Tonight the 2012 NBA All-Star reserves will be announced to the world on national television. 14 spaces are available for what feels like 20-something worthy candidates, with some of the league’s more successful teams such as Indiana, Philadelphia, Denver, San Antonio, and Dallas staring at the strong possibility of not sending a single representative to Orlando. In other words, making it this year may be more treacherous than your typical season. Experience a week long slump and you’re essentially out of contention (unless you play in either L.A. or New York).

If since the early days of January you’ve found yourself arguing in favor of Kyle Lowry’s worth as a legitimate All-Star candidate, let me say, first and foremost, that you’re absolutely correct. Whether it be as a guard or a wild card, Lowry deserves one of the Western Conferences seven available spots. Here are four reasons why: [read more...]

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ESPN.com Daily Dime recap

Here’s my recap for ESPN.com on the Rockets’ huge win tonight over the Blazers:

MVP: The Rockets’ bench. The bench mob erupted for 66 points, saving this game. Patrick Patterson shut down LaMarcus Aldridge, Chase Budinger hit shots, and Courtney Lee and Goran Dragic accumulated floor burns.

LVP: The Blazers’ starting bigs. Aldridge and Marcus Camby combined for 13 points and 10 boards. On this night, the “bigs” played small, giving the Blazers close to nothing.

That Was … Scary: Kyle Lowry left the game in the third, running straight to the tunnel, his arm hanging awkwardly out of place. Reports are that he suffered just a bruise, but it looked a lot worse.

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The first three questions were mine.  Jerome Solomon of the Houston Chronicle followed up.

UPDATED at 6:25PM on 02/08/12:

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A year and a half ago, as those three men preened and posed on a giant platform billowing out clouds of dry ice like a b-boy crew from a severely dumb region of outer space, the Miami Heat seemed like the  terrifying beginning to decades full of unimpeded waltzes to NBA championship for teams lucky enough to not just get their hands on one player of an elite caliber, but several. Boston had done a somewhat similar thing a few years earlier, but their amalgamation had seemed more natural, at least as far as basketball observers’ past expectation defined the NBA’s nature, and Beantown’s crew of three had come together at the ends of their careers to achieve what none could alone. Their grouping was a pained admission of failure in a way; while some tried to paint the Miami teamup as such, particularly for the Balding One, most saw this as a corporate merger and inevitable monopoly, a way for these rising, or already blindingly bright, stars to ensure multiple titles for years to come.

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A closer look at Jeff Adrien

Jaws dropped when Kevin McHale sent out seldom-used 12th man Jeff Adrien to start the second half last night.  I for one had a good laugh over it with many of you on Twitter.  But the big man’s play was no joke.  Starting in place of an ineffective Samuel Dalembert, Adrien brought the energy that fueled the Rockets to a win in Denver after a very sluggish start, snaring nine rebounds in just sixteen minutes of play.

There were a couple of plays, however, which particularly caught my eye.

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