Hondo to Rondo, the Boston Celtics have had some legends in their time as the most storied NBA franchise in hoops history. But from Bill to Bird and the truth of the big ticket, none are quite as iconic as the rivalry they have with the gold Showtime standard of the Los Angeles Lakers.
After all every Batman needs his Joker. And the clown prince of crime is both purple and green so you figure out for yourselves who the real villain is here.
Well last night the foe was an old friend.
Ever since brunch with Bryant in Boston, many have wondered who would get the check for Point God Rajon Rondo to lead in L.A. as a Laker. Kobe loved the fellow and I quote “a##hole”. But alas breakfast could wait as they never did get to share the same best backcourt. But now still in his prime and teaching a young pass first like in Lonzo (who “ain’t going nowhere. Because it’s Bad Boy for life” following the trade deadline), Rondo is in La La Land. And returning to the Garden last night like flowers in spring-no matter how much former teammate Kevin Garnett wore his number nine jersey, next to Metta World Peace in his 37-he is is now in purple and glittering gold.
Seems cold. But in a time where anything can happen-far removed from the time Laker role playing legend Rick Fox along with Gary Payton was traded back to the Boston he started his career from before big cut-believe it or not the Celtics legend is back in Boston as a Laker. And who knows who else could follow suit with LeBron doing that ‘Casino’, Rich Paul behind the jersey recru…sorry I mean talking to former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving (who had a Kobe 24 in the contest) like he did with the Lakers Ball last year as a Cavalier.
But ask us all about that on July 1st. Because we won’t know what all these guys are going to do ’till this Summer. Then we will find out if the next chapter of the storied Lakers/Celtics rivalry will be the old allies of the King versus Kyrie. Or one that turns 80’s golden era volatile with a catalyst of burnt jerseys and the word “traitor” being thrown around like rocks at the throne like the first time LeBron left the land.
But how was last night for a twist in the story?
What a difference a couple of deadline days make. And after the worst week that saw the Lakers lose to a Victor Oladipo less Pacers by 42, after almost offering that many pieces of their young core to the New Orleans Pelicans for their free agent to be with a Hollywood dream like Paul George in Anthony Davis. The only thing this Brit wanted less than this deal was Brexit. As with chants of “LeBron’s going to trade you” rang out in Indianapolis fuelling the fires of anger like those rally cars on the 500, there may as well have been 42 or that many seats between the Lakers team and LeBron at the end of the bench. On television on the road the Lakers purple jersey looks blue. But make no mistake at what you saw in the Pacers fieldhouse, pictured courtside at the parquet after Magic wanted to trade more jerseys than Dwyane Wade’s last dance postgame. A picture says more than a thousand tweets (but check out the parody mic’d up feed from the hilarious Josiah Johnson’s feed. Who has a ‘Training Day’ with his Denzel Washington, “you motherf#####s will be playing basketball in Pelican (fitting) Bay when I’m finished with you” impression. Hash-tag: ‘Shoe Program’) about it.
But after all that and core guys like Ball, Kuzma, Ingram and Hart on the block. As well as the entire meme team, every meme going on the internet and even the future of every draft pick that the wind could blow in the Lakers took their “outrageous” offer off the table. To no Anthony Davis, raised eyebrows and emoji jabs from the Pelicans Twitter (how New Orleans said no to a trade that with Randle basically makes them the young, promising Lakers of last year when they stand to lose everything for nothing is the real emoticon of disbelief). And those worrying about the Lakers giving up on a young core they’ve cultivated over four years of drafts resting easy. Although just look at D’Angelo Russell, Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson now. They’ve been doing this for years. Now it remains to be seen whether Zo, Kuz, Ingram and Hart will be the California soul future of this franchise when the King leaves his throne in this game. Or merely a great young fun couple of what could have been seasons, Los Angeles team like the classic, new millennium Clippers crosstown of Lamar Odom, Darius Miles, Quentin Richardson, Keyon Dooling and Corey Maggette. I mean with Randle they’ve already lost their Elton Brand.
In the end the Lakers traded G-League Soiree by the South Bay, 47 point high man Svi Mykhailiuk to the Pistons for Reggie Bullock, who with a blindfold on could play ‘Bird Box’ from the three-point line like Sandra. And then they big mistake traded away favourites Ivica Zubac and Michael Beasley (at least we will always have the dancing GIFs and one of the greatest Laker moments in history telling a ref he was going to F’ Karl Anthony-Townes up) who have both been seriously stepping it up lately down the hall to their not so crosstown Clipper rivals in return for more perimeter muscle from Mike Muscala. But never fear, all this might finally open up a roster spot for free agent Anthony. Carmelo not Davis. Time to pull those hoods up.
But last night none of that mattered in Boston as the “Beat L.A.” chants ran round like fans in their cars circling the hotel of the Showtime Lakers in the 80’s, honking their horns in the early hours before Game 7. But there was no splinters in the wood last night for these Lakers to be tripping. After LeBron’s crowning triple of 28 points and 12 in both rebounds and assists (to go with 17 apiece from McGee and K.C.P.). And the 25 points from Kyle Kuzma and his clutch dagger. Boston (Irving) put themselves up by one. But after losing by 42 the last game, all the Lakers needed after that many in the third was one more to make their point. And after Ingram’s drive was blocked like parking on someone elses lot, the ball fell to the 17 points, 10 assists and 7 rebounds of former Celtic Rondo, who in Lakers yellow had his day against the old green. Sinking a kneeling prayer from the elbow as the buzzer rang out and he was lifted above a sea of gold running off-court. Just days after the team were as apart as leaving your ring on the dresser.
What a way to get a rejuvenating W on the road. And what a place to take it from.
The Patriots may have beat the Los Angeles Rams. But Boston couldn’t beat the L.A. Lakers last night.
From a standing ovation to start the game, to an 129-128 silencer by the end of regulation, Rajon Rondo made history back in his old hoops home with a moment even he couldn’t begin to believe. As the lastest chapter of Lakers/Celtics history was rewrote by one of its most central characters.
Talk about that one over breakfast and Beantown coffee Boston.
Big Trouble For Lakers Against Nets In China
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 and Howard finishing off alley-oops with that old Orlando magic (looking more and more like a solid pick-up to round out the bolstered bench on his reunion redemption move) 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, 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.
Rockets and Raptors Win Big in NBA Japan 2019
Big NBA exhibitions in Japan. Who says a pack of Raptors can’t take down Tokyo’s very own monster Kaiju, Godzilla? Even without the LeBron or Kobe first named basis Kawhi anymore, the Toronto Raptors proved they were still reigning champions as they beat the Harden (despite 21 first half points) and Westbrook reunited (and it feels so good), soaring Houston Rockets 134-129 in the first of their Japan Games twofor series in Tokyo’s Saitama Super Area, Tuesday.
But Canada’s very own BasketballBuzz was in the house for the Thursday rematch, for our We The North vs Houston home-stand. Although the red lined court design looked so 6 you almost expected to see Drake courtside picking lint out of James Harden’s beard. You could really see real Raptors superfan Nav Bhatia though (I mean he never misses a game and yep he was really here. Did you really think he was going to let something as little as a continent stand in his way?). NBA big-man Raptor and Rocket legends, Chris Bosh and Dikembe Mutombo (wagging his iconic digit like “Batsu”, with the fans McDonald’s loving it), Japanese tennis ace Naomi Osaka and sumo wrestling legend Konishiki were in attendance however. In the Far East on the 55th anniversary of Tokyo’s 1964 Olympic Games.
On this day Yoshinori Sakai, born on the day of the Hiroshima bombing 19 years previous carried the torch we know as the Olympic Flame. This epic, exhibition event the perfect precursor to next year’s 2020 Games and the race for hoops five ring gold in this land of the rising sun, host nation, capital city. With this writer supporting the Toronto team he once lived in tonight, trying to make a teaching (and who knows maybe one day coaching) dream come true in this big city of bright neon lights holding on to his ticket on the subway like a Willy Wonka golden one Charlie.
As after losing to the dinosaurs in the first roaring round, the beard of Houston’s James Harden caused unintended problems as he made some comments in support of Hong Kong protesters in the Far East, that lead to Commissioner Adam Silver backing him and the right for free speech up and then China itself going dark on the NBA across the continent. Clawing down billboards of the forthcoming Lakers and Nets games in Shanghai and Shenzhen (good job this purple and gold bleeder didn’t book that extra flight) with LeBron and A.D. company having no WiFi and no clue what was going on. Just like most of us refreshing our timelines. The game went ahead in the end with Brooklyn netting the Lake Show, 114-111 in their first of two round.
But as Harden stirred the pot like his classic celebration and professed his love for China, not even a typhoon on the way this weekend for their whirlwind week was going to stop Tokyo’s Basketball banner moment. It has been a fast moving seven days for the most innovative city on the planet. First rock God Lenny Kravitz assembled his Hollywood rich and famous, Dom Pérignon bottle popping, black and white photo gallery Assemblage exhibition in the fashionable district of Harajuku in Shibuya and now crossing over this game has gone global. With games of the NBA’s best also being exhibited in places like India, Mexico…and hopefully China too.
Tokyo’s massive population came out in their sold out droves for this one. As they proved they were as excited about these two teams (Houston’s rise in the Far East goes as far back as Yao…so you can imagine the fallout. Time for the Ming dynasty to step in) as they are for Japan’s very own top ten pick, the Washington Wizards Rui Hachimura or last year’s hustling Memphis Grizzlies big man of the future, Yuta Watanabe. With Harden, 13 and Siakam, 43 jerseys lining the bleachers. Although both teams missed a trick playing in their respective reds and whites for the flag like Canada.
Now that would have been a statement.
They were made in the game however after the “ooh’s” and “ahh’s” of the lay-up line putting on a show for Tokyo came the running and screaming for the Jurassic Park vs Apollo 13 franchises. What more could you expect for the first NBA game in Japan since 1991? Although this city and country has been immersed in Americana culture of that decade since years before then. With a 7Eleven and Starbucks on every corner like Eric Gordon going for back-to-back threes downtown here.
The hoops hoopla didn’t disappoint either as the 2K new to the NBA live generation were kept entertained in this gladiator arena by Clutch and Raptor mascots, fan events and that old timeless t-shirt tossing…no matter what size you are, you’re grabbing for those sleeves like it was the New Year sales. Despite Raptor Kyle Lowry being milk carton just days after announcing he was re-upping for a year next season and not pulling a Kawhi via The Players Tribune. And NBA and FIBA world champion in the same Summer (that’s a record right?) Marc Gasol coming off the bench for some brief burn like touching a plate you had warming up in the oven for too long whilst you were waiting for an overdue pizza delivery. Albeit to cheers like he was a Hall of Famer. Come to think of it little brother and this generations Vlade Divac is one. Especially when you take into the account older Pau is the second best European player of all-time and only a fraction better than his sibling.
Or the Harden/Westbrook tandem-both scoring 22-being in foul or slumping trouble when they weren’t jack knifing their way through the paint butter for some geometry defying lay-ups. Cutting a hardwood path to a 118-112 Rockets over Raptors victory bite back. Seeing James do that dribble, step-back, rug and court cutting shuffle-especially in a pink P.J. Tucker sneaker king approved pair of kicks that he threw into the crowd like a rock star does drumsticks post set-is one of this age games eight wonders like Russell’s athletic enthusiasm as he runs to his corner like Ali or A.I. Screaming for the fans to get pumped.
It was Clint Capela (10 powerful points to go with 7 rebounds and 2 big blocks) and even his veteran back-up, big Tyson Chandler who came up big off the block or oop before the reserves cleared up the garbage like Japanese soccer fans the World Cup stands. Making sure those in court regalia passing the salary men on the escalators to the last train left satisfied and with both teams taking a game, content in the Yin and Yang feeling that this was just one half of a whole lot of world wide spanning and spinning basketball that Tokyo is about to see in 2020.
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