Three Point Contest preview: It’s not just a couple of Celtics

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For all the world cares, there are two guys in the Three-Point Shooting Contest, part of the Saturday night fun in Los Angeles for All-Star Weekend.

There’s Ray Allen, who has hit more three pointers than anyone in NBA history. Then there is Paul Pierce, the defending Three-Point Contest champion. They play for the high-profile Boston Celtics. Both have hit big shots on the biggest stages. They are friends.

And, of course, Pierce is already talking smack, as Allen relayed to Jessica Camerato of CSN New England.

“Paul has been talking all day today, all day yesterday. He was out there when I was shooting — he brought the rack out. I told him, ‘I’ve been there, done that,’ ” he said. “I know if you ask Paul, he’ll tell you that when I won, it was 10 years ago and everything’s changed since then. So I’m the dinosaur in the game, I don’t stand a chance, I don’t know the formula now since he just won last year.”

Right. Ray Allen doesn’t know how to shoot the three ball in rhythm.

Still, there are other guys that could spoil the Celtics party:

Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder): He’s the league’s leading scorer and we know he can hit the three, but he is hitting just 33.8 percent from deep on the season and 36.7 percent in his last 10 games. Those are pedestrian numbers. Hate to say it, but he really doesn’t belong here.
Daniel Gibson (Cleveland Cavaliers): In rhythm (like when LeBron James used to throw him kick-out passes) he is one of the better three-ball shooters in the league hitting 44.3 percent from three this season.

James Jones (Miami Heat): He gets LeBron James’ (and Dwyane Wade’s) kick-outs now and is hitting 42.3 percent from three this season.

Dorell Wright (Golden State Warriors): He has attempted (337) and made (135) more threes than anyone in the NBA this season. That works out to 40.1 percent shooting, incase you are not a human calculator.

Any one of those guys could get hot and win it all, but are you really going to bet against Allen and Pierce? Not if you like your money, you’re not.

DeMarcus Cousins out for Kings vs. Warriors Saturday

DeMarcus Cousins, Nicolas Batum, Marvin Williams
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As if Golden State was not already a prohibitive favorite Saturday night.

DeMarcus Cousins, who has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a strained back and that will continue Saturday. Our old friend Bill Herenda tweeted it first.

Not only are the Kings 1-6 without Cousins, but they were also on their way to beating Charlotte Monday until Cousins had to leave the game.

Golden State will likely be without Harrison Barnes in this game after spraining his ankle in the last game. Expect Andre Iguodala to get the start, or if interim coach Luke Walton doesn’t want to mess with the bench rotation he could go with Brandon Rush.

Good news: Anthony Davis listed as probably vs. Utah Saturday

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Watching Anthony Davis fall to the court clutching his knee, not being able to put any pressure on his leg as he was helped to the locker room, it was frightening Friday night in Los Angeles.

It turns out it’s not that bad. After the game the injury was described as a “knee contusion” and not the serious damage that was feared. Saturday the Pelicans said Davis was good to go.

Whew. Nobody wants to see Davis miss time.

The Pelicans had won three in a row until they ran into the Clippers Friday night. Davis has played better of late — the New Orleans defense is 7.2 points per 100 better when he is on the court — and New Orleans has gotten better point guard play out of Ish Smith.

Stephen Curry abuses Sun’s Price with behind-the-back, pull-up three (VIDEO)

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That is just cruel.

An on-fire Warriors team dropped 44 on the Suns in the first quarter Saturday, and Curry had 19 of those points going 5-of-6 from three. The Suns’ had no defender who could begin to hang with him. Certainly not Ronnie Price, who came in off the bench and got abused for his efforts.

Curry finished with 41 points, never had to set foot on the court in the fourth quarter, and the Warriors improved to 17-0 on the season. Just another day at the office for them.

Philadelphia has dropped record 27 in a row dating back to last season

Brett Brown

We tend to think of record streaks having to be in one season, not broken up across two.

But if you can suspend that, the Philadelphia 76ers are now the owners of the longest losing streak in NBA — and major professional sports — history.

With their tough two-points loss to Houston Friday night, the Sixers have lost 27 in a row. The Sixers dropped their final 10 last season and with the loss to the Rockets are 0-17 to start this one.

That bests the 26-game losing streaks of the 2010-11 Cleveland Cavaliers and these same Sixers from 2013-14. Looking across sports, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of 1976-1977 also lost 26 in a row, which when you consider the length of the NFL season is pretty embarrassing.

The Sixers struggles are born from a plan by GM Sam Hinkie (and approved by ownership) to get better long-term by being bad now and hoarding draft picks. It’s a strategy that can work if Hinkie nails the draft picks (the book is out on how Hinkie is doing on that front). And they are committed to it through at least this draft.

But don’t think for a second the players and coach are trying to lose.

If you have watched the Sixers play their last few games you know the players are trying hard to get that victory (and almost have a couple of times). The effort is there, they are just outmatched and lack the kind of presence at the end of games to execute under pressure (something a couple of quality, regularly-playing veterans might help, but that’s another discussion). They have the point differential of a team that should have a couple wins; they just haven’t been fortunate. It happens. Go ahead and blame management if you think this plan is an abomination. Just don’t question the desire or effort of the players or coaches, that is not in doubt.

The Sixers play at the Grizzlies Sunday, then have maybe their best shot at a win for a while when they host the Lakers on Tuesday.