Chris Paul is not backing down from the challenge.
Clippers nation is dreaming of having their own banner hanging up at Staples Center, something that doesn’t look like the JV next to what the other team in the building has enshrined. The Clippers are not just dreaming of respectability — that came with Blake Griffin — they are thinking big.
And Paul is good with that, as he said at his introductory press conference (via the Los Angeles Times).
“I’m excited to bring a championship here to L.A. in a Clippers uniform,” Paul said. “Knowing that they’ve never won a championship here, I wanted to be a part of something like that.”
“I know about the history of the franchise and different things like that,” Paul said. “But this decision wasn’t about the past. It was about the present and about the future.”
He said all the right things.
But the pressure is still on the Clippers organization. They need depth to go around their stars now, and particularly depth along the front line. They need to play defense at an elite level, which means DeAndre Jordan has to mature. Vinny Del Negro needs to prove he can coach a team up to that level. And Donald Sterling has to foot the bill and then stay out of the way — and out of the locker room — and not screw this all up.
But this Clippers team suddenly looks like a squad that in a couple years could be a threat to win it all, to put their own banner up in Staples Center. And Chris Paul is not backing away from that.
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.