Thursday And-1 links: Breaking down LeBron’s big February

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Here is our regular 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) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers love bullet points.

• Here’s a statistical break down at SI of what an insanely good month of February LeBron James had, trying to put it all in context. Look at it this way: The statistically worst shot in basketball is the long two pointer (16 feet out to the arc) and LeBron shot 62.5 percent from there in February. Or, look at what our friend Rob Mahoney laid out:

In their 12-1 February, the Heat scored an outrageous 120.4 points per 100 possessions with James on the floor. That’s almost 10 points better than Miami’s league-leading mark for the season, and thus on a completely different plane relative to the NBA as a whole.

• A couple of years ago when LeBron signed in Miami, our own John Krolik did a breakdown of what LeBron’s game might look like in Miami. He pretty much went Nostradamus on this, it’s brilliant.

• Speaking of playing well, Tony Parker has been efficient from everywhere on the court.

A great look at the Spurs from our friend Lang Whittaker at GQ.

• We mentioned yesterday in this space that former WNBA star Chamique Holdsclaw was in trouble with the law. TMZ will explain why: “According to the police report, 35-year-old Holdsclaw attacked (ex-girlfriend Jennifer) Lacy’s car with a baseball bat and then fired a gun inside the vehicle while Lacy sat in the driver’s seat.” Jail time is a real possibility here.

• Bradley Beal says he is getting a feel for the NBA and doesn’t feel like a rookie anymore.

• This is exactly what you want to hear down in Houston — Thomas Robinson is putting in some extra time after practice working with Kevin McHale.

Here’s a Q&A with Shaquille O’Neal.

• DeJuan Blair’s agent is understandably frustrated his client didn’t get traded at the deadline.

• Royce White is off to a slow start in the D-League, averaging 4.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists in 16.5 minutes per game. It’s going to take a little while for him to find his game.

• A fun look at the bias of local announcing crews. It’s one of the annoyances for those of us League Pass addict.

• This has been out there for a while, but in Seattle they have confirmed that the Hansen/Ballmer group trying to buy the Kings put down a $30 million deposit on the team. Sacramento’s side of the spin will take center stage on Thursday as mayor Kevin Johnson is expected to announce who his large investors to keep the team in the city are.

• Cleveland has assigned Kevin Jones to the D-League.

• Oklahoma City loaded up Tulsa’s D-League roster sending down Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones III and DeAndre Liggins.

• The Nets have sent Tornike Shengelia to the D-League.

• The Spurs assigned Aron Baynes to D-League and at the same time recalled Cory Joseph.

John Wall scores 37 as Wizards down LeBron James, Cavs 127-115

Associated Press
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CLEVELAND (AP) John Wall scored 37 points, Bradley Beal added 27 and the Washington Wizards began a challenging road trip by beating LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers 127-115 on Saturday night.

Wall scored 18 in the first quarter, when the Wizards shot 82 percent, and Washington held on down the stretch to avenge an overtime loss to the NBA champions last month.

James, who briefly wore goggles to protect an eye injury sustained Friday night, scored 24 and added 11 rebounds and eight assists. Kyrie Irving added 23 points and Kevin Love 17 for Cleveland, playing at home for the only time in a seven-game stretch.

Washington’s victory cut Cleveland’s lead in the Eastern Conference to a half-game over idle Boston.

Rudy Gobert calls out Jazz teammates after loss: “We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice.”

Associated Press
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Utah and the L.A. Clippers are almost locked into a first round, four vs. five battle in the Western Conference. The only question is which team will have home court, and the Clippers took a big step towards that beating the Jazz at home Saturday. While the Jazz still has a half-game lead, the Clippers have a much softer schedule the rest of the way.

After that loss, Jazz center Rudy Gobert was ticked off and called out his teammates. Via Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

“We’ve got guys that compete, but some of us don’t compete. Some of us just think about scoring. That’s what it is. … Coach keeps repeating it: We’ve just got to compete. We’re too nice. Those guys, we know they’re going to get calls. We’ve just got to come out aggressive and ready to fight.”

Interesting comments for a team that is third in the NBA in defensive rating and 13th in offense.

Gobert is frustrated as Utah has dropped four of its last five, and the slump has been on both ends of the court. The defense has struggled, but if guys are looking to score too much they aren’t doing it efficiently because the offense has been worse.

This slide likely costs Utah home court in the first round, which could matter in what will be a tight matchup with Los Angeles. Utah needs to find its grinding rhythm again heading into the playoffs, at their best they can knock off the Clippers in the first round. Just not like they are playing now.

One thing to watch, Utah’s Gordon Hayward asked out of the game in the fourth quarter due to what is being called a bruised muscle in his leg. If he misses any time or if this lingers, it could be trouble for the Jazz in the postseason.

 

LeBron James starts game with protective goggles. That lasts about a minute.

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LeBron James suffered a scratched cornea Friday night when he went up for a layup late in the third quarter and Jeremy Lamb tried to contest and caught him clean across the face. LeBron got the and-1, but had trouble keeping his eye open in postgame interviews Friday.

Saturday he did play — wearing protective goggles. As you can see above.

That lasted about a minute.

LeBron was likely frustrated as the Cavaliers defensive woes had the Wizards up double digits much of the first half.

Kobe Bryant says he’s “only a phone call away” if organization needs his advice

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For the first time since he walked off the court in his final game, Kobe Bryant was back at Staples Center Friday night.

The reason was Shaquille O’Neal was getting a statue out in front of Staples Center (a building that may not have gotten built without the two of them). The two famed feuders sat next to each other and joked around through the ceremony. Time heals all wounds.

With the new management of the Lakers — specifically Kobe’s former agent Rob Pelinka as GM — there has been speculation Kobe could take on a role. He’s not looking for something formal, according to reports, but he didn’t say no, either, when asked.

I picture Kobe as a guy who someday buys a team, not a guy who wants to haggle with agents over the details of a contract. He’s not going to take on a day-to-day role, he likes the retired life and what he is building with the Kobe brand.

That said, the Lakers front office can use all the smart voices it can get as they try speed up a rebuild. They should give him a call every once in a while.