NBA Rundown Week 11: LA Lakers’ reliance on LeBron James, Klay Thompson’s pep-talk for his hand and more
Here are the bits and bobs from another week in the NBA
Over 2,000 miles separate Los Angeles from Cleveland. Yet, one suspects both the Lakers and the Cavaliers are currently experiencing the same problem: a LeBron James-sized hole in the team roster.
With the superstar, who turned 34 on Sunday, missing games for the Lakers due to a groin injury, the glamourous franchise has seen its form plummeting.
While James has engineered many a last-second victory for his teams, often with clutch game-winners, it was the Lakers who tasted defeat to the Sacramento Kings, thanks to a buzzer-beater, on Friday. A day later, they lost to the Clippers by a 118-107 scoreline.
Meanwhile, LeBron was seen coming for the Clippers game with a…
— For The Win (@ForTheWin) December 29, 2018
Klay’s pep-talk for his hand
Speaking of slumps, Klay Thompson finally ended his slump with a devastating 32-point game against the Portland Trail Blazers in a 115-105 victory on Sunday.
Having scored his fourth 3-pointer of the game in the fourth quarter, Thompson looked at his right hand and spoke at it.
After knocking down 1 of his 4 3PTS on his way to a team-high 32 PTS, Klay Thompson looked at his hand and said, "I missed you."
Before this game, he missed 38 of his last 48 3PT attempts!
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) December 30, 2018
On being asked what he had said, the Golden State Warriors star said, “Just, ‘I missed you. It’s good to see you again.’ It’s been a five-game absence or so where he hasn't been the same. So to finally see the ball go in at a high rate felt really good. (I hope to) Just keep being aggressive and hopefully get on a great roll from here.”
Just a few days ago, he was asked if he needed to talk to someone for help on his jump shot. He wasn’t too happy with that…
Klay Thompson: “What is somebody going to tell me about my jump shot that I can’t fix? Unless it’s Reggie Miller or Ray Allen, I don’t know who I’m supposed to listen to. Larry Bird? Steve Kerr. I’ll listen to Steve. Steve shot 45 percent.” pic.twitter.com/GCfSmymz96
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 27, 2018
Some of the Warriors struggles this season have been a result of Thompson’s slump coupled with the tension in the team due to friction between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant apart from Steph Curry missing a few games due to an injury.
Now that all those pieces are finally starting to fall into place, the remaining 29 teams need to be wary.
Blake Griffin gets help from technology
When Blake Griffin realised he was making no headway with the referee after being slapped with a foul in the clash against Indiana Pacers, he took help from technology to dispute the call.
Unfortunately, for Griffin, even with help from technology, referee JT Orr was unconvinced.
.@blakegriffin23 really tried using an iPad to argue a call with the ref last night 😂
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) December 29, 2018
James Harden erupts. Again!
For the third consecutive game, Houston Rockets’ James Harden scored over 40 points. Sunday’s hapless opponents were the New Orleans Pelicans, tasting a fate also experienced by Boston Celtics and Oklahoma City Thunder this week.
More crucially, Harden’s hot streak — he’s averaging 39 points over his past 11 outings — spurred the Rockets to fifth in the Western Conference.
— NBA (@NBA) December 30, 2018
What sort of a week has it been in the NBA, you ask? Allow Kawhi Leonard to tell you.
Kings have lost seven of their last eight games to fall to 12th in the Western Conference, prompting general manager Monte McNair to sack Walton after the team's loss to the Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Lakers star James was ejected for only the second time in his career after wildly lashing out at Isaiah Stewart during Sunday’s victory over the Detroit Pistons.
James also had a pair of fans ejected from the Pacers game in overtime, after they heckled him from their courtside seats.