Big Baby, Stoudemire take gentle verbal shots at each other

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Amare Stoudemire had 28 points, 11 rebounds and a few key baskets for the Knicks down the stretch in Game 1. (He might have had more if the Knicks hadn’t inexplicably stopped feeding him the ball.)

Stoudemire looked like the force he was earlier in the season. It looked like Boston couldn’t really stop him. But Boston’s Glen “Big Baby” Davis didn’t see it that way. Davis and Stoudemire jaw all the time on the court, and they carried that over to meetings with the press. Like the Boston Herald.

“It’s really not that hard; I don’t know why,” Davis said before the Celtics-Knicks playoff series began. “I’ve been tripping. I give him too much credit.”

It didn’t really matter that Davis did add that he needed to be vigilant — “If he gets a step on you, he’s too strong…”

Stoudemire, of course, fired back. In the “you’re not really comparing us, are you?” kind of way.

“I’m sorry, but me and Glen Davis are on two different platforms right now,” said Stoudemire, who scored a game-high 28 points in Game 1 last night, but watched the C’s rally for an 87-85 victory. “He’s a solid player, does a great job for his ballclub right now, but we’re on two different platforms.”

Asked to comment on Davis (two points, five rebounds last night), Stoudemire said, “He’s great for his team. He comes in and plays hard. He rebounds the ball well. He really gets it going. It’s great to play against him because we both talk, we both get ourselves going out there on the court. It’s a lot of fun.”

Okay, that’s not real impressive or incisive smack talk. It’s frankly high school freshman smack talk. But as both of these guys are pretty media savvy and know how many media sharks are in the water around this series, they are playing nice. Relatively.

It will be fun to watch these to go at it for a few more games. But if I were a Knicks fan, there would be other things I’d be more worried about than what Davis says.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.