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

Kyrie Irving

Kyrie Irving leaves game with apparent knee injury, returns for second half

1 Comment

That was scary.

Kyrie Irving went up to contest a jump shot with Russell Westbrook late in the first half, there was some knee-on-knee contact and Irving injured his knee. Everyone was scared because he seemed to twist it and hyper-extend it, and he stayed on the ground for a while with the entire team around before being helped to the locker room. LeBron James, who is not playing tonight and was in the locker room, ran out to help him back.

But Irving returned to the court for the second half.

Cavs fans everywhere can exhale.

NBA All-Star balloting officially opens online. And on twitter. And Instagram. And…

2015 All-Star logo

Let the unfortunate overlooking of Kyle Lowry begin.

Today fans can start voting for the NBA All-Star Game starters. As always, fan votes from around the globe determine the five starters for each team, then coach’s votes round out the roster. (Hopefully they don’t ignore Lowry.)

What has changed this year is the ballot will have the name of every NBA player on it. In past years a select media panel would have to pick names that fans could choose from and while there were 120 players on the ballot (60 from each conference) there were always complaints about No. 61 getting left off after a fast start to the season. No more. Fans can vote for anyone they want, so if you think Quincy Acy deserves a vote you can do it.

There are a lot of ways to vote:

• There is the online ballot at NBA.com.
• You can vote for on twitter, just in your tweet (or retweet) make sure to put the player’s first and last names, as well as the hashtag #NBABallot.
• You can vote on Facebook by just making a post on your personal account, again just make sure to include the player’s first and last names as well as the hashtag #NBABallot.
• Fans can vote on Instagram by posting an original photo, using #NBABallot and the player’s first and last name in the caption.
• Or you can just text in your vote. Simply text the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”).
• Finally you can vote through the NBA Game Time app on your phone.

You can vote from now through Jan. 19. Officially the starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, Jan. 22, although frankly we’ll have a pretty good idea who they will be before then.

The All-Star Game and weekend of activities comes to New York this year. The Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13 and All-Star Saturday Night events — including the dunk contest — on Saturday, Feb. 14 will both take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The NBA All-Star Game will take place Sunday, Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

Shabazz Muhammad throws it down with authority on Chris Kaman (VIDEO)

Portland Trail Blazers v Minnesota Timberwolves

That pretty much summed up what the Timberwolves did to the Blazers all night long.

Shabazz Muhammad has played pretty well, pretty efficiently off the bench for Minnesota, and it seems like he’ll have a monster dunk every couple of games. This certainly fills that quota – Chris Kaman can get back but he’s not stopping this.

Minnesota upset Portland 90-82 in a game where the Timberwolves were more physical and more aggressive all night long. Andrew Wiggins picked up his first career double-double. But this was the play of the game.

PBT’s Wednesday NBA Winners/Losers: The Golden State train keeps a rollin’

Stephen Curry

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 flipping out over those extra $4 the Chinese restaurant charged you

source:  Golden State Warriors. And the train kept a rollin’… that is 14 in a row. If you were trying to knock the Warriors during this run you’d say that they haven’t played a lot of the West’s best in this stretch, but they got a quality win over the Rockets 105-93. Quality because the Rockets have still been rolling teams this season without Dwight Howard and they could have done it again with the way James Harden was playing. Harden had 35 points and he was getting into the paint and knocking down contested threes. Basically he was the full Harden but the Warriors absorbed that and won anyway. Second, the Warriors did it without Andrew Bogut — they missed his defense in the paint, they missed his passing, how he moved the ball from strong to weak. But they got 20 points on 9 shots from Harrison Barnes and a balanced scoring night (despite a rough start where they couldn’t buy a three in the first half).

source:  Andre Miller, Bradley Beal. It was the shot of the night, the game-winning tip in as the clock expired that gave Washington a big win on the road in Orlando. Beal rightfully gets a lot of credit for an athletic play at the rim (and he got a nice pick from Paul Pierce to create that space). But to me what makes this play is a perfect lob from Andre Miller — the professor threw the perfect pass.

source:  Derrick Rose. That was the attacking, aggressive Rose we have been waiting to see again. The one Tom Thibodeau has been asking to see. Rose was 5-of-6 in the paint, but also 3-of-7 from beyond the arc on his way to a a team best 23 in a Bulls win over Brooklyn. Rose was getting into the lane when he wanted, and he was putting pressure on the Nets defense, which is what he does best. It’s been a process with Rose getting back to being his old self, but when he plays like this the Bulls are so much more dangerous.

source:  Cory Jefferson’s jump shot. That was not the Bulls’ defense. Jefferson in his limited minutes as a rookie had taken just four three pointers this season. He might want to work on that a little before he breaks it out in a game again.

source:  Al Jefferson. The Hornets need some wins and Jefferson got them one against the Celtics Wednesday, putting up 23 points overall and getting 11 of them in the fourth quarter to secure the victory. What Jefferson — and Lance Stephenson and Kemba Walker — seemed to do more was attack the rim. Jefferson was getting the ball on the left block where he likes it and is nearly impossible to stop. That and stretches of good defense from the starters were what Charlotte needs more of to turn this thing around.

source:  Portland Trail Blazers. What. Was. That. The Timberwolves were the more physical team. The Blazers seemed disinterested early and never were able to get out of that funk. And when you shoot 10-of-35 from three (28.6 percent) you can’t just shoot your way out of it. Minnesota picked up the win 9–82. The Blazers had won five in a row coming in, we’ll consider this a one-off. But in the brutal West you can’t have many of these nights without hurting your seeding.

Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr. deny any lingering friction

Carmelo Anthony, Tim Hardaway Jr.

Yes, they argued. They own that.

Two emotional guys, two competitors, on a team that’s losing a lot (10 straight as of Wednesday night), you have to expect that.

But Carmelo Anthony and Tim Hardaway Jr. want you to know they’re all good.

Both teammates were asked about a report earlier this week that they had argued and Anthony had said he would beat Hardaway up after the game (which never happened, obviously). Both admitted the argument but said there was nothing to it, reports ESPNNewYork.com.

“Me and Tim have no problems,” Anthony said before the Knicks’ 109-95 loss to the Spurs. “…. Tim is a guy who I always wrapped my arm around and put under my wing from Day 1, helped him through times when he’s been down, and I will continue doing that.”

Added Hardaway Jr.: “We’re brothers. Brothers argue in the heat of the moment and then they make up. It’s just that simple. I look at Melo as a mentor.”

Of course there is some tension in the Knicks locker room — they are 4-20. If they were all good with that, if it were all puppy dogs and rainbows, if they were not in each other’s faces a little, then I’d be worried. A lot of the players don’t like the triangle? Shocking. It doesn’t fit most of their games, of course they don’t. Along those same lines of course they don’t like the culture change and getting called out. There are a lot of flaws on this roster. This team lacks defenders. It also lacks the unselfish players the triangle offense needs to work. That has included Anthony for portions of this year, he has not bought in like Derek Fisher needs him to on the court.

Things are not likely to get better for a while. Anthony was out Wednesday night to rest his troublesome knee, and the rest of the Knicks could not beat a Spurs team sitting its top four players. The Knicks have players that are simply a terrible fit for the offense and systems Derek Fisher wants to install. It’s going to take a couple years of Phil Jackson the front office wizard to turn this roster into something that can really compete. Even in the East.

In the meantime, the Knicks can just have more team meetings. The Knicks had one last Saturday. Befitting the Festivus season, there was the airing of grievances.

“It was a very productive meeting. Everybody had a platform to say how they felt about what was going on,” said Anthony. “It wasn’t about the system or anything specific like that. It was about what we all can do to be better as a team and get over this hump.”