Like Real Madrid, Portugal has to cope without Ronaldo
LeBron James watched Lonzo Ball play in Las Vegas during the 2017 NBA Summer League, taking in a Los Angeles Lakers' game from a baseline seat as a spectator.
James and Ball were on-court teammates for the first time when the Lakers beat the Golden State Warriors 123-113, back in Las Vegas. Ball didn't start the preseason contest, but replaced Rajon Rondo just 2 minutes, 13 seconds into the game.
“It's just fun to have our full group,” James said.
James and Ball didn't play very much. Ball has been recovering from a knee issue, and it was his a better view (Thursday, PHL first appearance this preseason.
James didn't want to burden his new point guard with a lot of expectations, so he was keeping his approach very simple.
“He plays basketball,” James said of Ball before the game. “He knows how to play basketball.”
It was James’ first game against the Warriors since last season's NBA Finals — when his second stint as a member of the Cleveland Cavaliers ended with Golden State sweeping its way to a second consecutive championship. But he downplayed the exhibition being any extension of his rivalry with the Warriors, or the rivalry between the California clubs.
“Preseason game,” James said.
WIZARDS 102, PISTONS 97
In Wednesday's (Thursday, PHL time) other game, John Wall scored 32 points, including a layup with 1:26 left that put Washington ahead for good.
Wall finished with nine assists and Bradley Beal scored 17 points for the Wizards. Andre Drummond led the Pistons with 17 points and 20 rebounds, and Blake Griffin added 16 points for Detroit.
Washington (3-1) hosts the Guangzhou Long-Lions on Friday (Saturday, PHL time). Detroit (1-3) faces Cleveland in East Lansing, Michigan, on Friday (Saturday, PHL time).
It's not only Real Madrid that has to adapt to life without Cristiano Ronaldo.
Portugal's national soccer team also has had to cope without the star forward as he takes a break from international duty following his transfer to Juventus and amid a rape allegation against him.
Ronaldo hasn't been called up for the national team since the World Cup, and the Portuguese soccer federation has already said he also will not be considered for upcoming international matches later this year.
Portugal, which won the European Championship in 2016 for its first major title, will face Scotland in a friendly on Sunday.
“The best in the world remains the best in the world, but he is not here and we have to focus on those who are,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos said Wednesday. “I fully trust the players who are here and they will come through for us.”
Santos said Ronaldo remained fully committed to the national team, after he skipped the team's first two matches after the World Cup to rest following a busy offseason that included his move from Real Madrid to Juventus. Santos had said Ronaldo was still settling in with the Italian club and needed time to focus on that.
Last week, Santos did not give details for not including Ronaldo in the team, saying the decision was made after a threeway conversation between him, the player and the head of the Portuguese soccer federation. The squad announcement came after news that Ronaldo is dealing with a rape allegation in the United States, although Santos did not comment on the player's state of mind nor did he say the decision had anything to do with off-thefield issues.
Santos' problem now is how to get his team working without Ronaldo. And that's where Andre Silva comes in.
The 22-year-old striker, considered to be the perfect wingman for Ronaldo in Portugal's attack, has been doing just fine by himself this season. He was crucial in the team's opening win against Italy in the Nations League last month, scoring the second-half winner that left Portugal at the top of Group 3 in League A of Europe's newest competition.
Portugal leads Group 3 with three points, two more than both Poland and Italy. Italy has already played twice, losing at Portugal and drawing against Poland at home.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) shoots between Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, left, and guard Andre Iguodala during the first half of an NBA preseason basketball game Wednesday, October 10, 2018, in Las Vegas.
Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo looks disappointed beside celebrating players of Uruguay after the round of 16 match between Uruguay and Portugal at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi, Russia, Saturday, June 30, 2018.