The NBA announced its All-Star starters this week, with a certain pair of Spanish hermanos at the forefront. Interestingly but not surprisingly, Steph Curry beat out LeBron James and Anthony Davis as the highest vote-getter, and the Eastern Conference has an entirely new backcourt for the first time since 2000. Elsewhere, Kobe Bryant, destroyer of efficiency ratings, has become Kobe Bryant, destroyer of his own rotator cuff, and LaMarcus Aldridge’s injury has the Blazers reeling.
1. All hail the Gasol brothers, All-Star frontcourt starters: Both Pau and Marc Gasol edged their way into the All-Star starting lineups, becoming the first pair of brothers ever to start an All-Star Game. That they are starting against one another adds a certain comedic edge; don’t forget that these two were once traded for one another, and now they can employ their European games on the rest of the league’s best in what is always an embarrassingly high-scoring affair. In other All-Star news, Steph Curry was the highest vote-getter, which is not at all shocking given that he is the best player on the league’s best team. For once, the voting process was just. Your starters, with F for frontcourt and G for backcourt:
G – John Wall
G – Kyle Lowry
F – LeBron James
F – Pau Gasol
F – Carmelo Anthony
G – Stephen Curry
G – Kobe Bryant (*subject to change, given below*)
F – Blake Griffin
F – Marc Gasol
F – Anthony Davis
2. Kobe Bryant tears rotator cuff and then plays fourth quarter left-handed because he is totally insane: Of all the Kobe Bryant things, this might be the Kobe Bryant-est: Kobe goes up for a two-handed dunk in the third quarter of a loss in the middle of a lost season only to come down with a pain in his shoulder. Sure enough, he has sustained an injury which could be season-threatening. Does that matter to this Kobe, to the Old Man Kobe we’ve come to know and love? Not at all. He returned to the game, favoring his left hand and draining a 14-footer before telling the media, “I’ve played on a torn labrum before. I’m not too worried about it.”
Kobe is human insofar as Beethoven is a musician.
3. LMA is out for 6-8 weeks with a torn ligament in his thumb: LaMarcus Aldridge, he of 23.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game for the Portland Trail Blazers, suffered an injury at the hands of (puns) DeMarcus Cousins against the Kings this week. A torn ligament in his thumb will cause him to miss significant time at the worst time in a tight Western Conference playoff race. Although the Blazers are in solid position and, as much as any team in the West, could stand to lose a game or two without too much of an issue, it will still alter the overall picture for a while and change the way teams attack the Blazers, who are significantly worse without Aldridge. Robin Lopez and Nicolas Batum are already out with injuries, so the onus turns to the backcourt in Portland, where Damian Lillard and Wes Matthews will have to begin performing at Splash Brothers-type levels to keep up the frantic pace in conference.
Related: the Blazers lost to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night due to a last-second shot from, of all people, Evan Turner. So that’s how that’s going thus far.
Somewhere, Kobe Bryant heard about Aldridge’s thumb injury and gave him an extraordinarily sarcastic thumbs up.