Monday And-1 links: All-Star Weekend notes edition

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

All weekend Deron Williams got asked about Jeremy Lin again and again — not his favorite topic, as you might guess — but he did reveal this one little nugget: other point guards are gearing up to go at him now. With all the attention, a lot of very prideful players have Lin specifically in their sights.

There are countless events and promotions that come to a city on All-Star Weekend. From my vantage point, with Orlando’s own Dwight Howard an adidas guy and the fact they have the clothing contract with the league, adidas gear seemed to be everywhere.

I was at the Carmelo Anthony party on Saturday — thanks for the hookup Brett — and Andrew Sharp sums it up pretty well.

Amway Center is a really beautiful building inside.

Neverest performed the Canadian national anthem on Sunday. When I asked the guys from The Basketball Jones — who are Canadian and live and work in Toronto — who the band was they had no idea. Never heard of them.

While the expensive suites and lower bowl seats were only lightly filled Friday (and even Sunday there were empty seats there) the upper bowl seats where the regular fans of Orlando sat was pretty much full every night.

TNT got big ratings the first couple nights of All-Star Weekend. The Rising Stars Challege on Friday was the most-watched telecast in the event’s history. The Saturday night events (three-point, dunk contest, etc) was tied for the second-highest rated NBA All-Star Saturday Night all-time (trailing 2009).

Ben & Jerry’s put out a “Taste the Lin-Sanity” ice cream, but had to stop productionwhen there were complaints they put fortune cookies in it.

While everyone else was partying in Orlando, Vince Carter hosted a massive fundraiser for Barack Obama.

Scottie Pippen says the current Bulls remind him of the Bulls teams he was on in the ‘80s.

Shaquille O’Neal is having a little tiff with a Puerto Rican radio station.

Mike D’Antoni is pretty confident the Knicks can figure out how to blend all that talent.

Andrew Bogut is not going to need surgery on his ankle. Which is good. But don’t confuse that with him being back soon.

Joel Przybilla has passed his physical and will be added to the Blazers roster in the next day or two, reports the Oregonian. Someone will have to be cut to make room.

Nets on Monday will sign Gerald Green of the D-Fenders of the D-League.

The Warriors will send Jeremy Tyler to the D-League on Monday.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.