Kurt Helin

Miami Heat v Oklahoma City Thunder

Russell Westbrook: “I didn’t watch much basketball growing up”

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Like it would to most NBA players, the fact Allen Iverson said he was a big Russell Westbrook fan was taken as a big compliment by the Thunder guard (who recorded his 10th triple-double of the season Sunday). Iverson said the spirit of himself lived in  Westbrook, that “I’m the biggest Westbrook fan there is.”

However, did Westbrook watch a lot of Iverson growing up?

Not so much.

What makes Westbrook and Iverson similar is the fearless, relentlessly attacking style of play. Physically they are different and playing in a different era, but the game is the same.

Iverson recognizes that. Westbrook appreciates it, even if he hasn’t watched much AI.

Lakers’ coach Byron Scott to miss at least next two Lakers games

Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
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Lakers’ head coach Byron Scott will miss at least the next couple Lakers’  games as the team heads out on a five-game road trip to attend the funeral of his mother.

Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News has the details.

Lakers coach Byron Scott will stay in Southern California during the first part of the team’s five-gametrip this week both in Oklahoma City (Tuesday) and Minnesota (Wednesday) to attend the funeral of his mother, Dorothy. She passed away last Sunday at the age of 72.

Scott plans to rejoin on Thursday in time to coach games in Toronto (Friday), Brooklyn (Sunday) and Philadelphia (Monday). Lakers assistant coach Paul Pressey, will serve as the acting head coach during Scott’s absence.

Scott’s mother should be proud of the son she raised. Taking on what was a challenging job before a rash of injuries came, Scott has handled himself professionally and with class. As he has in his previous stops (where there has been more success on the court). This has been a rough season to be the Lakers’ coach, but he has weathered that as best as anyone could hope.

Scott said his mother would have been proud.

“She was telling me for years that it would happen,” said Scott, who played 11 of his 14 NBA seasons with the Showtime Lakers where he won three championships. “So she was a big basketball fan. She was really excited.”

Our thoughts go out to the Scott Family.

Tributes from other players pour in as Steve Nash announces retirement

Los Angeles Lakers' Nash is interviewed before head coach D'Antoni makes his debut as Lakers' new coach in NBA basketball game against Brooklyn Nets in Los Angeles
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You’d by hard-pressed to find a player more respected and better liked than Steve Nash.

Meaning it was not a surprise that in the hours after he announced he was retiring from the NBA the tributes poured in from other players past and present.

And it wasn’t just athletes, the Canadian Prime Minister got in on the act.

Stephen Curry hits ridiculous falling shot, even for Stephen Curry (VIDEO)

Utah Jazz v Golden State Warriors
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At this point, if Stephen Curry takes a shot we all just expect it to go in.

But even for Curry, this falling shot is impressive. He gets the ball at the arc out on the left wing and Dante Exum knew to get out there and contest any three, so as Exum came out Curry put the ball on the floor and drove. Exum trailed him and (accidentally) tripped him. Curry shot as he was going down and, well, he can’t miss.

Curry finished with 24 points in Golden State’s 106-91 win.

Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge injures left hand (again), must leave game

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat
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Back in January, LaMarcus Aldridge tore a ligament in his left thumb, but he decided to play through it because he believed this Portland team could contend for a title.

Saturday night, Aldridge had to leave Portland’s game against Memphis when Tony Allen reached in to try and swipe the ball away from Aldridge and hit the injured hand. Aldridge was in clear pain, left the game, returned to finish out the first half, but then did not play in the second half.

There is good news with Aldridge, this could have been worse.

After the game, Aldridge said his hand was swollen, and he would likely miss a little time but would return as soon as he could.

Memphis won the game 97-86, handing Portland it’s third consecutive loss. With that Portland and the Los Angeles Clippers are in a virtual tie for the four seed (the Trail Blazers are one game up in the loss column). Portland is just a game-and-half back of third-seeded Houston, but also just one ahead of six-seeded San Antonio in a crowded Western Conference.

With that, the Blazers can’t afford to be without their All-Star forward Aldridge for long.