Author: Kurt Helin

NBA All-Star Portraits 2015

Dwyane Wade to miss All-Star Game due to hamstring issue


Averaging 21.4 points per game and with a PER of 22.4, Dwyane Wade deserved the All-Star spot the coaches gave him as a reserve.

But he is going to skip the game due to an ongoing hamstring injury, he announced Tuesday.

Miami is currently the eight seed in the West, one game ahead of nine seed Brooklyn and two-and-a-half up on Detroit. While the Heat and Charlotte are tied for the seven/eight seed spots, Charlotte went out on Tuesday and improved its roster to make sure it would get into the playoffs. If there is a team with a target on its back, it’s Miami.

The Heat need Wade back to avoid that fate.

Wade’s absence opens up an All-Star roster spot, to be filled by appointment by Commissioner Adam Silver. As he did with injuries to Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin in the West, expect Silver to select whoever was next in line on the coaches secret ballots to fill the All-Star reserves.

That most likely is Atlanta sharpshooter Kyle Korver. He is the glue for the top-seeded Hawks, averaging 12.9 points a game and shooting a ridiculous 52.8 percent from three this season. When he is on the court, the Hawks are 12.8 points better per 100 possessions.

If not Korver it likely goes to either the Bucks improved guard Brandon Knight or — in my opinion the more deserving — Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.

Dominique Wilkins tells brilliant Larry Bird trash talk story

Boston Celtics vs Atlanta Hawks, 1988 NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals

Larry Bird is one of the legendary trash talkers in NBA history.

Dominique Wilkins, the Human Highlight Reel and Hawks legend turned broadcaster (and team VP), seems to have great stories about everyone he played against back in the day.

With the East leading Hawks swinging through Boston this week, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald got Wilkins talking and telling stories about Bird. Remember those two had some epic playoff battles, including one of the all-time greats back in 1988.

Wilkins had a new story about Bird’s legendary lip, talking about the 1983 season when Dominique was a rookie and Bird was a champion and at the top of his trash talking game.

“One of the first times I ever played against him, I went out for the opening tip and I went to shake his hand. He just stood there and looked at me stone-faced with his hands behind his back,” Wilkins said recently.

“I was like, ‘Whoa.’ Then we were getting ready for the tip and he says to me, ‘You don’t belong in this league, Homes.’ I couldn’t believe it, but it happened so fast, I didn’t know what to think.

“Then they had the ball and I was on him and he said, ‘I don’t know why they got you guarding me, Homes. You can’t guard me.’ Then, whap, he hit a 3. Then he came down again and said, ‘They made a mistake putting you on me, Homes,’ and he took another 3.”

Wilkins was a prideful player, admits he was getting hot.

“Then a little while later, I came down on a break and he was backpedaling. I just went right after him. I jumped up and he tried to challenge, but I took that right through the rim. He fell and hit the basket support.

“He got up and said, ‘I like you, rookie. You’ve got (guts).’ I was happy for a second, and then he said, ‘But I’m still going for 40 on you tonight.’ ”

He then paused the story, stepped back and smiled.

“But I got him,” Wilkins said. “He only scored 39.”

Classic Bird.



Kenneth Faried with breakaway windmill slam (VIDEO)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Denver Nuggets
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There are not a lot of reasons to watch Denver Nuggets games right now — save for the train wreck factor of a team in free fall — but Kenneth Faried can still provide a few highlights.

Faried and Ty Lawson jumped on a pass to Serge Ibaka near the top of the key, stripped him of the ball, then it was off to the races for Faried, who finished with authority.

The game itself went about like you’d expect, the Thunder opened on a 15-4 run and never looked back. This game never felt in doubt, and Kevin Durant made sure of that with 40 points on 19 shots.