Kurt Helin

Dirk Nowitzki clears 29,000-point mark with bucket Sunday

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Only five other players have done it in NBA history. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Karl Malone. Kobe Bryant. Michael Jordan. Wilt Chamberlain.

Dirk Nowitzki now joins that historic group — NBA players who have scored more than 29,000 points in the league.

He did it with the three you see above, which included a pump fake and almost no leap. But somehow it felt like vintage Nowitzki — he will go down as the greatest shooting big man and one of the great scorers the game has ever seen. And the Mavericks beat the 76ers handily in this one.

It was perfect that it happened while Nowitzki was wearing the throwback green Mavs jerseys.

Report: As expected, Anderson Varejao signs deal with Golden State

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This was expected, but it’s still a boost for the best team in the NBA. As if they needed it.

Big man Anderson Varejao cleared waivers and as a free agent signed a veteran minimum contract with the Golden State Warriors, something first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports, and since confirmed by other sources.

At the trade deadline, Cleveland traded fan-favorite Anderson Varejao to Portland in a three-team deal that freed up space for the Cavs to sign Channing Frye. Portland got Varejao and instantly bought him out and waived him. Varejao found a place he is happy to be — and a team that will have minutes for his with both Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli injured. (Those minutes likely dry up during the playoffs.)

This could create an awkward and interesting reunion in June if the Cavaliers and Warriors meet again in the Finals.

The Warriors will have to release a player to create an open roster spot; it is likely James Michael McAdoo or Ian Clark.

Anthony Davis drops 59 on the Pistons (VIDEO)

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That is the Anthony Davis we expected to see this season.

Davis was getting to the rim, knocking shots down from the midrange along the baseline, even hitting threes on his way to 59 points on 34 shots against the Pistons. Plus he pulled down 20 boards. How hot was he? Check out this shot chart.

Anthony Davis shotchart

Behind Davis — and 20 points from Jrue Holiday — the Pelicans beat the Pistons 111-106.

Cavaliers rout Thunder in Oklahoma City. Is this a statement game?

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - FEBRUARY 21 : LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers yells instructions to his team mates as they play the Oklahoma City Thunder  during the first quarter of a NBA game at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on February 21, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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Oklahoma City and Cleveland are measured by the same bar right now: Do they have a chance to beat the Golden State Warriors?

Cleveland looked a lot closer to that level routing the Thunder 115-92 on Sunday in a nationally televised game. It left Oklahoma City — a top four NBA team — with a lot of questions.

On the other side, this felt like a statement game for the Cavaliers — even if we can say there is a lot left yet to prove. The Cavaliers played well and moved the ball as a unit, going at the matchups they wanted early, such as switching Kevin Durant onto Kevin Love then going right at DK. It was smart. The Cavs looked better than they did against the Warriors a few weeks back on both ends of the court.  The Cavs took control in the second quarter thanks to their bench, dominated the third quarter, and cruised to the 23-point win, 1115-92.

The third quarter was the difference in this game, when the Thunder shot 35 percent and were slow getting back in transition. The Thunder’s offensive frustration bled over to the defensive end, where they were sloppy, and soon the game got out of hand. You could see it in the 50-50 balls, which always seemed to end up in the Cavaliers’ hands.

The Cavaliers did that largely without Kyrie Irving, who had the stomach flu and struggled through the first half and was out the second half.

LeBron James had 25 points, 11 assists, and, seven rebounds; while Kevin Love added 29 points and 11 boards. Tristan Thompson had 14 points and 14 rebounds. Cleveland shot 51 percent from the floor, which is why they pulled away. Oklahoma City struggled defensively against them.

With no Irving, a different “big three” of LeBron, Thompson, and Love combined for 68 points and were a +20 when paired for the game — that small ball lineup thrashed the Thunder.

No game in February (or before the playoffs start, period), means that much. Still, this is a boost for a Cleveland team projected to make the Finals, but one experts wonder about vs. Golden State.

 

 

This year’s dunk contest was so good Vince Carter even watched it. On DVR.

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Clippers
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Vince Carter doesn’t watch the dunk contest anymore.

The winner of the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest and a man who threw down some of the game’s most memorable dunks, he isn’t a fan of where the contest has evolved. But the Grizzlies’ forward admitted he watched the Zach LaVine vs. Aaron Gordon showdown from Toronto.  Well, later on DVR. James Herbert of CBSSports.com asked him, and why he might not have been watching live.

“My weekend was on a tennis court being a dad,” Carter said after practice at the ACC on Saturday. “My child, she’s into sports and she’s pretty busy, so it was one of those things: come here or disappoint her?”

As a dad, I get that one. But he did watch it later.

“I knew what Gordon had to offer,” Carter said. “Guys were talking about, ‘This is a good one,’ and blah, blah, blah. People are saying, ‘Should it be a tie?’ I was just like, let me check it out. Half the time I don’t watch it.”

When Carter tuned in, he saw an array of dunks that had never been done in an NBA dunk contest before. That was what he gave the world in 2000, too. When asked to place LaVine and Gordon’s aerial exploits in historical perspective, he declined, but he was clearly impressed.

“It was entertaining,” Carter said. “I was like, OK. There’s been a couple where my daughter, who was young at the time, she’s like, ‘Daddy, this is not good.’ But that’s what the fans want, they want to see entertainment. The ooh, ahh, that’s what you want. And it was great.”

Some people are not fans of the props dunks, but I thought Gordon used the Orlando mascot perfectly. This wasn’t leaping into a Kia ad, these were special dunks. This was one of the best dunk contests ever, maybe the best since Carter won his.

He even seems to recognize that.