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Michael Jordan to Hornets: ‘You’re paid to play 82 games’


Michael Jordan is still upheld as the exemplar of a mythical era.

The way some people tell it, Jordan played every minute of every game, took the entire offensive burden, always defended the best opponent, never relented during the regular season then carried his team through the playoffs to a championship. Every year. And slayed a dragon, for good measure.

So, with the load-management debate raging around the Clippers with Kawhi Leonard and Knicks with R.J. Barrett, people want to hear from Jordan.

Magic coach Steve Clifford, who previously coached the Jordan-owned Hornets, relayed Jordan’s point of view.

Clifford, via Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News:

Being with Michael in Charlotte, Michael used to tell them every year, you’re paid to play 82 games.

No wonder Charlotte usually misses the playoffs. (These jokes just write themselves.)

Also: Michael Jordan took two years off in his prime!

That’s not to say Jordan wasn’t tough. He absolutely was. He played all 82 games nine times, and his effort level was consistently high. He should be commended for that.

But – no matter how people romanticize a few hard fouls – the game was not as physically demanding back then. Players generally weren’t as athletic. They didn’t run and cut as quickly. They didn’t jump as high and land as hard.

Jordan was an exception – an elite athlete in any era. That’s why he shouldn’t be the standard for how to optimize other players.

The best science indicates rest is generally helpful. The 82-game schedule – especially for high-minute, high-workload players – is too long. Pushing through that isn’t the best preparation for a long playoff run, the ultimate goal of many teams.

There are drawbacks to resting players. They don’t get as many reps to develop, both individually and chemistry with teammates. A mindset of playing all 82 games can also instill a helpful edge in players.

But it just doesn’t seem those benefits are worth the cost of the wear and tear.

Of course, there’s a bigger debate. As Jordan says, players are paid based on a full schedule. Fans buy tickets to every game. TV networks buy rights to every game. Even if an individual team is optimizing its own championship chances, resting players could jeopardize the value of the overall product. The more teams that embrace rest, the larger the problem becomes. The NBA is headed toward even more of a crisis point with that tradeoff.

Thankfully for the league for now, there are still some old-school thinkers like Jordan in charge.

Kawhi Leonard just destroyed Boston’s Daniel Theis on dunk

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Daniel Theis‘ play as a rim protector is one of the reasons Boston has a top-10 defense this season. He has anchored the Celtics’ defense in the paint.

Kawhi Leonard is a two-time Finals MVP, and if he wants to go to the rim nobody is stopping him. Theis found out the hard way.

After the game, Leonard was asked about the dunk and he responded in about the most Kawhi way possible.

This was the first game Leonard and Paul George played together and they combined for 42 points, and they both made key play down the stretch of a 107-104 overtime win.

It took Luka Doncic 25 minutes to put together 35-point triple-double (VIDEO)

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DALLAS (AP) — Luka Doncic scored 33 of his 35 points in the first half and had yet another triple-double to help the Dallas Mavericks rout the short-handed Golden State Warriors 142-94 on Wednesday night.

Doncic fell a point short of matching Dirk Nowitzki’s team record set Nov. 3, 2009, against Utah. In just 17 minutes, Doncic was 10 for 11 from the floor, making 6 of 7 3-pointers, and hit 7 of 8 free throws.

The second-year star from Slovenia had 22 points, five assists and five rebounds in the first quarter alone. He played only 25 minutes total, but still managed 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

Doncic was coming off a 40-point triple-double Monday night against San Antonio, and has an NBA-best seven triple-doubles in 14 games this season.

The Mavericks never trailed and tied a franchise record with 22 3-pointers while sending Golden State to its worst loss since a 1973 playoff game.

The Warriors, who ended a seven-game losing streak by beating Memphis on Tuesday night, are an NBA-worst 3-13. Their five-year run of at the top of the NBA has collapsed under a weight of injuries, with Draymond Green out Wednesday because of right heel soreness.

With Green out, Golden State dressed only eight players, none of whom suited up for the team last season when it made the NBA Finals for the fifth consecutive year.

Eric Paschall led the Warriors with 22 points.

Tim Hardaway Jr. added 20 for Dallas. Kristaps Porzingis had 14 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth-straight double-double.


Bulls’ Otto Porter Jr out 2 weeks with bone bruise in foot

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CHICAGO (AP) — The Chicago Bulls say forward Otto Porter Jr. has a bone bruise in his left foot and will be reassessed in two weeks.

The Bulls say a second MRI on Tuesday revealed the bruise, something “not apparent” on the first MRI.

“He had a second scan, and something showed up that didn’t show up on the first scan,” Bulls coach Jim Boylen told NBC Sports Chicago. “That’s tough, tough for him, feel bad for him. But we’ll treat him and move on.”

Chandler Hutchison had been filling in Porter’s spot in the rotation, but he is out indefinitely now with sore shins.

Porter, averaging 11.2 points in nine games, has been sidelined since he sprained his left foot at Atlanta on Nov. 6.

The Bulls were 4-10 with three straight losses heading into Wednesday’s game against Detroit.

Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms resemble Minneapolis Lakers

AP Photo/Jim Mone

The Minneapolis Lakers’ history belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers. That’s why the Los Angeles Lakers claim the five championships the franchise won in Minneapolis and have worn light-blue Minneapolis throwbacks.

But Minnesota’s current NBA team – the Timberwolves – appear to be borrowing from that legacy.

The Timberwolves’ new alternate uniforms look awfully similar to the Minneapolis Lakers’ throwback:

Of course, the Timberwolves’ explanation contains no mention of the Minneapolis Lakers. The Timberwolves say the icy cool yet sky blue color … reflects the blue waters that are ubiquitous throughout the cities, namely the Mississippi River, which is outlined on the left side of the uniform.” It’s all about celebrating the Twin Cities – Minneapolis and St. Paul (MSP).

The best part: These alternates are officially branded as “City Edition” uniforms. The Timberwolves called theirs “Cities Edition.”