Lonzo Ball

Ben Simmons' Rookie of the Year odds take a turn

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Ben Simmons' Rookie of the Year odds take a turn

The race for NBA Rookie of the Year isn't as open-and-shut as it initially appeared.

Ben Simmons is still the heavy favorite but his odds have dropped substantially over the last month. On Dec. 1, Bovada listed Simmons at 1/20. As of Jan. 2, he is 2/13.

That's about a 67 percent drop for Simmons. It's related both to Simmons' slowing down a bit and the continued emergences of Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma.

When the odds came out last month, Simmons had played 20 games and was averaging 18.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 2.3 steals.

Simmons proceeded to have a few down games — Pistons, T-Wolves, Knicks, Nuggets (to be fair, all games the Sixers won) — and he's now averaging 16.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, 7.5 assists and 1.9 steals.

Meanwhile, Mitchell and Kuzma continue to lead their teams on offense. Mitchell, who some have compared to a young Dwyane Wade, is averaging 18.2 points and making 2.2 threes per game. In the time between Bovada's Dec. 1 and Jan. 2 updates, Mitchell averaged 23.1 points, shooting 51 percent from the field and 88 percent from the line.

The ever-confident Kuzma has been much better for the Lakers than Lonzo Ball, who is currently sidelined by a shoulder injury. Kuzma is averaging 17.5 points and 6.5 rebounds, shooting 47 percent from the field and nearly 40 percent from three.

Here are the full odds:

Ben Simmons: 2/13

Donovan Mitchell: 4/1

Kyle Kuzma: 20/1

Jayson Tatum: 25/1

Lonzo Ball, Lauri Markkanen, Dennis Smith: 40/1

De'Aaron Fox: 66/1

Bogdan Bogdanovic, Josh Jackson: 80/1

John Collins: 90/1

Malik Monk: 100/1

Best of NBA: LeBron James triple-double lifts Cavaliers over Lakers

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Best of NBA: LeBron James triple-double lifts Cavaliers over Lakers

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 59th career triple-double in front of Lonzo Ball and his brothers, Kevin Love scored 28 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the 16th time in 17 games, 121-112 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

James finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to move a tie with Larry Bird for sixth place on the career triple-doubles list. He also put the Lakers away with a dunk and short runner in the final two minutes.

Love scored 13 in the third quarter, when the Cavs opened an 11-point lead on the way to their 10th straight home win. Jose Calderon added a season-high 17 points for Cleveland.

Brandon Ingram scored 26 for the Lakers and Ball had 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

It was the first on-court meeting between James and Ball, the Lakers' highly touted rookie whose outspoken father LaVar has brought both attention and animosity toward his son.

LaVar Ball, who did not attend the game, launched his "Big Baller Brand" to promote his three talented sons. James gave them an in-person lesson in the business of basketball (see full recap).

Lee, Knicks top Nets after Porzingis exits
NEW YORK -- Courtney Lee scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half, Michael Beasley added 15, and the New York Knicks held on to beat the Brooklyn Nets 111-104 on Thursday night after losing star forward Kristaps Porzingis to a sore left knee early in the second half.

Porzingis motioned to the bench with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter after contesting a shot made by Brooklyn's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Knicks' leading scorer had scored 13 points in nearly 18 minutes in the first half.

Enes Kanter had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who earned just their second road victory of the season. Their only other one was Oct. 29 at Cleveland.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 26 points for the Nets, who have dropped the first two games to their city rivals. Hollis-Jefferson added 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting and Caris LeVert added 15 (see full recap).

Drummond helps Pistons snap 7-game skid
ATLANTA -- Andre Drummond had 12 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high nine assists, Tobias Harris added 19 points and the Detroit Pistons snapped a seven-game slide with a 105-91 victory over the NBA-worst Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

Avery Bradley finished with 18 points and Langston Galloway scored 17 as Detroit won for the first time since beating Phoenix on Nov. 29.

Ersan Ilyasova had 23 points, John Collins scored 15 and Dennis Schroder had 10 assists for Atlanta, which dropped to 6-22 and has lost three in a row.

The Pistons never trailed after Galloway's 3-pointer early in the second quarter. They led by 13 at halftime when Galloway hit a 20-footer in the closing seconds and went up by 22 on Reggie Bullock's floater midway through the third.

Detroit recovered from a 103-84 home loss Tuesday to Denver, a performance coach Stan Van Gundy called one of the worst "I've ever had to coach" in over 850 career games (see full recap).

LaVar Ball was pretty darn fun in Philadelphia

LaVar Ball was pretty darn fun in Philadelphia

LaVar Ball was in Philadelphia on Thursday night.

Yep, you guessed it — pure entertainment.

Ball visited the Wells Fargo Center to take in the Sixers-Lakers game. His son, Lonzo, delivered the game-winning assist in the final seconds of the Lakers' 107-104 decision over the Sixers.

Postgame was fun, to say the least, and the theatrics all started before the final buzzer actually sounded. The show commenced when Ball was spotted in his suite waving his arms and riling up fans.

Then he was found afterward in the bowels of the arena.

That was when everything happened. From talking about his feud with President Trump, to meeting Joel Embiid, to discussing cheesesteaks, to calling himself a genius, and to actually complimenting Philadelphia, Ball was his typical boisterous and jubilant self.

"People expect me to be in Philly talking about, 'I don't like Philly, I told you we were gonna beat them,'" Ball said to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Casey Feeney. "I don't got to say all that, they all good people.

"So far, Philly has got the best hospitality we've been around, but we've been to Phoenix, too, they were good."

To recap Ball's night, watch the video above and take everything in below.

Enjoy …