NBA-Highlights of Sunday's games in the NBA (Reuters)
The News (Adds later games) April 14 (SportsDirect) - Highlights of Sunday's games in the National Basketball Association: Lakers 91, Spurs 86 Dwight Howard had 26 points and 17 rebounds and Steve Blake added 23 points as host Los Angeles won its first game since losing star Kobe Bryant to a season-ending injury. Antawn Jamison chipped in 15 points off the bench for the Lakers, who moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Utah in the race for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Spurs shot 37.1 percent and fell one game behind Oklahoma City for the top seed in the West. ...
Lakers beat Suns with 4 points from Kobe (The Associated Press)
The News LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Dwight Howard had 19 points and 18 rebounds, Antawn Jamison added 19 points, and the Los Angeles Lakers survived Kobe Bryant's bizarre four-point performance for their eighth win in 11 games, 91-85 over the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night.
The News Jamison matched his second-highest scoring total of the season on Friday by putting up 19 points against the Thunder.
Our View It was the fourth double-double of the season for Jamison, who is seeing more playing time lately as he's regained his health and the Lakers have been hit with multiple injuries to other frontcourt players.
Steve Nash becomes the 5th player with 10,000 assists in his career (VIDEO) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Steve Nash has been one of the best point guards in the NBA for the past decade, leading teams in Dallas and Phoenix to some of the best offensive seasons in the history of the league. He's an amazing facilitator, the kind of player who creates good shots for limited players and joins up with other stars to form dominant tandems.
On Tuesday night, Nash hit a milestone that confirms just how great he's been over the course of his 17-year career. With seconds left in the first half of the Los Angeles Lakers' road game against the Houston Rockets, Nash found Antawn Jamison on a pick-and-roll for the 10,000th assist of his career. He's only the fifth player to hit the mark, joining John Stockton, Jason Kidd, Mark Jackson, and Magic Johnson in a special group of point guards. (As Curtis Harris noted on Twitter, Oscar Robinson retired with 9,887 assists and likely would have hit 10,000 if the NBA schedule had been 82 games for his entire career.)
[Related: NBA Power Rankings: Clippers remain No. 1 ]
Nash left the game in the second half to receive some medical attention in the locker room, but he did return to play most of the fourth quarter. He finished the night with 16 points and 10 assists, yet that wasn't enough to save the Lakers from their fourth loss in a row. The Rockets won 125-112 on the strength of a huge third-quarter run, proving yet again that the Lakers have many holes. On this night, at least one player managed to make a bit of history in defeat.
After the jump, check out a special video from NBA.com of the top 10 assists in Nash's career.
Antawn Jamison regrets complaining about being benched by the Lakers (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Los Angeles Lakers forward Antawn Jamison is coming off of a 2011-12 season that saw him play all but one contest for a rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers squad. Having served his basketball penance, he went for a quick, career-ending fix and signed up with the Lakers in hopes of earning his first championship. Jamison’s scoring gifts and ability to contribute without having the offensive sets tilted his way would see to work perfectly on a Lakers team full of punch in the starting lineup but without many threats off the bench.
Recently, though, Jamison hasn’t even been afforded the chance to get off of that bench. The hybrid forward hasn’t played a second over his team’s last five contests, taking in a series of Did Not Play: Coach’s Decisions along the way. When a blowout win over Portland on Friday didn’t even result in Jamison seeing action, the veteran vented, telling The Los Angeles Daily News that the Lakers were “pretty much telling me my services are no longer needed.”
On Sunday, after some reflection and a talk with Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni, Jamison took a calmer approach. From ESPN Los Angeles :
"I'm here for the long haul and I'm here to help this team win a championship. So, if the opportunity comes up again, I just have to be patient and be ready for that opportunity to present itself. Until then, we're winning. That's the most important thing and we're doing it at a pretty good level right now, so I'm just pulling for my teammates and smiling. It's tough not playing, but most importantly, the reason why I'm here is to win."
Kyrie Irving embarrasses Dwight Howard on the drive in his return (VIDEO) (Ball Don't Lie)
The News For most basketball fans, Tuesday night's game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers registered as yet another demoralizing defeat for the widely publicized preseason favorites in the West. Of course, it helps that head coach Mike D'Antoni put a rotten cherry on top of the slightly metallic-tasting sundae with his peeved postgame remarks to not-exactly-sympathetic L.A. Times columnist T.J. Simers.
However, there was another big story to come out of this contest, one that speaks to the joy and positivity of watching a budding star return to the court without missing a beat. After missing 11 games with a fracture in his left hand , Irving immediately reestablished himself as one of the two or three most promising youngsters in the NBA, totaling 27 points, 11 assists, and six rebounds. In a game that found Kobe Bryant needing to score 42 points to give the Lakers a chance, Irving was the most dynamic force on the court.
The clear highlight was this drive in the fourth quarter. After a pick from Tyler Zeller near the end of the shot clock, Irving ran around Chris Duhon, sized up Dwight Howard, froze him with a ridiculous inside-out dribble, and scored through Antawn Jamison to get two points and the foul. It was Irving at his best.
Lakers' Gasol sidelined for third straight game (Reuters)
The News (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be without injured forward Pau Gasol when they try to climb back to the .500 mark against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Spaniard will miss his third straight game due to tendinitis in both knees and Antawn Jamison is expected to start in his absence, having scored 15 points as Gasol's replacement in each of the previous two games. "Tonight we're playing the Thunder of @sergeibaka9! My knees are improving but I still won't be able to be out there with my team," Gasol tweeted after the Lakers shoot around on Friday. ...
NBA-Lakers' Gasol sidelined for third straight game (Reuters)
The News Dec 7 (Reuters) - The Los Angeles Lakers will once again be without injured forward Pau Gasol when they try to climb back to the .500 mark against the streaking Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday. The Spaniard will miss his third straight game due to tendinitis in both knees and Antawn Jamison is expected to start in his absence, having scored 15 points as Gasol's replacement in each of the previous two games. "Tonight we're playing the Thunder of @sergeibaka9! My knees are improving but I still won't be able to be out there with my team," Gasol tweeted after the Lakers shootaround on Friday. ...
Pau Gasol will sit for a while, as the Lakers decide to rest his aching knees (Ball Don't Lie)
The News The Los Angeles Lakers and Pau Gasol are visiting Houston this week, taking on a Rockets team that Gasol was nearly traded to 12 months ago, though Pau won't be around to show the Rockets what might have been. The team is sitting their big man for an as-yet-unspecified period of time, citing knee tendinitis and opening the floodgates to all manner of trade rumors about the 32-year forward/center.
Those rumors are bunko, the Lakers aren't doing anything until they see how a full and healthy roster featuring Steve Nash works out, but it does appear as if Gasol is going to have to take a back seat for a spell. ESPN's Dave McMenamin was the first to break the news, and this is from his report :
"The biggest thing with him was that he was playing hurt and in this league you just can't do that," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I just didn't think he was running fluidly."
D'Antoni said Gasol made the decision to rest after consulting with the coaching and training staff. There is no set timetable for how long Gasol will sit out. Antawn Jamison will start in his place.
Lakers hit 17 3-pointers, win 122-103 over Denver (The Associated Press)
The News LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Antawn Jamison scored 33 points while leading an outstanding game by the Lakers' reserves, and Dwight Howard had 28 points and 20 rebounds before hitting Los Angeles' 17th 3-pointer in the final seconds of a 122-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets on Friday night.
The News A look around the league and the web that covers it. It's also important to note that the rotation order and starting nods aren't always listed in order of importance. That's for you, dear reader, to figure out.
C : Washington Post . Nobody really liked the Gilbert Arenas contract extension from back in 2008 , especially when paired with Antawn Jamison's extension. Still, things turned out even worse than expected, and on Monday Michael Lee delved into the way Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld somehow made his bidding against himself in 2008 for Arenas' extension worse by tossing the salary cap remnants of that deal toward New Orleans for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza.
PF : Bullets Forever . To toss dirt on the fire (?), Mike Prada details who the Wiz could've dealt for after using the amnesty provision on Rashard Lewis' contract last summer.
SF : b8sy productions . A 22-minute Matt Bonner documentary because this is what we need.
SG : The 700 Level . A good feature on why we can't get too despondent regarding Andrew Bynum's Philly future.
PG : Gothic Ginobili . Aaron McGuire, in an entertaining fashion, is breaking down each of the players that saw significant time in the NBA last season. His quest continues with Daequan Cook, Jeff Foster and Brandon Roy.
Antawn Jamison Inks Deal with Los Angeles Lakers: A Fan’s Reaction (Yahoo! Contributor Network)
The News As expected, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be without Antawn Jamison who opted to sign a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, July 25. He will be paid the veteran's minimum salary.
Lakers Strengthen Bench, Re-sign Hill: Fan Reaction (Yahoo! Contributor Network)
The News Little by little, the Los Angeles Lakers are putting together a balanced team that may eventually be the best in the Western Conference. The big splash was obviously getting Steve Nash, but they have also made other moves such as signing free agent Antawn Jamison. Now, the Lakers are reportedly bringing back big man Jordan Hill, who was a solid backup last season. This is not a blockbuster move, but it is a good move for a team that needs to strengthen their bench.
Understanding JaVale McGee’s massive new contract with the Denver Nuggets (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Knucklehead or libertine , if you can dunk from the free throw line and potentially reach a car's cruise control button from the rear passenger seat, you're going to get paid. And JaVale McGee is getting paid.
Four years, and $44 million, according to Yahoo! Sports' Marc Spears . Appropriate money, considering his contemporaries, and mindful of his per-minute stats. Eight figures a season, though, for a guy that seems to make eight blog-ready mistakes a week. Eight figures a season for a guy that immediately becomes the Denver Nuggets' highest-paid player. That's right, cats and kittens, JaVale McGee is apparently the franchise guy that Nuggies have been waiting for. He's their cornerstone!
Tongue taken out of cheek, no he ain't. The Nuggets aren't banking their post-Carmelo Anthony rebuilding project around McGee, and he won't be gracing the team's in-arena program and scorecard any time soon. All the Nuggets have done is lock up a chance to make things right in McGee's basketball life, ensuring that they have from now until his near-prime year at age 28 in 2015-16 to make this work on their terms, irrespective of McGee's hilarious turn as a member of the Washington Wizards.
[Related: MSG stock dives following Jeremy Lin's departure from the Knicks ]
While taking in, it should be noted, some significant and honest-to-goodness production. We're more than aware that McGee's defensive instincts often result in the big man chasing down blocks or offensive rebounds when he could be attempting to properly defend all comers or getting back defensively, but the raw and tangible output cannot be ignored — McGee managed a Player Efficiency Rating of over 20 last year in both the regular and postseason. That takes a lot to argue away.
So, we'll try. Because not unlike Chris Andersen, the stat-grabber that Denver just waived to make room under their salary cap for Anthony Randolph, McGee's PER jumps considerably because of his block and rebound totals. PER is a fine catch-all stat, but even its creator in ESPN's John Hollinger continually acknowledges it does little for overall defensive aptitude. McGee, even after leading the league in block rate in 2010 (a ridiculous eight percent of the possessions he took part in resulted in him blocking a shot), often times destroys a team's defense by chasing down those blocks. It's almost as if he's playing an NBA video game in real life, that his is the character and body he's created, and he's just going to chase down the ball while the CPU team passes it around and uses JaVale's aggression against himself.
This can be eased out, though, and we saw some of that in Denver last year. Though his stats were about the same, and we're more than confident that Nuggets coach George Karl was telling JaVale the same things that his coaches in Washington attempted, McGee's impact seemed more certain. Per-minute, his blocks and rebounds actually went down in Denver, but he connected on more of his shots. Things seemed less frantic, in that 20-game stint.
Until the playoffs, of course. In seven games McGee managed a playoffs-leading 8.7 percent block rate, and he changed several games in Denver's favor; regardless of the eventual outcome. Perhaps not play strong enough for an average of $11 million a year, but McGee's forward/center position and youth make that batch of compensation a little easier to understand. Denver thinks they're going to get through to him. They think he's going to be a Birdman that you can actually stomach starting.
[Related: Antawn Jamison on the Lakers could be a dangerous thing ]
That's a legitimate expectation, from someone who seems equal parts clueless and clever. Though often lumped in with Andray Blatche amongst the Washington knuckleheads, McGee never seemed to play the part of the malcontent. He just appeared as daffy as we all were in our early 20s, doing things that most of us probably would do with that sort of wingspan, height, and jumping ability. And now, as he readies himself to enter the second half of his 20s, Denver is paying for the right to employ the result of his growth. All with a coach in Karl that offers a healthy (pun intended, happily) sense of perspective and an edge that suggests that he's reined in wilder horses.
Denver, as has been the case during GM Masai Ujiri's run, remains an interesting experiment. And, as they've been since Karl took over in late 2004-05, an interesting watch.
JaVale McGee's just interesting, full stop, and we like rooting for the guy. We don't see a reason to stop now, regardless of his compensation.
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The News A person with direct knowledge of the decision says Jamison will sign a one-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Our View The 36-year-old Jamison will sign for the veteran's minimum salary, bolstering the Lakers' bench with scoring and veteran leadership. Jamison also will be reunited with coach Mike Brown, who was in charge of the Cavaliers when Jamison was traded to Cleveland during the 2009-10 season. The Lakers are the fifth NBA team for Jamison, who will begin his 15th pro season in the fall.
Antawn Jamison on the Lakers could be a dangerous, dangerous thing (Ball Don't Lie)
The News Antawn Jamison, upon his return from holiday in Italy, will sign a deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Charlotte Observer's Rick Bonnell broke news of his decision on Monday , and Marc Spears tweeted earlier on Wednesday that the veteran forward will sign a one-year contract for the veteran's minimum, a salary that several other teams offered him, but only the Lakers could grab him for that relative pittance. And while Jamison doesn't fill any specific Laker need for defense in the backcourt or a sturdy full-time backup at center, he does tend to score quite a bit.
Efficiently, too. Because though Jamison's shooting percentage has declined the last few years, he was working for his final two seasons in Cleveland on a squad that was desperate for scoring and struggling to find easy looks. That won't be a problem in Los Angeles. Because of Steve Nash. Because of Kobe Bryant. Because of Pau Gasol. Because of Andrew Bynum. Man, these Lakers are loaded — and it doesn't really bother me that most of their superstars are old enough to have probably been real excited the day "Super Mario Brothers 3" came out.
With the amnesty deadline passing and Metta World Peace remaining a Laker, Jamison will likely come off the Los Angeles bench to provide scoring for a Lakers second unit that disappointed last year with Lamar Odom working as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. In joining the Lakers, Jamison will reunite with his former coach (for 3 1/2 months) in Mike Brown, and take to his fifth NBA team. And he'll also pair up with Bryant, who he famously dueled in an early season game over a decade ago that seemed to convince an entire generation that signing up for NBA League Pass was a really good idea: