Saturday, NBA basketball was back. Okay, not really. But NBA players (or former, I guess, considering they’re locked out) played in the Philippines on Saturday in an exhibition against the PBA All-Stars. It was a huge event, with a raucous Filipino crowd chanting and cheering everything. Honestly, it was louder than about 95% of all arenas in the NBA. Let’s just say Kobe doesn’t get that kind of reception from his crowd, in-between taco chants. From the Philippino Star:
In return, Kobe Bryant and company, playing under the banner of SMART All-Star team, put on a show to remember, drubbing the PBA stars, 131-105, in the kickoff game of the Ultimate All-Star Weekend at the full-packed Araneta Coliseum tonight.
The game’s result was a foregone conclusion but the crowd waited with bated breath just every move the NBA stars made.
They were more exciting and more adorable up close and personal.
JaVale McGee led the way (who saw that coming?) with 25 points, including about seventeen missed layups and one coast-to-coast jam, while Kevin Durant has 22 and Derrick Williams 19. Derrick Rose had only nine points, but then, he didn’t have to score after this jam.
And not to be outdone, KD and James Harden got in the act:
A great time was had by all and another exhibition is set for tomorrow. It should serve as a reminder that these are the best players in the world, and they are irreplaceable. Their talents only last the length of their careers and we should appreciate them while we can.
Ahem… owners… ahem.
Andre Drummond hits buzzer-beating heave from beyond halfcourt (VIDEO)
Andre Drummond is a terrible free-throw shooter…except, apparently, when he’s shooting from the other free-throw line. Monday night against the Raptors, Drummond cut Detroit’s deficit to five at the end of the third quarter with this three-quarter-court heave at the buzzer:
Not a lot has gone right for the Nets this season, but an impressive clutch shot by seven-time All-Star Joe Johnson gave them their 14th win of the season on Monday. With time expiring, Johnson banked in a long three-pointer to put Brooklyn up 105-104 over Denver and secure the victory:
For about a week, word has circulated throughout the NBA that George Karl’s days in Sacramento were numbered. They’ve lost eight of their last 10 games, and players have more or less checked out on him. Remember, it’s only been a year since the Kings unceremoniously ousted interim head coach Ty Corbin to bring Karl in, which came on the heels of their puzzling dismissal of Mike Malone in December 2014.
Now, ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the Kings have made the decision to let Karl go:
ESPN sources say that the Sacramento Kings are going ahead with a coaching change and plan to fire George Karl in coming days
The decision itself isn’t surprising—it always seemed to be a matter of “when,” not “if” Karl would be fired. But the optics here are not good. If everybody knows it’s coming, it makes no sense to leak that the change is going to happen hours or even days before it’s made official.
The report of the Kings’ decision on Karl comes on the heels of a concerning bombshell Rajon Rondo dropped following Sacramento’s 120-100 loss to the Cavaliers on Monday night.
Via the Sacramento Bee‘s Jason Jones:
Rondo: "With optional shootarounds it’s tough. … When 3 or 4 guys show up for shootaround this morning, how can you expect to win.?"
That’s a bad look for everybody involved. An optional shootaround is more or less unheard of in the NBA, and if only three players bothered to come, that’s an unignorable sign that the team has quit on Karl.
Karl-Anthony Towns fakes out Luke Babbitt with spin move (VIDEO)
Since he came into the league, Karl-Anthony Towns‘ offensive footwork has been unusually advanced for a rookie. He showed off his impressive moves again on Monday night, getting to the basket around Luke Babbitt with this spin: