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.
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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.

Nets’ Jeremy Lin: ‘We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says’

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The Nets went 20-62 then traded their best player (Brook Lopez) for a worse player (D'Angelo Russell). Brooklyn’s biggest free-agent signing this summer (Otto Porter) plays for the Wizards. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson and Caris LeVert are nice developmental pieces but hardly seem on the verge of breakthroughs.

Still, Nets guard Jeremy Lin expects big things next season.

He set expectations in an Instagram Live video (hat tip: AJ Neuharth-Keusch of USA Today):

We’re making the playoffs. I don’t care what anybody else says.

The Nets are on the right track given their asset constraints. Though worse than Lopez now, Russell – eight years younger and on a low-paying rookie-scale deal – is more valuable. Brooklyn made the favorable swap by absorbing Timofey Mozgov‘s awful contract, a wise use of assets considering the difficulty of attracting free agents. An aggressive offer sheet for Porter was a reasonable swing in that situation, as well.

But that’s all helpful in the long run. In the short term, the Nets are almost certainly stuck as lousy. Maybe they can sneak into the playoffs in a weak Eastern Conference, but even that is a huge longshot.

Not that Lin cares what I say.

Check out Top 10 blocks from Summer League (VIDEO)

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When you think of Summer League basketball, sharp defensive rotations is not the first thing that comes to mind. Defense, in general, tends to be an after thought.

But there were some great blocks.

Here are the top 10 blocks from the Las Vegas Summer League. Enjoy the flashes of defense from Vegas.

 

Memphis Grizzlies sign former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month’s NBA draft.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.

 

Report: Even after Kyrie Irving requests trade, Carmelo Anthony still focused on Rockets, not Cavaliers

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Carmelo Anthony was reportedly willing to waive his no-trade clause for the Rockets or Cavaliers. Cleveland never seemed overly interested, but Houston was. Anthony became set on the Rockets, even reportedly expecting a trade to Houston.

Then, Kyrie Irving requested a trade from the Cavs.

That has thrown everything for a loop. Maybe Cleveland is more keen on trading for Anthony now? The Knicks are reportedly interested in trading Anthony and draft picks for Irving.

But any deal still depends on Anthony’s approval, and it’s now unclear he’d still grant that for the Cavaliers.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

However, a source close to Anthony said late Friday that the All Star forward is focused on getting a deal done with Houston.

Consider this another indication LeBron James will leave Cleveland next summer. Of course, Anthony might have other reasons for preferring Houston. But when reading tea leaves on LeBron’s future, this is a clue.

I doubt LeBron has completely decided his plan, and he hasn’t even necessarily shared his thinking with Anthony, a close friend. Remember, LeBron edited his coming-home essay while on a flight with an unknowing Dwyane Wade, another close friend. But it was one thing for LeBron to strand Wade in Miami, a desirable city where Wade was happy even before LeBron arrived. It’d be something else entirely for LeBron to ditch Anthony in Cleveland. If LeBron is considering leaving, maybe he’d tell Anthony to stay clear.

Anthony could also be operating without hearing directly from LeBron. But if LeBron’s friend believes LeBron might leave, that’d still say something (though obviously not as much).

Back to the possibility that Anthony prefers the Rockets for other reasons. What happens if New York and Cleveland agree to a trade? Does Anthony still hold out for his top choice? Or does he relent and accept what was once his second choice? For now, it seems as if he’s still angling for Houston and will cross other bridges if he reaches them.