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The Jim Rome Show: Ben Golliver talks Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle

NBA writer Ben Golliver calls Jim Rome to discuss the fallout of the Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle.

The Jim Rome Show: Ben Golliver talks Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle

NBA writer Ben Golliver calls Jim Rome to discuss the fallout of the Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle.

The Jim Rome Show: Ben Golliver talks Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle

NBA writer Ben Golliver calls Jim Rome to discuss the fallout of the Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle.

The Jim Rome Show: Ben Golliver talks Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle

NBA writer Ben Golliver calls Jim Rome to discuss the fallout of the Clippers vs. Rockets scuffle.

Carmelo Anthony Says Basketball 'Fun Again' After Accepting New Role With Thunder

Carmelo Anthony says he's enjoying the game of basketball again after accepting his role as a complimentary scorer in Oklahoma City.

The 10-time All-Star struggled to find his rhythm on offense beside new teammates Paul George and Russell Westbrook over the first couple months of the season. This was evident as the Thunder stumbled out of the gate to an 8-12 record through the end of November.

But as the new trio of Westbrook, George and Anthony became familiar with each other, it's translated to success on the court. Oklahoma City has gone 17-8 since Dec. 1.

"Once you accept something, regardless of what it is, I think you become comfortable with it," he said after Wednesday's win over the Lakers, according to ESPN's Royce Young. "You start putting your all into it, you start working on that role and on that acceptance, and it becomes fun. I think right now, after accepting that role, I think as early as December, the game is starting to become fun again for me, fun for us as a team."

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Anthony's new role no longer requires him to be the feature scoring option, a title he's held for his entire career before being traded to the Thunder. The former Knicks forward has seen his scoring average dip from 22.4 points per game last season down to a career–low 17.6 points on 15 shots per game.

But Anthony still gets opportunities to revert back to his old style when needed. It was noticeable Wednesday night as he put on a clinic in a 114–90 win over the Lakers, scoring 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including better than 60% from beyond the arc.

"I think any time you're making shots you feel good about yourself and what you're doing, what the team is doing," Anthony said. "Tonight was just one of those nights where the shot was falling and the game was fun. And we took advantage of that."

Oklahoma City currently sits in fifth place in the Western Conference at 25-20. They travel to Cleveland to face the Cavs on Saturday.

LeBron on verge of joining NBA's 30,000-point club

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - JANUARY 12: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers handles the ball against the Indiana Pacers on January 12, 2018 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Ron Hoskins/NBAE via Getty Images)

Rockets-Clippers fight: No punishment for Clippers

Monday's game between the Rockets and Clippers got a little chippy at the end.Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green were both suspended according to reports. The Clippers managed to get away without any punishment. CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert joins Chris Hassel to break it down.

Rockets-Clippers fight: No punishment for Clippers

Monday's game between the Rockets and Clippers got a little chippy at the end.Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green were both suspended according to reports. The Clippers managed to get away without any punishment. CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert joins Chris Hassel to break it down.

Rockets-Clippers fight: No punishment for Clippers

Monday's game between the Rockets and Clippers got a little chippy at the end.Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green were both suspended according to reports. The Clippers managed to get away without any punishment. CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert joins Chris Hassel to break it down.

Rockets-Clippers fight: No punishment for Clippers

Monday's game between the Rockets and Clippers got a little chippy at the end.Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green were both suspended according to reports. The Clippers managed to get away without any punishment. CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert joins Chris Hassel to break it down.

Clippers keep rolling in 2018

The Clippers are 8-2 in their past 10 games, CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert breaks down why the Clippers have been finding success in the new year.

Clippers keep rolling in 2018

The Clippers are 8-2 in their past 10 games, CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert breaks down why the Clippers have been finding success in the new year.

Clippers keep rolling in 2018

The Clippers are 8-2 in their past 10 games, CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert breaks down why the Clippers have been finding success in the new year.

Clippers keep rolling in 2018

The Clippers are 8-2 in their past 10 games, CBS Sports NBA writer James Herbert breaks down why the Clippers have been finding success in the new year.

Kings shut down first-round pick Harry Giles for entire 2017-18 season

Harry Giles, the former top prospect in high school, entered the NBA Draft with two torn ACLs but his potential was too hard to pass up...

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

How do the skills of Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson translate to the NBA? SN's Chris Stone has scouting reports on the Villanova stars.

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

NBA Draft watch: Mikal Bridges, Jalen Brunson give Villanova serious pro potential

How do the skills of Mikal Bridges and Jalen Brunson translate to the NBA? SN's Chris Stone has scouting reports on the Villanova stars.

LaVar Ball Files Trademark for Junior Basketball Association

The father of Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball filed a trademark application last week seeking the rights to name a new basketball league, documents show.

According to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, LaVar Ball has filed to use the name "Junior Basketball Association."

The applicant for the trademark, filed Jan. 12, is Big Baller Brand of Chino Hills, Calif., and is seeking to use the JBA name on "athletic apparel, namely, shirts, pants, jackets, footwear, hats and caps, athletic uniforms."

Ball also filed a trademark application on a logo, which shows a silhouette of Lonzo Ball dunking.

The mark has eight stars in the background on the left of the silhouette with Junior basketball on the first line and association under the graphic.

Ball has said he wanted to fund a league where players who have NBA dreams can have an option to make money and not go to college. Currently, all NBA draft eligible players must be at least 19 years old during the calendar year of the draft.

Ball contents the JBA will pay lower-ranked prospects $3,000 a month and the highest-ranked prospects as much as $10,000 per month.

The move came after Ball pulled one of his sons, LaMelo, out of high school in California and other son LiAngelo out of UCLA after he was suspended for shoplifting in China. Both are now playing overseas in Lithuania.

Nate McMillan and the Pacers' Ever-Surprising Out-of-Timeout Offense

The NBA’s top offense coming out of timeouts this season isn’t coached by Gregg Popovich, Rick Carlisle, or Brad Stevens. It isn’t Steve Kerr’s otherwise unstoppable Warriors or Mike D’Antoni’s prolific Rockets. Credit goes, instead, to Nate McMillan and the ever-surprising Indiana Pacers—still firmly in the playoff picture at the season’s halfway point, and leading the pack in an area of the game reserved for the game’s foremost tacticians.

It’s in these situations that McMillan and his staff can build and subvert expectations. Most of what the Pacers run isn’t revolutionary, though it comes with one or two wrinkles that consistently throw the defense out of sorts. If planned and executed correctly, even the smallest action can complicate the in-the-moment calculus of several defenders. Indiana thrives on that. What looks to be a stale, predictable action ends with Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis veering downhill suddenly for a promising two-on-one.

Let’s take a tour through some of the sets and actions that make that possible.

Staying in the flow

If there’s a trademark of the Pacers’ offense in these situations, it’s the pressure applied to the backdoor. Watch here as Oladipo sets a back screen for Thaddeus Young—the trigger that effectively sends the entire play into motion. Anyone who has watched the Warriors with regularity knows how potent the idea of screening with a sharpshooting guard can be. Whether they realize it or not, the defense is trained to track the whereabouts of that shooter at the expense of less obvious threats. Utah doesn’t take the bait. Joe Johnson follows Young as he slips toward the basket, and Donovan Mitchell keeps with Oladipo as the action clears.

The slightest hesitation from Mitchell, however, allows Oladipo to continue into a clean catch on the perimeter—after which comes an immediate Sabonis ball screen. What makes this sequence work is its timing. Even while relatively well-defended, Indiana flows through its progression seamlessly, flexing out each option until Oladipo finds Sabonis for an and-one layup. This isn’t just smart design—it’s close to perfect implementation by every Pacer involved.

Reanimating the post

If post play is really and truly dead, the Pacers have managed to charge it with enough electricity to at least pass briefly as living. A lineup featuring Lance Stephenson and Cory Joseph should not, in theory, be able to post up Al Jefferson at his favorite block. Yet Indiana gets there—and on a relatively deep catch, no less—by forcing the Cavs to think their way through what looks to be a very different setup.

Based on how this set begins, it seems most likely that the ball winds up in the hands of a curling Bojan Bogdanovic. The Pacers want you to think that, which then allows Joseph, who initially screened for Bogdanovic, to reverse into a prompt cross-screen so that Jefferson can establish position. By the time the relevant defenders are back in position, Jefferson is already going up with his hook shot.

Playing inside-out

The twists keep on coming. This set begins where the previous one ended: in a cross screen along the baseline for a post player, allowing them to move easily from one block to the other. Only the ball doesn’t enter to Turner in the post like it would Jefferson. It reroutes to Oladipo, the initial cross screener, as he loops back to the top of the floor. Turner follows in kind, transforming what looked to be a clear post-up into a tempo pick-and-roll. The defense is flattened out so completely by guarding the baseline and the corners that Turner ends up with a wide open, catch-and-shoot three on the pop.

Sleight of hand

Most NBA teams run variations on the same ideas: “floppy” action, in which an offensive player begins the play under the basket only to curl around a screen to the perimeter; “horns” offense, in which both bigs are brought to the elbow simultaneously to build in directional flexibility; and even things like the “Iverson cut,” in which a potential scorer darts from one side of the court to the other, edging past multiple, staggered screens along the way. The list goes on.

So when a team runs something familiar, the defense takes to that visual cue. Playing on that expectation frees up Joseph, in this case, for a wide open floater. Everything about the initial setup of this play suggests it will come back to Oladipo on the right side of the floor. It never does, and never had to.

Next level

Along those same lines, the Pacers bind the defense on this play by again playing with the formula. Everything about the structure of the offense and the way Darren Collison at the start of this play points to him tracing the three-point line from the corner to the top of the floor—a staple action to initiate wide swaths of NBA offense. Yet instead of actually using the screen that’s been laid out for him, Oladipo dashes in front of it. Magic guard D.J. Augustin really thought he was on top of the play until the moment his man went in the complete opposite direction.

Stephenson can’t quite find the angle to get the ball to Collison, but the Pacers ultimately find something better. What’s left is an actual curl for Bogdanovic—an echo of the the exact action Indiana imitated in the first place. Marreese Speights, the Magic’s primary help defender on the play, is stuck. He has to show some pressure against Bogdanovic, lest he give up a clean look or a lane to the basket. Yet in doing so, Speights allows Sabonis to roll freely to the rim, where only Augustin can get in his way.

The new Oladipo

One of the benefits in having multiple ball handlers on the floor is the way it allows them to play possum. Oladipo begins this play with the universal sign for “decoy”: waiting in the corner, hands on his knees. His explosion around a screen and into a dribble hand-off changes everything. We get our best look at the new Oladipo in the open floor, where all the work he’s done on his body comes to bear in the most potent fashion.

The same physical propulsion applies here—simply applied in the way Oladipo accelerates into the play. Going from a dead stop into a full-speed hand-off is a nightmare assignment, particularly when the creator in question is as clean a pull-up shooter as Oladipo has been this season.

The screen as a mirage

NBA players are so quick and so skilled that scoring rarely requires a complete defensive breakdown. Even some slight hesitation can be enough; falling behind a play as it develops can doom a defender, leaving them only with desperate gambles and fouls as recourse. We see that in play on this sequence, where Robin Lopez is guilty only of minding Young for the slightest moment as he pretends to set a ball screen before cutting through.

The direction of that action divides his attention. Had Young continued toward the basket, it would have been Lopez’s responsibility to rotate over and contest his shot. Instead, Lopez’s man (Turner) goes to set an actual screen at the exact spot where Young feigned one. The fake screen pulled Lopez in one direction only for a real screen to yank him back the other way. He recovers fairly well, though not well enough to prevent Oladipo from pulling up for a jumper.

Close quarters

The challenge of this sequence is its geometry. By initiating the play around the elbow, the Pacers deprive their opponents of any margin for error. The slightest mistake could end in a a burst drive and a layup.

That has to be on the defense’s mind as Oladipo curls around two, snug screens—the first pinning his man down, toward the basket, and the next screening inward, allowing Oladipo even more separation. Oladipo is already in his shooting motion before Rondae Hollis-Jefferson can even get out of the paint.

Data courtesy of Synergy Sports.

Damian Lillard feels like 'fall guy' over All-Star snubs

Lillard is a two-time NBA All-Star, but has not made the roster since 2015.

Traina Thoughts: Gregg Popovich Has No Use For Lame NBA "Fights"

1. As you know, Gregg Popovich has opinions and he's never afraid to share them. Popovich usually draws attention these days for this thoughts on politics and the current state of our government. Last night, though, he took on the subject of NBA fights. To say the Spurs coach is not impressed by them would be an understatement. In his words, they are "the silliest, namby pambiest thing I've ever seen." Watch his funny assessment and imitation below.

2. FOX Sports play-by-play man Joe Buck and Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph are the guests on this week's "Off The Board" podcast. Buck discusses his broadcasting philosophy, mentioning point spreads on air, dealing with haters, why Twitter is bad for him and much more. Rudolph talks about Sunday's insane win against the Saints, what it would be like to play the Super Bowl in his own stadium and providing his teammates with 250 pounds of ribs from TGI Fridays. You can listen to the podcast below or on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

3. I have no idea why Stephen Curry would waste time responding to people on Twitter, but he did after this play last night.

4. Now this is a much better use of an athlete (Bills running back, LeSean McCoy) using their time to respond to a tweet.

5. Not an "Onion" story: Matt Barnes is boycotting McDonald's because Shareef O'Neal, Shaq's son, was left off the McDonald's All-American game.

6. "Good Morning Football's" Kyle Brandt gave the Eagles a pep talk for the ages on yesterday's show. The dude seems crazy enough to actually be a football coach.

7. Gronk is just making up phrases these days. I'm gonna guess he meant "bonkers," but who knows.

The best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina's Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts. And check Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast, "Off The Board," on iTunes, SoundCloud and Stitcher.

BONUS ITEM: Great news: Jim Ross and Jerry Lawler will call the action for "Monday Night Raw's" 25th anniversary show this week.

Dennis Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

The agent for former NBA star Dennis Rodman says the Hall of Famer has checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center after a weekend DUI arrest.

Dennis Rodman checks into rehab after DUI arrest

The agent for former NBA star Dennis Rodman says the Hall of Famer has checked into an alcohol rehabilitation center after a weekend DUI arrest.

Pharrell and N.E.R.D to headline NBA All-Star halftime show

Kevin Hart, Pharrell Williams, N.E.R.D Headline 2018 NBA All-Star Game Entertainment

The NBA announced Thursday that Kevin Hart, Pharrell Williams and his band N.E.R.D will headline the 2018 All-Star game entertainment.

Fergie will sing the American national anthem and the Barenaked Ladies will perform the Canadian national anthem before the game.

Fergie is an eight-time Grammy winner. The Barenaked Ladies will tour this summer to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Hart will perform prior to the game, giving an introduction of the All-Star teams. He's been a player, coach and four-time MVP of the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

Williams, an 11-time Grammy winner, and N.E.R.D will perform a medley of hits at halftime.

The All-Star Game will be played Feb. 18 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, airing on TNT at 8 p.m. ET.

PBT Extra: Better communication needed between NBA players, referees

There is always going to be tension between players and refs, it's the nature of the roles.

Report: Rockets Upset Clippers Escaped Punishment for Locker Room Incident

Members of the Houston Rockets are upset and disappointed that Los Angeles Clippers players Blake Griffin and Austin Rivers were not punished for their roles in an incident following Monday's game, reports ESPN.com.

Rockets forwards Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green were suspended two games after they entered the Clippers' locker room following a 113–102 loss.

The league said the pair were suspended for engaging "in a hostile, verbal altercation with several Clippers players."

According to the report, the Rockets believe that Griffin intentionally made contact with Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni after the two starting arguing with each other.

Rivers did not play in the game and was seen several times trash talking the Rockets.

With less than two minutes remaining in the game, Rivers and Ariza started their verbal sparring which led to Ariza and Griffin's confrontation. Both Griffin and Ariza were assessed technical fouls and ejected from the game.

Several media reports contend that Ariza, along with Rockets guards Chris Paul and James Harden went to the Clippers locker room to confront Griffin and Rivers.

The league's investigation into the matter says that Paul and Harden were simply trying to calm Ariza down and defuse the situation.

The teams next matchup with each other is on Feb. 28 in Los Angeles.

Splash Brothers light up Warriors win

The three-pointing shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson led the way for the Golden State Warriors as they downed the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Splash Brothers light up Warriors win

The three-pointing shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson led the way for the Golden State Warriors as they downed the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Splash Brothers light up Warriors win

The three-pointing shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson led the way for the Golden State Warriors as they downed the Chicago Bulls in the NBA.

Klay Thompson scored 38 points to spark defending NBA champion Golden State over Chicago 119-112, giving the Warriors a club record-matching 14th consecutive road victory, on January 17, 2018

Klay Thompson scored 38 points to spark defending NBA champion Golden State over Chicago 119-112, giving the Warriors a club record-matching 14th consecutive road victory, on January 17, 2018

Klay Thompson scored 38 points to spark defending NBA champion Golden State over Chicago 119-112, giving the Warriors a club record-matching 14th consecutive road victory, on January 17, 2018 (AFP Photo/Harry How)

Top 10: Jan. 17

Check out the Top 10 plays from Wednesday in the NBA.

Top 10: Jan. 17

Check out the Top 10 plays from Wednesday in the NBA.

Top 10: Jan. 17

Check out the Top 10 plays from Wednesday in the NBA.

Top 10: Jan. 17

Check out the Top 10 plays from Wednesday in the NBA.

Chicago Bulls guard Denzel Valentine (L) pulls down a rebound in front of Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside (C) and Chicago Bulls forward Lauri Markkanen of Finland (R) in the first half of their NBA game. EFE/Archivo

NBA star face plants in epic dunk fail

NBA star face plants in epic dunk fail

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