NBA All-Star balloting officially opens online. And on twitter. And Instagram. And…


Let the unfortunate overlooking of Kyle Lowry begin.

Today fans can start voting for the NBA All-Star Game starters. As always, fan votes from around the globe determine the five starters for each team, then coach’s votes round out the roster. (Hopefully they don’t ignore Lowry.)

What has changed this year is the ballot will have the name of every NBA player on it. In past years a select media panel would have to pick names that fans could choose from and while there were 120 players on the ballot (60 from each conference) there were always complaints about No. 61 getting left off after a fast start to the season. No more. Fans can vote for anyone they want, so if you think Quincy Acy deserves a vote you can do it.

There are a lot of ways to vote:

• There is the online ballot at
• You can vote for on twitter, just in your tweet (or retweet) make sure to put the player’s first and last names, as well as the hashtag #NBABallot.
• You can vote on Facebook by just making a post on your personal account, again just make sure to include the player’s first and last names as well as the hashtag #NBABallot.
• Fans can vote on Instagram by posting an original photo, using #NBABallot and the player’s first and last name in the caption.
• Or you can just text in your vote. Simply text the player’s last name to 6-9-6-2-2 (“MYNBA”).
• Finally you can vote through the NBA Game Time app on your phone.

You can vote from now through Jan. 19. Officially the starters will be announced live on TNT on Thursday, Jan. 22, although frankly we’ll have a pretty good idea who they will be before then.

The All-Star Game and weekend of activities comes to New York this year. The Rising Stars Challenge on Friday, Feb. 13 and All-Star Saturday Night events — including the dunk contest — on Saturday, Feb. 14 will both take place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The NBA All-Star Game will take place Sunday, Feb. 15 at Madison Square Garden.

Carmelo Anthony has history of not getting along with younger teammates


Carmelo Anthony reportedly threatened to beat up Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Knicks teammates chalked that up to the heat of the battle, and each insisted he respected the other. That may well be true.

But if there’s a real discord between Melo and Hardaway, it wouldn’t be the first time the star has had an issue with a younger teammate.

Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal:

Last year, it was Iman Shumpert who got frustrated with Anthony following a lazy defensive effort that resulted in a four-point play against New Orleans. Landry Fields openly acknowledged shrinking as a player following Anthony’s trade to New York, presumably because he never developed a comfort level with him. And last year, according to a person familiar with the matter, Anthony grew highly agitated with former Knick Jeremy Tyler during a practice in which Tyler apparently trash-talked him.

Melo, as the team’s star player, hasn’t necessarily violated decorum here. It’s on Hardaway, Shumpert, Fields and Tyler to appease him – not the other way around. It’s a wonder Tyler lasted as long he did in New York if he bothered Melo.

But if Melo wants to be a leader for the Knicks, he must be more mindful of how he comes across.

Take Fields. Nothing in Fields’ play since has suggested he deserved to maintain a large role once Melo arrive in New York. Running the offense through Melo at the expense of Fields was absolutely a justifiable decision. But that doesn’t mean Fields had to like it, and it’d be understandable if he resented Melo because of it – especially if they didn’t share a close bond.

In the same vein, Melo and Hardaway arguing during a game doesn’t mean much in itself . Older players sometimes chastise their younger teammates in good environments, too. But someone obviously felt that situation was evidence of a bigger problem and fed the story to Chris Broussard.

And that’s where Melo has to be better, especially with the Knicks losing.

Losing intensifies problems, and it puts everyone on edge. Even if Melo and Hardaway have a good relationship, the disappointment of this season makes either more likely to spite the other – or for teammates to believe that. That’s just how it goes.

If the Knicks were winning, Melo’s minor problems with younger teammates wouldn’t ever be brought up. But once the team struggles, people look for explanations, and this seems to be one.

So, Melo can continue to operate as he does, and it’d be OK. But if he wants to make a difference in New York, he has to work to change – whether it’s fair or unfair – the perception about him.

PBT’s Tuesday Night NBA Winners/Losers: Kobe, LeBron go off on night of the living legends


Every night the NBA can be a cold hard reality — there are winners, there are losers. It’s the nature of the game. We know you are busy and can’t keep up with every game, so we’re here to bring you the best and worst of the NBA each week night. Here’s what you missed while reading Grantland’s Boogie Nights oral history

source:  LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the second time in a week, the Cavaliers knocked off the East leading Toronto Raptors (who miss DeMar DeRozan, especially at the end of games). What made this impressive was it was a fourth-quarter comeback on the second night of a back-to-back against a Raptors team that had won 39 straight when leading after three. But two things happened. One, Cleveland played more focused defense and held the Raptors to 13 points in the final frame (the Raptors helped out in that quarter). Second, this was one of those games LeBron James wins one for his team — he had 35 points overall, a team best 10 in the fourth quarter and he hit a key three late. He looked every bit the best player on the planet and as good as Kyle Lowry was (he saves his best games for facing Kyrie Irving) it was not going to be enough.

source:  Kobe Bryant. He scored 32 on the Kings, nine of those in the fourth quarter plus he had three key assists in the final frame as the Lakers used a late 9-3 run to come from behind and beat the Cousins-less Kings. Take that Magic Johnson. If the Lakers win it’s because Kobe is putting up numbers and his 32 Tuesday leave him just 31 back of Michael Jordan on the all time scoring list (he could pass MJ on Friday against the Spurs, but my guess is it’s not going to happen with Kawhi Leonard draped all over him).

source:  Memphis Grizzlies offense. While nobody was looking the Grizzlies have developed into a top five offense — they are scoring 107.4 points per 100 possessions this season, tied with the Golden State Warriors. Did not see that coming and the question is can they sustain it against good teams — they did Tuesday scoring 114 points (a 125.6 offensive rating per 100 possessions) on Dallas Tuesday. They did it by just overpowering Dallas inside — Marc Gasol had 30 points, while as a team the Grizzlies got 42 of their 85 shots (49.4 percent) within eight feet of the rim. That pounding inside also led to the Grizzlies getting to the free throw line 29 times (hitting 25). Combine that with hitting 7-of-14 from three (Mike Conley and Tayshaun Prince combined to be 4-of-7 from three) and you have a team that is hard to stop. And when things go right, Tony Allen will dance.

source:  Dallas Mavericks’ defense. They are 0-5 against the other members of the top eight in the West so far and the reason is their defense can be overpowered inside. Even with Tyson Chandler. On the season the Mavericks are giving up 105.2 points per 100 possessions, which is 22nd in the league. That’s got to improve if they plan to make any real noise in the brutal Western Conference.

source:  LaMarcus Aldridge. Fittingly doing it with a step-back three, Tuesday night Aldridge passed Terry Porter to move into second place on the all time Trail Blazers points list with 11,333. Aldridge had 23 points and 11 rebounds on the night as the Trail Blazers didn’t blow away but did handle the Pistons and win 98-86 on the road. Oh, you want to know who leads the Trail Blazers’ scoring list? Clyde “the glide” Drexler with 18.040.

source:  Chris Bosh. Miami snapped a four-game losing streak against a potential Western Conference playoff team (Phoenix is currently the eight seed). That’s a good night. And it was all Bosh who had 34 points on the night. Bosh was 7-of-8 shooting inside eight feet of the rim but he did more damage on the perimeter (he was 4-of-6 from three). While there are a lot of questions about Miami — you had to know the post-LeBron transition was going to be difficult — Bosh isn’t one of them. He’s been fantastic this season.

Sixers’ K.J. McDaniels blocked a ball into crowd so hard he gave fan a concussion


There are few reasons to subject yourself to a Philadelphia 76ers game this season. It’s ugly basketball. They play fast but in the way a four-year-old runs fast — out of control and doomed to fall hard. There is talent to develop, but sorting the wheat from the chaff is not a simple job for Brett Brown. He has to find the pieces the Sixers could use going forward.

K.J. McDaniels is one of them.

Coming into the league there were questions about his offense, but he has proven to be a much better shooter than expected. What people thought when he was drafted at No. 32 is he could be an energy guy, one who can defend and maybe block a few shots.

Oh, he can block shots. He may be just 6’6” but he has quickly established himself as a threatening shot blocker in the paint. To the point he gave a lady at a game a concussion, McDaniels told our old friend Rob Mahoney of Sports Illustrated.

“I used to watch a lot of [Dwyane] Wade and LeBron [James] when they came into the league,” McDaniels said. “I used to watch Michael Jordan a lot, too – the way they were versatile in how they defend multiple positions and use their athleticism to block shots. I just figured since I’m athletic and I can jump and have good instincts, I can go up there and get shots as well.”

That particular skill has translated brilliantly to the NBA level, where McDaniels succeeds the aforementioned Wade and James as one of the most awesome and surprising help-side shot blockers in the league. The jewel of his rejection résumé might just be the play of the season to date: A complete demolition of a Greivis Vasquez runner, rocketed into the stands at such a violent velocity as to cause actual injury.

“I surprised myself,” McDaniels said of the block. “There was a lady who got hit by the ball who got a concussion, I believe.” McDaniels, upon hearing what happened, sent flowers.

Here’s the play in question, but we don’t see the lady getting hit.

This is from the “I don’t care if the story is actually true” file, I want it to be. I want it to be part of the McDaniels’ legend. So I will believe it like some people are convinced Bigfoot walks the Pacific Northwest. Or they believe in the chupacabra.

The Sixers have found something in McDaniels. Now they just have to keep him (he will be a restricted free agent at the end of the season, and he will have suitors).

Raptors to host “Drake Night” on Dec. 17. There are special shirts and everything.


You may think Mr. “last name ever, first name greatest” (gosh, now I want a Sprite) is an overblown, overhyped piece of… but they love him in his native Toronto. Which means when the 2016 All-Star Game goes to Toronto it’s going to be all Drake all the time.

But before then, Drake Night is coming to a Raptors game. As said on the OVO blog (via
SLAM) “All ticket holders will receive a limited edition OVO x RAPTORS T-shirt upon entry of the Air Canada Centre” for that game.

That night the Brooklyn Nets come to Toronto and the game will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Raptors are a feel-good story this season. They are 16-5 and on top of the East, with the second best offense in the NBA behind Kyle Lowry and, when healthy, DeMar DeRozan. They have one of the top home court advantages in the NBA (them or OKC gets the crown). Their GM isn’t afraid to say what he is really thinking. This is a team you can get behind.

I hope too much Drake doesn’t ruin that.