LeBron James breaks Michael Jordan’s double-digit-scoring record

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CLEVELAND — Still chasing championships, LeBron James caught – and passed – Michael Jordan on one list.

James broke Jordan’s NBA record by scoring at least 10 points in his 867th straight regular-season game, a streak the Cavaliers superstar could make nearly untouchable by the end of his brilliant career.

James entered the Cavs’ 107-102 win over New Orleans on Friday sharing the mark with Jordan, one of his boyhood heroes. But with one of his patented two-handed dunks midway through the first quarter, James moved ahead of Jordan, whose streak stretched from 1986 to 2001.

During a stoppage in play, James was handed the ball and he received a standing ovation from the sellout Quicken Loans Arena crowd, which included pop superstar Justin Timberlake.

James last failed to score in double digits on Jan. 5, 2007, against Milwaukee. In the time since, he has won three NBA championships, left Cleveland for Miami and returned, and established himself as one of the best players in league history.

At 33, he’s playing as well as ever and next month he’ll head into the playoffs attempting to reach his eighth straight NBA Finals.

James never set out to break Jordan’s mark, but by staying healthy and being consistent, he moved himself to the top of another statistical list.

And with the end of his career seemingly years away, James is poised to re-write history some more.

“It’s not like I set out to say that I want to be the No. 1 in scoring 10 points, double digits or consecutive games or whatever that and whatnot,” James said. “But any time like a statistical category comes up and I’m able to accomplish something like that, I mean it’s pretty incredible. It’s been like 11 years that I’ve been able to accomplish this feat so I’ve been able to take care of my body, that’s one, and I’ve been around some great teammates and coaches and two organizations that have allowed me to be who I am, so that’s two.

“And just going out and playing for the joy of the game.”

To put James’ double-digit scoring mark in perspective, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s career scoring leader, scored at least 10 in 787 consecutive games. Among current players, Houston’s James Harden has done it in 257 games – 410 behind James.

James can envision a day when his record is toppled.

“I think records are always meant to be broken,” he said. “At the end of the day I think a lot of people didn’t believe Mike’s record would ever be broken, so who am I to say that mine won’t be?”

James’ record underscores his durability, reliability and scoring skill. And although it may not be viewed in the class as other notable streaks like Joe DiMaggio getting a hit in 56 straight games or Cal Ripken playing in 2,632 straight, the mark is still special.

An avid sports fan, James said all of those streaks are meaningful.

“They’re all great achievements in their own right,” he said. “You all know Cal Ripken and his ability to be out on the diamond every single day, play that many consecutive games. Joe DiMaggio, every time he went up in a game he was going to get a hit. That’s just production for a ball club. This streak as well, being available to your teammates and being able to put the ball in the hole, I don’t know if there’s one that’s more than another.

“They’re all pretty cool achievements in their own right.”

Rumor: Timberwolves bypassed Stephen Curry in draft because Minnesota is too cold for year-round golf

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Timberwolves general manager David Kahn infamously drafted two point guards – Ricky Rubio No. 5 and Jonny Flynn No. 6 – before the Warriors took Stephen Curry No. 7 in the 2009 draft.

Curry, as transcribed by Drew Shiller of NBC Sports Bay Area:

“My guy David Kahn. I don’t know where he’s at right now,” Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. “I don’t know if that ever came out — there’s a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf — play it in my spare time and what not.

“I think the word on the street was that he didn’t draft me because in Minnesota it’s cold and I wouldn’t be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable.”

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: “Is that true?”

“I hope it’s true because that’s hilarious (laughter),” Curry said. “That’s hilarious.”

If this is why Minnesota passed on Curry, it was a huge mistake. Better to take the best prospect available and hope for the best. Curry probably would have learned to appreciate Minnesota. There’s plenty of room to golf elsewhere in the offseason. Remember, Golden State was seen as a low-rung destination just a few years ago. Curry helped transform the franchise’s perception.

Mostly, though, I’m with Curry. This would be a hilarious story if true.

But that doesn’t mean we should just assume it’s accurate. Plenty of teams underestimated Curry, who looked like an undersized score-first guard when he entered the NBA. He just beat the odds and made everyone who passed on him look silly.

Orlando not getting 2023 All-Star game

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The next three NBA All-Star hosts are set:

  • 2019: Charlotte Hornets
  • 2020: Chicago Bulls
  • 2021: Indiana Pacers

Beyond that? The Orlando Magic want an All-Star game, but they apparently struck out with upcoming selections.

Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel:

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins said Sunday the Magic put in a bid to host the 2023 All-Star Weekend and have been informed by league officials that another location will be selected for that year.

The league asked for bids for the 2022 and 2023 All-Star Weekends, but Martins said the Magic couldn’t bid for the 2022 game because a major convention will be held in Orlando that same weekend, leaving the city with too few hotel rooms to also host All-Star Weekend.

Orlando hosted All-Star games in 2012 and 1992. I bet one will return there soon enough. It’s a warm-weather city with the infrastructure to host.

It just won’t be within the next half decade.

Clippers owner Steve Ballmer: ‘I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in’

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The Clippers will probably miss the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference. But they’re also even further from landing a high draft pick. They’re in that middling position some teams find perilous.

But not Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times:

Ballmer also vowed that the Clippers won’t tank to get a better draft pick. “That ain’t us. Nuh-uh, no way,” he said. “People can do it their way. We’re going to be good our way. We’re not going to show up and suck for a year, two years. I think we got higher expectations on us than the long, hard five, six years of absolute crap like the 76ers put in. How could we look you guys in the eye if we did that to you?”

The 76ers missed the playoffs five straight seasons, but they emerged from that self-inflicted drought with two franchise cornerstones – Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons – and multiple other helpful pieces. The Process worked as intended.

But this is also why the NBA needn’t freak out about other teams replicating Sam Hinkie’s plan. Few have the stomach for it.

Ballmer doesn’t. The Clippers are trying to attract free agents. The better they are in the interim, the more credibility they’ll build.

Jordan Clarkson, Yao Ming keen observers at Asian Games basketball

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JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — Cleveland Cavaliers guard Jordan Clarkson watched from the bench, not quite able to make it to the Asian Games in time to play in the opening game for the Philippines.

Yao Ming was there, too, also keeping a close eye on the Philippines’ opening 96-59 win over Kazakhstan.

After getting a special exemption from the NBA to play for the Philippines in Jakarta, the US-born Clarkson should be ready to suit up for the next game against China. And that has the attention of ex-Houston Rockets and Chinese all-star center Yao.

Clarkson, one of three NBA players given an exemption by the league to play in Jakarta, said he had a frustrating time while his status for the tournament was being considered. The NBA also granted exemptions to Houston Rockets 7-foot-1 (2.17-meter) center Zhou Qi and Dallas Mavericks forward Ding Yanyuhang to play for China.

“We went back and forth so many times, saying I was going to play, then I wasn’t going to play,” the 6-5 (1.96-meter) Clarkson told Philippines’ reporters after Thursday’s game. “Now, being able to participate is awesome.

“I’m very excited to know that I’m finally getting to do this, being able to play … for the country. It’s definitely something that I’ve been looking forward to.”

Clarkson, who qualifies to play for the Philippines through his maternal grandmother, has four days to get familiar with “fun style of play.”

“I feel the support, the love all the time,” he said. “My grandma is real proud I’m able to do this now.”

The Philippines is playing a tournament for the first time since 10 players and two coaches were suspended following a wild brawl in a World Cup qualifier against Australia on July 2. Three Australian players were also suspended.

Video of the brawl was widely played around the world, with punches thrown, chairs tossed at players, and security needed to restore order.