NBA releases second ‘No Gifts’ spot to hype Christmas Day games (VIDEO)


The NBA released its second spot to hype the Christmas Day slate, and it features Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade and Pau Gasol declaring that they won’t be in a giving mood this holiday season.

Christmas Day features a stellar five-game slate — one that draws many of the league’s more casual fans in, and is viewed (by them) as a sort of unofficial start to the NBA season.

12pm ET – Wizards vs. Knicks on ESPN

2:30pm – Thunder vs. Spurs on ABC

5pm – Cavs vs. Heat on ABC

8pm – Lakers vs. Bulls on TNT

10:30pm – Warriors vs. Clippers on TNT

MORE: Nike unveils Christmas shoes for Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James

Carmelo Anthony introduces his latest signature shoe, the Jordan Melo M11


NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony was Jordan Brand’s first signature athlete, and as he appeared at the Terminal 23 space in Midtown Manhattan this week to introduce the 11th incarnation of his personal sneaker, it was a time for reflecting on a journey which began long before his NBA career ever got started.

During an intimate event with a small group of media, Anthony walked us through some of the pivotal times in his personal history, while speaking comfortably and in his own words about his interest in sneakers, and the inspirations behind the four initial colorways of the Jordan Melo M11.

Standing next to some large displays which mapped out specific points in his past, Anthony discussed some of the moments that were important to him in getting to where he is today.


He talked about growing up in Baltimore, not far from the rough parts of town that were featured in the HBO series The Wire, and how as a teenager the recreation center where he would regularly go to play basketball abruptly closed.

Anthony was shaken by the news at the time, and admitted he briefly didn’t know where to turn. The event stuck with him, so much so that he had a similar center of his own built in a nearby neighborhood as soon as he had the financial ability to do so.

There were some lighter topics covered, too. During Anthony’s playing days in Denver, he said at the time it was difficult to find a place in the city where he could get his hair regularly attended to. Since he got tired of paying exorbitant amounts of money to fly in stylists to keep his cornrows properly maintained, Anthony opened his own barber shop just to make things a little easier.

After the storytelling portion, it was on to the sneakers.


Anthony was heavily involved in the design process, as he has been since the inception of his Jordan Brand relationship. He talked about how exciting it is that he’s working with some of the world’s leading designers in the field, after he used to get in trouble as a kid for drawing sneakers on his desk at school.

The Jordan Melo M11 comes in four initial colorways — the one above is named Concrete Island, inspired by the streets of New York, where Anthony admitted it takes a certain kind of personality to be able to play for the people of this famously tough city.

There’s a model called Red Hook Sunset, inspired by the Red Hook projects in Brooklyn where Anthony was born.



There’s a model in the classic red, white and black colorway that the brand has become known for — named the Jordan Family as Anthony’s tribute to the man who started it all.



Finally, there’s a black and gold model with an icy sole that Anthony admitted was his favorite — and after getting a hands-on look at all of them in person, while the details and colors on the Concrete Island version really pop, it’s difficult to disagree. This one has yet to be named, and fans had the opportunity to vote on that the night of the launch, with the winner expected to be announced sometime soon.


As for the feel and performance, the M11 is much lighter than last season’s M10. A synthetic leather upper provides plenty of durability, while the brand’s Flight Plate technology is once again employed in order to give maximum cushioning in the forefoot with plenty of bounce.

Check out the gallery below for some additional photos from the event. All four colorways are available for pre-order now, with a ship date of Jan. 3.


Reviewing the Air Jordan XX9, after testing the shoes at Michael Jordan’s house

Chris Paul hoops with media at launch of his Jordan Brand CP3.VIII

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Jordan Melo M11Kizoa Video Maker

Report: Kings have reached out to Vinny Del Negro about being next coach


That sound you just heard was the collective voice of people in Sacramento yelling “nooooooooo.”

The Kings unexpectedly and unnecessarily canned Mike Malone midseason, and now Tyrone Corbin has the interim head coaching job. All reports are he’s going to keep the job through the end of this season, but he’s not the long term guy.

Chris Mullin seems to have right of first refusal and the ear of Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé. The owner also has interest in George Karl (as do others in the organization) and the feeling is mutual.

But Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated says another name is in the mix, one mentioned in other places as well: Vinny Del Negro.

Del Negro has a .533 regular season winning percentage and you can’t just dismiss him as someone with no idea how to coach in the NBA. He’s done okay. What should trouble Kings fans — and more importantly Ranadivé — is Del Negro’s simplistic offenses, his tedious interviews and public interactions, the heavy reliance on pick-and-roll sets, and his inability to put players in positions to succeed. Guys like Chris Paul and Derrick Rose did better with the next coaches they had after Del Negro because those coaches used systems that gave the players more options and pushed then to give up the ball a little rather than make all the decisions.

What Del Negro does is interview well. He talks a good game. Remember the stories of how he charmed Donald Sterling and his wife over dinner, securing the Clippers job despite the rest of the front office wanting to go another direction? Owners will do that when they like a candidate.

Del Negro sells himself as a guy who can develop players. But the Kings would be better off with Karl. And probably Mullin too, although we have no idea if he can coach.

PBT’s NBA Power Rankings: It’s the Warriors world


If you’ve been wondering “when do the Western Conference powers start beating up each other?” the answer is pretty much now. As we head into the Christmas day slate of games things will get interesting, but for now the top remains the same as Golden State is just winning and winning and winning.

source:  1. Warriors (21-2, Last Week No. 1). When Andrew Bogut was out we quickly saw how much he meant to this team — the rim protection on defense was not nearly the same, and equally important his passing on offense that helps them move the ball strong to weak quickly was gone. For about a half. By the time Golden State rolled into Dallas Saturday they were again a force again in an impressive win. Still, Bogut is key for them come the playoffs, best to get him fully healthy now.

source:  2. Rockets (18-5, LW 3). The Rockets were 8-3 with Dwight Howard out (surprisingly Rockets had fifth best defense in league in last 10 without Howard) and in that time James Harden averaged 29.1 points a game, shot 39 percent from three, dished out 6.1 assist and pulled down 6 rebounds a game. James Harden is playing like an MVP, and that didn’t change on Howard’s return when Harden dropped a triple double Saturday.

source:  3. Grizzlies (19-4, LW 6) I only moved them up to third because while they beat Charlotte and Philadelphia they didn’t exactly look good doing it. This coming week is different, win these games any way you can and you move up: Warriors, Spurs, Bulls and Cavaliers.

source:  4. Trail Blazers (18-6. LW 4). They have a top 10 offense, a top 10 defense, they look like they can beat anybody, but they also are fully capable of mailing it in and losing to Minnesota. Tough stretch coming up with the Spurs twice this week, plus the Rockets and Thunder on the road to start next week.

source:  5. Spurs (17-7, LW 2). That loss to the Lakers was the kind of game which leads to the :45 second, angry Gregg Popovich press conference. What should make him feel better — not happy, Popovich is never happy — is the return of Tiago Splitter to the lineup. Splitter even started on Sunday night. That should improve their defense.

source:  6. Clippers (16-7, LW 5). Doc Rivers said the key to Chris Paul’s improved shooting this season is he is taking the first good, open look he gets. “That’s what we need him to do, take the open shot. I jokingly tell him, the option you are looking for is you. When you’re coming wide open off the pick and roll, he’ll do it tonight at least once or twice, he’ll look around and I’ll be ‘what is the better option than right now.’ And he’s doing it.”

source:  7. Mavericks (17-8, LW 7). They are 0-6 vs. Western Conference playoff teams and 17-2 vs. everyone else. That can’t make Mark Cuban comfortable. Chandler Parsons isn’t comfortable due to lower back soreness, he missed one game and could miss more.

source:  8. Cavaliers (13-9 LW 8). Has LeBron James lost some bounce this season? Probably, he’s not as aggressive going to the rim. But his playmaking skills and his desire to use them with his new teammates is part of the reason he’s not attacking as much. Also, there’s just not the space in the Cavs offense yet that there was in Miami.

source:  9. Raptors (18-6, LW 7). Kyle Lowry must make the All-Star team in the East. I know the point guard spot is loaded (Irving, Rose, Wall) but Lowry is simply playing too well (PER of 23.2, as a snapshot) to be ignored.

source:  10. Bulls (15-8, LW 12). Derrick Rose is getting his points a little differently (that floater is a weapon) but he’s starting to get them again and that’s good news in Chicago. The best sign of a title contender is a top 5 offense and defense (in terms of efficiency), the Bulls have that.

source:  11. Wizards (17-6, LW 11). Quality win over the Clippers last week, showing on the right night this team can beat anyone. Consistency is always the question, they had down games against Boston and Orlando. Still, they won those two and eight of their last nine.

source:  12. Hawks (16-7, LW 10). It wasn’t pretty when their winning streak was snapped by the Magic. The Hawks have played the easiest schedule in the NBA so far but that is about to change: Bulls, Cavaliers (twice), Rockets, Mavericks, Clippers, and Bucks (twice) make up the next eight games.

source:  13. Thunder (11-13, LW 18). Winners of five in a row and eight of nine, they could be the eight seed inside a week as after the top seven in the West things have fallen off. On Tuesday Kevin Durant should get to 15,000 points in his career, second youngest to do it behind LeBron.

source:  14. Bucks (12-12, LW 15). Maybe the most entertaining team in the league and also one of its biggest surprises at .500 and in the playoffs in the East. What’s been impressive is the quality play Jason Kidd is getting out of his bench, which is not flush with big names.

source:  15. Pelicans (11-12, LW 16). They got great guard play Sunday night from Jrue Holiday and Tyreke Evans but this team needs Anthony Davis back in the lineup (chest contusion) if they are going to start winning more consistently.

source:  16. Kings (11-13, LW 14). Ownership wants to play faster (more Spurs-like) and Tyrone Corbin is going to oblige now that Mike Malone has been fired. One problem: This roster really isn’t built to play faster or move the ball like the Spurs. DeMarcus Cousins is a halfcourt guy (Team USA tried to get him to run more with limited success) but at least he can pass, their starting two guard doesn’t have the handles or the passing skills, Rudy Gay’s legs aren’t as young as they once were and he’s a volume scorer, and there’s just not enough overall athleticism. We’ll see how this strategy goes.

source:  17. Suns (12-13, LW 13). P.J. Tucker was given some starts for defensive reasons and nightly he gets the toughest opponent assignments — he had DeMarcus Cousins against the Kings, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin against the Clippers. That’s versatility. His defense hasn’t helped much as they have lost five in a row and are falling fast down the Western Conference standings.

source:  18. Nuggets (10-14, LW 17). JaVale McGee is going to be out for months, just another of the guys they would normally have in their rotation who are banged up (that’s five now). This team is still dangerous, however. Just ask the Raptors.

source:  19. Nets (10-12, LW 21). They have been beating up lottery bound teams but are struggling with any team looking like a playoff squad. Which could be trouble this week against Miami, Toronto and Cleveland.

source:  20. Heat (11-13, LW 19). Josh McRoberts is out for a while and that is a blow to Miami on both ends of the floor — the team’s defense has struggled all season but the offense has become disjointed in recent weeks. Chris Bosh missing time doesn’t help.

source:  21. Magic (10-16, LW 23). There are a number of holes in Tobias Harris’ game, but if you need a game-winning play he should be in your top 10 because the guy just gets buckets in the clutch. The Hawks learned that the hard way.

source:  22. Lakers (8-16, LW 24). They get to keep their first round pick in the next draft if it is top five, they keep their second round pick if it is in the first 10 of the second round. The Lakers picked up a trio of nice wins this week — including an upset of the Spurs — and currently they sit tied for eighth worst record. Magic isn’t only Lakers fan rooting for losses.

source:  23. Celtics (7-14, LW 20). Rajon Rondo is dropping triple-doubles (three this season) but has been sat at the end of games as well. All of that has to be viewed through the prism of free agency/trades — do the Celtics need to move him so they don’t get nothing when he walks?

source:  24. Pacers (7-17, LW 23). They have Roy Hibbert and David West back in the lineup but it hasn’t mattered against a string of tough competition. The Pacers have lost eight in a row and are about to face a series of games against the deeper West, much of it on the road.

source:  25. Hornets (6-17, LW 25). Jeff Taylor can come back from his suspension due to domestic violence this week, which could make it easier on Charlotte if they can find someone to take on Lance Stephenson. Also, more Michael Kidd-Gilchrist please.

source:  26. Timberwolves (5-18, LW 26). Kobe Bryant said he saw himself 17 years ago in Andrew Wiggins. That’s high praise. But what Kobe came in the league with was a chip on his shoulder, a crazy work ethic, and a drive to prove himself every night. Does Wiggins?

source:  27. Jazz (6-17, LW 27). If you’re a Jazz fan your hope stems from the flashes you see from this team, like the win over San Antonio. They have moments but like a lot of young teams they simply are not consistent. Yet.

source:  28. Pistons (5-19, LW 29). Surprising wins over Phoenix and Sacramento on the road to end their losing streak. Now they have Jodie Meeks back in the rotation and once he shakes the rust off he will really help their outside shooting and spacing. Things they desperately need.

source:  29. Knicks (5-21, LW 28). With the New York media feeding a storm around this team — “they don’t like each other or the triangle” — they snapped their 10-game losing streak. But next week will be rough with Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and Toronto.

source:  30. 76ers (2-21, LW 30). They are playing hard — they were up 18 on Memphis in the fourth — but are learning the hard way about closing out victories. Right now it’s about seeing what players can be part of the future, and K.J. McDaniels and Robert Covington can be.

Blake Griffin’s lucky bounce masks a lot of questions remaining about Clippers

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LOS ANGELES — It was as dramatic a shot as Blake Griffin has had in his career. Down two with less than three seconds on the clock in overtime he took a step back both to create space from defender P.J. Tucker and to make sure it was a three, then put up a line drive that Griffin admitted “right when I shot it I thought it was flat, short, off, everything.”

It bounced up off the front of the rim and found its way in. It was the ultimate shooter’s roll. It sent Staples Center into a frenzy and gave the Clippers their eighth straight win, keeping them in the thick of a ridiculously crowded and high achieving Western Conference (the current seven seed Mavericks are on pace to win 59 games). After the game that shot was pretty much the only thing people wanted to talk about,

That shot also masked a lot of Clippers’ issues defensively.

Ones that make you question if the Clippers are really the contenders they believe themselves to be.

The Suns put up an offensive rating of 109.3 points per 100 possessions against LA Monday night, almost four per 100 higher than their season average. The Clippers defensive rotations were slow, particularly out to the three point line, leading to 53 percent of the Suns shots on the night being uncontested. The Clippers got lucky the Suns only shot 48.4 percent on the night, they missed a lot of good looks.

Then there are the questions about wing defense specifically — Eric Bledsoe put up a triple double (27 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds) by going right at J.J. Redick all night, every chance he got. In isolations, off picks, in transition, just every time they were matched up. The result was Bledsoe had 11 uncontested shots and only five with a defender within a couple feet of him. It’s been a weak spot all season for the Clippers and it almost bit them on Monday night at home.

“I wasn’t real happy with our defense tonight,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said afterward. “I thought we had a couple key stops down the stretch. It’s one of those games where you’ll take the win, it was neat for our guys, they were excited, but they knew. You could see it collectively right when I walked in (the locker room) on their faces: ‘Not my best,’ ‘Not my best,’ ‘We messed up,’ ‘I messed this coverage up.’” You could just feel it.

“And that’s a good sign for your team when you pull out a win and the guys still own up to that we have to do better.”

The win against a quality opponent does matter. The Clippers defense has not been terrible, it’s just been average (12th in the NBA in defensive efficiency) and that’s been good enough thanks to their offense. Also, it’s early, the Clippers should be building and evolving defensively toward what they will be later in the season. Nobody should expect any team to be near a finished product right now.

But Monday was a measuring stick game for the Clippers a quarter of the way into the season and the questions about this team, the ones from their slow start last month, still linger. The questions about the lack of depth and how that bench can tie Doc Rivers’ hands in matchups are still valid.

The issues had been masked of late. The Clippers had won their previous five games by at least 17 points. However, the only above .500 team among them was a Houston squad which that night was missing three starters including Dwight Howard. Los Angeles hadn’t been really tested during the win streak, they could just overwhelm teams with their athleticism and Chris Paul’s improved shooting.

They were tested Monday by a team that plays hard but small (allowing the Clippers to post up Griffin much of the night on his way to 45 points), a team that is going to have a hard time holding off a healthy Oklahoma City squad for a final playoff spot in the West. This is a good Suns team, a scrappy one, but not a team playing like the rest of the top seven out West.

“We didn’t play great. Our execution today…” Rivers said, his voice trailing off as he searched for a word he couldn’t quite find. “We had some things, even our guys were looking at each other. It was one of those games where we just figured out a way to win… and sometimes you just need to win the game….

“I can’t wait to watch the film, I’ll be happy and furious at the same time, because I know we can play better.”

They’ll need to. They have plenty of time to figure it out, but the Clippers still have a lot of questions to answer.