After playing 38 minutes in last night’s win against Indiana, Clippers star Paul George is *out* tonight vs. Detroit, for rest. Kawhi Leonard (sore right foot) also remains out.
Gerald Bourguet: Monty said the Suns aren't doing anything different from other teams to manage guys' work loads in this condensed season. Mentioned giving guys full off days and keeping practices as light as he's ever seen in the NBA
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder said the decision to rest Royce O'Neale comes down to him spending the most minutes in the league guarding opponents' top scorers. As for balancing rest vs. wins vs. improvement: "In order to be your best, you have to be as fresh as you can be."
Eric Walden: Mike Conley: "I felt like I could play in every back-to-back, but that's why we have a staff — to protect me from myself. … But I told [the coaches] I was planning to play [vs. Portland] even before I knew Jordan was injured."
Josh Lewenberg: A few status changes for the Raptors in Cleveland tonight. Kyle Lowry, who was upgraded to questionable yesterday, is now doubtful. Pascal Siakam is OUT for rest in the first night of a back-to-back. Rodney Hood is now probable. VanVleet, Watson, Harris still out. Gillespie TBD.
Jonathan Feigen: Pat Beverley (sore left hand) and Paul George (rest) are out against the Rockets tonight. Clippers also list Rajon Rondo (sore right adductor) and Reggie Jackson (bruised right eye) as questionable.
Harrison Wind: Paul Millsap (rest) is out tonight against the Spurs. No Millsap means that JaVale McGee is likely in line for significant minutes.
Omari Sanfoka II: Dwane Casey said anytime a player misses a game because of rest, it's a decision from the medical staff. Plumlee and Ellington are out tonight due to rest, and Casey said he expects more instances of players resting down the stretch
Brian Lewis: Nash says James Harden will not be on a minutes restriction tonight vs. the #Knicks. Adds they would "love" to rest Blake Griffin on back-to-backs due to his injury history. #Nets #NBA
Joe Mussatto: Lu Dort (left toe soreness) and Al Horford (rest) are listed as out tonight at Minnesota. Darius Bazley, George Hill and Josh Hall remain out with long-term injuries.
Tom Orsborn: Pop on resting Murray & Mills at end of a 5-game, 7-day road trip: "As you can imagine, it takes its toll. We just decided with this increased density in the schedule since the All-Star break we needed to help them stay in good shape."
Tom Orsborn: More from Pop on resting players: "We have been in constant contact with the league, and they've been great about understanding that sort of a situation. They know full well what everybody is going through. All in all, the decision to do this seemed like the right way to go."
Kellan Olson: No Justise Winslow for the Grizzlies tonight against the Suns as they gradually work him back. He played yesterday in OKC. Cam Johnson (health and safety protocols) still out for the Suns.
Alykhan Bijani: #Rockets Injury/Status: Dante Exum (NWT-R Calf Strain) Eric Gordon (Out-R Groin Strain) Danuel House (Out-R Knee Contusion) Rodions Kurucs (NWT–L Oblique Strain) Davis Nwaba (Questionable–R Wrist Strain) Victor Oladipo (Out–R Quad; Injury Maintenance) PJ Tucker (NWT) John Wall (Out–L Knee Contusion) Christian Wood (Out–R Ankle Sprain)
Brad Townsend: Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic are listed as out for tonight's game against OKC. Doncic with right ankle "injury recovery" and Porzingis with left knee "injury recovery."
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr on sitting Draymond Green and Stephen Curry tonight: "Very easy. Draymond, we definitely didn't want to play a back to back on the ankle from the other night, and Steph just needs a rest."
Kendra Andrews: Steph Curry (rest) and Draymond Green (left ankle injury management) have officially been ruled out of tonight’s game at Phoenix. @Anthony Slater first reported earlier today. Kelly Oubre Jr. is listed as questionable with a left wrist sprain.
Joe Mussatto: Al Horford (rest) is out tonight. "It really comes down to our medical team," Horford said on deciding which night to sit on a back-to-back. "I just really lean on them and prepare when I need to go, and when I need to sit I'm there to support the guys."
Joe Mussatto: Daigneault on the decision to rest Al Horford on the front end of this back-to-back: "We do it purely based on what's physically best for him. He's very much a stakeholder in that process. To be honest with you, I'm not in the room even on those conversations."
Chris Fedor: #Cavs Andre Drummond (rest) is OUT tonight against Los Angeles Clippers.
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks on what went into the decision to rest Beal tonight: "He needed some rest.” He adds it has to do with the tough schedule the Wizards are dealing with now. Washington has 16 games in 27 days and leaves on a west coast trip next week.
Paul Garcia: "He can't play back to backs," says Coach Pop of Derrick White as he returns from injury. Pop says White will be out for tomorrow's game against GSW.
Joe Mussatto: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Lu Dort and Theo Maledon are all available for the Thunder tonight. Darius Bazley (low back soreness) and Isaiah Roby (right foot soreness) are questionable. Al Horford (rest) is out.
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September 26, 2021 | 12:48 pm EDT Update

Ja Morant: 'I'm a Top 5 point guard'

Where do you feel you rank among the top point guards in the game? Ja Morant: Top 5. If you’re Top 5, who else is there with you? Ja Morant: Morant: Steph (Curry). I’m a big Chris Paul fan. I’d say Dame (Lillard) and (Russell) Westbrook. It’s tough. The point guard position is so loaded. Some guys have to get left out.
Your teammate, Jaren Jackson Jr., was the No. 2 breakout player, according to a poll of 15 NBA executives I did for HoopsHype. What do you expect from a healthy Jaren this season? Ja Morant: To me, personally, I think he’s No. 1 if he’s healthy. He’s been battling some injuries that set him back. A healthy Jaren is definitely the number one breakout player this season. He’s just a special talent that’s gifted. He’s 7-foot-1, can shoot the three, can put it on the floor, and can play inside. He does so much on the floor. As long as he stays healthy, which we need him to be, he’s definitely number one.
What do you think of Dillon Brooks as a defender and as a player overall for this team? Ja Morant: Dillon is an important piece to this team offensively and defensively. I’ve been saying a lot now that I feel like he doesn’t get the credit he deserves for his defense, especially against some of the top guys. Some of them probably won’t admit it, but I feel like most of the games when they struggled, Dillon was guarding them. Soon, that’ll come that he gets his respect for that. Offensively, how he’s able to score the ball from all three levels is big-time for us.
Speaking of locker rooms, what are the expectations in the locker room for the Grizzlies this season? Where do you guys think you can compete on what type of level? Ja Morant: I feel like we can compete with the top teams in this league. We all have that mindset, and this chip on our shoulder we go out and play with each and every night. Now, it’s continuing to buy in and keep gelling as a team and getting better with chemistry. Having more guys step up and talk who’ve been in the game for a while to help the young guys come along. Our goal this year is to continue to be better in all areas and better than we were last year.
Granted, all of that stuff is a lot easier to say in the offseason than it is to actually feel when a player is on the outside looking in. But while it could just be a bunch of PR-friendly cliches being spewed, this team also really could be that committed to winning. Ellington certainly thinks so, and during a recent appearance on BallIsLife’s “Noble and Roosh Show,” he also outlined a few other reasons he thinks guys will be all right with not playing as much as they have in the past: “I think we have one of the older rosters, so I think guys are able to be mature about that. We understand that everybody’s not going to be able to play 30 minutes a game, so there’s going to be sacrifice. There’s going to be sacrifices that need to be made, and I think that’s part of the understanding. “But also, understanding that with the older roster, guys aren’t going to be able to play. Guys aren’t going to play every single game. I think you’re going to see sometimes guys get rested and that’s where the ‘Next Man Up’ mentality comes into play.”
It’s why he also likes that the team made sure to add a few younger players as well: “I think it’s a great combination, man, of basketball IQ, championship experience, hunger with the guys wanting more. You got a mix of guys that haven’t won championships who are hungry for championships. You got some young guys in Kendrick Nunn, Malik Monk, THT, you got some young guys that are dogs. I think it’s a great mix of veterans and some mid guys and some young guys. I think the roster was constructed beautifully.”
September 26, 2021 | 6:15 am EDT Update

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: "There’s no room for players who do not want to get vaccinated"

“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
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