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LeBron James and Anthony Davis in trouble as they both face a harsh and…



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LeBron James and Anthony Davis are in trouble as they both face harsh and…


It was a reality check swatted across the mouth.


It was an equalizer pounded into the ribs.

It was precisely what is printed on those silly shirts worn by the screaming locals.


It was Gold Blooded.

News flash! The Golden State Warriors aren’t going to go down easy.

News flash! The Lakers are going to make this hard.

Handed a golden opportunity to severely damage the defending NBA champions in the Western Conference semifinals Thursday, the Lakers squandered a 1-0 series lead after coming face-to-face with the heart of, well, a warrior.

It was Game 2 that was game on.

It was Golden State pummeling Anthony Davis, tormenting LeBron James, blowing past the Lakers as if they were standing still, winning 127-100 at a gleeful Chase Center to even the best-of-seven series.

“I fully anticipate our team to respond,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham said afterward.

The Lakers had better. And quick.

The Lakers franchise has won each of its last nine series when tied 1-all, the longest such streak in NBA history, but this doesn’t feel tied.

The next two duels in this best-of-seven clash will be at Arena beginning Saturday, but it no longer feels as if the Lakers can make quick work of their weary Northern California rivals.

It no longer feels like anything other than … a Klay Thompson rainbow three … a falling-down Stephen Curry three … a grinding Draymond Green rebound … and a wincing, crumbling Davis.

It all starts at the end of that sentence. One game after he was unstoppable, AD was KOd, swarmed into submission, and held to five baskets with four turnovers, and 11 points after taking 11 shots, illustrating the Warriors’ best chance to win this series.

Toss around AD and push your way into the next round.

“The Lakers are huge, they are a massive team,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said afterward. “We felt like going into the game, we had to bring some size and physicality.”

It didn’t happen in the opener. It might not happen again. But it happened Thursday, and the Lakers were demoralized into basically standing around.

Except for James’ 23 points and Rui Hachimura’s 21 points with four three-pointers, no other Lakers player did anything.

“Our stagnation … my eyes saw us settle a little bit,” Ham said. “They did a good job of crowding the paint. Not allowing us to play downhill.”

Davis said he didn’t feel crowded. He said he didn’t feel as if he were settling. He said it wasn’t them, it was him.

“I took all the same shots I took in Game 1, I just missed them,” Davis said. “Same looks didn’t shoot no shot that I didn’t shoot in Game 1. Just missed them. That’s all.”

Meanwhile, led by Thompson’s 30 points, the Warriors had six players in double figures while collecting 15 more rebounds, six more points in the paint, and five more second-chance points.

While the Lakers were nowhere, the champions were everything, everywhere, all at once.

“I thought we just played simple basketball,” Kerr said, adding, “Our guys were playing with a lot of force, a lot of aggressiveness but making good decisions within that aggression.”

And pride. Don’t forget pride. The Warriors were too proud to be beaten down by AD for a second consecutive game.

“They’re a championship ballclub for a reason,” Ham said. “After Game 1, we fully anticipated them to come out and throw some haymakers, which they did.”

With an interior defense fueled by Draymond Green and JaMychal Green, the Warriors made the proper adjustments. Now it’s the Lakers’ turn.

“We’ll go back to the drawing board,” Ham said.

He better have a ton of chalk.

The one day of rest between games doesn’t favor James. The speed of Curry and Thompson doesn’t favor the Lakers’ defense. And if JaMychal Green can score 15 points with a trio of threes … yeah, pull out that drawing board.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us,” Ham said. “But you don’t get to this point in the season by it being easy. You have to buckle down.”

The Warriors began their push on the biggest Laker immediately, holding Davis to one basket in the first quarter and fewer baskets (two) than turnovers (three) at halftime. The Lakers still led by seven at the end of the quarter, but without Davis imposing his will, the Lakers eventually lost theirs.

In the second quarter, the Warriors began attacking the basket and Davis with joyous abandon, Thompson throwing in threes from the rafters, the Lakers staggered and reeling and outscored 41-23 for the entire ugly period.

And that was that.

READ MORE: Stephen Curry Reveals Why LeBron James Followed Him to…

The Warriors kept blitzing after halftime, outscoring the Lakers by 19 in a third quarter that ended with James sulking, Davis collapsing and somebody named Moses Moody throwing down a dunk. The Lakers trailed by 30 after three and the final dozen minutes wouldn’t be necessary.

The game unofficially ended when Ham pulled the starters before the fourth quarter, but the Warriors just had to rub it in.

With 9:43 left in the game, Curry sprinkled the salt, knocking down a three while being knocked down by Malik Beasley, the Warriors leading by 31, Curry laughing, everybody laughing, and everything was so funny … not.

“You give credit where credit is due,” James said. “They played exceptionally well tonight and we didn’t.”

The Warriors’ variety of weapons was mirrored by their public address announcer, whose initial announcement of “Hollywood royalty!” was accompanied by the giant scoreboard showing a disheveled Danny DeVito. But in the second quarter, the Hollywood royalty displayed was the still-so-cool, Joe Montana, showing a range of celebrities matched only by the versatility of the city’s basketball team.

Before the game, Kerr all but predicted this rout, saying, “We feel good about our ability to adjust, but also about our ability to respond to losing a game and being down in the series. … This is nothing new for our team. We know what we’re capable of.”

Now, so do the Lakers.

They have won 25 consecutive series in which they won the first game. But these are the Warriors. And the fight has just begun.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.



Trade Secrets: Why now is the time to trade for Ja Morant



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Trade Secrets: Why now is the time to trade for Ja Morant


Ja Morant is a former Rookie of the Year, a Most Improved Player and a two-time All-Star. When at his best, he’s proven to be one of the top players in the NBA, a potential MVP candidate and a rising star who can carry not only the Memphis Grizzlies but also fantasy teams.


And right now, as he serves his 25-game suspension due to multiple gun-related incidents, he’s a bit of an afterthought.

He is eligible to return as soon as the road game against New Orleans on Dec. 19, which is less than four weeks out, and that’s worth paying close attention to in your fantasy league.


Why, you might ask?

Because there may never be a better time to add him to your roster than now.

Fantasy managers with Morant could be eager to deal
The face of the franchise since he was drafted No. 2 overall in 2019 — one pick after Zion Williamson — Morant has averaged 22.4 points per game in his career, the highest of any player in Grizzlies history.

Even with fantasy managers knowing Morant’s tremendous on-court abilities, the star point guard still fell in virtually all fantasy drafts this season. He wasn’t drafted until after pick No. 60 in most leagues and fell even further, past pick 70 or 80, in plenty of other leagues.

It’s easy to understand the hesitation from many fantasy managers.

Taking a player like Morant, knowing he’d miss essentially a third of the fantasy basketball calendar, was one thing. As a suspended player, though, Morant also couldn’t be stashed in an IR slot, so drafting him meant essentially giving up a bench spot until late December — a non-starter for many fantasy managers.

Fast-forward to today and many of those who did draft Morant find themselves low in their league standings, trying to figure out a way to turn around their fortunes.

They’ve been patient, and in many cases, they’ve yet to be rewarded. That’s a nice way of saying that the season is rapidly getting away.

Now ask yourself what those fantasy managers might do when they see that trade offer for Morant hit their inbox? Even though they’ve already waited out half of his suspension, certainly the temptation will be there to move on before they’re too far back in the standings.

Yes, there is risk
It’s important to remember that even if you want Morant on your team, there’s no guarantee it works out. In fact, there are several pretty major risks.

First of all, he may be rusty and need some time to acclimate; after all, he hasn’t played in a game since April 28, 2023. Fantasy managers must be comfortable with fluctuating statistical production, at least in the first few weeks he returns to the court, and possibly longer.

Secondly, Morant’s overall availability is a legitimate concern when you consider his injury history. So far, he hasn’t played 70 regular season games in any of his first four NBA seasons.

Lastly, Memphis’ record could also adversely affect Morant’s fantasy value in the second half of the season if the team is not in playoff contention. Since the league expanded its playoffs to 16 teams back in 1984, 65 teams have started the season with an 0-5 record, like the Grizzlies, and only 10 of them reached the playoffs. If the Grizzlies fall deep out of playoff contention, there’s a chance he could miss games or be shut down as the team turns its attention to next season.

Waiting will only raise Morant’s trade value
If you’re willing to take on the risk that comes with trading for Morant, doing so sooner rather than later is the way to go.

The reason is simple.

Every week that passes and Morant is closer to getting back on the court, fantasy managers will become more apt to hold on to him and see what his return does for their team.

If you’re looking to get a deal done here, offering two intriguing mid-tier players who are currently playing well in exchange for Morant — and another month of waiting things out — is the way to go and could be too much to pass up for Morant managers.

The key with all this, again, is to move fast.

Other factors to consider
Without their star, the Grizzlies are unrecognizable, and their 3-10 record puts them near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. Barring a drastic turnaround, things will be even worse by the time Morant steps on the court.

What’s clear is that there’s a massive difference between last season and this one, and not just due to the absence of Morant. Tyus Jones and Dillon Brooks leaving meant some of the Grizzlies’ young talent would have an opportunity to step up, and so far that hasn’t been the case. With Jones gone, Memphis’ backcourt lacks consistency and reliability, and Brooks’ loss has negatively affected the team’s defense.

While Desmond Bane and Jaren Jackson Jr. remain on the Grizzlies’ roster, Marcus Smart was a solid offseason addition but is already sidelined with a foot sprain that is expected to keep him out another 2-4 weeks. The Grizzlies rank 27th in points scored per 100 possessions and have an effective field goal percentage of 50.7%, third lowest in the league.

All this highlights the integral role Morant has in this Grizzlies’ offense, which ranked 11th in points scored per 100 possessions last season. It’s clear they are lost without him, and the injuries to Steven Adams and Brandon Clarke don’t help, either.

Morant’s return can’t come soon enough for Memphis, and he should get off to a fast start. In training camp, he didn’t work with the starters since the Grizzlies needed to prepare them to start the season without him. However, he’s been practicing and traveling with the team during the regular season.

Final thoughts

Morant averaged 26.2 PPG, 8.1 APG, 5.9 RPG and 1.1 SPG in 32.0 MPG last season, playing 61 games, and right now he can be had for a discount in many fantasy leagues. We have him projected to average 26.3 PPG, 7.9 APG, 5.7 RPG and 1.1 SPG this season across 50 games.

He is the epitome of a risk-reward player, and though better suited for points leagues than category formats, he has the potential to provide second round value.

Is that a risk you should take? Really, it comes down to your risk tolerance and the situation your team is in.

Just know this — playing it safe won’t help you win a fantasy basketball championship, and if you want Morant now is the time to get him.


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Steph Curry reportedly made $35M for 60 hours for doing this



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Steph Curry reportedly made $35M for 60 hours for doing this Inside the Controversial Endorsements: Curry and Brady’s $90 Million Deal with Failed Cryptocurrency Exchange


In a shocking revelation, acclaimed author Michael Lewis has exposed the behind-the-scenes dealings of former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried, shedding light on a controversial $90 million endorsement deal with NBA star Steph Curry and former NFL quarterback Tom Brady.


Background: The Failed FTX Cryptocurrency Exchange

FTX, a once-prominent cryptocurrency exchange, faced a major downfall, with Bankman-Fried at the center of the storm. Facing federal charges including wire fraud and money laundering, the ex-billionaire’s trial coincides with the release of Lewis’ new book, providing an insider’s perspective into the scandal.


Steph Curry reportedly made $35M for 60 hours for doing this

The $90 Million Endorsement Deal: Curry and Brady’s Involvement

Lewis revealed startling details about Bankman-Fried’s extravagant spending on celebrity endorsements. According to Lewis, Curry was paid a staggering $35 million, and Brady a whopping $55 million, for their roles as FTX ambassadors. These endorsements, totaling $90 million, showcased the extent of Bankman-Fried’s desperation to salvage his failing exchange.

The Ad Campaign: Curry and Brady’s Promotions

Although FTX’s official channels have removed the ads, remnants of Curry and Brady’s promotions can still be found online. Curry’s ad emphasized FTX’s user-friendly approach to crypto, highlighting how even non-experts could thrive in the crypto world. Brady, on the other hand, portrayed himself as an everyday guy excitedly discussing FTX with friends. Their involvement in these ads further deepened the controversy surrounding the failed exchange.

Bankman-Fried’s Unlikely Bonds with Celebrities

Lewis revealed the peculiar dynamics between Bankman-Fried and the celebrity endorsers. Despite Bankman-Fried’s nerdy persona, Brady seemingly adored him, forming an unexpected friendship. Lewis described Bankman-Fried as a unique character, even among nerds, making Brady’s fondness for him all the more surprising.

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READ MORE: Lakers win LeBron James’ 1st meeting with Kevin Durant in 5 years with…

Legal Ramifications: Curry’s Class-Action Lawsuit

While Curry hasn’t erased his FTX ties from his social media, he finds himself embroiled in a class-action lawsuit against the failed exchange and its endorsers. The lawsuit, filed by affected parties, implicates Curry and other celebrities in the aftermath of FTX’s downfall.

In summary, Lewis’ revelations have pulled back the curtain on the controversial world of celebrity endorsements, showcasing the lengths to which Bankman-Fried went to salvage his tarnished reputation. As the trial unfolds, the public awaits further insights into this high-stakes crypto drama.


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Lakers win LeBron James’ 1st meeting with Kevin Durant in 5 years with…



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Lakers win LeBron James’ 1st meeting with Kevin Durant in 5 years with… In a thrilling match that showcased the enduring brilliance of LeBron James and Kevin Durant, the Los Angeles Lakers emerged victorious over the Phoenix Suns with a final score of 100-95. This showdown marked the first regular season meeting between the two basketball titans in over five years, and it certainly lived up to the hype.


Despite missing key players like Devin Booker and Bradley Beal, Durant led the Suns to an impressive double-digit lead by the end of the third quarter. A victory against the star-studded Lakers would have been a massive statement for the Suns, but their offense crumbled in the fourth quarter. From the start of the final period until the last two minutes, the Suns managed to score only three points, courtesy of a Durant 3-pointer. The Lakers capitalized on the Suns’ struggles, outscoring them 19-3 during this critical stretch.


Lakers win LeBron James’ 1st meeting with Kevin Durant in 5 years with…

Durant, who finished the game with an outstanding 39 points and 11 rebounds, tried to keep the Suns in the game during crunch time. However, it was LeBron James who sealed the victory for the Lakers. James exhibited his all-around brilliance, contributing 21 points, nine assists, eight rebounds, two steals, and two blocks. Anthony Davis also made a significant impact, tallying 30 points, 13 assists, three blocks, and three steals, silencing his critics after a tough season opener against the Denver Nuggets.

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READ MORE: Kings PG De’Aaron Fox sign with Stephen Curry Help Rival Reach Billionaire Status After Under Armour Deal

Despite the pressure and criticism, James remained unwavering in his support for Davis, emphasizing that the team is resilient against external opinions. “We don’t give a s*** about criticism about AD. We don’t care. Nothing bothers us. AD doesn’t care,” James declared, highlighting Davis’ focus on the game and his minimal presence on social media.

Looking ahead, the Lakers, bolstered by their recent victory, will face another challenge against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Suns have a few days to regroup and recover before their matchup against the Utah Jazz. As the NBA season unfolds, fans can expect more intense battles and spectacular performances from these basketball icons and their respective teams.


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