Dan Feldman

Going big: Kristaps Porzingis wins Skills Challenge (video)

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NEW ORLEANS — Kristaps Porzingis was a half step behind Gordon Hayward as they shot their layups in the Skills Challenge, but the 7-foot-3 Knicks forward had an advantage as each player’s ball fell through the hoop.

“I kind of cheated a little bit,” Porzingis said. “I grabbed the ball before him, because I’m taller. And then I just kept running.”

Porzingis kept his advantage, hitting a 3-pointer on the other end to win the Skills Challenge on All-Star Saturday Night. He’s the second big man to win in the two years larger players participated, joining 2016 winner Karl-Anthony Towns.

 

 

In an event thought to favor guards considering the emphasis on ball-handling, passing, speed and shooting, the bigs are making their mark. Even Gordon Hayward, a forward shoehorned into the guard division won that to meet Porzingis in the final. But the bigger Porzingis was too quick.

“It’s a good feeling I’m able to showcase my skill with my size,” Porzingis said.

It’s a new era for NBA bigs. What’s next for Porzingis on All-Star Saturday Night?

“Slam dunk competition? For sure not,” Porzingis said. “Maybe one day 3-pointers.”

 

Complete results

Quarterfinals

Gordon Hayward over John Wall

Isaiah Thomas over Devin Booker

Kristaps Porzingis over DeMarcus Cousins

Nikola Jokic over Anthony Davis

Semifinals

Gordon Hayward over Isaiah Thomas

Kristaps Porzingis over Nikola Jokic

Final

Kristaps Porzingis over Gordon Hayward

Grizzlies reporter asks clueless fans about Zach Randolph’s dunk-contest chances in hilarious video

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Zach Randolph has already dunked twice as much this season as he did all of last season.

But going from one to two didn’t put the ground-bound Grizzlies big man into the dunk contest.

That didn’t stop Alexis Morgan of Grizzlies.com from asking fans in New Orleans for All-Star Weekend about Randolph’s chances in tonight’s signature event:

Mark Cuban wore No. 46 in celebrity game ‘to tweak the s— out of everybody’

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17:  Marc Lasry and Mark Cuban face off during the 2017 NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Mercedes-Benz Superdome on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images)
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Donald Trump, America’s 45th president, said Mark Cuban isn’t smart enough to run for president.

So, the Mavericks owner wore No. 46 in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Cuban, via Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN:

He later said with a smile that the number choice was “to tweak the s— out of everybody.

“It was just to f— with everybody, because that is what I do,” he said. “You’ve got to have fun with it. You can’t take it too seriously. So, we’ll see.”

Cuban is a troll. In this case, he’s a funny troll.

Carmelo Anthony on All-Star selection: ‘It was a downer’

New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony (7) walks off the court after the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)
AP Photo/Frank Franklin II
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NEW ORLEANS — Just three days ago, NBA commissioner Adam Silver selected Carmelo Anthony as Kevin Love All-Star injury replacement.

“It was a downer,” Anthony said. “I had to cancel my trip. No refunds.”

The Knicks star said he planned to vacation in Cuba and Puerto Rico over the break. Instead, he had to make travel arrangements to New Orleans as other non-All-Star players not selected made him “jealous” with pictures from their vacation pictures.

“I had to shut my phone off,” Anthony said.

This will be Anthony’s 10th All-Star appearance, whether he likes it or not.

“It’s a good thing,” Anthony said. “I don’t want to seem like I’m not happy about it.”

 

NBA confirms: Marcus Smart fouled Jimmy Butler

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Marcus Smart was called for fouling Jimmy Butler, who sank a pair of free throws in the final second to give the Bulls a 104-103 win over the Celtics on Thursday.

“He got a piece of the elbow,” Butler said.

Said Boston guard Isaiah Thomas: A bad call cost us the game.

The NBA’s Last Two Minute Report ruled on the contentious call, backing the refs’ assessment of a foul:

Smart (BOS) makes contact with Butler’s (CHI) arm that affects his jump shot attempt. Any contact to a shooter’s hand, arm, or wrist prior to the release of the shot is considered a foul

This is correct. It wasn’t the most egregious foul, but Smart touched Thomas’ arm. That’s a foul.

The league’s ruling won’t change the Celtics’ objections. They’ll remain stubbornly defiant, which — even if you ask Butler — is understandable.