Will the Hornets ever lose again?

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Before you start to freak out, I’m kidding with that headline. Let’s not bust out the 72-10 tracker yet. Though, I guess, if we started one for the 6-4 Miami Heat we have every right to kickstart one for the Hornets, who improved to 8-0 Saturday night with a 107-87 victory over the Blazers, or as I like to call them, “the Walking Dead.”

The Hornets are now 8-0, the best team, record-wise, in the Western Conference. If the playoffs started today, New Orleans would be the No. 1 overall seed. It goes on, like that, for a bit.

So the question has to be asked when will the Hornets lose again, if ever? (Joke!)

Dell Demps told me tonight in a text message answer to that question, simply “Soon.” So it would appear he’s not readying an 82-0 banner any time in the near future. Predictable for a general manager to expect his team to lose eventually, even as he’s probably giddy at the start in his first year on the job with the Hornets.

But, seriously.

When are the Hornets going to lose?

This week provides a convenient opportunity as the Hornets play a home and home with the Dallas Mavericks. A perennial playoff team that’s especially good in the regular season and has both the size and guard play to at least hang with the Hornets? Sounds perfect. Except the Hornets have kind of owned Dallas, matchup-wise, in recent history. Plus, the Hornets have Dallas at home for the tougher second game. If they can get the matchup advantages in the first game, the home crowd might carry them in the second. Then it’s a Friday tilt against the Cavaliers, who are fiesty and tough, but let’s face it, not in the Hornets league at the moment. Alone, Chris Paul is a big enough advantage for that one to swing their way.

Then it’s a four-game trip that opens with a back-to-back at Sacramento and at the Los Angeles Clippers. Yawn. The way these Hornets are playing, they’ll be able to rest starters in the fourth quarter of each of these games.

Then comes the big one.

At Utah on Wednesday, Nov. 24.

It would be fitting for this to be the big game, and the one they lose. A Utah club that suddenly seems as invincible as the Hornets. Deron Williams, Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson to match David West and Emeka Okafor. Bench depth, versatile small forwards, plucky shooting guards. It’s a dream matchup that has to be considered the heavy favorite for when this ridiculous Hornets streak will end.

After that there’s Portland, San Antonio, and Oklahoma City.  If it gets to that point? We’re dealing with something that goes well beyond just a normal hot start.

We’ll just have to keep watching and see if the Hornets surprise us some more.

NBA makes it official, moves up free agency six hours to 6 p.m. June 30 (Eastern)

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I’d like to think this means we’ll all be able to go to bed at a reasonable hour on June 30. I also know better.

There is a frenzy of activity right as free agency opens (Tampering? There is no tampering in the NBA…), which traditionally has been as the clock turns to July 1 in New York, right at midnight. Things got so active that a lot of agents and players made sure they were in Los Angeles, even if they didn’t live there in the offseason, just so things started at the more reasonable hour of 9 p.m.

Now the NBA has made the rumors official: Free agency will begin at 6 p.m. Eastern on June 30. Six hours earlier than before.

This was done as an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.

This is going to be a wild July with a lot of big-name free agents — Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Jimmy Butler — and maybe a third of the players in the league on the market, plus there are a lot more teams with cap space to spend this season. It’s going to be a frenzy.

Now we know what time the wild times start.

Why does Kevin Durant respond on social media? “I’m qualified to talk about basketball”

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Every NBA player gets ripped on social media, even the guys who are not on social media. Most of the time players just ignore it, the way they ignore fans yelling stuff courtside or distant family asking them for money.

Kevin Durant, however, gets into it sometimes, even with national media members (and even had a burner account). Which always becomes a thing.

Why? Why not just ignore it? From Durant himself at practice Friday, via NBC Sports Bay Area.

“Because I have social media,” Durant said Friday… “I mean, I’m a human being with a social media account. I could see if I ventured off into like politics, culinary arts or music and gave my input, but I’m sticking to something that I know. You know what I’m saying? This is all I know. I’m actually talking about stuff that I know. I’m qualified to talk about basketball.

“So when I respond to something, especially if it’s about me personally, of course I’m going to tell you if you wrong about it. When I’m on the training table getting treatment on my calf and I see a tweet that come by and I disagree — I don’t talk to people because I’m worried about what they say, it’s just that I’m interested. So if you talking about in-game or the NBA Finals, they’re the same to me, you know what I’m saying?”

Durant seems to have more time on hands to get into these spats while he is out injured. Which likely will last into the start of the NBA Finals.

Does this mean the Drake/Durant beef is inevitable?

LeBron likes Instagram of Kyrie Irving in Lakers jersey, Internet goes berserk

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The Lakers landing Kyrie Irving in free agency this summer might be their best realistic option. It’s far, far from a lock — the Knicks, and yes Celtics, will make their pitch, too — but reuniting the pair that won a title in Cleveland is on the Lakers’ radar. (Insert your own, “you know who should coach this team” Tyronn Lue joke here.)

Fueling the speculation, LeBron James and Irving were seen hanging out together at a club in Los Angeles recently. Then Friday, this happened: Cuffthelegend posted this on Instagram and LeBron liked it.

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I like how this feels

A post shared by Savage Season 365 (@cuffsthelegend) on

(For the record, Cuffthelegend gets some stuff right, he’s not a guy who posts stuff out of nowhere.)

Of course, NBA Twitter and the web responded to this in its usual measured, thoughtful way. Some Lakers fans think the deal is done, others mock the idea altogether.

Two thoughts on Irving and the Lakers:

• Multiple reports say Irving is open to it. Irving also has a strong relationship with Kevin Durant, and Boston still plans to trade for Anthony Davis and then try to re-sign Irving (even if Boston fans are done with Kyrie). The only person who knows which way Irving is leaning right now is Irving, and there’s a good chance he changes his mind in the next five weeks anyway.

• If the Lakers are going to land a star free agent this summer, it will be because LeBron was an active recruiter. These elite players have options, and the Laker front office is not inspiring confidence of late, it will be on LeBron to win guys over.

 

Jeremy Lin: Milwaukee security guard asked for my pass to Raptors team bus

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Jeremy Lin has discussed people not believing he plays in the NBA.

It apparently still happens.

Lin, whose Raptors are playing the Bucks in the Eastern Conference finals, via Bill Michaels Sports Talk Network:

After Game 2 in Milwaukee, I was trying to get to the team bus and one of the dudes in the Milwaukee arena just screams at me. He’s like, “Where do you think you’re going?!” And I’m like, “Uh, I’m trying to get to the team bus.” He’s like, “What?! Where’s your pass?” I was like, “I don’t have a pass. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t have a pass.”

This happens in a lot of arenas, so I just kind of go with the flow.

It’s a fine line. Lin shouldn’t be profiled as a non-athlete because he’s Asian-American. Arena staffers should keep everyone safe by stopping unauthorized people.