Author: Kurt Helin

Miami Heat v Portland Trail Blazers

Hassan Whiteside finishes alley-oop with authority (VIDEO)

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Hassan Whiteside has been a nice little surprise for Miami. He has 14 blocks in his last four games, after picking up four in Miami’s loss to Portland Thursday night. He also had 10 points in that game.

Two of them emphatically. He got a nice alley-oop pass from Norris Cole and knew what to do with it.

Beijing government honors Stephon Marbury as a role model (VIDEO)

Beijing Ducks v Guangdong Southern Tigers - CBA Final Game 5

Five years ago, Knicks fans would have thought this a joke. And not a very funny one.

But Stephon Marbury has become a different person in China. Sure, that includes on the court, his skills had deteriorated to a below NBA level but in China he’s still a star. But more than that he’s found peace off the court he told the New York Times a few years back.

“It’s just something about the serenity and peace of the country,” he said. “I can’t really explain it; you’ve got to experience it.”

While my first instinct is usually to go for the snark, I’m happy for Marbury. He has found a place he feels he belongs — he’s even had a play made about his impact in China — and we could all use that.

PBT’s Thursday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Nicolas Batum wears “Je Suis Charlie” warmup shirt

Nicolas Batum

Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while inventing a robot that plays beer pong….

Nicolas Batum. Not for what the Blazers guard did in the team’s win over Miami (8 points and 0-4 from three) but for his pregame warmup shirt.

As you can see Batum, who is French, wore a “Je Suis Charlie” shirt, which translates to “I am Charlie” and is a sign of support for the dozen people killed at the tragic attack at French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo in Paris — and the message also is one of defiance to the radicalized Islamic followers that the people of that nation (and the world, Je Suis Charlie trended everywhere on twitter) will not live in fear and censor themselves. Good on Batum.

Kemba Walker. Toronto’s Kyle Lowry deserves to be — and almost certainly will be — an All-Star this season selected by the coaches. (Note to Raptors broadcaster Matt Devlin — stop saying “hashtag NBA Ballot” after every time you say Lowry’s name. Just stop it. Even Drake finds it annoying.) But on Thursday night Kemba Walker just outplayed Lowry. Walker had 29 points (first game in four he didn’t break 30), he had 8 assists and 7 rebounds, plus with the game close late he hit the stepback three for the dagger. It was a huge night and the Hornets have pieced together a four game winning streak now largely on Lowry’s back.

Langston Galloway. It’s all about grabbing the opportunity while you can. With all the roster moves to clear out cap space by the Knicks, some guys are going to get opportunities. Galloway impressed the Knicks both at Summer League and on their D-League teams so he got a 10-day contract and made his debut in the loss to Houston Thursday — and he scored 19 points (and he got 31 minutes of burn in the extended garbage time game). Galloway looked good and earned a little future run.

Former NBA player Robert Swift arrested in alleged home invasion robbery attempt

Robert Swift

Robert Swift’s sad downward spiral seems to have hit a new low.

The former center for the Seattle Sonics then Oklahoma City Thunder was arrested Tuesday in an alleged home invasion robbery plot. KIRO TV in Seattle has the details (hat tip Eye on Basketball).

According to sources, the 7-foot-1 former NBA basketball player and 28-year-old Carlos Abraham Anderson of Everett put masks over their faces and attempted to rob a home in broad daylight. Witnesses notified the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office.

“I believe there were a couple of people who called in, they saw masked subjects on the property, reported that at least one of them was armed with a weapon, one possibly with a baseball bat,” Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Shari Ireton told KIRO 7. “It appeared they were either trying to make an entry or knocking on the door.”

Sources told KIRO 7 that Swift was armed with multiple weapons when he was taken into custody.

Swift already had a warrant out for his arrest on a gun charge from last year where he failed to appear in court, according to the report. He had other previous issues with law enforcement.

Swift has battled drug addiction, heroin specifically, and told police he was high when he was arrested Tuesday, according to the report.

Swift played four years in the NBA. His fall is sad to see.

PBT Extra: Did the Cavaliers overpay for Timofey Mozgov?

Denver Nuggets Media Day

Cleveland has decided to reboot not even halfway through its first season of LeBron James 2.0. And it had to, because the first version had some clear flaws. There was a lot of noise around the trade that brought Cleveland J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert, but their move Wednesday to land Timofey Mozgov was the more important one. The Cavaliers were soft in the paint and Mozgov is not that – he is a big, solid, quality NBA center. Not a star, but he’s what they needed next to Kevin Love.

But did the Cavaliers overpay for him?

That’s the first thing Jenna Corrado and I discuss — yes the price was steep but the Cavs didn’t really have a choice.

After that we talk about the rumors Memphis wants to land Luol Deng or Jeff Green in a trade. And we talk about who else will try to load up in the Western Conference arms race.