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Andre Ingram’s NBA debut is the year’s best Cinderella story



Andre Ingram fulfills lifelong dream with unbelievable NBA debut.

Forget NCAA upsets. Forget about Loyola-Chicago’s March Madness run. The best Cinderella story this year happened when underdog Andre Ingram stepped on the court for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ingram spent 10 years in the D League turned G League before playing in his first NBA game. With the Lakers’ season almost behind them and with the team riddled with injuries, Ingram was called up by L.A. to play in their final two games of the season. The first was a Laker home game against the Houston Rockets and the second was a road game against the Lakers’ in-house rival, the Los Angeles Clippers.

What made Ingram’s NBA appearances break Twitter wasn’t just that the 10-year G League vet got called up, but that he lit up his opponents in his debut.

The 32-year-old rookie seized every moment of his opportunity to play on NBA hardwood. In his first ever pro game he scored 19 points, had 3 rebounds, 3 blocks and 1 steal in 29 minutes of action. He was 6-for-8 from the field including 4-of-5 from three.

Ingram has been a sharpshooter for the South Bay Lakers for some time going 55 percent from three last season and 48 percent from three this year. When being called up, Magic Johnson joked with Ingram and told him he wanted that 48 percent. Ingram answered the bell and gave Magic 80 percent.

After Ingram’s inspiring debut he got the game ball from coach Luke Walton and received praise from NBA players all over the league including Kobe BryantChris Paul and even his Laker teammates.

Ingram ended his night with an ESPN interview where he talked about his dream come true.

“Ten years in the D League, but it wasn’t like 10 hateful years or years I didn’t enjoy. I enjoyed my time in the league and all of my teammates, and I heard from every one of them.”

“Of course there were times of, ‘I’m not sure if this day is going to happen or not,’” Ingram said of doubts that often crept in during his grind. “But so thankful it did.”

The Lakers ultimately lost 105-99 to the Rockets but Andre Ingram won the night. He reminded everyone that hard work and persistence pays off and that having a dream is worth it. 

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Westbrook vows Rubio won't repeat stellar game



SALT LAKE CITY — With 26 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists, Ricky Rubio became the first Jazz player to record a postseason triple-double since John Stockton in 2001, as Utah took a 2-1 series lead over the Oklahoma City Thunder with a 115-102 win on Saturday.

“Having my name next to his name is an honor,” Rubio said of Stockton. “I don’t know what else to say. It’s huge. Have huge respect for him, and playing here is great because I know how important a point guard he is for this franchise.”

Rubio sparked a 20-4 run in the first half to overcome a 12-point deficit, hitting a flurry of midrange jumpers as the Thunder sagged off of the point guard. But Oklahoma City counterpart Russell Westbrook defiantly proclaimed there will be no more of that in Game 4 on Monday.

“He made some shots,” Westbrook said. “Too comfortable. But I’m gonna shut that s— off next game though. Guarantee that.”

The proclamation prompted a response from Jazz rookie Donovan Mitchell.

Rubio, who has quietly improved his shooting this season, struggled in Game 1, going just 5-of-18 as the Thunder schemed to force him to take midrange shots. In Game 2, Rubio hit just 6-of-16, but he knocked down 5-of-8 from 3. And in Game 3, Rubio hit 5-of-5 on midrange jumpers.

“I think the first two games, I wasn’t being effective in the midrange area,” Rubio said. “It’s been something I’ve been working on. I felt good about, but it wasn’t going in.

“But tonight, it felt good seeing the first couple go in. It’s just the way we played. We got open shots, and it’s easy to make shots when you are open.”

Rubio’s triple-double broke the longest drought in the NBA, according to ESPN Stats & Information research, as it was the first for the Utah franchise since Carlos Boozer pulled off the feat in 2008. And it came against the NBA’s triple-double king — Westbrook.

Asked if Rubio knew he was an assist short of the mark at the time, teammate Joe Ingles injected, “Hell yeah he did.”

Rubio laughed and made sure to jab Ingles back.

“At one point, and Joe missed a layup, wide-open layup, and he didn’t want me to get the triple-double,” Rubio said, “but luckily I’ve got Rudy Gobert on my team too to help me get that.”

Rubio outplayed the reigning MVP Westbrook, who finished with 14 points on 5-of-17 shooting and eight turnovers. After scoring just two points on 0-of-4 shooting in the fourth quarter of Game 2, Westbrook didn’t attempt a shot in the fourth in Game 3.

“Just gotta take what’s given,” Westbrook said. “I’m getting myself jumping in the air trying to look back to find [Paul George] and [Carmelo Anthony] and other guys on the floor. I’ve got to stay in attack mode and read my first option and go with that.”

Westbrook was seen getting treatment on his upper body in the second half, but he said he wasn’t dealing with any specific injury.

“A lot of s— going on with my body,” Westbrook said, “but that’s everybody right now.”

Billy Donovan offered his thoughts on Westbrook.

“I don’t know,” the Thunder coach said, “he seems fine to me.”

Game 4 is set for Monday in Salt Lake City.


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Six incredible stats from Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday's epic closeout performance



The New Orleans Pelicans earned their first series sweep in franchise history — and their first series win in a decade — after knocking off the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. It’s the only time since 2001 a team seeded sixth or lower has swept a first-round playoff series.

The upset was fueled by the heroic efforts of Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday, who combined for a historic closeout performance. Davis, in particular, put his name alongside Hall of Fame players after scoring a game-high 47 points as New Orleans pushed its way to the Western Conference semifinals.

Here are six incredible stats on the night Davis and Holiday put together:

1. Davis became the first player with at least 47 points, 11 rebounds and 3 blocks in a playoff game since Hakeem Olajuwon in 1987. Olajuwon played 53 minutes in a double-overtime loss to the then-Seattle SuperSonics, recording 49 points, 25 rebounds and six blocks.

2. Davis’ 47 points are a postseason franchise record. It’s also the most points scored in a closeout game since Kobe Bryant dropped 48 against the Sacramento Kings in Game 4 of the 2001 Western Conference semis.

3. Holiday poured in 41 points to go along with Davis’ 47. It marked the first time a pair of teammates in NBA history both scored 40 points in a closeout game.

4. The combined 88 points between the Pelicans’ duo is tied with Boston Celtics legends John Havlicek and JoJo White for the most points by two teammates in any playoff game in NBA history. Havlicek scored 54 and White added 34 in their 1973 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

5. Davis and Holiday became just the third pair of teammates to each score at least 40 points on 60 percent shooting in the same playoff game. The other duos are Jalen Rose and Reggie Miller (2000) and Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler (1995).

6. Davis is now averaging 32.3 points in his eight-game postseason career, with a total of 258 points. Only Michael Jordan (283) and LeBron James (266) have scored more points in their first eight playoff games.


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C's Morris fined for claiming refs targeted him



MILWAUKEE — The NBA fined Boston Celtics forward Marcus Morris $15,000 for public criticism of the officiating, the league announced Saturday.

After Friday’s Game 3 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, Morris suggested that referees have been unfair to him recently, ever since he patted a ref on the backside following an ejection in late March.

“I can’t even speak on [the technical], man,” Morris said. “It’s been the same s— all year. I’m expecting it. They knew what they wanted before the game started. They knew who they wanted to go after. So that’s on [the referees].”

Morris appeared incredulous when referee Sean Corbin whistled him for a technical foul — the only one called in Friday’s game — after Morris said something when Thon Maker missed a free throw attempt. The technical was called after Boston had pulled to within 14 points early in the second half.

Before the playoffs, Morris began playfully tweeting at the NBA and apologizing to the referees after some calls went against him following the backside patting (Morris was not fined for the incident).

Morris’ twin brother, Markieff, was fined $25,000 on Saturday for attempting to escalate an altercation and pushing a game official during the WizardsRaptors series.


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