Chauncey, Rip and ‘Melo with Nets? It’s what could have been in Detroit.

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Let’s travel back in our minds to 2003, when at the movie theater we were all Finding Nemo and at the NBA draft the Detroit Pistons went with Darko Milicic over Carmelo Anthony. We wince now (we winced then, too), but Detroit went on to win the NBA title the next season thanks to stifling defense and a team led by Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups.

But dreams of what might have been if Anthony had been part of that team in 2005 and beyond still haunt Piston fans. How many titles? For sure they would still be relevant rather than rebuilding.

Now, the three-team trade talks between the Nets, Pistons and Nuggets could unite in New Jersey what Detroit fans dreamed of — Billups could move with Anthony from Denver to New Jersey, and Hamilton would join them out of Detroit.

It’s Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, who is pushing for Billups and Hamilton to go to Jersey, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo. The reason is simple: Anthony does not want to take a step backwards by going to a New Jersey team that is still rebuilding, he wants to go there and be competitive in the East. We can have a debate about whether bringing in 34-year-old Billups and 32-year-old Hamilton — while sending Devin Harris and Derrick Favors out — is really smart or makes them competitive in the East, but that’s their thinking.

However, Ken Berger of CBSSports said this Detroit dream scenario is dead for now because the Nets asked Detroit to also give up a pick while taking on Johan Petro and his two-year deal. That may well have shut off talks, but there are so many scenarios and offers out there we’re hesitant to think any option could not be revived.

Berger adds that there have been talks with Minnesota to be the third team, and they are not the only team being approached. But the bottom line has not changed — Denver is taking its time and likely will drag this entire thing out until close to the Feb. 24 trading deadline. Don’t expect anything soon.

Paul George’s late three proves to be game-winner against Thunder, his former team (VIDEO)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Paul George hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 25 seconds left, lifting the Los Angeles Clippers over the Oklahoma City Thunder 90-88 on Monday night to improve to 8-1 at home.

The Thunder had just tied the game at 86-all on a 3-pointer by former Clipper Danilo Gallinari before Chris Paul made two free throws after being fouled by George for an 88-86 lead.

George’s 3 put the Clippers ahead 89-88.

The Clippers were then called for a foul that was overturned on a challenge by coach Doc Rivers. The Thunder retained possession and Terrance Ferguson inbounded to Gallinari, whose 3-pointer missed.

George made a free throw with 0.3 seconds left to close out the game against the team that traded him to Los Angeles last summer.

The Thunder fell to 0-5 on the road.

Montrezl Harrell had 28 points and 12 rebounds off the bench to lead the Clippers. George finished with 18 points after scoring 30-plus points in his first two games of the season.

Paul scored 22 points, making 10 of 11 free throws, against his former team. Gallinari added 14 points and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, another former Clipper, had 11 points despite five fouls.

The Clippers were without Kawhi Leonard for the third straight game because of a bruised left knee.

 

Luka Doncic with 42-point triple-double, sticks dagger in Spurs for Mavericks win

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Luka Doncic is having a “we’ve got to talk about this guy as a possible MVP” kind of season so far.

The latest addition to the resume: A 42 point, 11 rebounds, 12 assist triple-double to lead the Mavericks past the Spurs. That includes sticking the dagger in the Spurs late.

Dallas won 117-110 and improves to 8-5 on the season.

The 42 points is a career-high for Doncic, and he is the first player in Dallas history to record a 40-point triple-double. This is Doncic’s sixth triple-double of the season.

And he’s still just 20 years old.

Here’s the full list of NBA players who have had 40-point triple-doubles at the age of 20 or younger:

LeBron James
Luka Doncic

That’s it — and that’s some impressive company for Doncic.

Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration

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This was a $25,000 celebration by Buddy Hield.

Sacramento led by one in the final seconds against Boston Sunday, but the Celtics had a final shot and Marcus Smart‘s attempt at a game-winning floater hung on the rim seemingly forever… then fell off. The ball was tipped out to mid-court and — as you can see in this video — Heild kicks the ball into the stands as part of the celebration.

Kicking or throwing the ball into the stands is a standing $25,000 fine, and the league came down with that on Hield on Monday. It was not a surprise.

Hield was the reason Sacramento won the game, scoring 35 points to lead the Kings, including going 7-of-12 from three. He’d likely make that trade for the win again.

Kawhi Leonard out vs. Thunder Monday night, third straight game due to knee bruise

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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This isn’t load management. This is a bruised knee.

The first Clipper game with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George sharing the court will have to wait as Leonard is going to miss his third straight game with a knee contusion Monday night against the Thunder. Ramona Shelburne of ESPN broke the news.

The Clippers are going to be cautious with bringing Leonard back from this, thinking long term with his health, as they should. Los Angeles is playing for games in May and June, not games in November.

This means tonight the Clippers will be the Paul George show again — in two games he has scored 70 points in 44 minutes. This will be George’s first game against the Thunder since he demanded a trade out of the city last summer, landing him on the Clippers with Leonard.