Four games, three stars on a Sunday night. As always there are some honorable mention guys left out — Tony Parker with his 21, Monta Ellis with 30 points and 9 assists, and Al Jefferson with 30 against the Clippers front line almost made the cut. But instead, it’s an all-perimeter guys three stars tonight.
Third Star: Tayshaun Prince (20 points, including game winning free throws).
Someone in the comments will tell me that Monta Ellis deserved to be here, and he had a great game including the shot that put the Bucks up two with 1:06 left in the game. But Tayshaun is here because of what happened on the two possessions after Ellis tied this game — the Pistons went to Prince and went with isolation sets. On the first one he backed Monta Ellis down into the paint and hit a hook shot over him to tie it up. Next time down, with 10 seconds left he backed his man down, spun into the lane and drew the foul on the help defender. Then sank two free throws to give the Pistons a quality win at home.
Second Star: DeMarcus Cousins(12 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists)
This is the first career triple-double for Cousins as he had a big night against the Celtics front line — and this is why other teams are interested in him despite his off-the-court issues and fights with coaches. Cousins is talented and that is beyond question. What was impressive is Cousins’ shot was not falling (4-of-12 shooting) but he compensated by dishing assists and also making some key defensive plays to lift the Kings over the Celtics.
First: Caron Butler(29 points, 6-of-6 from three)
The Clippers are up to 17 wins in a row and the Clips can thank Butler, who had 17 of his points in the first quarter and another dozen in the third against the Jazz Sunday.
In a sense I should put Chris Paul here because he made this happen — Butler is not one of the go-to Clippers scorers (9.5 points a game), but he was knocking down everything and CP3 kept feeding him the rock. Butler was 6-of-6 from three and had his 29 points on just 14 shots. But he also hit them at key times — he hit a big three in the third quarter as the Jazz were starting to close in.
Giannis Antetokounmpo sprints from behind to reject John Wall dunk (video)
The Brooklyn Nets remain without a general manager. With the trade deadline less than a week away. Meaning simply, when you hear rumors the next week of a blockbuster Nets trade dismiss them, they aren’t going to be doing that because they don’t have anyone in the big chair to make that call.
The frontrunners are believed to be two-time executive of the year Bryan Colangelo, Denver Nuggets assistant GM Arturas Karnisovas and San Antonio Spurs assistant GM Sean Marks….
Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov told ESPN.com on Wednesday that his search committee’s first round of interviews is over, and they were in the process of compiling a short list of candidates.
Any of those men can do a good job — if they are given the space by Prokhorov and his people to make moves and rebuild the organization without meddling or pressure to do things quickly. Prokhorov says he wants a quick turnaround for his 14-40 team, but it was his pressure on former GM Billy King to put together an immediate title contender with no regard for the long term that put the Nets in the hole they are in now.
Let’s hope he and his people have learned their lessons and they let the basketball people make the basketball decisions.
Worst dunks in All-Star Dunk Contest history? We got that video.
But there have been some duds, too — and from some elite dunkers. Here is a highlight mix of the worst, which is almost as much fun as the best. Enjoy, then tune in for hopefully more good than bad from Toronto Saturday night on TNT when LaVine and the dunk contest return.
Reports: Cavaliers look to trade for shooters such as Ben McLemore, Kyle Korver
The Cleveland Cavaliers have looked at their roster, have seen the Golden State Warriors up close, and are thinking they would like to add a shooter on the wing at the trade deadline.
Multiple reports have the Cavaliers actively looking around on the trade market, although whether they can get anything done before the Feb. 18 deadline remains to be seen. At the top of the list is Sacramento’s Ben McLemore, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
The Cavaliers, among with a handful of other Eastern Conference teams, have strong interest in trading for Sacramento Kings guard Ben McLemore, league sources told cleveland.com…
The Kings have declined overtures for their young 3-point marksman. But with the direction and state of the organization, external pressure could come into play when it comes to potentially moving talent. It’s widely known within league circles that agents have been pushing to get their clients out of Sacramento with the franchise embroiled in dysfunction and turmoil.
This sounds like a leak from an agent more than something the Kings are open to. McLemore swings between showing promise and being disappointing nightly. He’s athletic, he can defend well, he’s shooting 37.2 percent from three this season, but he also takes mental vacations during games (especially on defense), and he can be a turnover machine. The Cavaliers feel if they can get him in their system they can provide a better environment for development than Sacramento.
There are other options, but they may be just as unlikely.
If Joe Johnson secures a buyout in Brooklyn, league sources are adamant Cleveland would “snatch him up” for the veteran minimum.
The first three would be good fits, but the price for them will be higher than the Cavs want to pay. The Johnson buyout is a possibility (no way they will move that salary at the deadline), but the buyout is not a sure thing — will Johnson leave money on the table just to get out of Brooklyn?
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst threw out interesting names recently.
Windhorst: Tyreke Evans and Omer Asik are also some players on the #Cavs radar when it come to trades.