Kurt Helin

Watch James Harden drop 23 on Sixers — in first quarter

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This would be a good game line for anyone: 8-of-8 shooting including nailing both threes, 5-of-5 from the free throw line, adding up to 23 points, with four rebounds and three assists.

That was James Harden‘s first quarter against the Rockets Monday night.

The red-hot Harden just torched the Sixers struggling defense. The problem for Philly in the first quarter (and half, for that matter) wasn’t the jumpers, it was all the points in the paint Houston got. It was like a conga line to the rim, and Houston scored at will. The Rockets had a comfortable 13 point lead at the half.

LeBron’s business partner fires back at Phil Jackson after comment

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Not that LeBron James was headed to New York anyway….

In his wide-ranging interview with Jackie MacMullan at ESPN that covered the triangle, Knicks roster, the Lakers, and much more, the conversation turned to LeBron’s exit from Miami. Jackson said this, defending his man Riley.

When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland and he wanted to spend the night. They don’t do overnights. Teams just don’t. So now (coach Erik) Spoelstra has to text Riley and say, ‘What do I do in this situation?’ And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, ‘You are on the plane, you are with this team.’ You can’t hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland.

I always thought Pat had this really nice vibe with his guys. But something happened there where it broke down. I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way.

LeBron’s long-time friend and business partner Maverick Carter took offense.

LeBron grew up in Akron very tight with “the four horsemen, ” and he’s gone on to have business dealings with some of them. But to think of them as just a posse, a group of hangers-on, is a mistake. Carter is a defacto manager who set up LeBron’s reportedly $1 billion Nike deal, among other very successful business ventures. Rich Paul, his friend and now agent, went off and studied how to be an agent working at other firms before coming back and lining up LeBron (among other clients) and it was he that orchestrated the move back to Cleveland. We could go on, but you get the idea.

Did those guys have an opportunity because of their friendship with LeBron? Sure. But having an opportunity and taking advantage of that in a way that is best for both a friend and a business partner is something else entirely. The NBA is full of leeches. LeBron’s people are not that, and they should take offense at that idea.

Seahawks QB Russell Wilson joins effort to bring NBA arena to Seattle

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If they build it, will they come?

That’s the question in Seattle, where rumors that the NBA may consider expansion after the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is in place have sparked a renewed effort to get an arena built. Other reports have shot the expansion rumors down — and I have heard the same, that most owners have no interest — but none of this changes the basic fact that without an arena there is zero chance of getting a team.

The current most popular athlete in Seattle — Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson — is now on board with getting an arena built.

The plan to build a new arena is the SoDo area of Seattle took a hit last May when the City Council — hearing the opposition from the powerful unions at the port — shot down a street vacation that seemed a routine step and was necessary to get the arena built. The Arena effort took a step back, but ass assessed its situation and is trying to move forward again.

Getting someone like Wilson on board helps — both because of his profile and because he can get a message out in Seattle that will cut through the clutter and noise.

They are still a ways away from a new arena in Seattle that could house an NBA team, but this is a step in the right direction. Get it built, and maybe by then the league will either more seriously consider expansion or have another team that could be looking to move.

Amar’e Stoudemire offers his glasses to referee in Israeli league game

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If he did this in the NBA, we’d be writing about how big a fine he’s about to get

But this happened in the Israeli league, so we’ll just have a laugh and not worry about the consequences. Lord knows he’s not.

For those that don’t know, former All-Star Amar’e Stoudemire is now playing for Hapoel Jerusalem of the Israeli Basketball Premier League. And if you think NBA officials are bad, watch some international basketball sometime. It’s painful.

Stoudemire’s response was savage — he offered the referee his goggles. Here is the video, via David Pick.

Well played.

Entertainment at the Q: life-size Hungry Hungry Hippos

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In game entertainment at NBA games has a formula that is fairly similar arena to arena — half-court shot by a fan, a virtual race of some kind on the scoreboard, of course the team dancers, and so on.

Cleveland broke the mold Sunday with a good one: life-sized Hungry Hungry Hippos. Not with a real hippopotamus, obviously, those are only on the Jungle Boat ride at Disneyland.

It’s a little rough around the edges, but I like it. Beats another virtual race anyday.