Gordon Hayward

Giannis Antetokounmpo looked like an MVP with 32 points, 17 boards vs. Boston

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MILWAUKEE (AP) — Giannis Antetokounmpo had 32 points and 17 rebounds, Khris Middleton scored 23 and the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Boston Celtics 128-123 on Thursday night.

With the victory, the NBA-leading Bucks (37-6) extended their winning streak to five games.

Kemba Walker scored a game-high 40 points to lead the Celtics, who took the floor without Jaylen Brown. The 6-foot-6 forward suffered a sprained right thumb in a 13-point loss to Detroit on Wednesday.

“We saw a play late in the first half and we think that might have been when it happened,” Boston coach Brad Stevens said. “Maybe it got worse as the game went on. He didn’t say much about it at halftime. Certainly, after the game it was sore. Today, more sore.”

Stevens said they will do more tests on Brown’s thumb on Friday.

Marcus Smart, who started in place of Brown, had 24 points.

Antetokounmpo, who also had seven assists, had his 35th double-double of the season.

After trailing by as many as 27, the Celtics outscored Milwaukee 36-22 to pull within 127-123 with 38 seconds to play. But Smart missed a 3-pointer and Middleton knocked down one of two free throws to seal the victory.

Antetokounmpo scored the first basket of the night and the Bucks never trailed.

Milwaukee hit seven of their first 10 shots, including their first four attempts from 3, and led 36-20 after the first quarter. Brook Lopez had three of those 3-pointers and had 11 points in the opening quarter. Lopez finished with 16 points.

Milwaukee set a new season-high with 76 points in the first half. The Bucks had a 76-58 lead at the break.

Boston stormed out in the second half, cutting Milwaukee’s lead to 87-81 with 5:16 left in the third. But the Bucks ended the quarter on a 19-6 run.

Gordon Hayward, who finished with seven points on 1-of-10 shooting for the Celtics, scored his only field goal on a 3 at the end of the third.

Jayson Tatum had 17 points and Daniel Theis added 12 points and 10 rebounds in the loss.

Donte DiVincenzo had a career-high 19 points off the bench for Milwaukee.

Alex Caruso jumps Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry in All-Star voting

Alex Caruso
Chris Elise/NBAE via Getty Images
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Alex Caruso‘s All-Star votes caused waves when the Lakers backup ranked sixth among Western Conference guards.

Now, he’s fourth, passing Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.

Fourth!

Ultimately, this won’t matter. Caruso won’t be an All-Star. Starters are determined by a formula that combines the votes of fans, players (who’ll barely choose Caruso) and media (who won’t at all choose Caruso). Reserves are picked by coaches (who won’t at all choose Caruso). Caruso getting so many fan votes is funny and nothing more.

Really, if his climb produces any more outrage, that’d further expose the absurdity of this whole process. He passed Westbrook (who has slipped and is no longer playing like a Western Conference All-Star) and Curry (who has missed nearly the entire season due to injury). It’s a popularity contest that only somewhat overlaps with on-court production. Caruso is among the bigger absurdities in All-Star voting, but there’s no sanctity to uphold here.

The latest update in All-Star voting provides minimal meaningful change from the previous returns.

Carmelo Anthony moved from eighth to sixth among Western Conference frontcourt players, passing Kristaps Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns. It still seems likely LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard will snag the three Western Conference frontcourt starting spots. But Anthony – who’s highly popular among fellow players – has an outside chance if media votes (which won’t include him) are concentrated enough.

LeBron James still leads the overall voting. Giannis Antetokounmpo leads Eastern Conference players, though he trails Luka Doncic. Let me restate my objection: If he has more votes than Antetokounmpo, Doncic should be an All-Star captain. Dividing by conference at the captain-picking stage – when the whole point is no longer dividing the All-Star game by conference – is a bad method.

Likewise, players shouldn’t be divided by conference when selected at all (though I understand Eastern Conference teams want to protect spots for their lesser players).

Maybe we can start by eliminating positional designations. Make the best 26 – yes, 26 – players All-Stars, and let them sort it out on the court.

Here’s the All-Star full leaderboard:

Eastern Conference

Guards

1. Trae Young (ATL) 2,066,924

2. Kyrie Irving (BRK) 1,814,618

3. Kemba Walker (BOS) 1,797,633

4. Derrick Rose (DET) 1,381,934

5. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 848,293

6. Zach LaVine (CHI) 847,632

7. Jaylen Brown (BOS) 718,355

8. Ben Simmons (PHI) 629,199

9. Bradley Beal (WAS) 609,899

10. Fred VanVleet (TOR) 546,471

Frontcourt

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 4,474,107

2. Pascal Siakam (TOR) 2,433,411

3. Joel Embiid (PHI) 2,398,743

4. Jimmy Butler (MIA) 2,046,257

5. Jayson Tatum (BOS) 1,622,635

6. Tacko Fall (BOS) 757,375

7. Bam Adebayo (MIA) 529,244

8. Gordon Hayward (BOS) 398,213

9. Domantas Sabonis (IND) 381,390

10. Andre Drummond (DET) 325,178

Western Conference

Guards

1. Luka Doncic (DAL) 4,598,323

2. James Harden (HOU) 2,934,614

3. Damian Lillard (POR) 984,140

4. Alex Caruso (LAL) 894,827

5. Russell Westbrook (HOU) 837,187

6. Stephen Curry (GSW) 819,352

7. Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 673,917

8. Devin Booker (PHO) 577,035

9. D’Angelo Russell (GSW) 491,047

10. Ja Morant (MEM) 399,703

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James (LAL) 4,747,887

2. Anthony Davis (LAL) 4,412,619

3. Kawhi Leonard (LAC) 2,973,076

4. Paul George (LAC) 1,171,616

5. Nikola Jokic (DEN) 889,387

6. Carmelo Anthony (POR) 784,038

7. Kristaps Porzingis (DAL) 774,056

8. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 746,013

9. Brandon Ingram (NOP) 672,666

10. Dwight Howard (LAL) 670,643

Watch Jayson Tatum score career-high 41 as Celtics snap three-game losing streak

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BOSTON — Jayson Tatum made six 3-pointers and scored a career-high 41 points as the Boston Celtics cruised past the short-handed New Orleans Pelicans, 140-105 on Saturday night.

Tatum’s first career 40-point performance helped the Celtics snap a season-high, three-game losing streak. He became the second-youngest Celtic to score 40+ points in a game (Antoine Walker).

Enes Kanter added 22 points, Gordon Hayward had 19 and Kemba Walker finished with 17 points and seven assists.

Boston shot 14 of 29 from the 3-point line and tied a season high for points.

Frank Jackson scored 22 points for the Pelicans. Jaxson Hayes added 20.

New Orleans played without Derrick Favors because a right hamstring strain, Jrue Holiday sat his fourth straight game with a left elbow contusion, Kenrich Williams missed his third consecutive game with back soreness and J.J. Redick sat with a left hamstring strain.

Hayes and E'Twaun Moore started in place of Williams and Favors.

The Celtics exploited the absences early. Tatum was active from a variety of spots on the floor, connecting on eight of his first nine shots. He scored 22 points in the the first half to help the Celtics build as much as a 22-point lead.

LeBron James passes Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo in All-Star voting

LeBron James and Luka Doncic lead the NBA in All-Star voting
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LeBron James has led the NBA in fan All-Star voting the last three years. If he leads the league again this season, he’d break a tie with Vince Carter (2000-2002) for the longest such streak since Michael Jordan (1987-1993).

But in the initial All-Star voting returns LeBron trailed Luka Doncic and Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Lebron is back on top now.

The updated voting:

Eastern Conference

Guards

1. Trae Young (ATL) 1,389,628

2. Kyrie Irving (BRK) 1,351,997

3. Kemba Walker (BOS) 1,331,577

4. Derrick Rose (DET) 918,550

5. Zach LaVine (CHI) 572,022

6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 567,896

7. Jaylen Brown (BOS) 544,361

8. Ben Simmons (PHI) 456,066

9. Bradley Beal (WAS) 447,107

10. Fred VanVleet (TOR) 351,391

Frontcourt

1. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 3,259,383

2. Joel Embiid (PHI) 1,784,211

3. Pascal Siakam (TOR) 1,730,763

4. Jimmy Butler (MIA) 1,400,293

5. Jayson Tatum (BOS) 1,182,663

6. Tacko Fall (BOS) 543,352

7. Bam Adebayo (MIA) 349,078

8. Gordon Hayward (BOS) 291,608

9. Domantas Sabonis (IND) 239,639

10. Andre Drummond (DET) 228,190

Western Conference

Guards

1. Luka Doncic (DAL) 3,277,870

2. James Harden (HOU) 2,167,269

3. Damian Lillard (POR) 687,855

4. Stephen Curry (GSW) 595,913

5. Russell Westbrook (HOU) 581,500

6. Alex Caruso (LAL) 528,246

7. Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 449,835

8. Devin Booker (PHO) 381,071

9. D’Angelo Russell (GSW) 365,730

10. Ja Morant (MEM) 257,433

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James (LAL) 3,359,871

2. Anthony Davis (LAL) 3,124,446

3. Kawhi Leonard (LAC) 2,210,539

4. Paul George (LAC) 845,719

5. Nikola Jokic (DEN) 559,881

6. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 545,385

7. Kristaps Porzingis (DAL) 540,603

8. Carmelo Anthony (POR) 520,021

9. Brandon Ingram (NOP) 444,522

10. Dwight Howard (LAL) 390,037

Observations:

  • LeBron, Doncic and Antetokounmpo will all be All-Stars. The overall vote lead is mostly about prestige, though it doesn’t carry as much since the NBA introduced player and media voting into the All-Star-starters equation.
  • LeBron and Doncic are competing for a captaincy, because they’re both in the Western Conference. With All-Star teams no longer divided by conference, why should one of them automatically fall behind Antetokounmpo just because Antetokounmpo is in the East? This patchwork system leaves a lot to be desired.
  • Kyle Lowry (No. 8 to No. 6) and Ben Simmons (No. 6 to No. 8) flipped spots. That could make the difference in an open Eastern Conference backcourt race. At No. 2 in fan voting, Kyrie Irving probably won’t fare as well with players and media. No. 4 in fan voting, Derrick Rose probably won’t get any media votes. No. 5 in fan voting, Zach LaVine also faces an uphill climb with media votes.

Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo lead first NBA All-Star fan vote returns

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It’s not a complete changing of the guard — LeBron James, James Harden, and other veterans are still drawing a lot of votes — but fans want to see the game’s young stars headline the NBA All-Star Game.

The first returns from the fan voting for the NBA All-Star Game are in and Dallas’ Luka Doncic leads all Western Conference players, while Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo tops the East. Other young players such as Trae Young and Pascal Siakam will be starting if the fans get their way.

The fans don’t get their way, completely. Fans get to help select the starters and their votes account for 50 percent of the total (and are the tiebreaker), with select media member votes accounting for 25 percent, and player votes making up the final 25 percent.

Fans want to see who they want to see. They also voted the Lakers’ Alex Caruso eighth among West backcourt players — ahead of the Suns’ Devin Booker (which is a crime people, Booker has been fantastic this season) — and the Celtics’ Tacko Fall seventh among East frontcourt players (ahead of Miami’s Bam Adebayo, among others).

Here are the starting lineups if this were this fan vote were all that counted:
Eastern Conference: Trae Young (Atlanta), Kyrie Irving (Brooklyn), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia), Pascal Siakam (Toronto).
Western Conference: Luka Doncic (Dallas), James Harden (Houston), LeBron James (LA Lakers), Anthony Davis (LA Lakers), Kawhi Leonard (LA Clippers).

The rest of the All-Star rosters are voted on by a vote of the league’s coaches.

As of now, Doncic and Antetokounmpo would be the team captains, and they would get to chose their teams “playground style” — they pick their teams from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, making their selections regardless of conference affiliation

Voting is open through Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Jan. 20), and fans can vote at vote.NBA.com, through the NBA app, or through their Google Assistant.

The 2020 NBA All-Star Game will take place at the United Center in Chicago on Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. ET (on TNT).

Here are the top 10 vote getters in each category so far.

Western Conference backcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Luka Doncic, Mavericks 1,073,957
2. James Harden, Rockets 749,080
3. Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers 202,498
4. Stephen Curry, Warriors 191,149
5. Russell Westbrook, Rockets 189,005
6. D'Angelo Russell, Warriors 122,499
7. Donovan Mitchell, Jazz 108,349
8. Alex Caruso, Lakers 92,233
9. Devin Booker, Suns 91,817
10. Ja Morant, Grizzlies 77,081

Western Conference frontcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. LeBron James, Lakers 1,020,851
2. Anthony Davis, Lakers 955,246
3. Kawhi Leonard, Clippers 740,657
4. Paul George, Clippers 280,894
5. Karl-Anthony Towns, Timberwolves 173,129
6. Kristaps Porzingis, Mavericks 171,749
7. Nikola Jokic, Nuggets 160,934
8. Carmelo Anthony, Trail Blazers 142,292
9. Brandon Ingram, Pelicans 118,188
10. Dwight Howard, Lakers 69,785

Eastern Conference backcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Trae Young, Hawks 443,412
2. Kyrie Irving, Nets 432,481
3. Kemba Walker, Celtics 432,031
4. Derrick Rose, Pistons 233,669
5. Zach LaVine, Bulls 174,991
6. Ben Simmons, 76ers 159,065
7. Jaylen Brown, Celtics 156,537
8. Kyle Lowry, Raptors 154,139
9. Bradley Beal, Wizards 149,640
10. Spencer Dinwiddie, Nets 94,618

Eastern Conference frontcourt
(Rank Player Votes)
1. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks 1,073,358
2. Joel Embiid, 76ers 606,534
3. Pascal Siakam, Raptors 544,302
4. Jimmy Butler, Heat 431,483
5. Jayson Tatum, Celtics 364,137
6. Tacko Fall, Celtics 110,269
7. Bam Adebayo, Heat 104,086
8. Gordon Hayward, Celtics 75,240
9. Andre Drummond, Pistons 68,076
10. Domantas Sabonis, Pacers 67,482