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23 Passes 23 To Go Fourth

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Gettyimages 1128985976 E1551934347157
Tears Of Gold...

King takes G.O.A.T.

Crown that.

Lakerland has thrown the script out of late. And Angelinos are throwing rocks at the LeBronland throne. Even the ‘Just A Small Town Kid With Big City Dreams’ billboard near STAPLES in downtown L.A. has been taken down. Or at least paint at the mural. But this time with no social media outrage to that, but the man on the wall with his back against it instead. After the rise of purple reign last fall following the Lake Show’s new Prince in the King, they had the best Christmas ever. Even beating the champion Warriors under the tree without him.

But with the New Year came new problems. And after a groin injury to LeBron and time cut for a hurt Lonzo the Lakers well and truly took it in the balls. And then to kick them when they were down there was some guy called Anthony Davis. Almost free and more than willing, but one the Lakers were also willing to give up their whole young core and half their squad and lottery tickets for. And the New Orleans Pelicans said “nah”! Now tell me Magic what does that do to someone’s collective confidence? It parts benches like that hilarious Larry David inserted Photoshop that has us tripping like Shaq courtside in that ‘Curb’ episode. Although if you want to know the truth check Rajon Rondo’s real teammate Instagram post. Well now starring down the barrell of missing the playoffs, let alone the finals for the first time in a decade, having even a team-less Carmelo now passing up and looking at back-to-back series of limited minutes to close out the campaign, some Laker fans want to take LeBron out of the land like the Hollywood sign and send him back to Cleveland.

That’s a hell of a lot of pressure for one man to take. Even the King. And you could see it on the bench again. This time taken on his quarterback broad shoulders as he emotionally reached another milestone like Michael. In a bittersweet celebratory moment of emotive reflection, akin to brother Kobe sitting in the Sixers showers with a championship jacket and cap on. Starring into the distance, cradling Larry O’Brien thoughtfully with all the cares in the world’s shoulders. As ‘Bron took it all in with a towel in his face like when he ‘Casino’ talks to agents or his players postgame behind his jersey, all draped in purple and gold.

One that still read Lakers.

Say what you will but the King and all his men have still been serving up numbers (hello Brandon Ingram, future of the franchise. Kyle Kuzma, heart of the city and the Lonzo Angeles Lakers) this season. Its just the King needs help and the kids need more respect. And when that happens this raw but ready roster can find it’s identity like a logo. Time for President Johnson to clutch at Jerry West’s G.M. playbook. Still his spell cast for a crown was a master move like the one L.B.J. has been making all year whether ball rolls or deep threes, make or miss. And those signature dunks and chest thumps. He’s still one of the greatest and best right now. And forget the Twitter troll timelines that become white type noise in a refresh. The history books read different.

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They are engraved in champion concrete. Like being the only player in history himself to be both top ten in both points and assists after passing point god Andre Miller last time he broke records. And after spending this season wilting numbers of Goliath Laker legends like the 100 strong Chamberlain, the King passed the greatest of all-time last game. 23 took over another 23 to stare down 24, as L.B.J. had a lucky 13 over M.J. wearing “thank you” Air Jordan III sneakers as he cemented this moment and milestone. That’s as many points as LeBron James needed to pass Michael Jordan for fourth place on the all-time leading scorers list. But he reversed and reflected all that with 31 to now stand at a grand total of 32,311. As now the only ones that stand in this Laker legends way on the historical numbers run is other former purple and gold greats. One over 23 in number 24, Kobe Bryant. The special deliveries of iconic Utah Jazz Mailman, Karl Malone. And of course the sky-hook heights of the number one top of them all, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

But the Lakers still caught an L that night against the Denver Nuggets. Not to mention a hilarious Alex Caruso voice over jibe on Twitter from The Ringer. So the King looking to be the lord of the rings again knows that even with playoff mode activated this all doesn’t mean as much as the ultimate W. There’s going to be another long list for James to climb to achieve. But he’s a seasoned vet when it comes to league ladders like that. He’s not got far to go. But it’s still a long road.

“Come on with it”!

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MVP Brandon Clarke dominates, leads Grizzlies to 2019 NBA Summer League Title

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2019 Las Vegas Summer League Memphis Grizzlies V Minnesota Timberwolves

Canadian Brandon Clarke, the 21st pick of the 2019 Draft dominated the NBA’s annual summer showcase — becoming the first player to take home both tournament and championship game most valuable player honors with a dominant 15 points, 16 rebounds double-double. The No. 8 Memphis Grizzlies the Minnesota Timberwolves 95-92 to win the 2019 NBA Summer League championship.

The former Gonzaga standout added 4 assists, 3 blocks and a steal in 25 minutes.

Canadian Basketball Player Brandon Clarke 2019 Nba Summer League MVP
Canadian Basketball Player Brandon Clarke 2019 NBA Summer League MVP

In six games of summer league action, Clark averaged 14.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, 2 assists and 1.8 blocks per game. The Vancouver native shot 55% from the field and becomes the first ever Canadian to win MVP at the NBA Summer League.

Clarke was also named to the first-team all-NBA Summer League team. Other standouts included fellow Canadians Nickeil Alexander-Walker who joined Clarke on the first-team. Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher was named to the second-team.

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New Knick RJ Barrett Treated Las Vegas Summer League Like A New York Playground

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New Knick RJ Barrett Treated Las Vegas Summer League Like A New York Playground
R.J. State Of Mind...

Magnitudes off the Richter. An earthquake hit Sin City like jackpot in the NBA’s Summer League in Las Vegas, Nevada out in the desert last week.

And as the Jumbo-tron still shook like the music it was pumping, many people in awe inspired attendance would have been forgiven for thinking it was Zion. As the Duke standout and the first pick in the 2019 NBA Draft Williamson made us feel more tremors than Kevin Bacon. As the new New Orleans Pelican burst out the hardwood and flew, man-handling a steal off an opponent who’s just a poster now’s inbounds pass and put back a viscous, signature slam that felt like they still tested atomic bombs out in the Nevada desert overlooking the electric, neon skyline. All whilst new and former teammates respectively, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart and Anthony Davis looked on with “here comes the big airplane” mouths.

But after the road to Mount Zion’s knee injury lead to more Patrick Ewing ice than up there in Japan’s Mount Fuji, it was better the Blue Devil you know. As the Knicks third pick RJ Barrett ended up moving the needle more over this scorching, seasonal tourney of the youthful future of this association. Looking as good as those beautiful blue Knicks Summer League jerseys that are so clean we want to see them fresh off the press in the the NBA Store in NYC. So much so that even if RJ handed you one of his autographed signatures post game you’d still be like, “you got this in a medium?”

Sounding better than all those thirsty announcers singing “Summer Leeeeague” like The Isley Brothers this time of year classic, ‘Summer Breeze’. Making everything feel fine as he blew through defenders like the Jasmine in my mind. RJ initialed his dynamic debut and mainstream moment. Making Knicks’ fans almost forget that they just lost out on their number one goal, Zion Williamson. Or their free agent duo desire of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who ended up on the other side of New York, across that bridge from Manhattan in Brooklyn with the Nets…almost. Following the sweated out, hard nosed 90’s were only Jordan and Starks shots got in the way of golden era glory, the Knicks’ now have their first real leader in the post Porzingis era since Syracuse star ‘Melo for the Orangemen.

And he’s not alone. Barrett who was choosing Knicks’ mannequin heads to bucket on New York’s Late Night show with Jimmy Fallon nights before the draft cap has plenty to pass to in a Pelican rivaling young core of young guns, Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier, new free agent signing Julius Randle (this Pel is still a big ‘cat out of Kentucky like Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins reunited on the Lake Show like purple and gold fans hoped he would be too), Elfrid Payton and of course the soaring Dennis Smith Jr. Not to mention a bolstered bench of Taj Gibson and Reggie Bullock from more than midtown. Call it Chelsea, the Tribeca or even Battery Park after the High-Line of the Meatpacking District. The future of this franchise to the naked eye of ignorance is about to look better than the view from that new Vessel structure in Hudson Yards.

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Barrett began in Vegas with some early snake eyes trouble. But rolling the dice again he turned into a killer like Brandon Flowers. The man. Come round. Nothing can break. Nothing can break him down. First he scorched California’s new look King sized Lakers for 21 points, 10 rebounds and three assists. But it was his spell in his last Summer forecast against the Wizards were RJ showed Washington that just like NYC, DC may be America’s capital, but there’s nothing like New York, New York. He was so good you had to check the instant replay twice, with another 21 and 10, two perfect precision passes off cashing in a triple-double chip like he was a team that had both James Harden and Russell Westbrook on their roster roll call. Houston, do you read me?

Averages of 15.4 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.2 assists in a televised tournament that is basically a glorified practice scrimmage (tell me, do you even know who won the thing?) show he will be above so. The Canadian Maple Mamba has that syrup for your bacon. Even without free agent big names like Kevin and Kyrie who are one more decision away from being journeymen, forget super-teams, the Knicks may have a lifer in RJ from Coach K’s Duke fraternity administration in the association now. Can you relate? Barrett could be brilliant and New York no longer a rotten apple. But a couple of big names away from having their title again in the Mecca of Madison Square Garden’s, World’s Most Famous Arena in bright Times Square lights.

It’s almost a New Year for New York, time for the ball to drop.

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