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Porzingis, Towns Win Rookie of the Month Award

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The New York Knicks’ Kristaps Porzingis and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns today were named the Kia NBA Eastern and Western Conference Rookies of the Month, respectively, for games played in December.

This is the second consecutive Kia NBA Rookie of the Month award for Porzingis, who ranked second among East rookies in scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.4 rpg) and first among all rookies in blocked shots (2.20 bpg).  Porzingis posted four point-rebound double-doubles and blocked three or more shots in six games.  He also shot 36.6 percent (15-of-41) from three-point range for the month.  During a 91-84 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Dec. 23, Porzingis made 4-of-5 from three-point range en route to 23 points and added 13 rebounds and four assists.

Towns, who also earns his second straight Kia NBA Rookie of the Month award, led all first-year players in scoring (18.6 ppg) and rebounding (9.5 rpg) and ranked second in blocks (1.56 bpg).  He recorded eight point-rebound double-doubles in December and produced eight games with at least 20 points.  Towns shot 55.3 percent from the field for the month and made at least half his shots in 14 of 16 games.  During a 123-122 overtime win against the Los Angeles Lakers on Dec. 9, Towns posted 26 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks.

via NBA press release

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Report: LeBron James’ Camp Pessimistic of Paul George Leaving Thunder

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Remember when [Paul] George was so hell-bent on joining the Lakers? Well, that was before he found his way out of Indiana and into an Oklahoma City situation that might suit him well after all.

Even with the Thunder coming just two losses away from missing the playoffs, and then falling to Utah in six games during their first-round matchup, there is all sorts of optimism in Oklahoma City that George will re-sign. Conversely, there’s pessimism in [LeBron] James’ camp that George would leave Oklahoma City. George has raved about the Thunder since the beginning, making it clear to USA TODAY Sports in September that the organization had earned his confidence from the start.

It’s not hard to understand what might compel George to stay. The chemistry with Russell Westbrook is bound to improve if they have a second year together, and it doesn’t hurt that their off-court relationship continues to appear very strong. Ditto for George’s dynamic with coach Billy Donovan.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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Report: Spurs Want to Keep Kawhi Leonard or Trade to East

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Fellow West teams have been told, in essence, to get lost – none moreso than the Lakers, according to ESPN. As it stands, the Spurs are determined to either fix the situation or trade [Kawhi] Leonard to an Eastern Conference team. For teams other than the Lakers, the threat of losing Leonard in free agency next summer makes the prospect of offering meaningful assets a complicated, calculated risk.

Not to mention the fact that the Spurs aren’t showing much urgency to make a move just yet.

Coach Gregg Popovich met with Leonard in San Diego on Tuesday in an attempt to mend fences, and longtime general manager R.C. Buford made it clear on Thursday that San Antonio is still trying to make this relationship work.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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Report: No Rift Between Chris Paul and Rockets

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As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because [Chris] Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Source: Sam Amick of USA Today

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