Byron Scott, Magic Johnson, Mitch Kupchak

Magic Johnson: ‘If I don’t see another 3-pointer from a Laker team, I’ll be happy’

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Mike D’Antoni likes 3-pointers. His run-and-gun Lakers attempted 2,032 shots from beyond the arc last season, a franchise record.

Magic Johnson dislikes D’Antoni. Johnson publicly celebrated the former Lakers coach losing his job.

Therefore, apparently using the transitive property, Johnson has convinced himself he dislikes 3-pointers.

Johnson, via Eric Pincus at the Los Angeles Times:

"The team is better than what we had last season, because we have more guys who can do more things than just shoot 3-pointers," said Johnson.  "If I don’t see another 3-pointer from a Laker team, I’ll be happy."

The Lakers actually shot pretty well on 3-pointers last year, making 38 percent of their attempts, third-best in the NBA. It was the rest of their skills that caused them to go 27-55. Outside shooting was a bright spot.

But as he’s wont to do, Johnson is speaking from a place not rooted in the reality of the present.

See, he didn’t need 3-pointers to become the greatest point guard in NBA history. Among the top 15 guards by win shares since the NBA added the 3-point arc, Johnson ranks last in 3-pointers made, last in 3-pointers attempted and last in 3-point percentage.

So because he didn’t shoot 3-pointers, his beloved Lakers shouldn’t.

Or something.

The 2013-14 Lakers scored 114.3 points per 3-point attempt. Johnson’s teams never scored more than 110.2 points per 100 field-goal attempts, and the league-wide record on points per 100 shots is 110.8 (set by the Heat last year).

In other words, the Lakers were more efficient on 3-pointers last season than any team has ever been on all shots.

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Of course, if the 2013-14 Lakers shot only 3-pointers, their efficiency would have dropped considerably. I’m in no way suggesting their outside shooting was the greatest offensive weapon in NBA history. But considering how well that shot stacks up with the production of all-time great offenses – even the five Johnson-led teams in the top 30 of points per shot – 3-point-attempts from the 2013-14 Lakers were incredibly valuable.

That’s just the way the league is changing. Players are better than ever from beyond the arc, and those attempts help space the floor for interior scorers. Now, 3-pointers are a double-edged sword, giving teams efficient points from long distance and setting them up for efficient interior scoring.

Future Lakers teams shouldn’t spurn outside shots due to a bad association with D’Antoni.

Not that I count on Johnson-approved Byron Scott to fall into such a trap.

Hopefully, Magic doesn’t turn on Scott for not being Phil Jackson, too.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.