Kurt Helin

Watch Brandon Jennings put on show for Knicks fans in preseason game

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Derrick Rose is in Los Angeles because of his rape trial, and that opened the door for Brandon Jennings to start for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

And he was fun, playing with a little flair on his way to 11 points in the Knicks’ 90-88 win over the Wizards. He had the crowd on its feet a few times.

The night was an encapsulation of what Jennings has been since returning from a ruptured Achilles — he’s still got the handles and athleticism, but he’s just not an efficient shooter. It took 12 shots to get those 11 points, plus he had one assist in 26 minutes of play.

Jennings is going to get his chances this season playing behind Rose. Jennings bet on himself inking a one-year, 45 million deal, believing he can play himself into a bigger contract next season. We shall see. But if he keeps playing like this the fans will love him.

Heat conduct scrimmage, raising money for cancer research

Associated Press
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MIAMI (AP) The second half of the annual Miami Heat scrimmage was delayed a bit Monday night, because Hassan Whiteside was too busy taking selfies with fans on the court.

No one complained, either.

The scrimmage serves two purposes for the Heat – it’s a chance for fans to see what amounts to a glorified practice, and more importantly it gives the team a chance to pay tribute to breast cancer survivors, who come down to the court at halftime for plenty of hugs and photos.

“This shines an incredible light and we love it,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “It really is a touching moment.”

About 30 women, most of them somehow adorned in breast-cancer-awareness-color of pink, took part in the halftime ceremony. In the stands, hundreds of others wore pink and the Heat uniforms for the night were all adorned with pink names and numbers.

A few players, including Tyler Johnson and Udonis Haslem, even donned pink sneakers.

“It’s very special for me, obviously,” said Haslem, the Heat captain. “My mom passed away from cancer. … I’m not a man of pink, but I will wear pink tonight to show support.”

Ticket proceeds benefitted the Miami Cancer Institute.

“It’s something that we all pretty much have been touched by,” Heat forward Justise Winslow said. “Whether it’s a friend, a team mom, an aunt, a cousin, anything, we’ve all been affected by it. We can all see their hearts out there, and so we try to give them a little bit of our time and our heart.”

The night was also an unofficial introduction to a very new team.

Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Luol Deng, Gerald Green and Amare Stoudemire are among the biggest departures from last season, and Chris Bosh – who failed his physical and wasn’t cleared to resume basketball activities after his last two seasons ended early because of blood clots – is no longer in the team’s plans but remains under contract.

“We have an exciting group for you,” Spoelstra told the crowd. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

The Heat play host to Brooklyn in a preseason game on Tuesday night.

Utah starts Joe Johnson at small forward with Gordon Hayward out

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Who plays where during an NBA preseason game usually matters as much as a Family Guy cutaway, but there was an interesting one Monday night:

What would the Jazz do with Gordon Hayward out? Go with the veteran.

This is not a lock for the regular season, but it also makes the most sense. Joe Johnson gets the start with Chris Johnson and Alec Burks (in small ball lineups) behind him. It’s Utah’s best option.

It’s also a step down. None of those guys are the shot creators and threat that Hayward has become. The Jazz added depth at point guard with George Hill (plus getting Dante Exum back from injury), plus adding veterans like Boris Diaw to the lineup. But it’s going to take a lot more to make up for Hayward, who was the best shot creator on the team.

Check out Tobias Harris’ daily routine as he got ready for training camp

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Tobias Harris knows he’s in a great spot — the athletic wing on an up-and-coming team in the East. A guy asked to create shots for himself and others. A man asked to play strong defense. A man who was traded for and a lot is asked of.

How does a guy like Harris get ready for the season, and for training camp?

Eating right. Working out. Getting on the court and pushing himself.

You know, the things you say you’re going to do but then go have a bacon cheeseburger.

The above video — courtesy his agent and handlers — is a bit of a PR piece, but it also gives real insight into the lifestyle of an NBA player. It’s worth watching to see what NBA players see as their daily routine leading into camp. At least this is what is like on successful teams.

One of Kobe Bryant’s 2012 masks goes up for auction

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Kobemania has not gone away.

Kobe Bryant has retired, but one of the future Hall of Famers’ masks worn in 2012 after suffering a broken nose in the 2012 All-Star Game (thank you Dwyane Wade) will be auctioned off. We’re not sure who is doing the selling, but there are details in the sale.

A letter from a member of the Los Angeles Lakers training staff accompanies this lot that states the following:

“In order to make the mask, a molding of Kobe’s face had to be made. Kobe had to sit for several minutes while the mold was applied and hardened. Once the mold was created, the mask was formed.

There are more details on the mask. One of these previously sold for $67,000 and no doubt the owner is looking for similar money. Not to insult Kobe, but I have no idea why someone would pay that much for a mask. However, if you have that kind of disposable income it can be yours.