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The Warriors’ Biggest Rivals? Injuries and Boredom

There are intriguing teams in both conferences, and there should be some classic games, but Golden State is positioned to three-peat.
The Golden State Warriors followed up their second consecutive N.B.A. title — and third in four years — by adding DeMarcus Cousins, the four-time All-Star. It became commonplace to declare that they had ruined the league by removing any suspense to the season. A starting lineup of five All-Stars, cheap nba jerseys from china
two of which are former recipients of the Most Valuable Player Award, was just too much.

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There was palace intrigue, however. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green feuded in public, Cousins was routinely exposed on defense, Klay Thompson had a rough start and Stephen Curry’s shot seemed to fail him before he began wearing contacts on the court — in a scary acknowledgment that he had struggled with his vision for years even as he established himself as the deadliest 3-point shooter in N.B.A. history.

The drama — which many on the team have said is actually less than they dealt with last season — led to long stretches in which the Warriors seemed positively pedestrian. Perhaps most relevant to these playoffs, it led to them feuding with officials, and Durant and Green topping the N.B.A. in technical fouls.

Orlando Magic Are Officially Winners of Dwight Howard Trade

Aaron Gordon sat slouched in front of his locker, immobile as ice packs worked on his body following yet another loss earlier this season. His Orlando Magic teammates showered and dressed, and left.

Gordon’s back had been bothering him, and no wonder: He’s in his fifth year of carrying the Magic franchise. And he is in for the long haul, too. After doing what he described as “due diligence” this past summer, Gordon signed a four-year, $80 million contract, handing over most of his mid-20s to a team that, so far, has failed to put a winning combination around him.

But if the 6-foot-9 multidimensional star is still waiting for a winning supporting cast, his 2018-19 season is the latest, best evidence yet that he is approaching a specific kind of broad-based play that is fast becoming a requirement for surviving in the N.B.A.

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Gordon showed it off days ago in a 103-96 win over the Golden State Warriors.

He did it all, scoring 22 points, pulling cheap nba jerseys
down 15 rebounds and using his defensive athleticism to help limit the Warriors to 9-for-40 shooting from 3-point range. By the end of last week, the surging Magic had found themselves in eighth place in the Eastern Conference and in new territory for Gordon: the playoff race.
It has taken every skill Gordon has, but for his part, the 23-year-old has embraced the way the competition in the N.B.A. has demanded that he do virtually everything on any given night.

“Versatility is going to be a huge part. The league is going in that direction,” Gordon said. “So it’s going to be 6-9, 6-10, 6-11, 7-foot guys able to do everything — handle the ball, pass, shoot, rebound. That’s the way the game is going to be.”

Daily MVP Film Breakdown: Bradley Beal’s First Triple Double

Bradley Beal made the most of his opportunity to control the game with John Wall out against Phoenix, scoring 40 points in his first career triple double and coming up clutch at the end of a triple overtime thriller.

Beal is constantly overlooked as Wall’s sidekick on a Wholesale nba jerseys
Wizards team that hasn’t done much of note. He’s talented, 25 years young, and now he has as many 40-point games in Washington as Michael Jordan did.

 

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Tom Petrini
@RealTomPetrini
Dearly beloved, let’s discuss Bradley Beal for a moment.
He had his first career triple double last night, posting 40 points, 15 dimes and 11 boards in a triple overtime win.

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5:59 AM – Dec 24, 2018
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Beal’s unconventional style jumps off the screen when you watch his tape, especially in the way he handles the ball. He plays at his own speed, and changes that speed several times per drive. His arhythmic dribble keeps defenders off balance, and he’s so smart about using that to his advantage.

Could Jalen Lecque, a high school-to-the-NBA prospect, be a 2nd-round project for the Wizards?

The Wizards currently don’t have a second round pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but have the option to buy into it if they wish. And one player’s announcement may just pique their interest in paying up for another pick.

Eighteen-year-old point guard Jalen Lecque tweeted Wednesday that he’s foregoing his college scholarship and eligibility to stay in the NBA Draft. Lecque had previously committed to NC State, but has decided instead to go pro now.
How is Lecque eligible for the NBA Draft without playing any college basketball, you may ask? Well, Lecque played a year of prep ball at Brewster Academy last season after graduating high school, allowing him to participate in the draft.

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Lecque would certainly be viewed as a second round project if he’s taken in the draft, but there’s plenty of talent there to warrant a selection. He’s a four-star recruit and cheap nba jerseys from china
was ranked No. 41 in the class of 2019 by ESPN. At the NBA Combine, he was measured at 6’2″ without shoes, with a 6’8.75″ wingspan.

Given their tight cap situation, the Wizards need to add young, affordable players to the roster. And with John Wall’s future uncertain due to his Achilles injury, the Wizards could especially use a young point guard to develop over the next few seasons. The Capital City Go-Go, Washington’s G-League affiliate, would give Lecque the perfect situation to get minutes as he continues his growth as a player.

He wouldn’t necessarily help the Wizards win now, but if given some time, Lecque has the tools to potentially become an impact player.

Column: Landing Zion Williamson would put the Bulls on a winning path. But even without him, there’s no excuse for missing the playoffs again.

Brace yourselves to be disappointed by Tuesday’s NBA draft lottery, Bulls fans.

Be ready to feel like flipping the channel as soon as ESPN shows another team getting the first or second pick. Or feel like flipping off Bulls management, out of habit.

Every outlet in Chicago happily keeps reminding us the Bulls have a 12.5 percent chance of getting the No. 1 pick. What typically goes unsaid is they have an 87.5 percent chance of not getting Zion Williamson. Realism isn’t the opposite of optimism — only its enemy.

What fun it would be to be stunned the way everyone was 11 years ago, when the Bulls had only a 1.7 percent chance of landing the No. 1 pick that would allow them to draft Derrick Rose, and incredibly, the pingpong balls bounced their way. How monumental an ordinary weekday in May would become if the Bulls woke up Wednesday in position to draft Williamson, who will change the NBA overnight. But as Bulls executive vice president John Paxson advised in April, “luck and hope are not a strategy or a plan,” so adjust your expectations accordingly.

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Yes, defying the odds and drafting Williamson could put the Bulls back on a championship arc. That’s the easy part of the exercise, letting the heart overrule the head and arguing over the best ways to use Williamson, Lauri Markkanen and Wendell Carter Jr. on the floor at the same time. That’s the most entertaining aspect of the Bulls offseason so far, imagining how Williamson would energize a fan base that hasn’t been the same since Rose blew out his knee in 2012. That’s the dream that has made so much tough reality tolerable for months, our local zeal for Zion.

READ MORE: The Bulls rebuild would be accelerated with a little draft lottery luck — but ‘luck and hope are not a strategy or a plan’ »

Just keep in mind that if math prevails and the Bulls miss out on Williamson or point guard Ja Morant at No. 2, losing the 2019 lottery doesn’t mean it’s already time to start planning for the 2020 lottery. No matter what happens Tuesday night, nothing changes about the Bulls needing to be good next season. The playoffs should remain the goal in 2019-20 no matter how the pingpong balls bounce.

But it isn’t just about the lottery. The Bulls need to stay healthy to get back in playoff contention. If they can, the core — Markkanen, Carter, Zach LaVine and Otto Porter Jr. — gives them reason to believe they could flirt with a .500 record in the Eastern Conference. And the No. 8 seed in this year’s playoffs, the Pistons, finished 41-41. The No. 7 seed, the Magic, improved 17 games from last season. The Bulls, 22-60 in a season full of injury and ineptness, could make a similar leap with good health and a smart plan for free agency.

Woke players need to wake up because the NBA is about business first

We’ve written a great deal during the last couple of years about the empowerment of professional athletes, especially black athletes. Many are speaking out on issues, joining movements and using their considerable platforms to call attention to issues they feel are important.

But one thing many young athletes, and many old ones, lose track of is that professional athletes are employees. Unlike their fellow workers, professional athletes can be traded, cheap nba jerseys
dispatched from one part of the country to another without much consideration given to how trades affect the player’s equilibrium, family life or causes.

Many of the college players drafted last month into the NBA, for example, will not finish their careers with the teams that drafted them.

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No matter how popular or even how talented they are, pro players are checkers and chess pieces to be moved around in a way that helps the franchise, not the player, reach its goal.

While most players say they know this, I’m always astounded by the reaction of veteran players when they are traded or released by a team for whom they have toiled for several seasons.

Two seasons ago, Boston’s Isaiah Thomas, after completing an emotionally taxing season, expressed hurt and anger when he was traded from Boston to Cleveland.

Last week Kawhi Leonard, after weeks of lobbying for a trade, was shuttled from San Antonio to Toronto in exchange for Raptors star DeMar DeRozan. Each case involved muscle-flexing by the respective organizations that did what was best for the team, not necessarily for the player. In fact, the trades were executed with complete disregard for each player’s wishes.

New York Knicks Unveil City Edition Uniforms Inspired by the NYC Skyline

The New York Knicks today unveiled their City Edition alternate jersey, which features the New York City Skyline as the central design element and a symbol of the diverse cultures united across New York City. The Knicks will debut these uniforms on Sunday, November 11 when the team takes on the Orlando Magic at Madison Square Garden and will continue to wear the jerseys at various theme nights throughout the 2018-19 season.
The City Edition design was inspired by what it cheap nba jerseys
means to be a New Yorker and utilizes one of the City’s most iconic and defining attributes – its skyline—as a representation of the many cultures that make up New York and their shared ambitions and dreams. To unveil the uniforms to the team, six Junior Knicks members were invited to the Knicks practice facility where they read letters describing how the Knicks inspire them as New Yorkers.

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Beginning November 9, the jerseys and additional City Edition merchandise will be available for purchase at the MSG Team Store inside Madison Square Garden and on NYKnicks.com. The Knicks will wear the City Edition uniforms at the following theme nights at Madison Square Garden:

Hoops for Troops Night – Sunday, November 11 vs. Orland Magic
Hanukkah Night – Monday, December 3 vs. Washington Wizards
French Heritage Night – Sunday, December 9 vs. Charlotte Hornets
Christmas Day — Tuesday, December 25 vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 21 vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
Chinese New Year – Tuesday, February 5 vs. Detroit Pistons
Latvian Heritage Night – Sunday, February 24 vs. San Antonio Spurs
Black History Month – Tuesday, February 26 vs. Orlando Magic
Women’s History Night – Wednesday, March 20 vs. Utah Jazz
Noche Latina – Sunday, March 24 vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Pride Night – Saturday, March 30 vs. Miami Heat
First Responders Night – Sunday, April 7 vs. Washington Wizards
For more information and tickets visit NYKnicks.com/Theme-Nights.

Would trading Zion to build a Knicks superteam be a mistake?

Should the New York Knicks consider trading Zion Williamson as part of a deal for Anthony Davis if they’re able to win the NBA draft lottery (May 14 on ESPN)?

Though the Knicks are hoping their logo comes up No. 1 for the first time since winning the inaugural draft lottery in 1985, when they went on to take Patrick Ewing, that wouldn’t necessarily mean keeping Williamson, the Duke freshman all but certain to be the top pick.

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If New York is able to land two max free agents this summer — say, New York Knicks jerseys
Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving — trading Williamson’s rights could help the Knicks contend immediately, just as was the case when the Cleveland Cavaliers traded No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins as part of a package for Kevin Love after signing LeBron James in 2014.

Given Williamson’s strong pedigree as a prospect — he has the second-highest

10 things to know about the NBA playoffs, including a high-scoring Bucks team and DeMarcus Cousins’ debut 10 things to know about the NBA playoffs, including a high-scoring Bucks team and DeMarcus Cousins’ debut

There’s no LeBron James in these playoffs, so the NBA Finals will have a distinctly new look for the first time in nine years.

There’s no Tony Parker, for the first time in nearly two decades.

There’s no Dwyane Wade, and he’ll never play a playoff game again.

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San Antonio is in the postseason for a record-tying 22nd Wholesale jerseys
consecutive season. Brooklyn, Denver, Detroit, Orlando and the Los Angeles Clippers got into these playoffs after watching the postseason last year.

As always at playoff time, there are some familiar things and some not-so-familiar things. With the postseason set to begin Saturday, here’s 10 things to know going into the best time of the NBA…

David Robinson proud of how Spurs bounced back after Kawhi ‘nightmare’

SAN ANTONIO – Spurs legend David Robinson on Thursday praised the franchise for bouncing back from the drama-filled 2017-18 season and the loss of cornerstone player Kawhi Leonard that followed it.

“That was tough,” Robinson said. “Obviously, the whole Kawhi situation was kind of a nightmare situation for us, right? He was the perfect guy to follow Tim (Duncan), and to see that he really wasn’t happy here was surprising and disappointing and all of that. It felt like we were having to re-start our gears a little bit.”

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Speaking at an event honoring military families at cheap nba jerseys
Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston sponsored by Johnsonville Sausage, Robinson suggested the Spurs have a bright future despite their first-round playoff loss this season to the Denver Nuggets.

The Spurs sent Leonard to the Toronto Raptors last summer after the disgruntled forward asked for a trade following an injury-marred season in which he played in just nine games and reportedly clashed with the team over his rehabilitation from a mysterious quad ailment.