Indiana Pacers v Los Angeles Lakers

Lakers sign Josh McRoberts to fill in for Lamar Odom

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Josh McRoberts has a lot of fans around the league because he is a hard-nosed, smart player — not flashy but he plays within himself and gets the job done.

Which will make him an interesting fit on the Los Angeles Lakers. McRoberts signed for two years with the Lakers for the mini mid-level exception of $2.5 million per year, tweets Marc Spears of Yahoo. McRoberts, a Duke alum, played last season in Indiana.

McRoberts essentially replaces Odom on the court, although in a very different way. McRoberts is a great pickup at that price for the Lakers — solid rebounder and defender who is a very efficient scorer around the rim (68 percent shooter within three feet, according to John Schuhmann at NBA.com). He’s going to get open looks in L.A. he did not in Indiana, so his midrange may improve. He will provide quality minutes behind Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum (especially now that Derrick Caracter may be out for the season with a torn meniscus in his knee).

But he will not provide the versatility or skill of Odom, who could come in off the bench and just change a game. He also is not married to a Kardashian. Well, at least not yet.

The other thing McRoberts will not provide is a locker room presence. Darius Soriano of Forum Blue & Gold phrased it well — in the Laker locker room Kobe Bryant is the bad cop, Derek Fisher the good cop, and Odom was the big brother who put his arm around you and talked to you about it. He will be missed.

That is not to diminish what is a nice pickup by the Lakers.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.