Saturday, April 1 2023

After the Los Angeles Lakers won 129-110 over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday night, Paolo Banchero was asked what LeBron James has meant to him throughout the course of his life.

“Anybody that knows me knows that’s been my favorite player since I was a young kid,” said the rookie forward. “A guy who I’ve watched countless hours of… So to be on an NBA court with him makes me scratch my head that this is real life.”

A few NBA betting sites are giving Paolo Banchero the best odds to win Rookie of the Year in 2023. However, sportsbooks are still showing favorable odds for Bennedict Mathurin and Jaden Ivey.

Paolo Banchero ended his night with four points, five rebounds, and three assists in 22 minutes of action. In addition to committing five fouls, the Magic wing spent most of his time guarding James.

“It was a huge stretch, not having Paolo on the floor,” Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said. “You have to give the Lakers a ton of credit. They came out and they hit us early. They put the pressure on, they attacked in transition. Credit to them, but we have to be better next game.”

Magic rookie Paolo Banchero says Lakers star LeBron James has been his favorite player since he was a kid

Of course, this win eliminated the Lakers’ four-game skid. Per ESPN, approximately 19,482 fans attended this event, the largest crowd ever for a Magic home game. Ticket sales might have had something to do with LeBron James facing this year’s No. 1 overall pick for the first time.

Through 28 starts this season, Banchero is averaging 21.1 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 3.9 assists. Plus, he’s shooting 44.5% from the field and 31.5% outside the arc.

Furthermore, the Duke product ranks 13th in made free throws (166). In only 28 NBA appearances, Banchero has also recorded six double-doubles.

Meanwhile, LeBron James closed out his outing with 28 points, seven boards, five assists, one steal, and one block in 31 minutes played. He shot 12-of-24 (50%) from the floor and missed all seven 3-point attempts against Orlando.

Through 26 starts, the four-time MVP is averaging 27.8 points, 8.0 rebounds, 6.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. Not to mention, James is shooting 49.7% from the field and 29.4% beyond the arc.

Source: Basketball Insider


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