Los Angeles Lakers Steve Nash of Canada and Kobe Bryant react during their loss to the Dallas Mavericks during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles

Kobe Bryant has nicknamed Steve Nash “Gatsby”

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It was an innocuous comment in a Los Angeles Times article about Kobe Bryant’s efficient play this season, but J.E. Skeets noticed it and put it on twitter.

Bringing the ball up and having me kind of initiate the offense and score and stuff like that, it’s making me work a little more than I will when Gatsby gets back… When Gatsby gets back, I don’t have to do that. The game’s going to become even more easy for me.”

Gatsby would be Nash, sidelined until at least Monday because of a small fracture in his left leg.

Steve Nash = Gatsby.

I like it.

The question is why Gatsby for Steve Nash? Is it because of:

• Nash’s haircut?

• Nash’s rise from poverty to riches and fame through a life of crime, just like Jay Gatsby?

• That Nash, like Gatsby, represents a hollow version of the American Dream… even though he’s Canadian?

• Because he’s Canadian and Kobe just is confused about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work?

• Nash’s lavish, opulent, high-society parties?

• Nash’s all-encompassing focus to win Daisy back?

• My favorite: Because Nash’s offensive game of deception and control to achieve his ends mirrors Gatsby’s illusion of sophistication and persona of mystery to achieve a far more basic goal?

Nah, it’s probably just the haircut.

Al Horford shows he still has hops dunking on Solomon Hill (VIDEO)

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That’s just nasty.

Atlanta’s Al Horford gets the ball out high, but within his range, so when he pump fakes Indiana’s Lavoy Allen goes flying by. That opens up the lane and Horford attacks it, Solomon Hill tries to cut him off, but Horford just finishes threw him.

Pacers and Hawks played an entertaining, close game Friday night.

Dwyane Wade shows he still has hops with dunk on Hornets (VIDEO)

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Dwyane Wade still has some springs.

In what may be his best dunk in recent memory, he shoulders Michael Kidd-Gilchrist to create space in transition, then gets up and throws it down before Nicolas Batum can get there for the block.

Not sure even Wade saw that one coming.

Reigning dunk champ LaVine: ‘I’ve got tricks up my sleeve’

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota Timberwolves guard Zach LaVine is heading back to All-Star weekend to defend his slam dunk title. And he says he has “a few tricks up my sleeve” after dominating the event last year.

LaVine will compete against Detroit center Andre Drummond, Denver swingman Will Barton and Orlando forward Aaron Gordon in Toronto next weekend.

LaVine was one of the breakout stars of All-Star weekend last year with his electric performance in the dunk contest. He says he debated about coming back and made his decision after strong encouragement from his fans.

If LaVine wins, he will become the fourth player in the 31-year history of the event to repeat as champion. Michael Jordan, Jason Richardson and Nate Robinson are the others.

Report: Blake Griffin has second procedure on hand, timeline remains unchanged

Blake Griffin
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Blake Griffin will still return to the Clippers some time in March (barring any setbacks).

That said, he had a second procedure this week to repair the boxer’s fracture in his right hand, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Clippers forward Blake Griffin underwent a second procedure this week on his broke right hand, sources told ESPN. The procedure was a part of the original surgery last week, so sources said the 4-6 week timeframe for his return remains unchanged.

This might help explain why Griffin’s hand looked so swollen and scarred this week. But to be clear, this was a planned second procedure, not a setback.

Griffin suffered the fracture punching a Clippers’ equipment manager while everyone was out to dinner in Toronto recently, while Griffin was still sidelined with a quadricep injury. The Clippers have moved on, but it is likely the league will tack on a couple of game suspension for Griffin upon his return to health.

And no, the Clippers are not looking to trade Griffin in spite of this. So stop asking.