Does Australia want Bogut enough for the government to help?

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Andrew Bogut is a big deal in Australia. They have other players in the NBA — hello Patty Mills — but Bogut is a defensive stalwart, the former college player of the year at Utah who, if he gets his shooting touch back, is a borderline All-Star.

Plenty of teams in the Australian league (the NBL) want him to play for them if the lockout drags on, and Bogut tweeted he is in talks with several teams.

But one team, the Perth Wildcats — five-time league champions, essentially the Celtics/Lakers of Australia — has a plan to pick up the massive insurance bill for Bogut (roughly $500,000 every three months) to insure the remaining $39 million on his Milwaukee Bucks contract.

Well, the Wildcats don’t actually want to pick it up themselves, as a team executive told The West Australian (via Hoopshype).

If negotiations progress, the Wildcats would seek financial support from the government and corporate sectors. (Team managing director Nick) Marvin said the benefits of Bogut playing in Perth would be felt not just by the Wildcats, but by the wider WA community….

“For Andrew Bogut to play for us, and if that is the only hurdle we have to cross, I would hope that government and corporate Western Australia would support us and make it work,” Marvin said.

Corporations and sponsors? Maybe. The government? In this country it’s hard to get public money to pay for an arena (with good reason) — can you imagine the reaction if Pat Riley went to the governor of Florida to ask for money to pay LeBron James and Dwyane Wade?

But if Marvin can sell this to them, well, he is the new Blake.

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.)