Kurt Helin

Lopez brothers correct Star Wars mistake, give Chewbacca a medal

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It’s one of those often-debated topics among Star Wars fanatics: Why didn’t Chewbacca get a medal in the ceremony at the end of the original Star Wars (“A New Hope”)? Was he not in all the battles Han Solo was in? Did he not have a role in blowing up the Death Star? George Lucas once said that Wookies don’t care about medals. Right. Sounds to me like false bravado after the fact.

Brothers Robin Lopez and Brook Lopez were at Disneyland (which now owns the Star Wars rights) and decided to fix that.

Now, can the Lopez brothers just give Chewie a hug, because in the latest Star Wars movie (“The Force Awakens”) Leia hugs Rey instead of Chewbacca in the immediate aftermath of the murder of the Wookie’s best friend Han Solo.

Stephen Curry: “74 (wins) isn’t really a goal”

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Last season the Warriors made a conscious effort to set a record for most wins in a season — Draymond Green and Stephen Curry in particular pushed for that goal (certainly more than the coaching staff). The players wanted it, the team went after it and got it. Then they didn’t win a title. Whether the push impacted that or not (likely not that much if at all, other factors like Green’s suspension and LeBron’s dominance were bigger factors), however, there is a perception that part of the reason the Warriors couldn’t get over the hump in the Finals was they put too much into the regular season.

So with Kevin Durant in the Bay Area now, are the Warriors going for 74? Curry was asked that in a media event during his ongoing China tour and his answer was posted on the Warriors’ Twitter account.

“74 (wins) isn’t really a goal. If it happens, it happens. All of our energy will be spent on getting ourselves ready for a championship run. We want to have a great regular season obviously, we don’t want to have any slip-ups, but I don’t think coming into the season with the goal of 74 is a good focus. It’s about winning a championship.”

The Warriors are not going to get to 74, or likely over 70 wins this season. For one thing, the addition of Durant and the subtraction of Andrew Bogut, Harrison Barnes and others is going to mean some transition time at the start of the season. Also, just too many things need to go right in terms of health and breaks — all of which seemed to fall the Warriors’ way in the regular season last year. That’s probably not happening again. Finally, the players aren’t going to want it and push for it.

But win 60+ games, get the top seed in the West, and head into the playoffs healthy? Those are good goals for the Warriors, and ones that get them on the path to another title run.

Happy birthday Dennis Scott, here is a look at some highlights

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For a young generation of NBA fans, Dennis Scott is the guy in the suit on NBA TV breaking down games. He’s good at that.

But Dennis Scott the player had about as sweet a shooting stroke as you will ever see. There’s a reason the guy made 1,214 threes in his career (in an era when the shot was not nearly as prevalent as it is today) and he shot 39.7 percent from deep for his career.

Scott turns 48 today, happy birthday sir. As a treat for all of us, we’ve got some Scott highlights to show.

Pau Gasol admits he almost signed with Spurs two seasons ago

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This summer, Pau Gasol signed with the San Antonio Spurs, sliding into the spot vacated by Tim Duncan.

Two years ago, he almost slid into a spot next to Tim Duncan.

During the free agency run of 2014 the buzz around the league was that Gasol was headed to Chicago or San Antonio (nobody thought he would stay with the Lakers after issues he had with Mike D’Antoni). Gasol chose Chicago, which at the time made them look like a real threat in the East (injuries to Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah over the past couple years meant the Bulls were not much of a threat to anybody).

In a recent press event in Spain, Gasol admitted he almost chose the Spurs two years ago, translation via Eurohoops.net.

“Two years ago I declined the option of going to the Spurs. Now it was the right time to go to San Antonio”, explained the Spaniard: “Popovich has he told me that I will contribute a lot and along with LaMarcus Aldridge, without Tim Duncan any more, I will be one of the leaders of the team in the front line”.

Two years later, you have to wonder if Gasol regrets choosing the Bulls? He’d never admit it publicly, and there was no way to predict everything that would happen with the Bulls, but someday he may look back on that decision and wonder “what if?”

While everyone is understandably touting the Warriors in the West this season, should they slip the Spurs are right behind them. This is a team that won a franchise-best 67 games last season with Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge leading the way. Gasol brings them improved offensive skills at the five, although they will miss Duncan quarterbacking the defense. Heading into the season the Spurs are, at worst, the third best team in the NBA and serious title contenders.

And you know Popovich is going to put Gasol in positions that make the Spaniard look five years younger. Because that always seems to happen with the Spurs veterans.

 

Playing for Knicks “means the world” to Joakim Noah, according to his father

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For those that don’t know, Joakim Noah‘s father was a tennis stud. Yannick Noah is a former No. 3 player in the world, he racked up 23 singles titles and 16 doubles titles in his career, and he remains the last Frenchman to win the French Open. Not shockingly, he’s been hanging out in Queens the last week at the U.S. Open.

That’s where George Willis of the New York Post caught up with Yannick to talk about his son, who grew up in New York and this season will play for the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.

“It means the world to him,” the elder Noah said of Joakim joining the Knicks. “We used to go to the Garden when he was a kid, watching games, watching Patrick [Ewing] play. To know that he’s going to play in the Garden, we feel so blessed. He’s preparing hard. He has a lot of hope and he can’t wait. And I’ll be there.”

Knicks fans will love him and treat him as one of their own. At least at first. If things go sideways in the Garden, all bets are off.

Some guys can get caught up in the distractions New York offers, but Noah will not have that problem, according to his father.

“He knows the city,” Yannick Noah said. “He was born here. It’s not like he’s coming from the countryside and he’s coming to New York City. He lived here for a long time. Of course, it can be dangerous for an athlete. But he knows and he’s so motivated. It’s a great opportunity for him. He’s going to give all he has for the city.”

If the Knicks can keep their starting five healthy they should be a playoff team in the East. But that’s a big if with Derrick Rose, Courtney Lee, Carmelo Anthony, Kristaps Porzingis, and Noah — there have been a fair amount of injuries in that group in recent years. It’s also going to be interesting to see how that group will play in new coach Jeff Hornacek’s preferred up-tempo style.

But don’t be shocked if Noah has a bit of a bounce back year now that he’s at home. If he can just stay on the court.