DeMarcus Cousins reportedly suffers torn Achilles

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DeMarcus Cousins reportedly suffers torn Achilles

NEW ORLEANS — Anthony Davis scored 27 points, DeMarcus Cousins had 15 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists before seriously injuring his left Achilles, and New Orleans survived a furious Houston rally for a 115-113 victory over the Rockets on Friday night.

A person familiar with the situation said Pelicans team physicians have provided a preliminary diagnosis of an Achilles tear, which would end Cousins' season little more than a week after he was named an All-Star starter.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because, officially, the team said an MRI will determine the severity of the injury.

Yahoo! first reported the initial diagnosis.

The injury, which occurred as Cousins pursued a missed free throw with 12 second left in the game, all but squelched the jubilation from a team and its fans, who otherwise would have been celebrating a fourth straight victory and seventh in eight games (see full recap).

Antetokounmpo scores 41 points in return from injury
MILWAUKEE — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 41 points and 13 rebounds to help the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Brooklyn Nets 116-91 on Friday night.

Antetokounmpo returned after sitting out two games to manage chronic pain in his right knee. He sealed it late, dribbling between his legs before hitting a jumper over Quincy Acy and drawing a foul. Antetokounmpo made the free throw, and hit a 3-pointer on the next possession.

Khris Middleton added 21 points for the Bucks in their second game since coach Jason Kidd was fired Monday. They also beat the Nets for the ninth consecutive time.

DeMarre Carroll and D'Angelo Russell had 14 points apiece for Brooklyn.

Milwaukee built a 26-point first-half lead. Brooklyn, which had just 35 points at the half, scored 37 in the third quarter and got within seven points late in the period (see full recap).

Rubio's 3-pointer with 4 seconds left lifts Jazz past Raptors
TORONTO — Ricky Rubio's big 3-pointer gave the Utah Jazz back-to-back wins for the first time in more than a month.

Rubio drained the winning basket with 4 seconds remaining as the Jazz earned a 97-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday night.

"Ricky is mentally tough," Jazz coach Quin Snyder said. "He wants those shots and he got one tonight. It was good to see him knock it down."

Rubio had missed all four of his shot attempts in the second half, but didn't flinch before firing up the game-winner.

"It was easy to take that shot," Rubio said. "I was open and I had to take it. There was no other option. It felt good and I let it fly" (see full recap).

Williams posts 40 points, 10 assists in Clippers' win over Grizzlies
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Lou Williams had 40 points and matched his season-high with 10 assists in the Los Angeles Clippers' 109-100 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night.

Williams was 12 of 19 from the field and the Clippers shot 49 percent from the field, going 10 of 27 from outside the arc, to snap a three-game skid. Milos Teodosic added 18 points, DeAndre Jordan had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Blake Griffin finished with 14 points.

Grizzlies center Marc Gasol had a triple-double with 13 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Memphis was hindered by 20 turnovers leading to 22 Clippers points.

Memphis shot 48 points, but managed to convert only 8 of 27 from outside the arc (see full recap).

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

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Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot

Position: Guard/Forward

Status for 2018-19: Third year of rookie deal ($1,446,360)

Luwawu-Cabarrot in 2017-18
After a strong finish to his rookie campaign, there was an opportunity for Luwawu-Cabarrot to take on a decent role this season. Unfortunately, patellar tendinitis kept the French guard from joining his national team during the summer and slowed him up in training camp.

When newcomer JJ Redick missed seven games because of back issues, TLC stepped in and actually played pretty well to start. In the first four games of that stretch, Luwawu-Cabarrot averaged 14.5 points and shot a ridiculous 15 of 26 (57 percent) from three. The next three contests didn’t go as well before Redick came back to claim his starting spot.

During the back half of the season, Luwawu-Cabarrot struggled to get minutes and also had his knee issues resurface. They lingered for the rest of the season, as the 23-year-old missed the final 17 games of the regular season and all of the playoffs.

For the season, Luwawu-Cabarrot averaged 5.8 points in 15.5 minutes a contest in 52 games (seven starts).

Signature game
During that seven-game stretch, Luwawu-Cabarrot’s best game came during a disappointing loss on the road in Memphis. The Sixers lost by four, but Luwawu-Cabarrot had one of the better games of his career, pouring in 20 points and hitting 6 of 8 from three. The six treys were a career high.

Looking ahead to 2018-19
This certainly wasn’t the season the Sixers were looking for out of Luwawu-Cabarrot after he looked so promising to close out his rookie season. Was the young Frenchman still feeling the effects of patellar tendonitis or was he simply unable to carve out a role?

He just turned 23, is a great athlete and has shown flashes with his jumper. He’s still a very cheap option for the Sixers over the next two seasons. The Sixers will need decent players with low price tags if they’re able to add a superstar. 

Luwawu-Cabarrot will get another chance to crack the Sixers’ rotation. If he falters, there will be options. Justin Anderson will be one of the players he’ll be fighting for minutes with along with fellow 2016 first-round pick Furkan Korkmaz, who had injury issues of his own. If none of those players can provide what the Sixers need, look for Bryan Colangelo to be aggressive at the trade deadline and/or with the buyout market.

On Luwawu-Cabarrot
“I’ll probably come here, fight for my role. The perfect thing would be coming off the bench, play hard, play for the team, have good minutes.”

 -Luwawu-Cabarrot on his expectations for next season

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: JJ Redick

Sixers 2017-18 player evaluation: JJ Redick

JJ Redick

Position: Shooting guard

Status for 2018-19: Unrestricted free agent

Redick in 2017-18
It’s OK to admit it now. When you first heard how much the Sixers were giving Redick on the free-agent market last summer, you were a bit alarmed. 

Sure, Redick was always going to be a valuable addition, and the fact that a big-time player chose to join the Sixers was a huge feather in their cap. But paying him $23 million — the sixth-highest mark among NBA two guards in 2017-18 and the 25th-largest sum in the entire league — is a huge investment, even if it was for only one season.

However, the Sixers made it clear that they were finally ready to contend, and getting the best possible fit in free agency was a top priority. In Redick’s case, his game meshed with the Sixers like a glove.

The 33-year-old had arguably his best season as a pro. Redick scored a career-high 17.1 points per game on 46.0 percent shooting from the field and 42.0 percent from three. He also contributed 3.0 assists a night and a personal-best 2.5 boards.

Redick, an up-and-down playoff performer to this point in his career, made the most of his postseason stint with the Sixers. He upped his scoring average to 18.2 points a contest and topped the 20-point plateau in five of the team’s 10 playoff games.

Of course, Redick’s defensive deficiencies showed at times throughout the season, but his dead-eye shooting from long range and veteran leadership more than made up for those issues.

Signature game
Redick had plenty of highlights to choose from this past season. In just his eighth game with the team, he went bonkers from beyond the arc late in a 121-110 win over the Indiana Pacers. Redick finished that night with 31 points (eight three-pointers), six assists and three rebounds.

The marksman also contributed another eight-trey performance in a 130-111 victory over his former team, the Orlando Magic, on Nov. 25.

Still, Redick’s best showing of the season came when it mattered most. With the Sixers threatening to advance in the playoffs for the first time in six seasons, he took things into his own hands as he scored a game-high 27 in the team’s series-sealing win over the Miami Heat in Game 5. Not to be denied, the typical jump shooter got to the free throw line 10 times and made each of them to propel the Sixers into the next round.

Looking ahead
You know the situation by now. Redick has stated several times that he wants to be back in Philadelphia, but it’s much more complicated than a simple desire.

First, the Sixers plan to go superstar-hunting in the offseason with the main target being LeBron James. That would almost certainly mean Redick would be shown the door. To his credit, Redick admitted that if a team has the chance to land James, it has to take that opportunity (see story).

Secondly, even if the Sixers swing and miss on James, the numbers to get Redick back in a Sixers uniform could be tricky. He will certainly be looking for a multi-year deal and his numbers suggest he deserves one, but how many years and how many millions are the franchise willing to give a shooting guard who will be 34 when next season tips off?

On Redick
“I don’t want to offend any of the other places I’ve been or teams I’ve been on, but this was probably my favorite year of my career. Playing in Philly is its own experience. Our fans, the city, the buzz about sports and about this team was amazing. I think I said this on media day, it’s the first time I’ll ever play in a real sports town. That definitely lived up to those thoughts. It was awesome to play in Philly.”

- Redick on his experience playing in Philadelphia