New York Knicks' Anthony reacts after scoring against Miami Heat during their NBA basketball game in Miami

Carmelo Anthony passes LeBron for top selling jersey


LeBron James may be the best player in the NBA, but Carmelo Anthony is the biggest star on the biggest NBA stage — the scorer leading the best New York Knicks team in more than a decade — and that sells a lot of jerseys.

Anthony moved past LeBron into the top spot in national jersey sales, the NBA announced Tuesday morning. This is based on jersey sales at the NBA Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and from November 2012 to now.

Anthony was fourth last season but the resurgence of the Knicks this season — currently 50-26, second best record in the East — catapulted him up the list, as did the fact he is the NBA’s current leading scorer at 28.4 points per game. Surprisingly, Anthony is the first-ever Knick in the top spot, the NBA said.

LeBron is second, followed by Kevin Durant third, Kobe Bryant fourth and Derrick Rose fifth despite not playing a game this season due to knee surgery in the off-season.

The Knicks also lead the team merchandise sales list, which isn’t a surprise. That is followed by the Heat, Lakers and Nets — the move to Brooklyn and the new Jay-Z designed black-and-silver uniforms and look have made Nets gear a hot item since the start of the season. Plus, the Nets just moved to a much bigger market.

Here is the most popular jersey sales list:

1. Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
2. LeBron James, Miami Heat
3. Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
4. Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
5. Derrick Rose, Chicago Bulls
6. Deron Williams, Brooklyn Nets
7. Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
8. Rajon Rondo, Boston Celtics
9. Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
10. Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
11. Kyrie Irving, Cleveland Cavaliers
12. Dwight Howard, Los Angeles Lakers
13. Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City Thunder
14. Amar’e Stoudemire, New York Knicks
15. Paul Pierce, Boston Celtics

Top 10 Most Popular Merchandise (by Team)

1. New York Knicks
2. Miami Heat
3. Los Angeles Lakers
4. Brooklyn Nets
5. Chicago Bulls
6. Boston Celtics
7. Oklahoma City Thunder
8. Los Angeles Clippers
9. San Antonio Spurs
10. Philadelphia 76ers

Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver

Manu Ginobili, Harrison Barnes, Tim Duncan
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The Spurs are 12-3 and comfortably in second place in the West, they have the best defense in the NBA allowing just 93.8 points per 100 possessions, and they have a top-10 offense to go with it.

So, time to start making sure guys are rested.

That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.

Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.

What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.

Brandon Armstrong impersonates Ray Allen (video)

2014 NBA Finals - Game Five
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Ray Allen is retired-ish, but he’ll always be running through screens – in our mind and in this video.

Celtics draft pick Marcus Thornton gets beer dumped on head during Australian game (video)

Marcus Thornton, Will Cherry
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The Celtics drafted Marcus Thornton with No. 45 pick in the 2015 NBA draft. That essentially entitled him to the required tender – a one-year contract offer, surely unguaranteed at the minimum.

Thornton rejected that, which is almost always a mistake.

Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.

By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.

Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.

How’s that going?

(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.

Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks

Kobe Bryant, Joe Johnson, Byron Scott

Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.

Kobe shotchart season

So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.

They just need to get Kobe better looks, Scott told the Los Angeles Times.

“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….

“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.

“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”

Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.

Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.