The biggest obstacle standing between James Harden and an NBA championship is not Steph Curry ... it'sLil B, who is threatening to put a curse on The Beard ... unless he cops to his demands.
Lil B is pissed because he thinks Harden keeps jacking his "cooking dance" when he celebrates draining a big shot. Harden has been doing it all season, but Lil B says he's watching the Western Conference Finals -- and if Harden does it again ... it's gonna be curses.
Lil B tells TMZ Sports, "If Harden doesn't tell what he is doing, which is the Lil B cooking dance, he will be cursed. He needs to stop stealing Lil B swag without showing love."
Lil B is a reasonable man -- he's giving Harden until Game 3 to give him credit, but after that he says the curse goes into effect.
Not a believer? Remember, Lil B cursed Kevin Durant earlier this year, and uhh ...he's somewhere chillin' on a couch right now.
James Harden's mother tells TMZ Sports ... Matt Barnes PERSONALLY APOLOGIZED Wednesday night ... after the L.A. Clippers star hurled an extremely rude comment to her during last night's NBA playoff game.
Monja Willis wouldn't tell us exactly what Barnes said to her at the Toyota Center in Houston during Game 2 of the Western Conference Semi-Finals ... saying, "We'll leave that on the court."
What we do know ... Matt's comment really pissed off one of Monja's other sons -- who was sitting next to her during the game and heard it ... and confronted Barnes after the final buzzer.
Willis tells us ... "My older son walked over to him and told him to apologize ... and he did."
Monja says, "What he told me was that he would never want to disrespect anyone's mother because his mother passed from cancer ... and that he was sorry."
Starting the All-Star game is now second on the list of things James Harden could be doing this weekend ... 'cause Amber Rose just told the world she might give him the best V-Day gift ever ... dat ass.
Amber was on Power 105's "The Breakfast Club" where she was asked about a rumored relationship with the NBA star ... and fessed up to having a "special friendship."
But the rub ... Amber says their relationship has NOT turned physical. Or in her words, "I haven't got the 'D' yet."
Of course the "Breakfast Club" gang pressed her on when it might happen, and Amber said the words that made James' heart pound more than any NBA game ever has.
"Valentine's day is tomorrow ... if he acts right."
James, for men everywhere living vicariously through you ... don't screw this up.
Dwight Howard is under criminal investigation for child abuse ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.
We've learned the Cobb County PD in Georgia now has an active criminal investigation into allegations he beat his 6-year-old son Braylon with a belt buckle.
TMZ Sports broke the story ... the Dept. of Children and Families in Florida (DCF) determined there wasn't enough evidence of child abuse to go forward, but it turns out the incident occurred in Georgia. Howard admits he hit his kid with a belt, but says he didn't know it was wrong because he was hit as a kid.
Law enforcement tells us ... Georgia cops asked Florida for the file, but the DCF dragged its feet and did not cooperate. So it turned into a cold case until Monday, after Cobb County detectives saw the TMZ Sports story summarizing a doctor's findings that Howard committed child abuse.
A Georgia law enforcement source tells TMZ ... "People who were not so forthcoming before today [Monday] have been." The source adds detectives did several one-on-one interviews Monday and say the case "has now been raised to top of the list."
Howard's attorney tells TMZ ... Howard's baby mama Royce Reed is "shopping her baseless allegations" to Georgia authorities even though Florida's Dept. of Children and Families found her claims had "no merit."
For the record ... DCF found the allegations credible, but concluded they did not meet the standard of proof required for formal action.
The attorney says he's confident Georgia will reach the same conclusion because "The truth is on our side."
Dwight Howard is finally cutting ties with the city of Orlando -- selling the amazing mega-mansion he abandoned there over two years ago ... for a HUGE loss, TMZ Sports has learned.
Dwight -- who was drafted by the Magic back in '04 -- originally dropped $7.78 mil on the 11,025 sq ft Longwood, FL property when it was built in '08 ... but now the place could be yours for a cool $4.9 mil.
The house is incredible ... built in the Gothic style and nicknamed the "Chateau D'Usse" -- after the famous French castle -- it has 5 bedrooms and comes complete with vaulted ceilings and fancy designer furniture.
It gets better, according to our friends at at Reatlor.com, you'll also find a massive kitchen with separate food prep area ... a large family room with two-side fireplace leading to a man cave (complete with pool table and wet bar) ... a temperature controlled wine cellar ... and a tiered movie theater.
But the outside is where things get really awesome ... there's a covered patio with fireplace and entertainment center ... an incredible pool with water-falls, water slides, a swim-in grotto ... and (best of all) a LAZY RIVER.
You don't go to Italy and not eat the pasta, you don't go to Japan and not try the sushi ... and Dwight Howard knows you can't go to the Philippines and not hit up the karaoke nightclubs.
The 6'11" Houston Rockets star has been in the Philippines to play a couple of NBA exhibition games ... but a few nights before he hit the court, Dwight blew off some steam at one of the country's most famous karaoke clubs.
But the karaoke joints over there aren't like the karaoke joints over here -- Filipinos take their karaoke VERY seriously and the clubs are the epicenter of the nightlife.
In fact, roughly SIX people have been MURDERED in the Philippines over disputes stemming from someone botching Frank Sinatra's version of "My Way" during a karaoke sesh.
Fortunately, Dwight didn't have that problem .. and emerged unscathed after spending his Monday night in the V.I.P. section of the Liberty Island karaoke bar in Manila.
We're told Dwight had a blast -- with dancing and full bottle service. We're told Howard was very cool inside the club and even signed some autographs for some of the staffers.
Dwight didn't play ball until Thursday ... and put up 9 points and 3 rebounds in 24 minutes against the Pacers.
Houston Rockets guard and famed beard enthusiast James Harden is VERY protective of his legendary facial hair -- but the NBA star tells TMZ he'd ONLY consider shaving his crumb catcher if it raises money for charity.
But not just ANY charity ... Harden says it "depends on which charity."
And EVEN IF he finds the right charity, Harden tells TMZ the razoring of the face fuzz would have to raise more than $80,000!!!
FYI -- Harden has been sporting a beard since 2008 ... and the last time we saw him without his scruff, it just didn't look right.
It's the kind of "Storage Wars" story that would make Dave Hester proud -- some guy in Maryland bought a unit for $300 at a storage auction recently only to find more Dikembe Mutombo memorabilia than you can shake a giant finger at.
The winning bidder is Adrian Petrus ... who competed for the contents of a forceclosed unit -- and just like on "Storage Wars," Adrian had no idea what was inside.
So you can imagine how pumped he was when he opened the locker and realized the whole thing was packed full of Mutombo items -- signed basketballs, shoes, jerseys, trading cards and photos of Dikembe with celebs like Michael Jackson and Nelson Mandela.
The locker also contained works of art painted and signed by Mutombo's brother.
So who would abandon such an incredible cache of Dikembe stuff?
Turns out, the unit belonged to one of Dikembe's brothers ... who lost the locker recently after missing several rental payments.
We're told the brother had gone back to the Congo to deal with family issues in the wake of his father's death -- and simply forgot to make his locker payments. Sucks.
Petrus tells us .. once he realized what he had, he reached out to Dikembe to try and make a deal to return the items ... but never heard back. So, naturally, the next step ... is eBay.
We reached out to Dikembe for comment -- but so far, we haven't heard back from the big man ... he was too busy getting a humanitarian award.
NBA player Royce White -- who famously missed his rookie season with the Houston Rockets due to mental health issues -- is at the center of a criminal investigation in Texas after allegedly beating up his then-girlfriend ... TMZ has learned.
We know ... White's ex-girlfriend Tania Mehra -- a Maxim model -- filed a police report on August 30 to report an incident that went down at Royce's Houston-area home back in June.
According to law enforcement, records show someone called 911 on June 22, 2013 to report a laceration above Tania's right eye. Cops say at the time, Tania claimed she suffered the injury from an "accidental fall."
But Tania changed her tune last week ... and filed an incident report in which she claims she LIED on the night of the incident -- and says in reality, Royce is to blame for her injury.
Cops tell TMZ, "The victim said she had lied earlier because the suspect played for the NBA and did not want the incident to damage his career."
Law enforcement also tells us, "The victim stated that White had assaulted her after she became angered by his advances toward her friend."
Cops say the incident is "under investigation" -- and so far, no charges have been filed against the 22-year-old NBA player.
Sources connected to the investigation tell us ... Tania claims Royce also grabbed a candleholder and threw at at her during the altercation ... but it missed, instead smashing into a mirror and causing it to shatter.
We've reached out to White's reps for comment -- so far, no word back.
FYI -- White was famously profiled on an episode of HBO's "Real Sports" in a segment that chronicled his battles with OCD and anxiety disorder.