LaVar Ball: Julius Randle should’ve passed to Lonzo Ball for final shot of regulation against Warriors

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LaVar Ball has criticized Lonzo Ball‘s Lakers teammates and coaches before.

The preeminent sports dad did it again after the Lakers’ overtime loss to the Warriors last night.

With the game tied and about five seconds left, Julius Randle grabbed a defensive rebound and began to push up-court. Before the Lakers could attack, Luke Walton called timeout. Brandon Ingram then missed against a set Golden State defense, and the Lakers lost in overtime.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

LaVar:

I’ll tell you the crucial point. When Julius got that ball at the end, he should’ve threw it forward. Lonzo had a wide-open layup or a 3-pointer. That’s game. You wouldn’t have went to overtime. That was game.

Julius tried to take too many dribbles, and then they fouled him, or they called timeout. But if he would’ve threw the ball ahead, the coach wouldn’t have called timeout. Even if he did, he can’t call it, because the ball’s in the air. Lonzo was running the lane. Game over. That’s the best time to score, when it’s nine seconds left and your coach don’t call timeout.

Don’t call timeout, because that means you’re scared.

Do the Big Baller move. Don’t call no timeouts.

LaVar alludes to a good point in a vacuum: Scoring against a scrambled defense is easier than scoring against a set defense, even with time to draw up a play. Walton is actually more aggressive than most coaches at attacking in these situations. After the game, he explained his timeout:

Walton, via Lakers Nation:

I was debating that, and once the ball kind of was loose and I looked, it was four-point, maybe five seconds left. I just wanted to make sure that we got a good shot up. And I liked — Brandon was hot. He got to his right hand and got a good look. I think it was Draymond – or maybe Jordan Bell – came over and contested it late. But it’s a feel thing, and right then, normally, I would like to let that play go and let the players kind of use the momentum to try to get something. But it just looked a little too chaotic as we were grabbing the rebound and Julius had it. And I just wanted to make sure we got a good look up.

It was a questionable decision, and I mean that in the truest sense. There’s logic to both sides.

It’s not nearly as cut-and-dry as LaVar made it seem.

Three Warriors were closer to their basket than any Laker when Walton called timeout. Kevin Durant was so far back, he didn’t even appear on the screen:

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Lonzo kept leaking out after the whistle, giving the appearance of an advantage that didn’t really exist. The Warriors already stopped defending because of the timeout.

Walton’s out-of-timeout play didn’t go great. It was Draymond Green who contested Ingram’s shot, because, as Green said, “he always goes right.” That’s the drawback of playing against a set defense with time to focus on its strategy.

But just because Walton’s timeout didn’t work doesn’t mean not calling timeout would have. The Lakers would have been rushed.

The real question: Were the Lakers more likely to score with or without a timeout in that situation? The answer: I don’t know. We saw only one outcome.

But LaVar, in his typical know-it-all fashion, is using that to “prove” his point.

So much of what LaVar does is just attention-grabbing nonsense that doesn’t matter. See him saying Lonzo is better than Stephen Curry.

But I wonder whether these shots at Lonzo’s teammates and coaches – especially considering the large platform LaVar has built for himself – will ever wear thin in the Lakers locker room.

Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t believe in the NBA 2K cover curse

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Milwaukee Bucks superstar at Giannis Antetokounmpo will bless this year’s cover of NBA 2K19. It’s a big deal for the Greek Freak, who has come a long way since be a heralded prospect after being drafted in 2013.

Antetokounmpo is also apparently aware of the noted curse from the 2K franchise. That is, that former players who have been on the cover in years past have notoriously ended up in different jerseys shortly after getting selected for the honor.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, DeMar DeRozan, Paul George, and Kevin Durant all left their respective teams shortly after being featured on the cover.

Antetokounmpo signed a contract extension in 2016 that runs through the 2020-2021 season. Unless something goes horribly wrong, there’s no reason to think that he will be gone anytime soon.

But is the cover curse real? People certainly seem to think the Madden one is.

Lakers fan paints another LeBron James mural in Los Angeles (PHOTO)

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There was already one LeBron James mural in Los Angeles. Several people decided to attack it with paint, ruining a nice gesture by a local artist in Venice and proving how annoying (presumed) Kobe Bryant fans can be.

Now, there is another mural in LA and this time it paid a little more attention to former Lakers legends. Hopefully this time around the subject matter will help stave off would-be vandals.

Via Twitter:

This LeBron piece was done by another Venice muralist, Gustavo Zermeño Jr., who posted photos of his work. In it, LeBron is seen looking up at Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

No doubt that should satisfy some Lakers purists around the area, at least enough to keep them from throwing white paint all over it and ruining and impressive piece of artwork that took the artist a long time to create.

Lakers fan should just be happy that LeBron is in their state.

Clippers sign free agent Luc Mbah a Moute for second stint

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LOS ANGELES — Luc Mbah a Moute is back with the Los Angeles Clippers, signing a free-agent deal.

The 31-year-old forward averaged 7.5 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.18 steals in 61 games for Houston last season.

Mbah a Moute played two seasons for the Clippers from 2015-17, averaging 4.6 points and 2.2 rebounds in 155 games, including 137 starts.

He was selected 37th overall by Milwaukee in 2008 after three seasons at UCLA. Besides the Clippers and Rockets, Mbah a Moute has played 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Sacramento, Minnesota and Philadelphia.

Terms of the deal announced Thursday were not announced.

DeMarcus Cousins relishing fresh start in Golden State

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OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — DeMarcus Cousins spent his first eight seasons in the NBA chasing two things – peace and the playoffs.

After signing with Golden State as a free agent, the four-time All-Star center has no doubts he’ll finally find both, and that those will help dispel the notion that he’s a bad teammate.

“Just a chance to play for a winning culture,” Cousins said Thursday. “I also have a chance to play with some of the most talented players of this era. Those two things alone, that pretty much sums it up.”

Looking relaxed while sitting on a stage next to Warriors general manager Bob Myers, Cousins was at ease during a news conference at the team’s practice facility.

Golden State’s fiery big man seems content in his new surroundings and wants the hardware to show for it.

“Every guy said let’s go get another championship,” Cousins said. “They are a well-established team and they could have easily been like, `No, we don’t need him.’ But they were excited like a team that’s never accomplished anything.”

While his signing in Golden State drew mostly groans from around the NBA, Cousins didn’t need much persuading to join the two-time defending champions. He has never played in the postseason, is coming off Achilles surgery in January and didn’t attract much attention in free agency until signing a $5.3 million, one-year contract with Golden State.

From the Warriors’ side, it’s a case of the rich getting richer. They’ve won the championship three of the past four seasons with an attack heavy on perimeter shooting and defense. In the 6-foot-7-inch, 270-pound Cousins, they now have a dominant presence on the low block as well.

“It’s a different dimension,” Myers said. “It’s not something that we’ve ever had as far as a low-post threat since I’ve been here. I’m excited. I hope he’s excited.”

Cousins averaged 25.2 points and career highs in rebounds (12.9), assists (5.4) and minutes (36.2) with New Orleans before getting hurt. He has been frustrated by the tediousness of rehab but is being cautious in his approach.

“I’m progressing weekly, which is a positive,” Cousins said. “As far as a timetable . to be determined. I have to be smart about it. I’m in a unique situation as well where I’m not needed right away. Time is kind of on my side so I have a chance to get to 100 percent.

“Making it to the playoffs won’t be an issue for this team obviously. Once the basketball part comes, everything else will take care of itself.”

A throng of media attended the news conference, flanked by 150 young fans who were taking part in a basketball camp held by Warriors. Cousins answered questions from two of the youngsters who were eager to know who his favorite players were growing up.

The 27-year-old with a quick temper and a history of piling up technical fouls at a rapid rate showed a playful side when he joked about the possibility of fighting with new teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green, two players with whom he’s had on-court issues in the past.

“Might as well,” Cousins said as the crowd laughed.

Cousins turned serious at one point when asked about reports that he had been offered a new contract by New Orleans before signing with Golden State.

“Only me and (Pelicans general manager) Dale Demps know what was said on the phone that night,” Cousins said. “We both know the truth and I’ll leave it at that.”

As for his new team, Cousins has assimilated quickly. He played with several members of the Warriors while winning a gold medal as part of Team USA during the 2016 Summer Olympics.

“Me and Draymond clicked right away,” Cousins said. “We’re two goofballs that like to joke around a lot. Same with KD and same thing with Steph (Curry). It’s a great group. I think we’ll mesh well.”

Until he is medically cleared to play, Cousins will continue to rehab and learn coach Steve Kerr’s system. He’ll also reach out to the Oakland community, something he made a quiet habit of while in Sacramento playing for the Kings.

“I get out in the `hoods,” Cousins said. “I want to go to the worst, the grimiest places. That’s where I want to be. Those are usually the kids or the communities that kind of get left behind or forgotten about. I feel like I was in that situation at one point. That’s where my mindset is and that’s what I stand for.”