Denver Nuggets v New York Knicks

Carmelo Anthony denies he gave Denver an ultimatum (let’s have an argument)

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This whole Carmelo Anthony trade thing is starting to sound like a Monty Python skit. No it isn’t. Yes it is. No it isn’t. Yes it is. Isn’t. Is.

Two days ago came the report that Anthony would only sign an extension with the New York Knicks. Then today another report said the Nets and maybe the Nuggets still had a shot (something the author of the original report denied). Somewhere on the sidelines the Houston Rockets are jumping up and down saying, “look at me, look at me.”

Monday night, Anthony told FanHouse that he did not give an ultimatum to the Nuggets.

“No,” Anthony said when asked if there’s any truth to it. “I haven’t talked to Masai (Ujiri, the Nuggets executive vice president of basketball operations) about who I would sign an extension with, and who I want to sign with. I’ve never had that conversation.”

Let’s break this down, and we’ll give you the five-minute argument not the full half hour.

Of course Anthony did not tell Ujiri this directly — that’s what the people at CAA are for. You know, Anthony’s agents and managers. World Wide Wes. This stuff is never handled through the front door, it’s always though channels. Anthony will forever have plausible deniability.

So Anthony did not tell the Nuggets anything. What his people told the Nuggets, what Anthony said in his private conversations with Ujiri, who knows? Most likely Anthony’s people are playing hardball and saying Knicks only, Denver’s side thinking there is more in play. That by the way is speculation, and you could spin 100 scenarios just like it you could be right.

So Anthony is not lying, he didn’t say anything. But that doesn’t mean that some kind of ultimatum has not been delivered.

And now for something completely different.

Dwight Howard commits ridiculously sloppy inbound violation (video)

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An embarrassing lack of focus by the Rockets? I can hardly believe it.

Late in a game against a team Houston is battling for playoff position, Dwight Howard was just careless, stepping on the baseline as he inbounded the ball. It’s a needless goof, and he’ll get plenty of deserved criticism for it.

But don’t overlook Patrick Beverley‘s frustration foul on Damian Lillard before the ensuing inbound. That was nearly as foolish and even more costly.

The sequence sparked a 7-0 run for the Trail Blazers, who seized control of the game en route to a 116-103 win.

DeAndre Jordan dunks on Marcus Smart before Smart knows what’s happening (video)

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Marcus Smart went to tag DeAndre Jordan on the pick-and-roll, and Jordan took off from so far from the basket, he was dunking on Smart before the Celtics guard could do a thing.

Chris Paul finds brilliant counter to hack-a-DeAndre Jordan (video)

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I originally favored allowing Hack-a-Shaq as the NBA currently does. I found the strategy fascinated – why and when teams would use it and how their opponents would counter.

But it just became too common. Far too many games featured a parade of trips to the line, a boring stretch that made games too long. I thought the intrigue had run its course.

Then, Chris Paul pulled this move last night.

The Clippers guard saw Jonas Jerebko charging toward DeAndre Jordan to commit an intentional foul, so Paul stepped in front of an unsuspecting Jerebko and took the foul himself. That’s sent a good free-throw shooter to the line instead of the dismal Jordan.

Just an awesome heady play by Paul.