Tuesday And-1 Links: Dwyane Wade releasing documentary on Heat’s title run

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points more than Bostonites love to sing along with Neil Diamond….

• If you can’t get enough of the Heat’s 2013 run to an NBA title (and if not, it’s kind of time to move on unless you live in Miami) Dwyane Wade has exactly what you need — he is releasing a new documentary about the Heat’s title run. He will be posting the short film on his Web site next week, with a sneak peak coming out this week.

“I think it’s going to give people a different perspective on what it all meant to me,” Wade said.

• The Portland Trail Blazers became the first NBA team to officially come out in support of marriage equality (allowing gays and lesbians to marry). Why? There is constitutional amendment to support gay marriage coming up on the Oregon ballot, for one. This is the official Trail Blazers statement.

“The Portland Trail Blazers are in support of the Freedom to Marry and Religious Protection ballot initiative. We do so as believers in individual choice as a fundamental right of all people.”

If you’re looking for another reason, this is just smart business. The fact is the NBA’s demographic skews younger — and countless polls have shown younger generations are far more supportive of marriage equality. The NBA’s demographic also skews urban, another generally strong base of support for gay marriage.

• Former NBA player Joe C. Meriweather has passed away at the age of 59. In a 10-year NBA career he played for the Rockets, Hawks, Jazz, Knicks, and the Kansas City Kings. He may be best remembered as the women’s basketball at Park University in Missouri.

• You know the new Tom Hanks movie “Captain Phillips?” The Nets assistant head of security was a former FBI Counter Terrorism Unit guy who was one of the men who helped rescue the real Captain Phillips.

• A fantastic look at how the Grizzlies need a little more flow in their grit and grind.

• Andrea Bargnani has become a dividing line in New York on the love it/hate it trade lines. This is as good a breakdown of the arguments as you’re going to find, well done Knickerblogger. Based on watching him in the past, by next spring I expect almost every Knick fan will be in the hate it camp.

• Andrew Bynum showed up to Cavaliers practice. He didn’t actually do anything but sit there with ice on his knees, but he showed up.

• Guy who has quietly had a really good preseason? Omri Caspi with the Houston Rockets, as kind of a stretch four to balance out Dwight Howard. It’s just preseason but it’s something to watch.

• Kyrie Irving expects his assist numbers to go up this year. Which mostly means he need Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and the rest of the guys to hit a few more shots.

• With Trey Burke out, expect Alec Burks to get some starts at point guard in Utah, especially if Ty Corbin likes the matchup.

• Dallas rookie Ricky Ledo sprained his right ankle in practice on Tuesday and is out for their preseason game Wednesday.

• The Pelicans Jason Smith has been battling a sore hip and has missed practices because of it.

• Sebastian Telfair signed in China.

• The NBA and Yao Ming have partnered to open a school in China.

• The agent for Tim Duncan and Jeremy Lin has launched a new sports agency.

Kobe Bryant on race for Podoloff Trophy: “We might see our first co-MVPs this year”

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The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.

It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.

Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.

“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.

That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.

Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.

Watch Rockets C Nene lead the break, eurostep past Enes Kanter (VIDEO)

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Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.

On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.

The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.

Kobe Bryant says he didn’t even have NBA League Pass until a month ago (VIDEO)

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What has retired all-time NBA great Kobe Bryant been doing with his time? A little of this, a little of that. Apparently that doesn’t include watching non-national NBA games.

Speaking with ESPN’s Jemele Hill and Michael Smith on SC6, Bryant revealed that he went to go watch a little NBA while he was getting a workout in at his house and realized he didn’t have the NBA package hooked up on his cable.

Via Twitter:

I don’t know if I totally buy this. On one hand, Kobe is a busy guy and he did spend two decades living and breathing the NBA night in and night out. I would expect that after all that time he might want some kind of relief.

Then again, to think that Kobe doesn’t have multiple assistants that would have handled that sort of thing already is sort of silly. The only benefit here is Kobe trying to sell that he’s just relaxing and not paying attention to the league too much, which is hilarious.

Kobe, we all know who you are by now. You’re watching the league, man. You’re Kobe. We get it. You didn’t suddenly turn into The Dude.

Let’s just hope Kobe’s League Pass works right off the bat. We all know how much of a hassle it can be.

Damian Lillard dismisses playoff expectations as pressure, says it insults regular people

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The Portland Trail Blazers have had a disappointing season thus far. The team is just 34-38 before their game with the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, and they’re battling it out for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs with the Denver Nuggets.

This comes as after expectations rose greatly following the 2015-16 campaign which saw the Blazers finish 44-38, good enough for the No. 5 spot in the West.

Portland has looked better after trading Mason Plumlee to Denver in exchange for Jusuf Nurkic, but it might be too little too late. Meanwhile, team leader Damian Lillard isn’t bowing to the idea that last season’s good fortune raised the bar so much that it put undue pressure on his team.

Speaking with Sporting News, Lillard said he thinks the idea is really more about pressure vs. challenges.

Via SN:

Pressure, nah. Fam, this is just playing ball. Pressure is the homeless man, who doesn’t know where his next meal is coming from. Pressure is the single mom, who is trying to scuffle and pay her rent. We get paid a lot of money to play a game. Don’t get me wrong — there are challenges. But to call it pressure is almost an insult to regular people.

Look at the Wizards, they were kind of on the same wave as us. Didn’t even make the playoffs while we did. Now this year they’re the second-best team in the East. The adversity made them better. It can make us better, too. What I come from and my background made me who I am. As comfortable as I am with the good times, I’m also comfortable in adversity. Yeah, I might feel some type of way when somebody comes for me or says my name. But when it’s all said and done, it ain’t gonna rock me.

This is interesting to hear an NBA player say out loud. One, because I’m not sure I entirely believe it. You can have pressure without it having to be something that threatens your overall wellbeing.

Then again, maybe we’re arguing linguistics here. There’s definitely a different emotion from, say, trying to make sure you make rent and aren’t evicted to the street vs. trying to make the NBA playoffs. If one emotion is being defined as pressure, it makes sense to call the other a challenge.

It’s also interesting to hear an NBA player speak in those kinds of terms. There are a few guys around the league who seem to be relatively grounded and give out quotes like this from time-to-time. The absurdity of the NBA — playing games, making millions, and having folks worship you — would easily bend reality for most of us.

In any case, the challenge of making the playoffs for Portland is not going to be an easy one to overcome. Going into Sunday’s matchup with the Lakers, the Trail Blazers are a game behind Denver for the final spot.

Portland will face Denver on Tuesday, March 28 in perhaps their most important game of the season.