Blackhawks

A total roundup of yesterday's NBA trades

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A total roundup of yesterday's NBA trades

From Comcast SportsNet
Dwight Howard agreed to stay in Orlando, but plenty of other big men were on the move Thursday before the NBA's trade deadline. Nene, JaVale McGee and Marcus Camby were among the centers who found new homes. Denver dealt Nene to Washington, just three months after re-signing the Brazilian to a five-year, 67 million contract. The Wizards sent JaVale McGee and Ronny Turiaf to Denver and Nick Young to the Los Angeles Clippers, trading away two of their talented young but sometimes immature players. Washington also picked up forward Brian Cook in the deal. The New Jersey Nets had long been a favorite to land Howard, who told the Magic before the season he wanted to be traded and listed the Nets as one of his choices. He was eligible for free agency this summer, and Orlando risked losing him for nothing. Instead, he agreed to waive the early termination option in his contract, committing to stay with the Magic through the 2012-13 season. "Now we can get back to playing basketball and having some peace and trying to win a championship," Howard said. "I feel like we have a chance to win and I didn't feel like either one of us should give that up." It was a relatively quiet trade deadline, with teams wary of taking on long-term contracts with the more punishing luxury tax rules in the NBA's new collective bargaining agreement. And with the lockout pushing the deadline back from its usual February spot to mid-March, teams had a little more time to decide whether they were really contenders and a move was worth it. Big names such as the Lakers' Pau Gasol and the Celtics' Rajon Rondo -- along with the rest of Boston's top players -- stayed put after all been linked to rumors. Gasol got a new teammate to feed him the ball, however. The Lakers got younger at point guard, acquiring Ramon Sessions from Cleveland and sending veteran Derek Fisher to Houston. Los Angeles, sitting at third place in the Western Conference, needed an upgrade at the point before potentially facing All-Stars Russell Westbrook, Tony Parker or Chris Paul in the postseason. Sessions had been backing up No. 1 draft pick Kyrie Irving in Cleveland, but the Lakers had their eye on him for months. They got him and forward Christian Eyenga for reserves Luke Walton and Jason Kapono. Fisher, the Lakers' starting point guard the last five years, was sent to Houston along with a first-round pick for Jordan Hill. The Rockets also landed Camby from the busy Trail Blazers for point guard Jonny Flynn, center Hasheem Thabeet and a second-round draft pick. Swingmen Stephen Jackson and Richard Jefferson were also swapped in a Spurs-Warriors deal, and the Nets picked up Gerald Wallace from Portland. Jackson was on the move again, just days after Milwaukee had shipped him to the Warriors along with Australian center Andrew Bogut for a package highlighted by Monta Ellis. Jackson was sent to the Spurs, yet another of his former homes. Also: --The Indiana Pacers acquired Brazilian guard Leandro Barbosa from the Toronto Raptors in exchange for a second-round draft pick and cash considerations. --The Philadelphia 76ers got Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to Ricky Sanchez of Puerto Rico.

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

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USA TODAY

Cue Chelsea Dagger: Blackhawks blow out Capitals to snap eight-game losing streak

Win one game.

That was Joel Quenneville’s message during the Blackhawks’ eight-game losing streak, which finally came to an end on Saturday night.

How about a 7-1 victory over the Washington Capitals on home ice for a streak-breaker? Now that’s more like it.

Prior to Saturday, the Blackhawks hadn’t recorded a win in February — or a win at the United Center since Jan. 12. 

Though the Blackhawks will likely miss the playoffs for the first time since Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were rookies, a blowout win over the leaders of the Metropolitan Division Capitals had to have felt great.

"It’s a nice way to get over the hump," Toews said. "Sometimes you might just win a 2-1 game or just kind of grind it out, but it was nice for us to fill the net the way we did tonight."

Added Joel Quenneville, "Certainly feels 100 times better than coming in and trying to explain how we had a lead and were unable to sustain it. The complete 60 minutes, three periods the right way, more consistency in our game, way more pace than we’ve seen recently, composure with the puck, shooting around the net. It was fun but that’s one. Let’s see how we respond to this because there’s a lot of hockey left."

The Blackhawks are 25-26-8 with 58 points, and are 11 points out the final wild card spot, currently held by the Minnesota Wild.

Among the highlights:

— Seven different Blackhawks scored: Toews, Kane, Alex DeBrincat, Brandon Saad, Artem Anisimov, Nick Schmaltz, Ryan Hartman

— The Blackhawks are 74-6-4 in the regular season in which Kane and Toews both record a goal — and 41-0-0 in their last 41 games, according to NBC Sports Chicago stats guru Chris Kamka.

— Kane registered career assist No. 500, becoming the sixth Blackhawk with 500 or more. Kane is also the seventh U.S.-born player with 300-plus goals and 500-plus assists, joining Mike Modano, Keith Tkachuk, Jeremy Roenick, Pat LaFontaine, Joe Mullen and Phil Housley, according to Kamka.

"You think about the amount of great Americans that have played the game, how many players actually play hockey in the United States... Growing up all I wanted to do was play hockey," Kane said. "That means a lot, especially when you talk about American-born players."

— DeBrincat's 22nd goal of the season has him tied for the rookie-lead with Tampa Bay Lightning's Yanni Gourde. DeBrincat and Kane also lead the Blackhawks with 22 goals.

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

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USA TODAY

Lauri Markkanen nearly 'Finnishes' in Skills Challenge against former Bull Spencer Dinwiddie

Los Angeles—Lauri Markkanen called himself “The Finnisher” when asked what the movie of his life would be called.

Apparently, that moniker didn’t apply to the All-Star Skills challenge as he took down the best big men but couldn’t close against a former Bull, Spencer Dinwiddie, in the final.

The contest highlights players’ ability to dribble around cones shaped like NBA logos, throwing a chest pass into a net while having to complete a layup and then 3-pointer before their opponent does.

Markkanen took down Detroit’s Andre Drummond and Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid before facing off with Dinwiddie. He held a pose after hitting a triple to beat the uber confident Embiid, in what will likely be used as a memorable gif following the weekend.

His confidence doesn’t come across as blatantly as Embiid’s, but that snapshot shows he’s no humble star in the making. He didn’t even practice for the contest, by his own admission.

“I heard some of the guys did,” Markkanen said. “I didn’t do much, just before the competition, I did a little warm-up.”

Missing on the first pass attempt into the circular net in the final, it gave Dinwiddie the advantage he wouldn’t relinquish, hitting on his second 3-point attempt before Markkanen could make it downcourt to contest.

“It’s a lot harder than I’ve seen,” Markkanen said. “I thought it was gonna be super easy but it was kind of tough. Maybe I need to hold my follow through (on the pass).”

“I saw he missed (the first shot) and I started going. I thought he would’ve missed it too. I think I would’ve gotten it on the third shot.”

Being one of the multi-dimensional big men in today’s game who can be adept on the perimeter as well as the interior, it almost seems like the contest was made for Markkanen. Although he doesn’t do much handling in Fred Hoiberg’s offense, it’s clearly a skill he will develop as time goes on.

The last two winners of the skills challenge were Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis, and Markkanen was well aware of the recent trend.

“The last two years the bigs have won,” Markkanen said. “I’m kind of pissed that I couldn’t keep the streak going after (those two). I think there’s a lot of guys who can do that now, it’s why they changed the format to bigs versus smalls.”

For Dinwiddie, who was discarded by the Bulls last season after a promising start in the preseason so they could pick up R.J. Hunter, he’s taken advantage of an opportunity with Brooklyn.

“I think for Chicago it was just another series of unfortunate events,” he said. “They were in win-now mode. I was an unproven guard on a non-guaranteed contract and they felt Michael Carter-Williams gave them a better shot to win.”