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Friday, April 10, 2020

LeBron James

LeBron James changes stance on playing NBA games without fans

LeBron James

LeBron James has re-thought his stance on potentially playing NBA games without fans due to the coronavirus.

James had previously said he would not play in games without fans. On Tuesday, he admitted that he wasn’t aware of the behind-the-scenes discussions that were taking place when he was originally asked. He said he would be “disappointed” if it came to that, but added that he would abide by expert guidance once a decision is made.

The chances of games taking place behind closed doors appear to be increasing as the virus continues to spread. James’s conclusion was always going to be likely. The league may have little choice once mandates are handed down by local, state, or federal officials, and those mandates may be coming sooner rather than later.

Stephon Marbury: LeBron not a ‘real Laker,’ doesn’t need to carry out Kobe’s legacy

LeBron James

Kobe Bryant has received a lot of love from LeBron James and other sports icons since the five-time NBA champion tragically died in a helicopter crash back in January, but Stephon Marbury seems to feel that some of the nice things that have been said about Kobe are disingenuous.

Marbury was a guest on Complex’s “Load Management” podcast recently, and he vented about people who “hated Kobe” now showering the Los Angeles Lakers legend in praise. Marbury also criticized LeBron James and others who have said they are going to carry out Kobe’s legacy. The former New York Knick said Bryant’s legacy is already established and that LeBron doesn’t need to continue it because he is “not no real Laker.”

“You don’t need to go and get guys like LeBron to go speak and talk about what they’re going to carry and all that,” Marbury said. “He doesn’t need you to carry his legacy. His legacy is his legacy. Carry your own legacy. Keep you poppin’ and going. You’re not no real Laker.”

Marbury added that he feels a special bond with Kobe because he played against him and was part of the same historically good 1996 NBA Draft class.

“So when you hear these guys saying this type of stuff and doing these types of things, I’m wondering what is it for,” Marbury said. “Is it for show or is it for real life?”

It’s unclear which players Marbury is referring to that hated Kobe, but LeBron should not be one of them. All indications are that Kobe and LeBron had strengthened their relationship after James signed with the Lakers, and LeBron was one of the last people Kobe spoke to before he died. Marbury seems like he is just trying to stir up controversy.

Anthony Davis argues LeBron James is NBA MVP

LeBron James

Giannis Antetokounmpo seems like a lock to win this year’s NBA MVP, but LeBron James put together a weekend that has his teammates thinking he deserves the honor. At least Anthony Davis said so and made a compelling case on Sunday.

James scored 37 points with 8 rebounds and 8 assists in Friday’s 10-point win over Milwaukee. Then he scored 28 points in Sunday’s 9-point win over the LA Clippers. Two games before that, he had a triple-double in a win over the Pelicans where he went head-to-head with Zion Williamson.

The Lakers’ recent strong play has them looking like the favorite to win the NBA championship if they keep it up, and has Davis saying James deserves MVP.

“At 35, what this [expletive] is doing is incredible. He is the MVP,” Davis told Yahoo’s Chris Haynes. “That’s no disrespect to that [expletive] in Milwaukee. Giannis is having a hell of a year, but if you think about what the most valuable player means, that’s ’Bron to us. Look at our numbers when he’s off the floor. He’s the MVP.”

The regular season MVP argument is different from the “still the best player in the league when he wants to be” argument. Antetokounmpo is averaging 29.6 points and 13.7 rebounds per game this season on 54.7 percent shooting. Comparatively, James is averaging 25.6 points, 7.8 rebounds and a league-high 10.7 assists per game. His surging Lakers are now 49-13 and closing in on the 53-11 Bucks for the best record in the league.

Giannis is still the MVP, but if James plays this well over the next three months, he’ll end up with the most coveted trophy — a championship.

Patrick Beverley thinks defending LeBron James is ‘no challenge’

Patrick Beverley

Is it hard to guard LeBron James? Patrick Beverley doesn’t think so.

The Los Angeles Clippers guard was on the wrong end of a 28-point James performance on Sunday, but he was not moved after the game. His only response to whether it was hard to guard James? “No challenge” and it’s “not hard at all.”

Beverley is one of the NBA’s most confident players. He has also demonstrated an ability to stop James before. Ultimately, though, that’s just not quite how it went during Sunday’s game. James got the better of Beverley and the Clippers, and even got crowned at the end.

Video: Kyle Kuzma puts crown on LeBron James after win over Clippers

LeBron James is still the King.

James put together an exemplary performance against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, scoring 28 points in a comeback victory. That was enough for teammate Kyle Kuzma to crown his teammate in victory.

It may be a response to a recent ad depicting Kawhi Leonard’s “reign” over Los Angeles. Either way, message sent.

The crown has certainly become an ongoing feature in recent weeks. We saw Giannis Antetokounmpo do it in response to James a few months ago. It’s safe to say, however, that James isn’t letting that crown go easily, and it is probably going to set up a very interesting set of playoff matchups in the months to come.

LeBron James has response for those who say he is too friendly with opponents

LeBron James

LeBron James had a message for those who say he is too friendly with his opponents.

James had a triple-double (34 points, 12 rebounds, 13 assists) in his Los Angeles Lakers’ 122-114 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night. He prevailed over Zion Williamson, who had 35 points for the Pelicans. The two were trading buckets and seemed to inspire one another.

The two players held a long embrace on the court after the game, which led to a line of questioning about their friendship.

“Anybody that says that ‘LeBron, why would he do that while he’s playing? It’s a sign of weakness — he’s buddy-buddy with the guys thath he’s going against.’ Tell them to kiss my a–. With a smile, too!” James said after the game.

James declined to tell the media what he said to Zion after the game. But his performance on the court does seem to send a message that he can take it to an opponent during a game while still being friendly with them afterwards.

James has now faced the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft in consecutive games and has helped bring out some great performances from both of them.

LeBron James offers extremely high praise of Ja Morant

Ja Morant

LeBron James had nothing but super high praise for Ja Morant after facing the rookie’s Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Morant scored 27 points and added 14 assists in Memphis’ 105-88 win over James’ Los Angeles Lakers. That was a huge win for the Grizzlies, who are contending for the final playoff spot in the West.

The excellent performance, coupled with Morant’s play all year, led to praise from James after the game.

“The kid is super special,” James said Saturday via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Like I said when we just played him in L.A., Memphis got a great one. They got a great one. So, the sky’s the limit for the kid.”

LeBron is not alone in his praise of Morant. The No. 2 pick out of Murray State has averaged 17.7 points and 7.0 assists per game this season and has already given Grizzlies fans huge hopes for the future. He’s also a contender for NBA Rookie of the Year.

James wouldn’t say that about any player either, so that means something extra and probably will only motivate Morant to continue being the best player he can be.