HoopsHype All-Star rumors

February 17, 2014 Updates

Irving was asked what's next for the Cavaliers after the All-Star break. "Just a higher focus level,'' he said. "We went into the All-Star break with some momentum and now, coming out, its really important to get that first game and get up for that first game no matter how tired we are. "Everybody's rested. It's just really important to come out with that same focus and play as a team and hopefully continue this streak.'' Cleveland Plain Dealer

Irving poured in 24 of his team-high 31 points in the second half to guide the East to a 163-155 win over the West. Afterwards, James was the first to tip his hat to the Cavaliers' second-year guard. "Kyrie is special,'' said James, who had 22 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. "It's just that simple. "He's a very special basketball player, a very smart basketball player. His ability to shoot the ball, get into the lane, make shots around the rim -- he has a total package.'' Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Anthony scored 20 of his 30 points in the first half and hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:04 left to key the Eastern Conference’s 163-155 come-from-behind All-Star Game shootout victory over the West at New Orleans Arena. He finished with eight 3-pointers, breaking the record of six, co-held by LeBron James and Mark Price. “It was a great feeling,’’ Anthony said. “I’ve been telling you it was going to be hard for me to try and enjoy this weekend but I found a way. The guys did a great job of just getting me through it and keeping me positive. Now it’s back to the grind.’’ “The first half of the season, we want to put that behind us. Now it’s time to go, time to make a push. It’s time to lock it down.’’ New York Post

Despite their limited roles, both Aldridge and Lillard were in good spirits after the game and expressed no ill will towards Brooks. "It was fun," Aldridge said. "I definitely had my opportunity to score. I didn't make many shots. I think I played more minutes. How many did I play? 14 minutes? That's an All-Star Game high for me. It was fun. The whole weekend was fun, I had fun with the activities and the things for the fans. A good weekend." Blazers Edge

Lillard added: " It was a great experience for me. Playing in this game today, that's the ultimate goal to be in the All-Star Game, playing with LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Blake Griffin. I enjoyed myself. "I understand [that minutes are] a seniority thing. You've got guys that are producing at the same level that I am for my team and they've been here five times already. They're going to be on the floor. That's a respect thing and that's the way it should be. If I'm ever a five-time or four-time All-Star and a first-time All-Star comes in and plays more minutes than me, or finishing the game over me, I'm not going to like that. I respect it." Blazers Edge

Those were the perennial All-Stars when Wade and James first started showing up in the midseason event about a decade ago. "It's a little sad. When I first got in, it was always Kobe, Tim Duncan, Shaq was still every year and now I'm the old guy," said Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, the oldest All-Star who will turn 36 at June. Boston Herald

But the annual winter meeting at All-Star weekend showed that so much has not changed: The players, by and large, still don't care. CBSSports.com

February 16, 2014 Updates

After a series of much-hyped rule changes, the 2014 Sprite Slam Dunk Contest was a major disappointment. A disjointed new format and a series of blown dunks took away the excitement that came with the added star power this year. But Washington Wizards point guard John Wall salvaged something rare out of the night: a dunk that had never been performed in the contest’s history. The 6-foot-4 Wall jumped over the Wizards’ mascot, G-Wiz, brought the ball down to his ankles and finished a reverse jam. For The Win

In his first three-point shootout at All-Star Weekend, San Antonio Spurs sharpshooter Marco Belinelli got off to a shaky start. Belinelli threw up not one, but two airballs. He made a strong comeback on his final money ball rack to advance with the best score in the West. Bradley Beal advanced from the East, and the two tied in a frantic final round (where Belinelli found air again), forcing overtime. Belinelli won 24-18 in the tiebreak round. For The Win

Thunder guard Reggie Jackson didn't win the Taco Bell Skills Challenge while partnered with Phoenix guard Goran Dragic. But maybe Jackson will be back next year for a different competition. He expressed interest this week in participating in the dunk contest. “I wouldn't rule it out,” Jackson said. “I was told that I was mentioned as possibly an alternate (this year). I'm happy I didn't get picked. I don't want to be necessarily rewarded maybe for being shorter and dunking. I actually want to have some good tricks up my sleeve if I do anything.” Oklahoman

It already will be different, as the Friday and Saturday events will be at Barclays Center and Sunday's All-Star Game will be at the Garden. But Silver, in his first state of the league address, said instead of the fan-friendly Jam Session that features interactive basketball activities, the NBA might do something involving all five boroughs. "Several members of the Knicks and Nets are in town studying everything that they're doing here in New Orleans," Silver said. "One of the ideas we have talked about, and it's consistent with a focus on the game, is to expand the All-Star experience to all five boroughs through programs for kids, a series of clinics throughout the New York area. "As opposed to one focused Jam Session, taking the game to the schools and having a program involving coaches and kids leading up to All-Star Weekend, that's one of my primary focuses." Newsday

February 15, 2014 Updates

As the debate heated up about the NBA’s best player, at least so far this season, Rockets center Dwight Howard said he doesn’t consider LeBron James or Kevin Durant to be the league’s top player, adding that other All-Stars do not either. “I know I’m going to get a lot (criticism), but I have to believe in myself as being the best player,” Howard said. “That’s how I think everyone in this room feels. They’re not going to say that this person is better than them. We have to believe that. No matter what the stats say, you have to go on the floor with that kind of mentality. ‘I’m the best player on the floor every night.’ “That’s the mentality I have when I step on the floor. I’m pretty sure Kevin does, LeBron does and all these guys in this All-Star Game feel the same way.” Houston Chronicle

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