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April 8, 2014

NBA Wolverines: Hardaway plays through sprained ankle, more

Former Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. sprained his ankle in the final 30 seconds of a 92-83 win over Trey Burke and the Utah Jazz March 31, but that hasn't sidelined him. Hardaway twisted the ankle jumping for a loose ball and was hobbled in the locker room after the game.

Two days later he scored 17 points in a 110-81 win over Brooklyn, including this buzzer beating triple at the end of the first quarter:

Hardaway celebrates a three-pointer.

"Don't jinx me like that," the Knicks' Carmelo Anthony told the New York Post when asked how much the Knicks would miss Hardaway. "If we don't [have him], it's a big loss, knowing what he brings, his explosiveness. He's been playing very good basketball. We're going to miss it."

Hardaway looked fine against Brooklyn, but his scoring went down after he scored 15, 10 and 17 in three straight New York wins. He was held to five on 2-for-6 shooting in a 90-89 loss to Washington and didn't score in 12 minutes, going 0-for-7 from the floor, in a 102-91 loss at Miami April 6.

Hardaway is averaging 9.9 points, 1.5 rebounds and .8 assists per game.

Utah Jazz rookie Trey Burke, meanwhile, is trying to finish a grueling season on a positive note," DeseretNews.com reported April 3. Burke had gone 32 of 94 in his last eight games while coming off his poorest two-game stint of the season, scoring just seven total points on 3-of 15-shooting.

"You feel your body and mind get a little tired,'' Burke said. "You have to play through it, that's what I'm doing right now. We have seven games left and we know we're not going to make the playoffs, but we're still playing for pride. You want to go out there and play with a lot of energy, not lose confidence, not get discouraged and continue to make plays for the team.''

Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin said he's been happy with Burke despite his player's up and down season.

"He's learned a lot after the summer and being hurt and coming back and having successes and then not playing so well at stretches and fighting back to play well again,'' he said. "He's still focusing on trying to get better. He's made great strides for his first year and we look forward to that continuing.''

Burke has started 61 straight games since taking over the starting point guard duties in a Nov. 24 game at Oklahoma City. He ranks 123rd out of 124 players in the NBA at 37.8 percent, just ahead of Detroit's Brandon Jennings.

He maintains a good attitude.

"Guys are going to have really good nights on you, some nights you're going to have really good nights on other guys - that's just the reality of the league," he said. "For me being a young point guard, I need to continue to get better so I can be one of those top guards some day and that's my goal.''

Burke is averaging 12.6 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game. He rebounded from three, subpar games (2, 5 and 6 points after a 12-point, six-assist showing in a 102-95 loss at New Orleans) with a huge game, 24 points and 15 assists, going 10-for-21 in 40 minutes of a 130-102 loss at Golden State April 6.

Other notes:

  • Former Michigan point guard Jamal Crawford is averaging 18.6 points, 3.2 assists and 2.3 rebounds per game. He returned March 22 from a calf injury that sidelined him for several weeks and enjoyed a nice stretch before getting injured again March 29, including games of 31 and 22 points. There are reports he'll be held out for the remainder of the regular season.

  • Former Michigan and Los Angeles Lakers forward Manny Harris recently left the NBDL L.A. D-Fenders to play in Turkey with Turk Telekom Ankara.

    Harris played through a pair of 10-day contracts with the Lakers, averaging 8.1 points and 3.8 rebounds over nine appearances. He rejoined the D-Fenders after the Lakers decided not to re-sign him for the remainder of the season, averaging 31.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game. He was named NBA D-League performer of the week twice.

  • Former point guard Darius Morris is still playing in the NBDL with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He's notched games of 31, 19 and 18 points in recent weeks and is averaging 17.1 points and 6.7 assists per game.

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