Amare Stoudemire high five

Amar’e Stoudemire’s back still just “90 percent healthy”

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UPDATE 3:19 pm: Amar’e Stoudemire himself said his back is getting better. Or at least it’s getting better at a faster pace than the NBA Labor talks are getting better. Basically, he’ll be ready to go Oct. 1 if the league is. From the New York Post.

“I feel great,’’ Stoudemire said. “Been resting all summer. That’s been my main priority and I feel great.’’

1:04 pm: If Amar’e Stoudemire needs advice on working through a back injury, he may want to call former teammate Steve Nash.

And his back is not healthy, something we knew already, but we got some more details in a report from the New York Post.

Stoudemire has not fully recovered from a back injury he suffered before Game 2 of the Knicks’ first-round series against Boston last April. A Knicks source claims that Stoudemire is approximately “90% healthy” but couldn’t guarantee that the six-time All-Star would be available if the NBA season begins on time.

Stoudemire, who took most of July off to rest his back, is scheduled to resume workouts in Florida within the next couple of weeks.

Stoudemire wasn’t just taking the summer off to build a fashion empire, he was resting his back. Doctor’s orders.

Bottom line, Stoudemire is the one guy happy the lockout is going to cost the league a few games. Or, if not happy, we’ll go with relieved. The lockout ends up being good for him. A little.

Backs are the kind of thing that has to heal or it can become chronic. Get it right now so that this isn’t flaring up next playoffs

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.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.