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.

Kobe Bryant with spin move around LeBron James (VIDEO)

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The game itself went about how you’d expect one between a title contender and a high lottery team to go — the Cavaliers 120-111 win over the Lakers was never really in doubt.

But the fans in Cleveland wanted to see some vintage Kobe Bryant, and they got it late when he spun around LeBron James and hit the reverse lay-up.

LeBron had 29 points on the night, and Kyrie Irving had 35. Kobe finished with 17 and got a standing ovation from the Cleveland crowd.

Suns’ Markieff Morris, Archie Goodwin get in scuffle on the bench

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Just another magical day in the Valley of the Sun, where clearly Jeff Hornacek was the problem….

During an early timeout in the Suns’ game at Golden State, Markieff Morris tried to explain something to Archie Goodwin, who is seated. This conversation gets heated quickly, and teammates eventually have to step in and separate the two teammates.

The Suns have shopped Morris around as the trade deadline approaches, this isn’t going to help his value.

We should find out more about what happened after the game ends, although I’m sure both sides will play it down as “nothing.”

Kawhi Leonard drains game winner to beat Orlando (VIDEO)

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This is how much Gregg Popovich trusts Kawhi Leonard on offense now: Tie game with 13.3 seconds remaining, and the play design is a 1-4 flat isolation for Leonard. It’s the kind of play teams will call for LeBron James or Kevin Durant. Popovich just called it for Leonard.

And he was rewarded with a game-winning bucket.

Leonard finished with 29 points, LaMarcus Aldridge had 21, and the Spurs head into the All-Star break with a 45-8 record, on pace to win 70 games this season. And that still would only get them a two seed.

Hornets’ Michael Kidd-Gilchrist suffers shoulder dislocation, leaves game

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
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Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had been back just six games after suffering a torn labrum in the preseason that required surgery. The Hornets had won four of those six, were playing improved defense, and looked like a potential playoff team in the East.

Now this.

He went straight to the locker room and did not return to the game (the Pacers got the win).

You can see the injury above. In a scramble for a loose ball, the Pacers’ Ian Mahinmi falls on MKG’s arm, dislocating his shoulder.

We don’t know the severity of all this and if MKG is going to miss time beyond this game. But it isn’t good.