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LaVar Ball, Los Angeles Lakers have meeting over his criticisms of Luke Walton

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ front office recently had a meeting with LaVar Ball, the outspoken father of rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, asking him to tone down some of his public criticisms of head coach Luke Walton and help create a more positive atmosphere around his son, sources told ESPN. The meeting, which took place within the past few weeks, was called by Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson and general manager Rob Pelinka. LaVar Ball confirmed the meeting took place, telling ESPN, “It was the best thing, man….

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Man pleads not guilty to killing former NBA player Lorenzen Wright

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A man charged with killing former NBA player Lorenzen Wright more than seven years ago in Tennessee has pleaded not guilty. Attorney John Keith Perry entered the plea during an arraignment hearing Tuesday for 46-year-old Billy Turner in Memphis. Turner was indicted Dec. 5 on a first-degree murder charge. His bail is set at $1 million. Wright’s body was found in a swampy field in suburban Memphis on July 28, 2010, 10 days after the 34-year-old was reported missing. He was shot multiple times. Wright’s death has…

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NBA — Warriors beat Trail Blazers in 2017 quarterfinals rematch

1:34 Without Steph Curry or Draymond Green, Kevin Durant drops 28 points and Jordan Bell puts on a show to propel the Warriors to a 111-104 win over the Trail Blazers. OAKLAND, Calif. — The Golden State Warriors were without three of their starters, and yet the Portland Trail Blazers were still no match for the reigning NBA champs. On Monday night at Oracle Arena, the Warriors snatched their seventh straight victory by winning 111-104. “I’m always satisfied with any win, but particularly without three starters,” said Warriors head coach…

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San Antonio Spurs say Kawhi Leonard probable to make season debut Tuesday

SAN ANTONIO — The Spurs listed forward Kawhi Leonard as probable for Tuesday’s road matchup at Dallas, which means it’s likely that the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will make his season debut against the Mavericks. The club originally targeted Saturday’s game at Phoenix as a potential debut for Leonard, but sources on Friday said the forward wanted “a couple more days” to recover from the right quadriceps tendinopathy that has kept him out of all 27 of the Spurs’ games thus far this season. Leonard addressed his…

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NBA — McDermott leads Knicks bench in win against Hawks

1:12 Kristaps Porzingis records 30 points and eight rebounds in the Knicks’ 111-107 win over the Hawks. NEW YORK — Not much about the New York Knicks‘ win over the Atlanta Hawks on Sunday was pretty, but New York head coach Jeff Hornacek pushed enough of the right buttons to help New York get back to .500 — and avoid another embarrassing loss. Hornacek played seldom-used shooting guard Ron Baker to bother Kent Bazemore and Marco Bellineli. He went to a small lineup early in the fourth quarter to counter…

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Kevin Pelton – Is LeBron James breaking the aging curve?

During his 15th NBA season, Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James is performing at a level that echoes the prime that saw him win four MVPs. As James nears his 33rd birthday later this month, his performance at that age stands up to any of his predecessors, including Michael Jordan‘s 1995-96 season that produced an MVP, a then-record 72 wins and a championship. (Because James entered the NBA directly out of high school, NBA experience isn’t the best way to compare how he’s aging to his peers. After all, Jordan’s 15th…

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Kevin Pelton’s weekly mailbag, including the all-defensive team of the last quarter century

This week’s mailbag features your questions on the best Achilles recoveries, superstar ejections, and more. You can tweet your questions using the hashtag #peltonmailbag or email them to peltonmailbag@gmail.com. “If you were to pick five players to make your all-time defensive team, who would it be?” — Midilan I’m not going to do an all-time defensive team because it’s difficult, if not impossible, for me to evaluate players before at least the mid-1970s. Before that, there were no meaningful individual defensive statistics, and obviously I never saw those players play….

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NBA — Bulls win back-to-back games upon Mirotic return

1:19 Kristaps Porzingis scores 23 points and knots the game in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, but he can’t get the game-winner to fall as the Bulls take the 104-102 win. CHICAGO — After taking a well-publicized shot from Bobby Portis, Nikola Mirotic called his own shot in his return to the Bulls’ lineup. Mirotic, who missed almost two months because of facial fractures and a concussion suffered in a practice scuffle with Portis, scored 19 points in a 104-102 win over the New York Knicks on Saturday…

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Robert Covington of Philadelphia 76ers crashes into stands

Philadelphia 76ers forward Robert Covington was helped off the court by two teammates after he crashed into the stands alongside the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ bench with 1:08 remaining in the fourth quarter Saturday night. Covington was diving to save a loose ball. He walked on his own down the tunnel to the locker room. Covington did not speak after the 105-98 loss at Cleveland, as he was having his lower back attended to in the trainer’s room. Sixers coach Brett Brown did not provide an update on Covington’s injury. Asked if…

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Washington Wizards confused by ending of loss to LA Clippers

The conclusion of a one-point loss to the LA Clippers on Saturday left the Washington Wizards scratching their heads over what star guard Bradley Beal called a “freak rule.” The Clippers won the game at Staples Center 113-112 thanks to Lou Williams‘ 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds remaining, but the aftermath of the reserve guard’s clutch shot was filled with drama. After the Wizards used a timeout to set up a potential go-ahead score, backup point guard Tomas Satoransky inbounded the ball to Beal on the left baseline. Beal converted the…

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