Surprises can be disappointing, but can disappointments be surprising? Basketball Insiders looks at three unexpectedly slow starts within the Pacific Division.
AD says LBJ is happy to “play the second guy” in Los Angeles.
Davis and James instantly—and perhaps surprisingly—found instant chemistry on the court.
“I didn’t think we were going to be able to connect this fast just because of the fact he had a lot of stuff going on this summer with ‘Space Jam ,’ so we didn’t get a lot of time to work out together,” Davis said. “Then we hit a short training camp and had to go to China, and all that stuff, so I’m surprised that we’ve got a little connection right now.”
The Lakers are [an NBA-best] 9-2 and have been among the best defensive teams in the league, with James racking up triple-doubles.
Even if Davis is not the MVP favorite at this point, just being in the conversation indicates a smashing success — it means that James is drawing top-level play out of the younger star.
“I’m trying to win much more than an MVP, man,” Davis said, playing down the notion. “It’s early in the season, obviously; if the MVP comes, it comes. If the Defensive Player of the Year comes, it comes. But the entire team’s main goal is to win a championship, and we’re trying to just stay in the moment right now.”
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🏀 Coby White sets Bulls record with 7 threes in 4Q
🏀 Trae Young goes off for 42 PTS in Denver
🏀 Donovan Mitchell posts 30 PTS in comeback win
16 teams took the floor last night! Recap all 8 games! ⬇🏀
1. Trae Young became the first player in NBA history to have three-straight games with 30+ points and 10+ assists, under the age of 22. Young led the Atlanta Hawks to a 125-121 win over the Denver Nuggets, recording a season-high 42 points, 11 assists, and 8 3PM. Jabari Parker also added 20 points and 9 rebounds for the Hawks. The Nuggets had seven players reach double figures, including Will Barton (21 points, 9 rebounds) and Nikola Jokić (20 points, 6 rebounds, 7 assists).
This was also Trae Young’s 2nd career game with 40 points and 10 assists tonight.
The only other players in NBA history with multiple such games before turning 22 are LeBron James (4) and Michael Jordan (2).
2. Bogdan Bogdanovic led the Sacramento Kings to a 107-99 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, recording a double-double of 25 points and 10 assists. Buddy Hield tallied 20 points, and Nemanja Bjelica added 19 points and 12 rebounds for the Kings. Damian Lillard finished the night with 27 points and 5 assists for the Trail Blazers, and C.J. McCollum contributed 24 points.
Portland led 49-46 after a sloppy first half from both teams. However, Trailblazers kept giving the ball away, Sacramento kept scoring with it and Hield finally saw two threes go in. The Kings took their biggest lead of 60-51, which grew to 75-63. Portland went on an 11-2 run to make the game close at 98-93, but the Kings answered with threes from Bjelica and Cory Joseph, and then a left-handed layup from Barnes to make it 106-97.
3. The Utah Jazz went on a 21-9 run to comeback and defeat the Brooklyn Nets, 119-114. Donovan Mitchell led with 30 points and 6 rebounds, while Rudy Gobert added 18 points and 15 rebounds for the Jazz. Kyrie Irving finished the night with 27 points and 5 assists for the Nets.
Kyrie Irving finished with 10 points in the second half on 4-17 shooting, adding two turnovers to the mix. He also missed his last eight shots. It was a mix of him missing shots he’s capable of making and the Jazz taking advantage of that and relying on their defense that allowed Utah to storm back and win the game.
4. The Los Angeles Lakers went on a 12-2 run to defeat the Phoenix Suns, 123-115. Anthony Davis (24 points, 12 rebounds) and LeBron James (19 points, 11 assists) both posted double-doubles, while Kyle Kuzma tallied 23 points for the Lakers. Ricky Rubio recorded 21 points and 10 assists for the Suns and Devin Booker added 21 points and 9 assists.
The win pushed the Lakers (8-2) to their best 10-game start since 2010 and they bounced back from a home loss to Toronto on Sunday. Kyle Kuzma was out on the floor in the crucial final minutes and he helped Lakers with clutch 3-pointers. Lakers also dominated in the paint with 70 points. Dwight Howard came off the bench to score 12 points and grab nine rebounds in 20 minutes.
Anthony Davis (263 PTS) and LeBron James (240 PTS) are the second Los Angeles Lakers duo in the last 45 years to combine for 5⃣0⃣0⃣ or more points in the Lakers’ first 10 games of a season. The only other pair to do it before? Shaquille O’ Neal (292) and Kobe Bryant (274) in 2001-02.
5. Coby White (27 points) became the first rookie in NBA history to make 7 threes in a quarter as the Chicago Bulls defeated the New York Knicks, 120-102. He is also the youngest to do so. Zach LaVine contributed 25 points and 5 assists, and Wendell Carter Jr. added 17 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulls. Marcus Morris Sr. finished the night with 22 points and 9 rebounds for the Knicks, while RJ Barrett posted 21 points, 6 rebounds and 9 assists.
Coby White made seven three-pointers in the quarter including four-straight for his own 12-0 run in the game. He was raining hellfire down on the Knicks as the Bulls went on a 22-0 run to take control. When the damage was done, the 19-year-old guard hit a franchise-record SEVEN 3-pointers in the quarter and scored 23 of his career-high 27 points in the final period to lead the Bulls to a 120-102 victory.
6. The Miami Heat defeated the Detroit Pistons, 117-108. Jimmy Butler (20 points, 13 assists) and Bam Adebayo (18 points, 14 rebounds) both contributed double-doubles for the Heat, while Kendrick Nunn also added 20 points and 5 assists. Luke Kennard finished the night with 22 points, 5 assists and 2 steals for the Pistons.
Miami saw a 29-point lead dwindle to seven at one point but managed to hold on. Part of the problem for Miami was some offensive droughts when Jimmy Butler went to the bench, with Justise Winslow, Tyler Herro, Derrick Jones Jr. and James Johnson sidelined. However, the Pistons were also without Blake Griffin, Derrick Rose and Reggie Jackson, among others.
7. Joel Embiid led the Philadelphia 76ers to a 98-97 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers, recording 27 points, 16 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 blocks. Ben Simmons added 15 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks for the 76ers. Jordan Clarkson and Kevin Love both finished the night with 20 points for the Cavaliers.
Al Horford was taking a night-off due to load management and Ben Simmons made his return for the 76ers. The Sixers overcame poor shooting and a slew of second-half turnovers to topple the pesky Cavaliers. In the return of Ben Simmons, this game came down to the final possession.
8. The Indiana Pacers defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder, 111-85. T.J. Warren (23 points) and Malcolm Brogdon (20 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists) led the Pacers, and Domantas Sabonis added a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds. Danilo Gallinari finished the night with 14 points and 4 rebounds for the Thunder.
The Indiana Pacers returned home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder. With a strong performance by the team’s second unit, the Pacers were able to pull out a tone-setting 111-85 win.
Pacers 111 (7-4), Thunder 85 (4-7)
T. J. Warren led the way with 23 points on 10-14 shooting as the Pacers cruised to a win in OKC. Malcolm Brogdon added 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.
76ers 98 (7-3), Cavaliers 97 (4-6)
A clutch, go ahead dunk from Joel Embiid with 13 seconds left lifted the 76ers to the win over the Cavs. Embiid was a monster all night, finishing with 27 points and 16 rebounds. Kevin Love and Jordan Clarkson each dropped 20 in the loss.
Heat 117 (7-3), Pistons 108 (4-8)
The Heat held off a late surge from the Pistons to secure their 7th win of the season. Miami had 6 players finish in double figures, and Jimmy Butler led the way with 20 points and 13 assists. Luke Kennard finished with 22 points in the loss.
Bulls 120 (4-7), Knicks 102 (2-9)
It was the Coby White show in the windy city.
The rookie splashed a franchise record 7 threes in the 4th quarter alone and finished with a game-high 27 points. Zach LaVine shined too, dropping 25 points and 5 assists. For the Knicks, rookie RJ Barrett continued to impress, finishing with 21 points, 6 rebounds, and 9 assists.
Lakers 123 (8-2), Suns 115 (6-4)
The top-seeded Lakers took care of business on the road against the Suns, closing the game on a 12-2 run. Anthony Davis dropped a game-high 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Kyle Kuzma added 23 points, and LeBron stuffed the stat sheet with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and 4 assists. The Suns, who have been the surprise of the season thus far, battled till the end on the backs of Devin Booker (21p, 9a) and Ricky Rubio (21p, 10a).
Hawks 125 (4-6), Nuggets 121 (7-3)
Ice Trae continues to tear up the league.
He went OFF for a season-high 42 points, including 8-13 from three, and 11 assists to lead the Hawks to a big win in Denver. Trae became the first player in Hawks franchise history to record 30 points and 10 assists in three straight games. Nikola Jokic finished with 20 points, 6 rebounds, and 7 assists.
Jazz 119 (8-3), Nets 114 (4-6)
The Jazz continued their red-hot start to the season with a wire-to-wire win over the Nets. Donovan Mitchell shined, dropping a game-high 30 points. Rudy Gobert added 18 points, 15 rebounds, and 2 blocks. Kyrie Irving led the Nets with 27 points and 5 assists.
Kings 107 (3-6), Blazers 99 (4-6)
The Kings outscored the Blazers 35-21 in the third quarter and held off the late comeback to pick up their 3rd win of the season. Bogdan Bogdonaovic led the way with 25 points and 10 assists off the bench. Portland’s elite backcourt showed out, with Damian Lillard dropping 27 and CJ McCollum adding 24 in the loss.
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“AAU coaches don’t give a damn” about the kids, according to LeBron James.
James, whose two sons play in the system, says parents need to be aware of the pitfalls (too many games, poor nutrition, etc.) of AAU basketball.
LeBron adds that Nike’s EYBL has the best programs: “There’s no question about it.”
Per Yahoo Sports:
“These kids are going into the league already banged up, and I think parents and coaches need to know [that] … well, AAU coaches don’t give a f—,” James told Yahoo Sports. “AAU coaches couldn’t give a damn about a kid and what his body is going through.”
AAU in the midst of the organization’s peak and who also has two sons who are active in today’s AAU sphere, there’s no better player to weigh in on the subject than Lakers superstar LeBron James.
“I think [AAU] has something to do with it, for sure,” James told Yahoo Sports. “It was a few tournaments where my kids — Bronny and Bryce — had five games in one day and that’s just f—ing out of control. That’s just too much. And there was a case study where I read a report. I don’t know who wrote it not too long ago, and it was talking about the causes and [kid’s] bodies already being broken down and they contributed it to AAU basketball and how many games that these tournaments are having for the [financial benefit]. So, I’m very conscious for my own son because that’s all I can control, and if my son says he’s sore or he’s tired, he’s not playing.
“Because a lot of these tournaments don’t have the best interest of these kids, man. I see it. It’s like one time, they had to play a quarterfinal game, a semifinal game and a championship game starting at 9 a.m., and the championship game was at 12:30 p.m. Three games. I was like, ‘Oh, hell no.’ And my kids were dead tired. My kids were dead tired. This isn’t right. This is an issue.”
Anthony Davis admitted he feels right shoulder discomfort on virtually every play Sunday night, following a 113-104 home loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Davis, 26, paced the Los Angeles Lakers with 27 points, eight rebounds, three assists, two steals and four blocks.
Head coach Frank Vogel said he didn’t feel any need to bring AD out of the game after he aggraveted the injury.
“There’s really never a play I don’t feel it,” Davis said.
He aggravated his shoulder on one of those swats on Pascal Siakam, causing the joint to droop as he made his way back up the court.
“I’m going to go out there and play. I try not to let it affect my game,” said Davis, who hasn’t missed any games this season because of the injury. “I just play through it and then worry about taking care of it after the game.”
Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Davis’ shoulder has “been fine” but acknowledged that he tweaked it Sunday.
“Obviously, we saw that play [against Siakam],” Vogel said. “Medical team didn’t feel like he needed to come out.”
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