Statistical Test: LeBron’s Lakers, By The Numbers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are a motley assemblage of who-dats and castoffs, somewhere between a Rucker Park team and a G-League roster, with one of the worst No. 2 overall draft picks ever to lace up the sneakers in an NBA arena and with a Shaqtin’ MVP quite possibly set to be the starting center. But just how bad are the Lakers, really? Well, let’s imagine a world where LeBron James is replaced by a mid-tier starting small forward. Not a G-League replacement, not a guy who couldn’t crack the roster on the 2016 76ers or anything, …

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LeBron on the Lakers—What on Kyrie’s flat Earth is he thinking?!

LeBron James is a Laker. 4 years, $154 million, take-the-money-and-run Los Angeles Tinseltown Lakers. And his supporting cast? Well, he’s just traded the Canton Charge for the South Bay Lakers, with Lonzo Ball, Lance Stephenson, JaVale McGee, and whatever other curios and relics a 35-win team in 2017-18 can drag off the bottom of the ocean off Long Beach and suit up in a Lakers uniform. Paul George re-upped with the Thunder. The Spurs would rather surrender the Alamo than trade Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles unless it’s to the Clippers. And the Rockets are one Trevor Ariza short of …

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The Indiana Pacers Need To Pay Julius Randle

It has been a bit of a running theme here at Pace and Space that Julius Randle is too good for that rotten Lakers franchise he’s been toiling for, usually when he does something Breakfast Special-worthy in the course of a game. But with Randle clearly not in the Lakers’ long-term plans as they look to dump salary and create room for the alleged superteam involving Paul George, LeBron James, and Kawhi Leonard, admittedly a superteam that has about as much chance of happening as I have of winning the Powerball and re-enacting Charlie Sheen’s midlife crisis in my own …

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November 7, 1991: Remembering the Day Magic Johnson Made HIV Real

Earvin “Magic” Johnson did not invent HIV awareness. If Gaetan Dugas and Rock Hudson and the Ronald Reagan administration’s blatant failures and Ryan White and Freddie Mercury and MTV hadn’t made you HIV/AIDS-aware by November 7, 1991, when Magic announced to the world that he had contracted the virus, you either had your head in a hole or you possessed extraordinary powers of “that only happens to other people.” Ed. note: This article originally appeared on November 7, 2016. What made Magic Johnson special wasn’t that some celebrity got HIV. What made Magic Johnson special was that he was a …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Who Is Made of Glass

Lonzo Ball is injured again, this time sustaining a left knee contusion in the Lakers’ 103-93 win over the Mavericks at home. Ball was his usual can’t-shoot-a-lick self in his 24 minutes, scoring eight points while shooting 3-of-7 from the field, 1-of-3 from three, and 1-of-2 from the line…then again, all those percentages (42.9/33.3/50) were actually improvements on his horrid season totals. Ball says he’s not likely to miss much time, but with the Lakers’ playoff hopes deader than disco at 33-41 (they were officially mathematically eliminated when they lost to the Pistons Monday night), they might as well just …

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Breakfast Special: A Worthy, Deserving 3 Seed in the Eastern Conference

Say hello to your new second-round opponent for the Boston Celtics in the playoffs. It’s the same foe the Celtics lost to on Sunday: The Indiana Pacers. Behind 27 points on 10-of-20 shooting from Victor Oladipo and 19 points on 8-of-13 to go with 10 rebounds for Myles Turner, the Pacers, who nearly watched Bojan Bogdanovic choke away the game by reaching for a loose ball that, had he simply let it go out of bounds, would’ve secured an Indiana victory, nonetheless triumphed 99-97 to split the season series at two games apiece. Kyrie Irving missed the second half with …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball Does More With Less

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once said of Magic Johnson that Magic could take three shots and still impact the game. Considering Lonzo Ball led the Lakers at plus-24 despite shooting the ball only five times (making three), all while scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds, dishing seven assists, and yanking six steals, maybe Kareem’s remarks should be updated to the Lakers’ scoring-deficient young rookie. The scoring portion of the program was brought to you by Isaiah Thomas (29 points off the bench) and Julius Randle (25, on 8-of-13 and a stellar 9-of-9 from the line) as the Lakers pummeled the Heat in …

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Breakfast Special: Lonzo Ball, Ace Sixth Man

Ladies and gentlemen, Lonzo Ball—yes, THAT Lonzo Ball—had a perfect shooting night. OK, so he did it off the bench and only attempted four shots and two free throws, but 4-4 FG/3-3 3PT/2-2 FT is still 13 points. Plus, the Lakers beat the tanking Hawks 123-104 in Atlanta, sending Hawks fans into paroxysms of joy as they entrench their position at “We’re Number 30! We’re Number 30!” Since Dallas beat the Pacers (we’ll get to that in the Lightning Round, as it is unworthy of feature consideration), today was a good day for #TrueToAtlanta. The Lakers ran ten guys out …

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Breakfast Special: Let All-Star Weekend Begin!

The time has at last come for that glorious celebration of basketball we call the All-Star break, where the Rising Stars go at it on Friday, the highest flyers and most spectacular practitioners of the good old-fashioned posterization go at it in the Dunk Contest on Saturday, and then the league tests the practical limits of the scoreboard as defense goes out the window for the actual All-Star Game on Sunday. But first, we’ve got some odds and ends to wrap up, namely games that managed to have playoff implications in both conferences, as three of the four participants in …

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Julius Randle: Is He Any Good?

Sometimes you learn more in a trade by who a team keeps rather than who they ship out, and the Lakers’ decision to keep Julius Randle at the deadline speaks volumes about what they think of him compared to, say, Jordan Clarkson and Larry Nance Jr., who got shipped to Cleveland in the Isaiah Thomas trade to placate LeBron James. Randle is the incumbent power forward on a team that has Brandon Ingram coming to his own at the 3 and Kyle Kuzma evolving as a sixth man behind Randle at power forward. It is that latter competitor for minutes …

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