Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets

2014 PBT Awards: All-NBA team

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Though none of us have a ballot for the NBA’s official awards, we’ll be presenting our choices and making our cases this week for each major honor.

Kurt Helin

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Tim Duncan, San Antonio Spurs
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Forward was just brutal — Carmelo Anthony and LaMarcus Aldridge are not on here for me and if I could find a way they would be. I moved Paul George up to guard just to get him out of the forward slot and get him recognition he deserves. Glad to finally get Al Jefferson some deserved pub.

Brett Pollakoff

First team

  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: John Wall, Washington Wizards
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Carmelo Anthony, New York Knicks
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

The biggest surprise when choosing these teams was how easy it was to leave off players from the two teams that finished with the best records in their respective conferences — the Spurs and the Pacers. Curry and Harden were interchangeable in the final guard spot on the first team for me, and third team features three guys who all had fantastic seasons and were instrumental in their teams’ success in Jefferson, Lowry and Dragic.

Dan Feldman

First team

  • G: Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors
  • G: Chris Paul, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Durant, Oklahoma City Thunder
  • F: LeBron James, Miami Heat
  • C: Joakim Noah, Chicago Bulls

Second team

  • G: Goran Dragic, Phoenix Suns
  • G: James Harden, Houston Rockets
  • F: Blake Griffin, Los Angeles Clippers
  • F: Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
  • C: Dwight Howard, Houston Rockets

Third team

  • G: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
  • G: Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors
  • F: Paul George, Indiana Pacers
  • F: Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas Mavericks
  • C: Al Jefferson, Charlotte Bobcats

Slotting all three centers was difficult, and I left out DeMarcus Cousins, who is close but might not get All-NBA credit from anyone. The forwards cleanly broke into two-man tiers. Anthony Davis just missed too many games in a crowded field for third team, and Carmelo Anthony was also a tough cut there. With all due respect to Tim Duncan and LaMarcus Aldridge, they didn’t play enough to claim a spot at this position. At guard, Harden stands in a class alone, below Curry and Paul, but above Dragic and Lowry. Separating Dragic and Lowry was difficult, but Dragic gets the edge for producing in the more-competitive West. Lillard narrowly beat John Wall and Mike Conley for third-team guard. None of those three seem All-NBA caliber, but one of them had to be with Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose missing too many games due to injury.

Pelicans’ Dejean-Jones killed after going to wrong apartment

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 04:  Bryce Dejean-Jones #31 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives to the basket during the first half of a game against the Los Angeles Lakers at the Smoothie King Center on February 4, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
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DALLAS (AP) New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones was fatally shot on his daughter’s first birthday after kicking down the door of what he mistakenly thought was his girlfriend’s apartment in Dallas, a death that rattled the NBA over Memorial Day weekend.

“We are devastated at the loss of this young man’s life,” the Pelicans said Saturday in a statement.

Dallas police said Sunday they would not have more information about the shooting until after the holiday and did not answer The Associated Press’ question regarding whether the man who shot the 23-year-old Dejean-Jones would face charges. It is legal in Texas for people to use deadly force to protect themselves from intruders.

Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend for his daughter’s first birthday and had gone for a walk early Saturday, according to his agent, Scott W. Nichols. His girlfriend lives on the fourth floor, and Dejean-Jones, who was visiting the complex for the first time, went to the third.

A man living at the apartment was sleeping when he heard his front door kicked open, police Senior Cpl. DeMarquis Black said Saturday in a statement. When Dejean-Jones began kicking at the bedroom door, the man retrieved a handgun and fired. Dejean-Jones collapsed in an outdoor passageway, and he died at a hospital.

Dejean-Jones’s father told KCAL-TV that his son was “tenacious.”

“He has had so many things that have happened to him along his path,” K.C. Jones told the station. “He made up his mind that he wanted to do what he was doing – play pro ball. And whatever it took, he was going to get there. He was going to do it.”

In Dejean-Jones’ only NBA season, which ended in February because of a broken right wrist, the 6-foot-6 guard started 11 of 14 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Nichols said Dejean-Jones had nearly completed his rehab and was set to begin shooting with his right hand again next week.

“It’s shocking this happened,” Nichols said. “Wrong place, wrong time, I think.”

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a “tragic loss” and said Dejean-Jones “had a bright future in our league.”

Dejean-Jones was signed by the Pelicans last summer after not being selected in the 2015 draft.

“I just lost my best friend/cousin last night enjoy life because you never know if tomorrow is guaranteed,” Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves wrote on Twitter.

Dejean-Jones was part of the 2014-15 Iowa State team that went 25-9, captured a Big 12 title and made a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. He also played at Southern California and UNLV; he was suspended late in the 2013-14 season from UNLV for conduct detrimental to the team, and announced that he was leaving USC midway through the 2010-11 season.

Former Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, now the coach of the NBA’s Chicago Bulls, added in a statement that Dejean-Jones was a “passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance.”

Julie Keel, a spokeswoman for Camden Property Trust, the real estate company that owns the apartment complex in Dallas, confirmed that the complex’s apartment manager had sent out an email to residents saying that the person who had been shot had been trying to break into “the apartment of an estranged acquaintance” and that this person had “inadvertently” broken into the wrong apartment.

Black said he could not confirm that Dejean-Jones was trying to access an acquaintance’s apartment.

Grizzlies officially name David Fizdale as their next head coach

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Earlier this week, reports surfaced that the Memphis Grizzlies had reached an agreement with longtime Miami Heat assistant David Fizdale to be their next head coach, replacing Dave Joerger. On Sunday, the Grizzlies made it official, announcing the move in a press release.

Here’s the official statement from Grizzlies GM Chris Wallace:

“We are pleased to welcome David to Memphis. After a comprehensive search process, and talking with a number of very bright basketball minds, we focused in on David and we are confident that he is the right person for the job. David’s achievements throughout his career, his reputation as a strong tactician, his leadership with player development, and his ability to communicate and build strong relationships with his players make him the clear choice to guide the Grizzlies on and off the court, as we move forward and collectively build on the consistent success we have attained over the last several years.”

Fizdale offered his own comments as part of the announcement:

“I am extremely excited to be in Memphis and really looking forward to building a legacy with this talented group of players. In my career, I have been fortunate to have worked with some of the greatest coaches and players in the NBA and am ready for this challenge. I am not only here to contribute to an organization that has built a history of winning, I am here to win it all and bring the wonderful people of Memphis their first Championship Parade down Beale Street. I am truly honored that Robert Pera, Chris Wallace and the organization felt that I am the right man to lead us forward and I would like to thank them for their confidence and this great opportunity.”

Fizdale had served as an assistant on Erik Spoelstra’s bench in Miami since 2008, and his now-former team offered their congratulations via Twitter:

Antetokounmpo brothers, Porzingis play streetball in Athens

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 16:  Kristaps Porzingis #6 of the New York Knicks stands for the National Anthem before their game against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 16, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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ATHENS, Greece (AP) NBA stars Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Kristaps Porzingis of the New York Knicks battled it out in Athens in a game of streetball Sunday, watched by a crowd of 5,000.

Played in an open court in Greece’s largest public high school, the “Antetokounbros Streetball Event” ended 123-123. No overtime was played.

Porzingis scored 21 points but was overshadowed by team member Thanasis Antetokounmpo, Giannis’ older brother, who scored 69. The two had played for a few games together last season, when Thanasis was signed by the Knicks on a 10-day contract. Giannis Antetokounmpo led the other team with 64 points. The other players were a mixture of veteran pros and amateurs.

On Saturday, Porzingis and the Antetonkoumpo brothers were given a private tour of the Acropolis Museum.

Klay Thompson credits Yoda socks for Game 6 performance

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 16:  Klay Thompson #11 of the Golden State Warriors drives with the ball against Andre Roberson #21 of the Oklahoma City Thunder during game one of the NBA Western Conference Final at ORACLE Arena on May 16, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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The Warriors’ most important adjustment in Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals didn’t occur on the court — it occurred on Klay Thompson‘s feet. Thompson scored a playoff career-high 41 points against the Thunder on Saturday to force a Game 7, and afterwards, he credited it all to a pair of Yoda socks from Stance’s Star Wars lineup.

From The Vertical‘s Michael Lee:

As he quietly got dressed, Thompson rolled up a pair of Stance socks with a cartoonish image of the green, pointy-eared Jedi master from Star Wars, Yoda. Thompson packed his lucky socks especially for Game 6, knowing he’d need something a little extra to fend off the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“I brought my Yoda socks to bring out my Jedi powers,” Thompson told The Vertical after a performance in which the least heralded, but no less important, member of the Splash Brothers saved Golden State’s season.

Here’s a picture of Thompson wearing the socks, which are pretty sweet:

Thompson will need whatever special powers the socks gave him again on Monday, if the Warriors hope to overcome what was once a 3-1 deficit and advance to the Finals.