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

Nicolas Batum

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

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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
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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
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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.

Rick Ross gets Miami Heat logo tattooed on his face

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Rick Ross is no fair weather Heat fan. The hip-hop mogul and legend is not bailing on the team just because of some guy from Akron decided to run home. Rick Ross is 305 to the core.

You want proof? Check out the ink he just got (via Unroyal Ink on Instagram and SLAM).

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Ross got the Miami Heat logo tattooed on his face. I’d call that serious.

This, however, is the best photo of the session.

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PBT’s Wednesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Klay Thompson is not to be trifled with

Klay Thompson
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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 wondering if Lionel Messi would really leave Barcelona

source:  Klay Thompson. Making the All-Star cut at the guard spot in the West is going to be pretty much like getting into Harvard — some incredible people will be left out. (That includes actual Harvard grad Jeremy Lin.) Klay Thompson is likely going to be one of those on the outside looking in, but he made a nice case for inclusion Wednesday — 40 points on 25 shots as the Warriors talent just overwhelmed the Pacers in the second half. Thompson was a big part of that with 15 points in the third quarter when the Warriors started to take control and 12 more as they sealed it in the fourth. He was 6-of-11 from three. He is playing like an All-Star, the only problem is in the Western Conference that’s not enough.

source:  Kemba Walker. The Hornets’ best shot creator has scored 30 or more points in three straight games now, and Charlotte is on a three game winning streak. But most importantly, he did this.

source:  Darren Collison and Sacramento Kings. The Darren Collison pickup has been a lot better for Sacramento than I thought it would be and the point guard was key in the Kings putting together their best performance in a while and routing the Oklahoma City Thunder. He had 24 points and he also drew the defensive assignment on Russell Westbrook and helped lead him to an off night (although Westbrook contributed plenty on his end to that cause). Rudy Gay had 28 points, DeMarcus Cousins 23, but the real key was that the Kings played the best defense they have in a long time. Sacramento contested 48 percent of OKC’s shot attempts and the Thunder hit just 27.9 percent of those (via NBA.com). Of course, the Thunder hit just 37 percent of their uncontested looks, it was that kind of night for them, but the Kings should be happy after this one.

source:  Chicago Bulls/Oklahoma City Thunder. What. Was. That. Two of the league’s power teams just got destroyed on Wednesday night. Both looked flat and disinterested. That’s not the fault of Dion Waiters (who was 1-of-9 shooting). That’s not the fault of Derrick Rose. Or the polar vortex. Or Barack Obama. Or North Korean hackers. All credit to the Kings and Jazz who both played well, but this was just one of those nights for two good teams. The thing is, the Bulls can afford to have these off nights, they are in a solid spot in the East. However, the Thunder now have had a couple bad games in a row on the road in Cali and they can’t really afford it — they are four games back of the eight-seed Suns, with the Pelicans in between them. We keep waiting for the Thunder to go on a run and just blow by everyone into a playoff seed, but the fact is those teams above them are pretty good with playoff dreams of their own and are not just going to roll over. OKC needs some wins.

source:  Atlanta Hawks. Another day, another Hawks win against a powerhouse team. Today it was Memphis’ turn to learn the Hawks are for real. Memphis got the kind of ugly, scrappy game they thrive in and the Hawks beat them at their own game with a 96-86 win. This was an 84-84 game with three minutes left and the Hawks simply executed better down the stretch — Al Horford hit shots, Jeff Teague hit a key three and the Hawks pulled away. Let’s all say it together again — the Hawks are for real.