Associated Press

LeBron James: ‘If I’m hurt, I don’t play. If not, I’m playing.’

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LOS ANGELES — LeBron James is not playing like a guy who spent the summer filming “Space Jam 2.”

He’s playing like he spent the summer filming a new “Hot Tub Time Machine” movie — and his 2012 MVP self came back for this season.

After the longest summer rest he has had since 2005, LeBron has come back with a vengeance and new energy, playing his best basketball in years — which considering his standards is incredible. It’s been a renaissance season for the 7-1 Lakers and for LeBron personally as he continues to win the battle against Father Time in a way we have not seen in a modern NBA player.

Does that mean he’s going to take some load management days to keep fresh and at this level?

“If I’m hurt, I don’t play. If not, I’m playing,” LeBron said after the Lakers picked up a 95-80 win against the Miami Heat. He went on to talk about the battles he used to get into with Tyronn Lue in Cleveland about rest and nights off.

That’s the public image. However, eventually the Lakers will be looking to get LeBron some load management nights — even if they don’t call it that, much like the Clippers and NBA said Kawhi Leonard was not healthy enough to play. Lue and the Cavaliers did force some rest and they won a title.

When asked pregame what makes LeBron so durable one month before he turns 35, Heat coach (and former LeBron coach) Eric Spoelstra raved about his dedication to his craft and to conditioning his body. It’s the work ethic.

After the game, LeBron had a slightly different answer for his longevity.

“Wine… It ages well,” he said

He also gave a more serious answer.

“I shot Space Jam for three months all summer and my call times were at 6:30 in the morning,” LeBron said. “I was in the gym at 3:30, 4:00 in the morning before shooting 12, 13, 14 hours.

“I know how much I put into my craft.”

Or, just ask Meyers Leonard if LeBron put in the time in the gym this summer to get stronger.

LeBron did see some decline in his game last season with the injury to his groin that forced him to miss 17 games — the worst injury of his career — causing much of it. It’s all relative, LeBron still averaged 26.1 points, 11.1 assists, and 8.3 rebounds a game and made third-team All-NBA. However, the missed time and some defensive decline mean he did not make first-team All-NBA for the first time since 2007. How LeBron handled aging was going to be one of the big questions for the Lakers this season.

In our age of oversimplification and overreaction, that somehow got turned into “is LeBron washed?” So, LeBron, are you?

Well played.

Just like everything LeBron is doing this season.

 

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

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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.”