Bloglikes - Basketball https://www.bloglikes.com/c/basketball en-US Mon, 19 Apr 2021 05:15:12 +0000 Sat, 06 Apr 2013 00:00:00 +0000 FeedWriter Clippers shoot down Timberwolves https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/18/clippers-shoot-down-timberwolves/
  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right, shoots as Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, grabs a rebound away from Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, right, hits Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George in the mouth as George tries to shoot during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Juancho Hernangomez, left, and Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann go after a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, grabs a rebound away from Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, passes the bar while under pressure from Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Patrick Patterson watches his shot go in for three points during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie, right, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    LOS ANGELES — Coming off their first loss in eight games and playing for the seventh time in 11 days, Sunday delivered just what the doctor ordered: Fans! And a heavy dose of 3-pointers.

    For the first time this season, the Clippers were permitted to play at Staples Center before people who’d paid the price of admission to be there — 1,734 of them, officially.

    And for the third time this season (and just the seventh in team history), the Clippers buried 20 or more 3-pointers, connecting on a season-high 21 Sunday.

    The hot-shot hosts gave their guests reason to applaud — which they did, standing in ovation as the final seconds ticked away after watching the Clippers light it up from long range in a dominant 124-105 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves.

    The NBA’s leading 3-point shooting team, the Clippers (40-19) entered play shooting 42.0% from behind the arc. On Sunday, they bumped that up further, shooting 50% from 3-point range and running away for their 14th victory in 17 games.

    Paul George’s streak of 30-plus-point outings came to an end, largely because the Clippers spread the wealth so effectively, so efficiently that they led by as many as 38 points before the close of the third quarter. The deficit was so substantial it turned the team’s stars into spectators along with everyone else in the fourth quarter.

    George finished with a team-high 23 points — going 4 for 9 from 3-point range. He was among eight Clippers who knocked down a 3-pointer, six of them finishing with multiple treys.

    Marcus Morris (19 points) went 5 for 7 on 3-pointers with varying degrees of difficulty. Reggie Jackson — who finished with 13 points and received a relatively robust “Reg-gie! Reg-gie!” chant when he stepped to the free-throw line in the first half — went 3 for 5 from deep.

    Luke Kennard (13 points) hit three 3s, and in his first game back after missing the past four with a sore right foot, Kawhi Leonard (15 points, 11 rebounds, eight assists) connected on two 3s, as did Terance Mann (eight points). Related Articles

    All that shooting prowess equated to a season-high-tying 14 3-pointers in the first half, including 10 in the second quarter — a high-water mark for any quarter all season — when the Clippers outscored Minnesota 43-27 to build a 19-point lead, setting themselves on a path to their 40th victory for the 10th consecutive season — the longest active streak in the league.

    Rookie Anthony Edwards led Minnesota (15-43) wtih 23 points. Karl-Anthony Towns finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists.

    More to come on this story.

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    Mon, 19 Apr 2021 00:39:19 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA News Sports
    Clippers welcome home fans for the first time this season https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/18/clippers-welcome-home-fans-for-the-first-time-this-season/
  • Minnesota Timberwolves guard D’Angelo Russell, right, hits Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George in the mouth as George tries to shoot during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann, right, shoots as Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Sound The gallery will resume in seconds
  • Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, grabs a rebound away from Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Juancho Hernangomez, left, and Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann go after a rebound during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Anthony Edwards, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac, left, grabs a rebound away from Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, passes the bar while under pressure from Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Clippers forward Patrick Patterson watches his shot go in for three points during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Minnesota Timberwolves Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves forward Josh Okogie, right, blocks the shot of Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns, left, shoots as Los Angeles Clippers guard Paul George defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 18, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    LOS ANGELES — As much as anyone, Friday was a win for DJ Dense.

    After 30 home games of pumping music into the cavernous — and fanless, mostly empty – confines of Staples Center, the deejay spent pregame personally welcoming Clippers fans as they found their seats before the Clippers tipped off Sunday against Minnesota.

    For the first time this season, spectators were invited to a Clippers’ home game, and about 2,000 of them were expected.

    “Thank you for coming!” the deejay said over and over, addressing people via the public address system. “We missed you. Welcome back. Thank you so much.”

    William Albarran and Andy Ngamsanith — fans from Anaheim wearing matching masks adorned with Clippers’ logos — said they were thrilled to be in the building after more than a year of being “deprived” of live Clippers basketball.

    “We thought it was gonna be a lot of months from now, we thought it was going to be toward the ends of the year, so I think we’re just excited as fans,” said Ngamsanith, noting that he and Albarran were earlier than ever for Sunday’s game.  “Usually we come here right at the buzzer … but today, we thought wed get here early check everything out , be the first ones here.”

    “And I feel safe too, because of all the protocols and stuff like that,” said Albarran, who held a laminated copy of his negative coronavirus test, a necessity to enter the arena unless an attendee was able to provide proof of vaccination.

    Among the other coronavirus safety protocols: Designated drinking and eating areas outside of the bowl, hand sanitizing stations, a requirement that everyone wear masks.

    Coach Tyronn Lue said his team’s players were, like the deejay, eager to be joined by fans at home for the first time since the Clippers hosted the Lakers on March 8, 2020. Related Articles

    “They are excited, it’s great to have some of our fans back in the building,” Lue said. “That helps you think that things are slowly getting back to normal, for one, but to have our fans in the stands and cheer us on, cause we are going to need it. Coming off seven games in 10 days, a road trip, to have some juice and energy in the building from our fans will be great … giving us that energy that we need. That extra boost.

    “Just for the world, just for the NBA, to see fans back in the stands, we’re getting close to getting things to be pretty normal. We’re excited about that and we’re excited that fans are coming out.”

    For that matter, fans also were thrilled to see one another, applauding one another’s arrival in the arena.

    TAKE THE NIGHT OFF, NIC

    The fans in attendance got to see Kawhi Leonard — who had missed the past four games and was questionable on the Clippers’ injury report Saturday with a sore right foot that — play Sunday.

    They would have to wait, though, to see first-year Clipper Nicolas Batum in action before a live-and-in-person audience. Lue gave the 13th-year veteran the night off to rest.

    “He deserves it,” Lue said. “Coming here, he didn’t think he was gonna play that many minutes as he’s played, but he’s been phenomenal, and tonight, we’re giving him a rest day.”

    Batum, 32, has played a team-high 1,563 minutes, more than even Leonard’s season total of 1,559.

    The French forward — who is averaging 8.5 points and 4.9 assist and shooting 41.5% from 3-point range — concurred recently with Lue’s assessment, saying he had no inkling he’d play such a heavy role in the Clippers’ plans this season, especially not after having played not at all for 18 months beforehand.

    “I didn’t expect when I signed here to play 30 minutes a game, to be honest,” said Batum, who said he worked hard during the All-Star break to recalibrate for the stretch run. “I took no day off during the All-Star Break, just to get my rhythm back because I know this team is gonna need me.”

    First Chuck the Condor sighting this season. pic.twitter.com/Fys4tW8PUS

    — Mirjam Swanson (@MirjamSwanson) April 19, 2021

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    Mon, 19 Apr 2021 00:08:21 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA Sports
    Former USC, Loyola lineman Chris Brown dead at 24 https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/18/former-usc-loyola-lineman-chris-brown-dead-at-24/ Former USC and Loyola High offensive lineman Chris Brown has died at age 24, USC head coach Clay Helton announced on Twitter on Sunday.

    Brown’s cause of death was not immediately known.

    “Heartbroken to hear the news that we lost Chris Brown today. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Brown family,” Helton tweeted. “Chris meant so much to so many. Great person, player, teammate, and Trojan. God bless my friend. You are forever in our hearts.”

    Brown played at USC from 2014-2018, starting his final two seasons as a Trojan. As a junior, he was named to the All-Pac-12 honorable mention.

    Following his college career, Brown went undrafted in 2018. He signed as a free agent with the Los Angeles Chargers before going to on to play in the XFL with the DC Defenders.

    Brown arrived at USC after starting three seasons at Loyola High. As a senior, he was named All-Serra League Lineman of the Year.

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    Sun, 18 Apr 2021 22:54:21 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs College Sports Sports USC USC football
    Markieff Morris has been ‘unsung hero’ as Lakers battle without injured stars https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/18/markieff-morris-has-been-unsung-hero-as-lakers-battle-without-injured-stars/ No less a basketball pundit than ESPN’s Zach Lowe offered a mea culpa on Friday in his weekly column of ten NBA observations. The sentiment could not have been more direct.

    “Boy was I wrong about Markieff Morris”.

    For those paying attention during the Lakers’ 7-8 stretch with neither LeBron James or Anthony Davis, it’s been clear that Morris has been one of the most consistent, most steadying presences on the team on both ends. In the last 15 games, he’s been the team’s fifth-leading scorer (11.8 ppg), the third-best rebounder (6.5 rpg) and a steady spacing big (37.7 % from 3-point range). Coach Frank Vogel recently said Morris is not being talked about enough: “He’s been like the unsung hero of this stretch.”

    To which Morris himself says: Well, of course. What did you expect?

    “I mean, (expletive), look at my production throughout my career,” he said in an interview with Southern California News Group this week. “I would think they would know I could be this consistent. Everybody’s trying to judge you off of how the season starts, but the tide always turns.”

    The gruff-voiced Philadelphia native is characteristically self-confident, which is a necessary trait to survive a decade in the NBA. But even though he was a key role player in the 2020 title run, knocking down 3-pointers as a pick-and-pop big especially in series against Houston and Miami, Morris’ return to the Lakers was one of the least heralded moves of a busy offseason. He signed a minimum deal for one season, and quickly was squeezed in the rotation.

    In one early season stretch, Morris racked up six DNPs in 11 games. At the time, Morris said his conversations with coach Frank Vogel were “tough,” and that he and Wesley Matthews (who was also missing games) were good enough to play for almost any other NBA team. That seems all the more true now, as both he and Matthews have been key components of gritty, defense-focused wins.

    While Morris didn’t expect the Lakers would be as racked with injuries as they are, he anticipated that the deeper he got into the season, the better he would play when the games matter more.

    “I know how this works, and for me personally it was definitely a blessing that helped me get into shape and helped me get my legs under me,” Morris said. “Without having an offseason like I’m normally used to having, I thought I would start slow. … I’m not panicking over the preseason or first quarter of the season. I done got to the top of the mountain; none of this counts.”

    Given minutes, Morris has been consistent: He’s scored in double figures and notched at least four field goals in 10 of his last 13 games. He’s good for about two 3-pointers per game on a team that often is hunting for a consistent outside attack, including timely shots like the one that broke a fourth-quarter cold streak against the Jazz on Saturday. While he’s often played more of a spot-up role alongside James and Davis, coaches trust Morris to shoot when he sees an opening: “The coaches have never told me not to shoot this shot; my role offensively is to just do whatever I want to do basically based on the match-up but look for good shots.”

    When his shot isn’t falling, he can rack up rebounds, like he did with a season-best 12 against the Jazz. And he rarely makes defensive mistakes in Vogel’s scheme.

    “He gotta get paid,” said Dennis Schröder said. “He’s tough.”

    It’s an interesting comment, especially since Morris was under the impression this offseason that he would get a bigger offer than a veteran’s minimum from the Lakers. He called it “unfortunate” that the Lakers, who are just barely under the hard cap this season, could not offer more and acknowledged that other teams were. But when he weighed the pros and cons, he couldn’t justify going anywhere else.

    “I would rather come back home (to L.A.) where they know me,” he said. “We talked about getting more money, and it was supposed to be that way, but even so, the Lakers just fit me best. It’s just a perfect fit for me.”

    Related Articles

    What drew Morris back might be best described as championship fever: that sense of intoxication that comes from winning a title, then finding it difficult to be motivated by anything else. Other Lakers, including Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma, have described how sometimes the regular season pales in comparison to the intensity of playoff basketball; Morris seems wired the same way.

    But the Lakers have needed him to win now, too, and he’s obliged. And for those who haven’t been to the top of the mountain, he’s in their ears, reminding them why tough games or the occasional night on the bench will be worth it in the end. One of the players he’s talked to the most is Matthews, who has become a bench player for the first time in his career.

    Our time will come, Morris told him. He’ll see.

    “It’s my competitive nature to play, and same with guys like Wes — when he wasn’t playing; emotional, just like me,” Morris said. “At those times, you just have to work on your mind and remember there’s a bigger picture at the end of the tunnel, just like it was last year. It might not make sense now. But when we’re holding up the trophy at the end, it will all make sense.”

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    Sun, 18 Apr 2021 17:21:30 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Lakers NBA Sports
    Alexander: While waiting for LeBron and A.D., Lakers have stayed close https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/17/alexander-while-waiting-for-lebron-and-a-d-lakers-have-stayed-close/
  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James looks on from the bench during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Lakers guard Dennis Schröder, right, gets a handshake from LeBron James during the second half of their overtime victory over the Utah Jazz on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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  • Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James watches from the bench during the first half of an NBA basketball game between the Lakers and the Utah Jazz Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Lakers guard Ben McLemore, left, blocks the shot of Utah’s Matt Thomas, with help from teammate Montrezl Harrell on Saturday, April 17, 2021, at Staples Center. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Lakers center Montrezl Harrell, center, shoots as Utah’s Georges Niang, left, and Trent Forrest defend during the first half Saturday, April 17, 2021, at Staples Center.  (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic, right, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers center Andre Drummond defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel, center talks to Los Angeles Lakers forward Markieff Morris, left, and guard Dennis Schroder during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

  • Los Angeles Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, left, reaches in on Utah Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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    Dwyane Wade purchased an ownership stake in the Utah Jazz recently. Saturday at Staples Center, Jazz coach Quin Snyder might have had fleeting thoughts about whether D-Wade could somehow be activated.

    This is what the NBA has wrought. A short turnaround and a compacted schedule have led to a number of games like Saturday’s Lakers-Jazz tilt, where stars and key players are injured or ailing or just not available. And it’s not a matter of load management or maintenance days, either.

    The Jazz, who entered the day with the Western Conference’s best record, lost Donovan Mitchell to an ankle sprain Friday against Indiana. Rudy Gobert, who had played every game so far, sat out with a knee bruise, as did Derrick Favors and Mike Conley (sore knees) and 7-footer Udoka Azubuike (ankle). The Lakers, of course, were still without Anthony Davis and LeBron James, and in his Saturday morning media briefing Frank Vogel was asked “who’s in?”

    “(Andre) Drummond (toe) is back in, and he’ll start,” the Lakers coach Vogel said. “Markieff Morris (ankle) is a game-time decision. Dennis Schröder (foot) is a game-time decision … Marc Gasol is available but it’s a deal with some hamstring tightness and the broken finger, but he’s available. Everybody else is in, aside from AD and LeBron, of course.”

    All of the game-time decisions but Gasol played. Drummond had 27 points, eight rebounds and two steals, and Schöder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 25 points apiece in the Lakers’ 127-115 overtime victory in an ESPN game that was a contradiction to the NBA’s star-driven philosophy. The stars were in street clothes, and the others put on an entertaining show.

    The dog days of the season usually come in February and March, but they’re extended this time because the season doesn’t end until mid-May. The Lakers have 15 games until the playoffs arrive, and the grind of 72 games in 146 days – compared to the more normal 82 in 174 days the Lakers played in the last normal season of 2018-19 – have created a minefield that will have coaches carefully managing their rosters until the real season finally begins.

    But maybe that will turn out to be the overriding subplot of this Lakers season. The dog days in this case have served a purpose.

    Saturday’s victory improved the Lakers’ record to 35-22. They are 14-15 since Davis suffered his calf injury (he’ll be back soon but maybe not as early as Monday’s rematch against the Jazz, Vogel said after the game), and 7-8 since James hurt his ankle. In other words, they’ve done a good job of treading water while integrating new players Drummond and guard Ben McLemore and waiting for their stars to return, knowing that at some point the roster will be whole again and in a position to do damage.

    “We’ll be healthy at the right time,” Morris said. “It’s perfect for us, man. With this crazy season, with all these games, back-to-back nights, without our best two players we’ve held it down for the most part. Now we’re getting them back, fully healthy, ready to make a spurt.

    “We’re a championship team. We got championship DNA, we won a championship last year, and we got a lot of guys that (were) on that team last year and won a championship. That DNA, we use it every game.”

    Caldwell-Pope mentioned patience, staying together and not panicking, traits that came in handy Saturday when the Lakers blew a 14-point fourth-quarter lead by going nearly 6-1/2 minutes without scoring. That patience, and the confidence gained by holding things down without their stars, has to be an asset going down the stretch, doesn’t it?

    “I feel like it helped us figure out who we are without our superstars,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Team-first basketball, and just playing for each other. I feel like that’s helping us build our chemistry without our two superstars.” Related Articles

    As noted earlier, it’s a league built on, and around, superstars. The combination of a short turnaround – 55 days for the champs, between the end of the Finals Oct. 11 and the start of training camp Dec. 6 – a compressed schedule and COVID protocols have affected everybody, but if there was any sort of a representative schedule to be played there wasn’t a lot that could be done to avoid it.

    “We did not want to play another season into September or October,” Vogel said. “The NBA is trying to do the best they can to manage business through a pandemic.

    “I think the league has done everything they can, honestly. They’ve looked at this thing from every angle, and everybody’s trying to make the best of it.”

    The best part of the NBA year is now in sight, albeit distant. It is worth considering that, even with injuries and probably a less favorable seeding than had been anticipated, the Lakers along with Brooklyn are favored to make it to the NBA Finals in the futures betting of just about any, um, sports investment service posting odds. It would be far from the first time somebody sneaked from back in the pack to win an NBA title.

    It’s yet another reminder. Talent matters in pursuit of a championship, but sometimes health matters more.

    jalexander@scng.com

    @Jim_Alexander on Twitter   

     

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    Sat, 17 Apr 2021 23:30:27 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Lakers NBA Sports Jim Alexander
    Lakers outlast Jazz in OT on Dennis Schröder’s late-game heroics https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/17/lakers-outlast-jazz-in-ot-on-dennis-schroders-late-game-heroics/ There’s no time to be picky about wins. Certainly not at a time that the Lakers – whose starting lineup is a fill-in-the-blank adventure from night-to-night – are facing right now.

    The Utah Jazz presented the Lakers with a golden opportunity for a Saturday matinee victory, but it took a nail-biting regulation finish and overtime to pull it out, 127-115.

    While Andre Drummond led the team with 27 points, it was Dennis Schröder who starred at the finish – scoring 25 points, including the game-tying bucket, and adding 8 assists.

    A tie dye-clad LeBron James was on the sideline cheering them along, mimicking finger pistols to celebrate a 3-point play by Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and dapping up a grinning Schröder, who wasn’t a lock to play until a half-hour prior to the tip.

    The Lakers led by as much as 14 points early in the fourth quarter, but instead of finishing with killer instinct, they started gambling the game away. Turnovers piled up, five in less than five minutes, and in a flash, the hot-shooting Jazz closed the gap to a point. The Lakers went 6:27 during the fourth quarter without a point.

    Schröder presented some late instant offense to keep the Lakers from going under in regulation: In the final two minutes, he drove in for a lay-up and launched a short jumper to give the Lakers a bit of breathing room. When Jordan Clarkson (27 points) hit a go-ahead 3-pointer for the Jazz, Schröder darted inside for the tying lay-up with 3.5 seconds left to send the game to overtime.

    The Lakers dominated overtime, outscoring the Jazz 17-5 in a runaway result – sending the streamers down from the roof of Staples Center as fans reveled in a home victory for the first time this season.

    Related Articles

    The Jazz’s own culture was alive and well on offense early: One of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league still thrived from the perimeter without Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert or Derrick Favors.

    Ersan Ilyasova capably stepped in as Utah’s go-to scorer, nailing six of his first seven 3-point attempts.

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    Sat, 17 Apr 2021 19:51:23 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Lakers NBA Sports Los-angeles-lakers
    Clippers’ Paul George flourishing despite foot injury https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/17/clippers-paul-george-flourishing-despite-foot-injury/ The Clippers are coming home from their three-game road swing for a bona fide meet-and-greet, a long-awaited home game at Staples Center in front of people who’ve bought to tickets to be there – and possibly to bear witness to some personal scoring history by Paul George.

    The Clippers’ star has been on a tear, with a career-high-tying five-game scoring streak of 30-plus points. He’s steered through defenses that have been better able to key on him without Kawhi Leonard in the lineup, and performed despite a nagging toe injury and, in the last game, the lingering effects of illness.

    George is averaging 34.8 points in this recent five-game stretch, shooting 53.4% from the field and 52.4% from 3-point range. He’s also averaging 5.8 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.4 steals in that span.

    The last time he had this kind of run was in Oklahoma City in 2018-19, the season he finished third in MVP voting.

    Between Jan. 27 and Feb. 5 of that season, George averaged 38.4 points per game, shooting 49.6% from the floor and 48.4% from deep.

    That season, too, George dealt with injury. The Palmdale native played through shoulder pain that hampered his scorching production; his field goal percentage dropped from 45.3% to 40.0% after the All-Star break and his falloff from 3-point range was even more pronounced – 40.6% to 33.6%.

    He had surgery on both shoulders in the offseason before the trade that brought him to the Clippers, delaying his debut in L.A.

    Healthy to start his second season, he earned his seventh All-Star bid and has helped solidify the Clippers’ position in the Western Conference hunt – they occupy the third seed at 39-19 entering Sunday’s game against Minnesota, and they’re 31-12 with George in the lineup.

    For the season, he’s averaging a career-best 5.5 assists per game and shooting a career-high 47.9% from the field and 43.7% from long range.

    But he and the Clippers will have to tread cautiously as George deals with the bone edema, which causes painful swelling in a toe in his right foot.

    “I’m just paying attention to my body,” George said after scoring 36 points on 13-of-25 shooting in a victory Tuesday in Indiana, the front half of a back-to-back, which preceded a game off the next night in Detroit for rest and recovery.

    “We’ve been doing an incredible job of managing the toe, getting everything that I need for it, and just taking care of it. We’ve been ahead of it, sitting out these back-to-backs … Honestly, it’s just been taking the time that I can get off, I’ve been taking that time off to let it heal and letting it rest. It hasn’t been flaring up, so that’s been working.

    “Day offs, getting work in that I need to. But not putting too much stress through it. So just being smart. And it’s been paying off.”

    He’s likely to sit out one game of the Clippers’ two remaining back-to-back sets, including this week’s, which starts in Portland on Tuesday and ends the next night in L.A. against Memphis.

    Beyond stealing some rest when possible, George said he’s also been receiving regular treatment – “contrasting, cold, hot tub, and then just getting massages, that’s been helping.”

    But mostly, what helps is keeping off of it as much as he can, he said.

    “And hopefully, hopefully at some point it just goes away and it’s an afterthought, nothing I’m worried about going forward,” George said. “But it is what it is; injuries is a part of the game, it’s just about managing it.”

    To hear George explain it, that matter-of-fact, mind-over-matter way of looking at it has uncorked his recent outburst.

    “The injury allowed me to kind of make an excuse for myself, but then when I put it in perspective, if I’ma play, then why not just give it my all and put that to the side?” he said. “So that was the mindset I came in with, just to play through it: If I’m gon’ play, then, you know, don’t let it limit me. And, again, it’s just been paying off. I feel like I’ve had a breakthrough because of that mindset and I’ve been good.”

    FANS IN THE STANDS

    After the Lakers welcomed back fans Thursday, the Clippers get to welcome back some 2,000 members of Clipper Nation on Sunday, spectators who all are either fully vaccinated according to CDC guidelines or can provide proof of a negative coronavirus test within the previous 72 hours among the precautions put in place.

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    “Oh, I can’t wait,” Patrick Patterson said after Friday’s loss in Philadelphia, his eyes lighting up above his mask. “I can’t wait. I’ve missed it. I’ve missed having fans at Staples, on the road. I just miss fans being in the seats, chanting, I miss the banter back and forth on the road. I miss the fans at home, cheering, yelling, encouraging us game in, game out, so I’m very excited.

    “Whether we have 2,000, 7,000, 100, it doesn’t matter. As long as we have some bodies in those seats and have some people cheering us on, that’s all that matters to me.”

    TIMBERWOLVES (15-42) at CLIPPERS (39-19)

    When: 7 p.m. Sunday

    Where: Staples Center

    TV: Bally Sports SoCal, NBA TV

    See you tomorrow, #ClipperNation! pic.twitter.com/2HD8PZFy5v

    — LA Clippers (@LAClippers) April 17, 2021

    ]]>
    Sat, 17 Apr 2021 15:17:16 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA Sports Los-angeles-clippers
    Whicker: Depleted Clippers run into healthy Joel Embiid https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/16/whicker-depleted-clippers-run-into-healthy-joel-embiid/ Ninety percent of winning is just showing up.

    NBA viewers are becoming accustomed to seeing only three Beatles or watching the Jackson Four.

    When the rare luxury game comes up on the regular-season menu, the news is who isn’t playing, not who is.

    On Friday night the Clippers were missing Kawhi Leonard to go with the already injured Patrick Beverley and Serge Ibaka, and the 76ers were doing without Tobias Harris.

    This did not showcase the best aspects of the best team in the East, or the team with the fourth-best record and perhaps 26th-loudest buzz in the league, the one that came into Philadelphia with a seven-game winning streak.

    But because Joel Embiid, of all people, was one of the stars who wasn’t muted, the 76ers managed to reintroduce the Clippers to losing, 106-103.

    “I’m biased,” said Doc Rivers, the Philadelphia coach, “but he’s the MVP for me.”

    In lieu of healthy contenders, there is probably more talk about the MVP candidates than there is about who might get to the Finals, which isn’t healthy in any sense. Embiid, whose feet have only reluctantly accepted the reality of his chosen profession, has missed 18 games. When he does play he gives Philadelphia things like 37 points, 14 rebounds and 18 trips to the foul line.

    And he makes opponents do strategic contortions. The Clippers have only one real center now, but Ivica Zubac only played 7:23 in the second half. Power forwards, some of them not very powerful, tried to combat Embiid by fronting him, doubling him, and fouling him. In the end, Coach Ty Lue thought they did as well as they could and said they actually got an advantage offensively because Embiid had to guard people on the floor. He might have been right.

    The Clippers lost this one on the other end. Down 20-3, they stabilized things by halftime and then made a strong bid to win, with Patrick Patterson erupting for 18 points and a career-high five 3-pointers.

    When Patterson blocked Embiid’s shot, the Clippers had a 94-93 lead and the ball with less than five minutes left. Then the loose ends unraveled. Patterson was the first to let a pass get away.

    George got picked twice while dribbling through traffic. Marcus Morris wound up with an offensive rebound and lost possession.

    The seven fourth-quarter turnovers were the difference, along with Danny Green’s free throws at the end. Other problems were a napping defense that allowed Furkan Korkmaz a transition bucket, and a back tap that allowed Shake Milton to sink a 3-pointer.

    These are the plays that must be buttoned-up in any playoff round they intend to win.

    The flip side is the argumentative way the Clippers have played lately. They stole a game in Detroit with Leonard and George out, and they almost made it out of Philly with another heist.

    “I think we checked a lot of boxes on this trip,” George said.

    George didn’t feel like checking anything the past two days, except temperature. He said he was felled by a bad throat and chills. Then George changed out of his bathrobe and into a cape.

    He was 6 for 9 in the third quarter, 14 for 29 for the game, scoring 37 points with nine rebounds.

    “I was just more tired than anything,” George said. “There are a lot of back-to-backs and quick turnarounds. We’ve seen a lot of guys go down.”

    “There’s no question it’s difficult,” Rivers said. “The tough part is getting up at 7, 8 in the morning to get tested (for COVID-19). People might laugh at that, but this is after getting into a city at 3 a.m.”

    With Zubac sitting, the Clippers turned to their 3-point plan, which clicked at a 45.1 percent clip during the winning streak. Seven Clippers hit at least one 3-pointer, and the club took 39 of its 82 shots from deep.

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    “I’ll take ownership of the turnovers,” said George, who had seven overall. “Give them credit for the pressure and the rotations. But I can’t give them full acknowledgment on that. They were just allowed to reach, to play hands-on. It wasn’t clean out there.”

    After last year’s playoff flameout George caused several eyebrows to jump when he said this Clipper adventure was a two-year project, that no one assumed a championship in 2020. Many fans actually did.

    Now the Clippers are back in the weeds again. The truth is that a little tighter play and a little tighter roster could get them into those elusive Western Conference finals and maybe further.

    George also said the Clippers have some “big-time players coming back soon.” Theoretically, he’s right. But this is 2021, the year of the Game-Time Decision.

    ]]>
    Fri, 16 Apr 2021 23:55:29 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA Sports Mark Whicker
    Clippers’ 7-game win streak ends against 76ers https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/16/clippers-7-game-win-streak-ends-against-76ers/
  • The 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, goes up for a shot as the Clippers’ Ivica Zubac, left, defends during the first half of Friday’s game in Philadelphia. Embiid had 36 points and 14 rebounds in the 76ers’ 106-103 win. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, center, and Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, left, and Rajon Rondo chase a loose ball during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Sound The gallery will resume in seconds
  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, second from left, leaps for a rebound as Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson, from left, Paul George and Joel Embiid look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (25) goes up for a shot as Los Angeles Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and Ivica Zubac (40) look on during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George (13) goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green (14) and Mike Scott (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (21) tries to get a shot past Los Angeles Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr. (8) and Rajon Rondo (4) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, right, goes up for a dunk against Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ DeMarcus Cousins (15) tries to grab a rebound against Philadelphia 76ers’ Matisse Thybulle (22) and Mike Scott (1) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George (13) goes up for a shot during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, center, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Marcus Morris Sr., right, goes up for a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Mike Scott during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, center, tries to get past Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, right, and Marcus Morris Sr. during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Rajon Rondo, right, goes up for a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Paul Reed during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green, left, goes up for a shot past Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • The Clippers’ Paul George tries to get a shot off as the 76ers’ Danny Green, left, tries to block it during the first half of Friday’s game in Philadelphia. George had 37 points, nine rebounds and six assists in a 106-103 loss. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, goes up for a dunk past Reggie Jackson during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid reacts after a basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson, left, tries to get past Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson, center, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green, top, and Shake Milton during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Furkan Korkmaz, left, tries to get a shot past Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, center, and Ivica Zubac during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson, center, tries to get a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Shake Milton, left, and Danny Green during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson (54) reacts past Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (25) after making a three-pointer during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, left, goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Anthony Tolliver during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson (54) goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons (25) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Tyrese Maxey, right, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Patterson during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Paul George, center, goes up for a shot between Philadelphia 76ers’ Anthony Tolliver, left, and Matisse Thybulle during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons goes up for a dunk during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Nicolas Batum (33) goes up for a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (21) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac center, and aPaul George during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson, left, goes up for a shot past Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, right, dunks past Los Angeles Clippers’ Reggie Jackson during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac center, tries to pass between Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons, top, and Anthony Tolliver during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, goes up for a shot against Los Angeles Clippers’ Ivica Zubac during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, April 16, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

  • Show Caption of

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    The will and accompanying wellspring of shooting that lifted the Clippers to seven consecutive victories wasn’t quite enough against the Eastern Conference-leading Philadelphia 76ers on Friday.

    Behind 36 points from Joel Embiid, the 76ers beat the Clippers, 106-103, before a limited-capacity sellout of 4,094 fans at Wells Fargo Center.

    Paul George helped keep the Clippers in it with 37 points, two shy of his season-high – despite having been a game-time decision after feeling “under the weather,” per Coach Tyronn Lue’s diagnosis.

    George played better than he probably felt, lodging his fifth consecutive 30-plus point game on 14-of-29 shooting in 39 minutes.

    He went forth again without his co-star, Kawhi Leonard, who missed his fourth consecutive outing with a “sore” right foot.

    Losing Leonard always is a blow, but Friday the Clippers really could have used the services of Serge Ibaka, the 6-foot-10 veteran center who missed his 18th consecutive game with lower back tightness.

    Ibaka would have provided some reinforcement in the post against Embiid, the 7-foot center who furthered his MVP campaign by going 10 for 20 from the field and 16 for 18 from the free-throw line – the latter a telling statistic, considering the Sixers improved to 20-2 when Embiid makes 10 or more foul shots.

    Of course, Ibaka’s presence likely would have curtailed Patrick Patterson’s contributions. The Clippers’ sporadically used veteran forward took his star turn Friday, finishing with a season-high 18 points in 14 minutes off the bench.

    Philadelphia native Marcus Morris Sr. finished with 15 points in the loss, on his 31st birthday Reggie Jackson added 13, and Rajon Rondo gave the Clippers 10 points and eight assists in a game that they required an early rally to make it interesting down the stretch.

    The Clippers no sooner pulled out of the driveway than they found themselves trailing, 20-3.

    L.A. (39-19) missed nine of its first 10 shot attempts, and Philadelphia (39-17 overall, and 22-5 at home) started 7 for 8 from the field.

    Eventually, the scales edged back into balance between the respective conference powers.

    The Sixers made L.A. earn every inch of progress in the first half, when their swarming defense help the Clippers to just 37.2% shooting (16 for 43). Lue’s squad went into halftime having been outrebounded 30-18, having had five of their shots blocked, having turned it over seven times (on five Philadelphia steals), having accumulated just four second-chance points.

    And trailing 59-47.

    But the Clippers – their chisel at the ready and Patterson revved up – continued to chip away at the deficit.

    Patterson scored 10 points in the fourth quarter, draining all three of his 3-point attempts, his fifth and final 3 of the night giving the Clippers their first lead, 91-90.

    The Sixers reestablished control after that, building a 104-98 lead.

    But Rondo found Morris on the inbounds pass out of a timeout – and the Philadelphia native flushed the lob to cut the Sixers’ lead to 104-100 with 47.3 seconds to play.

    After Matisse Thybulle missed a jumper, Reggie Jackson – who on Wednesday in Detroit scored 29 points including the game-tying and game-winning baskets – buried another big shot, this one a 3-pointer that made it 104-103 with 20.5 seconds.

    Twelve seconds ticked away before Nicolas Batum could catch up with a Sixer to foul, swiping at Danny Green, who then sank both of his free throws, giving the Clippers the ball back with 9.8 seconds to pay and a 106-103 deficit.

    Morris clanged his look from behind the arc with 5.8 seconds left and the rebound eventually wound up in Embiid’s hands, and the big man dribbled away from Clippers defenders, the win in his grasp.

    More to come on this story.

    ]]>
    Fri, 16 Apr 2021 22:25:30 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA Sports
    Ahead of Lakers’ 2-game set with Jazz, injuries seize the spotlight https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/16/ahead-of-lakers-2-game-set-with-jazz-injuries-seize-the-spotlight/ In another season, an alternate universe where the world and the NBA are set in their normal rhythms, the weekend would be ushering in something special: a two-game series between the Lakers and the Utah Jazz, each with a legitimate chance to play for the Larry O’Brien trophy this summer.

    Those teams will still meet, on Saturday afternoon and Monday night, but the billing of two Western Conference contenders squaring off is significantly diminished by the players who won’t be suiting up.

    The Jazz took a big hit on Friday afternoon when Donovan Mitchell, their 24-year-old whirling dervish of an All-Star guard, twisted his right ankle in a tangle with Indiana Pacers guard Edmond Sumner. A shock of pain flashed across his face as he tumbled to the court, and teammates had to lift Mitchell to help limp to the locker room tunnel.

    It’s a scene that has played out too many times this season, and more often during the league’s compressed 72-game schedule than perhaps even in most regular 82-game seasons. And with All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis missing both upcoming games between the conference-leading Jazz and the defending champions, the lack of star power is a bigger talking point than the games themselves: Presuming Mitchell misses Saturday’s 1:30 p.m. tip-off at Staples Center, the top three scorers between the two teams will all be sidelined, licking their wounds.

    “We understood coming into this year, even going into the bubble, that this season was gonna be different, the season was going to be compressed,” said Mike Conley, Mitchell’s Jazz teammate. “We’re gonna have to take care of our bodies the best that we can because we know that injuries do come from lack of rest and not having as many days off, and having to travel every night. So it’s part of our job right now. It’s unfortunate.”

    A season-ending injury to Denver Nuggets star Jamal Murray earlier this week has sparked a moment of reflection for the league, which has seen its star power sapped with the postseason just a month away. As of Friday afternoon, the following stars were not slated to play in their team’s next game: Brooklyn’s James Harden, Chicago’s Zach LaVine, Miami’s Victor Oladipo, and of course, James and Davis. Several other All-Star-caliber players have missed extended time this season, some due to COVID-19 protocols, including Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Miami’s Jimmy Butler, Milwaukee’s Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Golden State’s Steph Curry, Portland’s C.J. McCollum, Toronto’s Fred VanVleet and Boston’s Jayson Tatum.

    The cases are certainly anecdotal, and the NBA has pushed back on the narrative that injuries are up in an ESPN report: While many general managers and coaches have voiced concerns about the toll of a compressed schedule especially when it comes to soft tissue injuries, the NBA cited internal data that shows injuries are actually within the five-year average.

    Tell that to a team like the Lakers, who were tasked with playing 35 games in 65 nights after the All-Star break. Their two biggest stars are out with long-term injuries. New addition Andre Drummond has missed half of his tenure with the team so far with a big toe injury. Many of their remaining key scorers are dinged up: Dennis Schröder has dealt with a tailbone bruise and foot infection in the last week; Kyle Kuzma has felt calf stiffness; Marc Gasol has had hamstring trouble and dislocated a finger on Thursday night; Markieff Morris has missed two straight games with a sprained left ankle; Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has played through back spasms in two of the previous three games.

    If everyone on the Lakers’ roster who is currently dealing with any kind of injury took a game to rest on the same night, the team would barely have the requisite eight players to play. So some are gritting through the pain and playing anyway, even as the relentless grind of the season keeps churning out what seems like more and more injuries. The closest the Lakers have come to officially complaining about the schedule might have been when Coach Frank Vogel noted how the Lakers were “stretched really thin” at the end of a seven-game trip (played in 12 days).

    “Obviously every game you see someone out, it’s like, damn,” Kuzma said earlier this month. “You always want your teammates to be there. As individuals, for the guys who are hurt, you want to be available for your teammates so obviously it’s not good, it’s not good. But at the same time, these are the cards that we are dealt and we got to figure it out.”

    Vogel said he hasn’t sent any official feedback to the league on the nature of the packed schedule, which team owners and the players’ association agreed to back in November.

    They considered three schedule options with 72 games, (including one that stretched from January to August), and a fourth comprised of 60 games. The forces that be ultimately opted for the December-to-July option to maximize the amount of revenue the regular season would generate while also helping get the NBA calendar closer to back on track. But even then, some parties related to Southern California News Group at the time, there was a sense of reluctant duty – that players and executives alike knew another season during the pandemic would be a grinding exercise in making money.

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    The league might be recouping its investment with the schedule, but that trade-off has played out as expected: players and coaches have extremely limited social interactions and spend road trips locked in hotel rooms; few fans are able to see the games live, or if they are, with disquieting restrictions. And as more injuries pile up, there’s more uncertainty that the best basketball lies ahead in the postseason, when teams hope to be at their best.

    For the Lakers at least, hope is bubbling now that Davis has been cleared for all on-court work. The team is hoping to put him back in the lineup for the first time in more than two months, in time for their four-game road swing that starts Thursday in Dallas.

    “It’s gonna be great just to get extra bodies out there, that’s the most important thing outside of obviously getting him acclimated and back to playing shape,” Kuzma said. “We’ve had a long stretch, a lot of guys been missing parts, players playing through stuff, so we’re excited to get him back.”

    A pressing question remains, unfortunately, of how many other Lakers will be ready and healthy to play alongside him when that finally happens.

    ]]>
    Fri, 16 Apr 2021 20:15:44 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Lakers NBA Sports
    DeMarcus Cousins a pleasant surprise for some Clippers https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/16/demarcus-cousins-a-pleasant-surprise-for-some-clippers/ In a way, DeMarcus Cousins defied expectations in his first 10 days with the Clippers, Coach Tyronn Lue said.

    That scowling dude some of his new teammates had only watched play for so many seasons? The guy who played with an edge that brought about so many technical fouls they added up to a suspension in 2017?

    Lue said his squad is learning quickly: Boogie is fun to have around.

    “A lot of people didn’t know Cousins before he got here, so they didn’t know anywhere he’s been, he’s always been a great teammate,” Lue said before tip-off Friday night in Philadelphia, a few hours after the Clippers announced they’d signed the veteran big man to a second 10-day contract.

    “He’s fun to be around,” Lue continued. “And so guys who (didn’t) know him, they’ve seen him on the floor and he’s always scowling, or mad on the floor. But the guys have just finally had the chance to be around him, and they love him. ‘I didn’t know he was that cool, I didn’t know this and that!’

    “So it’s just good having him around. Fun in the locker room. Fun with the young guys.”

    Entering the game against the 76ers, the 30-year-old center had appeared in three games since joining the Clippers on his first 10-day deal on April 5. He’s averaged 6 points and 3 rebounds in 9.7 minutes per contest, and he’d shot 7 for 15 from the field, with five turnovers and six fouls as he worked to get his bearings with new teammates, in a new system.

    “The toughest thing is late in the game, it’s hard for us to run plays because he really hasn’t caught up yet as far as the plays because we haven’t had a lot of practice time. So that kind of stumped us a little bit,” Lue said after Cousins contributed eight points to the Clippers’ short-handed victory over the Pistons on Wednesday in Detroit.

    “But his playing, just knowing the game and IQ, to be able to shoot it, to post up and bring physicality is great for our team. We just gotta bring him up to speed on the playbook, just so we can kind of call more sets when he’s in the game.”

    After his debut with the team on April 6, Cousins talked about how hard he’d worked after being waived by Houston 25 games into the season, wanting to be as prepared as possible for his next opportunity.

    “I’ve put an incredible amount of work to get to this place,” said Cousins, a four-time All-Star who has had to overcome series Achilles, ACL and quadriceps injuries in his decade in the NBA. “I feel great, my body feels great. I’m in probably the best shape I’ve been in my entire career.

    “At this point, it’s about going out there and just putting everything together and just trying to continue to show that I’m healthy and I’m here to play this game at a high level. I understand the situation that I’m in, whatever opportunity is given to me, I plan on just taking full advantage of it, just controlling what I can control.”

    And he’s impressed Lue, from the sound of it, with how he’s handled those things that are in his control, both by being good company and a hard worker.

    “Every single day, he’s working to try to pick up what we’re trying to do, and trying to get better,” Lue said. “For sure, every day. He’s coming in with the young guys early, putting in the work, going over the plays. He gets conditioning in, he does all the right things that he’s supposed to get his self to where he wants to be.”

    Cousins’ deal will include the Clippers’ next five games – starting with Friday’s – for which he’ll earn $175,668, while the team takes on a $110,998 cap hit, per analysis from hooprumors.com. Going forward, the Clippers will either will have to let him go or sign him for the remainder of the season.

    With his tenure extended at least 10 days, the Clippers’ roster stands at 15 players, with Cousins and Malik Fitts both on 10-day deals.

    They also could re-sign Fitts to a second 10-day contract when his first one expires this weekend, but they reportedly have plans to sign 6-foot, free-agent combo guard Yogi Ferrell to a 10-day contract once he has cleared the necessary coronavirus health and protocols, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

    ]]>
    Fri, 16 Apr 2021 19:33:57 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Clippers NBA Sports
    Lakers welcome fans back to Staples Center, rally late in loss to Celtics https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/15/lakers-welcome-fans-back-to-staples-center-rally-late-in-loss-to-celtics/ LOS ANGELES — “DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE!”

    The crew at Staples Center had pumped those words through the speakers maybe hundreds of times this season, but the difference between a recorded chant and a real one is immeasurably better.

    The Lakers were expecting to get “a jolt” from the first home fans they’ve heard in their own building in more than 13 months, but those 1,915 souls had to wait patiently to see it, when a bench-driven Lakers lineup went on a 29-10 closing run in a game that was already decided but which they didn’t want to see end.

    Maybe it was the hustle of the group – led by Talen Horton-Tucker (19 points) and Ben McLemore (17 points) – that inspired the crowd to pipe up. Maybe waiting since March 10, 2020 – and wearing the gear celebrating a championship they had only seen through screens – had them pent up.

    But as the Lakers staged their ultimately futile comeback effort, the crowd cheered them, and they lustily booed the Boston Celtics as they subbed their starters back in with 1:50 remaining to protect the dwindling lead. The crowd celebrated each shot the Celtics missed and screamed for each Lakers’ answer as the game got as close as five points after Boston had led by as much as 27.

    It ended as a 121-113 loss for the banged-up Lakers (34-22), perhaps an overall forgettable on-court night against a historic rival. But there is something that fans bring to a game that is louder than volume, and more catching to the eye than a row of gold Kobe Bryant jerseys; it is soul.

    And while the soul of Staples Center in these pandemic times is a long way from being restored, Thursday night’s game between longtime rivals was the first, small step in that process.

    Even though Coach Frank Vogel made his commute to downtown L.A. likely knowing how hard it would be to win without his stars, he said he felt a little more excited on the drive than he’s been most nights this season preparing to play in an empty cavernous arena. If the Lakers had just a little more time, Vogel wondered …

    “If we have another minute or two, maybe we’d get over that hump and that would’ve been a really awesome victory,” he said. “It was just a fun thing to watch.”

    Only 1,915 were permitted to attend, meaning the home crowd was a far cry from full strength. But then again, so was the home team, even more than they have been for weeks without All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

    A few nights removed from getting his already injured foot stepped on against Brooklyn, center Andre Drummond’s right toe swelled up enough so he couldn’t play. Similarly, Markieff Morris’ sprained left ankle kept him out of a second straight game.

    Even the players who did take the court had to tough out injuries: Point guard Dennis Schröder played despite an infection in the ball of his right foot, while Kentavious Caldwell-Pope needed treatment again for back spasms and played through it.

    The most alarming instance of gritting out pain came in the third quarter, when center Marc Gasol wrestled for a loose ball near midcourt and dislocated his left pinkie, which flopped at an unnatural angle from his hand (Vogel called it, “kind of gross”).

    But after getting the stray finger reset, Gasol suddenly unleashed a scoring torrent: The 36-year-old scored 11 points in the following five minutes to reach a season-best mark of 18. With nine good digits, he had the best 3-point shooting night (4 for 6) of anyone on the team.

    “It obviously felt a little bit when you go up (to shoot), the grip of the ball,” Gasol said. “But adrenaline helps. At that point, you just want to continue to help the team.”

    But even though the Lakers were able to keep the margin in single digits through the end of Gasol’s uncharacteristic heater, it quickly got away from them as Jaylen Brown buried them with 40 points on a 17-for-20 shooting night. The Lakers’ top-ranked defense, down so many bodies, was no match for the cuts and shooting touch of the Celtics starters.

    It’s not likely to get better soon: X-rays on Gasol’s pinkie revealed a fracture, and while the Spaniard said he wasn’t too worried about an injury to his non-dominant hand, he was listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against league-leading Utah. Vogel also said Schröder had played through “a lot of pain” in the performance.

    The Staples Center crew still pumped in a little crowd noise to supplement the socially distanced audience, but the most personalized roars were still easy to hear. As the team funneled in and our of the tunnel toward the locker room, they heard people shouting at them: “Repeat!” or “Back to back!”

    “I just think for us to just have fans, hear cheers and hear how loud it got at the end of the game was really exciting for us,” said Kyle Kuzma. “I think that’s the thing we missed the most, and as the days go on, hopefully we get more and more fans and that roar gets louder and louder.”

    In between halves, fans wandered through the concourse, ordering food on their phones and taking their meals out to the brisk night air of Star Plaza. They strolled through halls that haven’t been open for months, in what is typically the busiest venue in Los Angeles hosting three pro teams and large-scale concerts. A near-complete army of security, ushers, vendors and janitors — most of whom have not worked a game since last year — were waiting on hand.

    At halftime, Rashard Clark of South Los Angeles was taking photos by a mural of L.A. stars, including Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. He had come to the game on short notice when his cousin, reserve guard Alfonzo McKinnie, got him tickets.

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    “He told us on Tuesday, ‘Y’all are coming on Thursday,’” Clark said. “And I was like, ‘Oh we’re coming that early? I can move my schedule.’”

    As McKinnie was on the court for the Lakers’ final rally, Clark and his family roared and stomped in their lower bowl seats. A win wasn’t coming, but being at a game has its own rewards.

    “We’ve watching on Time Warner Cable for the last year,” he said. “So instead of watching in the living room, the den, my room, seeing that actually live, that was fun.”

    As the first night of fans finally ended and the audience slowly left their seats, public address announcer Lawrence Tanter addressed them in his rich baritone, uncharacteristically going off script.

    “So good to see fans back at Staples Center,” he said. “Thank you all for your support.”

    .@kylekuzma talks post-game with @LakersReporter about fans returning to STAPLES, Jaylen Brown "making a lot of tough shots", and the unit that closed out the game for the #LakeShow. pic.twitter.com/b6xFVYhiVB

    — Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 16, 2021

    "Those guys came out and competed their tails off…I'm very proud of them." Frank Vogel with @LakersReporter on the group that closed the game for the #LakeShow and nearly completed the comeback. pic.twitter.com/b9GiwLlZth

    — Spectrum SportsNet (@SpectrumSN) April 16, 2021

    ]]>
    Fri, 16 Apr 2021 01:01:14 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Lakers NBA Sports Staples Center Top Stories Breeze Top Stories IVDB Top Stories LADN Top Stories LBPT Top Stories OCR Top Stories PE Top Stories PSN Top Stories RDF Top Stories SGVT Top Stories Sun Top Stories WDN
    Lakers’ Anthony Davis cleared to practice, nearing return https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/15/lakers-anthony-davis-cleared-to-practice-nearing-return/ LOS ANGELES — The first fans who ventured into their seats in the bowl of Staples Center early were richly rewarded with a sight very few have seen of late: Anthony Davis taking shots on the court.

    Almost two months to the day when he started his latest stretch of missed games, the Lakers’ All-Star big man was sweating into his black headband as he dribbled and pulled up off of passes from assistant coach Mike Penberthy. And it won’t be long before he’s back in the lineup, the team announced Thursday night.

    For the first time since aggravating his right calf since Feb. 14, Davis has been fully cleared to practice – the step which will allow him to begin “his real ramp up.” Coach Frank Vogel predicted that Davis, who was averaging 22.5 points and 8.4 rebounds before he got hurt, could return in a week when the Lakers play at Dallas next Thursday.

    “He’s eager to get back out, that’s the biggest thing,” Vogel said. “He’s tired of being a patient and ready to be a player again. So, he’s eager to get to work in real practice the next few days – live work – and even more eager to get back on the floor and obviously that’s going to give our whole group a big lift.”

    Davis has missed 28 consecutive games, more than he’s played all season (23). Even during the stretch when he could play, Davis acknowledged that he was dealing with a calf injury for much of the season, which affected his Achilles tendon – a notoriously treacherous area for injuries. Vogel said he’s “unlikely” to play in either of two upcoming games against the Utah Jazz (Saturday and Monday), but the Lakers have two off-days before a four-game trip that could help incorporate the 6-foot-10 forward.

    Vogel stressed that Davis – who the Lakers once described as missing between four and six weeks – did not suffer a setback, but the longer-than-ideal timeline was due to caution.

    “Obviously it’s been quite some time since he initially got hurt, but there was a mindset to go through this type of process and to really strengthen the muscle and the area around it to this point. This isn’t the result of any type of setback or anything like that, it’s just a longer-term plan to make sure the muscles are fully recovered.”

    That caution will continue when Davis returns to play: The Lakers plan to play him limited minutes whenever he does rejoin the lineup. Vogel estimated Davis might only play 15 minutes in each of his first two games back.

    “Especially with the nature of practice and how short-handed we are, he’s going to have to use some games to try to get himself back in shape. So the first two games he’s back will likely be short-minute performances.”

    As has become the late-season custom, the Lakers had a lot of men missing in action. Center Andre Drummond skipped another game after his injured big right toe experienced swelling. Vogel said it had been stepped on against Brooklyn last weekend, and the center had played through pain in back-to-back games against New York and Charlotte.

    Forward Markieff Morris missed another game with a left ankle sprain, while point guard Dennis Schröder started despite what Vogel described as an infection in the ball of his right foot.

    MICHAEL JORDAN TO PRESENT KOBE BRYANT AT HALL OF FAME

    Back in February 2020, one of the all-time great competitors known for a merciless spirit was reduced to tears when remembering Kobe Bryant, who he called a “little brother” and “close friend.”

    “You have a sense of love for him and the way that he can bring out the best in you,” said Michael Jordan, his face streaked as he spoke at Staples Center. “And he did that for me.”

    Jordan will do at least one more favor for Bryant on May 15, when he inducts the late star into the Basketball Hall of Fame, a ceremony that has been delayed from 2020 and relocated to Uncasville, Connecticut because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Basketball Hall of Fame presenters are asked to do so by family members in the case of Bryant, who is being inducted posthumously.

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    Bryant is part of a nine-member class that also includes fellow first-ballot inductees Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, as well as former Lakers and Houston Rockets coach Rudy Tomjanovich. Jordan will also be the presenter for Kim Mulkey, the longtime women’s basketball coach at Baylor.

    Jordan is famously reclusive as the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, which is why his raw comments at Bryant’s celebration of life came as a revealing moment for the six-time NBA champion. Bryant was famous for imitating Jordan’s moves, and then boasting that he wanted to be better than his idol. There was something about that audacity that Jordan found appealing.

    “His attitude to compete and play against someone he felt like he could enhance and improve his game, that’s what I loved about the kid,” he said. “I absolutely loved the kid. No matter where he saw me, it was a challenge.”

    ]]>
    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 23:09:36 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Utah New York Sports Los Angeles Sport Soccer Brooklyn Michael Jordan Davis Nba Dallas Tim Duncan Jordan Anthony Davis Kobe Bryant Charlotte Hornets Staples Center Houston Rockets Lakers Andre Drummond The Lakers Bryant Kevin Garnett Dennis Schroder Vogel Frank Vogel Basketball Hall Of Fame Mike Penberthy Uncasville Connecticut Kim Mulkey Top Stories LADN Top Stories OCR Top Stories PE Top Stories IVDB Top Stories RDF Top Stories Sun Top Stories Breeze Top Stories LBPT Top Stories WDN Top Stories SGVT Top Stories PSN Related Articles Lakers Charlotte Forward Markieff Morris Lakers Clippers Kings games Lakers Knicks Analysis : Frank Vogel Lakers Rudy Tomjanovich Jordan Baylor Jordan
    The NBA's return-to-work plan http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/typepad/alleyinsider/silicon_alley_insider/~3/rXrGfbusxvI/insiders-top-advertising-and-media-stories-for-april-16-2021-4 Hello and welcome to Insider Advertising for April 16. I'm senior advertising reporter Lauren Johnson, and here's what's going on:

    If this email was forwarded to you, sign up here for your daily insider's guide to advertising and media.

    Tips, comments, suggestions? Drop me a line at LJohnson@insider.com or on Twitter at @LaurenJohnson.


    russsell westbrook  nba Russell Westbrook #4 of the Washington Wizards reacts prior to playing against the Denver Nuggets at Capital One Arena on February 17, 2021

    Will Newton /Getty Images

    Leaked memo reveals NBA's return-to-work plan that calls for remote staff to be back by September Read the story.
    159319_Photo Apr 14, 8 08 51 AMRT.JPG

    ABC News

    ABC News insiders are split about the hiring of new president Kim Godwin, the first Black executive to head a broadcast news network Read the story.
    fitness influencer A big following doesn't mean an influencer is qualified to be sharing advice.

    Getty/Ivan Pantic

    Instagram micro and nano influencers have higher engagement rates than celebs. But on TikTok it's the opposite. Read the story.
    More stories we're reading:

    Thanks for reading and see you on Monday! You can reach me in the meantime at LJohnson@insider.com and subscribe to this daily email here.

    Read the original article on Business Insider

    [Author: ljohnson@businessinsider.com (Lauren Johnson)]

    ]]>
    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 19:07:46 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Media Instagram Cbs News Advertising Disney Denver Nuggets Newsletter Trends Digital Media Nba Abc News Influencer Marketing Russell Westbrook Washington Wizards Claire Newsletters Claire Atkinson Lauren Johnson Capital One Arena Tiktok ABC News ABC News Kimberly Godwin Sydney Bradley Kim Godwin PearPop Kim Godwin TikTok Getty Ivan Pantic Instagram
    NBA players react to sudden retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge https://upstract.com/p/6d9bxmq5?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 18:00:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge McCollum Damian Lillard Rajon Rondo impresses early in his Clippers’ tenure https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/15/rajon-rondo-impresses-early-in-his-clippers-tenure/ Soon after the Clippers traded Lou Williams for Rajon Rondo, Lawrence Frank made the assertion — statistically viable, certainly — that “‘Playoff Rondo’ is a real thing.”

    But with all due respect to team’s president of basketball operations, the veteran point guard would rather it not be a thing.

    In an appearance on ESPN’s “First Take” last October, Rondo suggested the moniker diminishes his full body of work through 14 NBA seasons: “I think if you look on the entirety of my career, I’ve always been able to perform at a high level.”

    And now he’s saying it again with his play since joining the Clippers; he has an eye-popping positive net rating of 32, meaning that when he’s been on the court, the Clippers are 32 points better than their opponents over 100 possessions.

    What’s more, the Clippers are 6-0 in games he’s played, improving to 39-18 — regular season success that suggests Frank and his fellow front office members did the right thing bringing him aboard.

    Rondo is facilitating winning by, well, facilitating.

    He has a 35.4 assist percentage (the estimated percentage of teammate field goals a player assisted on while he was on the floor) as a Clipper, which is higher than any player with the team since Chris Paul’s 44.4 assist percentage in 2016-17.

    It’s hardly coincidence, then, that the Clippers are averaging two more assists per game since Rondo joined the mix, 26.1 compared with 24.1 prior to his April 4 debut.

    That’s taking into account Wednesday’s short-handed win in Detroit, when the Clippers were without five starters and notched a season-low 10 assists — four of which came via Rondo, including a clever cross-court delivery to Nicolas Batum for a 3-pointer.

    “Just continuing to talk to them and having them understand that my job and what I pride myself on is continuing to push the pace and the passes may come whenever, even when you may not expect it,” Rondo said after the Clippers’ April 8 victory over Phoenix.

    “So when they’re on the floor at all times with me just expect a pass. I’m a pass-first point guard and just have your hands ready.”

    That mindset opens up the offense in a new way, according to coach Tyronn Lue.

    “He’s able to deliver the ball on time and on target,” he said. “Just being a quarterback out on the floor, you know his basketball IQ and being able to control the game, it makes it a lot better, a lot easier for us.”

    Rondo even has made a few visits to the free-throw line: After going just 1 for 2 from the stripe in 402 minutes with the Atlanta Hawks to start the season, he’s 6 for 6 in 103 minutes as a Clipper.

    He’s also done well to keep the defense honest, shooting 45.2% from the field and 38.5% from 3-point range since arriving, well above his career average 31.9% from deep.

    “Being able to step back behind 3, if teams go under and make a shot, is huge, it’s huge for our team, it’s huge for him, but he brings so much more than the 3-point shooting,” Lue said. “I just think it’s his court command, the way he commands things on the floor. His passing ability. The pace he plays at. And just his IQ.

    “Having a point guard on the floor means way more to our team than just making 3-point shots.”

    i mean the passes rondo was making last night were legit gorgeous. complete command of the game on both ends. pic.twitter.com/cDqS1PExjq

    — Jamal Cristopher (@Clippers24seven) April 9, 2021

    Je ne sais pas ce que vous pensez des débuts de Rajon Rondo sous notre maillot mais pour ma part, je suis totalement convaincu. Son duo avec Nico, ça respire le QI basket. Quel plaisir ! pic.twitter.com/bbT1kCkXEK

    — ClipperNation France (@ClipperNationFR) April 14, 2021

    Rajon Rondo’s just toying with the Suns now, as the Clippers pull away late in this game. pic.twitter.com/gaplkQjYEf

    — Positive Residual (@presidual) April 9, 2021

     

    PARDON THE DISRUPTION

    The Clippers are calling their French forward “Nico Gobert,” a nod to Utah’s talented 7-foot-1 French center who, like Batum recently, has a penchant for shot-blocking.

    Batum — who’s averaged 0.6 blocks per game in his 13 NBA seasons — has swatted away 11 attempts in eight games in April, and has 15 rejections in his past 13 games.

    But the savvy 32-year-old is running interference in other ways too.

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    This month, Batum has registered 24 deflections, best on the Clippers and tied for 10th-most in the league (equal to proven defensive pest T.J. McConnell, of the Pacers). For the season, on the Clippers, only Kawhi Leonard’s 124 deflections outnumber Batum’s total of 121.

    Batum knows what they say defense wins, of course.

    “On offense, we know who we are, we know what we can do,” Batum said on Bally Sports after Tuesday’s victory in Indiana, where he had a career-high five blocks. “But the first part of this season, the defense wasn’t where it’s supposed to be. We talked about it during the break, and really the first practice after the All-Star break, to step up our defense … We know we what can be, we have to be aggressive as a team for us to do something special this year.

    “I think we’re doing pretty good job the last 15 games.”

    CLIPPERS (39-18) at 76ers (38-17)

    When: Friday, 4 p.m.

    Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia

    TV: Bally Sports SoCal, ESPN

    ]]>
    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 17:06:20 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Utah France Sports Sport Indiana Soccer Nba Espn Detroit Rajon Rondo Atlanta Hawks Frank Phoenix Nico Pistons Suns Chris Paul Clippers Rondo All Star Kawhi Leonard Lou Williams Lue Nicolas Batum Tyronn Lue Batum J McConnell Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia TV Top Stories LADN Bally Sports Daunte Wright Rajon Rondo Lawrence Frank Jamal Cristopher Nico Gobert Related Articles Reggie Jackson Clippers Reggie Jackson Luke Kennard Detroit Paul George Clippers
    LaMarcus Aldridge Walks Away, Because Ball Isn’t Life https://upstract.com/p/whshxga5?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 16:33:34 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge NBA Says Injury Rate This Season Down Slightly From Normal https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2021-04-15/nba-says-injury-rate-this-season-down-slightly-from-normal Thu, 15 Apr 2021 15:12:13 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba Remembering LaMarcus Aldridge with the Trail Blazers https://upstract.com/p/wkvwkrjy?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 14:58:11 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge Blazers’ Damian Lillard, NBA world react to surprise retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge https://upstract.com/p/hke3iqcd?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 13:54:03 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba Damian Lillard LaMarcus Aldridge Nets' LaMarcus Aldridge retires from basketball due to irregular heartbeat: Three things to know https://upstract.com/p/9ivpb76z?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:47:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge Aldridge USC men’s basketball receives 2-year probation from NCAA https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/15/usc-mens-basketball-receives-2-year-probation-from-ncaa/ USC men’s basketball received a two-year probation from the NCAA on Thursday as a result of the investigation into a former assistant coach accepting a bribe from a management company.

    But the Trojans avoided any devastating penalties like a postseason ban. Instead, USC was fined $5,000 plus 1% of the men’s basketball program budget by the NCAA.

    The Division I Committee on Infractions, which classified this case as a Level I violation, also accepted several self-imposed penalties, such as a loss of two scholarships for the 2018-19 season and reductions of official visits and in-person recruiting days during that academic year.

    Former USC associate head coach Tony Bland also received a three-year show-cause from the NCAA. It was to accepting a $4,100 bribe to direct student-athletes to an agent’s management company upon entering the NBA. Bland was arrested in Sept. 2017 following an FBI investigation into the matter.

    “The associate head coach demonstrated a recurring lack of judgment that resulted in unethical conduct and representation violations for both himself and USC,” the Committee on Infractions said in a statement.

    The committee did acknowledge that, “unlike other individuals in similar cases,” Bland cooperated with the investigation and provided information to help it reach these conclusions. The committee also described USC’s cooperation in the matter as “exemplary” while noting that the program’s self-imposed penalties three years ago were in line with NCAA guidelines.

    “The NCAA’s findings, comments and acceptance of our self-imposed penalties are a reflection of our commitment to accountability, integrity and transparency,” USC athletic director Mike Bohn said in a statement. “We are thrilled this matter is now behind us, and our focus remains on being the most student-athlete centered program in the country.”

    Related Articles ]]>
    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 12:23:05 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Sports Sport Fbi Soccer Nba College sports Ncaa Memphis Usc Trojans Committee on Infractions Max Williams Mike Bohn Tony Bland Top Stories LADN Usc-basketball Boogie Ellis Chevez Goodwin Division I Committee
    Nets' Aldridge Retires at 35 Due to Irregular Heartbeat https://www.usnews.com/news/sports/articles/2021-04-15/nets-aldridge-retires-at-35-due-to-irregular-heartbeat Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:43:59 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge Aldridge LaMarcus Aldridge, 35, retires from basketball due to irregular heartbeat https://upstract.com/p/cmrrps5u?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:15:00 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge Aldridge Nets' LaMarcus Aldridge announces he's retiring from NBA https://upstract.com/p/cn26fvqg?ref=rss&rd=1 Thu, 15 Apr 2021 11:06:45 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Nba LaMarcus Aldridge Detroit’s native son, billionaire Dan Gilbert, makes the case for his town http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/Techcrunch/~3/9G1nqEK_-ks/ Dan Gilbert loves his hometown of Detroit. He loves it so much that the billionaire founder of what would eventually become the mortgage lender Quicken Loans has poured at least $2.5 billion into rehabilitating buildings in the heart of the city.

    He has also invested in many companies that are now tenants in those buildings, along with the restaurants and retailers that have made the scene far livelier than before Gilbert began his campaign to reestablish Detroit as one of the most important cities in the country.

    We had a chance to talk recently with Gilbert, a father of five whose other notable interests include the highly valued e-commerce marketplace StockX, which he cofounded in 2015, and the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA team, which he acquired — along with their arena in downtown Cleveland — for a reported $375 million in 2005.

    He shared why Detroit should be top of mind for founders from across the U.S. We also talked a bit about sports and why he chose a traditional IPO path for Rocket Companies, the parent company of Quicken that he took public in August of last year. Excerpts from that conversation follow.

    TC: As a native Clevelander and longtime Cavs fan, I’m curious about your connection to Cleveland.

    D: When the Cavs came up for sale in 2005 or 2004, the banker who was selling them called us up because our group had made an attempt at the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, and they thought we may want to buy the team. And the seller at the time [businessman Gordan Gund] wanted a very simple, non-complex process with one buyer. So they called us up, and we decided to do it.

    TC: Well, you got us back in the game, so to speak, so thank you. In the meantime, you’ve obviously been very focused on Detroit, where you grew up and went to college. What’s the case for Detroit over other Midwestern cities?

    DG: First of all, one of the metrics that companies use when they decide on a city is how many people they can reach within a five-hour drive, because they figure that talent within that five-hour circumference is willing to drive in or at least explore that city. And there are 60 million people within five hours of Detroit, including in Chicago, Toronto, all of Michigan, all of Ohio, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh — I could go on and on.

    The same is true of universities. There are something like 30 major universities within a five-hour drive, including the University of Michigan, Michigan State, Wayne State, Carnegie Mellon, and Ohio State, and those are just the bigger schools. There are also a bunch of great schools in Canada that specialize in software development. Collectively, that’s a huge advantage when it comes to tapping into possible talent.

    Detroit has had so many decades of bad PR that it’s hard to get over that image without seeing it for yourself, but once you spend two hours here, you get it. You feel the energy. You feel the passion. You see the young people.

    TC: Do you think Detroit is better suited for companies of a certain size? Things are changing quickly but there’s a learning curve in some cities regarding the specific needs of startups. I talked with Drive Capital in Columbus recently, and they said they’d had to do a lot to educate landlords. Of course, you’re among the biggest landlords in Detroit. 

    DG: That’s a really great insight from Drive. At this point, Detroit is home to both [big and small companies]. We first moved around 1,400 people from the suburbs into downtown Detroit in the summer of 2010 and we now have more than 20,000 people at this tech company, which Quicken Loans clearly is. And [that kind of hub] allows you to create an ecosystem of people and ideas that interest VCs, so that’s become one part of it.

    We control a couple million square feet of real estate ourselves, but then we have another four or five million square feet that we’re building or that’s already bought, so we can accommodate startups and be flexible around their growth. But on top of that, we have three locations in downtown Detroit that companies like Pinterest and Snap have used; you’ve got existing big tech companies with locations here like Amazon, which has an engineering office with more than 500 people downtown, and Google, which has a 50,000-square foot office, and Microsoft, which has 50,000 square feet in the same building I’m in. So it’s not just the startup scene.

    TC: Are there enough venture dollars in Detroit to support what you’re trying to build? The Drive team also talked about missing opportunities because they don’t have the bandwidth to fund everything they are seeing. They need backup. Do you?

    DG: Certain VCs have discovered us. Ron Conway of SV Angel, for example, fell in love with Detroit a couple of years ago and he has exposed us to everybody in his network. He has invested in a lot of our deals here. And there are others. Google Ventures and Battery Ventures came in early. DST Global, General Atlantic, GGV Capital, Altimeter, Whale Rock Capital, Tiger Global have put money into startups here.

    It’s kind of a new thing for us. Quicken Loans just went public after 35 years, and we never really raised much VC money because we never had to because of our cash flow. So it’s a little bit of a new thing for us with StockX; we never really had a startup blow up that suddenly. But every brick in the wall helps.

    StockX raises $275M Series E, valuing the retailer at $2.8B

    TC: Speaking of StockX, its tagline is the “stock market of things.” Might one of those things be non-fungible tokens at some point? A lot of people are suddenly buying and selling digital items.

    DG: Like NBA Top Shot? We love that model. We have some similar models that we’re working on right now. We’re in research and development on some things that are very close to it. I have four teenagers out of five kids at home, and I can tell you that’s definitely the hot thing right now.

    TC: What is the next step for StockX? Is it an IPO?

    DG: I think the next step for StockX will probably be an IPO. It’s just a matter of when. Probably sometime in 2022. I’m not saying anything official here; I’m just saying there’s a good chance it will.

    TC: Do you have strong feelings about traditional IPOs versus other ways that companies are going public? You took Quicken public through a traditional IPO. Another Detroit-based mortgage company, United Wholesale Mortgage, more recently took the SPAC route instead.

    Could giant SPACs be next?

    DG: I think [a StockX offering] would probably be traditional only because, to be honest with you, I don’t know much about the complications and all the details of trying to do it a different way. We had success with Quicken Loans, so that’s what we’re coming off of.

    ]]>
    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 09:30:29 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Google Amazon TC Microsoft Tech Canada Nba Michigan Cleveland Google Ventures Detroit Ohio State Columbus Milwaukee Brewers Ron Conway Battery Ventures Carnegie Mellon Dan Gilbert Cavs Gilbert SPAC Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Chicago Toronto StockX United Wholesale Mortgage City Spotlight Detroit City Spotlight Gordan Gund Ohio Indianapolis Pittsburgh University of Michigan Michigan State Wayne State
    NBA player wows 94-year-old superfan with surprise http://rssfeeds.usatoday.com/~/649176332/0/usatoday-newstopstories~NBA-player-wows-yearold-superfan-with-surprise/ Lili Gu's 94-year-old grandma recently discovered a love of basketball. One of her favorite NBA players took notice and sent her a surprise.

         

    [Author: USA TODAY]

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    Thu, 15 Apr 2021 05:55:55 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Usa News Nba Usa Today Lili Gu
    Reggie Jackson, Clippers squeak past Pistons for 7th straight win https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/14/reggie-jackson-clippers-squeak-past-pistons-for-7th-straight-win/
  • Clippers guard Rajon Rondo drives as Pistons guard Killian Hayes defends during the first half of Wednesday’s game in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph passes as LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson, left, and forward Patrick Patterson defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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  • LA Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) is defended by Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson drives as Detroit Pistons center Mason Plumlee (24) and guard Cory Joseph defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • LA Clippers guard Luke Kennard (5) passes as Detroit Pistons center Jahlil Okafor (13) defends under the basket during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (9) looks to pass as LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) and center Ivica Zubac defend during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • LA Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) drives around Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph (18) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) dunks as Los Angeles Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) defends during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart (28) dunks during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo runs into Los Angeles Clippers center DeMarcus Cousins (15) as he shoots during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue talks to the team during a timeout in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant (9) is defended by Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac (40) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson drives as Detroit Pistons guard Cory Joseph defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Detroit Pistons head coach Dwane Casey talks with guard Killian Hayes during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Rajon Rondo drives during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Amir Coffey (7) loses control of the ball as he runs into Detroit Pistons guard Hamidou Diallo during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson talks to referee Leroy Richardson during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann plays during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Terance Mann reacts as the Clippers defeat the Detroit Pistons during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson, center, is surrounded by Terance Mann, right, and the rest of his teammates after making the game-winning basket in the final seconds of their comeback victory over the Pistons on Wednesday night in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

  • Los Angeles Clippers guard Reggie Jackson (1) is surrounded by teammates after hitting the game winning basket during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Detroit Pistons, Wednesday, April 14, 2021, in Detroit. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

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    Reggie Jackson – at home inside Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, where he played for five-plus seasons – hit the tying 3-pointer and then the game-winning jumper to lift the short-handed Clippers out of the bog, and to a 100-98 victory over the Pistons on Wednesday night before an announced crowd of 750.

    Pistons coach Dwane Casey noted before the game that, even undermanned, the Clippers had plenty of firepower. But that was before the visitors let it be known that they also would rest Marcus Morris Sr. for Wednesday’s game, leaving them down five starters and left with only 11 healthy players, including two-way up-and-comers Amir Coffey and Daniel Oturu.

    Without Morris as well as All-Stars Paul George (rest) and Kawhi Leonard (sore right foot), not to mention Patrick Beverley (hand fracture) and Serge Ibaka (tight back), the remaining Clippers struggled mightily to score. They shot 39.8% (37 for 93) from the field – but came through with a kick at the finish line, charging back from eight points down with 3:21 to play, with Jackson pouring in 10 points in those closing minutes to secure their seventh consecutive win.

    After three straight games with 30-plus assists, without their stars driving the offense, the Clippers recorded just 10 on Wednesday, including just four in the first half.

    Similarly, the NBA’s best 3-point shooting team, which hadn’t finished with fewer than 10 3-point baskets in its last 14 games, shot just 39.8% (37 for 93) overall and 24.1% (7 for 29) from behind the arc in Detroit, improving to 1-6 when they make fewer than 10 3-pointers in a game.

    Yet, the Clippers kept “clawing, fighting and never gave in,” as Clippers coach Tyronn Lue put it immediately after his team erased an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit and improved to 10-1 in the second half of back-to-backs this season.

    After Terance Mann missed a 3-point attempt with 57 seconds left, Ivica Zubac gobbled up the rebound and put it in to cut the lead to 96-93 before collapsing on the court, arms spread wide – exhausted after a frustrating game-long offensive slog.

    Following a timeout, Mann went soaring in for a dunk that made it 98-95 with 43.5 seconds left.

    Mann then stole the ball on the other end, barreled toward the basket, bounced a pass to Jackson, who buried the game-tying 3-pointer with 19 ticks left on the court he called home prior to joining the Clippers.

    On the Pistons’ ensuing inbounds pass, Coffey deflected a pass, Mann grabbed the loose ball and called the Clippers’ final timeout.

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    Out of that, Jackson walked the ball up the court and stepped confidently into a 21-foot jumper to give the Clippers the lead, 100-98 with 2.3 seconds left.

    Detroit’s Killian Hayes missed a last-gasp 27-foot 3-point attempt and the Clippers escaped with an improbable victory.

    Jackson finished with a season-high 29 points in the victory, and Luke Kennard finished with his second career double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing a career-high-tying 10 rebounds.

    DeMarcus Cousins played 15 minutes off the bench, scored eight points and grabbed three rebounds. Lue suggested that the big man will stick around beyond the nearing conclusion of his 10-day contract with the team: “We look forward to him continuing on, he was big for us.”

    The Clippers led at the half, 53-49 despite shooting just 37.8% (17 for 45) from the field to start, though they did build a substantial free-throw advantage – 16 for 18 to the Pistons’ 3 for 4. The Clippers made significantly fewer trips to the line after the break, going 3 for 3 from the stripe.

    More to come on this story.

    REGGIE JACKSON TIES IT.
    REGGIE JACKSON WINS IT.#ClipperNation pic.twitter.com/VOf9AHNfga

    — NBA (@NBA) April 15, 2021

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    Wed, 14 Apr 2021 23:05:51 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Sports DeMarcus Cousins Sport Soccer Nba Jackson Reggie Jackson Detroit Detroit Pistons Rajon Rondo Los Angeles Clippers Pistons Paul George LA Clippers Morris Jahlil Okafor Clippers Serge Ibaka Cory Joseph Dwane Casey Patrick Beverley Marcus Morris Kawhi Leonard Patrick Patterson Mann Coffey Jerami Grant Lue Mason Plumlee Nicolas Batum Tyronn Lue Amir Coffey Leroy Richardson Luke Kennard The Clippers Little Caesars Arena Ivica Zubac Hamidou Diallo Carlos Osorio Detroit AP Photo Carlos Osorio Detroit Pistons Terance Mann Daniel Oturu Isaiah Stewart Marcus Morris Sr Killian Hayes Clippers Tyronn Lue Daunte Wright Reggie Jackson Luke Kennard Detroit Paul George Clippers Reggie Jackson Clippers Detroit AP Photo Carlos Osorio LA Clippers Detroit AP Photo Carlos Osorio Clippers
    There's good reason to believe Glen Taylor's Timberwolves pledge https://www.startribune.com/schafer-there-s-good-reason-to-believe-glen-taylor-s-timberwolves-pledge/600045894/ Wed, 14 Apr 2021 22:15:14 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Minneapolis Nba Taylor Timberwolves Glen Taylor Lakers ‘can’t wait’ for fans in Staples Center on Thursday https://www.dailynews.com/2021/04/14/lakers-cant-wait-for-fans-in-staples-center-on-thursday/ The championship rings are stashed safely at home, and the memories persist. But what is a world title if the world can’t celebrate with you?

    Alex Caruso has felt that absence all season. While Staples Center can pump in a layer of artificial crowd noise for every home game introduction, it hasn’t been the same since March 10, 2020 – the last game the Lakers played in front of their own fans.

    “We’ve been introduced every game with our P.A. announcer: We’re the defending world champions,” he said. “And there’s been nobody there to scream or to celebrate or to really do anything with it. And it’s gonna be exciting to have them back.”

    So sure, Thursday night it’s the Boston Celtics, a rival, a tough opponent in a streak of important games. The Lakers (34-21) are still scratching and clawing without All-Stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis; they’re still battling for position in the Western Conference standings.

    But for the first time all season at Staples Center, the headliner will be the audience: The approximately 2,000 fans who will be sprinkled throughout the arena, socially distanced and wearing masks for the duration of the game.

    The Lakers have experience playing in front of partial crowds this season: At this point, most NBA arenas are allowing at least a few fans. From the television production stage of last season’s bubble environment in Orlando to the vacuous space of an empty home arena, even a few thousand people can bring a jolt of energy to what has become a grind of a season.

    When the Hornets were threatening to steal the game from the Lakers on Tuesday night in Charlotte, Kyle Kuzma said he could feel the Spectrum Center rocking.

    “It’s like a sellout,” Kuzma said. “It just feels good to play in front of people and play in front of fans of the NBA. And it’s good. It’s a part of the game and it’s a huge part of the game.”

    For whatever reason, the Lakers have struggled to a 16-11 record this season at Staples Center. On just home record, they lag behind teams like Golden State (17-10), which also has played in an empty arena so far. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said the “mystique” of playing at Staples Center has been diminished by rows and rows of empty seats, populated to this point only by front office officials, family members and other team and arena employees.

    Throughout the last year, James, in particular, has lamented the absence of fans – a possibility he once poo-pooed in the early days before the pandemic hit.

    “It’s been extremely tough: You’ve got to literally like self motivate yourself every single day,” he said in February. “I’ve been watching a lot of games of late and there’s been 1,500, 2,000, whatever the case might be – the fans, it just gives you an extra boost. So, I’m just waiting. Hopefully sooner than later.”

    There will be some logistical challenges for bringing in fans, given that the Lakers haven’t required anything all year to fill dead-ball moments during timeouts or other breaks in the game. The national anthem will be performed live, but other familiar elements – the team band, the Laker girls and on-court contests – are still on the shelf.

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    So the fans, who will not be allowed to eat or drink in their seats, will only have the game itself to keep their attention. The Lakers hope to live up to that.

    “It’s gonna be awesome,” Vogel said. “I wish we had 18,000 fans, not 1,800 or whatever it’s gonna be but at this point, I think just having those fans in there should give us a big lift.”

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope knows it’s still going to take time until things return to normal, but he’s missed chatting with fans during warm-ups, getting to know the people who attend Lakers games. Until the full capacity is restored, with the full-throated cheers of a packed house, there’s more to look forward to.

    “I also know when I’m on the floor and we’re going on a run and you can just hear the crowd noise, that just gets you pumpin’ and goin’,” he said. “And you like hearing that and you want to continue to just do better. It makes you want to just hustle, rebound, push it in transition. Makes you want to do everything.”

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    Wed, 14 Apr 2021 21:25:50 +0000 BlogLikes - Find Most Popular Blogs Sports Sport Soccer Nba Lebron James Anthony Davis Staples Center Boston Celtics Orlando James Lakers Charlotte The Lakers Golden State Kentavious Caldwell Pope Vogel Frank Vogel Kyle Kuzma Kuzma Alex Caruso Related Articles Lakers While Staples Center Lakers Clippers Kings games Lakers Knicks Analysis : Frank Vogel Lakers