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Noel exits on stretcher after collision, hard fall – WSAIGO Sports
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NBA

Noel exits on stretcher after collision, hard fall

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OKLAHOMA CITY — Thunder center Nerlens Noel was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game against Minnesota after the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins made contact with him on a dunk attempt.

Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins went up, and Noel hit the ground hard. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were called. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken from the court. Players from both teams jawed at each other while Noel was on the ground.

A few minutes later, there was a skirmish between Thunder guard Dennis Schroder and Timberwolves guard Jeff Teague. Two technicals were called on Teague and he was ejected. Schroder also was called for a technical.

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NBA

Thunder’s Noel available to play tonight vs. Lakers

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* Tonight on TNT:  Lakers vs. Thunder, 10:30 ET

Oklahoma City Thunder center Nerlens Noel, who suffered a concussion roughly a week ago, has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and is available to play tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers. 

Noel suffered his injury last Tuesday in the Thunder’s 119-117 home loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. 

Tests last Wednesday showed Noel avoided any fractures from the spill and he was released from the hospital after an overnight stay. Noel then entered the NBA’s concussion protocol, which he was under for the past nine days.

Noel is in his first season with the Thunder and is averaging 5.1 points and 4.6 rebounds per game as a key reserve for OKC.

He was taken off the court on a stretcher in the third quarter of last Tuesday’s game against Minnesota after the Timberwolves’ Andrew Wiggins made contact with him on a dunk attempt.

 

Nerlens Noel took a scary fall in a game last week against Minnesota.

Noel took an elbow in the face as Wiggins went up, and Noel’s head hit the ground hard. A defensive foul was called on Noel. The play was reviewed, and no additional fouls were called. Noel was down for several minutes before being taken from the court. Players from both teams jawed at each other while Noel was on the ground.

Wiggins said he didn’t mean to hurt Noel.

“I just tried to make an aggressive move and dunk,” Wiggins said. “He tried to contest it. I think he fell wrong. I didn’t really see it until I saw him on the ground. Hopefully, he’s good. I hope nothing but the best for him. I hope he gets healthy soon and comes back stronger.”

The Thunder have lost two of their last three games since that defeat in Minnesota, including a 142-126 loss to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Cousins calls Warriors ‘most hated team in sports’

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As his season debut with the Golden State Warriors looms, former All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins said in a recent interview his new team probably isn’t loved by everyone. To Cousins, it seems, no team is more disliked than the Warriors.

Cousins was recently interviewed by ESPN’s Rachel Nichols and says he has not focused on the reaction from fans since he decided to sign with the Warriors last summer in free agency. 

“I don’t really pay attention to storylines,” Cousins told ESPN. “I mean, they’re gonna say what they have to say. They’re gonna add their opinions. We’re the most hated team in sports.”

Cousins has not played since late January of 2018 after being sidelined by an Achilles injury while playing for the New Orleans Pelicans. He was named an All-Star last season, but did not play in the game due to injury, and chose to sign with the Warriors last summer. He is set to debut tomorrow night against the LA Clippers (10:30 ET, ESPN) at Staples Center.

When Nichols countered Cousins’ point by saying perhaps the Dallas Cowboys and New York Yankees are among the most hated teams, Cousins laughed and said: “Well, put us up there. I would say the Warriors are for sure. You know they hate Kevin [Durant]. They hate me. I think the only guy they really like is Stephen [Curry]. Actually, they may hate him, as well. They hate Draymond Green. But I mean, it is what it is. I can’t worry about that.”

Cousins has made it clear on other occasions he’s not too concerned with fan reaction to his joining Golden State. Days after signing with the Warriors last summer, a teaser for a Showtime documentary about Cousins’ rehab road hit social media. In it, he addressed his return from injury and free agency choice while also not mincing words about his move to California.

* Blogtable:  Expectations for Cousins’ return?

“I knew how it would be perceived by some … I don’t give a [expletive],” Cousins said in the video, released on Twitter last July.

“There’s some [expletives] out there that’s ripping their hair out, and I love it. It’s just another test for me to overcome. … I’m a fighter, I never give up and I’m taking this challenge head on.”

 

How will the Warriors benefit from DeMarcus Cousins’ return?

Warriors coach Steve Kerr said last week that Cousins will start immediately when he makes his long-awaited Warriors debut.

Golden State’s coaching staff has spent the past couple of weeks more intensely planning for Cousins’ return and how he will be incorporated into different rotations throughout games, while also holding regular discussions with Cousins about the plan.

Before suffering his injury last season, Cousins averaged 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists in 48 games.

The 28-year-old Cousins doesn’t expect to dominate from Day 1, especially playing in a lineup that will feature four other All-Stars — Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. Kerr said he hasn’t thought about the star-studded lineup yet, knowing there’s still half the season to go for Cousins to get comfortable and acclimated.

In the interview with ESPN, Cousins said Atlanta Hawks legend and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins was someone he leaned on during his rehab process. Wilkins tore his right Achilles in 1992, but came back in 1992-93 to average 29.9 ppg, which ranked No. 2 in the NBA that season.

“He just basically tells me to attack it,” Cousins said of Wilkins’ advice. “Once you realize you are healed, like, don’t think about it. Just go forward.

“One thing that Dominique also spoke on is — they don’t know your heart, and they don’t know your drive. So, you know, the people that do know me, they know I can be very stubborn. I don’t like to be proved wrong.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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Kyrie Irving says he called LeBron to apologize, discuss roles as leaders

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Kyrie Irving said Wednesday night he called LeBron James after last Saturday’s frustrating loss in Orlando to apologize for how he acted as a young player in Cleveland.

Irving said he had to apologize for “being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips” and admitted he “should have kept it in house” when criticizing his younger teammates.

 

Irving was in a better mood after scoring 27 points to lead Boston past the Toronto Raptors, 117-108, on Wednesday night.

Returning after missing the last game with a bruised right leg, Irving scored 10 points and dished six of his career-high 18 assists in the fourth quarter – including passes to set up Boston’s last three baskets in a 17-4 closing run.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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