Even the Atlanta Hawks have off nights.
Atlanta led by 18 at one point Wednesday night, but maybe their four key players were looking ahead to the short flight to New York for the All-Star Game. Still, you have to give the Celtics credit for battling back.
To cap it all off, Evan Turner goes behind his back, gets in the lane and hits the floater with 0.2 seconds left and Boston wins.
With that victory, the Celtics are just 1.5 games out of the playoffs. Despite Danny Ainge’s best efforts they are in the mix.
This is where the extended one-week All-Star break is helping some teams this year.
Dwyane Wade has a right hamstring issue that, when announced at the end of last month, was expected to keep him out a few weeks. That will end up being seven games (they were 2-4 entering the Cleveland game Wednesday night), plus the All-Star Game Sunday in New York.
However he will be back right after that, Wade told Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel.
“I look forward to after the break, coming back for the guys, getting a practice [next] Wednesday and Thursday and getting ready to play Friday, just getting ready to understand the last 30 games, we’ve got some good some basketball we have to play if we want to play further, in April and May.”
W missed seven games back in November with a left hamstring issue, this time it’s the other leg. It would have been more games this time around had it not been for the extended All-Star break.
Miami needs Wade back as they are in a tough playoff fight — entering Wednesday night seven-seed Miami, eight-seed Charlotte, Brooklyn and Detroit were all within two games of each other for the final two playoff spots in the East.
If Karl Malone had just referred to himself in the third person, this might have been the most Karl Malone interview ever.
The Hall of Famer sat down with Marc Lamont Hill of the Huffington Post and talked about a variety of topics. One of them was Kobe Bryant. Remember back in 2004 when Malone (and Gary Payton) came to the Shaq/Kobe Lakers to go ring hunting, Kobe and Malone had a little beef. Allegedly over Malone hitting on Kobe’s wife. When it was brought up here is what Malone said:
“We had a little issue… Are we cool? I don’t hold grudges… If Kobe doesn’t like me today, that’s Kobe Bryant’s fault. It ain’t mine, it’s his problem. I don’t have a beef with nobody…. I dont’ feel no tension, but I’m a hunter, so I’m right there anyway….
“I love Westerns. I’m old-school Western. Back in the day, when you had a beef, you didn’t go get guns and knives … we just go back in the back with no cameras and knuckle up. Get it over with.”
Malone said that was a standing offer.
While I would pay to see that cage match — and you know Kobe would be scrappy and tough in a fight — it’s never going to happen. They’re going to spend the rest of their lives passing each other in the hall occasionally and just saying “what’s up?” then keep right on walking.
From legendary New York NBA writer Peter Vecsey:
That is all a frightening combination. An update from the New York Daily News made it sound dire:
One of Mason’s former teammates in New York, who did not want to be identified, describe his condition as grave.
Mason played 13 NBA seasons but is best remembered as a fan-favorite Knick. His intense defense, toughness, and physicality were a big part of the Pat Riley’s New York teams in the Patrick Ewing era. He could defend either forward position well (even against bigger players) and at time even was asked to defend the five. Mason was named the Sixth Man of the Year in 1995 and averaged 10.8 points and 8.3 rebounds a game over the course of his career. He made the All-Star Game once, in 2001.
During his career Mason also played for the New Jersey Nets, Denver Nuggets, Charlotte Hornets, Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat.
Our thoughts are with him and we hope for a speedy recovery.
Every year when the NBA plays a regular season game or three in Europe, the tired topic comes up: When will the NBA have a team — or a division — in Europe? My guess is probably about the time the Barclays Premiere League has few teams in the United States.
But the All-Star Game? That I could see.
So can Commissioner Adam Silver, who told Marc Berman of the New York Post in a Q&A he could see it happening. Eventually.
“There are no plans in the drawer yet, but it’s something that as the NBA continues to grow around the world I’m sure we’ll look at it down the road. Right now, because of the scheduling issues and the additional time that would be required to move the game outside of the U.S. or Canada it’s not realistic right now. But as we look to grow the league, there are so many great cities outside the United States that would love to host a game. It’s something we’d look at.”
Next year the All-Star Game moves to another country — Canada. Toronto to be exact. Which isn’t exactly Europe. The next city after that is expected to be announced soon but well could be somewhere like Charlotte.
But down the line, say 2020, an All-Star Game at the O2 Center in London? I wouldn’t be shocked.
It’s far, far more likely than putting teams there.