One benefit of the Cavaliers trading for Antawn Jamison is that it may help them match up better against the Orlando Magic. The Magic were able to eliminate the Cavaliers from the playoffs last year because of the matchup problems they caused, particularly in the frontcourt.
In the off-season, the Cavaliers added Shaquille O’Neal, who has done a great job defending Dwight Howard both times the two teams have met this season. With the addition of Jamison to defend Rashard Lewis, some believe that the Cavs can now handle the Magic on defense.
However, Lewis isn’t worrying about the new-look Cavaliers. The Orlando Sentinel’s Tania Ganguli
reports that Lewis said the following:
“It doesn’t scare me,” Lewis said. “I’ve been on all star teams as well as him. I think it’s going to come down to who executes better on the defensive end. Most definitely a great player. … At the same time one guy doesn’t win ballgames. They do have another guy called LeBron James which is going to be our focus.”
Lewis has had serious problems with Jamison in the past. John Schuhmann of NBA.com tweeted last night that in his past 9 games against Jamison, Lewis has averaged 12.8 points per game on 38% shooting. The Cavaliers would be thrilled if Jamison can hold Lewis to anywhere near that level of play when and if the teams meet in a playoff series.
Ultimately, Jamison’s numbers are a good omen for the Cavaliers, but don’t mean Lewis is incapable of having offensive success against Jamison. Lewis is a 6-10 power forward who will launch threes at the bat of an eyelash. When he’s on, there’s no stopping him. When he’s off, there’s no defender who doesn’t look great. It’s possible to make Lewis’ life more difficult, but there’s no way to guarantee safety against a shooter of his caliber. If his confidence is high and he’s in a groove when the Magic play the Cavaliers, you can throw Jamison’s previous numbers against Lewis out the window.
The Lakers initially called LeBron James day-to-day with the groin injury he suffered on Christmas.
He missed more than five weeks.
Maybe he should have sat even longer.
Karen Joubert, via Complex Sports:
Maybe LeBron returned too soon. This injury allowed that, even if it put him at risk of reaggravation if not fully recovered.
Maybe LeBron just healed especially quickly. Even among world-class athletes, he is an elite athlete.
Maybe Joubert is exaggerating. People tend to do that with LeBron’s body.
There’s plenty of room for interpretation, but it sure looked like LeBron was still hobbled.
What does this mean for LeBron and the Lakers going forward?
The pessimistic spin: LeBron did lasting damage to his body by returning so soon. This (failed) attempt to get the Lakers into the playoffs this season will undermine him in the future.
The optimistic spin: LeBron has still been excellent these last few weeks. If he gets fully healthy during his longest offseason in 14 years, he should be even better next season.
Kyrie Irving spent his first six seasons with the Cavaliers. He developed into a star with them. He won a title with them, even hitting the championship-winning shot.
With Irving’s Celtics playing in Cleveland tomorrow, Irving reflected on his time there.
Jared Weiss of The Athletic:
Irving is so clearly over the Cavs.
He was probably over the Cavs even while playing for them.
The Lakers have had a rough season.
Last night went pretty well, though – especially for one fan.
The Lakers beat the Kings, and this fan swished a halfcourt shot to win $45,000.
The Lakers need more outside shooting. Maybe they could turn to some of their fans.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is undeniable.
Watch this video. He’s the only Bucks player in sight on the court. All five Cavaliers appear. Antetokounmpo dunks anyway.
He dribbles past Jordan Clarkson then through David Nwaba and Tristan Thompson. Nik Stauskas and Brandon Knight are shading close enough to narrow his potential path. None of it matters.
Antetokounmpo scores inside unlike anyone anyone we’ve ever seen.