The Dallas Mavericks keep on winning at home, and for the sixth time this season, they led from start to finish as they defeated the LeBron James-less(ankle) Lakers 128-110 Tuesday night at American Airlines Center.
The Mavericks improved to 19-4 in their last 23 games at home.
Dallas, who shot 52% from the floor, improved to 19-0 when they shoot 50.0% or better from the field. In addition, the Mavericks also had seven players score in double figures.
Luka Doncic made history Tuesday night as he recorded his 21st career 30-point triple-double, tying Wilt Chamberlain for the fifth-most in NBA history, with 34 points, 12 rebounds, and 12 assists.
After the win over the Lakers, Doncic reacted to tying Chamberlain for fifth-most 30-point career triple-doubles.
“I just hope there are many more,” Doncic said post-game. “I don’t know what to say. I am just grateful to be here. I remember on draft night; I just wanted to be picked in the NBA. I never anticipate, I just keep working and hopefully, one day, will win a championship.”
Doncic has led the Mavericks in points, rebounds, and assists in the same game 29 times this season, and Davis Bertans, who had 14 points, including four threes against the Lakers, says Doncic’s play is making everyone better.
“Of course, everybody understands what he’s doing right now is incredible,” Bertans said. “But at the same, he’s kind of spoiled everybody on this team, but I think all the fans and everybody that loves his game. The game comes to him; it just seems to come so simple. Which is more important, he’s actually making everybody around him better. It’s one thing to put up stats, but the other thing is because of him he’s going to score thirty, but because of him probably guys score another forty, fifty points in a game.”
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel added on Doncic: “The Luka Doncic pick-and-roll is as tough to prepare for and to slow down as any in the league.”
The fourth-seeded Mavs(47-29) are now two games up on the fifth seed, the Utah Jazz(45-31), and one game behind the third-seeded Warriors(48-28), so with six games left, Dallas wants to at least stay at the fourth spot and, if things work out, get as high as three in the West.
Dallas starts a four-game road trip in Cleveland against the Cavs Thursday night.
Watch below as Bertans talks win over Lakers, Doncic, and more:
There was a familiar face back in Cleveland Monday as LeBron James, and the Lakers were in town to battle the Cavaliers.
Cleveland got the start they wanted as they had their largest lead of 14 points in the first, but the Lakers have a King, and behind a James’ triple-double of 38 points, 11 rebounds, and a season-high 12 assists, the Lakers defeated the Cavs 131-120 to sweep the season-series.
James even had this vicious dunk on his former teammate Kevin Love:
Cleveland(41-31) finished their five-game homestand 3-2, while the Lakers(31-41) went 2-2 on their four-game road trip.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and the Bottom Line of the Cavs’ loss to the Lakers.
The Great for the Cavs:
-Darius Garland played at an elite level Monday night. He had 29 points and 17 assists, with only one turnover. This was Garland’s third straight game of 24-plus points and 12-plus assists, which ties a team record held by James.
-Lauri Markkanen had 18 points and nine rebounds. Markkanen has been in double figures in seven of the last eight games.
-For the second consecutive game, Lamar Stevens was in double figures as he had 16 points and six rebounds.
-Cavs’ Offense: Cleveland had six players in double figures, including all five starters. In addition, the Cavs shot 52% from the floor. Cleveland had 52 points in the paint and scored 120, which would probably equate to a victory on most nights.
The Not So Great for the Cavs:
Fourth Quarter: Cleveland took a 97-96 lead into the fourth, but the Lakers dominated from there. Los Angeles got 13 points from James and 12 points from Stanley Johnson in the quarter. Also, the Lakers shot 65% from the field, and they got anywhere they wanted on the floor. The Lakers outscored Cleveland 35-23 in the final stanza.
Defense: According to Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the defense was “terrible.” The last time the Cavs allowed over 130 points was when they lost to Memphis(132) in the season-opener. The Lakers scored 64 points in the paint and shot 56% from the field. Just like the Cavs, they had six players in double figures.
Coming into this game, Cleveland was third in points allowed, but the defense was lacking Monday night.
Second Quarter: Cleveland led 35-28 after the first quarter, but the Laker stormed back in the second. Los Angeles shot 71% from the field, including 57% from downtown in the quarter. After the Cavs pushed the lead to eight, Los Angeles went on a 16-7 run to take their first lead of the game(46-45). Cleveland struggled from deep in the second as they shot 3/14 from behind the arc. Los Angeles outscored Cleveland 39-27 in the second and took a 67-62 lead at the break.
LeBron James was on another level Monday night, which often happens when he returns to Cleveland. In addition, the Cavs’ defense was just not very good.
This was a very winnable game for the Cavs. Coming into this contest, the Lakers had dropped six of eight and were 10-24 on the road, so again, Cleveland should have won.
With the loss, the sixth-seeded Cavs are now one game up on the seventh-seeded Raptors(40-32), who they will battle in a big one Thursday night.
Cleveland heads to Toronto to battle the Raptors Thursday night.
Best of the Rest:
-Isaac Okoro was 4/4 from three-point range and scored 12 points for Cleveland; Caris LeVert had 13 points off the bench.
Russell Westbrook had 20 points and 11 assists; D.J. Augustin was 7/7 from the field, including 6/6 from three-point range and finished with 20 points off the bench.
-James, who spent 11 seasons in Cleveland and led the team to their only NBA title, is now 17-1 against the Cavs in his career. In those 18 games, he’s averaging 29.6 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 7.4 assists per contest.
Watch below as Garland and Stevens react to the loss to Los Angeles:
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star center Joel Embiid had another strong performance with 26 points, nine rebounds, and seven assists as Philly defeated the LeBron James-less Lakers 105-87 at Wells Fargo Center Thursday night.
James missed the game against the 76ers with knee soreness.
Embiid extended his streak of 25-point performances to 16 games, and before the win over the Lakers, Embiid was named a starter in his fifth straight All-Star Game.
After the game, Embiid reacted to being named an All-Star starter.
“Yeah, you know I could never take that for granted,’ he said. “You know, five times in a row now. You know, blessed, really to be in this position. You know there’s not a lot of guys that get to go through this. So anytime it happens, you know I’m just blessed.”
76ers head coach Doc Rivers added on Embiid: “Obviously, he was gonna make it, you know, but he’s done more than just been an All-Star for us; he’s doing everything for us on and off the floor. That’s why we have the record. I mean, with all the stuff floating around this team, we just keep winning; a lot of that is Joel’s leadership.”
Carmelo Anthony, who had nine points off the Lakers’ bench, thinks Embiid is a different player this season.
“I’m not the guy that likes to compare players and people because we will never see what that was about; his footwork is incredible, you know Olajuwon-esque, his post game is special,” Anthony said after the game. “He’s seven-two, he’s big, he is hard to guard. I’ll just keep it a hundred with you. He is a very tough guy to check out there on the court. I love the fact that he is playing at his own pace right now; he’s found his pace to play at; he’s taking the game a lot more serious now, as you can see, as we all can see. And that’s why he is able to dominate the way that he is able to do now, and he’s playing at an all-time high right now.”
Embiid is displaying the footwork of Olajuwon and playing with the dominance of Shaq, and right now, he’s carrying the 76ers on his back. Despite all the drama surrounding Ben Simmons, Philadelphia(29-19) is the fifth seed in the East and two games behind the Heat for the top spot in the conference. In addition, they are 26-11 when Embiid is in the lineup, so they’re in a decent spot right now.
We’ll see if they can improve the team before the trade deadline because the East is wide open.
With Ricky Rubio out for the season due to a torn ACL, the Cleveland Cavaliers needed a backup point guard, and on Monday, they got their guy.
The Cavs acquired point guard Rajon Rondo from the Los Angeles Lakers in a three-team trade.
In the deal, the New York Knicks receive guard Denzel Valentine from Cleveland and the draft rights to Wang Zhelin (57th pick in 2016 NBA Draft) and Brad Newley (54th pick in 2007 NBA Draft) and cash considerations from the Lakers. In addition, Los Angeles receives the draft rights to Louis Labeyrie (57th pick in 2014 NBA Draft) from New York.
The 35-year-old Rondo played in 18 games for the Lakers this season.
Over his 16-year NBA career, he has appeared in 936 games (732 starts) with the Lakers, Clippers, Hawks, Pelicans, Bulls, Kings, Mavericks, and Celtics, owning career averages of 9.8 points, 4.6 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.6 steals in 30.1 minutes per contest.
A two-time NBA Champion (2008, 2020) and four-time NBA All-Star (2010-2013), Rondo has been named to the NBA’s All-Defensive Team four times (2009-2012), including two First Team nods (2010, 2011), and was an All-NBA Third Team selection in 2012. Additionally, Rondo has appeared in 134 playoff games (105 starts), averaging 12.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, 8.5 assists, and 1.7 steals in 34.0 minutes per game.
Valentine, 26, signed with the Cavaliers in the offseason and appeared in 22 games this season.
In other news, Cavaliers guard/forward Isaac Okoro left Sunday night’s game against Indiana in the second quarter with a left elbow injury and did not return. Okoro, who underwent an MRI Monday, will be out 2-3 weeks with a left elbow sprain.
The Cleveland Cavaliers’ three-game winning streak was snapped on Friday night as they fell to LeBron James and the Lakers 113-101 at Staples Center.
The game was tied at 54 at halftime, but the Lakers(3-3) pulled away in the fourth quarter to get the victory.
Here’s the Great, Not So Great, and Bottom Line of Cleveland’s loss to the Lakers.
The Great for the Cavaliers:
-Evan Mobley is the real deal. The rookie had a team-high 23 points and snatched six rebounds, and three assists in a team-high 36 minutes of action. This kid does not appear to get rattled, and according to him, he’s ahead of schedule, which could be scary for the rest of the league.
“I feel like I’m getting adjusted to the NBA pretty fast,” Mobley said postgame. “I feel like I’m pretty ahead of schedule so far.”
-Darius Garland had a double-double with 18 points and 11 assists(six turnovers). It was Garland’s second double-double of the season.
-Lauri Markkanen had a season-high 17 points(7/14 FG) on Friday night, which included a season-high three three-pointers. Markkanen has struggled with his shot(30.5 FG%) thus far this season, so it’s good to see him put the ball in the basket.
-Ricky Rubio continues to bring it every night. He had 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists off the bench. What an acquisition for this team. It’s early, but if Rubio keeps playing at this level, he could be in the discussion for Sixth-Man of the Year.
The Not so Great for the Cavaliers:
-Fourth-quarter: Cleveland trailed 88-85, heading into the fourth quarter. However, they went completely cold in the fourth. They shot 4/18(22%) from the field and were outscored 25-16 in the quarter. The Cavs took their last lead of 91-90 with just under eight minutes left, but the Lakers would go on a 10-0 run, and Cleveland never threatened after that.
-Defense: One of the reasons Cleveland won three straight was their defense. The Cavaliers held teams below 90 points and below 410% shooting from the floor in those three wins. However, the Lakers scored 113 points with 55% shooting. Los Angeles also had 60 points in the paint.
-After scoring 26 points against the Clippers on Wednesday night, Collin Sexton, the team’s leading scorer, was a non-factor against Los Angeles. He scored 9 points on 2/9 shooting.
This was not a bad loss for the Cavs. They competed against the Lakers, who you knew would be tough to beat after their loss to the Thunder on Wednesday. In addition, Cleveland kept it close and even had a lead in the fourth. The Cavs can hold their heads up high after this loss.
Cleveland(3-3) continues their five-game road trip as they travel to Phoenix to battle the Western Conference Champions, the Suns(1-3), on Saturday night; Phoenix, who has lost two straight, is 0-2 at home this season.
Best of the Rest:
In his return from an ankle injury, LeBron James led the Lakers with 26 points, eights assists, and three rebounds; Carmelo Anthony added 24 points, including six three-pointers off the bench.
Watch below as Mobley, Rubio, and Markkanen react to loss against Lakers:
Phoenix Suns legendary point guard Chris Paul made history in the team’s 115-105 victory over the Lakers at Staples Center on Friday night.
Coming into the game against the Lakers, Paul needed seven points to become the first player in NBA history to amass 20,000 points and 10,000 assists. The 11-time All-Star, who was also named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team this week, hit the milestone with a free throw in the second quarter.
Paul, who finished Friday’s game with 23 points, 14 assists, and five rebounds, was clutching the game ball at the post game press conference after Phoenix’s first victory of the season.
“When you get done playing this game,” Paul said. “Sometimes, you want to have things(game ball) to remember things. I’m going to keep this for sure.”
‘The first player ever,” Suns’ Devin Booker interjected. “That’s the crazy part about it… It’s inspiring, and I tell him daily, I was a fan before we were teammates, so I give him his flowers daily, and he deserves that. I think a lot of people wait until somebody retires or wait until their career is over to tell them certain type things. I get to say that often to him; that’s inspiring.”
The closest players to the 20,000 points and 10,000 assists mark were John Stockton(289 points short), Oscar Robertson(113 assists short), and Gary Payton(1034 assists short). Among active players, LeBron James(294 assists short) could get there this season, and Russell Westbrook(1926 assists short) may get there soon.
Paul is a fantastic player and arguably one of the greatest point guards in NBA history. At age 36, he’s showing no signs of slowing down.
Phoenix travels to Portland to battle the Trailblazers on Saturday night.
Watch below as Paul and Booker react to Paul’s record and the team’s first victory of the season:
The Los Angles Lakers added a few pieces to their team in the offseason. They brought in guys like Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, DeAndre Jordan and brought in two guys from their 2020 championship team in Dwight Howard and Rajon Rondo, but they have gotten off to a slow start.
On Friday, the Lakers(0-2) dropped their second straight game as they were defeated by the Suns(1-1) 115-105 at Staples Center.
The loss is not too concerning when you consider it’s only the second game of the season. However, what might be more concerning is what transpired on the team’s bench between Howard and Anthony Davis.
The two got into a shoving match in the second quarter after a Suns timeout.
After the game, both Howard and Davis said it was squashed.
“We squashed it right then and there,” Howard said. “We just had a disagreement about something that was on the floor… We’re grown men, things happen. But we are going to squash this little issue between me and him, and that’s my brother, that’s my teammate.”
Davis, who had 22 points and 14 rebounds on Friday night, added: “After the situation happened, me and DH, we talked about it, and we left it at that.”
According to Davis, the argument started over an issue with their pick-and-roll defense.
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel says stuff like this happens when you’re losing:
“When you’re getting your a** kicked, sometimes those conversations get heated,” he said. “They talked it out, and that’s going to happen from time to time.”
Howard did not play in the second half, but Vogel said it had nothing to do with the incident with Davis.
In an 82-game season, stuff like this does happen. This could bring the Lakers closer, and we’ll see the impact this altercation may have on Los Angeles going forward.
Howard talks altercation with Davis:
With Dwight Howard returning to the Lakers, the 76ers had a void at the backup center spot. On Wednesday, they officially filled that spot. Philadelphia announced that they had signed two-time All-Star Andre Drummond.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a one-year deal for the veteran minimum.
Last season, Drummond played for the Cavaliers and the Lakers. He appeared in 46 games (all starts) last season, posting averages of 14.9 points and 12.0 rebounds along with 1.4 steals and 1.1 blocks. He was one of three NBA players, including new teammate Joel Embiid, to average a point-rebound double-double as well as one steal and one block last season.
“Andre is a great addition to the 76ers family,” President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said via a press release from the team. “He is a two-time NBA All-Star who has consistently been one of the NBA’s very best rebounders and rim protectors,” Morey said. “We’re excited to add a veteran player of his caliber to our roster and look forward to the impact he’ll make this season.”
In nine seasons, Drummond holds career averages of 14.5 points, 13.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.5 blocks per game. His career 13.7 rebounding average ranks seventh all-time in NBA history among players who have appeared in at least 250 contests.
In essence, the 76ers swapped Drummond for Howard. The 27-year-old Drummond is probably an upgrade over the 35-year-old Howard. He’s younger, a better rebounder, scorer, and a guy looking to get another big contract, which could bode well for Philadelphia.
Drummond will wear No. 1 for the 76ers.
It’s hard to win back-to-back titles in the NBA; so much has to go your way, including staying healthy. Last season, LeBron James and Anthony Davis were healthy, which led to an NBA title for the Los Angeles Lakers. This season, both Davis and James miss extended time due to injuries, and both Davis and James were not completely healthy in the playoffs.
James battled an ankle injury, while Davis battled a groin injury that occurred in Game 4, which forced him to miss Game 5 and led to him leaving in early in the first quarter and not coming back after trying to give it a go in Game 6 on Wednesday night.
All that aside, this game was about the greatness of Devin Booker, who scored 22 of his playoff career-high 47 points in the first quarter as the Suns defeated the Lakers 113-100 at Staples Center.
Phoenix led by as many as 22 points in the first quarter and by as many as 29 points in the game.
The Suns, who won the series 4-2 to capture their first playoff series victory in 11 years, move on to the Western Conference semifinals to battle the Denver Nuggets, while the defending- champion Lakers go home.
Booker, who’s making his playoff debut after missing the postseason in the first four years of his career, shot 8-10 from the field in the first quarter and was 6/6 from three-point range(six threes is his regular-season career-high). He finished the game shooting 15/22 from the field and made a career-high eight threes.
Booker was ready for this game, which he discussed after the victory.
“I was just locked in, to be completely honest with you,” Booker said. “I had a tough time taking my pregame nap, all out of excitement. We treated this game like a Game 7. We were stressing since we won the last game that we wanted to end it here on their home court.”
Booker is a huge fan of Laker great, the late Kobe Bryant, and he brought that “Mamba Mentality” in Game 6. Bryant once gave Booker a pair of his sneakers and wrote ‘Be Legendary’ on them. Booker would later get that phrase tattooed on him. The two-time All-Star felt Bryant’s presence when he saw Kobe’s 8 and 24 resting in the rafters at Staples Center, which he discussed post-game.
“Honestly, I was thinking about Kobe and the conversations that we had, kind of about what we just went through, the postseason and being legendary and taking the steps to get there,” Booker said. “So, seeing that 8 and that 24 up there, with the way that the lighting at Staples has right here, it feels like it’s shining down on you.”
Booker has star potential and talent, and now the world gets the see how good of a player he is and can be on the playoff stage.
James, who led the Lakers with 29 points on Thursday night, lost for the first time in the first round of the playoffs. Coming into this series, James was 14-0.
Chris Paul, who appeared to hurt his shoulder again in the first quarter, but would return, finished the game with eight points and 12 assists.
The Cleveland Cavaliers(17-28) had the first half they desired on Friday night against the Los Angeles Lakers(29-17). They played good defense, holding the Lakers to 44 points, and they shared the ball, 15 assists on 20 field goals. Cleveland led by seven points at halftime, but the second half was a much different story especially the third quarter.
In that third quarter, Cleveland shot 14% from the field, including 0/9 from three-point range, and scored only 10 points. Conversely, the Lakers shot 57% from the field and outscored Cleveland by 18 points in the quarter. Ultimately, Los Angeles would outscore Cleveland by 21 points in the second half and defeat the Cavaliers 100-86 at Staples Center.
The Lakers, who snapped their four-game losing streak on Friday night, were without LeBron James(ankle) and Anthony Davis(calf), but Montrezl Harrell stepped up and had a game-high 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Cleveland, who was without their leading scorer, Collin Sexton(hamstring), was led by Larry Nance Jr., who had 17 points and 10 rebounds.
The third quarter killed the Cavaliers, but according to their head coach J.B. Bickerstaff, the team got good looks. However, they could not make shots.
“We missed shots,” Bickerstaff said. “I thought we did a good job of moving the ball. You go back in look at how we created shots for one another; we just didn’t make them.”
Nance Jr. added: “We got good looks; we took good shots. We just didn’t make them.”
Cleveland also finished the game with 21 turnovers, which led to 21 points for the Lakers.
“We turned it over too much in the first half,” Bickerstaff said. “But in the second half, we turned it over more at the top of the floor, which gave them opportunities to get out in transition. We just have to be more sure with the ball.”
Tough loss for the Cavs when you consider the start they had, but it’s challenging to win the NBA when you don’t make shots and turn the ball over at a high rate.
Cleveland gets back at it on Saturday night against the Sacramento Kings, who beat the Cavaliers 119-105 last Monday night in Cleveland. The Cavaliers finish their four-game road trip on Monday in Utah against the Jazz.
On Friday, the Cavs announced that they have agreed on a buyout with Andre Drummond, who now will become a free agent. Drummond has not played since February 12 after he and the team agreed to have him sit until they can either trade or buy out the two-tIme All-Star.
The 27-year-old Drummond was acquired by the Cavaliers in a trade with Detroit last season on February 6, 2020. In 33 games (all starts) with Cleveland, he averaged 17.5 points, 12.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks in 28.7 minutes per contest.