Oklahoma City Thunder v Miami Heat

Kevin Durant, LeBron James head All-NBA Teams


Here’s the problem with nitpicking the All-NBA teams — there are no bad players on any of the first three.

You can argue if you want (and as I would) that LaMarcus Aldridge deserves a spot on the third team more than Carmelo Anthony or Dirk Nowitzki, but that doesn’t make the guys on the list bad picks. I would have had Steve Nash ahead of Rajon Rondo. It’s just a difference of opinion, but you can defend any of these pick.

Well, you can’t defend every vote. I’d love to hear the justification of the media member that voted for Luis Scola or David Lee or Serge Ibaka on to one of these teams (they all got votes). Those are all just bad calls. But most voters (coaches, or whichever assistant they forced to do it) were sober enough not to make those choices.

As it should be, LeBron James and Kevin Durant were the top two vote getters. Dwight Howard edged out Andrew Bynum for the top center spot (it shouldn’t have been that close, Howard is still quite a bit ahead of Bynum’s game), and it’s hard to argue the L.A. backcourt tandem.

Derrick Rose did not make the list, but that was about injuries not play.

Here are the lists, with their vote totals in parenthesis:

All-NBA First Team

Forward: LeBron James, Miami (596)
Forward: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City (591)
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando (476)
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (568)
Guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers (484)

All-NBA Second Team

Forward: Kevin Love, Minnesota (365)
Forward: Blake Griffin, L.A. Clippers (170)
Center: Andrew Bynum, L.A. Lakers (400)
Guard: Tony Parker, San Antonio (367)
Guard: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (239)

All-NBA Third Team

Forward: Carmelo Anthony, New York (154)
Forward: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas (136)
Center: Tyson Chandler, New York (60)
Guard: Dwyane Wade, Miami (235)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston (142)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals: LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland, 55; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 52; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 44; Josh Smith, Atlanta, 33; Paul Pierce, Boston, 31; Al Jefferson, Utah, 30; Pau Gasol, L.A. Lakers, 27; Steve Nash, Phoenix, 24; Kevin Garnett, Boston, 22; Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 18; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 16; Deron Williams, New Jersey, 14; Rudy Gay, Memphis, 10; James Harden, Oklahoma City, 8; Luol Deng, Chicago, 5; Roy Hibbert, Indiana, 5; Manu Ginobili, San Antonio, 3; Danny Granger, Indiana, 3; Joakim Noah, Chicago, 3; Monta Ellis, Milwaukee, 2; Chris Bosh, Miami, 2; Luis Scola, Houston, 2; Marcin Gortat, Phoenix, 2; Paul Millsap, Utah, 2; Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 2; David Lee, Golden State, 1; and DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 1.

Anthem singer at Heat-76ers game kneels during performance (video)


MIAMI (AP) — A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason. Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

“We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We’ve had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action.”

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing. Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports – and many levels, from youth all the way to professional – have followed his lead in various ways.

“All I can say is what we’ve seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York earlier Friday, at a news conference following the league’s board of governors meetings. “It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do.”

The NBA has a rule calling for players and coaches to stand during the anthem.

Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence’s actions.

“At the end of the day, to each his own,” Ellington said. “If she feels like that’s the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her.”

Making a statement in the manner that Lawrence did Friday is rare, but not unheard of in recent weeks.

When the Sacramento Kings played their first home preseason game earlier this month, anthem singer Leah Tysse dropped to one knee as she finished singing the song.

Tysse is white. Lawrence is black.

“I love and honor my country as deeply as anyone yet it is my responsibility as an American to speak up against injustice as it affects my fellow Americans,” Tysse wrote on Facebook. “I have sung the anthem before but this time taking a knee felt like the most patriotic thing I could do. I cannot idly stand by as black people are unlawfully profiled, harassed and killed by our law enforcement over and over and without a drop of accountability.”

Report: When Kings hired George Karl, Rudy Gay greeted him with, ‘Welcome to basketball hell’

ATLANTA, GA - NOVEMBER 18:  Rudy Gay #8 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after their 103-97 loss to the Atlanta Hawks at Philips Arena on November 18, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  NOTE TO USER User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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The Kings were 18-34 when they hired George Karl in February 2015. They hadn’t made the playoffs in eight years. Sacramento fired coach Michael Malone earlier in the season, because – after a better start than anyone could’ve reasonably expected – the team slumped while its best player was out sick. The Kings gave the job to Tyrone Corbin and promised him the rest of the season, though they obviously reneged by hiring Karl. Owner Vivek Ranadivé declared he wanted a jazz director. The front office was chaotic, and general manager Pete D’Alessandro and special advisor Chris Mullin would soon depart. DeMarcus Cousins stewed.

Rudy Gay had been in Sacramento barely a year, but he had the franchised figured out.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

An aside on Gay: He’s quoted in an advance copy of George Karl’s forthcoming book “Furious George,” due to be published in January by Harper-Colins, as telling Karl when he met the new Sacramento coach for the first time in February 2015, “Welcome to basketball hell.”

Karl just worsened the situation – alienating Cousins, bothering other players and running flawed schemes. He deserves plenty of blame for the Kings continuing their malaise – though obviously not all of it.

Sacramento hired Vlade Divac to run the front office but completely bungled it. Once Divac got up and running, he was in way over his head. Ranadivé sets a toxic tone. Cousins remains moody.

No wonder Gay wants out.

At least he coined a term – “basketball hell” – that could stick when describing these Kings.

Draymond Green kicks at Allen Crabbe, and they have to be separated (video)


Draymond Green kicks wildly at opponents’ groins in the biggest games.

And he also does it in the most meaningless contests, like last night’s Warriors-Trail Blazers preseason game.

I don’t blame Allen Crabbe for being upset about this. Green must break this habit.

Watch Stephen Curry drop 35 in final preseason game


It’s just preseason, it matters as much public pay phones do now, but still.

The Warriors just went 6-1 in the preseason, and they capped it off with Stephen Curry dropping 35. He was hitting three, driving to the rim, hitting shots falling out-of-bounds, and all the rest of the Stephen Curry highlight reel specials.

The guy is just fun to watch play basketball.