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For Curry, a Return Home Shows He Is Where He Belongs

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Stephen Curry was about 25 minutes into a news conference here on Saturday afternoon when a magician who goes by the name Jibrizy sidled up to the dais to do a card trick. Curry, the Golden State Warriors point guard, seemed impressed.

“That was nice, big fella,” Curry said. “That was crazy. Y’all see that? Did y’all see that? What’s your name, cheap nba jerseys china boss? Jibrizy? Nice to meet you, man. Fire. You’re fire. That’s what’s up.”

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Lots of weird stuff tends to happen during N.B.A. All-Star weekend, and a cameo by Jibrizy was no exception. But it was also the rare instance when the spotlight left Curry, if only for a moment, in the run-up to the weekend’s flagship game on Sunday.

Curry, a six-time All-Star and two-time most valuable player who has already coaxed Golden State to three championships, is used to lots of attention. But he relished his return to Charlotte, where he grew up to become perhaps the greatest shooter of all time — and where he is still revered.

Zion Williamson’s Injury Has Some Saying He Should Quit Duke

A freakish injury to Duke’s Zion Williamson, college basketball’s best and most prominent player, only seconds into a game on Wednesday night has instantaneously renewed a debate about the contradictions of the sport’s economic foundation, shining a harsh new light on the N.C.A.A.’s policy of amateurism and the influence of billion-dollar shoe companies.

It also raised an important question: Should Williamson ever suit up for another college game?

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Fans were asking the question. An N.B.A. player was, too,cheap nba jerseys from china
even before Duke announced that Williamson had sprained his right knee in the fall.

“It’s a legitimate question,” said Ramogi Huma, the founder and president of the College Athletes Players Association, an advocate for players’ rights.

In the first minute of top-ranked Duke’s game against its archrival, eighth-ranked North Carolina, Williamson, a 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward whose game is a blend of quickness and power, pivoted with the ball near the free-throw line. As he planted a foot to reverse direction, his left sneaker collapsed and tore apart from the sheer torque of the move.

No Matter What LeBron Says, the Lakers’ Issues Aren’t Just About “Being Comfortable”

LeBron James wanted to talk about culture. After a 128-115 Saturday night loss to the Pelicans—a team in tumult that was on the second night of a back-to-back, and didn’t play superstar/would-be Hollywood transplant Anthony Davis—James took his time to figure out how he’d answer questions about a bleak performance that dropped his Lakers back below .500. That’s what he settled on: culture.

Just a few short days after publicly announcing that he’d “activated” his playoff-level intensity, James faced the media to talk about another blow to L.A.’s hopes of returning to the postseason for the first time since 2013.

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“How do you know what’s at stake if you’ve never been there?” James asked, by way of “playing devil’s advocate” about the Lakers’ sputtering playoff push. “[…] It’s kind of cheap nba jerseys
a fine line when you talk about that, because when you’ve never been there or know what it takes to actually shoot for something like that, it’s like you’re afraid to get uncomfortable. So you gotta be comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
What LeBron can’t get comfortable with is the losing that has marred the past half-decade of Lakers basketball, and that has persisted throughout this year’s 29-30 campaign. L.A. is three games out of the West’s no. 8 seed with 23 games to go. Asked whether Saturday’s loss felt different than the 29 defeats that had preceded it this season—more disappointing, perhaps, since it squandered the positive vibes of Thursday’s big win over the Rockets—James scoffed at the notion, and pointed to the past.

“For me? No,” he said. “See, that’s what I’m talking about … the last few years, everyone’s so accustomed to the losses. I’m just not accustomed to it. I’m not accustomed to it. I will never get comfortable with losing. So, losing Game 1 to [Portland] is still the same as losing Game 59 in New Orleans to me. It’s just how I’m built. It’s who I am.”

No one doubts who James is or how he’s built anymore. But 59 games into his first season in L.A., there remain a hell of a lot of questions about who the Lakers are, how they were built, and the fundamental weirdness of this whole enterprise.

LeBron James Is the Change Fans Want to See in the Basketball World

James changed free agency forever the first time he left Cleveland. His second departure from the Cavaliers, for Los Angeles, shows how much he has changed, too.
CLEVELAND — The Los Angeles Lakers are not a great team, but they employ the greatest player in the world. They seem to be grasping the potential benefits of such an arrangement. LeBron James can compensate for many problems: lackluster defense, questionable decisions, growing pains.

“He comes out and plays the game pure,” Coach Luke Walton said.

On Wednesday night, the difference between cheap nba jerseys from china
his presence (on the Lakers) and his absence (from the Cavaliers) was clear in his return to Cleveland, where fans came to Quicken Loans Arena to pay their respects to a bygone era — the LeBron Era. Without him, the Cavaliers are a bad team, one of the worst in the league. James feels for them.

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“A lot of the guys have worked their tails off to get to where they are in their career,” James said after the Lakers escaped with a 109-105 victory, “and you never want to see your friends be in the situation that they’re in. But as professionals, they’re still giving it all they got.”

After decamping to Los Angeles in free agency over the summer, James belongs to the Lakers now — or perhaps they belong to him. They are not championship contenders, not yet anyway, but they are winning most of the games they should win and learning as they go.
“It’s happening,” Walton said, “and it’s good to see it happening, but it’s still the early stages of where we ultimately need to get to.”

Their win against the Cavaliers was the latest example, a flawed effort that James mended by collecting 32 points, 14 rebounds and 7 assists. The Lakers, who improved to 10-7, have won six of their last seven games. Their progress was on display in front of James’s old fans and teammates and coaches, who are familiar with his ability to elevate those around him.

N.B.A. Said to Review Patrick McCaw’s Deal With Cavaliers

The N.B.A. will formally review the Cleveland Cavaliers’ recent signing and near-immediate release of the restricted free agent Patrick McCaw for possible salary cap circumvention, according to a person with knowledge of the league’s stance.

The investigation was requested by the Golden State Warriors, cheap nba jerseys
who had held McCaw’s rights, according to the person, who was not authorized to discuss the situation publicly.

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In such cases, officials from the Cavaliers and the Warriors, as well as McCaw’s representatives, are typically interviewed before the league office rules whether Cleveland will face punishment.

Signing a player to a nonguaranteed offer sheet is technically not against league rules, nor is waiving him shortly thereafter. But because McCaw lasted only a week in Cleveland before the Cavaliers released him, some around the league have suggested that the move was designed more to help McCaw extricate himself from the Warriors than because of any true interest in the player on Cleveland’s part.

Cavaliers’ Handling of Patrick McCaw Broke No Rules, N.B.A. Finds

The Cleveland Cavaliers did not commit any rules violations with their recent signing and subsequent release of the restricted free agent Patrick McCaw, the N.B.A. announced Monday.

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The league opened an investigation last week at the behest of the Golden State Warriors, who had held McCaw’s rights, and said it found no evidence cheap nba jerseys
of wrongdoing after interviews with officials from both teams and McCaw’s representation. Penalties in such cases, at their most extreme, can include fines as high as $6 million or the loss of draft picks.

“Based on the specific facts and circumstances of this matter, the N.B.A. found that there was no violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement, including the anti-circumvention rules,” the league said in a statement.

McCaw cleared waivers last week after Cleveland released him and signed a contract for the rest of the season with the Toronto Raptors.

To Learn to Win, the Denver Nuggets Had to Lose (Badly)

DENVER — The Denver Nuggets’ worst loss of the season was less than 48 hours old when Tim Connelly, the team’s president of basketball operations, found himself courtside before a game against the Chicago Bulls assessing some lessons of the defeat.

“A loss is never a positive,” Connelly said, “but we have to be realistic about where we stand. We’ve done nothing, and that team has done everything several times over.”

He was referring to the Golden State Warriors, a superstar collective cheap nba jerseys from china
that has demolished its share of opponents in recent years. But what the Warriors did to the Nuggets one night last week was particularly gruesome, in part because Denver had entered the game with a slim lead over Golden State in the N.B.A.’s Western Conference standings.

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But then, on Jan. 15, in front of a briefly enthusiastic crowd here, the Warriors scored 51 points in the first quarter and sailed to a 142-111 victory that sent a message to everyone on the opposing bench, inside the building and across the league: We are not going anywhere.
It was, for one night at least, illustrative of the gulf that still exists between the Warriors and the rest of the N.B.A. While Golden State’s dominance had led many to despair, the Nuggets entered the game ahead in the standings and hopeful that they were bridging the gap. They came out of it understanding that there is still work to be done.

“We got a little comfortable,” Nuggets forward Paul Millsap said. “It was a humbling experience for us.”

Nets Beat Nuggets on Last-Second Shot

Caris LeVert hit a jumper in the lane with less than a second left, and the Nets rallied to beat the host Denver Nuggets, 112-110, on Friday night.

Left with 0.3 seconds, the Nuggets got a 3-point attempt at the buzzer from Malik Beasley, but it missed.

LeVert finished with 17 points, D’Angelo Russell had 23 and Jarrett Allen scored 18 for the Nets, who have won three in a row and four of five.

Nikola Jokic broke out of a funk to score a season-high 37 and tied a career high with 21 rebounds, but Denver lost its first home game of the season after winning the first six.
LeVert got the chance to win it when Jokic traveled with 22.1 seconds left. LeVert fought off tight defense by Gary Harris, got into the lane and hit a floater to win it.

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The Nets scored the last 6 points of the game and got back to .500 at 6-6.

It was tied at 106-106 when Jokic blocked Allen’s shot, grabbed the rebound and then brought to ball up the floor. He fed Beasley with a look-away pass, and Beasley cheap nhl jerseys china
laid it in to make it 108-106 with 1 minute 23 seconds left.
After Allen missed a short hook, Paul Millsap dunked to give Denver a 4-point lead, its biggest of the night. The Nets tied it again at 110-110 on Allen’s dunk with 29 seconds left.

Jokic, who entered averaging just 4.2 shots per game since the start of November, was aggressive from the start. He hit all five of his field goals in the first quarter and had a double-double by halftime with 20 points and 12 rebounds.

His 12 shot attempts in the first half nearly matched his total for the previous three games (13).

Denver trailed by as much as 14 but got back into the game with an 8-0 run early in the third quarter. Murray hit two free throws with 5:15 left in the period to tie the game for the first time and Jokic’s tip with 3:34 left gave the Nuggets their first lead at 68-67.

How the Nuggets discovered Nikola Jokic and turned Denver into the NBA’s fastest-growing market

The decision-makers inside the Denver Nuggets’ front office used to play a parlor game concerning franchise pillar Nikola Jokic.
Had the Nuggets not chosen Jokic with the No. 41 selection in the 2014 draft, a prescient pick that laid the foundation for this season’s surprising success, how high, they wondered, would he have gone a year later after a breakthrough season overseas?

By then, the rest of the NBA would have discovered cheap nba jerseys
what the Nuggets already knew: That Jokic, though he does not look the part, has a preternatural gift for the game. No one could have predicted that Jokic, the team’s first all-star in eight years, would spawn a hoops renaissance in Denver.

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The Nuggets are the hottest sports ticket in town, with 18 sellouts this season, four more than all of last season. The raucous environment has made Denver devastating at Pepsi Center; the Nuggets’ 23-4 home record is tied for the best in the NBA. And TV viewership on Altitude has soared by 93 percent, according to data provided by the NBA, the top growth for any market.

“You can feel it and hear it, man,” veteran forward Paul Millsap said of the budding excitement at Pepsi Center. “It’s a big difference. The spirit of basketball in this town has really evolved. It’s up to us to get out there and keep performing for them.”
Come April, the Nuggets, currently second in the Western Conference, will return to the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season. They’ve been building toward this moment for years.

The root of the team’s revival can be traced to April 2014, when the Nuggets tracked Jokic, a 7-foot center from Serbia, at the Nike Hoops Summit in Portland. The annual showcase of prospects routinely brings out dozens of NBA power brokers, and it was there, inside the Trail Blazers’ practice facility, that Jokic proved he could compete against NBA-caliber talent.

While most team executives saw Jokic as a lanky, unsculpted big man and were put off by his lack of classic athleticism, the Nuggets looked beyond aesthetics. They saw a crafty scorer with a shooter’s touch, a center who could handle the ball like a guard.

For Women Working in Men’s Sports, It Is Not an Honor Just to Be Nominated

The hiring of the W.N.B.A. point guard Kristi Toliver as a full-time assistant coach with the N.B.A.’s Washington Wizards while she is still an active player was widely applauded as a notable new achievement for women in coaching.

It followed the San Antonio Spurs’ hiring of Becky Hammon, and other women like Nancy Lieberman and Jenny Boucek also joining N.B.A. coaching staffs.

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“With anything, you need to see it to be it,” Wholesale nba jerseys
said Briann January, a guard for the Phoenix Mercury and, in her off-season, an assistant women’s basketball coach at Arizona State. “I see it now because of Becky. Because of Kristi. I see the opportunity that is out there to take that next step in this professional area.”

For many players, the moves showed N.B.A. teams tapping into a longstanding, significant pipeline of female talent.