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James Harden defends children, and hilarity ensues (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Feb 2016 14:16:56 PST)
As part of the NBA's 2016 All-Star Weekend festivities in Toronto, All-Stars visited with young fans and ran through some drills in the first ever Jr. NBA Day . One All-Star, Houston Rockets scoring machine James Harden, helped youngsters work on their ball-handling, which was very nice! Unfortunately, he did so in a fashion that was predestined to set the Basketball Internet aflame with laughter: by offering token "defense" on the junior ball-handlers: [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] James Harden teaching defense........ #rockets pic.twitter.com/JXGpnsHwCA — JRSportBrief (@JRSportBrief) February 12, 2016 The half-speed motions and half-hearted waves were like catnip to those who have killed the MVP runner-up over the years for his, shall we say, disinterested defense . It very well might already be locked into the next edition of "Shaqtin a Fool." (Harden, to his credit, has gotten in on the joke , though Rockets general manager Daryl Morey hasn't found it so funny .) That said, killing Harden for not breaking down and trying to lock up children seems uncharitable! It's not like he was the only one giving kids a mostly free pass as they worked on their handles. Check out San Antonio Spurs head coach/Western Conference bench boss Gregg Popovich: Oh just playing some ball with Pop at @jrnba Day pic.twitter.com/OxbVcx7R1A — San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) February 12, 2016 I'd like to see you chastise his lackadaisical stance. All told, we're betting the kids in attendance didn't so mind the Beard's reaching D nearly as much as they appreciated getting the chance to get up close and personal with one of the game's best players: #JamesHarden hanging out with the kids at #JrNBADay . #NBAAllStarTO pic.twitter.com/LNhC3dRO3U — Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) February 12, 2016 And besides, if ever there's a time for a player to take the foot off the gas a bit on the defensive end, it'd be All-Star Weekend. Kudos, then, to James Harden for fully embracing the spirit of the midseason exhibition. Now go light up the Three-Point Contest and ball out on Sunday, and give those young Torontonians a few more memories worth hanging onto for years to come. More NBA coverage: - - - - - - - Dan Devine is an editor for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at devine@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YourManDevine Stay connected with Ball Don't Lie on Twitter @YahooBDL , "Like" BDL on Facebook and follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr for year-round NBA talk, jokes and more.

Stew: Zach Attack (Rotoworld)
(Fri, 12 Feb 2016 12:31:00 PST)
Matt Stroup goes team-by-team through the West with notes on Zach LaVine, D'Angelo Russell, Jusuf Nurkic and more, in the latest Roundball Stew.

All-Star Saturday odds: Will bigs or guards own Skills Challenge? (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Feb 2016 10:51:07 PST)

All-Star Saturday odds: Can Steph Curry defend his 3-point title? (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:35:00 PST)

All-Star Saturday odds: LaVine to dominate the dunk contest again (Ball Don't Lie)
(Fri, 12 Feb 2016 07:35:00 PST)

Shaq wishes he had a farewell tour like Kobe is getting (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:20:56 PST)
Shaquille O'Neal has watched former teammate Kobe Bryant's farewell tour this season from afar. O'Neal's stellar career came to an end because of injury, robbing him of the chance to have the same kind of ending that Bryant is getting. ''I wish I would've had a Shaq Tour, yeah,'' O'Neal said Thursday before co-hosting TNT's popular ''Inside The NBA'' show that helped kickoff the league's All-Star festivities in Toronto.

Here's what the trade market for Dwight Howard looks like (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 17:14:19 PST)
Dealing for Howard won't be easy, but there are a couple of teams with the means and need.

NBA-National Basketball Association roundup
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 16:13:02 PST)
Charlotte Hornets forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffered another torn labrum during Wednesday night's game against the Indiana Pacers and will be out indefinitely. It said the injury will be re-evaluated and an update on Kidd-Gilchrist's status provided after the NBA All-Star Game break this weekend. In seven games for the Hornets this season, the injury-plagued Kidd-Gilchrist is averaging 12.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

Sources: Rockets contacting teams about trading Dwight Howard (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 11:16:50 PST)
The Rockets are working with Howard’s agent, Dan Fegan, on possible destinations.

Sources: Patrick Beverley will not defend skills competition title (Yahoo Sports)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 07:43:54 PST)
The Rockets guard tweaked his ankle Wednesday night and opted to rest the injury during the All-Star break.

Dose: Warriors now 48-4! (Rotoworld)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:14:00 PST)
Wednesday gave us 12 games, some injuries, some big lines and Markieff Morris possibly assaulting Archie Goodwin on the Suns' bench. Dose it up!

Lillard scores 31 as surging Blazers beat Rockets 116-103 (The Associated Press)
(Thu, 11 Feb 2016 00:02:01 PST)
The Houston Rockets are ''broken,'' according to their coach and star player. The Portland Trail Blazers are in the middle of their best run of basketball all season. When they went head-to-head Wednesday night, the result was a 116-103 win for the Blazers that vaulted them past Houston into a tie with Utah for seventh place in the Western Conference.

NBA-Highlights of Wednesday's NBA games
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 22:56:39 PST)
Highlights of Wednesday's National Basketball Association games: Warriors 112, Suns 104 Golden State guard Stephen Curry scored 26 points and Klay Thompson had 24 when the Warriors' extended the best start on NBA history with a victory over the Phoenix Suns at the Talking Stick Resort Arena on Wednesday. The defending NBA champion Warriors will enter the All-Star break at 48-4, one game better than the previous best 52-game start in league history.

Matchups by the Numbers: Redux (Rotoworld)
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 13:09:00 PST)
Ryan Knaus examines fantasy matchups across the NBA, on a team-by-team and category-by-category basis.

Impact Hack-a-Someone tactic having on NBA is growing issue (The Associated Press)
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 12:54:05 PST)
San Antonio's first play of the 2008-09 season was designed and executed perfectly. Five seconds later, Michael Finley wrapped his arms around O'Neal for an intentional foul. Yes, Hack-a-Shaq used to be a laughing matter.

The Vertical Podcast with Woj: Jeff Van Gundy (Yahoo Sports)
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 06:58:40 PST)
Van Gundy talks candidly about his potential interest in returning to the NBA as a head coach.

Curry magic as Golden State Warriors down Rockets
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 02:23:34 PST)
Stephen Curry turned on the style as the Golden State Warriors overcame a brave Houston Rockets fightback to triumph 123-110 and stretch their winning streak to 10 games on Tuesday. Reigning NBA Most Valuable Player Curry scored 35 points in a pulsating battle in Oakland to take the Warriors' record to 47-4 for the season. The highlight of Curry's latest masterclass was his role in a remarkable passage of play in the third quarter, when he stripped the ball inside the Warriors paint and then darted forward to launch an attack.

Warriors turn it on late, surge past impressive Rockets (Ball Don't Lie)
(Wed, 10 Feb 2016 01:20:49 PST)

Rockets-Trail Blazers Preview (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:32:14 PST)
Allen Crabbe believes the Portland Trail Blazers have learned how to lock down defensively during a surprising push that has them eyeing a playoff spot. In a matchup between teams vying for eighth place in the Western Conference, the Trail Blazers hope to head into the All-Star break with their 12th win in 15 games and second victory in five days over the visiting Rockets on Wednesday night. Portland (26-27) was nine games under .500 and in 10th place, two games out of a playoff spot, on Jan. 8 before an 11-3 stretch brought the club within a half game of eighth-place Houston following the Rockets' 123-110 loss at Golden State on Tuesday.

Curry leads Warriors past Rockets for 42nd straight home win (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:29:05 PST)
Stephen Curry and the Golden State starters got a big boost from their bench. Curry had 35 points, nine assists and six rebounds, and the Warriors put away the Houston Rockets in the fourth quarter of a 123-110 victory Tuesday night. It's hard,'' Curry said.

NBA-Highlights of Tuesday's NBA games
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:21:02 PST)
Highlights of Tuesday's National Basketball Association games: Jazz 121, Mavericks 119 Gordon Hayward put a tough shooting night behind him by drilling a game-winning, fall-away jumper to beat the buzzer in overtime and give the Utah a victory over Dallas at American Airlines Center. Dallas was on its way to victory, leading 110-107 with one last Jazz possession to go. Utah forward Rodney Hood, who finished with a game-high 29 points, forced overtime by burying a high-arching 3-pointer over Dallas forward Chandler Parsons, who was practically in Hood's jersey.

Warriors down Rockets for 42nd straight home win
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:19:54 PST)
Forward Harrison Barnes scored 10 of his 19 points during a 17-5 run to open the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors exploded from a tie after three periods into a 123-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Point guard Stephen Curry poured in 35 points, his 23rd game with 30 or more this season, helping the Warriors (47-4) win their 10th in a row, each of which they led by at least 15 points. Curry shot 12-for-24 for the Warriors, who improved to 24-0 at home this season with their 42nd consecutive victory at Oracle Arena.

NBA-Warriors down Rockets for 42nd straight home win
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 23:15:44 PST)
Forward Harrison Barnes scored 10 of his 19 points during a 17-5 run to open the fourth quarter as the Golden State Warriors exploded from a tie after three periods into a 123-110 victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday night. Point guard Stephen Curry poured in 35 points, his 23rd game with 30 or more this season, helping the Warriors (47-4) win their 10th in a row, each of which they led by at least 15 points. Curry shot 12-for-24 for the Warriors, who improved to 24-0 at home this season with their 42nd consecutive victory at Oracle Arena.

Hood forces OT, Hayward beats buzzer for big Jazz win over Mavs (Ball Don't Lie)
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 22:56:21 PST)
Although they have not garnered much attention, the Utah Jazz have been one of the NBA's hottest teams over the past few weeks. They came into Tuesday night's road game at the Dallas Mavericks having won six in a row, good enough to rise to .500 at 25-25. Another victory would give them more wins than losses for the first time since the last days of November, when they were 8-7. It took 53 minutes to get it, but Utah left Dallas with their first win at the American Airlines Center in exactly six years and a month. And they did it with two very dramatic shots. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] Down 10 early in the fourth quarter and 104-101 with 20 seconds left in regulation, the Jazz opted to trade quick twos from Gordon Hayward with free throws for Deron Williams and Raymond Felton. Having made up no ground, they had to take a three to force overtime with just a few seconds left. Rodney Hood came through: Utah avoided a second OT with more heroics from Hayward. A Chandler Parsons three-pointer with 1:47 remaining tied it at 119-119, but the two teams failed to score over the next several possessions to set up one final play for the Jazz. Hood beat Wesley Matthews off the dribble to force a foul on the floor. Utah appeared to want to get the ball to Hood again on the next try, but Hayward did just fine once he got the ball: That buzzer-beater finished off the 121-119 Utah win , which combined with the Houston Rockets' loss to the Golden State Warriors later in the night to put the Jazz into seventh place in the West. With the Mavericks looking rather average over the last few weeks, it's not out of the question that the Jazz could make up the one-game gap to No. 6 quite soon. For that matter, Marc Gasol's broken foot could send the No. 5 Memphis Grizzlies sliding down the standings. It's perhaps a little early to consider such scenarios given that the Jazz are just a game ahead of the ninth-place Portland Trail Blazers, but it's easy to feel good about their play during this seven-game winning streak. While the likes of Hayward, Rudy Gobert, and Derrick Favors have been identified as budding stars, Hood has been a recent revelation, scoring a game-high 29 points (12-of-26 FG) to make it seven of his last 10 games with at least 22 points. Those contributions have been especially important to a group lacking some perimeter playmaking following a run of backcourt injuries. The Jazz have been inconsistent enough to inspire caution. But they have a clear opportunity to establish themselves as a playoff team over the next few weeks. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

NBA to teams: No Hack-a-Shaq on inbounds passer (The Associated Press)
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 13:59:41 PST)
NBA teams need to keep Hack-a-Shaq on the court, not the sideline. The league sent a memo to teams and referees Tuesday clarifying that intentionally fouling a player inbounding the ball will be a delay of game violation - and possibly a technical foul. The memo, sent from league executives Kiki Vandeweghe and Mike Bantom and obtained by The Associated Press, comes in response to questions after San Antonio's Danny Green fouled Houston's Clint Capela as Capela was attempting to inbound the ball in a Jan. 28 game.

Reuters Sports Schedule at 1400 GMT on Tuesday, Feb 9
(Tue, 09 Feb 2016 06:06:27 PST)
Reuters sports schedule at 1400 GMT on Tuesday: OLYMPICS U.S. athletes should consider skipping Rio if fear Zika - officials NEW YORK - The United States Olympic Committee told U.S. sports federations that athletes and staff concerned for their health over the Zika virus should consider not going to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games in August. ...

Blazers force OT with buzzer-beating tip-in, beat Grizzlies (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 08 Feb 2016 22:05:45 PST)
The All-Star break usually allows teams fluctuating between the bottom and middle thirds of the NBA to determine if they should push for a playoff berth or think about what's best for their future (which, yes, sometimes involves tanking). Most preseason expectations would have put the Portland Trail Blazers squarely in the latter camp, at least if they hadn't already firmly established themselves as lottery participants. Yet Portland has been one of the pleasant surprises of this season, playing well enough to establish themselves as a true contender for a postseason spot ahead of several teams that were supposed to take serious leaps forward. [ Follow Dunks Don't Lie on Tumblr:  The best slams from all of basketball] Monday night's game at the Memphis Grizzlies was a particularly useful example of the Blazers' talent and ability in pressure-filled situations. Down 102-100 with just seven seconds remaining in regulation, Damian Lillard attempted a game-winning three-pointer. He missed, but the Blazers were in the right spots to get two more tries at forcing the extra period. The second may have actually been tipped in by Grizzlies forward Jeff Green, but Allen Crabbe was credited with the buzzer-beater to give his team five extra minutes: C.J. McCollum scored the first six points of overtime (of his 21 total) to give Portland a head start, although the Grizzlies cut it to 108-106 with only 59 seconds left. A few fruitless possessions allowed Memphis a transition opportunity following a Zach Randolph board with only 13 ticks on the clock. Unfortunately for the hosts, they couldn't convert two opportunities to tie it up: Damian Lillard and Ed Davis added four free throws to seal the 112-106 win . Lillard was the star of the night, scoring a game-high 33 points (9-of-22 FG, 5-of-13 3FG, 10-of-12 FT) and adding five assists: We do not wish injury on any All-Star, but it will be odd to see the West team without Lillard this weekend. He was the most glaring snub for a reason. The victory brings the Blazers' record to 26-27, a half-game behind the 25-25 Utah Jazz for the West's final playoff spot. They host the Houston Rockets in a nationally televised game Wednesday to finish off their pre-All-Star slate. It should serve as a nice showcase for one of the season's best stories. The Grizzlies are in solid position in sole position of fifth place, although they got some bad news with roughly a minute left in the first quarter on Monday. Already dealing with right mid-foot issues, Gasol left and did not return after scoring 11 points in 11 minutes. His future status is not yet known. - - - - - - - Eric Freeman is a writer for Ball Don't Lie on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at efreeman_ysports@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @FreemanEric

Warriors' Festus Ezeli out at least 6 weeks after knee surgery (Ball Don't Lie)
(Mon, 08 Feb 2016 17:46:57 PST)

Rockets-Warriors Preview (The Associated Press)
(Mon, 08 Feb 2016 13:00:27 PST)
Another one of the league's top scorers is coming to town to try to help snap the Golden State Warriors' home win streak. James Harden has enjoyed some big efforts at Oracle Arena, but he and the Houston Rockets don't have fond memories of their last trip there. The Warriors look to make it 42 straight in the regular season at home Tuesday night in Harden and the Rockets' first visit since last year's Western Conference finals.

NBA reviewing if jump-on-back foul should be flagrant (The Associated Press)
(Sun, 07 Feb 2016 11:45:18 PST)
The NBA is reviewing whether the act of jumping on a player's back to intentionally foul him should be interpreted as a flagrant foul. Boston Celtics coach Brad Stevens told reporters Sunday that a memo from the NBA said that act would now be ruled as a flagrant 1 foul. If it became a flagrant 1, the team that was fouled would keep possession after the two free throws.

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