A lot of the hype around this Los Angeles Lakers season is based solely on Lonzo Ball. The guy has been surrounded by media attention since his days in high school thanks to his incredible play and the crazy antics of his father, Lavar Ball. Whether you love or hate Lonzo you have to be keeping a close eye on him. Everyone seems to be watching how this kid plays, what shoes he wears and what his dad has to say about his performances. What will he turn into as an NBA player? Only time will tell. He’s only played one game so far and it gave us very little to chew on. All we know right now is that the NBA is coming for Lonzo Ball and his rookie season is going to be rough.
In my whole life, I’ve never seen an athlete with a target on his back more than Lonzo Ball. Lebron was a highly touted player when he entered the NBA but the other players weren’t as annoyed with him as much as they’re annoyed with Lonzo, thanks in a large part to his father. No one really picked on Lebron during his rookie campaign because even back then Lebron was big even by NBA standards. Lonzo, on the other hand, is a scrawny NBA rookie and people are ready to teach him a hard lesson. At least, that’s what Patrick Beverly did Thursday night as the Clippers played the Lakers.
Patrick Beverly was immediately right in Lonzo Ball’s grill. As soon as Lonzo caught the ball, Patrick Beverly had his face in the chest of Lonzo. Beverly didn’t even try to defend right away, instead, he just threw his shoulder into Lonzo knocking him to the ground. The refs called a foul and then Lonzo got the ball back. Patrick was right back in Lonzo’s grill and this led to Lonzo turning the ball over.
Patrick Beverly then had some choice words for Lonzo and even decided to hit a three-pointer right in Lonzo’s face. Ball handled this all very well and didn’t even flinch. However, he didn’t exactly charge out of the gate the way he thought he may have. Instead, Lonzo only had three points from one three-pointer which he scored while Patrick Beverly was out of the game.
Patrick Beverly brought it hard on Lonzo Ball and I’m sure he’s not the first NBA player to do so. I have a feeling this is going to happen more than a few times in Lonzo’s rookie season. De’Aaron Fox looked a lot more impressive than Lonzo Ball did in his debut but then again, the NBA isn’t coming for De’Aaron’s head the way it is coming for Lonzo’s. I’m sure Lonzo has a lot of hard fouls coming his way and I hope that he is able to stay healthy all year long and play up to his potential.
Dwyane Wade Turns Back The Clock Against 76ers
Dwayne Wade scores 28 points in just 26 minutes in the game two matchup against the 76ers.
Dwayne Wade looked like the Dwayne Wade of ten years ago when he took the court in Philadelphia for their game two matchup against the 76ers. He came off the bench, as he has most of the season, but it still didn’t matter as he put up 28 points in just 26 minutes. to tie the series at 1-1. It was a sight for sore eyes for Heat fans, who have been wondering if their glory days were over after Wade left Miami in 2016. But he pulled out some classic Wade heroics to at least keep their chances alive for this season.
It seemed to be a clear effort by coach Eric Spoelstra to make Wade more of a focal point in game two. Wade only played 19 minutes in game 1 and had very little impact in the game. But for whatever reason, Spoelstra took the chance and rolled the dice on Wade and his rapidly deteriorating knees in an effort to swing the series in their favor. And swing the series they did.
Oh, and did we mention the victory ended a 17-game win streak by the 76ers? Because it did.
Who knows where the series, and postseason as a whole, will go from here, but his performance Monday night has many fantasizing about one last championship run by Wade. There are already rumors that this could be his last season. And he’s made a career out of being one of the toughest guys in the league and doing whatever he needs to do to help his team win. So maybe, at this point, “whatever he needs to do” might just mean giving literally everything he has left. Because after all he’s given over the years, he honestly might not have much left.
“A lot of people think that if you do decide to go out it’s because you weren’t supposed to be able to play no more. It’s not always supposed to be that,” Wade commented after the game. “Just taking time to think, that’s all I’m doing [in the off-season]. Taking time to think and looking at every angle and what’s the best situation for me to be in. That’s all. It’s a lot of different things that come into play.”
Maybe he will go on a tear and take the Heat past the first round and beyond. Maybe he does have enough left to get them all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals. Or maybe this was just one last great game from one the greatest players of his generation. Either way, it was a beautiful thing to see and it has been an absolute pleasure to watch this man’s Hall of Fame career. Even if the Heat lose the series to the 76ers and Wade retires after the season, he will not soon be forgotten.
Duke Loses All Five Starters To The Draft
Freshman Wendell Carter Jr. announced today that he will declare for the NBA Draft, making him the fifth of five starters last season for Duke that will not be returning next season.
Freshman Wendell Carter Jr. announced today that he will declare for the NBA Draft, making him the fifth of five starters last season for Duke that will not be returning next season. He joins three other freshmen, Trevon Duval, Gary Trent Jr., and Marvin Bagley III. Along with the troublemaking senior, Grayson Allen. It’s just one example of the wild turnaround many college coaches have to deal with these days thanks to one year wait period required after graduating high school before a player can declare for the draft.
Carter released a statement that read as follows, “I want to thank Duke University, my coaches, and teammates for helping me so much, not only on the court but off it as well. We’re all brothers, we all have each other’s backs. I’m really going to miss being around my friends, but I’m really going to cherish the moments we had together. I’m very excited and very happy to say I was part of something special here at Duke.”
During his one and only season at Duke, Carter averaged 13.5 points and 9/1 rebounds. He is considered by many scouts and executives to be a lottery pick, which makes the decision likely a smart one for Carter. Not to mention, all signs point to his Duke teammate, Marvin Bagley III, being taken in the lottery as well. Bagley entered his Duke career as one of the top prospects in the country and didn’t disappoint during his freshman campaign.
Trevon Duval averaged 10.3 points, 2 rebounds, and 5.6 assists a game. His decision to turn pro was slightly more surprising than Bagley and Carter, but he is likely hoping to ride his intangibles onto an NBA roster. While Trent Jr. averaged 14.5 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. Much stronger numbers that should help him make a roster. Not to mention he’s 6’6” and 209 pounds. Giving him the ideal size and skill level to play multiple positions at the next level.
Then there’s the ever-controversial Grayson Allen. His four-year career at Duke was well documented for both his successes and his odd behavior. While his skill level, overall production, willingness to leave it all on the court would be desired but just about any NBA franchise, his dirty play, and occasional bad attitude has to be a red flag for many GMs and owners. It could definitely hurt his draft stock, but I’d be surprised if he didn’t get drafted at all. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t excited to see how he will be welcomed into the NBA by veterans who may not be too crazy about his behavior. He might be in for a rude awakening.
The NBA Playoffs Are Finally Here
Another fantastic and exciting NBA season is in the books, and now it’s time for what really matters: the playoffs.
Another fantastic and exciting NBA season is in the books, and now it’s time for what really matters: the playoffs. Sure, players can make a great career out of regular season success. Maybe they’ll even be considered a “star” for some of those seasons. But heroes? Heroes are born in the playoffs. If you want to go down as one of the greats, you sure as heck better hit some game winning shots and give absolutely everything you’ve got to try and get your team a championship. And I for one have got a feeling we’re about to see quite a few heroics in the coming weeks.
This excitement of this season went right down to the wire this year. Specifically, The Minnesota Timberwolves and Denver Nuggets met in their final games of the regular season, with the 8th seed in the West and a trip to the playoffs on the line. It was an incredible game that went into overtime, but by the end, the Timberwolves had prevailed. They’re in for quite a shock now, though, as they’ll face the all mighty Houston Rockets in the first round.
In Portland, the Utah Jazz came to town with the 3rd seed in the west on the line. It was a very interesting game because if Portland would have lost, everything would have basically stayed the same. Utah would have stayed the 3 seed and Portland the 4, giving them both home-court advantage in the first round. But because Portland won, they jumped into the number 3 spot and Utah dropped all the way to the 5 spot. They will now face the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, with OKC benefiting from home court advantage. Portland, meanwhile, will face off with Anthony Davis and the New Orleans Pelicans, while the 2nd-seeded Golden State Warriors will face the 7th-seeded San Antonio Spurs.
In the East, the Washington Wizards snuck in as the 8th seed and will face the top-seeded Toronto Raptors in the first round. It could be a tough series for the Raptors though, as it’s likely the Wizards are only the 8th seed because they were without their star point guard, John Wall, for much of the season. But many believe, especially those in Toronto, that the Raptors are finally due for playoff success and a trip to the NBA Finals.
The rest of the Eastern Conference match-ups look like this: (2) Boston Celtics vs. (7) Milwaukee Bucks, (3) Philadelphia 76ers vs. (6) Miami Heat, and (4) Cleveland Cavaliers vs. (5) Indiana Pacers. And make no mistake, despite all the attention I gave the Western Conference at the beginning of this article, there are definitely some intriguing match-ups in the East.
You can never count out the Brad Stevens-led Boston Celtics, but due to the recent announcement that Kyrie Irving is out for the rest of the season, the 7th-seeded Milwaukee Bucks might be in the perfect position to reach the second round for the first time since the ’00/’01 season. While the 3rd-seeded 76ers are riding a 16 game winning streak into the playoffs, which could spell disaster for the Miami Heat. But, then again, can you ever truly count out Dwyane Wade?
And last but not least, you have the 4th-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers against the 5th-seeded Indiana Pacers. In any other season, this would seem like a relatively easy first-round match-up for a Lebron James-led team. But this has been, in his words, one of the most difficult seasons of his career. So there’s no telling what kind of mindset the Cavaliers are in. While the young, underdog Pacers have played loud and fast all season, thanks to a stellar season by their star, Victor Oladipo. For me, this is one of the trickiest match-ups in the first round. Because, on one hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Cavs yet again make it to the NBA Finals. But, on the other hand, I can’t say I’d be surprised if the Pacers steal this one from Cleveland and knock them out in the first round.
Either way, I am very excited for whatever is about to happen.
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