Bad break for Aztecs as Lamont Butler suffers wrist injury

Three thoughts on San Diego State’s 72-47 win against Long Beach State on Tuesday night at Viejas Arena:

With 9:02 left, sophomore guard Lamont Butler split the defense, dribbled down the lane, elevated and threw down a two-handed jam that drew maybe the loudest roar on a night when the Aztecs would dunk six other times.

At least it’s a good memory to hold for the next month, while he sits out with a broken left wrist.

Butler immediately pointed to his wrist and asked out of the game. The initial prognosis was a sprain and that he could return if necessary. It wasn’t necessary, with SDSU up 27, and he didn’t.

But X-rays Wednesday showed a non-displaced fracture (that won’t require surgery), and the Aztecs now must play the remainder of the nonconference season without their 6-foot-2 bull in a china shop.

“It’s like a skateboard accident,” coach Brian Dutcher said. “He put out his hand to brace himself on the fall and fractured the wrist.”

The good news: Because of exam week and the Christmas holiday, that encompasses only five Division I games. Had he missed the month of January, it would be nine. And because it’s an arm instead of a lower body injury, he can maintain some semblance of fitness.

The bad news: He won’t play at No. 24 Michigan on Saturday or Dec. 17 against Saint Mary’s in Phoenix — the two remaining nonconference chances at quality wins so important for NCAA Tournament selection purposes.

Butler had made the biggest stride of SDSU’s three-man freshman class from last season, earning a starting spot ahead of fifth-year senior Adam Seiko, regularly guarding the opposing team’s best perimeter player (he held USC leading scorer Boogie Ellis to two points, 15 under his average). He also was becoming one of the Aztecs’ most consistent offensive weapons, averaging 12.0 points over the last five games while shooting 47.6 percent overall and 47.1 percent behind the arc.

Now what?

The obvious replacement is Seiko, who participated in part of practice Wednesday after missing the last 2½ games with quad contusion. He played some point for the Uganda national team at the FIBA AfroBasket tournament last summer but doesn’t have the same dribble penetration skills. That, and even more minutes for starting guard Trey Pulliam.

Other candidates for increased minutes are less experienced: sophomore Keith Dinwiddie, who appeared in just seven games last season; and Duquesne transfer Chad Baker-Mazara, who at 6-7 gives the Aztecs more size on the floor but hasn’t yet mastered the defensive system and has made only 5 of 25 shot attempts.

“We can fill minutes,” Dutcher said, “but we can’t replace Lamont. He’s been playing great for us. He’s so tough defensively that he takes the pressure off Trey by guarding the other team’s point guard. The No. 1 concern is whether Trey is capable of playing heavy minutes and having primary ballhandling duties. When he and Lamont are both in the game, they can take turns bringing the ball up the floor.

“But we’ll just have to figure it out.”

2. Next man up

Dinwiddie entered Tuesday’s game with 11 points in six games this season.

Then he scored 12.

It wasn’t an en-fuego, heat-check shooting performance — 4 of 9 overall, 2 of 7 behind the arc — but it was a welcome, timely step forward by a guy whose role will expand with Butler and Seiko both injured. This is a team desperately in need of a reliable, respected perimeter marksman; Dinwiddie might be the only guy on the roster who fits the job description.

“Keith has to shoot the ball for us to be good,” Dutcher said. “Every time Keith shoots it, I think it’s going in. But he missed a couple wide open ones. As he continues to grow in his confidence and his percentage rises from 3, we’ll be a more dangerous team at the offensive end.”

More impressive, in some ways, is what he’s done at the other end. You don’t play defense, you don’t play at this program. It took a freshman season sitting on the bench for him to fully embrace that, and he’s become a committed defender who is taking charges, tipping passes and grasping the sophisticated rotations.

So much that when he wasn’t scoring, he stayed on the floor because he wasn’t a defensive liability.

“When I’m not scoring,” Dinwiddie said, “old me would just be out there. Now, being here, there’s so much more to the game than just offense.”

Added Pulliam: “You can tell defensively, he’s in the right spots. He knows when he makes a mistake now. He doesn’t need anybody to tell him. That’s the biggest thing, him recognizing it.”

Dinwiddie played a career high 20½ minutes against USC last Friday. He played 21 on Tuesday.

“If I have this opportunity and not come in and produce, it’s just going to be the next man up,” Dinwiddie said. “I’m just trying to take as much advantage of this as I can.”

The Aztecs get an extra day to prepare for Michigan, which has a 9:15 p.m. EST tip at North Carolina on Wednesday night as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. They’ll use it, too.

“I told our guys I’d like to give them the day off but we’re not,” Dutcher said. “We have an extra prep day, so we have to take advantage of it. I told them, ‘We won’t tax your legs. It might be more mental. But we have to prep for Michigan.’ They’re traveling, they’re playing North Carolina, so all their focus is on North Carolina. Our focus right now is (already) on Michigan.”

There’s another reason. Because of the four-hour flight and three-hour time change, Dutcher won’t have his normal road routine Friday, where his team practices in San Diego before getting on the plane. The best option was a nonstop that leaves at 7 a.m.

They’ll get in Michigan’s Crisler Center after arriving, but not for a full practice. Experience has taught him that much.

“After we travel a full day and then try to practice, usually that doesn’t set itself up for a good performance on the practice floor,” Dutcher said. “You’ve been on the plane four hours, our flight is at 7 in the morning, we’ll be up early. I like to just get there and shoot around, get familiar with Crisler, maybe walk through a few things but try to get all our prep work done Wednesday and Thursday leading to Friday’s travel.”

The game Saturday is at 1 p.m. EST, so there isn’t time for a shootaround, usually at noon, like there would be before a night tip.

That makes Wednesday and Thursday key prep days. Friday is for travel and a brief walk-through. It also helps that he was able to save legs in the blowout win, using 14 players and no one more than 25 minutes.

“You have to set what you want to accomplish and have a smaller amount to work on,” Dutcher said of the Friday evening session at Crisler. “If you try to do everything in that day, they are taxed mentally and physically and they can’t get it done.”

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Butler has 27, Heat make 21 3s and route Grizzlies 129-103

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jimmy Butler scored 27 points, Tyler Herro added 22 and the Miami Heat used a strong shooting performance to rout the Memphis Grizzlies 129-103 on Saturday night.

Duncan Robinson and Kyle Lowry scored 15 points each, Lowry added eight assists as the Heat made 21 3-pointers, one short of the franchise record set last May at Milwaukee.

Ja Morant and De’Anthony Melton led the Grizzlies with 20 points each, Desmond Bane finished with 17 points and Kyle Anderson scored 13.

Through three quarters, the Heat kept shooting and kept making. The 56% shooting at that point, included 18 of 28 from 3-point range and a lead that had swelled to 26 points. That was enough for Miami’s fifth win of the first six games.

Miami missed only one of its first eight shots in the game and converted 71% for the first quarter, building an early double-digit lead. Lowry and Markieff Morris connected on a pair of 3-pointers each in the frame.

The Miami lead would stretch to 19 in the second quarter as the Heat continued their accurate shooting. By the time the teams reached halftime, the Heat were still shooting just less than 60% and had connected on 11 of 15 from outside the arc.

The Heat led 67-54 at halftime behind 23 points from Butler, who missed only one of his seven shots and made all 10 of his free throws.


Heat: C Bam Adebayo missed the game with a left knee bruise. He was listed as questionable until an hour before the game. In his pregame availability, Heat coach Erik Spoelstra expected Adebayo to play. … Dewayne Dedmon started in Adebayo’s place. … Miami connected on its first five 3-pointers of the game.

Grizzlies: G/F Dillon Brooks, who has not played this season recovering from a fractured left hand is “trending real well,” according to coach Taylor Jenkins. “He’s going to have a follow up in the next week, but hopefully when we get that follow up, he’s going to be ramping up even more.” … Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins successfully challenged a play in the second quarter and a foul against C Steven Adams was overturned. … It was Memphis’ first wire-to-wire loss since April 11, 2021 against Indiana.


Udonis Haslem got his first minutes of the season, officially making this his 19th season in the NBA — all with the Heat.

He’s now the fifth player in league history to appear in at least 19 seasons, all with one team, joining Dallas’ Dirk Nowitzki, the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kobe Bryant, San Antonio’s Tim Duncan and Utah’s John Stockton.

Haslem had the final basket of the night for the Heat, one that led to teammates getting out of their seats on the bench in celebration.


The scoreboard at FedExForum went on the fritz in the first quarter leaving only the main scoreboard over the center of the court working with the score and time. The clocks over each basket were working as far as the time and shot clock. The entire system came back on early in the fourth quarter.


Heat: Travel to Dallas on Tuesday to face the Mavericks.

Grizzlies: Play the first of two consecutive home games against the Denver Nuggets on Monday.


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Traxo Tabs Butler to Lead Global Sales

Off-channel booking capture provider Traxo has named former Upside Business Travel head of commercial sales Brian Butler to the newly created role of chief sales officer. Based in Washington, D.C., Butler will oversee Traxo’s global sales activities, including the company’s growing network of partnerships with other travel providers, and reports to Traxo CEO Andris Fabris. 

Butler has nearly two decades of experience leading sales, supplier relations and customer success functions at travel providers including Upside, Hertz and corporate travel management companies Radius and Adtrav. He most recently served as vice president of sales for marketing intelligence startup SalesIntel.

Traxo said it created the new role due to a “surge in demand” for the company’s off-channel booking capture solutions in light of an increased emphasis on corporate duty-of-care responsibilities as business travel returns amid Covid-19. 

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Butler at Creighton odds, picks and prediction

The Butler Bulldogs (9-13, 8-11 Big East) travel to meet the No. 12 Creighton Blue Jays (17-7, 13-6) Saturday at the CHI Health Center Omaha for a 5 p.m. ET tip-off. Below, we analyze the Butler-Creighton odds and lines, with NCAA college basketball picks and predictions.

Rankings courtesy of Ferris Mowers Coaches Poll powered by USA TODAY Sports.

Butler at Creighton: Odds, spread and lines

Odds via BetMGM; access USA TODAY Sports’ betting odds for a full list. Lines last updated at 6:45 a.m. ET.

  • Money line: Butler +675 (bet $100 to win $675) | Creighton -1100 (bet $1,100 to win $100)
  • Against the spread/ATS: Butler +12.5 (-110) | Creighton -12.5 (-110)
  • Over/Under: 133.5 (O: -115 | U: -105)

Butler at Creighton: Three things to know

  1. Butler scored a huge 73-61 win over Villanova last time out on Feb. 28, winning outright as an 11.5-point underdog. The victory served notice to the rest of the Big East that the Bulldogs are still a team to be reckoned with, even if they’re having a down season.
  2. The last time these teams met on Jan. 16, Butler scored a 70-66 win in overtime as seven-point underdogs on its home court in Indianapolis. The road has been a different story for the Bulldogs, as they’re just 1-8 SU/3-6 ATS in nine away games this season.
  3. Creighton is licking its wounds after getting smashed 72-60 at Villanova on Wednesday, a second consecutive loss on the road. At home, the Blue Jays have been money, however, going 3-1 SU across the past four at CHI Health Center Omaha. The Under is 4-1-1 in Creighton’s past six games overall, too.

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Butler at Creighton: Odds, lines, predictions and picks


Creighton 70, Butler 61

Money line (ML)

Creighton (-1100) is going to win this game on its home court, but there is no way to ever justify backing a favorite laying this kind of juice, even in a parlay involving several teams. There is just no value here. PASS.

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Against the spread (ATS)

BUTLER +12.5 (-110) has been an absolute train wreck on the road this season, winning just once in nine true road games in conference, while covering just thrice. However, they do have the confidence of having already beaten Creighton once this season, and they won outright in their last instance as a double-digit ‘dog.

Over/Under (O/U)

UNDER 133.5 (-105) is the lean, but don’t expect it to cash by much. Go lightly, as the Under is 4-1-1 in Creighton’s past six, and 2-1 in the previous three for Butler. The Under also cashed in the first meeting even though the game went to overtime, so there’s that, too.

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Butler, Adebayo Key as Heat Topple Knicks in Matinee

A hot offensive start for the Knicks slowed to a crawl late when it mattered most against Jimmy Butler and the Heat on Super Bowl Sunday.

On Sunday, the New York Knicks (11-14) fell the Miami Heat (9-14) by a final score of 109-103. For the Knicks, Julius Randle finished with team-high 26 points, 13 rebounds, and seven assists. Reggie Bullock finished with 21 points, including seven made three-pointers. For Miami, Bam Adebayo finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Kendrick Nunn finished with 16 points and four made three-pointers.

After a nice little win against Portland, the Knicks had another 1 p.m. tip-off against the reigning Eastern Conference champion Heat. Both teams got off to hot starts. For the Knicks, it was the Bullock and Randle show. Randle didn’t score much early but became the orchestrator on offense, finding good shot attempts for his teammates. By the second quarter, as the shot began to fall, Randle was firing on all cylinders. 

The biggest beneficiary of Randle’s creation was Bullock. Bullock finished with seven made threes, six of which were made in the first half. His ability to serve as a standstill shooter made him an easy target as the Heat defense crashed down to stop a ramparting Randle. On the other end, New York’s defense was nonexistent as Miami was getting anything they wanted. Randle’s defensive matchup, Adebayo, was also getting whatever he wanted. 

Once we switched to the second half, things got slower. Adjustments were made by Tom Thibodeau and Erik Spoelstra, resulting in a much slower game. As a result, the Knicks finished with just 18 points on 6-of-20 shooting in the third quarter. Bullock’s offense dried up, while Randle began to receive doubles when he touched the ball. The Heat didn’t do anything special, but the offense, which was reliant on two players today, fell off a cliff. 

The fourth quarter was much of the same—both teams playing at a slow pace. After a rather quiet three quarters, Jimmy Butler began doing Jimmy Butler things—attacking the basket and imposing his well to garner free throws. We’ll talk more about the Heat in a second, but this game came down to execution and experience and the Knicks just lacked that at the end. Even as Miami struggled to operate their offense, the defense was top notch and the pressure late in the game forced some awful shots at the end. 

A tough loss, a loss in which you see where the weaknesses are. The Knicks have ways to go and slowly but surely, I imagine they’ll figure it out. 

Some game notes

  • I got the Chiefs tonight 34-31. Tampa Bay’s defensive line might get to Mahomes (KC is down both starting tackles), but I’m banking on Mahomes to get enough time to make several big plays. I got money on Mahomes repeating as Super Bowl MVP, tails on the coin toss, and yellow Gatorade. 
  • The Miami Heat are good but so boring. They operate like a 1996 Bret Hart WWE match—nothing flashy, but effective. Throughout the game, I found myself lost while they were on offense, only to end up seeing the Knicks taking the ball out. Butler, Adebayo, and Kendrick Nunn had solid games, but they didn’t stand out and got the win anyway.  Again, no hate, but not exactly the most exciting brand of basketball. 
  • R.J. Barrett had a really bad game—three points and two rebounds. What was weirder was Barrett was almost nonexistent from tip-off. I found Butler and even Nunn doing a good job on him, but the Knicks didn’t look for Barrett at all, which impacted him and ultimately saw him finish with 19 minutes played. I’ll blame fatigue on this one. 
  • Outside of Randle and Bullock, the Knicks were stone-cold on offense. The Knicks got a ton of threes (16-of-42, 38.1% for the game), but couldn’t get anything at the rim or paint. Guys like Austin Rivers and Elfrid Payton couldn’t do much getting to the lane and the Knicks suffered because of it. 
  • Rookie talk: Obi Toppin played well. He got a few good looks in the second half and remained his active self. I loved the three he made and the attack and dunk were great to get him going. I want to see more of that. As far as Immanuel Quickley, it’s a shame he’ll lose some minutes if the Knicks officially acquire Derrick Rose because no one on the roster has that shooting/creation combination. This wasn’t Quickley’s best game (five points, three rebounds, and three assists), but the skills are there and he should be playing more. 

The Knicks travel to Miami to face the Heat to complete their home-and-home series. The game is set for Tuesday, February 9th. Tip-off is set for 7:30 pm ET.


Related Content

»READ: We just don’t know what Obi Toppin is yet

»READ: What are the long-term options for Julius Randle and the Knicks?

»READ: An unwaveringly slow pace is the Knicks’ chief identity

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