Kurt Helin

Korean League All-Stars stop mid-game to do mannequin challenge

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This is not something you will see at the NBA All-Star Game in New Orleans. Unless Joel Embiid makes the cut, then all bets are off.

The mannequin challenge has gone the way of planking and the ice bucket challenge here in America, but don’t tell the Korean Basketball League All-Stars that — they stopped mid-game to do the challenge recently. The KBL knows how to get attention. You can see the video above. It’s the best mannequin challenge I’ve seen in a couple of months. Also, the only one. Because the trend is dead.

Can we just say that set before the shot went up and the challenge started… that was not exactly quick or well executed.

Orlando’s Jodie Meeks out indefinitely following thumb surgery

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After missing the start of the season due to injury, Jodie Meeks had become a regular part of the rotation in Orlando, giving then 8.9 points per game, shooting 40 percent from three, and providing a veteran presence. His role has grown since Evan Fournier went out injured.

Now Meeks is out injured again and it may well cost him the rest of the season. From the Orlando Magic’s web site:

Orlando Magic guard Jodie Meeks underwent surgery to repair his right thumb this afternoon, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced. He will be out indefinitely and his return to action will depend on how he responds to rehabilitation. Meeks sustained the injury on January 18 @ New Orleans. After conducting a follow-up exam, it was determined that surgery was the proper course of action.

This likely means more Jeff Green and C.J. Wilcox until Fournier returns.

Meeks is making $6.5 million this season and will be a free agent next summer.

Paul George’s message to Pacers’ fans, “we work harder off of cheers than boos”

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The Indiana Pacers are 22-22 and on a three-game losing streak. The team’s defense has fallen from elite in past years to middle of the pack, and the pedestrian offense can’t overcome that. Jeff Teague‘s transition has been anything but smooth. Maybe the biggest issue is consistency — there are nights the Teague/Paul George/Myles Turner combo look like an offensive juggernaut, and nights they have the cohesion of a YMCA pickup game (way too much isolation). The defense likewise varies game to game. If the team gets on a little run of success, they seem to relax and let up.

It’s frustrated fans who thought this team could have home court in the first round of the playoffs, not be fighting to stay in it.

Monday night during a home loss plenty of fans booed. Paul George tried to respond to that speaking to the Indianapolis Star‘s Jim Ayello:

“They pay their money, their hard-earned money to watch us play. They got the right to do whatever they want,” George said after practice Tuesday. “It doesn’t hurt me. It doesn’t hurt my feelings. Just know we work harder off of cheers than boos…

“Obviously, I get it,” he said. “The team’s not performing, and we’re not playing well. (But) it’s not like we’re out there not giving our all. We want to win just as much as the fans want us to win.

“It doesn’t help — booing us. We want to come out and play hard. We want to play hard for them. It’s not like we’re just out there to be there. I get it, though. They expect us to be at a high level. I get it. I don’t think booing is the solution.”

Maybe, but the Pacers need to give those fans reason to cheer about. Then do it consistently.

Kevin Hart liked what he saw from suddenly-hot Sixers (VIDEO)

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Kevin Hart was sitting courtside for the hottest ticket in Philly right now — the Sixers. He can afford those seats (but probably didn’t have to pay for them, the perks of being Kevin Hart).

And he seemed impressed — he got to watch the Sixers come from 19 back to knock off the shorthanded Clippers.

And, like the rest of us, Hart likes what he has seen from Joel Embiid (who was not playing Tuesday).

Three things we learned Tuesday: Boston’s defense is its funeral, not Wizards

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Here’s what you missed around the NBA Tuesday night while trying to find cheaper parking than a $74,000 space….

1) Washington wants to credit the all-black funeral attire for the win. Really, it was Boston’s poor defense. Boston and Washington have developed a fun rivalry, one that has gotten chippy in a couple recent meetings. Arriving for Tuesday’s game, the Wizards wore all black — because they were going to the Celtics’ funeral (figuratively not literally).

Then the Wizards went out and handled the Celtics 123-108 behind 31 points from Bradley Beal, while John Wall had 27 points, seven assists, and seven rebounds. Just ask Kelly Olynyk how good Wall was playing.

That’s 14 home wins in a row for the Wizards.

The Celtics were frustrated, to the point that Marcus Smart got into it with an assistant coach on the bench, but after the game apologized (and it was a good one, a genuine apology, not one just written by the PR staff).

That’s three losses in a row, and the reason is Boston’s defense — they are allowing 111.2 points per 100 possessions in January, 26th in the NBA. Their defense hasn’t been good all season (22nd in the league overall) but it has taken a step back the past few weeks. The Celtics are 6-4 in the month because their offense has been improved (fourth best in the NBA for the month) behind the surging Isaiah Thomas, but their poor defense is starting to catch up with them. There are a number of factors in the Celtics’ defensive decline, but the undersized Thomas is a big part of it — in January, the Celtics defense is 15 points per 100 possessions worse when he is on the court (to be fair, the offense is 17.4 per 100 better when he plays, so Brad Stevens is going to play him). The Celtics defense is particularly getting exposed in the fourth quarter and, according to Synergy, when teams go to isolation sets — Boston has man defenders that can be exploited.

The Celtics remain the three seed in the East, just 1.5 games back of the Raptors for the two seed, but if Boston has playoff dreams beyond the first round they have to sure up their defense. Quickly.

2) Andrew Wiggins with the game winner and Minnesota has a win streak. The young and improving Timberwolves have won three in a row. Sure, those wins were against an injury-ravaged Clippers team, the Nuggets, and the Suns, but the Timberwolves will take it. Tuesday’s win came thanks to Andrew Wiggins, he had 31 points including the game winner as the clock ran out — a good shot where he played through the contact of a good defender in P.J. Tucker and got to his spot on the floor.

If Timberwolves fans want to dream big, their team is just 2.5 games back of the Nuggets for the eighth seed, although Minnesota would have to leap three other teams (Portland, New Orleans, and Sacramento) to “win” the final playoff spot in the West (Denver has the spot now and is six games below .500, and remember the reward for getting that spot is Golden State). Minnesota has improved as the season has gone on — the young team is making fewer mistakes — and they are 6-6 so far in January. This team isn’t coming together as fast as predicted, there are still roster questions (starting at point guard), but they are improving. And still just loaded with talent.

3) Blake Griffin returned for the Clippers, but that couldn’t stop them from blowing a 19-point lead to the Embiid-less Sixers. The good news for the Clippers is Blake Griffin returned to the court after having been out since mid-December with knee surgery. Los Angeles needs him and particularly his playmaking with Chris Paul out – Griffin had a few nice plays where he drew the defense and found teammates for good looks. Los Angeles is much better with him on the court right now.

But that still couldn’t stop Los Angeles from blowing a 19-point lead to Philadelphia. With Joel Embiid sitting out.

The Sixers went on to win by a comfortable 121-110 margin, and Nerlens Noel led the way with 19 points and eight rebounds.