Three of the games biggest stars make the list on Sunday night, but when Carmelo Anthony is in the zone he’s as good as it gets. And the Knicks are hard to beat.
Third Star: LeBron James(34 points, 16 rebounds, 7 assists)
His team didn’t win, but they wouldn’t have made it to overtime if he didn’t track down a missed three and sink one of his own to send it to overtime. And his team wouldn’t even have been close enough for that three to matter if he hadn’t put up a monster line, although he did need 31 shots to get his 34 points. This was another night when LeBron was fantastic and didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates.
Second Star: Kobe Bryant(21 points, 14 assists, 9 rebounds)
To everyone saying “see what happens when Kobe finally passes the ball” I would say there are two parts to an assist — making the pass and the guy hitting the shot. Kobe made a lot of unrewarded passes earlier this season. But the Lakers have basically put Kobe at the point and moved Steve Nash off the ball for the past couple games and Kobe is thriving — Kobe has more assists than shot attempts for two straight games. And the Lakers look the best they have all season. Give the man credit.
First Star: Carmelo Anthony (42 points, 5 rebounds)
The Knicks defense could not stop the Hawks all game (Atlanta shot 60 percent), but New York got the win because they had Anthony reminding everyone he is one of the best scorers on the planet. Anthony had nine three pointers on his way to 42 points. Then with 12.5 seconds left in a tie game he isolated on Josh Smith, got around him and made the game-winning layup, drawing the foul at the same time. For those of you scoring at home, that is 29 consecutive 20 point games for Anthony.
Interviewer: LeBron James wasn’t dissing Kyrie Irving
🚨LeBron Context Alert🚨 Sometimes you write a story and think it's pretty straightforward. Then come the second and third-wave interpretations on twitter and talk radio, which sometimes surprise. So it was this week with my LeBron story. (1/2)
I’ve heard people claiming LeBron was “throwing shade” at Kyrie in one particular quote. I didn’t hear it that way when we spoke, and I don’t think it’s what he intended. Thought it’d be helpful to provide the full back-and-forth here… (2/2) pic.twitter.com/x8FgPyW4qV
It was clear to me at the time we spoke — and still is now — that LeBron's saying it had "been a while" was a reference back to the 2009-10 season, before he joined up with Wade in Miami. No subtext, no subtweet, no shot at Kyrie.
It seems LeBron was saying it’s been a while that he’s had “that clear-cut guy who can get guys involved but also score at the same time.” If he was slighting Kyrie Irving, LeBron was also slighting Dwyane Wade – and I doubt LeBron would do that.
LeBron and Kyrie probably aren’t above taking subtle shots at each other. But this seems like a case of Beck, after hearing LeBron’s words aloud and in context, not realizing how a trimmed version would read as text. It’s unfortunate that people initially got the wrong impression, but good on Beck for clearing it up.
Missouri: Potential No. 1 pick Michael Porter Jr. likely out for rest of season
Michael Porter, Jr. will undergo surgery on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in Dallas, Texas. The procedure, a microdiscectomy of the L3 and L4 spinal discs, has a projected recovery time of three-four months and will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the season. Michael is expected to make a complete recovery
With that timeline, it’s possible Porter returns late in Missouri’s NBA season. But as an elite draft prospect stuck in a cartel system that caps his compensation well below market value, he should probably be cautious.
Porter will likely still go high in the draft – if his medicals check out. This is is a serious injury, and teams will be wary off long-term effects.
But he’s a top talent, and the forward shouldn’t slip far. In fact, in a strange way, this injury could even help him. There were questions about Porter’s ability to handle physicality and tight spaces when the game slows down, challenges he would have met frequently in college basketball. Now, scouts can’t pick apart those aspects of his game. Logically or not, NBA teams tend to favor the unknown in the draft, and Porter is on his way to being one of the biggest mysteries near the top of the 2018 draft.
Kevin Durant reverses course: Playing Thunder ‘just a regular game for me now’
Remains very likely Kevin Durant plays tomorrow in OKC. Went through full practice, intense post-practice shooting routine today, "feels good." But team/KD still officially saying questionable. pic.twitter.com/KHjIJz7EUP
Just a regular game for me now. I learned how to tune out the crowd. I learned how to tune out the bulls— and just play. Just keep at basketball, and I’ll be alright.
Durant is entitled to change his mind, and maybe that’s all that happened.
But this strikes me as yet another chasm between how Durant actually feels and how he wishes he felt – all while facing immense public scrutiny.
Durant spent eight years in Oklahoma City. Many of his former teammates, including Russell Westbrook, are still there. Durant might want to move on, but how could there not be a different feeling when playing the Thunder, especially in Oklahoma City?
Tony Allen: Russell Westbrook flopped to draw DeMarcus Cousins
Afterward, Tony Allen came to his New Orleans teammate’s defense.
Fred Katz of The Norman Transcript:
Tony Allen on Cousins' flagrant on Westbrook: "I definitely think he flopped. He took advantage of Cousins’ history. He was going to get the best of that call…You saw him get right back up and miss the free throw. He missed it, so you know what that means. The ball don’t lie."