NBA stars shoot threes to raise $500,000 for Sager Strong Foundation in touching moment

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NEW ORLEANS — The spirit of Craig Sager is strong during All-Star weekend in The Big Easy and he’s going to get a spot in the Hall of Fame, deservedly so.

After Eric Gordon won the Three-Point Contest, he and the other finalists Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker stayed on the court to shoot threes to raise money for the Sager Strong Foundation — they would shoot threes for a minute and for each make the foundation would get $10,000. Then they brought out help — Reggie Miller, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, DJ Khaled, and others to knock down shots. That raised $130,000.

Stephen Curry tried to push that to $500,000, but it was Sager’s son that actually did it (with an assist from Shaquille O’Neal).

It was a touching moment for a great cause.

Eric Gordon returns to New Orleans and reminds locals he can shoot, wins Three-Point Contest

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NEW ORLEANS — After playing five injury-plagued seasons in New Orleans, where he was frustrated and a common whipping boy of fans by the end, Eric Gordon heard a smattering of boos every time he walked up to the racks in the All-Star Saturday Three-Point Shootout.

Then he reminded those fans why he the Pelicans signed him and paid him big cash — when healthy he can shoot the rock.

Gordon, now representing the Houston Rockets, won the NBA Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night. He had to go to an “overtime” extra shootout round to beat Kyrie Irving for the title.

“Well, no, it’s not really weird,” to win in New Orleans, Gordon said. “I am used to these rims here. I’ve been here for five years. I’ve always been a pretty good shooter. I’m just happy to win it, just to win it.”

Did he hear the boos?

“Yeah, I heard a little bit, but I’m not worried,” Gordon said. “I was focused on trying to win. That’s all that matters.”

Golden State’s Klay Thompson, the defending champion in this event and heavy favorite to repeat, did not even advance out of the first round.

Gordon has been hot from three all season, hitting 38.5 percent from three and hitting more total threes than anyone else in the league. He’s healthy and happy in Houston and Mike D’Antoni’s system, and his play has him as the leading candidate for Sixth Man of the Year.

Gordon set the tone in the first-round with a score of 25  (players shoot 25 threes from various spots around the arc, with some balls designated for two points, called “moneyballs.” Kemba Walker with 19 in the first round as he was draining money balls from the right corner, while Irving came through with 20 to top him. Klay Thompson couldn’t match that with 18 and the defending champion was out in the first round. Kyle Lowry’s cold shooting of late continues with an event-worst nine points. Wesley Matthews was not as hot as the Mavericks of late and had just 11 points, C.J. McCollum had just 10, while Nick Young had a respectable 18 but it wasn’t enough to advance.

That advanced Gordon, Irving, and Walker on to the final round. Walker was slightly off his first round with 17 points in the finals. Irving got hot with the moneyball rack and put up 20 points again. Then Eric Gordon matched it with a hot middle to racks, so they had a shoot again. 

That Final round saw Gordon stay just a little hotter.

 

Kemba Walker wants East to roll out five point guard lineup in All-Star Game

NEW ORLEANS, LA - FEBRUARY 17:  Kemba Walker #15 of the Charlotte Hornets speaks with the media during media availability for the 2017 NBA All-Star Game at The Ritz-Carlton New Orleans on February 17, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
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NEW ORLEANS — How’s this for small ball? A lineup of Kyrie Irving, Isaiah Thomas, Kemba Walker, John Wall, and Kyle Lowry?

Walker wants Eastern Conference coach Brad Stevens to do it Sunday night in the All-Star Game.

“I hope we can get all five guards out there at once,” Walker said Friday. “I’ll play center if they need me to.”

Walker, who officially and generously is listed as 6’1″, playing center isn’t likely. But it is good to see the five quality point guards in the East all make the roster, there were concerns one of them could have been left out in the name of roster balance.

Walker just missed the cut last year, and now in his first All-Star Game he is just trying to soak up the environment around the event.

“I’m excited, I’m really looking forward to spending the weekend with the fellas, and my family,” Walker said…

“You know we compete all year, especially against each other. Especially before (the All-Star Game), there’s chatter about who is going to make it and who’s not, you’ve got to one up the other guard. Now that we’re all here, all on the same team, it’s going to be fun.”

When the fun weekend is over, Walker returns to a Hornets team that is dropping fast, having lost 10-of-11 and having fallen out of the playoffs. Their defense has suffered, and on the offensive end it feels too much like Walker against the world — he needs more consistent help. But with the Hornets just 2.5 games out of the playoffs, Walker is holding out hope.

“We still have a fighting chance to get back into the race, we’ve just got to clean some stuff up and get locked in and hopefully we can get back into that playoff race,” Walker said. “But we’ve got to change and change really fast.”

Internet clowns on Warriors for 2017 NBA All-Star media photo shoot

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The 2017 NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us, and where better to star than with media photos? That’s probably what Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson were thinking before they stepped out the door this morning.

Oh, how things can change ever so quickly.

After the Warriors released photos of their All-Stars standing in what appears to be a stock photography version of an artist’s loft, the Internet had a field day.

First, some context. Here are the photos in question:

Okay, pretty normal. Which in and of itself is weird considering these are NBA players, some of whom dress like they’re going to fight in a futuristic space zombie movie on a daily basis.

Let’s see what Twitter did with it, shall we?

These photo shoots need to keep happening, if only for the culture.

At least the Toronto Raptors did it right:

Russell Westbrook, Stephen Curry betting favorites to be All-Star Game MVP

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 30:  Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors and Russell Westbrook #0 of the Oklahoma City Thunder stand on the court in Game Seven of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at ORACLE Arena on May 30, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Predicting the NBA All-Star Game MVP is like predicting a roulette spin, it could land anywhere. Everyone in the game is talented and knows how to score, nobody plays any defense, so whoever wants it has the chance to go get it.

However, of course, there are betting odds.

And gamblers are leaning toward the obvious choices of Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry to win the All-Star Game MVP. Here are the latest odds for the top 10, via Bovada.lv.

Russell Westbrook (WEST) 7/2
Stephen Curry (WEST) 6/1
Anthony Davis (WEST) 13/2
Kevin Durant (WEST) 7/1
James Harden (WEST) 7/1
LeBron James (EAST) 7/1
Kyrie Irving (EAST) 15/2
Giannis Antetokounmpo (EAST) 11/1
Kawhi Leonard (WEST) 15/1
Isaiah Thomas (EAST) 15/1

Of course, we’re talking gambling, and you can bet on anything. Here are the odds for the Saturday night events:

Slam Dunk Contest
Aaron Gordon (ORL) 5/8
Derrick Jones Jr. (PHO) 5/4
DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 8/1
Glenn Robinson III (IND) 9/1

Three-Point Contest
Klay Thompson (GSW) 11/10
Kyrie Irving (CLE) 4/1
CJ McCollum (POR) 8/1
Eric Gordon (HOU) 9/1
Kyle Lowry (TOR) 9/1
Nick Young (LAL) 9/1
Wes Matthews (DAL) 11/1
Kemba Walker (CHA) 11/1

Skills Competition
Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 2/1
John Wall (WAS) 9/4
Devin Booker (PHO) 4/1
Gordon Hayward (UTA) 8/1
Anthony Davis (NO) 10/1
Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 10/1
DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 15/1
Nikola Jokic (DEN) 15/1