Rip Hamilton: “I was just dumbfounded at the situation”

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Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau was looking for answers. No Derrick Rose, no Luol Deng, no consistent offense, he needed points.

He finally got some Wednesday night from Richard Hamilton (but you can call him Rip) — 15 points in 35 minutes. He was a team best +12 on the night. The veteran who had been buried on the bench came through with a vintage game. It wasn’t enough — the Bulls have gone fishing for the summer after being eliminated by the Heat — but it was a spark they missed much of the series.

A lot of people want to know why we didn’t see more of Rip Hamilton before… and that includes Rip himself, reports Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com.

“I have great guys here. That’s what made my job fun. Even though they last two weeks were hard, difficult, my teammates have been great, all the way from Derrick to Luol, to Booz, to Noah, to Jimmy. Everybody was so supportive, I was just like dumbfounded about the situation. But they kept me going. They kept me positive.”

Hamilton has battled injuries for his two years in Chicago and never really got into Thibodeau’s rotation consistently. Even when Rip was saying he was healthy this season Thibodeau was saying he wasn’t and had him glued to the bench. Maybe it was concerns about defense, maybe it was a lot of things.

But with Thibs out of options Hamilton played 21 minutes in the Bulls blowout loss in Game 4 and had 11 points, so that earned him another shot. And in Game 5 he made the most of it.

“It’s crazy because playing 19 straight minutes, I haven’t done that all season. Playing in the fourth quarter, I haven’t done that all season,” Hamilton said. “But it’s just one of those things, where you’ve just got to deal with it. You’ve just got to be able to respond.”

The Bulls have a $5 million option on Hamilton next season, or they can buy him out for $1 million. Bet on the buyout.

But the way he played on Wednesday has me thinking he may get another shot somewhere else next season.

Salah Mejri kicks at Patty Mills as Mavericks and Spurs leave court for halftime (video)

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Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.

Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.

In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension

Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:

giphy (2)

That’ll probably draw a fine.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.