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About the reduction in LeBron James’ minutes, that’s not happening for a while

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At age 32, LeBron James is averaging 37.6 minutes per game, second most in the NBA (he’s 11th in total minutes at 1,768 due to some missed games). Only two other players 30 or older — Kyle Lowry and Wesley Matthews, that latter of whom missed time this season due to injury — are in the top 20 in minutes played per game. A heavy workload is usually a young man’s game.

However, this was by design. Coach Tyronn Lue has said previously the plan, in consultation with LeBron, was to have him around 38 minutes a game to start the season, but to taper that starting in late January or so, making sure he is rested and fresh for the playoffs.

Except that’s not happening. LeBron has averaged 39.7 minutes a night the last 10 games. And it’s not going to change anytime soon, reports Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal.

“He’s being bull-headed about it,” Lue said Wednesday. “He doesn’t want to back down because he says he’s in a good rhythm right now.”

 

“I’m fine,” James said. “Coach is going to do a good job of looking at my numbers and trying to get me rest throughout the game, but I don’t see me having slowed down. My numbers are up. We’ve been in a good groove and if I get rest (a) couple minutes here throughout the game, couple minutes there, off days, things of that nature, it helps the body. But it’s whatever coach wants to do.”

Competitors don’t want to come out and take nights off, LeBron is not going to push for extra rest unless he feels his body really needs it. Right now, he doesn’t.

But this is where Lue and team management need to step in, thinking ahead to both the playoffs and the rest of LeBron’s career. The Cavaliers are going to need peak LeBron James to have a shot at a title repeat, and that means getting his body more rest over the next few months, whether he wants it or not. And long term, the Cavaliers just need LeBron.

There is another consideration here: The Cavaliers have just a 2.5 game lead over the Celtics for the No. 1 seed in the East. Cleveland wants that home court to ease their path back to the Finals (they are not going to catch Golden State, and likely not even San Antonio, for best record overall). While the Cavs can rest LeBron and still get wins, Lue needs to be careful playing with fire. And the Celtics are a very not team right now.

 

 

Nets to add jersey patch next season after deal with software firm Infor

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NEW YORK (AP) — The Brooklyn Nets will wear an Infor logo patch on their jerseys next season after signing a deal with the business software company.

The red-and-white patch will be on the front of the jersey near the left shoulder. The NBA is allowing teams to begin wearing logos on jerseys beginning with the 2017-18 season.

The Nets said Wednesday that Infor will provide the team with analytical data to improve player performance, as well as arena and business operations.

It’s Infor’s first partnership in North America combining and sports. The New York-based company has similar relationships overseas with Ferrari’s Formula One team and with New Zealand’s BNZ Crusaders, the rugby squad that also wears its logo on its jersey.

So far four teams have announced the sale of jersey patch ads: Boston, Sacramento, Philadelphia, and now Brooklyn.

Hornets’ Ramon Sessions has knee surgery, expected to miss 4-6 weeks

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Having lost seven games in a row before edging by the lowly Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night, the Charlotte Hornets could use all hands on deck. And on the bright side, they should get Cody Zeller back in the next couple of games.

However, backup point guard Ramon Sessions is going to miss at least a month following surgery on Wednesday, the team announced. His injury had been known before, but the extent and treatment were not known. From the official press release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that guard Ramon Sessions has undergone successful surgery to repair a lateral meniscus tear in his left knee. The surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York, NY. Sessions is expected to miss approximately four to six weeks.

That timeline has him back in the second half of March, in time to get his conditioning and feel back before the playoffs start. If the Hornets can climb back into the playoffs.

Sessions has been a solid, shot creating (although mostly for himself) backup point guard behind Kemba Walker this season, a veteran who can hold things down while the All-Star gets some rest. Basically, Sessions has been exactly what should have been expected of him. He’s not bringing what Jeremy Lin did a season ago, but he’s been fine scoring 6.2 points per game.

With Sessions out, Brian Roberts has been getting more run behind Walker.

Reports: Suns’ rookie Dragan Bender done for season due to ankle surgery

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The Phoenix Suns took Dragan Bender with the No. 4 pick in last year’s draft, and like much of the top of this draft class he’s not come around quickly (not one of the top 10 picks in the draft started opening night for their respective teams).

On paper, the 7-foot forward fits the direction NBA bigs are going because he showed off a three-point shot overseas, plus has good court vision and passing skills. He was also very raw and not physically strong enough, and that showed as he tried to adjust to the NBA. Bender played in 38 games for the Suns, averaging 3.2 points a game on 37 percent shooting 32.1 percent from three), with a PER of 5.9. He’s got a long way to go before we know if he’s an NBA rotation player or not.

This setback is not going to help.

Bender is done for the season due to an upcoming ankle surgery. These reports are from overseas (Bender is Croatian ) but reliable sources. From Sportando then David Pick:

Dragan Bender is done for the season, according to Croatian journalist Bernard Djurisic. The Croatian rookie will need ankle surgery and miss at least three months of action.

This isn’t going to impact the Suns on the court, Bender had played in just one of the last eight games for the team and was getting limited minutes before that.

However, it’s a setback in the efforts to develop the young forward.

John Wall, Bradley Beal thank Wizards fans for support

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Monday night against the Cleveland Cavaliers it felt like a playoff game inside the Verizon Center. In part because the Washington Wizards were pushing the Cavaliers to overtime in a chippy, hard-fought game. And in part because the crowd was loud and into it. It sounded like a playoff game.

That hasn’t always been the case in Washington D.C., and this season Wizards are 24th in league attendance (also, according to ESPN, fourth-lowest in percentage of the available tickets sold).

So John Wall and Bradley Beal wanted to thank the fans.

Back to work!! #dcfamily

A post shared by Bradley Beal (@bradbeal3) on

The Wizards are 22-7 at home this season, and there is a good chance they will have home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs (they would qualify as of today, but seeds 2-5 in the East are separated by 2.5 games, so a lot of things could still shake out). They will need those fans then.

A little positive reinforcement now doesn’t hurt. Plus with the team winning, they are feeling the love in the city.