It’s official, New York to host 2015 NBA All-Star Game

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We’ve known this was coming for a while but now it is official:

New York City — jointly the boroughs of Manhattan and Brooklyn, and both the Knicks and Nets — will host the 2015 NBA All-Star Game, the league announced Wednesday at a press conference in New York.

Brooklyn’s new Barclay’s Center will host the Friday and Saturday night events — the Rising Stars game (rookies and second year players), the skills competition and the Dunk Contest, among other events.

Madison Square Garden will host the 64th All-Star Game itself on Sunday.

“For that weekend, New York will be the capital of the basketball world,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said.

“This will be a unique event in NBA history, to have two teams co-hosting and sharing an All-Star Weekend,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “Although there are three days of events in the arenas we expect a week long celebration of basketball in the New York area involving all five boroughs.”

“To our friends in Brooklyn, like so many other times when New Yorkers put their differences aside for something bigger, we looking forward to giving our rivalry a rest — for a little bit — to ensure we deliver the very best All-Star experience the league has ever held,” said Knicks owner James Dolan at the press conference. Everyone laughed at that.

Both teams wanted to host the weekend and it took some negotiating and some arm twisting by the league and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg to get to this compromise. Part of that is likely the All-Star Game returning to New York a handful of years after this with the roles reversed (Madison Square Garden hosting the preliminary events and the Barclay’s Center the main game).

“I don’t want to kill our leverage in negotiations, so I’m not going to say (that the game is certainly coming back to NYC), but given the cooperation and era of good will that this entire endeavor has delivered to us I don’t think it’s going to be a problem to have it here again and again and again if the league and the other owners want to do it,” Stern said.

While the situation is a little odd with co-hosting NBA is such a basketball Mecca that this event could be special. Even now players get up for games in New York — you ever watch Kobe Bryant at Madison Square Garden? — so the game has some real potential. And maybe even the dunk contest won’t suck.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.