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

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook posts third straight triple-double, Thunder lose anyway

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Russell Westbrook is having an offensive season for the ages — one that has thrust him right into the middle of the MVP discussion. Friday night he rattled off his third straight triple-double, putting up a line of 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. He carried the offensive weight for the Thunder all night.

But it wasn’t enough. Again.

The Thunder blew and 11-point lead to the Trail Blazers in the fourth quarter (although they are far from the first team to do so, Portland executes at the end of games). That is two straight losses. After looking comfortably in the playoffs a couple days ago, Oklahoma City is now just half a game ahead of New Orleans and one game up on Phoenix for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West.

Westbrook is averaging a triple-double over his last five games: 30.6 points, 11.8 assists, and 10.6 rebounds a night. It’s amazing. He should be near the top of an MVP ballot right now. (Hopefully the blow he took to the side of his head — an inadvertent knee from a teammate — does not turn out to be serious.

But the Thunder need Kevin Durant back.

Knicks’ Alexey Shved misses shot about as badly as you can (VIDEO)

Boston Celtics Vs. New York Knicks TD Garden
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To quote Bob Uecker, “juuuuust a bit outside.”

Midway through the fourth quarter Knicks’ point guard Alexey Shved made an ill-advised pass that was deflected, but he then recovered the ball and started to drive the lane, got into the paint, and…

In the words of Clyde the Glide, “threw the ball into oblivion.”

I’d say that sums up the Knicks’ season, but that seems too obvious.

Rumor: Baron Davis planning an NBA comeback. Stop laughing, he’s serious.

Jordan Brand Melo M9 Shoe Launch
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There is about as much chance of me getting a date with Emily Ratajkowski this weekend as there is of this actually happening. But…

TMZ is reporting Baron Davis wants to make an NBA comeback for the playoffs.

Baron Davis is in talks to return to the NBA … TMZ Sports has learned … with sources telling us the 35-year-old has been in communication with multiple “playoff contenders.”…

We’re told the Clippers and the Cavs are among the playoff contenders interested in Davis … with the Lakers also in the conversation.

I don’t know who TMZ’s source is for this, although I would guess his initials are BD. It’s not anybody on the NBA side.

The last time Davis was in the NBA was 2012 with the Knicks; he’s missed two and three-quarters seasons. Even back when he on a roster Davis was not known as a player who worked hard to stay in shape or was focused on the day-to-day details of his craft. That’s why he’s not in the league as a mentor now (when Mike Dunleavy was with the Clippers he wanted Davis out of the locker room and away from the hard-working Blake Griffin because he wanted to change that locker room culture). You think a contender wants to bring that into the locker room now?

Davis, when he was on, is one of my all time favorite players to watch, going all the way back to his UCLA days. He could be dynamic, both as a passer and scorer. But that Davis is a memory. The rumor of his return may be out there, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

LeBron James out, being rested Friday night vs. Pacers

LeBron James
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Kevin Love, it’s your show.

Kyrie Irving was already out due to a strained shoulder, now comes word that LeBron James will be out for the Cavaliers’ game Friday against the Pacers. Dave McMenamin of ESPN broke the news, since confirmed by the Cavaliers themselves.

This is not good news if you are a Cavs fan.

That said, David Blatt gets it — the Cavaliers are not playing for a February Friday in Indiana, they are playing for June. Irving healthy and LeBron rested matter far, far more important to the team.

Kyrie Irving has strained left shoulder, out Friday vs. Pacers

Cleveland Cavaliers v New York Knicks
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When Kyrie Irving didn’t board the team charter flight Thursday night after the Cavaliers’ statement win over Golden State so he could get an MRI on his shoulder, you had to know this was coming.

Kyrie Irving is out Friday night when the Cavaliers take on the Pacers due to a strained shoulder, the team announced. He is day-to-day.

Irving is averaging 21.7 points, and 5.2 assists a game this season. More importantly, the Cavaliers’ offense drops 12.8 points per 100 possessions when he is off the court. Although, the Cavs do still have that LeBron James guy, so they probably will score some points.

Announcement: ProBasketballTalk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $350,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday’s NBA games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $30,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

Expect a lot more Matthew Dellavedova and Iman Shumpert, if you have them on your fantasy teams. (And if you have Dellavedova on your fantasy team, we need to talk.)