4-point play: How Duke beat Stanford

Duke jumped out to an early lead and held it comfortably throughout Saturday’s game.

      
 

 

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4-point play: How Kentucky rolled over Kansas

USA TODAY Sports breaks down the second Champions Classic showdown.

      
 

 

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Cavaliers Injury Update: LeBron James misses shootaround with illness, expected to play Monday

Despite missing this morning’s shootaround with a cold, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is expected to play Monday night during Cleveland’s meeting with Denver.Keith Allison via Wikimedia CommonsThere will likely be an official update by the club later today, however at this point it seems very likely that James will be ready for tonight’s contest. The 6’8″ small forward has not missed a game this year, and has not missed a game due to injury since March 19th of last season. Even though James began the season on the wrong foot via an eight turnover season debut in a loss to the Knicks, he has since recovered. James has scored at least 30 points in five of the seven games since the opening day debacle, and is now leading the league in scoring.The Akron product turns 30 in December, however doesn’t appear to be slowing down. He is taking an average of 20 field goal attempts per game and is playing 39 minutes a night, the latter the highest number since his last Cleveland stint in 2009-10. These numbers a

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Jeremy Lin Can’t Find the Words to Explain Lakers’ Terrible Play

If Jeremy Lin can’t summon the words, there’s not much to say.

There’s no explaining the Los Angeles Lakers‘ game plan, which boils down to spray ‘n’ pray with Kobe Bryant and aggressive ball-watching on defense.

Lin looked on as Bryant chucked up 34 shots in a 136-115 blowout loss to the Golden State Warriors at the Staples Center. The Lakers guard tried to parse out the loss to reporters after the game, but even he didn’t possess the poetry of language to properly explain the drubbing.

Lakers beat writer Shahan Ahmed (h/t BroBible’s Kyle Koster) uploaded a Vine of Lin’s attempt at encapsulating Los Angeles’ impressive awfulness. He just couldn’t do it.

“I don’t…it’s…you know,” Lin said. “Uh…I don’t know, man.”

Lin may still be there right now, double-clutching pronouns in an empty locker room.

He can’t say, “We’re terrible at defense, Kobe doesn’t trust us, and our offensive strategy is inefficiency personified.”

Lin can’t say that. It’s not in him.

Bryant, of course, had plenty to say about the Warriors jamming 74 points down his team’s throat in the first half.

“They came out and knocked down shots and put us in a hole pretty quick,” Bryant said, per The Associated Press (h/t ESPN). “… I’d rather get guys involved early. That’s always the intent. But when you go down 10-12 points in the hole, man, I’ve got to try to keep us in the ballgame at some point.”

Bryant finished the game with 44 points. Lin finished with zero points, two rebounds and another affirmation that this year is going to be the longest year of his career.

 

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Donovan: Finney-Smith cleared to play vs Miami (Yahoo Sports)

Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith (10) goes for two points with William & Mary guard Greg Malinowski (5) unable to stop the move during the first half of NCAA College basketball in Gainesville, FL, Friday, Nov., 14, 2014. Florida defeated William & Mary 68-45.m (AP Photo/Phil Sandlin)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Florida forward Dorian Finney-Smith has been cleared to play Monday against Miami despite hairline fractures in two fingers on his non-shooting hand.


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Kentucky Basketball: Will Trey Lyles’ Wing Play Fill in Wildcats’ Last Weakness?

Two games (or four if you’re willing to include exhibitions) is way too small a sample to make any great sweeping determinations about the relative worth of college basketball players. Of course, that never stops us from trying.

Kentucky’s absurd preponderance of talent invites constant scrutiny, as a machine blessed with so many high-performance parts can tantalize with the promise of ever-higher efficiency. Through two regular-season wins over Grand Canyon and Buffalo, that efficiency has waxed and waned for UK, but one player who’s delivered the mail so far has been freshman forward Trey Lyles.

On a team that lacks the prototypical slashing small forward, Lyles has played well on the second-string “white” platoon, backing up starter Alex Poythress as the nominal 3. Kentucky doesn’t have much in the way of weaknesses. If Lyles continues to offer the superior perimeter threat to Poythress that shores up the team’s most glaring personnel deficiency.

Through the Cats’ first two regular-season outings, Lyles has produced 26 points and eight rebounds, making 10 of his 15 shots from the floor. Four of his five misses have been on three-pointers, but he’s still made a pair of long jumpers for 33.3 percent accuracy. In the two exhibitions, Lyles’ production was very similar—11-of-20 shooting for 25 points and 12 rebounds.

By comparison, Poythress has produced 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks while shooting only 42.9 percent (6-of-14) from the floor, 0-of-3 from three-point range. Both men have struggled with turnovers, with Poythress committing five to Lyles’ four.

According to KenPom.com (subscription required), Lyles has posted a sterling 132.8 offensive rating through two games. Poythress is scuffling along at 92.9.

Held out of the Wildcats’ summer games in the Bahamas as he recovered from a leg injury, Lyles was considered “behind” his teammates by countless analysts, including this one. If his performance to date is indicative of a man trailing on the learning curve, heaven help the opponents in wait when Lyles catches up.

Of course, everyone admits that he has some catching up to do. After the Cats’ exhibition opener against Pikeville, coach John Calipari said to CatsPause.com, “He ran up and down, got tired and when he went to jump, he just stepped in a hole. He didn’t jump very high.”

“The guys had a lot of conditioning during the summer and I didn’t partake in that,” Lyles said to the same site. “But now I’m going out there 100 percent and it’s getting better. Hopefully, I’ll be in top shape by the first game.”

Kentucky’s two-platoon system allows players to go all out while they’re on the court, knowing that they’re bound for no more than 25 minutes or so. Lyles has logged 37 minutes through the two wins, the same number he played in the exhibitions. Poythress has played 44.

That workload mitigates the conditioning concerns for now, but everyone still wants to play well in the early going. Opponents like the Antelopes and Bulls are auditions for heavy minutes in later encounters with elite competition like North Carolina, Louisville and Florida, games where the platoon system won’t be so strictly observed.

Poythress’ spot in the starting platoon may be in some jeopardy down the line, and there will be some games in which both men will be counterproductive in their roles.

ESPN analyst Seth Greenberg told the Lexington Herald-Leader‘s Jerry Tipton that against pressuring teams like Kansas, Louisville and Arkansas, “(Calipari’s) going to have to go with three perimeter players. You know, ‘real’ perimeter players. Not playing Lyles or Poythress at ’3.’”

When Kentucky trailed Buffalo by five points at halftime on Sunday, the platoon system was being widely eulogized across social media. In the first 50 seconds of the second stanza, Lyles resuscitated the system and jolted the Rupp Arena crowd to life with a three, steal and dunk to erase the Bulls’ lead. Doses of energy like that will make Lyles a crowd favorite and perhaps a coach’s favorite too.

Junior veteran Poythress has been through the ups and downs of the game, going from a first-round NIT flop as a freshman to the national title game as a sophomore. He knows what he needs to work on. The difficult part for him will be beating out an inexperienced player who still appears more comfortable in the role into which both have been thrust.

Whether Lyles ever cracks the starting five or not, he’s adding a perimeter game to the UK frontcourt that was allegedly missing before the season began. Whether he’s firing threes or attacking the rim, the freshman has overwhelmed competition he should be playing well against.

Now, the major test looms on Tuesday when the Wildcats travel to Indianapolis to battle Kansas. It could be Trey Lyles’ national coming-out party.

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/11/10/3531740/despite-its-amountof-talent-history.html#storylink=cpy

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Nick Young Will Play Major Role Upon Return to Los Angeles Lakers

With their embryonic season in a tailspin, the Los Angeles Lakers need Nick Young back on the floor in a major way.

The effervescent “Swaggy P” has been out of commission since tearing a thumb ligament during training camp. Meanwhile, his small forward compatriots—Wesley Johnson and Xavier Henry—are offering only token production with the Lakers stumbling out to 1-7 start and an apparent date with oblivion.

The Purple and Gold are getting nothing out of the small forward position—it’s time for some high-scoring swag!

A ray of light may be appearing at the end of the Lakers’ current dark tunnel. The 29-year-old swingman wasn’t expected to return from surgery until early December. As it turns out, Young could be back as early as Nov. 18 for the start of a three-game road trip, according to Bill Oram of the Orange County Register:

It’s not that the Lakers have no other offensive weapons—Kobe Bryant is currently the league’s leading scorer at 27.5 points per game.

Meanwhile, his teammates are doing a splendid job of watching how a 36-year-old makes that happen.

Young won’t be among the wallflowers once he returns—he embraces the spotlight and pure love of scoring to an irrational extreme. He’ll chuck it up from anywhere at any time, and last season, he feasted on a steady green light from Mike D’Antoni and wound up as the team’s leading scorer despite coming off the bench.

That accomplishment earned Young a new four-year deal worth $21.5 million—it was a nice bump up from the league-minimum salary he earned last year. It also provided an opportunity for the former pride of Reseda’s Cleveland High, and USC, to further his career in his native Los Angeles alongside a superstar whom he idolized growing up, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

The original plan for the new season was for Young to reprise his sixth-man role—albeit with some latitude for how he and Bryant might dovetail. As Lakers coach Byron Scott said to Mike Trudell of Lakers.com this summer: “(Young) will play together with Kobe as well, but I do love his energy and firepower being able to score the ball off the bench.”

The duo didn’t get the chance to do much damage together last time around. And in a strange twist of irony, the injury from training camp was a result of Young trying to steal the ball from Bryant.

Joked the face of the franchise in an NBA TV interview, via SB Nation’s Mike Prada: “He’s got to move his feet on defense. That’s the lesson to be learned. You reach, you’re going to get hurt.”

Turning serious, Bryant elaborated on possible silver linings:

He’s got to learn how to get better. As he’s sitting out here, he and I will do a lot of talking and a lot of film work. He has to improve on the mental aspects of the game, so that when he comes back, he feels that he’s more knowledgeable than he was when he left. So he has to use it as an opportunity to get better.

Whether the free-spirted gunner has indeed embraced his time off as a learning experience is yet to be determined. But what is painfully obvious is that the Lakers need more than Young’s proclivity for putting the ball in the bucket.

That something else lies at the other end of the court, as the team continues to trot out the worst defense in the league.

Young has never been known as a particularly adroit stopper. Still, when Scott spoke with Trudell, he recalled a revelation from his job as an on-air analyst last season: “He changed his whole persona, what people thought of him. I’d never seen him play defense before.”

You can’t blame the notoriously old-school Scott for wanting and hoping to see defensive responsibility in all his players, per the Los Angeles Times‘ Mark Medina:

Regardless of anybody’s priorities and expectations, Young will bring the pure joy of playing basketball when he returns to the court. He has the unshakable belief system of the pure basketball scorer—that every shot he takes will go in and if it doesn’t, there’s another one begging to be launched. And if his defensive acumen is sometimes questionable, he’ll still reach in and give it a try—injured digits notwithstanding.

At some point soon, Lakers games will receive a needed jolt of energy, enthusiasm and a player who can create his own shot.

Nick Young is about to play a major role for his hometown team.

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LeBron: Health risks mean sons won’t play football

Parental guidance: LeBron James won’t allow sons to play football because of health risks

      
 

 

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LeBron: Health risks mean sons won’t play football (Yahoo Sports)

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 10: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliersn defends to ball against the New Orleans Pelicans during the game on November 10, 2014 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by David Kyle/NBAE via Getty Images)

CLEVELAND (AP) — LeBron James isn’t ready to let his two sons strap on shoulder pads and a helmet just yet.


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LeBron James doesn’t let his sons play football for health reasons

LeBron James’ house is a football-free zone for his children.
The Cleveland Cavaliers superstar, who was also a standout all-state wide receiver as a sophomore and junior at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio, recently told ESPN’s Chris Broussard that he does not allow his two sons to play football.
“Only basketball, baseball and soccer are allowed in my house,” James told Broussard before Friday’s game against the Denver Nuggets.
According to Broussard, LeBron’s reasoning is based on the health risks associated with the sport.
But while LeBron’s kids won’t be tearing it up on the gridiron like he did back in the day, they’re keeping themselves plenty occupied with other sports. LeBron told Broussard that Bryce Maximus, 7, is into soccer, while 10-year-old LeBron Jr. is beginning to focus on basketball.
Photo via  Ken Blaze/USA TODAY Sports Images
Filed under: Cleveland Cavaliers, NBA, NFL, Top Stories

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