Orlando Magic v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three

Dwight Howard waffles, says might stay in Orlando if “things change”

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Dwight Howard can waffle positions like a presidential candidate.

Although I think he was just trying to play nice on Magic media day and didn’t realize what he was about to step in.

At Orlando media day Howard was talking to the media and of course was asked about leaving the city and his trade demands… and that’s when he waffled. Here are the tweets from Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.

Possibly stunning development or just PR:Dwight Howard softens stance. “This is the place I want to be but some things have to change”

Magic PR pulled Howard away quickly, but he didn’t seem to be the irritated young man he has been…could be just to settle the turbulence

Hard to read whether Dwight Howard is leaving door ajar to stay…or Magic convinced him to keep it civil and upbeat at media day.

My guess is more of the latter. He probably tried to defuse the situation a little, trade talks are moving along slowly for him as the Magic explore options outside of just Lakers, Mavericks and Nets. The Magic are determined to get a deal they can live with, and that takes time. Howard is going to play part of this season with the Magic, he doesn’t want that to be painful.

So he says Orlando is the place he wants to be, but that just gets the hopes up of Magic fans. The changes he wants are not really possible, unless Chris Paul becomes a free agent who can somehow sign with Orlando despite their bloated payroll.

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.