Andrew Wiggins only unanimous All-Rookie first-teamer, Jordan Clarkson tops Marcus Smart for final first-team spot

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Andrew Wiggins (who won Rookie of the Year), Nikola Mirotic, Nerlens Noel and Elfrid Payton were presumed All-Rookie first-team locks.

It seemed the final spot would come down to Jordan Clarkson and Marcus Smart – and the Lakers guard won out.

All-Rookie first team (first votes-second votes-points)

  • Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota (130-0-260)
  • Nikola Mirotic, Chicago (128-2-258)
  • Nerlens Noel, Philadelphia (125-2-252)
  • Elfrid Payton, Orlando (121-8-250)
  • Jordan Clarkson, L.A. Lakers (74-52-200)

All-Rookie second team (first votes-second votes-points)

  • Marcus Smart, Boston (28-86-142)
  • Zach LaVine, Minnesota (22-91-135)
  • Bojan Bogdanovic, Brooklyn (7-93-107)
  • Jusuf Nurkic, Denver (3-91-97)
  • Langston Galloway, New York (7-58-72)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (first-place votes in parentheses):

Rodney Hood, Utah, 54 (1); Tarik Black, L.A. Lakers, 28; K.J. McDaniels, Houston, 20; Dante Exum, Utah, 17 (3); Jabari Parker, Milwaukee, 13; Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City, 9; Aaron Gordon, Orlando, 5 (1); Spencer Dinwiddie, Detroit, 4; Jerami Grant, Philadelphia, 4; Kostas Papanikolaou, Houston, 4; T.J. Warren, Phoenix, 4; Damjan Rudez, Indiana, 3; Tyler Ennis, Milwaukee, 2; Joe Ingles, Utah, 2; JaKarr Sampson, Philadelphia, 2; James Ennis, Miami, 1; Cory Jefferson, Brooklyn, 1; Tyler Johnson, Miami, 1; Shabazz Napier, Miami, 1; Nik Stauskas, Sacramento, 1; James Young, Boston, 1

Overall, the teams are pretty spot on, and the top vote-getters after the second team are deserving of strong consideration.

But get further down the list of players who got votes? Someone has to explain to me how anyone could consider many of these players a top-10 rookie. Strangely, a quick glance of the voting breakdown shows few examples of homerism in these outliers.

Los Angeles Lakers officially sign Markieff Morris and waive DeMarcus Cousins

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The Los Angeles Lakers made official what had been reported a couple of days ago and signed forward Markieff Morris. In a corresponding move to open a roster spot, the Lakers waived center DeMarcus Cousins.

Morris was with the Detroit Pistons earlier this season and reached a buyout agreement last week. For the season, Morris has averaged 11 points per game on 45% shooting from the field. He’s extended his range and is hitting 39.7% on a career-high 4.3 attempts per game from behind the arc this season.

The Lakers signed Morris using the $1.75 million Disabled Player Exception they received after Cousins tore his ACL before the season. Los Angeles giving Morris the full DPE gave him almost three times the amount he would have earned via signing a prorated veteran minimum contract for the rest of the season.

Cousins was signed to a $3.5 million deal this summer with the hopes of him holding down the center position, as the Lakers rebuilt their roster following trading for Anthony Davis. Instead Cousins tore his ACL during workouts in mid-August and has missed the year.

Morris will give LA additional depth up front behind Davis, centers JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard and sixth-man Kyle Kuzma. Morris’ presence will also allow Frank Vogel to spot Davis some rest days over the last two months of the regular season.

LeBron, Lakers top Tatum’s big afternoon for Celtics

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LOS ANGELESLeBron James scored 29 points and put the Lakers ahead on a fallaway jumper with 30 seconds to play, and Los Angeles split its season series with the Boston Celtics with a 114-112 victory Sunday.

James missed a tying free throw moments before he coolly nailed the shot the put the Lakers ahead to stay in a frenetic fourth quarter to cap the latest chapter of this famed NBA rivalry.

Anthony Davis had 32 points and 13 rebounds in the fifth straight win overall for the Lakers, who took a 32-point blowout loss in Boston last month.

Davis hit two free throws with 12.3 seconds left and added one more with 6.7 seconds to play, before Jayson Tatum was called for charging in the final second as he attempted to create one last basket.

Tatum matched his career high with 41 points for the Celtics, who had won 12 of 14 starting with that dominant win over the Lakers in January.

Boston turned the ball over with 15.5 seconds left after James’ big shot, and Celtics coach Brad Stevens got a technical foul for arguing about it. Davis missed that free throw, however.

Grant Williams hit two free throws for Boston immediately afterward, and Davis hit one of two to give a final chance to the Celtics.

Jaylen Brown scored 20 points for Boston, but Kemba Walker missed his second straight game with left knee soreness.

The rematch was far more competitive than the teams’ first meeting this season, with both taking small leads in the fourth quarter before the exciting finish.

Davis’ third 3-pointer put the Lakers up 108-105 with 2:08 to play, but Gordon Hayward hit a jumper before Brown’s 3-pointer put the Celtics back ahead 110-108 with 1:17 to go.

With the Lakers’ immediate return to excellence since beating out Boston to acquire Davis last summer, these longtime rivals are both playoff-bound championship contenders yet again.

Los Angeles is comfortably atop the Western Conference standings, while the Celtics sit third in the East. Both teams have a decent shot of meeting in the NBA Finals for the 13th time if they continue to grow from big games like this thriller.

Tatum underlined his growing superstardom by matching the career high he set against New Orleans last month. He scored 16 points in a five-minute barrage alone during the third quarter, finishing the period with 18.

The Lakers hung in with 16 points in the third from Davis after his quiet first half.

Walker scored 20 points against the Lakers last month to beat James for the first time in the stars’ 29 career meetings. The Lakers took their worst loss of the season in that initial meeting while getting just 23 minutes from Davis, who had just returned from a two-week injury absence.

The rematch featured much more defense than the teams’ first meeting, with Rajon Rondo and Brown both making big steals for their respective clubs. Only Tatum made a major offensive impact in the first half with 19 points.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Walker’s injury is “not a long-term thing,” Stevens said. Walker did work in the weight room before the game. … The bench scored just five points in the first three quarters, including only one field goal, and finished with 11 points.

Lakers: James went down in pain early in the fourth quarter when Daniel Theis ran into him under the basket. James stayed in the game after a timeout. … Rondo spent much of the pregame warmup chatting with Kevin Garnett, his longtime Celtics teammate. Garnett then watched the game from the baseline near the LA bench with Lakers part-owner Patrick Soon-Shiong. … The matchup is always a hot ticket for celebrities. Fans near courtside included Eddie Murphy, Mark Wahlberg and Denzel Washington.

UP NEXT

Celtics: Visit the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Lakers: Host the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday night.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Jaren Jackson Jr. out for at least two weeks for Grizzlies

Jaren Jackson Jr. and Gordon Hayward
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The Memphis Grizzlies announced that Jaren Jackson Jr. suffered a sprained left knee late during the second quarter of Friday’s game vs the Los Angeles Lakers:

Memphis says Jackson will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

In his second year, Jackson has been a big part of the Grizzlies surprising success. Memphis is currently in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference with a record of 28-28. Jackson has proven to be an ideal running mate for rookie point guard Ja Morant, as the Grizzlies have rebuilt quicker than anyone expected.

With Jackson out, Memphis will need to replace 16.9 points and 1.6 blocks per game. Jackson also regularly functions as the Grizzlies backup center, sliding over to play the pivot when starter Jonas Valanciunas is out.

With Jackson out for at least two weeks, and potentially longer, Memphis will lean on Kyle Anderson and rookie Brandon Clarke at the four. The trickle-down impact may be more minutes for backup center Gorgui Dieng, who was acquired at the trade deadline, up front behind Valanciunas. In addition, Josh Jackson, who spent the first few months of the season in the G-League, has had a bit of resurgence in recent weeks. With Anderson likely to play more at power forward, Jackson may see even more minutes on the wing.

Ben Simmons out at least through Monday

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Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons‘ troublesome back will keep him out at least through Monday reports NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Serena Winters. Winters reports that Simmons went through testing upon the Sixers return to Philadelphia on Sunday and will have further testing done on Monday:

Simmons missed the first game back from the All-Star break on Thursday due to back soreness. He then exited Saturday night’s game at the Milwaukee Bucks after playing less than five minutes.

Simmons went to his second-straight All-Star game last week. He’s averaged 16.7 points, 7.8 rebounds, 8.2 assists and a league-leading 2.1 steals per game through 54 games this season.

An up-and-down season sees Philadelphia currently fifth in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers are an equal 1.5 games behind Miami for fourth and ahead of Indiana in sixth. The Sixers would love to climb to fourth for homecourt advantage in the postseason, as they’ve been dominant at home with a 26-2 record, while underwhelming on the road at just 9-20.

With Joel Embiid continuing to suffer from injuries, while also having his minutes managed, Philadelphia can’t afford to be without Simmons for long. The 76ers added depth on the wing at the trade deadline with Alec Bucks and Glenn Robinson III, but have little behind Simmons at point guard. Raul Neto started in Simmons’ place on Thursday, but did not play on Saturday until the game was well in-hand for Milwaukee.