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.
Nor is it likely to end well for a lot of Lakers, some of whom could be New Orleans-bound in a trade for Anthony Davis … or cut for salary cap space, like the eight of them who are on one-year deals, to bring in more free agents like Klay Thompson … or unemployed like Coach Luke Walton if Magic Johnson holds him responsible for any shortfall.,I don’t see a second-round loss going over well with Johnson, not after he read Walton the riot act seven games into the season, then, in as close as he felt like coming to reassuring everyone publicly, said Luke would, “finish this season unless something drastic happens, which it won’t.”,It’s still emerging with last week’s report by ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski that Magic has wanted a new coach since he took over, but has yet to convince Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Walton.,Despite his cachet, James hasn’t been a behind-the-scenes schemer … aside from all his player recruiting … although Riley, whom LeBron left high and dry, late revealed that LeBron hinted that he would like him to fire Coach Erik Spoelstra during LeBron’s first season in Miami without coming out and actually asking him to do it.,A recent report from ESPN’s uber-connected Adrian Wojnarowski indicated that Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson has wanted a new coach since he took over in February of 2017, but has yet to convince team owner Jeanie Buss, who is “fiercely loyal” to Luke Walton, left.
Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points, Trey Burke added 16 and the Knicks snapped their eight-game losing streak with a 119-112 victory over Los Angeles on Friday night.,Enes Kanter scored eight of his 16 points down the stretch as the Knicks pulled away, ending their first win since Dec. 14 on an 11-3 run.,Seven players scored in double figures for New York, including 10 points in the fourth quarter from Mario Hezonja, who also had barely played since mid-December.,TIP-INS
Knicks: Frank Ntilikina played only briefly in the first half before straining his left ankle and sitting out the rest of the game.,SLOW START FOR LA
Lacking sufficient students willing and able to pay for costly basketball tickets to fill the new Pauley Pavilion, why should UCLA cough up millions any top-market basketball coach would feel himself to be worth?,How much did it cost UCLA to serve as an uncompensated NBA training camp?My vision of UCLA basketball is somewhat different from Plaschkes: Ticket prices reduced precisely because the coach is not being paid the stellar wage commensurate with a rock star status, and students cheering for actual student-athletes who might go into fields other than pro.,The simple fact is that UCLA does not have someone who knows what he is doing and therein lies UCLAs problem over the past 16 years of Dan Guerreros tenure.Success at the highest level in the two major sports, football and basketball, requires not onlya top-flight coach, but also a top-flight athletic director.,Trump U., for example.Michael JenningVan Nuys::Bill Plaschke, just what was the purpose of your hatchet job description of the UCLA basketball program in your column on New Years Day?,Of course, I was watching the Lady Bruins and their coach, Cori Close.Now that the mens program is looking for someone to take over for coach Alford, perhaps UCLA look no further than its own campus.Mike FeixChino HIlls::For front page news on New Years Day we are offered Bill Plaschkes lament on the failure of basketball at UCLA.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers looked just fine for 3 ½ quarters in their first game without LeBron James.,Bogdan Bogdanovic made a 3-pointer at the buzzer and the Sacramento Kings rallied from 15 points down in the fourth quarter to beat Los Angeles 117-116 on Thursday night.,De’Aaron Fox followed with two free throws for Sacramento, and Kyle Kuzma made one of two for Los Angeles with 4.6 left.,Kuzma had 34 points to help make up for James’ absence, and Lonzo Ball added 20 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds.,COMEBACK KIDS
The Kings are the first team to win three consecutive home games when trailing by 15 points or more since San Antonio did it during the 2016-17 season.
JJ Redick had a game high 24 points, while teammate Ben Simmons recorded his fifth triple-double of the season with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists.,NCAA confirms failed drug test by Clemson DL
The NCAA has confirmed that Clemson defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence has been suspended for Saturday’s CFP semifinal game against Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl following a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs.,Sebastian Aho scored his team-leading 15th goal in the third period for the Hurricanes, who lost their third out of four games.,— The Penguins won for the ninth time in 13 games this month as Phil Kessel scored two power-play goals in a 5-2 victory against the Red Wings.,Blake Coleman scored twice, Damon Severson tallied 25 seconds into the game and Kyle Palmieri added his team-high 19th goal in New Jersey’s fourth victory in 19 road games.
It was the third straight home game in which the Kings have come back to win from at least 15-point deficits in the second half.If LeBron James is playing in that game, it probably finishes a little differently, Lakers coach Luke Walton said.,For most of Thursday nights game, they did, after the Kings took a 12-point lead in the first quarter.They stepped up, especially with the way Sacramento came out and punched us early, this is a high-powered offense that can get you going in front of their crowd here, Walton said.,And I thought our guys, mainly Zo early on, responded to that challenge and they were out there playing like veterans.Early during the first quarter, Kings point guard DeAaron Fox soared through the air for a one-handed dunk, then backpedaled from the force of his own score, fell onto his back and did a backward somersault to turn upright again.Moments later Ball answered with a three-pointer.,Missing Bron, missing [Rajon] Rondo, I knew I had to step up personally and the rest of the guys knew as well.Kuzma was always the off-ball scorer, ready to capitalize on any opportunity his playmaking teammates found for him.And Ingram gave the Lakers an early push, scoring 21 points through three quarters.The Lakers lead was commanding for much of the fourth, but as the game neared its close, Sacramento refused to let go.,Ball had to leave the game with 1:42 remaining, leg cramps getting the best of him.With the Lakers leading by three with 59.6 second left, Kuzma fouled Sacramentos Justin Jackson while he was shooting a three-pointer.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron James in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James' 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.,Kuzma contributed 19 points with a pretty baseline 3 late, Ivica Zubac had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Rajon Rondo 15 points and 10 assists off the bench as the Lakers snapped an 11-game losing streak on the Warriors' home floor since a 118-115 overtime win Dec. 22, 2012.,HOUSTON (AP) — James Harden scored 41 points and the Rockets beat the Thunder for their seventh win in the last eight games.,Harden has scored 30 points or more in a career-high seven games in a row, marking the first time a player has done that since Russell Westbrook had eight consecutive 30-point games in November 2016.,Joe Ingles chipped in 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists for the Jazz (17-18), who won for the fifth time in their last six home games while shooting 55 percent from the floor.
LeBron James prides himself in his durability, being available night after night, game after grueling game.,The Los Angeles Lakers lost LeBron in the third quarter to a strained left groin then went out and beat the two-time defending champions without him Tuesday night, getting King James' 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists before the injury in a surprising 127-101 rout of the Golden State Warriors.,Stephen Curry made consecutive 3s shortly after James exited, and the Warriors got within 78-76 at the 2:48 mark of the third — but Kyle Kuzma and the persistent Lakers stayed at it every possession.,It was James' second straight Christmas game at Oracle Arena after playing here with the Cavaliers last year and losing 99-92.,Walton — a former Warriors top assistant and dear friend of Steve Kerr — got some time with his Hall of Fame dad, Bill, before the game and a few moments to catch up with Curry and share holiday greetings in the hallway after the two-time MVP's warmup routine.