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Basketball news gathered from around the net.

All-Star Game Draws 8.3M Viewers

TNT's live telecast of the NBA All-Star Game peaked with 4.7 million households in the United states and a total of 8.3 million viewers.

The top-five metered markets were Oklahoma City, New Orleans, Richmond (VA), Miami and San Antonio.

The NFL Pro Bowl drew 11.7 million viewers this season. The NFL has considered eliminating the Pro Bowl, while many in NBA circles consider the All-Star Weekend its signature event.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Irving: Cavs Will Come Out Of Break With 'Higher Focus Level'

The Cleveland Cavaliers had a strong showing during All-Star Weekend, with Kyrie Irving's MVP in the big game and a 31-point showing by Dion Waiters in the Rising Stars Challenge.

"Just a higher focus level," said Irving when asked what's next for the Cavaliers out of the break. "We went into the All-Star break with some momentum and now, coming out, its really important to get that first game and get up for that first game no matter how tired we are.

"Everybody's rested. It's just really important to come out with that same focus and play as a team and hopefully continue this streak.''

The Cavaliers won four straight games heading into the break.

Via Mary Schmitt Boyer/The Plain Dealer

Dwight: I'm Just A Lot Healthier Than I Was Last Year

Dwight Howard was significantly healthier and happier in this year's All-Star Game.

Last season, Howard was plagued by his return from back surgery and an injured shoulder while also playing for a Los Angeles Lakers' team that appeared to be underachieving. 

“I’m just a lot healthier than I was last year,” Howard said. “When you’re healthy you can do a lot more things on the floor. I don’t think people understood that. They looked at all the negative things that came out of Orlando that were brought to LA, not on my part. I’m healthier than I was last season and I’m having a lot of fun.”

Via Jonathan Feigen/Houston Chronicle

Kyrie Irving Named MVP Of NBA All-Star Game

Kyrie Irving was named MVP of the 2014 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday night, scoring 31 points and dishing 14 assists in the Eastern Conference's 163-155 victory over the Western Conference.

"It's a great honor," Irving said. "We had a few MVPs. Everyone out here today is an MVP.

"The superstars of our league were just telling us to compete on every play. Trying to play as much defense as possible. You know, sticking to our game plan. We had a game plan going in and we executed."

Carmelo Anthony added 30 points and eight three-pointers for the East while Kevin Durant and Blake Griffin each scored 38 points for the West.

Via RealGM Staff Report

Reggie Jackson Interested In Entering Dunk Contest

Reggie Jackson participated in the skills challenge on All-Star Weekend, losing while being partnered with Goran Dragic, but he is interested in a possible return next season in the slam dunk contest.

Jackson expressed interest this week in participating in the event.

“I wouldn't rule it out,” Jackson said. “I was told that I was mentioned as possibly an alternate (this year). I'm happy I didn't get picked. I don't want to be necessarily rewarded maybe for being shorter and dunking. I actually want to have some good tricks up my sleeve if I do anything.”

John Wall won the dunk contest on Saturday.

Via Darnell Mayberry/The Oklahoman

Andre Drummond Named Rising Stars MVP

Andre Drummond was named Rising Stars MVP, finishing the game with 30 points and 25 rebounds.

Team Hill defeated Team Webber by a final score of 142-136.

Tim Hardaway Jr. had 36 points, and also paid homage to teammate J.R. Smith by pretending to untie the shoelaces of Drummond.

Drummond joins the likes of Penny Hardaway, Kyrie Irving, Allen Iverson, Kevin Durant and Daniel Gibson as an MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge (full list).

Via RealGM Staff Report

James Harden Replaces Kobe In Western Conference Starting Lineup

Scott Brooks has decided to insert James Harden into the Western Conference starting lineup to replace Kobe Bryant.

Bryant will miss the game due to a knee injury.

Harden played for Brooks as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Via Marc J. Spears/Yahoo! Sports

Dwyane Wade Uncertain To Play In ASG

Dwyane Wade missed the Miami Heat's win over the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday due to a foot injury and could miss the NBA All-Star Game on Sunday.

“I’m just going to go day-by-day,” Wade said. “First, I just want this to calm down a little bit and then get back to feeling regular and then I’ll go from there. I’ve got a few days in between but we’ll see.

"I’m not optimistic. I’m not pessimistic. I just want to get better.”

"Ultimately, we’ll have to see how it feels in New Orleans," Erik Spoelstra said.

Via Shandel Richardson/Sun Sentinel

Passed Over For Rising Stars Challenge, McLemore Looks To Build ‘Brand’ Through Dunk Contest

Ben McLemore wasn’t asked to participate in the Rising Stars Challenge at this year’s All-Star weekend, but will still be in New Orleans as part of the Slam Dunk Contest.

McLemore, who is averaging 7.7 points and 2.7 rebounds in 23.4 minutes per game in his rookie season with the Sacramento Kings, will team up with Damian Lillard and Harrison Barnes as part of the contest’s new format. They will face off against the East, who will be represented by Paul George, Terrence Ross and John Wall.

"I'm still thinking. I’m still trying to figure out different things I want to do,” McLemore said when asked what he might have up his sleeve. "I want to go out there and just perform.”

The only preview McLemore would reveal was that he plans to put together an aerial display rather than a series of power dunks.

"A little bit of [aerodynamic and high leaping]. I’m definitely a high flyer," he said. "I can get high. I just want to show my athleticism out there on the floor and bring a lot of excitement."

The new format brings a different feel to the event as there won’t be a traditional champion, but rather a winning team. An informal champion will be tabbed via fan vote. Things will kick off with a "freestyle” round, featuring 90 seconds of each conference dunking as much as they want. Many are expecting coordination among the players.

“We'll see once I get to New Orleans, what Dame and Harrison are looking to do,” McLemore said about putting together a group routine. "We will probably coordinate with each other and win it. We’ll represent for our team.”

McLemore is looking to raise his profile in New Orleans, especially since the Dunk Contest garners more attention than the Rising Stars Challenge.

"This is a great opportunity for me to build my brand, to go out there for All-Star weekend,” he said. "I’ve just been trying to do what’s best to represent me and the Sacramento Kings.”

It has been a few years since the St. Louis native participated in this type of event. He last won a dunk contest during an exhibition in Hawaii while at Oak Hill Academy. We won’t see a mano-a-mano final round this year, but the lack of an individual award doesn’t bother McLemore.

"It's a team thing, he said. "The fans will vote for who had the best dunk of the night, but I’ll still try to go out there and bring a lot of excitement. I’ll be looking for oohhs and aahhs. You still want to be on the team that wins.

"It’s cool being able to say it’s something I experienced. Being selected for the dunk contest, I think, is even better. I’m happy for the opportunity I have right now.”

Via Andrew Perna/RealGM

Anthony Davis Replaces Kobe Bryant On Western Conference All-Star Team

Anthony Davis has replaced Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star team, the NBA announced on Friday afternoon.

Bryant is sidelined due to a fractured knee.

Adam Silver made the decision to replace Bryant with Davis, and Scott Brooks will decide who will replace Bryant in the starting lineup of the Western Conference.

Davis is averaging 20.5 points, 10.5 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game this season for the New Orleans Pelicans.

Via RealGM Staff Report

George, Wall, Ross, Lillard, McLemore, Barnes In Dunk Contest

Paul George, John Wall, Terrence Ross, Damian Lillard, Harrison Barnes and Ben McLemore are confirmed for this year's Slam Dunk Contest.
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