Archive for the ‘ NBA All-Star blog ’ Category

When the 61st annual all-star game is played on Sunday, it’ll have a very unfamiliar feel about it.

For the East, no Kevin Garnett.

Out West, no Tim Duncan.

The future Hall of Famers were not voted in by the fans or the coaches, ending more than a decade in which the two were mainstays during all-star weekend.

If ever there was an indication of how the torch of NBA greats has been passed, this weekend only strengthens that position.

Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki and Kobe Bryant are the only all-stars this weekend having been selected to 10 or more all-star games.

– Reported by A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England (Blog)

Dirk Nowitzki

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowtizki is a member of the 2012 Western conference All-Star team. The NBA champion spoke with reporters in Orlando at NBA All-Star weekend about this season’s crowded schedule:

Question: With all the injuries in the NBA this year, how much do you attribute to the fact that there’s so many games coming so fast?

Dirk Nowitzki: Yeah, we knew that coming in that the schedule was a monster.  It was everyone’s fault.  It was the players’ fault, it was the NBA’s fault.  We knew this was coming for two years and we didn’t do anything about it, so now we have to deal with this shortened season and just play a lot of games.  We’ve got nine games in 12 games coming out of the break, which is a ridiculous number of games.  But we’ve just got to deal with it and go from there.  We’ve just got to fight through it.  We knew coming in it was going to be bad, but you’ve just got to deal with it.

Question: Will we see more teams do what the Spurs did the other day and sit Parker and Duncan?

Nowitzki: We have obviously an older team, and we have a tough stretch coming up.  We have games back to back to back, so I doubt J Kidd or some of those guys are going to play all nine games in 12 days.  I don’t know if it’s going to happen.  But we’ve got to fight through it, hopefully get some of our bodies back.  I don’t know how Roddy is doing, hopefully get him back soon.  I don’t know how long D-West is going to be out, but we’re going to need every healthy body and get through this tough stretch.

rajon rondo

Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo is an Orlando right now as a member of the Eastern conference All-Star team. He was just recently named a replacement for injured Hawks guard Joe Johnson. Here are a few quick words from Rondo with reporters at All-Star weekend:

Question: What have been your impressions of Jeremy Lin?

Rajon Rondo: He’s worked hard.  A lot of people doubt him.  I think he’s a product of hard work, and now it’s paying off.  He seems like a pretty humble guy.  He seems like a good guy.  He’s going to be here for a long time.

Question:  Sitting here right now, has this kind of been the craziest three days you’ve had in the league?

Rondo: Yeah, it’s been jam packed, really, my schedule.  I’ve changed my schedule completely.  I didn’t expect to be here.  I actually found out on my birthday.  It was a good birthday present.  I had to go back home and pack and I had to try to get a ticket situation going and a hotel room, who was coming, who wasn’t coming.  But I’m glad I’m here, and this has been the quietest All Star I’ve had as far as people coming in.  I’ve usually had about 20 people come in, but now it’s about five or six.

Steve Nash remains committed to Suns

Steve Nash
steve nash
Likeable

Nash’s eighth All-Star trip at age 38 is remarkable as the oldest All-Star point guard — ever. But with a 14-20 Suns team, the interest in Nash’s career is what comes next in July free agency and speculation about the March 15 trade deadline.

“It’s up to the team,” Nash said. “I’m happy where I am. I’m not happy with our record. I feel like I made a commitment to the fans and my teammates. But at the same time, I’d understand if the team wanted to make a move, so I’m completely open. To be honest, I just occupy myself with trying to prepare to play and play as well as I can.”

The Suns have made it clear that he would not be traded unless he asked for it. That is not in Nash’s nature.

“I feel like it’s a difficult position for me to demand a trade when I’ve been a part of that community for so long,” Nash said in his 10th Suns season. “I really feel like I owe it to my teammates to do the best I can for the group. I don’t feel like I should be demanding anything.”

– Reported by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic

Stephen Curry
stephen curry
Terrific player when feet and ankles don’t hurt

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry suffered a right foot injury against the Suns during last night’s game and will not be attending All-Star Weekend festivities here, per his agent Lance Young.

Young, via email, said the injury was to a tendon in Curry’s foot, and “nothing with his ankle.” But he said that it would prevent Curry making the trip here, where he was scheduled to defend his title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge.

Rather than making the trip, Young said Curry would rest and rehab his injury this weekend. He’s already missed nine games this season with an ankle injury.

Curry missed a layup with 2:29 remaining in the first quarter and landed awkwardly. He went to the locker room and tried to come back just before halftime, but was unable to return to the game.

– Reported by Sekou Smith of NBA.com (Blog)

Rajon Rondo
Rajon Rondo
A quick little character.

Boston Celtics guard Rajon Rondo has been named by NBA  Commissioner  David  Stern  to replace injured East All-Star guard Joe Johnson  (injured  left knee) of the Atlanta Hawks in the 2012 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando. This is Rondo’s third All-Star Game selection.

Replacing  Johnson  in the Three-Point Contest is Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, a 2012 NBA All-Star.

A lot of people thought Hawks forward Josh Smith would be named a replacement. Not just because he’s Johnson’s teammate. Smith is this season is averaging 16.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 2.13 blocks per game. Many people thought he was more worthy an All-Star than Johnson in the first place.

As for Rondo, for the season he’s putting up 14.8 points, 4.9 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1.64 steals per game, while shooting a terrific 48.5% from the field. Fantastic stats. Rondo has missed games due to both injury and suspension. But he is playing on an All-Star level.

Durant is a great addition to the three-point shootout. It’s a more interesting contest when stars are involved.

The  2012  NBA  All-Star  Game, which will air live at 7 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN  Radio  in  the  U.S.,  and  reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories  in  more  than 40 languages, will be played at Amway Center in Orlando on Sunday, Feb. 26, 2012.

Jeremy Evans
Jeremy Evans
Has crazy hops

The 2012 NBA Slam Dunk contest just got shaken up a bit, with one of the bright young stars unable to throw down for the weekend.

The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans has been added to this year’s dunk contest that will be held on Feb. 25 at Amway Center in Orlando (TNT, 6 p.m. MT).  Evans joins a group of three other players in the Slam Dunk that features a series of firsts, including four first-time participants, a new single-round format in which the winner will be chosen solely by fan vote, and the introduction of fan voting via Twitter.

A 2010 second-round draft pick (55th overall) out of Western Kentucky, 61 of Evans’ 88 made shots over his first two years have been dunks, 30 of those on alley-oops.  His dunk percentage of 69.3 percent is the highest in the NBA over the last two seasons.  The 6-9, 194-pound high-riser owns career averages of 3.2 points and 1.7 rebounds per game.

Evans becomes the sixth player in Jazz history selected to participate in the event, joining Darrell Griffith (1984, 1985), Blue Edwards (1990, 1991), David Benoit (1993), Jamie Watson (1995) and DeShawn Stevenson (2001).

In addition to Evans, the three other players who will vie for the Sprite Slam Dunk championship include the Houston Rockets’ Chase Budinger, the Indiana Pacers’ Paul George and the Minnesota Timberwolves’ Derrick Williams.

A new format will be implemented for the 2012 competition. The contest will consist of only one round and each competitor will execute three dunks. Fan voting will open after all four players have completed their first dunk. Previously, the Sprite Slam Dunk contest consisted of two rounds, with the first round scored by a panel of judges which determined two finalists.

Full coverage of the weekend is on InsideHoops.com.

Read NBA fan opinion and share your views in this basketball forum topic.

joe johnson

Hawks guard Joe Johnson underwent an MRI yesterday in Atlanta, and he was diagnosed with left knee tendinitis. As previously announced, he’ll miss the Hawks’ next two games (tonight in New York, tomorrow vs. Orlando).

In addition, Johnson won’t participate in this weekend’s All-Star game and activities in Orlando. He’ll be re-evaluated prior to Atlanta’s first game after the All-Star break (Wednesday the 29th vs. Golden State).

InsideHoops.com speculates that if the league wants to pick the most deserving East All-Star replacement regardless of position, it just might be Johnson’s teammate on the Hawks, forward Josh Smith. There are also some worthy guards, including Rajon Rondo of the Boston Celtics — though he’s missed games this season due to both injury and suspension.

Derrick Favors

The NBA announced today that Utah Jazz forward Derrick Favors has been added to the 2012 NBA Rising Stars Challenge that will take place on Friday, February 24 in Orlando, during NBA All-Star 2012. Favors will join teammate Gordon Hayward, who was previously selected to the game, on TEAM CHUCK. The two will be Utah’s first participants in the event since Ronnie Brewer and Paul Millsap played for the sophomore team during the 2008 NBA All-Star Weekend in New Orleans.

A 2010 first-round draft pick (third overall) out of Georgia Tech, Favors is currently averaging 8.1 points and 5.0 rebounds in 19.6 minutes per game this season. The 6-10, 246-pound forward has scored in double figures nine times this season, grabbed 10+ rebounds four times, and registered a double-double on three occasions. On December 30, Favors notched a new career-high scoring 20 points while pulling down 11 rebounds vs. Philadelphia.

Favors and Hayward will be the sixth and seventh players in Jazz history to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge (formerly the Rookie Challenge), joining Bryon Russell (1994), Andrei Kirilenko (2002, 2003), Deron Williams (2006, 2007), Paul Millsap (2007, 2008) and Ronnie Brewer (2008).

This year, a new format is being implemented to a game that has historically featured NBA rookies facing off against sophomores. For the first time, rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. TNT analysts Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal are serving as the general managers of the two opposing teams - TEAM CHUCK and TEAM SHAQ – having held a draft on Feb. 16.

Scott Brooks
scott brooks
Should buy Durant and Westbrook a dinner

Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks and his coaching staff will guide the Western Conference All-Stars on February 26th at Amway Center in Orlando, it was announced by the NBA.

With Oklahoma City’s 101-87 win over the Utah Jazz Friday, the Thunder (21-6, .778) have clinched the best record in the conference through games played February 15.

This season, Brooks and the Oklahoma City staff have guided the Thunder to multiple winning streaks including an NBA season-high tying seven games, five games and four games. He earned Western Conference Coach of the Month honors for games played in December/January. The Thunder has won a conference best 12 games on the road this season.

In his 4th season as head coach, Brooks has a career mark of 148-112 (.569). In his first full season as head coach, Brooks was named 2009-10 NBA Coach of the year after guiding the Thunder to a 50-32 (.610) and the franchise’s first playoff appearance in Oklahoma City.

The coach of the East All-Stars will be determined by the team with the best record in the conference through games played February 15. The Boston Celtics Doc Rivers, who coached last year’s East squad, is not eligible to coach this year’s All-Star Game.

The 2012 NBA All-Star Game, which will air live at 8 p.m. ET on TNT and ESPN Radio in the U.S., and reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Read NBA fan opinion and share your views in this basketball forum topic.

Josh Smith
Josh Smith
Can dunk on your entire family

Hawks forward Josh Smith looks at the reserves voted to the Eastern Conference All-Star team and figures there must be behind-the-scenes forces that explain why some of the players made the team ahead of him.

“You’ve got to factor in there is a lot of politics involved in the All-Star selection,” Smith said Friday. “Once you get that it’s really about politics, then nothing really surprises you. I call it ‘Nothing But Associates,’ NBA. It’s all who you know.”

Coaches vote for the All-Star reserves, so there is the potential for lobbying by fellow coaches, other team personnel, and player agents. For example, Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle reportedly lobbied coaches to vote for forward Dirk Nowitzki, who was selected for the team even after he had said he didn’t deserve it.

Smith said “I guess I don’t know the right people” and didn’t have people lobbying on his behalf.

– Reported by Michael Cunningham of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Kevin Love
Kevin Love
Wants to do it all

Western Conference coaches on Thursday invited Timberwolves forward Kevin Love to his second NBA All-Star Game, one year after Commissioner David Stern named him as an injury replacement for his first.

“It definitely feels different,” Love said on Thursday evening.

It feels different because his team has won more times in 24 games during this lockout-shortened season than it did in the first 48 games a year ago.

It feels different because he had an “inkling” coaches would select him and because he was invited Thursday morning to appear on TNT’s announcement show hours later that night.

He’ll also soon accept an offer to participate in All-Star weekend’s three-point shooting contest.

– Reported by Jerry Zgoda of the Minneapolis Star Tribune

Blake Griffin
Blake Griffin
Every day is like a dunk contest

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin was voted as a starter to the NBA All-Star Game on Thursday but said he doesn’t plan on defending his slam dunk contest title during All-Star weekend.

“As of right now I don’t plan on being in it,” Griffin said Thursday night. “Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff.”

Last year Griffin won the slam dunk contest, played in the Rookie Challenge and played in the All-Star Game during a whirlwind All-Star weekend in Los Angeles.

– Reported by Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles

Read NBA fan opinion and share your views in this basketball forum topic.

Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel reports (via blog):

If past NBA lockout history is any guidepost to the present, the city of Orlando should know around mid-December whether the 2012 all-star game will be played at Amway Center — or cancelled.

In the last lockout, the league cancelled the Feb. 14 1999 all-star game scheduled in Philadelphia on Dec. 9, 1998.

This year’s game is set a little later — Feb. 26 at the Amway Center in downtown Orlando.

So it could be that if this lockout continues, eating up regular-season games, the league likely will cancel Orlando’s game around Dec. 15.

The NBA salvaged a 50-game season in 1998-99, with games beginning in early February.

The 2012 NBA All-Star game, assuming it gets played, will be in Orlando. The 2013 game, according to just about every Houston media outlet in existence, will be in Houston. It should be around a full year before the 2014 weekend gets a home, but the New York Knicks hope to land the honor.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports:

With Houston reportedly getting the 2013 All-Star Game, the new Garden figures to be the top candidate for the 2014 event when the three-year transformation is finally complete. The Knicks have applied to host the game. The Nets and Brooklyn’s Barclay Center also could be considered.

I assume the Knicks or Nets are favorites to be named host in 2014 (and maybe also 2015), because by then the Nets will have been in Brooklyn for two years. That’s two fresh arenas, ready to pack fans in.

Read NBA fan opinion or discuss your views in this basketball forum topic.

By Jeff Lenchiner

It was a surprise today learning that the Houston Rockets, after hosting NBA All-Star weekend in 2006, get to do it again in 2013. Many teams would love to host the big event, and there’s no particular reason for Houston to land the honor quite so soon.

So, using Twitter, I reached out to the over 55,800 people currently following InsideHoops and asked them to to chime in with guesses as to why Houston is again playing All-Star host while so many other cities continue to wait. Here are some of my favorite responses (some of which I may agree with, others not so much):

MarkEomurian: Houston wants to draw attention to the smog problem?

Pharoah2012: Cuz…”We Da Best Host City”! :)

Joco967: Brian scalabrine once dreamt about Houston. The rest is self-explanatory.

SupaSIGMA4: Cuz the Chi is too dangerous and they’ve been everywhere else significant.

Crawf33: They’ve gotta have SOMETHING to pep them up after Yao called it a day.

MySkizzle: With Yao gone and the lockout looming, Stern will probably do something around Yao that night to keep Chinese market.

djgray1: Because it’s always hot here. No worries about bad weather.

HoopsU: It’s warm.

dboy03: Losing Yao Ming. NBA feels sorry for them.

MemphisSportFan: The NBA will do anything to keep the all-star game out of Memphis. So they put it in Houston again.

ImmaSavedSinner: Cause all the hoes here in the H.

glazeduck: capitalizing on Asian market before the Yao effect wears off.

MeteAktas76: A consolation for Yao Ming’s early retirement maybe?

——

Many others also mentioned the Yao Ming factor. I’d say there’s something to that Perhaps Yao will be brought over and there will be a massive tribute to him, as a way to keep fans in China tuned in.

Also, a big part of NBA All-Star weekend is the hotel situation. There needs to be plenty of rooms available, right nearby. And there are also various hotel partnerships that may come into play, somehow.

Houston is also warmer in the winter than most places. It has an airport, with functional planes and everything! That’s probably the bulk of it.

So, here’s to a great weekend in Houston in 2013! But first, in February of 2012 we’ll head to sunny, warm Orlando.

Houston lands 2013 NBA All-Star Game

Mark Berman of My Fox Houston reports:

NBA sources told FOX 26 Sports the Houston Rockets and the City of Houston landed the NBA All-Star Game in 2013. The game will be played at Toyota Center on Feb. 17, 2013. NBA All-Star week will be Feb. 15-17. The Rockets and Toyota Center also hosted the game in 2006.

Click2Houston reports:

The entire NBA All-Star Weekend will be in the Bayou City from February 15-17, 2013. Hilton Americas Marketing Director Janice O’Neill-Cox spoke with Local 2 Sports Wednesday afternoon, saying, “We played a key role in working with the league to make sure availability was in place. It’s a big boost for our city to land the game, and we’re excited about it.”

InsideHoops.com editor says: I don’t get why Houston is getting the game again. They just had it in 2006. Meanwhile, other teams haven’t hosted it in a long time. Also, Madison Square Garden renovations will be mostly complete in time. And the new Brooklyn Nets arena will exist by mid 2012. Unusual call to send the big weekend back to Houston so soon.

Shaq announces retirement

The AP reports:

shaq retiring

Shaquille O’Neal, who struggled to get on the court for the Boston Celtics because of leg injuries, said on Twitter on Wednesday that he is going to retire after a 19-year career in which he won four NBA titles and the 2000 league Most Valuable Player award.

O’Neal sent a tweet shortly before 2:45 p.m. saying, “im retiring.” It included a link to a 16-second video in which he says, “We did it; 19 years, baby. Thank you very much. That’s why I’m telling you first: I’m about to retire. Love you. Talk to you soon.”

An inveterate prankster who gave himself a new nickname — or several — in each of his six NBA cities, the 15-time all-star did not notify his latest team of his plans. He played just 37 games this year, the first of a two-year deal at the veteran’s minimum salary, making just three brief appearances after Feb. 1.

“To my knowledge, he has not informed any of us that he’s retiring,” Celtics spokesman Jeff Twiss said.

If he goes, O’Neal retires fifth all-time with 28,596 points, 12th with 13,099 rebounds and second only to Artis Gilmore among players with more than 2,000 baskets with a .582 field goal percentage.

Read fan reaction and share your own opinion in this forum topic.

The 2010-11 NBA regular season was fantastic, and the ongoing playoffs have been even better. But off basketball courts and in the legal realm, the league owners and players union continue to disagree. An eventual lockout continues to appear likely.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN reports:

The union for NBA players filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board Tuesday, seeking an injunction that would prevent owners from imposing a lockout when the current collective bargaining agreement expires June 30.

The players’ union, less than a month after receiving the latest formal proposal from the owners, is accusing the owners of negotiating in bad faith.

The complaint, in part, alleges the NBA is “making harsh, inflexible, and grossly regressive ‘takeaway’ demands that the NBA knows are not acceptable to the Union.”

The complaint further alleges the NBA is engaging in “classic ‘take it or leave it’ and surface bargaining” with the intent of running out the clock on the CBA, “until the NBA locks out the represented employees in order to coerce them into accepting the NBA’s harsh and regressive demands.”

The NBA issued a statement in response to the complaint.

“There is no merit to the charge filed today by the Players Association with the National Labor Relations Board, as we have complied — and will continue to comply — with all of our obligations under the federal labor laws. It will not distract us from our efforts to negotiate in good faith a new collective bargaining agreement with the Players Association,” the league said in a statement.

I really hope this somehow gets resolved over the next month, though it isn’t looking likely.

A look ahead to Thunder-Mavs Game 4

By Scott Spangler

It’s funny how perception tends to change drastically after each contest of a seven-game series. Thursday Oklahoma City took Game 2 in Dallas and the series took a turn as the Thunder seized homecourt advantage.

Then in Game 3, it was the Mavericks winning one on the Road at the Ford Center, reclaiming homecourt. So naturally, the talk today in Dallas centered on putting the WCF to bed in five games.

And should OKC respond with a win this evening, we have a best-of-three and all the pressure is on the Mavs again. That’s the nature of playoff basketball. Not quite as dramatic as hockey, but you get the idea.

As for the adjustments coaches are required to make during the course of these series, those, too, can vary greatly from game to game. Despite slow starts in each of the first three games against Dallas, Thunder head coach Scott Brooks has vowed not to alter his starting lineup

That means keeping Kendrick Perkins on the floor, which has been an issue in matching up against Maverick center Tyson Chandler. Perkins is still not at 100 percent (knee) and running with Chandler has been a problem.

To this point against the Mavericks, OKC is minus-32 with Perkins on the floor and plus-23 with him on the bench. He has not been much of a defensive presence vs. Dallas, and his lack of offensive game doesn’t help on the other end.

Saturday night, Dallas was running an extra defender at OKC wing scorers, allowing screeners to go free most of the night. The Mavericks obviously do not respect the ability of Perkins to make them pay for doubling the ball.

There is the notion Oklahoma City should go with a smaller lineup, but Brooks has been reluctant to do so in the past, usually as a last resort. It might come down to that tonight.

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