NBA

Gordon Hayward posts video of him doing shooting drills on road to recovery

Jay Asser 3/03/2018
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Gordon Hayward has played only a few minutes as a Boston Celtic.

Boston Celtics fans who are holding out hope that Gordon Hayward will return before the end of the season received a positive sign on Friday.

Hayward, who suffered a gruesome ankle injury just minutes into his Celtics debut in the season opener, posted a brief video on his social media channels that showed him doing some shooting drills.

The former All-Star also teased there will be “more to come” on the Players Tribune, which is where he posted his announcement that he would join the Celtics this past summer.

We’ve already gotten glimpses of Hayward shooting, but those were stationary shots. In the latest video, Hayward looks as mobile as he’s been since the injury and is even seen taking small jumps on his shot.

Celtics brass, from general manager Danny Ainge to coach Brad Stevens, have maintained they don’t expect Hayward to return from injury this season, but they’ve not ruled him out either.

“I’ve said all year, not coming back,” Stevens said last week before facing the New York Knicks. “It’s the way I’ve operated. It’s the way we’ve looked at it.”

On Thursday, Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Mannix furthered tempered hopes.

“I saw Hayward before the All-Star break. He’s walking fine, but his ankle was still swollen and still purpleish, which makes it impossible to believe he will be ready to play before mid-April,” Mannix wrote in his column.

Boston only have 19 games left in the season, so it’s not as if Hayward has ample time to be ready to play if he is to return.

But there still appears to be a chance, albeit small, that Boston could have one their stars back before the start of the playoffs.

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NBA

Lonzo Ball is finding his way to boost Los Angeles Lakers after return from injury

Jay Asser 2/03/2018
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Lonzo Ball is playing some of his best basketball this season.

This is more like the Lonzo Ball many expected to see this season.

Since returning from a knee injury that sidelined him 15 games, the Los Angeles Lakers rookie has been both efficient and an all-around difference-maker in his three appearances – all of which have been wins.

And in the Lakers’ 131-113 victory over the Miami Heat on Thursday, Ball was singled out by Lakers coach Luke Walton as being “the best player on the court” on a night Isaiah Thomas dropped 29 points and Julius Randle added 25.

Ball actually finished with the second-fewest points of any Laker, managing eight, but did so on only five shots while filling up the rest of his stat line with seven assists, six rebounds and six steals.

He became the first Lakers rookie to post a 4×6 game since Magic Johnson in 1979.

“He was great,” said Walton. “To me he was probably the best player on the court tonight, and I think he only shot five times, which is why we’ve been so high on him from day one.

“He’s one of the very unique players, it doesn’t matter if he’s taking shots, scoring 20 a game, or not, he can impact the game from all over. He was doing that for us tonight. All-around probably, in my opinion, the best player on the floor tonight.”

Before returning from injury, Ball was similarly stuffing the stat sheet with 7.1 assists and 7.1 rebounds per game, but shooting just 35.6 per cent overall and 30.3 per cent on 3-pointers.

In his past three games, however, Ball has shot 77.8 per cent from the field (10-of-17) and made 8-of-12 from distance (66.7 per cent).

It’s come in a limited sample size, but his recent uptick in shooting, especially from beyond the arc, has been encouraging, as has his decision-making and willingness to let the game come to him rather than forcing shots.

Even though Ball is likely never going to be a big-time scorer, his ability to impact the game in other ways means he has a high floor, as well as a potentially high ceiling if he can be the efficient shot-maker he has been of late.

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NBA

LeBron James has history for defying the laws of physics as he pulls off another ridiculous nutmeg

Jay Asser 2/03/2018
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LeBron James, human or android?

Ah, the nutmeg. While it’s one of the coolest moves to see pulled off in soccer, witnessing it happen in basketball is especially mind-bending.

And no one seems to pull it off more than LeBron James, who managed to shatter the space time continuum with a move in the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ 108-97 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday that can only be described as: wut.

Check out… whatever this is.

No, your eyes did not deceive you. That’s LeBron dribbling behind his back while nutmegging his own teammate, Tristan Thompson, to split the screen and score.

If you’re lost for words, join the club. What LeBron did shouldn’t be physically possible in that situation. Look at how little space he has to work with and the angle at which the ball travels through Thompson’s legs.

I know what you’re thinking. ‘That’s a total accident. LeBron got lucky. He didn’t plan that.’

You’re probably right. But remember this?

Or how about this?

Are you telling me all of these nutmegs are simply down to luck? As the saying goes, ‘fool me once…”

I’m onto you, LeBron. As if your Terminator-esque strength and durability weren’t enough of a giveaway, moments like these prove you’re a robot. Or an alien. Or a robot alien.

The point is you’re not human and every time you slip up with these type of highlight plays, you’re revealing just how much of an advanced lifeform you are.

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