After scoring 24, Kevin Love says he’s not close to 100 percent

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If you just look at the raw numbers, Kevin Love had a good night in Portland: 24 points and 13 rebounds. Right at the kind of numbers he put up last year as an All-Star.

But this wasn’t an efficient Love leading his team (the Timberwolves lost to the Trail Blazers and a red hot Damian Lillard) — Love was 6-of-15 shooting overall and just 2-of-7 near the rim (according to NBA.com’s stats).

And after the game Love was the first to admit he’s not all the way back in an exclusive interview with Comcast Sportsnet Northwest via CSNNW.com.

“(I’m) not too close (to 100 percent). Still got a ways to go conditioning wise, still need to get my legs, and my hand back, too,” Love said. “I was originally scheduled for eight weeks and I came back in five, so the ball just doesn’t feel right in my hand yet and I mentioned being in shape, too, that goes a long way. There’s just nothing that can replicate getting out there and playing.”

About playing with the brace on his hand…

“It’s just not the same but more than anything just not getting the practice in and not being able to really get a rhythm out there and get into the flow of the offense with the guys that’s the toughest thing. It’s just a number of things that need to come together for myself and also the entire team, because we have the makings to be a pretty good team.”

They do have the makings, and getting Ricky Rubio back next month will help with that.

But in the short term the Timberwolves have lost four in a row and need more from Love, and particularly more from their guard play (remember Brandon Roy is out, too, so they are going with Luke Ridnour, Michael Lee, with J.J. Barea and Alexey Shved off the bench). They have to stay in the playoff hunt until they figure out how to be a pretty good team.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.