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#pounditTuesday, May 11, 2021

Basketball

Russell Westbrook receives congratulations after breaking Oscar Robertson’s triple-double record

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook made history on Monday when he broke Oscar Robertson’s record for triple-doubles.

Westbrook snagged a rebound in the fourth quarter of his Wizards’ 125-124 loss to the Atlanta Hawks to give him his 182nd triple-double. He topped Robertson’s previous record of 181 career triple-doubles.

Westbrook had 28 points, 13 rebounds and 21 assists. Here are some highlights:

Westbrook is averaging a triple-double for the fourth time in a season. He is now the triple-double king and was congratulated by many for the feat. Here is a roundup of many of the congratulatory tweets he received.

Wizards teammate Bradley Beal:

Magic Johnson:

Allen Iverson:

Jamal Crawford:

Westbrook’s UCLA teammate, Kevin Love.

From Oklahoma City’s mayor:

And these messages were from Westbrook’s family members:

Being the competitor he is, Westbrook is probably upset that the record came in a loss.

Bradley Beal goes after Kent Bazemore over hamstring comments

Bradley Beal

Bradley Beal went off on Kent Bazemore over Twitter on Monday night after learning of the Golden State Warriors swingman’s comments about him.

Bazemore threw some shade at Beal on Monday by suggesting the Washington Wizards star guard was faking a hamstring injury. Beal is competing with Bazemore’s teammate, Steph Curry, for the NBA scoring title.

Beal began by asking his Twitter followers whether he should go off or not.

Beal opted for the latter.

“You don’t know me or s— about me bruh!!!” Beal wrote on Twitter (edited by LBS for profanity). “You don’t know why I go out there and play and it damn sure ain’t for another man’s approval!!! You a straight LAME!!! But it don’t surprise me coming from you, thats (sic) what’s yo (sic) type do!!”

Beal continued.

“It’s funny you say that because ya (sic – your) mans admittedly checked my numbers before the game, but IM CHASING!!! Shut yo a– up!” Beal wrote, with profanity also edited by LBS.

Beal then called Bazemore a clown.

Beal did not hold back at all. Wow.

The 27-year-old entered Monday trailing Curry for the NBA scoring lead by 0.5 points. Sitting out games due to a hamstring injury probably won’t help Beal’s efforts in catching Curry. Curry has already admitted to keeping his eye on what Beal is doing. Beal is probably doing the same. He at least knows what’s being said about him.

Report: Knicks could pursue Kyle Lowry in offseason

Kyle Lowry

The New York Knicks are slowly climbing up the Eastern Conference food chain. Now they may have an ace up their sleeve to further fuel the rise.

Ian Begley of SportsNet New York reported Monday that Toronto Raptors veteran Kyle Lowry is among the point guards on the Knicks’ radar for the coming offseason. The 35-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent.

Begley also notes that Lowry will likely command multi-year offers from several teams. The Knicks do have significant cap space to compete though.

While the Knicks skew a lot younger these days, they have seen the benefits of a steady 30-something point guard righting their ship this season in the form of Derrick Rose. But Rose will also be a free agent this summer, giving the Knicks an opening for a player like Lowry.

The Knicks are also considering other opportunities at the point guard spot, so it seems pretty clear that they would like to upgrade.

Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via CC-by-S.A. 4.0

Stephen Curry’s teammate appears to shade Bradley Beal over scoring title race

Steph Curry

Stephen Curry is inching closer to winning the NBA scoring title this season, and now one of his teammates is poking a bit of fun at the competition.

Golden State Warriors swingman Kent Bazemore hyped Curry up during a media session on Monday, particularly Curry’s 49-point outing against Oklahoma City over the weekend.

“49 points in 29 minutes, that’s unreal,” said Bazemore, per Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. “We got guys hurting hamstrings to keep up.”

The “hamstrings” comment here is pretty clearly a reference to Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, who ranks second in scoring with 31.4 points per game to Curry’s 31.9. Beal dropped 50 in a win over Indiana on Sunday and picked up a hamstring strain in the process that will sideline him for at least the next two games. One part that Bazemore got wrong though is that Beal had his 50-point performance before Curry had his 49. Washington played earlier in the day than Golden State.

Regardless, Curry recently admitted that he is eyeing Beal in the race. Curry’s teammates are apparently doing the same as well.

De’Aaron Fox wants Kings to keep Luke Walton as coach

The Sacramento Kings have a decision to make on the status of Luke Walton, and the team’s star player is throwing his support behind his coach.

De’Aaron Fox made clear that he wants the Kings to keep Walton and preserve some continuity. Fox said Walton has become “someone that I’ve grown to trust” and added that teams turn into winners when “players play together longer and develop chemistry, and coaches continue to grow and trust all their players.”

“If you’re not winning as a team, guys get traded, guys who were barely hanging on … get cut and are out the league and coaches get fired,” Fox told Howard Beck of SI. “Everybody wants to continue to grow together and keep this group together, and continue to play for a coach that you trust in.”

It’s not clear how much weight Fox’s words will carry, but they’re probably worth noting since he’s the franchise player. GM Monte McNair was hired in September, and while he’s worked well with Walton, it remains a simple fact that the current coach was not McNair’s hire. At 30-38, the Kings are set to miss the playoffs again as well. Add in the fact that Walton is only 61-79 as the team’s coach and it’s understandable why he’s on the hot seat.

On the other hand, the Kings have hung in there despite injuries to several key players throughout the season, and have flashed exciting potential on offense. Plus, the Kings may not be eager to pay off the $11.5 million Walton is owed over the next two seasons while simultaneously hiring someone else to replace him.

There have been some indications fairly recently that Walton’s job security is in decent shape, though not completely safe. Fox’s comments can only help solidify that.

Jaylen Brown out for rest of season with wrist injury

Jaylen Brown

The Boston Celtics’ desires of making a deep playoff run just took a big hit.

The Celtics on Monday announced that Jaylen Brown will miss the rest of the season due to a wrist injury. Brown has a torn ligament in his wrist and will undergo surgery later this week.

Brown, 24, was having a breakout season for Boston. He was averaging 24.7 points per game this season and made his first All-Star game.

The Celtics entered Monday seventh in the Eastern Conference at 35-33. They’re having a relatively disappointing season, and this injury furthers the disappointment they have experienced. Boston still has Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker to carry the load, but will miss Brown. The good news is Evan Fournier has been hot lately. Boston will hope that will continue.

Here is why LeBron James is feeling ‘optimism’ with ankle injury

LeBron James

LeBron James has missed four straight games with an ankle injury that is expected to linger through the remainder of the season, but the Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly feeling better about the situation following LeBron’s latest workouts.

Frank Vogel told reporters on Monday that James was a full participant at practice. The Lakers coach would not say what that means for LeBron’s availability for Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that there is “more optimism” surrounding the injury after LeBron practiced on Sunday and Monday.

James missed roughly six weeks with a sprained ankle before returning, only to experience soreness and have to shut it down again. A recent report claimed the injury is not going to get a lot better and is something LeBron will simply have to play through.

While it is good news that LeBron practiced without pain, the injury will have to be managed down the stretch. It sounds like one that he has a high probability of aggravating at any time.

LeBron James targeting this game for second return from ankle injury

LeBron James

LeBron James is dealing with an ankle injury that may not be fully healed by the time the playoffs begin, but the Los Angeles Lakers star clearly intends to play through it.

LeBron is targeting Tuesday’s game against the New York Knicks to return again from his injury, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. If he doesn’t play Tuesday, it is possible he will be back to face the Houston Rockets on Wednesday. It seems unlikely that LeBron would play in back-to-back games regardless.

James missed roughly six weeks with a sprained ankle before returning, only to experience soreness and have to shut it down again. A recent report claimed the injury is not going to get a lot better and is something LeBron will simply have to play through. If he’s going to have to learn to manage the pain, you can understand why he would prefer to return sooner rather than later.

The Lakers still had a nice win over Phoenix on Sunday despite not having James. They beat the Suns 123-110, getting 42 points from Anthony Davis. Davis may have to carry the team while LeBron is hurting, which he seems ready to do.

Ayesha Curry says son thought Steph was a pro golfer

Steph Curry

Stephen Curry is an avid golfer who would probably have had a chance to play professionally if not for the fact that he is even better at basketball. How good is his golf game? So good that Curry’s own son thought hitting the little white ball around was his dad’s job.

Curry’s wife, Ayesha, told a funny story on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” recently about how the pandemic caused some confusion for hers and Steph’s 2-year-old son Canon.

“For the longest time, he thought his dad was a golfer because of the pandemic and there was no basketball in season,” Ayesha said, via Caitlyn Holroyd of The Score. “So, he’s just now realizing that his dad and his uncle play basketball. So, that’s been exciting for us.”

The uncle Ayesha was referring to was Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry, who is Stephen’s brother.

Stephen Curry regularly takes part in pro-am events and is one usually one of the better amateurs in the field. He has a handicap of around 2, which means a typical 18-hole round for him would be 2-over par. You can understand why Canon confused him for a professional golfer, especially when basketball was on hold last year.

LeBron James’ ankle injury not going to get a lot better?

LeBron James

The Los Angeles Lakers may have some serious issues this postseason.

LeBron James has missed four straight games due to a right ankle injury that previously caused him to miss 20 games. The playoffs are nearing (May 22), and James probably will not be 100 percent healthy by then.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that James’ injury is “not going to get a lot better.” He added that James will have to “play with discomfort” in the postseason.

“The concern for the Lakers right now, that right ankle of LeBron James that kept him out for six weeks, has put him out again,” Woj reported Saturday. “This is not going to get a lot better. He’s going to have to play with discomfort in the postseason. It’s not going to be until the summer. So there’s an even greater load on Anthony Davis here. But the question still remains of how effective LeBron James can be. When he was back those two games last week, he had difficulty exploding off that ankle and making hard cuts.”

The Lakers still had a nice win over Phoenix on Sunday despite not having James. They beat the Suns 123-110, getting 42 points from Anthony Davis. Davis is going to have to carry the team, which he seems ready to do.