Tuesday And-1 links: Set your DVRs, next week is “NBA Week” on Wheel of Fortune

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points like Bobby Flay loves a chipotle pepper.

• Finally, something NBA related you can do with your grandmother — “Wheel of Fortune” has teamed up with the NBA for “NBA Week,” which air all next week  (Feb. 4 – 8). Who is involved? Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, and Grant Hill as well as Lakers legend and Hall of Famer James Worthy. And of course Pat Sajak and Vanna White, which is why you are really watching (admit it). Plus players such as Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Kevin Durant will do pre-taped segments and introduce custom NBA prizes.

• Chris Bosh, photobombing at the White House. Well, I’m calling it that, maybe he planned to make that lame face.

• Here is another great look at life for the Celtics without Rajon Rondo, via Zach Lowe of Grantland. I’m not sure any of his Paul Pierce trade ideas will go over well with Celtics faithful.

• In the wake of a report that raised all sorts of ethical red flags around Billy Hunter and the NBA players union, he has let go of all his family members working for the union. That was not enough to stop agent Arn Tellem from sending a letter to his clients urging them to vote Hunter out of power.

• The Washington Post caught up with Yao Ming, and he seems settled and happy. Good for him.

Great interview in GQ with Mike Conley, conducted by the legend that is Lang Whittaker. Oh, and don’t tell Conley he’s no good at Halo.

• Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving and San Antonio’s Tony Parker today were named Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week for last week. Irving led the Cavaliers to a 3-0 record averaging 35.7 points per game. Paker led the Spurs to a 4-0 week averaging 24.5 points and 9.5 assists a game.

• Speaking of Kyrie Irving, he is questionable for Tuesday night’s game due to an illness.

• A change in coaches can make a difference for a player — since Jim Boylan took over the Bucks Ersan Ilyasova has averaged 15.4 points on 47 percent shooting plus 8.4 rebounds a game. He looks like the guy from last season again.

• As people around the team expected, the Pacers have brought back Sam Young as he gets closer to playing following a severe ankle sprain.

The Timberwolves inked Mickael Gelabale and Chris Johnson to second 10-day contracts. At the end of these 10 days Minnesota has to sign them (or one of them) for the rest of the season or let the player go.

• Loul Deng wants the British government to restore funding to the national basketball program.

• Lorenzen Wright’s ex-wife got a $1 million payout following his 2010 murder. She’s burned through almost all of it within 10 months.

• Rajon Rondo’s injury has Keyon Dooling thinking about coming out of retirement.

• Kendrick Perkins’ wife got in an argument at a nail salon and there is video, Perkins allegedly threw a Gatorade bottle outside the store. Warning: It’s not that exciting.

• Finally, this Russian league coach knows how to make a swing pass to the open man.

Bobby Portis apologizes for punching Nikola Mirotic in the face (VIDEO)

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As if this season wasn’t going to be hard enough for the Chicago Bulls, it started off on the wrong foot when Bobby Portis and Nikola Mirotic got into a fight during practice. That fight resulted in a facial fracture for Mirotic, putting one of Chicago’s best players out for multiple weeks.

Portis addressed the issue this week by apologizing to fans, the team, and Mirotic. However, Portis said that he has not heard from Mirotic since the fight, and that he did not respond when he tried to call his teammate.

Video of Portis’ apology is interesting if only because it’s a bit hard to discern the level of sincerity.

Via Twitter:

Chicago is 0-2 on the season. Portis is in the middle of serving an 8 game suspension for the incident.

Giannis Antetokounmpo scores career-high 44, dedicates game to father

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — After scoring a career-high 44 points, Giannis Antetokounmpo wrote a note on the game ball.

“This is for daddy. We got a win tonight,” the 22-year-old Milwaukee Bucks player said, remembering his father, Charles, who died last month at age 54.

Antetokounmpo scored 17 points in the fourth quarter, including a dunk that put Milwaukee ahead 111-110 with 11 seconds to go.

After a timeout, Damian Lillard found Jusuf Nurkic running open down the lane, but Antetokounmpo blocked his shot at the basket, sending the 7-foot center crashing to the floor.

Antetokounmpo, starting his fifth NBA season, made 17 of 23 shots with eight rebounds and four assists as Milwaukee kept pace with a Portland team that had dominated its first two opponents. The Bucks star is averaging 38.3 points through three games, up from 22.9 last year, 16.9 in 2015-16 and 12.7 in 2014-15.

“Seventy-nine more. This is just the beginning,” he said, thinking about how many regular-season games remain.

After Nurkic was rejected at the basket, Khris Middleton was fouled and made both free throws.

“They committed two guys to Dame, so somebody was going to be open,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said, referring to Lillard. “Turned out to be Nurk but they made a really good defensive play.”

Lillard scored 26 points, including 16 in the fourth quarter. CJ McCollum also scored 26, and Nurkic had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Tony Snell scored 17 points and Middleton added 16 for Milwaukee.

 

Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant ejected at end of loss to Grizzlies

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Stephen Curry is going to get fined for this.

The former MVP was frustrated, his team losing and thinking he was fouled by Mike Conley as he attacked the rim late in the Warriors loss in Memphis Saturday night. Curry threw his mouthpiece at the referee, which deservedly got him ejected instantly.

Durant followed him to the locker room, making a gesture that will earn him a fine as well.

The Warriors are 1-2 to start the season and there are a lot of factors at play. The China trip does this to teams, and throw in three straight trips to the Finals on top of it and it has an impact. The team is a little banged up. However, the biggest issue is their defense is a mess right now.

The Warriors will straighten it out eventually, but the start of the season could be a rough one for them.

Pacers owner says team not for sale, will not be moved from Indianapolis

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There are more than a few NBA owners who are seeing the prices teams are being sold for — the Rockets just sold for a record $2.2 billion — and considering their options. Some other billionaires are looking for teams, several with the goal of packing up the franchise and moving it to their respected hometowns.

Those billionaires need not call Herb Simon. The Pacers owner said the team is not going anywhere, speaking to Gregg Doyel of the IndyStar.

“I want to leave my legacy: This team permanently in Indianapolis,” Simon told IndyStar Friday in an interview at Bankers Life Fieldhouse. “That’s my No. 1 goal.”

Simon bought the Pacers in 1983 with his older brother, Melvin — who died in 2009 at age 82. He told IndyStar the team someday will be owned by his 53-year-old son, Steve. Behind the scenes, Steve Simon has been working closely with Pacers Sports and President Rick Fuson for five years — “He knows more about the dollars and cents than I do,” Herb said of his son — and met this week with several department heads.

“If anything happens to me, he’d be taking over,” Herb said, adding that father and son are on the same page: The Pacers are staying in Indianapolis.

Good. That is as it should be.

Indiana is part of America’s basketball heartland, and it should have a team. Pacers fans are smart and loyal, and the team has a long history going back to the ABA, running from Mel Daniels and George McGinnis through Reggie Miller and up to Myles Turner (hopefully he can be on the level of the rest of them someday). They play in the coolest basketball building in the league, one with the history of the sport wolven in.

Indy is the nation’s 27th largest television market, bigger than San Antonio, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City and other successful NBA franchises. There is no reason the Pacers cannot thrive, so long as ownership is committed.

They are. Which is excellent news for Pacers’ fans.