Reggie Lewis passed away 18 years ago today

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In the coming few years, Boston’s “big three” are going to walk away from the game, and Rajon Rondo is going to be the bridge to the future, the guy they start building around.

Reggie Lewis was going to be that guy in Boston in the early 1990s, when Boston’s first Big Three stepped away. Lewis was an All-Star and an immense talent, a gritty and talented player who had earned the love of his teammates and the city.

Then in Game 1 of the 1993 NBA playoffs, Lewis collapsed and shocked everyone, scared everyone but survived. He did not return those playoffs and that turned out to be his final NBA game. On July 27 of that summer, playing some pickup at Brandeis University, he collapsed again and this time never got up. Lewis was just 27 and entering the prime of his career.

He is still missed in Boston and in many places. Muggsy Bogues was a high school teammate and talked to SLAM about Lewis.

Words can’t describe the pain. Reg was such a great friend of ours, such a great person, so humble, and he was just starting to reach his stardom. That was his team, the Boston Celtics. The Big Three (Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish), had passed the torch down to him and that was something that he felt so grateful for, so respected, because he respected those guys and he earned their respect—it wasn’t something that they just gave him, he earned it. He’s always been that type of humble guy. Even though he was the sixth man on a high school team, you know Reg could start on anybody’s team, but he was able to accept that role to allow us to do what we was able to do—to win the national championship two years in a row. And he always had been that way, and that’s one of the reasons why he was able to put Boston on his shoulders and able to do the things he was able to do and get the respect from the Big Three, as he called it. So now I know he’s smiling up there, watching over his kids, just wishing everybody can continue to keep doing what their supposed to do, because that’s what he would want us to do.

Rich Levine of the Standing Room Only blog at CSNNE.com, reminded us of this clip, which will remind — or maybe for younger readers show you for the first time — just how special Lewis was as a player.

Trail Blazers beat Suns by 48, biggest season-opening rout in NBA history

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Any controversy over C.J. McCollum‘s suspension for the season-opener should be put to rest. The Trail Blazers fared fine without him.

More than fine.

Portland beat the Suns, 124-76, Wednesday. The 48-point margin is the largest ever in a season opener, even as the Trail Blazers let a 58-point fourth-quarter lead dwindle.

Here are the most lopsided season-openers in NBA history (openers for both teams appearing twice):

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The 48-point defeat is also the Suns’ worst lost in franchise history, topping a 44-point loss to the Seattle SuperSonics in 1988. It could be a long year in Phoenix.

Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova scrap (video)

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Marcus Smart and Matthew Dellavedova thrive on aggravating opponents, so when matched up, of course they aggravated each other.

Deduct points from Smart for pulling the hold-me-back charade behind a referee. Plus, Dellavedova’s Bucks beat Smart’s Celtics, 108-100.

Report: ‘Tremendous concern’ for Jeremy Lin’s knee injury

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The Nets’ projected record this season came under greater scrutiny when the Celtics traded Brooklyn’s unprotected first-round pick to the Cavaliers in the Kyrie Irving trade. After finishing third-to-last and last the previous two years, were the Nets poised to take a step forward, or would they convey a very high pick to the Cavs?

Jeremy Lin, who missed 46 games last season, getting healthy was a reason for optimism in Brooklyn and pessimism in Cleveland. But it appears the veteran guard could be out a while.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Billy Reinhardt of Nets Daily:

If the injury is as bad as feared, what a bummer for Lin. He came to Brooklyn expecting to play a leading role on a developing team, and he just can’t stay healthy.

The Nets were probably more focused on developing their younger players, but – especially without their own draft picks – there was no harm in shooting for the playoffs. This appears to a blow to that (already unlikely) dream.

It’s a boon to the Cavaliers, though. And whenever something significantly affects LeBron James‘ team, it has ramifications into the entire power dynamic of the Eastern Conference. For an injury to a player on a team most expect to be bad, the medical developments here will be tracked closely around the league.

Aaron Gordon throws himself alley-oop off backboard (video)

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Remember when Aaron Gordon was a promising fun player?

The Magic sidetracked him by playing him at small forward most of last season. But back at power forward, Gordon showed how he could push the pace as a four in Orlando’s season-opening win over the Heat.

There’s obviously flair in passing to yourself off the backboard, but it’s a sound way to improve position. Gordon did that to fantastic effect.