Pelicans give medical update on Williamson, Alvarado

The New Orleans Pelicans are desperately trying to make the playoffs, or at least the Play-In Tournament, and if they can get it, they could have some much-needed help.

Following re-evaluation on his right hamstring strain, Zion Williamson has been cleared to return to on-court activities, the team announced Wednesday; he will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Williamson has missed the last 36 games after he suffered a right hamstring strain on January 2 in Philadelphia against the 76ers.

In 29 games, he holds season averages of 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest.

Also, recent medical imaging on Jose Alvarado, who has missed the last 10 games due to a stress reaction in his right tibia, showed incremental improvement. He will continue his rehabilitation process and will be re-examined in 2-3 weeks.

Currently, the Pelicans(35-38) and Lakers(35-38) are tied for the 11th seed in the West and are 1/2 game behind the Jazz for the 10th spot. 

Teams 7-10 make the Play-In Tournament, which goes from April 11-14.

Pels’ Williamson to miss at least two more weeks

The Pelicans will have to wait at least two more weeks before Zion Williamson returns to the court. On Wednesday, the Pelicans announced that Williamson was recently re-evaluated for his right hamstring strain, and medical imaging revealed that Williamson’s hamstring continues to heal.

According to the team, his next examination will take place in approximately two weeks.

Williamson, 22, has missed the last 28 games after he suffered a right hamstring strain on January 2 in Philadelphia against the 76ers. In those games, New Orleans is 8-20.

In 29 games, he holds season averages of 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest.

Coming into Wednesday’s action, the Pelicans(31-34) were the 10th seed in the Western Conference.

Pelicans give medical update on Zion Williamson, Nance Jr, Alvarado

On Tuesday, the New Orleans Pelicans announced the following medical updates:

-Zion Williamson continues to make progress with rehabilitation for his right hamstring strain. Further updates will be provided following medical imaging next week. Williamson has missed the last 25 games after he suffered a right hamstring strain on January 2 in Philadelphia against the 76ers.

In 29 games, he holds season averages of 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest.

-Jose Alvarado has been diagnosed with a stress reaction in his right tibia. Alvarado will be re-evaluated in three weeks, and his return to play timeline will be updated at a later date.

In 61 games, Alvarado is averaging 9.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 3.0 assists per contest.

-Larry Nance Jr., who suffered a left ankle sprain during Saturday’s game at New York, will be re-evaluated in two weeks, and his timetable to return will be updated accordingly.

In 50 games, Nance is averaging 7.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per contest.

Currently, the Pelicans(30-32) are in a virtual tie with Portland(29-31) for the 10th seed in the Western Conference and would be in the Play-In Tournament if the season ended today.

Pels’ Williamson remains out due to hamstring, will be re-evaluated in two weeks

The New Orleans Pelicans forward Zion Williamson was recently re-evaluated for his right hamstring injury. The re-evaluation showed that Williamson’s hamstring is healing as expected, and he is making good progress with his recovery, the team announced on Tuesday. 

According to the team, Williamson will continue his rehabilitation process, which includes strengthening his hamstring and gradually progressing to more movement. He will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Williamson has missed the last ten games after he suffered a right hamstring strain on January 2 in Philadelphia against the 76ers.

In 29 games, he holds season averages of 26.0 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 4.6 assists per contest.

New Orleans(26-21) is fourth in the Western Conference.

Official: Pelicans extend Larry Nance Jr.

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed forward Larry Nance Jr. to a multi-year contract extension, the team announced Monday.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year, $21.6 million contract extension, and Nance’s total deal ties him to the franchise for three years and $31.3 million.

Nance Jr. was acquired by New Orleans in a mid-season trade with the Portland Trail Blazers and appeared in 46 games (11 starts) during the 2021-22 season, averaging 7.0 points and 5.4 rebounds in 22.6 minutes per game.

The 6-7 forward gave the Pels a spark in the playoffs against the Suns and gave the team some solid minutes. The 29-year-old averaged 9.2 points and 5.8 rebounds in 21.7 minutes per contest in the playoffs.

Drafted 27th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2015 NBA Draft, the seven-year veteran has appeared in 396 games (134 starts) with the L.A. Lakers, Cleveland, Portland, and New Orleans.

Nance Jr. is a great role player, a tremendous defender, and gives New Orleans great depth in their frontcourt.

Pelicans sign Seabron(tw0-way deal), Petty Jr., Plowden

The New Orleans Pelicans have signed guard Dereon Seabron to a two-way contract, the team announced Friday.

Additionally, the Pelicans have also signed guard John Petty Jr. and guard/forward Daeqwon Plowden. According to reports, Petty and Plowden signed Exhibit 10 deals.

Seabron, 6-7, 180, played collegiate seasons at North Carolina State, where he averaged 12.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 56 games. Seabron is coming off of a redshirt sophomore season in which he started 32 games, averaging 17.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 3.2 assists en route to being named the ACC’s Most Improved Player and earning All-ACC Second Team honors.

Petty Jr., 6-5, 184, appeared in 31 games for the Pelicans’ G League affiliate, the Birmingham Squadron, in 2021-22 in which he averaged 8.5 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists in 26.2 minutes per game. Prior to turning pro, Petty Jr. played four seasons at Alabama in which he averaged 11.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in 131 games (105 starts), finishing his career with a school-record 311 made three-pointers. In his senior campaign, Petty Jr. averaged 12.6 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.9 assists en route to First Team All-SEC honors. Petty Jr. led the SEC with 77 made threes during the 2020-21 season.

Plowden, 6-6, 215, played five seasons at Bowling Green State (2017-22), averaging 10.5 points and 6.1 rebounds in 25.4 minutes per contest. Plowden finished his college career as BGSU’s all-time leader in games played (154), and is the only player in program history to log at least 1,200 career points, 800 rebounds, and 100 blocks.

Paul on Bridges: ‘He doesn’t miss games, he guards the best players every night’

Coming into Game 5 of their first-round series against the New Orleans Pelicans, the Phoenix Suns won two games because of two 19-point fourth quarters from Chris Paul. CP3 got the job done for the Suns in Game 5 as he had 22 points and 11 assists. However, Mikal Bridges was the star of the game.

Bridges, who finished second for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, tied a playoff career-high with 31 points on 12/17 shooting from the field, including 4/4 from downtown, five rebounds, two steals, and four blocks in 47 minutes of action as the Suns defeated the Pelicans 112-97 at Footprint Center to take a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 is Thursday night in New Orleans.

Bridges did it on both ends of the court. According to StatMuse, the players he guarded were 3/17 from the floor with seven points.

“He doesn’t miss games, he guards the best players every night, and then he has 31,” Paul said.

Bridges, who has never missed an NBA game in four seasons, was ready to keep on playing after the win.

“I’m ready to play tomorrow. I’m teed up, man,” Bridges said. “I’m energized; my teammates keep me going. You got me itching my knee right now because I’m talking about it. I need to calm down, I need to breathe, but I’m just ready, man.”

Deandre Ayton, who had 19 points and nine rebounds, added on Bridges: “The man takes care of his body, and he approaches the game the same way every day; he doesn’t change.”

Without Devin Booker, it’s all hands on deck for the Suns, and Bridges got the job done. The Suns have to end this series in Game 6; Phoenix does not want to be in a position where they have to play a Game 7. The Suns are the better team, and as the better team, they have to put the Pelicans away Thursday night.

Suns will have to play ‘extra games’ to defeat New Orleans

Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has sustained a mild right hamstring strain, the team announced Wednesday.

According to the team, an MRI revealed the injury, and there is no timetable for his return.

According to ESPN Adrian Wojnarowski, Booker is expected to miss Games 3 and 4 but could return later in this series.

The injury occurred in the third quarter of Phoenix’s 125-114 loss to the Pelicans in Game 2 of their first-round series. Booker scored all 31 points, including seven threes, in the first half. 

New Orleans led Phoenix 77-74 with 4:35 left in the third when Booker exited with the injury. The Pelicans would outscore the Suns 48-40 the rest of the way and would win 125-114.

The series is tied at 1, and Game 2 is Friday night in New Orleans.

Booker missed seven games with a strained left hamstring injury during the regular season. Phoenix was 8-6 without Booker this season.

Hamstrings can be tricky, but hopefully, this is not an injury that will keep Booker out for an extended period. Phoenix’s only goal is a championship. They went to the NBA Finals last season and have the best record in basketball this season, so anything short of a title would be a disappointment. 

Here’s also the issue, you can’t play “extra games” in the playoffs, and now the Suns will be playing at least an extra game and possibly more in this series. 

It’s next man up for the Suns, so guys like Landry Shamet and Cam Johnson have to step up. New Orleans has the momentum, but Phoenix is still the better team, even without Booker.

However, winning this series has just gotten a little complicated for the Suns, but just like they have all season long, expect the Suns to play well without Booker.


Chris Paul had his second consecutive double-double in this series as he finished with 17 points and 14 assists Tuesday night. 


Suns’ Ayton on Paul’s performance in Game 1 vs. Pelicans: ‘Man, that is the CP3 Show’

Great players do great things in the playoffs, and Chris Paul is a great player, and Sunday night in Game 1 of Phoenix’s first-round series against the Pelicans, that greatness was on full display.

Phoenix led 53-34 at the break, but the Pelicans outscored the Suns 37-25 in the third quarter and had some momentum going into the fourth, but then, the “CP3 Show” commenced.

The 12-time All-Star scored 19 of his team-high 30 points in the fourth quarter to go along with seven rebounds, 10 assists, and three steals as the Suns defeated the Pelicans 110-99 at Footprint Center to take a 1-0 series lead.

Game 2 is Tuesday night in Phoenix.

At age 37, Paul became the oldest player to record 30 points and 10 assists in a playoff game. 

“Man, that is the CP3 Show,” Deandre Ayton said postgame. ‘We got a little taste of it.’

“Classic Chris,” Suns head coach Monty Williams said. 

With Phoenix leading 80-73, Paul scored or assisted 19 straight points for the Suns to take complete control of the game. 

According to ESPN Stats & Info, Paul became the fifth player with ten career playoff games of 30 points and 10 assists, joining LeBron James (22), Michael Jordan (15), Jerry West (14), and Oscar Robertson (12)

“It’s just reading the game,” Paul said. “We watch games all day, every day. We got to watch all the games yesterday. We watched the games today. We know in the playoffs, teams aren’t going to lay down.”

Williams had more praise for his point guard.

“He’s not only a great point guard, but he’s a great basketball player,” Williams said.

After making the Finals last season, the goal for the Suns is an NBA title. Barring anything unforeseen, the Pelicans can’t defeat Phoenix. So, in reality, to avoid injuries, the Suns have to sweep this series to play as few games as possible as they look to win an NBA title.

Cavs’ Bickerstaff: ‘We’re built to win ugly’

The Cleveland Cavaliers had maybe their worst loss of the season when they fell to the Pistons in Detroit Sunday night. Fortunately for the Cavs, they had an opportunity to get right back at it on Monday night at home against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Unfortunately, the Cavs were without their leading scorer Darius Garland(back), but they still got it done. Cleveland defeated the Pelicans 93-90 at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

The Cavs(31-20) are 9-2 in their last 11 and have won five straight at home. In addition, they finished the month of January 11-4(most wins in a month since November 2017), while the Pelicans(18-32) have dropped four straight.

Here is the Great, Not so Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ win over Pelicans.

The Great for the Cavs:

-Brandon Goodwin had a career and game-high 21 points, including three threes off the Cavs’ bench. Goodwin, who started the second half, was recently with the Cleveland Charge, the Cavs’ G League affiliate, and he took full advantage of his opportunity Monday night. 

-Kevin Love was huge off the Cavs’ bench. He had a double-double with 15 points(3/8 3 PT FG) and 11 rebounds. This was Love’s eighth double-double of the season. 

Love made big plays down the stretch. 

With the Pelicans leading 86-84, Love would hit a fadeaway jumper to tie it up at 86 at the 2:54 mark of the fourth. With just over two minutes to go, and the Cavs trailing 88-86, Love would hit another fadeaway shot to tie things up at 88. In addition, with the Cavs trailing 90-88, Love would battle for the rebound that set up a putback dunk by Jarrett Allen to tie things up at 90 with 1:31 left to go.

-Lamar Stevens gave the Cavs a big lift off the bench. He scored 11 points on 5/6 shooting, grabbed four rebounds, two assists, three steals, and two blocks. 

Cavs’ Bench: Cleveland got 52 points from its bench, and they outscored the Pelicans’ bench 52-22. The bench also outscored the Cavs’ starters 52-41. Cleveland’s starters were a combined -15, while the bench was a combined +30. This was the seventh game this season that the Cavs have gotten 50-plus points from their bench. 

Fourth Quarter: The Pelicans had their largest lead of nine(75-66) with just over nine minutes left in the fourth. Cleveland went on a 20-11 run to tie it at 86 late in the fourth. Cleveland shot 56% from the field and outscored the Pelicans 33-24 in the final period.

-Cedi Osman started at point guard for Garland, and he had seven points and a career-high 12 assists. The Cavs needed everybody to step up, and Osman did the job.

The Not So Great for the Cavs:

Rebounding: Cleveland was outrebounded by their opponent for the second consecutive night. New Orleans had a 51-37 edge on the glass, including 16 second-chance points. The night before, in their loss to the Pistons, Cleveland was outrebounded 48-41 and gave up 20 second-chance points.

-Evan Mobley struggled Monday night. The rookie was 1/7 from the floor and scored four points. He did have five rebounds and three blocks. However, he had a team-low -9 rating. Mobley’s streak of 17 straight games in double figures was snapped Monday night.

-Dean Wade, who started for the injured Lauri Markkanen(ankle), was 0/5 from the floor, all from deep, and finished with zero points in 19 minutes of action.

Bottom Line:

This was an ugly win, but a win nonetheless. We all knew things would be difficult for the Cavs without Garland, but losing to the Pistons and Pelicans on back-to-back nights would have been awful. However, they found a way to get it done.

As we look at the standings in the East, the Cavs(fourth seed) are one game behind the Heat and Bulls for the top spot in the East, so if they keep winning, they’ll keep climbing the standings. 

“The message was, ‘We’re built to win ugly,'” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said postgame.

What’s Next:

The Cavs return to action Wednesday night in Houston against the Rockets.

Best of the Rest:

-Devonte’ Graham led the Pelicans with 20 points; Jonas Valanciunas had 16 points and nine rebounds, Josh Hart had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

-Jarrett Allen added 16 points, eight rebounds, and two blocks; Isaac Okoro chipped in with 14 points for Cleveland.

-The Cavs improved to 18-3 when holding teams below 100 points.