Miami Heat v Indiana Pacers - Game 5

And-1 Links: Paul George changes his number to 13. PG-13. Get it?

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

The rumors are true, when he comes back in 2015 Paul George will change his number to 13. Yes, PG-13. Personally not really loving it but there you are.

• If you read one thing today it should be James Herbert’s interview with Patrick Patterson at CBS’ Eye on Basketball. For example he was at the Drake OVO show where Drake tried to recruit Kevin Durant and got fined for it:

“Ha, that was funny. It was cool. I know Drake, the whole OVO crew, Toronto, Canada, they would love to have Kevin Durant there. It’d be a great piece to this culture that we’re trying to create in order to win and be successful. I’d love it if Kevin Durant came, I’m not going to say I wouldn’t. That’d be a great piece, that’d be a great player to have. I thought it was fun, it was entertaining, the fans loved it. Kevin probably loved it as well, I think I saw a tweet about him saying, “Shout out to Drake, I love the 6,” something like that. It was definitely entertaining. It was a smart move on Drake’s part.”

• Also a great read on Josh Howard’s attempted return to the NBA.

• Your non-update update of the day on Ray Allen: He says not to trust sources, when he makes a decision he will make it public.

• Most traditional NBA centers put up better numbers when paired with a stretch four.

• Free agents Malcolm Lee and Chris Singleton worked out in Las Vegas on Monday for a number of teams, trying to get to a training camp, ideally with a team that has a roster spot or two open.

• David Stern was reportedly afraid to ask Bill Russell to Stern’s Hall of Fame induction.

• Stan Van Gundy likes the moves the Pistons made this summer (that he executed, so he better like them) to bring in more shooting and depth. And he says he expects these guys to play hard every possession.

“Yeah, for two reasons,” he said. “The people we added all play very hard and very competitively, but I also think that’s the value of depth and balance. Our guys are going to push each other. There will be competition for playing time.”

• Cleveland has signed undrafted center Alex Kirk to a partially guaranteed contract.

• Lance Stephenson posted this on Instagram saying he thinks he can be a professional model. I’ll leave that call up to you.

• RIP Robin Williams.

• Renaldo Balkman is working to get back to the NBA, says he wants one more shot.

• Khris Middleton milks a cow.

• MarShon Brooks has decided to take the bigger payday overseas and has signed with Olimpia Milano for next season.

• Thunder prospect Tibor Pleiss has signed to play with FC Barcelona next season.

• Finally, if you enjoyed the Charles Barkley/James Harden Foot Locker commercial, here are the outtakes.

PBT Extra: Who do you want to see most in first All-Star Game?

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Tonight the NBA All-Star Game starters will be announced. Then the coaches have a week to vote and the rest of the roster will be put together by them.

This year should see a few first-time All-Stars, guys bursting on the scene and grabbing fans attention — so we asked people on Twitter who they most wanted to see in his first All-Star Game and I break it down in this PBT Extra.

The winner? Giannis Antetokounmpo with 45 percent of the vote. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, he’s second in the fan voting for the frontcourt in the East (behind only LeBron James). Good news for those fans, the Greek Freak is almost guaranteed to be a starter, he’s getting plenty of media votes and likely a lot from the players as well.

Second place in the poll? Joel Embiid of the Sixers. I’d love to see him, but will players and media members vote in a guy on a minutes restriction? Will the coaches pick him for that same reason? He is on the bubble.

Russell Westbrook: ‘Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—’ (video)

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Did Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant talk during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder last night? Westbrook said no, though video and first-hand accounts indicate otherwise.

Even more clearly: Westbrook – who walked near teammates Enes Kanter, Anthony Morrow and Jerami Grant – didn’t want someone talking to someone as they left the floor after the game. ESPN caught Westbrook saying, “Don’t say what’s up to that b— a—.”

You will never convince anyone Westbrook is referring to anyone but Durant.

Russell Westbrook commits epic travel (video)

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Between getting laid out by Zaza Pachulia and apparently talking with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook committed a travel for the ages.

The Thunder guard took an inbound pass against the Warriors and just started walking up court without dribbling. The violation was so blatant, NBA officials even called the travel.

And it’s not as if they’re inclined to blow a whistle in that situation. Before Westbrook, Kemba Walker set a high bar last season, but he got away with this walk:

Are Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant on speaking terms after apparent conversation? Westbrook: ‘Nah’ (video)

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Russell Westbrook deleted Kevin Durant‘s goodbye text and, months later, told the whole world they still hadn’t talked.

That apparently changed during the Warriors’ win over the Thunder yesterday – though not if you ask Westbrook.

Westbrook dunked in the third quarter, and according to ESPN commentator Mark Jackson, Westbrook told Durant, “Don’t jump.” Anthony Slater of The Mercury News also wrote of the same quote.

ESPN’s telecast caught Durant clearly speaking to Westbrook shortly after. It appears Westbrook is talking back, but his back is to the camera.

After the game, Westbrook denied the exchange:

 

  • Reporter: “Are you and KD on speaking terms?”
  • Westbrook: “Nah.”
  • Reporter: “You guys had a little exchange in the third quarter.”
  • Westbrook: “What exchange?”
  • Reporter: “You and KD said something to each other.”
  • Westbrook: “Oh. You gotta maybe sit closer to the game. You maybe didn’t see clearly.”

This is so Westbrook – stubborn to the point of denying reality.

That approach worked for him when everyone rightly told him he was a significantly lesser player than Durant. Westbrook ignored that fact until it became false.

I suspect he wants to forget this exchange so he can maintain a cold animosity toward someone he prefers to resent.