D’Angelo Russell drops 40, young Lakers make rested Cavaliers work for win

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LOS ANGELES — Tyronn Lue was channeling Apollo Creed’s trainer from Rocky: “He doesn’t know it’s a damn show! He thinks it’s a damn fight!”

“Sometimes you have to understand it is not a show but a competition,” the Cavaliers’ coach said after his team came from behind to beat the Lakers Sunday night at Staples Center. “When we get to L.A. and play teams like this we consider it a show instead of a competition. When you get down early it hurts your confidence, and now you got to fight and try and win your game.”

The Cavaliers coasted defensively through three quarters, the Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell got hot, and it took LeBron James taking over like an MVP for a stretch in the fourth — and Kyrie Irving dropping 46 — for Cleveland to get out of the building with a 125-120 win.

The Cavaliers should have been rested since LeBron, Irving, and Kevin Love all having sat out on Saturday against the Clippers (Irving and Love were coming off injuries, the Cavaliers didn’t want to play them in a back-to-back, so they chose to have them go against the Lakers). This is a game the Cavaliers should have won easily on paper.

They got the win, but it wasn’t easy. Call it treating the game like a show or just a late-season malaise, the Cavaliers weren’t at their peak and the Lakers took full advantage.

“We was out of sync a little bit, but they shot the ball extremely well,” LeBron said.

Russell got the start with Nick Young battling the flu, and he was knocking down threes and dropped a career-high 40 points.

“Honestly, I feel like I was aggressive from the jump,” Russell said. “Usually when I get myself in trouble turning the ball over it’s because I’m not being aggressive.”

“(Russell is) a great young player, I’ve been playing against him for a few years in the league and I understand what he means to the Lakers,” Irving said.

Lakers’ coach Luke Walton started Russell and Clarkson in the backcourt together, a pairing that had been a disaster most of the season — outscored by 22 points per 100 possessions in 464 minutes coming into the game — but it worked for three quarters this time.

The Clarkson/Russell pairing was also -14 Sunday because in the end they don’t defend well and no answer for Irving.

Cleveland’s big three combined to score 101 points, they carried the day for the Cavs, who in the end get the road win they wanted and a split in Los Angeles. It wasn’t pretty, but on the road late in the season a win is a win.

 

Retired from the NBA or not, Tim Duncan would kick your a** in an MMA fight

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Tim Duncan has retired from the NBA.

But if you think that means he’s not still wearing Punisher T-shirts and is not still working out and staying in shape, you should watch the video above.

San Antonio-based kickboxing trainer Jason Echols posted a Facebook video of him and Duncan sparing, and the 41-year-old five-time NBA champ is still kicking a**. Sure, this sparring is at half speed, but if Duncan were going all out he could do some real damage.

He’s probably even got a move called the bank shot in his repertoire.

(Hat tip Eye on Basketball)

Watch LeBron James walk over to scorer’s table at son’s AAU game to correct score

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I feel LeBron on this one. I have two daughters who play on club soccer teams and I get more frustrated, angrier at referees, and generally am far more emotionally invested their youth games than any NBA game. Over the years I have learned a lot, both from and saw it echoed in Coach David Thorpe’s book, about how to be supportive to them and their experiences, not make it about my feelings and wishes.

But sometimes you need to step in.

LeBron James is in Las Vegas and so far all the stories have been about how he is working out with Derrick Rose, Eric Bledsoe, Chris Paul, and what does that all mean (nothing, NBA guys often work out together all summer, especially teammates and guys who share an agent). But he’s also there for the AAU Adidas Uprising tournament where his son is playing.

And when LeBron saw the score was wrong, he went over to the scorer’s table at a time out to tell them.

I love the way the scorer’s wave him off, like they would any parent who walks up and complains.

Then they corrected the score, because LeBron was right. You knew he would be, the man has an eidetic memory about basketball.

Here are the 10 best crossovers from this past NBA season

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NBA offenses in 2017 may be highly advanced, but there is always room for a good old crossover.

That’s why we are bringing you 10 of the best crossovers from this past season. Some of the usual suspects — like Stephen Curry and Russell Westbrook — bless the list.

Take a look at all of the highlight plays above and let us know what you think.

Meanwhile, I expect we will see more players doing be Shammgod next season.

Watch the 10 best dunks from the 2016-17 NBA season

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The 2016 NBA season will be known for the MVP battle between Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Or will it?

It could also be remembered for the Golden State Warriors seeking and achieving their redemption over the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2017 NBA Finals.

No matter what, there are always great dunks to be seen in the NBA on a nightly basis.

Take a look in the video above. Do you agree with No. 1?