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Lance Stephenson nearly triggers brawl between Pacers and Raptors (VIDEO)

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Lance Stephenson returned to Indianapolis as a member of the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday night. As the Pacers squared off against the Toronto Raptors, Stephenson was welcomed back to Bankers Life Fieldhouse to a standing ovation.

Stephenson was obviously nervous, and missed his first several shots. Once settled, the swingman came through with a pretty crafty dribble move to get a teammate a bucket.

Via Twitter:

Then, with the Pacers needing to seal the game for good in the final two minutes, Stephenson hit a big corner 3-pointer to put Indiana up by 10 with 90 seconds left.

But the real icing on the cake was the fiasco that happened with three seconds left in the game. Indiana was up double digits, and Stephenson went for a breakaway layup, violating the unwritten rules of basketball given the circumstance.

That didn’t sit well with the Raptors players, who then got in Stephenson’s face.

Both teams wound up at each other’s throats, with several technicals assessed.

DeMar DeRozan was issued a technical foul, as well as Stephenson and PJ Tucker.

Indiana beat Toronto, 108-90.

After the game, Stephenson apologized:

Watch Common do epic NBA All-Star intros (video)

Common at NBA All-Star
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CHICAGO – Common is so, so talented.

If anything happens during the NBA All-Star game even half as cool as these player introductions, we’ll be quite lucky:

Magic Johnson, Jennifer Hudson give stirring pre-All-Star tribute to Kobe Bryant

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CHICAGO — The spirit and legacy of Kobe Bryant have been celebrated all weekend in Chicago.

However, never better than before the tip-off of the All-Star Game on Sunday night when Magic Johnson spoke from the heart about Kobe, and then led a moment of silence.

Then Jennifer Hudson sang a tribute to him.

Then Common lyrically talked about the influence of Kobe during his pre-game intro.

It was powerful.

Well done NBA. Well done indeed.

Adam Silver: I ‘strongly believe’ NBA will add in-season and play-in tournaments

NBA commissioner Adam Silver
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CHICAGO – NBA commissioner Adam Silver wanted to overhaul the schedule – including in-season and play-in tournaments – for the league’s 75th-anniversary season, 2021-22.

Instead, the Board of Governors vote planned for April was canceled.

Not because the ideas were unpopular, according to Silver. Because they were too popular.

“When we went to our teams, the Players Association and our media partners – probably the most important constituents in making changes,” Silver said, “the response we got was that, frankly, there was so much interest that they didn’t think it made sense to do it as a one-off.”

It’s easy to be skeptical of spin. But Silver is adamant.

“I strongly believe we will end up with some sort of in-season tournament and a play-in tournament,” Silver said.

The NBA will probably eventually have a play-in tournament. It makes a lot of sense, both competitively and financially. When those considerations align, things usually get done.

The league might even also add an in-season tournament. But it’s hard to find people actually enthusiastic about that idea.

Did Dwyane Wade violate judges’ agreement to keep dunk contest tied?

Dwyane Wade judging dunk contest
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CHICAGO – Dwyane Wade is a self-proclaimed Heat lifer.

Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. won the dunk contest with Wade as a judge.

You do the math.

On his final dunk, Jones got a 48. Then, Aaron Gordon dunked over terrified Tacko Fall… and got a 47.

The voting for Gordon’s last dunk:

  • Dwyane Wade: 9
  • Common: 10
  • Candace Parker: 10
  • Chadwick Bozeman: 9
  • Scottie Pippen: 9

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

With Common and Parker giving 10s and casting blame elsewhere, Wade, Bozeman and Pippen became suspects. The evidence points strongly at Wade.

Before the scores were even revealed a smiling Wade removed his earpiece, as if he knew the contest was finished. Notice how Common and Scottie Pippen both look at Wade after seeing the scores:

Wade danced around the controversy, never directly denying that he didn’t vote how he agreed he would:

Gordon’s final dunk was better than Jones’ final dunk. But Jones dunked better throughout the contest. Does that mean Gordon got robbed? At that point, yes. But Jones should have won the contest before then.

The bigger problem is judging dunks on a 6-10 scale. They should be judged relative to each other, and Jones’ were better.