Chris Paul ,  Vinny Del Negro

Vinny Del Negro hints at the truth, but successfully avoids questions about Chris Paul’s role in his dismissal

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Vinny Del Negro appeared on the Dan Patrick Show on Tuesday, and spent a segment almost 10 minutes long discussing how his tenure ended with the Los Angeles Clippers.

The assumption that Chris Paul had as much to do with Del Negro not being brought back as anything (remember, technically he wasn’t fired; his contract only ran through the end of this season) was hinted at being true by Clippers owner Donald Sterling, and Del Negro similarly hinted at it during the first portion of this interview.

Patrick asks excellent, pointed questions to try to get the answers we’re all curious about, and Del Negro hems and haws his way through it all — presumably, because he’d like another shot at coaching some day, and the way to make that happen isn’t to go on national radio and put your former team on blast.

We all know retaining a superstar player like Paul is more important than keeping all but one or two of the league’s head coaches in house. Despite the fact that the Clippers finished the season with a franchise-best 56 wins that Del Negro will continue to hang his hat on, there were very real flaws in his coaching style that played as much of a part in his dismissal as the wishes of the team’s all-world free agent.

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.