Marco Belinelli to defend 3-point shootout title

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Standout dunker Kyle Korver will try his his hand in the 3-point shootout.

Stephen Curry is in it until he wins it.

Klay Thompson, Wesley Mathews and J.J. Redick will also compete.

The final participant?

Mike Monroe of the San Antonio-Express News:

Defending All-Star Weekend 3-point champion Marco Belinelli said he has gotten the invitation from league officials to defend the long ball championship he won in New Orleans last year.

“Yes, I will be there,” Belinelli said before Wednesday’s Spurs-Hornets game at the AT&T Center. “I am really looking forward to it.”

Belinelli ranks well below the other competitors in both 3-pointers per game and 3-point percentage:

Player 3P/G 3P%
Kyle Korver 3.1 53.4
Klay Thompson 3.2 45.6
J.J. Redick 2.5 44.1
Wesley Matthews 3.1 39.7
Stephen Curry 2.9 39.1
Marco Belinelli 1.2 36.7

But as defending champion, Belinelli was practically a lock to get invited.

Just six of the event’s 28 winners didn’t return the following year to defend their title – and all six had good reason. Kevin Love (2012 champion), Steve Kerr (1997), Mark Price (1994), Dale Ellis (1989) and Larry Bird (1988) were injured the following seasons. Jeff Hornacek (2000) retired.

Belinelli is healthy and has a real chance to repeat. Though the other entrants are better in-game outside shooters, the 3-point shootout requires slightly different skills – stamina to launch 25 shots in a minute (twice if the first time goes well) and ability to pull balls off a rack and lock in on the basket. Belinelli has proven he can do that.

Heat forward James Johnson expected to miss 7 to 10 days

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MIAMI (AP) The Miami Heat will be without starting forward James Johnson for at least two games and probably more after bursitis was found in his right ankle.

Johnson left Miami’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Saturday with ankle pain, and an MRI performed Sunday led to the bursitis diagnosis. Johnson is not traveling with the team for its trip for games at Atlanta on Monday and Boston on Wednesday.

The team says Johnson could miss seven to 10 days, which would also mean his status for home games against Dallas on Dec. 22, New Orleans on Dec. 23 and Orlando on Dec. 26 is in some doubt.

Johnson is averaging 10.9 points and 5.2 rebounds for the Heat this season.

LeBron James wears one black, one white LeBron 15 shoes with “Equality” on back (VIDEO)

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LeBron James notched his third-straight triple-double on Sunday, this one coming against the Washington Wizards. But before the game, the story was all about how James was voicing a silent protest — in Washington D.C., no less — by wearing a special version of his shoes.

LeBron took to the floor wearing his LeBron 15s, but this player edition had the word “Equality” on the back of them. James wore one black shoe and one white shoe.

James wore the black versions of this shoe in the Cleveland Cavaliers’ opener to start the season.

Via Twitter:

LeBron finished the game with 20 points, 15 assists, and 12 rebounds. The Cavaliers beat the Wizards, 106-99.

Stephen Curry says he’d want in on potential Panthers ownership

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The Carolina Panthers are up for sale. Owner Jerry Richardson said he would sell the team late on Sunday following an announcement by the NFL that Richardson was under investigation for “workplace misconduct”. The NFL’s investigation and Richardson’s decision to sell was preceded by a report from SI saying Richardson had paid out settlements amid sexual harassment and racial slur claims.

Enter Sean Combs and Stephen Curry.

Combs — that’s Diddy, you to and me — has previously voiced his interest in being involved with the NFL, and after seeing that Richardson would be selling the team, jumped at the chance to boost his profile. Combs tweeted that he wanted to buy the team, and that’s when Curry joined in.

Via Twitter:

Naturally, Curry is from Charlotte and went to both high school and eventually college in the area, playing at Davidson. He’s an avid Panthers fan and has been on the sideline for the team publicly many times over the years.

Curry being part of an ownership group for the Panthers would be pretty wild. Perhaps Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan would like to join in? It seems like they would have the liquidity and credit availability between the three of them to get the team.

Then again, the asking price for the Panthers could be north of $2 billion. The last team to be sold was the Buffalo Bills in 2014 for $1.4 billion. In September, Forbes released a valuation for the Panthers that put them at $2.3 billion.

Might need to get a few others involved in this one.

Watch Raptors fans give Vince Carter a standing ovation in Toronto (VIDEO)

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Vince Carter is 40 years old and playing in what could possibly be his final NBA season. The Sacramento Kings guard started his career with the Toronto Raptors, and on Sunday he played what could possibly be his final game at the Air Canada Centre.

And so, when Carter was subbed out late in the fourth quarter on Sunday, the folks in Toronto did what came naturally: they cheered.

The whole thing was pretty great to watch, and a real testament to how Carter is viewed by fans in Toronto.

Via Twitter:

Carter scored just four points in 25 minutes for Sacramento, going 2-of-5 from the field while adding three blocks, two assists, a rebound and a steal.

The Raptors got the win over the Kings, 108-93.