In the NBA today, Kyle Kuzma and the Lakers make clutch plays to win; the Knicks/Hawks clinch a playoff spot; James Harden returns to action, while Victor Oladipo’s season ends. Read and watch May 12 news and highlights below.
James Harden Returns, Throws a Bounce Pass Through 4 Defenders, Dances After Hitting a Step-Back 3, and States he’s “really good” at Basketball
James Harden returns to action after missing 18 games and immediately gets to work.
Harden hits Jeff Green with an impressive overhead bounce pass through 4 Spurs players from half-court.
He follows up in the next quarter by dancing after hitting a step-back 3.
And he tells media members that he’s a great student of the game in his postgame presser.
“Not to like brag or anything, but I’m really good at this game. I study the game — very unselfish. I take the game, and I play it the right way, every single night. I don’t try to do anything that I can’t do or anything that doesn’t benefit our team. That mindset right there keeps me in a really good place.”James harden
Harden came off the bench and finished with 18 PTS on 6-8 FG, 3-4 3FG, along with 7 REB, 11 AST, 2 STL, and 2 BLK. This was Harden’s first time coming off the bench since Game 5 of the 2012 NBA Finals between OKC and Miami 9 years ago.
Kyle Kuzma Hits the Clutch Go-Ahead Bucket; Wesley Matthews Follows with a Clutch Defensive Stop
Kyle Kuzma catches the ball at the top with 15 seconds left on the game clock. He composes himself and patiently waits as the clock winds down. Kuzma then drives, side-steps, and lays it in to put the Lakers up 1.
With 7 seconds left on the clock, the Rockets go to Kelly Olynyk for the game, but Wesley Matthews pokes the ball away to seal the victory.
The Lakers made clutch plays two nights in a row, including Kyle Kuzma’s game-winning shot yesterday vs. Knicks.
Trae Young Throws a Behind-the-Back Pass While Falling out of Bounds
Trapped under the rim with two defenders surrounding him, Trae Young throws a beautiful behind-the-back pass while falling out of bounds to Tony Snell for 3.
Blake Griffin Posterizes Jakob Poeltl, Leaves Jeff Green in Shock
Blake Griffin drives into the lane and throws a one-handed hammer on Jakob Poeltl, leaving teammate Jeff Green speechless.
Griffin is known for his electrifying dunks. However, he stopped dunking during his last season with the Pistons, which left fans wondering if his ability to jump has regressed. This massive dunk certainly shows it hasn’t.
Lakers Officially Hang Their 17th Banner
The Lakers have been waiting for fans to be allowed back into Staples Center to reveal their 17th NBA championship banner. With fans finally back in attendance, they did just that.
“We’ve waited until now because our banner has always been about our fans,” said owner Jeanie Buss before passing the mic to LeBron James.
James exclaimed, “The road to back-to-back starts in about a week!” before the Lakers unveiled their 2020 championship banner.
The Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in six games in the 2020 NBA Finals. LeBron James secured his fifth Finals MVP, and Anthony Davis earned his first title in his first season with the Lakers.
The Lakers are now tied with the rivaling Celtics for most titles in NBA history.
Jusuf Nurkic Launches a Full-Court inbounds Pass to CJ McCollum Who Beats the Half-Time Buzzer
Jusuf Nurkic looked like the next great quarterback, as he throws a perfect full-court inbound pass to CJ McCollum. McCollum catches the ball and beats the buzzer with a mid-range shot while falling to the side.
Beautiful pass; beautiful shot.
News Around the Association
The Blazers Need to Win One of Their Remaining Two Games to Save LordTreeSap’s House
On April 18, Twitter user LordTreeSap replied to a Damian Lillard tweet that he needs the Blazers to win 42 games to keep his house.
Lillard, who was soon to make a return from injury at the time, responded with a simple, “Say less.”
The Blazers have since gone 9-5 for a 41-29 record and have to defeat either the Suns or Nuggets in their final two games to save LordTreeSap’s house.
The Hawks Clinch a Playoff Spot for the First Time Since the 2016-17 Season
After a 14-20 start to the season with Lloyd Pierce as head coach, the Atalanta Hawks go 25-11 under Nate McMillian and clinch a playoff berth.
The Hawks overcame a double-digit deficit against the Wizards, winning 120-116 to secure a playoff spot.
The Knicks Clinch First Playoff Berth Since 2012-13 Season
With a Celtics loss to the Cavaliers, the Knicks clinch a top six seed in the Eastern Conference.
Strong leadership from Julius Randle and R.J. Barrett combined with Tom Thibadeau’s proven system helped power the Knicks to the 2021 NBA playoffs.
Randle earns a $945K bonus as a result of the Knicks clinching the playoffs. Randle previously received a $945K bonus for being selected to the All-Star team.
The Knicks have three games remaining while currently sitting in the 6th spot. They’ll likely play the Heat, Hawks or Bucks in the first round.
Victor Oladipo Will Have Season-Ending Knee Surgery
The Miami Heat announced that Victor Oladipo, who has been out with an injured right knee since early April, will have a season-ending knee surgery Thursday.
Oladipo started the year with the Pacers. The Pacers had offered Oladipo a contract extension with a $25M starting salary; Oladipo turned it down. In January, the Pacers dealt Oladipo in a three-team trade that sent him to the Rockets, James Harden to the Nets, and Caris LeVert to the Pacers.
During Oladipo’s short stint in Houston, the Rockets reportedly offered him a 2-year, $45.2 million extension. Oladipo also turned down that contract to gauge the upcoming 2021 free agency market for a better deal. The Rockets later traded Oladipo again to the Heat for Avery Bradley, Kelly Olynyk, and a 2022 pick just before the March 25 trade deadline passed.
Oladipo is in the final year of a four-year, $85 million contract; he’ll spend free agency rehabbing and negotiating a new contract.
The Nets Sign Mike James for the Remainder of the Season
The Brooklyn Nets will commit to Mike James for the remainder of the NBA season, securing a combo guar for the fast-approaching NBA playoffs.
James played a season-high 27 minutes on Wed, followed by 26 minutes on Thursday. He played the past two seasons for CSKA Moscow in the Euroleague.
James will compete for a championship before competing for a new NBA contract in free agency.
Read and watch May 11, 2021 News/Highlights