WASHINGTON (AP) — Anthony Davis dazzled so much, he heard fans chanting “MVP!” And that came while playing on the road.
Davis scored 55 points on sizzling 22-of-30 shooting and added 17 rebounds, leading the Los Angeles Lakers over the Washington Wizards 130-119 Sunday night.
After scoring 44 points against Milwaukee in his previous game, Davis came close to his career-high of 59 against Detroit in 2016. He’s averaging 35.3 points in his last nine games.
“Coming off a huge win in Milwaukee, can’t get complacent, get comfortable,” Davis said.
— NBA (@NBA) December 5, 2022
Davis was 2 of 3 on 3-pointers and made all nine of his foul shots. He scored 31 points in the second half.
LeBron James had 29 points as the Lakers won their fourth straight road game. They are 8-2 in their last 10 games while trying to extricate themselves from a 2-10 start.
“Our team is locked in right now,” Davis said. “Very focused on both sides of the ball. Overall, we’re just trying to make up ground.”
Washington lost leading scorer and three-time All-Star Bradley Beal to a hamstring strain with 8:31 to play in the first quarter. Beal sat on the bench after an early substitution, talked with a trainer, then went to the locker room. He did not return and is day-to-day.
Los Angeles led by 21 points in the first half. It was 85-56 early in the third quarter before the Wizards rallied within nine points in the fourth.
The 6-foot-10 Davis presented a rare match in wingspan for 7-3 Wizards center Kristaps Porzingis. Both have 7-foot-6 wingspans.
But Davis’ mobility and scoring from every level on the floor helped him control the matchup Sunday. Porzingis shot 11 of 25 for 27 points.
“When you talk about people in MVP race or category, (Davis) should be up there for sure,” Lakers point guard Patrick Beverley said.
The Wizards were 5-for-25 from behind the 3-point line in the first half. Three of those five makes came from backup shooting guard Corey Kispert, who finished with 16 points.
Former Laker Kyle Kuzma added 26 points for Washington before he fouled out.
The Lakers travel to face Cleveland next. James, an Akron, Ohio native and former Cleveland star, said he will have a lot of friends and family at the game. But he’s more focused on the Lakers’ resurgence.
“We never tipped over the glass when things weren’t going well,” James said. “We just continued to work. Continued to get better. Understood that we’re a new team being put together. New coaching staff, new system. We had to figure out some things. We haven’t done anything. We want to continue to work.”
Officially, Trae Young missed Friday night’s Hawks’ game against the Nuggets due to right shoulder soreness.
In reality, it’s more complex than that and is the latest sign of ongoing tension between Trae Young, the face of the Atlanta franchise, and its head coach Nate McMillan. Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic dropped a report detailing what went down Friday.
While Young was receiving treatment on his right shoulder, sources say McMillan asked him whether he would participate in shootaround, receive treatment during walk-through and play in the game against the Nuggets. But Young made it clear that he wanted to focus solely on his treatment while missing shootaround and deciding later in the day whether he would play.
That approach, however, was not McMillan approved. Since the face of the Hawks’ franchise was deciding not to take part in shootaround, McMillan ultimately presented him with two options for that night’s game, sources said: Play off the bench — or do not show up to the arena. Young responded by saying he would not be playing against the Nuggets, and the team ruled him out while citing right shoulder soreness.
Young has practiced with the team over the weekend and is expected to play Monday against the Thunder.
A few thoughts on this report.
• Coaches who don’t get along with their star players usually don’t last long in the NBA (look no further than Young’s strained relationship with former Hawks’ coach Lloyd Pierce). It’s much easier to find another good coach than another Trae Young. That said, Charania and Amick report McMillan’s job is safe for now.
• Rumors and buzz of tension between Young and McMillan have been circulating around the league for a couple of years. Things could be coming to a boil as the 13-10 Hawks have not taken a leap forward despite going all in on a trade for Dejounte Murray this past summer (giving up a couple of first-round picks to get him). Despite the addition, the Hawks have the 17th-ranked offense in the NBA this season.
• Buzz about chemistry issues with the Hawks also are all around the league. As The Athletic reports, they have had multiple team meetings already this season to solve conflicts.
• If Young had issues with Pierce, and now McMillan… is it the coaches?
• The Hawks have built around Young and paid him to be the team’s cornerstone, but how far can they go with him leading the way? He’s an elite offensive player but a negative defender who sometimes frustrates coaches and teammates. While Atlanta made the Eastern Conference Finals with him two seasons ago, was that more of a one-off situation where they got lucky with matchups and timing? This team thought it would jump up to challenge the elite in the East after the Murray trade but it does not look near that level.
Bradley Beal got his bag this summer — a $215 million max contract that includes a no-trade clause.
That signing was expected, with the teams that could have made bold moves to land him getting the impression he was not going anywhere. Which makes Beal’s explanation of his decision on the “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas Podcast” interesting (hat tip TalkBasket).
“There were no teams in the market, free agency-wise. I’m just being frank. There was nowhere else for me to go where I can be like, ‘Oh, I can go win.’ It was teams that strategically wasn’t what I wanted. So realistically, I wouldn’t say my hand was forced, but this was my best decision and best option on the table at the time.”
That’s not how it works. Technically he is correct, the teams with cap space this past summer — the ones that could sign him outright, such as the Spurs — were not going to contend for anything with or without Beal.
But teams create cap space all the time to get players they want, via trades/waiving players or other moves (for example a sign-and-trade). If Beal and his agent had put the word out that he was leaving Washington and wanted to go to a contender, teams from Miami to Los Angeles would have been poised to do whatever it would have taken to land him. There are countless examples of this around the league over the years, but to stick with the Miami theme, remember the Heat had to dump the salaries of Hassan Whiteside (they got back Moe Harkless and flipped him) and Josh Richardson to create the space for a sign-and-trade to get Jimmy Butler (which hard capped the Heat for a season). Teams will do what it takes to land superstars, Beal had options if he wanted to leave.
He didn’t want to go anywhere. Beal has said before that he wants to win on his own terms in our nation’s capital and has backed that up with his actions. He talked up the Wizards on the same Gilbert Arenas podcast.
“Not everybody gives you a voice in the organization. I have a voice here. I never had a chance to fully play a year with [Kristaps Porzingis]. That enticed me. He’s probably the best big I’ve played with. I like [Kyle Kuzma’s] ability to be able to spread his wings a little bit more, develop into the player that we think he can be. I like the young core that we were developing. Rui [Hachimura] is really good, had an awesome summer. Deni’s [Avdija] just gonna continue to get better. And then Corey’s [Kispert] a knockdown shooter, who is a pro’s pro. We still need to get better. I’m not sitting here saying, ‘We’re gonna hold up the Larry. We’re going to beat Milwaukee tomorrow.’ No. But to have the pieces we have, we have enough to know that we can compete on a nightly basis with no BS.”
That’s an optimistic view of the Wizards, who are 11-12 and 19th in the league in both offense and defense. The Wizards can be good but their margin for error night-to-night is minimal — they have to play their best game every night to have a chance. It’s a lot to ask.
Beal got what he wanted and nobody should ever question him for making the most money he could (Washington could always offer more and more guaranteed years than any other team). If he does want to leave someday, with his no-trade clause Beal has complete control over where he would land. It’s all a good deal. Just don’t say there weren’t other options available last summer.
“Money” Floyd Mayweather lives up to his nickname — he was money in the ring and earned a lot of it as the greatest boxer of a generation.
Now the legend is willing to spend it to own an NBA team.
Mayweather said at a recent public event he was working to buy an NBA team and has made a $2 billion offer for one.
— Daily Loud (@DailyLoud) December 3, 2022
“I’ve been working on buying a NBA team outright. One of my other business partners, Brent Johnson, he’s here. So we’ve been working on the NBA team for a while now. It’s kinda, it’s rough…
“It could be the Vegas franchise. It could be the Seattle franchise or I could be buying a franchise that’s already up and running. So the first offer, we offered them a little over $2 billion for majority ownership. Do I have it? Absolutely, I have it, but it didn’t happen overnight. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s a lot when you have so many different businesses all around the world. It’s a lot.”
The only NBA team publicly known to be for sale is the Phoenix Suns and the sale price for that will be well above $2 billion (some estimates suggest double that number). Portland is not currently for sale but is expected to be available in the coming years, and other franchises may pop up on the market as well, but the price for any of those may be above $2 billion. As for potential expansion teams (which are likely headed to Seattle and Las Vegas), those are years away according to league sources, with the vote to approve them a few years out at least, followed by a couple of years of ramp-up. Also, the entry price to get into those is going to be well above $2 billion.
Mayweather says he has the money. He said a year ago his net worth was above $1.2 billion, but there is no formal tracking for these things, it could be higher or lower. Either way, with the price of NBA franchises today, he likely needs to bring in other investors as $2 billion will be on the low end of a sale price.
How the controversies of Mayweather’s past — including domestic violence and homophobic comments — play out in his ownership bid is another unknown. We know the NBA vets its owners and considers such things.
It may be a long shot, but Mayweather wants to buy an NBA team, which could be very entertaining for fans.