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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Basketball

Mike Malone let All-Star team watch halftime show under one condition

Michael Malone Nuggets

Is there any wonder about why Mike Malone is considered a player-friendly coach?

Malone coached Team LeBron in Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game. His team was trailing at halftime and wanted to go watch the J. Cole concert that was going on. The Denver Nuggets head coach allowed them to under one funny condition – they play better transition defense in the second half.

The team came back and ended up winning the game.

Let this be a lesson to those in leadership positions: you make a concession to what your people want, and they will often return the favor.

Watch: Stephen Curry bounces alley-oop to Giannis in awesome highlight

Giannis Antetokounmpo

A sick highlight from Stephen Curry and Giannis Antetokounmpo stole the show in the first half of the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

During the second quarter of play at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, Curry bounced a pass to Antetokounmpo for an alley-oop. Giannis got incredible height on the dunk and threw it down with authority. The surprising nature of the pass from Curry made jaws drop and players go crazy:

Look how high he got!

That awesome alley-oop and Hamidou Diallo’s Superman-themed dunk are easily the highlights of the weekend.

Adam Silver not a fan of way Anthony Davis trade demand was handled

Adam Silver

The Anthony Davis trade demand was the talk of the NBA for a solid two-week span and even more. Though the subject matter controlled the sports news cycle and even took headlines away from the Super Bowl, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver says that’s not the kind of attention he wants.

Speaking from NBA All-Star Weekend in Charlotte, Silver addressed the Davis storyline.

“When they make a public spectacle of it,” Silver said, “I hear you in terms of the enormous media interest that comes from it. But that’s not the kind of media interest we’re looking for.

“Whether it be a team or a player not meeting a contractual obligation, that’s something you just don’t want to see as a league.”

Davis was fined for his agent making a public trade demand. Then there were reports about Davis’ preferred trade destination, with many figuring agent Rich Paul was trying to force things so he could pair Davis with his other top client, LeBron James. The New Orleans Pelicans then leaked details of the Lakers’ trade offers, seemingly as a way to toy with them.

After no trade materialized, the Pelicans were left in an awkward spot, knowing they would be losing Davis in the offseason via a trade, while being unmotivated to play him the rest of the season for fear of an injury. The league reportedly stepped in with a threat at that point.

When it comes to that, you can understand why Silver would say it’s not ideal for the league.

Rick Pitino celebrates after winning Greek Cup title

Rick Pitino

Rick Pitino has won a lot of things in basketball, and now he can add “Green Cup champion” to his resume.

The Hall of Fame basketball coach led Panathinaikos to the Greek Cup title on Sunday with a 79-73 win, and he posted a picture of his championship team on Twitter to celebrate the accomplishment.

Pitino’s team took a rather odd route to the final after a semifinal forfeit, but they certainly seem to have played well when it counted. The team features several former college standouts, including Nick Calathes, Adreian Payne, Keith Langford, and Sean Kilpatrick. Also on the team is Thanasis Antetokounmpo, older brother of Giannis.

Now 66, Pitino still wants to coach stateside, but faces a long road back after his Louisville program became caught up in an FBI probe. At least he can still find success overseas.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar thinks Anthony Davis’ team mishandled trade request

After finding himself in a similar situation some four decades ago, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has some thoughts on Anthony Davis’ request for a trade.

In a piece by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo! Sports that ran Sunday, the 71-year-old basketball great said he empathized with Davis’ decision to seek a move. Abdul-Jabbar did also however that he thought the New Orleans Pelicans star’s management team mishandled the request by going public with it.

“He’s in a small market and the team’s not doing very well, he’d like to go out and win something,” said the retired Basketball Hall of Famer. “He’s made a lot of money to this point and his needs are different and the clock is ticking, so I understand what he’s all about.

“I think his management people mishandled it,” Abdul-Jabbar continued. “When I was leaving Milwaukee, I let them know before the season started and I kept my mouth shut. Just to give them an opportunity to make the best deal they could behind closed doors.”

As he alluded to, the mid-1970s saw Abdul-Jabbar famously sought a trade from the small-market Milwaukee Bucks, where he had spent the first five seasons of his NBA career. The seven-footer was eventually dealt to the Los Angeles Lakers in 1975 and went on to win five of his six title with them.

As for Davis and his team, they have faced criticism from other retired greats for their handling of the matter, and now the saga is guaranteed to last many months more with the trade deadline past and The Brow still in New Orleans.

Report: Anthony Davis hopes to play in All-Star Game despite shoulder injury

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis was forced to leave Thursday night’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder when he suffered hurting his shoulder, but the injury may not be serious enough to keep him out of the All-Star Game.

Marc Stein of the New York Times reports that Davis plans to test his shoulder out in pregame warmups before the All-Star Game on Sunday night. If he feels good enough, he will play.

The New Orleans Pelicans probably won’t be thrilled about that. Typically players who are dealing with any type of ailment opt to rest during the All-Star break, and Davis actually left the arena when he injured his shoulder on Thursday. The Pelicans were reportedly irate about that, which was one of the reasons they ended up firing their general manager.

Davis also suffered a finger injury recently and wanted to play through it, but there were rumblings that the Pelicans tried to use that as an excuse to bench him to protect his trade value. The NBA made sure they did not do that.

If Davis needs to test his shoulder in warmups, that likely means he is less than 100 percent healthy. Some would say that makes playing in the All-Star Game a bad look.

Miles Bridges clears record on funny post about his ‘mom’

Miles Bridges dunk

Miles Bridges cleared the record regarding a funny post about his “mom” that went going viral.

Bridges was one of the participants in the AT&T Slam Dunk contest during the All-Star Game festivities on Saturday night in Charlotte. Though he recorded a 50 on his second dunk, his first attempt was a disaster.

The Hornets rookie missed all four of his attempts, leading to this funny cutaway from TNT showing a woman who was not impressed:

Folks on social media quickly picked up on the great reaction that summed up the dunk attempt, with folks figuring that was Bridges’ mother.

After he was done competing, Bridges hopped on Twitter to set things straight.

At least he was able to laugh along with the funny story.

Not making a dunk in the dunk contest is like going 0-fer in the Home Run Derby. It’s an embarrassment you can’t ever live down.