While you were hopping from Irish pub to Irish pub Sunday, the NBA was putting a pretty solid slate of eight games. We had some surprise good performances and some from the usual suspects. Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook, we’re sorry. On Selection Sunday you were the bubble guys who got cut from Three Stars.
Third Star: Antawn Jamison(27 points, 9 rebounds)
The Lakers needed someone to step up and score with Kobe Bryant out, and just as we all expected it was Jamison and Steve Blake. Okay, maybe expected isn’t the right word there. Jamison certainly has shown the ability to put the ball in the hole over his career, but he played like it was a decade ago on Sunday night — not only was he knocking down outside shots he was making smart, veteran cuts to the basket and getting buckets inside. If the Lakers are going to make the playoffs these are the kind of games they have to win and Jamison was key for the Lakers on Sunday.
Second Star: Kevin Durant(31 points, 9 rebounds)
Russell Westbrook deserves a lot of credit for the Thunder winning this game — he and Serge Ibaka carried the Thunder for the first three quarters. And Westbrook hit the go-ahead shot late n the fourth quarter. But when they needed him Durant was key for the Thunder, dropping 19 fourth-quarter points on 7-of-11 shooting. He missed a few of his shots right at the end, but he was what I would define as clutch on Sunday.
First Star: Monta Ellis (39 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists)
It wasn’t just the 39 points, it was that he scored 25 of them in the fourth quarter to lead the Bucks to a win. The Bucks were down a dozen points midway through the fourth and looked like they were on their way to an embarrassing loss when Ellis took charge. His jumper falling as he went 5-of-5 from three and 8-of-10 overall for the quarter (which is amazing after he shot 5-of-12 in the first three quarters). The last of Ellis’ threes came with 13 seconds left to seal the Bucks win. When his shot is falling he is a lot of fun to watch, even it’s just for a quarter now and again.
Magic sending Raptors draft pick as compensation for hiring Jeff Weltman
“It’s just a personal goal of mine,” James said Thursday before Cavs shootaround in preparation of Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Boston Celtics. “It has nothing to do with passing the rings, passing the points, passing MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated — that’s all.”
“You guys are going to have the conversations about who is greatest of all time and things of that nature,” James said. “It doesn’t matter to me. At the end of the day, it’s so funny that the conversation is always talked about in the NBA about who is the greatest but it’s never talked about in the NFL about who is the greatest quarterback. It’s just like: [Dan] Marino, [John] Elway, [Peyton] Manning and [Tom] Brady. All great quarterbacks, you know — and it should be the same for us.
Jordan or LeBron? Save your hot takes. LeBron just burnt them all.
The greatest quarterback of all time is never debated? Claiming that is now the hottest take in the entire realm of the Jordan-LeBron debate.
Celtics president Danny Ainge, whose team holds the No. 1 pick, on 98.5 the Sports Hub:
We just tried to get him in for a workout, and they politely said no.
It’s not ideal.
Listen, we’ve drafted guys that wouldn’t come in for workouts before. I mean, it’s not the end of the world. We’ve watched them play a ton. We have a lot of information on them.
Good for Ball. Professional sports teams already hold inordinate power over players entering the workforce. In no other industry are top young employees assigned to a particular company, the worst-performing companies typically getting priority, with no ability to bargain with competitors.
Ball wants to play for the Lakers, who offer proximity to his family and hold the No. 2 pick. He can’t force Boston to pass on him or Los Angeles to pick him. But he can influence decision-making.
It seemed likely the Celtics would draft Markelle Fultz, and though they could still pick Ball, him declining a workout with Boston makes that only less likely. The Lakers will probably draft Ball, but this plan carries risk. If they pass, he could fall once he gets to teams less familiar with him.
Still, Ball deserves to decide for himself how to manage his career – especially in such a closed job market. Not working out for the Celtics is probably his best path to getting where he wans to go.