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They Got It Wrong About D’Angelo Russell

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IMG 20190224 111749
Regret In Your Veins?

Passive aggressiveness is bull#### and for cowards.

Just call that person an a##hole!

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So when I say “they” you know who I’m talking about.

It’s the “they” I bleed purple and gold for.

The Los Angeles Lakers.

They got it wrong about D’Angelo Russell.

And for that matter they got it wrong about Julius Randle too. Who had 24 points last night as the Pels beat the Lakers by an unlucky for some in purple and gold, 13 in New Orleans…WITHOUT Anthony Davis. Making that big win look all too easy in Crescent City. To go along with some choice words for the Lakers bench as J.R. shot a big three. Paraphrased on 24/7 Sports like this, “It’s not fully clear what Julius Randle had to say to the Laker bench, but it probably wasn’t positive” (perfect). But I digress. As if you’ve read one of my articles before, you’ll know my Julius heartbreak and how often I go on about this. And if you think that’s bad you should see my Twitter. Wait…no, scratch that. You shouldn’t see my Twitter.

But if you thought 24 was good yesterday, then another former Laker D’Angelo Russell on his 23rd birthday hit 40 like the kind of age he doesn’t have to worry about for another decade and a half. Becoming the youngest player in history to hit that much on his bday. As he had ice in the veins and the Hornets nest winning a game 117-115 in Charlotte. Less than a week after he became an All Star for the first time dishing to a downtown Dirk, hitting dimes in the buzzing hub of North Carolina for Team Giannis.

Everyone talked about how the Lakers shouldn’t have trade away their young core of Lonzo, Kuzma, Ingram, Hart and Zubac (now gone) for one man who wants to Paul George (hmm) go there by free agency already. But look at Russell, Randle, or Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr. They’ve been trading away their future for years. They talk about needing more three point shooting and a secondary scorer for LeBron. This guy would have got that bill as perfectly as a signature under a check. And they traded this guy for Brook Lopez?! Sure a great centre from downtown, but still for D-Lo?! I know they where making way for the pure point of Ball but in this small ball revolution of a league why not move Russ who likes to shoot to I don’t know…Shooting Guard maybe?

Makes sense?

They (Magic) said he wasn’t a leader. But look at him lead the Nets now. The Lakers don’t have a clutch killer. This kid learnt under another guard who loves to shoot as his natural birthright instinct. His name was Kobe. Do the Lakers not remember the time D’Angelo hit a big shot to win a game a day after he lost his grandmother? Falling emotionally and exhausted with his spent arms by his side into the open embrace of his family in the crowds. As he ran straight up the stands to them without even doing his signature celebration as the buzzer rang out (not walked out the tunnel before it even blared ‘Bron). It’s one of the greatest moments in modern Laker history like when Phil Jackson begged a plugged in Ron Artest to not shoot. Did they forget what this hero has in his veins? Pure, cold blooded Basketball heroin.

And you don’t need to spend all night, no sleep, saying hello to Brooklyn on your League Pass to get your fix. This former face of the future and franchise star right here and now is a nightly highlight reel. The Nets finally have a superstar to shoot for moon for the first time since they were Jersey boys. And his ice cold, big shots that he can set up for himself, off his own dribble with the confident (not arrogant) pause and poise of a great, looks even better than his dread locked down, high-flying look. Or the range of iconic Nets jerseys served this year. Even the ‘Juicy’ City ones in Bed Stuy. This kid is notorious. This man is B.I.G. It’s all good baby baby.

NBA champion great John Salley told me in an interview a few years ago that the Barclays Center banked in the B.K. borough of New York looks like a “spaceship has landed in Brooklyn”.

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Well…the future is here.

With all due respect to George Gervin here’s the next generation Iceman. The most passionately driven small guard since Iverson keeps stepping over the Lakers.

Fellow Lakers fans don’t just what could have been worry about Paul George. It’s not just PG-3 that’s putting up MVP numbers this year every day of the week. Now watch what you say about create for themselves scorers like Brandon Ingram. Or just wait until China this August when the Nets take on the Lakers in a doubleheader over the cities of Shanghai and Shenzhen, were there will be ice in the Far East for what I’m sure will be a B.K. crowning proving the Kings land wrong contest.

They (the whole nation) questioned his maturity. When he was still a teenager. They made him the fall guy scapegoat for the Nick Young situation. But failed to listen to or understand the accidental mistake he made. They failed to see that cheaters always get found out and ruin their own marriages anyway. They shipped him and then the Swag months later P. But still when it was all shoved under the rug they pulled they forgot to realize the amends D’Angelo made and how he reached out instead of acting out. But even when they saw the funny side they forgot that Russell was more than sporting enough to troll himself, throwing then rookie Ben Simmons’ phone into a pool in a Foot Locker commercial.

Trust me.

Now did you see how mature, professional and polite he was on ESPN’s ‘Get Up’ with Jalen Rose and Mike Greenberg? And the kids only 22 years old! Or the same politeness in smiles and honour during the Nets Lunar New Year honorary celebrations were he greeted everyone in the Chinese he learnt at Monteverde? Or how he was with his Three-Point Contest winning teammate Joe Harris in courtside support. Or even last night when he was as per, cold water drenched by Caris LeVert during his postgame interview only to playfully react with the same warm smile. Holding on to LeVert’s arms in an embrace and giving it up for him, “my dawg. My dawg”.

Forget ice under pressure! After all these years and all he’s been through he’s still lighting it up like that Magic (meant that) grin. How about grace under pressure?

So the next time someone talks that mess about you or someone else online with no reason. No matter how passive aggressively with that built in deniability. And then everyone joins in like they had coloured hair brushed all the way up, retweet and emoticon likes for the birds. Unless your Jussie Smollett, maybe don’t believe everything you read.

Just because you have a Twitter. Doesn’t mean you have a handle. This Point Guard does though. And have you ever heard him bite back? No! He just shoots back. Literally. Looking after number one with a bucket.

As Denzel Washington said in ‘American Gangster’, “the loudest one in the room is the quietest one in the room. Understand”?! Although this writer doesn’t want to get into trading pointed quotes because then we will be practicing what we’ve been preaching against. Although we will end on one more after this.

D is no longer loading. No more reason to ‘please wait’. The sliders are up like three burgers to go with your Brooklyn Lager. The bar is full. 100%. Loaded.

He deserved more. And now he’s getting it.

The Lakers loss is for sure the Nets gain. And on your birthday weekend here’s to you D’Angelo. It’s great to see you so happy. As they say living well is the best revenge.

“This was supposed to be the fight that Muhammad Ali was ended. Supposed to be the myth that Muhammad was gonna fall! Supposed to be my destruction! Well, they miscalculated, they misjudged, they got it wrong!”

You really need us to tell you who said that quote?

K.O.

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NBA

The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series

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The Warriors Came Out To Play This Series
RIP Portland...

Even without the fantasy Basketball of Kevin Durant in this series, the Golden State Warriors still brought out the brooms like ‘Fantasia’.

And swept out of Game 4 like Thanos click finger dust, the Portland Trailblazers may have only lost by a bucket (119-117)…and in overtime at that. But with all the Splash they had to contend with this series from brothers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, they were left dealing with more leaks and holes in all of their own ones like Mickey Mouse in said Disney epic.

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This was meant to be the showdown between Dell Curry’s boys Steph and Seth which divided a household. And although the youngest gun stepped up to the plate, swung big in this carnival and knocked them down, big brother was always watching.

Steph Curry averaged over 36 points a game this series. Just read that again. 36 points. Right now we don’t need to talk about Kevin.

The Warriors are a dynasty for the ages even without their best player (although this writer thinks he wasn’t missing this entire series). The first team to make it to five straight finals since the Boston Celtics. The 1960’s Bill Russell Celtics. That’s King James crowning legendary. And Steph Curry with the shot and that facet of the game is just as iconic and dominant as a Bill block.

Give some credit to a blazing Portland side who never gave up despite the box score. They can hold their heads in the PDX. Even in their Moda Center home-stand City Of Roses end in RIP City. Their season eulogy should read as a celebration and commiseration, not a trolling condescension from critically entitled fans who have done nothing to determine the outcome of these games and could never make it this far in their wildest memes. They call themselves “influencers”? Well no one’s going to remember them in 50 years.

The NBA will remember one of their Top 100 greatest of all-time in a half century though. As after hitting the biggest buzzer beater in playoff history against Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round, Damian Lillard played through the pain of separated ribs this series and still made the Basketball God’s look down from the hoop heavens with praise. Like New York singer St. Vincent tweeted, “Damian Lillard is my hero”. Even his backcourt brother of splash CJ McCollum in the only small man set up to rival Curry and Klay came out to play against the Warriors after midrange mining the Nuggets into submission in Denver just over a week ago.

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But Curry’s red hot triple double, starter, mains and dessert dish of 37, 13 and 11, to go along with a playing not crying, Draymond Green’s day of 18, 14 and 11 assists also was just too much in the clutch. As Stephen and Dray became the first teammates in NBA history to have a triple double in the same playoff game. Forget how much this team can unbelievably keep winning, how does this ball manage to get shared this much?

Well that just may be the secret of success?

The real test is dubbed next however in the Warriors last season in Golden State before they move across that Golden bridge to the Silicon Valley of a digital age in San Francisco. They will play the winner of the Milwaukee Bucks (probably…Giannis…MVP. Sorry Toronto but come on!) and Raptors series. But by then they should have some guy called Kevin back.

I mean come on. This has been getting crazy. This is just out of hand like said ball in Splash City.

Now Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics’ record of eight straight finals and wins doesn’t look far out of reach for Steph Curry and the player and team with the biggest range in the association over the gate of the Pacific.

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NBA

Welcome to the Toronto Raptors’ Jurassic Park

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Welcome To The Toronto Raptors' Jurassic Park
They The North...

“In Jurassic Park, Raptor fans wait until after dark. Even if the cold might eat them!”

Fans find a way.

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An ace serve or two away from being as legendary as Wimbledon’s ‘Murray Mound’ or ‘Henman Hill’ outside the Scotiabank Arena, the Toronto Raptors Maple Leaf Square’s “Jurassic Park” may just be the ticket for this sold out crowd.

Raptor Klaw, Kawhi Leonard ruled the earth last night. He and the T-Dot at the final tick beat the Sixers in The Six, as his shot bobbled like a beach ball on the surface of a swimming pool before making the biggest splash of these postseason playoffs. Taking longer to fall than Leonardo DiCaprio’s spinning top in ‘Inception’. But this was no dream.

And if you thought the Scotiabank Arena in downtown Toronto erupted last night, then outside in Maple Leaf Square it was like the volcanoes that killed the dinosaurs after that big ball dropped. An Armageddon even Bruce Willis couldn’t save like he wish he could his career.

Welcome to Jurassic World.

With all due respect to the Linsanity of Jeremy Lin, or pick your poison whoever is your flash card pick of the bench mob pack, but the Jurassic Park crowd fenced in outside of Scotia is the teams spiritual sixth man, spark plug. As electric as the paddock like perimeter fence surrounding them feels with this buzz over basketball (and national sport hockey come Leaf picking season), this crowd can’t be contained.

Forget rain or shine. You see the slickers. These faithful fans will pitch a spot waiting for game time like the ball to drop in Times Square for New Year in New York, sleeping bag lining up all day in their hordes huddled for warmth. These beautiful fans will brave the harshest, most frigid temperatures to be the coldest fans in the game in more ways than one. Part of the ‘We The North’ community in the 6 that the Basketball God’s look down on with pride, whilst other armchair fans watch this game for the throne from home. Or leave early like those suit and tie corporate seats trying to catch that last red eye Matt Bonner home.

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Can you imagine of they called game early before Kawhi last night?

I could imagine Drake taking in the CN Tower looking up views of the Jurassic though, like it was all the basketball God’s plan.

Well those in the park for recreation stayed until the beautiful end to a game Butler almost delivered bitter. And you could could phantom cam see every emotion in slow motion last night as Leonard’s buzzer beating ball toyed with the rim like three dots on messenger, or Damien Lillard even further downtown in Oklahoma City.

This is the spirit of the stadium and the soul of the squad, expanding the capacity arena and the Canadian ballclubs worldwide fanbase watching on their own Jumbotrons.

And the Toronto Raptors are going to need all the north they can get if they’re going to stop the Bucks in Milwaukee.

But this club has the claws to do it. And if you don’t think they can win in Wisconsin on their own road to being the first franchise outside of the United States to be NBA finalists and who knows what next against the Warriors(?), then just watch this Canadian cornerstone from the Jurassic era.

Extinct in six? Nah! Get ready to hear the North roar.

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