Tony Parker

2013 All-Star Saturday Skills Challenge participants announced


Tony Parker will defend his title in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge during All-Star Saturday night in Houston, and he’ll have some exciting players joining him in the event.

The remainder of the field will consist of Jrue Holiday of the Philadelphia 76ers, Brandon Knight of the Detroit Pistons, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, Jeremy Lin of the Houston Rockets, and Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks.

This is the obstacle course style event that puts some of the league’s quickest guards through the paces, with the player that gets through the course the quickest being declared the winner.

Steve Nash and Dwyane Wade are the only players to win the Skills Challenge twice each, so that gives Parker something to shoot for.

The key to this event is, quite simply, not messing up at any of the challenge’s many stops. The bounce pass through the hoop on the floor is one of the tougher parts, as is the jumper from the top of the key. If you can knock those down on the first (or even second) try and hustle through the rest of the course, you’ve got more than a legitimate shot.

Looks like Donovan to keep Andre Roberson, Steven Adams as starters

Los Angeles Clippers v Oklahoma City Thunder
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Billy Donovan was given the head coaching job in Oklahoma City to bring their offense into modern times — and it seems to be working, Russell Westbrook said he feels a lot more space in the system.

But if the Thunder are going to contend for a title, they need a top 10 defense as well — and to do that Donovan is going to keep a Scott Brooks move and continue to start  Andre Roberson and Steven Adams. Check out the starting lineup for their first preseason game Wednesday.

There also was this report via Anthony Slater in the Oklahoman yesterday about a scrimmage at practice.

Durant, Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka and Andre Roberson all started for the White team. Nick Collison joined them, but that was only because Steven Adams sat out with back soreness….

Donovan said the teams weren’t split by accident. That’s how they’ve been divided in practice. So at this point, it seems Roberson is this team’s starting shooting guard and Adams is the team’s starting center.

This is the smart move. Last season the lineup of Westbrook, Roberson, Durant, Ibaka and Adams was +13.4 points per 100 possessions over their opponents. Roberson and Adams are there for defense — neither brings much offensive game to the floor, but when you have Westbrook and Durant and only one ball between them, you don’t need more offensive threats. You’re going to get plenty of points.

If they can just stay healthy, Oklahoma City is a team to be feared.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88

Harry Gallatin
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The Hall of Fame player behind the original iron man streak is with us no more.

Knicks’ legend Harry Gallatin passes away at age 88, the team confirmed Wednesday.

Gallatin led the Knicks of the late 1940s and into the 1950s, when he set a then record playing in 610 consecutive games. Nicknamed “The Horse,” he was a beast on the boards who averaged 15.3 rebounds a game one season and averaged 11.9 boards and 13 points per game over the course of his 10-year career. He’s still fourth all time in total rebounds in Knicks franchise history.

Gallatin was a seven-time All-Star and twice All-NBA selection. After his playing days, he spent many years as the athletic director at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends.