Three things to Know: Dončić, Irving now 0-2 as teammates, have work to do Durant reportedly told Nets he wanted trade to Phoenix right after Irving deal Tatum, Lillard, Herro reported headliners for All-Star 3-point contest Watch Jalen Brunson score 40, help Knicks end 9-game skid vs Nets Justin Holiday reportedly near buyout with Rockets, to sign with Mavericks

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1) Doncic and Irving are now 0-2 as teammates, there is a lot to deal with

“Great players understand this.” It’s the league’s mantra whenever two elite players whose games don’t seem to fit together naturally join forces. Chris Paul And James Harden understood, for example, in Houston.

Luka Doncic and Kyrie will figure it out. But there is work to be done, and this can be seen from their first joint games. The Mavs are 0-2 in those games after losing to the Timberwolves on Monday, 124-121.

Right now, the offense is with Doncic and Irving playing close to each other – for too much of Monday night’s first three quarters, Irving was mostly a decoy in the corner. Or, if Irving led the attack, Doncic stood still (or ignored the game altogether a couple of times to argue with the referee). Irving took over in the fourth quarter on Monday and scored 26 points in the final frame, not enough to make up for the loss (Dallas went into fourth place, down 18). Doncic didn’t help much off the ball during this run, but he still held his own and let the guy with the hot hand get the stone.

These are just two games. Irving and Doncic will sort it out this season, but they’ll both have to make sacrifices that aren’t there right now. The Mavs fire around their star duo and eventually the attack will work. Remember what it took LeBron James and Dwyane Wade for a season and a half to sort things out in Miami, hopefully it won’t take too long in Dallas.

This still leaves two big questions.

The first is protection. Minnesota had an attack rating of 131 in Monday’s win, up from 126 in the game before (by comparison, Denver has the NBA’s best attack rating of 118.2 this season). Minnesota scored 40 points in the paint in the first half (65 points in total in the first 24 minutes). Again, we need to give Jason Kidd some time, but it was a top 10 defense before the trade and they sent off their top ball-handler in Dorian Finney-Smith. The Mavericks have to click on offense because they will win games by outrunning teams.

The other big question is: will Irving stay after the season? He seems open to it, but was understandably noncommittal at this point.

“What’s in store for me in the future will really just depend on what I’m doing right now and how I’m preparing for these next steps and I think that’s the best teammate I’m on.” capable, in the dressing room and a great leader here. in the Dallas community…”. Irving reported this through the Associated Press. “So we just put it to bed and just focus on what we have ahead of us as a team.”

What they have as a team has a lot of potential, but there is a lot of work to be done.

2) Curry is talking about a comeback, he hopes to be an All-Star soon after the break.

Stephen Curry spoke to reporters about a leg injury that kept him out of the All-Star break and beyond. He hoped to return quickly after the All-Star break ended in a couple of weeks.

“At first it seemed to me that this was a normal concussion, only very serious, so I went to the bench and thought that I could somehow just shake it off, then I got up from the bench and felt something different and was like “No, this is wrong ,” Curry said via The Associated Press. “I knew it was more than just a normal bruise because I couldn’t put pressure on it and hobbled around. Luckily, there were no broken bones or anything.”

The Warriors are 2-2 so far this stretch without Curry, including a victory over the Wizards on Monday night.

This puts them 29-28 in the season, ninth in the West. Everyone is waiting for the Warriors to flip the switch and look like last season’s championship team, but if they do, Curry will be back in the roster. So everyone is waiting.

3) Jalen Brunson loses 40 to Nets, Knicks take key win

The Nets are not going to drop out of the postseason with Kevin Duran And Kyrie Irving left, they have too much safety margin (seven games), and the players they brought back in those deals are quality NBA RPGs that can help them win a few games. The question is how many teams can make it through seed brackets #5, secure a place in the top six and avoid the play-in.

The Knicks are one of those teams, so their victory over the Nets on Monday is a big deal. Jalen Brunson lost 40 points and Josh Hart added a season-high 27 in his second game with his new team. This resulted in a 124–106 victory for the Knicks on Monday night.

Julius Randle added 18 points and 10 rebounds to the Knicks, who beat the Nets for the first time in three years.

The Knicks, who finished seventh, are two games behind the Nets and sit fifth in the Eastern Conference.

Even before Kyrie Irving was officially traded to Dallas, the teams kept their eyes on Kevin Duran. As soon as the first domino fell, everyone thought he was leaving, but sources I spoke to were expecting a summer deal, too many moving parts to do in a few days.

No, Durant was sold to Phoenix in a blockbuster that changes the title picture. Now Mark Stein tells how it all happened in his latest newsletter..

League sources say that shortly after Irving’s abrupt departure, Duran told the Nets he wanted to be traded to Phoenix immediately if a deal went through – but without the public knowing he had requested a trade a second time. for eight months.

The Nets complied. After three and a half seasons in Brooklyn filled with far more turmoil than success, Irving’s sudden trade request on Feb. 3 was indeed a watershed moment for Nets owner Joe Tsai and CEO Sean Marks. But they did what KD wanted and still got the deal they wanted.

It was rumored that Phoenix was always Durant’s preferred destination, and new owner Mat Ishbia stepped in and was willing to pay — not only in terms of picks and players out the door, but this deal added $45 million in payroll and luxury taxes. The end result was a deal. Stein reveals that the Suns called the Nets about Kyrie Irving, hoping to unite the West duo, but the deal never went through.

Durant’s touchdown alone turned the Suns into a Western Conference contender on paper (this will come after the All-Star break before we see them all together and decide how good they are this season).

While there were many disagreements between Irving and the front office/owners of the Nets, the relationship with Durant was much smoother and more professional. It wasn’t enough to make him stay in Brooklyn, but it wasn’t the hard feelings that came with Irving either. Both sides knew it was time to end the Durant era in Brooklyn.

Now Durant wants to add to his legacy in Phoenix, and the Nets are rebuilding, but with a good set of role players and choices to start with.

The NBA’s Saturday Night Showcase events – the 3-Point Contest and the Dunk Contest – are officially announced at the end of this season as the NBA didn’t deem it…


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