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The Homestand King Knocks Down The Hickory Pacers’ Picket Fence

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2018 11 30T065348Z 1 LYNXNPEEAT0E0 OUSSP RTROPTP 3 SPORTS US BASKETBALL NBA IND RECAP
Hoosier King...

“But what could be greater than a King”, Jason Mamoa’s ‘Aquaman’ asks in the booming trailer for his new movie on the big screens of LA Live across from STAPLES.

“A hero”.

Who says it doesn’t rain in Southern California?

After suffering altitude sickness in the Mile-High city of Denver for their worst loss of the season in Nevada this week. The King and all his Lakerland men met a homecoming in the City of Angels that was missing the Californication of the sun. There really was a storm coming in Los Angeles. But we’re talking about a different type of precipitation. As outside it may have rained all day in LA cats and dogs. But inside the STAPLES Center it was purple reign all night.

And it was the King who once dressed up as Prince who made sure the elevator didn’t bring us down, as he made the hoop heavens cry like doves with a game-high 38.

Let’s go crazy!

Basketball Buzz must have been California dreamin’ like your Mamas and Papas in La La Lakerland last night. With the best seats this writer has ever had in the King’s castle. On the last leg and final stop of our road trip of these United States before we take a United Airlines home, that began in the Mecca of New York’s Madison Square Garden. We were so (Glen) close in Hollywood we could see the sweat, King James joke with Goldstein courtside, or all the emotion. Live and for real in front of our faces. And this writer was even caught on the jumbotron camera last night…or at least part of his shoulder and face was. And they say dreams don’t come true.

In Tinseltown for the back-to-back (Magic voice: “yeah…YEAH”) doubleheader we were given the Dickens with great expectations. Especially staying across from STAPLES in the historic three pillars (no Lakers yet guys?!) of the Hotel Figueroa with a James jersey over my hotel room chair waiting for this banner moment. Overlooking the bright lights of this neon futuristic by night big city and a LeBron Nike billboard that witnessed the words, ‘Just A Small Town Kid, With Big City Dreams’. Don’t break into Journey’s, ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ people, but there’s faith here again in downtown LA. Literally a few blocks away from Hope Street.

We thought Lance Stephenson would go off against his former Indiana Pacers especially with their big star Victor Oladipo sidelined (he didn’t get chance unfortunately). We thought Lonzo Ball’s sprained ankle would mean he faced a DNP-CD as B.B. were in L.A. typically too (he didn’t let that happen fortunately). You have to give it up for this kids heart like that Twitter trending video of him defending every player on a possession against Orlando that was true Magic (word to Earv’). This year something has happened that even President Johnson couldn’t pardon. LaVar Ball has shut up. Maybe by royal decree. Or his own much more than given credited for common sense. But either way the smart entrepreneur with a Muhammed Ali mouth entertaining way of lip-service getting business done and dusted has kept it zipped. But did you notice through all this reality show, Hollywood hoops hoopla the kid Lonzo always kept quiet and let his game do the talking? And what a game! Ball balled out after refusing to let an ankle sprain sideline him after mining an injury against the Nuggets. When the Lakers said he was “questionable”. He refused that notion saying he was playing, no doubt.

Answer that critics.

And he joined the Lakers block party swatting off the glass in the same play that saw Ingram ingrain that defensive presence that D.P.O.Y. for sure right now JaVale McGee started, inspiring his back-up Tyson Chandler to knock out finish. When the game started the Pacers in their classic, vintage, best in the association, Hickory Hoosier honouring, red and gold uniforms couldn’t buy a basket until almost halfway through the first quarter with seven minutes to go and change. It was looking like a blowout with the game in the refrigerator, jiggling with the Jello on the week of Chickie’s bday. Let’s hear it for Hearn.

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But then the Lakers let a Kobe jersey, 24 point lead slip through their fingers like water. Losing that Mamba Mentality as the (Hickory) Pacers ran the picket-fence that the Lakers had previously put up against them so strong in the ground, they were already applying a fresh coat of white paint. At least we got to see more of the King before it all dried. Because there would be no feet up in this one. At the half we had a ball game for the Lonzo show. And by the third it looked like this upstart without their go to, but still with plenty in reserve (Sabonis, Collision, Evans and Young) could give LA an L by the end of regulation.

But a W is a W like Vin Diesel “inch or mile” said to the late Paul Walker in the first ‘Fast and Furious’ checkered flag waver. And as McGee stopped a fast break that looked to turn the tide with one of his signature swats, the mood was changed for the team chasing a ring with the King. And let’s not Steven Glansberg forget a ‘Superbad’ 13 off the bench for captain and X-Factor Josh Hart. High-five! Or Beasley beastin’ on the Best Coast. But still L.A. couldn’t put them away from downtown Pico. Until K.C.P. had that chicken from three like KFC.

And after that it was all finger licking good for the purple and gold and their Colonel. As the King took off his robe, put on his crown and went into full clutch, royal gold mode. He may have shot from the line like Shaq still, but he faded all that away like Jordan or Kobe. If a guy built like a linebacker hit that sig Shooting Guard shot that is. This Basketball Godfather was untouchable in front of a sold-out Hollywood crowd that included the ‘Black Rain’ of Andy Garcia (this month last year this writer was in Osaka, Japan. This year a few rows away from the scene stealer of the Ridley Scott 80’s classic set there…crazy!) watching a purple one. Lighting up downtown Los Ageless (word to St. Vincent) like the pregame laser show inside STAPLES or that ‘Terminator’ apocalypse like ‘Blade Runner 2049′ skyline outside. The only thing brighter was Coach Walton’s Sager Strong suit in fitting tribute to a king of the sidelines.

But as LeBron either scored or assisted on the Lakers final 15, it all lead to a 104-96 win for the Kings young men that wasn’t exactly comfortable (this one was at times complacently gutted out like the Lakers/Pacers 2000 dynasty birthing finals that saw Kobe leap into Shaq’s arms for the first time. One of Budweiser beers’ golden moments of Laker history right now), but still fit like a new Sunday best, starched and pressed. As Sager himself who refused to give up or give in once said, “Everyone has to face obstacles. Everybody has to face hurdles. It’s what you do with those that determines how successful you’re going to be.” And boy did the King Bolt over those hurdles. Or more fittingly from the smart mind of Sager how about this to close it out…

“If we don’t have hope and faith, we have nothing.”

We do because of you. Respect sir. Rest Peacefully.

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NBA

Dame Time Forever. What Are Those New Adidas ‘Black Panther’s’?

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IMG 20190426 080921
A Nation Under Our Sneakers...

Adidas are in the Endgame now.

Before we get started, Havlicek would have stole that ball. Just saying Paul George. Stop acting like Paul Pierce. It wasn’t a “bad shot”. And R.I.P. to a Boston Celtic and storied NBA great. Dear John will be stealing every ball in hoop heaven. Rest peacefully.

Like a cat toying with a mouse. That’s how we described Lillard’s Dame Time winning clutch three from Mt. Hood as Portland gave Oklahoma City roses in the first round this week. Damian had more clock than grandfather’s and still took his time. Because it is his after all.

And now as timely as ever in the same week as one of the greatest playoff game and series winning shots in basketball for all time and one of the biggest blockbusters in Hollywood history coming out with ‘Avengers: Endgame’, this cat is building a superhero legendary legacy.

You better check a comic-book or something.

T’Challa may have been Thanos snapped to cat litter in the Avengers ‘Infinity War’, but the King of Wakanda has a regal gift by royal appointment to Damian Lillard like he did Victor Oladipo in a victorious Slam Dunk Contest for testament tributes last season.

The cat has something out the bag.

IMG 20190426 094544
The pick of the litter…

Now you may be screaming “what are those” like Shuri at these royal sandals, but try these sneakers on. They embody everything about the next gen, nano tech Black Panther suit she developed for this emperor’s clothes. All the way down to the texture and trim which straps “Wakanda Forever” over the laces. The titan mad purple that runs like veins through Chadwick Boseman’s superhero suit absorbs all the blows he takes and turns it into a recharged deflecting energy pulse. Kind of like all the rock the baby and wrist tapping crap Damian Lillard was taking off Russell Westbrook before he absorbed it all and gave it back in a half century energy that exploded with a game winning fireball.

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Never delete that footage.

Marvel have also gifted Dame with his own Black Panther mask like Oladipo, but this time canvas created from his super sneakers. Part of the ‘Heroes Among Us’ series from the three stripes, a comic-strip advertising campaign has been crafted. Featuring Lillard standing in front of the downtown RIP City, PDX skyline looking Wakandan in artwork akin to the ‘Nation Under Our Feet’ graphic novel redux series that rebooted this classic character before his feature film debut.

Damian may have played Killmonger villain to the Oklahoma Thunder, going G.O.A.T. like Michael Jordan B. But he’s a hero to us now blazing a trail like a human torch possessed with a fire and the heart of a lion inside all that panther power.

The Dame 5 will assemble with the arc of the bolted up ‘Iron Man’ Harden Vol. 3 for James and the patch of the ‘Nick Fury’ TMac 1 for Tracy McGrady. As well as the ‘Captain America’ Adidas N3XT L3V3L, and a ‘Captain Marvel’ Adidas Pro Vision for all those who could take the lead all day, with us ’till the end of the line. HIGHER. FURTHER. FASTER.

But we know which ones will be clawed off the stores shelf throne come it’s big blockbuster release with ‘Endgame’ right now.

It’s a drip fit for a King.

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NBA

RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX

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RIP OKC. Dame Time Clocks Thunder’s Reign From Way Downtown PDX
What Time Is It...

Blazing!

Even two games down the Thunder bolt boys joked like the last laugh that was yet to be delivered, like this what’s the 4-1 punchline. Zero to zero for the best series of these NBA Playoffs so far, Russell Westbrook rocked the baby at Damian Lillard, before mocking his wrist watch celebration like he did Laker meme Lance Stephenson’s air guitar strumming one with D’Angelo Russell ice in his veins. All before Paul George double pumped a dunk as time expired on a game that was already decided way before the horn blared.

“It is the unemotional, reserved, calm, detached warrior who wins, not the hothead seeking vengeance and not the ambitious seeker of fortune.”

But then last night before posting that Sun Tzu quote on Instagram in this art of war. In the face of P.G. the PDX P.G. beat the buzzer as Dame Time struck from way downtown RIP City. With an Austin 3:16 bottom line to give OKC the history engraved tombstone and the Portland Trail Blazers a legendary storied, legacy making championship belt for this classic series in hardwood history.

Reminding us of that time Charles Barkley responded to a Nike barbershop ad featuring former Golden State Warriors Chris Webber and Latrell Sprewell joking about dunking on him by putting all the points on them in the following game and running past them on the bench draped in dejected towels shouting, “put that in a f###### commercial!”

Colder than February. More ruthless than a convertible in Summer.

Damian Lillard 37 Footer Over Paul George
Damian Lillard buries series clinching 37-footer over Paul George – Photo Blazers

37 feet high and rising from deep. Deep as the halfcourt abyss. With the this time of season cherry blossoms blooming outside Portlandia’s Moda Center, the City of Roses was handing everyone from basketballs Oklahoma home funeral flowers. And leading the precession, hearse wrapping it up like his killer bars, Dame D.O.L.L.A was right on the money like exact change only please, waving goodbye. Even if Paul George walking off in defeat like LeBron James and getting his Vlade Divac on in a press conference more awkward than a blind date with an ex called it a “bad shot”. To which the great Dame simply replied with a tweeted “lol” (see also, laugh and last). He better Big Shot Bobby Horry check a newspaper or something. Dame Time didn’t just beat the buzzer. He took baby powder to it. As Dame had all the Louis Armstrong time in the world with ten on the clock and the last shot in this final frame to dribble drive or dish. But instead, toying with George like a cat does a mouse, as David beat Goliath like Jerry did Tom, Lillard had the sand to set up shop, his spot and his shot from what looked like a bunker. A hole in one, with the cocksure confidence of Tiger Woods putting for Masters glory in Augusta and embracing his kids, two decades after doing the same with his pops all for the green jacket.

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From this master, like a tap in putt with no Mulligan to carry, this was always going in. Nothing but net. All water like those Thunder tears. O.K. now that was a 3.

And to think I swore I wouldn’t go back on social media until after the new Avengers movie came out, but DAMN Dame Time! Spoiler alert, this is the new ‘Endgame’ now.

Cousy. Pettit. Sam Jones. Wilt. Chuck Barkley. M.J. And now the Dame train as the legendary Lillard goes hard to join this lineage as the only players to hit 50 in a playoff clinching game. And what a way to do it, fading away to clock out of the game and series 118-115 for the greatest Portland playoff moment since the G.O.A.T’s shrug. As mobbed by teammates on the floor he sank into, telling Russ to ‘Get Out’ his house. Peeling off like Jordan, Damian all on his own like a devil, GIF turned into an instant meme, as he turned the Thunder into a memory (you know the one were everyone loses their mind around that smirking kid with glasses in the raincoat? Well now guess which superheroes face is super imposed?). Staring into the camera with that look you know was for Russell Westbrook.

Blazers Win Damian Lillard Buries 37 Footer
Blazers Win. – Photo: Portland Trail Blazers

What a whole mood.

Whose left holding the baby now?

Dame didn’t even have to check his watch. Why? Him, her, them. They all knew what time it was. His. As Dame Lillard just did it in the Oregon home of Nike. Shoe dog like Phil Knight, running off victory for the courtside crowd, including legendary comedian Cedric the Entertainer for this last laugh lap. As this Gladiator hit one of the best and biggest shot fired in NBA history. Subliminal and literal.

Are you not entertained?

Why not?

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