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It’s official: DeJuan Blair is your starting center in San Antonio

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We told you it was coming, and now that day is here:

DeJuan Blair is the starting center for the San Antonio Spurs. ACLs are over-rated.

Gregg Popovich made it official talking to the Express-News. Blair gets the nod in just his second season, at age 21, on a team with big aspirations this season.

“It’s coming pretty quick for him, and I think he’s handled it well,” Popovich said. “He’s still got a ways to go, but I think playing with those guys will help him improve and understand what’s necessary more quickly.

“He’s got to get some habits so that he’s consistent, mostly at the defensive end, and disciplined about what has to happen, and I think playing with those guys is going to help him do that.”

Blair was tenacious last season then came into camp much more fit — 15 pounds under his playing weight last season, which made him quicker. That and his usual energy earned him the spot.

The Spurs will score, but the question is how does this impact the Spurs defense.

Last night against the Rockets the Spurs interior defense was lacking. In today’s NBA — especially with the defensive enforcement of no hand checks on the perimeter — every team needs someone who can protect the rim.

Blair is just 6’7” and Duncan is not that guy anymore. That has left the interior of the Spurs defense looking soft. The Rockets exploited it. The Spurs rotations were a little slow, and players were getting beat.

One thing the pair does well is defend the pick-and-roll. Both play it well — Duncan used to be the best big in the game at defending the play, but he seems to have slipped a little, although he is still quite good). Blair uses his quickness well against it.

Still there is no substitute for size —the Spurs really need 6’11” Tiago Splitter to step up. He is injured and is expected to miss at least opening night or more while recovering. He is not a classic shot blocker, but he is mobile and tall and does a better job protecting the rim than Blair right now. Even when he comes back Splitter will not start, but there will be nights the Spurs need his length and he will get key run.

But for now, Blair is the man. He’s the starter.

Stephen Curry gets fouled, hits crazy rainbow circus shot vs. Jazz (VIDEO)

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Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry is a wizard when it comes to shots you don’t think can ever reach the iron. Each time he does something like this, he surprises you even though you should be used to it by now.

But I’m not. The Utah Jazz aren’t. Heck, maybe even Steph isn’t used to it by now.

As Curry was driving down the left side of the floor on Thursday, Shelvin Mack got out of position and wound up trailing the Warriors star. With Curry rounding the pick, Mack reached and earned a foul.

Thinking quickly, Curry then hoisted up a rainbow of a shot that gently kissed the net on the way down.

Curry would go on to make the free throw for the 3-point play.

Watch Karl-Anthony Towns blow by two defenders, posterize Jonas Valanciunas

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We’re 21 games into Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns‘ sophomore season and it already seems cliche to say that he has guard skills

But, like, he does have guard skills.

There was more evidence of that on Thursday night as the Timberwolves matched up with the Toronto Raptors in Canada.

With the ball near the top of the arc and with the Raptors defense collapsing on the Minnesota guards, Towns saw an opportunity to split the defense and run to the rim with the ball.

Toronto C Jonas Valanciunas slid over to meet Towns at the rim, but there wasn’t much anyone could do.

https://streamable.com/sixp

Spurs’ Pau Gasol goofs, heads toward Bulls locker room in return to Chicago (VIDEO)

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Pau Gasol spent two seasons at the United Center with the Chicago Bulls, so it made sense that when he returned as a member of the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, he would know his way around. In fact, Gasol knows the bowels of Chicago’s home arena so well that he wound up walking toward the wrong locker room as a force of habit.

During the NBA on TNT’s coverage of the game, reporter Allie LaForce showed cameras following Gasol after he said hello to some folks in the tunnel.

Unfortunately, Gasol walked about 15 feet before realizing he was heading to the wrong side.

Maybe it was something of an indicator for the night, as the first few quarters of play between the Spurs and the Bulls were extremely sloppy.

Bucks fans chant “SoundCloud rapper” at Blazers star Damian Lillard

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Damian Lillard had the No. 1 hip-hop album on iTunes. Milwaukee Bucks fans still think he needed to get taken down a peg, so on Wednesday during a game between the Portland Trail Blazers and the Bucks, fans in Milwaukee had a message for Lillard.

Well, it was more of a cheer:

Via Twitter:

If you can’t quite make out what Bucks fans are saying, it was pretty simple: “Sound-Cloud rap-per!”

Lillard famously began his rapping career as an NBA player by releasing songs on SoundCloud — a mostly-free online audio hosting site — but he’s now graduated to a big release with professional production and guest spots by industry legends like Lil’ Wayne, Juvenile, and Jamie Foxx. His debut full-length album came out in October and is called “The Letter O”.

The Blazers superstar also started his own label in November.

Still, the Bucks arena experience is pretty great considering the coordinated t-shirts, the Bandwagon Cam, and Giannis Antetokounmpo.