Kurt Helin

Associated Press

Joel Embiid doesn’t plan to wait for Cousins to retire to be best center in NBA

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It was fun to watch DeMarcus Cousins and Joel Embiid go head-to-head a few days back — the best traditional center in the game got the better of the up-and-coming rookie, but he had to work for it.

After the game, Cousins had praise for the rookie, jokingly qualified praise.

Embiid is not that patient reports Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com.

“I don’t think I’m going to wait until he retires to be the best big man in the league,” Embiid said after practice Wednesday. “But it’s about having fun.”

Karl-Anthony Towns may want to get in on this conversation.

But I’m looking forward to years and years of Embiid vs. Cousins battles — complete with butt slaps.

Hornets mash up Kemba Walker, Chuck Norris for brilliant All-Star campaign

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Kemba Walker should be an All-Star this year. He is the core of the Charlotte offense, averaging 22.3 points a game, shooting 41.1 percent from three, has a true shooting percentage of 57, and has a PER of 22.1 — all of those a career best. The Hornet offense is 9.4 points per 100 possessions worse when he sits. The Hornets are 17-14 and look like a playoff team thanks to Walker. Plus he’s just fun to watch.

But in an Eastern Conference deep with good guards — Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, John Wall, etc. — it never hurts to have a good ad campaign.

Enter “Walker, Charlotte Ranger” — putting Walker (and teammates Frank Kaminski and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist) into Chuck Norris’ legendarily bad “Walker, Texas Ranger” television show. Below are the videos the team has already shot to promote Walker for the All-Star Game in New Orleans. And yes, voting is open.

 

George Karl takes shot at Damian Lillard; player’s agent, coach fire back

damian lillard
Associated Press
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The latest stop on the “George Karl will say anything to sell a book” tour was New York Magazine, where in addition to explaining/defending his comments about Carmelo Anthony, the former coach decided to take a shot at Blazers point guard Damian Lillard. A man he never coached.

“I was watching the Portland Trailblazers play, and I was trying to figure out, ‘What the hell is wrong with this team?’ My conclusion is that Damian Lillard is getting too much attention….Who controls the team? The coach and the point guard. And that team is not working. I think their coach, Terry Stotts, is a great coach. So I’m going to say the problem is Lillard. They were a together, connected, committed team last year. This year they’re not. What changed?”

What’s wrong with Portland? How anyone would say “Lillard” and not “defense” is baffling. Portland’s defense is dead last in the NBA and giving up 5.9 more points per 100 possessions than it did a season ago. The Lillard-centric offense is actually slightly better than a season ago, it just can’t cover up for the dramatically worse defense anymore.

However, Lillard doesn’t need me to defend him when he has his coach, Terry Stotts, and his agent, Aaron Goodwin.

Karl may sell some books. But he told New York Magazine that he wants to coach in the NBA again and hesitates to burn another bridge. Got news for Karl, that bridge is in about as good of shape as the one over the River Kwai.

Carmelo Anthony ejected for blow to Thabo Sefolosha’s head (VIDEO)

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The Hawks’ Thabo Sefolosha is the kind of player that can get under your skin — he’s long, he’s an aggressive defender who challenges everything, and he can be physical if he needs to be.

Apparently, he had bothered Carmelo Anthony. Sefolosha had been in ‘Melo’s face for chunks of the game, and the two were battling for a rebound in the later part of the second quarter in Atlanta when, as the play moved away, Anthony flung his arm and hit Sefolosha in the head. It was obvious, although it wasn’t clear that the officials saw it at first. There was a quick technical foul called, then a double technical because Sefolosha shoved Anthony back.

Finally, the referees reviewed the play, saw the shot to the head, and Anthony was tossed.

As he should have been — the NBA is cracking down on blows to the face and head, and that unquestionably was one (I wouldn’t call it a punch, but it was a shot). ‘Melo earned the shower. Whether or not it was intentional he was gone — and you can bet the farm after the game Anthony will say it wasn’t.

Anthony left the game with 10 points on nine shots, plus five rebounds.

PBT Extra: Kevin Durant, others may hate two minute reports, but they should stay

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Kevin Durant generated a lot of conversation by backing the NBA referees. The NBA’s two-minute report on the Warriors loss to the Cavaliers on Christmas Day said the referees missed Richard Jefferson tripping Durant, it should have been a foul. A lot of players would have said “I told you so,” but Durant defended the NBA’s officials and ripped the league’s two-minute reports.

Durant has a lot of people in his corner — Steve Kerr, Gregg  Popovich, and Stan Van Gundy are among the coaches who have questioned the reports; Dwyane Wade said he “hates” them, LeBron James is with him, and plenty of other players have called the reports a mistake.

But the reports aren’t going anywhere — and I don’t think they should. Adam Silver started them as a counter to the David Stern-era policy that the league almost never admitted referee errors. Silver wants transparency, even if that shows off a little of the dirt of the league (although I’d say the reports primarily show the league’s refs get things right, that’s just not what anyone focuses on). Personally, if the choices are no information, or information that shows the referees are human, I want that info.

That’s what I cover in this latest PBT Extra.