The Magic have outscored the Hawks 331-244 over the first three games of their playoff series. Atlanta was briefly in game two; other than that, they’ve been completely dominated at both ends of the court.
So many things need to change for the Hawks if they want to get a game in this series. Joe Johnson has to take his play up more than a couple of notches, if only for the sake of his contract this summer. The team needs to find some way to slow down Dwight Howard in the paint. Josh Smith needs to be more consistent at the offensive end and start looking more dominant on the defensive end. Horford needs another performance like he had in game two. Marvin Williams and Mike Bibby have to do the opposite of everything they’ve been doing so far. Jamal Crawford has been solid since game one. Jamal Crawford isn’t going to beat the Magic by himself.
The Magic just need to keep on doing what they’re doing. Howard has been unstoppable, and the Magic have been dutiful about feeding him early. Rashard Lewis had a great game three, and the threes have continued to fall for the Magic in this series. They’ve been getting good production off the bench, particularly from Mickael Pietrus. Defensively, they’ve looked like a juggernaut. The Magic are 48 minutes away from getting a nice long break to watch the Celtics and Cavaliers battle it out for a chance to face them in the Conference Finals. There’s a reason they play the games, but this certainly feels like the last night of Atlanta’s season.
Report: Celtics, Cavaliers talking Kevin Love trade; could include Knicks, ‘Melo
The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions about expanding the deal to include the Knicks and Anthony, who would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.
The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.
This is a longshot, but the report has some legs.
Here's what I'm hearing: #Knicks unlikely to move Melo but #Celtics have assets to draw NYK interest. Melo intrigued about playing w LBJ
It’s not clear how far along these talks are. The trade deadline is Feb. 18 (next Thursday) and conversations tend to move past the theoretical/value judging phase and get real come All-Star Weekend, when many GMs and decision makers are in one place (and nobody can go outside because it is too cold in Toronto). This trade works for the Cavaliers if they get a quality stretch four in return — Kelly Olynyk? — plus some depth and a quality pick. The question for the Cavs is simply how much can they get back — this is a win-now team and Love helps that, so how does a trade make them better?
Would Danny Ainge move the unprotected Brooklyn Nets pick to get Love? Jae Crowder? How much would Boston surrender to get an elite star, especially one under a reasonable, long contract?
Carmelo Anthony wants a ring, if he could end up playing with LeBron and be much closer to it than he is now, he would waive his no-trade clause.
That said, this trade sounds like a longshot. At least at the deadline. Next Summer… who knows?
Watch Kevin Hart be Kevin Hart at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game
You knew Canadian hip-hop star Drake was going to be involved directly in the All-Star Game in a way more than just having his back-and-gold OVO owl gear sold at the Air Canada Centre. Now we know how.
Drake will introduce the NBA All-Star players Sunday.
Drake has experience with this, he has introduced the Raptors — for whom he is a “global ambassador” — before.
This works for me. However, just to be clear, Drake is going to be introducing the players and Sting will headline the halftime show Sunday. Because nothing says NBA and millennials like “Fields of Gold.”
LeBron James says he’s undecided on 2016 Rio Olympics
As you might expect, LeBron was asked about that during All-Star media day Friday in Toronto. Also, as you might expect, he dodged the question, saying he doesn’t know what he’s going to do this summer.
“Well, for me, I haven’t quite decided if I’m on the fence of going or not,” LeBron said. “But I’ve always loved representing my country. I’ve been playing in the Olympic games since 2004. So, no, I haven’t made a decision yet.”
My guess is LeBron’s body would love him to take the summer off — he’s played in five straight Finals with an Olympics in that mix — but his brand managers (and Nike) would love to see him play.
With him, the USA will win a gold medal. Without him, the USA will win the gold medal. The Americans are clear and away the best team in the world and only they can beat themselves. LeBron’s leadership can help make sure that happens, but it’s not required.
In the end, LeBron needs to do what’s required to bring a championship “to the ‘Land.” The playoffs, and how he feels after them, will likely determine where LeBron is in early August more than anything else.