Unlike virtually every week on American Idol, the American voting public got one right.
Raptor rookie DeMar DeRozan won the dunk-off to earn a spot in the final four for the Dunk Contest on Saturday night, taking the popular vote with 61 percent over Clipper Eric Gordon. (DeRozan also won the Electoral College.)
We have no idea how many people voted, because the nation had the far superior option of watching the Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver. (Except on the West Coast, we were stuck.) The dunk-in was less exciting than finding out the Cayman Islands has a Winter Olympic team. Less-than-exciting is being kind; #fail would be the modern term.
DeRozan won because he made his dunks — including a between the legs hand switch one — on his first two tries. Gordon’s two dunks were better — a bounce off the backboard to himself, and a lob from OJ Mayo — but he went Nate Robinson, having to do the dunks multiple time to make them. The public counts that against him. As it should.
DeRozan now enters a dunk context against Shannon Brown, Gerald Wallace and two-time Dunk Contest winner Nate Robinson. All of whom have had a few weeks to think about the dunks they want to do, practice them and get advice from teammates. So, basically DeRozan is toast.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.