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Plenty Of Long Beach Rooting Interest In NBA Playoffs

There are plenty of Long Beach basketball fans who are bummed about the Lakers not making the playoffs. The good news is, there’s seven players, coaches, or officials with Long Beach and Moore League ties to cheer for in April, May, and June as the NBA playoffs roll on.

The most notable name is San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan, the best player in Compton High history and arguably the best to ever come out of the Moore League. DeRozan is with the Spurs this year after having begun his career in Toronto. While the Raptors are having their customary difficulty to start the postseason, the Spurs went up 1-0 on the road in Denver, thanks in part to DeRozan’s 16 points.

Long Beach Poly alum Jordan Bell made history as the first Jackrabbit to win an NBA title last year with the Warriors, and Bell’s squad is the overwhelming favorite to win again this year. Bell is in the deep playoff rotation for Golden State and is likely to get more playing time after Monday night’s injury to Demarcus Cousins. Bell had a rebound and a steal in game one.

Long Beach State product James Ennis began his NBA career in Houston but is in Philadelphia this year. Ennis missed the first game of the playoffs with a quad injury but came off the bench in the 76ers’ second game, a win for Philly. Ennis had six points, three rebounds and an assist in the win.

In the coaching ranks there’s another trio of Long Beach guys, with Jordan alum Travon Bryant serving as the Nets’ big man coach, Wilson/LBCC product Bruce Fraser coaching with the Warriors, and Wilson/LBCC alum Mike Batiste serving as an assistant coach for the Magic. In the officiating ranks, Long Beach State alum and longtime LB resident Kevin Cutler is an easy figure to spot–he’s the tallest official in the league.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.