Tag: Chris Paul

Houston Rockets v Phoenix Suns

James Harden, three Hawks players lead list of NBA All-Star Game reserves


The coaches made good choices.

The problem is, you can also make a case for almost another team of guys left off.

The NBA All-Star Game reserves were officially announced Thursday night. The starters were voted in by the fans and announced a week ago, then this past week the coaches around the league filled out the rosters.

Here’s who they selected:

Eastern Conference

• Jeff Teague (Atlanta Hawks)
• Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
• Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
• Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat)
• Paul Millsap (Atlanta Hawks)
• Chris Bosh (Miami Heat)
• Al Horford (Atlanta Hawks)

(Starters: John Wall, Kyle Lowry, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Pau Gasol)

Western Conference

• James Harden (Houston Rockets)
• Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
• Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
• Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• Tim Duncan (San Antonio Spurs)
• Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
• LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers)

(Starters: Stephen Curry, Kobe Bryant, Blake Griffin, Anthony Davis, Marc Gasol)

There are going to be changes to the rosters in each conference — both Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade are out injured, Kobe certainly will not play and Wade is not expected to.

Meaning at least a couple of the deserving guys left off the roster will get on. (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picks the replacements, in the case of the West it will be up to coach Steve Kerry to decide who will take Kobe’s starter spot.)

And there are a lot of deserving guys left off these lists.

Starting with DeMarcus Cousins — averaging 23.8 points and 12.3 rebounds a game — and Damian Lillarrd out West. Lillard is averaging 21.7 points and 6.1 rebounds a game. Both of these guys deserved to make the team (both were among my picks) and only one will.

Other deserving guys left off in the West are Mike Conley and Zach Randolph of the Memphis Grizzlies, Monta Ellis and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks, Dwight Howard of the Houston Rockets, Eric Bledsoe of the Phoenix Suns. And that list could go on and on.

In the Eastern Conference, if I had to best who gets Wade’s spot, watch out for Kyle Korver of the Hawks. That would mean four Hawks, which seems fair for the best team in the conference. Other guys who out East who missed out include Nikola Vucevic of the Orlando Magic, Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Brandon Knight of the Bucks, and Andre Drummond of the Pistons. Again, there are others who could stake a claim as well.

Damian Lillard says he’ll be ‘pissed off’ if he doesn’t make the All-Star team

2014 NBA All-Star Game

The reserves for this year’s NBA All-Star teams will be announced on Thursday night on TNT at 7:00 p.m. ET, and at least one player admitted that he won’t be at all pleased if he doesn’t hear that his name has been called.

Damian Lillard should be in; he’s been the best player on a very good Blazers team, which figures to be represented by LaMarcus Aldridge, as well.

But if for some reason the coaches go in another direction, Lillard will simply use the snub as motivation for him to turn it up a notch in the second part of the season.

From Casey Holdahl of Blazers.com:

The waiting is old hat for Aldridge, who has played in the last three All-Star games, but Lillard, who was named to his first All-Star team in his second season, is just a tad bit antsy for the announcement.

“I wouldn’t say nervous,” said Lillard. “I feel like I’ve done what I needed to do. Anxious? A little bit, just to see if it’s going to happen or not. I feel like it is, but there’s nothing like that moment when it actually does. That’s kind of what I’m waiting for.” …

“If I do make it, I’ll be excited,” said Lillard. “I’m looking forward to being in another All-Star game. If I don’t, I’m going to be pissed off and you’ll see a re-energized Damian Lillard after the break. I’ll be re-energized anyway, but if I don’t make it, you’ll see it even more.”

For what it’s worth, all of us at PBT saw Lillard as worthy of making the squad. But in a crowded backcourt field that includes Chris Paul, Mike Conley and Klay Thompson, it’s of course possible that he ends up missing the cut.

Before Thompson broke out with that NBA record performance, I thought he’d be the one on the outside looking in. I just didn’t see the coaches snubbing Paul, Westbrook, or Lillard to get Klay into the mix, and now with Kobe Bryant done for the season, he would have been named to the All-Star game as an injury replacement, regardless.

But now, I think the coaches don’t ignore Thompson, while another guy gets snubbed before ultimately being named as an All-Star in Bryant’s absence. That may or may not be Lillard, but either way, it’ll be intriguing to see how the coaches saw things when the results of their voting is revealed later this evening.

Doc Rivers calling Western Conference coaches to pitch Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan as All-Stars

The CP3 Foundation's Celebrity Server Dinner, Presented By Apollo Jets

What would have not long ago seemed inconceivable, the Clippers have the Western Conference’s longest active streak of years with multiple All-Stars – three. Blake Griffin and Chris Paul have made it each of the previous three seasons.

So far, the only Clipper All-Star this year is Griffin, whom fans elected him a starter.

Doc Rivers isn’t leaving the rest to chance. He’s advocating on behalf of Chris Paul – and DeAndre Jordan.

Melissa Rohlin of the Los Angeles Times:

Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he’s been making some phone calls to try to get the coaches to vote those guys in as reserves.

When asked how those conversations go, Rivers smiled.

“Well, there’s some begging,” he said. “I offer them food, drinks and all of that kind of stuff.”

I’m not with Charles Barkley on this one. Paul should be an All-Star.

Jordan is having a solid season, and he also deserves consideration, but that should end with him clearly being left off ballots. This Western Conference is far too deep for him to have a realistic case.

Rivers lobbied for Jordan last year, and that didn’t get the center on the All-Star team. That doesn’t mean Rivers failed. He likely succeeded in boosting Jordan’s confidence and loyalty to his coach.

But the stakes are different this year with Paul on the border of inclusion. Paul is competing with James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard, Klay Thompson and Mike Conley for just two to four reserve guard spots behind Stephen Curry. An additional guard could be added to the roster as Kobe Bryant’s injury replacement.

Spending time on Jordan’s merits with other coaches would only diminish Rivers’ credibility on Paul.

Rivers is a heck of a coach. His negotiating skills remain questionable.

Three Things We Learned from NBA Monday: Is it time to mention Anthony Davis with LeBron and Durant?

Anthony Davis, Quincy Pondexter

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 realizing you’re not nearly as lucky as this guy (and not as rich)….

Anthony Davis needs to be mentioned in the same breath with Durant and LeBron. There should be no more debate about who is the best third player on the planet anymore — it is Anthony Davis. And he’s closing in fast on the top two. A few months ago I would have argued for Chris Paul at No. 3, you could have made the case for a handful of other guys and been on solid footing. No more. It is Davis. Monday night he put up a line of 32 points, 10 rebounds, and four blocks in 31 minutes — and the thing is that’s not even a ridiculous line anymore. He can do that any night. At age 21. In his third NBA season. What he lacks is success in the postseason, but that will come. Oh, and by the way he lifted the Pelicans to a win Monday and they are now just 1.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the West.

Jamal Crawford got hot and carried the Clippers to a win. That was “I should be Sixth Man of the Year again” Crawford. Denver played an active, fiesty game — well, actually pretty much only in the first and third quarters, which they dominated — but in the fourth quarter it became the Jamal Crawford show. He scored 21 points in the fourth, which tied how many the Nuggets had total. He was 3-of-5 from three but he also was attacking the paint and drawing fouls (he got to the line nine times in the final frame). He was a force. Plus he made the play of the game — it was tied 94-94 with about 90 seconds left in the game, Chris Paul made a steal but his attempt at a touchdown pass ahead to Crawford on the run out was too long. Crawford caught up, saved it behind his back to Matt Barnes, who hit the layup to give the Clippers a lead they would never surrender.

Marc Gasol could have played in La Liga. Well, maybe not. Although can you imagine trying to defend him on a set piece? Nonetheless, this was pretty cool (yes, it happened after the whistle blew, so what?).

PBT’s Weekly NBA Power Rankings: Hawks continue to fly high


Atlanta’s win streak is up to 16 in a row and while we see flashes from the Bulls and Cavaliers, a trip to the Finals in the East still runs through the ATL. That’s a good story. Out West Golden State remains the team to beat, although the margins for error in that conference are miniscule. That’s a good story, too. But in these Power Rankings we talk a lot about All-Star reserves.

source:  1. Hawks (37-8, Last Week No. 1). The winning streak is now at a ridiculous 16 games. We know at least one Hawk will be represented at the All-Star Game — Mike Budenholzer will coach the East. The question for the coaches voting around the league is how many of Al Horford, Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver to add to the All-Star team as reserves (two at least, maybe three).

source:  2. Warriors (36-6, LW 2). Klay Thompson put on a 37-point third quarter show last week right as coaches started to vote on the All-Star reserves. He’s a bubble guy but that performance plus the fact one more guard will get in with Kobe Bryant being out means Thompson should be a lock for New York.

source:  3. Spurs (29-17, LW 3). They have won six of seven and the only off day happened to come on a day the Bulls finally played up to their potential. Looming out there starting Feb. 8: The nine-game rodeo road trip, a signature trip that has made some previous Spurs teams.

source:  4. Grizzlies (31-12, LW 4). I’m not so sure about the whole “starting Jeff Green” thing, but the Grizzlies have won six of seven and are looking rock solid again. Interesting tests this week vs. Dallas and OKC. Good on the fans for rightfully voting Marc Gasol as a starter for the All-Star Game.

source:  5. Clippers (30-14, LW 5). It’s odd to think that Chris Paul is on the bubble for making the All-Star Game as a reserve, but that’s just how deep the West is. Fans going by points alone or falling for the hot new flavor of the month have others in front of CP3, but look at his assists and assist-to-turnover ratio. To me the best floor general in the game today has to make the cut. Clippers are +11.9 as a team in last 10 games, third best in the NBA, thanks to an offense scoring 114.5 per 100 over that span.

source:  6. Rockets (31-14, LW 6). Kevin McHale would like the Rockets to play at a faster pace but says it’s like pulling teeth: “Everybody says they want to run until it’s time to run. I asked one guy, ‘Do you run down to get your mail?’ ‘Do you run and get your eggs?’ Nobody likes to run — they all say they do but they’re lying to me. It’s been 25 years since anyone liked to run, and we grew up running, we ran all the time, that’s the way we grew up playing.”

source:  7. Mavericks (30-15, LW 8). It was a scary moment Sunday when Tyson Chandler had to be helped to the locker room holding his knee. Fortunately it was nothing too serious, he returned and played later in the game. However, the next center after him on the roster is Dwight Powell. The Mavs think they can sign Jermaine O’Neal. Either way, both are huge drop offs from Chandler, who is key to any Dallas postseason run.

source:  8. Trail Blazers (32-13. Last Week No. 6). The Blazers are entering a tough stretch of the schedule so they could use the fact that LaMarcus Aldridge is going to play through a torn ligament in his thumb. By the way, if you thought he might bolt Portland as a free agent this summer, you think he would put the team first and play through this injury if that was the case?

source:  9. Bulls (29-17, LW 12). The Bulls look like they broke out of their mid-season slump with a thrashing of the Spurs followed by a win over Dallas the next night, both on the road. Then they got home Sunday night against a sub-.500 team and laid another egg. Their inconsistency is maddening, but I still see their peaks and think they could come out of the East.

source:  10. Suns (26-20, LW 9). If the Suns are going to hold off the hard-charging Thunder in the West they need to do well in a rough stretch of games through Feb. 5. They started of 1-2 and this week face the Wizards, Bulls and Warriors. The good news is the Thunder have yet to get hot.

source:  11. Cavaliers (25-20 LW 13). In the Cavs five game winning streak they are averaging 118 points per 100 possessions behind an explosive LeBron James, it’s the best offense in the league by a wide margin in that stretch. Their defense is improved, but still is just middle of the pack in the league. That has been enough of late.

source:  12 Wizards (30-15, LW 10). They lost to both the Trail Blazers and Thunder last week because of poor fourth quarter execution (and if Kenneth Faried didn’t miss two late free throws the Wiz would have dropped three last week). Interesting showdown with slumping Toronto later in the week.

source:  13. Raptors (29-15, LW 11). In their last 10 games as a team they are -3.2 per 100 possessions, and the real concern is it’s a drop on both ends of the court. That said, Raptors fans should celebrate Kyle Lowry being voted an All-Star starter of Dwyane Wade, that was the correct choice.

source:  14. Pelicans (23-21, LW 16). They picked up a quality win over Phoenix and are now just two games out of the final playoff spot in the West, plus they have 10 of their next 12 at home. The playoff dream is alive in New Orleans.

source:  15. Thunder (22-22, LW 14). They have dropped two in a row and are 5-5 in their last 10 because their offense is struggling. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been fantastic (and both deserve to be All-Stars) but in his last five games Dion Waiters is shooting just 37.7 percent and Reggie Jackson is worse. The rest of the team has to step up.

source:  16. Hornets (19-26, LW 19). They have won 8 of 11 and with that moved past the Nets to be the eight seed in the East. Why the run? Because of a soft schedule, the only quality wins in there were over the slumping Raptors and the Heat. Things change this week on the road at the Spurs, then next week they have a home-and-home with Washington.

source:  17. Heat (20-24, LW 18). Heat fans (and people around the team) had been buzzing for a while about Hassan Whiteside, but he announced his presence with authority on Sunday blocking a dozen shots in a win over Chicago. He’s matured physically — he’s put on a lot of weight since he entered the league, and he needed to — and in terms of the mentality of his game. He’s patient now, not frenetic.

source:  18. Bucks (22-22, LW 15). They are 1-3 since returning from London and have not looked sharp, particularly the bench. Potentially important game for seeding against Miami on Tuesday.

source:  19. Pistons (17-28, LW 17). . The Brandon Jennings injury could be devastating. D.J. Augustin had a great game as a replacement on Sunday, and he has played better as a starter than off the bench in recent years, but this is still a step back.

source:  20. Jazz (16-28, LW 25). If he were not in a ridiculously stacked Western Conference, Derrick Favors should deserve a little All-Star buzz. The Jazz are 10-10 in their last 20 games and are doing that with solid defense.

source:  21. Nets (18-26, LW 21). The most interesting thing about this team continues to be the trade rumors — now they are talking to Charlotte about a Joe Johnson trade for Lance Stephenson. There will be other rumors flying as they try to reduce payroll before selling the team.

source:  22. Nuggets (18-26, LW 20). They have lost six in a row and the issue is on defense, where they have been the worst team in the NBA over their last five games. Brian Shaw should make sure his resume is in order for this summer.

source:  23. Celtics (15-27, LW 26). Credit coach Brad Stevens if you want, credit the makeup of the players if you want, but what you have to like about this Celtics team is that they don’t quit. Down in games when a lot of teams would just roll over Bosotn fights back. That is a good quality.

source:  24. Pacers (16-30, LW 22). Well they beat Orlando on Sunday to snap a seven-game losing streak. However despite their good defense their offense is not going to allow them to win many more games.

source:  25. Kings (16-27, LW 23). DeMarcus Cousins should make the All-Star team, at least in my book (I’d have him over Dwight Howard or Tim Duncan, which Duncan would be good with as he doesn’t want to be there). Cousins getting in might takes Kings’ fans minds off the six-game losing streak.

source:  26. Magic (15-32, LW 24). I think Nikola Vucevic deserves to make the Eastern Conference All-Star team, but if he doesn’t it’s because he plays on a struggling team right now that shows flashes of good play surrounded by some raw, sloppy play.

source:  27. Knicks (8-37, LW 30). Break up the Knicks! They have won three in a row and Langston Galloway is on his way to establishing cult hero status in New York. They could keep winning with teams like the Kings and Lakers on the docket this week.

source:  28. Lakers (12-33, LW 27). The loss of Kobe Bryant is the big story, but the other issue around the Lakers is that the minutes and rotations are just all over the map. Coach Byron Scott is searching nightly for anything that works, but the result is guys just don’t know if they will be called on. Nick Young is the latest guy in that doghouse.

source:  29. 76ers (8-36, LW 28). As if the Sixers couldn’t get any harder to watch, Tony Wroten goes down with a knee injury and is done for the season. They play hard and defend as well as they can, but this team is not entertaining.

source:  30. Timberwolves (7-35, LW 29). Nikola Pekovic is back and Flip Saunders is throwing him out there like he wants to showcase him for a trade. Or he doesn’t have other good options. Or a little of both. Kevin Martin can expect the same thing.