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Lakers’ Rui Hachimura out at least a week after nasal fracture

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Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura underwent a procedure Friday to repair a nasal fracture, the team announced. Hachimura, 25, did not accompany the Lakers on their four-game trip, which starts in Cleveland tonight and continues through Philadelphia (Monday), Detroit (Wednesday), and Oklahoma City (Thursday).

The 6-foot-8 wing will be re-evaluated by team doctors in about a week, the Lakers said. Hachimura’s injury occurred late in the first quarter of Wednesday’s 104-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Of course, he posted nine points, three rebounds, and one assist in 26 minutes off the bench.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers hold seventh-shortest odds to win this season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers.

Hachimura also suffered a concussion against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 29 that led to him missing four games. Since his return, he has averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in his last eight games going into Wednesday’s loss to Dallas.

Through 12 appearances this season, Hachimura is averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 23.3 minutes per game. The Gonzaga product is shooting a career-best 50.5% from the floor, along with 42.9% from 3-point range and 78.6% at the foul line.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Rui Hachimura (nasal fracture) out at least a week, Gabe Vincent (knee) out indefinitely

In Los Angeles’ 128-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Nov. 8, the five-year veteran recorded season highs of 24 points and eight boards in 26 minutes as a reserve. Hachimura shot 10-of-14 (71.4%) form the field and drained two 3-pointers as well.

The 2023-24 Lakers have had quite the injury-riddled season. Starting forward Cam Reddish missed the Dallas matchup because of soreness in his left groin. Plus, forward Jarred Vanderbilt (heel bursitis) has yet to make his season debut, and guard Gabe Vincent (left knee swelling) has missed the last three weeks.

Additionally, Los Angeles continues to show LeBron James as probable on the injury report due to a left calf contusion, and Anthony Davis is listed as probable because of discomfort in his left hip.

“We just have to weather the storm,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham told Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell when asked how he plans to work around the injuries.

“We haven’t been whole yet, but I think the guys that have been out there and able to compete for us, they’ve done a phenomenal job,” Ham added.

“We’ve had some tough losses, some tough wins, some lopsided losses, some lopsided wins. So, it’s all a part of trying to figure out your group. We’ll continue watching film, doing our walkthroughs.

“Whenever we get a chance to practice, we’ll touch on different things and try to refortify ourselves. But again, the general things, ingredients you need to be successful, I see in our group: the selflessness, the togetherness, the competitive spirit. That’s all you can ask for at this point in the season. We’re laying a great foundation.”

The Lakers signed Hachimura to a three-year, $51 million contract extension in the offseason after they acquired him from the Washington Wizards in January.





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Jay Bilas Wants Fans Arrested for Storming the Court

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After a couple of recent high-profile court-storming incidents in college basketball, involving Duke’s Kyle Filipowski and Caitlin Clark, ESPN analyst Jay Bilas has suggested the arrest of fans who participate in storming the court after upset wins. This controversial stance comes amid growing concerns over player safety, as the ACC currently does not impose fines for court-storming.

“Arrest the Fans” Says ESPN’s Jay Bilas

In the style of an old man yelling at a cloud, Jay Bilas has had his say on college basketball’s court-storming ‘problem.’ ESPN’s leading college basketball analyst wants any fans who are storming the court, to be kept on court before they are detained and arrested.

A player safety consideration amid the ACC’s lack of fines for court-storming is being raised with the practice that has been controversial coming under a recent microscope. Filipowski was caught up in it after Wake Forest’s victory over Duke in a scene that quickly turned dangerous. A scary situation involving Caitlin Clark also occurred in a court-storming earlier this year.

Those scenarios have led Bilas, one of the leading voices of college basketball, to have a drastic measure in mind.

“If they wanted to stop it, they could stop it tomorrow,” Bilas said. “You don’t have to stop the court storming. One time, all you have to do is once they’re on the court, don’t let them off. Just say, ‘You’re all detained’ and give them all citations or arrest them if you want to. And then court-stormings will stop the next day.”

Alternatives to Stop Fans Storming the Court

Some alternatives that could be looked at to stop the trend of storming the court are listed below. These could prove more successful than the threat of arrest.

Let’s take a look at some viable alternatives:

  • Barrier Systems: Installing temporary or permanent barrier systems around the court to physically prevent fans from entering the playing area.
  • Pre-Game Announcements: Making announcements before and during the game, reminding fans of the rules and consequences related to court-storming.
  • Post-Game Protocol: Establishing a clear post-game protocol for players and officials to quickly and safely exit the court in case of any fan intrusion.
  • Delayed Celebration Policy: Implementing a policy that allows fans to celebrate on the court after a certain time has elapsed, under controlled conditions, to reduce the impulsiveness of storming immediately after the game.

While some of these may take away the spontaneity of the traditional court-storm, they would serve to protect the players, which is after all, what this fuss is about.





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Nikola Jokic posts third-straight triple-double to demolish Warriors

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Nikola Jokic is back to being the scary monster we’ve known in the past three campaigns, as he’s already recorded 18 triple-doubles this current season and produced his third in a row this Sunday evening to beat Golden State. After losing three games before the All-Star Break, the Nuggets are now 3-0 since the restart and the Serbian is loving it.

The Denver star has been crucial on both sides of the floor, as he posted 32 points, 16 rebounds and 16 assists against the Warriors last night in a convincing 119-103 win.

“We had three losses before All-Star break now we have three wins. It’s how the game is, a game of runs. In season you have a good period, bad period, you want to have a longer good period than bad and a short bad period,” the big man said postgame. “I think we are just going in the right direction. That is the most important thing.”

The last time the defending champions clashed against the Bay Area team was back on January 4, when Jokic surprised all with a long range shot from beyond the arc and beat the Warriors by 3. This Sunday, he dropped 13 of 24 shots and reached his 122nd career triple-double. 

His coach Michael Malone believes that sweeping Golden State four times this season is definitely making a statement in the league and he’s thrilled with his team’s commitment ever since they returned from the All-Star Break.

“I felt for the first quarter and a half they were the aggressor, they had us on our heels and we were reacting to everything they did,” the tactician expressed. “For us to close out 14-0 and then to start the third 14-4, I think we kind of flipped the switch and we became the aggressor on both ends and stopped thinking and started playing with an attack mindset and an aggressive mindset, and I think that’s when we’re at our best.”

Denver’s Jamal Murray hit 27 points while Aaron Gordon contributed with 17 as their team defeated the San Francisco club for the seventh-consecutive time, and the 10th win in their last 11 outings.

Coach Steve Kerr believes his team simply wasn’t well “organized offensively” and lost rhythm throughout the match

The Warriors simply weren’t in tune last night, as Klay Thompson erupted with 23 points in the first half, while co-star Stephen Curry missed his first seven attempts from beyond the arc. Their coach Steve Kerr explained why the lost their pace throughout the contest as Golden State wasn’t well “organized offensively.”

“I thought we had two or three offensive possessions where we didn’t get organized and we got stagnant,” shared the Bay Area tactician. “And that hurt our flow. We were in a good rhythm until then and the pace slowed down. So we needed to get better organized offensively. And then they hit some tough shots.”

As for rival star Nikola Jokic, he admitted that his rivals had been playing great basketball lately, and that is why this victory means so much for the defending champions.

“To win here after how good they’re playing lately, it’s a good win for us,” the Serbian acknowledged.





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Lakers are convinced that the officials aren’t calling fouls equally

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This Sunday evening, the Suns beat the Lakers by 10 points and the purple and gold were convinced that this was due to the free throw disparity called by the officials. While Phoenix had 19 opportunities from the foul line, their rivals only had 8, which was a season low for the Los Angeles club. 

After their 123-113 loss, LeBron James laughed every time he was asked about the disparity and denied giving a straight answer. This was The King’s fewest free throw attempts in any game for the club ever since he arrived in 2018.

His coach, on the other hand, was ready to speak his mind. “I’m not one to use referees as an excuse,” Darvin Ham said postgame. “But it’s becoming increasingly tough because of the inconsistency. I’m seeing our guys get the same contact on them as we’re supposedly committing. And the whistle is not being blown.”

However, if you check the stats, you can’t really say the team has suffered inconsistency this season. The Lakers entered the match averaging 24.7 free throws per contest, the sixth most in the NBA.

“That’s something we focus on, trying to win the free throw line every game,” Ham insisted. “And so that’s tough. I’m telling my guys to drive downhill; we’re trying to love and live in the paint. And you’re not getting calls. I see guys with their hands in our guys’ ribs or swinging, swiping at their heads, trying to block the shot but not getting the ball, but getting a piece of the body. And it’s not being called, as simple as that.

“So, we have to figure out ways to not let that be a problem, but it’s tough. Again, it’s frustrating when there’s so much inconsistency.”

Part of the reasons why the purple and gold team felt abandoned by the referees, was due to the fact that they received no free throw calls during the entire second half. this marked the first time one of LeBron’s squads doesn’t receive a single foul shot in any half in almost a decade.

James took the opportunity to remind detractors that the Lakers aren’t benefited by the NBA officials

The Los Angeles club has always been criticized for being helped by the referees, and after Sunday’s defeat against Phoenix, James was fed up with that narrative.

“A lot of people, a lot of coaches, a lot of teams are like, ‘That’s all the Lakers do is get to the free throw line,’” the veteran expressed. “It’s like this narrative out there that that’s all we do is get to the free throw line. I mean, we have attackers. That’s what we do. We have attackers. Yeah, we shoot the ball from the perimeter, but we’re not shooting 40 to 50 3s a game. We’re not that team. We don’t have the luxury of being that team. So, working it into the paint, that’s what we’re really good at.

“To have eight free throw attempts is definitely not us. I know, definitely, I got hit a couple times when I got to the paint tonight that wasn’t called. But it is what it is.”

The 39-year-old is used to getting around 5.4 free throws per game, but last night he only hit 1 out of 4 attempts. Co-Star Anthony Davis had zero attempts for the first time all season, despite averaging 6.9 free throws per game.

“We live on getting to the line. We attack the basket,” the Lakers big man said. “Especially how much we struggle from the 3, we’re kind of up and down, so we try to live in the paint and get to the line. I’m not sure if it was just the refs missing it or they weren’t fouling. I felt I got fouled a couple of times. But that’s part of our identity, our DNA, is getting to the line and guys catching rhythms like that and then playing from there.”





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