Which 1-on-1 matchups would you like to see?

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NBA fans have long wanted to see a one-on-one tournament of some kind during All-Star Weekend. HORSE ended up becoming a reality, so a one-on-one tournament might at some point in the future. It’s unlikely that the matchups everyone wants to see will happen, like Kobe-LeBron, CP3-Deron, Carmelo/Durant, or KG/Zaza. However, if the NBA uses the one-on-one contest like it uses the dunk contest, to showcase the talents of rising stars, there are still some great matchups.
 
Here are some of my ideas, revolving around players with similar skill-sets, battles between young guns, and of course PRIDE-style freak show matches:

Brandon Jennings vs. Jamaal Crawford

Lots of sweet crossovers, plenty of long jumpers off the dribble, not a lot of defense, and some great back-and-forth. This one would be a doozy.

JJ Redick vs. Adam Morrison

Years in the making. Redick’s quietly become a solid player this season, but how would he fare against NBA champion Morrison? Redick plays defense and has a better all-around game, but Morrison can score the ball, and his moves would be suited to a one-on-one match. Also, I’d look forward to JJ trash-talking Ammo in poem form.

Gerald Wallace vs. Josh Smith

An obvious choice, but still needed. When they meet at the rim, the universe may collapse upon itself.

Tyreke Evans vs. Danilo Gallinari

Evans is a guard with freakish strength who dominates in the paint. Gallinari has the size of a power forward but does his damage with a sweet three-point stroke. Would Gallo’s size allow him to keep Evans out of the paint and shoot over him, or would Evans’ strength allow him to push aside Gallo and keep him from getting the looks he wants offensively?

James Posey vs. Derek Fisher

INTANGIBLES BATTLE.

Steph Curry vs. Jameer Nelson

After Curry’s explosion against the Clippers and Brandon Jennings’ 55-point game against the Warriors early in the season, it’s become clear that the ultimate rookie performance would happen if Steph Curry was somehow able to play with Steph Curry guarding him. Sadly, that’s impossible, but Nelson’s game and build are fairly similar. Nelson’s a better defender than Curry, but he’s no Alvin Robertson either.

Rasheed Wallace vs. Nate Robinson

I would much rather see this than have Nate do another dunk contest. I think he’d win, which would mean maximum possible embarrassment for Rasheed. Sold.

Rajon Rondo vs. Russell Westbrook

Another choice based only on sheer awesomeness.

Joakim Noah vs. Anderson Varejao

This would be the most exciting and boring game of one-on-one ever played all at once.

Well, there are my choices, but there are certainly many, many more great possible matchups out there. What are some of the matchups you’d like to see if a one-on-one contest ever becomes a reality?

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.

Isaiah Thomas: ‘Mentally and emotionally, I’m not here’

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast
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Isaiah Thomas previously explained his emotions in a statement, but the Celtics guard spoke publicly yesterday for the first time since the death of his sister in a car crash just before the playoffs.

Thomas, via A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN Northeast:

“Mentally and emotionally I’m not here,” Thomas said after Game 4, the first time he has spoken publicly since his sister’s death. “So I just feed off of what the guys give me. They give me a lot of confidence. I can’t do it without those guys. They believe in me. Being here is what makes me sane and makes me feel somewhat normal through these tough times.”

Thomas has played well for Boston, which won twice in Chicago to even its series with the Bulls, 2-2. It’s remarkable considering the heavy emotional burden and extra travel, going to Seattle for his sister’s funeral then joining the Celtics in Chicago.

His teammates have clearly rallied around him, and that surely helps. But I can’t even imagine how he’s simultaneously handling such a tragic family situation and the biggest games of his career.

Kyrie Irving knocks flamingo from Pacers fan’s hands (video)

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Pacers super fan Matt Asen brings his lucky flamingo to each game.

He also annoyed the heck out of Kyrie Irving by trying to hand it, rather than the ball, to the Cavaliers guard.

James Harden reveals he’s playing through ankle injury

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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James Harden didn’t lead the Rockets in scoring in their Game 4 win over the Thunder yesterday.

He didn’t even rank second – or third.

Nene, Eric Gordon and Lou Williams each outscored Harden, who scored 16 points on 5-for-16 shooting, including 0-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What happened to the Houston star?

Calvin Watkins of ESPN:

Houston Rockets star guard James Harden said he has been hobbled by an ankle injury that occurred in Game 3 of this first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Harden made the revelation to ESPN’s Lisa Salters after the Rockets’ 113-109 Game 4 victory on Sunday afternoon.

“It was pretty tough; we don’t make excuses,” Harden said in a news conference when asked about his health. “We just try to go out there and get the job done. You build trust, and trust in your teammates all year long. When there’s moments like this, guys step up and they did tonight. We have another opportunity in a few days to go out there and win on our home court, and we’re going to have to get off to a really good start.”

Many players are grinding through injuries this time of year. Is Harden’s exceptionally bad? There’s no way of telling from the outside.

But he didn’t look quite right in Game 4, and if he’s hobbled, that opens the door slightly wider for Oklahoma City to come back from its 3-1 deficit.