All-Star weekend in New Orleans is a little more than two weeks away, and we’ll be getting official word on all of the events’ participants soon enough.
The reserves for each All-Star team will be announced on Thursday (though we already know Joakim Noah is in), and the fields for the dunk contest and three-point shootout will be filled in shortly thereafter.
Marco Belinelli is one name we can add as a definite for the three-contest, because he confirmed his participation himself.
From Sportando.net (via HoopsHype):
Marco Belinelli confirmed to La Gazzetta dello Sport the reports that he has been named for the 3-point shootout contest in the NBA All-Star Game.
Belinelli will be the second Italian after Danilo Gallinari to be in the All-Star Game.
“I am happy because it is very important to me, my fans and Italy” said Belinelli. “It is going to be a step forward in my career. I go to New Orleans to win” added Belinelli.
Belinelli is second in the league in three-point shooting percentage at 46.7 percent, with a respectable (though not extremely high) number of attempts. His 152 shots from beyond the arc qualifies him statistically, but places him just 64th in the league in that category.
The league leader in three-point shooting percentage, by the way, will surprise you: It’s Kendall Marshall, who has lit it up from distance since joining the Lakers by hitting 47.3 percent of his threes on 74 attempts.
Kyrie Irving is another name we can almost certainly count on to be added to the contest list, considering the fact that he won it last year and wants to defend his title.
The second round was supposed to be when things got exciting. Instead, the San Antonio Spurs put on an absolute clinic at home, blowing out the Oklahoma City Thunder, 124-92 to take a 1-0 series lead.
Just about everything went in for San Antonio, particularly for LaMarcus Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, who combined for 63 points. How dominant were they?
Aldridge in particular got anything he wanted against the Thunder. Oklahoma City’s stars were quiet, with Kevin Durant scoring just 16 points and Russell Westbrook 14. San Antonio controlled the game from the start and Oklahoma City never recovered from the opening punch.
It’s hard to imagine Durant and Westbrook are this ineffective again, and hopefully the rest of this series will be a little more competitive. But the Spurs did what the Spurs do, and did nothing to shake the feeling that they’re the favorites to win the west, now that Stephen Curry‘s status is unknown.
ATLANTA (AP) A year ago, Atlanta’s magical season ended with a resounding sweep by Cleveland in the Eastern Conference final.
Now, the Hawks have another shot at LeBron James and the Cavaliers.
Feeling confident after an opening-round victory over Boston, the Hawks returned to practice Saturday to begin preparations for the best-of-seven series.
Game 1 is Monday night in Cleveland.
The Hawks were the top-seeded team in the East last season after a record 60-win campaign. It didn’t do them much good against the Cavaliers, who steamrolled Atlanta in four straight games.
Even though they slipped to 48 wins and fourth in the conference, the Hawks actually sound a bit more confident heading into this matchup, largely because of their improved defense and rebounding.
For the second consecutive year, the Warriors have lost their lead assistant to another team. When the Pelicans hired Alvin Gentry during last year’s playoffs, Steve Kerr promoted Luke Walton to associate head coach and added former journeyman big man Jarron Collins to the bench. Now that Walton is headed to the Lakers as their next head coach, the Warriors will go outside the organization to find a replacement, according to ESPN.com’s Marc Stein. And one name that will likely not be in the mix is David Blatt, who very nearly became an assistant under Kerr in 2014 before being offered the Cavaliers’ head job.
Given Walton’s success this season as interim head coach while Kerr recovered from back surgery, this will undoubtedly be the most attractive assistant job in the league.
In the last few years, NBA head coaching salaries have skyrocketed, and new Lakers coach Luke Walton is no exception. According to the Los Angeles Times‘ Mike Bresnahan, Walton is getting $25 million over five years, which is the same as Steve Kerr’s deal with the Warriors, now-former Knicks coach Derek Fisher’s deal in New York, and Fred Hoiberg’s deal with the Bulls.
This kind of money has become standard for head coaches who don’t also have front-office power. Tom Thibodeau and Stan Van Gundy both get between $7 and $8 million annually to do both jobs. Given how good Walton’s current situation with the Warriors is, the Lakers probably had to be on the high end of the coaching spectrum to get him to leave.