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Blogtable: Your thoughts on Kobe’s talk about Lakers?

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Kobe Bryant said the Lakers will be champions “before you know it.” Is he right about this and, if so, when do you think the Lakers will get title No. 17?

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Steve Aschburner:  If the Lakers hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June 2020, I will not be surprised. That’s an awfully fast track, just 23 months after landing LeBron James, but James has ridden in this rodeo before. He has no time to lose, either, as far as maximizing his superpowers against the inevitability of Father Time. We all expect an extensive renovation of the L.A. roster this offseason, just as Golden State comes a bit back to the pack and Houston continues to slide sideways. There are some pesky foes to consider in Toronto, Boston and Philadelphia, but let’s get LeBron back to The Finals and see what happens.

Shaun Powell:  The Lakers will raise another banner if Kevin Durant packs up and drives down the Pacific Coast Highway next summer. Absent of that, Kobe might be thinking wishfully. The Warriors with KD means everyone else, including LeBron James, is playing for second place for the next 2-3 seasons. And LeBron, who turns 34 this month, is on the clock.

John Schuhmann:  “Before you know it” is a little too vague to determine if it’s right or wrong. I guess it’s correct if he’s talking to people who watch The Finals on TV with a five-second delay. We can be 95 percent sure that the Lakers aren’t winning a championship this season. Beyond that, who knows? It will depend a lot on what Kevin Durant chooses to do next summer. If he leaves Golden State (even it’s not to join the Lakers), the championship picture opens up quite a bit.

Sekou Smith:  I’m not sure what Kobe means by “before you know it.” He left himself some very convenient wiggle room with that phrase. If the Lakers hit it big in free agency in the summer, he’ll be a lot closer to right than he is at this moment. The Lakers are a long way from being ready to dethrone the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors. So it might be wise to pump the brakes a bit on all of this championship talk involving the Lakers. That said, it’s been a while since the Lakers had this kind of hope to hang on to. LeBron James has a way of making that happen, wherever he goes. But there’s no need to go ordering banner 17 until we see how free agency plays out.

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About Last Night: Legendary Lakers

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Triple-doubles are rare enough. Even rarer is the air in which two teammates accomplish the feat on the same night.

That’s what happened in Charlotte on Saturday, where LeBron James (24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists) and Lonzo Ball (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists) each logged a triple-double in L.A.’s 128-100 rout over the Hornets.

The Laker duo becomes just the eighth set of teammates in NBA history to earn triple-doubles in the same game. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter were the most recent teammates to accomplish the feat, having done so on April 7, 2007. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson did it for the Lakers in 1982.

The complete list – 

Lakers vs. Hornets, Dec. 2018: LeBron James (24 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists), Lonzo Ball (16 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists). 

Nets vs. Wizards, April 2007: Vince Carter (46 points, 16 rebounds, 10 assists), Jason Kidd (10 points, 16 rebounds, 18 assists).

Clippers vs. Bulls, Jan. 1989: Michael Jordan (41 points, 10 rebounds, 11 assists), Scottie Pippen (15 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists))

Celtics vs. 76ers, March 1987: Larry Bird 17 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists), Robert Parrish (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

Lakers vs. Pistons, Dec. 1982: Magic Johnson (26 points, 16 rebounds, 12 assists), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 19 points, 10 rebounds, 10 blocks).

SuperSonics vs. Rockets, March 1969: Lenny Wilkens (36 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists), Art Harris (14 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists).

Pistons vs. Knicks. March 1964: Ray Scott (23 points, 20 rebounds, 11 assists), Donnie Butcher (19 points, 15 rebounds, 15 assists).

Royals vs. Warriors, Jan. 1962: Oscar Robertson (28 points, 14 rebounds, 16 assists), Bucky Buckhorn (19 points, 10 rebounds, 12 assists)

 

Harden heating up

 

James Harden posted yet another triple-double on Saturday.

Speaking of triple-doubles, James Harden had himself one in Houston’s 105-97 win over Memphis. The reigning Kia MVP finished with 32 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists, marking the seventh time in his career he had logged triple-doubles in back-to-back games.

Houston’s all-time record when Harden rings up all those double figures: 31-7.

 

Rising Suns

Devin Booker is back and maybe, just maybe, better times are ahead for the woebegone Phoenix Suns. The fourth-year guard led Phoenix to a 107-99 win over Minnesota, amassing 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

The victory gave Phoenix its first consecutive wins of the season — and their first such streak since Dec. 29, 2017.

Oh yeah, and it looks like they’ll be trading Trevor Ariza after all.

 

Get yourself a friend like…

Kyle Kuzma, who made sure LeBron didn’t resume play without addressing a flaw in his otherwise flawless beard.

 

Bulls Finnish strong

No Zach LaVine. Down 21 on the road. Normally those two factors would have made a Bulls loss a foregone conclusion.

Not this time. Lauri Markkanen spearheaded Chicago’s second-half comeback in which he and Kris Dunn (29 second-half points combined) nearly outscored the entire Spurs team (31) after halftime. In the end, it was the Bulls who wound up as unlikely victors at the Alamo.

Markkanen finished with 23 points, his second 20-point performance in nine days — with the Bulls winning both of those games.

 

A cappella only, please

Sorry, Lance, but no air guitars allowed while celebrating.

 

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Grizzlies GM Wallace dubs failed trade ‘unfathomable’

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Chris Wallace has been in the NBA since 1986. He’s seen and done a lot as a front office executive.

On Saturday, the Grizzlies’ general manager told reporters he hadn’t seen anything quite like the three-team trade between Memphis, Phoenix and Washington that ultimately fell through.

“What happened last night was unfathomable. I’ve never experienced this before,” Wallace told reporters.

The Grizzlies, Suns and Wizards had a deal in place that would have sent swingman Trevor Ariza to Washington, Kelly Oubre to Memphis and Austin Rivers to Phoenix. When reports differed as to whether the Suns were acquiring Dillon or MarShon Brooks from Memphis, however, the deal fell apart. Phoenix insisted on Dillon Brooks, while Memphis maintained it had intended to deal MarShon Brooks all along.

Neither team was willing to yield on its stated preference, leaving Phoenix and Washington to agree on a two-team trade the following day. Both Brooks, meanwhile, remain with the Grizzlies.

“That forced me to do something I’ve never done in 30-plus years working in this league with seven teams, is to drag two players out of a locker room and tell them they’ve been traded and then eventually have to come back and tell them, ‘Oh, no, you haven’t been traded,'” Wallace said.

“We ask a lot of these guys and we try to communicate with them at all times,” Wallace added. “We do not want them to know about trades from another party; we want to be the ones that tell them. We were forced to come in at that time and say something. That put us in a very difficult situation.”

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James, Ball earn triple-doubles in same game

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The meshing of LeBron James with the young Lakers now includes a significant milestone.

James and second-year guard Lonzo Ball each finished with a triple-double during the Lakers’ 128-100 rout at Charlotte on Saturday. The four-time Kia MVP finished with 24 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists before sitting out the fourth quarter. Ball amassed 16 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists before exiting with 6:54 remaining.

The Laker duo becomes just the eighth set of teammates in NBA history to earn triple-doubles in the same game. Jason Kidd and Vince Carter are the most recent teammates to accomplish the feat, having done so on April 7, 2007. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson did it for the Lakers in 1982.

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