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Zaza Pachulia second in West frontcourt All-Stars? Still wonder why NBA tweaked system?

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Last year, Zaza Pachulia came within just more than 14,000 votes of being an All-Star Game starter.

That was the good ol’ days, when fans got 100 percent of the say on the starters, and Pachulia’s stock was boosted by a late push with heavy voting online from his native Georgia, Wyclef Jean posting videos pushing Zaza, and since the NBA Twitterverse loves a good joke/likes to disrupt the system, everybody was in on the gag. It almost worked — he came in fourth in a race where the top three got starting spots. Zaza still beat out Draymond Green, Blake Griffin, Tim Duncan, Anthony Davis, and on and on.

Through the first few weeks of voting for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game, here is where things stand for the Western Conference frontcourt:

Western Conference
Frontcourt
1 Kevin Durant (GS) 987,479
2 Zaza Pachulia (GS) 823,376
3 Kawhi Leonard (SA) 630,766
4 Anthony Davis (NO) 567,201
5 Draymond Green (GS) 464,319
6 DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 379,225
7 Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 223,979
8 LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 192,784
9 Blake Griffin (LAC) 172,393
10 Marc Gasol (MEM) 172,146

Once again, Georgia is having a say. Insert your own jokes about Russian bloc country hacking an American vote here — Twitter sure did.

Sorry to disappoint the fine people in the Republic of Georgia, but this is not going stand.

In fact, this is exactly why the NBA changed the voting procedure this year. Now the fan vote counts for 50 percent, with select media members getting 25 percent, and the players getting the final 25 percent. From the NBA press release:

After all votes are tallied, players will be ranked in each conference by position (guard and frontcourt) within each of the three voting groups – fan votes, player votes and media votes. Each player’s score will be calculated by averaging his weighted rank from the fan votes, the player votes and the media votes.

I don’t want to speak for the media, but safe to say Zaza isn’t going to rack up a lot of votes there. From the players? Anyone who shares his agent maybe, or somebody going Tony Allen on their ballot, but that’s about it.

Zaza is not going to be an All-Star. Sorry. But even though he’s not playing in New Orleans, he should still come. Great food, great parties. They don’t make great gumbo in Georgia.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on resting players: “It’s complicated … kind of like healthcare”

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, along with LeBron James, has been at the center of the discussion about resting players in the NBA. The legendary coach has been credited with the idea to rest star players en masse during the season to save them for the playoffs. Meanwhile, after the Cavaliers sat LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love during a primetime matchup on ESPN, the team received a call from the league.

Commissioner Adam Silver has been active in talking about the issue as of late, and has even issued a memo to team owners to be considerate about resting players.

Popovich, meanwhile, thinks the issue isn’t quite as easy to clear up. Speaking with ESPN, the Spurs coach noted that each party in an NBA team has a different role and goal, and that sometimes those goals pull opposite each other.

Additionally, Popovich said asking owners to step in to make a decision over a coach or GM could be a serious issue.

Via ESPN:

But we all have different roles, different jobs, and different goals. We can’t satisfy everybody. But I think that every owner’s gonna be different. I think it’s a slippery slope, and makes it difficult to keep trust, and camaraderie to the degree that I think you have to have to be successful in this league if owners get too involved in what coaches and GMs are doing.”

“I think keeping owners informed about what’s going on is mandatory, and having input is fine,” Popovich said. “But I think there has to be an understanding that coaches and GMs have brains also, and we know who pays the bills. It’s a slippery slope, I think, if owners got too involved in that process. That trust relationship in those three areas is really important in creating a culture and making something that can be long-lasting.

What Popovich is basically pointing out is that GMs and coaches are hired to be the basketball minds for a reason. Having owners meddle in day-to-day decisions like resting players could muddy that relationship.

The San Antonio coach did concede that the best idea might be to rest players when they are at home, in front of home crowds who are more likely to have already seen their top players that season simply due to repetition. But Popovich isn’t in favor of broad, sweeping mandates on resting players from the league since that wouldn’t always be prudent.

“That’s why no basic rule has been written, so to speak,” said Popovich. “Because you can’t write a rule that covers everything. It’s complicated … kind of like healthcare.”

Chicago does humor with “Beauty and the Bull” snapchat musical

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The Beauty and the Beast movie is both a hit and ripe for satire. Or just amusing spinoffs.

Enter the Chicago Bulls, with Benny the Bull mascot and Robin Lopez pitching in on a musical takeoff of the film promoting the team.

Well played Bulls.

LeBron James drives through Wizards defense, dunks on

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Even when they are getting beat — and the Cavaliers have some issues to shake out before the playoffs start — there are a couple times a game that LeBron James makes a play that is stunning.

For example, splitting defenders out high with his dribble then going in and dunking on Ian Mahinmi. LeBron did that Saturday night.

The Wizards beat the Cavaliers and Cleveland has issues that are bigger than LeBron’s goggles (Boston can tie Cleveland for the top spot in the East with a win Sunday), but never doubt LeBron’s explosiveness.

Raptors’ Patrick Patterson taunts Mavericks’ bench after three, Rick Carlisle talks back (VIDEO)

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Toronto handed Dallas its 41st loss of the season Saturday night, which means with the Mavericks’ next loss their streak of winning seasons will come to an end at 16.

Toronto was talking a lot of smack while getting that win. At least Patrick Patterson was when he was draining corner threes in front of the Mavericks’ bench. On the one above, Patterson chirps and coach Rick Carlisle goes back at him verbally. They both pick up technical fouls for their trouble.

I’m surprised this doesn’t happen a little more during games, there’s a lot of talking down there