MBB : FOURTH KIND: SU falls at Marquette for 1st 4-game losing skid in 5 seasons

first_imgMILWAUKEE — All Syracuse could do was watch Jimmy Butler fire away and hope for the best. Hands in his face or not, Marquette’s senior forward wasn’t missing when it counted the most.With the shot clock winding down and the score tied late, Butler drilled a huge 3-pointer from right in front of the Marquette bench. The shot was part one of two late-game dagger 3-pointers, and the Bradley Center crowd erupted.‘The first one was big,’ Marquette head coach Buzz Williams said. ‘We ran the play with six seconds left (on the shot clock), and you can’t get a better look. You just hope it goes in.’Each time Syracuse came knocking on the door Saturday, Marquette answered the call. Though the Orange kept fighting back, it couldn’t fight back from the Golden Eagles’ pair of clutch 3-pointers.After Butler’s 3 with fewer than two minutes remaining, the Marquette’s sparkplug Darius Johnson-Odom followed with one of his own on the ensuing possession, giving Marquette (14-8, 5-4 Big East) a six-point advantage. And four clutch free throws sealed Marquette’s 76-70 victory over the Orange (18-4, 5-4) in front of 19,032 inside the Bradley Center on Saturday. In the closing seconds, after such an intense effort forging a comeback, reality sank in that SU’s losing streak would continue.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textIt’s a streak that now stands at four games after 18 consecutive wins. It comes after the second-best opening to a season in program history. Four straight losses to four Big East opponents.‘The game came down to Butler making a forced 3 on the right-hand side,’ Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim said. ‘You’ve got to give him a lot of credit — it was the toughest shot of the game. And then he made a tough shot with the (shot) clock going out in the corner. That’s just the way it is. He made two great plays, and that was the ball game.’Despite being down the entire game, Syracuse battled back time and time again. Down 11 at the half, SU inched closer and evened the score down the stretch. Each time, SU was unable to hold onto any kind of advantage as Marquette’s starters drained 6-of-12 attempts from beyond the arc.That was no surprise. Coming into the game, Marquette’s four leading scorers were shooting 40 percent from beyond the arc. What was surprising, though, was the occasional wide-open looks the Golden Eagles were consistently finding. That and how easily Marquette was able to get to the line when the outside shot wasn’t open.‘Once again, we got off to a slow start and spent the entire game trying to come back,’ SU guard Brandon Triche said. ‘Second half, we played like we did when we were winning. But we had to dig ourselves out.’Marquette started the game on a 10-3 run and went into halftime with an 11-point lead. But in spite of the slow start, Syracuse refused to go away. After some light criticism following a 22-point blowout loss to Seton Hall on Tuesday, starters Triche, Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Rick Jackson led the way for the Orange. Joseph and Jardine got into a shooting rhythm, and Jackson took what the defense gave him when he wasn’t being double-teamed.At times in the second half, Syracuse appeared to be able to get whatever it wanted offensively. Syracuse shot an astounding 57 percent from the field (28-of-49), prompting Boeheim to say the Orange played as well offensively as it had all season.‘The first half, we weren’t defending,’ Boeheim said. ‘The passes were getting by us too much. … In the second half, we put both together.’Still, the Orange couldn’t make a stop consistently, sometimes allowing Marquette to fire away uncontested from the outside. Yet after trailing most of the game, SU eventually tied the game at 66-66.But Butler struck the deathblow. The shot Boeheim said was the toughest of the game sent his Orange to its fourth consecutive defeat.Said Butler: ‘I just rose up and knocked it down.’aljohn@syr.edu Comments Published on January 28, 2011 at 12:00 pmcenter_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Analysis: As trade rumors and injuries rattle the Lakers, could it cost them the playoffs?

first_imgOAKLAND — For the Lakers, it’s been a week of fielding awkward questions.How do you handle trade rumors? Are they being discussed in the locker room? Have you thought about the possibility of being traded?For the most part, it’s been business-like responses. But perhaps Brandon Ingram put the most honest light on it when he was asked how it made him feel to see his former teammate D’Angelo Russell now an All-Star with the Brooklyn Nets. He called it an “amazing accomplishment,” and then checked off a list of former Lakers – Julius Randle, Larry Nance, Jordan Clarkson – who are doing OK since they’ve left town.“Everybody has different situations of opportunity and doing what they can do on the basketball floor,” he said. “This is up to the players. It’s up to the players whether they can handle it mentally, and come in mentally and physically, and just handle whatever organization they can be at.” The standings crunch is starting to get problematic: The Lakers are in 10th place in the West, a game-and-a-half out of the eighth-place Clippers. But various projections don’t like their odds: Stat site FiveThirtyEight lists them at 15 percent, and ESPN (15.6 percent) and Basketball Reference (12.8 percent) are similarly bleak.As the pressure intensifies, the stakes only get higher. And no matter who the player is, that’s a lot for any Laker to handle.Ingram dealt with more questions as well as he could Saturday night, saying he hasn’t heard much about trade talk in the locker room – whether that can be trusted or not.“We kind of let you guys take care of that end,” he told the media. “We don’t discuss it. Whatever happens, happens. We can only control what we can control.”As the season has gone on, the factors that can be controlled within the locker room are shrinking. And it doesn’t look like it gets any easier from here. Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersTo a degree, it is up to the players to have success. But at a critical moment of the season, one on which the Lakers’ playoff hopes rely, the franchise is testing the boundaries of what their players can handle.It was hardly a surprise that the Lakers (27-26) fell to the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night, as LeBron James rested with lingering soreness from his comeback game. But it was more notable that multiple media reports sprouted up about a postgame confrontation between Coach Luke Walton and several Lakers’ veterans, including JaVale McGee and Michael Beasley, over perceived selfish play.Accounts varied. A report from The Athletic called it a “heated scene,” while ESPN cited several sources who identified it as a run-of-the-mill passionate back-and-forth in the dog days of the season.Anywhere the spat falls on the spectrum, it’s not a stunning development. There’s been a lot of tinder on this fire – one which could cost the Lakers a shot at the playoffs.For one, the Lakers have struggled without James, going just 6-12 when he’s unable to play. At the very moment they seemed to be finding a rhythm without him, with back-to-back wins against the Bulls and the Thunder, Lonzo Ball’s ankle injury caught them off-balance. Since then, the Lakers are just 2-5, and locker rooms are always tougher for losing teams. The unpredictable nature of James’ groin injury (and recovery timetable) hasn’t helped. While it was a relief for many of his teammates to see him on the court Thursday night against the Clippers, many of them said they had no inkling that he was going to play until they arrived at the arena – indeed, the Lakers had declared him “out” for the game the day before. By the same token, several players said they were taken by surprise when they arrived at Oracle on Saturday to learn he would be resting.While Walton said he had discussed the decision with James prior to the game, even he acknowledged some last-minute adjustments with James’ absence.“I thought it probably threw us off a little bit early,” he said. “Just because our pregame shootaround was one game plan, and once we found out he wasn’t going to play we switched some of that. … It took us to time to adjust to what the new game plan was”Add to the pressure cooker that the trade rumors have never been hotter. While players went through some over the summer, as the Lakers were reportedly interested in dealing for Kawhi Leonard, the threat of a trade for Anthony Davis has seemed much more tangible, and they’ve had the added challenge of needing to play through it.About a huge chunk of the roster – including Ingram, Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Rajon Rondo and Michael Beasley – have been able to read their names associated with trade proposals in various reports. The older players, many of whom are on one-year contracts, face insecurity about performing well enough to cash in next summer when nearly half of the league’s talent will face free agency decisions. The younger players face the unpredictability of being ripped from a premier NBA market, the only one they’ve ever known.One of the veterans of trade season, Rondo, said the third- and second-year players are dealing well with the scrutiny so far.“They’re still in the gym working,” he said. “They know at the end of the day they’ll still have a job in the NBA regardless of where it’s at. They’re learning in this league that trade talks happen all the time, and each year that they’ll be in the game, they’ll understand that it’s a business.”The problem for the Lakers is that business is coinciding with a challenging stretch of games. The trade deadline, which will be fraught with speculation about a Davis deal, will be on Feb. 7. Through that time, the Lakers have road games against the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics, both top-five teams in the Eastern Conference. If they do make a trade, they’ll likely have to sit out players that are involved in the deal. Even after the deadline, before the All-Star break, they’ll still have to take down the Philadelphia 76ers, who beat them soundly at home, and the Atlanta Hawks, who were a blocked shot away from beating them at home.Related Articles How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years center_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed Trail Blazers beat Grizzlies in play-in, earn first-round series with the Lakers Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more