Daily Gossip, Thursday 29/1/15

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Photo: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

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Though most people consider the All-Star break the midway point, we are now actually over the midway point of the NBA season (midway was Jan, 15). So, talk of midseason MVP has sparked some conversation. But it didn’t take Dallas’ Chandler Parsons long to name his.

PARSONS NAMES THE BEARD AS MVP

Dallas Mavericks shooter Chandler Parsons has named his ex-Houston team-mate James Harden as his mid-season MVP.

His points are incredibly valid, as it looks unlikely that arguably the two best players on the planet in LeBron James and last season’s MVP Kevin Durant will get the award due to injury problems.

Parsons was quick to name Harden the leading candidate and for good reason.

Via ESPN:

“For sure. He’s the best player in basketball right now,” Parsons said before his Dallas Mavericks fell 99-94 to Harden’s Houston Rockets on Wednesday night. “The things he’s doing are incredible. The scouting report is focused in on stopping him and you see he’s still getting 30 a game. It’s impressive.”

Harden leads the NBA in scoring with 27.6 points per game and is averaging 5.6 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 steals. He’s the primary reason the Rockets had a 32-14 record after Wednesday’s game despite co-star center Dwight Howardmissing several games due to injury.

“Right now, there’s nobody playing better basketball on the planet,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said.

“It doesn’t really surprise me,” Parsons said of Harden’s season so far. “I saw firsthand how talented he is. He works extremely hard. He’s playing better defense this year. He’s leading their team. He’s hitting tough shots. There’s not much he’s not doing.

“I’m happy for him. Obviously, I don’t want him to play well tonight, but I’m happy how he’s playing.”

DO THE KNICKS USE THE RUMOURED “PATRIOTS” TACTIC?

The New England Patriots are at the heart of an NFL story right now, where they are being accused of deflating their footballs ahead of their AFC Championship game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Current New York Knicks president Phil Jackson though admits that the 1970s Knicks did that too.

Via NJ.com:

Here’s what Jackson said nearly three decades ago:

“What we used to do was deflate the ball. We were a short team with our big guys like Willis [Reed], our center, only about 6-foot-8 and Jerry Lucas also 6-foot-8. [Dave] DeBusschere, 6-foot-6. So what we had to rely on was boxing out and hoping the rebound didn’t go long.“To help ensure that, we’d try to take some air out of the ball. You see, on the ball it says something like ‘inflate to 7 to 9 pounds.’ We’d all carry pins and take the air out to deaden the ball.

“It also helped our offense because we were a team that liked to pass the ball without dribbling it, so it didn’t matter how much air was in the ball. It also kept other teams from running on us because when they’d dribble the ball, it wouldn’t come up so fast.”

JACKSON’S REPLY

LAKERS GM EXPECTS KOBE BACK NEXT SEASON

Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak is expecting Kobe Bryant to return next season after the third all-time leading NBA scorer was sidelined for 9 months after shoulder surgery.

Via ESPN:

“I don’t think he’s retiring,” Kupchak said Thursday after the Lakers’ shootaround. “He said he’s looking forward to training camp. That’s what we expect.”

Bryant is expected to need nine months to recover from his third straight season-ending injury, a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder suffered last week that he had surgically repaired Wednesday. If Bryant meets that timetable, he could return to basketball shortly before the start of the 2015-16 season, the final year of his contract with the Lakers.

Bryant, who will be 37 this summer, is the NBA’s highest-paid player at $23.5 million this season. He is under contract for $25 million next year, which would be his 20th NBA season.

Kupchak shot down the notion that Bryant’s heavy minutes load earlier in the season — he played a team-high 35.4 minutes per game through the team’s first 27 games — led to his injury.

“I don’t think that had anything to do with anything [and] certainly not the injury,” Kupchak said.