Category Archives: NBA JERSEYS

Thon Maker’s energy gives Bucks a lift

There’s an old adage about staying ready so you don’t have to get ready. It’s something you hear a lot when discussions about the Milwaukee Bucks’ Thon Maker arise this season.

Now in his third year, Maker would not have been faulted for thinking his role would increase this season after showing signs of his potential over the past two campaigns, despite not playing regular minutes under former head coach Jason Kidd.

However, in the Bucks’ first 14 games, Maker appeared in just six, and played more than 10 minutes just twice. Maker could have sulked and questioned whether he had a long-term role on a rising Milwaukee team, but he didn’t.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Instead, he kept working hard; he watched and learned.6

“Just staying in the gym, continuing to work, watching film, watching the games, obviously; taking notes on the sideline,” Maker tells ESPN. ” [I was] in the gym non-stop, at midnight, 2am … whenever. I’m always in the gym.

“Taking care of my body is another [big] part as well – lifting, doing extra work just to stay ready. Conditioning is the toughest part outside of those because you can’t get into game shape because you’re not actually playing.

“Just staying in shape was anther tough part, I had to push myself extra hard in the drills. Even in shootarounds when guys are going through the motions, I can’t do that. I’m not playing as many minutes as they are so I gotta go extra hard.”

In his past seven games he’s averaging a shade under 4 points per game in just over 12 minutes per game, but it isn’t so much about the offensive numbers as it is the energy he brings to the team when he’s on the floor.cheap wholesale nike nfl jerseys

“Thon’s done a great job just staying ready all year,” Milwaukee’s superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo says. “That’s the type of player Thon is, on any given night [he can] give energy to the team. If it’s getting a rebound, blocking shots or hitting some threes, he can do all those. But his number one focus is bringing energy, so I think he’s done a great job coming in and bringing energy and playing hard.”

Fantasy NBA Daily Notes: No slowing down Kevin Durant

Fantasy basketball purists certainly remember that awesome 1961-62 campaign for the Lakers that saw Elgin Baylor, Jerry West and, of course, Rudy LaRusso each score a 50-point game that season.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Now that Kevin Durant tallied 51 points in a dramatic loss to Toronto last night, the Warriors join that famously productive Lakers triumvirate as the only other team in NBA history to sport three 50-point scorers in a single season — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both already hit this rare milestone this season.

The Raptors beat the Warriors 131-128 in an overtime thriller on Thursday, as Durant continued his hot scoring streak with those 51 points in addition to 11 rebounds and six dimes. Durant became the fourth player in Warriors history with three straight 40-point games, joining Stephen Curry, Rick Barry and Wilt Chamberlain, per Elias. With the loss, Golden State snapped its eight-game head-to-head win streak against the Raptors.5

Durant is the eighth different player to score 50 in a game this season. That’s more than twice as many players to do so before December in any other season in NBA history. Ten players did this all last season.cheap official nike nfl jerseys

Kawhi Leonard scored 37 points, his most in a Raptors uniform. Leonard aggressively sought to score throughout the game. Per Second Spectrum, Leonard ran 15 isolation plays (his most in a game over the past five seasons) and had 22 drives to the basket (his second most in a game over the past five seasons).

The Warriors’ roster doesn’t offer much help in regards to widely available waiver acquisitions, but for Toronto, we find names like Danny Green proving productive despite being rostered in just 3.7 percent of ESPN leagues. Green won’t wow you with his scoring prowess (just 9.8 PPG), but he can help on defense (1.7 combined blocks and steals) and in shooting (2.5 3PG on 43.3 percent efficiency).

Lakers unable to complete comeback, but James will value great shots

Anyone that has paid attention to LeBron James’ career — whether he was dishing to Donyell Marshall when he was with the Cleveland Cavaliers, or Udonis Haslem when he was with the Miami Heat — should not have been surprised Sunday when, with less than 20 seconds left and the Los Angeles Lakers down by two, James passed it to Kentavious Caldwell-Pope for an open 3-pointer to try to win it.

“I always got a chance at a shot,” James said of his positioning — two feet in the paint with seemingly an angle to sneak a layup by Nikola Vucevic — cheap nfl jerseys china nike when he chose to kick it out to Caldwell-Pope.

The results, of course, were a miss by his less-talented teammate and a 108-104 loss for the Lakers, their second to the middling Orlando Magic in little more than a week.5

This is how James approaches the game. This shouldn’t be a newsflash. To him, a player taking a good shot (no matter how great he is) isn’t as valuable as any player (no matter what his ability is) taking a great shot.

It did not matter that Caldwell-Pope was 1-for-5 in the game at the time — including a missed 3 from nearly the same spot on the court just about a minute earlier.

The “Is He More Michael or Magic?” debate is tired at this point. James will execute how he sees fit. And so, similarly, those taking issue with James taking a potential go-ahead 3 of his own on a step-back move prior to that Caldwell-Pope possession — wishing he would have put the ball on the floor against Aaron Gordon, who was saddled with five fouls and guarding him on the perimeter — there’s no video game controller that will allow fans to make James do what they want.nike nfl jerseys cheap china

End-of-game situations are, by their nature, consequential. It is understandable that they are scrutinized and picked apart more than other sequences in the game. And seeing James buck his recent trend of struggling with clutch free throws when he went 2-for-2 from the line to tie it 104-104 with 2:24 remaining only served to make the Lakers going scoreless from there that much more disappointing. That’s understandable too.

Celtics are going from preseason favorites to average disappointments after 20 games

To say this isn’t the way the Celtics — or frankly, just about anyone — envisioned this team looking through the opening 20 games of the season is an understatement. Yet here Boston is, floundering at 10-10 and already trailing the Toronto Raptors by six games for the top spot in the Eastern Conference — the one Boston was expected to claim for itself after LeBron James abdicated his throne atop the East by joining the Los Angeles Lakers this summer.

And, as Smart said, the Celtics find themselves saying the same thing game after game. Their offense remains inefficient, mired among the bottom 10 in the league despite a wealth of players capable of filling it up. Too often their first quarters are like the one Boston had Saturday night, as the Mavericks raced out to a 32-18 lead behind some spectacular shotmaking and playmaking from sensational Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Even Boston’s defense, which is normally among the league’s best — and is ranked second behind the Oklahoma City Thunder in efficiency over course of the season — has slipped a bit lately. The Mavericks sliced through the Celtics time and again at that end of the floor Saturday night, knocking down 16-of-41 3-pointers (39 percent) and finding DeAndre Jordan multiple times at the rim for easy alley-oop dunks.6

“I thought we were a step slow all night,” Celtics head coach Brad Stevens said. “I thought they put us on our heels.

“They made a ton of effort plays, they got a bunch to the rim, and then we couldn’t contain the drive … those drives really hurt us. They turned the corner, laid it in, and had a couple of and-1s, lobs … those are just killers.”

The Celtics have been on the receiving end of plenty of those kinds of moments lately. Not only did Saturday’s loss drop Boston to seventh place in the East standings, but the Celtics have now lost four of their past five, and eight of 12. Of those four wins, two came in overtime — including one miraculous road comeback against the hapless Phoenix Suns. The other two came against the equally hapless Chicago Bulls and Atlanta Hawks.

Boston simply hasn’t looked like the team it was expected to be entering the season. So what is the issue?

Perhaps there is something to be said for the Celtics having to adjust to the feeling of being the favorite, as opposed to the scrappy underdog.nfl cheap nike jerseys

Throughout the past few seasons, Boston has been seen as a team punching above its weight — first when Isaiah Thomas was lighting up scoreboards two and three seasons ago, and then last season when first Gordon Hayward, and then Kyrie Irving, were sidelined because of season-ending injuries.

Rajon Rondo serves as coach on floor for ‘Baby Lakers’

The morning after breaking his right hand, Rajon Rondo was at the Los Angeles Lakers’ practice facility barking out insights and instructions to his teammates.

As usual.

“He was talking. Surprise, surprise,” Lakers coach Luke Walton said with a smile. “He was talking a lot.”nike nfl cheap jerseys

With his hand swelling through its splint, Rondo directed Brandon Ingram and players on the second-unit through sets in preparation for their next game at the Orlando Magic.6

Rondo lobbied Walton again to be a part of the team’s upcoming three-game road trip and then he was gone, off to Cedars-Sinai Kerlan-Jobe Institute to have Dr. Steven S. Shin repair the third metacarpal in his right hand.
LeBron James’ voice is without question the most important and influential in the Lakers’ locker room; but several of the younger players view Rondo’s leadership as second, if not on par, to that of James.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

While some coaches and execs told ESPN over the summer that Rondo could be a pain for the Lakers, the point guard has been a coach on the floor and mentor to the young core for Walton.

Given the freedom to be himself, Rajon Rondo has been … Rajon Rondo. The Lakers have seen the acclaimed basketball IQ. They’ve also seen his unpredictability, his fire manifesting in a flurry of punches in his first game in Staples, resulting in a three-game suspension after the NBA ruled he had spit at Chris Paul.

But his biggest — and now primary — impact will be on the development of the “Baby Lakers.” Rondo has been trying to influence Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart by example and instruction. And with the sidelining of the veteran point guard for at least four weeks, that balance will tilt entirely toward instruction.

Steph Curry ‘extremely proud’ of how Warriors handled Draymond Green, Kevin Durant drama

As the Golden State Warriors continue to repair internal damage in the wake of a verbal altercation between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green during and following a Monday night overtime loss to the LA Clippers, point guard Stephen Curry said he is “extremely proud” of the way the team has come together since.new nike nfl jerseys for sale cheap

“It’s been different. It’s been tough,” Curry said Saturday before the Warriors’ 112-109 loss to the Dallas Mavericks, their third defeat in four games. “Obviously it sucks not being able to play. It sucks when you’re not with the team when something like that happens. But I think the way we’ve handled it as a team, the way Draymond’s handled it, the way KD’s handled it, it’s been nothing but professionalism and understanding that it’s about the team. And the conversations that we’ve all had, whether it’s one-on-one, as a team, is keeping that in mind.5

“And at the end of the day, nothing should distract us from what our goal is. I think guys have attempted and are going to continue to get to a place where we can continue to move forward, get back to who we are as a team — and once we get over these injuries, we’ll be able to show what we’re about as a team and do it together, so I’m extremely proud of the way we’ve handled this last week. It’s an opportunity to really implode and crumble, but that’s not going to happen.”

Curry, out since Nov. 8 with a strained left groin, spoke Saturday for the first time since both the injury and the altercation between Durant and Green, one that led to a one-game suspension for the latter. Curry remains confident that his teammates will be able to move forward.nike nfl cheap jerseys

“They have a lot of equity built in their relationship,” Curry said of Durant and Green. “We’ve won championships together. They’ve brought out the best in each other. Obviously, I don’t think they’ve had an incident to this level, but you don’t have the experiences you’ve had and go through the journey that we’ve been on and let it be derailed by something like that. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are things that need to be worked through. That’s like any relationship in life. But at the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be a reason that we don’t win a championship this year. I can roll with that.”

Canberra’s Refiloe Jane may hold the key to Banyana’s success

Much is made of South Africa’s players that turned out for Houston Dash this season in the USA, but arguably the most consistent Banyana Banyana player has been Canberra United’s Refiloe Jane.

The silky midfielder is not often given the plaudits she deserves, but is the heartbeat at the centre of the park for the national side, and has added another string to her bow – scoring goals.china nike nfl jerseys cheap

She and striker Rhoda Mulaudzi, who has not been selected for the African Women Cup of Nations in Ghana later this month, recently signed contracts with Canberra in Australia, joining the likes of Linda Motlhalo and Thembi Kgatlana (both Houston Dash) and Leandra Smeda (Gintra Universitetas, Lithuania) as players who ply their trade abroad.5

Jane has started well with two goals, albeit both penalties, and an assist in her opening couple of games for Canberra, following on from her good form that saw her net twice in the final of the COSAFA Women’s Championship in September, which saw Banyana defeat Cameroon.

“The hard work I have put in … I have playing well but not scoring through the years,” she admits. “It is one of the aspects that I have worked hard on, because sometimes I get in those positions to score but would miss.cheap nfl jerseys china nike

“I have been working hard on boosting my confidence in front of goal. I just want to be a better player.”

It has been a demanding few months for Jane, who has criss-crossed the world, and she knows that all the travel could have a negative effect on her performance in Ghana, but believes she is in good hands.

“Things have been going well [in Australia], we’ve settled in well. The people have been good for us,” Jane told reporters ahead of the trip to Ghana this month. “Everything is on track, in the two games we have played we have gelled with the team.”

How does Markelle Fultz fit with the 76ers, Jimmy Butler?

From the moment Markelle Fultz double-clutched the second of two free throws midway through the second quarter of Monday night’s game against the Miami Heat, his shooting form once again became a blazing-hot topic of conversation.cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown, however, had no time for such discussions. Instead, his focus is on something else: balancing his personal and emotional investment in trying to get Fultz back on track with his job to lead this season’s Sixers to a credible challenge for the Eastern Conference title.

And now that the Sixers have acquired Jimmy Butler, who will join the team for Wednesday’s road game against the Orlando Magic, Brown’s already difficult task has suddenly become nearly impossible.6

“It is [difficult],” Brown told ESPN.com after Monday’s game, a 124-114 Philadelphia victory. “Because you’ve got a human side, and a responsibility to the individual, but mostly you’ve got a responsibility to the team, and somewhere in that pyramid of layers I’ve got to figure it out.

“There’s no book that tells you how to do that. I use my gut feel and best judgement and just keep it very candid. When I feel something, or see something, and you can convey it to you, or the team, or whatever, that’s when I feel comfortable.
The Butler trade — which saw Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a future second-round pick go to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for Butler and Justin Patton — marked the end of “The Process,” the much-discussed rebuilding plan the Sixers embarked on several seasons ago.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Fultz was supposed to be that final cornerstone piece, joining with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons to form a young triumvirate of stars who would lead Philadelphia into championship contention. But while Embiid and Simmons have more than lived up to their end of the bargain, Fultz’s odyssey over the past 17 months has been one of an endless series of twists and turns — and, along the way, him losing the ability to consistently shoot a basketball.

It is a trip that could be encapsulated by that second free throw he took with 6 minutes, 9 seconds remaining in the second quarter, and with Philadelphia trailing 46-44. Despite Fultz having just made the one before it, he practically pump-faked on the second attempt before letting it go. It clanged off the side of the rim and bounced away.

Caris LeVert is still a cornerstone for the Brooklyn Nets

No one who has gotten to know Caris LeVert over the past half-decade — as an almost redshirt at the University of Michigan, and breakout star with the Brooklyn Nets — will be surprised to hear there will be minimal sulking after LeVert’s foot injury Monday.

It is one of LeVert’s defining traits — something that has made him a beloved teammate, and cultural keystone of the Nets’ long rebuild: He takes joy in the success of others, even when things are not going well for him. At Michigan, those in the program were stunned LeVert sustained such positivity even as three foot surgeries derailed his career.nfl nike jerseys cheap china

Across the Nets, there had been universal exhilaration at LeVert’s rise from preseason backup to franchise centerpiece. Even rivals for that status found themselves swept up in it, in part because LeVert always offers them the same emotional support.

“It is all genuine with Caris,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said during an interview at the team’s practice facility two weeks ago. “He is real.”5

It all overflowed after Brooklyn’s second game, when LeVert dusted Tim Hardaway Jr., his college teammate, and coaxed in a tilting layup to beat the Knicks. When Atkinson embraced LeVert in the locker room, LeVert smiled and told him, “I owed you one, Coach,” referencing some crunch-time error from Brooklyn’s season-opening loss in Detroit that Atkinson couldn’t even recall.

Player and coach fast developed a special relationship. Two years ago, Atkinson called LeVert to wish him a happy birthday but activated FaceTime by accident. (“I don’t even FaceTime my wife,” he said, not joking.) LeVert, surprised, picked up. Ten months later, on Atkinson’s birthday, his FaceTime went off again. It was LeVert, unprompted, creating a tongue-in-cheek tradition.

“Like, who even remembers their coach’s birthday?” Atkinson asked. “And then remembers we have this silly thing?”cheap nike nfl jerseys from china

Jacque Vaughn, the Nets assistant who has worked most closely with LeVert, searched him out after that game winner. That shot, Vaughn told him, was proof of what coaches preached all summer.

“Never feel rushed,” Vaughn said, repeating a mantra they had developed. “You can get to any spot you want. You dictate everything. That was the shot you wanted, and no one was able to get you off of it. Never feel rushed.”

Kawhi Leonard is leaving few clues about his upcoming free agency

When Kawhi Leonard was a kid growing up in Southern California, he was surrounded by Los Angeles Lakers fans. His adolescence matched the heyday of Kobe Bryant’s tenure with the franchise, and his family — like so many others in Riverside and other parts of the Inland Empire where he grew up — was full of devoted followers of the purple and gold.nfl cheap jerseys nike

For the past two offseasons, the Lakers have kept their powder dry in the trade market. Rather than sacrificing any of their young core — Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma and Josh Hart — to pursue a trade for someone like Paul George or Leonard, the Lakers have been content to sit back, let them grow and hope the combination of a young talent base and the bright lights of Hollywood will be enough to lure star power back to Los Angeles again.

It turned out to be enough to get the biggest star of all, LeBron James, to join the Lakers on July 1. But George spurned the chance to play alongside James this summer, opting to re-sign with the Oklahoma City Thunder at the start of free agency. And while there is plenty of time for things to change, there is a sense within the league Leonard will do the same next summer.

It was a throwaway line at the end of a short, perfunctory postpractice interview — one that, like virtually every such session Leonard is a part of, he dutifully worked to end as quickly as he could. But it also was a small window into the mindset Leonard has employed as he has lifted himself from being a high school star plying his trade 60 miles east of Los Angeles into the sport’s best two-way wing player.10

A survey of several league executives this weekend had the Lakers trailing, even among Staples Center tenants, in the competition to get Leonard, with the LA Clippers universally being placed ahead of them. Rather than seeking to team up with James, the thinking is that Leonard would prefer to have control of his own team, which the Clippers would offer, while still giving him the ability to return to his native Southern California.

The Lakers explored a potential Leonard trade this summer, but the San Antonio Spurs’ asking price prevented a deal from ever coming close to fruition. The Clippers, meanwhile, have relentlessly pursued Leonard since the summer but didn’t have the assets necessary to get a deal done.nfl nike jerseys for cheap

Toronto, however, did, ultimately sending an All-Star (DeMar DeRozan), a young talent (Jakob Poeltl) and a first-round pick to San Antonio for Leonard and Danny Green. And now that the Raptors get to spend a season recruiting Leonard to remain north of the border, the Raptors have a quiet confidence about their ability to get him to stick around next summer.

One source of optimism stems from the fact that Thunder general manager Sam Presti was able to hang on to George — despite George having openly stated he wanted to play for the Lakers, Oklahoma City being one of the league’s smallest markets and the Thunder having lost in the first round of the playoffs last season. But the bigger source of optimism is what Toronto has to offer Leonard if he does decide to stay.