Tagged in: Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers claims first NBA title in a decade

The Los Angeles Lakers have claimed their first NBA championship in a decade, defeating the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the finals.

The title comes in the same year the team lost its icon, Kobe Bryant, who led the franchise to its last five championships.

For the first time since Bryant’s fifth and final title a decade ago, the Lakers are NBA champions. James had 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists, and the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 on Sunday night to gain the NBA Finals in six games.

Anthony Davis had 19 points and 15 rebounds for the Lakers, who dealt with the enormous anguish that followed the death of the iconic Bryant in January and all the challenges that came with leaving home for three months to play at Walt Disney World in a bubble designed to keep inhabitants safe from the coronavirus.

It would be, James predicted, the toughest title to ever collect. They made the clincher look easy. James acquired his fourth title, doing it with a third different franchise — and versus the Heat franchise that showed him to to become a champion.

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Bam Adebayo had 25 points and 10 rebounds for Miami, which got 12 points from Jimmy Butler — the player who, in his first Heat season, got the team back to title contention. Rajon Rondo scored 19 points for the Lakers.

With that, the league’s bubble chapter, put together after a 4 1/2-month suspension of play that started March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic, is over.

So, too, is a season that saw the league and China get into political sparring, the death on Jan. 1 of commissioner emeritus David Stern — the man who did so much to make the league what it is — and then the shock on Jan. 26 that came with the news that Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other died in a helicopter crash.

The Lakers stated they were playing the rest of the season in his memory.

They delivered what Bryant did five times for L.A. — a ring, and the clincher was emphatic.

Game 6 was over by halftime, the Lakers taking a 64-36 lead into the break. The Heat never led and couldn’t shoot from anywhere: 35% from 2-point range in the half, 33% from 3-point range and even an uncharacteristic 42% from the line, not like any of it really mattered.

The Lakers were getting everything they wanted and then some, outscoring Miami 36-16 in the second quarter and doing all that with James making just one shot in the period.

Rajon Rondo, now a two-time champion and the first to win rings as a player in both Boston and Los Angeles — the franchises now tied with 17 titles apiece — was 6 for 6 in the half, the first time he’d done that since November 2007.

The Lakers’ lead was 46-32 with 5:00 left in the half, and they outscored Miami 18-4 from there until intermission.

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Lakers take game 1 of Finals, top Heat

The Lakers defeated the Heat, 116-98, to take an early series lead.

Los Angeles led by as much as 32 points during the match. Miami gave the Lakers a tiny scare in the final quarter, cutting the lead down to 12 points but Los Angele was ultimately able to overcome.

Anthony Davis led the way with 34 points, nine rebounds and five assists. LeBron James nearly got another triple-double. He concluded with 25 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists.

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It was the three-point shooting that was the key.

Los Angeles at one point was 13-for-20 from beyond the arc. They ended 15-for-38 as they started to take their foot off the gas pedal. On the other side, Miami was 11-for-35 from deep.

Miami didn’t get much from its young players like Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson. Herro had 14 points in 30 minutes off the bench. Robinson was 0-for-3 from deep. Those were the only shots he took.

The Heat also got hit with the injury bug. Goran Dragic left the game with what was being called a foot injury. Bam Adebayo left in the third quarter with a shoulder strain and Jimmy Butler twisted his ankle and wasn’t the same. He ended with 23 points – leading the Heat.

The NBA Finals record book is basically a James scrapbook of career accomplishments, and he raised his spot on some of those lists Wednesday.

He became the seventh player to appear in 50 NBA Finals games (he could climb all the way to a tie for third on that list if this series goes seven games) and passed Michael Jordan and George Mikan for fifth in finals free throws made.

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Clippers look to put away stubborn Nuggets in Game 6

The weight of a Game 7 contest will weigh more heavily on the Los Angeles Clippers, the Denver Nuggets consider.

“To us, Game 7 is just another game,” Nuggets center Nikola Jokic said.

Jokic had 34 points, 14 rebounds and seven assists as the Nuggets stunned the Clippers 111-98 in Game 6 of their Western Conference semifinal on Sunday at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Game 7 is Tuesday. The winner meets the Los Angeles Lakers in the conference finals.

Jokic connected on 13 of 22 shots from the floor, including 4 of 6 3-pointers. Jamal Murray had 21 points, Gary Harris added 16 and Michael Porter Jr. chipped in 13 for the third-seeded Nuggets, who outscored the second-seeded Clippers 64-35 in the second half. “It was just amazing,”

Denver coach Michael Malone told the media after the match. “We had 11 straight stops at one point. Coming into this round they were the No. 1 offense in the playoffs, so I’m running out of adjectives, superlatives, whatever you want to call it to speak on our team because that is a tough, resilient group of you know what. I love our team.”

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Paul George had 33 points, six rebounds and five steals for the Clippers, who are attempting to advance to their first Western Conference final.

They are 0-7 in franchise history in previous attempts to get there.

Kawhi Leonard contributed 25 points, eight boards and five assists, while Lou Williams scored 14 points. JaMychal Green had 11.

“Just gave up the lead again, pretty much,” said Leonard, who made 8 of 18 shots and 3 of 5 3-pointers. “They came down and either scored or got fouled in the third quarter, and we couldn’t buy a basket. That’s how they came back.”

The Nuggets will be trying to become the first NBA club to rally from a 3-1 deficit in back-to-back series. They did so versus the Utah Jazz in the first round. And Leonard said the Clippers have to be ready for what the Nuggets have in store for them.

“Just got to leave it all out on the floor,” Leonard said. “Make sure we are paying attention to detail, executing and communicating on the defensive end. That’s all we can do. Go out there and play hard and make sure we know the game plan.”

The game plan Sunday seemed to be going just fine for Los Angeles in the first half. The Clippers coasted to a 16-point halftime lead and went up by as much as 19 early in the third quarter. But the Nuggets outscored them 30-16 in the third and seized control in the fourth.

Clippers coach Doc Rivers said the game swung when Murray, who seemed to have the wind knocked out of him, crashed to the floor after a third-quarter collision under the basket with George.

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Anthony Davis could miss Lakers’ opener with eye injury

The Los Angeles Lakers don’t know how they’ll look in Thursday’s match versus  the Los Angeles Clippers just yet because they’re waiting to find out just how well Anthony Davis can see.

Davis, who was inadvertently poked in the right eye by Michael Carter-Williams during Saturday’s scrimmage versus the Orlando Magic, did not practice Tuesday.

The All-Star big man spent the session in a seat on the sideline while sporting shaded eyewear.

“He’s day-to-day, and while he’s still dealing with discomfort there is some concern that he could potentially not play Thursday,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said on a video conference. “But we’re hopeful that he does, and we’ll see how that plays out. He’s going to continue to be evaluated each day.”

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Vogel, who has used the term “discomfort” on several occasions to describe Davis’ situation since Saturday, was asked to elaborate.

Does that mean blurred vision? “I don’t know if I’m allowed to really get into the details of it, other than that’s what they told me to report,” Vogel said. “So that’s all I can give you.”

Davis looked dominant in L.A.’s second scrimmage since reporting to Orlando, putting up nine points and 10 rebounds in limited minutes before exiting the game when Carter-Williams’ hand unintentionally caught Davis’ face while he was swiping for the ball. Davis, an eight-year veteran, averaged 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.4 blocks in his inaugural season with the Lakers before the NBA went on hiatus in March.

The Lakers will have to update Davis’ status on Wednesday, according to league rules. The NBA recently told teams in a memo that participation status for every player — detailing an injury, illness or the potential for a rest day — has to be submitted by 5 p.m. ET the day before a game, according to The Undefeated’s Marc Spears.

Vogel’s colloquial use of “day to day” for Davis is not an established status. Teams must choose to designate their players as available, probable, questionable, doubtful or out.

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Two Lakers’ players test positive on Coronavirus

Two Los Angeles Lakers players tested positive for the coronavirus, the team has affirmed. 

The names of the players were not made public and they are in midst of a 14-day self-quarantine. 

The tests were taken by the Lakers on Wednesday and were administered entirely within the players’ cars, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN. The Lakers took the tests after superstar Kevin Durant and three other members of the Brooklyn Nets tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday. 

The Lakers were the last team to play the Nets before the campaign was indefinitely suspended, as Brooklyn bested Los Angeles 104-102 last Tuesday night.

The list of NBA members to test positive for the virus continues to grow. As of Thursday, there have been 14 confirmed or reported cases spanning seven different teams.

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, eight of the league’s 30 teams have undergone team-wide testing. The teams that are openly known are the Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Nets, Lakers and Sixers. The Raptors came back with negative test results.

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While some have been frustrated with the ease with which NBA teams seem to be acquiring the tests considering its lack of widespread availability, NBA spokesman Mike Bass made the argument to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that testing players across the league’s landscape is essential. 

NBA team facilities will reportedly be closed to players and team staff beginning on Friday in order to try to curb the outbreak of the virus.

During this time, players are able to travel outside of the city where they play, but they must stay in the country. Despite this, Silver stays optimistic that the season can still be salvaged, to an extent. 

While a return to basketball this season would be great, it’s obviously secondary to the health and safety of the teams, players and fans.

The NBA will certainly explore all feasible avenues when it comes to getting back on the floor, but the situation is fluid, and something that the league can’t control. Like everyone else, they just have to hope that the virus can be curbed in a timely manner.

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Kevin Durant among four Nets players to test positive for covid-19

Kevin Durant, the DMV’s contemporary basketball legend, tested positive for the COVID-19 virus after coming back from a trip to San Francisco with his new team the Brooklyn Nets.  Durant, who remains sidelined after rupturing his achilles tendon in the 2019 NBA Finals while playing for the Golden State Warriors, was one of four Nets players who reportedly have contracted the virus.

“Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine,” the Prince George’s County native said to the sports website The Athletic. He said that he is feeling fine and not showing any symptoms. “We’re going to get through this.”

According to various reports, Brooklyn hired an outside firm to handle its testing, but the organization hasn’t released the names of the players. However, the Nets said in a statement on Tuesday that only one of the four players showed symptoms of the virus. but they are being kept isolated while receiving medical attention from team physicians. 

Four players represent one third of the team’s roster who have been infected.

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“All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health and maintain constant communication with team medical staff,” the Nets said in a statement.

“The health of our players and staff is of the highest priority to the organization and the team is doing everything within its power to ensure that those affected receive the best care possible.”

Durant, 31, signed a four-year deal that could pay him $164 million in Brooklyn after spending the last three years with the Warriors. While playing in the Bay Area he led Golden State to straight championships and they seemed poised for a third until he was lost for good in game six of the 2019 championship series.

The 10-time NBA all star led them on two title runs and was named NBA Finals MVP twice. He hasn’t played this campaign while rehabilitating an Achilles tendon injury suffered during their loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The final team the Nets faced before the season was forced into its hiatus were the Los Angeles Lakers ,who have been tested Wednesday. Lakers officials announced via Twitter after testing the team will be imposing a 14-day self quarantine.

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Lakers fall in their heaviest defeat of the season

More than half of the fourth quarter remained when the Lakers started to admit defeat.

LeBron James sat, so did Anthony Davis, and the Boston Celtics started pulling their starters too. They led the Lakers by 31 points — the largest deficit the Lakers had faced all campaign.

On the parquet floor versus their hated rivals, there were few friendly faces, and much of the crowd at TD Garden kept the arena packed in garbage time to revel in the one-night derailing of one of the NBA’s hottest teams.

The Lakers came into the match having won 10 of their last 11 games, including four of five without Davis, and the Celtics came into the game on a three-game losing streak, having lost six of their last eight.

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But their recent history wasn’t predictive. The Celtics beat the Lakers, 139-107.

“It was just a good ol’ …” James said before pausing. Then he continued. “Good ol’ fashioned butt-whooping. That’s all. They beat us in all facets of the game. Outside, interior, points off turnovers, offensive rebounds, so it’s the main ingredients in the L.”

The loss dropped the Lakers to 34-9, still best in the West, while the Celtics improved to 28-14, good for fourth in the East.

Davis returned and finished with nine points, two assists and four rebounds in 23 minutes. James scored 15 points with 13 assists and seven rebounds. Boston was led by Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points with five rebounds and three assists. Jaylen Brown and Kemba Walker also notched 20 points each for the Celtics. It was the first time in his career, out of 29 tries, that Walker won a game versus James.

The Lakers have been remarkably consistent versus teams with poor records — they are 22-1 against them. But their games against the NBA’s better teams have had peaks and valleys. They are 10-4 against the top seven teams in the Western Conference, but have lost to four of the top five teams in the East — Milwaukee, Toronto, Boston and Indiana.

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Anthony Davis leaves with lower back injury after scary fall

Anthony Davis exits the Los Angeles Lakers’ game versus the New York Knicks in the third quarter Tuesday night after he bruised his lower back in a painful fall to the court.

Davis was injured when he fell awkwardly while trying to block the shot of New York’s Julius Randle. Davis pounded the court in obvious pain after his hard landing, and then clutched his backside while he stayed down on the floor, surrounded by Lakers medical personnel for several minutes in front of a hushed crowd at Staples Center.

Davis eventually rose with help from his teammates, and he walked to the Lakers’ dressing room slowly, but under his own power. After the initial shock of the fall wore off, Davis was able to walk more in the player tunnel but was ultimately carted out of the arena at the end of the night to undergo further testing.

Davis’ agent, Rich Paul, emerged from the Lakers’ locker room after the injury and stated X-rays on Davis’ back were negative, but the superstar is feeling sore.

The Lakers described the injury as a bruised sacrum — the lower part of the spine near the tailbone.

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“We hope that he’ll be fine, which we believe he’ll be fine,”LeBron James said. “Tough night for us.”

The Lakers led 81-62 with 2:45 left in the third quarter when Davis took his tumble. They went on to win 117-87, extending their streak to six games and improving their overall record to 30-7.

“I thought they locked back in,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of how his team responded to one of its stars going down. “Got focused and finished the job.”

When players came backx to the locker room after the final buzzer, Davis was in there waiting for them.

“He was great,” James said of the encounter. “His mood was great. As great as it can be with the fall that he took … I asked him if I could do anything for him, he said you got to win for me. That’s what our team is all about.”

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Lebron James aggravates groin injury in loss, could miss time

Kawhi Leonard scored 11 of his 35 points in the fourth quarter and had 12 rebounds to help the Los Angeles Clippers defeat the Los Angeles Lakers 111-106 on Wednesday night in the NBA’s marquee Christmas game.

LeBron James, who ended with 23 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds, aggravated a nagging groin injury after a first-quarter collision with Patrick Beverley and could miss game time moving forward.

According to ESPN, several members of the Lakers organization have already approached James about the urgency to sit out and rehab his groin injury until he feels fully recovered.

“I felt healthy going into the game,” James told the network. “I got kneed in the groin taking a charge from Pat Bev, and it kind of set me right back to where I was five days ago.”

Montrezl Harrell had 18 points off the bench, Paul George added 17 and the Clippers improved to 2-0 versus the Lakers this season. Kyle Kuzma led the Lakers with 25 points while Anthony Davis had 24. The Lakers have lost a season-worst four straight games.

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Los Angeles had a chance to tie in the final seconds, but video review showed James touched the ball last after Beverly knocked it away as James went up for a three.

George hit two free throws for the final margin.

James, who turns 35 this week, suffered a torn left groin versus the Golden State Warriors last Christmas that derailed the Lakers’ season.

Fortunately for the Lakers, the schedule is about to get a bit easier. They have a back-to-back looming with the Portland Trail Blazers and Dallas Mavericks, though Luka Doncic remains out. After that, the Lakers play four consecutive home games versus opponents not currently in the postseason picture, so if James needs time off, they should be able to hold down the fort while he recovers. 

Considering the groin injury that ruined James’ 2018-19 season, the Lakers seemingly got off easy here. They may not be as fortunate if James pushes the issue. If rest is his best chance at a speedy recovery, then rest should be the priority until he returns to full strength.

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Nuggets defeat Lakers in 6th win in a row

Aided by a perfect five-game homestand, the Denver Nuggets hit the road and kept on winning.

Paul Millsap scored 21 points and the Nuggets controlled the second half in beating the Los Angeles Lakers, who were without LeBron James, 128-104 on Sunday night for their sixth win in a row.

”Our last homestand gave us confidence to come on the road and win,” Millsap said. ”We have so many weapons.”

The Nuggets had six players in double figures. 

Gary Harris added 19 points, Nikola Jokic had 18 points, Malik Beasley had 16 points and Will Barton III had 14 points and a career-high-tying 13 rebounds for the Nuggets, who pulled away to a 23-point lead early in the fourth. James missed his first game of the season because of a thoracic muscle strain. That left the Lakers without his 25.8 point average and 10.6 assists.

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”It’s kind of hard to next-man-up LeBron,” said Kyle Kuzma, the only other Laker in double figures with 16 points. ”He does so much. Shots come easier when he’s on the floor because everyone just looks at him.”

With James looking on in street clothes, Anthony Davis did his best to make up for it with 32 points and 11 rebounds. He scored 11 points playing all 12 minutes of the first quarter.

”It’s tough when he’s out but we still got to find ways to win,” Davis said. ”We lost our energy defensively. We got to continue to defend and once we get that edge back we’ll be fine.”

Davis slipped and tweaked his right leg in the third quarter, but felt good enough to play 7 1/2 minutes in the fourth.

”Hopefully nothing significant happens,” he said. The Lakers can’t afford to have Davis go down at the same time as James with a Christmas game versus the Clippers looming. The Western Conference-leading Lakers have lost three in a row since winning seven straight.

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