Kurt Helin

Karl Anthony-Towns blocks Kristaps Porzingis with authority (VIDEO)


The two guys who will finish one-two in the Rookie of the Year balloting faced off Saturday night in Minnesota — except there wasn’t much of a faceoff. Porzingis was in foul trouble most of the evening and played less than 12 minutes, scoring just six points.

Meanwhile, Towns was a force with 23 points, eight rebounds, and three blocks — one of them an impressive block of a Porzingis running hook. That Towns could time that out and get up enough to block the hook shot of a 7’3″ guy is amazing.

The Knicks still got the win, 103-95, behind 30 from Carmelo Anthony and 26 from Robin Lopez.

Watch Klay Thompson drop 32 on Clippers in Warriors win

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Stephen Curry looked human (relatively), shooting just 5-of-15 on his way to 23 points. That was a good sign for the Clippers, trying to hand the Warriors their first back-to-back losses of the season.

But then there was Klay Thompson to keep the offense going.

Thompson did a little bit of everything — hustled down the court for transition buckets, dunked, hit some key three-pointers, and when the Clipper defense forced him into the midrange he hit those, too. Thompson finished with 32 points on 23 shots, and combined with Draymond Green‘s triple-double the Warriors did not suffer another loss, winning 115-112.

Kobe Bryant dislocates finger, has trainer pop it back in, comes right back in game


LOS ANGELES — It happened with just more than two minutes left in the fourth quarter of a game where Kobe Bryant was leading a surprising late Lakers’ charge against the shorthanded San Antonio Spurs.

Kobe Bryant dislocated his finger.

“I was trying to go after the ball, and I just slipped on the wet floor,” Kobe said. “As I slipped, I put my hand on the floor to try balance myself, but I couldn’t spread my palm fast enough, so my finger just jammed right through the floor. It just popped right out. I tried to go after the ball, but my finger was just dangling there, kind of out to the side and the other part was going the other way.

“I thought about trying to put it back in myself, but it wasn’t going straight down, so Gary (Vitti, Lakers’ trainer) worked his magic and popped it back in.”

Kobe looked over at his family in the crowd and gave a nod. It’s something he says he’s always done to let them know he’s okay.

“They get concerned,” Bryant said. “So I look over at them and say it’s all right, then they are okay.”

Then Kobe went back in the game like nothing happened. Vintage Kobe.

Coach Byron Scott had seen the finger and called for Nick Young to go in, and young officially checked into the game, but Vitti popped the finger in and Kobe was ready to return. Bryant had to sit out until the next break (because Young had checked in) then Kobe returned to the game. He scored one more bucket, but Scott subbed Bryant out again with :36 left so the crowd could salute him.

Kobe said there is no fracture, and he will be ready to play Sunday against the Bulls.

This was just another in the long line of times Kobe suffered an injury and just played through it or had a little treatment then went right back in when most players would sit. It was just vintage Kobe.

This is also Vitti’s final season with the Lakers — he has been with the team since the Showtime era — and he and Kobe have built a relationship around Vitti doing everything he can to help keep Kobe on the court.

“We find these things extremely funny,” Bryant said of the dislocation Friday night. “It may be weird, but we find these things extremely funny. I go to the bench, he looks at my finger and says ‘Oh yea, that’s a good one’ and I say ‘no s—-. Do something about it.’ Then he pops it back in place and we just kind of laugh about it. He knows me from over the years; he knows I’m going right back in the game. So we laugh and we joke about it. We’ve seen it all. We’ve absolutely seen it all.

“It was fun to have that moment — hopefully it’s the last one we have. But it was fun to have it.”

We all hope it’s the last one, and Kobe leaves this season standing and on his own terms.

DeMarcus Cousins dropped 37 points on Denver Friday (VIDEO)

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There wasn’t anything fancy about what DeMarcus Cousins did to the Denver Nuggets Friday night — the team put him in the post, got him the rock and let him got to work near the rim.

It worked. Cousins put up 37 points and grabbed 20 boards in the Kings’ 116-110 win over the Nuggets.

Cousins’ shot chart tells the story.

Cousins shotchart

I don’t want to tell George Karl how to do his job, but more of this would be a good thing. Nobody is stopping Cousins around the rim.

Popovich on All-Star practice one-on-one with Kobe: “He elbowed me”

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LOS ANGELES — All-Star Game practices are basically public shootarounds, with a minimal amount of strategy and a lot of players getting interviewed. They are just the guys having fun.

As part of this year’s 2016 , Gregg Popovich played a little one-on-one with Kobe Bryant, Pop tried to play a little defense. Kobe got by the Spurs coach and scored. Popovich joked around Friday night — before his Spurs faced Kobe for the final time — about why he got beat on the play.

“He elbowed me,” Popovich said. “I don’t know if you looked at that. The guy, he got competitive, and he elbowed me, so he could get by me because I’m so quick I could stay in front of him. He’s a slow old dog and I’m quick, the only way he could get around me was to cheat, so he raised that elbow and cracked it.”

“I can handle his quickness just fine, I just felt like throwing an elbow at him,” Kobe responded with a laugh.

Kobe and Popovich have a strong relationship, two students of the game who are more alike than different (despite wildly different upbringings). They both talked about how they were going to miss each other and their times together facing off against each other.

“They’ve pushed me to really fine tune and sharpen my game,” Kobe said of the Spurs. “I’m sad those matchups aren’t going to happen (anymore).”