Getty Images

John Calipari: Kentucky PG Tyler Ulis entering 2016 NBA draft

Leave a comment

Seven players – Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles, Devin Booker, Andrew Harrison, Dakari Johnson and Aaron Harrison – left Kentucky with eligibility remaining to turn pro.

One Wildcat who stayed, Tyler Ulis, will soon join them.

Kentucky coach John Calipari, via Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal:

“I’m happy for him,” Calipari said of the 5-foot-9 Ulis, who has earned first-team All-America honors from Sports Illustrated, Sporting News and USA TODAY while also winning SEC Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. “When he came here, you had everybody tell me, ‘You’ve got a four-year point guard. Now this is how you should do it.’ And, ‘He doesn’t need to have all pros.’ Welp, you were wrong again. I mean, here’s this kid that’s going to be a pro. He’ll be drafted this year, after two years.”

The new draft-withdrawal rules would allow Ulis to declare for the draft, participate in the combine and then return to Kentucky. But Calipari’s statement sure makes it sound as if Ulis is set on entering and remaining in the draft.

Ulis is a borderline first-round pick, though he’s more likely than not to get picked in the top round.

He’s tough and smart – an excellent distributor and pesky defender. But his size raises concern, especially with a lack of elite athleticism and shooting. How well can Ulis set up NBA teammates if opponents don’t respect his ability to score? How well his defense translate against bigger and stronger opponents?

Ulis, whose Kentucky teams opens the NCAA tournament with Stony Brook, will have another game or six to ease those concerns.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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.

TIP-INS

Heat: Hassan Whiteside missed his third straight game. He is away from the team for the birth of his child. … Josh Richardson (right shoulder) started. Tyler Johnson(bruised left hip) was available, but didn’t play.

Lakers: Brandon Ingram missed his third straight game with a sprained left ankle. He won’t be re-evaluated until Saturday before the Lakers play at Charlotte that night. The wingman is LA’s third-leading scorer. … Rajon Rondo had fluid drained from his right hand Sunday, possibly signaling a delay in his return from a broken hand. The veteran point guard has been out for 3 1/2 weeks. … A star-studded crowd gathered for Wade’s final game, including Denzel Washington, Kate Beckinsale, Will Ferrell, Kevin Costner, Jessica Alba and Rams stars Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks.

LEBRON ROLLS ON

James is nearly three years younger than the 36-year-old Wade, and the four-time MVP is nowhere near retirement after signing a four-year contract with the Lakers in July. James’ NBA-record streak of scoring in double digits reached 900 games in this game. The fifth-leading scorer in NBA history also passed Paul Pierce for 10th place in NBA history by scoring at least 10 points for the 1,162nd time in his 1,170 career games.

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

Getty Images
Leave a comment

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

Getty Images
4 Comments

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)

Associated Press
Leave a comment

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.