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February 18, 2015 Updates
February 17, 2015 Updates

Welcome to Rest Week, yet another innovation by Adam Silver that only enhances his reputation as The Players' Commissioner. Silver made it clear, not long after taking the job roughly a year ago, that keeping the players fresh and reducing the chance for injury was a priority. And just like that, the basketball is currently deflated for a few extra days here post-All-Star weekend, allowing players to catch their breath after 3 1/2 months of work and especially a weekend of partying in New York. "Love it," said Hawks forward Paul Millsap. "Just what we need," said Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge. NBA.com

When asked to explain what he was thinking afterward, he said he wanted to do all he could to pay the fans back for voting him in as a starter. “I understand that my fans and our fans for this great game voted me in for a reason,” James said. “They wanted to see me play. They wanted to see me do what I’ve been doing this year, and that’s why they voted me in. It’s my obligation and my responsibility to go out there, if I’m feeling 80 percent or 85 percent or 90, to go out there and give my fans something. Give my fans what they wanted to see. And hopefully I did that.” NBCSports.com

February 16, 2015 Updates

My momentum was stolen. I was behind and my confidence and pride took a major hit. It turned out LeBron's name-tag was placed on the final chair. I exited the herd defeated, though I played it off like I had an important phone call. I did end up getting a nice spot at LeBron's setting, but it was nothing like the lovely location that I had worked so hard for. At the end of the day, I learned two valuable things: Gasol is bigger than LeBron in certain parts of the world and the other thing I learned is that the old saying about "if you assume" is true. Cleveland Plain Dealer

Ariana Grande was objectively terrible at the halftime show of the NBA All-Star game. She got bailed out by Nicki Minaj, who saved the show from being a complete disaster. Utah Jazz forward Rudy Gobert had some strong words about the whole thing (then later deleted the tweet): Rudy Gobert: No Ariana don't go ass to ass with Nicki you got no chance lol SB Nation

He's done it before — a triple-double in 2010; 52 points, 11 assists, nine rebounds in 2009; and 50 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds in 2008 — and after all, who doesn't like starring in the world's most famous arena? "Don't get no better," James said of playing in the Garden. "You play in the Garden in front of these fans. They know the game of basketball and to be able to go out and represent my team and this league at this highest level, it means everything." USA Today Sports

Even though James didn't win his third MVP award, he crept closer to passing Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant as the All-Star Game's all-time leading scorer. He passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan on Sunday and now has 278 career All-Star points, two behind Bryant. "Any time you're in the conversation with a great is very humbling," James said. "It's an honor. I've just got to keep getting better and better hopefully, and keep understanding how I got here and why I'm here." USA Today Sports

But James wasn't the league's top vote-getter for tonight's All-Star Game. That honor belonged to Golden State's Stephen Curry, winner of last night's three-point contest and the new, hot candidate to maybe one day succeed James as the face of the sport. "Yeah I got a lot of work to do, obviously," Curry said this weekend, when asked about it. James said: "For me, I just try to put myself in a position where I can lay down the foundation for the next group of guys, and if Steph Curry's that guy, then this league will be where it needs to be, if not better." Cleveland Plain Dealer

"LeBron is in the MJ mode right now," said Curry's coach, former Cavalier and Michael Jordan's ex-teammate Steve Kerr, who will coach the West tonight. "Steph is so relatable to the fans. The kids can look at him and say, well, I'm his size, practically. "I think it would be easier to relate to Steph than it is to relate to LeBron or Michael or these super-human guys. So from that standpoint, it's sort of different, a different place in the league, a different status or stature. No question with his popularity he is becoming one of the stars." Cleveland Plain Dealer

So they’ll get where they need to go, but what will Westbrook do differently this postseason after the criticisms of him reached a fever pitch a year ago in OKC’s flameout against the Spurs in the conference finals? If you ask LeBron, which I did, the answer is … “Be Russell Westbrook. Stop caring about what everybody else thinks. He doesn’t have to change.” I pressed LeBron on what he meant by that — caring about what everyone else thinks. “Just be yourself,” James said, repeating himself. “That’s all. That’s all that matters. Russell Westbrook is one of the best gifted talents this game has ever seen. And he goes out every night and proves that and shows that. I don’t need to tell him anything. He’s doing great. SheridanHoops

What, you were surprised when Dirk Nowitzki soared almost a full foot off the Madison Square Garden hardwood to throw down a lob pass from Golden State’s Stephen Curry during Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game? "Hey, that's what I do," Nowitzki cracked to Marc Stein in an ESPN Radio interview after the West’s 163-158 win. ESPN.com

“The guys are killing me,” Nowitzki said. “They said the last alley-oop I had was in the Hoop Summit in '98. It was great. Steph lobbed it up for me. He kept it nice and low, below the rim for me to get it." ESPN.com

Pau and Marc Gasol made history by becoming the first brothers to start in the same All-Star Game. Pau, the 34-year-old who’s four years Marc’s elder, won the opening tipoff, but that was irrelevant to him. “The emotional moment was just the jump against your brother,” Pau said. New York Daily News

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