LeBron James (6)

LeBron James ditches mask in loss to Spurs


Is LeBron done with the mask, or is he just taking a break?

Midway through the first quarter of the Heat’s loss to the Spurs, LeBron took his mask off during a timeout. He’d missed his only shot, and Miami trailed by eight.

He didn’t exactly light the world on fire after that, shooting 6-for-18 in a 111-87 loss (though maybe the mask – or other accessories – hindered him in ways other than shooting).

Announcement: Pro Basketball Talk’s partner FanDuel is hosting a one-day $100,000 Fantasy Basketball league for Friday night’s games. It’s $25 to join and first prize is $15,000. Starts at 7pm ET on Friday. Here’s the FanDuel link.

The mask is a preventative measure. It protects players who’ve already experienced nose injuries from having another while they’re more susceptible and when they’d be more affected. It’s also, surely, a pain to play with.

LeBron is hardly the first player to scrap a mask before he’s supposed to be done with it or even the first to do so mid-game. I’ve never seen someone pay for it with another hit to the nose, but if players keep pressing their luck…

Still, maybe that chance is worth the added comfort and playing better.

Hezonja throws down one-handed dunk in preseason debut

Orlando Magic Introduce 2015 NBA Draft Picks
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Mario Hezonja, the No. 5 pick in this year’s draft, has never lacked for confidence. The Croatian guard made his pro debut in the Magic’s preseason game against the Hornets on Saturday and did this:

Between Hezonja, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Aaron Gordon, the Magic have a nucleus of young players that has the potential to be a lot of fun. Even if they’re still a few years away from contending, they’re definitely going to be a League Pass favorite this year.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers dislocated shoulder in preseason game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Solomon Hill
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Preseason is only just getting underway and there’s already a potentially serious injury to report. In the game between the Hornets and Magic on Saturday night, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist was taken to the locker room after suffering a right shoulder injury. The Hornets announced that he was then taken to an Orlando-area hospital for follow-up x-rays:

A few hours after the game, the Hornets announced that Kidd-Gilchrist has a dislocated shoulder:

Depending on the severity of the injury, he could miss a few weeks or a few months. Hopefully, it’s the shorter end of that timeline. We should know more on Sunday.