Darren Collison is healing up, eyeing the playoffs

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Thumbnail image for dcollison_dunk.jpgDarren Collison has gone from being the guy who backs up Chris Paul to the man expected to turn Indiana’s fortunes around. No pressure.

But Collison sounded good with that leadership role in an interview on 1070 the Fan in Indianapolis.

I think we have a lot of good things to look forward to, but I want to make the playoffs this year. I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to do none of that. I don’t want to talk about it, and I wanna work hard to make the playoffs this year. I think this city and this organization deserves it.”

Collison at the helm of a running offense and Danny Granger full of Team USA confidence should make the Pacers a better team. Making the playoffs in the East will not be easy. There are six teams that are virtual locks: Heat, Celtics, Magic, Hawks, Bulls and Bucks. That leaves two spots for the Pacers, Knicks Nets, Sixers, Pistons, Bobcats and Wizards to fight over. May be a bit of a stretch, but a good goal for the Pacers.

That’s not going to happen though unless Collison is recovered from his broken finger. He said that is coming along well.

“It’s nothing broken. It’s just fractured. I will be ready to go before training camp. It’s just a slow process right now. It’s not a real cast over it. It’s just a cautionary thing over it that keeps me healing the right way.”

LeBron James hits go-ahead shot in All-Star win (video)

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LOS ANGELES – LeBron James‘ team trailed by 13 midway through the fourth quarter of the All-Star game, but he led a competitive comeback.

This shot put his team up 146-145 over Stephen Curry‘s team, and Team LeBron held on for a 148-145 win:

Great penetration by Russell Westbrook, and he and Kyrie Irving moved the ball well. LeBron made it count.

LeBron James finishes reverse alley-oop from Russell Westbrook (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES — The new format for the NBA All-Star game brought a little more defense to the first half of the annual showcase, but it didn’t do much to enliven the game. That said, the game has been better than the pre-game “entertainment.”

Midway through the second quarter, his team down 15, LeBron James decided to make it a game again and played with some energy. That included a three, and a couple impressive alley-oop finishes. The best came via Russell Westbrook.

There also was this one courtesy Kemba Walker.

Those may be the two best dunks of the first half.

Anthony Davis opens All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins’ jersey

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LOS ANGELES – Anthony Davis often relies on his Pelicans teammates to set him up.

Tonight, he gave a nod to one of them.

Davis started the All-Star game wearing DeMarcus Cousins‘ No. 0 jersey. Cousins and Davis were both voted starters then drafted by LeBron James, but Cousins can’t play due to injury.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

Very cool gesture by Davis. He’s an excellent teammate.

No, Joel Embiid didn’t cheat during the NBA Skills Challenge

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The Internet got itself all in a huff on Saturday as they watched the 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend Skills Challenge. In particular, the matchup between Chicago Bulls rookie Lauri Markkanen and Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid stirred up a bit of controversy.

Specifically, folks accused Embiid of cheating.

During the passing section of the obstacle course, Embiid didn’t actually make any of his passes into the ring. He then proceeded on the next section and was neck-and-neck with Markkanen as they tried to finish out the head-to-head competition. Markkanen won, but that didn’t stop folks from saying the 76ers All-Star had circumvented the rules.

We now know that’s not true.

According to the rules (provided on the NBA media site, page 47 of the 2018 NBA All-Star Media Guide) Embiid was allowed to move onto the next section even though he hadn’t completed any of his passes. A player only has to exhaust the rack, not complete a pass. It appears rules sort of assume that if a player stands there trying to complete a pass three times they’ll fall so far behind they won’t be able to catch up.

Re-watching the video, it appears Embiid knew this rule to the game and figured if he didn’t make the first one he would quickly try to blast the next two passes off the rack so he could then move onto the next section.

Embiid even took to Twitter to head off accusations that he had cheated.

Via Twitter:

Trust. The. Process.