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Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:53 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 3:06 pm
 

A clip from KD's movie 'Thunderstruck'

Posted by Royce Young



ORLANDO — It's definitely going to win any awards and it's probably not going to be scoring high on Rotten Tomatoes. It might not even be going to theaters, but Kevin Durant made a movie and there was a promotional press conference for it Friday in Orlando.

Durant was there with his two co-stars Tristan May and Taylor Gray as well as with a producer and the director. He answered some questions about it and when the clip rolled, he looked a little uncomfortable watching himself. Because originally, Durant didn't want to do the movie. It wasn't him, he said.

"When they first came to me with it, I was like 'No, I'm not going to do it,'" Durant said. "But after a while I wanted people to see a different side of me other than just playing basketball. And I'm glad I did. I had a lot of fun and stepped out of my comfort zone."  

The synopsis for the movie, which is definitely aimed for kids, is  "fun and energetic family basketball movie" starring Durant, as himself, playing a "basketball star who switches talent with a klutzy 16-year-old fan. When Brian, a hopelessly uncoordinated young fan, magically switches basketball  skills  with his hero, Kevin Durant, he becomes the star of his high  school team ... while Kevin Durant suddenly can’t make a shot to save his life. But with the playoffs approaching, Brian learns that being a true winner  involves working hard at your own game, and he tries to make things right in time to prevent a catastrophic end to his hero’s season."

Sounds awesome, huh? So why did Durant decide to do it?  Other than just doing something different (and I'm sure because of the money), he said one of his main goals was to help put OKC and the Thunder's name out there a bit more.

“That was one of my main goals when I first got to Oklahoma City," Durant said. "Whatever I do just try and represent it as much as I can. Because we are always underrated as a city and people always look down on us. So like I said, I just try and represent as much as a I can. With the film, seeing Thunder everywhere makes me feel good.”

But KD talked about the movie some, they showed a clip and they gave me a free mini basketball. So overall, score.

Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:48 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 3:03 pm
 

Dwight Howard dodges trade talk, hides behind Lin

Posted by Ben Golliver  
Magic center Dwight Howard faced a huge media crowd on All-Star Friday. (Sergio Gonzalez)

ORLANDO -- Dwight Howard did his best to dodge the trade talk, but when the questions kept coming, he took cover behind the only NBA story bigger than his future with the Orlando Magic: Linsanity.

"The situation right now is All-Star Weekend," Howard said, when asked for the latest on impending free agency and trade demand. "That's the only thing that matters right now. This is the moment -- this is All-Star Weekend. We're going to have fun and we're going to enjoy ourselves. All that stuff can go on after All-Star Weekend."

Howard drew by far the largest media crowd on All-Star Friday, with more than a dozen cameras and dozens of reporters crowded together to hear the latest updates regarding his happiness with the city, his relationship with the city's fans, and everything else. Sizing up the scene, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who dealt with the media's obsessesion with "Melodrama" during the 2011 All-Star Weekend, shook his head and shouted to Howard, "Thanks."

The questions kept coming, and, after picking Jeremy Evans to win the Slam Dunk Contest and teammate Ryan Anderson to win the Three-Point Contest, Howard didn't wait very long to pull out his ace card.

"Right now, my focus is on having a great time and being a great host with all these great players around us. This is Jeremy Lin's first All-Star. I'm going to make sure I get with him and have some fun with Jeremy Lin."

The tactic worked fairly well, as the floodgate of Lin inquiries opened wide. The NBA's reigning Defensive Player of the Year said that he's been impressed with the play of the Knicks' sensational guard, but made it clear he is relishing the opportunity to bring him back down to Eath.

"I think it's one of the best stories... It's crazy," Howard said. "He's all over the place. Every time you turn on the TV it's something about Lin, which is great. I'm happy for him. He's been playing great basketball. The Knicks are winning so a lot of people are happy. He hasn't went up against the Great Wall of Orlando yet. We'll see what happens then."

Despite Howard's best efforts, the questions kept popping back up, although the scene was more conversational than confrontational as Howard played the "host" card, talked up the Magic's playoff chances, and complimented Magic fans many times. Howard said the Magic have "an opportunity just like every other team in the NBA to win a championship" and pointed out that Orlando has the NBA's fifth best record. 

"I don't care about none of the other stuff that's being said," Howard repeated. "We're going to have fun this weekend. We're going to show everybody our city. All the other stuff can wait."

Asked again about his contract situation, Howard put down his fist. "We're not going to talk about it."

Howard appeared relaxed, but tired, and said he was operating on three hours of sleep. He noted that he's hosting parties in Orlando all weekend long and joked to one reporter that he didn't meet the appropriate height requirement to be invited and that he looked like a character from Jersey Shore.

The joking was a bit off-key and not met with the hearty laughs that the charismatic Howard often receives. Perhaps the subtext of tension between Howard and the media that has covered him like a blanket this season was trickling in. Howard made a point of mentioning that media accounts of a stressed relationship with Magic fans are not representative of his day-to-day interactions around Orlando, which he also referred to as "my city."

"A lot of the fans here are just, 'Whatever you decide to do we're behind you 100 percent.' They've been great despite what people may say or think. The fans here have always been great to me. I really appreciate it. They've shown me nothing but love since day one. I've done the same thing. The city means a lot to me."

Those comments probably make fans in Cleveland cringe, after hearing a similar refrain from LeBron James before he left to team up with fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat during the Summer of 2010. Howard didn't totally distance himself from James, who was seated nearby with less than half of the media attention that Howard received. 

"LeBron did it his way, he did what was best for him," Howard concluded. "I will do what's best for Dwight."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 2:21 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 4:01 pm
 

Kobe Bryant calls in sick to All-Star session

Kobe Bryant didn't feel like talking at All-Star availability Friday. (Getty Images)
Posted by Royce Young

ORLANDO -- The biggest horde of media during Friday's All-Star availability piled up around Kobe Bryant's table and waited. And waited. And waited.

But he didn't show. The official word from the league was that Kobe was sick. Which means that he won't be fined for missing it. Calling in sick is always the best excuse.

Still, it's an odd situation for one of the league's one or two more visible superstars to spurn the mass of reporters, both foreign and domestic. Some even waited there for the entire 30 minutes before a league spokesman finally came over and said Kobe wasn't coming.

Bryant was the top vote-getter in the West with better than 1.5 million votes. It's Kobe's 14th consecutive All-Star Game appearance, which ties him for the most all-time with Karl Malone, Jerry West and Shaquille O'Neal. So obviously he's been here and done that.

But the no-show was a bit curious. There were rumblings it might happen earlier in the week and it's up for speculation as for the reason why. Maybe he didn't want to talk about the Pau Gasol rumors. Maybe he didn't want to talk about the Laker organization potentially being a bit in disarray. Maybe he didn't want to talk about how excited he is to be here. Maybe he didn't want to answer questions about Jeremy Lin. Or maybe he was actually sick. Who knows.

Kobe does have another appearance scheduled for Friday night, a special "surprise" announcement with LeBron James, Omri Casspi, Serge Ibaka and Andrea Bargnani. We'll see if he calls in sick to that too. The only other availability for Bryant this weekend would be following Sunday's game. So by skipping the Friday time, he basically avoided pretty much the bulk of the questions he'd have to answer.

It's not the biggest deal in the world to skip out on the availability, even though he is the only player that didn't show up. All 23 of the other players were there and spent their 30 minutes talking to reporters.

Now if Kobe skips out on Sunday night, well, then that's certainly a big deal.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 12:15 pm
Edited on: February 24, 2012 2:09 pm
 

Reggie Miller leads Hall of Fame Finalists

Reggie Miller leads the 2012 Naismith Hall of Fame class of finalists. (Getty Images)
By Matt Moore 

The 2012 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame candidates were announced Friday at an event during All-Star Weekend. The candidates are as follows: 

Reggie Miller: Last year's big exclusion. Miller held the record for all-time made three-pointers until Ray Allen broke it last season. Miller should be in by a mile. Miller finished his career as a 47 percent shooter despite being a three-point expert, where he was a 40 percent career shooter. He averaged 18 points, 3 assists, and 3 rebounds during his 18-year career. 

Mo Cheeks: Played eleven years for the Sixers and is currently an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder after head coaching stints in Portland and Philadelphia. Another logical nominee, Cheeks was a four-time All-Star, a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team member, an NBA Champion in 1983 with Philadelphia, and lead the league in field goal percentage in 1975. 

Bernard King: Four-time All-Star, four-time All-NBA, finished second in MVP voting in 1984. Averaged 23 points and six rebounds on 52 percent shooting during a fourteen-year career. 

Bill Fitch: Two-time NBA Coach of the Year, NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics in 1981. 25 years of coaching in the NBA, including 944 wins, one of the true legends in coaching circles 

Dick Motta: NBA Champion in 1971 with over 1,000 victories at various levels of play. 

Don Nelson: Nelson is also not going to have any trouble, considering he has the most wins of any coach in NBA history. A .557 winning percentage over 2,398 games across over three decades in the league? Yeah, I'd say Nellie's good to go. 

Hank Nichols: Long-time official and "rule architect." 

Rick Pitino: Well, this is an NBA blog, so we'll leave that one alone and leave it to our Eye on College Basketball brethren

Jamaal Wikes: Four-time NBA champion, three-time All-Star, two-time All-Defensive team (second team). Career averages of 16 points and six rebounds on 50 percent shooting. 

Ralph Sampson: Three-time Naismith Award and National College Player of the Year Award winner. His work at Virginia is the stuff of legend. Three-time NBA All-Star. 

Katrina McClain: Two-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time FIBA gold medalist. Two-time USA Basketball female athlete of the year. 

All-American Red Heads: The female version of the Globetrotters, basically. 


Many worthy candidates this year, but it also looks like the process for induction will be different next season. More on that in a bit. 
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:54 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 10:57 am
 

Video: James Harden and Kobe get into it

By Matt Moore 

Last night as the Thunder were running away from the Lakers, James Harden and Kobe Bryant got into it. It was another horrible shooting night for Bryant, who scored 24 points on 24 shots as Harden was about as high up in his grill as you can get. Harden was also dropping threes and dunking in transition, essentially running the Lakers and Kobe out of the building. Bryant did not take well to it. The Orange County Register reported that Harde was yelling in Bryant's face after a three, and kept at it. Then this whole situation developed, courtesy of @Jose3030 on Twitter

 

Fun times!

The obvious response from Kobe is to say "Count the rings!" and the obvious respone from Harden is to say "That's ancient history, old man." The Thunder continue to make a statement this season that the power rests in the West with OKC and the Lakers are yet another team past its prime trying to hang on.

If these two meet in the playoffs, that's going to be a lot of fun seeing if Bryant can teach Harden a lesson in humility, or if Harden gets to have the last laugh with that beard of his.
Posted on: February 24, 2012 10:00 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 1:55 pm
 

Colangelo: Lin to be considered for USA Select

Team USA head Jerry Colangelo says they will consider Lin for USA Select. (Getty Images)

Posted by Ben Golliver  

ORLANDO -- Could Jeremy Lin's overnight success story wind up landing him a future spot with Team USA?

It's possible, according to USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo, who told reporters at an All-Star Weekend press conference that the New York Knicks guard will be given consideration for USA Basketball's Select Team, a player pool used to cultivate potential Team USA members. 

"We'll look at him as well as anyone else who is doing the job," Colangelo said. "If we think they are worthy of being invited we'll bring them in to Las Vegas to do just that."

Colangelo said that "a list of names" was being formed and that Lin was "off to this great start" for the Knicks.

"Everyone has to pay their dues," Colangelo said. "We told players if you join us I promise you we are going to be successful but you have to do it our way. Those who participate earn equity in our program… There's a lot of players who want to play, who are paying their dues with the select team, who have participated with us over the last six years. No exceptions."

Team USA is stacked with point guard talent, with Chris Paul, Derrick Rose and Deron Williams expected to represent USA at the 2012 London Olympics. Asked if Lin's skillset was a fit with what Team USA looks for from its floor generals, Colangelo withheld judgment, but said that Lin is in an ideal spot with the Knicks, playing for Team USA assistant coach Mike D'Antoni.

"It's too early," he said. "I wouldn't even make a judgment like that. I would say, I believe that he's in the right situation to do well in New York. The way Mike D'Antoni plays offense. It's the extended dribble. In a different kind of configuration like the triangle I think it would be more challenging for him, not that he couldn't do it. I just think we just have to appreciate what he's done so far. Period. Commend him for what he's done. It's a great story." 

Lin, a 23-year-old Taiwanese-American from California, went undrafted out of Harvard. His rise to NBA prominence seems to embody the spirit of dues paying that Team USA has tried to cultivate in recent years.

"I think it's wonderful," Colangelo said. "I love that. The whole story is great. First of all, think about the impact he is having and would have if this continues on the average guy, the average player. Hope. It doesn't get any better than that."
Posted on: February 24, 2012 8:38 am
 

All-Star Experience, Friday Availability and Chat

Join us here for all your NBA All-Star Weekend news and notes. We'll have live updates from our team on the ground to bring you what the players and coaches are saying at all the events, along with video and audio to bring you as close to the action as it gets. On tap for Friday: 

10:20 a.m. EST:  Rookies and Sophomores
12:30 p.m. EST: NBA All-Star Game and NBA All-Star Saturday night participants
7:00 p.m. EST: BBVA Rising Stars Challenge (TNT)

Join us to chat about all the goings on, including Dwight Howard answering questions at media availability.

 
Posted on: February 24, 2012 1:39 am
Edited on: February 24, 2012 1:48 am
 

Report Card: Sanity reigns


The Heat&nbsp''s defense swarmed the Knicks on Thursday in a win. (Getty Images)

By Matt Moore 

Each night, Eye on Basketball brings you what you need to know about the games of the NBA. From great performances to terrible clock management the report card evaluates and eviscerates the good, the bad, and the ugly from the night that was.

Notable Games: 
Miami 102 New York 88
Oklahoma City 100 Lakers 85

Heat's Defense Miami trapped on the pick and roll, attacked Jeremy Lin at halfcourt on his dribble, contested at the rim with Joel Athony, and made Carmelo Anthony and Amar'e Stoudemire disappear. Individually they are impressive. Collectively they are dominant.
LeBron James His 7-16 shooting percentage is the only thing keeping him from an A. Because James sets the bar just that high. 20 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 5 steals, 2 blocks. That's pretty absurd. His defensive work and ability to run the break and control the pace of the game was complete. Another MVP performance.
Joel Anthony How do you only get six boards as a starting center, score no points and get an A? Five blocks, and constantly limit every single baseline and wing penetration. Anthony was outmatched in terms of talent, as he usually is, and played brilliantly, as he has for most of this season.
Chris Bosh The only member of the Big 3 for Miami with a good shooting night, Bosh just kept plugging filling in baseline jumpers and at one point, shook Tyson Chandler something fierce with a step back jumper. Bosh continues a great season he gets no credit for.
Jeremy Lin Yes, he was tired. Yes, it was one of the best defenses in the league. And yes, everyone gets an off nigh. But Lin must cut down on his turnovers. This is not a usage issue. Four turnovers, five turnovers, sure. Lin had six in the first half, eight total, and that just kills everything New York does well with him. Lin did his best, but the bar has been raised for Lin and he couldn't reach it against the best competition he's had.
Amar'e Stoudemire If anyone sees Amar'e Stoudemire, please let us know. He hasn't been seen since the first half against Miami.
Carmelo Anthony Anthony looked good in the first half, moving the ball and moving without it. Then in the second half he faded, going more and more to isolation, and draining the Knicks offense. He had very little choice as the Knicks offense was drowning itself in a pool of its own vomit. But there's still not a measure of total comfort for Melo.
Miami's point guards Norris Cole and Mario Chalmers took it right to Lin and converted turnovers into points, managed the offense, and hit shots. Cole's aggressiveness continues to impress.
Kobe Bryant Twenty four points on twenty four shots. Kobe System. You're welcome.
James Harden It's not every night you get to beat up Kobe Bryant's shooting percentage, talk trash to him, steal from him and then outrun him in transition, and get the win. Harden was brilliant defensively, which isn't commonplace, Thursday night. Staring down Bryant and not backing down gets bonus points.
Kevin Durant 33 points on 22 shots, 6 assist, 3 steals and just 2 turnovers. The model of efficiency and tough shot after tough shot. You know, same ol' same ol' for KD.
Kendrick Perkins Perkins has not been great at times the past two seasons, but Andrew Bynum brings out the best in him. Perkins made some big plays and played the kind of tough defense he's known for. His follow dunk in the fourth quarter Thursday was a statement late that the game was over.
Pau Gasoly Another game, another disappearing act for the most controversial Laker of this era.
Russell Westbrook Westbrook didn't shoot well. He wasn't creating tons of assists, but he made a lot of plays like the one in the fourth quarter where he beat two Lakers to the ball, corralled it with one hand, kicked the break off blowing past two more Lakers, then dished a perfect laser pass to a cutting Harden for the dunk. Westbrook remains, as always, underrated.


E FOR EFFORT
DeJuan Blair (28 points, 12 rebounds, 0 turnovers)
Andre Miller (20 points on 10 shots, 7 assists, 2 turnovers)
Jannero Pargo (15 points in less than 20 minutes)
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com