Kurt Helin

Charlotte Hornets v Los Angeles Clippers

Shirtless bike rider interrupts Nate Robinson interview to challenge him to 1-on-1 game

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This didn’t happen in Boston. Or Chicago. Or New York, Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver or Oklahoma City.

Nate Robinson had a lot of NBA stops but he is in Isreal now for the rest of the season with Hapoel Tel Aviv (he had 25 points in his debut). The people of Tel Aviv are still getting to know him — and some random guys want to play him 1-on-1.

I’m sure our shirtless bike rider is a decent enough hoops player, but people don’t sometimes grasp just how good NBA players really are. I’ll take Robinson and give the points in that matchup.

Linsanity II: Jeremy Lin leading surging Hornets on playoff push

CHARLOTTE, NC - MARCH 21:  Jeremy Lin #7 of the Charlotte Hornets reacts after making a basket against the San Antonio Spurs during their game at Time Warner Cable Arena on March 21, 2016 in Charlotte, North Carolina.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 Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Perhaps this is the start of Linsanity II.

Hornets guard Jeremy Lin is heating up and surging Charlotte is blazing a trail to its second playoff appearance in three seasons under coach Steve Clifford.

Lin scored 15 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter Monday to lead the Hornets back from a 23-point deficit to beat San Antonio – the largest lead surrendered by the Spurs in the Tim Duncan era. Lin followed that with another strong performance on Tuesday night, scoring 21 points in a win over Brooklyn.

Michael Jordan’s Hornets (41-30) now find themselves in a three-way tie with Boston and Atlanta for the fourth best record in the Eastern Conference, just a half-game behind third place Miami.

Lin is a major reason why.

Acquired in the offseason via free agency, Lin is averaging 11.8 points and 2.9 assists per game for the Hornets in a reserve role.

Ordinary numbers compared to his history, but he’s stepped up his play the last two games, hitting 63 percent (19 of 30) from the field, including 5 of 6 from beyond the arc. He’s scoring in a variety of ways – long jumpers, drives to basket and on fast breaks. He’s also added nine rebounds and six assists, while providing a spark coming off the bench.

“He’s been phenomenal,” Hornets point guard Kemba Walker said.

When the Hornets trailed 30-7 to the Spurs in the second quarter, it was Lin who helped turn the momentum providing energy off the bench. He penetrated into the lane, which in turned opened up the offense

“Jeremy was the catalyst,” Clifford said. “In the first quarter, we were just shooting. The ball wasn’t getting into the paint. And he got the ball going to the basket.”

Lin hit 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and a 16-foot fall away jumper with 48 seconds left to give the Hornets the lead for good.

He said the win over the Spurs was a confidence builder for him.

“I think being comfortable and not thinking as much on the court and letting the ball fly and having fun,” Lin said of the difference in his game. “Shots are going in and I think that helps me, helps open up my drive.”

Forward Nicolas Batum said Lin has been “huge” for the Hornets.

“He did it (Monday) night in the second quarter to give us life, and he did it again (Tuesday) night,” Batum said. “I don’t think we would have won that game if he didn’t step up again for us.”

Lin is no stranger to carrying a team.

He did so back in 2012, when as an unheralded player out of Harvard he took Madison Square Garden by storm with a series of outstanding games for the New York Knicks. He became an international sensation, and wound up on Time magazine’s list of Top 100 most influential people of the year.

The media attention isn’t what it was in New York, but three teams later Lin appears to have found a home in Charlotte where he says “I love playing with this group of guys.”

Charlotte has won 17 of its last 21 games to break free from the pack in the East and vault into playoff contention.

Once a team that viewed simply making the playoffs as a goal, the Hornets now have a realistic shot to host a playoff series.

“We learned a lot about ourselves, and we just want to keep seeing what we can do,” Lin said. “That’s what coach has always been telling us. We don’t know what our ceiling is and we don’t want to say what our ceiling is because we don’t know.

“We’re just going to keep fighting, keep playing and stick with the process.”

Report: Chris Bosh still on blood thinners, Heat “open minded” to potential return

Fourth day of Miami Heat camp 10/1/2015
David Santiago/El Nuevo Herald via AP
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The Miami Heat have shot up the Eastern Conference Standings to the three seed and have won 7-of-10, all thanks to playing more up-tempo basketball. It’s been an impressive run since the All-Star break. However, the conventional wisdom around the league is that when the games slow down and defenses hone in during the playoffs, the Heat will be in trouble without Chris Bosh.

Bosh cannot play in the NBA while still on blood thinners to keep blood clots from forming in his body. That’s not in dispute — clots reached his lungs last season and threatened his life, at the first sign of them this season (around the All-Star break) he was shut down and put back on blood thinners.

He is still on them, according to Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald (hat tip Eye on Basketball), but the question is when he should come off them.

Chris Bosh, whose blood clot in his calf has dissipated, was still on blood thinners as of early this week, and the Heat and Bosh have received different medical opinions about how soon he can come off the medication, according to someone with direct knowledge. Bosh remains hopeful of playing this season but can do that only if he’s not on thinners.

Some doctors recommend staying on blood thinners from three to six months after a clot develops. But that isn’t a unanimous view, and that’s one issue being debated with regard to Bosh. If he can come off the thinners sooner, he could potentially play again this season — something Bosh has said he remains “positive” about being able to do.

Bosh said back on March 10 he didn’t have any blood clots and was working out hoping for a return this season.

The Heat know how badly Bosh wants to return, but are trying to stay neutral. Here is what Pat Riley said recently, via Jason Lieser of the Palm Beach Post.

“We’re supportive of Chris and what he’s going through and we’re just going to wait and see what the future holds,” Riley said. “Right now, that’s the way it is. There really isn’t any comment. I have great empathy for the man. I know how much he wants to play. We’ll see how that goes.”

When pressed specifically for the team’s stance on Bosh trying to play this season, Riley answered, “Open-minded, absolutely open-minded. That’s our position.”

That’s some good tap dancing by Riley. But it sounds like doctors are disagreeing (and why do I have a feeling some lawyers are weighing in, too), and there are some tough decisions to be made.

Stephen Curry says Warriors have not talked to him about sitting out games. Yet.

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The Warriors No. 1 priority is to win another NBA title, to go back-to-back.

But make no mistake, the Warriors also want 73 wins and to claim the title of best regular season of all time, besting Michael Jordan’s Bulls.

The challenge is what happens when those two priorities clash.

Golden State needs to go 10-2 the rest of the season to get to 73 wins, and they are four games ahead of second place San Antonio for the top seed and home court throughout the playoffs. Pretty soon the Warriors will have the Spurs far enough in the rearview mirror that Steve Kerr can start resting players looking ahead to the postseason — and he has said he will. But how much will he rest Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and the rest and risk the pursuit of 73.

Curry says so far there has been no talk of rest. From Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle.

It’s going to be interesting watching Steve Kerr walk this line the final weeks of the season. After the Clippers Wednesday, the Warriors next two games are the struggling Mavericks and the lowly Sixers, is that a time to give a guy or two the night off? At what point is it time? More interestingly, does Kerr go Gregg Popovich and rest all his stars at once, or does he platoon the rest to continue to chase 73?

There are still a lot of questions to be answered in the Bay Area before the season ends.

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson returns to Nets, throws down monster dunk

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Rondae Hollis-Jefferson missed 50 games following ankle surgery back in December, which has been hard as the rookie was about the only reason to watch Brooklyn play.

He was back on Tuesday night, in a limited role (15 minutes off the bench). But he showed he still has some explosion in those young legs as he got up for one of the better dunks of the night.

Good to see Hollis-Jefferson back on the court.