N.B.A. Finals Preview: Lakers (Expected) vs. Heat (Surprise!)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Miami Heat, a long-shot title hope at the start of the season, have already exceeded expectations. The Los Angeles Lakers are still trying to meet them.

Nearly a full year after the 2019-20 season began, two teams remain. And the N.B.A. finals, which start Wednesday night inside the league’s bubble at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., promise to feature a blend of styles as the Heat and Lakers grapple for a championship.

The Lakers, after trading for Anthony Davis more than a year ago, entered the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference before delivering through three rounds. The Heat, seeded fifth in the East, have surfaced as a surprise to make their first finals appearance since 2014 — back when they employed a player named LeBron James.

On Tuesday, James reflected on the four seasons he spent with the Heat, a team he joined in 2010 when he was 25 and helped lift to two championships.

“I was still a kid and still trying to figure out who I am as a person and as a man,” he said. “I grew, and they allowed me to grow.”

Here are three things to watch in the finals:

1. Defending the guards.

Considering the Lakers’ rapid push to the finals — they needed just five games to eliminate each of their first three playoff opponents — it may be easy to overlook the fact that they don’t have their best perimeter defender. Avery Bradley opted out of the restart in July because of family concerns.

“No one says anything about it, and I’m glad they don’t, but what other team could lose their starting shooting guard?” the Lakers’ Jared Dudley asked. “Our best on-the-ball defender? But we’re still here. No one’s made any excuses: ‘Hey, next man up, and let’s go.’”

Without Bradley, the Lakers needed a collective effort in the conference finals to defend Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets’ dazzling point guard. Over five games, Murray averaged 25 points and 7.4 assists on 51.8 percent shooting. He was such a concern for the Lakers that James asked to defend him down th

Read More

Living through ‘bubble’ LeBron’s biggest career challenge so far – Reuters

(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James believes living in the NBA’s bio-secure bubble has probably been the biggest challenge of his triumph-filled career.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sixteen-time All-Star James arrived in Orlando, Florida, in July along with players from 22 National Basketball Association teams, determined to pick up his fourth NBA title after the deadly coronavirus outbreak had halted professional sports in March.

Yet the 35-year-old, four-time MVP’s championship mentality was put to the ultimate test inside the NBA’s quarantine setting at Walt Disney Wo

Read More

Living through ‘bubble’ LeBron’s biggest career challenge so far – Reuters India

(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James believes living in the NBA’s bio-secure bubble has probably been the biggest challenge of his triumph-filled career.

FILE PHOTO: Basketball player LeBron James arrives on the red carpet for the film “The Carter Effect” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in Toronto, Canada, September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

Sixteen-time All-Star James arrived in Orlando, Florida, in July along with players from 22 National Basketball Association teams, determined to pick up his fourth NBA title after the deadly coronavirus outbreak had halted professional sports in March.

Yet the 35-year-old, four-time MVP’s championship mentality was put to the ultimate test inside the NBA’s quarantine setting at Walt Disney World, where the Lakers will face the Miami Heat in Game 1

Read More

Universal Pictures, LeBron James’ SpringHill sign first-look film deal – Reuters Canada

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Universal Pictures has entered into a four-year, first-look production deal with

Read More

LeBron James, Pat Riley put legacies on the line in NBA Finals – Sportsnet.ca

Decades of NBA lore are built on rivalries — epic, titanic, ego-driven clashes that lend context, subtext and the weight of history to what are otherwise just games.

People pay for that stuff, and the league and its players have cashed in, with money spilling in so quickly that it can barely be counted, let alone spent.

It’s good versus evil; pride and prejudice, and pride going before the fall. It’s Celtics-Lakers; Bird-Magic; Michael vs. the Pistons, Shaq vs. Kobe, KD vs. the Warriors and LeBron over everyone.

Some of it is straight out of the Vince McMahon playbook: storylines that keep the plot twisting through never-ending winters until games that matter finally arrive, at which point the hype machine kicks it up another notch.

If there is a podcasting odd couple, this might be it. Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis don’t agree on much, but you’ll agree this is the best Toronto Raptors podcast going.

But some of it is real. Some of it is based on men of giant accomplishments and massive, never-satiated ambitions coming together and pulling apart like tectonic plates on ephedrine, the league’s foundations quaking along the way.

So yeah, the Miami Heat facing the Los Angeles Lakers has some juice to it.

This time it’s not an on-court rivalry that lends the final series of the NBA’s most unusual season its weight — though on paper the young, upstart Heat testing themselves against LeBron James and his insta-dynasty Lakers has all the ingredients to make it suitably delicious.

But what could make it memorable and a new plot point in the league’s decades-long drama is the way it pits two of sport’s most significant, preening, powerful, proud and successful figures against one another.

Heat president Pat Riley is 75 and his Goodfellas-inspired, slicked-back hair has long gone gray. But even in the bubble and wearing a mask, behind a glass partition, he has a presence. When current Heat star Jimmy Butler is looking for approval, he looks up into the stands, devoid of fans, for a post-game thumbs up from Riley. The Heat figurehead is the former Lakers role player turned coach turned executive turned living legend, the one who rode shotgun for Jerry West on the floor; earned Magic Johnson’s trust from the bench before pushing him too far and losing that war of wills after five championships.

Cast out from L.A., Riley perfected bully ball with the New York Knicks in the 90s, very nearly toppling Jordan in the process, before bolting for Miami, where he has somehow fused L.A. cool with New York edge, South Florida weather and no state income tax to create an NBA destination out of almost nothing.

It was Riley’s presence that attracted James after the kid from Akron was all grown up and looking to leave home. Riley plunked down a bag with the nine championships he’d won as a player, coach and executive and promised James he’d win a bunch more if they joined forces in Miami. James, without a title to show for seven years as a good soldier in Cleveland, followed the sun.

It was a perfect union – the world’s gr

Read More

The Celtics Have a Bright Future — and a Low Ceiling?

There are two types of Boston sports fans: those who yell about firing or trading everyone after any loss — and those who, in a quieter voice, call for firing or trading everyone after any loss.

So the Boston Celtics losing in six games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals — a series that Boston was favored in — was not ideal for the blood pressure of either kind of fan. It was Boston’s best chance to get to the finals since the 2011-12 season, when the Celtics also lost to Miami, in seven games. But in that case, the Heat, led by LeBron James, were by far the more talented team.

Let’s remember, though, the expectations for the Celtics entering the season: They had just lost Kyrie Irving (Nets), Al Horford (Sixers) and several other key players. Of the 17 players on the Celtics this season, seven were rookies. Yes, they added point guard Kemba Walker — a solid replacement for Irving, but last fall they were not expected to make much noise in the playoffs.

Instead, the Celtics went on a surprisingly strong regular-season run, going 48-24 for the third-best record in the East. They overachieved.

“It was a fun run,” Walker said after Sunday’s loss. “A tough finish, obviously, but we fought hard and that’s all you can ask for. You want guys to compete at a really high level, and I’m just proud of all these guys.”

Even with a disappointing playoff loss, the Celtics washed off the stain from last year’s torturous campaign in which they lost in the second round amid whispers that Irving was unhappy. Now, they have one of the youngest rosters in the N.B.A. If all goes well, they are equipped to make deep postseason runs for years to come.

If all goes well.

You cannot help but wonder whether they have enough to get over the hump. For years, Danny Ainge, the president of the Celtics, has resisted trading players or picks for stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Anthony Davis; the trade with Cleveland for Irving in 2017 was a notable exception.

The Celtics have not won a title since 2008. At what point does a rebuilding team bec

Read More

Heat coach says LeBron’s longevity is ‘testament to his greatness’ – Reuters

(Reuters) – Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on Tuesday paid tribute to his former player LeBron James, who will make a 10th NBA Finals appearance this week but in a different jersey than when the duo were celebrating titles together.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ James spent four seasons under Spoelstra in Miami where he reached the NBA Finals each year and won two championships before going on win another with Cleveland.

James now finds his former Heat team standing between him and a fourth title.

Spoelstra, speaking to media on the eve of the NBA Finals, was asked how James is different to when he last wore a Heat uniform in 2014.

“He’s seen everything,” said Spoelstra, whose Heat team are underdogs against the Lakers i

Read More

N.B.A. Season Like No Other: ‘One of the Worst, Strangest Years’

“The consensus was that we could come down here and use our platform to bring awareness to important issues,” Grant said, adding, “I thought I could do more here than back home.”

From the start, Grant used his platform to shine a spotlight on Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician from Louisville, Ky. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed in March when police officers who were executing a search warrant broke down the door to her apartment and shot her six times.

“I think anytime anyone in our community gets murdered for no reason, it impacts me deeply,” Grant said.

On July 15, during his first talk with

Read More

2020 NBA Finals Preview: LeBron’s Legacy, Asterisk Talk and More Notes – Sports Illustrated

So here we are, a year after teams reported to training camp, set to finish the wildest, most unpredictable season in NBA history. Many expected the Lakers to be here, with LeBron James teaming up with Anthony Davis to form one of the league’s most feared duos. Fewer would have bet on the Heat, a team that, like L.A., missed the playoffs last season and entered this one with a lot of unproven talent. But here we are, with James looking to knock off (one of) his former teams, with Miami looking to complete one of the most remarkable post-dynasty rebuilds in recent memory.

What to look for in this series? Let’s try to answer some questions.

Will there be an asterisk attached to this championship?

No. Hell no. It was one thing to ponder an asterisk before the NBA’s restart, when players were trickling into Orlando and the threat of a COVID-19 related stoppage seemed like a possibility. But now? Teams have largely been healthy. The games have been played at high level, higher, perhaps, than usual due to the elimination of travel, and the wear-and-tear that comes with it. Throw in the mental hurdle of finishing the season in isolation and there’s an argument to be made that not only is there no asterisk attached to this championship, it should be considered arguably the most difficult title any team has ever won.

Would a title be LeBron James’s most significant achievement?

The bucket of James’s “significant achievements” is overflowing. There’s the 2007 Cavaliers team that made the Finals with a 22-year old James flanked by Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes. There’s the back-to-back championships won in Miami. There’s the rally from 3-1 down to knock off a 72-win Warriors team in 2016. There’s the ten—ten!—Finals appearances, rarified air previously only occupied by Bill Russell, Sam Jones and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Yet there’s a strong case to be made that a title is James’s most notable accomplishment. At 35, James isn’t just a part of the Lakers surge to the Finals—he’s the driving force. His field goal percentage (54.7%) is the third highest of his playoff career. He’s averaging the second most assists (8.9) while cracking double-figures in rebounding (10.3) for just the second time. And he’s doing it in by far the fewest minutes per game (35) he’s played in a postseason. L.A., meanwhile, didn’t just best a difficult conference playoff field—they battered it, losing just three games along the way. If James and Co. do the same to Miami, this will be his crowning achievement.

The Lakers were 2-0 against the Heat in the regular season—does

Read More

‘Kawhi Leonard stretched it too long’: Lakers’ Jeanie Buss reveals what happened post Anthony Davis… – The Sportsrush

Speaking to Sam Amico of The Athletic, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reflected on the past offseason and how everything fell in place for the franchise.

It’s an open secret that the Los Angeles Lakers were among the suitors for Kawhi Leonard as a free agent last summer. The Klaw granted meetings to the Toronto Raptors as well, before deciding to sign with his hometown Clippers.

Among the conditions that Kawhi had was that the Clippers had to acquire a supporting star alongside him – something he would already have had with the Lakers.

The Anthony Davis trade and its impact on Kawhi Leonard move

The Anthony Davis trade saga began early last season and stretched on till the start of offseason. It was seen by many people as the Lakers giving up too much of their roster depth in pursuit of a superstar.

Many felt they would need another All Star or superstar to make waves in the playoffs.

Also Read: ‘Kawhi Leonard not a leader, Paul George wasn’t respected’: Doc R

Read More

LeBron James’ Company Signs First-Look Deal with Universal Pictures

lebron james first look deal

NBA superstar LeBron James is having a particularly good week. He just led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals against his former team, the Miami Heat. And on top of that, his entertainment company, The SpringHill Company, has signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures which will last for at least the next four years.

James is soon suiting up for a new Space Jam movie over at Warner Bros., so my first thought upon hearing this news was to wonder if someone at WB dropped the ball (sorry for the basketball pun) on locking down a renewed agreement at that studio instead. James and SpringHill previously had a development deal with WB back in 2015, around the time James co-starred in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck and surprised audiences with his on-screen charisma and charm. But now SpringHill has found a better offer across town, because?

Read More

NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Odds, TV Schedule and Game 1 Live Stream

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) drives against Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James‘ 10th NBA Finals appearance comes with a unique twist that the previous nine did not have. 

For the first time in his career, James will face one of his former teams in the best-of-seven championship series. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begin their title showdown Wednesday inside the Orlando bubble after both teams closed out victories over the weekend. 

The Lakers, with James and Anthony Davis in tow, are understandably the favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That is reflected in the Game 1 betting line.

Miami proved throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs that it will not back away from a challenge, and its experience against Milwaukee and Boston could help it remain close for four quarters Wednesday.

                

NBA Finals Game 1 Information

Date: Wednesday, September 30

Start Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Live Stream: ESPN.com or ESPN app

      

Odds

Miami (+166) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5; -198) (Over/Under: 217.5)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

       

The Lakers and Heat both recorded three wins with over 110 points in the conference finals round. 

If that production carries over into Game 1 with a few extra days to rest, the over/under may be the best play Wednesday.

However, the Game 1 history of both teams in the bubble and the totals from the last five NBA Finals openers suggest the over could produce much more of a sweat than wanted. 

In the last five NBA Finals, an average of 214 points has been scored in Game

Read More

Lakers’ LeBron faces former Heat team in NBA Finals – Reuters

(Reuters) – An unexpected NBA Finals matchup between the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begins this week, capping an unprecedented season interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak before resuming without fans at Disney World in Florida.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s showdown marks the first NBA Finals between two teams who missed the playoffs the previous season and it is the Lakers, powered by three-times champion James and Anthony Davis, who are favored in the best-of-seven games series.

James, who has reached nine of the last 10 NBA Finals, won his first t

Read More

NBA Finals 2020: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers become unprecedented NBA Finals opponents – NBA CA

The Miami Heat are headed back to the NBA Finals. Making their sixth appearance, and the first since 2014, Miami becomes the third-lowest seeded team to reach the NBA Finals since 1984.

They will be contesting the Los Angeles Lakers, making this the first Finals matchup between two teams who missed the playoffs the previous season. And they eliminated the Boston Celtics, who now join the Rockets in recent ignominy as the c

Read More

Miami Heat may end up regretting not finalizing Danilo Gallinari trade – OKC Thunder Wire

For the fifth time in his career, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will take his team to the NBA Finals. And there, he’ll attempt to defeat LeBron James, the superstar who helped make Spoelstra a champion in the first place.

In an alternate reality, Spoelstra could’ve had the Thunder’s Danilo Gallinari at his disposal — a piece his team could probably use in its quest.

Although the exact numbers may differ, Las Vegas has installed the Lakers as the favorite to win the title, and one can only help but to wonder whether the Heat will walk away from the championship regretting not finding a way to work things out with the Thunder last February. It was then that Sam Presti reportedly negotiated with the Heat on a deal that would have sent Gallinari to Miami.

The Heat, who ended up pulling off trades for Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder, were obviously in acquisition mode. Believing that the franchise had an opportunity to make noise

Read More

Randy Orton’s Tattoo Artist Sues Take-Two For Using Her Designs In WWE Games

Illustration for article titled Randy Orton’s Tattoo Artist Sues Take-Two For Using Her Designs In WWE Games

Screenshot: Take-Two / DBEATZ (Fair Use)

Take-Two and World Wrestling Entertainment are headed to trial after a judge ruled WWE 2K games copied the work of an artist responsible for some of pro wrestler Randy Orton’s tattoos.

Orton’s arms are fully inked from shoulder to hand, an intrinsic part of the four-time World Heavyweight Championship belt holder’s stage appearance. According to The Hollywood Reporter, those designs include tribal tattoos, skulls, a bible verse, and a dove and rose, all of which are the work of artist Catherine Alexander. She’s now suing Take-Two and WWE for reproducing her work in video games without her permission.

“[A]n issue of material fact exists as to whether Alexander suffered actual damages based on the value of the infringing use,” Illinois federal judge Staci Yandle wrote in a court order over the weekend. What that means is that the lawsuit will now go to trial for a jury to decide if the appearance of the tattoos in WWE 2K16, 17, and 18 amounts to copyright infringement and if so how much money the video game publisher will owe Alexander as a result.

While Orton licensed his likeness to WWE which in turn licensed it to Take-Two, what’s at issue is whether Alexander retains some rights to the tattoos once they start being

Read More

LeBron James: ‘Put Some Respect’ on Chris Paul’s Name After Thunder Beat Rockets

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) dribbles against Oklahoma City Thunder's Chris Paul (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 112-107. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

LeBron James took notice as Chris Paul scored 28 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-100 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Monday night.

OKC’s victory forces a Game 7 on Wednesday to determine which team will advance to face James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals.

Along with his team-high 28 points, Paul added seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in 40 minutes. He was a plus-20 in the contest; no other player was better than plus-seven.

“When it gets to clutch time, fourth quarter, some people are built for it, some people shy away from it,” Paul told TNT’s Jared Greenberg after the Game 6 win. “Some people are built for it, man, and we’re just go

Read More

LeBron James Discusses Kobe Bryant’s Legacy and Lakers in 2020 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James sits on the floor as he waits for the trophy ceremony to start after the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-107 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Up 2-0 in the 2009 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant sat at a podium and said the Los Angeles Lakers‘ job wasn’t finished.

Heading to his first Finals as a Laker, LeBron James is echoing the same sentiment.

“The job is not done, but it’s great to hit moments throughout the course of a journey and appreciate that. This is all part of the process, but the job is not done for me personally. For us, as a franchise, I am extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs…this is what I came here for.”

James acknowledged that he heard all of the public criticism of his move to the Lakers, including accusations he signed in Los Angeles for reasons other than basketball. He says his hope is the Lakers’ run puts those talks to rest but acknowledged that likely won’t happen until he captures his fourth ring.

The Lakers are making their first Finals appearance since 2010, when Bryant captured his fifth and final ring. James talked about what the late Lakers legend means to him and their similarities, saying their drive to be the best is what separ

Read More

NBA Playoff Schedule 2020: Remaining Dates, Odds Breakdown for Conference Finals

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) talks with teammates during a timeout in the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 114-108. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Will LeBron James be back in the NBA Finals up against one of his former teams? It’s not a certainty, but that’s the way things are shaping up in the NBA playoffs.

On Thursday night, James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a Game 4 win over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, moving them one win away from a spot in the NBA Finals. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat are also one victory away from reaching the championship game after notching a Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

It’s not a shock that the Lakers, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, are in this position. But it’s been a surprise run from the Heat, who are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and took down the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. They now have the No. 3-seeded Celtics on the brink of elimination.

With both series getting closer to their conclusions, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming action in the NBA playoffs.

                  

Remaining Conference Finals Schedule

Friday, Sept. 25

Game 5: No. 5 Miami Heat at No. 3 Boston Celtics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

          

Saturday, Sept. 26

Game 5: No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers, 9 p.m. ET, TNT

          

Sunday, Sept. 27

Game 6 (if necessary): No. 3 Boston Celtics at No. 5 Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

          

Monday, Sept. 28

Game 6 (if necessary): No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3 Denver Nuggets, TBD, TNT

            

TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): No. 3 Boston Celtics at No. 5 Miami Heat, TBD, TBD

                  

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Game 7 (if necessary): No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers, TBD, TNT

            

NBA Title Odds

Los Angeles Lakers: -330 (bet $330

Read More

Andre Iguodala Calls LeBron James ‘The Top Talent Ever’ Ahead of Heat vs. Lakers

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Few people know what it is like to face LeBron James in the NBA Finals better than Andre Iguodala, which makes it all the more notable when he called the Los Angeles Lakers star “the top talent ever.”

“You just got to have that will, understanding you’re guarding the top talent ever,” Iguodala told Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated. “He’s going to make you pay when you make mistakes. You just try to play mistake-free basketball. Put him in vulnerable situations where you feel like you got the advantage, whether it’s a shot or a pass or where he is defensively.” 

Iguodala played against James in four straight NBA Finals from 2015 through 2018 when he was with the Golden State Warriors and the King was on the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will square off again with the 2020 Larry O’Brien Trophy hanging in the balance after Iguodal

Read More

The Nike LeBron Soldier 14 “Lakers” Honors the Team’s Signature Yellow and Purple

In celebration of LeBron James‘ place on the Los Angeles Lakers, Nike has put together a take on the LeBron Soldier 14 honoring the team’s signature yellow and gold color scheme.

Similar to the tooling of the LeBron 7 “Lakers,” the upc

Read More

NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Schedule, Odds and Early Preview

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) talks with players as confetti falls after the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-107 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

It’s the powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers against the upstart, fifth-seeded Miami Heat.

It’s LeBron James’ current team against LeBron James’ old team.

It’s Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo against the King and Anthony Davis.

It’s Miami’s incredible supporting cast against playoff Rondo.

There are plenty of intriguing storylines for NBA fans as the Finals approach.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report shared the NBA Finals schedule, which can be seen below along with the odds and a quick preview for the series.

          

2020 NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

*if necessary

          

Odds (per FanDuel, as of Sunday at 11:55 p.m. ET)

Lakers -370

Heat +290

          

Quick Preview

Miami may be the underdog, but it actually matches up with the Laker

Read More

NBA Finals 2020: Known Dates, Format for Championship Schedule

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James sets up a play during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA Finals is set, with LeBron James‘ past meeting his present.

James’ former team, the Miami Heat, earned their first Finals birth since his 2014 departure Sunday night with a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics.

While few picked a Lakers-Heat Finals when the postseason began, these have been far and away the most dominant teams of the bubble format. Both teams lost just three games in rampaging through their respective conferences, though they did so in wildly different ways.

2020 NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

The Lakers have their best one-two punch since prime Shaq and Kobe were throwing up lobs and threepeating in the early 2000s. James may have found the most talented costar of his career in Anthony Davis, a prototypical modern NBA big with Defensive Player of the Year skills on one end and Swiss Army knife skills on the offensive end.

It was Davis, not James, who hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Lakers a win over the Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Some have even gone as far as to say Davis is the best player on

Read More

LeBron James and Anthony Davis Fulfill Lakers’ Finals Promise

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Purple-and-gold confetti fell on LeBron James late Saturday night as he sat on the court in a largely empty arena and digested the fresh reality that he was headed to his ninth N.B.A. finals in 10 seasons. One of the first people he thought about was Anthony Davis, his teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers.

“This is the reason why I wanted to be a teammate of his and why I brought him here,” James said after the Lakers closed out the Denver Nuggets with a 117-107 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. “I wanted him to see things that he had not seen before in this league. To be able to come through for him meant a lot for me personally.”

Their partnership has the Lakers four wins from the franchise’s 17th championship — the Lakers will face the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics in the N.B.A. finals — and it has been mutually beneficial from the beginning. Davis, a 27-year-old power forward, recalled an early conversation with James, 35, after they became teammates before the start of the season.

“When I first got here, he told me that he wants to give me my first ring,” Davis said. “And I told him that I want to get him back to the finals.”

The Lakers have endured their share of adversity this season — the league’s longest season, by the calendar. They found themselves caught up in a geopolitical feud during a preseason trip to China, then mourning the death of Kobe Bryant in January. After a four-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers traveled to Walt Disney World for the N.B.A.’s restart with their lofty goals intact: championship or bust.

“It’s been a crazy obstacle course for our franchise,” James said.

Even as he nears the end of his 17th season, a season that started nearly 12 months ago — “An eternity,” his teammate Jared Dudley said — James has been thrilling to watch.

On Saturday, he was at his best, which is saying a lot: 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists while shooting 15 of 25 from the field. He scored 9 straight points for the Lakers late in the fourth quarter. During a subsequent timeout, his teammate JaVale McGee pretended to place a crown on James’s head.

“It’s incredible,” Michael Malone, the coach of the Nuggets, said. “When you

Read More

Lakers beat Nuggets behind LeBron’s triple-double, advance to finals – Reuters

EditorsNote: Adds quotes

LeBron James had 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA finals in a decade with a 117-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday near Orlando.

Anthony Davis scored 27 points for the Lakers, who advanced to their first NBA finals since 2010, when they beat the Boston Celtics in seven games. They will face either the Celtics or Miami Heat.

“It means a lot,” Davis said after the game. “It’s a step closer to our goal. Obviously, you have to win the (conference) finals in order to go to the (NBA) finals. Being with this team from day one, the journey and adversity we’ve been through has been nothing but amazing. … But we’ve got four more left.”

Nikola Jokic had 20 points and seven rebounds for Denver. Jerami Grant also scored 20 points, while Jamal Murray, who sustained a right knee contusion in the first half, finished with 19 points and eigh

Read More

Lakers snuff out Nuggets’ magic, advance to first NBA Finals since 2010 – Yahoo Sports

  1. Lakers snuff out Nuggets’ magic, advance to first NBA Finals since 2010  Yahoo Sports
  2. LeBron James leads Los Angeles Lakers to first NBA Finals in 10 years  ESPN
  3. WATCH : Sebastian Vettel Shares an Unbelievable Hangover Story From I…
    Read More

Michael Jordan’s Big Play in NASCAR Could Help Diversify Its Fan Base

“A lot of naysayers, a lot of the Bubba haters were saying he got fired and Bubba was out in the ocean without a paddle,” Ribbs said. “That cat’s on an ocean liner now.

Ribbs and Lester both said they heard news of the formation days before the announcement. They both hope that Jordan’s involvement will create more corporate sponsorship opportunities for minorities.

“It is going to definitely raise awareness without a doubt,” Ribbs said.

NASCAR officials anticipate that the debut of the Next Generation car for the 2022 Cup Series will help curb costs for team owners.

For Lester, the c

Read More

LeBron’s triple-double powers LA Lakers over Nuggets into NBA finals

LeBron James is going to a 10th NBA finals – and for the first time in a decade, so are the Los Angeles Lakers.James…
Read More

NBA playoffs: How to watch Lakers vs Nuggets Game 5 tonight on TNT – CNET

The 2020 NBA playoffs are more reminiscent of the college format than ever, complete with surprising upsets and a neutral home floor in Orlando’s bubble, and now it’s down to the final four teams. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics escaped elimination on Friday to force a Game 6 against the Miami Heat, led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In tonight’s game the Los Angeles Lakers will look to finish off the Denver Nuggets and become the first of the four to reach the NBA Finals. For Lakers Star LeBron James, a win tonight would deliver a remarkable 10th finals appearance in his 16-year NBA career.

Here’s the schedule for the weekend.

Saturday, Sept. 26

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets (Game 5, LAL leads 3-1), 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on TNT

Sunday, Sept. 27

  • Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (Game 6, MIA leads 3-2), 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN

Looking to watch the NBA playoffs without cable? We have you covered below.

Read more: NFL streaming: Best ways to watch the 2020 football season live without cable

Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers could get to the 2020 NBA Finals with a win tonight.


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When did the 2020 NBA playoffs start? 

The NBA playoffs, which follow a traditional seven-game format, began on Aug. 17. All remaining games will be broadcast nationally on either TNT, ESPN or ABC.

Game 7 of the NBA Finals will take place, if necessary, no later than Oct. 13. 

How can I watch the NBA playoffs on TV without cable?

As in a regular non-COVID season, Disney-owned ABC and ESPN will broadcast games, with ABC broadcasting the NBA Finals. ESPN is the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Eastern Conference finals. 

AT&T-owned Turner Sports, which runs TNT and “jointly” manages the league’s NBA Digital division that includes NBA TV. TNT is the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Western Conference finals. 

You can see the NBA’s national television schedule here, with games on ABC, ESPN and TNT.

You don’t need cable or satellite TV to watch the games on ESPN or TNT. Most of the channels are offered on four of the major live TV streaming services, though not all streaming services offer ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV.

Read more: How to cut the cable TV cord in 2020

Sling TV’s $30-a-month Orange package includes ESPN and TNT but not ABC. If you want NBA TV you will also need to subscribe to the Sports Extra add-on for an additional $10 per month.

Read our Sling TV review.

FuboTV recently added ESPN and ABC, where available, to give it three of the four major channels — ABC, ESPN and NBA TV — if you get the $65-per-month Family package plus the $6-per-month Fubo Extra add-on (for NBA TV).

TNT is no longer available on FuboTV.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV Now includes ABC, ESPN and TNT with its $55 per month Plus package, with some regional sports networks, like those in New York and Los Angeles, available in the $80 per month Max offering. NBA TV, however, is not included until you go to the $124-per-month Xtra package.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Which teams are in? 

Sixteen teams qualified for the playoffs and four remain in the fight for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. 

Eastern Conference

  • Boston Celtics
  • Miami Heat

Western Conference

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Denver Nuggets

The eliminated teams are all done for the year and are prepping for the offseason and NBA Draft, which will be held on Oct. 16. Better luck next year, Knicks fans.


Read More

Paul Pierce: My Era Is Out of the League; We Weren’t Afraid of LeBron James

Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce (34) defends Miami Heat forward LeBron James in the first half of Game 4 of their second-round NBA playoff basketball game at the Barclays Center, Monday, May 12, 2014, in New York. James had 49 points as the Heat defeated the Nets 102-96 to go up 3-1 in the series. (AP Photo/)

Uncredited/Associated Press

Paul Pierce believes players in the NBA are scared of LeBron James.

During ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Friday, Pierce said (starting at 5:55 mark): “Players of today are scared of LeBron. … My era is out the league. We wasn’t afraid of LeBron, but these guys today, he strikes fear in these guys. I can see it.”

In 14 seasons that their careers overlapped, James averaged 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. He won four MVP awards and three championships and was named to the All-NBA first or second team 13 times.

Pierce has a well-documented history of criticizing James. Kendrick Perkins said on ESPN’s Hoop Streams in May that the feud began when Pierce spat at the Cleveland Cavaliers bench in a preseason game during Perk

Read More

Jamal Murray Gets the Acclaim, but the Lakers Close In on the Series

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It was nearing midnight, and Jamal Murray concluded his postgame news conference by slowly rising from his folding chair with the expression of someone who had spent 12 hours on an assembly line. He had football-size ice packs on his knees. As he lumbered toward the door and a waiting bus outside, he let out a load groan.

Murray had done everything he conceivably could for the Denver Nuggets in their 114-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and you may have heard something like this before. Throughout the N.B.A.’s restart at Walt Disney World, no player has been more dynamic or entertaining or competitive than Murray, a 23-year-old point guard who has emerged as a star.

His theatrics may not be enough against the Lakers, who have a three-games-to-one lead in the N.B.A.’s Western Conference finals before Game 5 on Saturday. All Murray did in Game 4 was collect 32 points and 8 assists while shooting 12 of 20 from the field. He was so good, LeBron James defended him in the fourth quarter as the Lakers fought to preserve their lead.

“I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going,” James said. “The kid is special.”

The level of difficulty for Murray’s shots tends to range from tricky to hazardous. He shoots from one foot. He shoots with the wrong hand. He shoots falling down. He shoots while absorbing contact from large human beings. He shoots with opposing elbows in his stomach and palms in his face. He shoots by throwing the ball off the backboard from absurd angles, and he shoots by launching 3-pointers from Epcot Center. But he keeps shooting, and he will need to shoot some more if the Nuggets have any chance in the series.

Then again, the Nuggets are comeback kings. Already in this postseason, they have bounced back from a pair of three-games-to-one series deficits — against the Utah Jazz in the first round, then against the Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semifinals. The Nuggets are familiar with bleak ci

Read More

Davis, James power Lakers to verge of NBA Finals – Reuters Canada

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points, LeBron James added 26 and the Los Angeles Lakers never lost the lead over the final three quarters Thursday night en route to a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals near Orlando.

Sep 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives the ball around Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant (9) during the second half in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The top-seeded Lakers hold a 3-1 lead in the series and are within one win of the NBA Finals. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday.

Jamal Murray paced the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, but he misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts.

Los Angeles led each of its previous two series 3-1 before closing out the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets on its first opportunity to advance.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory facing a 3-1 deficit. They also trailed the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 in their first two rounds before stunning each with three-game turnarounds to move on.

After losing for the first time in the series on Tuesday,

Read More

LeBron James not surprised at Breonna Taylor grand jury decision.

SHOWS: ORLANDO, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 24, 2020) (NBA – SEE RESTRICTIONS)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I can’t say we were surprised at the verdict, none of us were surprised at it and that’s what’s even more devastating, that none of us were surprised at what the outcome was.”

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I think at the end of the day respect is to respect. You just look at the history of America and the disrespect that Black women has got for the last 400 years, you can’t turn a blind eye to that.

“When I look at my household, seeing my daughter who’s five on her way to six, my wife, my mom, rest in peace, my grandmother, so many Black women have done so many things for me and seeing the sacrifices that they made, especially my mom when I was growing up, they were still disrespected along the way, and it’s still like that today.

“In the case of obviously Breonna Taylor’s case it just showed once again that the walls of the neighbours is more important than her life.”

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I felt it was important to let Black women know that they’re not alone. No matter the disrespect or what they may feel don’t stop. Because that’s exactly what they want you guys (the press) to do, they want you guys to stop, the want you guys not to be as powerful as you guys are, not as strong as you guys are, as determined as you guys are, they wa

Read More

Davis, James power Lakers to verge of NBA Finals – Reuters

EditorsNote: update 2: changes to “about” in 10th graf; adds new final two grafs

Sep 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) warms up prior to the game four against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points, LeBron James added 26 and the Los Angeles Lakers never lost the lead over the final three quarters Thursday night en route to a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals near Orlando.

The top-seeded Lakers hold a 3-1 lead in the series and are within one win of the NBA Finals. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday.

Jamal Murray paced the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, but he misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts.

Los Angeles led each of its previous two series 3-1 before closing out the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets on its first opportunity to advance.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory facing a 3-1 deficit. They also trailed the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 in their first two rounds before stunning each with three-game turnarounds to move on.

After losing for the first time in t

Read More

Key Words: ‘Who are black people supposed to call, Ghostbusters?’ — Charles Barkley dismisses the ‘Defund the Police’ movement

A previous version of this report indicated that police were involved in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The story has been corrected.

Charles Barkley.


Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the days after it was announced that no officers would be indicted for Breonna Taylor’s death, several high-profile athletes, including LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell and Megan Rapinoe, have voiced criticisms after a Kentucky grand jury failed to recommend charges against Louisville police for the shooting death of the 26-year-old medical technician at her home.

Prior to Thursday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, NBA hall of famer Charles Barkley reacted to the Breonna Taylor news on TNT’s show “Inside the NBA.”

“And I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop,” Barkley said. “So, like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”

George Floyd died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, and Ahmaud Arbery was chased down by a white Georgia man and his son and fatally shot in February while jogging in his neighborhood. Both Floyd and Arbery were Black men.

Barkley, speaking wit

Read More

Sport reacts to decision not to charge officers in Taylor case

Lewis Hamilton (pictured from behind) wearing a t-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor and the words 'say her name'
Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor at the Tuscan Grand Prix

Sport stars including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick have expressed their disappointment at a decision not to charge any police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a black woman, was shot multiple times as officers stormed her home in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 March.

Two white officers have not been charged while a third, also white, was charged with endangering 26-year-old Taylor’s neighbours.

Athletes around the world have added their voices to the public outcry surrounding Taylor’s death and the grand jury’s decision.

Kentucky Attorney General Mr Cameron held a news conference to explain the decision, saying: “This is a gut-wrenching emotional case.

“Each [case] is unique and cannot be compared,” Cameron said:external-link “There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t.”

What sports stars have said

LeBron James tweets:

Read More

LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police

LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police (Getty)
LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police (Getty)

LeBron James denied ever condoning violence towards the police as he insisted he will continue to speak out against brutality.

The NBA superstar also dismissed comments by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva who asked him to give the county $175,00 to boost the reward for the gunman in the attack on two officers in Compton.

James insisted he had never supported revenge attacks against law enforcement but had repeatedly seen police racially profile his community.

“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence. Never have. But I also know what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers lost in the NBA playoffs to the Denver Nuggets.

“I grew up in the inner city in a Black community in what we call the hood or the ghetto.

“I’ve seen a lot of counts firsthand of a lot of Black people being racially profiled because of our colour. And I’ve seen it throughout my whole life. 

“And I’m not saying that all cops are bad because, I actually, throughout high school and things of that nature, and I’m around them all the time, and they’re not all bad.

“But when you see th

Read More

Nuggets and Lakers players’ react to the Breonna Taylor ruling | NBA on ESPN – ESPN

About
Press
Copyright
Contact us
Creators
Advertise
Developers

Terms
Privacy
Policy & Safety
How YouTube works
Test new features


Nuggets and Lakers players’ react to the Breonna Taylor ruling | NBA on ESPN – YouTube





































































Read More

Historic Superstar NBA Playoff Matchups We Wish Happened

0 of 6

    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Since 1947, the NBA has delivered iconic playoff matchups, from Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The duels that saw Magic Johnson and Larry Bird battle for superiority again and again delighted fans for nearly a decade. The friendship that ensued even inspired a Broadway play

    And yet, some of the most notable superstars failed to meet one another in such classic fashion, robbing fanbases of the mano-a-mano confrontations they had desperately been craving. 

    Here are some of the what-ifs we wish could be remedied.

1 of 6

    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s and Bill Russell’s iconic legacies stand the test of time decades after their highly decorated playing careers reached the end. 

    Kareem still owns the record books with the most points all-time, most All-Star appearances (19), All-NBA teams (15) as well as the most MVPs (six). He also has the fourth-most All-Defensive team selections (11) and is the only player to win Finals MVP 14 seasons apart. 

    Kareem is one of the game’s best ever on account of his MVPs, scoring and titles (six), but another big whose career barely preceded his carries the title of the game’s greatest winner: Bill Russell. 

    No athlete in any major American sport won more than Russell, who brought home 11 championships in just 13 seasons in Boston. He finished with five MVPs, 12 All-Star appearances and 11 All-NBA teams despite playing seven fewer seasons than Kareem.

    The two each battled another historic great in Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt managed to eliminate Kareem and his Milwaukee Bucks in back-to-back seasons. Though Russell fell to Wilt’s 76ers and Lakers in back-to-back years, he largely owned him throughout their careers (57 wins out of 94).

    So, how would the game’s greatest scorer fare against the game’s greatest champion ever? The two missed each other by just one season, robbing sports fans of one of the greatest potential clashes in NBA history. 

2 of 6

    DAVID J. PHILLIP/Associated Press

    A Finals clash of Michael Jordan versus Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the great what-ifs in NBA history. The Houston Rockets were the only team to experience championship glory during Jordan’s nearly unblemished 25-1 playoff series record between 1991 and 1998. That run is only separated by two seasons in which Jordan “rode the bus with the Birmingham Barons. 

    But what if Jordan hadn’t given up basketball for close to two seasons? Could the Bulls have continued their path of destruction against the Houston Rockets in 1993-94 and 1994-95?

    Olajuwon and his Rockets may have posed a threat that Jordan’s Bulls never encountered in the NBA Finals, with Patrick Ewing in the Eastern Conference playoffs being the closest exception. While Ewing is an undeniable Hall of Famer and all-time great at the center position, Olajuwon was the far superior defender, having placed on the All-Defensive team nine times to Ewing’s three in addition to two Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1992-93 and 1993-94. 

    Jordan himself didn’t believe the Bulls had the personnel to defend Olajuwon, according to an interview The Athletic’s Michael Lee conducted with Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich

    “He gave our team great respect,” Tomjanovich said. “He didn’t feel that they could contain Hakeem. They just didn’t have the personnel to do it. And he said he thought we were the team that gave them the most trouble.”

    During the ’93-94 campaign, the Bulls would have been a near-lock to return to the Finals with Jordan. Led by Scottie Pippen and reinforced by Toni Kukoc as a perimeter scorer and small-ball threat, the Bulls rattled off 55 wins, falling to the Knicks in the semifinals in seven games. 

    The matchups beyond Jordan and Vernon Maxwell would have intrigued. Horace Grant would have been the proper foil for Otis Thorpe with 1994 All-Star starter B.J. Armstrong chasing Kenny Smith and Sam Cassell. Pippen locking down a young Robert Horry or Clyde Drexler in 1995 may have served as yet another compelling showdown. 

    Incidentally, the Bulls beat the Rockets just once in six attempts during Jordan’s first three-peat, though they took five of six immediately following Jordan’s return. 

3 of 6

    Susan Ragan/Associated Press

    We were so close!

    The twin towers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson stand tall as one of the greatest frontcourt combinations ever. Duncan and the Spurs’ run of excellence began in 1998 when they started their streak of 22 playoff appearances in his rookie season.

    In the lockout-shortened season that followed, Duncan and Robinson won their first title against the unlikeliest of opponents in the eighth-seeded New York Knicks. Even so, basketball fans can’t help but wonder, what if? 

    While the addition and play of Marcus Camby was critical in advancing to the postseason’s final round, could a healthy Patrick Ewing have dictated a different outcome? A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Ewing earned 11 All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA honors and three All-Defensive team nods. 

    Like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, Ewing stands as one of the greatest players to never win a championship, mainly because of Michael Jordan’s Bulls but also Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets. With Jordan freshly retired and Olajuwon’s prime fading, the path to a title finally shone itself. However, in cruel Knicks fashion, Ewing tore his Achilles tendon during the Eastern Conference Finals warm-ups against India

Read More

Sabrina Ionescu Opens Up About Kobe Bryant and Rookie Year Woes

Want more basketball in your inbox? Sign up for Marc Stein’s weekly N.B.A. newsletter here.

Sabrina Ionescu could spend a considerable amount of time, if she wished, dwelling on everything that was snatched away from her in what was scripted to be a momentous year.

She prefers to focus on the fortune that enabled her to avoid surgery after a nasty ankle injury prematurely ended her rookie season with the W.N.B.A.’s Liberty.

“With everything that’s happened, with everything that’s been out of my control, I’ve just handled it the best that I can,” Ionescu said.

Last fall, Ionescu, 22, returned to the University of Oregon for her senior season, rather than turn professional, to try to win the N.C.A.A. title that had eluded the Ducks in the 2018-19 season. When the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020 N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament in March, Ionescu moved on to the W.N.B.A.

She was the No. 1 over all pick in the draft in April and one of the most celebrated rookies in league history — only to sustain a season-ending injury in the second quarter of her third pro game. Ionescu rolled her ankle when she stepped on the foot of the Atlanta Dream’s backpedaling Betnijah Laney. The Liberty, who had six other rookies besides Ionescu, sank to the league’s worst record (2-20) without her.

The injury, Ionescu said, was “definitely” the most severe of her career. It added another layer of struggle to a year that began with deep sorrow, after her friend and mentor Kobe Bryant and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna — whom Ionescu mentored — were among nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

Ionescu spoke to The New York Times about the numerous challenges she has faced in 2020, spending time with Bryant’s family and life in the W.N.B.A. bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)

How are things going on the rehabilitation front?

I feel really good. Everything’s been going well, progressing as it should. It’s just been fun and exciting to get back out there and start playing and practicing.

How did you deal with the shock of having an injury so soon in your pro career?

It happens. It really wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t like my senior year of college or anything. I’ll have many, many more opportunities to play in the league, so it really wasn’t like a devastating experience. I kind of just took it for what it was and moved on.

The game before, to go for 33 points against the Dallas Wings, what did that feel like to be able to perform at that level so quickly?

I just felt comfortable. I obviously learned from the first game [Ionescu shot 4 for 17 from the field in her debut against the Seattle Storm] and just kept watching film and was just able to find my shots and felt more and more comfortable.

You faced big expectations throughout your college career, but how much different do pro expectations feel — being drafted to turn around a struggling franchise?

They don’t feel any different at all. The expectations I have for myself are always higher than anyone else’s, regardless of what level I’m playing at. It didn’t really matter that I was a rookie or it was my first year. I still had that same high level of expectation.

What was life like for you in the W.N.B.A. bubble?

It’s really hard, and it’s definitely not ideal. I think they did a great job keeping it safe and doing the best that they can with the short notice of having to kind of start the season and try to keep our best interests at hand. But, obviously, to eat, sleep and breathe your job is not always the best route that you could possibly take.

It definitely wasn’t easy being away from family and that support system, especially in my first year, and then obviously getting injured and kind of being stuck in that bubble and not being able to readily see who I need to see right away. But I think they did a great job just being able to keep us safe. Hopefully, if there’s a situation like this next year, we can just learn from it.

If next season is closer to typical, after spending your whole life on the West Coast, what do you imagine living and playing in New York will be like?

Hopefully really fun. I’m not nervous to get out there. I’m really excited to get out to Barclays and to be able to play with fans in an arena. Hopefully that happens, and we can get back to a little bit of the normal way of playing sports.

We’ve seen a few videos and pictures of you spending time with Kobe Bryant’s family. How helpful is it, if that’s even the right word, to grieve with them?

I think it’s helped all of us, just to be able to see each other, be around each other, tell stories, obviously be there for the good and the bad times, whatever it is. I’ll always be close to his family, and I think they know that they’ll always be close to me. So it’s been great to be able to just spend time with them, and that’s honestly been a blessing that I’ve been able to have that opportunity to be down in L.A. and see them.

To be asked to speak at Kobe’s memorial service — I honestly can’t even imagine taking that on.

It was difficult, but it was also an honor. Obviously being around such great people that were in attendance, some great teammates, all of his mentors, really everyone that was there — it was something that I am so happy that I was able to do and was asked to do.

At this point of your rehab, how much are you able to do?

I’m able to do just about everything that I want. I’m not playing live now and probably won’t be for a while, just because there’s no point playing live. It’s not necessarily for my health or my ankle, but just due to Covid-19 and everything going on. I don’t really feel like I want to go to a gym and start playing with random people at this point.

How hard is it for someone as competitive as you to be patient?

I’m actually pretty patient. I’m just making sure I’m staying healthy. There’s nothing really I’m rushing back for, so I think that’s definitely helped me. There’s not a game in a week that I need to get ready for. I have a while until next season, so I think this is going to be a time to just get my body where I want it to be.


This newsletter is OUR newsletter. So please weigh in with what you’d like to see here. To get your hoops-loving friends and family involved, please forward this email to them so they can jump in the conversation. If you’re not a subscriber, you can sign up here.


You ask; I an

Read More

Nuggets win game three of conference finals against Lakers

Jamal Murray shoots the ball
Jamal Murray had 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds

The Denver Nuggets saw off a final-quarter surge from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 114-106 in the Western Conference finals in Florida.

The Nuggets now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series after Jamal Murray scored 28 points and Jerami Grant 26.

It brought the Lakers’ six-game winning streak to an end, despite LeBron James’ 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

“We’re in this series,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said to his players after the win.

“We let them know we’re not going anywhere. That’s what you guys have done this whole post-season.

“That’s why everybody is rooting for us. Keep on showing that grit and resilience and playing for each other.”

Nikola Jokic added 22 points and Murray had 12 assists and eight rebounds for Denver, who have never won a conference title.

The Lakers closed the gap to 99-96 in the final quarter, but missed four three-point attempts to give the Nuggets back control.

“We turned the ball over too much and we put them on the free-throw line,” said James.

“I give credit whe

Read More

Official Look at LeBron James’ Nike LeBron 18 “Reflections”

17 seasons into his GOAT-level career, LeBron James has more than a few memorable moments under his belt — so Nike is paying homage to the King’s climb to the top with the new LeBron 18 “Reflections.” One of the first colorways of James’s eighteenth signature Nike Basketball shoe to hit shelves, the “Reflections” is loaded with special details. However, even with all its ornamentation, it never feels overpowering.

Uppers are constructed of a black Knitposite 2.0 forefoot and midfoot, flec

Read More

Adding Anthony Davis’ shot to the iconic list of Los Angeles Lakers postseason buzzer-beaters – NBA CA


Los Angeles Lakers

The buzzer-beating 3 in Game 2 of the 2020 Western Conference Finals is yet another reminder that Anthony Davis is on his way to becoming a Los Angeles Lakers legend.

Davis is aware of the of the significance of his shot, too.

“It’s for sure the biggest shot of my career,” Davis said to the media following the game. “When I left (New Orleans), I just wanted to be able to compete for a championship. I know that moments like this come with it. Especially being in LA, the biggest market in basketball.”

Davis and LeBron James have teamed up to deliver the city of Los Angeles the most postseason success it has seen since 2010, the year in which the Lakers won the second of their back-to-back titles.

Not only was Sunday’s game-winner the biggest shot of Davis’ eight-year career, it also adds to a sto

Read More

LeBron James and the Burden of Being Great(est)

There are many reasons he is taken for granted. Silly arguments over who is better, James or Michael Jordan, distract from the ability to see him for what he really is.

Race is part of the mix. There are still too many who cannot see beyond James’s physicality, his uncommon blend of size and strength and speed. Still too many who see him without nuance, first and foremost as a body. A Black body.

That allows the easy dismissal of the dedication he has always put into staying in shape — and the disregard of his sheer intelligence. James is said to possess a photographic memory. He can recall plays that occurred years ago w

Read More

Davis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer extends Lakers’ lead

Anthony Davis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-103 to go 2-0 up in the Western Conference finals.

Forward Davis scored the Lakers’ final 10 points of the game, with 22 of his total 31 coming in the second half.

The Lakers wore ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys in tribute to team legend Kobe Bryant, who died in January.

“Special moment for me, special moment for the team,” said Davis, who also finished with nine rebounds.

“Especially in a situation like that trying to go up 2-0 against a special team, who are great competitors and [fought] for the entire 48 minutes.

“To do something like in the jerseys we wore tonight makes it even more special.”

LeBron James added 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a 16-point lead in the third quarter.

Ni

Read More

Davis’ buzzer-beating 3 lifts Lakers over Nuggets – Reuters

EditorsNote: Adds quotes

Sep 20, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers kneel during the national anthem before playing the Los Angeles Lakers in game two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday near Orlando.

“Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it,” LeBron James said of Davis’ shot.

Davis, who scored the last 10 Laker points, delivered 22 of his 31 points in the second half for the Lakers, who hold a 2-0 series lead. Davis also finished with nine rebounds.

“Special moment for me, special moment for the team, especially in a situation like that trying to go up 2-0 against a special team, who are great competitors and (fought) for the entire 48 minutes,” Davis said of the Lakers, who played the game in their Kobe Bryant-designed “Black Mamba” jerseys. “So, to do something like in the jerseys we wore tonight makes it even more special.”

James contributed 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a 16-point third-quarter lead. Kentavio

Read More

LeBron James on Anthony Davis’ GW Shot: ‘Special Moment for a Special Player’

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) celebrates with teammates after an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James is usually the one hitting the memorable buzzer-beating shots in the NBA playoffs.

It was his teammate’s turn Sunday.

Anthony Davis drilled a game-winning three-pointer to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals and propel the Purple and Gold to a 2-0 lead in the series.

“Special moment for a special player,” James told reporters. “Happy to be a part of it.”

The King also gave a shout-out to the Lakers fans, adding, “I wish we were playing at Staples [Center] … We miss our fans so much … It probably would have blown the roof off,” while praising the big man for taking advantage of the moment:

Read More

UFC’s Colby Covington takes call from Trump, rips ‘coward’ LeBron after TKO

UFC welterweight contender Colby Covington finished off Tyron Woodley, then took the fight to Joe Biden and LeBron Jame…
Read More

LeBron: Finishing 2nd in MVP voting ‘pissed me off’ – theScore

LeBron James wasn’t pleased when he found out he lost the 2020 MVP award to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Not saying that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP, but that pissed me off,” he said after the Lakers’ Game 1 win over the Denver Nuggets Friday, courtesy of The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver. “I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship (and) now four times as the MVP. Like I said, I never came into this league saying ‘Let me be MVP or be a champion.’

“I just want to get better and better every single day and those things will take care of itself. But some things (are) just out of my hands and some things you can’t control. But it pissed me off.”

The NBA’s annual awards are voted on by a panel of 100 media members plus one additional fan vote.

James received just 16 first-place votes for a total of 753 points. Antetoko

Read More

Bucks’ Antetokounmpo named most valuable player for second straight year – Reuters India

Sep 8, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks on as teammates warm up before game five in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Antetokounmpo will not play in the contest. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports/Files

(Reuters) – Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second straight year on Friday, becom

Read More

Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference final opener

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis (right) scored 33 of his 37 points by the end of the third quarter

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 126-114 to go 1-0 up in the NBA Western Conference finals in Florida.

Anthony Davis top-scored with 37 points and 10 rebounds in what was the Lakers’ first conference final series appearance since 2010.

The second match of the best-of-seven series takes place on Monday.

“It took a quarter for us to kind of figure it out,” said LeBron James, who added 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Lakers.

“I’m not saying we fully figured them out because it’s too early in the series to say that.”

The opening quarter was edged by the Nuggets but the Lakers overpowered their opponents in the second period.

Power forward Davis’ 33 points by the end of the third quarter guided the Lakers to a handsome 23-point lead and one step closer to winning their first NBA title in a decade.

“We haven’t done anything special,” Davis said. “We basically took care of home court. We have three more to go.”


LeBron James unhappy with MVP voting

Ill discipline from the Nuggets, including star trio Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap, ultimately hampered a comeback.

Jokic and Murray’s contribution of 21 points each was not enough – and Nuggets coach Mike Malone criticised his side’s defence.

“Our offense was able to score the ball but there was little defence,” Malone said, after the Lakers were gifted 24 free throws in the second quarter.

“Twenty four times in one quarter, and we were called for 16 personal fouls in that quarter,” Malone said.

“On top of that, seven turnovers – again fuelling their break.”

The Nuggets will now have to muster the spirit they showed in coming from 3-1 down in their previous two series wins to reach their

Read More

LA Lakers overwhelm Nuggets in West finals opener behind Anthony Davis’s 37

Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds, LeBron James …
Read More

Davis puts up 37 as Lakers top Nuggets in Game 1 – Reuters

EditorsNote: adds quotes

Sep 18, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) smiles during wamrups before game one of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 126-114 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday near Orlando.

Davis, who converted 12 of 21 shots from the floor, scored 20 points in the second half.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 on 3 pointers, while LeBron James added 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Lakers. Dwight Howard had 13 points off the bench and effectively defended Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

Rajon Rondo, a key contributor off the Los Angeles bench with seven points and nine assists, said, “They actually got off to a great start in the first quarter, so t

Read More

This is What Happens When You Piss Off LeBron

Uh-oh, he’s looking at the Nuggets like they were the ones who voted for MVP.

Uh-oh, he’s looking at the Nuggets like they were the ones who voted for MVP.
Photo: Getty

Earlier this summer, “The Last Dance” gave the world a look at how Michael Jordan used every slight, real or perceived, as motivation.

“It became personal with me” was the calling card that signaled His Airness was about to take things to another level.

After finishing second to Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, LeBron James had his own phrase that he kept going back to: “pissed me off.” He’s quoted with those words five times in one story from Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

So, James and the Lakers went out and put a 126-114 beating on the Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night, a game Los Angeles led by as many as 27 points before Denver had a 12-point edge in the garbage time fourth quarter.

Thanks to it being a blowout, James was able to take it a little bit easy and clock out after 31 minutes. He finished with 15 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds, while Anthony Davis handled the bulk of the scoring load with 37 points.

It’s Davis who is as big a reason as any that James wasn’t closer to Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, because he’s a legitimate superstar in his own right, while Khris Middleton is… there’s no need to be extra insulting to Khris Middleton here — he’s not also first team All-NBA like Anthony Davis, leave it at that.

James not winning MVP might be the worst thing to happen to the Nuggets, because whatever arguments there are about MJ vs. King James, the two greatest players of their eras have at least one thing in commo

Read More

Giannis wins second straight MVP – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic year earned him a historic awards sweep.

The Milwaukee forward is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, receiving that award Friday. He got the Defensive Player of the Year award earlier in these NBA playoffs.

The 25-year-old Antetokounmpo becomes just the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

“Michael Jordan, one of the best players who’s ever done it, if not the best,” Antetokounmpo said. “Hakeem, a guy that I look up to, he came from where I’m from, Nigeria, where I have roots. … Just being in the same sentence with them, that means a lot to me.”

Antetokounmpo — who was in his native Athens, Greece, with his family when the award was announced — received 85 votes from the 100-person panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, plus the one additional vote granted by winning fan balloting.

“It feels good to get this award announced when I’m back home,” Antetokounmpo said, after telling NBA Commissioner Adam Silver — who was in possession of the trophy Friday — to hang on to the hardware until he returns to the U.S.

“I’m going to ship it to Greece,” Silver said during the televised announcement show on NBA TV.

“No, don’t do that,” Antetokounmpo replied. “I’ll come get it when the season starts.”

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers got the other 15

Read More

Report: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP over LeBron James, James Harden – Yahoo Sports

Milwaukee Bucks forward won the award over Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.’ data-reactid=”17″>According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Milwaukee Bucks forward won the award over Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.’ data-reactid=”25″>Of those players, only Nash did not win an NBA championship. Antetokounmpo, 25, is seeking his first. The Bucks were knocked out of the NBA playoffs in 2020 by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams 

Conley-Abrams told me in a phone conversation that the same (frankly genius) child made both the dog and coffin clickbait articles. She said she particularly enjoyed the dog one.

4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they're way better than ours

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams 

“That one with the use of very on-brand clickbait punctuation, you know, inexplicable punctuation and too much of it,” she said. “I thought that genius and I would love to click on that. I’d love to know about secret dog meetings.”

Personally, I loved: “u think ur loved ones stay in here NO WAY.” Haunting, beautiful, vaguely threatening. It’s all those things.

Conley-Abrams also passed along a few other works from her fourth graders that didn’t get posted to Twitter. They, too, are awesome. 

Oh no.

Oh no.

Image: Ingrid conley-abrams

During the NBA Finals? Wow.

During the NBA Finals? Wow.

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams

4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they're way better than ours

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams

The LeBron James one honestly just reads like actual sports clickbait. And I really need to know what’s up with the turkey in the Snow White one. They’re just so good.

“These little clickbait mockups they’re so creative — someone online accused me of making these up myself — a

Read More

Get Over It: Giannis Deserves MVP Over LeBron

Thinking LeBron was the MVP over Giannis is as ridiculous as thinking LeBron is better than Jordan.

Thinking LeBron was the MVP over Giannis is as ridiculous as thinking LeBron is better than Jordan.
Image: Getty

The outrage is comical.

Almost as funny as when Millennials/Generation Zers spin their false narrative that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.

It just isn’t true.

And neither is the idea that James deserved the NBA MVP trophy over Giannis Antetokounmpo and, somehow, LeBron was robbed.

That wasn’t close.

It’s a regular-season award. It has nothing to do with the postseason that is currently underway. It doesn’t matter that Antetokounmpo’s Bucks are home, out of the playoffs prematurely, and James’ Lakers are still in.

Hello, that’s why they give out a Finals MVP. The awards are different.

Stop with the feelings and get with the facts.

Giannis put together a season suitable for framing. It was that complete and powerful. He averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He also shot a ridiculous 55.3 percent from the field.

It was good enough for Giannis to win back-to-back MVPs, joining only 11 others in league history to accomplish that.

Not only was he an offensive machine, but a defensive warrior as well. Last month, Antetokounmpo won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

Giannis joins Michael Jordan (1987-88 season) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-1994 season) as the only players to win the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season.

It is an amazing accomplishment for Giannis, who is just 25 years old.

By the way, his efforts allowed the Bucks (56-17) to have the best record in the NBA this season.

And while James played well in his second season in L.A. (averaging 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists), he just wasn’t

Read More

Report: Giannis Wins 2nd Straight MVP over LeBron James, James Harden

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo runs the offense against the Charlotte Hornets in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. Milwaukee won 93-85. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named NBA MVP for the second consecutive year, the league announced Friday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news.

He’s the second player in franchise history to collect back-to-back MVPs, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Antetokounmpo beat out Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, denying James what would’ve been his fifth MVP to tie him with Bill Russell and Michael Jordan for the second-most all-time.

The Greek Freak set a high bar in 2018-19. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists as the Bucks won 60 games.

His numbers were even better this season, and Milwaukee surely would’ve improved upon its win total had the COVID-19 pandemic not interrupted the NBA season. The league based this year’s postseason honors on games through March 11, excluding the eight seeding games after the restart.

The Bucks were first in the Eastern Conference at 53-12, 6.5 games up on the second-place Toronto Raptors. It looked like they might be flirting with history before they started cooling off.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, was averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists over nearly two fewer minutes per game. He had also connected on a career-best 83 three-pointers. His long-range shooting remains a work in progress (30.6 percent) but is getting to a point where opponents have to respect his jumper.

The 25-year-old was stifling on the defensive end too. According to NBA.com, he held opposing players to 36.1

Read More

Is Anthony Davis the Best Teammate LeBron James Has Ever Had? Insiders Weigh in

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-109.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James is pursuing his 10th NBA Finals appearance and fourth championship, his first with the Los Angeles Lakers and teammate Anthony Davis.

James has played with some great players through his stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. How does Davis stack up? Is he the best big man James has ever had since joining the NBA in 2003? Is he James’ best teammate altogether?

Davis may not have a title on his resume (check back in about a month), but his individual talent and ability to complement James to near perfection positions the Lakers forward/center as the ideal partner.

                

The Big Men

James made his first NBA Finals appearance in 2007, a four-game sweep by Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. In the middle was 7’3″ center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“The fact that he got Cleveland to the Finals during his first go-around there is probably more of a miracle than anything else he accomplished in his career,” an Eastern Conference executive said.

The second-leading scorer on the squad was Larry Hughes (14.9 points per game), followed by Ilgauskas (11.9) and then Drew Gooden (11.1).

“Z is a cult hero [in Cleveland],” a former Western Conference executive said. “If he played now, he’d be a perennial All-Star.”

Beyond a bit of sentimental value for Ilgauskas, the heart of the debate is Davis vs. Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

“I don’t even think it’s close. AD is way better than any of those guys,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “Bosh and Love are really good players, but AD is at another level.”

“Bosh was strong, but AD has nearly realized [his] MVP potential,” Andre’ Snellings of ESPN said. “When factoring in fit, I might say Davis is the best partner at any position LeBron ever had.”

Bosh’s best individual season with James and the Heat was the 2010-11 campaign, when he averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, but his efficiency and shot-blocking improved in later seasons as his scoring and rebounding dipped.

“AD is better than Bosh, but Bosh was a beast,” the former Western Conference executive said.

Through the 2019-20 regular season, Davis averaged 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds. His 3.2 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals per game were higher than Bosh and Love contributed in any one season.

“Davis is more talented,” a current Western Conference executive said. “Bosh is closest in terms of size, length and athleticism, mixed with shooting touch and rim protection—but Davis is a different class.”

Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Despite his championship earned in 2016 with Jam

Read More

Tour de France silent on Black Lives Matter, says cyclist Kevin Reza

Kevin Reza, the only black rider competing in this year’s Tour de France, has complained of a lack of support for the Black Live…
Read More

Reggie Miller and Chris Webber Preview the X-Factors of the Western Conference Finals – Sports Illustrated

Reggie Miller did not mince words on the collapse of the Los Angeles Clippers.

After taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, the Clippers had three chances to knock out the Denver Nuggets and advance to a date in the Western Conference Finals against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. But they squandered double-digit leads in Games 5, 6, and 7, cementing one of the greatest breakdowns in franchise history.

“That curse is real,” said Miller. “The Clippers’ whole marketing scheme was to deface the Los Angeles Lakers and their history. ‘There’s a new sheriff in town, we’re taking over LA!’ Their focus was LeBron, AD, and the Lakers, and they were one game away from doing it. It was a total collapse.

“Now we’re hearing there were chemistry problems? Come on. Why didn’t we know anything about chemistry problems before? Don’t be cryptic, Paul George. I want names. If they’re talking about getting rid of Doc Rivers, who are they going to bring in that’s better than Doc? Paul George needs to start looking at himself.”

Along with Brian Anderson on play-by-play, Miller and Chris Webber will be providing analysis for the Western Conference Finals on TNT. The two basketball icons spoke to assorted media on a Wednesday press call to preview the Lakers-Nuggets series.

“I love that Denver is making people believe,” said Webber. “I love how deep they are, and hopefully Coach [Michael] Malone gets the credit he deserves. If you talk to players that have played for him, they’ll tell you how much they’ve enjoyed playing for him. They’re a great story.”

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone celebrates with his team after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs

Miller, a Hall of Famer who was lethal behind the three-point line, touched on how the Nuggets-Lakers series will offer a different style of play from the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 1, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat combined to attempt 76 three-pointers, but Miller noted there will be a far different pace in the West.

“The Lakers made 19 threes in that closeout game against Houston, but they are

Read More

In First Ad, LeBron’s ‘More Than A Vote’ Asks Young People To Step Up, Become Poll Workers

Illustration for article titled In First Ad, LeBron’s ‘More Than A Vote’ Asks Young People To Step Up, Become Poll Workers

Screenshot: More Than a Vote

LeBron James’ group, More Than A Vote, released its first ad today. The thirty second spot aims to recruit young poll workers for the upcoming election.

“America is facing a record shortage in poll workers,” More Than A Vote tweeted, “and communities of color are the hardest hit. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Narrated by Blazers star CJ McCollum, the video opens with photos of professional athletes from the NBA (James and Anthony Davis), WNBA, NFL (Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson) and WTA (Naomi Osaka) demonstrating against racism. The rest of the commercial shows videos from the past and present underlying the importance of organizing, peacefully protesting, and voting.

“We’ve got to keep doing the work, because our right to be heard won’t be taken away on our watch,” McCollum says.

The ad dropped on social media this morning. It will air on TV tonight during the Eastern Conference finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

You can watch the full video below.

Another idea put forth by More Than A Vote is stadium voting, where sports arenas turn into large election supercenters. These sp

Read More

LeBron, Giannis unanimously selected to All-NBA First Team – Reuters

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo unanimously were selected to the 2019-20 All-NBA First Team, the league announced Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 12, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball around Houston Rockets forward Robert Covington (33) in game five of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James set the NBA record with his 16th All-NBA Team selection, surpassing the 15 set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

James’ total includes a record 13 selections to the First Team. He was also named twice to the Second Team and once to the third.

Antetokounmpo

Read More

LeBron James, Giannis, Anthony Davis Headline 2019-20 All-NBA Team Selections

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, stands with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles. James and Davis had the Lakers on course to contend for another NBA title before the coronavirus pandemic upended their first season together. The superstars see no reason they can’t continue their quest in Orlando, and Davis even thinks the Lakers’ chances have improved.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The three All-NBA teams were announced Wednesday, led by Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the first team:

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a finalist for that award again this season, was also named to the first team for the second year in a row.

Giannis and LeBron were the only unanimous selections for the first team, per Erik Horne of The Athletic.

James Harden was named first-team All-NBA for the fifth straight season, while Luka Doncic made his first appearance on an All-NBA team in his second season.

Doncic becomes the first player to earn first-team All-NBA honors in one of his first tw

Read More

How the Lakers and Nuggets stack up in this surprising West finals matchup

Michael Malone and LeBron James experienced their first conference finals together 13 years ago: the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ stunning 2007 upset of the Detroit Pistons in which James was just 22 and Malone was an assistant coach.

Their faces aren’t quite as smooth now and they have less hair, but their presence together in the conference finals in 2020 is just as unexpected.

Now a veteran coach known for his iron will, Malone has his Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals after a breathtaking comeback to knock out the favorite LA Clippers. Now he gets to be with James again, this time trying to figure out how the heck to stop him.

For the past year or so, James and the Los Angeles Lakers had been thinking about a playoff series with the Clippers. It was supposed to be a final battle in an arms race of superstars and the NBA’s first hallway series. It was supposed to be about score-settling, bragging rights and legacy building.

All of that has come apart with the Nuggets wielding a wrecking ball as they’ve reached the conference finals for the first time since 2009.

The Lakers now vault to massive title favorites with the two teams they expected to have to beat to get the Larry O’Brien Trophy — the Clippers and No. 1 overall seeded Milwaukee Bucks — both upset in the second round.

No matter how the Eastern Conference finals plays out, the Lakers now have the star power and experience advantage of the remaining teams left. They are also hot, having gone 8-2 in blitzing through the first two rounds and have the look of the fire-breathing championship contender that was largely absent from the Clippers and Bucks.

James is playing in his 11th conference finals, a run that dates back to the time when Malone’s hair was dark and many of the Nuggets, the youngest team in the playoffs, were in elementary school.

This matchup also tilts nicely toward Anthony Davis, playing in his first conference finals. Though Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is a central reason his team has overcome two 3-1 deficits, Davis won the matchup handily during the regular season as the Lakers went 3-1, including two wins in Denver.

The Nuggets, of course, will not care about that. They had their first charter flight home booked for Aug. 26. That one was canceled. Delta has rebooked that same charter five more times for them, and five more times it has been wiped off the books.

Nonetheless, the path to a fourth title has never been better paved for James. And he’s not one who often passes on opportunities.

— Brian Windhorst

How the Lakers got here

play

2:52

Led by LeBron James’ near-triple-double, the Lakers pummel the Rockets by double digits to advance to the Western Conference finals.

The basics

  • 2019-20 record: 52-19 overall

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 (11th) | Playoffs: 114.4 (third)

  • Defensive rating: 106.1 (third) | Playoffs: 105.4 (third)

Playoff results

The Lakers team that sleepwalked through the seeding round, going 3-5 while presenting an on-court product that vacillated between disinterest and disaster, is not the same Lakers team that went 8-2 through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

No, the team that earned the franchise’s first trip to the conference finals since 2010 was a defensive menace, first putting the clamps on bubble MVP Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers, then keeping the pressure on the league’s leading scorer, James Harden, and the Rockets.

“I mean, you hear it all the time, but defense wins championships,” Davis said after L.A.’s Game 5 closeout victory over Houston. “Our biggest focus is going to be locking in defensively and letting that lead the way.”

Davis, who is averaging 27.6 points per game in these playoffs on 58.6% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting from 3 with 10.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game, has had James (26.6 points on 55.3% from the field and 37.1% from 3, with 10.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game) right alongside him.

But L.A.’s success hasn’t just been about the duo’s domination. During both series the Lakers fell behind 0-1 only to win four in a row to advance, as several L.A. role players — Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris and Alex Caruso among them — battled through rough spots to find a rhythm.

— Dave McMenamin

How the Nuggets got here

play

1:57

Jamal Murray pours in a game-high 40 points and Nikola Jokic tallies a triple-dou

Read More

Reza ready to make a stand amid BLM movement – Reuters Canada

LYON, France (Reuters) – After years of keeping quiet on the matter, Kevin Reza, the only Black rider in the Tour de France peloton this year, says he is ready to make his voice heard amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

FILE PHOTO: Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 8 – Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle – France – September 5, 2020. Israel Start-Up Nation rider Ben Hermans of Belgium, AG2r La Mondiale rider Benoit Cosnefroy of France, wearing the polka-dot jersey, and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM riders Quentin Pacher of France and Kevin Reza of France in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

The 32-year-old, who turned professional in 2011 and rides for French outfit B&B Vital Concept, would like his peers to express support for the BLM movement but with professional cycling being largely an all-white business, Reza is on his own.

“It’s a shame. You can see the big names in sport giving themselves the means to speak, to make noise, to show their solidarity with this movement,” Reza, who was born on the outskirts of Paris to a family that originated from the French overseas region of Guadeloupe, told Reuters.

“I’m Kevin Reza, I don’t carry as much weight in world sport as Lewis H

Read More

Reza ready to make a stand amid BLM movement – Reuters India

LYON, France (Reuters) – After years of keeping quiet on the matter, Kevin Reza, the only Black rider in the Tour de France peloton this year, says he is ready to make his voice heard amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 8 – Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle – France – September 5, 2020. Israel Start-Up Nation rider Ben Hermans of Belgium, AG2r La Mondiale rider Benoit Cosnefroy of France, wearing the polka-dot jersey, and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM riders Quentin Pacher of France and Kevin Reza of France in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The 32-year-old, who turned professional in 2011 and rides for French outfit B&B Vital Concept, would like his peers to express support for the BLM movement but with professional cycling being largely an all-white business, Reza is on his own.

“It’s a shame. You can see the big names in sport giving themselves the means to speak, to make noise, to show their solidarity with this movement,” Reza, who was born on the outskirts of Paris to a family that originated from the French overseas region of Guadeloupe, told Reuters.

“I’m Kevin Reza, I don’t carry as much weight in world sport as Lewis Hamilton in Formu

Read More

Lakers’ ‘Others’ Lend LeBron James a Hand

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Plenty of players have had bumpy experiences at the N.B.A.’s restart at Walt Disney World. Rajon Rondo and Markieff Morris, two key reserves for the Los Angeles Lakers, would count themselves among that group.

Rondo, the team’s backup point guard, broke his right thumb during a practice on July 12 and left the league’s so-called bubble so that he could have surgery and recover. Morris, a forward who signed with the Lakers in February, shortly before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, has been laboring to unearth his rhythm.

The Lakers have championship hopes in the form of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, their twin stars. But if they want to advance in the postseason, their supporting cast needs to start producing with consistency. Depth is an issue — one underscored by the absence of Avery Bradley, their top perimeter defender, who opted not to participate in the restart.

For one game, at least, James and Davis got the help they needed. In the Lakers’ 117-109 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night in the Western Conference semifinals, Morris, 31, stretched the floor with his outside shooting while Rondo, 34, was a whirl of activity. The win evened the best-of-seven series at one game apiece ahead of Game 3 on Tuesday night.

“That’s what the playoffs are about,” the Lakers’ Danny Green said. “Your superstars are going to play well. It’s what your others do.”

The others he referenced, the team’s supporting cast, have always been a concern with these Lakers, who have endured no small amount of turmoil this season. In that sense, their loss to the Rockets in Game 1 on Friday was true to form. The Rockets used their small lineup to space the floor and create oodles of open shots.

Rondo, who had four turnovers in that game, struggled, though perhaps for good reason: He had not pla

Read More

James leads Lakers to first NBA conference final in 10 years

LeBron James in action against the Houston Rockets
LeBron James scored 29 points as the Lakers wrapped up a 4-1 series win over the Houston Rockets

LeBron James scored 29 points as the Los Angeles Lakers reached their first Western Conference in 10 years with a 119-96 win over the Houston Rockets.

The last time they reached this stage was when Lakers legend Kobe Bryant led them to the 2010 NBA title.

Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in January.

James, who joined the Lakers in 2018, said it was an “honour” play for the team and continue the “legacy”.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers and is the only player in league history to have two shirt numbers retired with the same team after wearing both for a decade.

“The reason I wanted to be a part of this franchise is to take them back to a place they were accustomed to being,” said three-time NBA champion James, 35. “And that’s competing for a championship.

“It’s an honour for me to wear the purple and gold and for us to try to continue the legacy and just play great basketball for our fans.”

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points for the Lakers, Markieff Morris got 16, Danny Green contributed 14 and Anthony Davis 13, while James Harden finished with 30 points for the Rockets.

The Lakers, who won the series 4-1, will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Denver Nuggets in the

Read More

Lakers rout, eliminate Rockets behind LeBron’s 29 points – Reuters

EditorsNote: Added possessive to Lakers in 4th graf (also added NBA title note)

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Houston Rockets from the NBA playoffs with a 119-96 victory in Game 5 on Saturday at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, Markieff Morris added 16 and Danny Green chipped in 14 for the Lakers. Anthony Davis contributed 13 points and 11 boards but committed six turnovers.

James Harden had 30 points, six rebounds and five assists and Jeff Green finished with 13 points off the bench for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook had 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

It’s the Lakers’ first trip to the Western Con

Read More

LeBron, dominant Lakers rout Rockets to advance

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A one-year break for LeBron James and a nine-year hiatus for his franchise came to an end on Saturday: James and the Los Angeles Lakers are back in the conference finals.

James poured in 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the Lakers’ 119-96 Game 5 victory over the Houston Rockets, storming back to take the Western Conference semifinals series 4-1 after Houston upset L.A. in Game 1.

The Lakers’ star improved to 37-10 in closeout opportunities, extending his streak to five consecutive wins in that situation. And L.A. snapped the longest cold spell in team history without making it to the round that determines a berth in the NBA Finals.

L.A. missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season last year in James’ maiden season with the Lakers — ending his personal run of eight straight Finals appearances and 14 straight postseason nods — but Year 2, teamed up with Anthony Davis and a cast of tested veterans, has been a different story.

“I know what my name, my stature, and what I’ve done in this league comes with whenever I decide to join a franchise,” said James, who registered his 133rd 25-5-5 game in the postseason since 2006, which leads the league. His closest competition in that span is Russell Westbrook with 42. “I know what my name comes with. And it comes with winning. I take that responsibility to the utmost [more] than anything. …

“I understand the Laker faithful and what they felt or maybe were going through over the, I want to say the last decade, of not being in the postseason, not competing for championships or whatever the case may be. I took

Read More

LeBron and Lakers ground Rockets to make long-awaited return to West finals

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to the conference finals for the first time in a decade, ending the longest drought…
Read More

Lakers blow out Rockets; advance to Conference Finals – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Los Angeles Lakers are going to the conference finals for the first time in a decade, ending the longest drought in franchise history.

LeBron James is going there for the first time since 2018. For him, that also qualifies as a drought.

James scored 29 points and the Lakers wrapped up their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2010 by topping the Houston Rockets 119-96 on Saturday night in Game 5 at Walt Disney World.

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, Markieff Morris had 16, Danny Green added 14 and Anthony Davis finished with 13 for the top-seeded Lakers. They will play either the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers or third-seeded Denver Nuggets for the West title in a series that won’t begin before Wednesday.

James is going to the conference finals for the 11th time overall — six with Cleveland, four with Miami and now with the Lakers. It’s his ninth time getting to this round in the last 10 seasons; the one miss in that stretch was last season, when his inaugural year with the Lakers fell apart because of injury and the team missed the playoffs.

James Harden scored 30 points, Jeff Green scored 13 and Russell Westbrook had 10 for Houston.

It was a rough end to a rough week for the Rockets.

Westbrook exchanged heated words with a fan in the family section during the fourth quarter; NBA security asked the man, identified by ESPN as a brother of Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, to leave the game.

Houston won Game 1 of the series and lost the next four. Saturday’s finale came a day after Danuel House — who averaged 11.4 points in nine playoff games this s

Read More

LeBron James is a pirouetting locomotive

IT’S A FIVE-POINT game in a 1-1 playoff series, and the game clock ticks inside two minutes in the first half when LeBron James goes in his bag.

The sequence begins when James snags a defensive rebound and advances the ball up the left side of the court. Once past the massive NBA logo engulfing the tipoff circle at AdventHealth Arena, the Los Angeles Lakers star slows his dribble ever so slightly. This delay allows teammate Anthony Davis to step between James and Gary Trent Jr., who was assigned the thankless task of guarding James in the first round, to set a brush screen.

Trent pushes Davis in the chest to stop himself from getting stuck on the screen, and as James lingers at the 3-point line and yo-yo dribbles the ball back and forth between his legs, Davis resets the pick. Trent is caught this time. James gets his shoulder down and springs toward the lane.

Here’s where the fun starts.

Portland’s Wenyen Gabriel, who had been guarding Davis, switches onto James and awaits him at the foul line.

A 6-foot-9, 200-pound power forward, Gabriel is about to be made to look like a traffic cone by the 6-9, 250-pound James, who is dabbling at point guard in the twilight of his prime.

James angles his drive from the middle of the court toward the left elbow. Once Gabriel commits, sliding his feet to meet where he assumes James is heading, the trap is set. James spins left to right and shields Gabriel’s now off-balance defensive flail at the ball with his left shoulder.

He gently lays the ball in off the glass, and Gabriel can do nothing but catch it out of the net and throw an inbounds pass to CJ McCollum.

Gabriel had, of course, braced for contact. Which is understandable, given that he was thwarting a thrust from one of the most physically imposing players the league has ever seen. But James’ spin move away from Gabriel’s body had left the Portland big man disoriented and prone, the audience to a basket from James that had cut the Trail Blazers’ lead from five to three.

It was just another perfect execution of a signature move James has developed in recent years. The spin move is the middle ground between savage and savvy, requiring physical prowess to generate centrifugal force but relying on timing and grace to properly redirect momentum.

“It’s like a locomotive that jumps the tracks,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says. “There’s nothing you can do.”

MORE: LEBRON JAMES’ EVOLVING OFFENSE


THERE WAS A time when Gabriel and others like him would have ended up like a splattered bug on James’ windshield, a time when James’ first instinct was to finish drives to the hoop with an aerial assault that turned defenders into mere hurdles.

But his game evolved. During his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was most dangerous when throwing down powerful dunks. In Miami, he developed a post game and his efficiency skyrocketed. When he went back to Cleveland, he had better command of his jump shot.

“One of the things that I always used to say when people ask me about his game is, he was barely scratching the surface back then. And he was a great player then,” says Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, who in 2007 coached James to his first NBA Finals appearance with the Cavs.

“So the spin move that he has now, it’s a dangerous weapon. But I just look at that as part of his repertoire of many things he can do and many ways he could hurt you if you don’t respect his game all over the floor.”

It is James’ constant threat of beelining to the rim that has defenses retreating and gives the spin its sizzle. And make no mistake, the move torches opponents.

play

0:19

LeBron James’ athleticism is on full display with a spin move against CJ McCollum for two.

He brought the spin with him to the NBA bubble. In six seeding-round games, James sprung the spin on opposing defenses 12 times. He scored or was fouled seven times (58.3%). When his spin led him to a shot, he went 3-for-4 (75%). The other spin possessions ended up with one pass and three turnovers.

In the first round of the playoffs against Portland, he went to the spin more often — breaking it out 11 times in five games, but with less success. He scored or was fouled four times




Read More

James’ Lakers one win away from Western Conference final

The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from the Western Conference final after a bruising 110-100 victory against the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers now have a 3-1 lead over the Rockets in the best-of-seven semi-finals.

They could reach the finals for the first time in 10 years with a win in Saturday’s game five.

Anthony Davis impressed for the Lakers on Thursday with 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

LeBron James

Read More

Davis, James power Lakers past Rockets, into 3-1 series lead – Reuters

Anthony Davis recorded a double-double, LeBron James flirted with a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers parlayed a stifling defensive performance into a 110-100, wire-to-wire victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

Davis paired 29 points with 12 rebounds and added five assists and two blocked shots, while James finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.

The Lakers grabbed a commanding 3-1 series lead by dominating the facets of the game that fit their season-long profile: They clobbered the Rockets on the glass, overwhelmed them in the paint and torched Houston in transition.

The Lakers can secure a spot in the Western Conference Finals with a Game 5 win on Saturday.

Read More

Raptors set as underdogs for Game 7 clash with Celtics – Sportsnet.ca

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to clinch a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in five years when they hit the hardwood on Friday night for Game 7 of their second-round series with the Boston Celtics as 2.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto escaped with a narrow 125-122 overtime win over Boston on Wednesday to knot the series at three games apiece ahead of Friday night’s decisive matchup at AdventHealth Arena.

The Raptors have been forced to play catch-up since falling to defeat in the first two games of the series, and have seen two of their three wins in the series come by the narrowest of margins. In addition to Wednesday’s victory, which Toronto needed two overtime periods to claim, the team also escaped with a slim 104-103 victory in Game 3 thanks to a buzzer-beater from OG Anunoby.

As a result, the Raptors have failed to cover on four occasions during this series. However, the team has risen to the o

Read More

LeBron James: James Harden Is Probably One of the Best Offensive Players Ever

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) drives to the basket ahead of Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, left, during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

James Harden‘s offense has been one of the few bright spots for the Houston Rockets in their Western Conference second-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers.  

Well, at least it was until Thursday night. 

Game 4 against the Lakers saw the Rockets guard completely lose his touch while going 2-of-11 from the field. It’s hard to look at Harden’s 21 points and 10 assists on Thursday as anything but a disappointment after he averaged 32.0 points while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 47.8 percent on threes over the previous three games.

That’s especially true since the Lakers grabbed a 3-1 series lead with the 110-100 victory.

Yet the night ended with L.A. star LeBron James lobbing multiple compliments Harden’s way, showing just how important the guard


Read More

Role-Playing LeBron: Inside the Strange World of NBA’s Superstar Stand-Ins

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) reacts after bing called for a foul during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There’s no way to replicate the experience of playing against LeBron James in the playoffs. But as the Houston Rockets prepare during their second-round series against James’ Los Angeles Lakers, they’ve found the next-best thing: an undrafted 5’9″ guard.

Wait…huh?

Meet Rockets rookie guard Chris Clemons, who has been given the prestigious assignment of play-acting as James for the scout team, a collection of end-of-bench players who help the Rockets’ starters walk through the plays the Lakers will run during the series. 

Clemons pretending to be the 6’9″ four-time league MVP, who most people consider the best basketball player in the world? It’s not as wild as it sounds.

“LeBron actually plays [point guard] most of the time,” Clemons tells B/R. “He’s pretty much everything on the court. He plays a whole bunch of different positions. That’s what makes him special. So I would definitely say being a point guard helps, skill set-wise, in trying to replicate his game.”

Most coaches employ some variation of this tactic during their playoff practices, and it’s surprisingly effective.

“Sometimes a player plays a lot better when he thinks he’s somebody else,” says Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. “It’s amazing, when we watch it we say, ‘Why don’t you play like that all the time?’ We tell them, act like you’re Kevin Durant or whoever. And they go crazy. They start scoring the ball.

“These guys are extremely talented, even if they’re on the scout team or whatever you want to call it.”

For current matchups, coaches are often reluctant to divulge how they’re game-planning for opposing stars. Lakers coach Frank Vogel won’t say who’s standing in for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but he did reveal that fourth-year guard Quinn Cook did a “pretty darn good” Damian Lillard impersonation during the Lakers’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

And Miami Heat rookie forward KZ Okpala, who has played 26 NBA minutes over five career games, was tasked with pretending to be reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in practices during the Heat’s second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Rockets' Chris Clemons

The Rockets’ Chris ClemonsDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

“When you’re on the scout team and you’re one of those developmental players and you’re asked to be one of the stars in this league, those are their favorite practices,” says Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “I’m not going to compare them—it’s not about that—but [Okpala] has some qualities that are

Read More

Heat into Eastern final, as James sets record in Lakers win

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler looks for a pass
The Heat’s Jimmy Butler collected 17 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee Bucks

The Miami Heat reached the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2014 with a 4-1 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Florida.

The Heat found points from all over the court as six players hit double figures to seal a 103-94 victory.

They have not reached the Eastern finals since being led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade six years ago.

James, meanwhile, scored 36 points for the Los Angeles Lakers as they took a 2-1 lead over the Houston Rockets.

The 112-102 win in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series saw James set a new NBA record of 162 play-off victories, across his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers.

“It says that I’ve played with a lot of great teams,” said James, who won two NBA titles with the Heat and one with the Cavaliers. “It says that I’ve played with a lot of great team-mates and some great coaches.”

In Tuesday’s other game in Orlando, the Bucks were left missing the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo as they exited in the play-offs despite registering the highest points tally in the regular season

Read More

LeBron James sets tone with scoring and defense to lift Lakers over Rockets in Game 3

CLOSE

What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mark Medina discusses how mental health and the stresses of being inside the NBA bubble has become an issue players are talking about as the playoffs press on.

USA TODAY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — One game captured LeBron James’ greatness through 17 years. It showcased his dominant scoring. It displayed his precise playmaking. It demonstrated his timely blocks.

So perhaps it might not be surprising that James played a major part in the Los Angeles Lakers cementing a 112-102 Game 3 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. By scoring 36 points, grabbing seven rebounds, distributing six assists and recording four blocks, James showed once again how he has mastered all parts of his game while giving the Lakers a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

But how does James fulfill this job description so consistently? At 35 years old? When opponents circle him on the scouting report? When he has done all of this for the past two months on the NBA campus, while also becoming one of the league’s leading voices addressing systemic racism?

“I’m not going to tell you exactly what I do. Because I would be giving my opponents a lot of my ingredients,” James said. “But let’s just say my wife is not enjoying what I do on a day-to-day basis inside the bubble getting ready for a game. Let’s just say that. I spent a lot of time, a lot of time on my body.”

The NBA allowed players’ family members to visit the Disney campus this week, which coincided with eight teams leaving following the end of the first round of the playoffs. James declined to have his two sons (16-year-old Bronny; 13-year-old Bryce) and five-year-old daughter (Zhuri) visit, saying they would not have much to do on this quarantined site.

James’ wife, Savannah, has arrived here. But she might not have much to do here, either. Not with James preoccupied with keeping his body and mind sharp. Not with James spending most of his free time studying game footage.

“Nobody spends more time focused on his body than LeBron James,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

Vogel does not have the same window into James’ regimen as he does, obviously. But Vogel became more forthcoming, sharing that James is “incredibly diligent around the clock” with his sleeping habits, morning weight-training sessions and massage treatment. Shortly after the Lakers hired Vogel as head coach last summer, he arrived at the practice facility only to see James there at 6 am “getting his work in.”

Therefore, it should not be surprising James played well enough to minimize James Harden’s scoring (33 points), Russell Westbrook’s bounce-back game (30 points), Anthony Davis’ dominance (26 points, 15 rebounds) or Rajon Rondo’s resurgence (21 points, nine assists).

James accomplished much more. James surpassed Derek Fisher for most playoff

Read More

FaZe Banks on LeBron James’ Son Bronny in Esports: ‘He Was Built for This S–t!’

Sierra Canyon's Bronny James #0 is seen against Paul VI during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 20, 2020, in Springfield, MA. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

FaZe Clan co-owner Ricky Banks (aka FaZe Banks) said the signing of prized basketball prospect Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, wasn’t a publicity stunt.

“Listen, look at him,” Banks told TMZ Sports in an interview released Wednesday. “He was built for this s–t! Look at him and his dad. He’s a competitor, you know?”

Banks described esports as the “f–king future” and explained FaZe was impressed with Bronny’s skill on the sticks.

“He

Read More

Led James and Davis, Lakers hold off Rockets to even series – Reuters

EditorsNote: 2nd update; 13th graf, take out Rondo’s first name

Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during warmups before game two of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points and 21 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers needed to hold off the fourth-seeded Rockets’ second-half rally to win 117-109 Sunday night to even their Western Conference semifinals series 1-1 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

What began as a Lakers blowout turned tight in the second half. The Lakers led by as many as 21 points early in the second quarter, but needed to survive the Rockets’ surge after intermission.

The Lakers outscored the Rockets 27-17 in the fourth quarter, flipping a 92-90 deficit into an eight-point win. A James turnaround jumper to give the Lakers a 117-109 lead with 32.3 seconds to play all but sealed the win.

Sunday’s fourth quarter was a turnaround from Friday’s Game 1, when the Rockets pulled away in the final period to clinch a double-digit victory.

The Rockets’ third-quarter s

Read More

Lakers’ LeBron James explains why his kids aren’t visiting the NBA bubble

CLOSE

Families are reuniting inside the NBA bubble. Watch these sweet moments unfold.

USA TODAY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James might miss his kids dearly. Yet, he declined to have his children visit the NBA’s quarantined campus for a specific reason.

“There’s nothing for them to do,” James said following the Lakers’ 117-109 Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

To the delight of most players and the frustration of some coaches, the NBA has allowed only players to invite family members to visit the campus in the past week after each respective team advanced past the first round of the playoffs. James’ wife Savannah has attended, but their 16-year-old son Bronny, 13-year-old son Bryce and 5-year-old daughter Zhuri have stayed in Los Angeles.

“There’s literally nothing for them to do here,” James said. “It’s not a kid friendly place.”

There are various accommodations on the NBA campus. Each hotel has pools and gyms. Teams have access to golf courses and fishing expeditions. But the Disney World properties have remained closed both to the general public as well as everyone on campus. Everyone here is subject to daily coronavirus testing as well as social-distancing and mask-wearing rules. Teams have a heavy itinerary with games taking place every other day as well as practices in between.

“My kids are too adventurous and they love to do so much stuff,” James said. “There’s nothing for them to do here. Go outside, come back in, go outside, come back in. They can stay in L.A. They’re great.”

James would not describe himself that way.

Read More

LeBron James’ Worst Critic Says The Most Shocking Thing Of All

So what does the sports journalist go out and do this week? He compliments the Lakers star for his timely play. On Twitter. For all the world to see.

“LeBron, CLUTCH,” he wrote of James’ fourth-quarter performance as the Lakers won to even the playoff series against the Houston Rockets at one game apiece on Sunday.

Twitter was in such disbelief that the reactions kept coming on Tuesday.

The Rockets and Lakers resume their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.

Read More

NBA to resume games after player protest, turn stadiums into voting sites – Reuters India

(Reuters) – NBA players who boycotted games as part of a protest against racial injustice have agreed to resume the playoffs on Saturday in a deal that includes increased access to voting in the U.S. presidential election, the league and players association (NBPA) said on Friday.

The decision ends a three-day halt to the action as part of a player-led protest that was sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and led to game cancellations in other sports as well.

As part of the agreement, the NBA and its players will establish a coalition that will focus on access to voting for the Nov. 3 general election, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black commu

Read More

Why you should be a poll worker this year

‘);$vidEndSlate.removeClass(‘video__end-slate–inactive’).addClass(‘video__end-slate–active’);}};CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === true) ? true : false;var configObj = {thumb: ‘none’,video: ‘politics/2020/08/08/poll-workers-pandemic-election-2020-charles-stewart-smerconish-sot.cnn’,width: ‘100%’,height: ‘100%’,section: ‘domestic’,profile: ‘expansion’,network: ‘cnn’,markupId: ‘large-media_0’,adsection: ‘const-article-pagetop’,frameWidth: ‘100%’,frameHeight: ‘100%’,posterImageOverride: {“mini”:{“width”:220,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-small-169.jpg”,”height”:124},”xsmall”:{“width”:307,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-medium-plus-169.jpg”,”height”:173},”small”:{“width”:460,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-large-169.jpg”,”height”:259},”medium”:{“width”:780,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-exlarge-169.jpg”,”height”:438},”large”:{“width”:1100,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-super-169.jpg”,”height”:619},”full16x9″:{“width”:1600,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-full-169.jpg”,”height”:900},”mini1x1″:{“width”:120,”type”:”jpg”,”uri”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/200707143845-01-primary-new-jersey-0607-small-11.jpg”,”height”:120}}},autoStartVideo = false,isVideoReplayClicked = false,callbackObj,containerEl,currentVideoCollection = [],currentVideoCollectionId = ”,isLivePlayer = false,mediaMetadataCallbacks,mobilePinnedView = null,moveToNextTimeout,mutePlayerEnabled = false,nextVideoId = ”,nextVideoUrl = ”,turnOnFlashMessaging = false,videoPinner,videoEndSlateImpl;if (CNN.autoPlayVideoExist === false) {autoStartVideo = true;if (autoStartVideo === true) {if (turnOnFlashMessaging === true) {autoStartVideo = false;containerEl = jQuery(document.getElementById(configObj.markupId));CNN.VideoPlayer.showFlashSlate(containerEl);} else {CNN.autoPlayVideoExist = true;}}}configObj.autostart = CNN.Features.enableAutoplayBlock ? false : autoStartVideo;CNN.VideoPlayer.setPlayerProperties(configObj.mark

Read More

LeBron James, Michael Jordan ‘Dual Jerseys Autographs’ Card Sells for $80,000

FILE - At left, in a July 30, 2018, file photo, LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. At right, in a Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media about hosting the NBA All-Star basketball game during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. LeBron James is finally going to pass Michael Jordan. In scoring, at least. While the debate will rage forever about which player is better, James will soon have scored more points than Jordan. James is 211 points shy of passing Jordan (32,292) for the No. 4 spot in NBA history. (AP Photo/File)

Uncredited/Associated Press

Some collectors may rather have a Michael Jordan autographed card; others may rather have a LeBron James one. Preferences surely come down to which one the individual believes is the true GOAT.

One collector had a solution: Why not bid on a card with both?

A card featuring signatures from Jordan and James, as well as game-worn jersey patches from both His Airness and The King, sold Saturday for $80,000 through Goldin Auctions.

The 2004-05 Exquisite Collection “Dual Jerseys Autographs” card was graded GEM MINT 9.5 by BGS with signatures graded “10” by Beckett.

Those types of grades, not to ment

Read More

Damian Lillard: ‘I Don’t Have a Fearful Mentality’ Ahead of Game 2 vs. Lakers

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard calls for a foul against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

As the Portland Trail Blazers prepare to play what should be a motivated Los Angeles Lakers team Friday night, Damian Lillard isn’t scared of what LeBron James and Co. have in store.

“I don’t have a fearful mentality about it when it’s happening,” Lillard told reporters. “If we lose, we lose. Obviously, we don’t want to. I think that could make it a stressful situation.”

Lillard has been the most fearless star of the NBA‘s restart, winning seeding game MVP honors and playing the best basketball of his career—especially since falling short in the clutch in an Aug. 8 loss to the Clippers, which nearly cost Portland a playoff spot.

Lillard averaged 51.3 points and 9.0 assists over the Blazers’ final three seeding games to get them into a play-in series for the No. 8 spot in the West. He led Portland to a win over the Memphis Grizzlies to clinch the eighth seed and then dropped 34 points in the Game 1 triumph over the Lakers. Du

Read More

NBA Mock Draft 2020: Updated Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Dayton's Obi Toppin (1) reacts to teammates in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duquesne, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Aaron Doster/Associated Press

Given basketball’s fascination with the next fill-in-the-blank—the next Michael Jordan, the next LeBron James—it’s no surprise the NBA draft is always a source of fascinating debate.

It’s a two-round search for the league’s next stars, starters and role players. And yes, even in a class that lacks a surefire No. 1 prospect as the 2020 crop does, that search will hold the attention of the hoops world from now until the final selection is in the books.

While attempts to find the next star cause the most excitement, most teams would be thrilled to leave the event with at least one plug-and-play starter or reliable reserve in hand.

With that in mind, we’ll follow our mock first round with a breakdown of three of the safest prospects in this draft.

                

2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

7. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

8. New York Knicks: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

11. San Antonio Spurs: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston

23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF,

Read More

Harden pours in 36 as Rockets top Lakers in Game 1 – Reuters

EditorsNote: changes to “Danuel House Jr.” in last graf

Sep 4, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) handles the ball against Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green (14) during the first quarter in game one of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden scored 36 points, and the Houston Rockets surprised the Los Angeles Lakers in a 112-97 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal on Friday at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Harden converted 12 of 20 shots from the floor, including 3 of 6 3-point attempts. Russell Westbrook contributed 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Eric Gordon had 23 points for the Rockets.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 25 points and 14 rebounds while LeBron James had

Read More

Heat upset arena rejected as polling place – Reuters

Heat upset arena rejected as polling place – Reuters

The Miami Heat expressed disappointment on social media that their home arena was rejected as a polling place site for November’s general election, while a number of other NBA cities have welcomed an identical plan.

In a proposal that was galvanized by the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James earlier this summer, the idea was to make NBA arenas mega polling locations in order to allow as many registered voters to cast a ballot as possible — and to do so with safe social distancing.

Among the cities taking up their teams on the plan are Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oklahoma Ci

Read More

James Harden Drops 36 as Rockets Beat LeBron James, Lakers in Game 1

James Harden Drops 36 as Rockets Beat LeBron James, Lakers in Game 1
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) drives to the basket ahead of Los Angeles Lakers' Markieff Morris (88) during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets opened their Western Conference second-round playoff series with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

A 14-0 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter propelled the Rockets to a 101-82 edge en route to victory. L.A. went 4:12 without scoring during that span and never came closer than 13 points down the stretch.

Rockets guard James Harden led all scorers with 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting (3-of-6 from three-point range).

The Rockets broke the Lakers’ four-game winning streak in the process. L.A. had beaten the Portland Trail Blazers in four straight after dropping Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

        

Notable Performances

Rockets G James Harden: 36 points, 5 assists, 2 steals

Rockets G Russell Westbrook: 24 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists

Rockets G Eric Gordon: 23 points, 3 rebounds

Lakers G/F LeBron James: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis: 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks

Lakers G Alex Caruso: 14 points, 4 assists

    

Rockets’ Defense Continues to Shine

The Rockets opened the seeding-game portion of the NBA schedule by allowing 149 points in an overtime game against the Dallas Mavericks, with four Mavs combining for 123 of those points.

It didn’t matter as Houston scored 153 in a four-point victory, but defense largely hasn’t been a strong suit for Houston this year with the team allowing the 23rd most points per game and ranking a mediocre 14th in defensive rating among all 30 NBA franchises.

Their defense turned up a notch in the playoffs en route to outscoring the Oklahoma City Thunder by 28 points in Games 1 and 2 of the first round, but it fell apart in Game 3 and 4 in which they allowed 118.0 points on average.

However, Houston’s defense has been largely on point ever since. The Rockets gave up just 80 points in a 34-point victory in Game 5 and came up with huge defensive plays in the final seconds of their 104-102 Game 7 win over OKC on Wednesday.

That d

Read More

Rayshard Brooks’ Widow Hopeful LeBron James, NBA Boycott Sparks Change

Rayshard Brooks’ Widow Hopeful LeBron James, NBA Boycott Sparks Change

Read More

LeBron James Fires Back After ESPN Analyst Compares Him To Ex-Player

LeBron James Fires Back After ESPN Analyst Compares Him To Ex-Player

LeBron James has been in a league of his own throughout his NBA career.

So it wasn’t surprising that he pounced on an ESPN analyst’s suggestion Thursday that he was a star sidekick ― like Scottie Pippen was to Michael Jordan ― when James won two titles with Miami.

ESPN’s Jay Williams made the dubious claim in response to a tweet from former NBA player Richard Jefferson, who said that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo might be a “Pippen” who required a “Jordan” as a teammate.

“So LeBron was a Pippen with [Dwyane] Wade once,” Williams replied. “Nothing wrong with that until you get over the hump.”

James, who won the league and Finals MVP awards in the 2012 and 2013 championship seasons alongside Wade, took umbrage.

“Explain to me what the fux I gotta do with this subject matter!” he tweeted at Williams. “I’m over here minding my damn business preparing for Houston. And by the way I ain’t never been nobody but my damn self! 👑 Shit!”

Read More

The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren’t the Same Without You.

The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren’t the Same Without You.

They used to arrive before dawn. Hundreds of them came to scream and leap and wave posters scrawled with the names of their hometowns as they vied to be caught on camera among the “Today” show crowd. “People dream about coming to 30 Rockefeller Plaza,” Hoda Kotb, the show’s co-anchor, told me recently over Zoom after a show. But for the last several months, Kotb has heard the eerie sound of her own footsteps as she heads into the studio and slips behind the anchor desk, where she perches at a socially distanced remove from her co-stars and broadcasts in front of a ghostly plaza. One morning, she spied some movement outside the window — it was a nurse in scrubs, lugging a rolling suitcase — and Kotb was so hungry for a taste of audience connection, “I literally held my phone number on a white piece of paper to the glass,” she said. “I was like, ‘Call me and tell me where you’re from!’”

Since the coronavirus swept across the United States, morning-show anchors have kept bantering, late-night hosts have kept joking and politicians have kept stumping. It’s the audiences that have not showed. Their sudden disappearance has spotlighted the mythical, almost mystical, role they play in popular entertainment. The crowd has been compared to an electric spark, a dance partner, an intoxicant and a character in and of itself. It is said to hold great power over professional performers, messing with their heads and triggering hormonal surges in their glands. The crowd lends a democratic sheen to an event, legitimizing the performer’s skill and authenticating the show as real. If the crowd laughs, the joke was funny. If it boos, the call was bad. The crowd is, as Kotb put it, “the juice.” And for now, it is gone.

This has proved to be a vexing experience for the entertainers of America. When “The View” first banished its studio audience, in March, Whoopi Goldberg cried “Welcome to ‘The View’! Welcome to ‘The View’!” again and again into silence, as cameras swept an expanse of empty seats. Before he sealed himself into the N.B.A. bubble at Disney World, LeBron James could not conceive of the game without a crowd, saying: “If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans there? I ain’t playing.” When even A-list celebrities seem bored enough to appear at events hosted on videoconferencing software, it is the crowd that has stepped into the role of the withholding diva. A long-anticipated reunion of “Friends” is on indefinite hold, not for David Schwimmer or Jennifer Aniston but for the anonymous audience members tasked with observing them: “We cannot do it without them,” Marta Kauffman, the show’s co-creator, has said.

So longing are the shows for their crowds that they have grasped for imitations. The “Today” show has erected a “virtual plaza” and enlisted performers of its once-outdoor music series to surprise superfans at home. In a masterwork of artifice, American ballparks and European soccer stadiums have piped in the crowd roars originally created for video games. Many baseball teams have put literal stand-ins in the seats, arranging stiff cardboard cutouts of fans in macabre tableaus; at one game, the Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton caught a fly ball and offered it up to the frozen visage of a cardboard baby cradled in her ersatz mother’s lap in the right field stands. And for the Video Music Awards last weekend, MTV crafted an orgy of simulation, stitching together uncanny C.G.I. fans and fake crowd buzz into a dystopian New York cityscape.

The ultimate audiences for sports, politics, talk shows and award presentations are not found inside arenas or convention halls or studios — they are watching from home, slack on the couch, absorbing ads and paying for cable and streaming packages. In normal times, the live crowd mounts a performance for the remote audience. But this summer, without our stand-ins to guide us, we home viewers confront a void. The pretense of the crowd always provided the true audience a bit of cover; we could vicariously ride its emotions, feeding off its energy, absorbing its delight and its outrage, even as we sat quietly alone at home. But now we are directly implicated in the show itself.

The television experience was largely designed to replicate live performances — to transport their spontaneous thrills into the remote home. In his book “Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture,” Philip Auslander, a professor of performance studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology, traces how TV borrowed the storytelling conventions of the theater: it was styled as an immediate event, with the viewer positioned at the scene of the action, as if watching from the lip of the stage or the sideline of the court. The classic three-camera setup mimicked the movement of the audience’s roving eye, perhaps aided with a pair of opera glasses. And even as TV absorbed more cinematic elements, playing with shifting perspectives and transpositions of time, it also built up conventions that simulate the feeling of liveness: recorded laugh trac

Read More

The Rockets’ Small-Ball Strategy Gets a Big Test Against the Lakers

The Rockets’ Small-Ball Strategy Gets a Big Test Against the Lakers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The experiment was formalized on Feb. 6. In a crowded hallway at Staples Center, a couple of hours before his team would face the Los Angeles Lakers and 34 days before the N.B.A. season would be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Houston Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni announced that he was going small.

In some ways, D’Antoni had nothing to lose. He alluded to the fact that his contract was expiring at the end of the season. Besides, he had never been afraid to spice things up over the course of his long and eventful coaching career, and here was another opportunity to do something different.

“We just have a weird kind of team,” D’Antoni said at the time, “and we’re trying to figure out how to play them the best we can, and this is it.”

With P.J. Tucker, who is 6-foot-5, manning the center position, and Russell Westbrook feasting on open lanes to the basket, the Rockets defeated the Lakers that night, 121-111. Still, early reviews were mixed: Was Houston’s approach just a novelty? Would opponents figure out how to adjust? Would bigger teams grind them down in a grueling playoff series?

Seven months later, another litmus test awaits. After needing seven games to survive their first-round series against the fifth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets will play the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set for Friday night. So much has changed since these two teams met in February. But the overarching themes are the same.

“I never worry about the other team,” Westbrook said Wednesday after the Rockets closed out his former team with a chaotic 104-102 win. “When we play the way we need to play, it’s tough to beat us.”

The Rockets remain one of the league’s great curiosities, as innovative as they are polarizing: so many 3-pointers, so much dribbling, so many attempts to draw fouls. Houston was treating the midrange shot like kryptonite long before other teams began r

Read More

The True Cost of Life in the N.B.A. Bubble

The True Cost of Life in the N.B.A. Bubble

Want more basketball in your inbox? Sign up for Marc Stein’s weekly N.B.A. newsletter here.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It all sounded so breezy when the Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley arrived at Walt Disney World and promptly scoffed at the idea that working and living at one of the foremost playgrounds on Earth could somehow be complicated.

The bubble, Beverley unforgettably declared that day, is what you make it.

Nearly two months later, no one on the N.B.A.’s Disney campus can be that cavalier when talking about the surroundings. The league has managed to keep the coronavirus out, which undeniably is a significant achievement, but not without levying an emotional tax by severely restricting access.

Beverley’s first-glance view suggested that bubble inhabitants, with the right mind-set, could make this all seem as magical as a typical Disney trip. Now consider the review that the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James offered up Saturday night — after the league emerged from a three-day walkout during which numerous players gave serious thought to closing down the bubble completely. The near shutdown wasn’t motivated solely by the players’ social justice pursuits; also factoring in was the simple desire to return to the outside world.

“I’ve had numerous nights and days of thinking about leaving the bubble,” James said. “I think everyone has, including you guys.”

James was referring to members of the news media and, without question, he was right. The word I have used to describe this assignment, over and over, is “unmissable.” That sentiment remains true, because I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance again to cover N.B.A. playoff games in August and September in arenas without fans. But “interminable” also applies. I can’t deny that there have been times during my 53 days here that I tried to picture the finish line and couldn’t.

It’s not because of the workload. My role at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, leading ESPN’s coverage of the U.S. men’s basketball team for “SportsCenter” and ESPN.com, made for even longer days in some ways. What gets to you in the bubble is your lack of control, combined with the long-term isolation, all exacerbated by copious regulations and restrictions.

So many rules to follow. So much time alone with your thoughts. An Olympic excursion, typically bucket list territory for most sportswriters, also lasts only three or four weeks.

Of course, nearly eight weeks into my stay in the 314-square-foot Casita No. 4151 at the Coronado Springs Resort, I am getting nostalgic and predictably sappy about it all — even the tough stuff. My time in the N.B.A. bubble is almost up. On Thursday, I am scheduled to fly home to Dallas. My colleague Scott Cacciola has begun his seven-day quarantine, replete with its daily throat and nostril swabs and bagged food drop-offs, and is poised to replace me as the bubble representative for The New York Times.

A few of my pals from other outlets are scheduled to cover this N.B.A. restart from the first dribble to the last, so I feel guilty that I am leaving while they have 40 days to go, as do the two teams that will ultimately reach the N.B.A. finals. I am also trying, without much success because I am so darn stubborn, to convince myself that 50-plus days in one place with no license to leave is not an insufficient commitment.

Some proof: I have been a Disney resident long enough to start seeing Facebook notifications urging me to “register now in Florida” because “your vote can make a difference in your community.”

I am obviously not eligible to vote in Orange County, Fla., but there are aspects of bubble life that will stay with me for a long time.

Wednesday, for starters, will bring the last of my daily coronavirus tests, but I suspect I will want to keep taking my temperature and oxygen saturation readings every day for a while — just to be safe.

I will miss living in a first-of-its-kind N.B.A. village with a bunch of teams that aren’t traveling and, because of the tightly controlled borders, can’t avoid interactions with the media even though there are so many more barriers to reporting access than we’re used to.

I will miss the solitary convention center hallway, connected to one of the three team hotels, that the news media could not be barred from — and all the chance encounters with key N.B.A. figures that took place there.

I will miss the garish orange carpet in that hallway and how Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and I frequently laughed at each other for spending more time camped out there than we knew we were supposed to.

I will miss the tiny lizards scampering around our feet while walking the less-than-one-square-mile of the Coronado grounds allotted to reporters.

Credit…Marc Stein for The New York Times

I will miss the daily downpours that amazingly made Central Florida’s vaunted humidity easier to stomach than what awaits me upon my return to North Texas.

I will miss the limited food options that helped me lose 10 to 12 pounds, which history says I will quickly find upon returning home.

I will miss the delicate touches of the housekeeping staff, like the way they wrapped the remote control in my casita in a little plastic bag.

I will miss the serendipity, such as turning a corner on the way to the meal room and seeing, say, Denver Nuggets C

Read More

Brooklyn Nets name Hall of Famer Nash as head coach – Reuters

(Reuters) – Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash has been named head coach of a Brooklyn Nets squad that will be led by the dominant Kevin Durant next season, the NBA team said on Thursday.

Nash joins the Nets after spending five seasons as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he contributed to two NBA championship teams and made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.

“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn,” Nash said in a news release.

“I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and be

Read More

NBA Playoffs: Lakers and Trail Blazers will boycott Game 5 – Silver Screen and Roll

NBA Playoffs: Lakers and Trail Blazers will boycott Game 5 – Silver Screen and Roll

After the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic decided to boycott their playoff game in protest of continuing police brutality against Black people following the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder quickly followed suit. Now, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers will join them: They will not play in Game 5 of their first round series. The NBA is officially saying the games are postponed, although whether they’ll ever be rescheduled remains to be seen.

This is officially a huge moment for both the NBA, and potentially, the country as a whole.

There are now legitimate questions about whether or not the NBA playoffs will continue, but those are far from the most crucial thing right now, and I’m not going to sit here and speculate on the answers. We just don’t know.

You know what we do know? That the NBA players you root for and follow every single game are hurting. That is the thing that everyone reading the blog or who has ever cared one iota about this game needs to hear right now.

Listen to the pain in LeBron James’ voice the other night. Hear and read about how

Read More

LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, More NBA Players Praise Bucks’ Boycott

LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, More NBA Players Praise Bucks’ Boycott
Referees huddle on an empty court at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Several NBA players took to social media Wednesday in support of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ reported decision to strike and not play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin (NSFW warning).

The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers have also decided to boycott their respective Game 5s that were scheduled for Wednesday. 

Protests have broken out in the city of Kenosha after a police officer shot at Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times on Sunday. Police tasered Blake upon responding to a domestic disturbance call, and at least one officer fired shots at Blake when he attempted to get into his car to check on his three children.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family, told CBS News that Blake was at the scene because he was attempting to deescalate a fight. Crump said Blake is paralyzed from the waist down and will likely not walk again.

The shooting of Blake is the latest in a series of acts of violence against Black people, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Several NBA players had been hesitant about resuming the 2019-20 seaso

Read More

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, More Athletes Speak on Jacob Blake Shooting

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, More Athletes Speak on Jacob Blake Shooting
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, second from left, wears a Black Lives Matter shirt and kneels with teammates during the national anthem prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)

Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other current and former athletes spoke out against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday and supported the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic in protest.

The Bucks’ strike comes amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May. 

The police shooting of Blake has also flared ongoing protests in Kenosha, located 40 miles from Milwaukee.

Other NBA teams followed the Bucks, with the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers games also postponed Wednesday.    

          

Los Angeles Lakers G/F LeBron James

Ex-Miami Heat SG Dwyane Wade

Las Vegas Aces PF A’ja Wilson

Phoenix Mercury G Skylar Diggins-Smith

Washington Mystics

Los Angeles Lakers CEO/Governor Jeanie Buss

2-Time Tennis Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka

NBA on TNT Analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith

Ex-Chicago Bulls F and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen

Utah Jazz G Donovan Mitchell

Cleveland Cavaliers F/C Kevin Love

   

   

Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant

Atlanta Hawks PG Trae Young

Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns

Denver Nuggets PG Jamal Murray

Miami Heat C Bam Adebayo

San Antonio Spurs G/F DeMar DeRozan

Memphis Grizzlies F/C Jaren Jackson Jr.

Boston Celtics C Enes Kanter

Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks PG George Hill

Milwaukee Bucks Governors Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan

Milwaukee Bucks SVP Alex Lasry

Denver Nuggets

Houston Rockets F Robert Covington

Ex-Los Angeles Lakers F/C Pau Gasol

Houston Texans WR Kenny Stills

  

   

Seattle Seahawks S Jamal Adams

US Soccer Men’s National Team/Newcastle United D DeAndre Yedlin

USMNT/Toronto FC F Jozy Altidore

Sacramento Kings

Washington Wizards PG John Wall

   

Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu

NFL S Eric Reid

New England Patriots DB Jason and Devin McCourty

Detroit Pistons F/C John Henson

Milwaukee Brewers LHP Josh Hader

Read More

Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA Protest: ‘We Put Together a Plan and We Had Action’

Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA Protest: ‘We Put Together a Plan and We Had Action’
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James plays in the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 131-122 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James spoke with NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg about players’ plans for social justice amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality:

James’ comments came after he dropped a 36-point triple-double in a 131-122 playoff win over the Portland Trail Blazers, which sealed a 4-1 first-round series win.

The Lakers vs. Blazers game was one of three that occurred Saturday after a three-day pause in the NBA’s postseason amid players’ fights for social justice. Those efforts were further sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, who was shot seven times in the back by authorities trying to detain him in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In response, the Milwaukee Bucks decided against taking the court for Game 5 of their first-round series versus the Orlando Magic on Wednesday

Read More

Report: Raptors-Celtics opener postponed as players opt to resume NBA playoffs – Yahoo Sports

Report: Raptors-Celtics opener postponed as players opt to resume NBA playoffs – Yahoo Sports

Wojnarowski adds. The playoffs will resume as early as Friday, or by the weekend at the very least.’ data-reactid=”22″>However, Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics will be postponed, along with the other two playoff games that were set to take place on Thursday, Wojnarowski adds. The playoffs will resume as early as Friday, or by the weekend at the very least.

Game 2 of Raptors-Celtics was set for Saturday, which would make for a logical restart.

September 2020

  • August 2020
  • July 2020
  • June 2020
  • May 2020
  • April 2020
  • March 2020
  • February 2020
  • January 2020
  • December 2019
  • November 2019
  • October 2019
  • September 2019
  • August 2019
  • July 2019
  • June 2019