Los Angeles Lakers vs Houston Rockets, LeBron James 3-pointer, basketball news


Four-time NBA champion LeBron James has sent the basketball world into a frenzy with a no-look three-pointer against the Houston Rockets on Tuesday AEDT.

During the second quarter of the Los Angeles Lakers’ 117-100 victory in Houston, teammate Markieff Morris threw the ball towards James in the corner, who calmly attempted a three-pointer.

But the 36-year-old was so confident he had made the shot, he spun around and faced his teammates on the bench before it went in.

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The 16-time NBA All-Star was promptly mobbed by his ecstatic teammates as the Lakers lead extended to 24 points.

After the game, James said he made a bet with teammate Dennis Schröder during his freakish three-pointer. He claimed to have shot the ball, turned around, looked Schröder in the eyes and said, “Bet it.”

Lakers teammate Kyle Kuzma said after the game: “He’s one of the greatest to play this game. The things he does, it’s always crazy to watch in real-time.”

Rockets coach Stephen Silas said after the defeat: “They’re obviously a together group, and they’re having fun at our expense. So it doesn’t feel good at all, and we should take umbrage. It’s like they’re dancing on our home court. We’ve just got to fight. We’ve got to fight through it.”

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LeBron James finished with 26 points in the defending champions’ thumping win, while Anthony Davis scored 19 points and pulled down 10 rebounds.

The Lakers held the Rockets to just 14 points in the first quarter as they grabbed a 21-point lead, while James Harden finished with 16 points on five-of-16 shooting.

The Lakers out-rebounded the Rockets 55-42 and had 23 second-chance points to Houston’s 11. They remained unbeaten in six road games and improved their league-leading record to 9-3.

— with AFP



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NBA roundup: Spurs down Lakers, go 2-0 in L.A.



January 8, 2021

LaMarcus Aldridge had 28 points to lead the San Antonio Spurs past the host Los Angeles Lakers 118-109 on Thursday.

DeMar DeRozan, who managed just six points in San Antonio’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday, had 19 points and eight assists, Dejounte Murray contributed 18 points and eight boards and Rudy Gay had 15 points for the Spurs, who snapped the Lakers’ four-game winning streak. Patty Mills finished with 10 points.

LeBron James had 27 points, 12 assists and six rebounds, while Anthony Davis collected 23 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma chipped in 13 points and 10 boards, while Montrezl Harrell and Talen Horton-Tucker each scored 10.

It was the third meeting in the past nine days between the two clubs. The Lakers have captured two of three.

Dallas Mavericks 124 – Denver Nuggets 117 (OT)

Luka Doncic had 38 points, 13 assists and nine rebounds to help visiting Dallas defeat Denver.

Josh Richardson scored five of his 14 points in overtime for the Mavericks. Dorian Finney-Smith also had 14 points for Dallas, while Boban Marjanovic added 12 points and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 11 points.

Nikola Jokic had 38 points and 11 rebounds for the Nuggets, while Jamal Murray had 21 points and nine assists, Gary Harris scored 15 points, Monte Morris added 11 and JaMychal Green scored 10.

Brooklyn Nets 122 – Philadelphia 76ers 109

Reserve Joe Harris scored a season-high 28 points, Caris LeVert added 22 as short-handed Brooklyn led most of the way and recorded a victory over visiting Philadelphia in New York.

The Nets were without Kevin Durant (COVID-19 safety protocols) and Kyrie Irving, who sat out due to unspecified personal reasons. Harris finished two points shy of his career high as the Nets posted their second straight double-digit win after dropping four of five.

Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had quiet nights for the 76ers, who lost while shooting 47.1 percent. Embiid scored 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting while Simmons was held to 11 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers 94 – Memphis Grizzlies 90

Andre Drummond posted game-highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds, Larry Nance Jr. added 18 points on 7-of-7 shooting and Cleveland beat host Memphis. Both teams came into the matchup with injury-depleted rosters.

Despite failing to reach 100 points for a sixth consecutive game, Cleveland shook off an especially slow offensive start of 19 first-quarter points. The Cavaliers shot 43.3 percent from behind the 3-point line, 13 of 30, including a key one by Cedi Osman with 2:27 remaining.

Jonas Valanciunas’ 17 points and 10 rebounds led Memphis, which dropped its third straight. Brandon Clarke added 14 points and nine rebounds, Dillon Brooks tallied 11 points and Kyle Anderson scored 10.

Portland Trail Blazers 135 – Minnesota Timberwolves 117

Damian Lillard scored 39 points, grabbed seven rebounds and dished out seven assists as Portland set a franchise record with 47 points in the second quarter before cruising to the victory over visiting Minnesota.

C.J. McCollum added 20 points for the Trail Blazers, and Jusuf Nurkic had 17 points and seven rebounds. Portland snapped a two-game skid and posted its highest-scoring effort of the season.

D’Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards scored 26 points apiece for the Timberwolves.

–Field Level Media

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Lakers, Blazers ready for playoff rematch



FILE PHOTO: Aug 29, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) and forward Kyle Kuzma (0) greet Portland Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony (00) after game five of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

December 28, 2020

In a first-round rematch of last season’s Western Conference playoffs, the Portland Trail Blazers visit the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers on Monday night.

It’s the first meeting between the clubs since Los Angeles claimed a 4-1 series win in the opening round in August.

The Blazers’ start this season began with a thud. They lost 120-100 at home Wednesday to the Utah Jazz. They also were forced to overcome a slow start to beat the short-handed Houston Rockets 128-126 in overtime Saturday.

CJ McCollum scored 44 points, including the go-ahead 3-pointer, and had eight assists for Portland in the win over Houston. McCollum converted 17 of 30 shots from the field and hit a career-best nine 3-pointers on 16 attempts. Damian Lillard contributed 32 points and nine assists and Jusuf Nurkic added 12 points, 11 rebounds and six assists.

The Blazers trailed by as many as 16 in the first half before rallying. McCollum sparked a third-quarter surge by scoring 14 points, 12 via four 3-pointers.

“CJ obviously had an outstanding second half offensively,” Portland coach Terry Stotts said. “He made some big shots for us, he got us back into it, especially in the third quarter.”

Lillard said he was encouraged to see the Blazers respond after the lackluster beginning.

“I thought we got some life in us and we started to defend and play with more energy in that second quarter and got ourselves back in the game,” Lillard said. “And then coming out of the locker room (at halftime) we just basically told ourselves, and our coaches said it as well, it (doesn’t) matter if we did it for five minutes if we come out in the third quarter and we can’t sustain it, we can’t continue it. I thought that third quarter was the difference in the game for us.”

Portland will be without forward Carmelo Anthony, who didn’t travel to Los Angeles because of “health and safety” protocols, the club announced Sunday.

The Lakers were without Anthony Davis (right-calf strain) on Sunday, but they still pounded the Minnesota Timberwolves 127-91 in Los Angeles. Karl-Anthony Towns, who suffered a dislocated left wrist in Saturday’s win at the Utah Jazz, did not play.

Davis was injured in the opening-night loss to the Los Angeles Clippers and apparently aggravated it in the Christmas Day blowout of the Dallas Mavericks. Lakers coach Frank Vogel seemed optimistic Davis might play Monday.

“We hope he’ll be available tomorrow, but we have to see how he feels tomorrow,” Vogel said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “It’s kind of a day-to-day. See how he responds tomorrow with treatment. But we’re hopeful that he’ll play tomorrow.”

Against the Timberwolves, Kyle Kuzma, who started in Davis’ place, scored all 20 of his points in the first half. He hit 8 of 12 shots, including 4 of 6 3-pointers.

“Kuz has really become a helluva player,” Vogel said.

LeBron James, who continued to play after tweaking an ankle, contributed 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Vogel said James was questionable for the Portland game.

Marc Gasol delivered a solid performance, finishing with 12 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and four of the Lakers’ 14 blocks.

–Field Level Media





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San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon become first woman to control an NBA team in LA Lakers match


San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon has made history by becoming the first woman to take charge of an NBA team when she took over after head coach Gregg Popovich was ejected.

Popovich received two technical fouls with 3:56 left in the second quarter of the Spurs’ eventual 121-107 defeat to the visiting Los Angeles Lakers.

“I did not walk into the arena thinking I would be coaching tonight, but that’s the way things go and you roll with it, and I would have liked a different outcome,” Hammon said.

“Overall, I would have loved to get a win tonight more than anything.”

Hammon did not know she would be put in charge if Popovich were to be ejected from a game.

“He officially pointed at me,” Hammon said. “That was it. He said, ‘You got ’em.’ That was it. Very Pop-like.”

Becky Hammon says she was happy to make history, but would have liked a different outcome.(Reuters: Scott Wachter/USA Today Sports)

San Antonio trailed by 11 points at the time Popovich was tossed.

“We all group together, [assistant coaches] Will Hardy, Mitch Johnson, ‘What can we do to help?’,” Hammon said.

“It was all about what can we do to help win. … It was a great team effort, and they are in my ear giving me suggestions and helping with substitutions and whatnot. When Pop gets tossed, we all come together and become kind of another team.”

Hammon, 43, has been an assistant coach for the Spurs since August 2014, the first woman to be paid for that job in an official, full-time capacity.

She had a 16-year playing career in the WNBA, 1999-2006 with the New York Liberty and 2007-14 with the San Antonio Stars, the latter team owned by the Spurs.

“Obviously, it’s a big deal, a substantial moment,” Hammon said of leading the Spurs.

“I’ve been a part of this organisation. I got traded here in 2007, so I’ve been in San Antonio and part of the Spurs … organisation with the Stars and everything for 13 years. So, I have a lot of time invested, and they have a lot of time invested in me in building me and getting me better.”

Reuters



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LeBron James, Bronny, Larsa Pippen report, Savannah Instagram response, Lakers, basketball


LeBron James and his wife, Savannah, were pushed over the edge over a report involving their son Bronny.

Black Sports Online claimed that the high school hoops star slid into the DMs of Larsa Pippen, the reality TV personality and estranged wife of Bulls great Scottie Pippen. The story, which appears to have have since been taken down, was harshly criticised by Savannah.

“With everything going on in the the world right now, THIS is the s — t y’all talking about …” Savannah wrote on Instagram. “At the end of the day y’all are talking about a minor. I don’t care what type of ‘celebrity’ y’all think he is, he’s a child and the bulls — t needs to stop. Y’all got the right one.”

LeBron added his own Instagram message after seeing his wife’s frustration: “Uh-oh y’all f — led with the wrong one now. Good luck. It won’t be cute!”

The story seemed to stem from Bronny liking a photo of Larsa’s on Instagram.

Larsa, 46, has been prominently featured in the news of late thanks to her relationship with Timberwolves guard Malik Beasley. The one-time Kardashian pal has been publicly feuding with Beasley’s wife, Montana Yao, who recently filed for divorce.

“I’ll sue the f*** out of you for writing some disgusting lies you weirdo,” Pippen wrote at BSO on Twitter. “Some of these stories are so disgusting the fact that my sons friends can’t like my pics without some ppl writing some weirdo s*** is crazy.”

– New York Post





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Los Angeles Lakers vs Los Angeles Clippers, results, LeBron James, Paul George


The Los Angeles Lakers sure didn’t have long to savour their 17th NBA title.

Little more than two months after the Lakers locked up the 2020 crown with a Finals win over the Miami Heat, they were back to the grind in a 116-109 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on the opening night of the 2020/21 campaign on Wednesday AEDT.

Paul George led the Clippers, less than two weeks after signing a four-year contract extension worth a reported $226 million.

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George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half as the Clippers kept the Lakers at bay.

“I got into a good rhythm making plays for the team,” George said.

“That’s how I catch fire – I let the game come to me. I took the shots when they were available.”

Kawhi Leonard added 26 points for the Clippers, who are out to expunge the memory of their agonising Western Conference semi-finals loss to the Denver Nuggets, who trailed 3-1 in the series but won in seven games.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 22 points. Anthony Davis added 18 and German point guard Dennis Schroder – a new addition – scored 14 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

The night at Staples Center started with the Lakers receiving their diamond and amethyst championship rings.

There were no fans in attendance, but family members – and some frontline healthcare workers who are Lakers fans – delivered heartfelt recorded messages of congratulations to the team prior to the game.

But they were on the back foot early, trailing from start to finish in a game the Clippers led by as many as 22 points in the first quarter.

“The game comes quick, and you’ve got to get focused,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of shifting gears after the ring ceremony.

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The Lakers cut the deficit to 56-54 at halftime, and Schroder’s jump shot knotted it at 75-75 with 5:04 left in the third.

But the Clippers clamped down defensively and pulled away again.

“It’s just weird in all facets,” said James, who turned an ankle in the fourth quarter, about the overriding feeling of the day.

“Celebrating a historic moment with our franchise and having to do it without our family and friends and our fans, it’s just a weird day to say the least.

He added of the result: “It’s game one, it’s the first test for us. We’ve literally been together for nine days as a full group.”

The game was one of two on the opening-day slate, which also featured Kevin Durant’s long-awaited Brooklyn Nets debut. It didn’t disappoint, the two-time NBA Finals MVP teaming seamlessly with Kyrie Irving in a 125-99 blowout over the Golden State Warriors.

– AFP



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Kevin Durant, Paul George, Charles Barkley TNT interviews after Nets v Warriors, Lakers v Clippers


Kevin Durant’s impressive return: 22 points, five rebounds, three assists and one extremely awkward interview.

After the Brooklyn Net’s 125-99 season-opening victory over the Warriors, Durant did a brief interview with TNT’s “Inside the NBA.”

Questions by Charles Barkley and crew were met mostly by short, serious responses.

Afterwards, Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal proceeded to mock Durant with a series of questions and disinterested replies among themselves.

The forward’s interview came one week after Barkley eviscerated Durant’s teammate Kyrie Irving for the point guard’s media boycott. According to USA Today, Barkley later said he believed that was the reason for Durant’s peculiar responses.

It was only the start of the interview weirdness on the network. After the Clippers’ 117-109 victory over the Lakers in the nightcap, Paul George was asked about him and Kawhi Leonard receiving “preferential treatment” by the team last season.

After George’s straightforward response, Barkley and Smith debated the issue as George awkwardly waited.

George scored 26 of his 33 points in the second half as the Clippers kept the Lakers at bay.

“I got into a good rhythm making plays for the team,” George said. “That’s how I catch fire — I let the game come to me. I took the shots when they were available.” Kawhi Leonard added 26 points for the Clippers, who are out to expunge the memory of their agonising Western Conference semi-finals loss to the Denver Nuggets, who trailed 3-1 in the series but won in seven games.

LeBron James led the Lakers with 22 points. Anthony Davis added 18 and German point guard Dennis Schroder — a new addition — scored 14 points with 12 rebounds and eight assists.

– New York Post with AFP



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Basketball: Kuzma gets 3-year, US$40M extension with Lakers


LOS ANGELES: Forward Kyle Kuzma has agreed to a three-year, US$40 million extension to remain with the NBA champion Los Angeles Lakers, a person familiar with the deal said Sunday (Dec 20).

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the Lakers didn’t disclose the terms of the deal in their announcement of an extension. ESPN first reported the terms of Kuzma’s rookie contract extension, which begins in 2021 and includes a player option for the 2023-24 season.

Kuzma has been a key component of the Lakers’ core for three seasons since the team acquired him in a draft-day trade in 2017.

“It is especially gratifying for our Lakers franchise to draft, develop and now sign one of our own to a contract extension,” Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka said. “Kyle has shown tremendous growth over the last three years, and played a crucial role on last season’s championship team.”

Kuzma made the All-NBA rookie first team in 2018, and the smooth scorer averaged a career-best 18.7 points in his second pro season after the arrival of LeBron James.

When Anthony Davis and several veteran additions transformed the Lakers into title contenders last season, Kuzma transitioned into a supporting role as a reserve scorer and a wing defender. His scoring average and shooting percentage declined, but he worked on improving his defense and playmaking.

Despite his decline in numbers, Kuzma is a valuable component for the defending champs because of his versatility and capability of providing quick offense. James and Davis have mentored Kuzma on defense as well, and Kuzma is expected to compete for a starting job and more minutes this season.

The Lakers begin defense of their 16th NBA championship on Tuesday night against the Los Angeles Clippers.

The champs will be pressed hard against the salary cap for the foreseeable future, so their ability to re-sign their own players is crucial. Kuzma also has significant value as a potential trade component at this salary if the Lakers and Kuzma decide to break up in the future.

The Lakers locked down a significant portion of their core during the short offseason after their triumph in the Florida bubble. Davis and James agreed to lucrative deals that will keep them together for three more seasons, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope got a three-year deal worth more than US$39 million.



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The Los Angeles Lakers’ One Major Weakness May Prevent Them From Another Title


The Los Angeles Lakers are the defending NBA champions and if you listen to most media pundits or the betting odds, they’re the favorites to win it all again.

Despite the fact the Lakers already arguably had the most loaded roster in all of the NBA, they had one active offseason — one that was better than the rest of the league.

Not only did the Lakers make major moves in re-signing Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, they made waves in the NBA with their acquisitions of reigning Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell, runner-up for Sixth Man of the Year in Dennis Schroder and former Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol.

They also made an underrated move in adding veteran Wesley Matthews, who has a wealth of experience in the postseason. In Matthews’ case, he’s a veteran swingman who started 67 for the Milwaukee Bucks last season and has 46 games of starting experience in the postseason.

So considering the Lakers ran through the Western Conference playoffs last season — they lost just three games in the West before dropping two to the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals — why would anyone believe any team can knock off the 2020-21 Lakers? Especially considering they easily had the best and most active offseason of any team in the league?

While the Lakers should be the favorites to win the title entering the new season, watch out for one major weakness — their rebounding.

Remember that the Lakers did allow their top two rebounding big men from last season — JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard — to walk in the offseason. McGee was traded while Howard signed with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Although their departures weren’t met with much attention, they should be, because the Lakers don’t have any worthwhile replacements. And considering their inability to make a major signing or acquisition considering their limitations with the salary cap — they can only sign players to veteran’s minimum, one-year contracts at this point — Los Angeles won’t be making a move anytime soon to address the need.

As effective as Gasol can be as a floor spacer, dish man and pick-and-pop guy, he is a 35-year-old big man who has always been slow and is notorious for his inability to contribute on the glass.

Gasol’s 8.5 rebounds per 36 minutes would have ranked 57th in the NBA last season, below 6-foot-7 and 6-foot-8 swingmen such as Rudy Gay and Josh Hart.

By comparison, Howard ranked 11th in the NBA in rebounds per 36 minutes at 14.0 and McGee ranked 16th with 12.4 boards per 36 minutes.

If you’re wondering about Harrell, he’s not much better at 9.2 rebounds per 36 minutes. That ranked 48th in the NBA. And considering he’s only 6-foot-8, that means the Lakers don’t feature a single dominant rebounder at the big man positions.

If you were wondering, Anthony Davis ranked 44th in the league with 9.7 rebounds per 36 minutes. And considering he was the Lakers’ leading scorer last season, he can’t exactly solely focus on rebounding to mitigate the team’s upcoming rebounding weaknesses.

That means less putbacks, which means less second-chance points. The Lakers ranked second in the NBA last season in putback points, largely due to Howard and McGee. Los Angeles also ranked fifth in offensive rebounds — which you can forget about this season.

Howard ranked sixth and McGee 18th in offensive rebounds per 36 minutes. Meanwhile, while Harrell did rank a respectable 26th in the category — he hustles like crazy — Gasol ranked 138th below, right below Jordan Clarkson.

This weakness might not matter in the grand scheme of things. The Lakers do feature the most dominant star duo in the league in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Although the Los Angeles Clippers with Kawhi Leonard-Paul George and the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant-Kyrie Irving will have something to say about that.

Furthermore, if the lack of rebounding and the team’s lack of size do hinder the team early on, they could always pull off a trade before the deadline in late March.

Just remember, if the Lakers do come up short in their bid to repeat, it’ll come down to a lack of rebounding impacting second-chance possessions on both sides of the ball.

While Howard’s and McGee’s departures barely made a tick on Lakers fans’ radars, they will be noticed a lot more if the team’s one major weakness is exposed this season.



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Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and Anthony Davis set to sign contract extensions


LeBron James and Anthony Davis are on the verge of signing new deals with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Davis, 27, will agree a new five-year deal worth a reported $190m (£141m).external-link

His agent told ESPN the contract will include the option to terminate it prior to the fifth year.

James will become a free agent in the same year in which his 16-year-old son Bronny is slated to enter the NBA when he graduates from high school.

His career earnings will approach $435m (£324m) by the end of his Lakers deal.

James and Davis helped the Lakers to their first NBA title in a decade in October.

James was named the finals’ most valuable player and became the first player to win the title with three different teams, having twice won it with Miami Heat and once with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers in their opening game of the new NBA season on 22 December.

James says the Lakers “absolutely can” retain their title, telling the ‘Road Trippin” podcast: “We can. I mean, it’s that simple.”



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