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Watch Russell Westbrook’s monster 48-point, 17 rebound performance against Phoenix

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This was as good a game as Russell Westbrook has played all season — especially in the fourth quarter.

Westbrook tried to lift a listless Thunder team on the second night of a road back-to-back with a monster 20 point, 10 rebound fourth quarter against the Suns. Westbrook destroyed the Suns’ small ball lineup. For the game, Westbrook finished with 48 points, 17 rebounds, and nine assists. That’s four straight 40 point games for Westbrook.

It wasn’t enough because the Thunder couldn’t get stops. The Suns won 118-111. But that doesn’t diminish Westbrook’s effort.

Karl-Anthony Towns father reportedly considering suing Timberwolves over injury from mascot

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Sometimes, fans courtside get hurt at an NBA game. Just usually not by the mascot.

But that happened at a Jan. 26 Timberwolves game — to Karl-Anthony Towns‘ father.

And he is considering suing the team over it, according to Michael McCann of Sports Illustrated.

Towns Sr., who is a retired high school basketball coach, was injured during a timeout with 5:53 to go in the second quarter. The Timberwolves’ prophetically named mascot, Crunch, appeared to lose balance towards the end of a high-speed sledding stunt and hit an empty front row seat next to the aisle. That seat, in turn, crashed into the right knee of Towns Sr., who was sitting next to the empty seat. The elder Towns is now exploring potential legal options, including the possibility of suing his son’s team for negligence….

Towns Sr. suffered considerable pain and was given an ice pack to reduce swelling. The Crossover has learned that while arena attendants encouraged Towns Sr. to leave the game and seek care at a local hospital, he refused to do so. Towns Sr. believed that his son—the NBA’s Rookie of the Year in 2016—would notice his father’s absence. In turn, Towns Sr. reasoned, Towns Jr. might worry about his father’s health and not play as well. Towns Sr. stuck around for the rest of the game, but by the end, his knee had begun to swell considerably and he couldn’t put any weight on it. Arena attendants provided Towns Sr. with crutches. He hobbled out of the arena and was taken to a local hospital for an MRI.

A few teams do this same stunt.

Towns Sr. was seen All-Star weekend in New Orleans, reportedly on crutches.

I would imagine something gets worked out here, the last thing the franchise wants is to do something that might anger their new, young, franchise cornerstone player.

Adam Silver says Chris Paul reached out to him about tweaking All-Star Game

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The NBA All-Star Game is supposed to be an exhibition, and it’s expected to have a little playground in it as the best players in the world put on a show. However, it has become so uncompetitive — there is not even an attempt at playing defense unless it’s close in the final minutes — that the product is unwatchable.

That’s not just me saying it, or other people who suffered through watching it. Kyrie Irving said it after this year’s game.

“For me, I would love to play in a competitive game,” Irving said. “I know we play in competitive games in the summer, pickup games, but I think going forward, the All-Star experience will probably get a little harder in terms of defense going forward.”

At the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said players union president Chris Paul reached out to him about the same thing. Via Chris Herring of fivethiryeight.com and ESPN.

Silver seemed to be kidding about the 10-point shot, but the idea that the game needs to be spiced up has become fairly universal. Understand that All-Star Weekend is not about the basketball as much as it’s about the sponsors and the show, bringing in casual fans who want to watch John Legend sing, providing a good time for people who pay the league a lot of money as partners/sponsors. The basketball is secondary, but it’s gotten so bad people are taking notice.

Of course, the real challenge is what to do to spice it up. Guys aren’t going to risk injury for an exhibition.

“It would be good to possibly incentivize the guys somehow,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after coaching the winning side in the All-Star Game this year. “I don’t know if you can maybe get their charities involved or winner-take-all type thing, but I think it’s possible to play a lot harder without taking a charge. We know what silly is out there, if you’re undercutting guys, but it’s almost gone too far the other way where there’s just no resistance at all. I think there’s a happy medium in there somewhere.”

The 2018 All-Star Game is headed to Los Angeles next February. We’ll see what changes the league has in mind for the format.

Report: Jeanie Buss heads to court, blocks first effort by Jim Buss to push her out as Lakers controlling owner

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The Shakespearian drama that is the Buss family and their Game of Thrones fight over control of the Lakers seems to be just getting started.

Round one goes to Jeanie Buss.

Just a couple of weeks after she used her power as the team president and person with the hammer to move Jim Buss out as head of Lakers basketball operations and install Magic Johnson in the role, Jim and his brother Johnny took steps to try to push Jeanie out of power, so she went to court to block the move, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Jeanie was able to block the move, according to her attorney.

Jeanie Buss has thwarted an effort by her brothers, Jim and Johnny, to oust her as the Lakers president and controlling owner as the behind the scenes battle for control of the franchise moved into the courtroom.

Attorneys for Jeanie Buss sought a temporary restraining order in Los Angeles County Superior Court on Friday to prevent the brothers from holding an emergency meeting next week to elect a new board of directors for the team that didn’t include her. In order to be the controlling owner, she has to be a director.

The brothers withdrew the request for a new election of a team board of governors after Jeanie went to court, according to the report.

There are six Buss children each with an equal share of ownership of the Lakers (each has 11 percent), however, a complex trust put in place by late owner Jerry Buss guides the operation. Jeanie was installed the controlling owner, the one recognized by the NBA as the face of the franchise and the one with the vote for Board of Governors’ meetings. Jim Buss was put in charge of basketball operations by the trust, but Jeanie had the power to change that. She was admittedly hesitant to make a change, but as the Lakers continued to flounder for years through the worst stretch in franchise history she felt she had to make a move. Not only was Jim cleared out, so was GM Mitch Kupchak and long-time head of media relations John Black.

It shouldn’t be surprising Jim made a power play, and he has his brother Johnny Buss helping him make his move, according to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News.

In papers filed Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, Jeanie Buss maintains that her brother Johnny “with the active participation of (brother) Jim breached the express terms of the trust that require them to take all actions reasonably available to them to ensure that (Jeanie) remains the controlling owner of the Lakers.”

According to her court papers, Johnny Buss, also a part owner of the Lakers, recently sent notice to his sister that a proposed slate of four people for the Lakers board included himself and his brother, but not Jeanie.

Right now Jim, Johnny, and Jeanie are the three voted as trustees. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, Jim and Johnny argued they had the votes (2-1 among the trustees) to elect new directors. Jeanie went to court to block that saying that the controlling owner always has to be a director and the trust says she is the controlling owner. Johnny withdrew the request and canceled the proposed meeting to vote on new directors.

While this is the first salvo, Jeanie’s attorney told the Los Angeles Times it likely is not the last.

There are six Buss children in the trust. Johnny is the eldest (and has been long rumored to want more power), and he seems to have allied himself with Jim. Jeanie remains the controlling owner and for most Lakers’ fans the face of ownership. Joey and Jesse are respected parts of the Lakers basketball operations side, working their way up the ladder — they reportedly were in the room with Magic and helping make decisions during the trade deadline. Then there is Janie, who used to run the team’s youth foundation but reportedly has been more active in recent years.

The rest of the team is owned by a variety of minority owners, the largest of which is AEG (which also owns Staples Center).

If four of the six Buss children lined up against Jeanie, it could be tough for her to maintain power.

The drama here is far, far from over. Shakespeare better have his quill ready.

 

Dirk Nowitzki says he plans to come back for one more year, his 20th season

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Dirk Nowitzki battled injuries this season. The Dallas Mavericks are headed for the lottery and are in a rebuilding process (although since Jan. 1 they have been surprisingly good, outscoring teams by 3.2 points per 100 possessions).

Nowitzki is a legend and a lock Hall of Famer, the greatest shooting big man the game has ever seen, and the best European in NBA history. If he looked ahead at the Mavs situation for next season, what it takes to get his body ready on a nightly basis, and decided to walk away, nobody would think less of him.

Nowitzki says he is coming back.

Talking to ESPN’s Marc Stein on the TrueHoop Conversations podcast, Nowitzki said he will return for one more year.

“I think so … unless something drastic changes here in the next few weeks or the last few weeks of the season, which I don’t anticipate.

“I said last summer: I signed a two-year deal [and] that obviously meant I want to play for two more,” Nowitzki continued. “I want to complete that deal.‎”

That is consistent with what Nowitzki has said all along, although he has admitted the injuries this year gave him some pause.

Nowitzki, 38, has a $25 million team option for next season, and if he wants to return Marc Cuban will not blink at picking up the tab.

Nowitzki is sixth right now on the NBA’s All-Time scoring list with 29,952 points, he will pass the 30,000 mark in the coming handful of games.