This is kind of crazy to think about, but we’re already in year four of the Stephon Marbury-in-China experiment. I know, it feels like just yesterday that his testimony was embarrassing the New York Knicks off the court while his play was embarrassing those very same Knicks on the court, but it’s seriously true that Steph’s in his fourth season overseas. I looked it up an everything.
And to be honest, things look like they’re going pretty well. As you can see up top, Marbury’s play helped lead the Beijing Ducks to their second consecutive Chinese Basketball Association title, besting the Lester Hudson-led Xinjiang Flying Tigers 4-2 in series that somehow featured five ex-NBA players. It was such a triumph, in fact, that Stephon Marbury got his MJ on and cried about the victory in the locker room.
So basically, Stephon Marbury has gone to China, instantly became a huge star, launched a shoe line bearing his own name and had immense team success followed by bouts of locker room crying — this means that it is not outside of the realm of feasibility to call Stephon Marbury “China’s answer to Michael Jordan.” Think about how insane that would sound to, oh, literally anyone who knows anything about Stephon Marbury. No one on Earth would have predicted such a thing to happen.
But it has, somehow. So shoutout to Stephon Marbury for making it work. Finally, without a doubt, he’s the best point guard in the league.
On Monday’s live episode of The Starters, “Tastradamus” and the guys discuss a few NBA winners (Sixers, Spurs, LeBron and Ebony) and losers (Pacers, Grizz, Andre Iguodala’s bobblehead). That, plus Blake Griffin’s injury, how much Ricky Rubio is worth, and whether the Nets should hope to get KG back before the playoffs.
Shoutout: I don’t even know how to explain this, but Chris Kaman hung a 28-17-6 line in a Lakers win over the Suns last night. Thanks to other stuff, Phoenix is still in seventh in the Western Conference, which is only fair when a once-in-a-lifetime performance by a human sasquatch loses you a game.
Not so much: Well, the Suns lost to the Lakers while they’re in the midst of a playoff race, so them. But also, the Pacers lost to the Cavs, giving them their fifth loss in seven games and leaving them just a game ahead of the Heat for homecourt advantage in the Eastern Conference, with another game coming up between the two teams this week in Miami. Not opportune timing to hit the downslope.
Checklist: The Bulls beat the Celtics, Joakim Noah had another near-triple-double and Joakim Noah threw another brilliant pass on a fast break — three things that seem to happen a lot for the Bulls these days.
13 points, eight rebounds and 13 assists for No. 13, who really wants that first team All-NBA bonus. Call me crazy, but I’m thinking he gets it.
If you like variety, then you are going to love this week’s edition of our top 10 plays. There are fancy dunks, dunks on bros, blocks, game-winners and some other things that basketball is a very cool sport to watch.
On Friday's live episode of The Starters, the guys discuss Blake Griffin's defense on Dirk, Chris Paul's bounce-back game, LMA's return, the Philadelphia 26ers (and a related trivia game), and whether this is Tim Duncan's last season. That, plus we taste test LeBron's new Sprite, Worst of the Week, Tweet of the Week, our Top 10, and artistic skills.
Shoutout: I know this is kind of counter-intuitive, but big shoutout to the Philadelphia 76ers for finally tying the NBA record for most consecutive losses after dropping yet another game last night, their 26th straight. You did it, guys — worst ever. Congratulations.
Not so much: On the other hand, the Hawks lost again — their fifth straight — and are now just a game-and-a-half ahead of the Knicks for the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. At this point, the easiest way to move up in the East standings is just to not play and let everyone ahead of you keep losing.
Beefers: The Clippers beat the Mavericks last night, but more importantly, there was a knockdown, drag-out fight.
Did I say fight? I meant to say posturing with nothing happening. And speaking of nothing happening — Dirk Nowitzki went 0-6 from the field and 2-5 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter of a home game whilst in the midst of a playoff push. Oops.
Going to be weird to type this, but last night was a really good night for pump fakes. In fact, as these two videos will attest, it might have been the greatest night I can remember, pump fake-wise.
But I’m going to need your help figuring out which of these fakes was the best. Up top, you’ve got Dwyane Wade pulling a Harlem Globetrotters and faking out two Pacers with separate pump fakes before just handing the ball to LeBron James for maybe his easiest basket ever. Down below, you’ve got Gorgui Dieng using a single fake to fool two Hawks, literally the definition of “two birds with one stone,” as far as the NBA goes.
So let’s hear it — which of these two brilliant fake moves were better? Do you like the hilarity of separate fakes for separate folks or do you prefer the efficient two-for-one fake? I see the merits in both and lean towards Wade, but I can’t wait for your own opinion. Winner takes on Chandler Parsons.
There was a big-time controversy in planning for today’s episode of The Starters, and it all boils down to the question you see in the headline: Did Mason Plumlee have a giant hickey during last night’s Nets-Bobcats game? Allow me to the present the evidence.
– The blemish in question is a bright red circle-ish blemish that looks exactly like a hickey.
– Said blemish is pretty close to the classic hickey spot, right near the top of your neck but below your jaw.
– Mason Plumlee played four years at Duke before entering the NBA this season. Duke is in Durham, NC, which is just three hours by car from Charlotte, where the Nets were playing after an off day.
– Kissing is fun.
– There are other red splotches all over his neck.
– The blemish is high on his neck, perhaps a little too far up that Merton Hanks to be truly considered in the classic hickey spot.
– He’s a 24-year-old man, which is generally too old to be rocking a hickey.
– No one still gives hickeys in 2014.
Evidence for, rebuttal:
– Those other red splotches are more like scratches, while the blemish shows no scratching.
– The blemish is a darker, more concentrated bit of redness on Plumlee’s neck.
– 24 isn’t that old if you were in college less than a year ago.
So that’s the case in its entirety. Personally, I am pro-hickey, but I’m looking forward to what a jury of Mason Plumlee’s peers has to say about things. Please let us know your verdict in the comments.
On Thursday’s live episode of The Starters, the guys breakdown last night’s intense Heat-Pacers game, including LeBron’s flagrant elbow, Lance Stephenson’s ejection, and Roy Hibbert’s first quarter versus Greg Oden. That, plus the Spurs keep winning, Tas’ All-Tease-O Team, playoff spoilers, Raps/Nets beef, NBA bedtime stories, and more.
Shoutout: On a night when the Heat and Pacers played a very good, very important game, DeMarcus Cousins put up the line of the night — 36 points, 15 rebounds, eight assists, two steals, two blocks and a single loss to the Knicks. Yeah, that last part might not be the world’s greatest, but this is the Kings we’re talking about here.
Not so much: Zero points on 0-5 shooting for Jeff Teague, who led (?) the Hawks to a 24-point defeat at the hands of the Timberwolves. Perfect time to have a garbage game, especially considering that Knicks win.
Basketball is my favorite sport: That Heat-Pacers game totally lived up to expectations, and this Paul George dunk was probably the highlightiest highlight of the highnight.
The dunk was nice, but it’s the rim hang that really made this special, if you ask me. The win gave the Pacers a three game lead over the Heat for the first seed in the East, plus it guaranteed them the tiebreaker over the Heat should Miami make a killer run these last few weeks — which is to say, HUMONGOUS win for Indiana. No wonder Mike Epps was so pumped.