Nate Robinson’s trash talk fired up Brandon Jennings. Oops.

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Apparently, no one has ever told Nate Robinson that pride comes before the fall.

Starting in place of Kirk Hinrich, Robinson came out on fire last night against the Milwaukee Bucks. He lit up Brandon Jennings early on by dropping 13 points in the first quarter, and the Bulls were really cruising.

But during all that, Robinson may have gotten a little overconfident. He may have tweaked Brandon Jennings just a little too much. Here’s Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald with the story:

Robinson’s early hot streak might have played a hand in the Bulls’ downfall. When Jennings got going in the second half, he often mimicked Robinson’s jet plane imitation after hitting big shots.

“Yeah, a little trash talking before the second half,” Jennings said after donning a Led Zeppelin T-shirt in the Milwaukee locker room. “I guess he felt like he had it going, was getting the best of me.

“I really don’t take trash-talking too kindly because I don’t do a lot of trash talking. I warned him. It happens.”

Via Daily Hearld | Mike McGraw

Okay, whoa. Let’s start with Brandon Jennings mimicking Nate Robinson’s “jet plane imitation” that really belongs to Jason “The Jet” Terry who actually stole his nickname from Kenny “The Jet” Smith who may or may not have lifted it from former Chicago Bull Chet “The Jet” Walker. Got all that? Good.

Second, let’s point out Jennings wearing a Led Zeppelin shirt postgame, which is nice because I was beginning to worry about the musical aptitude of the league’s young point guards, with John Wall not knowing who Bon Jovi is and all.

But more importantly, let’s talk about how Jennings responded in the third quarter. With the Bucks still down and Robinson chirping in his ear, Jennings hauled off for 20 points in the third frame alone, giving the Bucks a lead they would ultimately hold on to.

Now, you don’t want to blame Nate Robinson entirely here. It would be unfair to hold Robinson responsible for Jennings, a 40 percent shooter, hitting everything he threw up.

But seriously, Nate? Your scoring performance and that big early lead was found money. You shouldn’t have gone waiving it around in Brandon Jennings’ face, because he snatched it right back.

 

Knicks say they scouted Giannis Antetokounmpo in Greece

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Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s agent, Giorgos Panou, said the Knicks were the only team not to scout Antetokounmpo in Greece before the 2013 NBA draft.

Ian Begley of ESPN:

If the Knicks indeed scouted Antetokounmpo that thoroughly, it’s a shame they were smeared for not doing so.

Milwaukee took Antetokounmpo No. 13. New York had the No. 24 pick and kept it to draft Tim Hardaway Jr.

Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma scores 35, wins MVP, leads USA to victory in Rising Stars dunkfest

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CHARLOTTE — Nobody comes to the Friday night Rising Stars Challenge — the All-Star weekend showcase of first- and second-year stars — for the defense. Which is good, because there isn’t any. Zero. Nada. Your Saturday blacktop pickup game at the local park has guys that care more about defense than you see in this game.

What the Rising Stars has are dunks. A lot of big dunks. And some threes. Then more dunks.

For example, the Hawks’ John Collins was showing off why he was in the dunk contest, complete with a pass off the backboard to himself.

As for the game itself, the USA won 161-144 over the World.

The Lakers Kyle Kuzma raced out to 23 first-half points and finished with 35 to earn MVP honors.

“Last year I didn’t really play that hard,” Kuzma said of his first time in this game. “This year I just came out, one, I wanted to get some conditioning, and, two, why not MVP? You’re in the game. So might as well just try.”

Kuzma also broke out the windmill.

D’Aaron Fox said before the game he wanted to break the assist record for the Rising Stars, and while he fell short of that number he had 16 for the USA. Boston’s Jayson Tatum had 30 and Donovan Mitchell had 20 for the USA. Ben Simmons led the Word team of 28 points.

As for highlights, there were plenty.

Atlanta’s Trae Young hit six threes and had this dime.

He also had the play of the night, nutmegging Deandre Ayton.

Philly’s Ben Simmons had a couple of throwdowns.

The Timberwolves Josh Okogie had the putback of the night (teammate and All-Star Karl-Anthony Towns sat courtside wearing an Okogie jersey).

Hawks’ John Collins passes to self off backboard for dunk in Rising Stars

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CHARLOTTE — The NBA’s Rising Stars Challenge — the Friday night showcase of first- and second-year players during All-Star Weekend — has less defense than your lunch run pickup game at the Y. Even less than the All-Star Game itself.

Which leads to some monster dunks.

Enter Atlanta’s second-year big man John Collins, playing for the USA (vs. The World), who went off the backboard to himself for the best throwdown of the game.

That wasn’t Collins’ only quality dunk in this game.

He looks ready for Saturday’s Dunk Contest.

Report: Nuggets extend president Tim Connelly’s contract

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On the same day the Pelicans fired general manager Dell Demps, the Nuggets extended the contract of president Tim Connelly, who went to Denver from New Orleans.

Nuggets release:

Nuggets President and Governor Josh Kroenke announced today that the Nuggets have extended the contracts of President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly and General Manager Arturas Karnisovas as well and also provided multi-year extensions for the entire basketball operations staff.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

I don’t know whether Connelly used the threat of the Pelicans job as leverage. But he deserved this extension, anyway.

The Nuggets have only continued to rise since his previous extension three years ago.

Denver has yet to make the playoffs under Connelly, and he declared this season postseason or bust. Denver (39-18) is second in the Western Conference.

Connelly made a second-round pick so good in Nikola Jokic, it altered the course of the franchise. Connelly has done well to lock Jokic onto a five-year extension, surround him with young talent like Jamal Murray, Gary Harris, Monte Morris, Malik Beasley and Juan Hernangomez and get them a good coach in Michael Malone.

If Denver weren’t stuck barely missing the playoffs in the loaded West the last couple years, we might have been singing Connelly’s praises sooner. But his success is undeniable. The Nuggets are in great shape now and in the future, and Connelly should see that through.