Durant, LeBron put on show at Goodman vs. Melo League game

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Kevin Durant matched up on LeBron James. One-on-one. All night long.

That was the show at the Goodman vs. Melo league showdown in Baltimore Tuesday night. Actually, that was just part of the show, which is why it was a special night.

The result was 59 points for Durant. The result was LeBron — who had a little more help with Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul on his team — winning the game for Melo League 149-141.

If you just rolled your eyes at that score, you miss the point. This was not about good defensive rotations, this was pure entertainment. A show in Baltimore for the Melo league people (folks that normally can’t afford to sit close to floor for a Wizards game, if they even went into D.C. to do it). A chance for the best to show some flare in their games. This was about pure street basketball.

This is about creating a great buzz for next NBA season… oh, yea. Forgot they are screwing that up royally.

Still, it was a show. LeBron and Durant went at each other hard and isolated, one-on-one for a lengthy strip of the first quarter, tweeted Michael Lee, the Washington Post’s Wizards beat man who was on hand and tweeting. Neither could stop the other, with LeBron just hitting fade-away jumpers over Durant and KD putting a host of moves on LeBron.

James finished with 42 including a key late three, Carmelo Anthony had 27 (although take these numbers with a grain of salt, your high school team kept better official stats).

There was a fantastic CP3 ally-oop to Josh Selby, there was Durant dunking right through people. There was a wild energy in the building with 4,000 people there (and the proceeds going to the Melo Center for youth in Baltimore). There was a pure love for the game.

It all makes you want to walk into a New York office building tomorrow, show the tape of this (like this one) to David Stern and Billy Hunter, then tell them not to &%#$ this up and get a deal done.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.