LeBron James’ legacy in ‘LeBronto’ is still respected and feared

first_img Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions Walton said before Thursday’s game in Toronto that he is closely watching how much the Lakers are leaning on second-year guard Josh Hart, who recently acknowledged he’s still struggling with knee tendinitis.Hart was listed as questionable before the game, but he played through it, scoring eight points in 28 minutes of the 111-98 loss. He’s only missed three total games with the injury.“There’s been a couple games he’s asked to come out because he’s hurting,” he said. “Normally when I’ve talked to him, he’s said when it gets bad, as long as he can kind of get off it for a few minutes it settles down and he can go again. So I’m not getting him out early depending on it, but I am, I’m aware of it.”Lance Stephenson (toe sprain) and Tyson Chandler (neck stiffness) both did not play for the Lakers in Toronto. Each of them has missed six in their last seven games. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersLast spring was the most crushing defeat of all for Toronto, when James swept the top-seeded squad (which had won more games than any Raptors team in franchise history) in four games in the Eastern semis. Nurse said he’s replayed the last possessions of Game 1 in his head over many times, when the Raptors lost a late lead and couldn’t hit an OT winner.It created a tension, Nurse thought, that ultimately doomed them in the series.“I think three or four tips point blank, and the damn thing just wouldn’t go in,” Nurse said. “It really changed the complexion of the whole series. That’s all my memory takes me to is about right there.”Nurse said he keeps an eye on the Lakers: He’s friends with assistant coach Jesse Mermuys, and watches a number of games. He thought the Lakers’ late defeat to Sacramento on Dec. 27 was a crushing one in the same sort of sense for the young core, which started its LeBron-less tenure on a losing note. Lakers coach Luke Walton pushed back on that notion, but acknowledged it was a tough loss.Nurse, who was elevated to head coach after serving as an assistant on those Raptors teams, said that even while James’ exit has given the franchise hope, there’s still plenty of challenges ahead. Toronto is holding steady at No. 2 in the Eastern standings, but Milwaukee, Indiana, Philadelphia and Boston all loom. Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error TORONTO — The North remembers.Coach Nick Nurse freely admits that “we’ve lost a lot of hours of sleep” over LeBron James, the unsolvable problem when he demolished the Raptors three straight postseasons when he played for Cavaliers. His voice had a hint of fatigue in his pregame media session, like someone who has been studying all night for a dreaded exam.“Puts you in every, really, every conceivable combination of pick-and-roll … so your coverages get long and complicated,” Nurse said. “And then he puts you in the post, loves to pass the most. And then still he’s kind of the freight-train basketball is still the biggest thing. He gets it out and he comes rambling down the floor and everybody bounces off him and he lays it in.”Even as a Laker, James has power in Scotiabank Arena, where his dominance caused some to dub this city “LeBronto.” He no longer serves as a blockade in the Eastern Conference, where he won his way to eight straight NBA Finals appearances and held sway like few others in league history. How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years “It’s certainly made the East interesting in a different way,” he said. “It was, ‘Oh you had to get through him.’ Now you’ve gotta get through a lot. A lot, a lot.”LAKERS KEEP AN EYE ON HART’S KNEEJames is not the only Laker whose minutes are being “monitored.”Related Articleslast_img read more

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