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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Basketball

Video: Steph Curry was so hyped about the All-Star Game

Steph Curry surprised meme

Steph Curry did not participate in this year’s All-Star Game because he has only played in four games this season due to a hand injury. Even though he wasn’t in Chicago for the NBA festivities, he sure was loving what he saw.

Steph’s wife Ayesha posted on her Instagram Story Sunday night to say how hyped up they were over the format for the All-Star Game.

“This game is great” she wrote in one post. In another, she said the new format was “amazing.”

And she also posted this video of Steph loving it:

Steph was missed this year. The two-time NBA MVP had made six straight All-Star Games until this year. On the other side, at least he got to have a vacation during the break unlike past years.

But this is further confirmation that the new format was widely appreciated, except for one issue.

Anthony Davis claims he missed free throw on purpose

Anthony Davis

The way Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game in Chicago ended was anticlimactic for many, but Anthony Davis says he tried to add to the drama.

Davis won the game by getting his Team LeBron to the target score of 157 points thanks to a free throw that ended the contest. However, Davis says he missed his first of two free throws on purpose to heighten the pressure.

Are you buying it?

If Davis really wanted to do fans a favor, he would have missed both free throws on purpose that way a player could have earned the win by making a final shot.

For once, we had the best players in the world all on the same floor at the same time, competing like it was a playoff game, and we would have been given the chance to see who stepped up with the game-winner. Instead, we got Davis making a free throw to end it.

The format change was a big success, except for one thing: don’t let the game end on a free throw.

New NBA All-Star Game format a huge hit until final free throw

Adam Silver

When the NBA first announced there would be a new format for the All-Star Game, the proclamation was met with some confusion; the format seemed complicated. But after seeing how things played out on Sunday, there’s no denying the format was a huge success … except for one thing: the ending.

For the first three quarters of the All-Star Game, scores reset before the start of the quarter, and the team that won each quarter won it for a charity.

Then for the start of the fourth quarter, 24 points were added to the leading team’s cumulative score, and that became the target score. From there, it was a race to that number, which turned out to be 157. The fourth quarter was untimed.

Thanks to the new format, players went hard — like really playing defense — and their competitive juices all came out in the final quarter. Rather than loafing for 45 of 48 minutes, the new format turned the game into a race thanks to the target score. The teams competed hard for the entire fourth and actually played defense.

“They did a great job with the format this year,” Kawhi Leonard said in a postgame interview with TNT’s Ernie Johnson. “They had us come out playing hard in the fourth quarter competing for total points scored.”

Leonard scored 30 points to take home the first ever Kobe Bryant Trophy as All-Star Game MVP.

The only issue was that the game was allowed to end on a free throw or made basket. Nobody wanted to see the players go so hard only to have the officials and a free throw determine the winner.

Having an untimed fourth quarter and target score was a perfect way to get the players locked in and give the fans a show. The only fix they need to make is making sure the game can’t end on a free throw. Just have players inbound the ball instead.

Report: John Beilein could step down as Cavaliers head coach

John Beilein

John Beilein’s tenure as head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers is expected to be a brief one.

The Athletic reported on Sunday night Beilein is not expected to remain as the Cavaliers’ head coach beyond this season. ESPN took that a step further, saying there have been talks about Beilein stepping down during the All-Star break.

Woj says Beilein is weighing his future and considering stepping down.

The Cavaliers are 14-40 and entered the All-Star break with the worst record in the Eastern Conference. This is Beilein’s first season as an NBA head coach after his successful stint at Michigan.

There have been talks about issues with Beilein working as an NBA coach since December. A report at the time said players did not like the way Beilein was operating the team like a college program. There was another moment when Beilein received negative publicity in January when he inadvertently called his players “thugs” instead of “slugs.”

J.B. Bickerstaff, who is currently an assistant coach with the Cavs, was mentioned as a possible replacement if Beilein were to step away. Bickerstaff has served as an interim head coach in Houston and Memphis previously.

Report: Bulls expected to hire new GM as part of front office changes

The Chicago Bulls have been a struggling franchise the past few seasons, and they are expected to make some changes to their front office.

NBC Sports Chicago’s KC Johnson reported on Sunday that the Bulls are looking to make an addition to their front office. According to Johnson, the person who is hired would “take on the day-to-day operations and become a fresh voice and face of the franchise.”

John Paxson is currently the Vice President of Basketball Operations for the Bulls. Gar Forman is the general manager, but the Chicago Sun-Times’ Joe Cowley says Forman’s status is in question.

Cowley reports that franchise consultant Doug Collins has been saying the team needs a change. Collins reportedly was critical of Forman’s hiring of Fred Hoiberg as the team’s head coach prior to the 2015-16 season.

Forman reportedly would likely be reassigned to a scouting position if a new GM is hired.

The Bulls are 19-36 this season and have not had a winning record since 2015-16.

Video: Common’s All-Star Game introductions and Chicago tribute were fantastic

Common All-Star Game

The intros prior to Sunday night’s NBA All-Star Game in Chicago ran very very long, but included an incredible performance by rapper Common.

Common paid homage to the basketball history of Chicago with references and stories about many of the famous players from the city. He also paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant.

As if that performance weren’t brilliant enough, Common then managed to rhyme every player’s name in player introductions. Here’s the video:

That was a masterful job by Common. Let’s hope someone gave him a water bottle and towel to cool off after that.

Charles Barkley takes funny shot at Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley is having some fun with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid at the NBA All-Star Game.

The relationship between Simmons and Embiid has been scrutinized this season, with growing questions over whether the pair are a good long-term fit together. Barkley leaned into that on TNT’s All-Star pregame show when the two players, playing for separate teams in Sunday night’s game, were shown on screen together. Barkley joked that the two players operating against each other is nothing new.

Barkley hasn’t been shy in talking about these two before. Between Simmons’ hesitance to shoot jumpers and questions about Embiid’s health, the dynamic duo hasn’t quite turned out how the Sixers probably hoped it would. The questions about whether they’re a fit will continue, especially given some recent public comments. For now, though, Barkley is entitled to have his fun.