Three Things We Learned in NBA Thursday: The All-Star Rosters need to be expanded

damian lillard
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If you watch closely every night in the NBA you can learn a little something. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to help with those lessons from another night in the Association. Here’s what you missed while hearing how the Denver Broncos almost traded a young John Elway

1) The All-Star rosters need to be expanded so we don’t have more Cousins/Lillard situations. Yes, DeMarcus Cousins and Damian Lillard got screwed by not being put on the All-Star team. They deserved a spot. The problem is in the West, who do you replace? Tim Duncan? He’s putting up 14 and 10 plus is in the discussion for Defensive Player of the Year. If you think this is a lifetime achievement award you need to watch more Spurs games. And at guard, you want to remove Chris Paul? Then you’re taking him for granted because he’s right at his career average numbers — 17.5 points a game, plus 9.7 assists to just 2.2 turnovers a night.

The problem is there are more deserving players than spots — so why not add more spots? Bump the roster to 15 players. The game is an exhibition, so you cut a few minutes to make room for some other deserving guys, the fans aren’t going to complain. They want a show, they want to see the world’s best players, why not make sure they are all there?

2) Bulls don’t bother against another sub .500 team and lose. Again. The Chicago Bulls have 18 losses on the season and half of them have come against sub-.500 teams. This is a team that for years under Tom Thibodeau had a clear identity — they would play physical defense and just out work the opponent. This season the offense is clicking but Chicago is 12th in the league in defensive efficiency — they are inconsistent with their effort. A couple nights after playing maybe their best game of the season to beat Golden State the Bulls mentally took the night off. The Lakers opened the game on a 6-0 run, were up 11 after the first quarter and led by double digits most of the first half.

“We started the game with low energy, we were badly out rebounded,” Thibodeau said after the game. “They started out shooting 60 percent in the first half and any team that you give confidence too like that, it’s hard to shut them off.

Led by Joakim Noah the Bulls played 90 seconds of defense to end the game, and that was enough to make up nine points, tie the game and send it to overtime. Then double overtime. As it has been all season, the Bulls played a few minutes of good defense then stopped again. To a man the players say they know about the problem and it’s just a matter of effort at the start of games. Maybe so, but we need to see it from them.

3) Zach Randolph can still put up numbers. Maybe not making the All-Star team motivated Randolph, but whatever the reason he put up a quality line against Denver — 15 points and 17 rebounds — as the Grizzlies just rolled the Nuggets Thursday. Randolph is still just a load down on the low block and he may be a third offensive option some nights (behind Marc Gasol and Mike Conley) he can still cause defenses nightmares.