Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried excited by the Nuggets’ addition of Nate Robinson

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LAS VEGAS — Kenneth Faried and Ty Lawson were on the basketball court at the Mendenhall Center in Las Vegas on Monday when the news broke that the Denver Nuggets had signed the dynamic and diminutive Nate Robinson to a free agent contract.

Faried and Lawson are among the almost 30 players participating in USA Basketball’s mini-camp, which runs through the end of the week.

It’s been a summer of change for the Nuggets organization, from the coach to the GM to Andre Iguodala all leaving town for one reason or another. But both Faried and Lawson are embracing it all with a positive attitude, and were pleased with the Robinson addition.

“I’m excited,” Faried told NBCSports.com. “Nate Robinson is a good player. He plays hard, he’s not afraid of a challenge, and he backs down from no one, so I respect that from him. I’m glad we scooped him up.”

Lawson likes the acquisition as well, and sees Robinson as a more-than-capable insurance policy.

“I literally just got the text from Nate,” Lawson told NBCSports.com. “It’s a good pickup. I talked to [new Nuggets GM] Tim Connelly, and he said you know, the last couple of years I probably got hurt, then missed like 18 games. For Nate just to step right in, and be able just to play like he did with Chicago will be just huge for us.”

Lawson only missed a total of 14 games over the past two seasons, but you get the idea.

With so many changes in one offseason, it might be easy for players to start feeling insecure about their situation, or wonder if in fact there’s truly a plan for success in place. Lawson can be counted among the believers.

“Everything was surprising,” he said. “But you know, the staff and the Kroenkes, they have a picture. They’re just painting it right now. When we see the end product, I’m pretty sure it’s going to be good. I’m excited for everybody, and with the new acquisitions I think we’re going to be a good team.”

Faried shared his teammate’s outlook, and seemed a little bit more at ease with things since I last spoke with him at adidas Eurocamp in Italy earlier this summer. He feels like if he focuses on personal improvement, the rest will take care of itself.

“Just get better,” Faried said, when asked how he’s approaching next season. “As a person, as a player, you’ve just got to get better. Don’t worry about the changes, as long as you get better, hopefully with the changes the team will come together and we can build some camaraderie. We all want one goal — the NBA championship.”

LeBron James’ Lakers edge Dwyane Wade’s Heat in final meeting

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — LeBron James scored 28 points and the Los Angeles Lakers survived Dwyane Wade‘s 15-point performance in the second half of the superstars’ probable final on-court meeting for a 108-105 victory over the Miami Heat on Monday night.

The game appropriately ended with James guarding Wade, who missed a difficult 3-point attempt in the waning seconds. After the buzzer sounded, and they shared a hug and a chat to close perhaps the final joint chapter of two careers that have intersected repeatedly since they entered the NBA together in 2003.

Wade and James teamed up with the Heat in 2010 to win two championships while reaching four consecutive NBA Finals, and they spent half of last season together in Cleveland.

Wade intends to retire after this season, and Staples Center sent him out of Los Angeles in style with multiple standing ovations and a tribute video in the first quarter.

James and Wade both missed big shots down the stretch, but James hit two free throws with 22.5 seconds left to stretch the Lakers’ lead to three points.

Kyle Kuzma scored 33 points for the Lakers, who have won 13 of 17 overall and five straight at home.

Justise Winslow scored a career-high 28 points for Miami, hitting six 3-pointers in the third stop on the Heat’s six-game road trip.

Wade’s wife, Gabrielle Union, was among the fans at courtside as the high-scoring guard played 32 minutes. Wade went 0 for 5 in a scoreless first half, but still had six assists.

He got rolling in the third quarter with eight points in a flurry that recalled his heyday, and he kept up the pressure in the fourth while finishing with 10 assists and five rebounds.

Marcus Morris scores 31, leads depleted Celtics past Pelicans 113-100

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BOSTON (AP) — Kyrie Irving‘s shoulder wasn’t sore enough to keep him from cheering for Marcus Morris Sr. when he hit three 3-pointers to start the second half and propel Boston to a double-digit lead.

Al Horford‘s injured knee didn’t keep him from leaping to his feet when Jayson Tatum drove past Anthony Davis for a dunk.

With four of their regulars relegated to cheerleaders, the Celtics got a season-high 31 points from Morris and another 21 from Tatum to beat New Orleans 113-100 on Monday night for their sixth straight victory.

“The first thing was be a leader,” Morris said. “We had a lot of guys down … and keep trying to play the right way with the guys out there.”

Anthony Davis scored 41 points and Julius Randle had 20 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans, which was playing back-to-back games after beating the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday. But Davis also had two shots blocked by Celtics rookie Robert Williams III.

“He had 41,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said. “I think everybody has gotten their shot blocked at one time or another.”

Jaylen Brown scored 19 for Boston, which was also without Gordon Hayward and Aron Baynes. Williams, in the longest appearance of his career, had career highs of seven points and 11 rebounds, while picking up three blocked shots – two on Davis.

“Well, he held him to 41,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens joked. “I thought Robert did a lot of good things. When you’re shooting jumpers and Robert’s in the vicinity, you feel him.”

The Celtics scored nine straight points in the last four minutes of the first quarter to take a lead they would never relinquish. They led 59-53 at the half before Morris hit three 3s – one from the left corner, one from the right wing and one from the top of the key – to make it 68-55.

New Orleans never got closer than nine points after that.

 

Lakers fans give Dwyane Wade standing ovation; check out L.A. tribute video

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Lakers fans take a lot of abuse from other fan bases, some of it well deserved, but the core fans know the game.

And they know how much Dwyane Wade has meant to it.

Which is why they gave him a standing ovation when he checked into the game Monday night in Los Angeles.

The Lakers also put together a tribute video that played in the arena.

Classy move, Lakers. Well done.

Pacers’ Myles Turner shuts down Bradley Beal at the rim (VIDEO)

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Myles Turner owned the paint in the first half — the Pacers’ center had five blocked shots in the first 24 minutes.

The big shut down was on Bradley Beal, this is how a big man recovers and goes after it.

Then later there was this play leading to a bucket on the other end.

Turner has had a strong defensive season in the paint so far for the Pacers, a big step for him. He’s sixth among centers in ESPN’s defensive real plus/minus stat (which has its flaws but is a good snapshot).

Washington learned that the hard way.