Report: Cavaliers to retire Ilgauskas’ number in March

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Zydrunas Ilgauskas is beloved in Cleveland after spending 13 years with the Cavaliers, being a good player on the court and a rock solid member in the community through some rough years for that franchise (and a few good ones). Look at it this way: When LeBron James bolted for Miami in 2010 Ilgauskas went with him but Big Z was cheered upon his return. There were no hard feelings.

It’s been rumored for more than two years that the Cavaliers were going to retire Ilgauskas’ number, but it looks like they will finally get around to it March 8 when the Cavaliers host the Knicks, reports the Plain Dealer.

Ilgauskas’ story is one of perseverance — the first round pick of the Cavaliers lost his entire rookie season to a foot injury. He played in the full 82 games the next season (1998) but lingering foot issues held him back to 29 games over the next three seasons. He seemed a bust that couldn’t get healthy, but he wouldn’t quit. He kept working out and by 2002 he was again a regular part of the rotation for Cleveland.

By 2003 he was an All-Star (he was again in 2005) and he is still the franchise’s all time leader in rebounds, blocked shots and games played, and he’s second all time in points.

By the way, the Plain Dealer has the answer to your trivia question: There are six other Cavaliers with their numbers already retired.

Ilgauskas will be the seventh Cavalier to have his number retired, and the first since Mark Price’s No. 25 in 1999. Other players so honored include Nate Thurmond (42), Bingo Smith (7), Austin Carr (34), Larry Nance (22) and Brad Daugherty (43).

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.