Making ’em move and shake like the guitar he strums, former Laker meme team reserve Lance Stephenson is making his name and game proud in China. Lifting trophies just weeks after taking off for the Far East. But as for his former team, they had nothing to dance about when they left China after their Shanghai/Shenzhen double-header with the Brooklyn Nets.
There was no Kevin Durant. In the end with a facial fracture no Kyrie Irving and no Anthony Davis for most of Game 2 with a sore thumb. It sucked. But there was almost no game for all the King’s men and the Brooklyn boys as China went dark on the NBA following the events of last week.
Billboards of LeBron and co came down like witnessing the first time he left Cleveland for the talents of South Beach following some comments from the Rockets G.M., James Harden and Russell Westbrook in support of the Hong Kong protesters. And they weren’t even in China. Playing big in Japan with the champion Toronto Raptors. Splitting their two game series in Tokyo a year before the 2020 Olympics, one game apiece. Commissioner Adam Silver back them up saying they, the protestors and everyone has a “right to free speech”…and then everything came down.
First China cut ties with the NBA like your exes friends on Facebook. Then all posters, media and the like were removed like any chance of these games being televised. It looked like they wouldn’t even tip off as the Lakers and Net teams were stuck in their hotel rooms wondering if they could even go outside to Instagram those iconic skyline sights. The Lakers-getting there first-didn’t even have WIFi to check what was going on or scroll through their Twitter timelines and take on the trolls. But in the end from Shanghai to Shenzhen there was LeBron bringing back the iconic chalk-toss pregame like he has the headband Heat days.
But if the King thought that was the end of his troubles in China then he was thumb sorely mistaken as the Nets bucketed the Lakers on the four frames of both trips. And if you want to talk about trolling Brooklyn also had the best bite back GIF reply to the Lakers “consider this a warning” tweet last week after beating the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco for their preseason opener.
Spencer Dinwiddie’s expression said it all.
Watch what you tweet.
Despite dropping two like Alka Seltzer tablets the Lake’s put on a show as ‘Bron bulldozed the lane like John Deere and the Ghidora three-headed big-man monster of the Lakers showed they could even take on Godzilla if they were ever to cross the continent to the city of Tokyo. A.D. again coming up big before injuries got in his way, even from downtown Shanghai on that night, showed how much he’s been working on his three-ball. But wolf McGee huffing, puffing and blowing the Nets painted post house down (before swatting the ball away from him like it was the hand of a significant other that had just pissed him off) and Howard finishing off alley-oops with that old Orlando magic (mosquito swatting all other shots. Looking more and more like a solid pick-up to round out the bolstered bench on his reunion redemption move as he blocks out any doubt) turned the lay-up line into a dunk contest. With both former participants liking it from their alternate takes on the bench and vice versa. Getting up and off it like it was their time to play.
McGee is one of this writers fan favourite Laker players…of any era. But if you bleed purple and gold you have to love the Bruce Bowen like Avery Bradley right now and all he’s doing for the team not only the defence end he dominates like the people’s court, but the shots he selects and creates for himself on the business end. From reigning champ Danny Green, to little Greek brother Kostas Antetokounmpo who also showed out (making it another NBA family affair for the Lakers after signing legendary Point Guard John Stockton’s son David from South Bay. A year after picking up Gary Payton II), A.B. in the offseason of A.D. may be one of LeBron’s Lakers best pick-ups. Especially in this pick-up game like preseason exhibition. Hopes for this purple season are higher than Meth and Red right now.
But in the end in China it was nothing but the Nets.
Spreading love the BKLYN way with some crazy, rich wins, the Nets tore down the Lakers 114-111 in Shanghai, thanks to a former Laker of all people. As former (former) D-League to big league sensation David Nwaba iced the game off the turnover with a huge, signature slam with 13.9 to go before KCP (he’s still here… that’s how abyss deep the Lakers are this year) couldn’t convert a clutch three. This after both Irving and Caris LaVert went down (the latter joining Kyrie’s facial fractures with being poked in the eye). Spencer ‘The GIF’ Dinwiddie with 20 et al picked up the slack however to show the Nets are just as deep. Especially upfront, even rivalling the Lakers big, big-three as Jarrett Allen and new free agent pick-up DeAndre Jordan combined for seven big blocks.
Not treading shallow water either the following game on the H.K. border of Shenzhen closed it all out for an eventful and stressful half week. With many fans wearing hearts on their jerseys and other on their sleeves as the former New Jersey Nets took on the former Minneapolis Lakers in the second Chinese city. LeVert returned and scored 22 in that many minutes of play to lead his team to a 3-zip postseason record ensuring the Lakers would get no sleep on their return flight ’till Los Angeles. And this was without Kevin Durant or Kyrie Irving. Even the locked down dreads of rookie Nicolas Claxton got in on the action with 8 points in nine minutes. If the Nets can beat the Lakers now just imagine what it will be like when their one, two punch hits. It looks like they have a dynamic duo to best not only ‘Bron and the ‘Brow, but the Shaq and Kobe greatest of all time too.
But if you thought that was how you send a message then just look at the Chinese fans who came to the game in their teams jerseys, but with a Chinese flag covering the Jerry West silhouette of the NBA logo.
Now that’s how you make a statement. Although let’s make one ourselves and continue to stand with the people of Hong Kong, but also look for peace and resolution in this critical time. Support the Lakers and Nets all you want but this was just a game…and a mere exhibition one at that. The support Hong Kong needs right now is so much more.
Blazing A Trail Back To The NBA. Portland Land Carmelo
Catching the ball out of bounds as a spectator courtside. Carmelo Anthony is no longer dribbling the ball to the baseline in street clothes. About to put up a shot before smiling and passing it to the referee like, “just kidding!”
‘Melo is back and Twitter just won’t calm down.
He deserves the character.
Way to reverse the trends Carmelo.
No New York state of reunion. Or things to do in Denver when your career is almost dead for the Nugget golden era icon. No chance to finally wear that Atlanta Hawk jersey they especially made for him. No banana boat ride with LeBron in Lakeland for the purple and gold to finally get another Anthony they seemed forever linked with like arms of the father of the bride. No matrimony to toast with wine friend Chris Paul back in Oklahoma (although the Thunder and roaring Rockets wish they could have him now) either. But the man who was wedded to rumour for this last year like he always will be the game has ended up blazing a trail back to the NBA with Portland. Back in bloom in Rose City as ‘Melo shows with Rip City it’s not R.I.P. to his career, but the criticism that came to whether he was still capable on court.
The hoodie and headband is back.
Just look at his t-shirt in the above picture. Soaked through with sweat in just another practice run were he just wouldn’t give up or in.
Now it’s time to really ball.
Sure it would have been great to see him basketball befriend the King rival he rookie entered the league with for a true Hollywood end. The Basketball God storybooks would have loved him to retake his Knick throne as the Ewing, Bernard, King of New York even more. But now he’s blazing with the PDX best backcourt duo of Dame Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Joining All Star, legend vets like Pau Gasol to help this Wild West team back to the contender saloon. Last time he left the league, ‘Melo had averages of 13.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 0.5 assists per game. With percentages of 40.5% from the field and 32.8% from three. And Houston thought they’d have no problem giving him up and keeping CP3 and James Harden like OKC losing an OK3 of him, Westbrook and PG3?
They said he wasn’t in the game like A.I. But he’s a ‘Champion’ like Young Jeezy on a Nicki Minaj song with Nas and Drake. “Big ballin’ like Jeremy Lin (doing so in Beijing), ‘Melo!”
What a difference a year makes.
It’s all A-O.K. now.
Now it’s Jamal Crawford’s turn to crossover back.
No ‘Melo yellow. Or Syracuse orange in N.Y.C. But none of that matters. The contract in Oregon is non guaranteed. But call it a comeback like Dwight Howard back in Lakeland. And you’ve seen what a couple of big dunks, blocks and games has done to his big man Laker legacy. After it looked like he was blackballed from the NBA, let alone Hollywood. But you can always flip the script and bring your big name back. And when it comes to the back of your jersey. Not many come bigger than number 15 or 7 with his new seal.
He’s one of the greats like is a N.Y.K. G.O.A.T. This generation, or the game all-time. It’s time to recognize what the name means. This is not redemption. But a revolution in reunion of a legend and the game he’s given everything to. That’s finally giving him what’s owed to him.
The respect he deserves.
The legacy continues.
You can’t keep a good man down.
Hoods up for this marathon. The hate is gone like a sprint through social media.
All for the love of the hardwood.
Summer run to season come.
Stay ‘Melo. Because your boy is back like he never left.
Don’t call it a comeback…he’s here to stay.
Marial Shayok 42 points helps Delaware Blue Coats get first win
Marial Shayok became the first Ottawa basketball player to get drafted into the NBA and now he’s quickly making a case for permanent NBA roster spot.
Two games into his G-league/NBA career the former Iowa State Cyclones is sizzling hot — averaging 38 points per game, 7.5 rebounds and 3 assists.
Shayok made a splash with a 34 point, 6 rebound, 3 assist debut and upped his numbers in his second game as the Delaware Blue Coats downed the Greensboro Swarm 141-135 to pick-up their first win.
The Philadelphia 76ers two-way player scored 42 points, grabbed 9 rebounds and added 3 assists in just 34 minutes. Shayok connected on 14-of-27 shots, 3-of-9 triples and a perfect 9-of-9 at the charity stripe.
Shayok, alongside a bevy of Canadians are currently strutting their games in the G-League — vying for a call-up for the bright lights.
Resilient, shorthanded Raptors hand Lakers 113-104 home loss
Talk about about being resilient. Talk about championship mentality. Talk about next man up!
The shorthanded Toronto Raptors — missing two of their main players walked into Staples Centre and walked out with an impressive 113-104 signature victory over the highly touted Los Angeles Lakers.
The Raptors improve to 7-2 on the young season and in the process and have now beaten the Los Angeles Lakers 10 straight times — dating back to the 2014-15 regular season when the Lakers won 129-122 in overtime in L.A.
Pascal Siakam continued his stellar season with 24 points, 11 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 blocks. Freddy VanVleet was also brilliant with 22 points, 10 assists, 7 rebounds, 2 steals. Chris Boucher came off the bench to spark the Raptors on both ends of the court, including back-to-back key blocks on Lebron James and Anthony Davis. The Montreal native tied a career-high with 15 points, 3 blocks, 2 steals — including 9 points in the fourth quarter.
Norman Powell added 14 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 blocks. Rookie Terrence Davis filled-up the stat sheet with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, playing his first significant action of the season, rounded out six Raptors’ players in double-figures with 10 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists.
Anthony Davis paced the Lakers with 27 points and 8 rebounds. Lebron James added to his triple-double total with 13 points, 15 assists and 13 rebounds. Danny Green was held scoreless in 27 minutes.
The Raptors currently on five game west coast swing improve to 4-0 against the tough western conference and will play former teammate Kawhi Leornard and the Los Angeles Clippers in their next game, before wrapping-up one their longest road trips with games against Portland and the Dallas Mavericks.
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