Amare Stoudemire

Stoudemire says LeBron needs to respect, connect like MJ

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Michael Jordan could be arrogant. He punched teammate Steve Kerr in the face during a practice. There were gambling and infidelity issues.

Things might have been different for Jordan in today’s world of cell phone cameras and social media — not to mention blogs — but the fact is a lot of people knew about those things at the time and didn’t care.

Amar’e Stoudemire told the New York Times there is a reason that LeBron James angers so many while Jordan is beloved.

“I think you have to conduct yourself in way that people can relate to you,” said Stoudemire, who led the Knicks back to the playoffs this season after the team posted its first winning record (42-40) in 10 years. “The more they can relate to you, the more they will appreciate you….

“Everybody has their own way of commenting on things, but I would have commented differently,” Stoudemire said. “One thing about Michael Jordan was that no matter how great he was and how much of a platform he stood on, he still related to all the hard workers out there in the world.

“I think LeBron is still young,” Stoudemire added, “and there is still time for him to reconnect with the public.”

By the way, Stoudemire said his back is still bothering him some, but it’s muscular and should be fine in plenty of time for next season as he getting regular treatment. Besides, he’s in the midst of a national Excedrin campaign so he’s feeling no pain.

Report: Khris Middleton could return to Bucks before All-Star break

CHARLOTTE, NC - JANUARY 16:  Khris Middleton #22 of the Milwaukee Bucks reacts during their game against the Charlotte Hornets at Time Warner Cable Arena on January 16, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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The Bucks projected Khris Middleton to miss about 70 games when he tore his hamstring before the season. That extended absence often leads players just to shut down for the year, but Middleton vowed to return in time for the playoffs.

He might get back far sooner than that.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Sources told ESPN.com the Bucks think Middleton, who suffered a hamstring tear just days before the season began, “has a chance” to return to the lineup during a three-game homestand next month before the All-Star ‎break.

Whether Middleton ultimately makes his season debut before or after the All-Star Game, he is expected to be kept on a minutes restriction as he eases way his back from the injury, sources said.

The Bucks have started Tony Snell, who has held his own as an outside shooter. But Middleton will upgrade Milwaukee on Snell’s biggest strength and provide massive defensive improvement. After a strong start, the Bucks have really struggled lately on that end.

Giannis Antetokounmpo has led Milwaukee to a 20-21 record, though the team is better than its won-loss mark indicates. The Bucks will be even better with Middleton, who will rival Jabari Parker as their second-best player and fit seamlessly.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.