Kurt Helin

Damian Lillard drops John Henson to floor with crossover (VIDEO)


That’s just nasty.

Midway through the fourth quarter Tuesday night, Portland’s Damian Lillard brought the ball up, got the high pick from Noah Vonleh, which forced John Henson to switch onto Lillard. Henson has no shot at guarding Lillard in space, and the crossover literally makes Henson trip over his own feet and hit the floor.

The Bucks went on to win the game 93-90 when Lillard missed a couple of threes and got his shot blocked at the rim too in the final minute.

Lakers sign David Nwaba to two-year contract

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This is why you roll the dice on 10-day contracts. Most of the time it just helps fill a roster space, but sometimes you might find something that fits with what you do.

The Lakers may have found a keeper in David Nwaba, and after his second 10-day had expired the team signed him to a two-year deal, the Lakers announced Tuesday. It goes through the rest of this season and has a team option for the next one.

“We have been impressed by David’s focus and determination, especially on defense,” said Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. “He has a mentality about him that is infectious, and he works hard every day to improve himself. He has brought energy to both our Lakers and D-Fenders games, and has certainly earned his spot on the roster.”

Nwaba is an L.A. native who attended University High in West Los Angeles, then Santa Monica Community College, then finished his college ball up the coast at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. He’s averaged 3.6 points in 14.4 minutes per game with the Lakers.

And he did this.

40-year-old Vince Carter with halfcourt shot, between-the-legs dunk in warmups (VIDEO)

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Age does not apply to Vince Carter. Apparently.

The 40-year-old Carter and the Grizzlies are in New Orleans for a game Tuesday night, and during warmups Carter drained a half-court shot. Which was impressive, but not nearly as impressive as his casual between-the-legs dunk.

Again, at age 40.

Gregg Popovich on resting players: “We have definitely added years to people”

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You may not like it. ABC/ESPN certainly doesn’t like it, and if they don’t like it Adam Silver sends off angry memos.

Just know that NBA teams resting players is here to stay. Maybe stretching out the schedule will reduce the number of times it happens, and the league can take steps to keep it from happening on nationally televised games as often. However, the trend of more rest is not going away. Study after study has shown players perform better when rested, and more importantly for teams players are far less likely to be injured when rested (muscle fatigue from back-to-backs or three-in-fours lead to increased injuries). Coaches of elite teams are thinking big picture, thinking titles in June, and that means resting guys in March.

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was the first elite team coach to rest guys in key games — one time the Spurs drew a $250,000 fine from David Stern for it (and not notifying the league promptly). Popovich told the Express-News that he understands where Silver is coming from, but while players may miss games they play more years because of the nights off.

“But, at the same time, the league has to understand that the science of what we do is a whole lot more sophisticated than it used to be, and we have definitely added years to people. So, it’s a tradeoff: Do you want to see this guy in this one game or do you want to see them for three more years of his career? And do you want to see him through the playoffs because he didn’t get hurt?

“…So we are trying to use the science just like we use analytics with spreading the court with the (big men shooting from outside) and all that sort of thing. If the league things we need to know more about business they need to consider that a little bit more. And, so, seeing that player for extra years and extra games and playoffs based on some science might mean more than just that one game.”

Popovich has a valid point. LeBron James has already played more minutes than Michael Jordan. And for the broadcasters, they want LeBron and Stephen Curry and the NBA’s other stars right for the postseason, when more people tune in.

“I’ve been part of six straight Finals, and every season the Finals is bigger and bigger and better and better, and more people are tuning in,” LeBron said Sunday night when asked about the concerns of broadcasters. “So I don’t see a problem with people watching.”

There’s a balance to strike here. The NBA is an entertainment business and could be coming up on a tipping point with fan and broadcaster frustration with guys sitting out big games.

However, if the league wants to promote the Warriors at the Spurs for a big Saturday night broadcast, then don’t have it be the Warriors’ eighth game in 13 nights with a couple cross-country flights thrown in. By the way, Golden State goes back to San Antonio next week, and again it’s the second night of a back-to-back (Houston the night before). This past Saturday, Cleveland was on the first night of a back-to-back against the Clippers and coming off injuries they wanted to make sure Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were given time to get right. If the NBA and broadcasters want to hype these like playoff games, treat them like playoff games and have rest on either side for the teams.

That said, if the NBA does have a marquee game where the teams are rested coming in, it’s fair to expect that the stars play.

This topic is going to come up when the owners meet next month. This summer Silver needs to get in a room with some owners, some representatives of TNT/ESPN, some coaches/gms, the players’ union, and has out a plan, a compromise that works better for everyone. This is a legitimate issue, but solving it is not that simple.

And adding length to players’ careers is good for business, too.


‘If you can play, play’: Chris Bosh speaks on rest debate

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MIAMI (AP) — Chris Bosh never wanted to take games off as a player and would give anything to be playing right now. So he has a very simple perspective on the NBA’s rest-or-play debate .

“If you can play,” Bosh said, “go out there and play.”

Having the game taken away from him for what will amount to the last season-and-a-half – and counting, maybe for good – because of issues related to blood clots is still not an easy pill for Bosh to swallow. Now working as an analyst for Turner Sports, he’s seeing the game in a different way than he was just a year or so ago.

He gets the players’ side. He understands the fans’ frustration. He’s acutely aware of the demands that come with playing 82 games in 170 days, and how it’s been an even hotter-than-usual talking point in the NBA of late with teams like Golden State and Cleveland – the last two NBA champions – electing to rest superstars in recent nationally televised games.

“I can see it in some instances,” Bosh said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But then at the same time, if you can play, play. When there’s so much work to do, it’s kind of hard to see why guys would take time off. With that said, from a player’s side, the schedule is intense. But I guess that’s part of being in the NBA. And I think what happened was when young guys start saying `Oh, rest,’ that kind of brought it to a tipping point a little bit.”

These days, Bosh isn’t playing, nor is he resting.

He’s spent about a month working with Turner on its “Players Only” Monday night broadcasts, something that gets him back around some NBA peers and into a setting where a locker-room type camaraderie reigns. The last of those five broadcasts is next week, and Bosh hasn’t ruled out more television work in the future.

“They have a very candid bunch of guys, champions, guys who have made their names in their own ways in so many different generations in the league,” Bosh said. “Being in there with Chris Webber and Isiah Thomas, Kevin Garnett, a big-brother type guy in Baron Davis, it’s cool. It has been therapeutic because you don’t realize how much you miss that locker-room aspect until you’re away from it.”

Bosh remains under contract with the Miami Heat, though the team is likely to begin a process of waiving him and getting salary-cap relief from the final two years of his deal. He’ll be owed about $52.1 million for 2017-18 and 2018-19, money he is guaranteed to receive but dollars that may not count against the Heat books.

He is reticent to discuss his playing future, though acknowledged again that planning to play this season but not being able to because of a failed physical “was a challenge.”

“I’m still a basketball player at heart,” Bosh said. “I can’t help it.”

Bosh was sidelined by a blood clot at the All-Star break in 2015, met the same fate at the same time in last season’s schedule, and hasn’t played since.

“I’m a little bit more adjusted now,” Bosh said. “But before, you’re going 100 mph and the brakes are slammed on and now you’re not moving at all. It’s definitely an adjustment, just being able to get used to things and finding that purpose that I think we all need to succeed and have good mental health. It’s been a challenge. Things happen for a reason, I guess.”

The TV gig, for now, is part-time.

The five kids at home, that’s full-time. And they’re used to having their dad at home when they arrive back from school in the afternoon, something Bosh – who is playing some basketball in workouts – has happily gotten used to as well.

“People are so concerned and I appreciate it, but I’m doing fine,” Bosh said. “I’m very happy. I’m getting to do other things that I have never been able to do. I’m a beginner in a lot of things. But I’ve learned to like it, and just look at the nice new picture I have of the world.”