LeBron James Flexes After Scoring 1st Points Back with Cavs Thanks to Love Pass

For the first time since 2010, LeBron James scored points in an NBA game while wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers uniform.

Nearly midway through the first quarter of Thursday’s game against the New York Knicks, Kevin Love through a beautiful outlet pass to James, who battled through a foul by the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony to finish a reverse layup. 

James and Love continued to be on the same page while celebrating.

James missed the ensuing free throw.

The layup accounted for the only two points James scored in his first quarter back with Cleveland.

[TNT]

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Baylor hopes to break pattern after Sweet 16 again (Yahoo Sports)

Baylor has gotten into quite a pattern over the past few seasons, with deep NCAA tournament runs every other year.

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Lakers Rookie Julius Randle May Miss Season After Suffering Severe Leg Injury

It was not the debut that Julius Randle or the Los Angeles Lakers wanted. Instead of celebrating his first NBA game, Randle, the seventh overall pick in the June draft, was carried out of the Staples Center with his worried mother looking over him. The Lakers later confirmed that Randle had fractured his tibia, the larger of the two bones of the lower leg.   

The 6’9″, 250-pound rookie had high expectations coming into this season, one that may have ended as his leg gave way. The injury mechanism for a fracture like this is unusual in that it is normally a traumatic injury, where the bone itself is overloaded and snaps under the pressure. The extreme, but apt, comparison is to Paul George, who fractured both his tibia and fibula in a freak accident earlier this year after awkwardly landing on the basket stanchion during a U.S. national team exhibition.   

Instead, Randle’s leg appeared to simply give as he pushed off it going up to the rimmidway through the fourth quarter of L.A.’s season-opening loss to the Rockets. There was some contact in the moments immediately preceding the injury, but none that appeared to have sufficient force to cause a fracture. Randle hopped once on his left leg and went to the ground. It was not immediately clear where on the bone the fracture is, though the ankle shifted as he went up, which is an indication that the fracture is nearer the foot than the knee.

One study done by the Society of American Engineers showed that a normal male tibia fractures under a load of 260 foot-pounds of force. Dr. David Chao, the former team physician for the San Diego Chargers, tweeted that this type of fracture was atypical and “low energy”:

It’s easier to understand why George’s leg couldn’t handle the extreme and unusual loading of his body flying through the air and landing oddly than it is Randle’s leg just snapping, which does imply some sort of underlying weakness. However, it does not appear that Randle had any sign of this prior to the injury.

Sources tell me that Randle, 19, had no unusual issues with his lower body during camp and was receiving no special treatments. The team was monitoring the rookie closely, including his previous foot injury, but there was no concern or complaint before Tuesday night’s incident. Young players in their first year with an organization are routinely watched more closely as the team and medical staff learn how a player responds to the physical stresses of the game.

While it is likely that Randle’s injury is what would commonly be referred to as a stress fracture, it does raise questions that Randle had some sort of weakness leading up to the injury. Randle showed no apparent issue when he came into the game in the first quarter. He ran with no visible limp or gait issues and had no known injury problems during his first training camp. 

The likely treatment for this type of fracture is surgical. A metal rod is inserted near the bone and screwed into place to fixate the bone and strengthen it while it heals. In most cases, the rod is left in place and causes no issues in play. The normal rehab for this is around four to six months. Research from Jeff Stotts last year indicated that players missed 22 games on average after similar injuries, though that average would be skewed by longer rehab times last season.

While Randle’s mechanism of injury was atypical, the injury itself is not unusual for NBA players. Aside from Paul George, several others have had similar issues. The most similar occurred to Jrue Holiday last season. Holliday missed 48 games after he was diagnosed with a stress fracture in his tibia in January. JaVale McGee also had a tibial stress fracture last season, missing all but five games after he was diagnosed with the issue in November. Manu Ginobli played through an incomplete stress fracture in the Spurs‘ championship season as well.

Lakers fans might recall that Kobe Bryant missed much of the second half of last season with a tibia fracture, though Bryant’s was at the very top of the bone, just below the knee. His tibial plateau fracture was the same bone, but involved a very different mechanism and healing process. Going further back, the Lakers lost another promising player in his rookie season to a fractured tibia, but James Worthy came back pretty well. The old school footage here shows Worthy landing awkwardly after a dunk attempt. 

Despite the level of care and the normal healing timeline, there are a few factors that could extend this. NBA teams have shown a high level of conservatism with young players and injuries, such as sitting top picks Nerlens Noel and Anthony Davis well after their normal timelines, as well as an extended absence expected from this year’s No. 3 pick, Joel Embiid. The Lakers could simply elect to let Randle “redshirt” his rookie season and come back with a full offseason and camp.

Randle also has a significant medical history. He had a screw put in his foot during his senior year in high school. He had no problems in his year at Kentucky, but reports surfaced that the bone had not healed properly during the leadup to the NBA draft. The Lakers showed no real concern and denied that Randle would need corrective surgery. 

If there is any further concern about the foot, now would be a perfect time to go in and have the surgery, putting the healing concurrent to that of his leg. Both injuries are on the right side and have similar timelines, so it wouldn’t necessarily slow the progress of either. Again, Randle denied that the foot is a problem.

Assuming the healing time is normal, that there is no involvement of cartilage or other soft tissue and that the foot is not a complicating factor, there is no reason to believe that Julius Randle will have any difficulty returning to his normal level. The injury is painful and disappointing, but there’s no impact beyond the immediate. 

 

 

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Kobe calls Dwight ‘teddy bear’ after elbow to face

Dwight Howard hit Kobe Bryant with an elbow, then jawed at him.

      
 

 

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After big turnaround, big expectations at Texas (Yahoo Sports)

A year ago, Texas coach Rick Barnes was hearing a lot of speculation that his job was on the line. Fans were already frustrated by Texas’ recent lack of post-season success, the Longhorns were coming off their first losing season in 15 years and Barnes rolled out a lineup that had lost most of its scoring punch. Texas returns five starters, including point guard Isaiah Taylor, who was the surprise catalyst for last season’s turnaround.

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WATCH: Kobe to Dwight after spat, ‘Try me!’

Who didn’t see this coming? With all the talking that has occurred in the lead up to the regular season opener between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, we had to believe that Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard would get into a little bit of a spat. And by the words Kobe had to say to Dwight, I am pretty sure he was ready.
GIF: Kobe Bryant to Dwight Howard after tussle: “Try Me” http://t.co/lzgVr20L4P — Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) October 29, 2014
Not only did Kobe want some action, he apparently called his former teammate “soft.” This all came on the heels of Dwight throwing an elbow Kobe’s way. And here is the entire spat in video form. H/t to SB Nation for the GIFS The post Kobe Bryant and Dwight Howard Have Words After Spat appeared first on Sportsnaut.com.

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Anthony Davis En Route to Cementing Elite Status After Monster 2014-15 NBA Debut

New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis is just 21 years old, yet he may already be on the way to becoming one of the NBA‘s greatest players this season.

Look no further than Davis’ sensational 2014-15 debut in the Pelicans’ 101-84 victory over the Orlando Magic. Although expectations are quite low for the young Magic this year, youth is no excuse for Davis, who had a game for the ages.

Davis put up 26 points and 17 rebounds, which are impressive enough—not to mention a whopping nine blocked shots to go with two assists and three steals in only 36 minutes.

The big man, chosen No. 1 overall in the 2012 draft, indeed appears to be the next “chosen one.”

After the game, Davis noted how his defensive expertise helped the Pelicans soar.

“Our defense kind of picked up our offense,” said Davis, per NOLA.com’s John Reid. “We got a lot of easy transition plays. We just got to make sure we rebound like we did, even the guards, it will make our team better. I just made sure I rebounded, hustled, defend the paint and try to run the floor.”

Well prior to Tuesday’s monster outing, Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck made the case that Davis may already be the third-best individual in the Association behind LeBron James and Kevin Durant:

Fox Sports Detroit’s Mateen Cleaves argued the same point Tuesday:

ESPN Stats & Info observed how such a performance as Davis recorded at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans was unprecedented:

CBS Sports’ Zach Harper offered context to note that most of Davis’ damage was done before the fourth quarter commenced:

Averages of 20.8 points, 10 rebounds and almost three blocks per contest last season may have already been enough for Davis to garner the “elite” label among frontcourt players. Tuesday hinted at something more—something truly special.

With how tremendous Davis already is as a defender, how well he runs the floor in transition and the room he has to improve all facets of his offensive game, he could become unstoppable someday.

If Tuesday’s season opener is any indication, perhaps that day has already arrived.

In an era that has put so much emphasis on the perimeter game and has seen a dearth of big men emerge as franchise cornerstones, Davis is different. What should help his cause to remain an absolute terror in the paint is the presence of fellow frontcourt mate Omer Asik.

Both New Orleans bigs are exceptional rebounders and excel on defense. They will be helping out each other, and while Asik will draw the stronger players in the post, Davis can effortlessly rotate over to swat shots.

As Davis continues to develop with his back to the basket and as a post player, perhaps by acquiring more strength, the fast-break opportunities he and Asik create will see him score easy buckets in bunches, too.

Asik may be overshadowed, and rightly so, but he pitched in 17 boards and five blocks against the Magic.

For those immune to overreaction after Davis’ effort versus Orlando, he will face plenty of quality competition in a stacked Western Conference to show off his skills. If he is able to lift the Pelicans into relevancy and spark them to a playoff appearance, Davis can then be promoted as a legitimate top-tier stud.

Until then, fans, pundits and even casual basketball observers can appreciate the unique brand of basketball Davis will treat everyone to as he continues his ascent toward superstar status.

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Huskers looking for more after breakthrough season (Yahoo Sports)

FILE - In this Jan. 20, 2014, file photo, Nebraska coach Tim Miles shouts instructions in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Ohio State in Lincoln, Neb. Nebraska was the surprise team in the Big Ten with its fourth-place finish last season, and coach Miles believes he has the pieces in place for a big encore. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

These are heady days for the Nebraska basketball program. The Cornhuskers are coming off their highest conference finish and first NCAA tournament appearance since 1998, and played to sellout crowds in their first year at Pinnacle Bank Arena. Shavon Shields said when he and his teammates went out to lunch or to the movies during the offseason, well-wishers were quick to slap them on the back and urge them to keep the wins coming.


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Spartans still a threat after losing Harris, Payne (Yahoo Sports)

Michigan State coach Tom Izzo talks about the upcoming season during his team's NCAA college basketball media day, Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

Tom Izzo is still lamenting an opportunity that slipped away last season. ”Not many times I felt like we had a chance to do something special – last year I did,” the Michigan State coach said. ”I really believed it was a year to not only get back to a Final Four but I thought a legitimate chance to win a national championship.” After an injury-plagued regular season, the Spartans entered the NCAA tournament as one of the trendy picks to make a deep run, but they were eliminated in the Elite Eight by eventual champion Connecticut. Michigan State must replace Gary Harris, Adreian Payne and Keith Appling from that team.


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After injury, Brown makes strides for Wisconsin

After injury, Brown makes strides for Wisconsin; Kaminsky scores 23 points in scrimmage

      
 

 

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