Reports: Robert Covington, Matthew Dellavedova and Kostas Papanikolaou to play in Rising Stars Challenge


Update: Shams Charania of RealGM:


Michael Carter-Williams will miss the Rising Stars Challenge, and two of his Philadelphia teammates – Robert Covington and K.J. McDaniels – were strong candidates to replace him.

The NBA wisely chose one of those 76ers.

David Pick of EuroBasket:

The World team also has a roster shakeup – in addition to Jusuf Nurkic replacing Steven Adams.

Chris Haynes

Unless there’s another unknown absence, Mathew Dellavedova is replacing Kelly Olynyk, who suffered an ankle injury.

How many players must drop out before Pero Antic gets a shot? now includes Synergy play-type numbers


In news that’s of no consequence to Charles Barkley, now provides Synergy tracking numbers.

As an example of what’s available, here are the efficiency leaders for each offensive play type (minimum 20 possessions):

  • Transition: Marcin Gortat, Wizards
  • Isolation: Ben Udrih, Grizzlies
  • Ball Handler:* Danilo Gallinari, Nuggets
  • Roll Man: Meyers Leonard, Trail Blazers
  • Post-Up: Jeff Green, Grizzlies**
  • Spot-Up: Kyle Korver, Hawks
  • Hand-off: Corey Joseph, Spurs
  • Cut: James Johnson, Raptors
  • Off Screen: Marcus Morris, Suns
  • Putbacks: Brandan Wright, Mavericks**

*In previous versions of Synergy, this was described as the ball-handler in pick-and-rolls. I’m guessing that’s still the case here, but it isn’t clear.

**Players who have played for multiple teams this season have their stats divided by team. Green previously played for the Celtics, and Wright is now with the Suns.

Click here to explore further for yourself. You can look at defensive play types and results for teams and individuals.

Evan Turner hits game-winning floater lifting Boston over Atlanta (VIDEO)

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Even the Atlanta Hawks have off nights.

Atlanta led by 18 at one point Wednesday night, but maybe their four key players were looking ahead to the short flight to New York for the All-Star Game. Still, you have to give the Celtics credit for battling back.

To cap it all off, Evan Turner goes behind his back, gets in the lane and hits the floater with 0.2 seconds left and Boston wins.

With that victory, the Celtics are just 1.5 games out of the playoffs. Despite Danny Ainge’s best efforts they are in the mix.

Kyle Korver named All-Star injury replacement for Dwyane Wade


The Atlanta Hawks have surprised by getting out to a 43-10 start to the season, and as a result, they were rewarded by having three players named to the Eastern Conference All-Star roster.

The Detroit Pistons had four All-Stars make it in 2006, and the Boston Celtics had four make it in 2011. But thanks to multiple players suffering injuries, Atlanta has now become the next to do so.

From the official release:

Atlanta Hawks guard Kyle Korver has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Eastern Conference All-Star reserve Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 15, at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The addition of Korver, the NBA leader in multiple shooting categories, gives the Hawks a record-tying four All-Stars in a season.

Korver is on pace to post the best single-season shooting performance in NBA history at 51.6% from the field, 52.8% from 3-point territory and 92.0% from the free throw line –  aiming to become the first qualifying player ever to shoot at least 50 percent from the field, 50 percent from behind the arc and 90 percent on free throws.  The 12-year veteran is averaging 12.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists for the 43-10 Hawks.

Korver is really the key to the success of the Atlanta offense. While the team runs an equal opportunity system similar to the one exhibited by the San Antonio Spurs, the insane shot-making that Korver has converted is what truly has made the team go.

The East is down this year, and once you get past the already-selected All-Stars, there aren’t many who are deserving that are a part of a winning situation. Nikola Vucevic (Orlando) and Brandon Knight (Milwaukee) both have the numbers, but Korver — in the midst of perhaps the greatest shooting season in NBA history — was certainly the proper choice.

Dwyane Wade to miss All-Star Game due to hamstring issue


Averaging 21.4 points per game and with a PER of 22.4, Dwyane Wade deserved the All-Star spot the coaches gave him as a reserve.

But he is going to skip the game due to an ongoing hamstring injury, he announced Tuesday.

Miami is currently the eight seed in the West, one game ahead of nine seed Brooklyn and two-and-a-half up on Detroit. While the Heat and Charlotte are tied for the seven/eight seed spots, Charlotte went out on Tuesday and improved its roster to make sure it would get into the playoffs. If there is a team with a target on its back, it’s Miami.

The Heat need Wade back to avoid that fate.

Wade’s absence opens up an All-Star roster spot, to be filled by appointment by Commissioner Adam Silver. As he did with injuries to Kobe Bryant and Blake Griffin in the West, expect Silver to select whoever was next in line on the coaches secret ballots to fill the All-Star reserves.

That most likely is Atlanta sharpshooter Kyle Korver. He is the glue for the top-seeded Hawks, averaging 12.9 points a game and shooting a ridiculous 52.8 percent from three this season. When he is on the court, the Hawks are 12.8 points better per 100 possessions.

If not Korver it likely goes to either the Bucks improved guard Brandon Knight or — in my opinion the more deserving — Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic.