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Kevin Durant says says “feud” between him, Russell Westbrook a media creation


When Russell Westbrook was asked if he and Kevin Durant were on speaking terms, the response was “Nah.” Westbrook showed up to the first meeting between the Thunder and Warriors wearing a photographer’s vest to troll Durant. The two didn’t talk for a long time — and may not really have yet — after Durant decided to head to Golden State, leaving Oklahoma City last summer.

But any report of a feud between them is a media creation if you ask Durant. That’s what KD told ESPN’s Marc Stein in an interview for SportsCenter in advance of the Warriors heading to Oklahoma City for the first time this season Saturday night.

“Early on in the season, I was doing an interview with someone and I used the word ‘unselfish’ describing my teammates here with the Warriors. And someone asked Russell a question, asked if he heard what I said about being unselfish and he phrased the question as if I was saying that the Thunder and their organization and the team was selfish. Once I heard that, I was like, ‘They are trying to get in between this thing and make it bigger than what it is.’ Obviously Russell wasn’t going to hear that interview I had about me just talking about my teammates I have now, and, you know, someone in Oklahoma City phrased it to him as if I was calling them selfish. So it’s that easy. It’s that easy for the media to twist something up and for the media to, you know, make a feud between us.”

To be fair, Durant has never said anything negative about the Thunder, and Westbrook has said he’s not mad about Durant’s decision. If you think the word “feud” to describe where they are at in their relationship is too strong, okay, but certainly Westbrook has been chilly when the topic comes up. There certainly seems to be something there.

Saturday night, Thunder fans are going to be a lot more than chilly every time KD touches the ball. They feel betrayed, and they are going to let Durant know about it.

Three things we learned Tuesday: Trail Blazers win one thanks to C.J. McCollum, but lose one Evan Turner

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It was a light night in the NBA with just three games on the schedule, if you missed them while you meditated on the zen of being a Buddhist monk meth dealer, here are the big takeaways from the Tuesday.

1) C.J McCollum gives Portland big win, but Blazers also lose Evan Turner to a broken hand. This became a brilliant Dirk Nowitzki vs. C.J. McCollum showdown with the game on the line — a game both teams could use as both are trying to chase down Denver for the final playoff slot in the West. While it was no study in defense, it was dramatic — there were six lead changes in the final 38 seconds of the game.

With everything on the line, first Nowitzki did this:

Then C.J. McCollum answered with the game winner.

McCollum finished with 32 and owned the final stretch of the game, while Damian Lillard had 29. The win was crucial as it left Portland just one game back of Denver for the final playoff slot in the West, while Dallas has 3.5 games to make up.

But Portland’s win came at a cost — Evan Turner fractured the third metacarpal in his right hand on this play.

No report yet on how long Turner will be out, the timeline will depend upon if he needs surgery and other factors. That said he’s going to be out a while.

This is a blow — in their last 10 games the Trail Blazers are nine points per 100 possessions better when Turner is on the court. Portland had started to play better defense since Turner and Noah Vonleh were inserted into the starting lineup, now Moe Harkless is going to be asked to step up. It’s not what a team chasing a playoff slot needs to hear.

2) Hornets will take win, even if it’s against Nets.
The Charlotte Hornets had lost seven in a row and fallen out of the playoff picture in the East. Teams on a losing streak need a slump buster — a win, regardless of how pretty it looks.

Enter the Brooklyn Nets. The NBA’s worst team came to Charlotte and the Hornets took advantage, leading most of the way but winning just 111-107 (Brooklyn had a late 8-2 run to make it more interesting than it should have been). Kemba Walker had 17 points but on 4-of-20 shooting, fortunately for the Hornets they got a boost from Jeremy Lamb and Marco Belinelli off the bench. It was a fairly balanced Charlotte attack, and while it wasn’t a thing of beauty it was good enough and it was a win. One the Hornets needed. However, they are going to have to play better on Thursday when James Harden and the Rockets come to town.

The play of the game went to Marvin Williams.

3) Phil Jackson takes another dig at Carmelo Anthony. If you read one thing out of Tuesday, it should be Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report’s analysis of the dynamic between Knicks president Phil Jackson and the star he wants to trade in Carmelo Anthony. The core idea of the piece: Jackson misjudged Anthony’s will to win, and Jackson overestimated his ability to transform ‘Melo’s game as he had done with Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant.

Phil Jackson read the piece and came back with a dig at Anthony.

Whether Jackson really believed he could mold Anthony is up for debate, and if Jackson did know that why give the star five years and a no-trade clause in that last deal? Was this order from James Dolan on high that Jackson had to accept?

Consider the tweet another step in the mind games of Jackson trying to trade Anthony — Jackson needs to get ‘Melo to waive that no-trade clause, hence the effort to undercut the star and make him unhappy and want out. The problems for Jackson in trying to make an Anthony trade are threefold: 1) Anthony likes it in New York and is only going to waive that trade clause for a destination he really likes, meaning a contender where he can play with a good friend such as LeBron James or Chris Paul; 2) Anthony has a 15 percent trade kicker, so he makes even more money if he gets dealt (Anthony could waive that kicker, but again is only likely do that for a place he wants to go); 3) The teams where Anthony would be interested in going have little interest in giving up much to get him, certainly not the kind of star power Jackson wants in return.

I’d still be shocked if Jackson finds a deal that meets all the criteria by the Feb. 23 trade deadline. Which means we get to relive all this again in June and July.

LeBron admits he traveled on blown late-game layup against Wizards


When was the last time an NBA player admitted he traveled?

It was pretty obvious LeBron James traveled on his blown lay-up with five seconds left that might well have been a game-winner in regulation Monday night against the Wizards (the Cavaliers were down one at the time, the layup would have put the pressure on the Wizards). LeBron admitted that was no crab dribble, as reported by Chase Hughes of CSNMidAtlantic.com.

“The extra step that I took, which was a travel, threw me off of my rhythm. It was a point-blank layup and I missed it.”

Good to see LeBron own it. It also didn’t matter. The Cavaliers fouled after the rebound off LeBron’s miss, the Wizards hit the free throw to go up three, and then LeBron made the shot of the season.

“I was blessed to be in a position where I could make up for it. Kev [Love] game me a great pass, a play that we work on in practice.”

Kyrie Irving scored 11 points in overtime and the Cavaliers won 140-135.

Warriors’ owner Lacob: Michael Jordan told him 73 wins without a ring ‘don’t mean s—‘

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The Warriors case for being the greatest single-season team ever fell apart last season when they blew a 3-1 lead in the NBA Finals to the Cavaliers.

Don’t think Michael Jordan let the Warriors forget that, either.

Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob was in the studio on 95.7 The Game’s “The Afternoon Delight” show with Greg Papa on Tuesday and told a Jordan story from this summer (hat tip to James Herbert at CBSSports.com for the transcription):

“On the collective bargaining agreement, I was on the labor committee and I was in New York having a bunch of dinners with Michael Jordan and other owners. There were six of us. Actually, Dan was one of them, Dan Gilbert. Anyway, Michael Jordan — people are drinking and having a good time and all that, but there was a moment where he said, you know, ’73 don’t mean s—.’ He did it, Michael Jordan did that. And I looked at him and I just decided not to make a big deal of it. I said, you know, you’re right, we didn’t win it, we had to get better.”

Michael Jordan is still one competitive…. you know what I’m saying. And Lacob was wise to let it drop.

I don’t completely buy MJ’s argument, because I don’t believe titles are the only measure of success. John Stockton, Karl Malone, Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and on down the line still had phenomenal careers and deserve to be Hall of Famers, they are not lesser players than Mark Madsen because he got a couple rings and they didn’t. Being a sports fan should not be only about championships, if it is not about enjoying the journey you’re doing it wrong. That doesn’t mean you don’t want your team to win titles, but fandom needs to be broader than that — when your team wins a title, you should feel joy, not relief.

Winning 73 games was a tremendous, historic journey that Warriors fans should not forget.

But Jordan is right about this: In the discussion of the greatest single-season team of all time, the 72-win Bulls do get the upper hand because they got the title, too.


Pitbull to be part of TNT’s All-Star ‘Road Show’

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — TNT is bringing its “Road Show” to the NBA All-Star weekend, featuring a performance from Pitbull to liven up the festivities.

The network announced Tuesday that the 70,000 square-foot hub is coming to New Orleans and will be located near Smoothie King Center, where the All-Star game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19. The wildly popular “Inside The NBA” studio show with Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will broadcast live from there.

Pitbull will put on a free show after the All-Star Saturday night competitions, including the slam dunk contest, take place.

There will also be interactive experiences for the fans, basketball clinics and merchandise for sale. The “Road Show” will be setup on Thursday, Feb. 16 and run through the weekend.