The suspense of Nowitzki being voted a starter by the fans for the first time in his career never materialized. Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin quickly filled the void left by Carmelo Anthony’s defection to the Eastern Conference. Starters will be announced Thursday night and the all-Oklahoma City duo of Thunder superstar Kevin Durant and Griffin, an OKC native, have those spots sewn up.
The issue facing West coaches in selecting the seven reserves is what to do with Dirk? The reigning NBA Finals MVP and an All-Star mainstay would typically be a no-brainer selection based on history, even if his numbers aren’t quite up to typical standards.
However, Nowitzki has had a most unusual season that now includes a mid-season, week-long hiatus and behind-the-scenes personal training camp, plus the lowest marks since his rookie season in scoring average (16.7), rebounds (5.8) and shooting percentage, both overall (44.8) and behind the arc (20.0).
Orlando Magic General Manager Otis Smith indicated Monday that he has no plans to make a major move to alter his team’s roster in the near future.
“If a string of losses causes you to change your plans, then I’m in the wrong job,” Smith said Monday night, before the Magic fell 74-69 to the Philadelphia 76ers to lose their fourth consecutive game.
“I think you look at your team as a whole and understand that we have to fight through whatever we have to fight through and you continue to evaluate everything top to bottom. That’s what you do. When it’s time to make a change, you make a change.”
Smith generally does not like to make trades in-season, but he did so last season after the Magic lost five of six games from Dec. 4-14, 2010.
The retired Chinese basketball superstar Yao Ming has been looking for business opportunities in the film industry, but has not entered it yet, Yao’s agent said Tuesday, responding to media’s reports claiming that Yao will set up a film finance fund.
Foreign media report that Jay Cohen, an American film producer, is setting up a film finance fund with Yao Ming, which has caught the attention of China’s media and public.
“Yao Ming and our team has not joined or set up any such organizations as the film finance fund,” Yao’s agent Zhang Mingji told Xinhua, adding that they are open to such kind of business, and are looking for good investment opportunities.
Monday night in the third quarter of Los Angeles Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder, Clips forward Blake Griffin caught a perfect pass from point guard Chris Paul and threw down what InsideHoops.com considers the best dunk of the NBA season on the head of Kendrick Perkins.
Here are several video clips of the Griffin dunk on Perkins:
If Magic center Dwight Howard has any reservations about playing for the Bulls, it has nothing to do with sharing the spotlight with Derrick Rose. In fact, the five-time All-Star is open to uniting with the reigning MVP.
Approached Friday night in New Orleans after a 26-point loss to the Hornets, Howard shared his thoughts on a long-shot trade to the Bulls.
“If I could play with Derrick right now and God wanted that to happen, it will happen,” Howard told the Tribune. “It has nothing to do with me not wanting to play with Derrick Rose. I love him. That’s my brother.”
Rubio has been a revelation for the Timberwolves as their rookie point guard, with Lakers coach Mike Brown pointing out that the athletic NBA game with fewer zone defenses to expose Rubio’s shaky jumper is well-suited for him.
Rubio had flashes Sunday night but shot 2 of 13 from the field, finishing with five points and eight assists.
Kobe Bryant has been impressed by Rubio in the NBA.
“He’s fantastic,” Bryant said. “He has great court vision, great poise.”
About Gasol, though, Rubio had this to say to Joan Niesen of Fox Sports: “A lot of people say that Pau is soft. I can tell you, he’s not. I practiced with him a lot this summer, and he’s tough. I mean, he plays hard, and one of the best things is, he’s a leader. A leader can’t be soft because if not we couldn’t win or get to the silver medal in the Olympic Games.”
Charlotte Bobcats point guard D.J. Augustin played through three ankle sprains the first dozen games of this NBA season. He knows the difference between a little pain and a debilitating injury.
The right big-toe injury Augustin has suffered is debilitating. So much so that Augustin likely won’t play in any of the upcoming four road games that start Tuesday against the Lakers in Los Angeles. In an exclusive interview Sunday with the Observer, Augustin said sitting out now is necessary, not only to this season, but potentially to protecting his career.
“If I try to come back and play on it too soon, I’ll be right back where I was last week,” said Augustin, who missed the last four games, all losses.