No pressure kid: Stoudemire compares Gallinari to Nowitzki

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Thumbnail image for Gallinari_celebrates.jpgAmar’e Stoudemire likes what he sees in Danilo Gallinari — so much so that he paid him maybe the ultimate compliment for a European big man.

And also out a ton of pressure on him. From the twitter account of Alan Hahn of Newsday:

“He reminds me of Dirk [Nowitzki] a lot…He’s at that same level as Dirk at the same age if not better.”

Stoudemire’s point wasn’t that Gallo and Dirk have the same game, it’s both are similarly versatile and use the jump shot to set up game.

Stoudemire is right.

Through two seasons and at age 22 Gallinari has some Nowitzki in him, although it was big jumps in his third and fourth year that set Nowitzki apart, Gallinari has to prove he can make that leap.

In his second NBA season, Gallinari averaged 15 points per game, Nowitizki 17.5. Gallinari shot 42.3 percent overall, 38 percent from three and had a true shooting percentage of .575. Nowitzki shot 46 percent, 38 percent and 56.4. Gallinari had a PER of 14.8, Nowitzki 17.5.

The difference in the third year was Nowitzki jumping to 21.8 points per game, shooting 47.4 percent, 38.7 percent from three, true shooting percentage of .601 and a PER of 22.8. Then in his fourth season every one of those numbers improved again.

Gallinari’s ceiling is not that high. Still, if he can improve across the board this season and become a reliable scoring option for the Knicks outside of Stoudemire the Knicks takes another step toward respectability. Basketball Prospectus said he could become what Rashard Lewis was in Seattle or Peja Stojakovic was with the Kings. The Knicks would take that in a heartbeat.

Dwyane Wade sinks halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Dwyane Wade is secure in his legacy. He’s an all-time great, and an extra missed 3-pointer during his farewell tour won’t change anything. (It doesn’t hurt that his resumé already includes subpar 3-point shooting.)

So, when many players would hold the ball, Wade heaved in a halfcourt shot to end the third quarter of the Heat’s 110-105 win over the Spurs on Wednesday. It wasn’t the biggest shot of Wade’s season, but it still mattered plenty.

Miami’s lead when San Antonio began intentionally fouling late? Three.

Jonas Valanciunas hits game-winning free throw, spoils James Harden’s 57-point night (video)

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The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.

But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.

Report: Suns exploring signing Jimmer Fredette

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Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.

He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.

Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.

But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.

The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.

It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.

Marcus Smart shoves down Joel Embiid from behind, gets ejected (video)

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Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.

After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.

Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.

Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.