Blake Griffin will not defend Dunk Contest crown

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What exactly was he going to do for an encore, anyway? Jump over a Zamboni?

There will be a new NBA All-Star Dunk Contest champion because Blake Griffin is not going to defend the crown, he said Thursday. From ESPNLosAngeles.com.

“As of right now I don’t plan on being in it,” Griffin said Thursday night. “Those dunk contests aren’t my thing, I said that last year. There’s a lot of guys that can put on a great show and do some good stuff….

“Last year was hectic and it kind of made it unenjoyable,” Griffin said. “So this year, we’ll see what will happen, but I will try to tone it down a bit and get a break instead of being so busy.”

Last year he was the new star in Los Angeles and the game was in his home town and building, which meant a lot more responsibilities. And that he had to go over the top for the dunk contest. So he did and jumped over a Kia with Baron Davis throwing a lob out of the sunroof.

This year was no-win for him — he would have had to out-do the car dunk and if he didn’t win the contest it would be an embarrassment. If he won, it was expected.

It does take a little wind out of the sails of the contest though; Griffin would have been the biggest name in it. Blake’s buddy and teammate DeAndre Jordan could represent the Clippers. Utah’s human pogo stick Jeremy Evans has a campaign going. We’ll see who else wants to step up and take the crown. And we’ll see if guys keep going in the direction of the prop-assisted dunk (over a car with a choir singing) or if it goes a little more old school.

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.)

LeBron James blows wide-open dunk (video)

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J.R. Smith (slightly out of context): “We don’t start paying attention until after All-Star break.”

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.