LeBron James wins fourth NBA Finals MVP Award

Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Luke Adams | Last updated 10/11/20

Superstar forward LeBron James has been named the Most Valuable Player of the 2020 NBA Finals, as the Lakers clinched the 17th title in franchise history on Sunday night with a 106-93 win over Miami in Game 6.

It’s the fourth championship and the fourth Finals MVP Award for James, who previously earned the honor in 2012 and 2013 with the Heat, and again in 2016 with the Cavaliers.

Entering this series, James had been one of five players in NBA history to earn at least three Finals MVP awards. Now he’s one of just two players to earn that honor four or more times — Michael Jordan won the award six times. James is also the first player in NBA history to be named Finals MVP with three separate teams.

While Anthony Davis had a monster series for the Lakers, anchoring the defense and averaging 25.0 PPG, James led Los Angeles in points, rebounds and assists, making him the obvious choice for the MVP award.

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Heat All-Star Bam Adebayo plans to play Game 4 of Finals vs. Lakers

By Zac Wassink | Last updated 10/6/20

A day after the Miami Heat upgraded 2020 All-Star Bam Adebayo to questionable ahead of Tuesday’s Game 4 of the NBA Finals against the Los Angeles Lakers, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that the 23-year-old expects to play. 

Adebayo aggravated a shoulder injury in Game 1 of the series and has also been dealing with a neck strain that sidelined him for Game 2 and Game 3. Thus far, he’s played only 21 minutes and scored eight points against the Lakers. 

Adebayo averaged 21.8 points, 11.0 rebounds and 5.2 assists in six games against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals but also dealt with similar physical issues during that series. He nevertheless told reporters on Monday that he’s eager to return to Miami’s rotation. 

“I’m trying to get back as quickly as possible,” he explained. “They’re just trying to make sure I’m safe and I’m ready to play. It’s really day-to-day. When they say I’m ready to play, I’ll be out there.” 

Miami guard Goran Dragic remains doubtful because of the torn left plantar fascia he suffered in Game 1 against the Lakers. Dragic spent 15 minutes on the court in the opening contest of the Finals. 

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No. 1 seeds Lakers and Bucks lose Game 1 of playoffs on same day

Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports | By Larry Brown | Last updated 8/19/20

This year’s NBA playoffs are unusual, so it’s no surprise that they have yielded some unusual results over the first two days.

On Tuesday, three of the four playoff games featured lower-seeded teams winning their games, including the most notable ones: the No. 1 seeds from each conference suffered Game 1 defeats.

In the first game of the day in Orlando, Fla., the No. 8 Magic defeated the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks 122-110. Then in the final game of the day, the No. 8 seed Portland Trail Blazers beat the No. 1 seed Los Angeles Lakers 100-93.

This was the first time since 2003 that both No. 1 seeds lost Game 1 of the playoffs. Of course, this year is much different from 2003.

The NBA’s resumed season is taking place on a neutral court at Disney World in Orlando. There is no home court, nor will there be extensive traveling from city to city. There are no home fans chanting and screaming and trying to intimidate opposing players and referees. There are no home fans uplifting their players and giving them energy. This might turn out to be the purest playoff ever as a result.

So far, some of the results have been unusual.

In the first game on Tuesday, Nikola Vucevic was the story. He stood out for Orlando with 35 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic also went 16/41 on threes (39 percent) compared to 14/42 (33.3 percent) for Milwaukee.

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Clippers, not Lakers, now are betting favorites to win 2020 NBA title

By Erin Walsh | Last updated 8/16/20

In a rather interesting turn of events, the Los Angeles Lakers no longer are the betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.

The Clippers, according to BetOnline.ag, now have the best odds to win the championship this season at +250. Here’s how things stack up in the top five:

  1. Clippers +250
  2. Lakers +300
  3. Milwaukee Bucks +300
  4. Toronto Raptors +1100
  5. Boston Celtics +1200

L.A.’s increased odds come after they won their final two seeding games ahead of the first-round of the playoffs. The Lakers, on the other hand, dropped their final game of the seeding round to the Sacramento Kings.

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Jazz-Pelicans, Clippers-Lakers to begin NBA resumption on July 30

The 22-team model to crown a champion for the 2019-20 NBA season altered by the coronavirus pandemic tips off on July 30 with a pair of intriguing matchups, including one that features same-city rivals. 

As noted by The Athletic’s Shams Charania and others, the Utah Jazz face the New Orleans Pelicans in the resumption opener. The Los Angeles Lakers will play the Los Angeles Clippers in the nightcap. 

July 31 will feature: 

  • Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets 
  • Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers 
  • Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards 
  • Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks 
  • Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs 
  • Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks

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By Zac Wassink | Last updated 6/26/20

Kobe Bryant’s final season with Lakers was documented with all-access film crew

The already popular documentary series “The Last Dance” was made possible by camera crews being granted incredible access to the 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, and it has given fans an opportunity to learn things about Michael Jordan’s legendary career that were not previously public information. Could we one day see a similar documentary about Kobe Bryant’s final NBA season?

Bryant had his own personal camera crew following the Los Angeles Lakers’ every move during the 2015-16 season, which was Kobe’s last in the NBA. According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, the crew had “unprecedented access” even beyond what the Lakers’ television partners were granted. As one former team staffer described to Holmes, there was always the option to tell camera crews from TV networks to stop recording if they were gathering footage in an off-limits area or if the cameras were rolling at an uncomfortable time. Bryant’s crew, however, essentially did whatever it wanted.

Former Lakers forward Larry Nance Jr. was reminded of that season while watching “The Last Dance” on Sunday night, and he described the experience to Holmes.

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Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports By Steve DelVecchio | Last updated 4/24/20

LeBron James says he won’t play in empty arenas amid coronavirus outbreak

After the NBA sent a memo instructing teams to prepare to possibly play in empty arenas amid the COVID-19 (also known as the coronavirus) outbreak, Lakers superstar LeBron James said he will not play under those conditions, per USA Today’s Mark Medina:

“I ain’t playing. I ain’t got the fans in the crowd. That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates. I play for the fans. That’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”

It remains to be seen if the coronavirus outbreak worsens in the coming days/weeks to the point where the league needs to take extreme measures. However, James insisted that playing without fans in the stands cannot be done.

“We play games without the fans?” James asked. “Nah, it’s impossible.”

With the spread of the deadly disease, the NBA has released statements at various junctures. Last Saturday, the NBA said it was working closely with the Center for Disease Control but not anticipating any schedule changes. The NBA’s statement read:

“The health and safety of our employees, teams, players and fans is paramount. We are coordinating with our teams and consulting with the CDC and infectious disease specialists on the coronavirus and continue to monitor the situation closely.”

In another statement, the league said that predraft combines and international scouting events could be impacted by the outbreak.

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Originally posted on Hoops Rumors | By Mark Suleymanov | Last updated 3/7/2

Kobe Bryant Is on Pace for the NBA’s Worst Shooting Season in 55 Years

Written by Matt Yoder at The Comeback

Kobe Bryant’s retirement announcement has left basketball aficionados discussing and debating his place in the pantheon of the greatest players of all-time.  And after 5 NBA titles, 2 Finals MVPs, and 1 regular season MVP, there’s no denying Kobe’s place on that very short list.

However, and no offense intended with this Kevin Durant, there’s also no denying that 37 year old Kobe Bryant, who has fought his way back from multiple serious injuries, is not a good NBA player.  In fact, Kobe Bryant is on pace for the worst shooting season in modern NBA history.

Not only did the Lakers face the public shame of being the first team to lose to the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night, they did so behind another poor shooting effort from Bryant. Kobe made his first 3 shots within the first 76 seconds… then went 4-23 the rest of the game.

Kobe’s atrocious shooting night in his hometown was symbolic of what might be a season that goes down in the record books in Bryant’s NBA swan song… and for all the wrong reasons.

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Which Kobe Bryant Jersey Number Should the Lakers Retire?

Written by Harry Lyles Jr. at The Comeback

Kobe Bryant announced Sunday night that he would be retiring from the NBA in a poem written on The Players Tribune. Bryant’s retirement ends one of the most illustrious careers in NBA history and drew quite the emotions from fans across the world.

But there might be a much more pressing issue coming in the future, not just for Bryant, but for the Lakers franchise. What jersey number should the team retire for Bryant? No. 8 or 24?

From 1996-2006, Bryant donned the number 8. He won three of his five NBA titles wearing that number, one of the most dominant three-peats in NBA history. There was just no beating the Lakers in that time.

He went on an absolute tear in 2002-03 when he scored 40 points or more in nine consecutive games, something done very few times in league history.

In January of 2003, Kobe set a then-NBA record for threes in a game, with 12 of them against the Seattle Supersonics. He didn’t even make his first three until the second quarter of that game, and had 45 points on the night.

During the 2006 NBA Playoffs, the Lakers were facing the Phoenix Suns when Bryant made a clutch layup to send Game 4 of the series into overtime, and would lead the Lakers to victory in the extra period over a Suns team that was an offensive machine.

Probably his most notable accomplishment in the number 8 was when he dropped 81 points against the Toronto Raptors. It was the second-best scoring game in league history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100. Many would argue that it might be the greatest performance ever.

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