Thursdays And-1 links, where Lakers fans are just wrong

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Welcome to our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

In this poll, 56 percent of Lakers fans would rather have Andrew Bynum as their starting center over Dwight Howard. Those fans are fools. I’m a Bynum fan, I like him, but come on.

At least those fans don’t have to be in Andrew Bynum’s car, the man is not a great driver.

From the fine folks at the @NBAHistory twitter account: Kevin Love became the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in 1975 to record 20 points and 12 rebounds in his first six games of the season.

It’s a little early, but who would you vote for to be NBA MVP?

Corey Maggette strained his hamstring and could be out a little while. Like weeks not days.

It’s official, Nate Robinson is a Warrior. With Stephen Curry’s ongoing ankle issues he’s going to get some run.

Kobe Bryant thinks Andrew Bynum has the ambition to be great.

An interesting look at race and the making of an NBA cult hero.

Video worth watching: Kevin Garnett throws water on his own face during a game.

That engagement ring LeBron James gave his long-time girlfriend is worth a cool quarter of a million. At least.

Breaking down what Portland did to slow Kevin Durant.

Samardo Samuels did not travel with Cleveland up to take on Toronto because he did not have a passport. He said he lost it. Also, the dog ate his homework.

DeAndre Jordan’s defense is maturing. It had better, this is a key to the Clippers improving.

Chris Bosh says all he does is think about basketball. Insert your own joke here.

LeBron James’ people reject a $3,500 birthday cake.

Of course somebody took Shaq up on his challenge and got a tattoo of Charles Barkley kissing Dick Bavetta.

Mike Dunleavy has a strained groin and did not travel with the Bucks to Sacramento for Thursdays game.

Mike D’Antoni wants Landry Fields to stop thinking so much.

Kyrie Irving is playing better and better in Cleveland (well, except for Wednesday night). Why? Byron Scott told him to chill.

Blazers have sent Luke Babbit to the D-League.

The Cavaliers have sent Christian Eyenga to the Canton Charge in the D-League.

The Thunder’s Ryan Reid had surgery to fix a broken nose.

The Nets have signed a lease their corporate offices in Brooklyn. Everyone who works in the office just got 50 percent more hip.

Solomon Alabi was sent to the D-League by the Raptors.

LeBron James says he has scratched cornea, could sit Saturday vs. Wizards

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With time running down in the third quarter, LeBron James went hard to the basket for a layup, and the shot was contested by Jeremy Lamb, who ended up poking LeBron in the eye on the play.

It isn’t intentional, but it looks painful.

 

 

That blow could have LeBron sitting out Saturday night when the Cavaliers take on the Washington Wizards in Cleveland. From Joe Varden of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

LeBron James said he suffered a scratched cornea in his right eye in Friday’s 112-105 win over Charlotte after being examined by a Hornets team physician.

James, who scored 32 points in 40 minutes, could not keep his right eye open during his postgame interview session and said his vision was blurry… Summing it all up, James said “if coach decides to give me a game off (Saturday), it’s not because I’m resting. It’s because I’m banged up.”

He was treated by the Hornets’ team doctor who administered eye drops, but the Cavaliers will make the call closer to game time depending on how LeBron is feeling.

The Cavaliers are 0-6 without LeBron this season. They also have just a one-game lead over the Celtics for the top seed in the Eastern Conference. (Boston beat Phoenix on Friday, despite Devin Booker dropping 70, and they have a key game with the Heat on Sunday.) That said, the Cavaliers are two games up in the loss column on the Celtics, which is a decent lead, but the Cavs need to start winning consistently.

And beating a hot Washington team will not be easy even with LeBron.

NBA reacts to Suns’ Devin Booker dropping 70 on Celtics

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Devin Booker was the story of the NBA Friday night.

The 20-year-old Suns’ guard — who never scored more than 19 points in a game at Kentucky in college — dropped 70 on the Boston Celtics in a losing effort. He becomes only the sixth player in NBA history to score at least 70 in a game. At the end the Suns were fouling and calling time outs to stop the clock and get the ball back to Booker, but as Phoenix coach Earl Watson said to those who complained, “You got a problem with that? Do something. Simple as that.”

NBA Twitter exploded at what Booker did.

Booker himself responded this way.

Lonzo Ball makes expected official, declares for NBA Draft

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There was no hesitation. None was expected.

After UCLA was eliminated from the NCAA Tournament in the Sweet 16 by Kentucky, the Bruin’s Lonzo Ball — who is expected to be a top-three pick — declared for the NBA draft this June.

Ball is expected to go second or third in the upcoming NBA draft. Speaking with people around the league Washington’s Markelle Fultz is a clear No. 1, but after that if the Lakers — the team with the second-worst record in the league — have the No. 2 pick they are expected to snap up Ball. Depending on how the lottery shakes out the top of the draft, Ball could fall a little — there are teams that like Josh Jackson — but not much.

Ball is a 6’6″ point guard who averaged 14.7 points, 7.6 assists and 6.1 rebounds a game for UCLA last season. He has fantastic passing vision, impressive shooting range (although he can take some questionable shots), and a great sense of floor spacing and how to run an offense, particularly in transition. However, his weaknesses were exposed in his final game some as De’Aaron Fox of Kentucky completely outplayed Ball. Defensive pressure took Ball (and the Bruins) out of rhythm, forced them to play in the half court (where Ball is not as strong), and it’s one of the things Ball is going to have to adapt to at the next level where everyone is more athletic. Also, he’s going to need to get more consistent defensively.

The potential for Ball to be special is there, which is why he will go high in the draft.

And no, the rantings of his father will not change that. Teams see the father as a distraction that can be handled, they aren’t going to let him get in the way of drafting talent.

Watch highlights of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue unveiling outside Staples Center

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Kobe Bryant said “Thank you. I learned so much from you as a player.”

Jerry West said he loved him like a son.

Jeanie Buss said “No one celebrates a championship like you, but please no more asking Mark Madsen to dance.”

The Lakers unveiled a new statue for Shaquille O’Neal Friday night, one flying high over a Staples Center entrance, and the stars were on hand for the event. Phil Jackson was there making Snoop Dogg jokes. Shaq and Kobe were sharing laughs. It was a big night for a big man with a big personality. And a big heart.

Check out the highlights above.