Larry Riley can't find a sucker

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There’s a line in the poker flick “Rounders” to the effect of
“Listen, here’s the thing. If you can’t spot the sucker in the first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.” Perhaps Larry Riley of the sinking ship S.S. Warriors should give that flick a gander. A quote from a recent San Francisco Chronicle article courtesy of ESPN:

Riley said, on average, he is fielding three calls per day regarding possible trades. He had several conversations Friday that “went nowhere,” and he recently tried to nab a “star player” in a trade that was shot down.
“I made one attempt to go grab a star player, to just see if somebody would do a stupid deal from the other end,” Riley said. “They call me and ask if I’ll do something stupid, so I called a guy and said, ‘Hey, will you consider this?’ “

This for the GM that was part of Don Nelson’s ousting of Chris Mullin, the continual burying of Anthony Randolph, Brandan Wright, letting Baron Davis walk, and watching the team continually fail at anything resembling consistency or defense. That this team is still trying to land a “star” is admirable, but it’s also delusional. A Pau Gasol trade ain’t walking through that door. Or, well, it did on draft night, in the proposed deal for Amare Stoudemire for Curry, Biedrins and pieces, but they watched that on sail on by and are now consoling themselves with Curry’s crisp passing, hot shooting, and occasional turnover issues. The Warriors problems extend past one player, and that kind of approach is dangerous thinking. The team needs a thorough overhaul from approach to execution. But then, I suppose Riley’s blindsided to that kind of housecleaning, since it would mean waxing himself.

The Warriors’ best shot at landing a star is to win the lottery. And if they stay on their current approach, they’ll have quite a few shots a that in the future.

Glenn Robinson III does his best to salvage Dunk Contest, gets victory in process

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NEW ORLEANS β€” This year’s NBA All-Star Dunk Contest was doomed to disappoint, it was never going to match last year’s epic battle. It started in a hole.

It never climbed out. Don’t take my word for it, check out what JaVale McGee thought.

Saturday was an underwhelming night of dunks punctuated by a couple of moments of brilliance.

The Pacers’ Glenn Robinson III had the most of those moments β€” which is why he won the event. His strong night started with his first dunk, which may well have been the best of the contest.

The final one from Robinson, the one that sealed the victory, may be the other best dunk of the competition β€” dunking over Paul George, the Pacers mascot, and a Pacers dancer.

“I originally planned for it just to be PG (Paul George),” Robinson said afterward. “I knew I had to bring out something special. We added the mascot and the cheerleader. I really just wanted to get up high and dunk that thing hard, man. My adrenaline was going. It felt like I was looking at the rim. All I knew was the crowd go crazy. I pointed like this because, man, everybody seemed to sleep on me, didn’t really think I was going to win this thing.”

Event favorite Aaron Gordon, who should have won a year ago, opened the contest with an innovative idea β€” a drone dunk β€” but he couldn’t execute it and there were a few attempts before he nailed it.

Gordon didn’t advance out of the first round, and his first dunk summed up the 2017 Dunk Contest β€” interesting ideas that didn’t quite pan out like planned. (To be fair, Gordon has been battling injuries recently, that may have thrown him off).

If it wasn’t going to be Gordon, a lot of people expected it to be the bouncy Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. who won, and he reached the Finals in part thanks to this spectacular dunk that woke the Smoothie King Center up.

DeAndre Jordan was okay, but without Chris Paul throwing him lobs it didn’t quite feel the same. Jordan can dunk with such power in game, but we didn’t see that Saturday.

In the end, it was Gordon who was making the plays.

“I’m not really a known dunker,” Robinson said. “I practiced. I prepared. I know I’m a jumper. And like I said, I’m a guy that stays out of the way. But when it’s time to shine, that’s my thing. That’s what I wanted to do. I knew all along I had some things planned, and I just wanted to show the world.”

Glenn Robinson III wins underwhelming dunk contest on over-people, below-rim dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Glenn Robinson IIIΒ won the dunk contest with the second-best dunk of the night, going over a few people and under the rim — a narrow path to slamming victory.

It would’ve rated as the event’sΒ best dunk if he were truly under the rim rather than somewhat in front of it. And he did have the best body of work to win the contest.

But the best single dunk was still by runner-up Derrick Jones Jr., who went between the legs on a pass off the side of the backboard.

NBA stars shoot threes to raise $500,000 for Sager Strong Foundation in touching moment

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NEW ORLEANS β€” The spirit of Craig Sager is strong during All-Star weekend in The Big Easy and he’s going to get a spot in the Hall of Fame, deservedly so.

After Eric Gordon won the Three-Point Contest, he and the other finalists Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker stayed on the court to shoot threes to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation β€” they would shoot threes for a minute and for each make the foundation would get $10,000. Then they brought out help β€” Reggie Miller, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, DJ Khaled, and others to knock down shots. That raised $130,000.

Stephen Curry tried to push that to $500,000, but it was Sager’s son that actually did it (with an assist from Shaquille O’Neal).

It was a touching moment for a great cause.

Derrick Jones Jr. catches pass off side of backboard, jams between-legs dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — With defending runner-up Aaron Gordon eliminated in the first round, Suns forward Derrick Jones Jr. might be our best hope to save the dunk contest.