<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Toronto Raptors v Charlotte Hornets

Toronto’s Terrence Ross breaks out windmill jam on Hornets (VIDEO)

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You may remember Terrence Ross as the winner of the 2013 Dunk Contest. If not, he provides a reminder.

Toronto’s Ross got a breakaway and with some time to showboat broke out the windmill in game. Impressive.

Charlotte, however, continued its run of good play and picked up the win, 103-94. The Hornets look like a playoff team in the East, one about to get Kemba Walker back.

James Harden makes MVP case, drops triple-double on Detroit (VIDEO)

James Harden
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With the most wide-open race in recent memory, who wins MVP is going to come down to which of the candidates — Stephen Curry, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, LeBron James — has the best final month of the season.

Harden made his case Friday night — 38 points on 21 shots, 12 rebounds, 12 assists, and he was a +28 in the Rockets win over the Pistons. Detroit threw defenders at him, but Harden was 8-of-17 on contested shots plus was drawing contact and getting to the line.

This race is going to make for a fun final quarter of the season.

 

Happy birthday Shaq. Remembering when he dropped 61 on Clippers on his B-Day.

Kobe Shaquille O'Neal Lakers
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Happy birthday to Shaq, who turns 43 today.

The Big Aristotle/Shamrock/Cactus/Daddy had one of his best games ever on his birthday, dropping 61 on the Clippers. Shaq shot 24-of-35 from the floor and was a respectable 13-22 from the free throw line. Oh, he pulled down 23 boards, too (which was more points than Kobe Bryant had that day, 22). Obviously, this was the year Phil Jackson took over the Lakers and they won a title (thanks more to their defensive improvement than the triangle).

Enjoy the Friday trip down memory lane, complete with the voice of the best ever at the mic, Chick Hearn.

Kendrick Perkins ready to play enforcer for LeBron James. He’s looking at you, Jonas Valanciunas.

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LeBron James and the rest of the Cavaliers did not like the hard foul Jonas Valanciunas gave the Cleveland star the other night. After being the target of a couple flagrant fouls recently, LeBron said he needs to stick up for himself more.

Kendrick Perkins is willing to do it for him.

Which feels a little odd considering the rivalry Perkins’ former team the Celtics had with LeBron over the years, but Perkins is now a Cavalier. Perkins told Cleveland.com he would play enforcer, that essentially he would be the Marty McSorley for Wayne Gretzky (that’s not a perfect analogy, but live with it).

“(There are) time and places that you could get one off,” said Kendrick Perkins, the Cavs’ newly acquired backup center who is a card-carrying, on-court enforcer. “You’ve got to make sure it’s the right time. At the end of the day you have to make sure you go out and play basketball.

“Obviously (Valanciunas) was trying to send a message because he had been getting beat all day on the pick-and-roll, and it happens, but it’s just bull(crap) and it ain’t cool.”

Like the league is not going to be watching now.

You can tell the playoffs are approaching because play is starting to get a little chippy around the league. Games have something on the line a lot of nights now and that leads to more intense — and often physical — play. And that makes Perkins feel right at home, regardless of the color of his uniform.

(Hat tip to the legendary Matt Moore Eye on Basketball)

 

After Matthews injury, Portland tries one more time to woo Ray Allen. No such luck.

Ray Allen
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Sometimes you’ve just got to make the call.

That’s pretty much where Blazers GM Neil Olshey found himself Friday morning. Wesley Matthews — Portland’s starting two guard, top perimeter defender and key to their offensive spacing with his three-point shooting — was lost for the season due to a torn Achilles tendon. Arron Afflalo can step in as a starter and provide quality minutes, but who plays behind him now?

How about Ray Allen? Sure, Allen said earlier in the week he was going to sit out the season, but Olshey made the call anyway, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

Blazers general manager Neil Olshey made a call to agent Jim Tanner on Friday morning on the chance that Allen might reconsider his decision to sit out the 2014-15 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Nevertheless, Tanner informed the Blazers that Allen, 39, remains intent on sitting out the season and wouldn’t consider the possibility of joining Portland – or any other team, sources told Yahoo Sports.

It was worth a shot. To quote Wayne Gretzky, you don’t score on every shot you don’t take.

With the trade deadline and ensuing buyout market in the past, the Blazers are going to have to dance with what they have. That lack of depth and shooting hurts their title contending chances.