It doesn’t matter what shoes he wears tonight, Lonzo Ball isn’t playing.
He left Sunday’s Las Vegas Summer League semi-final game in the third quarter with what was called “calf tightness, , ” and now the team has officially ruled him out for the championship game Monday night against Portland.
Lonzo Ball is out for the SL Final tonight due to the mild calf strain in his right leg that he suffered against Dallas last night.
This is not a surprise, and it’s the right thing to do. Ball has shown plenty in Summer League, he is the team’s starting point guard come the regular season, and he has shown the potential to be a guy who can alter the course of the franchise — there’s no reason to push an injury to win Summer League. Winning this banner doesn’t matter (the Bulls won it last year, how did that set them up for the season?).
Both Josh Hard and P.J. Dozier are out for Los Angeles as well. The Lakers will lean on Kyle Kuzma — he has averaged 20.5 points per game to lead the team in Las Vegas — and Vander Blue to get the title.
Ball averaged 16.3 points and 9.5 assists per game in Summer League, and his court vision and IQ — pushing the ball with passes — changed the dynamic of the Laker squad. Players ran the court, moved off the ball, and knew if they worked hard they would get rewarded with looks. Ball also struggled with his shot, shooting 38.5 percent overall and not impressing from three, and he needs to improve that because NBA defenses will make him a scorer to prove he can do it. Bottom line is, he was one of the most exciting players in Summer Leag and a guy that showed a lot of potential. No reason to risk that for a Summer League game if he’s not right.
LeBron James, Dwyane Wade on time they faced off 1-on-1: “We was out there killing each other”
James: “We played 1-on-1 one time in our whole life, and it was during the finals. Eastern Conference finals 2010 (they meant the 2010-11 season, that ECF was in May 2011). Our first year.”
Wade: “It was more-so to set a precedent for our teammates because we got our ass kicked the game before, Game 1 by Chicago. They tore us.”
James: “MVP Rose tore our ass up in Chicago, and we came in the next day, we was like we need to set the tone, so we was out there killing each other playing 1-on-1.”
Wade: “We never finished.”
James: “We never finished. We got to the point where (head coach Erik Spoelstra) blew the whistle, like bring it in.”
Wade: “Everybody was just watching us. We was going at it. We competitive, we was going at it, but we was setting a tone for this is how it’s gotta go. You gotta be able to go at this. We’re two of the best players in this game. We going at each other in the Eastern Conference finals right now. We out there killing each other, and this is what ya’ll better do tomorrow. Because we got beat on the boards by 20-something and we have to come with it, and we won four in a row.”
A 2011 Heat practice? There has to be video of this somewhere.
Miami did win that Eastern Conference Finals, but LeBron and Wade should have gone at it again during the NBA Finals, where the Heat lost to Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks.
Report: Rockets’ Luc Mbah a Moute expected to miss 2-3 weeks
Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni’s first inclination might be to shorten his rotation. He should mostly resist it.
Home-court advantage is important, and P.J. Tucker and Trevor Ariza can play more power forward (with Eric Gordon absorbing more minutes at small forward). But it’s also better to play Troy Williams more now than to wear down the players Houston will rely on in the playoffs, when D’Antoni will surely keep his rotation tight.
PBT Podcast: Early trade deadline breakdown with Dan Feldman
The NBA’s trade market did not collapse after the Jahlil Okafor trade.
There’s more to come, but with the trade deadline is less than two months away, we have more questions than answers. DeAndre Jordan very likely could be on the move from the Clippers (and Lou Williams, too). But what is Memphis going to do about Mark Gasol? New Orleans with DeMarcus Cousins? Oklahoma City with Paul George? And if any of those guys are available, who is a buyer? Cleveland? Milwaukee? Portland?
Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman of NBC Sports break down the high end of the trade market, plus talk about other guys who could be on the move — maybe Nikola Mirotic from Chicago, and what about someone like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist from Charlotte — before Feb. 8 gets here. The last couple of trade deadlines have been interesting, but will we see a move that changes the landscape of the NBA playoffs in a meaningful way?