Dallas Mavericks v Denver Nuggets

Rookie Fournier to start for Denver, Faried not likely to play


This is how deep the Denver Nuggets are — they’ve been hiding rookie Evan Fournier on their bench all season. He only got in sporadically during the season as the rookie worked on his game and getting stronger and used to the NBA speed (things he talked about needing to do back at Summer League).

Then they called on him when injuries mounted and in the last 10 games he’s averaged 11.1 points a game on 51.2 percent shooting. He’s got range, having hit 40.7 percent of his threes this year. The 6’6” swingman out of France has been a big boost.

So the Nuggets are going to start him in Game 1 against the Warriors Saturday reports the Denver Post.

Not starting is Kenneth Faried, and he may not play due to his sprained ankle. It’s officially a game-time call but GM Masai Ujir told the Denver Post it’s unlikely.

This is going to be a fun, up-and-down series. And if you haven’t seen Fournier play, you’re going to like his game. He will fit in seamlessly for the Nuggets.

Dwight Howard crushes Kristaps Porzingis with dunk (video)

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Sometimes – as Kristaps Porzingis sees against Dwight Howard – it’s more flattering just to play James Harden-level defense.

Marc Gasol heads ball into basket after drawing foul (video)

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This was not Marc Gasol‘s first attempt to head in the ball after a whistle, but this time, he converted.

Here was his January try:


James Harden’s defense: Stop and point while opponent flies to rim (video)


As Rockets general manager Daryl Morey once noted, cherry-picking James Harden‘s worst defensive plays to create a video is unfair. Many players would look awful by that measure.

But Harden provides serious ammo for these worst-of videos.

This non-attempt to stop Lance Thomas is just brutal.

At least Houston buckled down to beat the Knicks, 116-111 in overtime. The Rockets have climbed to 26th in points allowed per possession.

Jerry Colangelo says Kobe Bryant could still make 2016 U.S. Olympic team

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So, Kobe Bryant‘s NBA career is officially going to come to an end after the 2015-16 season. That part he announced on Sunday.

What’s still up in the air is Bryant’s participation in one last Olympics. Bryant has been in consideration to make Team USA this summer at the games in Rio de Janeiro, and USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo tells ESPN.com’s Marc Stein that he hasn’t ruled that out yet:

Kobe was asked about this at his post-game press conference Sunday and said it was not a goal, but if it was offered he’d consider it.

“I’d be honored if that was there, it would be fantastic to be around that group and spend kind of the last journey with them,” Bryant said. “That being said, it’s not something that I’m obsessing over.”

‘When Bryant made it known that he wanted to play in Rio, he made it clear to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski that he wanted to earn a spot, not be given one as a lifetime achievement award. Watching him so far this season, it’s almost impossible to imagine him making the roster on merit.

But nobody should begrudge him if he wanted to extend the farewell tour just a little bit longer.