Puerto Rico World All-Star game postponed, stick fork in tour

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So much for that “see how much money we can make without the NBA” tour.

After seemingly half the stars in the World All-Star Classic constellation pulled out in the past week, the first game — scheduled for Sunday in Puerto Rico — and the entire series now has been sucked into a black hole. Sadly just hours after the NBA labor talks blew up — apparently the basketball gods don’t want us to watch games.

Ric Bucher at ESPN has the report:

The six-game, four-continent World All-Star Classic exhibition tour featuring two squads of All-Star NBA players is on hold, with Sunday’s scheduled game in San Juan, Puerto Rico, postponed indefinitely, sources said.

The other five games on the tour, scheduled for London, Macau and Australia, already had been pushed back until late November, sources said. There was hope the game in San Juan could be salvaged and serve as proof to the other venues and investors that Atlanta businessman Cal Darden and his son, Cal, Jr., were capable of pulling off the event.

First it was Derrick Rose and Russell Westbrook who pulled out before even the official announcement went out. That was followed by LeBron James, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony backing out, then just in the last 24 hours it was Dwight Howard’s turn to get out. Kevin Durant was rumored to be on the fence — and he’s played anywhere and everywhere this summer. With the players being promised six figures and up to $1 million to do the tour (and giving them a platform to promote their brand internationally), for them to bail means something smelled fishy to them and their agents.

Some big names were still attached — Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Kevin Garnett — but that was not going to be enough.

Part of the players backing out seemed to be tied to optimism around the finalizing of an NBA labor deal. Now that has blown up again, at least for a little while, and it remains to be seen if that can breathe a little more life into it.

Probably not. It was a grandiose plan, but it has fallen like a Jenga tower. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men….

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.

Did Reggie Jackson distract Jimmy Butler into missing game-tying free throw? (video)

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With the Timberwolves trailing the Pistons by three and 6.2 seconds left, Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer.

Butler made the first two free throws then, just before he got the ball for the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit won 100-97 after an intentional foul.

Butler said Jackson didn’t affect him, but Butler’s side eye during the delay at least appeared to speak loudly.

Bulls’ Kris Dunn dunks on T.J. Warren after savvy/explosive halfcourt drive (video)

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Kris Dunn had a nice weekend – 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds as the Bulls beat the Hornets and lost to the Suns – punctuated by this dunk in Chicago’s 113-105 loss to the Suns last night.

T.J. Warren paid the price for Tyler Ulis overplaying a Robin Lopez screen Dunn cleverly never used.