Report: Chris Paul leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics

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The reason that USA Basketball held a four-day mini-camp in Las Vegas last week that featured 28 current and rising NBA stars (and a couple from the college ranks) is due to the fact that there’s plenty of uncertainty as to who will return to the team to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games.

Program chairman Jerry Colangelo and head coach Mike Krzyzewski talked multiple times about the need to keep a fluid pool of players, because everything from injury to personal matters could keep anyone from ultimately participating two years from now.

We’ve already gotten word that LeBron James could be out, and the same was thought to be true for Chris Paul. But thanks to the return of Krzyzewski to the sidelines for another shot at a gold medal, Paul is apparently willing to reconsider.

From Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com:

Chris Paul has changed his mind and is leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics.

The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who was on the 2008 and 2012 gold medal teams, said he was leaning heavily toward bypassing the 2016 Games — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski announced he was returning to coach the team.

“If it had been another coach than Coach K, I was prepared to be done,” Paul told ESPN.com.

It’s worth noting that the only quote from the player said to be making the decision here is non-committal, at best.

But assuming the conversation that didn’t make it into the story verbatim has Paul indeed leaning toward returning for 2016, he would join an extremely crowded backcourt that would be likely to include Kyrie Irving and Derrick Rose, among others.

Paul has been a part of two USA gold medal runs through the Olympics in 2008 and 2012, and has been a part of the USA Basketball program consistently since appearing on a developmental team back in 2002.

Three Mavericks teammates restrain Devin Harris, who still gets ejected (video)

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Dallas guard Devin Harris was ejected from Wednesday night’s 121-118 loss to New Orleans after angrily protesting calls made by official Ben Taylor.

Harris was assessed two quick technical fouls by Taylor, the first after Harris protested Taylor’s decision to whistle him for a personal foul when he collided with Pelicans’ guard Jordan Crawford.

The impact with Crawford sent Harris crashing to the court, marking the second time in the period that Harris had gone down hard. The first time, no foul was called when a collision with Pelicans’ guard E'Twaun Moore left Harris flat on his back.

When Harris was assessed the first technical, he went into a tirade and had to be restrained by teammates as he advanced toward Taylor. That triggered his ejection.

Bucks’ Malcolm Brogdon beats shot clock, Celtics with dagger (video)

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Who should win Rookie of the Year?

Joel Embiid has been, by far, the best rookie while on the court, but a season-ending injury will limit him to just 31 games. Malcolm Brogdon has been next best over the full course of the season. Dario Saric is making a heck of a finishing kick, and with a couple weeks left, he can still catch Brogdon.

But Brogdon got his own late signature moment in the Bucks’ 103-100 win over the Celtics tonight.

With the Bucks up one in the final seconds and the shot clock nearing expiration, Brogdon hit an off-balance jumper with 3.9 seconds left to produce the final margin.

Milwaukee’s win drops Boston (48-27) to second in the Eastern Conference, behind only the Cavaliers (47-26). The Bucks (39-36) keep pace with the Hawks in a tie for fifth.

Russell Westbrook scores most points ever in triple-double, 57

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Russell Westbrook led a double-digit comeback in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. Been there done, that.

Westbrook hit a defining buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Been there done, that.

Westbrook posted a historic triple-double. Been there, done that.

All three in one game?

That’s a new level for Westbrook, who lifted the Thunder to a 114-106 win over the Magic tonight while posting an incredible stat line: 57 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists.

James Harden scored 53 in a triple-double just this season, and Westbrook has already one-upped that record.

This MVP race is one for the ages.

Russell Westbrook’s 3-pointer caps incredible Thunder comeback, send Magic game to OT (video)

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The Thunder trailed the Magic by 21 points in the second half and 14 points midway through the fourth quarter.

Russell Westbrook capped the incredible comeback with this 3-pointer to send the game to overtime.

This becoming the norm for Oklahoma City.