Kevin Durant says ‘it’s cool to see’ LeBron break all-time scoring record

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LeBron James remains on target to break Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s NBA all-time scoring record, although with the games he has missed this season the target date now looks more like late February/early March.

Kevin Durant is excited to see it, as he told Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“To be the No. 1 in anything, there’s 8 billion people in the world, we just figured that out last week, so to be the No. 1 of all time at scoring the basketball, I’m sure it’s going to be a range of emotions for him,” Durant said at Friday’s shootaround, in advance of a game against the Indiana Pacers. “But to be in an era where we see this live is pretty cool as well. You probably can’t even describe the emotions and feelings him and his family and his friends are going to go through, but it’s cool to see it up close.”

Durant is currently 18th on that all-time scoring list (having just moved past Kevin Garnett), which is impressive in its own right even if he is not going to catch LeBron. LeBron’s feat has taken all of his 20 NBA seasons, and that is what impressed the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich.

“LeBron is taking care of himself so well that he’s been able to play a bundle of games for a lot of years. And that’s what he takes,” Popovich said before his Spurs took on the Lakers. “But he gets credit for taking care of himself and being able to be out there. The way a lot of players don’t even come close to. His commitment to the game and to what he has to do, has allowed him to be in this position.”

LeBron’s quest continues to generate a lot of buzz around the league. He just hopes it’s not the lone bright highlight out of this Lakers’ season, but his team has a lot of work to climb up to the postseason out of a 5-11 start.

 

Leonard, George both out for Clippers Friday, Jokic probable for Nuggets

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When Kawhi Leonard returned and was put in the starting lineup, the Clippers said it was time to buckle down and truly start their season.

Instead, how about another round of injuries?

Paul Goerge is missing his third consecutive game with a hamstring tendon strain, while Leonard has a sprained right ankle and this is his second game out.

Adding to the troubling news for the Clippers in this game, Nikola Jokic is probable.

The Clippers won the first three games Leonard was back, and they have a ridiculous +31.7 net rating in the limited minutes that George and Leonard are on the court together. But the question heading into the season — even among those backing the Clippers to come out of the West (*raises hand*) — was whether would they stay healthy enough to live up to that potential? So far, the signs are not promising.

Yet, the Clippers are 11-8 despite the injuries and just a game back of the top-seeded Suns in a West where no team has run away with it. They are not out of it, but they must find a way to get their stars on the court together for an extended period.

 

NBA suspends Lakers’ Patrick Beverley three games for dropping Ayton from behind

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
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“Got a person on the ground, two people looking over mean-mugging and puffing their chest out and referees don’t get into it to kind of separate it, control the game, so I’m going to stand up for my teammate.”

Patrick Beverley was not backing down from his actions at the end of the Lakers’ loss to the Suns, and the NBA came down hard on him, suspending Beverley for three games without pay. From the official release:

 Los Angeles Lakers guard Patrick Beverley has been suspended three games without pay for forcefully shoving Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton from behind and knocking him to the court, it was announced today by Joe Dumars, Executive Vice President, Head of Basketball Operations. The suspension was based in part on Beverley’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.

That history of unsportsmanlike acts includes Beverley being suspended after shoving Chris Paul in the back in Game 6 of the Western Conference playoffs last season. He has been suspended or fined eight times for unsportsmanlike acts.

On this play, Devin Booker had picked up a flagrant foul catching Austin Reaves in the face while blocking his shot. Ayton, fired up from a couple of previous plays, stood over Reaves, and Beverley took matters into his own hands with a cheap shot.

Beverley was ejected at the time, but the Lakers had Beverley’s back after the game because they felt he had their back.

The suspension will cost Beverley $268,966 in salary, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Two of those games will be against the Spurs but with LeBron James back in the Lakers lineup (he had missed the last five games with a groin injury). The third game is next Monday in Los Angeles against the Pacers.

LeBron James reportedly to return from groin strain Friday at Spurs

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LeBron James has missed five games with a groin strain, but the Lakers have held their head above water — 3-2 — thanks to Anthony Davis playing his best basketball of the season.

But LeBron will return Friday when the Lakers visit the Spurs in San Antonio, reports Chris Haynes of TNT.

That’s a good, soft landing spot for LeBron, the Spurs have dropped 10-of-11. It’s a game the Lakers should win without heavy minutes from LeBron, who is averaging 24.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game this season.

It’s unlikely Patrick Beverley will play in the game for the Lakers. While nothing official has come down from the league yet, Beverley is expected to be suspended at least one game for the cheap shot to the back of Deandre Ayton. (Why Ayton was standing over Austin Reaves when Devin Booker blocked Reaves’ shot is another question entirely, but you still can’t flatten him from behind.)

Davis is playing his best basketball of the season, with four straight games of 30+ points and 15+ rebounds, plus he’s been a force on the defensive end. This is the Davis that coach Darvin Ham has been counting on.

PBT Podcast: Ben Simmons, Ja Morant and punk music for the Grizzlies

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Ben Simmons handled his return to Philadelphia about as well as could be hoped, but his Nets team dropped the game to an extremely shorthanded 76ers team — what does that say about the Brooklyn Nets? Just how frustrated is Kevin Durant?

Then there is Ja Morant, who missed just one game with a Grade 1 sprained ankle and returned to drop 34 on the Kings — should we be worried about his long-term health?

Corey Robinson from NBC joins me to discuss all that, plus Corey picks punk music to describe the Grizzlies. Then we discuss the Cleveland Cavaliers and if they are for real. What about the Sacramento Kings? And what will each of us be watching on Thanksgiving Day?

You can always watch the video of some of the podcast above, or listen to the entire podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google Play, or anywhere else you get your podcasts.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please feel free to email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.