Long after last year’s NBA All-Star game, the Golden State Warriors were still upset about having only one representative.
Maybe this time they get their men.
Stephen Curry, perhaps the biggest snub last season, looks like a lock. And Warriors coach Mark Jackson believes David Lee has earned a return trip to the Feb. 16 game.
“I said all along that we had an All-Star in Steph Curry, and I was wrong because we have two guys that should be in the All-Star game,” Jackson said last week. “David, the last 15 games, has played the power forward position as well as — to me better than anybody in this league, when you look at his numbers.”
Curry, the highest-scoring player not selected in 2013, has two routes to New Orleans. He passed Chris Paul into second place among Western Conference guards in the latest returns, and will start if he holds that lead of about 26,000 votes when fan balloting ends on Jan. 20. If not, it’s hard to imagine coaches passing on a player who is eighth in the league in scoring and second in assists.
Lee will have it tougher in the deep West frontcourt, where he’ll have to get in line behind Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge, perhaps battling for a spot with DeMarcus Cousins and Anthony Davis.
But he’s been on a tear lately, averaging 22.7 points and 10.1 rebounds while shooting 68 percent on the Warriors’ 6-1 road trip and winning West player of the week honors for the week ending Jan. 5. Plus, coaches usually favor players on winning teams, and the Warriors’ recent 10-game winning streak put them firmly among them.
“Most important thing is that we’re winning games right now and I think that’s the best way that both of us can continue to make our cases, is if we keep winning games like we are,” Lee said.
Five things to watch this week:
LONDON CALLING: Brooklyn and Atlanta meet Thursday in London, the fourth regular-season game there since 2011, the third involving the Nets. It sold out in less than four hours, the NBA’s fastest ever in Britain.
HELLO AGAIN, MR. PRESIDENT: Miami returns to the White House on Tuesday to be honored by President Barack Obama for its second straight championship. The Heat resume their road trip Wednesday in Washington.
WINNING KNICKS: Winners of a season-high four straight, New York plays nine of its next 11 at home, including an eight-game homestand that starts Friday against the Clippers.
NO DENG, NO PROBLEM: Written off after trading Luol Deng on top of losing Derrick Rose, the resilient Chicago Bulls have run their winning streak to five and can get back to .500 if they beat Washington on Monday.
LILLARD-IRVING II: The thrilling duel between top young point guards wasn’t settled until Damian Lillard’s 3-pointer way beyond the arc with 0.4 seconds left gave the Trail Blazers a 119-116 win in Cleveland on Dec. 17. Kyrie Irving and the Cavaliers can get revenge Wednesday in Portland.
STAT LINE OF THE WEEK: J.R. Smith - DNP, Coach’s Decision. The Knicks’ 102-92 victory over Miami on Thursday was overshadowed a bit when Smith sat the bench. Coach Mike Woodson was fed up after the Sixth Man of the Year was fined $50,000 by the NBA for attempting to untie an opponent’s shoelace after being warned not to do it again.