LeBron James reportedly left LaMelo Ball vs. Zion Williamson showdown over security concerns

Security concerns reportedly stopped LeBron James from attending the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships game between LaMelo Ball’s Big Baller Brand and Zion Williamson’s SC Supreme in Las Vegas on Wednesday night.

According to ESPN, James planned to watch the game courtside, but changed his mind after seeing how many people were attending the event:

“LeBron James had planned to watch the Ball-Williamson showdown courtside, but he did not get out of his vehicle after he arrived, instead deciding to avoid the frenzy after a conversation with people associated with the Adidas Uprising Summer Championships, a source told ESPN.com.

James arrived with several people before choosing to skip an event that already had been dealing with overcrowding and local police threatening to shut it down, per the source.

“Many of the players who may be expected to go without pay in 2021 have none to save now because they’re currently playing in college or high school. So they will have saved little or nothing, or otherwise may have nothing, if/when a strike happens. Still, plenty of guys presently in the NFL will still be in the NFL in four years, and if as many of them as possible have enough money to go a year without playing, the players have a chance of winning.

“It’s nevertheless a small chance, in part because the league would likely hire replacement players and continue to stage games, like the league did in 1987. And as the games go on and players who want to play are tempted to return and get paid to play football, it can all fall apart. Like 1987.”

Florio goes on to suggest a way players could fight now, instead of later: by boycotting the voluntary part of offseason programs, April through June, in the years leading up to 2021.

So if the union has its four-word rallying cry, then NFL fans might be wise to have one, too: Buckle your seat belts.

Paul George lifts Pacers back into too-close-to-call Eastern Conference playoff race

With a bulk of the Eastern Conference’s playoff contenders in action, Thursday’s slate of games had potential to lend some separation to the overcrowding at the bottom of the bracket. No such luck.
Mark Scheifele Limited Jersey
Warriors forward James Michael McAdoo needed seen stitches after smashing his head against the court when Trevor Ariza fell on top of him in the first quarter.

Stephen Curry led the way with 32 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson scored 25. Draymond Green, who briefly exited with a leg injury, added 19 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Warriors won their eighth straight game.

Womens Martell Webster Jersey The Rockets will look for payback when facing the Warriors again on Friday for the second time in four days.

Karl-Anthony Towns scored 37 points and grabbed 12 rebounds as the Timberwolves upset the Pacers 115-114 in Indianapolis despite 37 points, seven rebounds and four steals from Paul George.

Hornets guard Nic Batum, who has been dealing with migraines of late, scored just five points on 2-of-9 shooting in 29 minutes in a 10-point home loss to the Bucks. His teammate Marvin Williams didn’t fare much better, registering a minus-18 and making just one field goal.

Warriors (60-14) at Spurs (57-16), 9:30 p.m. ET 鈥?Following Tuesday’s win, the Warriors will take on another Western Conference contender in the Spurs. San Antonio demolished the Cavaliers on Monday and trail Golden State by just 2 1/2 games for the top seed in the West.

Suns coach Earl Watson played with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City.

It’s all part of it, he said. For me, I always try to take what the game is giving me, but I am always in the flow of things, seeing ways I can dictate the game. I pushed the pace a little more in the second quarter. With our lineup, I was able to get into the paint and finish some at the rim, make some things happen, and it definitely worked wonders for our team.
Curley Culp Authentic Jersey
Josh Huff Authentic Jersey The final line on James was 36 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, with 14-for-22 shooting. But even those numbers don’t demonstrate how effective James was at carrying his team after a sloppy first quarter. James employed power for much of the night. He fell back on finesse when he needed it. His passing was precise and his timing — coming up with the big play any time the Celtics began threatening a comeback — was impeccable.

I mean, he is who he is, coach Tyronn Lue said. I always say, he is the best player in the world. Taking his team and putting it on his back in the second quarter, his will to win, it was big for us. When we are getting stops, and we can get out in transition with all the spacing and all the shooting, him and Kyrie (Irving) can get going downhill a lot of the time. It was a big game for us to keep doing it going into the playoffs.

Suns coach Earl Watson played with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in Oklahoma City. Watson was a tough player, one who has competed against some of the best the league had to offer. He believes Booker can stack up against any of the greats if continues to work hard.

Book went into the Boston Garden against a good team and gave them buckets, Watson said. We play to the end. He wasn’t scoring to stat chase. We needed those points. We have a depleted roster and he’s one of our best players. We teach our kids to play all the way to the end.

Which NBA franchise players deserve their own statues?

Game Youth Russell Wilson Jersey
With the unveiling of Shaquille O’Neal’s statue by the Lakers, we’re in the bronze age in the NBA.

If you’re the Cavs and the Warriors, no news is good news. And the relative lack of blockbuster news on Thursday stands to benefit the two teams that are looking to face off again for the third time in a row in the NBA Finals.

It was a busy day in Boston, where the Celtics had been linked to two wing stars, Jimmy Butler of the Bulls and Paul George of the Pacers. But both Indiana and Chicago, while engaging in discussions on their star players, were reluctant in the end to dip into a full-blown rebuilding situation. That left the Celtics unable to pry away a piece that could have landed them on the Cavaliers’ level this spring.

Toronto was able to land Serge Ibaka, who should cover up the team’s hole at power forward, and were able to add further depth with P.J. Tucker. Both should help the Raptors right their teetering ship, but they’re not enough to get the Raps past Cleveland. And with all due respect to Bojan Bogdanovic, he’s not going to vault the Wizards into contention, either.

Same goes for the Warriors in the West. Houston made minor moves, including acquiring backup guard Lou Williams, but such tinkering on the edges is not a threat to Golden State. The Thunder got tougher and deeper by trading for Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott with the Bulls, but OKC is still a team that will have a hard time getting out of the first round of the playoffs.

Game Youth Alex Okafor Jersey The best news for the Warriors: San Antonio and the Clippers stood pat. The West is Golden State’s to lose.

Russell Westbrook passes Wilt Chamberlain for second-most triple-doubles in a season

Russell Westbrook’s historic triple-double chase continued Saturday.

With his 32nd triple-double against the Jazz, the Thunder guard passed Wilt Chamberlain for the second-most triple-doubles in a single season. Oscar Robertson holds the NBA record for triple-doubles in a single season (41 in 1961-62).

Allen started the season quite poorly, but has finished strong and put himself right back in contention to be selected in the lottery if he chooses to come out. From Jan. 11 onward, Allen averaged 15.6 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game. Allen morphed into the offensive glass-crashing, pick-and-roll diving big that everyone expected offensively coming into his freshman year.

Allen is apparently keeping his options open and has yet to make a decision on his draft status. But if he was to come out, it’s difficult to see him falling out of the first round.

Patton had an inconsistent finish to the season after point guard Maurice Watson tore his ACL. After getting into double figures in 13 straight games, four of Patton’s final 11 saw him only reach single digits in scoring.

The package of skills is still extremely interesting as a 7-foot big man who is athletic when rolling to the basket, can step away for an outside shot and is an solid passer. Just a small drop here to account for inconsistency.

The team announced it will waive Matt Barnes in its release confirming the trade.) Sacramento will also need to waive one other player prior to making the deal official in order to be roster compliant.

Gary Sanchez’s moonshot highlights night of monster homers

Some people scoffed when Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez was added to Monday’s Home Run Derby.

Sanchez defeated last year’s champion, Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton, in the first round before bowing out to runner-up Miguel Sano of the Twins in the semfinals. Rookie teammate Aaron Judge won the contest.
Brandon Williams Limited Jersey
Though neither Judge nor Sanchez got a hit in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, Sanchez came back from the All-Star break to send a ball over the Green Monster at Fenway Park in a 5-4 loss to the Red Sox.

Shane Vereen Limited Jersey Sanchez went 2 for 4 in the game and absolutely crushed a 1-2 pitch from Drew Pomeranz in the fourth inning to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead.

Need to know: Yes, they just landed young, club-controlled elite starter Jose Quintana. But it’s not possible to have too many young, club-controlled elite starters, and within hours of the Quintana trade, reports came out that the Cubs were still interested in Gray. To land him, though, it would probably take at least one player off the big-league roster (maybe Ian Happ?), because the White Sox got the only two Cubs prospects off Baseball America’s midseason Top 100.

Need to know: This would be a surprising move, of course, but Blue Jays scouts were reportedly on hand to watch Gray throw six shutout innings Friday. And, remember two things: 1. Two years ago, the Jays made bold trades for David Price and Troy Tulowitzki even though they were around .500, sparking a playoff run; 2. These two franchises made a surprising trade a couple of years ago, a deal that sent Josh Donaldson to Toronto.

Jaguars RB battle: Leonard Fournette an unstoppable force vs. movable objects

Limited Mens Tony Romo Jersey The Jaguars are hoping Leonard Fournette can be a dominant force in their backfield right away. Although there are few obstacles in front of that reality, the least insurmountable are the team’s incumbent running backs, Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon.

The combined injuries and ineffectiveness of that pair is what prompted Jacksonville to use the No. 4 overall pick on Fournette. The rookie didn’t get an immediate declaration from coach Doug Marrone that he would be the starter, but there will be no hiding the fact that Fournette is the clear No. 1 coming out of training camp.

Ivory, 29, is coming off a rough first season with the Jaguars. He failed to show the early-down power from his three-year stint with the Jets. He also showed signs of wear by ending 2016 hamstrung and on the shelf. Like Toby Gerhart before him, Ivory is a pricey free-agent bust in that capacity after getting $10 million guaranteed.

The still-youthful Yeldon was supposed to complement Ivory as the so-called change of pace, third-down type of back. He struggled more than he did as a rookie, with both limited receiving impact and a similar lack of quickness and pop in the rushing attack. Adding to his plodding ways were more durability issues tied to a bad ankle.
Limited Mens Dannell Ellerbe Jersey
Braves (41-44) at Nationals (51-35) 4:04 p.m. ET 鈥?Daniel Murphy’s walkoff, RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning led Washington to a 5-4 win over the Braves on Friday. Atlanta will now have to deal with Stephen Strasburg (9-2, 3.28 ERA), who has struck out 10-plus batters in four of his last nine starts. Julio Teheran (6-6, 5-14), who has a 2.88 ERA in eight road starts, will toe the rubber for the Braves.

Cowboys’ Jason Witten says grandfather told him not to celebrate TDs

Don’t expect Jason Witten to take a flashy approach to celebrating touchdowns.

In a world of Cam Newtons and Odell Beckham Jrs., Witten has taken the opposite approach when it comes to scoring for the Cowboys. According to the Dallas tight end, his grandfather advised him not to celebrate in the endzone.

Granddad taught me a long time ago, act like you’ve been there before, Witten said, via the Dallas Morning News. But better yet, I’m just not as clever as these guys.

That’s not to say that Witten is against touchdown celebrations. He said one of his favorite moments came during a game last season with rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott.

Jumping in the Salvation Army bucket and throwing up the X, Witten said of Elliott’s move. I love [Terrance Williams’] even better. He’s kind of got that little swag walk as I call it.
Elite Youth Josh Ferguson Jersey
Elite Youth Alex Anzalone Jersey Sefolosha missed the 2015 postseason with the Hawks as he recovered from surgery from the incident.

He sued New York police, citing false arrest, excessive force, malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. The case resulted in a $4 million settlement for Sefolosha.

Before his time in Atlanta, Sefolosha was with the Bulls and the Thunder.

Magic might just call Paul George live on air and ask him who he wants LA to draft.

If the Lakers’ pick doesn’t land in the top three, they hand it off to the Sixers. Imagine the potential close-ups and split screens with Johnson and Embiid. On the other hand, if the Lakers retain their pick, Magic might just call Paul George live on air and ask him who he wants LA to draft.

Mourning is the perfect representative for the Heat organization and came out a winner at the 2015 lottery when Pat Riley somehow used devil magic to steal Justise Winslow at No. 10. Also, he still looks quite strong, so I have nothing bad to say about him.

That was evident on one of the key plays in Game 2, a 3-pointer by Thomas with 2:26 to play that cut a six-point Wizards lead to three. Al Horford set a pin-down screen near the top of the key, picking off Thomas’ defender, John Wall. Center Marcin Gortat, conscious of protecting the paint, was late reacting to Thomas and only half-heartedly got a hand up. Thomas had a wide-open look, and knocked it down.

Those were the 12th and 13th wide-open (defined as no defender within six feet) 3-pointers the Celtics had in the game. They finished with 14, and that’s where Washington’s problem is rooted. They know Boston will hoist an abundance of 3s, but too often, those 3s are coming without a defender in spitting distance.

For the Rockets, this fills a legitimate hole. The team can now close games small with forward combinations of Ariza and Tucker while still staying strong enough to defend inside. Tucker also has turned into a decent, if inconsistent, 3-point shooter over the years. In the last three seasons, he’s hit 35.4 percent of his long-distance attempts. All the Rockets need from him is to play tough, physical defense as well as hit open shots. That seems doable.

Sure, you probably do not want to pay a 32-year-old with less-than-stellar off-the-court habits on a four-year deal. But the partial guarantee gives the team some cover in the fourth year, and the price is reasonable for what he can provide on both ends of the floor.


Draymond Green: Since Stephen Curry is light-skinned, players think he’s soft

Game Mens Torry Holt Jersey
Earlier this week, Warriors writer Marcus Thompson provided insight into how other NBA players feel about Stephen Curry. Thompson said guys such as LeBron James, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook were upset at the way Curry was treated in the NBA community.

Even though Rondo got a padded deal from the Bulls, he has struggled on the court. He was fined for publicly ripping into teammates Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade and was benched for a period of time due to his lackluster performance.

But with the Bulls in the playoffs, Rondo said he has a more positive perspective on his new team.

This team was put together in a couple months. I think 10 new guys, so it’s hard to jell that quickly. Especially if guys don’t have the right mindset. At the same time, I feel organizations have to give guys a little bit of time to grow and learn each other, Rondo said.

Everyone’s not going to be San Antonio, but for me I feel you try to always keep your guys together as long as possible so they can develop a chemistry and to make deep runs in the playoffs, go through things together and grow. If that’s the case here, that’d be great. If not, it’s up to those guys.

Most of the prospects didn’t need to hear Durant’s words before opting out of the camp. Not participating at the combine has become more commonplace in recent years, and top prospects such as Lonzo Ball, Josh Jackson, Jayson Tatum and Malik Monk will most likely skip.

Game Mens Kansas City Chiefs Jersey As Durant told ESPN, the player who finished first didn’t even get drafted. Durant, however, went second overall (behind Greg Oden) and has gone on to have a successful career. That’s why his advice for incoming NBA Draft prospect is to skip the camp, because nothing they test there really matters.