Stephen Curry receives invite to All-Star weekend’s three-point contest

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Stephen Curry was the biggest name snubbed from the Western Conference All-Star team when the reserves, as voted on by the coaches, were announced last week. Curry’s improved play is a huge reason for the Warriors surge this season, and he’s emerged as one of the game’s purest shooters.

That last part is the reason that Curry has been invited to participate in this year’s three-point contest in Houston on All-Star Saturday night. But the fact that as of now, that’s the only event he would be participating in is making him think twice about accepting the invitation.

From RealGM (via HoopsHype):

Stephen Curry has been extended an invitation from the NBA to participate in the three-point shootout during next month’s All-Star weekend, but he’s debating whether to head to Houston for just one event.

“It would be a big commitment heading down there for one event so I’m figuring out if I’m going to make that commitment,” Curry told RealGM on Saturday night.

Curry was essentially a lock to be invited, considering his numbers from three-point distance this season. He ranks second in the league shooting 45.4 percent from beyond the arc, and ranks third in attempts with 291 — 64 more than the player who holds the top spot in the percentage rankings, Kyle Korver.

Should one of the All-Stars selected be unable to play due to injury, Curry would more than likely be the first name called in as a replacement. If that happens, there’s no reason we wouldn’t then see him in the three-point contest, where he’d have to be considered one of the favorites.

PBT Extra: Bobby Portis punch adds to challenges for Bulls this season

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Nikola Mirotic will be out 4-6 weeks due to his concussion and fractured jaw.

Bobby Portis has been suspended for the first eight games of the season for causing those injuries to Mirotic with a punch at practice.

What does this mean for a Bulls locker room that was already going to have to deal with the weight of losing a lot of games.  I get into all these questions in this latest PBT Extra.

It’s going to be a long season in Chicago.

Gordon Hayward’s agent says return this season unlikely

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Wednesday night in Boston Gordon Hayward underwent surgery to repair his dislocated ankle and fractured tibia suffered just five minutes into the season-opening game, a gruesome injury that put a pall over the rest of the night.

There had been hope from some Celtics fans that Hayward could return this season, likely for the playoffs, but now that the surgery is complete Hayward’s agent told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN not to expect him back until next season.

This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who saw the injury. Hayward is in the first year of a four-year deal with the Celtics, they were always going to choose a cautious path rather than rush him back. Under Danny Ainge Boston has always taken the long view, even with all their moves this summer — specifically bringing in Hayward and Kyrie Irving — the target was to be the team set up for next as LeBron James and the Cavaliers faded. That plan does not change now.

Earlier in the day, Hayward had sent a video message out to Celtics fans thanking them for their support in the past 24 hours.

Without Hayward, the Celtics now will focus more on smaller lineups, rookie Jayson Tatum will get more run, as will Marcus Smart in his contract year. Jaylen Brown will be thrust into a more significant role. Also, Kyrie Irving will be asked to do more as the team’s second-best playmaker is now out for the season.

The Celtics will take a step back this season without Hayward, who was going to be crucial for them on both ends of the floor. That’s evidenced by their 0-2 start, falling to the Cavaliers and Bucks on the first couple nights of the season. Boston should still be a team well above .500 and in the playoffs, but they will not be quite the same this season.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.