Bittersweet: Cavs Lost But LeBron Becomes the Youngest to Reach 30,000 Points

The Spurs make the King bleed for his points as Cleveland drops 4 of their last 5 games

There’s no stopping LeBron James now. He has been ripping through numerous history books and some jerseys too. Some even claim that he is the greatest player of all time to play the game of basketball, possibly greater than the likes of Kobe Bryant and yes, even His Airness, Michael Jordan.
While stopping Lebron James seems an impossible task to accomplish even among elite defenders in the NBA, stopping, beating and adding to the miseries of the still losing Cleveland Cavaliers seems a lot easier these days.
On a night when LeBron James became the youngest NBA player to reach 30,000 career points, the San Antonio Spurs finally broke out of their own slump as the Spurs beat the Cavs,114-102.
What were the differences?

LaMarcus Aldridge’s 30 points

With Kawhi Leonard, Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol all out and are resting their injured bodies, the Spurs turned to LaMarcus Aldridge this time around. And Aldridge delivered as he led all scorers with 30 points on 12 for 18 field goal shooting. He added 8 rebounds, 2 steals and a blocked shot for another complete big man. Most of his points came from mid-range jumpers off perfect pick-and-roll plays. Now that’s efficiency, folks.

Clamped Down Defense

As mentioned, stopping LeBron James is virtually a nightmare but it doesn’t mean that you can’t slow him down. Sure, he had 28 points, 9 rebounds and 7 assists, an MVP-kind of a stat line but the Spurs played suffocating defense on the King which worked to perfection because the King shot 10 for 23 from the field including a horrible 2 for 6 performance from downtown. Also, the King turned the ball over 5 times. 

Conclusion

If you have seen Tyronn Lue’s clueless face during the game, that’s exactly how clueless the Cavs were. While there’s no denying that Cleveland is now in a crisis, they will have to fix whatever issues they have because LeBron James can’t save them every single game even if he goes supernova. 
On the other hand, it seems that the Spurs are slowly learning to play and win without Kawhi Leonard and without Tony Parker as their starting point guard and for San Antonio, that’s definitely a good sign because they continue to trust one another. After all, the Spurs might be the dark horse who can take down the empire of the Golden State Warriors. 

TP9 Loses Starting Spot, Kawhi is Growing "Unhappy": What’s Next for the Spurs?

Kawhi Leonard San Antonio Spurs

It appears that San Antonio will have their hands full in the next few months

Ever since Tim Duncan came into the NBA back in 1997, the San Antonio Spurs have yet to miss the playoffs. They have won 5 championships along the way and it could have been 6 if not to Ray Allen’s clutch three-pointer back in the 2013 NBA Finals. Even with Tim Duncan probably rocking his chair elsewhere, enjoying his retirement, the Spurs have managed to keep themselves competitive despite injury problems that have hit Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, and Kawhi Leonard.
Right now, the Spurs have a 30-18 record and are in 4th place in the Western Conference. They have dropped 6 of their last 10 games and are on a 2-game losing slide. What’s worse is that they are set to face the Cleveland Cavaliers next.
And things are not looking good for the Spurs. Earlier this week, Tony Parker has been demoted from his starting position as Gregg Popovich has promoted Dejounte Murray as the team’s new starting point guard. While this move has been anticipated by many considering the mere fact that Tony Parker has been dealing with injuries over the course of the past few seasons, Parker has openly embraced this decision by his team, even saying that this move was already expected.
While the Spurs can still enjoy Tony Parker’s presence on the floor, things have been strangely different with the Kawhi Leonard situation. To begin with, Leonard has only played sparingly this season as he just recovered from the injury which kept him out during last season’s playoffs. Now? Kawhi Leonard is rumored to be possibly missing the rest of the regular season but that’s not the bad part.
According to sources, Kawhi Leonard has grown “unhappy” and apparently, his relationship with the Spurs has been strained as of late. While the former Finals MVP’s camp and the Spurs front office have denied this story, various elements on the ways of treating and rehabilitating Leonard’s injury have a chilling impact on the star- the sources claimed.
If it’s true that Kawhi Leonard has grown “unhappy” with the Spurs despite the Spurs being known as a good team due to their ways of managing their players and, with aging stars slowly losing their minutes to younger teammates, this could only mean one thing: the Spurs are already preparing for life after Gregg Popovich.

What’s next for the Spurs?

Losing Kawhi Leonard for the rest of the season could force San Antonio could make the necessary moves to ensure that their playoff streak will continue. While there’s a lot of potentials for Dejounte Murray to develop into a star point guard in the near future, it will take a long time before that could materialize which means that the Spurs will have to rely on someone else aside from LaMarcus Aldridge. 
While it’s impossible for now to see the Spurs trade Kawhi Leonard, we all have to face the reality that Kawhi Leonard is no longer the same player he used to be during the past few seasons. He may have been one of the best two-way players but getting injured and growing unhappy? It’s a big problem. 
For the Spurs to avoid losing Kawhi Leonard for nothing, they must make the decision: trade him for their future superstar. 

Conclusion

Kawhi Leonard has only appeared in 9 games this season including in two of their last 10 games. Tony Parker has returned to being a role player off the bench. Only the Spurs themselves can really tell us what their next move will be. But if they want to ensure that they can stay competitive come playoff time, sacrifices must be made. 

Popovich: LaMarcus Aldridge Asked to be Traded before the Season

LaMarcus Aldridge San Antonio Spurs

But Pop and  LMA came to an understanding. Eventually.
Gregg Popovich has been connected with some of the greatest legends to ever play the game. Greats like David Robinson, Tim Duncan and now, Kawhi Leonard has seen their respective games improve on a tremendous rate ever since they came over to the San Antonio Spurs and play under the guidance of one of the greatest coaches in the NBA.
Nowadays, with both David Robinson and Grandpa Tim Duncan both long retired and Kawhi Leonard who only recently returned is dealing with another injury, the attention shifts to LaMarcus Aldridge. To give credit to this man, LMA has been leading the Spurs this season, averaging 22 points, 8 rebounds and 1 blocks while playing 41 games- starting all 41 games. This has helped the Spurs who despite playing most of the current season without Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, holds the 3rd best record in the Western Conference at 28-15. And frankly, LMA deserves the praises that he is getting nowadays.
However, did you know that LaMarcus Aldridge was almost traded prior to the season?
Almost.
According to none other than Gregg Popovich himself, he revealed that LMA asked to be traded during the summer prior to this season. The usually-too serious Popovich even joked that if an LMA trade can get the Spurs a Kevin Durant, he would even help Aldridge pack his bags, drive him to the airport and will even make sure that LMA is well seated in the plane. Fortunately, the two eventually agreed to figure things out and LMA wasn’t traded, for now.
To Gregg Popovich, the moment Aldridge requested for a trade was for him, the main catalyst for the two gentlemen to come to a better understanding which eventually helped LMA have a resurgent season. Mind you, folks. his numbers this season are way better compared to his first two seasons with San Antonio when he averaged 18 and 17 points per game respectively.

Conclusion

Imagine if LaMarcus Aldridge was traded before the start of the season, the Spurs would have been in a much worst situation because it would have meant that the Spurs would only have Manu Ginobili and Pau Gasol to start the season. Fortunately, LMA stuck around and the Spurs are gunning for another deep run come the playoffs.  Despite his struggles, LaMarcus is still among the league’s elite power forwards. 

Partial Tear on Shoulder to Keep Kawhi Out

Kawhi Leonard missed the first 27 games of the regular season as he was still recovering from the injury that he sustained during last season’s playoffs. Then he came back, fortunately. In his 8 games that he played this season, he averaged 15 points and 4 rebounds while showing signs that he is slowly regaining his old dominant self.
Unfortunately, he is about to miss more games this season.
That is according to Coach Gregg Popovich who confirmed that Kawhi Leonard has sustained a partial tear in his left shoulder-  an injury Leonard was said to have sustained during the game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Phoenix Suns- a game that was won by the Spurs, 103-89. 
Despite playing most of the season without one of the best 2-way players in the NBA, not to mention Tony Parker who recently returned from an injury as well, the Spurs now stand at 27-13, the third-best in the Western Conference and 5th best in the NBA. They have won 7 of their last 10 games and will start a road trip which begins with a game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

What Leonard’s latest injury means for the Spurs?

For starters, Kawhi Leonard missing more games during the regular season means he gets to rest and when the playoffs come along, he’ll be in a fresher condition to lead the Spurs anew.
But missing Leonard could also mean that the Spurs can continue playing AND winning even without their superstar thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge who is averaging 22 points, 8 rebound, and a block this season. This will also mean more minutes for emerging young gun, Kyle Anderson who is leading the Spurs in steals, averaging 1.2 steals per game. 

Conclusion

There’s no denying the fact that Kawhi Leonard has yet to play like the Finals MVP he was once a few years back but people can’t count him out just yet. Like Tony Parker, Kawhi Leonard can definitely return better whether it’s in the latter part of the regular season or during the playoffs.
For now, the Spurs will have to play without #2. After all, they’ve beaten teams without him, right?

By the Numbers: Defense, Kyrie Irving, Rebounds Help Boston Beat San Antonio

The Celtics handed the Spurs their 3rd straight loss

LaMarcus Aldridge only made 5 of his 13 attempts against the Celtics
First, they lost to the Orlando Magic who dominated the game from beginning to end. Next, came along another stunning defeat at the hands of the Indiana Pacers. Now? The San Antonio Spurs just lost their 3rd straight game, this time losing to Kyrie Irving and the Boston Celtics on a 108-94 victory by the Celtics. So how did the Celtics do it against the Spurs?  Below are the numbers:

Defense Shut Down San Antonio

To win a basketball game, you have to score more points than your opponents while trying to limit their offensive output. 
Both things were achieved by the Celtics against the free-falling Spurs. Boston, as a team, shot 47% in the field but struggled from long distance as they only made 35% of their shots from outside. 
Defensively, the Celtics successfully shut down the Spurs’ stars as LaMarcus Aldridge scored 11 points but had to take 13 shots and only made 5 of them. Pau Gasol went 4 of 10 from the field for 11 points on his own while Dejounte Murray had 10 points on 5 of 11 shooting. Rudy Gay added 14 markers on 5 of 12 shooting. 
The Spurs  did manage to finish the game on a 41% field goal shooting but we all know that Gregg Poppovich was visibly upset with how the offense of the Spurs faltered especially in the 3rd quarter when the Celtics outscored the Spurs, 26-18. Now that’s how you defend, folks. 

Kyrie Irving’s 24  Points

With the Spurs struggling on offense and equally struggling on defense, Kyrie Irving took advantage and poured in 24 points as he led his new team to another victory against another elite team in the West which improved Boston to 5-2 in the season. Irving was efficient on offense, making 10 of his 16 shot attempts in 30 minutes of action. He also had 6 assists and 3 steals plus a rare block.

54 Rebounds

If you allow a team to grab 54 rebounds against you, don’t expect to win. Especially in the NBA. 
Out of those 54 rebounds that the Celtics grabbed against the Spurs, 15 came from the offensive end. In addition to this, the Celtics had two 2 players finished the game with double-digit rebounding numbers:
  • Jayson Tatum- 11 rebounds
  • Al Horford- 13 rebounds
On the other side, the Spurs, a team who is averaging 49 rebounds per game- 4th in the league, only managed 40 rebounds- 12 from the offensive end. No wonder why the Spurs lost.

Conclusion

It’s still early to tell whether the Boston Celtics have improved since the blockbuster swap between Kyrie Irving and Isaiah Thomas during the off-season. And while it’s rare for the San Antonio Spurs to drop 3 consecutive games, everyone is asking, “What has suddenly hit the Spurs?” Is the absence of Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard finally catching up on the Spurs? 
But one thing is certain: Kyrie Irving is in a better position than his former team, right?  

By the Numbers: LaMarcus + Murray + Defense= 4-0 Start

People are underestimating San Antonio. Again. And they shouldn’t

LaMarcus Aldridge has all the reasons to smile as the Spurs are to another 4-0 start to open a new season. 
People are talking about the Golden State Warriors dominating the season. People are talking about the new Big 3 in Oklahoma. People are talking about LeBron James’ impending departure from Cleveland.

Again. But not everybody is talking about the one team who could have defeated the Warriors during last season’s playoffs if not to the injuries that bugged two of their superstars. Which team is that? Folks, it’s the San Antonio Spurs, the team currently atop the standings in the Western Conference. 

After dismantling the Miami Heat 117-100, the San Antonio Spurs already have 4 wins in 4 games which is why they one of the two remaining teams in the league, both from the West, who have yet to lose a game this season. And mind you, folks, Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard have yet to play a single second this season which proves Gregg Poppovich’s ability to coach and win with a team that is filled with young guys blending with the veterans. Chemistry, isn’t it?
If you’re wondering what enabled the Spurs to start the 2017-2018 season, spotless, despite not having their franchise player who is struggling to climb the stairs just to board the plane, around, this basketball pundit on wheels listed down the three things that equalize to the Spurs’ dashing start:

LaMarcus Aldridge: 28 Points and 8 Rebounds

Over the past few years since coming over to San Antonio, LaMarcus Aldridge has received all sorts of criticisms mainly due to his inconsistency on both ends of the court. While many thought that Aldridge would be traded before the start of the season, many were surprised when it was announced that Spurs and Aldridge signed an extension, extending LA’s stay in Texas for 3 more years, for 27 million Dollars. Many were surprised with this development considering for a player who only averaged 17 points per game during the previous season Well, we all have our different perspective and in the eyes of those who working at the Spurs’ front office, they still believe that LA will be a valuable asset to the team especially in the long run. 
And it turns out that the investment is worth it as Aldridge has been producing big numbers for San Antonio to cover the absence of Kawhi Leonard. In 4 games which he started and won, Aldridge has averaged 27 points and 8 rebounds per game- leading San Antonio in both categories. If Aldridge can keep up this level of consistency, Leonard can rest longer until he’s ready to dominate again.

Dejounte Murray: Stability at the Point

We all know that Tony Parker will be hard to replace once he retires, soon. And with TP9 still missing in action due to the injury he sustained during last season’s playoffs, someone has to perform well while starting at the point guard position. Fortunately, the Spurs have someone on their roster for that position. That someone is none other than the 21-year old, Dejounte Murray.
Murray has started in 4 games for the Spurs, so far and even though his numbers (10 points and 4 assists per game) aren’t as high as the other guards in the league, one thing Murray has provided for Gregg Poppovich is the stability at the point guard position and for someone who is only in his second season in the NBA, Dejounte Murray has proven that he is the future of the Spurs, especially once TP9 walks out, for good. Mind you, he had 16 points, 14 REBOUNDS and 6 assists in the Spurs’ victory against the Toronto Raptors. We can expect more performances like this from Murray throughout the season and beyond.

Defense: Playing the Poppovich Style

Gregg Poppovich’s name has been associated with DEFENSE. His dedication to playing D more than anything else is what makes him one of the greatest coaches in the NBA. And this season is no different at all, at least in 4 games to open the season. While the Spurs are not really an offensive-minded team as evident by their 103 points per game- 18th in the league, San Antonio has been an impressive job in limiting the opponents’ total points to 93 points on the average- 2nd best in the league. 
San Antonio may be in 25th place in steals per game, norming 6 steals per night but they are at number 2 in blocks per game, blocking 7.3 shots per night, just behind Golden State’s 7.8. 

Conclusion

It’s still early to say whether or not the Spurs will dominate anew. But one thing is certain: they are already filled firepower without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard. Just imagine if both stars are back in uniform, healthy and playing. 

The Spurs: Still a Threat to GSW

We could see another Spurs-Warriors match-up come the West Finals

Experience plus discipline will help the Spurs this season and beyond
Sure, the Houston Rockets got Chris Paul and will now share the backcourt alongside James Harden. 
The Oklahoma City Thunder received Paul George and will now play alongside reigning MVP, Russell Westbrook. 
Rajon Rondo will now become the New Orleans Pelicans’ top playmaker who will lead the team alongside ever improving Anthony Davis. 
It seems that the rest of the West have been picking up pieces to hopefully challenge the mighty Golden State Warriors. But we’re probably forgetting one team: the San Antonio Spurs. 
Sure, the Warriors swept Kawhi Leonard and company during last season’s Western Conference Finals although many basketball pundits including the one who is writing this article, firmly believed that the outcome of the series would have been different had Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard were healthy and playing during that series. Like it or not, Coach Gregg Popovich and his wards are still the team who can, at the very least, challenge the Warriors of Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry.
Now, you’re probably scratching your heads and asking yourselves: ‘How can the Spurs beat the Warriors?” 
Let’s run some numbers. 
While the Spurs were averaging 105.3 points per game during the 2016-2017 season, 16th in the league, the Spurs have always been known as a defensive-minded team and last season’s numbers have proven that. In terms of limiting the opponents’ total points in a game, the Spurs only limited their opponents to 98.1 points on the average, the second best in the league in that category. 
Since the Spurs have big men like LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, guys like Danny Green, Manu Ginobili who can block shots, San Antonio, as a team, averaged 5.9 rejections- a spot behind league-leading Warriors in that category. And, don’t forget about the mere fact that Kawhi Leonard, the best two-way player in the league right now, has fully recovered from the injury he sustained during the playoffs.
While there’s doubt that the Warriors are loaded with such firepower as we saw during their impressive postseason run, the Spurs, on the other hand, remain as one of the teams in the league that have the discipline and the respect to the game, to challenge the players of Steve Kerr come the upcoming regular season and eventually, in the playoffs, should they will be pitted against each other. 
For starters, Rudy Gay has signed a 2-year deal with the Spurs and that’s a good addition to a team which has aging stars in Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili probably playing their last years in the league. Throughout his career, Gay has been averaging 18 points per game to go along with 5.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Gay will be providing additional firepower that the Spurs will need especially in crucial moments of the game.
The regular season will not come until October which means the Spurs will still have more time to prepare themselves because aside from their goal to hopefully dethrone the Warriors, they will also have to worry about the rest of the West because the other teams in the West have loaded themselves with additional firepower. However, chemistry will play a big role in the success of every team and when we’re talking chemistry, the chemistry that has been established by the Spurs players themselves has proven to be among the best in the league and whenever there’s a good chemistry among players, it helps them perform better on and off the court.

Highlights: Aldridge, Spurs Now Lead the Series With 5 Players Scoring Double

LaMarcus Aldridge lead the Game 3 victory with 26 point contribution, Harden’s 43 not enough to catch up.
Pau Gasol, Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green, Patty Mills, David Lee and Dejounte Murray contributed to the first and second quarter points doing lay-ups, power shots, three pointers and free throws. They continued doing the all the points throughout the third and fourth quarter together with LaMarcus Aldridge.
James Harden tried to do all the shooting for Houston Rockets garnering a total of 43 points, 5 assits and 2 rebounds. But other than Harden, only Trevor Ariza and Clint Capela were able to score double digits by the end of the game. 

Final score 103-92, Game 4 on Monday May 8.
See the game highlights below.

(courtesy: youtube/Rapid Highlights)

U.S.A Basketball Team Withdrawals

USA Basketball Team Withdrawal

Here are the list of the NBA Players who withdraws from USA Basketball Team for upcoming 2016 Rio Olympics:

Point Guard: 
Stephen Curry – Need to rest due to Ankle and Knee Injury
Chris Paul – Need to rest for next NBA Season due to his broken hands last 2016 playoff
John Wall – Underwent procedures on both knees
Russell Westbrook – First player to pull out without giving a reason

Shooting Guard:
James Harden – Did not specify a reason for withdrawing

Power Forward:
Anthony Davis – Knee and Shoulder Injury
Blake Griffin – Quad Injury
Lamarcus Aldridge – Finger and Hand Injury

Cavs big three help team win over Spurs 117-103

Lebron James scored 29 points to help Cleveland Cavaliers got its first win this season over an elite team by beating the San Antonio Spurs 117-103. Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving added 21 apiece on scoring for Cavs.

This is also the second straight game the Cavs big three scored 20 or more in a game. On their last game versus Detriot Pistons, Love scored 29 while Irving and James scored 28 and 20 respectively.

The Cavs won their fourth straight under new coach Tyronn Lue, who was promoted after David Blatt was fired Jan. 22.

Kawhi Leonard scored 24, and LaMarcus Aldridge 15 for the Spurs. Forward Tim Duncan did not play due to knee injury.

This game could be a potential NBA Finals preview if both teams will go on and win each of their conferences. Cleveland improved to 19-3 at home which is the best in the Eastern Conference.

Lamarcus Aldridge ! Where to ? Possible Destinations and why?




For those who doesnt know yet. 

Aldridge’s house is up for sale. 

https://twitter.com/TheAmySchwartz/status/606252697218457601



One month before free agency begins…and LaMarcus Aldridge’s Portland home is for sale. Take it for what it’s worth. #Blazers 


so it might be inevitable, here are some situations where he might end up . 

Spurs 


Well yes they have a way to sign Aldridge and this would mean that Duncan can actually have his last run next season and Aldridge would be happy playing along with Leonard, Together they can be the core of this team moving forward. Shout out to Grantland for this one. #Jalen Rose 


Rockets 


Yes this would mean that he would be a second fiddle to harden . I don’t really factor as being the man if you can win the championship . Aldridge to Houston – the league would go like “Houston we have a problem”



Dallas 


Dirk has already made it open that he would take a pay cut for them to have another run.
Aldridge was born and raised in Texas, so this should be a no brainer. 



Dark horse for West

Aldrige played University of Texas in Austin. He will be 30 though and he certainly want to win now. 


As for the teams in the East lets throw out a couple of team’s that could work for Aldridge.

The best team for him in the easy would be the Bucks.

Yes he is going to be the man there… and he would have a roster like the one they have @ portland right now. it maybe a stretch but its worth a shot. 

Carter Williams – Lillard
Mayo/Middleton – Matthews (he might be gone though)
Parker  – Batum
Aldridge
Henson 

plus they have the 17th pick 


Pacers

Hill 
George
Aldridge
Hibbert
West Scola 

and 11th pick.

Outside looking in a dark hourse would be Wizards. 

I know that blazer fans would like to keep Aldridge but i don’t see any positive signs that he would stay.


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