Author: Kurt Helin

Cleveland downtown on cloudy day

Cleveland puts in bid to host 2018 NBA All-Star Game


There’s been a transformation in Cleveland — both on the court with the Cavaliers (hastened by the return of prodigal son LeBron James) and in downtown Cleveland, which has gone from the butt of late night comedy jokes to a place that produces an Iron Chef.

Now the powers that be want to show it all off.

The Cavaliers have thrown their hat in the ring, making a bid for the 2018 All-Star Game, reports Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Cavaliers Chief Executive Officer Len Komoroski and President and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission David Gilbert both confirmed to Northeast Ohio Media Group that the bid has been placed….

The return of LeBron James certainly helps, and in March for the first time the city will host the regional semifinals and finals of the 2015 NCAA basketball tournament. Cleveland also was awarded the Republican National Convention in 2016.

The NBA has opened up bidding for both the 2017 and 2018 All-Star Games. It is known that Portland and Charlotte have put in bids for that window as well, and other cities may well have done so also just without all the fanfare. (It makes a lot of sense for middle-to-smaller market cities making a bid to let it be known and say to their fan base “look, we’re a big time city, too.”)

The NBA has a lot of criteria for hosting an All-Star Game including hotel rooms near the arena, convention space to host the NBA All-Star Jam Session (the fan fest), plus room for all the other events.

The 2015 All-Star Game is in New York and the 2016 game will be in Toronto. A decision on at least 2017 is expected the first part of next year.

Kevin Durant goes through practice Monday, rumored to be back within week

Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook was back and instantly the Thunder looked much better — his pressure he puts on a defense with his aggressive play and that opened up passing lanes and good shots for everyone else.

But the Thunder need more — they need to go 44-21 the rest of the way to get to 49 wins that was the Western Conference playoffs cutoff last year. What they need is Kevin Durant back from his foot surgery.

And they may get that sooner rather than later. He went through practice Monday, reports Royce Young of ESPN.

Also on ESPN today, Chris Broussard said that Durant is expected back with the Thunder within a week. It’s been just more than six weeks since the surgery expected to keep him out six-to-eight weeks.

If true — and the fact he is practicing suggests it is likely true — this would be huge for OKC. They can still make the playoffs in the West if they can just win the rest of the season at the pace they did last year.

Then they become the scariest, most dangerous seven/eight seed ever.

Spurs’ Marco Belinelli posterizes Henry Sims. You read that right. (VIDEO)

Dallas Mavericks v San Antonio Spurs

Things I never thought I’d type include:

That was a huge dunk by Marco Belinelli.

But such is life against the Sixers — everyone can make big plays. The Spurs’ Belinelli is thought of as a three point shooter and little else, but he can put the ball on the floor. Although usually just to create enough space for another jumper. Not this time — he has a clear pass to the basket and takes it.

And no Henry Sims is going to stop him.