Monday night and-1 links: See hoop players pictures tweeted from London

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A late-night version of our regular 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 like cowboys love oversized belt buckles.

Pixable has a really cool site put together where you can see what hoop players — NBA guys and the USA women — are taking pictures of and tweeting, mostly from London. Really fun thing to flip through.

• Stephen Jackson has promised to keep on rapping “until I can’t talk no more.”

Fantastic breakdown from Zach Lowe at Sports Illustrated of how teams will try to exploit Team USA’s weaknesses.

One Cavaliers beat writer is convinced Anderson Varejao will be traded before the deadline. I think we all kind of expect that to happen, but then again we all expected it before.

• We’re all really, really, really sick of the Dwight Howard saga. But here is a good argument from my man Brian Kamenetzky on why Lakers fans should hang in there and wait for this to play out and not give up on it.

• I flipped on some Los Angeles sports talk radio this afternoon and they were still talking Dwight to the Lakers. It is still THE topic in Los Angeles.

• Plans for a new NBA-ready arena in Seattle took a step forward Monday with a vote to approve an amended proposal from developer Chris Hanson — but there is going to be a lot more amending if he is going to get this deal done. Eight of nine Seattle City Council members signed a letter saying wanted tax money generated by the new arena to pay for improved transportation in the area where the arena would be built, money before targeted to pay off the bonds to build the arena. Transportation in the area of the arena — which is also where Safeco Field and the Port of Seattle are located — has been a concern.

• Tyson Chandler is still miffed coaches voted him on the second team NBA All-Defensive team, even in the year he won Defensive Player of the Year.

• Marc Gasol’s sore shoulder is not as serious as some would leave you to believe.

• We told you recently in another And-1 column that the NBA’s throwback jerseys next season will be from the 1990s. Here is a sneak peek at some of the looks.

Breaking down the Golden State Warriors schedule. If they can keep their heads above water early the schedule sets up for them to make a late run into a playoff spot.

• Charlie Villanueva says he is motivated by the scorn heaped on him by Pistons fans and plans to come back healthy and motivated next year. That’s great. But Pistons’ fans are pretty much going to go Missouri on this — “show me.” The Pistons are apparently pleased with his off-season conditioning. That’s a start.

• Omri Casspi says his knee is not 100 percent healthy yet but he hopes to be back there by the start of training camp.

• In case you missed it, the Sixers formally signed guard Royal Ivey to a deal, he will back up Jrue Holiday.

• Alonzo Gee may accept the qualifying offer the Cavaliers have out on the table for him.

• Former NBA guard (most recently with Toronto) Sonny Weems has signed to play next season with European power CSKA Moscow.

• French forward and former NBA player Pops Mensah-Bonsu has reached a deal to play with Maccabi Tel Aviv next season.

Nikola Mirotic, Bobby Portis lead way, Bulls blow out Kyrie-less Celtics 108-85

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CHICAGO (AP) — Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis are starting to draw attention for their play together instead of their fight with each other.

Mirotic scored 24 points, Portis added a career-high 23 and the Chicago Bulls blew out Boston 108-85 on Monday night with Celtics star Kyrie Irving sidelined because of a bruised left quadriceps.

Owners of the NBA’s worst record, the Bulls (6-20) built an 18-point lead in the second quarter against the Eastern Conference leaders. And when Boston cut it to 12 in the fourth, the Bulls simply pulled away for their third straight win.

Leading the way were two players who made headlines for all the wrong reasons before the season started.

Their fight at practice left Mirotic with facial fractures, causing him to miss the first 23 games. Portis served an eight-game suspension.

But the two have played well together the past two games.

“We need to give the credit to (coach Fred Hoiberg),” Mirotic said. “Fred is the one who is making us play. He’s the guy who is calling the plays for us and putting us in the right spots to play.”

As for the fight?

“Man, that situation’s over,” Portis said. “Everybody’s talking about that. But that doesn’t matter anymore. We’re just trying to win games.”

Mirotic made his first start of the season with leading scorer Lauri Markkanen sidelined because of back spasms and shot 9 of 14 with eight rebounds. Through three games, the 6-foot-10 forward is averaging 16.3 points.

Portis shot 10 of 15 and nailed all three 3-pointers.

Al Horford scored 15 for Boston (23-6). Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart and Terry Rozier added 13 points apiece in the Celtics’ most lopsided loss of the season.

“Sometimes you get your butt kicked. It was simple as that,” coach Brad Stevens said. “Chicago dictated the whole game. They played harder than we did. They played with more presence than we did. They played more competitive than we did. They played with more authority than we did. You’re not going to win many games when you play like that.”

 

Russell Westbrook threw it down all over Michael Kidd-Gilchrist

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A rough night for the Thunder will not stop the Russell Westbrook highlights.

The Thunder had another poor game and fell to a Hornets. Westbrook tried to push the team back, but the Thunder defense that has kept them in games all season was not good enough against Charlotte, and the OKC offense was once again up and down.

Westbrook had 30 points on 22 shots on the night, and none of them were as impressive as this transition throwdown on Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Jahlil Okafor excited about fresh start with Nets

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NEW YORK (AP) — Jahlil Okafor finally got the fresh start he wanted.

Okafor was the consensus No. 1 high school player in his class, won a national championship at Duke, and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds in his rookie campaign for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Then things changed drastically.

Okafor struggled with injuries and a logjam at his position in his second season.

“When I first got drafted there, we already had Nerlens (Noel) there, Joel (Embiid) was there, so we’re trying to have three starting centers on the same team,” Okafor said Monday at his introductory news conference with his new team, the Brooklyn Nets.

“It just never really was the right fit.”

The 76ers traded Okafor along with seldom-used guard Nik Stauskas and two draft picks to the Nets on Thursday. Philadelphia got forward Trevor Booker from Brooklyn.

Okafor also had off-court problems during his time in Philadelphia. He got a speeding ticket for driving 108 miles per hour and was suspended by the 76ers for two games after in an altercation outside of a Boston nightclub with a heckler.

“Speeding obviously is illegal,” Okafor said. “I know that’s not what you’re supposed to do. I guess you just learn how the page can turn on you and how everything can flip. I can’t really say I learned anything, because you know going in that’s not right. You just learn from your mistakes, but (it was) a tough thing that I went through, I got past, and I’m looking to better times now.”

Okafor, the third overall pick in the 2015 draft, joins D'Angelo Russell, the second overall pick in the same draft class, on the Nets.

“We’re just very excited to get on the court together,” Okafor said. “You never would’ve thought the number two and number three picks would be playing on the same team a few years after, but like I said, everything happens for a reason and I’m really excited.”

Russell also had problems on and off the court with the team that drafted him. He was criticized for recording a video of former Lakers teammate Nick Young that aired sordid details about Young’s private life. The Lakers gave up on Russell and drafted Lonzo Ball as his replacement.

“I feel like we’re similar in that we have a lot to prove,” Okafor said. “I know he’s working his (butt) off as well. Right now he’s rehabbing, trying to get back on the court. I think we both have a chip on our shoulder and we have a lot to prove. We’re definitely similar in that regard.”

Okafor understands he has areas to improve, mainly defense and rebounding.

“I’m not a perfect player,” Okafor said. “I’m 21. There are things that I need to work on, that I have worked on and that I’ll continue to work on.”

He’s excited about fulfilling his potential with a new team.

“I feel really motivated right now, but I’ve always been motivated,” Okafor said. “This is the first time where people are against me in a sense because I’ve always been the hyped-up guy. It’s something new for me to experience, so I’m glad that I am experiencing it.”

 

Report: Celtics’ Marcus Morris to miss “extended time” to let knee heal

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Marcus Morris missed the Celtics’ first eight games of the season in an effort to get healthy. Upon his return he’s been solid, first as a starter, then coming off the bench, but his left knee continued to be an issue.

Morris was out Sunday when the Celtics beat the Pistons, and he’s going to miss more time trying to get a troublesome left knee right, reports Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

How much time is “extended time?” Probably at least a couple of weeks.

Morris has averaged 12.1 points and 5.5 rebounds a game this season, with a true shooting percentage of 52.5, which is right around the league average.

This could mean more run for rookie forwards Semi Ojeleye and Daniel Theis, both of whom have played well in limited minutes.