Tuesday And-1 links: James Harden listed as day-to-day

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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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• The official status of James Harden is day-to-day and he is undergoing tests to see when he can return from the concussion he got due to Metta World Peace’s elbow. The more realistic outcome is he sits the Thunder’s meaningless games Tuesday and Wednesday and returns for the playoffs this weekend. Let’s hope he can return for the playoffs.

• The league did not rush to put out its decision on the coming Metta World Peace suspension for the elbow to Harden’s head. We don’t know what it will be as of this writing. The league was under no pressure to make a quick decision because the Lakers don’t play again until Thursday.

• Grant Hill has had fluid drained from his knee and is a game time decision for the Suns must-win game against the Jazz Tuesday.

• Ray Allen and Greg Stiemsma will not play for the Celtics Tuesday night. Rajon Rondo and Mickael Pietrus did not take part in shootaround and are game time decisions. The Celtics are locked in at the four seed but still have a shot at home court in the first round.

• Tim Duncan would vote for Gregg Popovich for Coach of the Year. In other news, I think my mom is the best mom ever.

• Rockets GM Daryl Morey writes about the inexact science of projecting how good players will be.

• Rodney Stuckey has been slumping and missing games of late, and the reason may be knee trouble.

Taking a close look at how the Lakers defend the pick-and-roll.

• Kyle Lowry likely will have surgery on his sports hernia/groin injury this offseason.

• Deron Williams did not play Monday for the Nets and did not address the crowd after the final game there. But sure, they stand a real chance of keeping him this summer.

• Kris Humphries has “made no secret” that he wants to stay with the Nets and go to Brooklyn. See, he can be in a long-term relationship.

• Trevor Ariza has been excused from going on the final three-game road trip with the Hornets. He has not played a minute for the team since April 7, when they decided to focus on youth more.

• The Rockets wanted to sign Dionte Christmas for the last couple games of the season, but because he was playing in Greece they are awaiting FIBA clearance.

• Remember this name: Justin Dentmon. He was your D-League’s MVP.

Utah’s Donovan Mitchell wins throwback Dunk Contest with Vince Carter tribute

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LOS ANGELES — The 2018 Dunk Contest went retro.

And it worked.

The throwbacks started with Cleveland’s Larry Nance Jr. going quick-change to pay tribute to his father, the 1984 winner of the Dunk Contest.

Nance later had the best dunk of the night, but it wasn’t enough in the face of Utah’s Donovan Mitchell‘s strong and consistent night highlight by his throwback dunk — donning a Vince Carter Toronto dinosaur jersey and doing VC’s famed 360 dunk — which got Mitchell the 48 points he needed to hold-off Nance and win the contest. It was over.

“Growing up I was a big dunker,” Mitchell said. “I wasn’t really much of a basketball player. I just dunked and played defense, and I watched a lot of Vince’s videos. I’ve been seeing what he’s been doing all year at his age, which is incredible.

“So I figured, you know, at my size if I was able to get it, it would be a great dunk and a way to finish it, you know. And actually, funny story is I haven’t made that dunk in like half a year. I tried it in practice the past two days and tried it this morning, didn’t make it. Tried it last night, didn’t make it… But to be able to make it was why I was so excited.”

Earlier in the night, Mitchell had done another tribute worn a Darrell Griffith jersey — Utah’s Dr. Dunkenstien, who went to Louisville like Mitchell — for an off-the-side-of-the-backboard jumping over Kevin Hart dunk.

“You know, just knowing your history, I think, is the biggest thing,” Mitchell said of the throwbacks. “Just understanding where this game originated, I guess the OGs of the game, I guess you would call it. But just understanding. Even if it’s just dunking. Whether it’s dunking in the NBA in general, Darrell Griffith, we went to the same school in college. I know Darrell very well. Both got drafted by the Jazz, and he was an incredible player. To be able to pay homage to him meant a lot to me.”

For my money, Nance had the dunk of the night, his first in the Finals, a double off-the-backboard throwdown that you had to see on replay to get (it wasn’t as evident in the building what he had done until it was re-shown on the big screen).

It was a fun contest all night long.

Mitchell (the leader in the Rookie of the Year race) started it off brilliantly — he brought out a second backboard, and did a self-alley-oop off one to the other.

Larry Nance Jr. did his tribute to his father with his first dunk, and on his second one came from behind the backboard, going around the world, and threw it down hard. That got him into the Finals.

Oladipo missed all three of his dunks in the first round, which almost doomed his night. He, however, did a dunk wearing the Black Panther mask for his second dunk, which impressed.

Mitchell said he wanted to beat Dennis Smith Jr. because the Mavericks’ point guard had beaten him in dunk contests for years. Smith had one monster dunk, when he went between the legs and threw it down hard and got the full 50. It just wasn’t enough to get Smith to the Finals.

Nance started off the final round by bringing out his father again to throw an alley-oop to a windmill. Mitchell responded with a self-alley-oop to a windmill that was flat-out wicked. That got Mitchell a 50-46 lead after one round of the Finals.

Then Mitchell went to Vince Carter and “it was over.”

Larry Nance Jr. throws alley-oop to himself, throws alley-oop to himself (video)

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LOS ANGELES — Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. immediately motioned for the replay to be shown of this dunk. It was necessary to properly appreciate it.

Best dunk of the night.

Donovan Mitchell won the dunk contest, though.

Larry Nance Jr. plays tribute to father — rock-the-cradle dunk in Suns uniform

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LOS ANGELES — Back in 1984, high-flying Larry Nance Sr. won the first NBA All-Star Dunk Contest with this set of dunks — most famously a rock-the-cradle move.

Larry Nance Jr. came into the 2018 Dunk Contest and went nostalgic — all the way back to the Suns’ throwback uniform and the same dunk.

That and a good second dunk got him into the Dunk Contest finals. In that round, Nance Sr. threw an alley-oop to his son for the windmill.

Donovan Mitchell throws alley-oop to himself – off second backboard (video)

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LOS ANGELES – Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell set a high standard with the first slam of the 2018 dunk contest.

Very creative. Very well-executed.

Looks like all that preparation paid off.