Patrick Beverley fractures hand, out up to six weeks

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Patrick Beverley, relative to an average starting point guard, is not crucial to his team.

He can run a decent offense, but James Harden handles the ball more for the Rockets. He can hawk the ball on defense, but Dwight Howard drive Houston on that end.

So, this news isn’t the end of the world, but make no mistake, this is a big setback for the Rockets. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

Houston’s starting lineup has settled with Beverley, Harden, Chandler Parsons and Terrence Jones, and the unit has been excellent together. In 245 minutes:

    • Offensive rating: 112.9
    • Defensive rating: 100.2
    • Net rating: +12.7

The logical successor while Beverley is out is Jeremy Lin. That is if can get healthy. He’s missed 10 of Houston’s last 12 games. Lin, via Feigen:

“Hopefully, I’ll be back Monday if there are no setbacks,” Lin said. “Just to get back in shape after having to sit, not do anything for a while, not even really being able to sit, let alone jog or run, it’s good to sweat again and get your body going.”Lin missed six games with a sprained a bruised knee and was just working his way back for two games before he went out again after running into a screen set by the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut, forcing him to miss all four games last week.

In the 40 minutes Lin has played with the Rockets’ other four starters, the results have been predictable. Houston plays much faster, scores significantly better, defends a lot worse and comes out behind.

  • Offensive rating: 118.3
  • Defensive rating: 116.3
  • Net rating: +2.4

As far as second options go, Lin isn’t bad. But that’s predicated on him being healthy.

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If Lin can’t go, Aaron Brooks is next in line. He’s played just 10 minutes with the other four starters – alert: small sample – but the results have been amazing:

  • Offensive rating: 133.6
  • Defensive rating: 86.6
  • Net rating: +47.1

If the Rockets use Brooks as their main point guard, those numbers will certainly worsen on both ends of the court. But that initial success offers at least hope they could get by with their third option.

Like I said, losing Beverley hurts the Rockets, but they’re relatively well equipped to handle it.

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.