John Wall only met Nicki Minaj once, and that was pretty briefly.
But he is now an All-Star starting point guard and she helped.
How? First, know that the point guard and performer have some mutual friends and a bond — remember Wall helped a six-year-old girl with cancer fulfill her dream and meet Minaj. And second remember that this year the NBA did away with the paper All-Star ballot and went all digital with votes online, by text or via twitter.
That last one is key. Minaj has 18.8 million followers and she sent this out one day.
Do that and you pound the alarm.
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Because of her celebrity, that vote for Wall amounted to far more than just one thanks to retweets and who knows how many others simply who followed her lead.
“It’s pretty exciting to see her, at that level, to show some support and vote,” Wall told me following a recent practice.
Her tweet alone didn’t do it — Wall’s improved play had a lot to do with it, he has developed into one of the clear five best point guards in the game. But it doesn’t hurt to have a friend who has more than 18 million Twitter followers helping out.
The Denver Nuggets stumbled into a block party they didn’t even know was going on.
Clippers’ center DeAndre Jordan was the one throwing it — at one point just before halftime he rejected three consecutive Nuggets shots then capped it off on the other end by throwing down the reverse alley-oop for a couple of points of his own.
Los Angeles ended up needing all of that. They went on to win 102-98 — thanks in part to a 21-point fourth quarter by Jamal Crawford — but that run at the end of the second half that put the Clippers up at the break ended up mattering.
If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while realizing you’re not nearly as lucky as this guy (and not as rich)….
Anthony Davis needs to be mentioned in the same breath with Durant and LeBron. There should be no more debate about who is the best third player on the planet anymore — it is Anthony Davis. And he’s closing in fast on the top two. A few months ago I would have argued for Chris Paul at No. 3, you could have made the case for a handful of other guys and been on solid footing. No more. It is Davis. Monday night he put up a line of 32 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 31 minutes — and the thing is that’s not even a ridiculous line anymore. He can do that any night. At age 21. In his third NBA season. What he lacks is success in the postseason, but that will come. Oh, and by the way he lifted the Pelicans to a win Monday and they are now just 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West.
Jamal Crawford got hot and carried the Clippers to a win. That was “I should be Sixth Man of the Year again” Crawford. Denver played an active, fiesty game — well, actually pretty much only in the first and third quarters, which they dominated — but in the fourth quarter it became the Jamal Crawford show. He scored 21 points in the fourth, which tied how many the Nuggets had total. He was 3-of-5 from three but he also was attacking the paint and drawing fouls (he got to the line nine times in the final frame). He was a force. Plus he made the play of the game — it was tied 94-94 with about 90 seconds left in the game, Chris Paul made a steal but his attempt at a touchdown pass ahead to Crawford on the run out was too long. Crawford caught up, saved it behind his back to Matt Barnes, who hit the layup to give the Clippers a lead they would never surrender.
Marc Gasol could have played in La Liga. Well, maybe not. Although can you imagine trying to defend him on a set piece? Nonetheless, this was pretty cool (yes, it happened after the whistle blew, so what?).
Dion Waiters can expect this one to come up in Shaqtin’ a Fool, followed by plenty of mocking from his Thunder teammates.
It will all be in good fun, because the Thunder led from the middle of the first quarter on and picked up a nice win over the Timberwolves (and the Thunder need some wins). These things happen.
While Waiters had some nice moments and has seemed an upgrade over Reggie Jackson as a sixth man, his performance of 10 points on 4-of-12 shooting Monday is becoming a trend — in his last five games Waiters is shooting 30.4 percent overall and 16.7 percent from three, and is a -4.6 per 40 minutes.
Waiters is still the first guy off the bench for the Thunder and he had a good second quarter to help stretch the OKC lead (he had 7 points on 3-of-6 shooting) but this is something to watch. All his on-the-court issues did not stay in Cleveland.
The fans have picked their starters for the All-Star Game, coming Feb. 15 to Madison Square Garden. Now this week the coaches around the league are voting for the reserves, the guys who round out the 12-man rosters.
It’s very hard to whittle that down to just seven in either conference. In the East, I would put Nikola Vucevic and his 19.6 points and 11.2 rebounds a game on the team over Paul Millsap of the Hawks — but that would leave only two Hawks on the roster. I doubt the coaches vote that way.
Out West there is no way to construct a team that does not leave five deserving guys off the roster. At least. But assuming both Klay Thompson and James Harden make the team (and remember, someone makes the team to replace Kobe Bryant) the question becomes who will Warriors coach Steve Kerr choose to start: His guy Thompson from his team, or the more deserving James Harden. If I were a betting man, I’d bet on Klay.