Tag Archives: NBA

NBA All Stars: Who should the starters be?

The NBA All star voting concluded on Monday leaving some people with questions as to how legitimate the voting system has become in the NBA. Golden State Warriors Center Zaza Pachulia has racked up enough votes to possibly become the Western Conference stater at the 5 position. Over 21 million votes have been cast in this years voting, which is a 142% increase from last years game. The starters are determined by voting that is combined from the fans (50%), players (25%), and the media (25%). The starters for the All Star game will be chosen tonight on TNT on a special edition of NBA tip off. We pick who SHOULD start the game.

Eastern conference:

Guards:

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Kyrie Irving

Irving is averaging 23.6 points per game along with 5.6 assists. During the season, Irving has put Lebron in the backseat for some clutch moments including the dagger on Christmas day against Golden State. One of the best young players in the game, Irving is the best point guard in the Eastern Conference.

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Isaiah Thomas

Thomas is averaging 28.7 points per game combined with 6 assists. This season, Isaiah has put the team on his back which has garnered him the nickname “King of the Fourth”. Thomas has taken over games time and time again averaging the most points in the 4th quarter in the NBA.

Frontcourt:

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Lebron James

James is obviously a shoe in to be an all star because he is the BEST player in the league, no questions asked. James is averaging 25.6 points, 8.1 assist, and 7.8 rebounds per game. James can do anything on a basketball court, he has great court vision and superior athletic ability making him the most dangerous player in the game.

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Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Greek Freak jumped onto the scene last year with some impressive highlights, but this season he has really turned into a fantastic player. Giannis is averaging 23.7 points, 5.6 assists, and 8.7 rebounds per game. He has shown is freakish athleticism time and time again this year with highlight reel dunks. The 22 year old has a very bright future.

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Joel Embiid

Embiid is the first draft pick to somewhat look like he is going to pan out like they planned. Embiid is leading the Sixers, averaging 19.9 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. “The Process” is dominating the game down low.

Western Conference:

Guards:

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James Harden

Harden is my favorite for MVP right now. He’s taken an average Rockets team and made them one of the best teams in the league. Harden is averaging 28.9 points, 11.6 assists, and 8.3 rebounds per game. The former backup to Russell Westbrook has moved past him for best point guard in the Western Conference. Harden controls the game and limits his turnovers making everyone around him better.

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Russell Westbrook

There are really no words to explain what Russell Westbrook is doing to the league this year. Although his turnover numbers could be much better, you can’t ignore his stats, 30.6 points, 10.4 assists, and 10.6 rebounds per game. Averaging a triple double has been damn near impossible in the NBA. But if he continues down this road, it could go down as one of the best statistical season ever.

Frontcourt:

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Kevin Durant

Durant has received a lot of hate for he offseason move to the Warriors. It has not gone as well as some people imagined, but Durant’s play has been consistent as he had a 40 point outburst last night against his former team in the Oracle. On a team with a ton of scorers, Durant is still averaging 26.7 points per game on top of 4.7 assists and 8.6 rebounds.

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Kawhi Leonard

Arguably one of the most underrated players in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard has become THE guy in San Antonio. He is the complete package, an excellent defender, paired with ability to score at will. Leonard has become a top tier player in the West. His stats aren’t indicative of how important he is to the team, with 24.8 points, 3.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds per game.

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Anthony Davis

Davis is a premier player in the NBA. He is the best center in the NBA and is carrying an awful team down in New Orleans. Davis is averaging 28.8 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks per game. If you could start your franchise with one player, this guy has to be close to the top of the list because he is a fantastic talent in the NBA.

Tune in to NBA Tip off on TNT tonight to see which players receive the honor of starting in this year’s All Star game.

 

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We Should Be Worried About Derrick Rose

The life of a star professional athlete is everyone’s dream. All the money you could ever need, a city that loves you, and a legacy that will long outlast you. This storybook career only happens for a select few players, but there’s another group that we don’t often talk about.

For every legend, there’s a guy who never quite made it. Someone who tasted the success, had it all, and couldn’t seal the deal. In the NFL, we see this on all sorts of levels. Johnny Manziel never even really got to taste professional success. Vince Young had several good seasons just to end his career on a practice squad. Jay Cutler has basically been turned into Chicago’s punching bag. Granted, these guys still got rich, but the psychological toll of seeing your name in lights right in front of you just to have it stripped away in an in inglorious swipe isn’t something that should be overlooked.

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On Monday, Derrick Rose went MIA for the New York Knicks as they fell to the New Orleans Pelicans 110-96. It was a bizzare evening as media outlets and team officials did their best to track down the former league MVP, who had returned to his hometown of Chicago to attend to “a family issue regarding his mother.”

The absence came after a particularly tense period in the relationship between Rose and Knicks’ coach Jeff Hornacek. Rose, who failed to notify any teammates or team officials of his absence prior to leaving, had been benched in the fourth quater of back-to-back games. His actions were unacceptable, but the complex range of emotions beneath them are deeply concerning.

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Back in 2011, Derrick Rose had it all. He had just been named NBA MVP, he was averaging 25 PPG, and he was doing it all in his beloved hometown of Chicago. It seemed like he was destined to become one of the NBA’s next superstars. Rose started off the lockout-shortened 2011-12 season with high hopes to build off his MVP year and take the Bulls deeper into the playoffs. Beginning in January, however, Rose was forced to miss games with injury after injury, ranging from a sprained toe to back spasms. At the time, Rose told reporters, “For someone to not miss more than seven, 10 games in a year (my first three seasons), to miss 20 something, 30 something games, it hurts, man.”

Despite Rose being sidelined most of the regular season, the Bulls were able to secure the top seed in the Eastern Conference, setting up a quarterfinal series against the Philadelphia 76ers. Rose was able to get healthy before the series began, so he was ready to lead the Bulls on a playoff run. Fate wouldn’t have it that way. Midway through the game, Rose suffered an injury while landing after a jump. After an MRI, it was revealed that Rose tore his ACL. The news hit everyone around the league hard, and the fairytale career that Rose had worked so hard to obtain was falling apart around him.

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Rose would go on to miss the entire 2012-13 season, and played in 10 games the following year before tearing the meniscus in his right knee, an injury that sidelined him the rest of the season. In his final two seasons in Chicago, rose missed a combined 47 games and it was becoming apparent that Jimmy Butler was taking over as leader of the team. Before the 2016-17 season, Rose was sent off to the New York Knicks along with Joakim Noah.

Rose’s trade to the Knicks was seen by many as an opportunity for a fresh start. Rose would no longer be asked to shoulder the burdens of being an NBA superstar, but rather be a good player on, well, a bad team. From the outside, it hasn’t seemed to us like things have been going that bad for D-Rose. Sure, the Knicks suck, but he’s averaging decent numbers and he seems to get along with teammates, so what’s there to worry about? Well, the struggles between Hornacek and Rose had certainly drawn more attention to Rose’s unhappiness, but Monday’s disappearance has now made it headline news. This was no mistake. Rose wanted it that way. Why else wouldn’t he tell anybody? Did he think nobody would notice a professional athlete dipping out on game night?

More than anything, this is a cry for attention, and maybe a cry for help. He told the media he was taking care of his mother. ProBasketballTalk is reporting that he “talked about walking away from basketball.” The same source also reported that Rose will seek a max contract this summer. Derrick Rose is not in a stable place right now. Rumors are swirling all around him, often contradicting one another. After all this chaos, it’s hard to see a scenario in which he stays put happily in a Knicks uniform, but furthermore, it’s unclear if Rose has been happy since his MVP season.

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When you look back on what’s happened to Rose since that year, you realize that he’s been through the ringer. After his second severe injury, he was basically turned into a meme. He had a promising young career with his hometown team, and his own body took it away from him. He started off 2016 by saying he’d like to finish his career with the Bulls, and ended it on an unfamiliar team with a coach he’s less than enthusiastic about. Monday’s absence wasn’t just strange and quite frankly unexplained, it was a sign that the former MVP’s mind is focusing far beyond his teammates and is questioning his current place in life altogether. He didn’t skip out on the game because he was mad at Hornacek. Rather, the feud forced him to look in the mirror to question if he was truly happy where he was, and the only place he felt he could find that answer was home in Chicago where it all started.

It’s unclear where Rose goes from here, but it’s had to see this situation dissolving anytime soon. In the meantime, we should all be paying attention.

 

 

Joel Embiid Needs Your All-Star Vote… So He Can Date Rihanna

Joel Embiid has been raining in buckets so fast this season that you might need an umbrella around him. He makes fans want to stomp on the replay with his highlight reel moves. He really has been putting in some work, work, work, work, work.

Yes, Joel Embiid has shined bright like a diamond so far this season, and his play has garnered him some all-star attention. Fans account for half of the vote in this year’s contest, and Embiid is making an impressive push toward a roster spot. A selection would make Embiid the 46th rookie to achieve All-Star status, but that’s not what is on the 7-footer’s mind.

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Back in June 2014, Embiid reached out to well-known recording artist Rihanna on Twitter to confess his love and ask her on a date. It isn’t extremely clear how Rihanna responded, but we do know that she didn’t respond with a date. Poor Joel spent the next few years riding the Sixers bench while recovering from a lengthy foot injury, missing two full seasons while the 76ers sat at the bottom of the Eastern Conference.

Now, however, Embiid is bouncing back. He is currently the best player on the 76ers (some would say he runs this town), and he’s been getting some serious consideration to represent to the Eastern Conference in the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.

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Embiid’s solid start to his rookie campaign has gained him a lot of media attention, with a lot of it focusing on his chances for Rookie of the Year. This honor, however would not be enough for his quest.

“Rookie of the year would be great, but I don’t think it’s going to help me get to my crush. Hopefully, the All-Star Game I’ll get to do that.”

In order to help make a push for All-Star status, Embiid has been pulling out all the stops. Last night, he turned his attention to one of our nation’s more gullible audiences- Trump supporters.

Embiid, who might be the most social-media savvy athlete in Philly sports history, threw up a tweet that seemingly shows Donald Trump’s endorsement for his All-Star bid:

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This isn’t the first time a run-of-the-mill NBA player has tried going after Rihanna. Back in 2015, Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes (then with the Memphis Grizzlies) made Rihanna his #WCW on Instagram and told reporters their relationship was “just past the crush stage.” Embiid seems to be playing the underdog role off a lot better than Barnes, who just kind of creepily lied about dating her.

It would definitely be the biggest upset of the year if Embiid gets enough votes to earn a spot in the All-Star game and go on a date with Rihanna. If anyone thought 2016 was a strange year, 2017 could be off to a hot start very soon if Embiid can turn his fantasy into reality.

 

 

George Karl, Eat a Snickers. You Get A Little Angry When You’re Hungry.

George Karl doesn’t seem to be feeling the holiday spirit this year.

We often hear people talk about how professional athletes need to think before they press “send”. George Karl needed to think before he wrote an entire book.

In his new memoir, Furious George: My Forty Years Surviving NBA Divas, Clueless GMs and Poor Shot Selection, Karl calls out just about everyone and everything he’s encountered throughout his lengthy career. Among other things, Karl criticizes former players, officiating, and the prospect of the league favoring certain teams over others.

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George Karl has never been the type to sugarcoat how he feels. His struggles to connect with players in the locker room have been documented for years, and they came to a head last season when he was driven out of Sacramento by DeMarcus Cousins. That’s not to say this made Karl a bad coach, but he seems to be misguided on where exactly the “diva” trait was coming from throughout his coaching career. George Karl is the epitome of a “diva” coach. He’s Gregg Popovich without the people skills. He won a lot of games, but he also burned a lot of bridges and if we’re being honest, there’s a reason why he never won an NBA title in his 40 years of coaching.

Furious George is an accurate nickname for Karl, but it isn’t one he should be proud of. Anger is a good trait in an NBA coach in certain dosages. Hate is not. Karl’s fury seems to stem more from the latter. More so, Karl fails to acknowledge his own potential shortcomings and instead concludes that those around him were insufficient because of theirs. For example, he chalks up Kenyon Martin and Carmelo Anthony’s behavior as a byproduct of “all that money and no father to show them how to act like a man.” Karl couldn’t be more out of touch with that statement.

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First of all, as an NBA head coach, shouldn’t you be at least attempting to fill that role to a degree? A common thread between all great coaches is that they can yell your ear off on the court but somehow manage to treat you like family off it. That doesn’t always mean love, and in Karl’s case, tough love could have worked just fine. Instead, he uses his players’ tough upbringings as a scapegoat for his own failure to connect with them on a personal level. It’s eerily similar to the problems Chip Kelly had relating to his players in Philadelphia. The coach thinks they are the mastermind, and they adopt a “my way or the highway” philosophy. That might work in college, but not in the pros. It especially doesn’t work when you’re too ignorant to properly connect with your players.

Perhaps even more concerning than Karl’s assessment of his former players is his comments about officiating and NBA conspiracies. For starters, Karl says that he believes PEDs are running rampant through the league.

“I’m talking about performance-enhancing drugs–like steroids, human growth hormone, and so on. It’s obvious some of our players are doping. How are some guys getting older–yet thinner and fitter?” Karl said. “How are they recovering from injuries so fast? Why the hell are they going to Germany in the off-season? I doubt it’s for the sauerkraut.”

This wouldn’t be such a big deal if it were coming from an anonymous source, but this is one of the winningest coaches in NBA history claiming that players are going to Europe in the offseason to take performance enhancing drugs. Karl needs to understand that you can’t just wave around accusations like this when you’re in the position he is. Not only does he fail to mention any names, he doesn’t provide us with any sort of credible sources that this is happening.

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In addition to his PED theory, Karl also says that he is suspicious of the league rigging the outcome of games. In an interview for New York Magazine, Karl says “the NBA is a multi-billion-dollar business and has a financial interest in certain teams and players doing well. Do I know the league tries anything funny? No. But things are suspicious.” This kind of reckless accusation swinging is dangerous these days. Now, it becomes a story. People talk about it.

Much of Karl’s book is just him throwing rocks at the rumor mill, churning up old conspiracy theories and giving them new life. That’s what happens when someone who has been in the league for 40 years says these kinds of things. Even a simple accusation has huge implications, and Karl is pouring gas on the fire. Karl might be a good man, but his book is built off of wild accusations, baseless criticism and bridge burning. At the end of his interview with New York Magazine, Karl is asked who he believes is the most overrated player in the league. In response, he said “I’m not going there. I would still like to coach again.” Well George, I’m afraid that is something you should’ve thought about before ripping apart the entire league. Hindsight is 20/20, huh?

Fan Interference NBA First Quarter Awards

The NBA season is just a little over a quarter of the way through, and even though it isn’t much of a sample size, we’ve seen some great performances. Russell Westbrook has been a one-man wrecking crew, the Warriors are beginning to settle in nicely, and the Cavaliers are atop the Eastern Conference. This is pretty much how we would’ve drawn it up at the beginning of the season, but that’s not to say there haven’t been a few surprises. I highly doubt any of these recipients would be pumped to hear they’ve won a quarter season award, but we’re gonna give it to them anyway. So, don’t get too excited yet, but here’s our 2016 NBA First Quarter Awards.

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MVP: Russell Westbrook

As of tonight, Westbrook is the uncontested NBA MVP. If the MVP truly stands for “most valuable player,” there should be no argument. If you pull him from the Thunder, they are tanking for the number one pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. Westbrook is leading the league in scoring, and he’s averaging 30.9 PPG. These numbers are historic, and the only thing stopping me from bowing down and worshipping his game is the fact that we’re only a quarter of the way through. If he is somehow able to keep this up all season, we’re talking about one of the greatest single seasons in NBA history. Plus, the old guys who vote for this stuff will love that he didn’t ditch OKC and that he’s doing it on his own.

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Hottest Game

It all started off as a normal game against the Indiana Pacers for Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors. Klay was hot right out of the gate, pouring in 40 points before halftime. This wasn’t anything ridiculously out of the ordinary, but it was already one of the best night of Thompson’s career. He followed it up by sliding in another 20 in the third quarter, before sitting the entire fourth quarter with a whopping 60 points. Of course, this led everyone to wonder what might’ve happened if Klay actually played the fourth quarter, but regardless, it stands alone as the best game anyone has played this season.

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Hottest Quarter

C’mon. This is the NBA First Quarter Awards, so we’d be sorely mistaken if we didn’t give an award for something that somebody did in the first quarter.  In this case, that man is Kevin Love. If you could combine Love’s 34 first quarter points (yes, you read that right) vs. the Portland Trail Blazers with Klay Thompson’s three quarters of excellence, you’d have yourself a 94 point game. Not too shabby, considering the 76ers can’t even do that as an entire team on most nights.

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Rookie of the Year

Joel Embiid

As of now, Joel Embiid has already established himself as perhaps the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers. He is a beast defensively, drives to the basket with ease, and has one of the funniest Instagram accounts in the NBA (not that this makes him any more qualified to be rookie of the year, but you should definitely check it out). Perhaps the craziest thing about Embiid’s 17.5 PPG, 7.3 RPG and 2.5 BLK is that he’s doing it all on a minutes restriction. Hopefully for the Sixers, Embiid can stay healthy. If they are to have any future of success, the big man certainly looks to be a focal point of it.

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Comeback Player of the Year

Anthony Davis

I know what you’re going to say. How can Anthony Davis get comeback player of the year when he averaged 24.3 PPG last season? Well, Davis missed a large chunk of last season because he needed surgery on his left knee, and he’s missed at least fourteen games in each of his first four seasons. If Davis is somehow able to keep up at his torrent pace of 29.6 PPG and stay healthy, he would be fully deserving of the award.

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When it comes to other awards like Team of the Year, the season just hasn’t progressed enough for anyone to stand out. The Warriors are pretty much where we thought they’d be, same with the Spurs, Cavs and Raptors. Maybe we will be able to give them our prestigious awards at the midseason mark. As the season develops, some of these guys will fall off, but some of them just might win an actual award at the end of the year. For those who don’t, it’s ok. You were a winner in the Fan Interference NBA First Quarter Awards. Don’t spend it all in one place, kids.

Craig Sager Inducted Into Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame: 8 Iconic Sager Suits

It was announced last week that long-time TNT and TBS sideline reporter Craig Sager would be inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Last night, that happened. Sager has been battling terminal cancer since March 2016, so the induction will likely be a bright spot in an otherwise troubling time for the Sager family. Aside from being a constant presence in TNT’s NBA coverage, Sager is also known for his wacky suits, and we’re hoping a few of those end up in the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame as well. He may have the ugliest suits in the game, but he’s one of the best broadcasters in NBA history. In honor of Craig Sager, here’s 10 iconic images that caught our eye:

2009

I don’t know what’s more shocking, Craig’s suit or seeing Dwight Howard in an Orlando Magic jersey. If only we knew the sh*tstorm coming as Dwight would go on to play for the Lakers and Rockets before eventually settling on Atlanta, where he plays now. Still trying to figure out Craig’s suit. What material is that? Who does that? Craig Sager does that.

2012

And here, we have Craig Sager imitating a 1970s used car salesman. Actually no, this is just a normal day for him. It was a whiteout night during the 2012 Western Conference Finals, so he must’ve dug this one out of the back of his closet for the evening.

2016

In this recent picture from the 2016 All-Star Game, Sager interviews Kobe Bryant after his final appearance in the contest. It was an emotional night for both of them, but the suit makes Sager look like Cupid himself.

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And here, we have the one picture in which Craig’s suit game might have been outdone by someone else. Billy Bull, as he’s called in Chicago, seems to have taken a page directly out of the Sager playbook with a red checkered suit. If we’re being completely honest, he probably stole that from Sager’s closet while he was sleeping.
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This picture comes to us from the 2012 All-Star Weekend, otherwise known as the height of the phenomenon known as Linsanity. This is perhaps the golden age of Sager fashion, and he interviewed Jeremy Lin numerous times this season as he somehow tore up NBA defenses for a wild stretch of games.

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Ah, the 1990s. Michael Jordan was dominating the league and Sager’s suits were, well, pretty normal. No big complaints here but of course, a picture with 23 will always make the list.

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I’m gonna give the suit a solid 6/10 on this one. He went with the matching shoes, which is always nice to see. It wouldn’t be a Sager suit without a wacky tie, and he’s got that covered. Also, it’s weird seeing KD and Westbrook on the same team again. Looking back at this picture we should’ve known they’d never stay together.

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The kid stole the show in this one. Yes, the tie game isn’t too bad for Craig, but getting a picture with an NBA analyst wearing a “LeBron is a Bitch” shirt makes you a winner in my book.

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And, here, we have Craig Sager celebrating the Cubs’ World Series victory after a successful operation. We’re hoping Craig stays well long enough to get some more NBA playoff airtime, and we wish him the best.

NBA Weekend: What to Watch

This weekend, the NBA features a decent slate of games, so if you find yourself bored waiting around for a crazy NFL Sunday, check out some of these match-ups.

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There are several awesome games tonight. The Miami Heat will travel to Cleveland to face the Cavaliers, a matchup that used to be somewhat interesting, but is now just a reminder how quick things change in the NBA. In 2010, Heat vs. Cavs meant LeBron was going to be booed at Quicken Loans Arena. In 2014, LeBron returned to Miami with the Cavaliers to face Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and the Heat. Now, Wade is in Chicago, Bosh has no foreseeable NBA future, and James has been back in Cleveland for over 2 years.

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The Toronto Raptors will travel to Boston to face the Celtics, with the Celts trailing the Raptors by 1.5 games in the Atlantic Division. Al Horford missed a crucial game-winning layup earlier this week, so we’ll see if he can rebound against a division rival.

Other games of interest around the league Friday include Rockets at OKC on ESPN, followed by Suns at Lakers.

On Saturday, Miami will tip-off in Chicago, and for the second time Erik Spoelstra will coach against one of his former superstars. The Heat have certainly been placed in a tough position after losing Bosh and Wade in the offseason, and will have to retool if they hope to content in future seasons.

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The Warriors will face the Grizzlies as they look to continue their dominance of the Western Conference, and the Pelicans will travel to LA to face the Clippers on NBATV to round off the Saturday action.

On Sunday, there isn’t a ton of action, but the game that stands out the most is Celtics at Thunder. Russell Westbrook has been on a tear as of late, and the Celtics will be fresh off a home game against the Raptors.