LeBron James defends pass to Kyle Korver late in Game 3 from criticism

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LeBron James is the first NBA superstar of the social media age, and with that has come a microscopic level of scrutiny — seemingly often from people who do not know the game.

The latest idiotic bit of criticism of LeBron comes from his decision to pass to Kyle Korver in the corner for a good look three with under one minute to go in the game and the Cavaliers up two. Korver missed, Kevin Durant took the ball the other way and hit what would prove to be the game-winner.

The criticism is that LeBron should have shot rather than passed. Which is stupid on multiple levels. Of course, LeBron was asked about that play after the game and if he would do it differently if he could do it over again.

“If I could have the play over again, I would come off a three screen situation,” LeBron said. “Draymond would switch on me with five fouls. I would get him leaning. I would drive left. I would see K.D. step up. I would see Stephen Curry drop on Kevin. And I would see Kyle Korver in the corner, one of the greatest three-point shooters in this league’s history, and give him an opportunity in the short corner. I would do the same exact thing.”

LeBron has been criticized since before he won his first ring for making plays like this — he chose to make the right basketball play rather than jack up a contested shot, and fans get on him if the shot doesn’t fall. He gets the blame for not playing hero ball, even though we can watch the team smacking the Cavaliers around in the Finals to see why hero ball is not how you win big.

Here are some other thoughts.

• Kyle Korver shot 59 percent on left corner threes this season, he was 50 percent from the left corner in the playoffs (7-of-14). He is fifth on the NBA’s all-time list of most made three-pointers in a career. It’s not like LeBron passed it to Tristan Thompson for a three, this is Kyle Freakin’ Korver.

• LeBron was not driving directly at the rim, so you’re talking a leaner over multiple defenders, including Durant’s length. That is not a high percentage shot, not as good as Korver from the corner.

• No, you don’t know that Draymond Green would have fouled him. Green’s a smart player who had gone five minutes without fouling out, and again the help defender was there. If you’re saying that LeBron should have driven at him, well…

“I had a 101 drives last night (laughter). I didn’t have 101, but you get the gist of it,” James said. “I’m sorry I didn’t go for 102.”

• LeBron had a 39/11/9 night, he was +7 in the game — the Cavaliers were -12 in the 2:23 he was rested. But sure, it’s his fault they lost.

• A lot of the criticism of LeBron online (especially Twitter) seems to come from the self-appointed guardians of the legacies of Kobe Bryant or Michael Jordan. People emotionally invested in seeing LeBron fail because they falsely believe it makes their guy look better (these people love the “count the ringzzzzz” argument). I’m pretty sure I remember Jordan passing to Steve Kerr and John Paxson in key moments. I’m pretty sure I remember Kobe Bryant passing to Derek Fisher or Robert Horry or Shaq in key moments. Would Kobe have taken that shot? Probably. But his clutch numbers suggest that may not have been the best option.

 

Brook Lopez ducks LeBron, then airballs two free throws (VIDEO)

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Los Angeles Lakers big man Brook Lopez is a good free-throw shooter. He is shooting 79.7% the year in 2017, and indeed is a 79.4% FT shooter for his career.

You wouldn’t know that given the sequence that happened on Thursday night as the Lakers took on the Cleveland Cavaliers in Ohio.

Lopez’s confidence seemed to be shaken when in the first half LeBron James was driving down the middle of the floor and came in for a dunk. Lopez was standing underneath the basket, and graciously stepped out of the way despite being the tallest player on the floor and the most likely candidate to challenge LeBron at the rim.

Via Twitter:

Just 40 seconds later, Lopez went to the line and missed too straight free throws via airball.

Via Twitter:

The sequence was topped off around 12 seconds later when Lopez racked up a goaltending violation.

It was a tough outing for all of the Lakers as Cleveland got the better of them, 121-112.

Kevin Garnett on Timberwolves ownership: “They suck”

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Kevin Garnett and the Minnesota Timberwolves are at odds. That should come as no surprise.

Garnett has publicly said that he would like to buy out Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor as opposed to partnering with him in someway for the team. For his part, Taylor has said that Garnett has failed to reach out after the team said they wanted to retire his number.

Then there’s the whole issue that Garnett has with how the team handled Flip Saunders’ death.

It’s a back-and-forth situation, and Garnett isn’t afraid to speak his mind as he did recently with vice sports. Speaking with Michael Pina, Garnett had some very choice words when he was describing the front office and ownership of the Timberwolves.

Via Vice Sports:

I’m more with individuals versus the teams. I’ve gotta admit that. I’ve gotta say that Embiid, Karl-Anthony Towns, Jokic, Porzingis, Damian Lillard, Curry, Durant, I’m enjoying the young bucks, watching young Ingram get better and watching little L. Ball figure it out, you know what I’m saying? I’m checking it all out. I like individuals, not so much on the organizations. Obviously I’m gonna be with Minnesota and the players. Not so much upstairs. I don’t really deal with Minnesota’s upstairs. They suck. But Boston, all day. You know I’m a C ‘till I die. I always root for Brooklyn. But other than that I don’t really get into too many of the upstairs. I’m more watching the guys and watching their progression.

How much do you want to see Kevin Garnett as owner of the Timberwolves? It would be great when he comes into the office at 6 AM every day dressed in a full suit already with a full bead of sweat on.

Kristaps Porzingis leaves game with sore left knee

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Everyone please hold your collective groans until the end.

On Thursday night, New York Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis had to leave with an apparent left knee injury on a non-contact play against the Brooklyn Nets.

The play happened early in the third quarter when was guarding Brooklyn’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. After the play, Porzingis came up wincing on his left knee and immediately asked out of the game.

Via Twitter:

As a publication, the team had only released for that Porzingis would not return to the game against the Nets. For Porzingis’ part, it looks like he is feeling OK for now, although he has yet to be examined for a definitive prognosis. Non-contact injuries seem to give us pause given injuries to players like Derrick Rose, but there’s no reason to panic just yet. He did walk off by his own, so that’s heartening.

Let’s hope Porzingis returns to the floor after a bit of ice and some rest.

NBA “City” jerseys appear to leak via NBA 2K18, and they’re real ugly (PHOTOS)

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We’ve seen NBA jerseys leak accidentally in the past, and the new Nike uniforms haven’t been a well-kept secret.

The new jersey sponsor announced plans for four kits for each team, with the final one supposedly coming late in the year or early in 2018. Now, it seems we have our answer for what Nike’s “City” jerseys will look like for many clubs.

According to the guys over at SportsLogos.net, the popular video game franchise NBA 2K accidentally leaked many of the city jerseys for the teams. There is a huge group of photos for these jerseys, and many of them are absolutely terrible.

Here’s a smattering of some of the worst offenders (although “smattering” is a loose term considering there are a lot to choose from):

The Magic one is an iPhone background, Utah’s is ORANGE, Oklahoma City’s looks like an abbreviation for a regional auto parts store … it just goes on and on like this.

Out of the ones leaked thus far, I see only two universally good ones (although the staggered numbers on the New Orleans ones gives me pause):

What is happening in the NBA with these uniforms?