Paul Pierce out Saturday against Grizzlies due to hand injury

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UPDATE 7:14 p.m.: Paul Pierce is now officially out Saturday against the Grizzlies.

3:30 p. m.: Injuries have been the story do far this season for the Brooklyn Nets, a team many expected to be legitimate contenders in the Eastern Conference.

The latest one is to Paul Pierce, who isn’t expected to play when the Nets face the Grizzlies in Memphis on Saturday.

From Mike Mazzeo of ESPN New York:

Brooklyn Nets small forward Paul Pierce has been listed as doubtful for Saturday night’s game in Memphis due to a bruised right hand, the team announced.

Pierce is shooting just 31.1 percent in his past 11 games, including 23.8 percent from 3-point range.

Alan Anderson will likely get the start if Pierce can’t play.

Deron Williams, Jason Terry, and Andrei Kirilenko remain sidelined due to various ailments. Kevin Garnett, who sat out Friday night’s loss in Houston just to rest, is expected to return to the lineup.

Pierce played less than 15 minutes in Brooklyn’s latest loss, an embarrassing one given the lack of effort shown from the opening tip. Jason Kidd benched four of his five starters to start the second half save for Brook Lopez, who returned after missing the last seven of his team’s games due to injury.

The constant lineup shuffling that’s plaguing the Nets in the early part of the season is the same thing the Lakers went through last year after their so-called super-team was similarly assembled. It’s impossible to get a new system in place with new key players and a new head coach if the players available are constantly changing on a game-to-game basis.

Brooklyn hoped that its projected starting lineup of Deron Williams, Joe Johnson, Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Brook Lopez would be tough for most teams to deal with. Now, the team simply would settle for the opportunity to see if that might be the case.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.