Kyrie Irving, Byron Scott

Kyrie Irving won’t discuss coach Byron Scott’s future

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It’s often the pattern with coaches who are in trouble that their players will come to their defense — “Don’t blame the coach, it’s us.”

When Kyrie Irving was asked about the embattled coach Byron Scott in Cleveland, the answer didn’t exactly follow that pattern, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

“Until that time comes I’m not really worried about it,” Irving said. “To even imagine that, I’m not going down that road.

“I’m focused on finishing the season with him and that’s all that matters right now.”

Way to play the iron safely down the middle of the fairway and not pull out the driver, Kyrie. You can take that as him not wanting to come to his coach’s defense or him just trying to stay out of the way of the controversy, but it’s not a ringing endorsement either way.

Scott has not had much talent to work with in Cleveland, but it is fair to wonder if his old-school, long-practices, grinding style (and not calling timeouts during opponents runs) is really the best way to coach up a young team.

It’s the way of the NBA — coaches are easier to find than franchise players like Irving. Whatever happens, in three years Irving will still be the center of the Cavaliers, that is who they build around, not a coach.

Isaiah Thomas nutmegs Knicks center Marshall Plumlee (video)

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Isaiah Thomas usually saves his best play for the fourth quarter, but the Celtics guard showed out early with this pass between Marshall Plumlee‘s legs to get Kelly Olynyk a layup.

Thomas uncharacteristically just didn’t have enough late. Though he scored 39 points, he shot just 2-for-9 in the final period, as the Knicks pulled away for a 117-106 win.

Kevin Durant misses dunk so hard, ball flies past halfcourt (video)

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Kevin Durant played great in the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night, but – perhaps fueled by excess emotion – he missed this incredibly emphatic dunk attempt.

Later, Russell Westbrook showed his former teammate how to do it (sparking their apparent conversation):

James Harden outduels Giannis Antetokounmpo as they produce fantastic highlight video

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James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo met in a battle of two of the NBA’s best point guards. (Still weird to say.) The final lines:

  • Harden: 38 points, 6 rebounds, 8 assists, 2 blocks
  • Antetokounmpo: 32 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 blocks

The winner? Harden and the Rockets, who topped the Bucks, 111-92.

But the real winner? Anyone who gets to watch this highlight video. It just gets better as it goes.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.