And One: Closing Time

  • Time to throw the switch, Magic. Keeping Dwight Howard to start the season in a last, probably desperate, attempt to win back his heart made sense, but this has gotten away from them. Four consecutive games of failing to break 85 points makes it so. Losing to the Hornets by 26 and the Pacers by 21 within three nights last week makes it so. Howard calling out teammates about their dedication when they know he doesn’t want to be there makes it so. Enough is enough.
  • Orlando had to try and there was no right or wrong way to handle this. The Jazz look more brilliant than ever for quickly getting away from Deron Williams when he made it clear he was not long for Utah and before the locker room could be infected with distraction. But the Lakers refused to concede defeat to Kobe Bryant, and never in the history of any man in any sport in any galaxy has a player been more absolute and more believable than Bryant blasting away, re-loading and blasting away again about how they can trade him to Pluto for all he cares. That seems to have turned out OK.
  • The fact that All-Star weekend is in Orlando in three weeks and that Howard was just voted starting center for the East should have no impact in the timing of a potential deal. All-Star is not a marketing opp for the Magic. It’s a much bigger deal for the local economy in that regard, not for the team. It will be strange and the focus of media klieg lights if he is representing another franchise there, but so what. The weekend is about sponsors and fans from around the country taking a lot of the space in Amway Center. Game day there will be the most un-Magic moment of the season, not some strained emotion if it is the return.
  • Not a huge deal to the Spurs that Davis Bertans, the No. 42 pick in 2011 acquired in a draft-night deal with the Pacers, has signed in Serbia through the end of 2014-15. Though San Antonio hopes he can be part of the bridge to the future and a lot of NBA teams rated Bertans good enough to be a first-round possibility last June, there were no plans by the four-time champions to bring him over anytime soon. That could always change with a buyout after next season or the one after that. For now, though, KK Partizan, the club that once had Vlade Divac and future Spur Zarko Paspalj, is known for good coaching and environment.
  • Chris Kaman back to the Clippers is an intriguing thought – the Hornets have put him on the block, L.A. has been searching hard for another big since the start of the season, his expiring contract wouldn’t disturb the Clippers long-term financial plans, and no transition time is required. But it’s a non-starter. New Orleans wants prospects and/or picks, and the Clips seem to mostly be out of those for some reason. And of course, the Clippers couldn’t get him back this season in a trade even if they wanted to because of CBA rules.
  • The first five picks for the Western Conference reserves are clear, with Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love locks, LaMarcus Aldridge just about in that category, and Marc Gasol and Steve Nash hard to dispute. Nash plays for an 8-13 team, which is a problem, except that he also leads the league in assists and is at 55 percent from the field and 40.4 percent behind the arc. The final two spots are the tough ones. It should be Paul Millsap and Tony Parker over Monta Ellis, Danilo Gallinari, Kyle Lowry and Dirk Nowitzki, who may get selected by coaches because the Mavericks are the defending champions and could be top three in the West at the time of the voting.
  • Watch records get ignored when East reserves are picked. The Celtics may have two representatives in what is supposed to be a gurgling season. D-Will will get some support from coaches despite the Nets losing ways, same with Detroit’s Greg Monroe to fill the ballot as backup center. The selections should go to Andre Igoudala, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh, Rajon Rondo, Paul Pierce, Roy Hibbert and Brandon Jennings over Williams, Monroe and Carmelo Anthony.
  • Recommended reading: Matt Calkins in The Columbian makes the journey of Blazers radio play-by-play man Brian Wheeler hard to read and hard to stop reading. Wheels has always been worth rooting for. Just never more than now…. Recommended reading for everyone except Jim O’Brien: Mike Wells of the Indianapolis Star on the one-year anniversary of Frank Vogel as Pacers coach is the positive review Vogel deserves. Much of it, though, is at the expense of his predecessor. O’Brien gets scorched.
  • The great thing about the most memorable of the Blake Griffin dunks is that they all punish someone. No breakaways. No getting behind the defense in the halfcourt. Power plus agility, and so posterizing that the three best are referred to by the victim’s name: The Mozgov and The Gallinari last season, The Perkins on Monday. There are even changes to the English language: Kendrick Perkins got Mozgov’d.
  • “Watched blakes dunk over and over again. Almost makes me wonder if me and him even play the same sport,” Nowitzki tweeted Tuesday. “What an athlete”
  • Too many people have it wrong, though. The Perkins was awesome and, though eerily similar, better than The Mozgov because Griffin absorbed contact from a physical center and powered straight through to the rim. But The Gallinari was the best, athleticism (speed) plus agility (unheard of spin move for a 6-10, 250-pound power forward) plus strength (taking a bump without getting knocked off stride) plus skill (ball handling) plus concussive finish with a defender in the way. The full Blake effect.



  1. DF says:

    Kendrick Perkins got Mozgov’d!


  2. Trick says:

    Just wanted to quote to this because this one made me angry. “Nash plays for an 8-13 team, which is a problem”
    — Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire are both playing for an 8-15 team. Yes that’s 8-15. Nash is carrying his team all season long. Still not an all-star for you, writer? And you don’t consider the Knicks record (which is 8-15) as a problem? C’mon.

  3. leaveacomment says:

    jazz is surprisingly brilliant this season they manage to get over 500 this season unlike last year deron still played for the jazz last season. they’re doing it now without deron. In fact they have a better record this year than nets which deron is in right now

  4. Tony says:

    Honestly Griffin’s dunk over Gallinari was a travel…

  5. Navy says:

    What do you mean the Jazz look brilliant? Their nowhere near as goood as when they had Deron Williams. Will always have poorly educated biased writers?

    • Remember? says:

      When did we forget that this is a popularity contest? The best don’t play, the most popular play.

    • fool says:

      The Jazz look brilliant because they didn’t have to go through all the bad publicity and trade demands that Denver and Orlando have been through allowing them to get the best deal possible as there was no list of teams. They traded him where they wanted to.
      Also with the way they have been this season, they are not much worse with an extremely bright future because of the trade

  6. chino says:


  7. Kaponte15 says:

    agreed, John ive never found a mistake in your post, MELO is a STARTER, besides that PAU deserve to be there, and btw who tha hell MONROE and for what team is he playin ? are the pistons on the D LEAGUE? ccomn, Anyone calling STAT on the EAST SIDE , hes over Hibbert over Monroe, JOE JHONSON AND EVEN jennings, ALL STAR GAME IS for enterteiners with good stats , not regulars role players.

  8. begood says:


  9. SenSei says:

    I think that Marcin Gortat, hope from Phoenix, should be selected to All Star Game this year. Average 15,4 points, 10,2 rebounds and NBA leader in field goal %, in weak Suns means, that he is good center! Why not select him?

  10. Neil says:

    Is it just me or does James Harden atleast deserve a mention somewhere. Monta Ellis’ numbers are slightly better but he’s on a rubbish team compared to Harden who is on the best team. The celtics had 4 players in the team one year. And Harden is pretty entertaining to watch as well.

  11. AH says:

    I definitely agree with some of these comments here. I live in Orlando and I’m getting tired of hearing about Dwight doing this or about to do that. ESPN is starting to treat Dwight like they did with Tim Tebow. I like Dwight and I don’t blame him for leaving. So I think its about that time to trade him and lets keep it moving. In terms of MIllsap, I would like to see the big man play in a all-star game. That would be nice.

  12. EJ says:

    How is Gasol better than Aldridge exactly? Last time I checked 17 and 10 is not better than 23 and 9. Not too mention the fact that Aldridge is a far more consistent player on both ends of the floor. I mean Pau is a great player but he is NOT better than Aldridge, especially not this season. And everytime I see Pau bitching and moaning about some obvious foul he just finished clearly committing I just lose a little respect for him, but that takes nothing away from his game it’s just a joke to watch. Lamarcus all the way!

  13. JoshM33 says:

    I wish they would trade Howard purely for the reaon that I don’t want to read another article saying the Magic should trade Howard. We’re bored already get it done Orlando!

  14. Joke? says:

    All star is a joke now, no defence just ego-sized people trying to score points. Boring game to watch, just stupid Kobe, Lebron, Rose, Wade, cp3 competing to get the “MVP all star medal”, big deal!

  15. NBAfan says:

    Yes Paul Millsap should definately be an All-Star.

  16. komo1981 says:

    Milsap is by far the most under valued player here he has out-performed Blake Griffin, Kevin Love and for that matter Pau Gasol, Milsap should be an All-Star no question.

  17. SteveM says:

    WHERE is Pau Gasol??? People are still getting on him for a below-par Playoffs! Wake up and realise that Millsap and Gallinari shouldn’t even be mentioned in place of Pau. He is also better than Aldridge, just sayin’ (Not to say Aldridge doesn’t deserve to get picked too!!)

    Pau is playing in the same team as two All Star starters and still averages 17 and 10… People say Bosh should be STARTING for the East with similar numbers, and the same people say Pau shouldn’t even be a reserve for the West??? If he is left out it will be a joke!!

    Westbrook, Parker, Love, Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Aldridge and Nash….. EASY!!!

  18. Tmac34 says:

    Dwight need to be traded … ASAP to end the whole feud

  19. weoi says:

    I’m sorry but did an English learner write this article?

  20. JEA from ormoc city philippines says:

    Dwight Howard to Miami.

  21. hippotastic says:

    can’t believe Ricky of the Year is not even mention here … what’s that about??

  22. Jaykwan says:

    Man, I want Luol in the All-Star game so badly. After his injury, though, there might not be any chance of it happening.

    I’d put him in over Pierce.

  23. Blah says:

    Oops, wrong blog. Lol, sorry!

  24. Blah says:

    Roy Hibbert over Greg Monroe? What is this, blasphemy? Monroe is statistically better and is really the only consistently good player on his team. Take Hibbert out, and the Pacers won’t nearly be as affected as the Pistons would be if they were to lose Monroe.

    • George says:

      Someone has to get points on a bad team…

      Take Monroe away from the Pistons? Can the Pistons get any worse than they are at the moment? lol

      The Pacers deserve an All-Star or 2 for the way that they have been playing

  25. Sosay says:

    ummm….. melo is already on the team. just sayin