Kurt Helin

Jeremy Lin

Jeremy Lin was hitting circus shots against the Celtics (VIDEO)

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A lot of things needed to go right for the Lakers to beat the Celtics in overtime Sunday. They needed Isaiah Thomas to get ejected in the fourth quarter (he had a strong debut for Boston with 21 points). The Lakers needed a few miscues from Boston down the stretch.

And they needed every point they could get — so these circus shots from Jeremy Lin mattered.

Byron Scott went back to Lin and Carlos Boozer and the Lakers picked up a win, so expect him to change it up next game. Because that’s what he’s done all season.

Five Things We Learned in NBA Sunday: Enough with the injuries already

Stephen Curry, David Lee
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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while thinking you need to go see Birdman…

1) Would NBA stars stop getting injured, please. No Stephen Curry. No Anthony Davis. No Kevin Durant. No. LaMarcus Aldridge. No Blake Griffin. And that’s just the guys injured the past couple weeks, we’re not even getting into the Paul George’s of the world. Enough with the injuries already, basketball gods. We have a potentially epic playoffs coming up in the Western Conference, don’t go messing with that. Enough is enough.

2) Richard Jefferson can still get up and dunk hard. This dunk was near the top of the list of things I never thought I’d see at this point in his career. And there is no way that’s an offensive foul in my book.

3) Durant or no Durant Oklahoma City keeps on rolling. I’m not saying Russell Westbrook should be the NBA MVP; I’m just saying it’s a five-person ballot that gets handed out and Westbrook should be on that list. Durant is out for at least a week (expect more like two or three, they will be cautious with him) and on Sunday Westbrook responded with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting plus 17 assists in OKC’s win over hapless Denver. The Thunder also got 20 points and 12 boards out of Enes Kanter and nearly 30 minutes out of D.J. Augustin. That can help keep this team in the playoffs while Durant gets healthy.

4) Amar’e Stoudemire had some bounce in his Dallas debut. Lest you had any doubts, Amar’e Stoudemire can still get up and throw it down. In just more than 11 minutes in his Dallas debut, Stoudemire had 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting, and he got most of that right at the rim. I have my questions about if he can sustain that level, but if he keeps throwing down dunks like this he’ll do just fine.

5) If you’re sleeping on Memphis you’ll reget it. Consider this your weekly reminder that the Grizzlies are very good — there are three 40-win teams in the NBA so far and Memphis is one of them (Golden State and Atlanta). On Sunday, Portland looked like it would run away with this game when they put up a 39 spot in the third quarter at home. But Memphis just keeps grinding, keeps making plays, they went on a 12-0 run of their own in the fourth quarter and made the comeback. The dagger came on a simple little pick-and-roll where Mike Conley fed Marc Gasol for the midrange jumper. Sleep on Memphis at your own risk, this team is elite.

Portland plays moving tribute to Jerome Kersey (VIDEO)

Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers
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Jerome Kersey is as popular a former Trail Blazer as you can find.

Kersey passed away unexpectedly last week. Sunday night the franchise honored him with this video tribute.

It’s powerful. Just like Kersey.

Rumor: Kevin Garnett, Flip Saunders could pair up to help buy Timberwolves

Kevin Garnett
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Flip Saunders wants to do more than coach.

Kevin Garnett has made more than $315 million in his NBA career and will find it hard to walk away from the game.

So maybe those two together — paired with some real money men — could buy an NBA team. Say, maybe the Minnesota Timberwolves, which owner Glen Taylor would like to sell. It’s a possibility suggests Charlie Walters of the Pioneer Press.

The contract extension Kevin Garnett, 38, will sign with the Timberwolves this summer will be for two years. During that period, Garnett and Wolves president-coach Flip Saunders are expected to try to form a group to buy the team from Glen Taylor….

Garnett has amassed more than $325 million in salaries during 20 seasons in the NBA. Saunders, who turns 60 on Monday, has made an estimated $40 million during 17 seasons as a NBA coach.

There is a report out of Minnesota that KG and the Timberwolves will reach a two-year contract after this season. While I find that hard to buy — Garnett does not have a lot left in the tank — him sticking around the franchise where he made his name makes some sense.

In today’s NBA marketplace, even a small market team like the Timberwolves will draw north of $750 million, so Garnett and Saunders would still need some hedge fund guy or the equivalent.

But Taylor’s goal for a while has been to keep the team in the Twin Cities, to find a partner who sees the area as he does. With KG and Saunders he could have his answer.

 

 

It’s official: Bucks reach buyout deal with Larry Sanders

Larry Sanders
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We knew this was coming and Saturday it became official: The Bucks and Larry Sanders have parted ways.

The two sides reached an agreement on a buyout that will pay Sanders between $13 million and $15 million (depending upon which report you believe) of the $33 million he is still owed after this season. The Bucks will use the stretch provision on his contract to lessen the hit to their salary cap (he will remain on the books for seven seasons but at a greatly reduced cap number).

“We believe this decision is in the best interest of our team,” Bucks GM John Hammond said in a released statement. “We wish Larry well and remain excited about the future of the Bucks organization.”

Larry Sanders has played just 50 games the last two seasons for the Bucks. Last season there was a nightclub brawl left him with an injured thumb in need of a surgery. Then there were the charges of animal cruelty. At the end of last season, he missed five games for a drug suspension. This season he missed time for personal reasons. Then came a 10-game suspension from the league for marijuana use (he failed at least four tests to get there). That suspension was extended past the 10 games. It was time for the two sides to move on.

There were teams with some interest in Sanders — the Clippers and Mavericks specifically, maybe others — but Steve Kyler of BasketballInsiders.com says that’s not where Sanders’ camp is right now.

Whether or not Sanders returns to the court, let’s hope he can get his personal demons under control and can sort out what he wants in life.