NEW ORLEANS — That was maybe the best moment from the All-Star Game — legendary former players such as Dr. J and Magic Johnson honored Celtics legend Bill Russell, who turned 80 this week. The crowd sang happy birthday to the 11-time NBA champion and then the players took time to shake his hand and honor him.
It was a touching moment.
“I thought that was one of the more special moments in All Star history,” West coach Scott Brooks said. “You’re talking about one of the greatest winners of all sports. What he exemplified is just what you want your team to be: Teamwork, about the team, about the city. Just an amazing player. That was a great moment to watch that all of our guys really honored him, and rightfully so.”
Carmelo Anthony agreed.
“First of all, this was by far one of the most memorable All Star Weekends, All Star Games honoring Bill Russell, Magic and them guys, getting the whole arena to sing happy birthday to him, and then the game. All of that played into tonight’s game,” Anthony said after the East win. “It was a great atmosphere. It was good for us to be a part of that celebration. Bill Russell was one of them guys who paved the way for guys like myself and the guys that was out there. So it was just great to be a part of tonight.”
Rodney Hood got the Jazz to overtime.
Gordon Hayward took it from there.
This extends Utah’s win streak to eight games and snaps a 10-game losing streak in Dallas. The last time the Jazz won in Dallas? Mavericks guard Deron Williams started – for Utah.*
*Those Jazz brought Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver and Wesley Matthews off the bench. Dang
Up three points and the final seconds winding down, the Mavericks had a great chance to intentionally foul Trey Lyles (a 62% free-throw shooter) with his back to the basket.
Instead, they allowed Rodney Hood to hit this shot and get the Jazz to overtime.
The Bucks led the Celtics led the Bucks by 19 in the fourth quarter and four in the final minute.
But Boston completed its comeback when Jerryd Bayless committed a boneheaded foul on Kelly Olynyk with a second left, shoving Olynyk in the back on the inbound. Olynyk sunk both free throws to tie the game.
Then, Khris Middleton got Bayless off the hook.
Middleton drew a foul on Avery Bradley, who was trying to contest the game-winning shot. The Milwaukee wing made one free throw then intentionally the second, and Jae Crowder couldn’t replicate this.
Par for the course, Gregg Popovich gave curt answers to end his in-game interview quickly.
But David Aldridge tempted the Spurs coach, asking whether he wanted New Hampshire primary results. Popovich walked back to hear the answer.
Told Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump won, Popovich shook his head.
Was that disapproval for the Democratic or Republican candidate – or both?