During the Clippers’ 102-94 win over the Lakers Saturday night, while Kobe Bryant was shooting his way out of an early game slump on his way to 42 points on 28 shots, Chris Paul was slicing and dicing for 33 of his own on 22 shots. Paul was a monster against the Lakers, and the biggest reason that the Clippers walked away with yet another win versus “Big Brother.” But there was bad news, too. After Paul nailed yet another jumper late in the fourth quarter, he came down with a strained hamstring and would not return.
It’s not known at this point whether Paul will play Monday for the Clippers vs. New Jersey, but if there was ever a game for him to sit out… Despite the regrettable element of missing Chris Paul vs. Deron Williams, the Clippers could very well have no problem dispatching the Nets without CP3.
Saturday was a game that showed off all of Paul’s offensive tricks, even as he “only” totaled six assists. The Lakers worked to shut down Blake Griffin on the pick and roll and Griffin did his part by missing a large number of open jumpers as he continues to try and pull the defense out by hurting them from range. But Paul responded by simply slithering inside or crossing over his defender to hit from the middle of the floor, to devastating effect. It was his consistent, efficient scoring that lead the Clippers and opened up opportunities for the entire Clippers team, while Bryant’s gunning once again seemed to slog down the Lakers’ offense.
Here’s video of the injury, courtesy of Eye on Basketball:
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.
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.
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.
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.