VIDEO: All the highlights from All-Star Friday Night
NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Redick ready to rack it — J.J. Redick is one competitive cuss, which is why he took so seriously his failure to advance in last year’s Foot Locker Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday and why he ramped up his preparation this time around. Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News looked at Redick’s determination to win or at least push deeper into the shootout this time around:
The rack will just represent the mechanism that holds the basketballs J.J. Redick will shoot. The money balls will just represent the extra points the Clippers’ guard hopes to accumulate.
But when Redick participates in the NBA’s 3-point contest as part of All-Star festivities on Saturday at Air Canada Centre, the rack and moneyballs will also represent something else.
It will mark the key part of Redick’s preparation in hopes to rectify last season’s finish, in which he did not advance out of the contest’s first round.
So, Redick completed shooting workouts on Thursday and Friday that included using racks and moneyballs in his routine.
Redick sounded optimistic that could help him win, which would prompt him to celebrate Saturday evening enjoying a bottle of Pinot Noir.
“Last year I grabbed the balls from the wrong side, so I feel like I’m already ahead of where I was last year,” Redick said. “I’ll try to maintain somewhat of a routine that I would have if I was playing a game.”
When Redick plays in a game, that usually means one thing: He will make outside shots with deadly accuracy. Redick has averaged a career-high 47.6 percent clip from 3-point range to help the Clippers (35-18) go 18-5 without Blake Griffin, who has an injured quadriceps and broken right hand, the latter ailment happening after punching team assistant equipment manager Matias Testi at a local restaurant here.
But Redick could not stop Golden State’s Stephen Curry from winning last season’s contest for reasons beyond Curry seemingly making every shot he takes.
Redick did not advance out of the first round amid two startling developments: A few of Redick’s shots did not count since he could not keep his feet behind the 3-point line.
“I shot a lot of long twos last year,” Redick joked.
Redick also struggled transitioning from catch-and-shoot opportunities toward hoisting 3-pointers after grabbing the ball from the rack.
“I didn’t really have an issue with the timing last year, it was more the rhythm,” Redick said. “Depending on which side of the rack you grab the ball from, your footwork is a little different.
“Not that shooting 3s off a rack is an exact science or anything. Ultimately the ball just needs to go through the net.”
And they need to go into the net more than Curry, Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Houston’s James Harden, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Portland’s CJ McCollum will also be in the contest
Redick predicted Curry and Thompson will “shoot the ball really well and be relaxed.” Redick also considered Booker a “darkhorse.”
No. 2: Trade season takes no All-Star break — Just because the NBA’s regular season gets put on hold each year over the longer-than-ever All-Star break, that doesn’t stop league business for chugging along. And with the annual February trade deadline fast approaching – it’s Thursday, before the schedule actually resumes for anyone that evening – rumors and speculation were flying in Toronto, including an alleged three-team, multiple-star blockbuster if it were to come to fruition. Always keep your eye on the big “if,” of course, but this one between Cleveland, New York and Boston was reported by Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions with the Knicks about expanding the deal to include [Carmelo] Anthony, who would have to waive his no trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.
The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.
Those talks have not progressed. Plus Anthony reiterated on Friday that he has no plans to seek a trade. However, when asked if he’s thought about his future with a losing organization, Anthony gave a cryptic answer.
“Not yet. I’m pretty sure I’ll have that conversation with myself and my family and my team,” he said. “But it’s not a conversation for right now.”
The NBA trading deadline is Thursday and Knicks president Phil Jackson is exploring ways to upgrade the 23-32 Knicks and get them back in the playoff race. Trading Anthony would signal a complete rebuild centered around 20-year-old Kristaps Porzingis.
On Friday, Anthony bemoaned not having a proven star as a teammate and revealed that he’s had talks with fellow All-Stars about joining forces.
“I think everybody kind of dreams and hopes that they can play with another great player, another star player. It’s a star player’s league,” Anthony said. “I think that’s what we talk about when we all get together — ‘I want to play with you, I want to play with you.’ Even here different guys say, ‘Come play with me, come play with me.’ So that’s always the mindset. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it don’t. But I think everybody that’s in my situation, that’s in my position, they all want the load off especially the older they get. Because you realize you just can’t do it all by yourself. Everybody knows that.”
The Cavaliers are in first place in the Eastern Conference and the odds-on favorites to return to the NBA Finals for a second straight year. The Cavs and LeBron James, however, are not convinced they have enough to beat the top teams in the West, in particular Golden State and San Antonio.
The Cavs are 1-3 against those clubs with the one win coming against San Antonio one week after Tyronn Lue replaced David Blatt as coach. Anthony would give Cleveland a proven scorer to join LeBron and Kyrie Irving.
For every trade rumor that pops up, there usually is one or more reports poking holes in the scenario. Some in response to this Cavaliers-Knicks-Celtics scenario popped up on Twitter:
No. 3: Warriors open to chasing 73 — It has become de rigueur these days for NBA coaches and teams to seek the path of least resistance to a championship run, with special attention paid to rest and limited exposures to injuries and physical or mental fatigue. But the Golden State Warriors remain refreshing that way – they didn’t shy away from the winning streak with which they began the season, chasing after the old 1971-72 Lakers’ 33-game mark with enthusiasm. And from their remarks during interviews Friday at All-Star Weekend, including Marc Stein‘s report for ESPN radio, it’s clear they’ll tackle the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ all-time record (72-10) the same way if they get close:
The Golden State Warriors need a 25-5 finish after the All-Star Game to break the NBA’s all-time single-season record of 72 wins. And at least one Warrior says they will indeed be going for it.
“Oh, we will,” Warriors guard Klay Thompson told ESPN Radio on Friday.
In an interview that will air in full on Saturday night’s “Meet The All-Stars” show on ESPN Radio at 5:30 p.m., Thompson acknowledged that the Warriors, who are 48-4, will likely rest some of their players as the season winds down.
“We’ll probably rest guys down the stretch,” Thompson said. “But we’re so deep of a team that we should have a chance to win every night.
“Just to be in the conversation of ‘You guys can do it’ is crazy. It’s great. I would have never imagined this. Growing up, I always thought that record was untouchable. Obviously we’re playing for more than just 73 wins — we’re playing for a championship — but if it’s right there for us, we might as well try and take it.”
Both Thompson and teammate Draymond Green, however, made it clear that even surpassing the Chicago Bulls’ record 72 wins from the 1995-96 season would feel somewhat hollow if the Warriors don’t also repeat as NBA champions.
“It wouldn’t matter,” Green told ESPN Radio. “I don’t think anyone will care. It’ll be talked about initially, like, ‘Oh, they broke the record.’ But it’ll fade away so quick.
“I think it’s one of those things where obviously we don’t talk about it at all. It’ll come up every now and then, but it’s more so, ‘Man, could you imagine if that happened?’ But it’s never like, ‘Hey, let’s focus on getting 72.’ Our focus is always to get better each and every time we step on the floor. And I think if we do that, we get to 72. But if we win 72 or 73 games or 74 and we don’t win a championship, nobody will ever care about the 70-whatever wins in the regular season. Everybody cares about the Bulls because they won a championship while winning 72. So it’s more important to win the championship than winning 72 games.”
Said Thompson: “73 wins doesn’t mean a thing without the ring.”
Golden State’s ringleader, Steph Curry, also chimed in on the topic:
“There’s not many opportunities that you probably have to go after that record,” Curry said Friday to CNN’s Andy Scholes. “Obviously, going to win a championship, that’s the main goal. But there’s a reason that we’re still talking about that ’95-’96 Bulls team that was able to accomplish the 72-and-10 record. They were on a mission that year and ended up winning the championship as well. So that’s kind of where we want to be.
“But when you have a shot at history and being the best regular-season team in the history of the NBA, I think you’ve got to go for it.”
And at least one very-interested rival, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, spoke about how avidly he’ll be tracking the Warriors’ progress. Which apparently is nothing new:
“I’ve spent more time thinking about Golden State than I have any other team I’ve ever thought about in my whole career,” Popovich told ESPN Radio on Friday. “Because they are really fun. I’d go buy a ticket and go watch them play. And when I see them move the ball, I get very envious. When I see them shoot uncontested shots more than anybody else in the league, it’s inspiring. It’s just great basketball.
“So I’m actually enjoying them very much. You try to solve them, but they’re in a sense unsolvable because it’s a particular mix of talent that they have. It’s not just that Steph [Curry] can make shots or that Klay can make shots or that Draymond Green is versatile. Everybody on the court can pass, catch and shoot. And they all get it. They’re for real.”
No. 4: Shaw might be next ex-Laker on Knicks bench — Brian Shaw‘s reputation as a basketball mind and solid approach to dealing with today’s players didn’t spare him from being fired during the 2014-15 season by the Denver Nuggets. But Shaw remains a legitimate candidate for vacancies that invariably crop up and the one that will get filled in New York by Knicks boss Phil Jackson will be no different. Marc Berman of the New York Post kicked around the idea of Shaw taking over for interim coach Kurt Rambis, who has taken over for fired Derek Fisher:
Brian Shaw didn’t run the triangle offense in Denver, but he hasn’t forgotten any of it.
Shaw is expected to be a Knicks head-coaching candidate in the offseason if Phil Jackson doesn’t retain interim coach Kurt Rambis. Fired by Denver midway through last season, Shaw, a former Lakers player and assistant coach, was at All-Star weekend, helping the NBA with skills competitions for fans.
“I was 12 years involved in it as a player and coach,’’ Shaw told The Post. “The funny thing about it is everybody makes a big deal about the triangle. Almost every team in the league runs different aspects. They’re not dedicated solely to the triangle. It’s something that will always be ingrained in me — the fundamentals of that offense. In Denver, I didn’t run the triangle. I could adapt to any style the personnel dictates.’’
Shaw said he speaks to Jackson periodically, last talking to him about five weeks ago.
Shaw became the scapegoat of a daffy situation in Denver marred by player unrest and a serious injury to Danilo Gallinari.
“It was a situation I don’t really feel I was able to succeed in,’’ Shaw said. “I don’t think anyone placed in that situation could’ve succeeded. I hope I’m not judged on the year-and-a-half I was there more so than the 27 years prior to that I’ve been involved in the NBA.’’
Shaw said he’s hoping to dive into interviews, but didn’t want to talk specifically about the Knicks’ job until it’s open. He did praise Kristaps Porzingis and said he feels Carmelo Anthony is running the offense better this season than last.
“I have to wait until this season is over and see what opens up,” Shaw said. “If the right situation presents itself, definitely. I think I’d be more careful what I jumped into.’’
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: One moment Chris Bosh was talking like a healthy and happy All-Star Weekend featured player, the next he was a surprising scratch, his spots to be filled by Atlanta’s Al Horford (in Sunday’s game) and Portland’s C.J. McCollum (in the 3-point contest). … With everyone talking about Kevin Durant potentially leaving Oklahoma City, it’s a little surprising Durant hasn’t made his intentions known to Thunder management, just in case GM Sam Presti were to consider a pre-emptive strike by the trade deadline. … The firing of Derek Fisher hit New York rookie forward Kristaps Porzingis a little hard. … If it were up to the L.A. Clippers, point guard Chris Paul would be lying flat on his back this weekend, probably in a protective plastic bubble. … ICYMI, the Indiana Pacers had a closed-door meeting to address their pre-break tailspin and it was said to have been led by Monta Ellis. … Jimmy Butler is as hobbled these days as his Chicago Bulls’ championship dreams, but that didn’t stop the sidelined All-Star wing (who came to Toronto anyway) from talking about a bunch of topics. …