Denver Nuggets

Isaiah Thomas could make Denver Nuggets debut in February

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Isaiah Thomas could make Denver Nuggets debut in February

Since his heartbreaking trade from the Boston Celtics to the Cleveland Cavaliers in the blockbuster Kyrie Irving deal two summers ago, Isaiah Thomas has struggled to stay on the court. 

After a hip injury in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals cut short his playoff run that captivated Celtics fans, Thomas appeared in just 32 games last season between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers, before shutting it down for the season in late March with hip surgery. He's been on the mend ever since.

But, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski says the long recovery back could finally be complete. Citing source, Woj reports that Thomas could finally make his Denver Nuggets debut before the All-Star break, perhaps as early as the weekend of Feb. 11-13 and no later than Feb. 22.

"The final hurdle for Thomas remains playing full 5-on-5 scrimmages. He is expected to start that process soon," Woj writes.

The 5-foot-9 Thomas, 29, who signed a one-year deal with the Nuggets last summer, is only two seasons removed from earning Second Team All-NBA honors with the Celtics, when he averaged 28.9 points per game. But he's yet to come close to that production since leaving Boston.

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Nuggets' Mike Malone fires hilarious shot at Celtics, Lakers fans

Nuggets' Mike Malone fires hilarious shot at Celtics, Lakers fans

When you've won four games in a row, you can afford to talk a little smack. Don't mind if Michael Malone does.

Malone's Denver Nuggets blew out the Los Angeles Lakers 117-85 at Pepsi Center on Tuesday night, silencing a decent contingent of Lakers fans who made the trip to Denver.

Apparently Malone heard those Lakers fans, too, based on this amazing quote he delivered after the game, via BSN Denver's Harrison Wind:

"You're either with us or against us. ... The Lakers, their fans carry, but as long as their fans go home disappointed, that's all I care about.

So, the Warriors fans can come in here, the Celtics fans can come in here, the Lakers fans can come in here. But take that L on the way out."

The man has spoken.

Malone can back up his boast, though: The 14-7 Nuggets are 9-3 at home this season and indeed have handed an "L" to both the Celtics and the Warriors. (Remember that Kyrie Irving-Jamal Murray drama, C's fans?)

Boston has a chance for redemption on March 18 when Denver visits TD Garden -- although it remains to be seen how well Nuggets fans travel.

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Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for throwing basketball into the stands

Kyrie Irving fined $25,000 for throwing basketball into the stands

The NBA fined Celtics All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving $25,000 for launching a basketball into the stands after the final buzzer of Monday’s loss to the Denver Nuggets, and Irving agrees with the penalty — though he also doubled-down on his criticism of Jamal Murray.

Irving, angered when Murray attempted a last-second 3-pointer while trying to eclipse 50 points at the end of Monday’s game, fired the game ball deep into the stands at the Pepsi Center.

“[The fine was] well deserved," Irving told reporters at Boston’s offday practice Tuesday in Phoenix. "There's a sense of professionalism that you have to uphold within this league, and I failed to do so, so I take full responsibility for it."

Yet even though Irving was accountable for his actions that led to the fine, he reaffirmed his displeasure with Murray's shot, which sullied a night in which the 21-year-old scored a career-high 48 points as Denver improved to 9-1 on the season.

"From a competitive standpoint, I think [the ball] absolutely deserved to go into the stands,” said Irving. "You just don't play basketball like that, and it's as simple as that. You just don't. There's a tradition and a respect within the league as well as within any basketball game. Obviously you've won the game, have it sealed, had a great game - the game of your life, and then you do something like that. It's just petty, it's immature. But we'll see him again though."

All of a sudden, that March 18 game in Boston has a little more juice.

A day after suggesting, “the ball deserves to go in the crowd after a bulls— move like that,” Irving didn’t back down from his critique.

“[Murray] knew. It’s not like I hold any resentment towards it, but hopefully going forward after this, he doesn’t do anything like that,” said Irving. "You’ve seen guys throughout the league, I believe there was an incident in Indiana when Lance Stephenson took a layup at the end where they were playing against Toronto, and it’s just experiences that everyone has. 

"You just don’t do that in the NBA. In any game, it’s just a respect for your opponent, and I felt disrespected after the game. So your career-high ball goes in the stands."

Celtics coach Brad Stevens didn’t have much to say about the fine but admitted, 'I think that's a pretty consistent fine from what I've been told.”

Irving was also fined $25,000 last season for a profane outburst in Philadelphia. The Celtics won 16 consecutive games after rallying from behind to win that game against the Sixers.

Could Irving’s latest outburst spark the Celtics again?

Said Irving: "We just gotta continue to be better and will ourselves to be the best team in this league eventually."

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