It’s official: Blake Griffin to beat JaVale McGee, Serge Ibaka, Brandon Jennings in dunk contest


Word leaked out about this Tuesday night so the NBA decided to just make it official on Wednesday:

Your 2011 All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest participants are Blake Griffin (Clippers), JaVale McGee (Wizards), Serge Ibaka (Thunder) and Brandon Jennings (Bucks).

Let’s be honest, this is essentially Blake Griffin — on his home court at Staples Center — against the field. McGee is a freakish athlete who has had some spectacular finishes on John Wall alley-oops (expect one of those in the competition) but we’ll see if he can be creative. Ibaka could win by blocking one of McGee’s dunks, that is what he is best know for.

Then there is the injured guard Jennings, who is not exactly known as a dunker (but there are videos of him from years ago actually dunking impressively). We’ll call him the wild card, he could get bonus points just because nobody has seen him dunk.

Let’s just hope players get creative. Griffin is a monster in-game dunker — so was Shannon Brown last year. That doesn’t necessarily translate to a dunk contest. In a game, there is a defender who is trying to stop you and the creativity is spur of the moment — you can’t go put on a cape and be Superman. A dunk contest dunk is something all together different.

Still, this is Griffin’s to lose.

Derrick Rose being back for start of season in question

Fred Hoiberg, Derrick Rose
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The Bulls have said Derrick Rose is about a week away from returning after suffering a facial fracture this preseason.

The start of the NBA season is two weeks from today (Oct. 27).

So Rose will be ready to go when the Bulls start their season that first night against Cleveland, right? Don’t bet on it, says Vincent Goodwill of, quoting coach Fred Hoiberg.

The opening night projection for a Derrick Rose return is a bit murky at this point, as the Bulls are taking a cautious approach to his recovery with Fred Hoiberg essentially ruling him out for the rest of the preseason.

“Most likely (out for the preseason),” Hoiberg said….

In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Rose sit out the first handful of games, as the Bulls start the season with a three-game in four-night stretch starting Oct. 27 against the Cleveland Cavaliers, which is in two weeks.

“That will be in consideration, sure,” Hoiberg said. “We gotta make sure, he really hasn’t done anything and that will be a good two or three weeks where he has total inactivity, so just to throw him back out there going 100 percent with his speed and everything, you just don’t want to take any risks, chances, where it could be a lingering issue.”

Just what TNT and the NBA hoped for with an opening night Bulls vs. Cavaliers showcase: Kirk Hinrich vs. Mo Williams. (Don’t forget Kyrie Irving will miss the start of the season recovering from his knee surgery.)

Of course, this is the smart play for the Bulls who need to be thinking about getting Rose fully healthy and focusing on what condition he will be come April 27, not Oct. 27.

And of course, a lot of Bulls fans who are down on Rose will slam him for this. Even though the injury was a freak accident and the team is right to be patient.

Rose could play opening night, if he gets back to practice next week and can get closer to basketball shape. But I wouldn’t bet on it.

Stephen Curry apologizes for Warriors’ health, playoff path, success

Stephen Curry, DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Hawes

Draymond Green wasn’t the only Warrior firing back at perceived critics today.

A sarcastic Stephen Curry joined the fun (and to his credit, did so much more appropriately than his teammate).


I just want to say, I apologize for us being healthy. I apologize for us playing who’s in front of us. I apologize for all the accolades we’ve received as a team and individually. I’m very, truly sorry. We’ll rectify that situation this year.

We try to have fun with it.

What the Warriors refuse to realize: Acknowledging the fortunate breaks they received en route to their championship is not the same as saying they didn’t deserve their championship. It’s not insulting them.

Of course, the Warriors aren’t obligated to fully understand the critiques. They’re incentivized to spin the comments into motivation.

Mission clearly accomplished.