UPDATE 6:00 pm: In the immortal words of Emily Litella, “never mind.”
Durant tweeted this afternoon that he was just joking, he has no intention of doing the dunk contest. His choice, he can do what he wants, but don’t tease us like that man. We need people like you to be in, to liven it up, to own it like Dwight Howard owned it. Don’t say you’re in and not mean it. We can’t take it.
3:15 pm: After this season’s infamous dunk contest, the NBA would love for somebody to generate some interest in next year’s contest. Maybe Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant can be that guy. Durant announced on his U-Stream show last night that he’ll compete in the dunk contest.
Durant says he ways invited to participate in this year’s contest, but was scared to do it. Apparently, watching that abomination of a contest gave Durant confidence, as he said “I know I got some dunks that I coulda did better than what those guys did.” One would hope so.
I’m not sure what kind of a performance Durant will put on in the contest. Durant is obviously a great player who will generate some interest, and he’s an entertaining in-game dunker. However, he’s not much of a leaper, and his dunks are more a product of his length than his hops. Off the top of my head, I would say that Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka might both be better dunk-contest dunkers than their superstar teammate. That said, Durant is a creative guy who will have a lot of pressure on him to succeed in the contest. Hopefully he has some tricks up his sleeve, because I don’t think I can take another dunk contest like the last one.
We reached the middle of the NBA season, which is a good time to consider where things stand for the end-of-season awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, and Coach of the Year. We have made our picks and even broken them down in a podcast.
Now it was time to ask you who you thought should win awards.
I put it out there on Twitter in some polls, and I cover your responses in this PBT Extra. I’m with you on Brad Stevens for Coach of the Year, although I think it’s close. Did you choose LeBron James or James Harden for MVP? Watch and find out.
Jason Smith pushed down Michael Carter-Williams while going for a rebound. Carter-Williams pulled Smith to the floor. Tim Frazier flew in heated.
It was more than a typical NBA altercation – Carter-Williams clenched his fist, though never swung – but it wasn’t quite a fight. It was just reserves getting feisty late in a blowout, the Hornets’ 133-109 win over the Wizards on Wednesday. Carter-Williams and Frazier were given double technical fouls and ejected.
One catch: Smith was called for personally fouling Carter-Williams, who was due free throws. With Carter-Williams unavailable, Washington could pick his replacement at the line.
Wizards coach Scott Brooks chose Dwight Howard, a poor free-throw shooter who’d been resting the entire fourth quarter and surely figured his night was over. Maybe it was only about Howard’s team-worst 53% shooting from the line, but it’s also possible Brooks was trying to make an opponent uncomfortable.
The Charlotte crowd went wild, and Howard only added to the fervor.
He sunk both free throws – padding his stats (18 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks and two steals) – and blew Brooks a kiss. Howard might appreciate the extra points Brooks afforded him, but they’ll likely come at a cost. Howard celebrated with the Sam Cassell/big-balls dance, which usually draws a fine from the NBA.
Just when it seemed as if the Pelicans were rolling… they lose to the lowly Hawks.
This was the second game of a back-to-back after beating the Celtics in overtime, and New Orleans looked the part, blowing a 15-point lead in the final 19 minutes.
Kent Bazemore‘s jumper with 2.1 seconds left stood as the game-winner when DeMarcus Cousins missed a rushed post-up on the other end.
Paul Pierce is being petty about Isaiah Thomas‘ tribute video.
And that’s from someone who empathizes with Pierce’s point of view.
When retiring a player’s number, teams tastefully use stoppages to show highlights and tributes to the player. The whole night, not just the moment of raising a number into the rafters, can be about celebrating the player. It’s reasonable for Pierce to want the entire package.
But to go on television and advocate for not showing Thomas’ video? To continue the campaign after Thomas made clear how important his video was to him? To tell the Celtics not to show a short video for Thomas during introductions?
It’s way too far.
Too many people around Pierce enabled his flawed approach. Jalen Rose put that to a pointed stop.
Rose on ESPN:
I’ve got say a word for you, fam. I think it was petty.
On Paul Pierce’s part.
I love Paul. This is my brother. Because to me, there are going to be all type of announcements that happen in the 48 minutes during that game. All types. Including Isaiah Thomas could be one of them. It does not take away from your situation. Like Kobe’s, it happened during the game. Because they’re doing yours post-game.
The look on Pierce’s face while Rose was talking!