2015 NBA All-Star starters announced, Kyle Lowry overtakes Dwyane Wade in the East

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The last All-Star voting returns were released two weeks ago, and it appeared as though the starters were essentially locked into place.

The closest races in both the frontcourt and guard spots in either conference were right around 100,000 votes apart, which would mean a huge surge in fan support would be needed to have one player overtake someone who already maintained a substantial lead in the race.

The Raptors fan base, in support of Kyle Lowry, came through to get their guy in, while ousting Dwyane Wade at the same time.

EAST

G- John Wall

G- Kyle Lowry

F- LeBron James

F- Pau Gasol

F- Carmelo Anthony

WEST

G- Kobe Bryant

G- Stephen Curry

F- Anthony Davis

F- Blake Griffin

F- Marc Gasol

For the most part, the fans got it right.

Kobe Bryant was a legacy selection, but his torn rotator cuff now throws his availability for the midseason exhibition into question. If he can’t go, that opens up a spot for someone more deserving to get in as an injury replacement — like Klay Thompson, for example, who may have been hard-pressed to make it otherwise.

The reserves will be extremely interesting, especially in the West. While it’ll be interesting to see if Wade now ends up getting in from the East, with Bryant and possibly LaMarcus Aldridge being sidelined due to injury, that’ll open the door for other deserving players to end up getting one of the remaining spots.

The final voting tally was as follows:

Eastern Conference

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James (Cle) 1,470,483

2. Pau Gasol (Chi) 974,177

3. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 647,005

4. Marcin Gortat (Was) 570,005

5. Chris Bosh (Mia) 542,006

6. Kevin Love (Cle) 386,208

7. Jonas Valanciunas (Tor) 231,741

8. Joakim Noah (Chi) 203,718

9. Nikola Vucevic (Orl) 129,293

10. Paul Millsap (Atl) 121,938

11. Al Horford (Atl) 114,955

12. Al Jefferson (Cha) 110,980

13. Kevin Garnett (BKN) 106,820

14. Nikola Mirotic (Chi) 103,645

15. Andre Drummond (Det) 86,717

Guards

1. John Wall (Was) 886,368

2. Kyle Lowry (Tor) 805,290

3. Dwyane Wade (Mia) 789,839

4. Kyrie Irving (Cle) 535,873

5. Jimmy Butler (Chi) 455,756

6. Derrick Rose (Chi) 379,994

7. DeMar DeRozan (Tor) 159,123

8. Jeff Teague (Atl) 83,900

9. Lou Williams (Tor) 82,135

10. Giannis Antetokounmpo (Mil) 55,014

Western Conference

Frontcourt

1. Anthony Davis (NO) 1,369,911

2. Marc Gasol (Mem) 795,121

3. Blake Griffin (LAC) 700,615

4. Tim Duncan (SA) 546,817

5. Kevin Durant (OKC) 545,226

6. LaMarcus Aldridge (Por) 498,131

7. DeMarcus Cousins (Sac) 465,334

8. Dwight Howard (Hou) 348,275

9. Dirk Nowitzki (Dal) 292,557

10. Rudy Gay (Sac) 144,702

11. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 132,150

12. DeAndre Jordan (LAC) 117,816

13. Serge Ibaka (OKC) 107,223

14. Draymond Green (GS) 99,039

15. Tyson Chandler (Dal) 98,654

Guards

1. Stephen Curry (GS) 1,513,324

2. Kobe Bryant (LAL) 1,152,402

3. James Harden (Hou) 1,069,368

4. Chris Paul (LAC) 551,167

5. Damian Lillard (Por) 365,417

6. Klay Thompson (GS) 314,254

7. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 248,758

8. Rajon Rondo (Dal) 219,506

9. Jeremy Lin (LAL) 216,246

10. Mike Conley (Mem) 103,015

Report: Lakers have interest in Joakim Noah

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The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly interested in Dwight Howard. He has not yet been bought out by the Memphis Grizzlies, but a return to L.A. for Howard would be one of the most Lakers things of all time.

Howard infamously left Los Angeles under an auspicious circumstances in 2013 after things went south during the 2012-13 season between him, Kobe Bryant, and Steve Nash. He signed with the Houston Rockets that summer.

But Howard is not the only aging center under consideration by the Lakers. According to Shams Charania, Los Angeles is also considering adding Joakim Noah to their roster.

Via Twitter:

DeMarcus Cousins’ ACL injury has created a dearth of center depth for the Lakers, one that cannot be easily filled quickly. There aren’t a lot of available players left, and Los Angeles doesn’t have much to help facilitate a trade.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis need some help moving forward if they want to go deep into the Western Conference playoffs, and having only JaVale McGee playing at the center position won’t help them do that. They need to add somebody, but Howard or Noah being the answer to that is a scary proposition for a team with championship hopes.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn’t like how Bruce Lee was portrayed by Quentin Tarantino

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was friends with Bruce Lee before the actor’s tragic death in 1973. He was his teacher, pal, and co-star in in 1972’s Game of Death. Naturally, Abdul-Jabbar is protective of his friend’s legacy, and he’s not too happy about the way Lee was portrayed in Quentin Tarantino’s latest film.

Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood is a meandering, beautiful, boring tribute to the film industry as it was changing at the end of the 1960s. It’s worth seeing just as a thing to look at, but the narrative — or lack thereof — is plodding, and the ending harkens back to a kind of transposed version of Inglourious Basterds that leaves you wondering what the point of making the film was in the first place.

Somewhere in the middle of its 2h 45m runtime, there’s an extended scene in Once Upon A Time where Brad Pitt’s character Cliff fights Bruce Lee. Why? Probably because Tarantino wanted to pay tribute to Lee being an important part of that era, and because Tarantino is so untouchable that nobody can tell him to leave extemporaneous scenes on the cutting room floor.

Instead, what Tarantino’s tribute scene appears to have done is angered Abdul-Jabbar along with members of Lee’s family.

In an article penned in The Hollywood Reporter this week, Abdul-Jabbar called Lee’s portrayal “sloppy” and “somewhat racist”.

Via THR:

Quentin Tarantino’s portrayal of Bruce Lee in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood does not live up to this standard. Of course, Tarantino has the artistic right to portray Bruce any way he wants. But to do so in such a sloppy and somewhat racist way is a failure both as an artist and as a human being.

The John Wayne machismo attitude of Cliff (Brad Pitt), an aging stuntman who defeats the arrogant, uppity Chinese guy harks back to the very stereotypes Bruce was trying to dismantle. Of course the blond, white beefcake American can beat your fancy Asian chopsocky dude because that foreign crap doesn’t fly here.

Lee’s family, including daughter Shannon, has also spoken up about how Lee was portrayed in the film. In an interview with The Wrap, Shannon Lee said that, “He comes across as an arrogant asshole who was full of hot air.”

Once Upon A Time is a forgettable movie wrapped in the trappings of modern prestige media, where viewers are either unable separate production value from content, or unwilling to do so. It is beautiful, and the people involved are heavy hitters. But halfway through, the viewer is left asking “What’s the plot of this movie?” and that question remains until the final 15 minutes, when the inevitable, telegraphed ending finally, mercifully closes the story and the end credits roll.

Meanwhile, in true Tarantino form, his indulgences have created a mini-storm around one of his films in the most unnecessary way. An ill-conceived and executed scene that added nothing but length to Once Upon A Time has turned into a grating talking point for people like Abdul-Jabbar and Shannon Lee.

Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor to host ‘NBA Countdown’

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Things just keep getting better for NBA fans when it comes to national TV broadcasts.

It was announced in August that TNT would be doing away with the “Players Only” broadcast that appeared on NBA TV. Those broadcast crews were roundly criticized as being meandering and uninformed when it came to the product on the floor.

Now fans are getting more of what they want in the form of Rachel Nichols and Maria Taylor.

According to a report from Richard Deitsch, Nichols and Taylor will be the hosts of ESPN’s pregame show, NBA Countdown.

Paul Pierce and Chauncey Billups Won’t return as analysts on the pregame show next year, leaving just Jalen Rose. That means there are a couple of spots open, and we don’t yet know who ESPN will fill them with. Nichols will reportedly continue to host her regular show “The Jump”.

As the league continues to get more popular, it makes sense that broadcast partners listen to the audience. Nichols is an NBA favorite, so having her be more visible makes a lot of sense.

NBA players roast Kyle Kuzma over outfit posted to Instagram (PHOTOS)

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Kyle Kuzma is going to be expected to have a big year for the Los Angeles Lakers. He thinks he can have the impact of a third star for L.A., a team that didn’t add Kawhi Leonard to go alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis this summer.

That’s big talk from Kuzma, but perhaps that talk has boosted his confidence a little bit. In a photo posted to Instagram this week, Kuzma could be seen wearing… whatever this is.

Via Twitter:

Twitter had a great time with Kuzma outfit, which looks like something pulled straight out of an early 2000s episode of TRL.

Kuzma’s contemporaries in the NBA thought he was getting a little wild with it, too, with several hopping onto the post to roast the Lakers big man.

Via Twitter:

I don’t know what this means for the upcoming Lakers season, but I’m sure it’s something interesting.