lebron lakers
AP

LeBron scores 16 in fourth as Cavaliers outlast Lakers, 119-108

1 Comment

CLEVELAND (AP) LeBron James scored 16 points in the fourth quarter, Kyrie Irving matched a career high with 12 assists and the refreshed Cleveland Cavaliers finally put away Los Angeles in the fourth quarter, beating the young Lakers 119-108 on Saturday night.

Kevin Love had 27 points and a season-high 17 rebounds, leading the Cavs to their sixth win in seven games.

The Cavs were back at full strength after coach Tyronn Lue left James, Love and Irving behind earlier this week for a game in Memphis, a decision that sparked some criticism as fans were denied a chance to see the three stars and Cleveland lost.

Irving looked more like himself in his first game in a week, adding 21 points as the Cavs improved to 19-6.

James, who was late getting onto the floor before the game, scored 26 points and needs two more to pass Moses Malone for eighth place on the career scoring list.

Nick Young made eight 3-pointers and scored a season-high 32 for the Lakers, who snapped an eight-game losing streak on Friday in Philadelphia and were a headache for the defending NBA champions all night.

Jordan Clarkson added 20 points and Los Angeles rookie Brandon Ingram missed a triple-double by one point and an assist.

Channing Frye and James each hit a 3 to help Cleveland to a 95-86 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Lakers refused to give in and were still within 110-105 when James drained another 3-pointer with 2:32 left as Cleveland closed the game on a 10-3 run.

Los Angeles first-year coach Luke Walton wanted his team to “come out swinging. Nobody is expecting us to win.” The Lakers did just that, taking an eight-point lead after one quarter and outworking the Cavs, who weren’t connected on either end of the floor.

Cleveland briefly turned up its defensive intensity to offset its sluggish start, opening the second quarter with a 15-2 run.

The Lakers, though, hung around by making 16 3-pointers and had a chance for an upset before James took over in the fourth.

TIP-INS

Lakers: G D'Angelo Russell was inactive with a sore left knee that has bothered him most of the season. He scored 15 in Friday’s win. … Walton was an assistant with Golden State last season and said he has yet to watch Cleveland’s Game 7 win in the NBA Finals. “You don’t get over losing Game 7,” he said. “You’re happy for the guys here, but it sticks with you for the rest of your life.” … Walton spent two seasons playing with the Cavs, who were rebuilding in 2011-13 after James left for Miami. “I had a blast here. We didn’t win a lot,” he said. “But the fans were great and packed the arena every night. Good memories for me.”

Cavaliers: Cleveland has won five straight over the Lakers. … The Cavs have won 25 of their last 29 at home against Western Conference teams. … Lue said he and general manager David Griffin are still discussing roster options after C Chris “Birdman” Andersen sustained a season-ending – and likely career-ending – knee injury in practice Friday. The Cavs have been looking to add a backup point guard, but may now also be in the market for a big. Lue said the Cavs will miss Andersen’s positive energy. “I love what he stands for,” Lue said.

UP NEXT

Lakers: Continue their six-game trip at Charlotte on Tuesday.

Cavaliers: At Milwaukee on Tuesday before hosting the Bucks on Wednesday.

Edmond Sumner declares for NBA draft despite torn ACL

Andy Lyons/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Edmond Sumner has grown about five inches since high school.

That has helped turn the 6-foot-5 Xavier point guard into an intriguing NBA prospect — but also seemingly contributed to physical complications. Sumner missed nearly all of his freshman year with knee tendinitis. Then, after a promising second season and start to his third, he tore his ACL in January.

Still, he’s entering the NBA draft.

Sumner:

Rick Broering of Musketeer Report:

Like with Duke’s Harry Giles, medical testing will be huge with Sumner. But at least Giles ended the season on the court. Sumner might not be healthy at all during the pre-draft process.

Sumner looked like a borderline first-round pick before the injury. This probably pushes him into the second round.

His long strides provide impressive speed and quickness, and he’s still shifty. Add quality court vision, and his ability to drive by defenders is even more valuable.

A 6-foot-8 wingspan and good lateral mobility also help make him a quality defender.

But it’s also concerning that so much of his positives could be undermined by his knee issues, especially considering his unreliable jumper. If Sumner can’t move like he did before getting hurt, I don’t see how he sticks in the NBA.

If Sumner’s knees check out, it’s worth rolling the dice on him and hoping his jumper develops. He might even be OK without shooting range, though that’d lower his ceiling considerably.

Again, though, the first thing is examining his knees.

PBT Extra: Can Boston hang on to the No. 1 seed in East?

Leave a comment

In an unexpected twist as the season winds down, the Cavaliers have stumbled — 8-11 since the All-Star break — while the Celtics have just kept on winning. Suddenly the Boston Celtics are on top of the East with the best record.

Can they stay on top through the rest of the season?

Does it matter to the Cavaliers?

I cover all this ground in the latest PBT Extra.

Draymond Green on Raiders move to Las Vegas: I won’t attend another game

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
5 Comments

The Raiders are moving from Oakland to Las Vegas, and Draymond Green — whose Warriors also play in Oakland is not pleased.

Green, via Monte Poole of CSN Bay Area:

I wouldn’t attend a game. I won’t attend a game.

“And I’m not a diehard Raiders fan, but I support the city of Oakland. It ain’t for me and I feel like all fans should feel that way. You just don’t do that. Come on man, that’s ridiculous.”

“If I were the fans, I wouldn’t attend a game for the next two years. But that’s just me. That’s ridiculous. No way I’d pay my money to attend a game.”

 

Um, does Green realize the Warriors are also moving from Oakland (to a new arena in San Francisco)?

Green:

“It’s one thing if you’re moving them from Oakland to Fremont or something,” Green said of the Raiders. “To Las Vegas?

OK, that’s Fair. I am just being pedantic. I don’t actually see moving across the bay as similar to the Raiders moving hundreds of miles away.

Green:

“That’s like moving the Dallas Cowboys or moving the Packers,” he said. “Moving the Raiders? You can move a lot of teams. Ain’t many fan bases like the Raiders fan base. That’s like moving the Boston Celtics from Boston or the Lakers from LA.

“You just don’t move certain franchises with the fan base they have.”

But seriously this time: Someone tell Green that the Raiders have already moved from Oakland to Los Angeles and back to Oakland — hundreds of miles each way and a ridiculous drive in traffic.

I get that Green — who grew up in Detroit Lions territory, roots for the Pittsburgh Steelers and is pictured above in a San Francisco 49ers jersey — just wants to connect with Oakland fans, but this argument is just intellectually dishonest.

Lonzo Ball: I’m better than Markelle Fultz

AP Photo/Elaine Thompson
6 Comments

Who should go No. 1 in the 2017 NBA draft?

A pair of Pac-12 freshmen point guards, Washington’s Markelle Fultz and UCLA’s Lonzo Ball, lead the discussion.

Fultz looks like the leading contender, but Ball doesn’t buy into the conventional wisdom.

Ball, via ESPN:

“Markelle’s a great player, but I feel I’m better than him,” said Ball, who led the Bruins to a pair of blowout victories over Fultz’s Huskies this season.

“I think I can lead a team better than him,” Ball added. “Obviously he’s a great scorer — he’s a great player, so I’m not taking that away from him.”

This will get spun into a discussion of Lonzo’s father, LaVar Ball. But, without digging deeply, D'Angelo Russell, Shabazz Muhammad and Enes Kanter each claimed to be the best player in their respective drafts. Look further, and there are many more examples.

Reaching Lonzo Ball’s level usually comes with supreme confidence. This is normal — not a cause for concern about the influence of his boastful dad.

And for what’s it’s worth, I’d favor Ball over Fultz right now, though there’s still more information to gather in the draft process.