2012 NBA All-Star Game

No changes atop latest All-Star voting, but Lin and Bosh could sneak in

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NBA fans around the globe love Kobe Bryant. Stunning, I know.

The latest update on the NBA All-Star voting is out and there are no changes among the starters for either conference — but it’s starting to get close for a few guys.

What is different is that Kobe moved past LeBron James as the top overall vote getter. Kobe — in the middle of his best season in years — has 977,444 votes, just edging out LeBron’s 970,314.

The All-Star Game is Feb. 17 in Houston. As of now, the starters voted in by the fans are:

East: Dwyane Wade, Rajon Rondo, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Garnett.

West: Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Blake Griffin and Dwight Howard.

Where it gets interesting is that Chris Bosh is just more than 20,000 votes behind Garnett for the final frontcourt spot in the East. Bosh could catch him with a push from fans.

The bigger travesty would be Jeremy Lin catching Chris Paul for the final guard starting spot in the West — Lin is just more than 46,000 votes back of Paul. Fans — I don’t care what continent you are from — Lin isn’t even the best guard on his own team, let alone deserving to start. He is not a step behind Chris Paul on the court, he’s about to be lapped by CP3. Vote Russell Westbrook if you don’t want CP3, vote for James Harden but not Lin. Don’t do this, people.

On the bright side fans, good job putting Anderson Varejao — who is having a strong season — ahead of Andrew Bynum and Amare Stoudemire, neither of whom has played a game.

Voting is open online or at games through Jan. 14, with the fan votes choosing the starters and the rest of the team filled in by votes from team coaches. Here is where the voting stands as of now:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Frontcourt:
1. LeBron James (Mia) 970,314
2. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 891,759
3. Kevin Garnett (Bos) 328,716
4. Chris Bosh (Mia) 308,194
5. Tyson Chandler (NYK) 260,000
6. Paul Pierce (Bos) 171,601
7. Joakim Noah (Chi) 129,331
8. Josh Smith (Atl) 111,260
9. Anderson Varejao (Cle) 99,955
10. Amar’e Stoudemire (NYK) 90,996

Backcourt:
1. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 645,875
2. Rajon Rondo (Bos) 574,272
3. Deron Williams (BKN) 309,778
4. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 258,193
5. Ray Allen (Mia) 195,142
6. Monta Ellis (Mil) 71,287
7. Raymond Felton (NYK) 66,745
8. Jrue Holiday (Phi) 56,683
9. Jason Terry (Bos) 52,833
10. Brandon Jennings (Mil) 49,122

WESTERN CONFERENCE

Frontcourt:
1. Kevin Durant (OKC) 924,898
2. Dwight Howard (LAL) 616,150
3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 489,795
4. Tim Duncan (SA) 299,434
5. Pau Gasol (LAL) 197,377
6. Kevin Love (Min) 189,949
7. Omer Asik (Hou) 131,002
8. Rudy Gay (Mem) 125,562
9. Serge Ibaka (OKC) 111,963
10. Marc Gasol (Mem) 99,271

Backcourt:
1. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 977,444
2. Chris Paul (LAC) 542,564
3. Jeremy Lin (Hou) 496,133
4. James Harden (Hou) 283,691
5. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 232,074
6. Steve Nash (LAL) 166,262
7. Tony Parker (SA) 111,032
8. Ricky Rubio (Min) 96,466
9. Stephen Curry (GS) 78,380
10. Manu Ginobili (SA) 70,813

Gregg Popovich: Sidney Lowe, Wizards got off easy

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 26: Head coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs argues a call against the Washington Wizards at Verizon Center on November 26, 2016 in Washington, DC. 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 Rob Carr/Getty Images)
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Wizards assistant coach Sidney Lowe went onto the court and, according to Knicks guard Courtney Lee, verbally imitated a player.

The NBA fined Lowe $5,000 and Washington $15,000 and warned everyone more fines would follow for coaches displaying similar behavior.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich doesn’t believe the league went far enough.

Popovich, via Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News:

“It’s unsportsmanlike, it’s childish, it’s inappropriate,” Popovich said. “There’s no place for it.”

“I think they got off easy,” Popovich said.

“What if that shot costs a playoff game because somebody does that?” Popovich continued. “Maybe that affects a coach being fired. Maybe a franchise winning a series. So if you think about it, maybe it’s worth it for 5 or 10 thousand to go do that.”

For the league to send a sterner warning about such antics, Popovich suggested steeper fines of $250,00 for the team and $50,000 to $75,000 for an offending coach.

“Everybody would sit their ass down,” Popovich said.

Regardless of circumstances, it’s notable that Popovich sided with the NBA against a fellow coach – especially over an incident that didn’t directly involve the Spurs. Most coaches, even those who share Popovich’s opinion, would stay out of it. Popovich and Lowe are both represented by the same union, which ostensibly tries to protect coaches’ paychecks. It’s one thing to criticize the highly unpopular president. It’s another to lash out at someone with whom you have a shared financial partnership.

Beyond that, Popovich is right. Coaches encroaching onto the court should be eliminated. Popovich’s claim of it being unsportsmanlike rings a little hollow, considering his own behavior. But coaches toeing the sideline to distract players detracts from the quality of the game and is unsafe. There are plenty of reasons to loath the behavior beyond it offending sensibilities.

That said, Popovich has the wrong plan to eliminate it. His proposed fines would be overly punitive to lower-paid assistant coaches – and still worth the tradeoff in certain situations.

The better solution: Call technical fouls, which the league acknowledged should’ve happened with Lowe. That eliminates all cost-benefit analysis and punishes teams directly within the game if they cross that line.

Steve Kerr, Doc Rivers clown President Donald Trump’s press, secretary Sean Spicer

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr calls out instructions during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Orlando Magic in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
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President Donald Trump’s press, secretary Sean Spicer, lied about about the number of people viewing Trump’s inauguration. Spicer’s “alternative facts” have turned him into a laughingstock – and a couple NBA coaches are participating in mocking him.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers got Spicer on Saturday. Dan Woike of The Orange County Register:

Talking to a group of roughly a dozen reporters, Rivers joked it was OK to inflate the attendance figures. “The largest media crowd in NBA history came to see me today, and I really appreciate it,” he said with a laugh.

Then, Warriors coach Steve Kerr took his turn. Kerr was introduced as “former Orlando Magic star” before Golden State’s game in Orlando yesterday. He scored 122 points in 47 games with the Magic.

Kerr:

Sean Spicer will be talking about my Magic career any second now. Yeah, 14,000 points, greatest player in Magic history.

Gottem.

Lakers’ 49-point loss to lowly Mavericks the NBA’s worst defeat in decades

Los Angeles Lakers guard Louis Williams (23) sits on the the bench during a timeout as the Lakers play the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Jan. 22, 2017, in Dallas. The Mavericks won 122-73. (AP Photo/Ron Jenkins)
AP Photo/Ron Jenkins
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Lakers coach Luke Walton called the Lakers’ 122-73 loss to the Mavericks yesterday “embarrassing for us as a team, for us as an organization.”

Um, yeah.

At 49 points, it was the most lopsided loss in franchise history. Moreover, it came to 15-29 Dallas, the NBA’s fourth worst team.

The league hadn’t seen a loss that big to a team that bad in 24 years.

Here’s every game ever decided by at least 45 points, plotted by scoring difference and the victor’s full-season win percentage (or to date for the Mavericks and Warriors, who beat the Trail Blazers by 45 earlier this season). The Lakers’ loss yesterday is marked in purple:

image

Here are more details of similar games, which appear in the black box:

Game Difference Winner’s record
March 18, 1972: Portland Trail Blazers 133, New York Knicks 86 47 18-64 (.220)
February 20, 1976: Chicago Bulls 130, Portland Trail Blazers 74 56 24-58 (.293)
January 2, 1993: Sacramento Kings 154, Philadelphia 76ers 98 56 25-57 (.305)
December 29, 1992: Sacramento Kings 139, Dallas Mavericks 81 58 25-57 (.305)
January 22, 2017: Dallas Mavericks 122, Los Angeles Lakers 73 49 15-29 (.341)
February 1, 1983: Chicago Bulls 129, Houston Rockets 76 53 28-54 (.341)
February 27, 1992: Charlotte Hornets 136, Philadelphia 76ers 84 52 31-51 (.378)

The Lakers’ loss isn’t the worst in NBA history. Four teams have lost to worse teams by bigger margins, and a couple lost by more to barely worse teams.

But, barring a Dallas turnaround, the league hasn’t seen a loss like this in quite some time.

NBA: DeMarcus Cousins got away with (more important) travel before incorrect foul of Dwyane Wade

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The NBA acknowledged the attention-grabbing officiating error late in the Bulls’ win over the Kings on Saturday: DeMarcus Cousins shouldn’t have been called for fouling Dwyane Wade, who hit the go-ahead free throw with 14 seconds left.

But before Sacramento claims the referees cost it a win, the Last Two Minute Report reveals a more significant missed call that favored the Kings.

Cousins should have been called for travelling with 56.3 left as he drove for a basket, according to the league:

Cousins (SAC) moves his pivot foot. The official is looking for any illegal contact and does not pick up the pivot foot.

The non-call directly allowed Cousins to score two points. Wade made only one free throw.

The officiating errors in the final two minutes helped the Kings more than the Bulls.

(Sacramento center Kosta Koufos also got away with a shooting foul on Jimmy Butler with 37.8 seconds left, according to the league, but Robin Lopez tipped in Butler’s miss, anyway. The Bulls weren’t shorted any points on that possession.)