Howard's defense the key in Cavaliers/Magic matchup

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When LeBron James only had three points in the deciding quarter of the last Cavaliers/Magic matchup, it was clear that Dwight Howard’s presence in the paint was making LeBron more tentative than usual to try to drive the ball. 
Earlier today, NBA.com’s John Schuhmann tried to figure out just how much Howard’s defensive presence changes the way the Cavaliers operate on offense. 
Schuhmann used data from the matchups that the two teams have had in the past three years (16 games, including the playoffs), and made some very interesting findings.
When the Cavaliers play the Magic and Howard is on the bench, LeBron James absolutely lives in the paint. Nearly half of his field goal attempts come from inside of eight feet, and he averages 14 free throw attempts per 36 minutes. Because of all those easy opportunities, LeBron’s True Shooting against the Magic has been 61.5% when Howard sits. 
When Howard is in the game, things get more difficult for James. Only 37% of James’ attempts come from inside of eight feet when Howard plays, and he averages four less free throw attempts per 36 minutes. All of this has a huge impact on the Cavs’ offense. When Howard is in the game, the Cavs average 96.7 points per 48 minutes. When he sits, that number skyrockets to 106.1 points per 48. 
The Cavs were able to win their first two meetings against the Magic this season. In both of those games, Howard’s minutes were limited due to foul trouble. If the teams meet in the playoffs, when more physical play is sometimes allowed, the Cavs may struggle to deal with Howard’s defense over the course of a full game. 

Russell Westbrook gets so hot, he has to cool himself down (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Russell Westbrook hit 4-of-6 3-pointers in the third quarter.

This one apparently put him on fire to the point he had to cool himself off.

Stephen Curry literally lays down on defense to avoid ending up in Greek Freak poster (VIDEO)

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 19:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors looks on in the first half of the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at Smoothie King Center on February 19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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It’s hard to find a new low for defense in an NBA All-Star Game.

But Stephen Curry was laying down on defense. Literally.

The result was a Giannis Antetokounmpo dunk and Curry ending up in the highlight anyway.

Russell Westbrook off the backboard to DeAndre Jordan for the dunk (VIDEO)

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Hey, DeAndre Jordan, where was this Saturday night during the Dunk Contest?

The Clippers’ big man threw down an off-the-backboard alley-oop from Russell Westbrook during the All-Star Game Sunday that was better than anything he did on Saturday night. Enjoy

LeBron James passes off backboard to himself for dunk (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Even in a game conducive to highlights, LeBron James went above and beyond.