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No. 1 Duke goes down



It was a quiet mid-January ACC game, a game that Duke and Syracuse faithful will be keenly aware of for the duration of the winter and one that will be fodder during the annual bracket debates.

No. 1 Duke (14-2) lost at home to the unranked Syracuse Orange (12-5) 95-91 Monday night in overtime.  Duke lost freshman Cameron Reddish before the game to the flu, then fellow freshman Tre Jones went down with a shoulder sprain in the first half. Jones is expected to miss several games.

Duke is now perennially super young. It’s the fab five every year. Freshman everywhere. Syracuse is actually pretty good despite being unranked. A veteran team.

You can throw the rankings out the window in December. They don’t mean a whole lot. They do get people and players jacked up for a tilt against Duke in the middle of January.

Coach K had this to say regarding his plan of attack against the Orange, “The game plan was to have Tre Jones and Cameron Reddish. I mean, what the hell… You do what’s there. Talking about game plan is just, ugh.”

“When you have two guys get hurt and injured, there is no game plan anymore. It’s a period of adjustment and adaptability throughout, so you’re trying to figure out ways to win. …you’re trying to survive with the people of the situation that you’re in.”


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Midseason home losses aren’t a killer for a top-seed like Duke they just can’t make it a pattern. Syracuse can ride this one into the bracket. If you’re keeping track Syracuse is one up on Duke all-time at Duke, holding the series lead at 3-2 in Durham.

Duke’s R.J. Barrett scored 23 points, taking 30 shots, with 16 rebounds and nine assists. He can play. Quietly behind the noise, freshman superstar Zion Williamson scored a career-high 35 points, breaking the record for the most by a Duke freshman in a single-game. Who holds the record for the most points by a freshman Dukie in a game?  J.J. Redick vs. Virginia, 1/15/2003.  Who has scored the most points in a single-game for the Blue and White? None other than Danny Ferry in 1988, he scored 58 against Miami.

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The amazing rise of Luka Doncic



At 20 years, 266 days, we might have found our next big star. As if the NBA doesn’t have enough stars.

Luka Doncic’s superior offensive skills have taken the headlines away from a ball-happy James Harde, the return of ‘Melo, Kawhi’s load-management, and LeBron actually playing basketball in November.

So a guy can score? Devin Booker can score and he’s not a star in Phoenix. But Luka Donic seems to have the winning mentality. His points and his domination fit in the flow of the NBA. He’s efficient. He’s on a team coached by Rick Carlise. The same coach who annoyed point guards in years past with his micromanaging.

At 6″7 Luka Doncic is a point guard and he’s good.

Wednesday night against Golden State Doncic put up a state line of 36 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in 26 minutes. It was his seventh triple-double of the season. He broke all kinds of records.

They call him Larry Bird. They want to keep comparing him to Larry Bird. Because of the height, the comparison to a guard would miss the mark.

He’s the offering of 40 to 50 years of hard work and development in international basketball. He’s the most complete player offensively to come from Europe, they say.

He was tutored by the great Dirk Nowitzki in 2018-19 his rookie season. Two players Marvin Bagely and Deandre Ayton were drafted ahead of Doncic in a league weary of misses on the European front. He’s paired with Krispus Porzingis as the future in the Big D.

He has annihilated NBA defenses-if those exist.

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The One Thing Magic Johnson Forgot to Talk About



Magic Johnson stepped down as the President of the Los Angeles Lakers. He called an abrupt news conference in the bowels of the Staples Center Tuesday night.

The NBA is a reality TV show that never stops providing new scripts. He cited his trepidation of firing Luke Walton who his owner and best bud Jeanie Buss loved very much.

Of course Magic Johnson was instrumental in luring LeBron James into LaLa Land away from Cleveland, although it doesn’t seem like it was a hard sell as LeBron appears to have strategically made his mind up to do so for some time. But how many decisions Magic made day-to-day is hard to tell.

According to some media reports Magic wasn’t around the office a whole lot and was traveling and caring for his other business commitments.

Apparently being the face of the franchise is much, much easier away from a front office role.

Magic’s brief Lakers President tenure will probably be more memorable than his run as a late-night talk show host in the 90s. His biggest get will be LeBron James.

But as the curtains fell on the 2018-19 dumpster fire that was the Los Angeles Lakers Tuesday night Magic made no mention of LeBron James and the total roster disunity and disruption that his signing brought. He made very little mention of the failed attempt to land Anthony Davis by force from the New Orleans Pelicans.

The biggest question that still needed to be answered by Magic is: What in the world are you going to do with this roster to complement LeBron James in his swan song years?

Magic did say, “We’re half way there, with another star coming in (this summer)”.

Magic talked a lot about how the job had changed him and he wanted to get back to his old life. He talked about being handcuffed as the President of the Lakers, not being able to tweet as freely as he once could.

He never addressed the elephant in the room.

What in the world were you thinking when you put this roster together?

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James Dolan’s PR nightmare in New York



James Dolan is losing the PR battle. Well, he lost that battle long ago, but now it’s just basically over.

Saturday a video taken from a fan’s cell phone shows the owner walking towards the tunnel after another Knicks loss.

A fan yells “Sell the team”.

Dolan confronts the fans and tells him he might enjoy watching the Knicks on TV instead of coming to MSG. Then tells his macho men to kick the guy out of the arena. After a loss?

Either way, Dolan is losing the battle of public relations, which in turn devalues the franchise which he serves to make quite a bit of money off should he chose to sell his majority stake in the team. Of course, for a guy at his level, it’s not always about just coming on top financially ahead. He’s got money and has always had money. He’d like to be successful one would think but simply but has faired well waging a war with the New York media. No owner or pro sports personality has ever won a war with the New York media.

If he plans on keeping the team fixing the broken relationship with the NY media might be the first step towards success as bad as the franchises personnel decisions have been.


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