Steve Kerr will find time for all four Warriors All-Stars on floor

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Steve Kerr will find a stretch while coaching next month’s All-Star Game to get all four of his Golden State Warriors on the floor together.

“I am absolutely going to play them all four together,” Kerr said Friday. “Those four will be together for sure. I can guarantee you that’ll happen at some point because that will be a pretty cool thing. It’s very rare. … It’ll be fun at least for a couple minutes I’ll get them all out there at once.”

And center Zaza Pachulia will be with them in spirit for the Feb. 19 game in New Orleans.

The Warriors tied an NBA record with four players on the All-Star team – two-time reigning MVP Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant as starters for the Western Conference coached by Kerr, and Draymond Green and Klay Thompson as reserves.

“That’ll be really cool,” Thompson said of playing with his three Warriors teammates in the NBA’s midseason showcase. “I wonder who the fifth player will be. That will be really awesome. It will feel like a real game and we can even run some sets. It’s crazy. It’s really a unique situation and it doesn’t happen a lot for a lot of teams, so we’re going to enjoy the heck out of it.”

Only seven other teams, in fact.

Golden State, with the NBA’s best record at 39-7, is just the eighth franchise to land four players in the All-Star game and just the second in the West. The Los Angeles Lakers did so in 1998.

“That’s special,” Green said. “It says a lot about this team. First off the success that we’ve had here.”

In honoring the lone Golden State starter not there – Pachulia – Thompson has a plan in mind.

“I might set a hard screen or something,” he said.

Oh, and Green has his own idea: “We’ll all take Fatheads for Zaza, extra-large size.”

Green found out about making the team while taking care of his 1-month-old son, Draymond Jr., on Thursday – he was on feeding and diaper duty and the baby was “crying a lot.”

“My first 35 minutes was hell finding out I was an All-Star,” he said. “After that … he ate, I started burping him and he fell asleep, so I started responding to texts and he woke up like 10 minutes later and went crazy again. It was a cool couple hours for me, dealing with crying and diapers, milk. It was fun.”

Kerr and the Golden State staff will coach their second All-Star game in three seasons, and with so many familiar faces.

“It’s a great honor for those guys individually and for us as an organization,” Kerr said. “It’s pretty remarkable to have this group together right now and to see them all playing so well together, along with the rest of our guys. It doesn’t always work that way, where you put a group together, a group of stars, it doesn’t always click. But it’s clicked because our guys are unselfish and they enjoy playing with one another.”

Notes: Reserve F David West, who suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb Jan. 18 against Oklahoma City, is doing some running and shooting. He will be re-evaluated at the two-week mark early next week with a follow-up X-ray. “The main thing is he can’t have contact,” Kerr said. “So he’s able to actually get some work done on the floor but the fracture has to heal, so any non-contact stuff he’s able to do, which is good.”

Phil Jackson to miss Kobe Bryant’s jersey retirement Monday

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For one last night, Staples Center will belong to Kobe Bryant on Monday.

Sure, the Warriors are in town to take on the Lakers, but Monday night the Lakers are retiring Kobe Bryant’s numbers — both 8 and 24 — in a halftime ceremony. It’s been the hottest ticket in Los Angeles, with celebrities, luminaries, and regular Lakers fans shelling out a lot of cash to see the Laker legend be honored.

Except, Phil Jackson will not be there, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.

Jackson has been in touch with Bryant in advance of the ceremony to congratulate him, sources said. But he was unable to travel from his Montana home for the ceremony in Los Angeles.

No reason was given (nor does one need to be made public, that’s between Kobe and Jackson).

Jackson coached Kobe to all five of his NBA titles, and while their relationship had its ups and downs — remember Jackson called out Kobe as almost uncoachable in one of his books — they remain close.

 

Three Things to Know: LeBron James racks up third straight triple-double

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Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA. Here’s what you missed on Sunday while practicing your ax throwing in Paris

1) LeBron James has third straight triple-double… and sends equality message. Back in the 2008-09 season, LeBron James strung together three consecutive games of triple-doubles, the season he went on to win his first MVP award. Despite 61 career triple-doubles, he hasn’t had a string like that since.

Until now. LeBron put together three again this week, the most recent coming at the expense of the Washington Wizards on Sunday, a team that had no answer for his playmaking skills. James finished the game with 20 points, 12 rebounds and 15 assists. It wasn’t the most efficient LeBron scoring performance of his career (8-of-23 shooting overall, 2-of-7 from three, his legs looked a little tired on the back-to-back) and he was playing too much in isolation (nearly twice as many possessions as in pick-and-roll). However, down the stretch he was a fantastic playmaker, finding teammates — such as finding the cutting Jeff Green and Kyle Korver — and doing what it took to lift his team to the 106-99 win (Cleveland’s has won five straight and 18-of-19).

LeBron was also sending a message while playing in our nation’s capital: He wore one black and one white of the LeBron 15s, with the word “Equality” on the back of both of them. Good on LeBron, I love that he has found a voice and is comfortable using it.

2) Cavaliers sticking to plan even if he seems ready: Isaiah Thomas should join Cavaliers after the first of the year. Patience. It’s a virtue. Cleveland’s end game is to have another elite playmaker and scorer on the floor in late May and (hopefully) June, not for Christmas Day (no matter who is on the schedule).

Meaning that despite the face Isaiah Thomas is working out and says he and his injured hip feel ready to return, it will be 2018 before he officially pulls on a Cavaliers jersey and takes the court.

This is the smart play by the Cavaliers, who have racked up enough wins not to need to push him. That said, LeBron is carrying a heavy load — he’s played more minutes than anyone in the league so far, and this is his 15th NBA season — and the Cavaliers need to get him some help and rest so he is fresh for the postseason.

3) Detroit ties a franchise record with 17 made threes in win over Orlando. The Pistons are not exactly a great three-point shooting team: They average a middle-of-the-pack 29.3 attempts per game (31.6 percent of their attempts), but at least hit them at a healthy 38.3 percent clip. Detroit does a good job at least of getting corner threes up and knocking them down.

Sunday they were knocking everything down, hitting 17-of-34 threes to tie a franchise record for the most made threes in a game. Anthony Tolliver led the way (5-of-7 from deep) with Reggie Bullock pitching in 4-of-5.

The Pistons have snapped out of their seven-game losing streak to win three in a row now, including a quality win over the Pacers on the second night of a back-to-back.

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.