LeBron James reflected on the playoff battles with the Detroit Pistons early in his career at shootaround ahead of the Cavs’ game against Detroit on Monday: “It helped me out with my development, with my mental side of the game as well. Worked my mental toughness, my physical toughness, my competitive nature, going against those teams. Understanding what you need in order to be successful, or how to win, how to compete. They definitely have a chapter in my book.”
2 days ago via ESPN
LeBron James is a firm believer in foul-line trolling. The Cavs play the Detroit Pistons tonight. Last night, the Pistons led the Minnesota Timberwolves by one point with 6.2 seconds left and Jimmy Butler at the line. In between free throws, Detroit’s Reggie Jackson held up the referee from giving the ball to Butler by pretending to go over defensive coverages. Butler looked at Jackson as if to say, “are you serious,” and then missed the foul shot. “I’ve done it before,” James said. “I won a playoff series before doing that actually. So, I’m all for it.”
The anti-Reggie Jackson crowd should understand one thing. His Detroit Pistons teammates want him to have the ball at crunch time. Pistons shooting guard Avery Bradley implored for Jackson to be more aggressive following both losses to begin at the three-game trip – Wednesday night at Milwaukee and Friday night at Indiana. “(Jackson) is a very good scorer, but let your scoring make plays for our team, your aggressiveness,” Bradley said after adding 18 points Sunday. “Whenever he’s coming off looking to score off the pick-and-rolls, he’s attacking the guys and they’re not attacking him. He’s able to make alley-oop play to (Andre Drummond) or to the weak side from him. He’s our leader; he’s our point guard. He’s somebody we need to bring it every single night in order for us to roll the way we want to play.”
It was also, perhaps, the Pistons best finish of the season, considering the circumstances as they faced their first crisis point coming off their first loss of consecutive games. Van Gundy diversified the offense this year so the Pistons become less dependent on Jackson’s pick-and-roll panache, but he remains their closer. “It’s something Coach and I have talked about,” Jackson said. “We’re going to open it up a lot to start the game, just trying to find out who’s hot. We’ve got a lot of scorers. We’ve got guys who can score in different ways. Dre’s great with the ball in his hands. But down the stretch, I always know he’s going to give me the ball.”
The Orlando Sentinel reported Saturday night that the Orlando Magic is discontinuing its annual professional summer league to play in the Las Vegas Pro Summer League that’s become a mainstay on the NBA’s off-season calendar. “It’s disappointing,” Van Gundy said before the Pistons faced the Minnesota Timberwolves on Sunday night.