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Lakers Rajon Rondo to have surgery on broken right hand

Rajon Rondo is expected to have surgery this week on his broken right hand, and the Los Angeles Lakers plan to use a variety of strategies to replace the veteran point guard while he heals......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsNov 16th, 2018Related News

Lakers’ Rajon Rondo to have surgery on broken right hand

LOS ANGELES --- Rajon Rondo is expected to have surgery this week on his broken right hand, and the Los Angeles Lakers plan to use a variety of strategies to replace the veteran point guard while he heals. Los Angeles will be without Rondo for at least a few weeks after he was injured in the fourth quarter of the Lakers' fourth straight win, 126-117 over Portland on Wednesday night. Rondo apparently hurt his hand while making a steal, but he kept playing for several more minutes before coming out of the game. Coach Luke Walton praised Rondo's leadership and two-way contributions Thursday after the Lakers' final practice before heading out on a three-game road trip. Although he ...Keep on reading: Lakers’ Rajon Rondo to have surgery on broken right hand.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Nov 16th, 2018Related News

Lakers guard Rondo to have surgery on broken right hand

    LOS ANGELES, USA – Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo will have surgery to repair a broken right hand and will likely miss several weeks, the NBA team said Thursday, November 15 (Friday, November 16, Manila time). Rondo, who was apparently injured stealing the ball in the 4th quarter of .....»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsNov 16th, 2018Related News

James dunk lifts Lakers to 107-106 win over Hawks

By Beth Harris, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 26 points and dunked for the winning basket in the final seconds, lifting the Los Angeles Lakers to a 107-106 victory over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). Kyle Kuzma added 18 points for the Lakers' fifth win in six games. Kuzma's layup tied the game at 104-all with 1:34 to go. Kent Bazemore was called for a technical at the end of that play and Kuzma made the free throw for a 105-104 lead. Vince Carter dunked to put the Hawks back up 106-105. James got fouled at the other end and missed both. But the Lakers got the offensive rebound and Kuzma charged into the paint amid three defenders for a shot from the left side. It missed. James was waiting on the right, dunking for a 107-106 lead. LBJ powers it home to give LAL the lead late! #LakeShow pic.twitter.com/gBSwV1jBIy — NBA (@NBA) November 12, 2018 Taurean Prince led the Hawks with 23 points, Bazemore added 21 and Trae Young had 20 for Atlanta, which still has just one road win on the season. Alex Len's dunk started a 7-0 run that put Atlanta ahead 102-98 in the fourth. James' basket drew the Lakers within one, but then he missed two long jumpers on the same possession. The Hawks trailed by nine to start the fourth. Their first three baskets in the fourth came on three-pointers by Prince (two) and Young (one). The Lakers dominated the third, outscoring Atlanta 32-22 to take an 84-75 lead into the fourth. But Atlanta kept coming, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to start the fourth when James was on the bench for the Lakers. Len's dunk gave the Hawks a 99-98 lead, just the second time they led in the second half. James' dunk that tied the game midway through the second quarter got started with Rajon Rondo. He tossed up an alley-oop pass that Brandon Ingram batted back as he ran out of bounds to a trailing James, who provided the thunderous finish. The Hawks raced to a 9-0 lead to start the game, their largest lead of the night. The Lakers missed their first three shots and Ingram committed two turnovers. TIP-INS Hawks: They haven't beaten the Lakers at Staples Center since March 4, 2016. ... Prince was called for a flagrant-1 foul on James in the first quarter. ... C Dewayne Dedmon wasn't with the team while awaiting the birth of his first child. Lakers: James earned his 768th career victory, overtaking Reggie Miller for 21st on the NBA's all-time victories list. ... They've won five in a row against the Hawks and are 24-5 against them at home since 1991. UP NEXT Hawks: Visit Golden State on Tuesday (Wednesday, PHL time). Lakers: Host Portland on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). The teams split their first two meetings......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsNov 12th, 2018Related News

James scores 28 points, Lakers edge Blazers

PORTLAND, Ore. --- It took LeBron James to help the Los Angeles Lakers snap a lengthy losing streak against Portland. James had 28 points and seven assists and the Lakers defeated the Trail Blazers 114-110 Saturday night. The Lakers snapped the franchise's 16-game losing streak against the Blazers. In addition to the streak, Saturday was the Lakers' first road win this season against a team with a winning record. "Great to snap that," James said of the Lakers' streak of futility against Portland. "They're a very good team, obviously. To beat Portland, you can't just come in and win without playing really hard and really well." Rajon Rondo gave the Lakers a huge lift off the bench, ...Keep on reading: James scores 28 points, Lakers edge Blazers.....»»

Source: Inquirer InquirerCategory: Nov 4th, 2018Related News

West take notice: Lakers top unbeaten Nuggets

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com LOS ANGELES -- There are foreign roads to navigate, traffic to curse and weather to bless. Change can be a mixed bag, even for LeBron James, and we haven’t yet mentioned his other new and complex surroundings, meaning, teammates to break in. There’s also a third layer to this unfamiliar skin, and this could be the most uncomfortable of them all. Yes, if LeBron and the Lakers are to deliver more than just must-see TV for insomniacs around most of the country, they must find a way to flex muscle in the Western Conference. As LeBron has already discovered, he ain’t in Kansas anymore. Actually, make that Orlando, Charlotte, Brooklyn, etc., etc., etc. For a superstar who doesn’t take nights off, well, he can’t afford to do so anyway in the West, where there’s seemingly another potential 50-game winner staring from the other bench. That’s what Thursday (Friday, PHL time) was all about, planting concern into the heads of the elite teams of the West and making them notice what’s taking place in Los Angeles. The Nuggets came into Staples Center undefeated and left with some clues about what LeBron and the Lakers can be in the near future, after they deal with the early bonding process. “Growth that’s continuing to happen,” is how Lakers coach Luke Walton described it. LeBron had his first triple-double as a Laker and given the circumstances -- no Rajon Rondo or Brandon Ingram, both suspended, for a second straight game -- they delivered their most impressive 48 minutes of the season with a 121-114 win. “The first couple of games when we fell behind, we stayed behind,” said LeBron, noting how the Lakers seized control from the Nuggets for good late. “The best teacher in life is experience.” These are the type of games he will see more frequently than he did with the Cavaliers and Heat. For someone who spent his entire career in the East, the upgrade in competition will force LeBron and the Lakers to sharpen their learning curve. Already the West shows few signs of fall-off from a year ago when 10 teams finished with winning records; because only the top eight make the playoffs, the remaining two had to go home, wishing they were in the East. It’s a small sample size so far, yet once again, it’s business as usual in the better conference: The Warriors remain the class of the conference and league, with all the usual suspects that delivered three championships in four years accounted for. OK, sure, Klay Thompson might need to dispatch his trusty dog Rocco to search for his missing jumper. But: Did you see Steph Curry drop 51 on the Wizards the other night? Well, then. What’s interesting and most frightening about the Warriors is how they’re still a few months from suiting up DeMarcus Cousins, who has advanced to light work and dropping sweat in non-contact drills. Last season’s West runner-ups, the Rockets, are obviously missing the perimeter defense and shooting of Trevor Ariza, who signed with the lowly Suns (purely a money-grab for him). Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony is shooting 26 percent from deep and straining while trying to keep this from becoming an extension from his Oklahoma City stop. Also: James Harden is dealing with a tweaky hamstring and Chris Paul, fresh from wiping Rajon Rondo’s DNA off his face, his serving out a suspension. Yet this will not last long; already, Rockets GM Daryl Morey is up to his tricks, scheming to trade a plate of Texas brisket to the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler. If Morey pulls that off, the Rockets will have three All-Stars in their starting five, second only to the Warriors. LeBron must beware of Rondo’s old team, which is playing like it isn’t missing Rondo as much as some folks were led to believe. The New Orleans Pelicans is flourishing with a breezy style that’s a carryover from their surprising second-round run in last spring’s playoffs, with Niko Mirotic putting up more points than Anthony Davis and ex-Laker Julius Randle fitting right in next to AD. Speaking of the unexpected, the Spurs with DeMar DeRozan off to a good start could make it 22 straight playoff appearances after all the changeover and injuries. And Pat Beverly said the Clippers are the best team in LA; take that for what it’s worth, but it shows you that nobody is rolling out the red carpet for the Lakers just because they added LeBron. The Nuggets missed the playoffs on the final regular season day last season and they’re perhaps wiser for it. Nikola Jokic is making his top-three center case and Denver’s defense is rating No. 1 in efficiency. What they saw Thursday (Friday, PHL time) was a controlled and efficient game from LeBron (28 points, 11 rebounds, 11 assists); Lonzo Ball strip Jamal Murray in the open floor for one of his five steals; former Warriors role player JaVale McGee actually getting 16 shots and doing something with it with 21 points; and highly entertaining energy from Lance Stephenson off the bench. Nuggets coach Mike Malone was an assistant from 2005-10 in Cleveland and therefore saw the LeBron Effect first-hand in those formative years. “Sure, the West is tougher,” Malone said, “but also this is his first time playing with all those guys. As he said, this will take time. It doesn’t happen overnight, just as it didn’t last year in Oklahoma City when they brought in Paul George and Carmelo Anthony and everybody thought they were going to be great right away. Playing with LeBron isn’t easy. It easy, but it isn’t easy. When we traded for guys like Wally Szczerbiak, he comes in and says `I’ve never been this open in my life.’ He had a hard to making shots because he was so open. “LeBron is bringing all those guys confidence up. Josh Hart, Kyle Kuzma, they’ll be better off for it. He’s a great player and slowly the team will round into form. My definition of greatness is, what can you do for everyone around you? Can you take them to new heights? And he has done that repeatedly throughout his career. He’s doing the same thing now in LA.” A week into the season tells us this about the Lakers: They’ve played four of their five games against playoff teams, winning only one but taking the other three well into the fourth quarter. They’re two missed LeBron free throws from a winning record. LeBron is MVP-like and sturdy as ever, and the other pieces are slowly dropping into place. Whether it’ll be good enough to make traction in a tough conference will take months to sort out. Yes, the West is better. But that’s also because the Lakers fueled by LeBron, no longer the post-Kobe pushovers, are better as well. Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 26th, 2018Related News

Brawlers got off lightly

That was garbage LOS ANGELES — Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green believes players suspended for brawling during Houston’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers have got off lightly, accusing the NBA of a disciplinary “double standard.” Lakers players Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo were banned for four and three games respectively while Rockets ace […].....»»

Source: Tribune TribuneCategory: NewsOct 23rd, 2018Related News

Spurs rally to keep Lakers winless with LeBron, 143-142

By Greg Beacham, Associated Press LOS ANGELES (AP) — Patty Mills hit a go-ahead jumper with 6.8 seconds left and the San Antonio Spurs kept the Los Angeles Lakers winless with LeBron James, rallying from a six-point deficit in the final minute of overtime for a wild 143-142 victory Monday night (Tuesday, PHL time). James hit a tying three-pointer with 2.4 seconds left in regulation and finished with 32 points, 14 assists and eight rebounds. But the superstar missed two free throws with 12.8 seconds to play, and Mills coolly put the Spurs ahead. LEBRON = CLUTCH#LakeShow pic.twitter.com/w75wNFoMkq — NBA TV (@NBATV) October 23, 2018 James missed a long shot at the buzzer, thoroughly deflating Staples Center. LaMarcus Aldridge had 37 points and 10 rebounds, and DeMar DeRozan added 32 points and 14 assists as the Spurs made a tremendous rally to bounce back from a loss at Portland. Kyle Kuzma had 37 points and eight rebounds for the Lakers, who played without suspended starters Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo. Josh Hart added 20 points and 10 rebounds. James' dramatic three-pointer from a full step beyond the arc capped the Lakers' improbable rally from an eight-point deficit in the final 1:04 of regulation. The Lakers then took a 142-136 lead late in overtime with a lineup matching James with three second-year pros and unsung rookie Johnathan Williams in his NBA debut. But the Lakers sputtered and the Spurs rallied. Rudy Gay's three-pointer cut the Lakers' lead to 142-141, and James missed his free throws before the jumper by Mills, who had 12 points. Ingram and Rondo began their suspensions stemming from their brawl with the Houston Rockets last Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). Ingram got a four-game ban for confronting an official and throwing punches, while Rondo got three games for punching and spitting on Chris Paul. Kuzma and Ball were in the starting lineup in their teammates' absence, and both second-year pros excelled. The Spurs jumped on the Lakers early, hitting 14 of their first 17 shots and opening an 18-point lead. James missed six of his first eight shots, but regained his game along with the rest of the Lakers, who trailed only 99-96 entering the fourth quarter. TIP-INS Spurs: Dante Cunningham had three points and 12 rebounds in 29 minutes as a starter. Jakob Poeltl, who started the first two games, didn't play. ... Marco Belinelli scored 15 points in a reserve role for the Spurs, and Rudy Gay had 16 points. Lakers: Svi Mykhailiuk and Williams made their NBA debuts in the shortened rotation. Mykhailiuk, the Ukrainian rookie out of Kansas, went scoreless in 17 minutes. Williams dunked on a pass from Mykhailiuk for his first basket, and he finished with eight points. ... Before the game, LA assigned German rookie Isaac Bonga to their G League affiliate. ... Celebrities at the game included Natalie Portman; Geri Halliwell and her husband, Red Bull F1 boss Christian Horner; boxing champions Terence Crawford and Floyd Mayweather; and Los Angeles Rams Todd Gurley, Ndamukong Suh and Nickell Robey-Coleman. UP NEXT Spurs: Host Indiana on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time). Lakers: At Phoenix on Wednesday (Thursday, PHL time)......»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 23rd, 2018Related News

The Rondo-like spit that once mired the PBA

That infamous, nasty incident wherein Rajon Rondo was seen spitting on Chris Paul that led to an ugly melee that marred the Lakers-Rockets game at the Staples Center Saturday leaves NBA fans shocked at how their idols can go so low in “stressing a point.” Would our much admired Filipino players do the same in our beloved sport? You would say yes given the colorful history of Philippine basketball, wherein a nudge, trip, kick, or undercut (the legacy of our menacing and tough yet legendary “enforcers”) was so common that players would just seem to set them aside as part of the game. But a spit on the face? It’s the most denigrating, unsportsmanlike, objectionable act on a person that should trigger a most livid physical response given how it’s done deliberately and consciously. Surely, it was considered a common yet somewhat unnoticed foul move in the earlier days of local basketball, committed by even the biggest legends of the sport. Just like rough physical play, notorious, cunning players would allegedly spit on driving opponents to distract them from making the basket. And they would get away with it, given how the offended player would find it extremely difficult to prove it (no quadruple zoom-slo mo video at the time, sorry). Except of course, he shows his saliva-laden face to the officials. But in recent years, with the coming of the slo-mo replays that have really advanced as years went by, these actions have been caught on film, which is clear, unquestionable proof about the offender’s culpability. Many were sanctioned, most especially in college basketball wherein such acts are blamed on youthful recklessness. But in pro basketball, wherein players are considered demigods in cage fare? Would they do it in full view of everyone in the court, in the stands and the millions at home with the handy instant replays? And of course, heavier, stiffer penalties awaiting them? The PBA at present has carefully prevented hooliganism in recent years with its strict, unbending rules against extreme physicality. And these were crafted by the worst “court crimes” they’ve witnessed. There was one incident, by far, that was considered the most disconcerting because it involved a player throwing ball of saliva plastering his DNA onto a player’s face. It was an eliminations game as the 1991 PBA Reinforced Conference was underway, Ginebra faced Presto figured in a much-awaited encounter. Tivoli coach Jimmy Mariano fielded point guard and known badass enforcer Onchie dela Cruz to wreak havoc on defense, given that Ginebra is a tough never-say-die squad, and Robert Jaworski, Sr. himself recognized his fearsome ways. As Ginebra import Wes Matthews drove in for a shot, Dela Cruz in his patented rough, streetwise style mercilessly hacked the former Laker. Not used to that kind of foul even in his NBA days, Matthews was fuming, taunting Dela Cruz who appeared indifferent at first. But when Matthews continued his taunting, and with cameras focused on the two, Dela Cruz suddenly released his deepest rancor by blowing a disgusting round of spit on his adversary. And this triggered a free for all that almost stopped the match. He then was meted a suspension and a fine. Truly one of a kind, such unbecoming and despicable act is unwarranted even if provoked. Yet, luckily and thankfully no other such incidents were reported or recorded. At least in public.  .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 23rd, 2018Related News

Paul, Rondo, Ingram suspended; Dubs fall

Paul, Rondo, Ingram suspended; Dubs fall.....»»

Source: Thestandard ThestandardCategory: SportsOct 22nd, 2018Related News

Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, Brandon Ingram suspended, fined

Lakers teammates Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul of the Rockets were suspended without pay Sunday for an on-court fight, with Paul taking the heaviest financial hit......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsOct 22nd, 2018Related News

NBA suspends Ingram, Rondo, Paul – Manila Video

NBA suspends Ingram, Rondo, Paul – Manila Video.....»»

Source: Manilainformer ManilainformerCategory: Oct 22nd, 2018Related News

NBA suspends Ingram, Rondo, Paul in Lakers-Rockets fracas

Lakers teammates Brandon Ingram and Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul of the Rockets were suspended without pay for an on-court fight, with Paul taking the heaviest financial hit......»»

Source: Philstar PhilstarCategory: NewsOct 22nd, 2018Related News

Rondo, Paul brawl in LA

Los Angeles — LeBron James’ home debut with the Los Angeles Lakers ended on a sour note Saturday as the Houston Rockets seized control late for a 124-115 win in a physical contest at Staples Center. James finished with 24 points and five assists but the Lakers couldn’t stop the Rockets’ dynamic duo of James […].....»»

Source: Tribune TribuneCategory: NewsOct 21st, 2018Related News

Rockets deal LeBron, Lakers 2nd loss in fight-marred game

      LOS ANGELES, USA – LeBron James' home-game debut turned quite chaotic.  The Houston Rockets kept LeBron and the Los Angeles Lakers winless in two games, 124-115, in a fight-marred NBA match at the Staples Center on Saturday, October 20 (Sunday, October 21, Manila time). Houston's Chris Paul and Los Angeles' Rajon ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 21st, 2018Related News

WATCH: Fight breaks out in Lakers-Rockets game

    MANILA, Philippines – It's just the opening week of the 2018-2019 NBA season but things have already turned ugly between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets.  A fight broke out among Los Angeles' Rajon Rondo and Brandon Ingram and Houston's Chris Paul midway through the 4th quarter of their ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 21st, 2018Related News

LOOK: Jordan Clarkson shows some love for ejected Ingram

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino-American NBA player Jordan Clarkson was on roll on Twitter when the basketbrawl between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets  broke out at the Staples Center on Saturday, October 20 (Sunday, October 21, Manila time).  After Brandon Ingram was ejected together with Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul, Clarkson ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 21st, 2018Related News

Lakers-Rockets brawl: Chris Paul claims Rajon Rondo spit on him

    LOS ANGELES, USA – Houston Rockets’ Chris Paul and Los Angeles Lakers’ Rajon Rondo were the main combatants in the stunning brawl that broke out between the two teams right in the opening week of the 2018-2019 NBA season at the Staples Center on Saturday, October 20 (Sunday, October 21, ........»»

Source: Rappler RapplerCategory: NewsOct 21st, 2018Related News

LeBron shines in debut, but Lakers still have lots to do

By Shaun Powell, NBA.com PORTLAND, Ore. -- His first basket of this new era was much like many others, in terms of impact and its ferocity and jaw-dropping nature. LeBron James stole the Trail Blazers’ cross-court pass and before him was the open court … and thousands of open mouths, all bracing in anticipation of a moment. His fast-break dunk was just as you expected it would be, jammed through the basket with a cocked arm and followed by a brief pose at landing, for emphasis and style. The greatest player in the game was back in full soar Thursday but, as it were, his new team remained stuck to the floor. Overall, this process is gonna take some time, you think? Before the Los Angeles Lakers whip the basketball world into a frenzy, they must whip Portland. And also the Houston Rockets, who visit Staples Center on Saturday (Sunday, PHL time) for the Lakers’ home opener. And the Golden State Warriors. And Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans. And any team in the Western Conference that considers itself a contender. But you knew this, right? “We’ll have to go through some moments,” LeBron said after the Lakers lost at Moda Center, 128-119. “We’ll have some adversity.” True, this isn’t an overnight sensation in the making. “Not as fast as you (media) guys think it’s going to happen,” LeBron said. The Lakers will get more chances to make a first impression, and that’s a good thing for them as they navigate through a potentially tricky transition period with their shiny new showpiece. There is only one thing that’s a lock through this bumpy path: LeBron is still the force he was in Cleveland and Miami, his only other NBA stops. Months before turning 34, his flow and his basketball instincts remain steak-knife sharp and his pride is intact. He tipped off his season by playing 37 minutes -- so much for reduced minutes here after 15 years of deep tread wear on his wheels -- and delivered 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. “I mean, that’s crazy, a guy to be in his 16th year playing at that pace and above the rim the way he was,” said Blazers guard Damian Lillard. “He looked like himself.” That said, he and his teammates are still working on their wavelength. This was evident for much of the night, when connections were missed and confusion reigned at times. On Thursday (Friday, PHL time), LeBron threw a behind-the-back pass that in Cleveland or Miami would usually hits is mark to teammates aware of his tendencies and timing. Last night, LeBron tried it and the ball dribbled out of bounds, all of which flummoxed LeBron and Kyle Kuzma (the nearest Laker). After the whistle blew and possession went to Portland, LeBron and Kuzma had a brief chat. “I expected Kuz to pop,” explained LeBron, “and he rolled. Then another time (Rajon) Rondo went to the hole, JaVale (McGee) thought it was going to him and it was meant for me. We’ll get better at that.” These first few weeks, if the Lakers are fortunate, will be conducted in a vacuum and a laboratory. Transitions are usually like that. LeBron had a similar one in Miami eight years ago, when a 9-8 start playing alongside Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had folks thinking the sky was falling. With these Lakers, the reaction will -- or should, anyway -- be more muted if only because the expectations aren’t through the ceiling this season. The Lakers are trying to nourish the limited basketball experience of Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Brandon Ingram with LeBron (and Rajon Rondo) taking on more of a mentor role. That means class will be in session most, if not all, season. LeBron is preaching patience not only for those in and outside of the organization, but for himself as well. Sometimes, it’s easier said than done. LeBron realizes that he’s on the clock personally, even though his stamina and level of play remain high. “A lot of these guys don’t have as much experience, so I have to understand that,” James said. “And I do.” LeBron seems cursed by celebrated season openers, falling to 0-4 all-time in his debut games. He scored 25 points in his rookie opener, but Cleveland lost to the Sacramento Kings. He had 31 in his Miami opener in a loss to the Boston Celtics. And he had 17 points in his Cleveland return in 2014, a home loss to the New York Knicks. The Lakers’ crime Thursday (Friday, PHL time) was a failure to tighten up defensively and of course the mistakes that could be blamed on a getting-to-know-you game. And then there’s another issue that LeBron will soon discover, if he hasn’t already: He’s not in the easy East anymore. “There’s a tough game every night,” Lillard said. The West had 10 teams with winning records last season fighting for eight playoff spots. Coaches and players in the West were fond of tweaking their neighbors across the Mississippi in 2017-18, saying the non-playoff teams in the West should take some East spots. Of last season’s playoff teams, none return seriously weaker -- unless you’re ready to bury the San Antonio Spurs (who have a 21-year playoff streak going) or Minnesota Timberwolves (who are coping with the Jimmy Butler crisis). The Blazers were the No. 3 seed and were swept in the first round by the Pelicans, which puts the depth and overall strength of the West in perspective. Only three games separated the Blazers and the ninth-seeded Nuggets during the regular season. Meanwhile, the Rockets and Warriors were beyond the reach of mortals. LeBron chumped the East eight straight times to reach the NBA Finals. Yet by most indications, he’s an A-list teammate away from spooking the Warriors -- and that teammate isn’t in a Lakers uniform this season. This journey through the West could either humble LeBron or, at the least, make him realize the work needed for the Lakers to regain contender status. Heck, the Lakers couldn’t even prevent Nik Stauskas from having the biggest night of his NBA life. He scored 24 points and made more three-pointers (five) than the Lakers’ starting lineup (two). It was telling that Lakers coach Luke Walton started Rondo over Ball at point guard -- an understandable move after Ball missed several months recovering from knee issues. Rondo was mainly stellar (11 assists, three steals) while the Lakers’ fourth-quarter lineups excluded Ball. Meanwhile, Hart (20 points off the bench) earned crunch time minutes. “Everyone had different roles last year,” Walton said, “and some of those roles could change.” Well, someone’s role will remain the same. Regarding that guy, Walton said: “Glad he’s on our team. He’s pretty good at the game of basketball.” Veteran NBA writer Shaun Powell has worked for newspapers and other publications for more than 25 years. You can e-mail him here or follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting. .....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 19th, 2018Related News

2018-19 NBA Preview: It s the Warriors, and then everyone else

By Tim Reynolds, Associated Press NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will be at Oracle Arena on Tuesday night, handing the Golden State Warriors what will be their third set of championship rings from the last four seasons. A banner will be displayed. Highlights will be shown. And then the Warriors will have to start all over again. The NBA’s 73rd season starts Tuesday night (Wednesday, PHL time), beginning a year where LeBron James will play for the Los Angeles Lakers, where Carmelo Anthony will aim to push the Houston Rockets over the top, where Dwyane Wade will take his 16th and final lap around the league. A new arena is opening in Milwaukee, eight teams will have new coaches, and everyone will be looking to see if the Warriors can win a third straight title. “None of us are ready for this run to come to an end,” said Golden State’s Draymond Green, part of all three Warriors’ titles in this four-year run of dominance. “So we’ve got to continue to approach it like we’ve got zero. And that’s cliche and impossible to do, but you want to try to get as close to that as you possibly can. And that’s my mindset always entering the season.” They will be the overwhelming favorites, with good reason. The Warriors still have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Green, plus added All-Star big man DeMarcus Cousins — coming off an injury — on a bargain $5.3 million deal. And calling all the shots is coach Steve Kerr, who won five rings as a player and now three more as a coach. “If they don’t win, it’s a failure,” Memphis guard Mike Conley Jr. said. “I know that’s how they feel as well. For us, for the other 29 teams, we’re the underdog. We’re trying to take what they have. It’s a lot easier playing from the underdog perspective than coming in with a lot of expectation.” In this NBA, everybody else is an underdog. That even applies to Houston — which won 65 games last season, has the reigning MVP in James Harden, an elite point guard in Chris Paul who re-signed for $160 million this summer, a deep-pocketed owner in Tilman Fertitta and an always-tinkering GM in Daryl Morey. The Rockets had the Warriors against the ropes in last season’s Western Conference finals, leading that series 3-2 yet falling after Paul was lost to a hamstring injury. “We’ve all got one goal, man,” Harden said. “You’ll keep hearing the same story over and over until I’m not here no more. We’ve got to win a ’chip. We’ve all got the same goal. We kind of, a little bit, we kind of know what it takes to almost get there. But we haven’t gotten there yet.” The Warriors are the best team and the Rockets had the best record, but the best player is now in L.A. After 15 seasons in the Eastern Conference, James — who has played in each of the last eight NBA Finals — has moved West. He signed a four-year deal in July with the Lakers, one that makes him the biggest star on the league’s glitziest franchise. He’s teamed up with talented young players like Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, and former rivals like Rajon Rondo and Lance Stephenson. “I’m a basketball player,” James said. “I play ball. That’s what I do and that’s what I live by. And when I do it at the level I do it at, everything else takes care of itself.” The only certainty in the NBA this season is that James won’t win the East — ending an eight-year run of that, four in Miami and four in Cleveland. Boston, Philadelphia and Toronto (with the newly acquired Kawhi Leonard) are the top candidates to take over as East champions. The Celtics had a Game 7, at home, to get to the NBA Finals last season and lost to James and Cleveland, but now get Gordon Hayward back and a healthy Kyrie Irving again. Miami has been trying to get Jimmy Butler from Minnesota, and if they do — someone will get Butler before the trade deadline — the Heat may be able to get back into East contention. It might be Dirk Nowitzki’s last season in Dallas. Gregg Popovich no longer has Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili with him in San Antonio, and the Spurs (who have been battered by injuries, including one to point guard Dejounte Murray) are no lock to extend their 21-year run of playoff appearances. Sneakerheads will have a big season, because the NBA now says players may wear whatever colors of kicks that they want. There’s plenty of stories. But in the end, it’ll be all about someone finding a way to beat Golden State — or not. “I’ll get back to you when somebody cracks that code,” Wade said. “In this game, the most important thing is health. If they stay healthy, it’s tough to beat them. There’s teams that can, but you’ve got to do it, and you’re going to have to do it four times.”.....»»

Source: Abscbn AbscbnCategory: SportsOct 16th, 2018Related News