Eastern Notes: LeBron, Noel, Knicks

If LeBron James was indeed trying to send a message to his teammates during the Cavs‘ 101-82 loss to the Blazers last night, it’s a risky move that may backfire, Nate Scott of USA Today opines. James had one of the worst games of his career and immediately passed the ball anytime it came to him during the second half of the game. “I’m just trying to do other things,” James said. “I’m trying to instill what it takes to win. My mission is not a one-game thing. We have to do multiple things in order to win. We have to share the ball. We’ve got to play defense. We’ve got to sacrifice in order to ultimately win. Obviously, when you’re going through the process, it’s not the best part of it. But I’m looking at the end of the tunnel.” Scott believes it might be too early in the season for James to try and light a fire under the rest of the team, and it could end up causing issues in the locker room.

Here’s more from the east:

  • James realizes that many of his new teammates in Cleveland haven’t had experience with winning in the NBA, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “There has been a lot of losing basketball around here for a few years,” James said. “A lot of guys who are going to help us win ultimately haven’t played a lot of meaningful basketball games in our league. When we get to that point where every possession matters, no possessions off, we have to share the ball, move the ball and be a team and be unselfish, we’ll be a better team.
  • Knicks second round draftee Thanasis Antetokounmpo said it was a call from team president Phil Jackson during the summer that sealed his decision to play in the NBA D-League rather than overseas, Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com tweets.
  • Nerlens Noel is the early leader for Rookie of the Year honors, Michael Kaskey-Blomain of Philly.com writes. The Sixers‘ big man is attempting to duplicate Blake Griffin‘s feat of winning the award after sitting out his first year due to injury, notes the Philly.com scribe. In four games Noel is averaging 8.0 PPG, 6.5 RPG, and 2.0 BPG.

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