Kurt Helin

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As expected, Kyrie Irving blows off report he wants out of Cleveland


You knew this was coming.

The minute a report surfaced Monday — from ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on First Take — that Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland, you knew he would deny the rumor. He did that to Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer, with more of a dismissal of the idea than an outright denial.

“There’s nothing to really address,” Irving said. “Obviously there’s going to be some misunderstandings, it’s part of being on a team. For me, as a maturing young player in this league, I know what we have and the opportunity we have in order to be something special. My communication is open with all of my teammates, just knowing what’s going on and how I feel about things….

“For me, all that other stuff, what everyone is going to say, they’re going to pick one player and it’s going to change every single week,” Irving said. “When they think that we’re down and out, they’re going to choose one player. For me, it has no effect on my life or what’s going on. It’s all about winning and winning a championship for Cleveland.”

Two quick thoughts. First, it’s not easy for Irving or anyone else to play next to LeBron James. He can be demanding, he can dominate the ball, and he’s going to push players he believes can be elite. Not that any of those things are bad, but it doesn’t make it easy to play with LeBron. No doubt LeBron and Irving have clashed at times, probably more than we realize.

Second, it’s all moot. Irving is in the first year of a five-year contract extension, and he is a cornerstone of the franchise — he’s not going anywhere. LeBron isn’t going anywhere. Those two need to figure out how to get along. And Irving does need to work on sharing the ball more getting teammates set up.

Can we all just move on… until the Kevin Love trade rumors kick up again this summer.

Watch Bucks’ Jabari Parker drop career-high 36 on Houston

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It was a good night for the Bucks. Khris Middleton scored 30 points, while Giannis Antetokounmpo playing the point forward role had 18 points, 17 rebounds, and 11 assists (plus four steals).

But leading the way was Jabari Parker, who had a career-high 36 points. You can see his buckets above.

Behind their young trio, Milwaukee beat Houston 128-121.

Update: Nuggets’ Danilo Gallinari has two torn ligaments in right ankle

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We knew that Denver forward Danilo Gallinari was going to miss time due to a sprained ankle, likely being out for seven games after injuring it over the weekend.

Now we know the severity of it — it has two torn ligaments in his right ankle, the team announced Tuesday.

He’s going to be out a month, according to Adrian Wojnarowski at The Vertical at Yahoo Sports. That would bring him back with just a couple weeks left in the season, so don’t be shocked if Denver just shuts him down for the remainder of the campaign.

The Nuggets will miss his offense while he’s out, he averaged 19.5 points a game and is shooting 36.4 percent from three. He is a key part of Denver’s offense, which is 4.1 points per 100 possessions better when he is on the court (however his defensive numbers often balance that out).

Denver has been coming together, playing better ball as a team in the past few weeks. There’s a lot to like with the talent on this roster. Mike Malone is establishing a culture there that is starting to take root. One that could be a foundation for winning down the line. And unlike Sacramento, this time Malone will get to see it through.

Meet the Clippers’ new mascot: Chuck the Condor


Apparently the Clippers needed a mascot. So they turned to one of the most majestic animals of California — the Condor. The largest bird in North America.

Then they turned it into a cartoon version.

The Clippers unveiled their new mascot on Monday night, and words don’t do it justice.

I think ESPN’s Arash Markazi put it best:

The Clippers (including Doc Rivers) spun this as “he’s like us, the California Condor was almost extinct but now is making a comeback.” Okay. That’s true about the bird. The Condor also is a vulture, a bird that picks at the carcases of other animal’s kills. Apply that metaphor to the Clippers’ roster building techniques if you wish.

Not long after being introduced, Chuck dunked off a trampoline. That was followed by 59-year-old Clippers’ owner Steve Ballmer dunking off a trampoline. It was quite the halftime show in LA.

DeMarcus Cousins cocks arm back, decides not to hit Steven Adams


Stephen Adams was trying to instigate. It’s what he does. He tries to get under players’ skin.

DeMarcus Cousins almost got suckered in by it and did something foolish.

Late in the game Monday in Sacramento, the Thunder’s Adams went to the ground and while there locked his arm around Cousins’ leg and wouldn’t let go (was that his Jeff Van Gundy imitation?). Cousins got frustrated. He cocked back his arm to throw a punch — but thought better of it and walked away. Well, after a little kick of Adams.

The referee saw it the entire way and Adams was called for a penalty, as it should have been, although the Kings got a “delay of game” out of this. Bottom line, good on Cousins for walking away (he did have a technical on the night already, his 14th this season).

In the end, the Thunder’s stars were too much. Kevin Durant had 27, Russell Westbrook finished with 20 points, 15 assists, and 13 rebounds, and the Thunder picked up a win in Sacramento 131-116.