And at this stage in James' career, with three championships, eight consecutive NBA Finals appearances to his name and an equally burgeoning business and political profile off the court, James is a transcendent star.,Johnson said the Lakers didn't want to make the team like the Cleveland Cavaliers all over again for James.,James was just starting to find his footing with this new cast in Los Angeles.,Since his return from injury, the Lakers have a defensive rating of 109.6 when James is on the floor in four wins; the Lakers have a defensive rating of 113.1 when James is on the floor in the eight losses.,Most of the roster wasn't going to be back next year anyway, given the team's insistence on signing players to only one-year contracts to preserve salary-cap space for a second star this summer.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Latest on NBA All-Star Weekend (all times local): 10:55 p.m. Kyle Kuzma of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 35 points, Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics added 30 and the U.S. beat the World team 161-144 in the Rising Stars game for first- and second-year players at All-Star Weekend.,___ 9:05 p.m. Famous Los scored 22 points to win MVP honors, and the Home team held on to beat the Away team 82-80 in the All-Star Celebrity Game on Friday night.,At a Hall of Fame event Friday at All-Star weekend in Charlotte, North Carolina, Abdul-Jabbar said Kaepernick "had a statement that he had to make through his demonstrations, but he's a quarterback and I think he should be working.",The mother of Stephen and Seth Curry sank a one-handed, half-court shot — that she took underhanded — to help her three-person team beat teams led by her NBA sons and one by her daughter to win a family shootout at a newly refurbished at a community center in Charlotte, North Carolina.,Jones was a four-time NBA All-Star, a huge part of Philadelphia's 1983 NBA-title-winning team and the league's sixth man award winner that season.

On a team featuring LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, Lonzo Ball and a core of young rising stars, the former Kansas sharp-shooter has no problem being a role player during his rookie year in the NBA.,When Los Angeles took him in the second round of June’s NBA Draft, Mykhailiuk thought he was joining a team that was up-and-coming and could contend in the next few years.,Charlotte Hornets guard Devonte’ Graham (4) looks to pass against Los Angeles Lakers guard Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, right, and guard Lance Stephenson in the second half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Dec. 15, 2018.,Self wonders if Mykhailiuk’s minutes will drop when James, Rondo and Ball return from injury in the coming months, but it appears the rookie has a secured spot in Walton’s rotation.,The longtime KU coach has sent dozens of players to the NBA during his stint in Lawrence and said given player and personnel, Mykhailiuk has a lot to like about his young career so far.

With four-time MVP LeBron James still sidelined by a left groin strain, Kyle Kuzma scored 32 points to help the Lakers beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 138-128 in overtime.,Ball bounced back with five points, two rebounds and an assist in overtime.,Walton was impressed with his second-year point guard's overall effort, especially late in the game.,"For him to do that against Westbrook �� I'm sure a player he watched growing up as one of the great point guards in our league — not only to score those points, but a couple of big assists to Zu coming down the lane, a big-time rebound.,FADING DEFENSE

The Thunder, among the best defensive teams in the league during the first half of the season, have allowed an average of 130.2 points in their past six games. read more

Then we give up.Other Chargers storiesChargers Cover-Three defense looked more like Cover-NoneHelene Elliott columnizes off of the gameAntonio Gates wants to keep playingSaints winThe New Orleans Saints defeated the defending Super Bowl champ Philadelphia Eagles, 20-14, to advance to the NFC title game, where they will host the Rams next Sunday at noon on Fox.That means the conference championship will be a rematch of teams that met in Week 9, with the Saints beating the Rams, 45-35, also in New Orleans.I think that we match up really well, Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold said of the Saints.,The last time we played them, it came down to a game of just running out of time.At the end of the day, I think well have a better plan against them the second go-round, and youve got to be excited to be able to go back there and get another chance at those guys again.You can take a first look at the Rams-Saints matchup by clicking here.So, it will be Rams-Saints for the NFC title and Patriots-Chiefs for the AFC title.,So did the Cleveland Cavaliers.Things arent quite that bad, but the Lakers are 3-7 since LeBron James was injured and are tied with Utah for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot.Fans took to social media after the game to criticize coach Luke Walton.,Turns out it wasnt gold in their stockings, it was a lump of coal painted gold.Also check out:Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram take on expanded roles with LakersHigh school basketballOne thing that often gets overlooked in the discussion of the impending strike by the LAUSD teachers strike set to begin today is how the strike will impact high school sports.High school sports reporter and columnist Eric Sondheimer takes a look at that by using the upcoming Fairfax-Westchester game as an example.The strike will halt the sports seasons for thousands of City Section athletes, boys and girls.,Bartow seemed pretty unhappy with the team in the second half, becoming very animated in timeout huddles more than once.Kris Wilkes had 21 points and Prince Ali had 13 points for the Bruins, who lost their first Pac-12 game and are now 3-1 under Bartow.USC basketball (Kevin Porter Jr. suspended indefinitely)What seemed so promising turned out to be a disastrous time in Oregon for the USC mens basketball team.

Cedi Osman scored 20 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and the Cavaliers ended a 12-game losing streak with a 101-95 victory on Sunday night.,Tristan Thompson had 15 points and 14 rebounds, and Alec Burks had 17 points and 13 rebounds as the short-handed Cavaliers split the two-game season series by forcing the Lakers into a choppy game.,Kyle Kuzma had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost two straight and five of their past seven.,Burks and Osman hit 3-pointers to bookend the push, and Cleveland was able to sustain a 10-point margin going into the fourth by holding Los Angeles to 8-for-26 shooting.,SLOW START

The Lakers trailed 32-24 after the first quarter, the fifth time in the past six games they allowed at least 30 points in the opening period. read more

LOS ANGELES — Cedi Osman scored 20 points, Collin Sexton added 17 and the Cleveland Cavaliers ended a 12-game losing streak with a 101-95 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday night.,Kyle Kuzma had 29 points and nine rebounds for the Lakers, who have lost two straight and five of their past seven.,Los Angeles was 7 for 34 on 3-pointers and had 11 fast-break points.,Burks delivered an emphatic dunk after Ingram couldn’t handle a defensive rebound to help the Cavaliers re-establish control after Kuzma scored five straight to cut the Cavaliers’ lead to 84-79 midway though the four quarter.,Burks and Osman hit 3-pointers to bookend the push, and Cleveland was able to sustain the 10-point margin going into the fourth by holding Los Angeles to 8-for-26 shooting.

The Utah Jazz played without point guards Ricky Rubio, Dante Exum and Raul Neto because of injuries, and it was no big deal.,Mitchell had 33 points and a career-high nine assists, helping Utah beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-95 on Friday night.,Utah broke the game open in the second quarter by holding Los Angeles without a field goal for nearly seven minutes.,Los Angeles trimmed Utah's lead to 76-66 in the third quarter after Beasley made back-to-back baskets and hit a pair of free throws as part of a 10-0 run.,Utah used a 14-5 run, capped by a layup from Gobert, to put it out of reach again and take a 95-73 lead with 7:03 left in the fourth quarter.

Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points in three quarters against his childhood team, joining some rarified company in the process.,Kuzma had 22 points in the third quarter, hitting four 3-pointers to get the crowd on its feet and scoring on consecutive goaltending calls.,Detroit's Blake Griffin, averaging a career-high 25.3 points per game, was held to 16.,Ball hit a 3-pointer and Kuzma had five points before James came on the court to cheer his teammates during a timeout.,Lakers: James (left groin strain) is set to be re-evaluated Friday and won't travel with the team for its game in Utah.

The Lakers are gearing up to host Detroit Pistons tonight, which will be their eighth straight match without the injured James.,Head coach Luke Walton confirmed James will be re-assessed by the side's medical department on Friday.,Local Lakers reporter Kyle Goon tweeted: "This might have been inferred earlier, but Luke Walton just confirmed that LeBron James is not traveling to Utah.,"He’s scheduled to have his medical re-evaluation Friday in LA." The Lakers have listed James as 'day-to-day' on their injury report.,And Kyle Kuzma is hoping to see Brandon Ingram and Lozno Ball step up in James' absence.

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