So much for downplaying expectations.
Not that the Lakers really could — the Lakers are the 800 pound gorilla of sports in Los Angeles with a fan base is rabid and at times delusional. After the Lakers traded for Steve Nash and Dwight Howard this summer (to pair with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol), the portion of Lakers fans that will not be satisfied until they win two NBA championships a year has been a full throat.
Metta World Peace wants another ring — he auctioned off the first one — and speaking on 710 ESPN radio on Friday (transcribed by ESPNLA.com) he was very confident they would get it and talked about other Lakers pick ups.
“With the way the Lakers are looking this year, I don’t see anybody getting past us this year at all,” World Peace said.
“I saw (Antwan) Jamison today,” World Peace said. “People forget how much a great rebounder he is. He’s one of the greatest rebounders of the game, he has the best touch out of everybody in the NBA, best touch out of all the big men in the game.”
I will go only this far — the Lakers are in the mix. Before teams even get to training camp the most any team’s fans can hope for is that their squad is on the championship tier of squads that have a very legitimate shot at a ring. The Lakers are there. So are the Heat and Thunder.
Anything beyond that is posturing. But I get why World Peace really wants another ring this year, looking at his contract and the Lakers payroll (and tax obligations) next year, and knowing they still have their amnesty available, this may be his shot.
The Grizzlies blew a 19-point lead in the fourth quarter and a five-point lead in the final 30 seconds of overtime. James Harden scored 57 points, including 18 in the fourth quarter and all 10 of the Rockets points in overtime.
But Jonas Valanciunas saved Memphis from total collapse. He drew a foul on his putback and hit the game-winning free-throw with 0.1 seconds left to give the Grizzlies a 126-125 win Wednesday.
Jimmer Fredette remains a fascination because he scored a ton at BYU eight years ago and… other reasons.
He has been lighting it up in China, and his season there just ended. Now, the former No. 10 pick could return to the NBA after three years away.
John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:
Phoenix still needs another point guard, and the 6-foot-2 Fredette looks like one. But he hasn’t shown the playmaking to play point guard regularly. He’s better, and sometimes even effective, off the ball.
Fredette could have stuck in the NBA with a different attitude. His long-distance shooting was an asset.
But he’s also now 30 years old. A new approach likely won’t be enough. His shortcomings, particularly defensively, will be even more pronounced as his athleticism has declined.
The Suns are bad and will remain bad, with or without Fredette. But their younger players have shown signs of progress lately. Fredette’s high-usage style could interfere with their development.
It’s hard to see the upside here other than a brief uptick in attention.
Marcus Smart recently bemoaned the lack of physicality in the NBA.
After Joel Embiid dropped his shoulder into him on a screen, Smart brought some to tonight’s Celtics-76ers game.
Smart shoved Embiid in the back, sending the center to the floor. A cheap shot? Yes. Embiid wasn’t looking. But Smart would surely argue Embiid started it. I also doubt Smart intended to push Embiid from behind. Smart just wanted to get at Embiid as quickly as possible, and Embiid happened to be facing the other way when Smart arrived.
Smart got a flagrant 2 and the accompanying ejection. Embiid received a technical foul.
James Harden became the first player in NBA history to score 30 points against all 29 opponents in a season.
But the NBA has had 30 teams for just 15 of its 73 seasons.
Obviously, the larger league makes Harden’s feat more impressive. He had to score 30 against more teams. The Rockets also play most opponents, those in the Eastern Conference, only twice. In previous eras, players had more cracks at scoring 30 against fewer teams.
Still, anyone to score 30 points against every opponent has a certain immunity to bad matchups. It’s special.
How many players have done it?
We must start with Wilt Chamberlain, who scored 30 points against all nine teams in the 1964-65 NBA. He began the season with the San Francisco Warriors and, with them, scored 30 against the 76ers. Then, he got traded to Philadelphia and scored 30 on the Warriors. He also dropped 30 on every other team.
Including that season, there have been 85 times a player scored 30 points in a game against every opponent in a season.
Only Harden, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird have done it since the NBA-ABA merger. Jordan (1986-87) and Bird (1984-85) did it against 22 teams.
Everyone else did it against 17 or fewer teams.
Here’s everyone to score 30 in a game against every opponent in a season with the player’s highest-scoring game against each team listed, starting with Chamberlain doing it against every team then following in chronological order: