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Lakers lose by 42 in LeBron James’ worst-ever loss

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INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Indiana Pacers have suddenly found a new winning combination.

Not even LeBron James could slow it down Tuesday night.

Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24 points and the Pacers tied an NBA franchise-record by making 19 3-pointers in a 136-94 rout over the Los Angeles Lakers – the most lopsided loss James has endured in his 16-year career.

“They scored 33 points off our 19 turnovers and that was from the beginning of the game. We can’t play from behind like that,” James said. “I think it (the jet lag) hit us. That first game flying across the country looked like it had a lot to do with it, but we didn’t come out with the defensive mentality we had the last time we played them and they made us pay for it.”

Twice previously James’ teams had been blown out by 36: Against Washington in April 2008 and in the 2013 NBA Finals against San Antonio. But this was might go down as the most embarrassing of the three.

Indiana led wire-to-wire and never allowed the Lakers to get within single digits after the first basket of the second quarter despite playing without All-Star guard Victor Oladipo and on the tail end of a back-to-back following a four-game trip.

At one point, the Pacers led by 46.

And after James left with 2:06 remaining in the third quarter, coach Luke Walton wisely kept the four-time MVP him on the bench for the rest of the night.

James was not himself either after missing 17 of the previous 18 games with an injured groin. He missed three of his first five shots, was beaten three times early on defense and had five first-half turnovers before finishing with 18 points, nine assists, seven rebounds and six turnovers.

JaVale McGee added 16 as the Lakers lost for the sixth time in eight games amid the continuing swirl of trade rumors, something Pacers fans noted by repeatedly chanting “LeBron’s gonna trade you.”

“I know it has to be tough on a lot of our guys – especially our young guys,” James said. “They’ve just never been a part of it and they’re hearing it every single day. I know that the worst thing you could right now is be on social media and I know all young guys love social media. So, that definitely can’t help.”

The Pacers, meanwhile, remained focused on regrouping.

After losing four straight immediately following Oladipo’s season-ending knee injury, they’ve rebounded with three straight wins. On Tuesday, they produced a season-high 69 points in the first half, a season-high single-game total and their widest victory margin of the Eason.

They made it look easy, too.

After Bogdanovic opened the game by scoring all of the Pacers’ points in a 10-2 spurt, the Lakers never recovered. Myles Turner finished with 22 points while Thaddeus Young had 12 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

“We look at it as another win, but it does feel good,” Young said. “It’s not really about beating them by 42, but we played a complete game.”

TIP-INS

Lakers: Played without Lonzo Ball (sprained left ankle) and Josh Hart (left patella tendinitis). … James became the fifth player in league history to top the 32,000-point mark. … Los Angeles has lost six straight in Indy, where it last won in March 2013. … Lance Stephenson had 13 points while Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Ingram each had 12.

Pacers: Avoided their first season sweep by the Lakers since 2009-10. … Coach Nate McMillan tied Jack McKinney for No. 7 on the franchise’s NBA victories list with 125. … Indiana improved to 10-1 this season when seven or more players score in double figures. Domantas Sabonis, Aaron Holiday and Edmond Sumer each had 17 points. … The Pacers have won four games this season by 30 or more points, matching their highest single-season total since 1993-94.

THEY SAID IT

Lakers: “There are a million excuses that we could come up with – the travel, first game coming across the country, all the trade rumors and everything else,” Walton said. “The bottom line is we’ve got to be better And we will be.”

Pacers: “We’ve had a couple good games, but it’s still going to take some time for us to really establish the way we want to play, not just establishing the way we need to play,” Turner said. “We’ve got to keep going.”

UP NEXT

Lakers: Visit Boston on Thursday night, their fourth stop on a six-game trip.

Pacers: Host the Los Angeles Clippers on Thursday night.

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

LeBron James finishes Rajon Rondo alley-oop to close out half (VIDEO)

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images
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One of the reasons LeBron James leads the league in assists — other than the fact he can do anything on the basketball court he wants — is that he was the Lakers’ only quality playmaker to start the season. He had to set guys up.

Until Rajon Rondo returned recently from injury.

Now Rondo is setting up everyone — including LeBron for this monster alley-oop just before the half Tuesday night.

LeBron can still finish with the best of them.

Just don’t ask him about doing the dunk contest.

 

New Orleans spoils Carmelo Anthony’s Portland debut in 115-104 Pelicans win

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NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Jrue Holiday had 22 points and 10 assists, Brandon Ingram added 21 points, and the New Orleans Pelicans spoiled Carmelo Anthony’s Portland debut with a 115-104 victory over the Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.

Anthony finished with 10 points while Portland leading scorer and four-time All-Star Damian Lillard missed his first game of the season with back spasms.

Starting at forward and playing across the street from where he led Syracuse to the 2003 NCAA championship over Kansas, Anthony scored the Blazers’ first points of the game on a 3-pointer from 26 feet out. However, he wound up missing 10 of 14 shots in what was the first game of his 17th NBA season.

Ingram looked spry in his return from right knee soreness that sidelined him four games, particularly on an authoritative, driving, one-handed dunk that got the crowd roaring in the opening quarter.

J.J. Redick hit 4 of 9 3-pointers and scored 14 points for New Orleans, which has won two straight and three of four. Kenrich Williams, who got the start at forward, filled the stat sheet with hustle plays, grabbing 14 rebounds to go with three steals and a blocked shot. He also scored eight points.

Holiday highlighted his night with a spinning dribble around Nassir Little for a driving dunk. In the second half, he scored on an unusual play in which he remained under his own basket, re-tying his shoes while his team advanced 4-on-5 into the offensive end. Holiday then came sprinting down court, took a handoff from Nicolo Melli near the 3-point line and exploded toward the rim for a layup.

C.J. McCollum led Portland with 22 points, while Hassan Whiteside added 14 points and 14 rebounds.

Anthony wasted no time getting his first shot off. His miss from 20 feet came within the opening 30 seconds and was Portland’s first shot of the game. Anthony also took Portland’s second shot, hitting his first of two made 3s.

But when Anthony tried to rise for a two-handed dunk in the first half, he was met with resistance by a member of the NBA’s rookie class when eighth overall draft pick Jaxson Hayes rejected the attempt.

Hayes closed out the half with his third block, swatting away a driving floater by Anfernee Simons to keep Portland’s lead at 54-53.

New Orleans seized momentum in the third quarter, going up by 13 on a sequence that began when Melli hit a 3 and then got the ball right back in a largely vacated Portland back court after Nickeil Alexander-Walker dove to swipe the ball away from McCollum. Melli went straight in for a dunk that made it 83-70.

Portland responded with three quick 3s — two by Kent Bazemore — during a 9-2 run that trimmed New Orleans’ lead to six before Alexander-Walker, who had hit 11 3s in his previous two games, ended the period by banking in a straightaway 3 to make it 88-79.

Watch Carmelo Anthony’s first bucket as a Trail Blazer

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That Carmelo Anthony started the first game he played for Portland speaks to why they signed him in the first place — this team is so shorthanded along the front line that the guy they just signed got thrown into the fire.

Anthony responded with a solid level of play. His first bucket was a wing three where both defenders went to CJ McCollum and left ‘Melo wide open.

Anthony played 12 minutes in the first half and had 7 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and three fouls. The team was looking to keep him at around 20 minutes for his first game back.

Portland led New Orleans 54-53 at the half.

How a single computer folder and dogged HR official exposed former Kings executive’s $13.4M embezzlement scheme

AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli
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Just how close did Jeff David come to getting away with embezzling $13.4 million from the Kings while working for them? He already secured a new job with the Heat and was in the process of moving from Sacramento to Miami.

Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN:

On this Monday, walking through the Davids’ new front door is a dizzying procession of cable guys, utility workers and movers. Amid all of this, Jeff receives a phone call from a former co-worker with the Kings. Her name is Stacy Wegzyn, and she works in HR. Jeff last remembers sitting in her office in Sacramento just months earlier, being told that the Kings were going to eliminate his position. After a few pleasantries, she gets down to business. She tells Jeff she’s been going through his old files, and in doing so she found one labeled “TurboTax” that references an entity called Sacramento Sports Partners.

“I was just curious what that is and if those are documents that should go to somebody else,” Wegzyn says.

It’s a seemingly innocuous inquiry from an HR lifer. But it’s one that will dictate the rest of Jeff David’s life. If he knows that — or senses it — he doesn’t let on.

“No, no, no,” Jeff responds. “That was a … man, this is taking me back. Maybe 2015?”

Wegzyn presses on. She asks Jeff whether the documents contain anything that anyone with the Kings needs to see. Jeff assures her they can trash them because the entity isn’t around anymore. A few minutes after he hangs up, his mother-in-law, Nancy, is standing at the front door when an FBI investigator appears, asking to speak to Jeff.

If you like the NBA or true crime – let alone both – I HIGHLY recommend reading Arnovitz’s full piece. It’s riveting!