<span class="vcard">Kurt Helin</span>

Philadelphia 76ers v Phoenix Suns

Suns players try to recreate Trevor Booker’s crazy tip shot (VIDEO)

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We’re not even halfway through the season and Trevor Booker has pretty much wrapped the shot of the year race up. His volleyball-style tip shot with .2 on the shot clock was not something we have seen before…

So after practice recently some Suns players tried to recreate it.

After a few attempts, Zoran Dragic and T.J. Warren both were able to hit it. So we can expect to see this added to the Suns playbook… okay, probably not.

Report: Clippers to sign Dahntay Jones to 10-day contract

Knicks v Mad Ants
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It could not have been easy for a 10-year NBA veteran like Dahntay Jones to return to the D-League at age 34, after being out of the NBA for more than a season, just to try and find his way back to the big stage.

But it worked.

The Clippers are in desperate need of more depth on the wing and Jones impressed with his time with the Forty Wayne Mad Ants so he is going to get a chance with the seventh team of his NBA career, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

The Los Angeles Clippers plan to sign free-agent guard Dahntay Jones to a 10-day contract, league sources told Yahoo Sports….

The Clippers are determined to improve their bench and Jones will get an opportunity to make an impact. The Clippers are still working on completing a trade with the Boston Celtics to bring guard Austin Rivers, the son of Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers, to Los Angeles.

Call me skeptical that Jones helps the Clippers all that much, there was a reason he bounced around the NBA as he did. Jones is athletic and a solid defender, but he doesn’t shoot well from the perimeter and doesn’t provide much else. His last season in the NBA he had a PER of 6.4.

That said, it’s not a big risk or gamble for the Clippers to give him a 10-day contract and see if he can help. After this one the Clippers can give him a second 10-day contract, at the end of that they would need to make a decision on keeping him for the remainder of the season.

The Clippers remain active on the phone lines and are talking trade with anyone who has a wing available. So, start with Denver who is shopping Wilson Chandler and Arron Afflalo. However the Clippers are near the hard cap so they can’t absorb much salary and they don’t have many tradable assets that interest other teams. Meaning they are going to have a hard time finding a dance partner.

Five Things We Learned in the NBA Tuesday: LeBron is back, the Cavaliers’ defense is not

Cleveland Cavaliers v Phoenix Suns
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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 watching the Avengers 2 trailer….

1) LeBron James is good at basketball but the Cavaliers defense remains an issue. Taking a couple of weeks off was clearly something LeBron James needed — he scored 33 points, 12 in the final quarter. But, more importantly, he looked like his explosive self again. That was most evident when got to the rim and threw it down with authority a couple of times.

It was the old LeBron… but it was also the same old Cavaliers on defense. Meaning they only played it sometimes. And that’s not enough against a good team, so Cleveland has six straight losses now, falling 107-100 to Phoenix. The Suns shot 53 percent and had a ridiculous offensive rating of 119 (points per 100 possessions), their guards carved up the Cavaliers. To be fair, part of this is the Suns were hot and just hit shots — they hit 62.5 percent of their contested shots, with Markieff Morris (35 points) leading the way. But the Cavs defense was once again inconsistent at best against the pick-and-roll and that did them in. Not LeBron returning, nor Timofey Mozgov in the paint, just instantly solves that problem. And make no mistake, that is the biggest issue for a Cavaliers team now below .500.

2) Kevin Love didn’t play in a tight fourth quarter for the Cavaliers, which was about the defense. As mentioned above, Markieff Morris was a handful for the Cavaliers, scoring 35 points on 25 shots. Kevin Love has never been a great defender, so David Blatt moved LeBron to the four trying to go smaller and match up with the Suns. And that worked better, but not great — Morris had 11 fourth quarter points even with LeBron on him. What is of note is this is the second time this season Blatt has benched Love in the fourth quarter because of match ups and defense (the last time was Dec. 26). Mozgov is a better fit next to Love as a center, he can help cover some of Love’s deficiencies, but not all. This could well happen again. And again.

3) Mo Williams can be a force of nature. Minnesota had lost 15 games in a row and it was going to take something spectacular to break that streak. Like Mo Williams going off for 52 points, 37 of them in the second half. Yes, the same Mo Williams that the Cavaliers traded to the Clippers for a first round pick that became Kyrie Irving. He can still play like he’s worth a first round pick now and again. It’s not like the Pacers didn’t defend him fairly well — 59 percent of his shots were contested — but he simply was hitting everything, going 11-of-19 from the midrange and 6-of-11 from three. If he threw it up it just seemed to go in and with that Williams broke Kevin Love’s (and Corey Brewer’s) franchise record for points scored in a game.

4) Jeff Gordon is fast on a tricycle, too. The Daytona 500 is coming up along with the new NASCAR season — you can catch most of it on NBC — and to promote all that Jeff Gordon was racing a tricycle at the Wizards game. Because… marketing.

5) Al Horford is the Atlanta Hawks’ star you think they’re missing. It’s not so much that we didn’t know Al Horford is a legit NBA superstar but we need to be reminded now and again. He and LaMarcus Aldridge remain the two most underappreciated stars in the NBA. Tuesday night Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer showed he’s learned more than a few things from Gregg Popovich and decided to rest Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap for a game against the Sixers. That would be the Sixers on a two-game win streak. But Horford stepped up with his first career triple double of 21 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists. Also Spursian was the way the Hawks continued to play the system and move the ball with two key guys out. That is nine wins in a row for the Hawks, and the next time you say “but can they advance in the playoffs without a star?” just remember Horford’s name.

Pacers’ Roy Hibbert ejected after pulling Gorgui Dieng to court (VIDEO)

Minnesota Timberwolves v Indiana Pacers
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I don’t think Roy Hibbert was doing something malicious here — he was trying to prevent Minnesota’s Gorgui Dieng from going up for the easy putback two.  He wanted to foul Dieng.

But the way he did it put Dieng in risk of injury.

For that reason, after reviewing the foul Tuesday night, the referees called the foul above a flagrant two and ejected Hibbert, sending him to an early shower. Honestly I think it’s a borderline ejection but I don’t think it was a bad call. Hibbert’s play was not malicious but it was careless.

From the locker room Hibbert could watch on the monitor as Mo Williams dropped the rest of his 52 on the Pacers, leading Minnesota to the win. Indy could have used Hibbert out there, not that anyone was stopping Williams Tuesday.

Report: Celtics negotiating buyout with Tayshaun Prince

Memphis Grizzlies v Cleveland Cavaliers
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Clearly an almost 35-year-old wing with diminishing skills was not going to be part of the Celtics rebuilding future. And a guy like that wants to play for rings anyway.

So when Boston traded for Tayshaun Prince as part of the Jeff Green deal with Memphis, you had to know a buyout was likely. The only details to be worked out is how much of his $7.2 million he would offer as a discount to get out of the contract.

There seems to be some common ground to get the deal done, reports Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.

What will be interesting is to see what teams come calling if/when Prince is a free agent. The Clippers are looking for wing players and depth, they seem a likely candidate, but other teams may pick up the phone as well.

Prince isn’t the player he once was but he brings some skills, for example his length and IQ means he’s still a decent defender. On offense he has the bad habit of settling for the long two (31.1 percent of his shots this season were from 16 feet out to the arc) so teams help off him, but he can hit the three and in a limited role he will not hurt on that end.

Still, he will land somewhere on a winning team.