Yao Ming sues Chinese company to protect brand, name

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When you’re an international brand — and make no mistake, Yao Ming is an international brand — then you have to work internationally to protect it.

Which explains why Yao is suing a Chinese sportswear company, as reported by the Associated Press (via SLAM).

Xinhua News Agency reported Friday that the injured Houston Rockets center had sued Wuhan Yunhe Sharks Sportswear Co. for putting his name and logo “Yao Ming Era” on its shoes. It said the lawsuit was filed in Wuhan, the capital of central Hubei province.

Yao has a licensing agreement with Reebok. Copyright infringement is widespread in China, with rampant illegal copying of products from software to music and even medicine.

Yao’s future in the NBA is in question, a series of ankle and foot injuries have him a free agent. He wants to play again, and some team may take a shot on him with an incentive-laden contract, but whether he can ever step on the court again in a meaningful way remains to be seen.

But either way, his name and brand have a lot of value. Value that needs to be protected.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook go head-to-head, literally (video)

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This sure didn’t look like just another game for Kevin Durant – and not only because the Thunder beat the Warriors for the first time since he left.

The 108-91 Oklahoma City victory didn’t look like just another game for Russell Westbrook (34 points, 10 rebounds, nine assists and four steals), either.

Harrison Barnes banks in game-winning, buzzer-beating 3-pointer (video)

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With the shot clock off in the fourth quarter and the game tied, Grizzlies big JaMychal Green put back Tyreke Evans‘ miss with a clutch flush. There’s a very fine line between ensuring the last shot and leaving time for an offensive rebound, and Memphis threated it almost perfectly.

Emphasis on “almost.”

The Grizzlies left the Mavericks 0.5 seconds, which Harrison Barnes used to bank in a 3-pointer – off a pinpoint bounce pass by Dennis Smith Jr. – to give Dallas a 95-94 win.

Heat snap Celtics’ 16-game winning streak

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
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The Celtics didn’t have another comeback in them.

After overcoming a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit against the Mavericks on Monday to extend its winning streak to 16 games, Boston lost to the Heat tonight, 104-98. The streak ends as the NBA’s longest since the Hawks won 19 straight during the 2014-15 season.

The Celtics trailed Miami by 16 in the fourth quarter then cut the deficit to only one with three minutes left. But Dion Waiters hit back-to-back 3-pointers, helping the Heat pull away.

Goran Dragic (27 points) and Waiters (26 points) led Miami, which needed a reason to feel good after losing three of four to fall to 7-9.

The Celtics, on the other hand, still have a four-game cushion over the rest of the Eastern Conference. This might help them regain focus.

Serge Ibaka gets dunked on by Enes Kanter, hit in face by ball (video)

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Is Enes Kanter mad Serge Ibaka rifted with his family?

(No, not this family. That family.)