Three games on Thursday night, three teams picked up wins, we’re going to honor one guy from each team. It’s just that simple.
Third Star: Andre Miller(23 points, 7 assists)
More responsibility falls on him with Ty Lawson out and he was up to it on Thursday night. He was the guy providing offense during the dry stretches when other guys weren’t plus he hit key shots late. The veteran even played some defense.
Second Star: Carlos Boozer (29 points, 18 rebounds)
Carlos Boozer takes some grief from Bulls fans, and if you’re going to argue he’s overpaid ($15 million this season) you won’t get a lot of resistance here, but you have to admit the guy can play and has flat out brought it recently. He had as good a game as a Bull as he ever has had, scoring plus picking up five offensive rebounds, and he was strong on the defensive end as well. This was a big win for the Bulls and it doesn’t happen without Boozer.
First star: Kevin Durant(25 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists)
This could have gone to Durant or Russell Westbrook (27 points, 7 rebounds, 7 assists) because they both had monster nights — and when both are clicking like this the Thunder can beat anyone. Especially when the supporting cast is efficient. They become almost impossible to defend. Durant has his 25 points on 10-of-20 shooting and had a dagger three late in the game. He played every minute from the start of the second quarter on — this was a big game for the Thunder who now control their own destiny in getting the top seed in the West (which matters to them more than the Spurs) and coach Scott Brooks leaned on Durant to get him that win. He simply is as good as they come on the court.
Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)
The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.
Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….
Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.
Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.
Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.
Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.
There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.
Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)
The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.
The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.