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). We’re trying out a bullet-point format to help the look and feel, tell us what you think of it.
• Conan O’Brien got a pair of Guinness colored Nikes. I’m not a sneakerhead, but I might buy a pair of those.
• Kevin Love leads the NBA in scoring in March, averaging 30.3 points per game.
• Brian Grant talks openly, honestly about his fight with Parkinson’s disease.
• Sports Illustrated follows the Dallas Mavericks around on a back-to-back to show the wear and tear of this season.
• Kevin Durant is about to sign with agent Rob Pelinka, reports Liz Mullen of the Sports Business Journal. Pelinka is the agent for Kobe Bryant and James Harden, among others. (Durant left Aaron Goodwin a while back.)
• There is no timetable on Richard Hamilton’s return to the Bulls. He can’t even lift his arm over his head yet.
• Watch Gerald Green almost hit his head on the backboard while making a block.
• On the other end of the spectrum, watch Markieff Morris make two of the worst passes you are going to see. Back-to-back.
• Nene says the future is bright with him in Washington.
• Nick Young talks about the Wizards and his transition to the Clippers.
• The Heat beat the Magic the other day in part by using Orlando’s own favorite play against them.
• Some good thoughts on the gray area of “clutch performance” and why that is so hard to define.
• Check out this Pau Gasol portrait. Interesting.
• Xavier Henry has been sent by the Hornets to the Iowa Energy of the D-League.
LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.
He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.
Enter Elfrid Payton.
During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.
Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.
That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.
Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.
For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.
In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”
Well, today is that day.
Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.
Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.
This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.
Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.
NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.
Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.
The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.
Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.
My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).
There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.
That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.
Bring on February!
LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.
During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.
The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.
I mean, that’s just … insane.