Phil Chenier’s jersey retired and John Wall returns

On Saturday, the Washington Wizards‘ John Wall returned to full practice after being sidelined for seven weeks. David Aldridge of TNT was the first to report.

The Wizards are currently sixth in the East, and if the playoffs were held today they would be facing the Cavaliers. But the playoffs aren’t today and Washington still has a chance to move up in the standings. They have ten games left before postseason action.

On Friday, the Wizards retired the great Phil Chenier’s jersey and it hangs proudly in the rafters.

They couldn’t have raised the jersey high enough to meet the level of excellence and professionalism that Mr. Chenier has brought to this league, and continues to bring.

When Wall walked out onto the court to congratulate Mr. Chenier, after that heart warming speech, it was a defining moment in sports history. Only Wall knows what Mr. Chenier personally means to him.

But to Wizards fans in D.C. and all over the world, it wasn’t so much of a changing of the guard. But rather a continuation of the legacy that Mr. Chenier and the championship 1978 Bullets means to fans.

A respect for the past that brings such great hope for the future.

When the Celtics played the Lakers for the 2008 championship, Magic Johnson wanted to bring out the Showtime Lakers and the former Celtics champions. Larry Bird said to him, “we had our time, let them have theirs”.  That moment did not remind me of Friday.

Chenier never left the Bullets/Washington organization. When Wall embraced Chenier it was just a continuation of what this organization is trying to achieve.

Yes, both the Lakers and Celtics franchises have banners. But those five jerseys hanging up in Capital One Arena represents so much more.

Yes, it’s a business within the NBA, but seeing Chenier and Wall embrace, that wasn’t a PR move, that’s only something that you would allow family to do–walk out into center court to show love and respect.

It wasn’t rehearsed, it wasn’t planned, it was genuine love.

Only family can interrupt such a solemn occasion. So it wasn’t the Bullets time or the Wizards time. That singular moment was Chenier’s and Wall’s time.
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So, yes the Wizards lost to the Nuggets on Friday. Yes, the Wizards are fighting for playoff position.

But for that one moment we remember family isn’t perfect or always right, and we won’t win every battle that comes our way, but in the final analysis—we’re all DC Family.

But most importantly Mr. Chenier is still here working for the Wizards organization. And Wall never left, because on or off the court he is always getting ready for battle.

We still have Mr. Chenier’s smooth and calming voice to remind us how much better the Wizards can be, and Wall to show the rest of the league that we’re still here.

It was Mr. Chenier’s night. No loss, standings, or anything else could take away from someone who is bigger than basketball, and embodies everything that we should all try to be—a calming presence before, during and after a storm.

Whether the Wizards are doing well or bad, Mr. Chenier reminds us to stay cool and enjoy the game and something else we call life.

Wizards point guard John Wall says he is “feeling great” but is not sure when he will next play in a game.

Wall, who said he lost about 10 or 15 pounds during his rehab without intending to, is not planning to change his style when he returns from his latest knee surgery — whenever that might be.

“I’m just going to be John Wall,” the All-Star said Monday after the second full-contact practice of his comeback from a Jan. 31 operation. “That’s all I know how to do.”

Washington has lost three consecutive games heading into Tuesday night against the visiting San Antonio Spurs. Coach Scott Brooks said Wall will not play in that game.

“It’s getting close,” Brooks said. “He’s had two really, really good days. His energy level is high. He’s anxious. You can tell. He wants to get out there. We still want to be patient.”

Washington has dropped to sixth in the Eastern Conference at 40-33 and will have only eight games remaining after facing the Spurs.

The Wizards are 14-11 without Wall during his current absence — he last played on Jan. 25 — and 19-17 overall this season without him.

“It’s been good. It’s been bad. We’ve played well, at times. Sometimes, we haven’t played well. Like when everybody was saying that they [were] playing better without me, that was great. The good thing is, I’m glad we did win those games when we did, because if we didn’t, right now, we would be in a situation where we might not be in the playoffs,” Wall said. “I feel like everybody should have given those guys credit for playing well.”

Wall’s session with reporters on Monday was his first in Washington since having surgery on his left knee.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky had surgery on both knees before last season.

This time, Brooks said, Wall has been able to do pretty much everything as usual — including dunk — in his pair of full-fledged practices.

“He’s getting his rhythm back,” Brooks said. “He can get to gaps and seams and angles not a lot of guys can get to. There’s only a handful of guys — maybe not even that — that can do it in the NBA. He’s one of the best players in the league.”

As for Wall himself?

He figures he’s ready. He’s just waiting for the official clearance from team doctors.

“When I’ve had an injury in the past, I don’t think about it. I go out there and play the same way I played before, and that’s with a lot of aggression, a lot of attacking mode, a lot of fast pace. And I’ve been doing that,” he said. “All I had to do was show that glimpse, and that showed me I was being myself again.”

Washington’s latest loss was 101-97 at home against the lowly New York Knicks on Sunday night.

“We just thought it was going to be a cakewalk,” Bradley Beal said, “and they smacked us in the mouth.”

Chinese Style Draymond Green Jersey

Today I will introduce a special NBA jersey, the Golden State Warriors Nike Dri-FIT Youth Chinese Heritage ‘The Bay’ Draymond Green #23 Swingman Jersey. That is Chinese style of 2018 Chinese zodiac.  Warriors forward Draymond Green shook his head after hearing the question. Will he play differently to avoid collecting his 16th technical foul and a subsequent one-game suspension without pay?

“Nope,” Green said following the Warriors’ 109-103 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday. “Did I look different?”

Green did not bark at the officials during Sunday’s game. He even restrained Warriors forward Kevin Durant from mouthing off over calls, something Green said he has “been doing for a while now.”

Another thing Green has done for a while now: playing with passion and emotion to spark his team. He has had mixed success in doing that without expressing his displeasure toward the referees both over fouls against him and silent whistles for him.

Green collected his 15th technical of the season during the Warriors’ loss to Portland on Friday, giving him minimal wiggle room for the Warriors’ remaining 15 games. Another technical means Green would miss a possibly critical game both for the Warriors’ playoff readiness and any chance of having the Western Conference’s best record. The Warriors (51-16) are currently a game behind the Houston Rockets (51-14) for the No. 1 seed. Houston also holds a tie breaker after winning two of its three regular-season matchups against Golden State.

Kerr shrugged about those consequences.

“It’s his competitive spirit, his drive, his passion, those things are far more important to me than maybe he misses one game,” Kerr said. “Draymond is at his best when he’s playing with that chip on his shoulder. A subdued Draymond is not an optimum Draymond.”

After Steph Curry tweaked his right ankle early in the first quarter of the Warriors game against San Antonio on Thursday, Draymond Green knew he needed to do something.

“A guy goes down, I’m one of the All-Stars on this team, it’s my responsibility to step up,” Green said.

So he pitched in everywhere, getting team-highs in rebounds (12) and assists (10), while scoring 11 points, playing smothering defense and also getting two steals and two blocked shots in the Warriors’ 110-107 win. It was his third triple-double of the season.

“It’s just what he does,” Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr said. “He seems to be at his best when things go wrong for us and we have to have that fight. He’s one of the most competitive people I’ve ever been around and when he gets going like that defensively and he’s all over the floor blocking shots, getting steals, yelling — That’s when we’re at our best.”
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Kerr decided to put Green on LaMarcus Aldridge in the fourth quarter with the game on the line. Green took that assignment as a personal challenge.

“Everybody in the gym knows who they’re going to,” Green said. “For me, I want to stop him so we can win the game. But also, I don’t want to be embarrassed because I know everyone is watching that matchup.”

Green threw Aldridge off his game down the stretch, holding the Spurs’ superstar forward, who had a team-high 30 points, to just six points in the fourth quarter.

“I think when coach switched our coverage up on Aldridge, they were getting a lot of layups off the double team,” Kevin Durant said. “Once we switched it up, Draymond fought him every time, made him shoot tough shots, made him pass the ball out for a pick-and-roll. There were five or six seconds left on the shot clock sometimes when he was trying to get into his move and he was able to close the paint up. He did a lot for us on that end because they were going to Aldridge every time. When he’s aggressive like that on both ends, making passes, just playing with force, we’re a great team.”

Green, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, is a three-time All-Star who has managed to become a superstar even though he does the things that often go unnoticed on the court, such as pass, play defense and rebound.

He’s averaging 11.3 points, 7.7 rebounds and 7.4 assists a game. Green has a franchise-leading 22 triple-doubles over his six-year career. The Warriors are 22-0 in those games.

So even though he doesn’t put up 20-plus points a game, when he saw Curry go down, he knew it was on him to make the difference.

“Not necessarily take the game over, but just try to control the pace of the game, try to make sure we’re solid, try to be better defensively, try to lead the guys even better,” Green said. “When you have a guy like Steph go down, it changes everything. So I just tried to be better in every facet of the game.”

So Green did it all, in every corner of the court, once again showing why he’s one of the brightest superstars in the game even though he does his work in the shadows.

“I just try to take over in the ways that I can,” Green said.

Luckily for the Warriors, that’s everywhere.

Nike White Men’s New Orleans Pelicans Anthony Davis Swingman Jersey

In the latest episode of the Open Floor podcast, Andrew Sharp and Ben Golliver discuss Anthony Davis’s insane numbers since losing teammate DeMarcus Cousins and gauge how much MVP consideration ‘The Brow’ should be getting.

Andrew Sharp: On the basketball internet today, everybody is now paying respect to Anthony Davis. But to me, over the last five games he has been absurd. Like Friday night, he had 45 and 17 with 5 blocks and 5 steals.

It’s just outta control what he has been doing since Boogie went down and basically he is breathing life into the Pelicans season. But watching him against Giannis was really cheap nba jerseys eye-opening man. Because a lot of their offense has been coming from Jrue Holiday, who also has been excellent over the last week or so—but he was just head-to-head, mano-y-mano with Giannis and Anthony Davis was the better player.

It was just a good reminder of how outrageous he really is and part of me wished that he was in the East and that he’d been in the East the last few years because I feel like he would have won a playoff series or two and it kind of would have been a bigger deal. He’s kind of suffocated out in the West. It’s just a good reminder that he is basically from another planet.

Ben Golliver: Like clock-work, late February, early March, all the teams come out of the woodwork with the ‘our guy is in the MVP conversation.’ We have seen it with Damian Lillard in Portland. We saw Michael Malone nominate Nikola Jokic and Gregg Popovich walked by and called BS in front of reporters making everyone laugh. This is an annual ritual where all right we have to fill out the top five ballots so let’s all just throw our candidates forward. Anthony Davis deserves to be in the top five right now to me.

Sharp: No question.

Golliver: Similar record to the Bucks, playing in a tougher conference, probably facing more adversity losing Cousins and having less help. The numbers are out of control and the consistency factor here since Cousins went down has been really impressive. To do that crazy 40-15 line you mentioned earlier like once or twice is one thing but Davis is putting up tons of 40-point games, he’s playing 40-plus minutes consistently, you kind of worry about that for his long-term perspective and how much they are relying upon on him. But he’s in that category where you have to give him some MVP love because of the sheer effort that is involved.

Sharp: His two-way value is pretty insane. As far as his MVP case, he’s not going to win it but I was watching that game against Giannis and was thinking the West is super close right now and if the Pelicans were somehow to get to the 5th or 4th seed, he would not only be in the mix for MVP but he would deserve a lot of first-place votes. Harden’s case, we will probably argue about it in a few weeks, is kind of unimpeachable right now—but Anthony Davis I think might be as good or better as a player.

Golliver: Oh come on. Who is having a better season this year? To me it is Harden. Everything that he is doing is translating into wins. I pinned you down on this a week or two ago, and you said Harden deserves MVP love and I said no he deserves the MVP and you said what is the difference then I said exactly he needs to be the MVP. So don’t try to wiggle out of this right now.

Sharp: Harden is very good. One thing I like about watching the Pelicans is it’s like watching a middle school basketball team where one player is clearly going to be making varsity one day and they just throw it to him over and over again. That’s what he has been doing and making it work. I think if you put him in another environment he would be more dominant.
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Golliver: Oh definitely. Put him in any other context he would be more dominant.

Sharp: In a vacuum talent-wise, Anthony Davis is up there with everybody. I would say maybe Steph and LeBron are on a different level but he is in the conversation with KD.

Golliver: No don’t do that. Don’t overreact. He’s like 6th or 7th in the NBA overall but if he wins a playoff series we are going to bump him up. I still feel like we have to give the nod to a guy like Harden in this conversation head-to-head.

The NBA announced earlier today that Anthony Davis was named the Western Conference Player of the Week for games played from Feb. 26-Mar. 4.

Davis led the Pelicans to a 3-0 week behind averages of 34.0 points (ranked first in the NBA) while shooting .507 from the floor, and .872 from the free throw line, 15.3 rebounds (ranked third in the NBA and second in the Western Conference) and 2.7 blocks (ranked third in the NBA). Additionally, Davis was the only player to average at least 30 points and 10 rebounds in the NBA over the course of the week. Davis helped propel New Orleans to two comeback wins against Phoenix (17-point comeback) and San Antonio (15-point comeback) and recorded a season-high 53 points in the Pelicans’ win on Feb. 26 versus the Suns. The reigning KIA Western Conference Player of the Month became the first player in NBA history to register at least 53 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks in a game, while setting new franchise records for free throws made an attempted, going 21-of-26 at the line.

This marks the fourth time Davis has earned Player of the Week honors during his career, and the second time during the 2017-18 season, becoming the first player in franchise history to earn multiple Player of the Week honors in the same season since Chris Paul in 2008-09.

Davis is currently averaging 28.0 points (ranked second in the NBA) on .536 shooting from the floor (ranked 15th in the NBA), 11.1 rebounds (ranked eighth in the NBA) and 2.2 blocks (ranked second in the NBA) on the season for the Pelicans.