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

Stephen Curry with emphatic dunk, Draymond Green triple-double as Warriors beat Raptors (VIDEO)

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That would be MVP candidate Stephen Curry showing second tier MVP candidate Kyle Lowry how they do things in Cali.

The Raptors have lost three of five on a rough road trip, the latest coming to the NBA-leading Golden State Warriors. Golden State went on a 20-3 run starting early in the third quarter, led by as many as 23 and cruised in for the 125-105 win. There are moments when Toronto’s defense looks pretty good (although it is 21st in NBA) but Golden State’s passing was at it’s peak and they just torched the Toronto defense.

Another reason for the win? Draymond Green’s triple double of 16 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds. When the Raptors were pushing to make a fourth quarter comeback Green was grabbing all the boards and setting up teammates to keep Toronto at bay.

Top 10 circus shots of 2014 (VIDEO)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Sacramento Kings
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It may be 2015 now, but our head is still in 2014. Heck, we’ll probably write that date on some checks for the first three months of this year.

Since our head is still there let’s go back and relive the best circus shots of 2014. Of course there’s some Lance Stephenson and Jeff Green, but personally I would have had Kevin Durant’s shot in the playoffs as he is fouled by Marc Gasol at the top of the list.

Thanks to the people at NBA.com for compiling this.

 

Derek Fisher says time may come Carmelo Anthony shuts it down for season

New York Knicks v Los Angeles Clippers
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They are not there yet. Specifically Carmelo Anthony is not there.

“I’m playing because I love to play and I want to play. I know what I can tolerate and what I can’t tolerate,” Anthony said recently when saying he had no plans to shut it down for the season, and that he hopes to avoid the “last option” of surgery.

But the day he shuts it down may be coming sooner than he wants — none other than coach Derek Fisher is saying that, as reported by Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com.

“From the conversations I’ve been a part of, I think everybody is smart enough to realize, calendar wise, timing wise, that there may come a point that that’s the decision that needs to be made,” Fisher said Friday. “But [we realize] that we can’t force Carmelo to that point just yet….

“We can’t unilaterally just say, ‘Hey, you know, you can’t play for the rest of the season because of A, B and C,'” Fisher said. “I think our medical staff, our training staff, continue to have conversations with him about where he is. He’s conversing with us about how he’s feeling, what the symptoms are. And so as each day kind of unfolds, decisions are being made. It’s not something that we’re just kind of stepping back and saying, ‘Carmelo, you kind of tell us when you don’t feel like playing anymore.'”

There are a couple issues in play for Anthony. First, he just inked a five-year, $124 million deal to stay in New York and he wants to show he is working for that money, that he is worthy of that money. Second, the All-Star Game comes to the Knicks home court of Madison Square Garden in six weeks and Anthony is likely to be one of the starting forwards in the East voted in by the fans. He doesn’t want to miss that.

But will his body let him play that long? Fisher seems to be hinting no.

Also, with a 5-30 team, the Knicks are terrible and going nowhere. Certainly not the playoffs. What’s the point of pushing through the pain when the best you can do is make your team’s season mildly less of a disaster.

Ty Lawson says he has talked with Kevin Durant about going home to Washington DC

Phoenix Suns v Oklahoma City Thunder
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While the Wizards brain trust was making smart off-season moves — re-signing Marcin Gortat, bringing in Paul Pierce —all the talk among fans was on one topic:

Would Kevin Durant come home in 2016?

LeBron James choosing to return to Cleveland sparked a lot of hope in the DC faithful, and it will be a topic again tonight as the Wizards are on the road against the Thunder.

Ty Lawson is another District area native and Ben Standig of CSNWashington.com asked if the two had spoken about playing at home.

“I’ve talked to him about it, but I probably can’t tell you what he said,” Lawson laughingly told CSNwashington.com when the Nuggets visited last month….

“We talked about it. Everybody going home and playing for their respective cities,” Lawson said. “It would be cool, especially playing with the people you grew up with. I grew up with KD. It would be fun to play with them on one team.”

Lawson is not likely bound for the Wizards when his contract is up in two years, Washington is pretty set at point guard with John Wall.

Wizards fans who are Comcast Sportsnet Washington subscribers, you can watch a live stream of the Washington vs. Oklahoma City game Friday night by following this link.

Durant, on the other hand, would fit in very well. Of course, he’d fit well on 29 other NBA teams as well. Should Durant decide to really test the waters come the summer of 2016 teams from Los Angeles to New York and every stop in between would try to court him.

After seeing him answer questions about 2016 when he was with Team USA this summer in Las Vegas (before he dropped out of the World Championships) I don’t believe Durant has any idea yet what he will do in two summers. I would bet that Oklahoma City has the best chance of retaining his services.

After that, the Wizards would certainly be in the mix. But two summers is two lifetimes in the NBA and what Durant will want to do remains unpredictable.

Rajon Rondo: “I haven’t played defense in a couple of years”

Dallas Mavericks beat Washington Wizards 114-87
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Consider this praise for Avery Bradley or a damnation of the Eastern Conference. Or, a little of both.

Dallas traded for Rajon Rondo in part because they needed to get better defensively to have any shot at advancing in the Western Conference playoffs. And so far so good — the Mavericks’ defense has been a whopping 12 points per 100 possessions better with Rondo on the court that with him sitting (just six games, so small sample size alert). In the last five games as a team Dallas’ defense is 3.1 points per 100 better and Rondo had good games against John Wall and Russell Westbrook.

Rondo was asked about being a defensive focal point and had an interesting answer, as reported by CSNNE.com.

“I haven’t played defense in a couple of years. I’ve been able to hide it a lot with Avery Bradley on the ball. He’s helped me out, the young guy. But here they expect me to play defense. And in the West, if you don’t play defense you’ll get embarrassed every night at the point guard position. I took it as a challenge [for] myself. It’s not just me. It’s my teammates. Our communication is getting a lot better and our coverages are getting better. So it’s the whole team concept, it’s not just me. Obviously people are going to look at the stats and say, ‘Since Rondo’s came there, they’re down seven or eight points or whatever defensively.’ But we still have a lot of room to improve and I believe we’ll still get better defensively.”

So again, the two take aways here:

First, Avery Bradley is a good defender.

Second, in the East you don’t have to play hard defense every night.

We’ll see if Rondo can sustain this level of defense — and pick up his offense, which has slipped — as Dallas moves through the rest of the season.