Kurt Helin

Hassan Whiteside with monster alley-oop finish against Bulls (VIDEO)

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Good luck throwing it too high for Hassan Whiteside to go up and get it.

This was a brilliant alley-oop from Goran Dragic, who had two defenders with him trying to cut off his lane to the rim and he pulled them in deep then threw a rainbow pass back over his head to the rolling Whiteside. Who knew what to do with it.

The Heat rolled the Bulls 118-96, keeping Chicago on the outside looking in at the playoffs in the East right now.

Ricky Rubio knocks down game-winning three to beat Thunder (VIDEO)

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At the end of games (or any possession), there are shots you want to take away and shots you can live with as a defender. Andrew Wiggins driving to the basket, that you want to take away. Ricky Rubio with a jumper? If that beats you, then you tip your cap.

I guess Oklahoma City should just tip their cap.

Just after a Steven Adams putback that tied the game (I’m not getting into that goaltending call and review), the Timberwolves had one last chance to win a tie game on the road. Wiggins came off a Karl-Anthony Towns screen and drove into a wall of defenders in the paint, got in the air, and threw it back to Rubio at the three-point line. For the season, Rubio is 26.2 percent shooting from that area of the arc, basically just one in four falls.

This was the one. Timberwolves get the win.

It felt like the Thunder were looking ahead to Saturday’s showdown with the Spurs, but you can’t take nights off in the NBA.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shoots down expansion idea. Again.

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Like all the cool kids — well, all the cool kids in 2001, today it’s completely overblown — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is in Austin, Texas, for South by Southwest, or  SXSW.

And one of the many division of the event now is SXSW Sports, where Silver was a keynote speaker. While there he got asked by a Seattle fan about the possibility of expansion, about the only way that city will get a team in the short-term with new arenas coming in Sacramento and Milwaukee.

Silver shot it down in no uncertain terms, saying it isn’t good for the current owners (who would need to approve expansion). From Ananth Pandian of CBSSports.com.

“We are 30 partners right now. Thirty teams. Each of those teams own 1/30th of all the global opportunities of the NBA. So the issue becomes, if you expand, do you want to sell one of those interests off to a new group of partners? One reason to do it of course, is that if it’s additive. And no doubt, Seattle is a great market. At the moment, like for me as successful as the league is right now, we (are) not in the position, putting even aside profitability, where all 30 teams are must-see experiences. That’s not a secret….

“There are so many great players in the league,” Silver said. “And that’s one of the issues with expansion. Even putting aside the financial notion of selling equity and whether if it’s additive to the league as a whole to add more teams, the question becomes is it dilutive in terms of talent. And that’s something that I’m focused on as well.”

The bottom line is this: owners currently all get 1/30th of the slice of the financial pie from television, global markets, and the rest of the income beyond ticket sales. They don’t want to make that 1/31st. Mark Cuban has said this before, the short-term bump from expansion fees is not worth the long-term hit from giving up part of that income.

What’s more, this would let 15 more players into the NBA. You can make an argument that the next 15 are no better than the last 15 currently on NBA rosters, but does the league need to put more of those guys who are bouncing between the D-League and the NBA into the league? Does that improve the product?

Silver said eventually the NBA will consider expansion again, it’s the way of any business. But it’s not happening anytime soon.

Sorry Seattle.

Sixers’ Robert Covington taken off court on stretcher after kick to face

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This was scary.

In a tangle of bodies during a defensive play, the Sixers’ Jerami Grant went to the ground and in doing so inadvertently kicked Robert Covington in the face. Covington stayed down on the ground for a while, doctors immobilized his neck, and eventually he was taken off the court on a stretcher.

Covington did raise his arm up and point to the sky in a sign to the fans.

Grant did not return to the game due to a possible concussion, the team announced.

We hope both men are not seriously injured.

Thunder assistant Monty Williams to miss remainder of season

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams will not return to the team this season as he continues to help his family heal following the death of his wife, Ingrid.

The Thunder made the announcement Friday.

On Feb. 9, an oncoming car crossed the center line and hit Ingrid Williams’ SUV near downtown Oklahoma City. Ingrid Williams died the next day, and Monty Williams has not coached since. Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement that the most important things are for Williams to be with his family and for the Thunder to support him.

Williams is in his first season as an assistant for Billy Donovan. He was head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans last season, when he led the franchise to the playoffs.

Williams is also an assistant coach with USA Basketball, which has said he can take all the time he needs in deciding if he wants to join the team for the Rio Olympics.

(NBC’s Kurt Helin added to this story.)