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Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting on Commissioner Adam Silver’s press conference from this evening:

The NBA may make changes to prevent the increasingly more-practiced, and increasingly loathed, hack-a-Shaq tactic.

Hack-a-Shaq is the strategy of fouling a poor free-throw shooter away from the basketball in an effort to limit an opponent’s scoring. The tactic is best known for being implemented against, and named for, former center Shaquille O’Neal.

“It’s an issue that we have been studying for some time now,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday night at his all-star weekend news conference.

Jimmer Fredette wins MVP of 2016 D-League All Star Game

Westchester’s Jimmer Fredette scored a record 35 points to lead the Eastern Conference past the Western Conference 128-124 in the 2016 NBA D-League All-Star Game on Saturday afternoon at Ricoh Coliseum.

Fredette was named Most Valuable Player after setting a record for points in an NBA D-League All-Star Game and shooting 13-of-19 from the field, including 6-of-12 from three-point range. He added eight assists and six rebounds in 25 minutes.

The West was paced by Los Angeles’ Vander Blue, who finished with 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed four rebounds in 16 minutes.

In the NBA D-League’s 10th All-Star Game, Miami Heat assignee Jarnell Stokes hit the go-ahead hook shot with 37.1 seconds remaining as the East rallied from a nine-point deficit midway through the second half after leading by eight at halftime. Stokes scored 17 points for the game.

The East connected on 14 three-pointers and shot 58.1 percent (50-of-86) from the field and 93.3 percent (14-of-15) from the foul line. Meanwhile, the West shot 55.0 percent (55-of-100) but made only 25.9 percent (7-of-27) from beyond the arc and 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from the charity stripe.

Also Saturday, the Three-Point Contest took place prior to the D-League All-Star Game. Los Angeles’ Andre Ingram outscored Fredette 27-20 in the final round to take home the title.

Halftime of the game featured the Slam Dunk Contest, with Canton’s DJ Stephens and the hometown Raptors 905’s John Jordan advancing to the final round. Jordan, a 5-foot-10 guard, secured the victory with a two-handed, 360 tomahawk slam.

Al Horford replaces Chris Bosh on 2016 NBA All-Star team

Atlanta Hawks forward/center Al Horford has been named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and will join teammate Paul Millsap in competing in the 2016 All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 14 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. Horford will replace Miami’s Chris Bosh, who is unable to play due to injury.

Horford, making his second consecutive appearance and fourth overall in the midseason classic, is averaging 15.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 blocks and 0.8 steals in 31.6 minutes (.507 FG%, .340 3FG%, .778 FT%) while starting all 55 games. He ranks 17th in the NBA in blocks per game and 20th in FG%.

Horford has scored in double-figures 49 times, including nine 20-point contests (two 30-point nights), and owns 11 double-digit rebound games. He also has 10 double-doubles, including four 20-point/10-rebound outings.

The nine-year veteran has hit 55 3FGs this season after making 21 triples in his previous eight years combined. He knocked down a career-best five 3FGs at Houston (12/29) and has made two-or-more three’s in a game 13 times.

CJ McCollum replaces Chris Bosh in 2016 NBA Three-point Competition

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been added to the 2016 Three-Point Competition, the NBA announced today.

McCollum, 24, is already competing in the Skills Challenge, and will replace Miami’s Chris Bosh in the Three-Point Competition. Both events are part of All-Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

In 52 games played this season, McCollum ranks second on the team in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg). He is shooting a team-high 39.2% from beyond the three-point line, and ranks ninth in the NBA with 125 three-point field goals.

McCollum recorded 35 points (14-28 FG), 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals against Sacramento on Dec. 27, making him the first NBA player to log at least 35 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a game since Kevin Garnett on Dec. 10, 2004.

He becomes the eighth Trail Blazer in franchise history to compete in the Three-Point Contest, joining Kiki Vandeweghe (1987), Danny Ainge (1991), Clyde Drexler (1991), Terry Porter (1991, 1993), Cliff Robinson (1996), Damian Lillard (2014) and Wesley Matthews (2015). No Portland player has ever won the event.

McCollum will compete against Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Houston’s James Harden, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, the L.A. Clippers’ JJ Redick and Phoenix’s Devin Booker.

Chris Bosh will miss 2016 NBA All-Star events

The Miami HEAT announced today that Chris Bosh has sustained a strained right calf and will not participate in Saturday’s Three-Point Shootout competition or play in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game.

“I am honored to be selected to participate in the All-Star Weekend festivities, and will still be here to support my fellow East All-Stars,” said Bosh. “But I will also use this weekend to try to heal and focus on the second half of the HEAT season.”

New Orleans Pelicans guard Tyreke Evans underwent surgery today on his right knee. As a result of the procedure, Evans will miss the remainder of the 2015-16 season.

Evans, 6-6, 220, had appeared in 25 games this season for New Orleans (all starts), averaging 15.2 points, 5.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 1.3 steals.

Originally drafted fourth overall by Sacramento out of the University of Memphis in 2009, Evans has appeared in 433 career regular season games with the Kings and Pelicans, holding career averages of 16.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals.

devin booker

Phoenix Suns rookie Devin Booker will replace injured U.S. Team selection Nerlens Noel of the Philadelphia 76ers in the 2016 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 12 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge at NBA All-Star features first- and second-year NBA players from the United States against first- and second-year NBA players from around the world. TNT will televise the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge in the U.S. at 9 p.m. ET, and Sportsnet ONE and TSN will simulcast the game in Canada. ESPN Radio also will provide coverage.

Booker, the 13th pick of NBA Draft 2015 presented by State Farm, is averaging 10.6 points and shooting 40.3 percent from three-point range in 48 games. The 19-year-old guard is averaging 15.2 points in his 23 starts, including a career-high 32-point performance against the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 19. Booker will also compete in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Air Canada Centre as part of State Farm® All-Star Saturday Night.

Noel, a second-year forward-center, will not play due to tendinitis in his right knee. He is averaging 10.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in 46 games.

Denver Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay will replace injured defending champion Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets in the 2016 Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 13 at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

The Skills Challenge is part of All-Star Saturday Night and this year includes some big-men. In the past, the event was entirely guards.

Mudiay, the seventh pick of NBA Draft 2015, ranks first among rookies in assists (5.9 apg), second in minutes (30.2 mpg) and fifth in scoring (11.4 ppg). A native of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mudiay will also compete for the World Team in the BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 12 at Air Canada Centre.

Beverley, who won the 2015 Skills Challenge in his event debut, will miss this year’s competition due to an ankle injury.

Latest Michael Kidd-Gilchrist injury: torn labrum in right shoulder

Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist has suffered another major injury.

The team announced today that Kidd-Gilchrist underwent a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which revealed a torn labrum in his right shoulder. He sustained the injury with 8:39 remaining in the third quarter of Charlotte’s 117-95 win against the Indiana Pacers on Feb. 10. Kidd-Gilchrist will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break and further updates on his status will be provided when available.

Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists in 29.3 minutes per game in seven contests (all starts) for the Hornets this season. The fourth-year forward from Kentucky has averaged 9.1 points, 6.1 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in 202 games (198 starts) with Charlotte.

These days, his talent as an excellent defensive player is being overshadowed by his injury woes.

 

Hassan Whiteside suspended for elbowing Boban Marjanovic

Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside has been suspended one game without pay for throwing an elbow and making contact with the head of San Antonio Spurs center Boban Marjanovic, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

The incident, for which Whiteside was assessed a Flagrant 2 and ejected, occurred with 9:35 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Spurs’ 119-101 win over the Heat at AmericanAirlines Arena on Feb. 9.

Whiteside will serve his suspension when Miami plays the Atlanta Hawks on Feb. 19 at Philips Arena.

To view the play, click on this link.

Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love’s latest shoulder injury appears to be very minor, fortunately. Here’s ESPN.com reporting:

Kevin Love shoulder injury seems very minor

Cavaliers forward Kevin Love exited Cleveland’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers late in the first half on Wednesday with a left shoulder contusion and did not return.

It is the same shoulder Love dislocated in the first round of the playoffs against the Boston Celtics, causing him to miss the remainder of Cleveland’s postseason run to the Finals.

“At the time I didn’t know really what it was,” Love said after the Cavs’ 120-111 win over the Lakers. “Just like when you get hit in the funny bone, the elbow has shooting pain. It felt like fire was running down my arm. Just a stinger, and doctors decided we’ll be cautious and use the break for it to feel better, but it actually feels OK right now.”

Cavs general manager David Griffin told ESPN’s Lisa Salters that Love is not expected to miss much time. Griffin said the injury looked a lot worse than it is. Love told reporters he did not expect to miss any games.

Here’s the Charlotte Observer reporting on the latest injury to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist:

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder

Charlotte Hornets small forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered a dislocated right shoulder during the second half of Wednesday’s 117-95 road victory over the Indiana Pacers.

Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to an Indianapolis hospital where doctors would pop the shoulder back into the joint. This is the same shoulder that Kidd-Gilchrist injured in the preseason, requiring surgery to repair a torn labrum.

The Hornets said postgame that Kidd-Gilchrist will have an MRI in Charlotte Thursday to determine the seriousness of this injury.

Kidd-Gilchrist had an excellent recovery from that previous shoulder injury, returning to the active roster about two months earlier than originally projected.

Damian Lillard added as Team USA finalist

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been added to the roster of finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today. The addition was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.

Named to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team in January 2014, the 6-foot-3 guard was a finalist for the 2014 USA World Cup Team, and played in two exhibition games during the 2014 USA National Team Tour, recording seven points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 24 minutes of action in the USA’s 105-62 win against Dominican Republic on Aug. 20, 2014.

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Lillard in 2015-16 is averaging career-highs of 24.2 points (6th in the NBA) and 7.3 assists per game (7th in the NBA), while adding 4.4 rebounds per game, and shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from 3-point and 86.5 percent from the foul line.

“I recently received a call from Damian, and during our conversation he expressed his desire to be considered for the U.S. Olympic Team and to remain involved with the USA National Team in the future as well,” said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men’s National Team since 2005. “Both Mike (Krzyzewski) and I feel like Damian is playing at a very high level and that he should be added to our list of Olympic finalists. Damian has been a member of the USA National Team since 2014, and he participated in National Team training camps in 2013 and 2014, so he does have equity in USA Basketball, which is always important to me.”

For now, Kings keeping coach George Karl

Here’s the Sacramento Bee reporting on the 21-31 Kings, who are on a four-game losing streak:

For now, Kings keeping coach George Karl

In what might be the most instinctive and impressive move of his short reign as the Kings’ general manager, Vlade Divac hit the brakes and prevented his franchise from spinning out of control. To the surprise of many, he spoke with his coach in Philadelphia, discussed the issues about defense, energy and erratic performances, and reacted with an abundance of common sense.

He didn’t fire George Karl.

He fixated on personnel flaws.

He took the car keys from DeMarcus Cousins.

That latter topic of discussion? That was huge. The 6-foot-11 Cousins, who devours Kings coaches for breakfast, lunch and dinner, isn’t bigger than the building and certainly not bigger than the team. Yet for the first time in a very long time, the Kings’ ownership/front office demonstrated a modicum of maturity, an approach that is thoughtful and measured, not the familiar knee-jerk reaction.

The following is a joint statement from L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and President of Basketball Operations and Head Coach Doc Rivers:

Clippers suspend and fine Blake Griffin

The L.A. Clippers announced today that forward Blake Griffin has been suspended without pay for four games for striking a team employee on Jan. 23 and his wages will be withheld for one additional game for injuries he sustained. The NBA has assisted us in this process.

The Clippers will donate the salary from the five games to charities focused on disadvantaged youth in Los Angeles. At his request, Blake will support this activity with his time.

We have made it clear that this conduct has no place in the Clippers organization. Blake is remorseful and has apologized for his actions. He is a valued member of our Clippers family and we support him as he rejoins the team. He understands his actions have consequences, and is eager to get back to work with his teammates, the organization and Clipper Nation which starts immediately with rehab, appearances and attendance at games.

For our team and organization, it is time to move forward which begins today and ultimately concludes when we have Blake back on the court.

The NBA announced today that Bulls forward/center Pau Gasol will replace injured Bulls guard/forward Jimmy Butler in the 2016 NBA All-Star Game. For Gasol, it marks the second consecutive season that he has been named an All-Star and his sixth selection overall.

The 35-year old Gasol has appeared in 48 games, where he has averaged 17.0 ppg, 10.9 rpg (third in the East; sixth in the NBA), 3.3 apg, 2.02 bpg (second; fifth) and 0.63 spg in 31.9 mpg. On the year, he is shooting .477 from the floor and .809 from the line. He has also turned in a team-high 29 double-doubles (second; fifth).

A 14-year veteran of the NBA, Gasol has led Chicago in scoring 12 times, in boards 33 times and in assists eight times. He has scored 20 or more points 14 times, including two contests with at least 30 points. The Bulls big man has also grabbed 10 or more rebounds in 31 games. Gasol also joins former Bulls center Artis Gilmore (1978, 1979; 1981, 1982) and Joakim Noah (2013, 2014) as the only big men in team history to garner All-Star accolades in consecutive seasons.

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee surgery

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee surgery

Golden State Warriors center Festus Ezeli underwent successful arthroscopic surgery this morning to clean out debris from his left knee, the team announced. The procedure was performed by Dr. Arthur Ting at the Fremont Surgery Center.

Ezeli, who is expected to return this season, will be re-evaluated in six weeks. The 6’11” center last appeared in a game on January 25 versus San Antonio and has missed the last five games due to a sore left knee. In 40 games this season (11 starts), Ezeli is averaging 7.5 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.23 blocks in 17.8 minutes per contest.

Terrico White named D-League Performer of Week

Terrico White of the Bakersfield Jam was today named NBA Development League Performer of the Week for games played Monday, Feb. 1 through Sunday, Feb 7. The honor is the first of White’s career.

White (6-5, 190, Ole Miss) helped Bakersfield to a 3-0 week, averaging 29.7 points (third in the league) on 52.5 percent shooting (32-for-61) to go with 6.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steals. He connected on 12-of-25 attempts (48.0 percent) from three-point range.

White was selected 36th overall by the Detroit Pistons in the 2010 NBA Draft. He is averaging 17.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists this season.

Other top performers considered include Bakersfield’s Cory Jefferson and Xavier Munford, Delaware’s Russ Smith, Reno’s Ricky Ledo and Sioux Falls’ Jarnell Stokes (on assignment by the Miami Heat).

Suns sign Jordan McRae to second 10-day contract

The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed guard Jordan McRae to a second 10-day contract.

McRae signed his first 10-day contract with the Suns on Jan. 29. The 24-year-old guard has appeared in five games with Phoenix, averaging 5.8 points and 1.4 assists in 13.0 minutes. McRae made his NBA debut at New York on Jan. 29, scoring 12 points and handing out four assists.

Prior to signing with the Suns, McRae earned 2016 NBA Development League All-Star honors as he ranked third in the D-League with an average of 23.1 points in 28 games with the Delaware 87ers. In his last game with the 87ers against Canton on Jan. 26, he scored a D-League record 61 points on 21-of-34 shooting from the field and 16-of-18 from the free throw line. In addition to 23.1 points, McRae had been averaging 5.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 35.5 minutes in his second D-League season, both with the 87ers.

McRae was the 14th GATORADE Call-Up of 2015-16 at the time he signed with the Suns on Jan. 29, his first regular season signing with an NBA team. Originally selected by San Antonio with the 58th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft then traded to Philadelphia on draft night, McRae played professionally in Australia in 2014-15 before joining Delaware for the season’s final 13 games and averaging 18.4 points. A 6-5, 179-pound guard, McRae played for Philadelphia at NBA Summer League in 2014 and 2015, also playing with the 76ers this past preseason before being waived on Oct. 26.

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

Knicks fire Derek Fisher

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson announced today that Derek Fisher has been relieved of his coaching duties. Associate Head Coach Kurt Rambis has been named the interim head coach.

Fisher, who was originally hired on Jun. 10, 2014, finishes his Knicks coaching career with an overall record of 40-96 (.294).

According to ESPN.com, “The Knicks are 23-31 this season after going 17-65 in Fisher’s first season. New York’s current losing skid contributed to the timing of the move, but the team was already convinced Fisher was not transitioning from the role of player to coach effectively, sources told ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.”

Rambis becomes the 27th head coach in franchise history. Originally hired as the team’s associate head coach on Jul. 7, 2014, the 18-year NBA coaching veteran starts his second-stint as a head coach, after leading the Minnesota Timberwolves for two seasons from 2009-10 through 2010-11 (56-145). The Terre Haute, IN native was a member of eight NBA Championship teams, all as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers (four as a player and four as a coach or executive). Rambis becomes the fifth former Knicks draft pick to coach the team (third round, 58th overall in the 1980 NBA Draft).

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