Three Stars of the Night: LeBron makes history

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It seems like we should just rename this the LeBron James and two other guys of the night award, given the tear the league’s reigning MVP has been on over the last six games. We’ll get to that shortly, but first, a couple of other performances that are more than worth mentioning.

Third Star: Dwight Howard (19 points, 18 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, 41 minutes in win over Suns)

Dwight has been at the center of the Lakers firestorm recently, for reasons that are partially justified and some that are not. But he came through on this night, and seemed to be actively working to have better on-court chemistry with Steve Nash. On a night where Kobe Bryant didn’t even take a shot until three and a half minutes had gone by in the third quarter, and didn’t make one until there were just over two minutes remaining in the game, L.A. needed someone else to step up offensively, and Howard did that in this one.

Second Star: Rudy Gay (17 points in 25 minutes, including the game-winner)

The Raptors lost a ton of close, heart-wrenching games in the first part of the season, largely because they didn’t have anyone they could give the ball to with the game on the line who could be counted on to produce in the clutch. After trading for Gay, Toronto seems to have found someone to fill that role. It was already the second time since joining the Raptors that Gay has come through with a game-winning shot.

First Star: LeBron James (30 points, nine assists, 11-15 shooting, NBA record set)

LeBron continued his insane shooting run on Tuesday, and did so to the point where he made history. He became the first player ever to score 30 or more points in six straight games, while shooting better than 60 percent from the field in each. During that six-game stretch, James has managed to shoot 66-85 from the field, good for a blistering mark of 77.6 percent. Simply ridiculous.

LeBron James rejects Giannis Antetokounmpo at the rim

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Through the first couple games of the season, Giannis Antetokounmpo has put up impressive numbers — he dropped 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists on the Cavaliers Friday night.

But the Cavaliers still have LeBron James.

He had 24 points and 8 assists, leading Cleveland to the win.

LeBron also reminded the Greek Freak just how good a rim protector he is. Few people can slow Antetokounmpo on the drive, but LeBron is one of them.

Is it too early to root for a Cavs vs. Bucks playoff series?

Hawks’ DeAndre’ Bembry out with fractured wrist

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In their season opener Wednesday, Atlanta second-year man DeAndre’ Bembry came off the bench and played 17:45, scored six points and was +13 on the night. It was a good start to his career.

But now he is going to miss some time with a fractured wrist.

Bembry underwent an MRI, which revealed a fracture in his right wrist, the Hawks announced Friday. He will return to Atlanta with the team (the Hawks lost to the Hornets Friday night) and will meet with team doctors at the Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center on Monday. His status will be updated after that.

“We just may play some other guys more, we may use some of the young guys,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer told the AP before Friday night’s game. “We’ll just figure it out tonight and as we move forward. I don’t think there’s anything guaranteed for anybody, it’s unfortunate for DeAndre’ and for us.”

 

Danny Ainge says Celtics will apply for Disabled Player Exception

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It’s not likely Gordon Hayward returns this season. His agent said as much, although a return in March is not out of the question. (It’s better PR wise for the Celtics to say he is out for the season, then if he returns early great, it’s better than setting a deadline he doesn’t meet.)

With that, the Celtics are going to apply for the Disabled Player Exception, which could help them land a replacement player, Danny Ainge told Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe.

President of basketball operations Danny Ainge told the Globe on Friday the club is applying for the Disabled Player Exception, which would provide the Celtics $8.4 million to pursue a player to fill Hayward’s roster spot.

“We’re in the process of doing that,’’ Ainge said. “We have a while to do that. There’s no urgency, but we will apply for that.”

There are limits to what that money can get the Celtics. The money is the same as the mid-level exception, the Celtics can go over the cap to use it, and the player can be obtained via free agency or trade. However, the player must be in the last year of his contract.

It gives the Celtics options. It also does not mean Hayward cannot return, it only means NBA-approved doctors determined he is not likely to return before a mid-June deadline.

Kings hire former WNBA Seattle coach Jenny Boucek as assistant

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The NBA now has a third female assistant coach.

The first was Becky Hammon, who has been part of Gregg Popovich’s Spurs staff for several years (and has coached their Summer League team). The second was Nancy Leiberman, who has been on the staff in Sacramento for a couple of seasons now.

Now the Kings have hired former Seattle Storm coach Jenny Boucek as an assistant coach on Dave Joerger’s staff. She will work as an assistant player development coach.

A former WNBA player in the league’s inaugural season, the past three years she has coached the WNBA’s Seattle Storm (she was fired midway through the last season), and prior to that had been the head coach of the Sacramento Monarchs from 2007-09.