Connect with us

Basketball

Stephen A. Smith says LeBron James is responsible for Slam Dunk demise

Published

on


Just a year ago, the press was talking about how Mac McClung saved the Slam Dunk Contest, which for years has become a rather boring segment of the All-Star Weekend. This past weekend, the media is already making drastic statements again, assuring that the competition is back to being a disgraceful part of the show. 

This year, the contest proved again that it lacks star power, despite the participation of Jaylen Brown who ranked second. However, Stephen A. Smith believes that there is only one athlete responsible for the Slam Dunk’s demise, and it is LeBron James.

According to the ESPN analyst, the Lakers superstar’s refusal to participate in previous events during his prime has contributed to many other great players rejecting the opportunity. “LeBron James is directly responsible for ruining the slam dunk contest… The slam dunk contest, from 1985 to 1997, five of the 13 contests were won by future Hall of Famers…,” he assured.

“Every high-jumper, skywalker, and above-the-rim talent, salivated for the opportunity to participate in the dunk contest. It stopped when LeBron said I’m not doing it… There is no one who knows basketball that would refute what I am saying. LeBron James refusing to participate was the beginning and the spark plug of its demise. Period! There is no one who can dispute that,” Smith added.

There’s no doubt that the four-time champion has been one of the NBA’s best dunkers in the past two decades, and fans have implored him to take the Dunk Contest stage. LeBron once committed to the contest but then refused to participate, which has only increased the frustration.

According to the insider, the entire All-Star Weekend should be cancelled altogether, as the competition’s quality has dropped drastically in recent years. Stephen took the mic on Monday’s episode of First Take to voice out his thoughts.

“What transpired last night was an absolute travesty,” Smith expressed. “Nearly 400 points were scored. No defense, no effort whatsoever. This is the ultimate indictment against NBA stars who show up on NBA All-Star weekend—you play harder in the summer when you’re training.”

LeBron has previously explained why he never participated in the Dunk Contest despite fans’ requests

The purple and gold star has addressed this issue many times in the past, as he’s been heavily criticized for not prioritizing a special All-Star tradition that many Hall of Famers participated throughout the contest’s history.

“I don’t think it was something I wanted to accomplish in my career; it’s not a goal of mine, and it never was coming into the NBA to be a part of the Dunk Contest, you know? Making the NBA All-Star Team was, being the league MVP, winning Defensive Player of the Year, and winning NBA Championships…? Those were some goals of mine. The NBA Dunk Contest was never a goal of mine so, it wasn’t something that I had too much passion for,” he shared years ago.

Vince Carter, one of the greatest dunkers of all time, once gave insight on how the NBA would look for ways to incentivize the league’s stars to participate in the competition. The league reportedly even offered $1 million to athletes to compete.

“I know for a fact, some years back, the NBA tried this tactic as far as upping the ante a little bit, a million dollars. They threw around some names, I remember it was LeBron, Kobe, T-Mac—my name was thrown in there of course, and it was a few other people for $1 million. But you obviously couldn’t get the commitment of everyone to do it,” shared the Raptors icon.





Source link

Basketball

Knicks Must Win Final 2 Games to Help Clinch No. 2 Spot in East

Published

on

By


The New York Knicks (48-32) pulled within a game of the Milwaukee Bucks (49-31) for second, with each team having two games remaining. New York hosts the Brooklyn Nets (32-48) on Friday and the Chicago Bulls (38-42) on Sunday.

The Knicks must win both and the Bucks have to lose their final games at the Oklahoma City Thunder (55-25) and Orlando Magic (46-34). This is because Milwaukee has the head-to-head tiebreaker.

According to a few NBA betting sites, the Knicks hold 12th-shortest odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Bucks and Miami Heat (44-36).

New York’s quest for the No. 2 spot in the Eastern Conference is ongoing after winning 118-109 against the Boston Celtics (62-18) on Thursday night. Jalen Brunson scored 39 points in three quarters.

“We made shots and made the right plays,” Brunson said. “Obviously, we know they’re the top dog in the East. Whenever you play against them, it’s always a good measuring stick to see where you’re at. We played pretty well, but we know what they’re capable of doing. We just had their number tonight.”

Cleveland Cavaliers trail New York Knicks by a game in the Eastern Conference standings

The No. 4 Cleveland Cavaliers (47-33) also sit one game behind New York in the standings. Cleveland hosts the Indiana Pacers (46-34) on Friday and Charlotte Hornets (20-60) on Sunday.

Milwaukee could still lose its final two regular-season games. Last week, the Bucks became the fourth NBA team to lose three straight games against an opponent with 50 or more losses.

Milwaukee joined the 1990-91 Wizards, 2017-18 Magic, and 2021-22 Trail Blazers. The Bucks also became the first team to lose three consecutive games as double-digit favorites.

Through 80 games, the Knicks are 25-14 at home, 23-18 away, and 33-17 against Eastern Conference opponents. Although New York has won three straight, the team is only 6-4 in its last 10 games.

The Knicks rank 19th in scoring this season, averaging 112.7 points per game. However, New York is second in opponent points per game, allowing just 108.1 points.

Of course, the Knicks have suffered five first-round playoff series losses in the 21st century. In the 2023 NBA Playoffs, New York advanced to the conference semifinals for the first time since 2013.

NBA sportsbooks show the Knicks as 10.5-point favorites against Brooklyn on Friday night. Per ESPN’s Basketball Power Index, New York holds a 71.3% chance of defeating the Nets.

Brooklyn has a 13-35 record against teams over .500.





Source link

Continue Reading

Basketball

Draymond Green is convinced Lakers have no chance vs. Warriors in Play-in

Published

on

By


Even though it is still uncertain who will play against each other in the Western Conference Play-in Tournament, as No. 6 through No. 10 seeds are still close by, it does seem most probable that the Lakers will face off against the Warriors. However, the biggest doubt is who will have home-court advantage during this potential clash. 

With three games remaining, there is one thing Draymond Green knows for sure, and that is the he well knows how to beat the purple and gold. On his most recent podcast show, he explained why he’s convinced that their rivals stand no chance against them if they meet in the Play-in, just as they beat them 134 to 120 this past Tuesday.

“We’ve beaten the Lakers the last couple of times,” he said on Wednesday’s episode of The Draymond Green Show. “The Lakers are always a tough matchup, having [Anthony Davis] on the court always makes a difference. I am very confident if we played them in a play-in situation that we could win — that we will win.”

This doesn’t mean the power forward thinks it will be easy. “In saying that, anytime you’re playing against AD and Bron in a one-game situation, it’s tough. They’re always more than capable of putting a great night together, and it’s more likely in a one-game situation that they’re going to put a great night together than a bad night. So it’s always tough.

“Nonetheless, that is where we are and I have total confidence that we can take advantage of some things that they do and win the game if that is the case,” he insisted.

While the Los Angeles club are currently sitting in the ninth spot with a 45-35 mark, their Bay Area rivals are 44-35 as the No. 10 seed. If things remain the same by this Sunday evening, both teams will face each other in a do-or-die scenario.

Coach Steve Kerr believes they can do a lot of damage in the postseason. “And the guys are really connected,” he said last week. “They’re really playing together, supporting each other. It has been a really fun season coaching the group because they’ve all been so great. We’re desperately trying to get into the playoffs because I think we could do some damage if we get there.”

Lakers big man Anthony Davis is “very confident” his team will make it to the playoffs this season

Despite the West enduring one of the most contested regular seasons in years, team star Anthony Davis is convinced that the purple and gold are destined for playoffs this year. “We’re very confident in our ballclub,” he said this past weekend after putting up 22 points, 13 rebounds, 6 blocks and 3 steals against the Cavs.

“We laugh about, like, ‘Oh, winning nine out of 10,’ and we haven’t went anywhere [in the standings]. So, it’s how good the West is. But we’re confident, very confident in our ballclub and any time we step on the floor,” he revealed about the general feel in their locker room.

Despite losing to Golden State on Tuesday, the center says the purple and gold are enjoying their basketball and should be able to overcome the Golden State menace.

“I think the biggest difference is just that we’re just having fun,” the big man said about his team’s recent success. “We’re holding each other accountable. If somebody messes up we’re yelling, screaming at him. But nobody is taking it personal. Because we all know what we’re here for, to try to win. So we’re having fun, we’re having a great time out there playing basketball, and we’re staying together.”





Source link

Continue Reading

Basketball

Kyrie Irving’s Streak of 31 Consecutive Games Played Ends Tonight

Published

on

By


Dallas Mavericks guard Kyrie Irving’s streak of 31 consecutive games played will end tonight against the Detroit Pistons due to left hamstring soreness. The eight-time All-Star played in a career-high 42 straight games with the Cleveland Cavaliers from Jan. 2, 2016, through March 24, 2016.

The Mavericks are also 16-2 over an 18-game span for the first time since their championship season in 2011. Dallas has the league’s No. 1 defense during this run with Irving and Luka Doncic on the court, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Mavericks hold sixth-best odds to win the championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, and Oklahoma City Thunder.

Kyrie Irving, 32, will earn a $1 million bonus since the Mavs’ earned their 50th win. Dallas is 39-19 with Irving in the lineup, including 24-7 during his streak of 31 consecutive games played. 

Through 58 games (all starts), Irving has averaged 25.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists, 1.3 steals, and 35 minutes per game while shooting 49.7% from the field, 41.1% from 3-point range, and 90.5% at the free throw line.

In Dallas’ 147-136 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday, the 13-year veteran recorded a season-high 48 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a steal in 44 minutes of action.

Dallas Mavericks’ Kyrie Irving entered the top 100 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 17,199 points

With the Mavericks’ 111-92 win against the Miami Heat on Wednesday, Dallas secured a playoff berth for the 25th time in the franchise’s 44-year history. The Mavs also secured their fifth division title in team history (1987, 2007, 2010, 2021, 2024).

Dallas has now made the playoffs 19 times in the last 24 years. The Boston Celtics (20) and San Antonio Spurs (19) are the only teams with as many postseason appearances in that span (since 2000-01), per Mavs PR. This is the sixth consecutive season that Dallas has finished with at least 30 wins as well.

Moreover, Kyrie Irving with 17,199 career points passed Chris Bosh (17,189) for 100th place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, with his 25-point effort at Miami. He is one of 20 players in NBA history with at least 17,000 points and 1,700 3-pointers.

Additionally, the Mavs are scheduled to play the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. However, it has yet to be determined which team will host as the No. 4 seed.The 2024 NBA Playoffs begin Saturday, April 20.





Source link

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Trending