HOUSTON — When NBA All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest participant Eric Bledsoe was asked about his favorite dunk contest dunk he didn’t hesitate.
“I think that dunk contest where Vince Carter did the 360,” Bledsoe said.
That same answer came up over and over with young players — to them the legend of Michael Jordan or Dominique Wilkins dunks were something they saw on YouTube. Vince Carter was the guy they grew up watching and being amazed by.
“To be honest, I don’t think nobody here (in the BBVA Rising Stars challenge, the rookie/sophomore game) saw Michael like that because we were all born in the 1990s,” said Cavaliers forward Tristan Thompson. “We were too young to watch him on TV.
“For me personally it was Vince Carter, me being from Toronto, Canada. Vinsanity was my Michael Jordan. I looked up to him.”
And as it was for Kobe Bryant growing up idolizing Jordan and then getting to play against him, Thompson and this generation now get to face and older but still dangerous Carter on the court, just now with the Mavericks.
Thompson has a special connection with his idol.
“I actually went to his camp when I was younger, so he remembered me from when I was in ninth grade,” Thompson said. “So he and I chit-chatted and had a couple jokes. But Vince was one of the great players for (Toronto) and one of the great players of this league.”
Kings’ Buddy Hield fined $25,000 for kicking ball into stands in celebration
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.
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.
Los Angeles Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Monday’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, sources told ESPN.
Leonard hasn’t played since suffering a left knee contusion in the second half of the Clippers loss to the Houston Rockets on Wednesday.
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.
Kevin Love tries to ignore trade rumors, ‘let the chips fall where they may’
You can count the number of people around the league who believe him on one hand. There’s a good chance Love is still on the Cavaliers at the end of this season, but that’s more about him being in the first year of a four-year, $120 million contract extension than it is Cleveland’s willingness to trade him (or interest from other teams, if money was not an issue). The Cavaliers are rebuilding, and if they can get young players and picks for Love, they have to consider it.
“I know there’s talk about me possibly being the missing piece somewhere,” Love said. “There’s been constant chatter since I signed that I could be traded. It’s one of those things where I’m going to keep doing right by the team, by Cleveland and by the organization. If my number is called, so be it, but I’m going to stay true to my commitment and let the chips fall where they may.”
Love, who has been open in recent years about his struggles with anxiety and mental health, said dealing with the trade rumors that constantly swirl around him can be a challenge on that front.
“A big aspect of mental health is just staying in the present but it’s so hard,” he said. “You have to try to not get too far ahead of yourself or get worked up. You can get that anxious feeling or fear for the future, but you have to try to stay focused on getting better and let things work out the way they should.”
Kevin Love has played well to start the season, averaging 18.3 points and 11.3 rebounds a game, shooting a respectable 34.7 percent from three. He could help a lot of teams, particularly ones in the West who want to be in the mix for a ring but who look at the Lakers and Clippers and think, “we have to get better fast.”
The rumors around Love are just going to get louder the closer and closer we get to the trade deadline. Love will have to do a lot of work to tune all that out.
Bulls big man Luke Kornet out following surgery on sinus obstruction
Just before last Christmas, Luke Kornet broke his nose. Apparently, that never healed quite right.
Kornet underwent surgery to repair a sinus obstruction on Monday, the Chicago Bulls announced. There is no timetable for his return, although coach Jim Boylen suggested it could be less than two weeks.
OFFICIAL: Luke Kornet underwent a surgical procedure today to address a sinus obstruction. He originally broke his nose on Dec. 19, 2018, while with the Knicks. Updates on his status will be provided when appropriate. pic.twitter.com/wXcEuCqQrk
“Kornet had sinus surgery this morning. He had blockage and some issues from a previous fracture from when he was in New York. We just felt it was time to go in there and clean that thing out. That happened this morning at 6 AM. He’s out. Surgery went well. We’ll have more to report as we go. Originally, it was a seven-ten-day thing where he’d be back. I think it’s one of those things they don’t know until they get in there how extreme it is. But he had blockage and it needed to be done.”
This does not impact the Bulls much on the court as Kornet has fallen out of the rotation in recent games (in part because of the sinus condition, in part because he just hasn’t played well). Kornet signed a two-year, $4.5 million contract with the Bulls over the summer.