It what is the biggest must-win game of the season for the Lakers Tuesday night — at home against the Mavericks, the two teams chasing the Jazz for the final playoff spot in the West — they will be without one of their key off-season acquisitions.
This was expected, the Lakers had hinted this was coming. Steve Blake will get the start in his place.
The Lakers enter Tuesday night half a game back of the Jazz but still tied in the loss column. Win and Los Angeles is tied. Lose and they are a game back — and Utah has the tie breaker (the Jazz won the season series), so the Lakers can’t finish the season tied with the Jazz. Being one game back is like being two back for them.
The Mavericks are two back, one in the loss column. Lose to the Lakers and they are virtually out of it, having to leapfrog two teams with 8 games left in their season. Win and they are still in it (plus they get to .500 and get to shave their beards).
It’s not a literal must-win, but it’s close to it. Very close.
Kyrie Irving: ‘I see you. I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it’
“I see you,” he said. “I see everyone. More than just your physical presence, I see your energy. I feel it. I know it.”
“I think that the most important thing that I strive to live by is extremely by truth and by consistently giving others the truth, without any judgement, without constraints, without anything extra except the understanding that I see you,” he said. “I have family members who come from knowing energy, and it was passed along to me.”
Rose has been out with what seemed like a relative minor, for him at least, ankle injury. The 29-year-old could stick in the league for a while thanks to his reputation and ability to attack the rim to create shots for himself. But the guard is a shell of peak form after years of more serious injuries. This isn’t the career anyone expected for him when he was named the youngest MVP ever in 2011.
The Suns made Mike James – a 27-year-old rookie on a two-way contract – their starting point guard.
Though he eventually ceded the role to Tyler Ulis, James – the only player on a two-way contract to start an NBA game – is still a rotation regular. He’s an aggressive defender and possesses plenty of offensive moves.
The problem: Unless demoted to Phoenix’s minor-league affiliate before then, he’ll max out the 45 allowable NBA days for a two-way player Dec. 6.
We’d still like to get him on the 15-man roster and we’re looking at different ways to do that.
The Suns can unilaterally convert James’ two-contract into a standard one-year minimum deal. Both sides could also negotiate a longer contract.
The bigger issue is clearing a roster spot.
Phoenix has the maximum 15 players with standard contracts with no obvious cuts. Derrick Jones Jr. doesn’t play much, but the 20-year-old’s athleticism creates intriguing upside. Second-rounder Davon Reed is hurt, though teams rarely cut bait so quickly.