NBA Essentials provides the must-see links, quotes and videos of the day.
* Well, we hope ...: J.R. Smith will take injured Rudy Gay's place in the Dunk Contest. This is what J.R. did in 2005:
* Tracy McGrady regarding this: "I was trying to get my steps right. This was going to be the first time I was ever going to jump off my (left) leg. When I got the ball, I was already nervous. I was like, 'I hope somebody catches up with me so I can pass the ball.' I don't have confidence jumping off my left leg." -- Houston Chronicle.
* "At some point last night Jared Jeffries put the ball on the floor and drove to the basket. With help defense approaching, Jared planted a foot and attempted a spin move. Though he probably had the right idea, Jared's size and lack of coordination forbade such a maneuver. Jared and basketball parted ways mid-spin. Nobody stripped him. The ball's inertia just carried it out of his possession." -- Posting and Toasting.
* Robert Horry on the potential to get traded Van Horn-style to Sacramento: "It would be real funny," he said. "Here's this guy who hit a shot to help keep them from a championship, and now we're just going to give him some money." -- Sacramento Bee Kings Q&A.