Can you be embarrassed by the outcome of a meaningless exhibition game? Probably not. So the NBA sophomore class can still go out and party in Dallas tonight rather than sulk in their rooms. But they had better be ready to take some heat from their friends and peers.
That’s because for first time in eight years, the rookies beat the sophomores in the All-Star Weekend kickoff event, the Rookie/Sophomore challenge, 140-128.
Soon-to-be rookie of the year Tyreke Evans from Sacramento won the MVP award for his 26 points — and a couple spectacular finishes at the rim — but he shared it with the Spurs DeJuan Blair, who dominated inside despite the sophomores having Brook Lopez, Marc Gasol and Michael Beasley along the front line. Heck, when Blair was going for points 19 and 20 Lopez tackled him. And he still scored. And GMs in Dallas got a call from their owners saying, “why did we pass on this Blair kid again?” Apparently, ACLs are overrated.
The rookies just went Don Nelson on the sophomores, going small and trying to run them into the ground. That works when you have Brandon Jennings and Steph Curry just attacking and launching shot after shot. And, because this game is played with all the defense of a Pac-10 football matchup, the sophomores couldn’t stop them. In fact they got sucked into it and started running too and ignoring their advantage in the post. That’s why Russell Westbrook dropped 40 but they lost.
Really, if you need more of a breakdown of the rookie/soph game, I suggest you go outside and get some fresh air. That’s all you should need.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.
For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.
His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).
“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”
Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.
We’re going to miss Kobe.
This news is just sickening. In a world with just too much sickening news.
According to NBC 5 in Chicago (which spoke to police), Dwyane Wade‘s first cousin Nykea Aldridge was pushing a stroller down the street when she was shot and killed as an innocent in the crossfire of a gang shooting.
The 32-year-old woman, whom family identified as Nykea Aldridge, was apparently the unintended victim of a gang shooting, police said. She was walking around 3:30 p.m. in the 6300 block of South Calumet when two males approached another male and opened fire, police said.
Wade tweeted this.
Aldridge was on her way to a local school to register her kids (they had just moved) when the shooting took place. There has been a rash of gang and gun violence in Chicago in the past year, and Dwyane’s mother Jolinda Wade had just been on a panel on ESPN’s Undefeated talking about it.
Wade is coming to play for his hometown Chicago Bulls this season.
Our thoughts are with Nykea Aldridge’s family and friends.