LeBron, Ibaka lead NBA All-Defensive team voting

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Few things can be counted on for a consistent laugh like the NBA All-Defensive team voting. It is always a laugh. This year it didn’t disappoint — somebody voted for Carlos Boozer. Yes, that Carlos Boozer. For his defense.

But no complaint about the top vote getter, LeBron James. He was a defensive force this year for the Heat and deserved to be on top of the list. It also was good to see Tony Allen make the first team, that is well deserved.

But then it gets interesting. Serge Ibaka is a fantastic shot blocker but when it comes to man defending or defending in space he has work to do. Dwight Howard made the first team over Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Chris Paul makes it and Dwyane Wade doesn’t? Really? And Kobe Bryant does not deserve to be on these teams anymore — he brings the defensive intensity sporadically now. It’s another reputation vote.

As for the really funny stuff, go down to “others receiving votes” list, where you can see Carlos Boozer got as many votes as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Or that Russell Westbrook got more votes than Thabo Sefolosha.

I’d say these are voted on by the coaches, but we all know this is really voted on by whoever the coach hands the ballot to. Could be anyone.

NBA All-Defensive First Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: LeBron James, Miami (53)
Forward: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City (47)
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando (41)
Guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers 35
Guard: Tony Allen, Memphis (33)

NBA All-Defensive Second Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: Kevin Garnett, Boston (26)
Forward: Luol Deng, Chicago (20)
Center: Tyson Chandler, New York (36)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston (29)
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (17)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 19 (4); Joakim Noah, Chicago, 14; Iman Shumpert, New York, 13 (4); Paul George, Indiana, 10 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 9 (2); Josh Smith, Atlanta, 8 (2); Dwyane Wade, Miami, 5 (1); Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City, 5 (1); Grant Hill, Phoenix, 5 (1); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 5 (1); Avery Bradley, Boston, 3 (1); Marc Gasol, Memphis, 3 (1); Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers, 3; Shawn Marion, Dallas, 3; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 2, (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 2; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 1; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, 1; Carlos Boozer, Chicago, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee, 1.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.

Enraged Jason Smith restrained from Mario Chalmers (video)

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During the Wizards’ win over the Grizzlies last night, Mario Chalmers tried to stop Jason Smith from shooting after Smith had been called for travelling. It’s a fairly common tactic, one pioneered by Kevin Garnett. Players don’t want their opponents to gain confidence by seeing the ball go through the net, even after play stops.

But Chalmers held onto Smith’s arm, and Smith took umbrage.

NBC Sports Washington:

I think it’s more likely, after halting Smith’s shot, Chalmers was trying to hold up Smith rather than yank him down. But I can’t know Chalmers’ intentions, and holding up a falling person by his arm isn’t very effective.

The double technical foul called seems about fair.