Arron Afflalo says he’d appreciate All-Star consideration from Eastern Conference coaches

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The Magic are in a rebuilding mode, and as their 9-20 record will tell you, that means that wins have been hard to come by this season.

But a bright spot has been the play of Arron Afflalo, who has been consistently putting up big numbers — he’s posted his career high of 43 points this season, and has scored 30 points or more on four separate occasions.

Afflalo hopes his play might be good enough to get him noticed by the coaches in the Eastern Conference, who vote on the reserves for the All-Star team.

From John Denton of the Magic’s website:

Quietly, Afflalo is hoping that his play on the court will be enough to get him selected as a reserve for the Feb. 16 All-Star Game in New Orleans. To do so, Afflalo will need to earn a selection from the Eastern Conference coaches because he does not even rank in the top 15 of fan votes even though he’s in the midst of a career year. …

“For one, it’s obvious I’m not one to push for fan votes,’’ Afflalo said. “For me, it’s about team play, winning and it’s about the growth of my game and if I can get the respect of the coaches from that angle, it’s something that I would definitely appreciate.

“I’m not trying to outvote D-Wade and these guys who are constantly in the limelight,’’ Afflalo said. “I’m more of a basketball purist, I love the game and hopefully that will get appreciated from a different angle.’’

With all of the injuries in the East, and with the two most notable backcourt players in Dwyane Wade and Kyrie Irving being voted in as starters by the fans, it would appear that Afflalo has a shot.

The Pacers are going to have Paul George and Roy Hibbert on the squad, and if coaches want to place a third player from one of the league’s top teams in the midseason exhibition, Lance Stephenson would be a candidate. John Wall of the Wizards could get in, as could Deron Williams of the Nets.

Beyond that, there aren’t any names of guards who immediately jump to the top of the All-Star list in the East — especially with only three of the conference’s teams having a better-than-.500 record. If Afflalo continues on his path of consistency, he’ll earn his first career All-Star appearance.

Judge grills Suge Knight – facing murder charge – on NBA-champion pick (Rockets)

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Suge Knight is facing a murder, threat and robbery charges in three separate cases.

The former rap mogul was in court yesterday to set a trial date for the murder charge.

Marisa Gerber of the Los Angeles Times:

A few minutes later, during a separate hearing in the criminal threats proceeding, another judge asked Knight to return to his courtroom in May. The judge then turned to Knight, asking who he thought would win the NBA playoffs.

“At this time…” Knight said, before the judge cut him off, saying he wanted a once-and-for-all answer.

“Houston,” Knight responded.

“Alright, Houston. Good pick,” the judge said.

Knight smiled.

What?

Milwaukee taco restaurant releases security footage showing manager greeting Giannis Antetokounmpo

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Shortly after Giannis Antetokounmpo led the Bucks to a Game 4 win over the Celtics on Sunday, someone eating at a Milwaukee taco restaurant tweeted a photo of the Greek Freak waiting for a table. According to the tweeter, nobody helped Antetokounmpo at all.

The picture went viral.

But!

The restaurant claims a manager greeted Antetokounmpo and released surveillance footage to prove it:

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“We appreciate everyone’s passion for treating Giannis and all customers with great customer service,” Monday’s follow-up read. “It is something we strive to do every day. We reviewed the entryway footage from last night, and we are proud to reaffirm that Giannis was promptly greeted by our manager and told the wait time. Giannis has been a customer many times and he has graciously accepted our apology for not being able to seat him and other customers more quickly last night.  Our focus is now on supporting our team on this playoff run. Go Bucks.”

The release concluded with the hashtag #TacoBoutAMisunderstanding.

TacoBoutAMisunderstanding, indeed.

For his part, Antetokounmpo never griped publicly about the taco restaurant. The wait was longer then he wanted so he went elsewhere.

He has more important issues to focus on – like Game 5 in Boston tonight.

Kevin Durant: Liking anti-Russell Westbrook Instagram comment was ‘total accident’

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Kevin Durant liked an Instagram comment critical of Russell Westbrook.

Here we go again?

Royce Young of ESPN:

I’m not inside Durant’s mind. He could be lying to cover another burner Instagram snafu.

But I tend to believe him. It’s easy enough to accidentally click like, and the greater context is on his side.

Durant has always tried to downplay a feud with Westbrook. Even at the personal rivalry’s peak, Durant just seemed as if he wanted Westbrook to like him. So, it’s nearly impossible to believe Durant – even for a button-pushing moment – wanted to publicly slight Westbrook.

But maybe Durant wanted quiresultan or some other alter-ego to do so? Maybe, as beaten down as he looked by the controversy over those deleted tweets last summer, Durant didn’t learn his lesson and still uses burner accounts. I certainly wouldn’t rule that out.

Again, though, this would be a weird message. Last summer’s deleted tweets praised Westbrook while slamming the rest of the Thunder. Durant was going to have a burner account take the opposite stance now? That doesn’t really add up.

NBA apparently reviewing whether Russell Westbrook should be suspended for Thunder-Jazz Game 5

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The NBA has a hard rule during altercations: Any players who leave the bench area receives a one-game suspension. Intent doesn’t matter. It’s not negotiable. The league simply doesn’t want more players entering a fracas.

Russell Westbrook found a gray area last night.

The Thunder star was waiting to check into Oklahoma City’s Game 4 loss to the Jazz when Raymond Felton fouled Rudy Gobert, um, unpleasantly. Gobert and Felton got into it, though not immediately. Once they did, Westbrook walked onto the court, and he and Gobert swiped at each other.

Gobert and Felton eventually received technical fouls. But could harsher punishment be in store, especially for Westbrook?

Andy Larsen of KSL.com:

A pool reporter request to the game officials to ask them about the play was initiated, but the NBA indicated that the officials wouldn’t comment on the matter because it would be reviewed by the league’s disciplinary committee.

The key question should be: Did a referee already beckon Westbrook into the game? If one did, Westbrook shouldn’t be suspended. If none did, Westbrook should be suspended.

The league will talk to the refs and get a better understanding of what happened. Their account matters most.

But one indicator working against Westbrook: Steven Adamswhose toughness is beyond reproach – was also waiting to check in and stayed on the sideline. If Adams had already entered the game, wouldn’t he have gotten involved? Maybe not, but his hanging back is circumstantial evidence pointing toward a Westbrook suspension.

Again, though, the referees’ accounts matter far more.