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In London, Carmelo Anthony praises Knicks owner

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In London, Carmelo Anthony praises Knicks owner

LONDON (AP) If MSG chairman James Dolan is listening to what Carmelo Anthony has to say in London, he'll probably be happy to hear it.

Two days after the Newark Star-Ledger reported that Dolan had put listening devices on the court to monitor everything said to and by Anthony, the New York Knicks forward spoke about the hubbub.

``I got an owner that looks out (for me),'' Anthony said before practice Wednesday at London's O2 Arena. ``You can't beat that.''

The report said Dolan had technicians stationed at opposite corners of the court during Friday's home game against Chicago. Holding umbrella-shaped parabola microphones, they were told to record Anthony's interactions and send the tape directly to Dolan himself.

Anthony and Boston forward Kevin Garnett exchanged words during the Celtics' 102-96 victory Jan. 7. Anthony, clearly thrown off his game and finishing just 6-of-26 from the field, later tried to confront Garnett near the locker room and team bus and received a one-game suspension from the NBA.

Anthony would not reveal what was said by Garnett, only that it was something he felt a man shouldn't say to another man.

``If an owner tries to protect their players, trying to protect his player, you can't beat that,'' Anthony said one day after arriving in London.

The Knicks are in the British capital to play a regular-season NBA game against the Detroit Pistons on Thursday, the second time the league has come to London for a meaningful game.

And Knicks coach Mike Woodson easily was more interested in the Pistons than the miking story.

``I don't really care about the miking thing. I don't follow it and haven't followed it,'' Woodson said. ``I got better things to worry about than this miking thing that you guys are talking about.''

The Knicks are coming into the game off a 100-87 win over the New Orleans Hornets on Sunday. And after Wednesday's game, they won't play again until they meet the Brooklyn Nets on Monday.

``This is not about vacation and I don't think any of us is treating it that way. This is a regular-season game. It's a game that we got to win,'' Woodson said. ``It's not about vacation time. Vacation's in the summer.''

To make things seem even more like home, director Spike Lee walked out on court before Knicks practice. The longtime Knicks fan was wearing a big orange hat and a Knicks sweatshirt.

``The orange and blue, baby,'' said Lee, who has been in London many times but is in the city to watch his beloved Knicks for the first time. ``My wife gave me permission to come to the game.''

The NBA came to Europe in 2011, with the then-New Jersey Nets swept a two-game series against the Toronto Raptors at the O2, the first regular-season games to be played in Europe.

Last year, there was no NBA at the arena, but it did host the Olympic gold medal game, something Anthony and Knicks teammate Tyson Chandler helped the United States win in August.

``How can I forget? It was a special time in my life, a special moment,'' Anthony said. ``Just to be back in this arena once again, having a chance to play one last time back here in London in front of the fans who've been very gracious to myself and the game of basketball.''

The schedule this year has only one NBA game in London, making it quite a long way to go for only 48 minutes of action.

``At the end of the day it's competition,'' Pistons center Greg Monroe said. ``This is a game we have to take very seriously. They're a very good team; we understand it's a business trip.

``We're enjoying ourselves as much as possible, but I think everybody is focused on the right thing.''

The Pistons had the earlier practice Wednesday, giving the players the afternoon off to explore the city. That's when the vacation feel is more likely to take hold.

``As long as they don't get trapped in the Tower of London,'' Pistons coach Lawrence Frank joked.

``That's part of the maturity of being a professional,'' Frank added. ``When you step off this hardwood, enjoy yourselves. But when you step back on, you got to be locked in.''

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Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

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USA Today Sports

Jeff Green lifts Wizards as fellow Hoya Otto Porter watches late again

The Wizards’ 117-109 win over the Orlando Magic Monday night was the tale of two Hoyas.

Washington brought Jeff Green back home this summer to help anchor the second unit with his defensive versatility and scoring spurts. Both aspects were on display in the fourth quarter, as the Wizards finally broke free from the Magic.

Another former Georgetown star, Otto Porter, was nowhere to be found in the fourth. Zero minutes for a third consecutive game for the Wizards’ highest-paid player, thus adding another layer of weird to his season.

The why is a topic. For a team that registered its first winning streak of the season after a 2-9 start, all that matters is finding success. That was the postgame message from Scott Brooks.

There’s no detective work required as to why Green turned into a late-game staple.

After his 19-point outing in Saturday’s win at Miami, the streaky scorer had 10 of his 18 in the final period against Orlando with four 3-pointers. Defensively the 6-foot-9 forward offers Brooks an option the roster lacked last season: a versatile player capable of guarding on the perimeter and, as was the case against Orlando center Nik Vucevic, inside against bigger players.

“We need his all-around play,” Brooks said. “He can guard just about everybody on the floor. … I thought [Jeff] did a pretty good job on the big fellow.”

Green and Markieff Morris handled the interior spots the entire fourth quarter. When the forwards can match up with opposing four’s and five’s on defense, it typically means their scoring presence opens the court for penetrating guards John Wall and Bradley Beal on the other end.

Green sinking bombs throughout the game helped as well. He finished four of five from deep with two coming in the fourth. The career 33 percent 3-point shooter is 9 of 13 from beyond the arc overall during the last four games, and 21 of 28 overall.

“He's starting to get a little bit of rhythm from the three-point line, and we need that from him,” Brooks said.

Maybe Green isn’t the ideal athletic-4 Wall called for in recent years, but the on-court connection between the power forward and point guard is evident. During the decisive 14-4 run, the two hooked up for an alley-oop lob that's turned into a go-to play for Washington.

With shooters surrounding the duo, Wall dribbles toward the left elbow, taking all eyes with him. Green immediately turns down an open lane and rolls to the rim before rising high to meet the toss.

“We have shooters, we have guys that have to [be] respected,” Green said of the play. “It keeps [defenders] at bay, and with John’s speed, to get downhill at the rim, you have to help (on him).”

Wall passed on offering any keys to the play’s success (“We just tweaked a little bit of the play. I can’t tell you about, but it’s kind of working for us.”), but he praised Green’s performance with ease.

“That’s what we got Jeff for,” Wall said.

The Wizards matched that massive four-year, $106.5 million restricted offer sheet Porter signed with Brooklyn in 2017 for all kinds of reasons. Among them, he’s an instinct-rich player who makes winning plays and ranks among the most accurate 3-point shooters in the league. Those traits haven’t kept Porter on the court late in games recently in part because they haven’t shown in full-throated ways.

The term “benching” is harsh, though the situation is odd. Morris sat out the final periods at Orlando and Miami. Dwight Howard didn’t enter the fourth Monday despite finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds. Only Porter’s sit streak reached three games.

The small forward played a strong defensive game in Saturday’s win at Miami, but Brooks rode with a group that gained momentum as Washington surged past the Heat.

Porter is 9 of 16 on 3-pointers over the last four games. That’s only one aspect of the game. Brooks is looking for more. Porter took only one shot attempt in the first half Monday, lacked vigor defensively, and scored six points in 21 minutes.

"I mean, it's trying to find a blend of guys that are going to compete and going to play hard,” Brooks said of his lineup choices.

Asked specifically about Porter, Brooks said, “It’s just the way it is. Some games Otto is not going to have good games. Tonight isn’t one of them. He’ll bounce back. The guy is a winner. He knows how to play.”

Green and Porter honed their games at Georgetown under coach John Thompson III and turned into top-5 NBA Draft selections. The program is mostly closed off to the outside world, but a strong bond between the players exists regardless of when they played. The two forwards never joined forces until this season. Green knows Porter, enough to tell whether a helpful chat is required. This isn’t one of those times. 

“Otto is a pro, man,” Green told NBC Sports Washington. “I don’t have to say anything to Otto. He’s a team-first guy. He’s a guy who’s going to make sure whenever his name is called he’s going to be ready. He’s not worried about if he’s playing. I’m sure he’d like to be playing. He’s doing whatever it takes it to make sure the team is in a place to win.”

So is Scott Brooks. For now, that includes one former Georgetown star in the fourth quarter. It’s just not the obvious one.

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

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5 must-see moments from Wizards' 117-109 win over Magic, including Bradley Beal's big dunk

The Washington Wizards topped the Orlando Magic 117-109 on Monday night. Here are five plays or moments worth revisiting...

1. Like most games the Wizards have played this season, on Monday they started out scorching on offense while defense appeared optional. 

This play was an exception. Bradley Beal, whom you will see plenty more from in this post, got a steal that led to a three for Otto Porter Jr. on the other end:

Though the Wizards won, Porter was held to just six points in 22 minutes of action.

2. Back to Beal. Though that first-half play was nice, he was quiet for much of this game. It wasn't until less than five minutes were remaining in the third quarter that he flipped a switch.

But when he did, there was nothing the Magic could do to stop him. This was one of the plays he made during his third quarter takeover. He used a nifty behind-the-back crossover to set up Dwight Howard for an and-1 bucket:

3. Beal accounted for 10 points in a three-minute stretch, capped off with this steal and dunk:

Beal started the game 3-for-13 from the field, but ended it with 21 points, eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block.

4. John Wall (25 points, 10 assists) and Jeff Green (18 points, six rebounds) also had big nights. They connected on this alley-oop in the fourth quarter:

Green had 10 points in the fourth quarter and Wall had nine.

5. Wall kept it going late with this fadeaway jumper to force a Magic timeout. The way he toyed with the defense off the dribble was quite impressive:

Speaking of Wall, if you ask Beal, it was the media (and more specifically ESPN's Stephen A. Smith) that set the five-time All-Star off. Wall, Beal says, was playing with some extra motivation with Smith sitting courtside:

Don't question him. Just go with it.

The Wizards have now won two straight games. In a sign that it's still super early and probably not time to freak out about the big picture, the Wizards are now just 1 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the East.

 

 

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