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Don’t forget to set your clock back for DAME TIME

The Lakers have no business being tied with the Blazers in the closing seconds in Portland, but things happen. Damian Lillard ensured the Blazers escaped with the 113-110 win anyway. It was a retro heroball look — no surprise, no movement, just a beautiful deep step-back to get the shot over Brandon Ingram, leaving just a sliver of time for the Lakers.

The other big story from this game: an oddly empty box score for Lonzo Ball on national TV. He finished with zero points on 0-of-2 shooting, with four assists and three rebounds in 28 minutes. Ball is going to have be able to cook a weak defender like Lillard if he’s going to put up numbers consistently in this league. There’s plenty of time to learn, though.

In the early game, the Spurs jumped out to a huge early lead before the Warriors fought back and ended up winning comfortably. San Antonio cannot qualify as being in Golden State’s head given the sweep in last year’s playoffs. But there’s something there — when Kawhi Leonard comes back, the Spurs have a shot against the Warriors.

Scores galore …

GSW 112, SAS 92

LAL 110, POR 113

… And so much more

Paul Flannery with a lovely piece on why the NBA needs Manu Ginobili every bit as much as the Spurs do.

The Starters invented some amazing new in-arena camera moments.

Big Marc Stein blowout on Giannis Antetokounmpo. I will read 300 features on Giannis this season if that’s what it takes.

In appreciation of the NBA’s smart reduction of timeouts. It’s been noticeable in speeding up end-game situations.

Five reasons the Cavaliers are trash right now, ranked. This is the worst start to a season for a LeBron team in more than a decade, by the way.

Interesting comments from Maverick Carter, LeBron’s right-hand man, on what matters to LeBron in free agency: winning.

For some reason, Stephen Curry was mentioned in the new tax legislation. He has jokes.

Really interesting piece by Ramona Shelburne on the mental challenge of this season for the Warriors.

Why is Steph Curry taking so many free throws this season?

Look at Zach LaVine getting big sneaker money from Adidas! Three Stripes is betting that he’ll be The Show in Chicago once he’s healthy.

Big Ricky O’Donnell profile on Cameron Reddish, a no-hype prospect everyone will love.

There are children watching, Steve Kerr!Gregg Popovichgot himself tossed from this game, by the way.

And finally: perfect James Harden eye-roll impression from this kid.

Who Got Next?

ESPN’s Friday doubleheader has Cavaliers-Wizards (7 p.m. ET, Jeff Green Homecoming) and CelticsThunder (9:30 ET, Kendrick Perkins Invitational). No national TV on Saturday, but there’s a ClippersGrizzlies matinee (3:30 p.m. ET) you might want to check out. No national TV on Sunday either, but there are a bunch of good matchups slated.

Be excellent to each other.

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