The world lost one of its best pioneering spirits yesterday with the passing of former NBA Commissioner David Stern.
Stern had been in the hospital since mid-December (Dec. 17) for a brain hemorrhage from which he never fully recovered, and was surrounded by family when he passed.
The NBA as I have known it for the majority of my formative years was not only made better under Stern, but brought to the forefront and then prominence. It no longer languished behind the National Football League in popularity, growth or marketing.
Basketball without Borders came into fruition, not only as a program in Africa, but literally when the NBA began playing games in Mexico, Europe and Asia during his 30 year tenure.
Stern’s example helped develop current Commissioner Adam Silver, who is taking the Association to new, even higher heights, carrying forth the risk-taking mentality and business acumen he learned from Commissioner Stern.
“For 22 years, I had a courtside seat to watch David in action. He was a mentor and one of my dearest friends. We spent countless hours in the office, at arenas, and on planes wherever the game would take us. Like every NBA legend, David had extraordinary talents, but with him it was always about the fundamentals – preparation, attention to detail, and hard work.” — NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
David Stern was 77 years young.
Rest in Peace. Job well done, sir.
Portland Trailblazers 93
New York Knicks 117
You would think that the Portland Trailblazers would rebound in the win-loss column with a game versus the New York Knicks. But interim head coach Mike Miller has the Knicks believing in themselves as something other than door mats. Carmelo Anthony made his return to Madison Square Garden as a Blazer and led Portland, but not to a victory, as the Knicks used their forwards to pound the Blazers with a 24 point loss.
|TRAILBLAZERS (14-21) 9th in the West||KNICKS (10-24) 14th in the East|
26 points – seven rebounds
22 points – 13 rebounds – three assists – one steal – one block
17 points – 12 assists – two assists – three blocks
22 points – eight rebounds – one steal – one block
17 points – four rebounds – four assists
18 points – seven rebounds – three assists
Blazers at Wizards – Friday
Knicks at Suns – Friday
Orlando Magic 122
Washington Wizards 101
The Orlando Magic used a 60-43 second half performance to make the Washington Wizards disappear last night in the nation’s capital. Bradley Beal came back after being out of the lineup for two games and scored 27 for the Wizards, but the trio of D.J. Augustin, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier were just too much for Washington, who got next to nothing from Isaiah Thomas and Ian Mahinmi, who had performed well in Beal’s absence.
|MAGIC (15-19) 8th in the East||WIZARDS (10-23) 13th in the East|
25 points – three rebounds – nine assists – two steals
27 points – four rebounds – five assists
20 points – 12 rebounds – two assists – one steal
|#VFL Jordan McRae|
15 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one steal
18 points – four rebounds – two steals – one block
14 points – seven rebounds – one assist – one steal
Heat at Magic – Friday
Blazers at Wizards – Friday
Minnesota Timberwolves 104
Milwaukee Bucks 106
The Minnesota Timberwolves played what was probably their best and most complete game from start to finish last night in Milwaukee, but it wasn’t enough to best the league best Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee shot 34 percent in the first half to give the Timberwolves glimpses of hope and took a 52-51 lead into the locker room at the half, but outscored Minnesota 54-53 in the second half as well. The T’Wolves shot a meager 37 percent for the game, leading to their demise without Karl-Anthony Towns, Andrew Wiggins and Jeff Teague.
|T’WOLVES (12-21) 12th in the West||BUCKS (31-5) 1st in the East|
22 points – six rebounds – three assists – one block
32 points – 17 rebounds – four assists – two blocks
15 points – six rebounds – one assist – one block
13 points – eight rebounds – four assists – two steals
12 points – four rebounds – one assist – two steals
11 points – four rebounds – three assists – one steal – six blocks
Warriors at Timberwolves – Tonight
Spurs at Bucks – Saturday
Phoenix Suns 107
Los Angeles Lakers 117
A 43-17, 70-percent-from-the-field first quarter burst out of the gate was all the separation the Los Angeles Lakers needed to create last night to distance themselves for an easy win versus the Phoenix Suns. The Suns got within seven, despite L.A.’s big lead, but the Lakers would let them get no closer as LeBron James kicked it into high gear with his eighth triple double performance of the season. It was the Lakers’ third win in a row after their four game skid, while Phoenix was enjoying a two game win streak before last night snapped it.
|SUNS (13-21) 11th in the West||LAKERS (27-7) 1st in the West|
32 points – two rebounds – seven assists – one steal
31 points – 13 rebounds – 12 assists – two steals – one block
|Kelly Oubre, Jr.|
26 points – six rebounds – three assists – three steals
26 points – 11 rebounds – two assists – one block
16 points – 14 rebounds – two assists – one steal – one block
19 points – four rebounds – one assist – one steal
Knicks at Suns – Friday
Pelicans at Lakers – Friday
Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers – 7 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast
Denver Nuggets at Indiana Pacers – 7 p.m. EST – Altitude
Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat – 7:30 p.m. EST – SUN
Utah Jazz at Chicago Bulls – 8 p.m. EST – AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain
Golden State Warriors at Minnesota Timberwolves – 8 P.m. EST – NBATV
Brooklyn Nets at Dallas Mavericks – 8 p.m. EST – YES
Oklahoma City Thunder at San Antonio Spurs – 8:30 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southwest
Memphis Grizzlies at Sacramento Kings – 10 p.m. EST – Fox Sports Southeast
Detroit Pistons at Los Angeles Clippers – 10:30 p.m. EST – NBATV
Tracy Graven is a Senior NBA Analyst for BackSportsPage.com.
He has written the NBA, and done NBA radio, for the last two decades for HoopsWorld, Swish Magazine, and HoopsHype, the Coach Scott Fields Show and NBARadioShow.com, and is also tackling the NFL, NCAA, and will be pinch-hitting on some Major League Baseball coverage for BackSportsPage.
He’s spent 20 years in locker rooms in Orlando, Boise (G League), San Antonio, Phoenix, and Oklahoma City.
A corporate trainer by day, he currently resides in Tennessee.
Reach him on Twitter at @RealTMoneyMedia
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