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Zach LaVine’s goal this season: Be All-Star with game in Chicago

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Here’s the Eastern Conference All-Star backcourt players last season: Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker, Bradley Beal, Kyle Lowry, Victor Oladipo, Ben Simmons, and Dwyane Wade (via a special designation from the Commissioner).

Next on the list of All-Star starter voting (a combination of fans, media, and player votes): Chicago’s Zach LaVine. He averaged 23.7 points a game last season, shot 37.4 percent from three, had 4.7 rebounds and 4.5 assists a night — borderline All-Star numbers.

This season, Zach LaVine wants to break through and be an All-Star, especially with the game itself coming to Chicago, he told Eric Woodyard of ESPN. He also gets what that will take.

“Everything comes with winning. I feel like if we win and we’re in the right positions, the sky is the limit for me,” LaVine told ESPN following Thursday’s practice. “I had an All-Star-caliber year last year, but we had 22 wins so it got a little bit swept under the rug. But that’s how it’s supposed to be when you have 20 wins. But if I continue to play the way I’m supposed to, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be an All-Star or All-NBA type guy.”

“I expect to be there through the whole weekend, and if my legs are right, obviously I would love to [compete in the dunk contest], but I’ve got to make sure what’s best for me and the team,” LaVine said. “I’ve been on that stage before, but I haven’t been on the Sunday night one, so I expect to be there and I expect us to move forward.”

It’s an obtainable goal, but some breaks need to go his way.

LaVine is going to get buckets, but will it be at the same rate on a better, deeper Bulls team that will get full seasons from Lauri Markkanen and Otto Porter, plus has added Tomas Satoransky among others? That’s a team that should help get the Bulls more wins and notice, but the depth could mean fewer points for LaVine.

To make the All-Star Game LaVine will have to beat out some very good guards, but the league does like a player from the host market in the game (Markkanen has a shot as well).

Whatever happens with the Sunday game, hopefully LaVine is in the Dunk Contest on Saturday. That is the show we all need.

 

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.

 

Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

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The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”