NBA

LeBron James 'happy as hell' for Markelle Fultz after triple-double

By Sports Desk January 16, 2020

LeBron James was "happy as hell" for Markelle Fultz after the Orlando Magic guard posted a triple-double in a 119-118 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers.

Fultz had 21 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists at Staples Center for his second career triple-double as the Magic ended the Lakers' nine-game winning streak on Wednesday.

The former first overall pick struggled with his shooting motion after entering the NBA and made just 33 appearances across his first two seasons in the league with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Fultz was eventually diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome and last February got traded to the Magic, where he continued his rehabilitation.

The 21-year-old revealed before the game against the Lakers that James had been a "mentor" to him and the four-time MVP was impressed by his latest display.

Asked how Fultz has been able to turn his career around, James replied: "Confidence and opportunity.

"They're confident in him, he's confident in himself, and he's given an opportunity to go out and play the game how he grew up playing. I think everything else takes care of itself.

"I've been supportive of him ever since he was in high school, when he was a rookie in Philly. Been supportive of his situation and still [am] to this day. I'm happy as hell for him."

Fultz is averaging 11.7 points and 4.6 assists in 27 minutes per game this season and is pleased his perseverance is paying off.

"What I've been through, it just gives me more fire to keep going," he told ESPN. "I put in a lot of hard work to be where I'm at. I've been through a lot, but I never gave up.

"So, it just shows for people out there, whoever is doubting you, whoever is doing something [to you], put something on your mind and if you have something on your mind, go do it.

"Don't ever let somebody tell you that you can't and I'm never going to stop. I'm going to keep working until I can't play no more."

Related items

  • Stevens pleased with Celtics' tenacity in comeback Stevens pleased with Celtics' tenacity in comeback

    Brad Stevens felt improved defense helped the Boston Celtics turn Game 5 against the Miami Heat to stay alive in the NBA playoffs.

    The Celtics rallied for a 121-108 victory over Miami on Friday to cut the Heat's Eastern Conference finals lead to 3-2.

    But Boston struggled early, trailing by 12 points, before a 41-25 third quarter helped them turn the game.

    Celtics head coach Stevens said improvement defensively was key for Boston.

    "I just thought we played with great tenacity defensively, and our offense followed suit," he told a news conference.

    "But they're very hard. It's easy for me to sit up and say to be at our very best and get stops on every possession.

    "This is a heck of an offensive team, a heck of a well-coached team and hard to guard."

    Celtics star Jayson Tatum scored 17 of his 31 points in the third quarter, with Boston going on a 20-3 run.

    Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra lamented his side's inability to slow the Celtics down.

    "We missed some open shots to start the quarter and then those turned into run-outs that got them going, those easy ones. This is a team that has great offensive firepower," he said.

    "When they see the ball go in the basket they started to get more aggressive and putting a ton of pressure on us in the paint, much like they did in Game 3 and we weren't able to shut that off, and they just carried that through."

    Game 6 is on Sunday.

  • Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami Celtics stay alive with Game 5 win over Miami

    The Boston Celtics stayed alive in the NBA playoffs with a 121-108 win over the Miami Heat in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals.

    Jayson Tatum (31 points and 10 rebounds) lifted the Celtics at the Walt Disney World Resort on Friday as they reduced Miami's series lead to 3-2.

    The win came after Miami made a better start, at one stage leading by as many as 12 points.

    Tatum scored 17 third-quarter points as the Celtics rallied on their way to a victory that kept them alive in the playoffs.

    Jaylen Brown (28 points) also starred, while Kemba Walker (15 points) and Daniel Theis (15 points and 13 rebounds) were also key contributors.

    Duncan Robinson (20 points) had put Miami in position in the first half before the Celtics' fightback.

    Jimmy Butler finished with 17 points, while Goran Dragic had 23 before fouling out.

    Coming off his Game 4 heroics, rookie Tyler Herro managed just 14 points.

    Game 6 of the series is on Sunday.

     

    Nuggets face Lakers

    Leading the Western Conference finals 3-1, the Los Angeles Lakers are a win away from a first NBA Finals appearance since 2010 ahead of facing the Denver Nuggets again on Saturday.

  • LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers LeBron asked to guard Murray during 'winning time' for the Lakers

    LeBron James took on the responsibility of guarding Jamal Murray down the stretch because he knew it was "winning time" for the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 4. 

    With the Lakers holding a four-point lead with just over five minutes remaining in the final quarter, and Murray on 28 points on 12-for-17 shooting, James switched onto the Denver Nuggets guard. 

    Murray was held to 0-for-2 shooting by the four-time NBA MVP, with his four points in the last five minutes coming from the free throw line. 

    The Lakers consequently closed out a 114-108 victory to move 3-1 up in the Western Conference Finals. 

    Asked why he put himself on Murray, James said: "I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going. The kid is special. He has an array of shots. Triple threat from the three, mid-range and also in the paint. 

    "For me, it's just trusting my defensive keys. Trusting my study of film. Trusting personnel. And living with the results. I told my team-mates that I had him and everyone else can kind of stay at bay and stay home. 

    "I was able to get a couple stops and we were able to rebound the basketball, which is the most important thing." 

    James is averaging 34.4 minutes in the playoffs, which is the fewest of his career – his previous low was 38.2 with the Miami Heat in 2013-14. 

    The 17-year veteran denied that having less time on court helped him stay fresh to guard Murray in the closing stages. 

    "I don't reserve any energy. I'm on the floor, I give it all I've got. If I need a break, I ask for a break. Coach has done a good job of getting me out throughout the course of the game," said James. 

    "I don't look at it as a reserve tank. I've got pretty good energy when I'm on the floor all the time. It's winning time and I don't have a chance or time to be feeling tired. 

    "I'm tired now. That's when I'm tired, when it's zeros on the clock. That's when I'm tired. I'm not tired during the game."

    Murray appreciated the respect the Lakers afforded him but felt the Nuggets, who have come back from 3-1 deficits to advance in the past two rounds, still should have found a way to win. 

    He said: "I mean, they switched AD [Anthony Davis] on me to be on him, too. 

    "Obviously, with LeBron I do the same stuff I do when I see [Alex] Caruso, when I see [Rajon] Rondo and KCP [Kentavious Caldwell-Pope], and Kawhi [Leonard], Paul George and Pat Bev [Patrick Beverley]. 

    "I mean, I do the same thing. Appreciate the respect, but we've got to win the game."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.