LeBron James was making his first tour of the Philippines recently, a Nike sponsored tour to boost his brand in on of the world’s real basketball hotbeds.
The tour was filled with the usual appearances and a few games. And he didn’t really say anything you wouldn’t expect, but one thing he said could be scary for the rest of the NBA.
“I’m still getting better,” LeBron said. “I don’t want to be the same player I was this past season, I want to come into this season a new, improved, better LeBron James. We’ll see what happens, man. But I will come back a better player.”
LeBron does work on his game in the offseason — he didn’t used to be able to hit threes, now he does at a 40.6 percent clip last season. He developed a post game. And there are always things that can be added to the mix.
Frankly, he is going to have to be a little better next season for Miami to complete a three-peat — the Pacers will be better with experience and depth (and Danny Granger), the Bulls get Derrick Rose back, the Nets added talent for a one or two year run, and the Knicks defense could be better as well. Miami needs a healthier Dwyane Wade, more out of Chris Bosh, more out of the role players and mostly more out of LeBron James to overcome that.
The New York Knicks couldn’t get out of their own way on Thursday night, even with a historic performance from Carmelo Anthony. With the Washington Wizards in town, it was John Wall‘s finishing ability that pushed the Wiz over New York, 113-110.
The final 45 seconds were hectic, as Wall took the lead for Washington with just 32 seconds left after drawing a foul on Carmelo.
Down by 1, Anthony then missed a jumper with 18 seconds left and the Knicks allowed Wall to do this:
Wall would go on to steal the final possession from the Knicks, and the Wizards left MSG with a win.
Gregg Popovich can be a fiesty dude, and sometimes he just wants to get his team pumped up. After news that Pau Gasol was going to be absent from the San Antonio Spurs’ lineup against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, perhaps this was his way of doing that?
Late in the second quarter in Denver, Popovich was seen arguing with a baseline official as play continued on. Pop was hit with an initial tech, and as the officiating crew walked away he blasted ’em with the best dad insult I’ve heard in a long time.
“You’re a terrible referee!”
Meanwhile, Emmanuel Mudiay was more than happy to assist with the second technical and ejection portion of Popovich’s tirade.
Long Live Pop.
Kristaps Porzingis is “The Unicorn” perhaps in part because of his high basketball awareness on the offensive end of the floor. On Thursday night against the Washington Wizards, the New York Knicks big man had an incredible putback dunk that surprised even his teammates.
Thanks to a missed Courtney Lee 3-pointer, Porzingis was able to fly in from beyond the arc to slam home two points.
Yeah, that’s crazy.
There’s putback dunks and then there’s flying in from beyond the 3-point line like this one. Wild.
The San Antonio Spurs will have to make do without PF/C for a while Pau Gasol thanks to a recent fracture in his left ring finger.
That’s according to a press release from the team, who said Gasol fractured his fourth metacarpal — the bone that connects the ring finger down to the carpal bones in the wrist area — during warmups before a game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night.
No word yet from the team on recovery time, but estimates given similar recent NBA player injuries suggest anywhere from 4-8 weeks.
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward missed the first month of the season after fracturing his finger in early October. Cleveland Cavaliers PG Kyrie Irving missed around a month in 2012 with a similar injury.
Here’s hoping Gasol can make it back to the court quickly for the Spurs.