N.B.A. Finals Preview: Lakers (Expected) vs. Heat (Surprise!)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Miami Heat, a long-shot title hope at the start of the season, have already exceeded expectations. The Los Angeles Lakers are still trying to meet them.

Nearly a full year after the 2019-20 season began, two teams remain. And the N.B.A. finals, which start Wednesday night inside the league’s bubble at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., promise to feature a blend of styles as the Heat and Lakers grapple for a championship.

The Lakers, after trading for Anthony Davis more than a year ago, entered the playoffs as the top seed in the Western Conference before delivering through three rounds. The Heat, seeded fifth in the East, have surfaced as a surprise to make their first finals appearance since 2014 — back when they employed a player named LeBron James.

On Tuesday, James reflected on the four seasons he spent with the Heat, a team he joined in 2010 when he was 25 and helped lift to two championships.

“I was still a kid and still trying to figure out who I am as a person and as a man,” he said. “I grew, and they allowed me to grow.”

Here are three things to watch in the finals:

1. Defending the guards.

Considering the Lakers’ rapid push to the finals — they needed just five games to eliminate each of their first three playoff opponents — it may be easy to overlook the fact that they don’t have their best perimeter defender. Avery Bradley opted out of the restart in July because of family concerns.

“No one says anything about it, and I’m glad they don’t, but what other team could lose their starting shooting guard?” the Lakers’ Jared Dudley asked. “Our best on-the-ball defender? But we’re still here. No one’s made any excuses: ‘Hey, next man up, and let’s go.’”

Without Bradley, the Lakers needed a collective effort in the conference finals to defend Jamal Murray, the Denver Nuggets’ dazzling point guard. Over five games, Murray averaged 25 points and 7.4 assists on 51.8 percent shooting. He was such a concern for the Lakers that James asked to defend him down th

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Living through ‘bubble’ LeBron’s biggest career challenge so far – Reuters

(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James believes living in the NBA’s bio-secure bubble has probably been the biggest challenge of his triumph-filled career.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Sixteen-time All-Star James arrived in Orlando, Florida, in July along with players from 22 National Basketball Association teams, determined to pick up his fourth NBA title after the deadly coronavirus outbreak had halted professional sports in March.

Yet the 35-year-old, four-time MVP’s championship mentality was put to the ultimate test inside the NBA’s quarantine setting at Walt Disney Wo

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Living through ‘bubble’ LeBron’s biggest career challenge so far – Reuters India

(Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James believes living in the NBA’s bio-secure bubble has probably been the biggest challenge of his triumph-filled career.

FILE PHOTO: Basketball player LeBron James arrives on the red carpet for the film “The Carter Effect” at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), in Toronto, Canada, September 9, 2017. REUTERS/Mark Blinch/File Photo

Sixteen-time All-Star James arrived in Orlando, Florida, in July along with players from 22 National Basketball Association teams, determined to pick up his fourth NBA title after the deadly coronavirus outbreak had halted professional sports in March.

Yet the 35-year-old, four-time MVP’s championship mentality was put to the ultimate test inside the NBA’s quarantine setting at Walt Disney World, where the Lakers will face the Miami Heat in Game 1

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Universal Pictures, LeBron James’ SpringHill sign first-look film deal – Reuters Canada

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) reacts against the Denver Nuggets during the fourth quarter in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

(Reuters) – Universal Pictures has entered into a four-year, first-look production deal with

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LeBron James, Pat Riley put legacies on the line in NBA Finals – Sportsnet.ca

Decades of NBA lore are built on rivalries — epic, titanic, ego-driven clashes that lend context, subtext and the weight of history to what are otherwise just games.

People pay for that stuff, and the league and its players have cashed in, with money spilling in so quickly that it can barely be counted, let alone spent.

It’s good versus evil; pride and prejudice, and pride going before the fall. It’s Celtics-Lakers; Bird-Magic; Michael vs. the Pistons, Shaq vs. Kobe, KD vs. the Warriors and LeBron over everyone.

Some of it is straight out of the Vince McMahon playbook: storylines that keep the plot twisting through never-ending winters until games that matter finally arrive, at which point the hype machine kicks it up another notch.

If there is a podcasting odd couple, this might be it. Donnovan Bennett and JD Bunkis don’t agree on much, but you’ll agree this is the best Toronto Raptors podcast going.

But some of it is real. Some of it is based on men of giant accomplishments and massive, never-satiated ambitions coming together and pulling apart like tectonic plates on ephedrine, the league’s foundations quaking along the way.

So yeah, the Miami Heat facing the Los Angeles Lakers has some juice to it.

This time it’s not an on-court rivalry that lends the final series of the NBA’s most unusual season its weight — though on paper the young, upstart Heat testing themselves against LeBron James and his insta-dynasty Lakers has all the ingredients to make it suitably delicious.

But what could make it memorable and a new plot point in the league’s decades-long drama is the way it pits two of sport’s most significant, preening, powerful, proud and successful figures against one another.

Heat president Pat Riley is 75 and his Goodfellas-inspired, slicked-back hair has long gone gray. But even in the bubble and wearing a mask, behind a glass partition, he has a presence. When current Heat star Jimmy Butler is looking for approval, he looks up into the stands, devoid of fans, for a post-game thumbs up from Riley. The Heat figurehead is the former Lakers role player turned coach turned executive turned living legend, the one who rode shotgun for Jerry West on the floor; earned Magic Johnson’s trust from the bench before pushing him too far and losing that war of wills after five championships.

Cast out from L.A., Riley perfected bully ball with the New York Knicks in the 90s, very nearly toppling Jordan in the process, before bolting for Miami, where he has somehow fused L.A. cool with New York edge, South Florida weather and no state income tax to create an NBA destination out of almost nothing.

It was Riley’s presence that attracted James after the kid from Akron was all grown up and looking to leave home. Riley plunked down a bag with the nine championships he’d won as a player, coach and executive and promised James he’d win a bunch more if they joined forces in Miami. James, without a title to show for seven years as a good soldier in Cleveland, followed the sun.

It was a perfect union – the world’s gr

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The Celtics Have a Bright Future — and a Low Ceiling?

There are two types of Boston sports fans: those who yell about firing or trading everyone after any loss — and those who, in a quieter voice, call for firing or trading everyone after any loss.

So the Boston Celtics losing in six games to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference finals — a series that Boston was favored in — was not ideal for the blood pressure of either kind of fan. It was Boston’s best chance to get to the finals since the 2011-12 season, when the Celtics also lost to Miami, in seven games. But in that case, the Heat, led by LeBron James, were by far the more talented team.

Let’s remember, though, the expectations for the Celtics entering the season: They had just lost Kyrie Irving (Nets), Al Horford (Sixers) and several other key players. Of the 17 players on the Celtics this season, seven were rookies. Yes, they added point guard Kemba Walker — a solid replacement for Irving, but last fall they were not expected to make much noise in the playoffs.

Instead, the Celtics went on a surprisingly strong regular-season run, going 48-24 for the third-best record in the East. They overachieved.

“It was a fun run,” Walker said after Sunday’s loss. “A tough finish, obviously, but we fought hard and that’s all you can ask for. You want guys to compete at a really high level, and I’m just proud of all these guys.”

Even with a disappointing playoff loss, the Celtics washed off the stain from last year’s torturous campaign in which they lost in the second round amid whispers that Irving was unhappy. Now, they have one of the youngest rosters in the N.B.A. If all goes well, they are equipped to make deep postseason runs for years to come.

If all goes well.

You cannot help but wonder whether they have enough to get over the hump. For years, Danny Ainge, the president of the Celtics, has resisted trading players or picks for stars like Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Anthony Davis; the trade with Cleveland for Irving in 2017 was a notable exception.

The Celtics have not won a title since 2008. At what point does a rebuilding team bec

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Heat coach says LeBron’s longevity is ‘testament to his greatness’ – Reuters

(Reuters) – Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra on Tuesday paid tribute to his former player LeBron James, who will make a 10th NBA Finals appearance this week but in a different jersey than when the duo were celebrating titles together.

The Los Angeles Lakers’ James spent four seasons under Spoelstra in Miami where he reached the NBA Finals each year and won two championships before going on win another with Cleveland.

James now finds his former Heat team standing between him and a fourth title.

Spoelstra, speaking to media on the eve of the NBA Finals, was asked how James is different to when he last wore a Heat uniform in 2014.

“He’s seen everything,” said Spoelstra, whose Heat team are underdogs against the Lakers i

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N.B.A. Season Like No Other: ‘One of the Worst, Strangest Years’

“The consensus was that we could come down here and use our platform to bring awareness to important issues,” Grant said, adding, “I thought I could do more here than back home.”

From the start, Grant used his platform to shine a spotlight on Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency room technician from Louisville, Ky. Taylor, a Black woman, was killed in March when police officers who were executing a search warrant broke down the door to her apartment and shot her six times.

“I think anytime anyone in our community gets murdered for no reason, it impacts me deeply,” Grant said.

On July 15, during his first talk with

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2020 NBA Finals Preview: LeBron’s Legacy, Asterisk Talk and More Notes – Sports Illustrated

So here we are, a year after teams reported to training camp, set to finish the wildest, most unpredictable season in NBA history. Many expected the Lakers to be here, with LeBron James teaming up with Anthony Davis to form one of the league’s most feared duos. Fewer would have bet on the Heat, a team that, like L.A., missed the playoffs last season and entered this one with a lot of unproven talent. But here we are, with James looking to knock off (one of) his former teams, with Miami looking to complete one of the most remarkable post-dynasty rebuilds in recent memory.

What to look for in this series? Let’s try to answer some questions.

Will there be an asterisk attached to this championship?

No. Hell no. It was one thing to ponder an asterisk before the NBA’s restart, when players were trickling into Orlando and the threat of a COVID-19 related stoppage seemed like a possibility. But now? Teams have largely been healthy. The games have been played at high level, higher, perhaps, than usual due to the elimination of travel, and the wear-and-tear that comes with it. Throw in the mental hurdle of finishing the season in isolation and there’s an argument to be made that not only is there no asterisk attached to this championship, it should be considered arguably the most difficult title any team has ever won.

Would a title be LeBron James’s most significant achievement?

The bucket of James’s “significant achievements” is overflowing. There’s the 2007 Cavaliers team that made the Finals with a 22-year old James flanked by Drew Gooden and Larry Hughes. There’s the back-to-back championships won in Miami. There’s the rally from 3-1 down to knock off a 72-win Warriors team in 2016. There’s the ten—ten!—Finals appearances, rarified air previously only occupied by Bill Russell, Sam Jones and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Yet there’s a strong case to be made that a title is James’s most notable accomplishment. At 35, James isn’t just a part of the Lakers surge to the Finals—he’s the driving force. His field goal percentage (54.7%) is the third highest of his playoff career. He’s averaging the second most assists (8.9) while cracking double-figures in rebounding (10.3) for just the second time. And he’s doing it in by far the fewest minutes per game (35) he’s played in a postseason. L.A., meanwhile, didn’t just best a difficult conference playoff field—they battered it, losing just three games along the way. If James and Co. do the same to Miami, this will be his crowning achievement.

The Lakers were 2-0 against the Heat in the regular season—does

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‘Kawhi Leonard stretched it too long’: Lakers’ Jeanie Buss reveals what happened post Anthony Davis… – The Sportsrush

Speaking to Sam Amico of The Athletic, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss reflected on the past offseason and how everything fell in place for the franchise.

It’s an open secret that the Los Angeles Lakers were among the suitors for Kawhi Leonard as a free agent last summer. The Klaw granted meetings to the Toronto Raptors as well, before deciding to sign with his hometown Clippers.

Among the conditions that Kawhi had was that the Clippers had to acquire a supporting star alongside him – something he would already have had with the Lakers.

The Anthony Davis trade and its impact on Kawhi Leonard move

The Anthony Davis trade saga began early last season and stretched on till the start of offseason. It was seen by many people as the Lakers giving up too much of their roster depth in pursuit of a superstar.

Many felt they would need another All Star or superstar to make waves in the playoffs.

Also Read: ‘Kawhi Leonard not a leader, Paul George wasn’t respected’: Doc R

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LeBron James’ Company Signs First-Look Deal with Universal Pictures

lebron james first look deal

NBA superstar LeBron James is having a particularly good week. He just led the Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals against his former team, the Miami Heat. And on top of that, his entertainment company, The SpringHill Company, has signed a first-look deal with Universal Pictures which will last for at least the next four years.

James is soon suiting up for a new Space Jam movie over at Warner Bros., so my first thought upon hearing this news was to wonder if someone at WB dropped the ball (sorry for the basketball pun) on locking down a renewed agreement at that studio instead. James and SpringHill previously had a development deal with WB back in 2015, around the time James co-starred in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck and surprised audiences with his on-screen charisma and charm. But now SpringHill has found a better offer across town, because?

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NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Odds, TV Schedule and Game 1 Live Stream

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) drives against Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic (15) during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James‘ 10th NBA Finals appearance comes with a unique twist that the previous nine did not have. 

For the first time in his career, James will face one of his former teams in the best-of-seven championship series. 

The Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begin their title showdown Wednesday inside the Orlando bubble after both teams closed out victories over the weekend. 

The Lakers, with James and Anthony Davis in tow, are understandably the favorites to take home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. That is reflected in the Game 1 betting line.

Miami proved throughout the Eastern Conference playoffs that it will not back away from a challenge, and its experience against Milwaukee and Boston could help it remain close for four quarters Wednesday.

                

NBA Finals Game 1 Information

Date: Wednesday, September 30

Start Time: 9 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Live Stream: ESPN.com or ESPN app

      

Odds

Miami (+166) vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-4.5; -198) (Over/Under: 217.5)

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

       

The Lakers and Heat both recorded three wins with over 110 points in the conference finals round. 

If that production carries over into Game 1 with a few extra days to rest, the over/under may be the best play Wednesday.

However, the Game 1 history of both teams in the bubble and the totals from the last five NBA Finals openers suggest the over could produce much more of a sweat than wanted. 

In the last five NBA Finals, an average of 214 points has been scored in Game

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Lakers’ LeBron faces former Heat team in NBA Finals – Reuters

(Reuters) – An unexpected NBA Finals matchup between the LeBron James-led Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat begins this week, capping an unprecedented season interrupted by the COVID-19 outbreak before resuming without fans at Disney World in Florida.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 26, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) during the first half in game five of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Denver Nuggets at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s showdown marks the first NBA Finals between two teams who missed the playoffs the previous season and it is the Lakers, powered by three-times champion James and Anthony Davis, who are favored in the best-of-seven games series.

James, who has reached nine of the last 10 NBA Finals, won his first t

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NBA Finals 2020: Miami Heat, Los Angeles Lakers become unprecedented NBA Finals opponents – NBA CA

The Miami Heat are headed back to the NBA Finals. Making their sixth appearance, and the first since 2014, Miami becomes the third-lowest seeded team to reach the NBA Finals since 1984.

They will be contesting the Los Angeles Lakers, making this the first Finals matchup between two teams who missed the playoffs the previous season. And they eliminated the Boston Celtics, who now join the Rockets in recent ignominy as the c

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Miami Heat may end up regretting not finalizing Danilo Gallinari trade – OKC Thunder Wire

For the fifth time in his career, Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will take his team to the NBA Finals. And there, he’ll attempt to defeat LeBron James, the superstar who helped make Spoelstra a champion in the first place.

In an alternate reality, Spoelstra could’ve had the Thunder’s Danilo Gallinari at his disposal — a piece his team could probably use in its quest.

Although the exact numbers may differ, Las Vegas has installed the Lakers as the favorite to win the title, and one can only help but to wonder whether the Heat will walk away from the championship regretting not finding a way to work things out with the Thunder last February. It was then that Sam Presti reportedly negotiated with the Heat on a deal that would have sent Gallinari to Miami.

The Heat, who ended up pulling off trades for Andre Iguodala and Jae Crowder, were obviously in acquisition mode. Believing that the franchise had an opportunity to make noise

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Randy Orton’s Tattoo Artist Sues Take-Two For Using Her Designs In WWE Games

Illustration for article titled Randy Orton’s Tattoo Artist Sues Take-Two For Using Her Designs In WWE Games

Screenshot: Take-Two / DBEATZ (Fair Use)

Take-Two and World Wrestling Entertainment are headed to trial after a judge ruled WWE 2K games copied the work of an artist responsible for some of pro wrestler Randy Orton’s tattoos.

Orton’s arms are fully inked from shoulder to hand, an intrinsic part of the four-time World Heavyweight Championship belt holder’s stage appearance. According to The Hollywood Reporter, those designs include tribal tattoos, skulls, a bible verse, and a dove and rose, all of which are the work of artist Catherine Alexander. She’s now suing Take-Two and WWE for reproducing her work in video games without her permission.

“[A]n issue of material fact exists as to whether Alexander suffered actual damages based on the value of the infringing use,” Illinois federal judge Staci Yandle wrote in a court order over the weekend. What that means is that the lawsuit will now go to trial for a jury to decide if the appearance of the tattoos in WWE 2K16, 17, and 18 amounts to copyright infringement and if so how much money the video game publisher will owe Alexander as a result.

While Orton licensed his likeness to WWE which in turn licensed it to Take-Two, what’s at issue is whether Alexander retains some rights to the tattoos once they start being

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LeBron James: ‘Put Some Respect’ on Chris Paul’s Name After Thunder Beat Rockets

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) dribbles against Oklahoma City Thunder's Chris Paul (3) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. The Lakers won 112-107. (AP Photo/Ringo H.W. Chiu)

Ringo H.W. Chiu/Associated Press

LeBron James took notice as Chris Paul scored 28 points to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 104-100 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 6 of their first-round playoff series Monday night.

OKC’s victory forces a Game 7 on Wednesday to determine which team will advance to face James’ Los Angeles Lakers in the conference semifinals.

Along with his team-high 28 points, Paul added seven rebounds, three assists, three steals and no turnovers in 40 minutes. He was a plus-20 in the contest; no other player was better than plus-seven.

“When it gets to clutch time, fourth quarter, some people are built for it, some people shy away from it,” Paul told TNT’s Jared Greenberg after the Game 6 win. “Some people are built for it, man, and we’re just go

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LeBron James Discusses Kobe Bryant’s Legacy and Lakers in 2020 NBA Finals

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James sits on the floor as he waits for the trophy ceremony to start after the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-107 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Up 2-0 in the 2009 NBA Finals, Kobe Bryant sat at a podium and said the Los Angeles Lakers‘ job wasn’t finished.

Heading to his first Finals as a Laker, LeBron James is echoing the same sentiment.

“The job is not done, but it’s great to hit moments throughout the course of a journey and appreciate that. This is all part of the process, but the job is not done for me personally. For us, as a franchise, I am extremely proud to be a part of this franchise getting back to where it belongs…this is what I came here for.”

James acknowledged that he heard all of the public criticism of his move to the Lakers, including accusations he signed in Los Angeles for reasons other than basketball. He says his hope is the Lakers’ run puts those talks to rest but acknowledged that likely won’t happen until he captures his fourth ring.

The Lakers are making their first Finals appearance since 2010, when Bryant captured his fifth and final ring. James talked about what the late Lakers legend means to him and their similarities, saying their drive to be the best is what separ

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NBA Playoff Schedule 2020: Remaining Dates, Odds Breakdown for Conference Finals

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) talks with teammates during a timeout in the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 114-108. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

Will LeBron James be back in the NBA Finals up against one of his former teams? It’s not a certainty, but that’s the way things are shaping up in the NBA playoffs.

On Thursday night, James led the Los Angeles Lakers to a Game 4 win over the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals, moving them one win away from a spot in the NBA Finals. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Miami Heat are also one victory away from reaching the championship game after notching a Game 4 victory over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night.

It’s not a shock that the Lakers, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, are in this position. But it’s been a surprise run from the Heat, who are the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference and took down the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the second round. They now have the No. 3-seeded Celtics on the brink of elimination.

With both series getting closer to their conclusions, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming action in the NBA playoffs.

                  

Remaining Conference Finals Schedule

Friday, Sept. 25

Game 5: No. 5 Miami Heat at No. 3 Boston Celtics, 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

          

Saturday, Sept. 26

Game 5: No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers, 9 p.m. ET, TNT

          

Sunday, Sept. 27

Game 6 (if necessary): No. 3 Boston Celtics at No. 5 Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

          

Monday, Sept. 28

Game 6 (if necessary): No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers at No. 3 Denver Nuggets, TBD, TNT

            

TBD

Game 7 (if necessary): No. 3 Boston Celtics at No. 5 Miami Heat, TBD, TBD

                  

Wednesday, Sept. 30

Game 7 (if necessary): No. 3 Denver Nuggets at No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers, TBD, TNT

            

NBA Title Odds

Los Angeles Lakers: -330 (bet $330

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Andre Iguodala Calls LeBron James ‘The Top Talent Ever’ Ahead of Heat vs. Lakers

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala (9) defends Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) in the first half of Game 3 of basketball's NBA Finals, Wednesday, June 6, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

Tony Dejak/Associated Press

Few people know what it is like to face LeBron James in the NBA Finals better than Andre Iguodala, which makes it all the more notable when he called the Los Angeles Lakers star “the top talent ever.”

“You just got to have that will, understanding you’re guarding the top talent ever,” Iguodala told Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s The Undefeated. “He’s going to make you pay when you make mistakes. You just try to play mistake-free basketball. Put him in vulnerable situations where you feel like you got the advantage, whether it’s a shot or a pass or where he is defensively.” 

Iguodala played against James in four straight NBA Finals from 2015 through 2018 when he was with the Golden State Warriors and the King was on the Cleveland Cavaliers. They will square off again with the 2020 Larry O’Brien Trophy hanging in the balance after Iguodal

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The Nike LeBron Soldier 14 “Lakers” Honors the Team’s Signature Yellow and Purple

In celebration of LeBron James‘ place on the Los Angeles Lakers, Nike has put together a take on the LeBron Soldier 14 honoring the team’s signature yellow and gold color scheme.

Similar to the tooling of the LeBron 7 “Lakers,” the upc

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NBA Finals 2020: Heat vs. Lakers Schedule, Odds and Early Preview

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) talks with players as confetti falls after the Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets in an NBA conference final playoff basketball game Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-107 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

It’s the powerhouse Los Angeles Lakers against the upstart, fifth-seeded Miami Heat.

It’s LeBron James’ current team against LeBron James’ old team.

It’s Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo against the King and Anthony Davis.

It’s Miami’s incredible supporting cast against playoff Rondo.

There are plenty of intriguing storylines for NBA fans as the Finals approach.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report shared the NBA Finals schedule, which can be seen below along with the odds and a quick preview for the series.

          

2020 NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

*if necessary

          

Odds (per FanDuel, as of Sunday at 11:55 p.m. ET)

Lakers -370

Heat +290

          

Quick Preview

Miami may be the underdog, but it actually matches up with the Laker

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NBA Finals 2020: Known Dates, Format for Championship Schedule

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James sets up a play during the second half of an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The 2020 NBA Finals is set, with LeBron James‘ past meeting his present.

James’ former team, the Miami Heat, earned their first Finals birth since his 2014 departure Sunday night with a 125-113 win over the Boston Celtics.

While few picked a Lakers-Heat Finals when the postseason began, these have been far and away the most dominant teams of the bubble format. Both teams lost just three games in rampaging through their respective conferences, though they did so in wildly different ways.

2020 NBA Finals Schedule

Game 1: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 2: Friday, Oct. 2 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 3: Sunday, Oct. 4 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 4: Tuesday, Oct. 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 5*: Friday, Oct. 9 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 6*: Sunday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. ET on ABC

Game 7*: Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 9 p.m. ET on ABC

The Lakers have their best one-two punch since prime Shaq and Kobe were throwing up lobs and threepeating in the early 2000s. James may have found the most talented costar of his career in Anthony Davis, a prototypical modern NBA big with Defensive Player of the Year skills on one end and Swiss Army knife skills on the offensive end.

It was Davis, not James, who hit the game-winning buzzer-beater to give the Lakers a win over the Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Some have even gone as far as to say Davis is the best player on

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LeBron James and Anthony Davis Fulfill Lakers’ Finals Promise

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Purple-and-gold confetti fell on LeBron James late Saturday night as he sat on the court in a largely empty arena and digested the fresh reality that he was headed to his ninth N.B.A. finals in 10 seasons. One of the first people he thought about was Anthony Davis, his teammate on the Los Angeles Lakers.

“This is the reason why I wanted to be a teammate of his and why I brought him here,” James said after the Lakers closed out the Denver Nuggets with a 117-107 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. “I wanted him to see things that he had not seen before in this league. To be able to come through for him meant a lot for me personally.”

Their partnership has the Lakers four wins from the franchise’s 17th championship — the Lakers will face the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics in the N.B.A. finals — and it has been mutually beneficial from the beginning. Davis, a 27-year-old power forward, recalled an early conversation with James, 35, after they became teammates before the start of the season.

“When I first got here, he told me that he wants to give me my first ring,” Davis said. “And I told him that I want to get him back to the finals.”

The Lakers have endured their share of adversity this season — the league’s longest season, by the calendar. They found themselves caught up in a geopolitical feud during a preseason trip to China, then mourning the death of Kobe Bryant in January. After a four-month hiatus brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, the Lakers traveled to Walt Disney World for the N.B.A.’s restart with their lofty goals intact: championship or bust.

“It’s been a crazy obstacle course for our franchise,” James said.

Even as he nears the end of his 17th season, a season that started nearly 12 months ago — “An eternity,” his teammate Jared Dudley said — James has been thrilling to watch.

On Saturday, he was at his best, which is saying a lot: 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists while shooting 15 of 25 from the field. He scored 9 straight points for the Lakers late in the fourth quarter. During a subsequent timeout, his teammate JaVale McGee pretended to place a crown on James’s head.

“It’s incredible,” Michael Malone, the coach of the Nuggets, said. “When you

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Lakers beat Nuggets behind LeBron’s triple-double, advance to finals – Reuters

EditorsNote: Adds quotes

LeBron James had 38 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists, leading the Los Angeles Lakers to their first NBA finals in a decade with a 117-107 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Saturday near Orlando.

Anthony Davis scored 27 points for the Lakers, who advanced to their first NBA finals since 2010, when they beat the Boston Celtics in seven games. They will face either the Celtics or Miami Heat.

“It means a lot,” Davis said after the game. “It’s a step closer to our goal. Obviously, you have to win the (conference) finals in order to go to the (NBA) finals. Being with this team from day one, the journey and adversity we’ve been through has been nothing but amazing. … But we’ve got four more left.”

Nikola Jokic had 20 points and seven rebounds for Denver. Jerami Grant also scored 20 points, while Jamal Murray, who sustained a right knee contusion in the first half, finished with 19 points and eigh

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Lakers snuff out Nuggets’ magic, advance to first NBA Finals since 2010 – Yahoo Sports

  1. Lakers snuff out Nuggets’ magic, advance to first NBA Finals since 2010  Yahoo Sports
  2. LeBron James leads Los Angeles Lakers to first NBA Finals in 10 years  ESPN
  3. WATCH : Sebastian Vettel Shares an Unbelievable Hangover Story From I…
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Michael Jordan’s Big Play in NASCAR Could Help Diversify Its Fan Base

“A lot of naysayers, a lot of the Bubba haters were saying he got fired and Bubba was out in the ocean without a paddle,” Ribbs said. “That cat’s on an ocean liner now.

Ribbs and Lester both said they heard news of the formation days before the announcement. They both hope that Jordan’s involvement will create more corporate sponsorship opportunities for minorities.

“It is going to definitely raise awareness without a doubt,” Ribbs said.

NASCAR officials anticipate that the debut of the Next Generation car for the 2022 Cup Series will help curb costs for team owners.

For Lester, the c

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LeBron’s triple-double powers LA Lakers over Nuggets into NBA finals

LeBron James is going to a 10th NBA finals – and for the first time in a decade, so are the Los Angeles Lakers.James…
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NBA playoffs: How to watch Lakers vs Nuggets Game 5 tonight on TNT – CNET

The 2020 NBA playoffs are more reminiscent of the college format than ever, complete with surprising upsets and a neutral home floor in Orlando’s bubble, and now it’s down to the final four teams. In the Eastern Conference Finals, the Boston Celtics escaped elimination on Friday to force a Game 6 against the Miami Heat, led by Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. In tonight’s game the Los Angeles Lakers will look to finish off the Denver Nuggets and become the first of the four to reach the NBA Finals. For Lakers Star LeBron James, a win tonight would deliver a remarkable 10th finals appearance in his 16-year NBA career.

Here’s the schedule for the weekend.

Saturday, Sept. 26

  • Los Angeles Lakers vs. Denver Nuggets (Game 5, LAL leads 3-1), 9 p.m. ET (6 p.m. PT) on TNT

Sunday, Sept. 27

  • Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat (Game 6, MIA leads 3-2), 7:30 p.m. ET (4:30 p.m. PT) on ESPN

Looking to watch the NBA playoffs without cable? We have you covered below.

Read more: NFL streaming: Best ways to watch the 2020 football season live without cable

Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers could get to the 2020 NBA Finals with a win tonight.


Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

When did the 2020 NBA playoffs start? 

The NBA playoffs, which follow a traditional seven-game format, began on Aug. 17. All remaining games will be broadcast nationally on either TNT, ESPN or ABC.

Game 7 of the NBA Finals will take place, if necessary, no later than Oct. 13. 

How can I watch the NBA playoffs on TV without cable?

As in a regular non-COVID season, Disney-owned ABC and ESPN will broadcast games, with ABC broadcasting the NBA Finals. ESPN is the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Eastern Conference finals. 

AT&T-owned Turner Sports, which runs TNT and “jointly” manages the league’s NBA Digital division that includes NBA TV. TNT is the exclusive TV network for the 2020 Western Conference finals. 

You can see the NBA’s national television schedule here, with games on ABC, ESPN and TNT.

You don’t need cable or satellite TV to watch the games on ESPN or TNT. Most of the channels are offered on four of the major live TV streaming services, though not all streaming services offer ABC, ESPN, TNT and NBA TV.

Read more: How to cut the cable TV cord in 2020

Sling TV’s $30-a-month Orange package includes ESPN and TNT but not ABC. If you want NBA TV you will also need to subscribe to the Sports Extra add-on for an additional $10 per month.

Read our Sling TV review.

FuboTV recently added ESPN and ABC, where available, to give it three of the four major channels — ABC, ESPN and NBA TV — if you get the $65-per-month Family package plus the $6-per-month Fubo Extra add-on (for NBA TV).

TNT is no longer available on FuboTV.

Read our FuboTV review.

AT&T TV Now includes ABC, ESPN and TNT with its $55 per month Plus package, with some regional sports networks, like those in New York and Los Angeles, available in the $80 per month Max offering. NBA TV, however, is not included until you go to the $124-per-month Xtra package.

Read our AT&T TV Now review.

Which teams are in? 

Sixteen teams qualified for the playoffs and four remain in the fight for the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. 

Eastern Conference

  • Boston Celtics
  • Miami Heat

Western Conference

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Denver Nuggets

The eliminated teams are all done for the year and are prepping for the offseason and NBA Draft, which will be held on Oct. 16. Better luck next year, Knicks fans.


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Paul Pierce: My Era Is Out of the League; We Weren’t Afraid of LeBron James

Brooklyn Nets forward Paul Pierce (34) defends Miami Heat forward LeBron James in the first half of Game 4 of their second-round NBA playoff basketball game at the Barclays Center, Monday, May 12, 2014, in New York. James had 49 points as the Heat defeated the Nets 102-96 to go up 3-1 in the series. (AP Photo/)

Uncredited/Associated Press

Paul Pierce believes players in the NBA are scared of LeBron James.

During ESPN’s NBA Countdown on Friday, Pierce said (starting at 5:55 mark): “Players of today are scared of LeBron. … My era is out the league. We wasn’t afraid of LeBron, but these guys today, he strikes fear in these guys. I can see it.”

In 14 seasons that their careers overlapped, James averaged 27.1 points, 7.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game. He won four MVP awards and three championships and was named to the All-NBA first or second team 13 times.

Pierce has a well-documented history of criticizing James. Kendrick Perkins said on ESPN’s Hoop Streams in May that the feud began when Pierce spat at the Cleveland Cavaliers bench in a preseason game during Perk

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Jamal Murray Gets the Acclaim, but the Lakers Close In on the Series

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It was nearing midnight, and Jamal Murray concluded his postgame news conference by slowly rising from his folding chair with the expression of someone who had spent 12 hours on an assembly line. He had football-size ice packs on his knees. As he lumbered toward the door and a waiting bus outside, he let out a load groan.

Murray had done everything he conceivably could for the Denver Nuggets in their 114-108 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night, and you may have heard something like this before. Throughout the N.B.A.’s restart at Walt Disney World, no player has been more dynamic or entertaining or competitive than Murray, a 23-year-old point guard who has emerged as a star.

His theatrics may not be enough against the Lakers, who have a three-games-to-one lead in the N.B.A.’s Western Conference finals before Game 5 on Saturday. All Murray did in Game 4 was collect 32 points and 8 assists while shooting 12 of 20 from the field. He was so good, LeBron James defended him in the fourth quarter as the Lakers fought to preserve their lead.

“I knew it was winning time, and Jamal had it going,” James said. “The kid is special.”

The level of difficulty for Murray’s shots tends to range from tricky to hazardous. He shoots from one foot. He shoots with the wrong hand. He shoots falling down. He shoots while absorbing contact from large human beings. He shoots with opposing elbows in his stomach and palms in his face. He shoots by throwing the ball off the backboard from absurd angles, and he shoots by launching 3-pointers from Epcot Center. But he keeps shooting, and he will need to shoot some more if the Nuggets have any chance in the series.

Then again, the Nuggets are comeback kings. Already in this postseason, they have bounced back from a pair of three-games-to-one series deficits — against the Utah Jazz in the first round, then against the Los Angeles Clippers in the conference semifinals. The Nuggets are familiar with bleak ci

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Davis, James power Lakers to verge of NBA Finals – Reuters Canada

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points, LeBron James added 26 and the Los Angeles Lakers never lost the lead over the final three quarters Thursday night en route to a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals near Orlando.

Sep 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives the ball around Denver Nuggets forward Jerami Grant (9) during the second half in game four of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The top-seeded Lakers hold a 3-1 lead in the series and are within one win of the NBA Finals. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday.

Jamal Murray paced the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, but he misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts.

Los Angeles led each of its previous two series 3-1 before closing out the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets on its first opportunity to advance.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory facing a 3-1 deficit. They also trailed the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 in their first two rounds before stunning each with three-game turnarounds to move on.

After losing for the first time in the series on Tuesday,

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LeBron James not surprised at Breonna Taylor grand jury decision.

SHOWS: ORLANDO, FLORIDA, UNITED STATES (SEPTEMBER 24, 2020) (NBA – SEE RESTRICTIONS)

1. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I can’t say we were surprised at the verdict, none of us were surprised at it and that’s what’s even more devastating, that none of us were surprised at what the outcome was.”

2. WHITE FLASH

3. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I think at the end of the day respect is to respect. You just look at the history of America and the disrespect that Black women has got for the last 400 years, you can’t turn a blind eye to that.

“When I look at my household, seeing my daughter who’s five on her way to six, my wife, my mom, rest in peace, my grandmother, so many Black women have done so many things for me and seeing the sacrifices that they made, especially my mom when I was growing up, they were still disrespected along the way, and it’s still like that today.

“In the case of obviously Breonna Taylor’s case it just showed once again that the walls of the neighbours is more important than her life.”

4. WHITE FLASH

5. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEBRON JAMES SAYING:

“I felt it was important to let Black women know that they’re not alone. No matter the disrespect or what they may feel don’t stop. Because that’s exactly what they want you guys (the press) to do, they want you guys to stop, the want you guys not to be as powerful as you guys are, not as strong as you guys are, as determined as you guys are, they wa

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Davis, James power Lakers to verge of NBA Finals – Reuters

EditorsNote: update 2: changes to “about” in 10th graf; adds new final two grafs

Sep 24, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) warms up prior to the game four against the Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis scored a game-high 34 points, LeBron James added 26 and the Los Angeles Lakers never lost the lead over the final three quarters Thursday night en route to a 114-108 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 4 of the Western Conference finals near Orlando.

The top-seeded Lakers hold a 3-1 lead in the series and are within one win of the NBA Finals. Game 5 is scheduled for Saturday.

Jamal Murray paced the Nuggets with 32 points and eight assists, but he misfired on all three of his 3-point attempts.

Los Angeles led each of its previous two series 3-1 before closing out the Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets on its first opportunity to advance.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Nuggets find themselves in familiar territory facing a 3-1 deficit. They also trailed the Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Clippers 3-1 in their first two rounds before stunning each with three-game turnarounds to move on.

After losing for the first time in t

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Key Words: ‘Who are black people supposed to call, Ghostbusters?’ — Charles Barkley dismisses the ‘Defund the Police’ movement

A previous version of this report indicated that police were involved in the death of Ahmaud Arbery. The story has been corrected.

Charles Barkley.


Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the days after it was announced that no officers would be indicted for Breonna Taylor’s death, several high-profile athletes, including LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell and Megan Rapinoe, have voiced criticisms after a Kentucky grand jury failed to recommend charges against Louisville police for the shooting death of the 26-year-old medical technician at her home.

Prior to Thursday’s matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets, NBA hall of famer Charles Barkley reacted to the Breonna Taylor news on TNT’s show “Inside the NBA.”

“And I just feel bad that the young lady lost her life. But we do have to take into account that her boyfriend shot at the cops and shot a cop,” Barkley said. “So, like I say, even though I am really sorry she lost her life, I just don’t think we can put this in the same situation as George Floyd or Ahmaud Arbery.”

George Floyd died in May after a white Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes, and Ahmaud Arbery was chased down by a white Georgia man and his son and fatally shot in February while jogging in his neighborhood. Both Floyd and Arbery were Black men.

Barkley, speaking wit

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Sport reacts to decision not to charge officers in Taylor case

Lewis Hamilton (pictured from behind) wearing a t-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor and the words 'say her name'
Lewis Hamilton wore a T-shirt featuring a photo of Breonna Taylor at the Tuscan Grand Prix

Sport stars including LeBron James, Lewis Hamilton, Megan Rapinoe and Colin Kaepernick have expressed their disappointment at a decision not to charge any police officers with the killing of Breonna Taylor.

Taylor, a black woman, was shot multiple times as officers stormed her home in Louisville, Kentucky, on 13 March.

Two white officers have not been charged while a third, also white, was charged with endangering 26-year-old Taylor’s neighbours.

Athletes around the world have added their voices to the public outcry surrounding Taylor’s death and the grand jury’s decision.

Kentucky Attorney General Mr Cameron held a news conference to explain the decision, saying: “This is a gut-wrenching emotional case.

“Each [case] is unique and cannot be compared,” Cameron said:external-link “There will be celebrities, influencers, and activists who having never lived in Kentucky, will try to tell us how to feel, suggesting they understand the facts of this case and that they know our community and the commonwealth better than we do. But they don’t.”

What sports stars have said

LeBron James tweets:

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LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police

LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police (Getty)
LeBron James says he would never condone violence against police (Getty)

LeBron James denied ever condoning violence towards the police as he insisted he will continue to speak out against brutality.

The NBA superstar also dismissed comments by Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva who asked him to give the county $175,00 to boost the reward for the gunman in the attack on two officers in Compton.

James insisted he had never supported revenge attacks against law enforcement but had repeatedly seen police racially profile his community.

“I’ve never in my 35 years ever condoned violence. Never have. But I also know what’s right is right, and what’s wrong is wrong,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers lost in the NBA playoffs to the Denver Nuggets.

“I grew up in the inner city in a Black community in what we call the hood or the ghetto.

“I’ve seen a lot of counts firsthand of a lot of Black people being racially profiled because of our colour. And I’ve seen it throughout my whole life. 

“And I’m not saying that all cops are bad because, I actually, throughout high school and things of that nature, and I’m around them all the time, and they’re not all bad.

“But when you see th

Read More

Nuggets and Lakers players’ react to the Breonna Taylor ruling | NBA on ESPN – ESPN

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Historic Superstar NBA Playoff Matchups We Wish Happened

0 of 6

    Danny Moloshok/Associated Press

    Since 1947, the NBA has delivered iconic playoff matchups, from Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain to LeBron James and Kevin Durant. The duels that saw Magic Johnson and Larry Bird battle for superiority again and again delighted fans for nearly a decade. The friendship that ensued even inspired a Broadway play

    And yet, some of the most notable superstars failed to meet one another in such classic fashion, robbing fanbases of the mano-a-mano confrontations they had desperately been craving. 

    Here are some of the what-ifs we wish could be remedied.

1 of 6

    Chris Pizzello/Associated Press

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s and Bill Russell’s iconic legacies stand the test of time decades after their highly decorated playing careers reached the end. 

    Kareem still owns the record books with the most points all-time, most All-Star appearances (19), All-NBA teams (15) as well as the most MVPs (six). He also has the fourth-most All-Defensive team selections (11) and is the only player to win Finals MVP 14 seasons apart. 

    Kareem is one of the game’s best ever on account of his MVPs, scoring and titles (six), but another big whose career barely preceded his carries the title of the game’s greatest winner: Bill Russell. 

    No athlete in any major American sport won more than Russell, who brought home 11 championships in just 13 seasons in Boston. He finished with five MVPs, 12 All-Star appearances and 11 All-NBA teams despite playing seven fewer seasons than Kareem.

    The two each battled another historic great in Wilt Chamberlain. Wilt managed to eliminate Kareem and his Milwaukee Bucks in back-to-back seasons. Though Russell fell to Wilt’s 76ers and Lakers in back-to-back years, he largely owned him throughout their careers (57 wins out of 94).

    So, how would the game’s greatest scorer fare against the game’s greatest champion ever? The two missed each other by just one season, robbing sports fans of one of the greatest potential clashes in NBA history. 

2 of 6

    DAVID J. PHILLIP/Associated Press

    A Finals clash of Michael Jordan versus Hakeem Olajuwon is one of the great what-ifs in NBA history. The Houston Rockets were the only team to experience championship glory during Jordan’s nearly unblemished 25-1 playoff series record between 1991 and 1998. That run is only separated by two seasons in which Jordan “rode the bus with the Birmingham Barons. 

    But what if Jordan hadn’t given up basketball for close to two seasons? Could the Bulls have continued their path of destruction against the Houston Rockets in 1993-94 and 1994-95?

    Olajuwon and his Rockets may have posed a threat that Jordan’s Bulls never encountered in the NBA Finals, with Patrick Ewing in the Eastern Conference playoffs being the closest exception. While Ewing is an undeniable Hall of Famer and all-time great at the center position, Olajuwon was the far superior defender, having placed on the All-Defensive team nine times to Ewing’s three in addition to two Defensive Player of the Year awards in 1992-93 and 1993-94. 

    Jordan himself didn’t believe the Bulls had the personnel to defend Olajuwon, according to an interview The Athletic’s Michael Lee conducted with Rockets head coach Rudy Tomjanovich

    “He gave our team great respect,” Tomjanovich said. “He didn’t feel that they could contain Hakeem. They just didn’t have the personnel to do it. And he said he thought we were the team that gave them the most trouble.”

    During the ’93-94 campaign, the Bulls would have been a near-lock to return to the Finals with Jordan. Led by Scottie Pippen and reinforced by Toni Kukoc as a perimeter scorer and small-ball threat, the Bulls rattled off 55 wins, falling to the Knicks in the semifinals in seven games. 

    The matchups beyond Jordan and Vernon Maxwell would have intrigued. Horace Grant would have been the proper foil for Otis Thorpe with 1994 All-Star starter B.J. Armstrong chasing Kenny Smith and Sam Cassell. Pippen locking down a young Robert Horry or Clyde Drexler in 1995 may have served as yet another compelling showdown. 

    Incidentally, the Bulls beat the Rockets just once in six attempts during Jordan’s first three-peat, though they took five of six immediately following Jordan’s return. 

3 of 6

    Susan Ragan/Associated Press

    We were so close!

    The twin towers of Tim Duncan and David Robinson stand tall as one of the greatest frontcourt combinations ever. Duncan and the Spurs’ run of excellence began in 1998 when they started their streak of 22 playoff appearances in his rookie season.

    In the lockout-shortened season that followed, Duncan and Robinson won their first title against the unlikeliest of opponents in the eighth-seeded New York Knicks. Even so, basketball fans can’t help but wonder, what if? 

    While the addition and play of Marcus Camby was critical in advancing to the postseason’s final round, could a healthy Patrick Ewing have dictated a different outcome? A first-ballot Hall of Famer, Ewing earned 11 All-Star appearances, seven All-NBA honors and three All-Defensive team nods. 

    Like Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, Ewing stands as one of the greatest players to never win a championship, mainly because of Michael Jordan’s Bulls but also Hakeem Olajuwon’s Rockets. With Jordan freshly retired and Olajuwon’s prime fading, the path to a title finally shone itself. However, in cruel Knicks fashion, Ewing tore his Achilles tendon during the Eastern Conference Finals warm-ups against India

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Sabrina Ionescu Opens Up About Kobe Bryant and Rookie Year Woes

Want more basketball in your inbox? Sign up for Marc Stein’s weekly N.B.A. newsletter here.

Sabrina Ionescu could spend a considerable amount of time, if she wished, dwelling on everything that was snatched away from her in what was scripted to be a momentous year.

She prefers to focus on the fortune that enabled her to avoid surgery after a nasty ankle injury prematurely ended her rookie season with the W.N.B.A.’s Liberty.

“With everything that’s happened, with everything that’s been out of my control, I’ve just handled it the best that I can,” Ionescu said.

Last fall, Ionescu, 22, returned to the University of Oregon for her senior season, rather than turn professional, to try to win the N.C.A.A. title that had eluded the Ducks in the 2018-19 season. When the coronavirus pandemic wiped out the 2020 N.C.A.A. women’s basketball tournament in March, Ionescu moved on to the W.N.B.A.

She was the No. 1 over all pick in the draft in April and one of the most celebrated rookies in league history — only to sustain a season-ending injury in the second quarter of her third pro game. Ionescu rolled her ankle when she stepped on the foot of the Atlanta Dream’s backpedaling Betnijah Laney. The Liberty, who had six other rookies besides Ionescu, sank to the league’s worst record (2-20) without her.

The injury, Ionescu said, was “definitely” the most severe of her career. It added another layer of struggle to a year that began with deep sorrow, after her friend and mentor Kobe Bryant and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna — whom Ionescu mentored — were among nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

Ionescu spoke to The New York Times about the numerous challenges she has faced in 2020, spending time with Bryant’s family and life in the W.N.B.A. bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.

(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)

How are things going on the rehabilitation front?

I feel really good. Everything’s been going well, progressing as it should. It’s just been fun and exciting to get back out there and start playing and practicing.

How did you deal with the shock of having an injury so soon in your pro career?

It happens. It really wasn’t the end of the world. It wasn’t like my senior year of college or anything. I’ll have many, many more opportunities to play in the league, so it really wasn’t like a devastating experience. I kind of just took it for what it was and moved on.

The game before, to go for 33 points against the Dallas Wings, what did that feel like to be able to perform at that level so quickly?

I just felt comfortable. I obviously learned from the first game [Ionescu shot 4 for 17 from the field in her debut against the Seattle Storm] and just kept watching film and was just able to find my shots and felt more and more comfortable.

You faced big expectations throughout your college career, but how much different do pro expectations feel — being drafted to turn around a struggling franchise?

They don’t feel any different at all. The expectations I have for myself are always higher than anyone else’s, regardless of what level I’m playing at. It didn’t really matter that I was a rookie or it was my first year. I still had that same high level of expectation.

What was life like for you in the W.N.B.A. bubble?

It’s really hard, and it’s definitely not ideal. I think they did a great job keeping it safe and doing the best that they can with the short notice of having to kind of start the season and try to keep our best interests at hand. But, obviously, to eat, sleep and breathe your job is not always the best route that you could possibly take.

It definitely wasn’t easy being away from family and that support system, especially in my first year, and then obviously getting injured and kind of being stuck in that bubble and not being able to readily see who I need to see right away. But I think they did a great job just being able to keep us safe. Hopefully, if there’s a situation like this next year, we can just learn from it.

If next season is closer to typical, after spending your whole life on the West Coast, what do you imagine living and playing in New York will be like?

Hopefully really fun. I’m not nervous to get out there. I’m really excited to get out to Barclays and to be able to play with fans in an arena. Hopefully that happens, and we can get back to a little bit of the normal way of playing sports.

We’ve seen a few videos and pictures of you spending time with Kobe Bryant’s family. How helpful is it, if that’s even the right word, to grieve with them?

I think it’s helped all of us, just to be able to see each other, be around each other, tell stories, obviously be there for the good and the bad times, whatever it is. I’ll always be close to his family, and I think they know that they’ll always be close to me. So it’s been great to be able to just spend time with them, and that’s honestly been a blessing that I’ve been able to have that opportunity to be down in L.A. and see them.

To be asked to speak at Kobe’s memorial service — I honestly can’t even imagine taking that on.

It was difficult, but it was also an honor. Obviously being around such great people that were in attendance, some great teammates, all of his mentors, really everyone that was there — it was something that I am so happy that I was able to do and was asked to do.

At this point of your rehab, how much are you able to do?

I’m able to do just about everything that I want. I’m not playing live now and probably won’t be for a while, just because there’s no point playing live. It’s not necessarily for my health or my ankle, but just due to Covid-19 and everything going on. I don’t really feel like I want to go to a gym and start playing with random people at this point.

How hard is it for someone as competitive as you to be patient?

I’m actually pretty patient. I’m just making sure I’m staying healthy. There’s nothing really I’m rushing back for, so I think that’s definitely helped me. There’s not a game in a week that I need to get ready for. I have a while until next season, so I think this is going to be a time to just get my body where I want it to be.


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You ask; I an

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Nuggets win game three of conference finals against Lakers

Jamal Murray shoots the ball
Jamal Murray had 28 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds

The Denver Nuggets saw off a final-quarter surge from the Los Angeles Lakers to win 114-106 in the Western Conference finals in Florida.

The Nuggets now trail 2-1 in the best-of-seven series after Jamal Murray scored 28 points and Jerami Grant 26.

It brought the Lakers’ six-game winning streak to an end, despite LeBron James’ 30 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

“We’re in this series,” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said to his players after the win.

“We let them know we’re not going anywhere. That’s what you guys have done this whole post-season.

“That’s why everybody is rooting for us. Keep on showing that grit and resilience and playing for each other.”

Nikola Jokic added 22 points and Murray had 12 assists and eight rebounds for Denver, who have never won a conference title.

The Lakers closed the gap to 99-96 in the final quarter, but missed four three-point attempts to give the Nuggets back control.

“We turned the ball over too much and we put them on the free-throw line,” said James.

“I give credit whe

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Official Look at LeBron James’ Nike LeBron 18 “Reflections”

17 seasons into his GOAT-level career, LeBron James has more than a few memorable moments under his belt — so Nike is paying homage to the King’s climb to the top with the new LeBron 18 “Reflections.” One of the first colorways of James’s eighteenth signature Nike Basketball shoe to hit shelves, the “Reflections” is loaded with special details. However, even with all its ornamentation, it never feels overpowering.

Uppers are constructed of a black Knitposite 2.0 forefoot and midfoot, flec

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Adding Anthony Davis’ shot to the iconic list of Los Angeles Lakers postseason buzzer-beaters – NBA CA


Los Angeles Lakers

The buzzer-beating 3 in Game 2 of the 2020 Western Conference Finals is yet another reminder that Anthony Davis is on his way to becoming a Los Angeles Lakers legend.

Davis is aware of the of the significance of his shot, too.

“It’s for sure the biggest shot of my career,” Davis said to the media following the game. “When I left (New Orleans), I just wanted to be able to compete for a championship. I know that moments like this come with it. Especially being in LA, the biggest market in basketball.”

Davis and LeBron James have teamed up to deliver the city of Los Angeles the most postseason success it has seen since 2010, the year in which the Lakers won the second of their back-to-back titles.

Not only was Sunday’s game-winner the biggest shot of Davis’ eight-year career, it also adds to a sto

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LeBron James and the Burden of Being Great(est)

There are many reasons he is taken for granted. Silly arguments over who is better, James or Michael Jordan, distract from the ability to see him for what he really is.

Race is part of the mix. There are still too many who cannot see beyond James’s physicality, his uncommon blend of size and strength and speed. Still too many who see him without nuance, first and foremost as a body. A Black body.

That allows the easy dismissal of the dedication he has always put into staying in shape — and the disregard of his sheer intelligence. James is said to possess a photographic memory. He can recall plays that occurred years ago w

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Davis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer extends Lakers’ lead

Anthony Davis’ buzzer-beating three-pointer saw the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 105-103 to go 2-0 up in the Western Conference finals.

Forward Davis scored the Lakers’ final 10 points of the game, with 22 of his total 31 coming in the second half.

The Lakers wore ‘Black Mamba’ jerseys in tribute to team legend Kobe Bryant, who died in January.

“Special moment for me, special moment for the team,” said Davis, who also finished with nine rebounds.

“Especially in a situation like that trying to go up 2-0 against a special team, who are great competitors and [fought] for the entire 48 minutes.

“To do something like in the jerseys we wore tonight makes it even more special.”

LeBron James added 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a 16-point lead in the third quarter.

Ni

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Davis’ buzzer-beating 3 lifts Lakers over Nuggets – Reuters

EditorsNote: Adds quotes

Sep 20, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; The Los Angeles Lakers kneel during the national anthem before playing the Los Angeles Lakers in game two of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis’ 3-pointer at the buzzer lifted the Los Angeles Lakers to a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday near Orlando.

“Special moment for a special player. Happy to be a part of it,” LeBron James said of Davis’ shot.

Davis, who scored the last 10 Laker points, delivered 22 of his 31 points in the second half for the Lakers, who hold a 2-0 series lead. Davis also finished with nine rebounds.

“Special moment for me, special moment for the team, especially in a situation like that trying to go up 2-0 against a special team, who are great competitors and (fought) for the entire 48 minutes,” Davis said of the Lakers, who played the game in their Kobe Bryant-designed “Black Mamba” jerseys. “So, to do something like in the jerseys we wore tonight makes it even more special.”

James contributed 26 points and 11 rebounds for the Lakers, who blew a 16-point third-quarter lead. Kentavio

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LeBron James on Anthony Davis’ GW Shot: ‘Special Moment for a Special Player’

Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis (3) celebrates with teammates after an NBA conference final playoff basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 105-103. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James is usually the one hitting the memorable buzzer-beating shots in the NBA playoffs.

It was his teammate’s turn Sunday.

Anthony Davis drilled a game-winning three-pointer to give the Los Angeles Lakers a 105-103 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals and propel the Purple and Gold to a 2-0 lead in the series.

“Special moment for a special player,” James told reporters. “Happy to be a part of it.”

The King also gave a shout-out to the Lakers fans, adding, “I wish we were playing at Staples [Center] … We miss our fans so much … It probably would have blown the roof off,” while praising the big man for taking advantage of the moment:

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LeBron: Finishing 2nd in MVP voting ‘pissed me off’ – theScore

LeBron James wasn’t pleased when he found out he lost the 2020 MVP award to Giannis Antetokounmpo.

“Not saying that the winner wasn’t deserving of the MVP, but that pissed me off,” he said after the Lakers’ Game 1 win over the Denver Nuggets Friday, courtesy of The Washington Post’s Ben Golliver. “I finished second a lot in my career, either from a championship (and) now four times as the MVP. Like I said, I never came into this league saying ‘Let me be MVP or be a champion.’

“I just want to get better and better every single day and those things will take care of itself. But some things (are) just out of my hands and some things you can’t control. But it pissed me off.”

The NBA’s annual awards are voted on by a panel of 100 media members plus one additional fan vote.

James received just 16 first-place votes for a total of 753 points. Antetoko

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Bucks’ Antetokounmpo named most valuable player for second straight year – Reuters India

Sep 8, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) looks on as teammates warm up before game five in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Antetokounmpo will not play in the contest. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports/Files

(Reuters) – Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player (MVP) for the second straight year on Friday, becom

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Lakers beat Nuggets in Western Conference final opener

Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis (right) scored 33 of his 37 points by the end of the third quarter

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Denver Nuggets 126-114 to go 1-0 up in the NBA Western Conference finals in Florida.

Anthony Davis top-scored with 37 points and 10 rebounds in what was the Lakers’ first conference final series appearance since 2010.

The second match of the best-of-seven series takes place on Monday.

“It took a quarter for us to kind of figure it out,” said LeBron James, who added 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Lakers.

“I’m not saying we fully figured them out because it’s too early in the series to say that.”

The opening quarter was edged by the Nuggets but the Lakers overpowered their opponents in the second period.

Power forward Davis’ 33 points by the end of the third quarter guided the Lakers to a handsome 23-point lead and one step closer to winning their first NBA title in a decade.

“We haven’t done anything special,” Davis said. “We basically took care of home court. We have three more to go.”


LeBron James unhappy with MVP voting

Ill discipline from the Nuggets, including star trio Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap, ultimately hampered a comeback.

Jokic and Murray’s contribution of 21 points each was not enough – and Nuggets coach Mike Malone criticised his side’s defence.

“Our offense was able to score the ball but there was little defence,” Malone said, after the Lakers were gifted 24 free throws in the second quarter.

“Twenty four times in one quarter, and we were called for 16 personal fouls in that quarter,” Malone said.

“On top of that, seven turnovers – again fuelling their break.”

The Nuggets will now have to muster the spirit they showed in coming from 3-1 down in their previous two series wins to reach their

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LA Lakers overwhelm Nuggets in West finals opener behind Anthony Davis’s 37

Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds, LeBron James …
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Davis puts up 37 as Lakers top Nuggets in Game 1 – Reuters

EditorsNote: adds quotes

Sep 18, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) smiles during wamrups before game one of the Western Conference Finals of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis had 37 points and 10 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers cruised to a 126-114 victory over the Denver Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday near Orlando.

Davis, who converted 12 of 21 shots from the floor, scored 20 points in the second half.

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 18 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including 3-of-5 on 3 pointers, while LeBron James added 15 points, 12 assists and six rebounds for the Lakers. Dwight Howard had 13 points off the bench and effectively defended Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

Rajon Rondo, a key contributor off the Los Angeles bench with seven points and nine assists, said, “They actually got off to a great start in the first quarter, so t

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This is What Happens When You Piss Off LeBron

Uh-oh, he’s looking at the Nuggets like they were the ones who voted for MVP.

Uh-oh, he’s looking at the Nuggets like they were the ones who voted for MVP.
Photo: Getty

Earlier this summer, “The Last Dance” gave the world a look at how Michael Jordan used every slight, real or perceived, as motivation.

“It became personal with me” was the calling card that signaled His Airness was about to take things to another level.

After finishing second to Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, LeBron James had his own phrase that he kept going back to: “pissed me off.” He’s quoted with those words five times in one story from Dave McMenamin at ESPN.

So, James and the Lakers went out and put a 126-114 beating on the Nuggets in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals on Friday night, a game Los Angeles led by as many as 27 points before Denver had a 12-point edge in the garbage time fourth quarter.

Thanks to it being a blowout, James was able to take it a little bit easy and clock out after 31 minutes. He finished with 15 points, 12 assists, and six rebounds, while Anthony Davis handled the bulk of the scoring load with 37 points.

It’s Davis who is as big a reason as any that James wasn’t closer to Antetokounmpo in the MVP vote, because he’s a legitimate superstar in his own right, while Khris Middleton is… there’s no need to be extra insulting to Khris Middleton here — he’s not also first team All-NBA like Anthony Davis, leave it at that.

James not winning MVP might be the worst thing to happen to the Nuggets, because whatever arguments there are about MJ vs. King James, the two greatest players of their eras have at least one thing in commo

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Giannis wins second straight MVP – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Giannis Antetokounmpo’s historic year earned him a historic awards sweep.

The Milwaukee forward is the NBA’s Most Valuable Player for the second consecutive season, receiving that award Friday. He got the Defensive Player of the Year award earlier in these NBA playoffs.

The 25-year-old Antetokounmpo becomes just the third player in league history to win MVP and Defensive Player of the Year in the same season, joining only Hall of Famers Michael Jordan and Hakeem Olajuwon.

“Michael Jordan, one of the best players who’s ever done it, if not the best,” Antetokounmpo said. “Hakeem, a guy that I look up to, he came from where I’m from, Nigeria, where I have roots. … Just being in the same sentence with them, that means a lot to me.”

Antetokounmpo — who was in his native Athens, Greece, with his family when the award was announced — received 85 votes from the 100-person panel of global sports writers and broadcasters who cover the league, plus the one additional vote granted by winning fan balloting.

“It feels good to get this award announced when I’m back home,” Antetokounmpo said, after telling NBA Commissioner Adam Silver — who was in possession of the trophy Friday — to hang on to the hardware until he returns to the U.S.

“I’m going to ship it to Greece,” Silver said during the televised announcement show on NBA TV.

“No, don’t do that,” Antetokounmpo replied. “I’ll come get it when the season starts.”

LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers got the other 15

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Report: Giannis Antetokounmpo wins NBA MVP over LeBron James, James Harden – Yahoo Sports

Milwaukee Bucks forward won the award over Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.’ data-reactid=”17″>According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Milwaukee Bucks forward won the award over Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Houston Rockets guard James Harden.

Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.’ data-reactid=”25″>Of those players, only Nash did not win an NBA championship. Antetokounmpo, 25, is seeking his first. The Bucks were knocked out of the NBA playoffs in 2020 by the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs.

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams 

Conley-Abrams told me in a phone conversation that the same (frankly genius) child made both the dog and coffin clickbait articles. She said she particularly enjoyed the dog one.

4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they're way better than ours

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams 

“That one with the use of very on-brand clickbait punctuation, you know, inexplicable punctuation and too much of it,” she said. “I thought that genius and I would love to click on that. I’d love to know about secret dog meetings.”

Personally, I loved: “u think ur loved ones stay in here NO WAY.” Haunting, beautiful, vaguely threatening. It’s all those things.

Conley-Abrams also passed along a few other works from her fourth graders that didn’t get posted to Twitter. They, too, are awesome. 

Oh no.

Oh no.

Image: Ingrid conley-abrams

During the NBA Finals? Wow.

During the NBA Finals? Wow.

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams

4th graders made their own clickbait headlines and they're way better than ours

Image: Ingrid Conley-Abrams

The LeBron James one honestly just reads like actual sports clickbait. And I really need to know what’s up with the turkey in the Snow White one. They’re just so good.

“These little clickbait mockups they’re so creative — someone online accused me of making these up myself — a

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Get Over It: Giannis Deserves MVP Over LeBron

Thinking LeBron was the MVP over Giannis is as ridiculous as thinking LeBron is better than Jordan.

Thinking LeBron was the MVP over Giannis is as ridiculous as thinking LeBron is better than Jordan.
Image: Getty

The outrage is comical.

Almost as funny as when Millennials/Generation Zers spin their false narrative that LeBron James is better than Michael Jordan.

It just isn’t true.

And neither is the idea that James deserved the NBA MVP trophy over Giannis Antetokounmpo and, somehow, LeBron was robbed.

That wasn’t close.

It’s a regular-season award. It has nothing to do with the postseason that is currently underway. It doesn’t matter that Antetokounmpo’s Bucks are home, out of the playoffs prematurely, and James’ Lakers are still in.

Hello, that’s why they give out a Finals MVP. The awards are different.

Stop with the feelings and get with the facts.

Giannis put together a season suitable for framing. It was that complete and powerful. He averaged 29.5 points, 13.6 rebounds and 5.6 assists. He also shot a ridiculous 55.3 percent from the field.

It was good enough for Giannis to win back-to-back MVPs, joining only 11 others in league history to accomplish that.

Not only was he an offensive machine, but a defensive warrior as well. Last month, Antetokounmpo won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award.

Giannis joins Michael Jordan (1987-88 season) and Hakeem Olajuwon (1993-1994 season) as the only players to win the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in the same season.

It is an amazing accomplishment for Giannis, who is just 25 years old.

By the way, his efforts allowed the Bucks (56-17) to have the best record in the NBA this season.

And while James played well in his second season in L.A. (averaging 25.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 10.2 assists), he just wasn’t

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Report: Giannis Wins 2nd Straight MVP over LeBron James, James Harden

Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo runs the offense against the Charlotte Hornets in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Sunday, March 1, 2020. Milwaukee won 93-85. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)

Nell Redmond/Associated Press

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo has been named NBA MVP for the second consecutive year, the league announced Friday.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first broke the news.

He’s the second player in franchise history to collect back-to-back MVPs, joining Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Antetokounmpo beat out Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, denying James what would’ve been his fifth MVP to tie him with Bill Russell and Michael Jordan for the second-most all-time.

The Greek Freak set a high bar in 2018-19. He averaged 27.7 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.9 assists as the Bucks won 60 games.

His numbers were even better this season, and Milwaukee surely would’ve improved upon its win total had the COVID-19 pandemic not interrupted the NBA season. The league based this year’s postseason honors on games through March 11, excluding the eight seeding games after the restart.

The Bucks were first in the Eastern Conference at 53-12, 6.5 games up on the second-place Toronto Raptors. It looked like they might be flirting with history before they started cooling off.

Antetokounmpo, meanwhile, was averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists over nearly two fewer minutes per game. He had also connected on a career-best 83 three-pointers. His long-range shooting remains a work in progress (30.6 percent) but is getting to a point where opponents have to respect his jumper.

The 25-year-old was stifling on the defensive end too. According to NBA.com, he held opposing players to 36.1

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Is Anthony Davis the Best Teammate LeBron James Has Ever Had? Insiders Weigh in

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) celebrates with Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 117-109.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LeBron James is pursuing his 10th NBA Finals appearance and fourth championship, his first with the Los Angeles Lakers and teammate Anthony Davis.

James has played with some great players through his stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat. How does Davis stack up? Is he the best big man James has ever had since joining the NBA in 2003? Is he James’ best teammate altogether?

Davis may not have a title on his resume (check back in about a month), but his individual talent and ability to complement James to near perfection positions the Lakers forward/center as the ideal partner.

                

The Big Men

James made his first NBA Finals appearance in 2007, a four-game sweep by Tim Duncan and the San Antonio Spurs. In the middle was 7’3″ center Zydrunas Ilgauskas.

“The fact that he got Cleveland to the Finals during his first go-around there is probably more of a miracle than anything else he accomplished in his career,” an Eastern Conference executive said.

The second-leading scorer on the squad was Larry Hughes (14.9 points per game), followed by Ilgauskas (11.9) and then Drew Gooden (11.1).

“Z is a cult hero [in Cleveland],” a former Western Conference executive said. “If he played now, he’d be a perennial All-Star.”

Beyond a bit of sentimental value for Ilgauskas, the heart of the debate is Davis vs. Chris Bosh and Kevin Love.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

“I don’t even think it’s close. AD is way better than any of those guys,” the Eastern Conference executive said. “Bosh and Love are really good players, but AD is at another level.”

“Bosh was strong, but AD has nearly realized [his] MVP potential,” Andre’ Snellings of ESPN said. “When factoring in fit, I might say Davis is the best partner at any position LeBron ever had.”

Bosh’s best individual season with James and the Heat was the 2010-11 campaign, when he averaged 18.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game, but his efficiency and shot-blocking improved in later seasons as his scoring and rebounding dipped.

“AD is better than Bosh, but Bosh was a beast,” the former Western Conference executive said.

Through the 2019-20 regular season, Davis averaged 26.1 points and 9.3 rebounds. His 3.2 assists, 2.3 blocks and 1.5 steals per game were higher than Bosh and Love contributed in any one season.

“Davis is more talented,” a current Western Conference executive said. “Bosh is closest in terms of size, length and athleticism, mixed with shooting touch and rim protection—but Davis is a different class.”

Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Despite his championship earned in 2016 with Jam

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Reggie Miller and Chris Webber Preview the X-Factors of the Western Conference Finals – Sports Illustrated

Reggie Miller did not mince words on the collapse of the Los Angeles Clippers.

After taking a commanding 3-1 lead in the series, the Clippers had three chances to knock out the Denver Nuggets and advance to a date in the Western Conference Finals against LeBron James, Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers. But they squandered double-digit leads in Games 5, 6, and 7, cementing one of the greatest breakdowns in franchise history.

“That curse is real,” said Miller. “The Clippers’ whole marketing scheme was to deface the Los Angeles Lakers and their history. ‘There’s a new sheriff in town, we’re taking over LA!’ Their focus was LeBron, AD, and the Lakers, and they were one game away from doing it. It was a total collapse.

“Now we’re hearing there were chemistry problems? Come on. Why didn’t we know anything about chemistry problems before? Don’t be cryptic, Paul George. I want names. If they’re talking about getting rid of Doc Rivers, who are they going to bring in that’s better than Doc? Paul George needs to start looking at himself.”

Along with Brian Anderson on play-by-play, Miller and Chris Webber will be providing analysis for the Western Conference Finals on TNT. The two basketball icons spoke to assorted media on a Wednesday press call to preview the Lakers-Nuggets series.

“I love that Denver is making people believe,” said Webber. “I love how deep they are, and hopefully Coach [Michael] Malone gets the credit he deserves. If you talk to players that have played for him, they’ll tell you how much they’ve enjoyed playing for him. They’re a great story.”

Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone celebrates with his team after defeating the Los Angeles Clippers in game seven of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs

Miller, a Hall of Famer who was lethal behind the three-point line, touched on how the Nuggets-Lakers series will offer a different style of play from the Eastern Conference Finals. In Game 1, the Boston Celtics and Miami Heat combined to attempt 76 three-pointers, but Miller noted there will be a far different pace in the West.

“The Lakers made 19 threes in that closeout game against Houston, but they are

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In First Ad, LeBron’s ‘More Than A Vote’ Asks Young People To Step Up, Become Poll Workers

Illustration for article titled In First Ad, LeBron’s ‘More Than A Vote’ Asks Young People To Step Up, Become Poll Workers

Screenshot: More Than a Vote

LeBron James’ group, More Than A Vote, released its first ad today. The thirty second spot aims to recruit young poll workers for the upcoming election.

“America is facing a record shortage in poll workers,” More Than A Vote tweeted, “and communities of color are the hardest hit. It doesn’t have to be this way.”

Narrated by Blazers star CJ McCollum, the video opens with photos of professional athletes from the NBA (James and Anthony Davis), WNBA, NFL (Patrick Mahomes and Deshaun Watson) and WTA (Naomi Osaka) demonstrating against racism. The rest of the commercial shows videos from the past and present underlying the importance of organizing, peacefully protesting, and voting.

“We’ve got to keep doing the work, because our right to be heard won’t be taken away on our watch,” McCollum says.

The ad dropped on social media this morning. It will air on TV tonight during the Eastern Conference finals matchup between the Miami Heat and Boston Celtics.

You can watch the full video below.

Another idea put forth by More Than A Vote is stadium voting, where sports arenas turn into large election supercenters. These sp

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LeBron, Giannis unanimously selected to All-NBA First Team – Reuters

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo unanimously were selected to the 2019-20 All-NBA First Team, the league announced Wednesday.

FILE PHOTO: Sep 12, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) controls the ball around Houston Rockets forward Robert Covington (33) in game five of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James set the NBA record with his 16th All-NBA Team selection, surpassing the 15 set by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan.

James’ total includes a record 13 selections to the First Team. He was also named twice to the Second Team and once to the third.

Antetokounmpo

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LeBron James, Giannis, Anthony Davis Headline 2019-20 All-NBA Team Selections

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2020, file photo, Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James, left, stands with forward Anthony Davis during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies in Los Angeles. James and Davis had the Lakers on course to contend for another NBA title before the coronavirus pandemic upended their first season together. The superstars see no reason they can’t continue their quest in Orlando, and Davis even thinks the Lakers’ chances have improved.(AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The three All-NBA teams were announced Wednesday, led by Los Angeles Lakers stars LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the first team:

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, who is a finalist for that award again this season, was also named to the first team for the second year in a row.

Giannis and LeBron were the only unanimous selections for the first team, per Erik Horne of The Athletic.

James Harden was named first-team All-NBA for the fifth straight season, while Luka Doncic made his first appearance on an All-NBA team in his second season.

Doncic becomes the first player to earn first-team All-NBA honors in one of his first tw

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How the Lakers and Nuggets stack up in this surprising West finals matchup

Michael Malone and LeBron James experienced their first conference finals together 13 years ago: the Cleveland Cavaliers‘ stunning 2007 upset of the Detroit Pistons in which James was just 22 and Malone was an assistant coach.

Their faces aren’t quite as smooth now and they have less hair, but their presence together in the conference finals in 2020 is just as unexpected.

Now a veteran coach known for his iron will, Malone has his Denver Nuggets in the Western Conference finals after a breathtaking comeback to knock out the favorite LA Clippers. Now he gets to be with James again, this time trying to figure out how the heck to stop him.

For the past year or so, James and the Los Angeles Lakers had been thinking about a playoff series with the Clippers. It was supposed to be a final battle in an arms race of superstars and the NBA’s first hallway series. It was supposed to be about score-settling, bragging rights and legacy building.

All of that has come apart with the Nuggets wielding a wrecking ball as they’ve reached the conference finals for the first time since 2009.

The Lakers now vault to massive title favorites with the two teams they expected to have to beat to get the Larry O’Brien Trophy — the Clippers and No. 1 overall seeded Milwaukee Bucks — both upset in the second round.

No matter how the Eastern Conference finals plays out, the Lakers now have the star power and experience advantage of the remaining teams left. They are also hot, having gone 8-2 in blitzing through the first two rounds and have the look of the fire-breathing championship contender that was largely absent from the Clippers and Bucks.

James is playing in his 11th conference finals, a run that dates back to the time when Malone’s hair was dark and many of the Nuggets, the youngest team in the playoffs, were in elementary school.

This matchup also tilts nicely toward Anthony Davis, playing in his first conference finals. Though Nuggets star Nikola Jokic is a central reason his team has overcome two 3-1 deficits, Davis won the matchup handily during the regular season as the Lakers went 3-1, including two wins in Denver.

The Nuggets, of course, will not care about that. They had their first charter flight home booked for Aug. 26. That one was canceled. Delta has rebooked that same charter five more times for them, and five more times it has been wiped off the books.

Nonetheless, the path to a fourth title has never been better paved for James. And he’s not one who often passes on opportunities.

— Brian Windhorst

How the Lakers got here

play

2:52

Led by LeBron James’ near-triple-double, the Lakers pummel the Rockets by double digits to advance to the Western Conference finals.

The basics

  • 2019-20 record: 52-19 overall

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 (11th) | Playoffs: 114.4 (third)

  • Defensive rating: 106.1 (third) | Playoffs: 105.4 (third)

Playoff results

The Lakers team that sleepwalked through the seeding round, going 3-5 while presenting an on-court product that vacillated between disinterest and disaster, is not the same Lakers team that went 8-2 through the first two rounds of the playoffs.

No, the team that earned the franchise’s first trip to the conference finals since 2010 was a defensive menace, first putting the clamps on bubble MVP Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers, then keeping the pressure on the league’s leading scorer, James Harden, and the Rockets.

“I mean, you hear it all the time, but defense wins championships,” Davis said after L.A.’s Game 5 closeout victory over Houston. “Our biggest focus is going to be locking in defensively and letting that lead the way.”

Davis, who is averaging 27.6 points per game in these playoffs on 58.6% shooting from the field and 39.1% shooting from 3 with 10.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 1.5 blocks per game, has had James (26.6 points on 55.3% from the field and 37.1% from 3, with 10.3 rebounds, 8.8 assists and 1.1 blocks per game) right alongside him.

But L.A.’s success hasn’t just been about the duo’s domination. During both series the Lakers fell behind 0-1 only to win four in a row to advance, as several L.A. role players — Danny Green, Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris and Alex Caruso among them — battled through rough spots to find a rhythm.

— Dave McMenamin

How the Nuggets got here

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Jamal Murray pours in a game-high 40 points and Nikola Jokic tallies a triple-dou

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Reza ready to make a stand amid BLM movement – Reuters Canada

LYON, France (Reuters) – After years of keeping quiet on the matter, Kevin Reza, the only Black rider in the Tour de France peloton this year, says he is ready to make his voice heard amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

FILE PHOTO: Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 8 – Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle – France – September 5, 2020. Israel Start-Up Nation rider Ben Hermans of Belgium, AG2r La Mondiale rider Benoit Cosnefroy of France, wearing the polka-dot jersey, and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM riders Quentin Pacher of France and Kevin Reza of France in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo

The 32-year-old, who turned professional in 2011 and rides for French outfit B&B Vital Concept, would like his peers to express support for the BLM movement but with professional cycling being largely an all-white business, Reza is on his own.

“It’s a shame. You can see the big names in sport giving themselves the means to speak, to make noise, to show their solidarity with this movement,” Reza, who was born on the outskirts of Paris to a family that originated from the French overseas region of Guadeloupe, told Reuters.

“I’m Kevin Reza, I don’t carry as much weight in world sport as Lewis H

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Reza ready to make a stand amid BLM movement – Reuters India

LYON, France (Reuters) – After years of keeping quiet on the matter, Kevin Reza, the only Black rider in the Tour de France peloton this year, says he is ready to make his voice heard amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

Cycling – Tour de France – Stage 8 – Cazeres-sur-Garonne to Loudenvielle – France – September 5, 2020. Israel Start-Up Nation rider Ben Hermans of Belgium, AG2r La Mondiale rider Benoit Cosnefroy of France, wearing the polka-dot jersey, and B&B Hotels-Vital Concept p/b KTM riders Quentin Pacher of France and Kevin Reza of France in action. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

The 32-year-old, who turned professional in 2011 and rides for French outfit B&B Vital Concept, would like his peers to express support for the BLM movement but with professional cycling being largely an all-white business, Reza is on his own.

“It’s a shame. You can see the big names in sport giving themselves the means to speak, to make noise, to show their solidarity with this movement,” Reza, who was born on the outskirts of Paris to a family that originated from the French overseas region of Guadeloupe, told Reuters.

“I’m Kevin Reza, I don’t carry as much weight in world sport as Lewis Hamilton in Formu

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Lakers’ ‘Others’ Lend LeBron James a Hand

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Plenty of players have had bumpy experiences at the N.B.A.’s restart at Walt Disney World. Rajon Rondo and Markieff Morris, two key reserves for the Los Angeles Lakers, would count themselves among that group.

Rondo, the team’s backup point guard, broke his right thumb during a practice on July 12 and left the league’s so-called bubble so that he could have surgery and recover. Morris, a forward who signed with the Lakers in February, shortly before the season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, has been laboring to unearth his rhythm.

The Lakers have championship hopes in the form of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, their twin stars. But if they want to advance in the postseason, their supporting cast needs to start producing with consistency. Depth is an issue — one underscored by the absence of Avery Bradley, their top perimeter defender, who opted not to participate in the restart.

For one game, at least, James and Davis got the help they needed. In the Lakers’ 117-109 victory over the Houston Rockets on Sunday night in the Western Conference semifinals, Morris, 31, stretched the floor with his outside shooting while Rondo, 34, was a whirl of activity. The win evened the best-of-seven series at one game apiece ahead of Game 3 on Tuesday night.

“That’s what the playoffs are about,” the Lakers’ Danny Green said. “Your superstars are going to play well. It’s what your others do.”

The others he referenced, the team’s supporting cast, have always been a concern with these Lakers, who have endured no small amount of turmoil this season. In that sense, their loss to the Rockets in Game 1 on Friday was true to form. The Rockets used their small lineup to space the floor and create oodles of open shots.

Rondo, who had four turnovers in that game, struggled, though perhaps for good reason: He had not pla

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James leads Lakers to first NBA conference final in 10 years

LeBron James in action against the Houston Rockets
LeBron James scored 29 points as the Lakers wrapped up a 4-1 series win over the Houston Rockets

LeBron James scored 29 points as the Los Angeles Lakers reached their first Western Conference in 10 years with a 119-96 win over the Houston Rockets.

The last time they reached this stage was when Lakers legend Kobe Bryant led them to the 2010 NBA title.

Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in January.

James, who joined the Lakers in 2018, said it was an “honour” play for the team and continue the “legacy”.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers and is the only player in league history to have two shirt numbers retired with the same team after wearing both for a decade.

“The reason I wanted to be a part of this franchise is to take them back to a place they were accustomed to being,” said three-time NBA champion James, 35. “And that’s competing for a championship.

“It’s an honour for me to wear the purple and gold and for us to try to continue the legacy and just play great basketball for our fans.”

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points for the Lakers, Markieff Morris got 16, Danny Green contributed 14 and Anthony Davis 13, while James Harden finished with 30 points for the Rockets.

The Lakers, who won the series 4-1, will face either the Los Angeles Clippers or the Denver Nuggets in the

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Lakers rout, eliminate Rockets behind LeBron’s 29 points – Reuters

EditorsNote: Added possessive to Lakers in 4th graf (also added NBA title note)

LeBron James had 29 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists and the Los Angeles Lakers eliminated the Houston Rockets from the NBA playoffs with a 119-96 victory in Game 5 on Saturday at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, Markieff Morris added 16 and Danny Green chipped in 14 for the Lakers. Anthony Davis contributed 13 points and 11 boards but committed six turnovers.

James Harden had 30 points, six rebounds and five assists and Jeff Green finished with 13 points off the bench for the Rockets. Russell Westbrook had 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

It’s the Lakers’ first trip to the Western Con

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LeBron, dominant Lakers rout Rockets to advance

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — A one-year break for LeBron James and a nine-year hiatus for his franchise came to an end on Saturday: James and the Los Angeles Lakers are back in the conference finals.

James poured in 29 points to go along with 11 rebounds and 7 assists in the Lakers’ 119-96 Game 5 victory over the Houston Rockets, storming back to take the Western Conference semifinals series 4-1 after Houston upset L.A. in Game 1.

The Lakers’ star improved to 37-10 in closeout opportunities, extending his streak to five consecutive wins in that situation. And L.A. snapped the longest cold spell in team history without making it to the round that determines a berth in the NBA Finals.

L.A. missed the playoffs for the sixth consecutive season last year in James’ maiden season with the Lakers — ending his personal run of eight straight Finals appearances and 14 straight postseason nods — but Year 2, teamed up with Anthony Davis and a cast of tested veterans, has been a different story.

“I know what my name, my stature, and what I’ve done in this league comes with whenever I decide to join a franchise,” said James, who registered his 133rd 25-5-5 game in the postseason since 2006, which leads the league. His closest competition in that span is Russell Westbrook with 42. “I know what my name comes with. And it comes with winning. I take that responsibility to the utmost [more] than anything. …

“I understand the Laker faithful and what they felt or maybe were going through over the, I want to say the last decade, of not being in the postseason, not competing for championships or whatever the case may be. I took

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LeBron and Lakers ground Rockets to make long-awaited return to West finals

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to the conference finals for the first time in a decade, ending the longest drought…
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Lakers blow out Rockets; advance to Conference Finals – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Los Angeles Lakers are going to the conference finals for the first time in a decade, ending the longest drought in franchise history.

LeBron James is going there for the first time since 2018. For him, that also qualifies as a drought.

James scored 29 points and the Lakers wrapped up their first trip to the Western Conference finals since 2010 by topping the Houston Rockets 119-96 on Saturday night in Game 5 at Walt Disney World.

Kyle Kuzma scored 17 points, Markieff Morris had 16, Danny Green added 14 and Anthony Davis finished with 13 for the top-seeded Lakers. They will play either the second-seeded Los Angeles Clippers or third-seeded Denver Nuggets for the West title in a series that won’t begin before Wednesday.

James is going to the conference finals for the 11th time overall — six with Cleveland, four with Miami and now with the Lakers. It’s his ninth time getting to this round in the last 10 seasons; the one miss in that stretch was last season, when his inaugural year with the Lakers fell apart because of injury and the team missed the playoffs.

James Harden scored 30 points, Jeff Green scored 13 and Russell Westbrook had 10 for Houston.

It was a rough end to a rough week for the Rockets.

Westbrook exchanged heated words with a fan in the family section during the fourth quarter; NBA security asked the man, identified by ESPN as a brother of Lakers guard Rajon Rondo, to leave the game.

Houston won Game 1 of the series and lost the next four. Saturday’s finale came a day after Danuel House — who averaged 11.4 points in nine playoff games this s

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LeBron James is a pirouetting locomotive

IT’S A FIVE-POINT game in a 1-1 playoff series, and the game clock ticks inside two minutes in the first half when LeBron James goes in his bag.

The sequence begins when James snags a defensive rebound and advances the ball up the left side of the court. Once past the massive NBA logo engulfing the tipoff circle at AdventHealth Arena, the Los Angeles Lakers star slows his dribble ever so slightly. This delay allows teammate Anthony Davis to step between James and Gary Trent Jr., who was assigned the thankless task of guarding James in the first round, to set a brush screen.

Trent pushes Davis in the chest to stop himself from getting stuck on the screen, and as James lingers at the 3-point line and yo-yo dribbles the ball back and forth between his legs, Davis resets the pick. Trent is caught this time. James gets his shoulder down and springs toward the lane.

Here’s where the fun starts.

Portland’s Wenyen Gabriel, who had been guarding Davis, switches onto James and awaits him at the foul line.

A 6-foot-9, 200-pound power forward, Gabriel is about to be made to look like a traffic cone by the 6-9, 250-pound James, who is dabbling at point guard in the twilight of his prime.

James angles his drive from the middle of the court toward the left elbow. Once Gabriel commits, sliding his feet to meet where he assumes James is heading, the trap is set. James spins left to right and shields Gabriel’s now off-balance defensive flail at the ball with his left shoulder.

He gently lays the ball in off the glass, and Gabriel can do nothing but catch it out of the net and throw an inbounds pass to CJ McCollum.

Gabriel had, of course, braced for contact. Which is understandable, given that he was thwarting a thrust from one of the most physically imposing players the league has ever seen. But James’ spin move away from Gabriel’s body had left the Portland big man disoriented and prone, the audience to a basket from James that had cut the Trail Blazers’ lead from five to three.

It was just another perfect execution of a signature move James has developed in recent years. The spin move is the middle ground between savage and savvy, requiring physical prowess to generate centrifugal force but relying on timing and grace to properly redirect momentum.

“It’s like a locomotive that jumps the tracks,” Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra says. “There’s nothing you can do.”

MORE: LEBRON JAMES’ EVOLVING OFFENSE


THERE WAS A time when Gabriel and others like him would have ended up like a splattered bug on James’ windshield, a time when James’ first instinct was to finish drives to the hoop with an aerial assault that turned defenders into mere hurdles.

But his game evolved. During his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James was most dangerous when throwing down powerful dunks. In Miami, he developed a post game and his efficiency skyrocketed. When he went back to Cleveland, he had better command of his jump shot.

“One of the things that I always used to say when people ask me about his game is, he was barely scratching the surface back then. And he was a great player then,” says Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown, who in 2007 coached James to his first NBA Finals appearance with the Cavs.

“So the spin move that he has now, it’s a dangerous weapon. But I just look at that as part of his repertoire of many things he can do and many ways he could hurt you if you don’t respect his game all over the floor.”

It is James’ constant threat of beelining to the rim that has defenses retreating and gives the spin its sizzle. And make no mistake, the move torches opponents.

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LeBron James’ athleticism is on full display with a spin move against CJ McCollum for two.

He brought the spin with him to the NBA bubble. In six seeding-round games, James sprung the spin on opposing defenses 12 times. He scored or was fouled seven times (58.3%). When his spin led him to a shot, he went 3-for-4 (75%). The other spin possessions ended up with one pass and three turnovers.

In the first round of the playoffs against Portland, he went to the spin more often — breaking it out 11 times in five games, but with less success. He scored or was fouled four times




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James’ Lakers one win away from Western Conference final

The Los Angeles Lakers are one win away from the Western Conference final after a bruising 110-100 victory against the Houston Rockets.

The Lakers now have a 3-1 lead over the Rockets in the best-of-seven semi-finals.

They could reach the finals for the first time in 10 years with a win in Saturday’s game five.

Anthony Davis impressed for the Lakers on Thursday with 29 points, 12 rebounds and five assists.

LeBron James

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Davis, James power Lakers past Rockets, into 3-1 series lead – Reuters

Anthony Davis recorded a double-double, LeBron James flirted with a triple-double and the Los Angeles Lakers parlayed a stifling defensive performance into a 110-100, wire-to-wire victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

Davis paired 29 points with 12 rebounds and added five assists and two blocked shots, while James finished with 16 points, 15 rebounds and nine assists.

The Lakers grabbed a commanding 3-1 series lead by dominating the facets of the game that fit their season-long profile: They clobbered the Rockets on the glass, overwhelmed them in the paint and torched Houston in transition.

The Lakers can secure a spot in the Western Conference Finals with a Game 5 win on Saturday.

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Raptors set as underdogs for Game 7 clash with Celtics – Sportsnet.ca

The Toronto Raptors will be looking to clinch a berth in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third time in five years when they hit the hardwood on Friday night for Game 7 of their second-round series with the Boston Celtics as 2.5-point underdogs on the NBA odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.

Toronto escaped with a narrow 125-122 overtime win over Boston on Wednesday to knot the series at three games apiece ahead of Friday night’s decisive matchup at AdventHealth Arena.

The Raptors have been forced to play catch-up since falling to defeat in the first two games of the series, and have seen two of their three wins in the series come by the narrowest of margins. In addition to Wednesday’s victory, which Toronto needed two overtime periods to claim, the team also escaped with a slim 104-103 victory in Game 3 thanks to a buzzer-beater from OG Anunoby.

As a result, the Raptors have failed to cover on four occasions during this series. However, the team has risen to the o

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LeBron James: James Harden Is Probably One of the Best Offensive Players Ever

Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) drives to the basket ahead of Los Angeles Lakers' Anthony Davis, left, during the second half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

James Harden‘s offense has been one of the few bright spots for the Houston Rockets in their Western Conference second-round series with the Los Angeles Lakers.  

Well, at least it was until Thursday night. 

Game 4 against the Lakers saw the Rockets guard completely lose his touch while going 2-of-11 from the field. It’s hard to look at Harden’s 21 points and 10 assists on Thursday as anything but a disappointment after he averaged 32.0 points while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 47.8 percent on threes over the previous three games.

That’s especially true since the Lakers grabbed a 3-1 series lead with the 110-100 victory.

Yet the night ended with L.A. star LeBron James lobbing multiple compliments Harden’s way, showing just how important the guard


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Role-Playing LeBron: Inside the Strange World of NBA’s Superstar Stand-Ins

Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James (23) reacts after bing called for a foul during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There’s no way to replicate the experience of playing against LeBron James in the playoffs. But as the Houston Rockets prepare during their second-round series against James’ Los Angeles Lakers, they’ve found the next-best thing: an undrafted 5’9″ guard.

Wait…huh?

Meet Rockets rookie guard Chris Clemons, who has been given the prestigious assignment of play-acting as James for the scout team, a collection of end-of-bench players who help the Rockets’ starters walk through the plays the Lakers will run during the series. 

Clemons pretending to be the 6’9″ four-time league MVP, who most people consider the best basketball player in the world? It’s not as wild as it sounds.

“LeBron actually plays [point guard] most of the time,” Clemons tells B/R. “He’s pretty much everything on the court. He plays a whole bunch of different positions. That’s what makes him special. So I would definitely say being a point guard helps, skill set-wise, in trying to replicate his game.”

Most coaches employ some variation of this tactic during their playoff practices, and it’s surprisingly effective.

“Sometimes a player plays a lot better when he thinks he’s somebody else,” says Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni. “It’s amazing, when we watch it we say, ‘Why don’t you play like that all the time?’ We tell them, act like you’re Kevin Durant or whoever. And they go crazy. They start scoring the ball.

“These guys are extremely talented, even if they’re on the scout team or whatever you want to call it.”

For current matchups, coaches are often reluctant to divulge how they’re game-planning for opposing stars. Lakers coach Frank Vogel won’t say who’s standing in for James Harden and Russell Westbrook, but he did reveal that fourth-year guard Quinn Cook did a “pretty darn good” Damian Lillard impersonation during the Lakers’ first-round series against the Portland Trail Blazers. 

And Miami Heat rookie forward KZ Okpala, who has played 26 NBA minutes over five career games, was tasked with pretending to be reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo in practices during the Heat’s second-round series against the Milwaukee Bucks.

The Rockets' Chris Clemons

The Rockets’ Chris ClemonsDavid Zalubowski/Associated Press

“When you’re on the scout team and you’re one of those developmental players and you’re asked to be one of the stars in this league, those are their favorite practices,” says Heat coach Erik Spoelstra. “I’m not going to compare them—it’s not about that—but [Okpala] has some qualities that are

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Heat into Eastern final, as James sets record in Lakers win

Miami Heat's Jimmy Butler looks for a pass
The Heat’s Jimmy Butler collected 17 points and 10 rebounds in Tuesday’s win over Milwaukee Bucks

The Miami Heat reached the Eastern Conference final for the first time since 2014 with a 4-1 series win over the Milwaukee Bucks in Florida.

The Heat found points from all over the court as six players hit double figures to seal a 103-94 victory.

They have not reached the Eastern finals since being led by LeBron James and Dwyane Wade six years ago.

James, meanwhile, scored 36 points for the Los Angeles Lakers as they took a 2-1 lead over the Houston Rockets.

The 112-102 win in the best-of-seven Western Conference semi-final series saw James set a new NBA record of 162 play-off victories, across his time with the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and the Lakers.

“It says that I’ve played with a lot of great teams,” said James, who won two NBA titles with the Heat and one with the Cavaliers. “It says that I’ve played with a lot of great team-mates and some great coaches.”

In Tuesday’s other game in Orlando, the Bucks were left missing the injured Giannis Antetokounmpo as they exited in the play-offs despite registering the highest points tally in the regular season

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LeBron James sets tone with scoring and defense to lift Lakers over Rockets in Game 3

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What I’m Hearing: USA TODAY Sports’ Mark Medina discusses how mental health and the stresses of being inside the NBA bubble has become an issue players are talking about as the playoffs press on.

USA TODAY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — One game captured LeBron James’ greatness through 17 years. It showcased his dominant scoring. It displayed his precise playmaking. It demonstrated his timely blocks.

So perhaps it might not be surprising that James played a major part in the Los Angeles Lakers cementing a 112-102 Game 3 win over the Houston Rockets on Tuesday. By scoring 36 points, grabbing seven rebounds, distributing six assists and recording four blocks, James showed once again how he has mastered all parts of his game while giving the Lakers a 2-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals.

But how does James fulfill this job description so consistently? At 35 years old? When opponents circle him on the scouting report? When he has done all of this for the past two months on the NBA campus, while also becoming one of the league’s leading voices addressing systemic racism?

“I’m not going to tell you exactly what I do. Because I would be giving my opponents a lot of my ingredients,” James said. “But let’s just say my wife is not enjoying what I do on a day-to-day basis inside the bubble getting ready for a game. Let’s just say that. I spent a lot of time, a lot of time on my body.”

The NBA allowed players’ family members to visit the Disney campus this week, which coincided with eight teams leaving following the end of the first round of the playoffs. James declined to have his two sons (16-year-old Bronny; 13-year-old Bryce) and five-year-old daughter (Zhuri) visit, saying they would not have much to do on this quarantined site.

James’ wife, Savannah, has arrived here. But she might not have much to do here, either. Not with James preoccupied with keeping his body and mind sharp. Not with James spending most of his free time studying game footage.

“Nobody spends more time focused on his body than LeBron James,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said.

Vogel does not have the same window into James’ regimen as he does, obviously. But Vogel became more forthcoming, sharing that James is “incredibly diligent around the clock” with his sleeping habits, morning weight-training sessions and massage treatment. Shortly after the Lakers hired Vogel as head coach last summer, he arrived at the practice facility only to see James there at 6 am “getting his work in.”

Therefore, it should not be surprising James played well enough to minimize James Harden’s scoring (33 points), Russell Westbrook’s bounce-back game (30 points), Anthony Davis’ dominance (26 points, 15 rebounds) or Rajon Rondo’s resurgence (21 points, nine assists).

James accomplished much more. James surpassed Derek Fisher for most playoff

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FaZe Banks on LeBron James’ Son Bronny in Esports: ‘He Was Built for This S–t!’

Sierra Canyon's Bronny James #0 is seen against Paul VI during a high school basketball game at the Hoophall Classic, Monday, January 20, 2020, in Springfield, MA. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan)

Gregory Payan/Associated Press

FaZe Clan co-owner Ricky Banks (aka FaZe Banks) said the signing of prized basketball prospect Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, wasn’t a publicity stunt.

“Listen, look at him,” Banks told TMZ Sports in an interview released Wednesday. “He was built for this s–t! Look at him and his dad. He’s a competitor, you know?”

Banks described esports as the “f–king future” and explained FaZe was impressed with Bronny’s skill on the sticks.

“He

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Led James and Davis, Lakers hold off Rockets to even series – Reuters

EditorsNote: 2nd update; 13th graf, take out Rondo’s first name

Sep 6, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) during warmups before game two of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Los Angeles Lakers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James and Anthony Davis combined for 62 points and 21 rebounds, and the Los Angeles Lakers needed to hold off the fourth-seeded Rockets’ second-half rally to win 117-109 Sunday night to even their Western Conference semifinals series 1-1 at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

James narrowly missed a triple-double, finishing with 28 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.

What began as a Lakers blowout turned tight in the second half. The Lakers led by as many as 21 points early in the second quarter, but needed to survive the Rockets’ surge after intermission.

The Lakers outscored the Rockets 27-17 in the fourth quarter, flipping a 92-90 deficit into an eight-point win. A James turnaround jumper to give the Lakers a 117-109 lead with 32.3 seconds to play all but sealed the win.

Sunday’s fourth quarter was a turnaround from Friday’s Game 1, when the Rockets pulled away in the final period to clinch a double-digit victory.

The Rockets’ third-quarter s

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Lakers’ LeBron James explains why his kids aren’t visiting the NBA bubble

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Families are reuniting inside the NBA bubble. Watch these sweet moments unfold.

USA TODAY

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James might miss his kids dearly. Yet, he declined to have his children visit the NBA’s quarantined campus for a specific reason.

“There’s nothing for them to do,” James said following the Lakers’ 117-109 Game 2 win over the Houston Rockets on Sunday.

To the delight of most players and the frustration of some coaches, the NBA has allowed only players to invite family members to visit the campus in the past week after each respective team advanced past the first round of the playoffs. James’ wife Savannah has attended, but their 16-year-old son Bronny, 13-year-old son Bryce and 5-year-old daughter Zhuri have stayed in Los Angeles.

“There’s literally nothing for them to do here,” James said. “It’s not a kid friendly place.”

There are various accommodations on the NBA campus. Each hotel has pools and gyms. Teams have access to golf courses and fishing expeditions. But the Disney World properties have remained closed both to the general public as well as everyone on campus. Everyone here is subject to daily coronavirus testing as well as social-distancing and mask-wearing rules. Teams have a heavy itinerary with games taking place every other day as well as practices in between.

“My kids are too adventurous and they love to do so much stuff,” James said. “There’s nothing for them to do here. Go outside, come back in, go outside, come back in. They can stay in L.A. They’re great.”

James would not describe himself that way.

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LeBron James’ Worst Critic Says The Most Shocking Thing Of All

So what does the sports journalist go out and do this week? He compliments the Lakers star for his timely play. On Twitter. For all the world to see.

“LeBron, CLUTCH,” he wrote of James’ fourth-quarter performance as the Lakers won to even the playoff series against the Houston Rockets at one game apiece on Sunday.

Twitter was in such disbelief that the reactions kept coming on Tuesday.

The Rockets and Lakers resume their Western Conference semifinal series on Tuesday night.

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NBA to resume games after player protest, turn stadiums into voting sites – Reuters India

(Reuters) – NBA players who boycotted games as part of a protest against racial injustice have agreed to resume the playoffs on Saturday in a deal that includes increased access to voting in the U.S. presidential election, the league and players association (NBPA) said on Friday.

The decision ends a three-day halt to the action as part of a player-led protest that was sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and led to game cancellations in other sports as well.

As part of the agreement, the NBA and its players will establish a coalition that will focus on access to voting for the Nov. 3 general election, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black commu

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Why you should be a poll worker this year

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LeBron James, Michael Jordan ‘Dual Jerseys Autographs’ Card Sells for $80,000

FILE - At left, in a July 30, 2018, file photo, LeBron James speaks at a news conference after the opening ceremony for the I Promise School in Akron, Ohio. At right, in a Feb. 12, 2019, file photo, Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan speaks to the media about hosting the NBA All-Star basketball game during a news conference in Charlotte, N.C. LeBron James is finally going to pass Michael Jordan. In scoring, at least. While the debate will rage forever about which player is better, James will soon have scored more points than Jordan. James is 211 points shy of passing Jordan (32,292) for the No. 4 spot in NBA history. (AP Photo/File)

Uncredited/Associated Press

Some collectors may rather have a Michael Jordan autographed card; others may rather have a LeBron James one. Preferences surely come down to which one the individual believes is the true GOAT.

One collector had a solution: Why not bid on a card with both?

A card featuring signatures from Jordan and James, as well as game-worn jersey patches from both His Airness and The King, sold Saturday for $80,000 through Goldin Auctions.

The 2004-05 Exquisite Collection “Dual Jerseys Autographs” card was graded GEM MINT 9.5 by BGS with signatures graded “10” by Beckett.

Those types of grades, not to ment

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Damian Lillard: ‘I Don’t Have a Fearful Mentality’ Ahead of Game 2 vs. Lakers

Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard calls for a foul against the Memphis Grizzlies during the second half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

As the Portland Trail Blazers prepare to play what should be a motivated Los Angeles Lakers team Friday night, Damian Lillard isn’t scared of what LeBron James and Co. have in store.

“I don’t have a fearful mentality about it when it’s happening,” Lillard told reporters. “If we lose, we lose. Obviously, we don’t want to. I think that could make it a stressful situation.”

Lillard has been the most fearless star of the NBA‘s restart, winning seeding game MVP honors and playing the best basketball of his career—especially since falling short in the clutch in an Aug. 8 loss to the Clippers, which nearly cost Portland a playoff spot.

Lillard averaged 51.3 points and 9.0 assists over the Blazers’ final three seeding games to get them into a play-in series for the No. 8 spot in the West. He led Portland to a win over the Memphis Grizzlies to clinch the eighth seed and then dropped 34 points in the Game 1 triumph over the Lakers. Du

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NBA Mock Draft 2020: Updated Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Dayton's Obi Toppin (1) reacts to teammates in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Duquesne, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020, in Dayton, Ohio. (AP Photo/Aaron Doster)

Aaron Doster/Associated Press

Given basketball’s fascination with the next fill-in-the-blank—the next Michael Jordan, the next LeBron James—it’s no surprise the NBA draft is always a source of fascinating debate.

It’s a two-round search for the league’s next stars, starters and role players. And yes, even in a class that lacks a surefire No. 1 prospect as the 2020 crop does, that search will hold the attention of the hoops world from now until the final selection is in the books.

While attempts to find the next star cause the most excitement, most teams would be thrilled to leave the event with at least one plug-and-play starter or reliable reserve in hand.

With that in mind, we’ll follow our mock first round with a breakdown of three of the safest prospects in this draft.

                

2020 NBA Mock Draft

1. Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia

2. Golden State Warriors: James Wiseman, C, Memphis

3. Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball, PG/SG, Illawarra Hawks

4. Chicago Bulls: Deni Avdija, SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

5. Cleveland Cavaliers: Obi Toppin, PF/C, Dayton

6. Atlanta Hawks: Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State

7. Detroit Pistons: Onyeka Okongwu, PF/C, USC

8. New York Knicks: Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State

9. Washington Wizards: Isaac Okoro, SF/PF, Auburn

10. Phoenix Suns: Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm

11. San Antonio Spurs: Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt

12. Sacramento Kings: Patrick Williams, PF, Florida State

13. New Orleans Pelicans: Saddiq Bey, SF/PF, Villanova

14. Boston Celtics (via Memphis Grizzlies): Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina

15. Orlando Magic: Kira Lewis Jr., PG, Alabama

16. Portland Trail Blazers: Josh Green, SG, Arizona

17. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Brooklyn Nets): Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky

18. Dallas Mavericks: Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Olympiacos B

19. Brooklyn Nets (via Philadelphia 76ers): RJ Hampton, SG, New Zealand Breakers

20. Miami Heat: Precious Achiuwa, PF/C, Memphis

21. Philadelphia 76ers (via Oklahoma City Thunder): Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford

22. Denver Nuggets (via Houston Rockets): Grant Riller, PG/SG, Charleston

23. Utah Jazz: Theo Maledon, PG, ASVEL

24. Milwaukee Bucks (via Indiana Pacers): Leandro Bolmaro, SG/SF,

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Harden pours in 36 as Rockets top Lakers in Game 1 – Reuters

EditorsNote: changes to “Danuel House Jr.” in last graf

Sep 4, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) handles the ball against Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green (14) during the first quarter in game one of the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden scored 36 points, and the Houston Rockets surprised the Los Angeles Lakers in a 112-97 victory in Game 1 of their Western Conference semifinal on Friday at the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Harden converted 12 of 20 shots from the floor, including 3 of 6 3-point attempts. Russell Westbrook contributed 24 points, nine rebounds and six assists, and Eric Gordon had 23 points for the Rockets.

Anthony Davis led the Lakers with 25 points and 14 rebounds while LeBron James had

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Heat upset arena rejected as polling place – Reuters

Heat upset arena rejected as polling place – Reuters

The Miami Heat expressed disappointment on social media that their home arena was rejected as a polling place site for November’s general election, while a number of other NBA cities have welcomed an identical plan.

In a proposal that was galvanized by the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James earlier this summer, the idea was to make NBA arenas mega polling locations in order to allow as many registered voters to cast a ballot as possible — and to do so with safe social distancing.

Among the cities taking up their teams on the plan are Atlanta, Brooklyn, Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Houston, San Francisco, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Milwaukee, New York, Oklahoma Ci

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James Harden Drops 36 as Rockets Beat LeBron James, Lakers in Game 1

James Harden Drops 36 as Rockets Beat LeBron James, Lakers in Game 1
Houston Rockets' James Harden (13) drives to the basket ahead of Los Angeles Lakers' Markieff Morris (88) during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Friday, Sept. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Houston Rockets opened their Western Conference second-round playoff series with a 112-97 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Florida.

A 14-0 run in the beginning of the fourth quarter propelled the Rockets to a 101-82 edge en route to victory. L.A. went 4:12 without scoring during that span and never came closer than 13 points down the stretch.

Rockets guard James Harden led all scorers with 36 points on 12-of-20 shooting (3-of-6 from three-point range).

The Rockets broke the Lakers’ four-game winning streak in the process. L.A. had beaten the Portland Trail Blazers in four straight after dropping Game 1 of their first-round playoff series.

        

Notable Performances

Rockets G James Harden: 36 points, 5 assists, 2 steals

Rockets G Russell Westbrook: 24 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists

Rockets G Eric Gordon: 23 points, 3 rebounds

Lakers G/F LeBron James: 20 points, 8 rebounds, 7 assists

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis: 25 points, 14 rebounds, 3 steals, 3 blocks

Lakers G Alex Caruso: 14 points, 4 assists

    

Rockets’ Defense Continues to Shine

The Rockets opened the seeding-game portion of the NBA schedule by allowing 149 points in an overtime game against the Dallas Mavericks, with four Mavs combining for 123 of those points.

It didn’t matter as Houston scored 153 in a four-point victory, but defense largely hasn’t been a strong suit for Houston this year with the team allowing the 23rd most points per game and ranking a mediocre 14th in defensive rating among all 30 NBA franchises.

Their defense turned up a notch in the playoffs en route to outscoring the Oklahoma City Thunder by 28 points in Games 1 and 2 of the first round, but it fell apart in Game 3 and 4 in which they allowed 118.0 points on average.

However, Houston’s defense has been largely on point ever since. The Rockets gave up just 80 points in a 34-point victory in Game 5 and came up with huge defensive plays in the final seconds of their 104-102 Game 7 win over OKC on Wednesday.

That d

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Rayshard Brooks’ Widow Hopeful LeBron James, NBA Boycott Sparks Change

Rayshard Brooks’ Widow Hopeful LeBron James, NBA Boycott Sparks Change

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LeBron James Fires Back After ESPN Analyst Compares Him To Ex-Player

LeBron James Fires Back After ESPN Analyst Compares Him To Ex-Player

LeBron James has been in a league of his own throughout his NBA career.

So it wasn’t surprising that he pounced on an ESPN analyst’s suggestion Thursday that he was a star sidekick ― like Scottie Pippen was to Michael Jordan ― when James won two titles with Miami.

ESPN’s Jay Williams made the dubious claim in response to a tweet from former NBA player Richard Jefferson, who said that Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo might be a “Pippen” who required a “Jordan” as a teammate.

“So LeBron was a Pippen with [Dwyane] Wade once,” Williams replied. “Nothing wrong with that until you get over the hump.”

James, who won the league and Finals MVP awards in the 2012 and 2013 championship seasons alongside Wade, took umbrage.

“Explain to me what the fux I gotta do with this subject matter!” he tweeted at Williams. “I’m over here minding my damn business preparing for Houston. And by the way I ain’t never been nobody but my damn self! 👑 Shit!”

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The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren’t the Same Without You.

The Shows Must Go On. But They Aren’t the Same Without You.

They used to arrive before dawn. Hundreds of them came to scream and leap and wave posters scrawled with the names of their hometowns as they vied to be caught on camera among the “Today” show crowd. “People dream about coming to 30 Rockefeller Plaza,” Hoda Kotb, the show’s co-anchor, told me recently over Zoom after a show. But for the last several months, Kotb has heard the eerie sound of her own footsteps as she heads into the studio and slips behind the anchor desk, where she perches at a socially distanced remove from her co-stars and broadcasts in front of a ghostly plaza. One morning, she spied some movement outside the window — it was a nurse in scrubs, lugging a rolling suitcase — and Kotb was so hungry for a taste of audience connection, “I literally held my phone number on a white piece of paper to the glass,” she said. “I was like, ‘Call me and tell me where you’re from!’”

Since the coronavirus swept across the United States, morning-show anchors have kept bantering, late-night hosts have kept joking and politicians have kept stumping. It’s the audiences that have not showed. Their sudden disappearance has spotlighted the mythical, almost mystical, role they play in popular entertainment. The crowd has been compared to an electric spark, a dance partner, an intoxicant and a character in and of itself. It is said to hold great power over professional performers, messing with their heads and triggering hormonal surges in their glands. The crowd lends a democratic sheen to an event, legitimizing the performer’s skill and authenticating the show as real. If the crowd laughs, the joke was funny. If it boos, the call was bad. The crowd is, as Kotb put it, “the juice.” And for now, it is gone.

This has proved to be a vexing experience for the entertainers of America. When “The View” first banished its studio audience, in March, Whoopi Goldberg cried “Welcome to ‘The View’! Welcome to ‘The View’!” again and again into silence, as cameras swept an expanse of empty seats. Before he sealed himself into the N.B.A. bubble at Disney World, LeBron James could not conceive of the game without a crowd, saying: “If I show up to an arena and there ain’t no fans there? I ain’t playing.” When even A-list celebrities seem bored enough to appear at events hosted on videoconferencing software, it is the crowd that has stepped into the role of the withholding diva. A long-anticipated reunion of “Friends” is on indefinite hold, not for David Schwimmer or Jennifer Aniston but for the anonymous audience members tasked with observing them: “We cannot do it without them,” Marta Kauffman, the show’s co-creator, has said.

So longing are the shows for their crowds that they have grasped for imitations. The “Today” show has erected a “virtual plaza” and enlisted performers of its once-outdoor music series to surprise superfans at home. In a masterwork of artifice, American ballparks and European soccer stadiums have piped in the crowd roars originally created for video games. Many baseball teams have put literal stand-ins in the seats, arranging stiff cardboard cutouts of fans in macabre tableaus; at one game, the Washington Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton caught a fly ball and offered it up to the frozen visage of a cardboard baby cradled in her ersatz mother’s lap in the right field stands. And for the Video Music Awards last weekend, MTV crafted an orgy of simulation, stitching together uncanny C.G.I. fans and fake crowd buzz into a dystopian New York cityscape.

The ultimate audiences for sports, politics, talk shows and award presentations are not found inside arenas or convention halls or studios — they are watching from home, slack on the couch, absorbing ads and paying for cable and streaming packages. In normal times, the live crowd mounts a performance for the remote audience. But this summer, without our stand-ins to guide us, we home viewers confront a void. The pretense of the crowd always provided the true audience a bit of cover; we could vicariously ride its emotions, feeding off its energy, absorbing its delight and its outrage, even as we sat quietly alone at home. But now we are directly implicated in the show itself.

The television experience was largely designed to replicate live performances — to transport their spontaneous thrills into the remote home. In his book “Liveness: Performance in a Mediatized Culture,” Philip Auslander, a professor of performance studies at the Georgia Institute of Technology, traces how TV borrowed the storytelling conventions of the theater: it was styled as an immediate event, with the viewer positioned at the scene of the action, as if watching from the lip of the stage or the sideline of the court. The classic three-camera setup mimicked the movement of the audience’s roving eye, perhaps aided with a pair of opera glasses. And even as TV absorbed more cinematic elements, playing with shifting perspectives and transpositions of time, it also built up conventions that simulate the feeling of liveness: recorded laugh trac

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The Rockets’ Small-Ball Strategy Gets a Big Test Against the Lakers

The Rockets’ Small-Ball Strategy Gets a Big Test Against the Lakers

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The experiment was formalized on Feb. 6. In a crowded hallway at Staples Center, a couple of hours before his team would face the Los Angeles Lakers and 34 days before the N.B.A. season would be suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, Houston Rockets Coach Mike D’Antoni announced that he was going small.

In some ways, D’Antoni had nothing to lose. He alluded to the fact that his contract was expiring at the end of the season. Besides, he had never been afraid to spice things up over the course of his long and eventful coaching career, and here was another opportunity to do something different.

“We just have a weird kind of team,” D’Antoni said at the time, “and we’re trying to figure out how to play them the best we can, and this is it.”

With P.J. Tucker, who is 6-foot-5, manning the center position, and Russell Westbrook feasting on open lanes to the basket, the Rockets defeated the Lakers that night, 121-111. Still, early reviews were mixed: Was Houston’s approach just a novelty? Would opponents figure out how to adjust? Would bigger teams grind them down in a grueling playoff series?

Seven months later, another litmus test awaits. After needing seven games to survive their first-round series against the fifth-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder, the Rockets will play the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, with Game 1 set for Friday night. So much has changed since these two teams met in February. But the overarching themes are the same.

“I never worry about the other team,” Westbrook said Wednesday after the Rockets closed out his former team with a chaotic 104-102 win. “When we play the way we need to play, it’s tough to beat us.”

The Rockets remain one of the league’s great curiosities, as innovative as they are polarizing: so many 3-pointers, so much dribbling, so many attempts to draw fouls. Houston was treating the midrange shot like kryptonite long before other teams began r

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The True Cost of Life in the N.B.A. Bubble

The True Cost of Life in the N.B.A. Bubble

Want more basketball in your inbox? Sign up for Marc Stein’s weekly N.B.A. newsletter here.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — It all sounded so breezy when the Los Angeles Clippers’ Patrick Beverley arrived at Walt Disney World and promptly scoffed at the idea that working and living at one of the foremost playgrounds on Earth could somehow be complicated.

The bubble, Beverley unforgettably declared that day, is what you make it.

Nearly two months later, no one on the N.B.A.’s Disney campus can be that cavalier when talking about the surroundings. The league has managed to keep the coronavirus out, which undeniably is a significant achievement, but not without levying an emotional tax by severely restricting access.

Beverley’s first-glance view suggested that bubble inhabitants, with the right mind-set, could make this all seem as magical as a typical Disney trip. Now consider the review that the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James offered up Saturday night — after the league emerged from a three-day walkout during which numerous players gave serious thought to closing down the bubble completely. The near shutdown wasn’t motivated solely by the players’ social justice pursuits; also factoring in was the simple desire to return to the outside world.

“I’ve had numerous nights and days of thinking about leaving the bubble,” James said. “I think everyone has, including you guys.”

James was referring to members of the news media and, without question, he was right. The word I have used to describe this assignment, over and over, is “unmissable.” That sentiment remains true, because I’m not sure I’ll ever have the chance again to cover N.B.A. playoff games in August and September in arenas without fans. But “interminable” also applies. I can’t deny that there have been times during my 53 days here that I tried to picture the finish line and couldn’t.

It’s not because of the workload. My role at the 2016 Olympics in Rio, leading ESPN’s coverage of the U.S. men’s basketball team for “SportsCenter” and ESPN.com, made for even longer days in some ways. What gets to you in the bubble is your lack of control, combined with the long-term isolation, all exacerbated by copious regulations and restrictions.

So many rules to follow. So much time alone with your thoughts. An Olympic excursion, typically bucket list territory for most sportswriters, also lasts only three or four weeks.

Of course, nearly eight weeks into my stay in the 314-square-foot Casita No. 4151 at the Coronado Springs Resort, I am getting nostalgic and predictably sappy about it all — even the tough stuff. My time in the N.B.A. bubble is almost up. On Thursday, I am scheduled to fly home to Dallas. My colleague Scott Cacciola has begun his seven-day quarantine, replete with its daily throat and nostril swabs and bagged food drop-offs, and is poised to replace me as the bubble representative for The New York Times.

A few of my pals from other outlets are scheduled to cover this N.B.A. restart from the first dribble to the last, so I feel guilty that I am leaving while they have 40 days to go, as do the two teams that will ultimately reach the N.B.A. finals. I am also trying, without much success because I am so darn stubborn, to convince myself that 50-plus days in one place with no license to leave is not an insufficient commitment.

Some proof: I have been a Disney resident long enough to start seeing Facebook notifications urging me to “register now in Florida” because “your vote can make a difference in your community.”

I am obviously not eligible to vote in Orange County, Fla., but there are aspects of bubble life that will stay with me for a long time.

Wednesday, for starters, will bring the last of my daily coronavirus tests, but I suspect I will want to keep taking my temperature and oxygen saturation readings every day for a while — just to be safe.

I will miss living in a first-of-its-kind N.B.A. village with a bunch of teams that aren’t traveling and, because of the tightly controlled borders, can’t avoid interactions with the media even though there are so many more barriers to reporting access than we’re used to.

I will miss the solitary convention center hallway, connected to one of the three team hotels, that the news media could not be barred from — and all the chance encounters with key N.B.A. figures that took place there.

I will miss the garish orange carpet in that hallway and how Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix and I frequently laughed at each other for spending more time camped out there than we knew we were supposed to.

I will miss the tiny lizards scampering around our feet while walking the less-than-one-square-mile of the Coronado grounds allotted to reporters.

Credit…Marc Stein for The New York Times

I will miss the daily downpours that amazingly made Central Florida’s vaunted humidity easier to stomach than what awaits me upon my return to North Texas.

I will miss the limited food options that helped me lose 10 to 12 pounds, which history says I will quickly find upon returning home.

I will miss the delicate touches of the housekeeping staff, like the way they wrapped the remote control in my casita in a little plastic bag.

I will miss the serendipity, such as turning a corner on the way to the meal room and seeing, say, Denver Nuggets C

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Brooklyn Nets name Hall of Famer Nash as head coach – Reuters

(Reuters) – Basketball Hall of Famer Steve Nash has been named head coach of a Brooklyn Nets squad that will be led by the dominant Kevin Durant next season, the NBA team said on Thursday.

Nash joins the Nets after spending five seasons as a player development consultant with the Golden State Warriors, where he contributed to two NBA championship teams and made four consecutive trips to the NBA Finals.

“Coaching is something I knew I wanted to pursue when the time was right, and I am humbled to be able to work with the outstanding group of players and staff we have here in Brooklyn,” Nash said in a news release.

“I am as excited about the prospects of the team on the court as I am about moving to Brooklyn with my family and be

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NBA Playoffs: Lakers and Trail Blazers will boycott Game 5 – Silver Screen and Roll

NBA Playoffs: Lakers and Trail Blazers will boycott Game 5 – Silver Screen and Roll

After the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic decided to boycott their playoff game in protest of continuing police brutality against Black people following the shooting of Jacob Blake, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder quickly followed suit. Now, the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers will join them: They will not play in Game 5 of their first round series. The NBA is officially saying the games are postponed, although whether they’ll ever be rescheduled remains to be seen.

This is officially a huge moment for both the NBA, and potentially, the country as a whole.

There are now legitimate questions about whether or not the NBA playoffs will continue, but those are far from the most crucial thing right now, and I’m not going to sit here and speculate on the answers. We just don’t know.

You know what we do know? That the NBA players you root for and follow every single game are hurting. That is the thing that everyone reading the blog or who has ever cared one iota about this game needs to hear right now.

Listen to the pain in LeBron James’ voice the other night. Hear and read about how

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LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, More NBA Players Praise Bucks’ Boycott

LeBron James, Donovan Mitchell, More NBA Players Praise Bucks’ Boycott
Referees huddle on an empty court at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Several NBA players took to social media Wednesday in support of the Milwaukee Bucks‘ reported decision to strike and not play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin (NSFW warning).

The Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers have also decided to boycott their respective Game 5s that were scheduled for Wednesday. 

Protests have broken out in the city of Kenosha after a police officer shot at Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, seven times on Sunday. Police tasered Blake upon responding to a domestic disturbance call, and at least one officer fired shots at Blake when he attempted to get into his car to check on his three children.

Attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing the Blake family, told CBS News that Blake was at the scene because he was attempting to deescalate a fight. Crump said Blake is paralyzed from the waist down and will likely not walk again.

The shooting of Blake is the latest in a series of acts of violence against Black people, including the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Several NBA players had been hesitant about resuming the 2019-20 seaso

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LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, More Athletes Speak on Jacob Blake Shooting

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, More Athletes Speak on Jacob Blake Shooting
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James, second from left, wears a Black Lives Matter shirt and kneels with teammates during the national anthem prior to an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)

Mike Ehrmann/Associated Press

LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and other current and former athletes spoke out against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last Sunday and supported the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic in protest.

The Bucks’ strike comes amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality sparked by the killing of George Floyd in May. 

The police shooting of Blake has also flared ongoing protests in Kenosha, located 40 miles from Milwaukee.

Other NBA teams followed the Bucks, with the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers games also postponed Wednesday.    

          

Los Angeles Lakers G/F LeBron James

Ex-Miami Heat SG Dwyane Wade

Las Vegas Aces PF A’ja Wilson

Phoenix Mercury G Skylar Diggins-Smith

Washington Mystics

Los Angeles Lakers CEO/Governor Jeanie Buss

2-Time Tennis Grand Slam Winner Naomi Osaka

NBA on TNT Analyst Kenny “The Jet” Smith

Ex-Chicago Bulls F and Pro Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen

Utah Jazz G Donovan Mitchell

Cleveland Cavaliers F/C Kevin Love

   

   

Memphis Grizzlies PG Ja Morant

Atlanta Hawks PG Trae Young

Minnesota Timberwolves C Karl-Anthony Towns

Denver Nuggets PG Jamal Murray

Miami Heat C Bam Adebayo

San Antonio Spurs G/F DeMar DeRozan

Memphis Grizzlies F/C Jaren Jackson Jr.

Boston Celtics C Enes Kanter

Los Angeles Clippers Head Coach Doc Rivers

Milwaukee Bucks

Milwaukee Bucks PG George Hill

Milwaukee Bucks Governors Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan

Milwaukee Bucks SVP Alex Lasry

Denver Nuggets

Houston Rockets F Robert Covington

Ex-Los Angeles Lakers F/C Pau Gasol

Houston Texans WR Kenny Stills

  

   

Seattle Seahawks S Jamal Adams

US Soccer Men’s National Team/Newcastle United D DeAndre Yedlin

USMNT/Toronto FC F Jozy Altidore

Sacramento Kings

Washington Wizards PG John Wall

   

Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu

NFL S Eric Reid

New England Patriots DB Jason and Devin McCourty

Detroit Pistons F/C John Henson

Milwaukee Brewers LHP Josh Hader

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Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA Protest: ‘We Put Together a Plan and We Had Action’

Lakers’ LeBron James on NBA Protest: ‘We Put Together a Plan and We Had Action’
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James plays in the second half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The Lakers won 131-122 to win the series 4-1. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James spoke with NBA TV’s Jared Greenberg about players’ plans for social justice amid ongoing protests against systemic racism and police brutality:

James’ comments came after he dropped a 36-point triple-double in a 131-122 playoff win over the Portland Trail Blazers, which sealed a 4-1 first-round series win.

The Lakers vs. Blazers game was one of three that occurred Saturday after a three-day pause in the NBA’s postseason amid players’ fights for social justice. Those efforts were further sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, who was shot seven times in the back by authorities trying to detain him in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

In response, the Milwaukee Bucks decided against taking the court for Game 5 of their first-round series versus the Orlando Magic on Wednesday

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Report: Raptors-Celtics opener postponed as players opt to resume NBA playoffs – Yahoo Sports

Report: Raptors-Celtics opener postponed as players opt to resume NBA playoffs – Yahoo Sports

Wojnarowski adds. The playoffs will resume as early as Friday, or by the weekend at the very least.’ data-reactid=”22″>However, Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics will be postponed, along with the other two playoff games that were set to take place on Thursday, Wojnarowski adds. The playoffs will resume as early as Friday, or by the weekend at the very least.

Game 2 of Raptors-Celtics was set for Saturday, which would make for a logical restart.

NBA nor WNBA played any of the games they were scheduled to play yesterday. It started with the Milwaukee Bucks refusing to play their scheduled playoff game with the Orlando Magic, and quickly snowballed into no basketball games being played at all, and some baseball and soccer games not happening as well.

The fact that no games took place is undeniable (and unprecedented), but there seems to be a lot of confusion over exactly what to call this sudden lack of sports. “Boycott,” “strike,” “work stoppage,” and the very gentle “postponement” have all been used by the workers (that is, players), management and/or the press to describe what happened, but these words all have very specific meanings and connotations, particularly “boycott” and “strike.”

For starters, this was not a mere “postponement,” and referring to it as such takes away from what these workers have done. A postponement is something that happens because of inclement weather, and both the NBA and WNBA (who have been committed to taking action for some time now) have been very clear about the fact that they are withholding their labor in response to the police shooting of 29-year old Jacob Blake that happened in Kenosha, Wis., last Sunday.

Several players, including LeBron James, have referred to the lack of basketball as a “boycott,” but that’s not quite right either. (The players may have their reasons for using this terminology however, and we’ll get to that in a moment.)

Before we go any further, let’s back up and examine the definition of the words “strike” and “boycott.” According to Oxford Languages, a strike is “a refusal to work organized by a body of employees as a form of protest, typically [empahsis mine] in an attempt to gain a concession or concessions from their employer.” A boycott is “a punitive ban that forbids relations with certain groups, cooperation with a policy, or the handling of goods.” To boycott something means to “withdraw from commercial or social relations with (a country, organization, or person) as a punishment or protest.”

These workers are refusing to work as an organized body to protest police brutality and demand justice for Jacob Blake, which makes this a strike, not a boycott. (The players are not telling their fans to not buy tickets or merchandise from the NBA, or telling other companies to not do business with the NBA, which are just two examples of a what boycott could look like.)

So why would James and other players refer to it as a “boycott”? That could have to do with the legality of the strike.

Like so many collective bargaining agreements, the NBA’s has a “no-strike and no-lockout” clause, which expressly forbids this kind of thing. (If any of you out there plan to bargain a new contract soon, try to keep this clause out of it!) This makes this action a “wildcat strike,” which is not technically legal (and can have very serious legal repercussions), but it is extremely badass. According to two labor law experts the Los Angeles Times talked to, the wildcat nature of the strike could be why we’ve seen players publicly using the word “boycott”:

“From a pure legal standpoint, I would term these wildcat strikes,” said Joseph Longo, an adjunct professor who teaches sports law at Loyola Law School. He’s also an attorney and MLB player agent.

“I think it’s a euphemism for a work stoppage,” Thomas Lenz, a law lecturer at USC and attorney specializing in labor and employment law, said of players describing the postponeme

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With Walkouts, a New High Bar for Protests in Sports Is Set

With Walkouts, a New High Bar for Protests in Sports Is Set

Jaylen Brown is 23. Sterling Brown is 25. LeBron James, one of the older players in the league, is only 35. All three, like so many of their N.B.A. compatriots, are part of an emboldened generation of Black athletes, a vanguard challenging America’s norms in numbers never seen before.

At the very same time, the Republican National Convention represented and embraced an entirely different vision — one nostalgic for the past, wary of change and angry for an entirely different reason. Sports personalities from an era when player protests were rarer figured prominently. Lou Holtz, the renowned 83-year-old college football coach who last led a team 16 years ago, proclaimed stead

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NBA players are the most powerful employees in America — and they know it

NBA players are the most powerful employees in America — and they know it
  • NBA players made history on Wednesday when a sudden “wildcat strike” in protest of police violence brought the league’s restart, and playoffs, to a sudden halt.
  • The history of the league shows a willingness to strike from players since the 1950s, but activism has never been as common or pronounced as in the Black Lives Matter era.
  • The league, Disney, and ESPN have billions riding on the conclusion of the season, and the players know the leverage they have.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

In June, not everyone thought the NBA should come back. 

Its return would only detract from the historic protests over the police killing of George Floyd, which was caught on video. Now, less than a month after play resumed on July 30, Milwaukee Bucks players have gone on strike — what the team originally called a boycott — to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, which was also caught on video. Blake was shot in the back and now appears to be paralyzed from the waist down.

By the evening after Milwaukee’s players went on strike, the next three games had been called off. The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that Bucks players were attempting to contact Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul from their locker room.

Later on Wednesday night, Charania, David Aldridge, and Joe Vardon reported the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers — the two best teams in the league this season aside from Milwaukee — had voted to cancel the season, though other reports indicated the vote was not a binding one. By Thursday, Charania reported the players had agreed to continue playing “but want to find new and improved ways to make social justice statements.”

They have already made a bold statement.

The sudden collective action by NBA players — essentially a “wildcat strike,” or when union members stop work without leadership’s authorization — is already the largest sudden work stoppage in NBA history. Even if the playoffs conclude, this moment has high stakes for the league and its partners, especially Disney and its subsidiary ESPN, with $1 billion invested in creating the “bubble” that allows play to safely resume.

NBA players, long unionized and ready and willing to strike, have all the leverage right now over their league and its partners.

The dynamics have clicked into focus over the past 24 hours: A group overwhelmingly made up of Black workers has withheld its labor to advocate for political changes, with billions on the line.

They are the most powerful employees in America, and they are acting like they know it.

Labor, employment, and replaceability 

The members of the Players Association have outstanding leverage, compared with many employees, because of a variety of factors. 

The first is commonly associated with Michael Jordan: the superstar effect. Teams already employ the best of the best: Just 1.2% of college players and 0.03% of high-school players make it to the NBA, according to the NCAA. That might suggest thousands of basketball players are waiting in line to play if an athlete steps out of line, but the superstar effect — whereby the marginal difference between very good and exceptional leads to outsize financial rewards — allows for big-name pla

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NBA players decide to continue season after boycott over racial injustice – Reuters

(Reuters) – The National Basketball Association (NBA) said on Thursday it hopes to resume play in a day or two after a boycott by players protesting racial injustice and police brutality, while President Donald Trump denounced the league.

NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said the league is “hopeful” it will resume games Friday or Saturday after the protest, which was sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and led to game cancellations in other sports as well.

The NBA players, a majority of whom are Black, decided not to extend the boycott in a meeting on their quarantined campus at Disney World in Florida, where games have occurred due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump, during a briefing on Hurricane Laura on Thursday, criticized the NBA for postponing six games in response to the players’ action. “They’ve become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing,” Trump said.

The basketball players’ protest began when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.

The Bucks players said they were unable to focus on basketball due to demonstrations and violence in Kenosha, which is about 40 miles (60 km) south of Milwaukee.

The police shooting of Blake reminded Americans of the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody in May.

That incident sparked anti-racism demonstrations and civil unrest across the United States and globally as well as prompted a national reckoning on race and justice that has rippled through U.S. life.

After the player boycott

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LeBron James, other NBA players support walkout over shooting of Jacob Blake

LeBron James, other NBA players support walkout over shooting of Jacob Blake

Kneeling wasn’t enough. So NBA players walked off the court. 

The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their game with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday to protest police violence after the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

The teams were set to play Game 5 of the first round of the NBA playoffs. Soon after the Magic players left the court, the NBA announced the Oklahoma City Thunder, Houston Rockets, Portland Trailblazers, and Los Angeles Lakers would not play their Wednesday games as well. The Magic later released a statement in support of the walkout. 

For Bucks forward Sterling Brown, it’s personal. Two years ago, after coming out of a Walgreens, Milwaukee police officers stepped on his ankle and tased him over a bad parking job. One of the officers on the scene later joked about it on Facebook

After video of the arrest was released, he refused to settle with the city. 

“I want more than just money,” he wrote last month in The Players’ Tribune. “I want cops to show respect and to be held accountable when they step out of line, especially in the neighborhoods they are supposed to serve and protect every day.”

Bucks and Magic players did not comment on the protest. Alex Lasry, SVP of the Bucks, tweeted in support of the team’s players.

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The NBA playoffs are on the brink after an ‘ugly’ meeting where the Lakers and Clippers left early after voting to end the season

The NBA playoffs are on the brink after an ‘ugly’ meeting where the Lakers and Clippers left early after voting to end the season
LeBron James. 

<p class="copyright">Ashley Landis/Pool/AP Images</p>
<p>‘ src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/rRXbV4FzkhEBfow79X6_.Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM1Mi41/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/insider_articles_922/89ea0a44dc7e0ccfeeffc6063693099c” data-src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/rRXbV4FzkhEBfow79X6_.Q–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTcwNTtoPTM1Mi41/https://media.zenfs.com/EN/insider_articles_922/89ea0a44dc7e0ccfeeffc6063693099c”></p></div>
</div><figcaption class="caption-collapse" readability="2">LeBron James. </p>
<p class="copyright">Ashley Landis/Pool/AP Images</p>
</figcaption></figure>
<ul class="caas-list caas-list-bullet" readability="6.0573089700997">
<li readability="1">
<p>After boycotting playoff games on Wednesday to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake, NBA players held a tense meeting that reportedly ended “ugly.”</p>
</li>
<li readability="2">
<p>According to reports, the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers voted to end the season early, though one ESPN report painted it as “polling” rather than a formal vote.</p>
</li>
<li readability="1">
<p>According to one report, LeBron James called for action from team owners toward social justice reform and left the meeting early.</p>
</li>
<li readability="1">
<p>Other teams still in the NBA bubble reportedly voted to continue playing the season, but discussions are ongoing.</p>
</li>
<li readability="-0.023809523809524">
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The NBA season is on the brink of ending early after a meeting on Wednesday involving players, coaches, and referees that David Aldridge of The Athletic descibed as ending “ugly.”

The remaining teams in the Disney World bubble held a meeting after all six NBA teams scheduled to play on Wednesday boycotted games to protest the police killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The boycotts began when the Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor for Game 5 of

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Lou Holtz at R.N.C. Says President Trump Is a ‘Winner’ While Young Black Athletes Call for Racial Awakening

Lou Holtz at R.N.C. Says President Trump Is a ‘Winner’ While Young Black Athletes Call for Racial Awakening

“For me, I think no matter what, I wasn’t going to play tonight,” said Mookie Betts, the star Dodgers outfielder, who is Black.

The N.B.A. players are withholding their labor, it is not clear for how long, to promote an as-yet undefined campaign for systemic change that includes, but also transcends, ousting the current president.

“BOYCOTTED, NOT *POSTPONED,” the Lakers star LeBron James, who supports Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, wrote on his Instagram feed late Wednesday.

Even before the Milwaukee Bucks players announced their boycott of Wednesday’s playoff game, Black athletes and their coaches had been offering yearning expressions of anguish as resonant as anything utte

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LeBron James on Jacob Blake Shooting: ‘F–k This Man!!!! We Demand Change’

LeBron James on Jacob Blake Shooting: ‘F–k This Man!!!! We Demand Change’
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James reacts against during the second quarter of Game 4 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

LeBron James didn’t hold back after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play Wednesday’s game against the Orlando Magic (warning: NSFW language).

The Bucks decided not to play their first-round playoff game in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who was shot by police officers in Wisconsin, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder are also reportedly planning not to play their game later Wednesday, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers followed suit by refusing to play their Game 5 matchup Wednesday, per Charania.

James has often used his platform to discuss social justice, especially in the past few months amid ongoing nationwide protests. The movement grew after George Floyd, an unarmed Black man, was killed in police custody in Minnesota.

After Blake’s shooting was captured on video and spread through social media, James discussed the latest e

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Jacob Blake shooting – Trump Jr shares unconnected arrest history of unarmed black man hours after he was s – The Sun

Jacob Blake shooting – Trump Jr shares unconnected arrest history of unarmed black man hours after he was s – The Sun

DONALD Trump Jr retweeted a post which detailed the alleged criminal record of an unarmed black man who was shot in the back by police.

Harrowing video showing Jacob Blake, 29, being blasted seven times by a cop in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday has sparked fresh Black Lives Matter protests in the city.

⚠️ Follow our US election 2020 live blog for the latest news & updates

Donald Trump Jr retweeted a post detailing Jacob Blake's alleged criminal history

7

Donald Trump Jr retweeted a post detailing Jacob Blake’s alleged criminal historyCredit: Reuters

Police say they were responding to a domestic disturbance when Blake was gunned down as he entered his car while his children were sitting in the back seat.

Amid the anarchic violence which has since erupted in Kenosha, Trump Jr, the son of President Donald Trump, retweeted a post by journalist Andy Ngo which detailed Blake’s criminal history.

Mr Ngo is a reporter known for his coverage of street protests in the US including those by left-wing groups Antifa and BLM.

His post included a report claiming Mr Blake had been arrested for pulling a gun on a customer in a bar and allegedly caused “soft tissue damage” to a cop during the subsequent arrest.

The allegations have not been independently verified and the outcome of the case is not known.

Mr Ngo also references an arrest warrant in Mr Blake’s name charging him with third-degree sexual assault, trespassing and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse on July 6.

Trump Jr also posted a video from a YouTuber showing “BLM arsonists” appearing to set fire to a car dealership in Wisconsin.

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin at the weekend

7

Jacob Blake, 29, was shot seven times in the back in Kenosha, Wisconsin at the weekendCredit: Facebook
Footage shows Mr Blake climbing into his SUV before cops open fire

7

Footage shows Mr Blake climbing into his SUV before cops open fireCredit: Raysean White via TMX.news
Blake was shot seven time in front of his children on Sunday

7

Blake was shot seven time in front of his children on SundayCredit: Raysean White via TMX.news

The issues of racism in America and police brutality towards black people have been inflamed by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Police officer Derek Chauvin was filmed holding his knee on the neck of Mr Floyd – who died minutes later – who appeared distressed and repeatedly said he was struggling to breath.

Since then, BLM protests have erupted nationwide and the shooting of Jacob Blake has further enraged the movement.

The Kenosha incident happened on Sunday at about 5pm local time as officers were responding to a “domestic incident”.

A video circulating on social media showed the man walking towards a car followed by two officers and one of them shooting him in front of his kids as he opens the car door.

Witnesses said Blake was trying to break up an argument between women in a home nearby.

The 29-year-old is recovering in hospital and is expected to survive.

Following the shooting, furious crowds gathered at the scene and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails at police, according to reports.

Some rioters smashed squad cars and one police officer collapsed to the pavement after he was hit with a brick.

The unrest, which raged for a second night on Monday, has prompted the County of Kenosha to declare a state of emergency.

Shocking footage shows unarmed black father shot SEVEN times in front of his young children by Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin

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Father says Black Wisconsin man shot by police is paralyzed – 680 News

Father says Black Wisconsin man shot by police is paralyzed – 680 News

KENOSHA, Wis. — The father of a Black man who was shot, apparently in the back, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, says his son was left paralyzed from the waist down.

Jacob Blake’s father told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was told his son was shot eight times during the Sunday evening confrontation with police, which was captured on cellphone video and led to two nights of unrest in the city between Milwaukee and Chicago.

He said his son now has “eight holes” in his body,and is paralyzed from the waist down, though doctors don’t know if the paralysis will be permanent.

Anger over the shooting of a Black man by police spilled into the streets of Kenosha for a second night Monday, with police again firing tear gas at hundreds of protesters who defied a curfew, threw bottles and shot fireworks at law enforcement guarding the courthouse.

The southeastern Wisconsin city became the nation’s latest flashpoint in a summer of racial unrest after cellphone footage of police shooting Blake — apparently in the back as he leaned into his SUV while his three children sat in the vehicle — circulated widely on social media. The 29-year-old was hospitalized in serious condition.

The shooting drew condemnation from Democratic Gov. Tony Evers, who also called out 125 members of the National Guard on Monday after protesters set cars on fire, smashed windows and clashed with officers in riot gear the previous night.

Police first fired tear gas Monday about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. curfew took effect to disperse protesters who chanted, “No justice, no peace” as they confronted a line of officers who wore protective gear and stood shoulder-to-shoulder in front of the courthouse entrance. But hundreds of people stuck around, screaming at police and lighting fires, inc

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LeBron Speaks for All of Us: We Are Terrified

LeBron Speaks for All of Us: We Are Terrified

A child sits on his farther’s shoulders at a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.

A child sits on his farther’s shoulders at a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
Image: Getty

LeBron James articulated the fears of an entire community last night and sadly the trauma that coincides with it.

When Police in Kenosha, Wis., repeatedly shot Jacob Blake in the back at close range on Sunday, an entire race once again had to endure the trauma of seeing an individual have his life nearly taken by people who are supposed to “serve and protect.”

Blake is now paralyzed from the gunshot wounds, yet thankfully he is still alive. For Black Americans like James, seeing the video footage of Blake nearly losing his life is a frightening reality that is far too common for darker-skinned people in America.

“I know people get tired of hearing me say it, but we are scared as Black people in America,” James said during his postgame interview after defeating the Portland Trail Blazers in the NBA Playoffs on Monday. “Black men, black women, black kids, we are terrified.”

“If you’re sitting here and telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him or just before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here and lying to not only me, but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community,” James stated. “Because we see it over and over and over.”

Many have argued over the past few days that if Blake had simply followed directions from the officer that day he’d still be able to walk. It’s a claim that we still don’t know entirely to be true because of the lack of evidence presented. However, even if Blake were being disobedient, should the price of disobedience towards law enforcement be your livelihood?

Should walking away from an officer result in multiple bullets in your back?

Do your kids who were in the car with you that day deserve to witness a lifelong traumatic event because an officer couldn’t do his job effectively?

The answer t

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Kentucky AG in spotlight over Breonna Taylor probe

Kentucky AG in spotlight over Breonna Taylor probe

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — When he ran for attorney general of Kentucky, Daniel Cameron never expected to one day hear from Oprah Winfrey, Beyoncé and LeBron James. But now that the Republican has their attention, he says he remains committed to “doing the responsible thing” in the investigation into Breonna Taylor’s death.

He just has to figure out what that is.

Cameron, the state’s first African American attorney general, must decide whether three Louisville police officers will be criminally charged for their actions in the March shooting death of Taylor. The 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician was killed when officers entered her apartment with a no-knock warrant during a drug investigation. No drugs were found, and Taylor’s family has questioned the legitimacy of the warrant.

Since then, Taylor’s name has been on the lips of demonstrators nationwide, and her death has become part of a national reckoning over racism and police brutality.

The case landed in Cameron’s lap in mid-May after a local prosecutor recused himself, just as public impatience intensified for the officers to be charged.

Protesters have gathered outside Cameron’s suburban Louisville home and at Kentucky’s Capitol in Frankfort to demand justice for Taylor. Beyoncé wrote to Cameron, saying the officers “must be held accountable for their actions.” Winfrey was behind publicizing the case on billboards in Louisville.

Cameron, 34, a protege of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — and tagged by some as his heir apparent in the U.S. Senate — recently met with Taylor’s mother, Tamika Palmer, acknowledging the enormity of her loss even as he asked her to be patient.

Afterward, Palmer withheld judgment about where Cameron is headed.

“He wants to have the right answer, so he doesn’t want to rush through i

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LeBron James Still Reigns as the N.B.A. Returns

LeBron James Still Reigns as the N.B.A. Returns

As for Antetokounmpo, the odd atmosphere became apparent to him when he went to shoot free throws in the first quarter.

“It was just quiet,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you play basketball, try to make the right play. Just listen to your coach. So for me personally, I tried to lock in.”

Antetokounmpo also said that he felt out of shape, adding that he hoped to spend the next couple of weeks ratcheting up his fitness. All he did against the Spurs was score 22 points in 21 minutes while shooting 9 of 13 from the field. Imagine the havoc once he has his legs under him.

The Lakers, too, are dealing with some absences. Avery Bradley, their top perimeter defe

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LeBron James and a Multimillion-Dollar Push for More Poll Workers

LeBron James and a Multimillion-Dollar Push for More Poll Workers

More Than a Vote, a collective of athletes headlined by LeBron James that is fighting to combat voter suppression, will announce a multimillion-dollar initiative to increase the number of poll workers in Black electoral districts ahead of November’s general election.

The project, a collaboration with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, aims to recruit young people to serve at polling locations in Black communities in swing states, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio. The effort will involve poll worker recruitment, a paid advertising campaign and a corporate partnership program that will encourage employees to volunteer as poll workers.

Election officials throughout the country have reported a shortage of poll workers to staff in-person voting sites amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has upended every facet of American life — including the electoral process.

In April, Wisconsin, one of the first states to hold a primary election after the virus spread nationally, had to cut in-person locations in Milwaukee to five from 180 because of poll worker shortages. Experts said the closures had a particular effect in Black communities, where access to in-person polling locations is already under threat. Residents in line waited for more than four hours, and many complained about not receiving a mail-in ballot after requesting one.

The national outcry after the Wisconsin primary left a lasting impression on the group of athletes, which formed More Than a Vote in June in the wake of a national outcry against ongoing racism.

Mr. James and several other basketball stars involved in the More Than a Vote effort are currently quarantined at the N.B.A. campus in Orlando, as the league seeks to finish its season and crown a champion. In a phone interview, two other members of the initiative — Michael Vick, the former N.F.L. star, and Renee Montgomery of the W.N.B.A. — framed the efforts as necessary to ensure equitable ballot access.

“As someone who had their voting rights restored,” said Mr. Vick, whose record-setting career was sunk after he pleaded guilty to a felony charge in 2007 for his involvement in a dogfighting ring, “I want to influence younger people to be a part of this More Than a Vote campaign.”

“We want to get them to register, get involved and try to help society in whatever way they can,” he added. “It’s about becoming a leader in your own right.”

Ms. Montgomery, who plays for the Atlanta Dream, is currently sitting out the women’s basketball season to focus on political activism. She is a former college national champion and W.N.B.A. champion with the Minnesota Lynx.

“I felt like I needed to do something in my community,” Ms. Montgomery said. “We can’t just protest. We have a responsibility to take those protests and take that energy and march all the way to the polls.”

“I live in Atlanta, so this issue is right on my front door,” she added. “We have the long lines, it’s condensed and Covid is being used as a way to have voter suppression.”

This is More Than a Vote’s second national campaign. Previous efforts included partnerships with teams in Los Angeles and Atlanta to turn their stadiums into polling places, as well as a statewide effort in Florida to help the formerly incarcerated restore their voting rights.

This year, athletes across the country — and particularly Black athletes — have seen a surge in political activism mirroring the national wave. Mr. Vick credited people like Mr. James and Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who knelt during the national anthem to protest racism, for making political advocacy a

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LeBron James Says He Doesn’t Care if Trump Shuns N.B.A. Over Protests

LeBron James Says He Doesn’t Care if Trump Shuns N.B.A. Over Protests

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers provided a pointed response on Wednesday night to President Trump’s criticism of players’ kneeling during the national anthem: The games will go on without you watching.

After Trump said earlier Wednesday that he regarded N.B.A. players’ kneeling during the national anthem as “disgraceful” and vowed to stop watching games, James said that the basketball community was not “sad about losing his viewership.”

In a Wednesday morning telephone interview with Fox & Friends, Trump said he turned off N.B.A. games “when I see people kneeling” and “disrespecting our flag and disrespecting our national anthem.” Asked about Trump’s comments after the Lakers’ 105-86 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder later in the day, James fired back.

“The game will go on without his eyes on it,” James said at his postgame news conference from the N.B.A.’s so-called bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida. “I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could care less.”

The practice of teams lining up and kneeling during the national anthem to protest systemic racism and police brutality has become a standard feature of every game at the N.B.A. restart since the league offici

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Jazz vs. Pelicans: Live Score and Updates of N.B.A.’s Restart

Jazz vs. Pelicans: Live Score and Updates of N.B.A.’s Restart

Want more basketball in your inbox? Sign up for Marc Stein’s weekly N.B.A. newsletter here.

If LeBron James shoots a jumper but no fans are there to see it, did he shoot a jumper?

We kid. But on Thursday, the N.B.A. made its return at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla., with several of its most visible stars, including James, Zion Williamson, Kawhi Leonard and Anthony Davis taking part in a doubleheader. The games were sloppy — the rust after a four-month layoff was real — but they were nonetheless compelling, both of them coming down to the final seconds.

The most striking images came before the games, when members of all four teams kneeled during the national anthem. Several players wore “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts. The N.B.A. ran commercials with coaches and players expressing their desire to fight for social justice.

In the opener between the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans, the game came down to a final shot. Brandon Ingram of the Pelicans rimmed out a last second 3-pointer, and the Jazz pulled out a 106-104 win. Jordan Clarkson led the Jazz with 23 points off the bench.

The Los Angeles Lakers led for much of their game against their crosstown rivals, the Clippers. But like the opener, this game came down to the final possession. After James made a tip shot with 12 seconds left, Paul George missed a contested 3-pointer for the Clippers as time expired, much like at the end of the opening game. The Lakers won, 103-101.

Here’s how the Lakers beat the Clippers, and how the Jazz came back to beat the Pelicans.


The highly anticipated N.B.A. restart tipped off with a symbol of solidarity, rather than rivalry. Pelicans and Jazz players, coaches and staff kneeled together in front of a Black Lives Matter floor mural painted on the edge of the court as a wordless rendition of the national anthem by the musician Jon Batiste played.

It was the first of many demonstrations for social justice causes expected this season. The players across the 22 teams participating in the restart were allowed to replace their names on the backs of their jerseys with phrases related to social justice. On the floor today were “peace,” “equality” and “listen to me” among others.

And as the Compton Kidz Club sang the national anthem on a video screen before the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers tipped off later in the evening, both teams kneeled. Several players on both teams, including LeBron James, wore T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase “Black Lives Matter.”

Commissioner Adam Silver had released a statement earlier in the night saying that the N.B.A.’s longstanding rule, which prohibits players from kneeling, would not be enforced.

Many N.B.A. players have been active in various social justice initiatives this summer.

In early June, James and a group of prominent Black athletes and entertainers — including Trae Young, Draymond Green, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Jalen Rose — announced that they would be starting a new group aimed at protecting African-Americans’ voting rights.

“Yes, we want you to go out and vote, but we’re also going to give you the tutorial,” James said of the organization, called More Than a Vote. “We’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.

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Rudy Gobert, the first N.B.A. player known to have tested positive for the coronavirus, snagged the first points of the restart, swooping in with a shot from near under the basket after grabbing the ball from the tipoff.

Despite an early Jazz lead, the Pelicans took control in the last minutes of the first quarter, going into the second quarter up 26-23. Pelicans guard JJ Redick put in the work that pushed the Pelicans ahead, shining with his notorious 90 percent sink rate and a clean assist to guard Jrue Holiday to close the gap.

Zion Williamson got going with a few buckets in the quarter. He averaged 23.5 points and 6.5 rebounds per game in 19 games this season.

Pelicans Coach Alvin Gentry vowed to use Zion Williamson in “short bursts” after Williamson missed so much practice time recently tending to an urgent family matter. But New Orleans’ other stars have clicked quickly to compensate for the limited minutes. Brandon Ingram (15 points) and Jrue Holiday (12 points) have complemented Williamson’s 9 points on 4-for-4 shooting in just seven minutes. It’s been sharp offensive start for the Pelicans in building a 60-48 lead, as they seek to build early momentum in their quest to wrest the West’s No. 8 seed away from Memphis.

Ah, one point of familiar comfort in an N.B.A. broadcast: the TNT analysts Charles Barkley, Shaquille O’Neal and Kenny Smith bantering with host Ernie Johnson at halftime. They sat socially distanced, with dividers between one another on set at a very long table.

“They could have the Last Supper on this table,” Barkley joked.

Barkley said that normally, the group would be watching the game together in the same room. Now, they had to watch by themselves in individual rooms. They all acknowledged the awkwardness.

“I’m not used to watching games like this,” O’Neal said. He added, “I really have to concentrate.”

The Pelicans’ lead tightened, 87-79, as the Jazz upped their offensive game in the third with help from a few 3-pointers — with Utah’s Royce O’Neale coming in hot toward the last three minutes of the quarter. But Utah’s success in the paint really sealed its comeback.

Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson and the Pelicans’ Ingram led the board with 18 points a piece. Lonzo Ball, the Pelicans point guard, leads the game in assists. And Gobert — despite being benched with a little over two minutes left on the clock after taking a foul from JJ Redick — still led in rebounds. New Orleans had 20 fouls by the quarter’s end.

Zion Williamson tossed clear assists to both Jrue Holiday in a dunk and Lonzo Ball for a layup early in the third, proving the 20-year-old’s chemistry is intact in his 20th career game. Redick also landed two 3s, holding the Pelicans’ lead.

A considerable concern for many teams after just three weeks of full-speed practices was their readiness for games that count and how ugly the product might look early. Utah was shooting 24.1 percent from the 3-point line through three quarters (7-of-29) and had committed 15 turnovers, with Donovan Mitchell shooting just 4-of-11 from the field for 12 points. The Jazz, though, entered the final period trailing by just 8 points, despite their up-and-down offense.

The N.B.A.’s first game amid the coronavirus pandemic ended with a gripping back and forth for a Jazz victory over the Pelicans, fitting for the novel atmosphere the game was played in. Tied with 7 seconds left, the win was decided by Rudy Gobert’s t

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A Momentous First Night Back for the N.B.A.

A Momentous First Night Back for the N.B.A.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — When his postgame Zoom interview was over, before making a triumphant exit to the team bus, Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz acknowledged that the historic play he was savoring did not go exactly as planned.

“I wasn’t supposed to get a post-up,” Gobert said. “I was supposed to get a dunk.”

After using a Donovan Mitchell screen to shake free, finally corralling a deflected pass and then spinning back toward the baseline, Gobert dropped the ball in over his former teammate Derrick Favors inside the first 20 seconds on Thursday night. Gobert’s brief nod that followed seemed to acknowledge the significance of the score.

What Gobert ultimately got was a layup that will be recorded as the first N.B.A. basket in July that has ever counted. He scored the first two points and the last two points in Utah’s 106-104 victory over the New Orleans Pelicans in the first game of the N.B.A. restart at Walt Disney World — 141 days after Gobert’s positive coronavirus test on March 11 led to the indefinite suspension of the season.

“Life works in a mysterious way,” Gobert said.

That opening sequence and his clinching free throws, as a mere 62.1-percent foul shooter, helped make it a redemptive evening for Gobert. His moment came swiftly after the pregame moment — moving social justice protest, in an arena without fans but teeming with unity and purpose, that made this return engagement an even bigger occasion for the N.B.A.

[Read: How the Jazz beat the Pelicans, and how the Lakers beat the Clippers]

For more than four minutes before the Jazz and the Pelicans tipped off, both teams’ players, coaches and staff members, along with the referees, congregated side by side, stretching from baseline to baseline. They gathered near the BLACK LIVES MATTER lettering affixed to the floor near the scorer’s table, then knelt in unison during a playing of the national anthem recorded by the musician Jon Batiste.

The Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers, Staples Center co-tenants and rivals, came together to do the same before their game, during a recorded rendition of the anthem by the Compton Kidz Club from the Los Angeles area. Later, after LeBron James had helped the Lakers clinch a 103-101 victory with winning plays at both ends in the final 12.8 seconds, he told TNT in a postgame interview: “I hope our fans are proud of us.”

James wasn’t talking about the basketball. Nor was he referring to the league’s comeb

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NBA star LeBron James’ group plans effort to recruit poll workers for November – Reuters Canada

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton listens as she is introduced at a campaign rally by the Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. November 6, 2016. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

(Reuters) – A group of athletes led by NBA star LeBron James will roll out a multimillion-dollar program in the next few weeks to recruit poll workers in heavily Black electoral districts for November’s election, a person familiar with the plans said on Monday.

More Than a Vote, a group of prominent athletes fighting voter suppression, will collaborate with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund on the program in a dozen states, including battlegrounds such as Georgia, Michigan, Florida and Wisconsin, where dis

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Ja Morant’s Dunks Are Amazing. His Misses Are Even Better.

Ja Morant’s Dunks Are Amazing. His Misses Are Even Better.

“I knew he was athletic, but damn,” Love told reporters after the game. “He legit jumped over me.”

When the Cavaliers hosted the Grizzlies in December, Love had a couple of thoughts that surfaced when Morant collected a loose ball near the 3-point line and began to accelerate toward the basket with a hard dribble.

The first was that Love wanted to draw a charge. (In the past, Love said, the Cavaliers had awarded players $100 for such feats.) The second was fear in the form of a haunting image: the 7-foot-2 Frederic Weis getting demolished by Vince Carter at the 2000 Summer Olympics, the so-called dunk of death.

Sure enough, Morant tried to vault himself over Love and spike the ball throug

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LeBron James Reacts to Police Shooting of Jacob Blake: ‘This S–t Is So Wrong’

LeBron James Reacts to Police Shooting of Jacob Blake: ‘This S–t Is So Wrong’
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) walks on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James condemned the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!!” James tweeted Monday. “Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This s–t is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”

A video surfaced on social media Sunday showing Blake walking toward the driver’s side door of a gray SUV. Two officers approach Blake, one of whom grabs his tank top. Police then shoot him multiple times in the back, per CNN.

Blake was transported to a hospital, where he’s “in serious condition and fighting for his life.”

Ben Crump, an attorney representing the Blake family, said Blake was at the scene in order to separate two women who were having an altercation. Police, meanwhile, had received a report of a domestic disturbance.

Two Kenosha police officers have been placed on administrative leave for their roles in the situation.

The Milwaukee Bucks issued a statement saying they “stand firmly against reoccurring issues of excessive use of fo

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Damian Lillard talks Blazers’ Game 3 loss to Lakers, finger injury | 2020 NBA Playoffs – ESPN

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Trout rookie card sets record for highest price

Trout rookie card sets record for highest price

A one-of-a-kind Mike Trout baseball card set a record Saturday night as the highest-selling sports card of all time, selling for $3,936,000.

The 2009 Bowman Chrome Draft Prospects Superfractor signed rookie card sold at Goldin Auctions online, eclipsing the previous record, which was set in 2016 in the sale of a 1909 Honus Wagner T-206 card for $3.12 million.

The Trout card is in mint condition, graded by Beckett Grading Service as a Mint 9 with a certified autograph i

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NBA roundup: LeBron dominates, Lakers take 2-1 lead – Reuters

LeBron James recorded 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 of their Western Conference first-round series on Saturday night near Orlando.

Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) drives against Portland Trail Blazers guard Gary Trent Jr. (2) in the first half in game three of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocked shots as Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series ahead of Monday’s Game 4. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points, and Alex Caruso added 10 points and seven assists.

Portland star Damian Lillard contributed 34 points and seven assists while playing with a dislocated left index finger. CJ McCollum registered 28 points and eight rebounds, Carmelo Anthony had 20 points and four steals and Jusuf Nurkic added 10 points.

Lillard made 5 of 11 shots from 3-point range and was 8 of 20 overall but made just 2 of 9 field-goal attempts in the second half. The Trail Blazers connected on 41.1 percent of their shots and were 12 of 35 from 3-point range.

Oklahoma City Thunder 119 — Houston Ro

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LAKERS at TRAIL BLAZERS | FULL GAME HIGHLIGHTS | August 22, 2020 – NBA

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James scores 38 as Lakers win, take 2-1 lead over Blazers – Reuters

LeBron James recorded 38 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists to lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a 116-108 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 3 of the Western Conference first-round series on Saturday night near Orlando.

Aug 22, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis (3) warms up before game three of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs against the Portland Trail Blazers at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Anthony Davis scored 23 of his 29 points in the second half and finished with 11 rebounds, eight assists and three blocked shots as Los Angeles took a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 13 points and Alex Caruso added 10 points and seven assists.

Portland star Damian Lillard contributed 34 points and seven assists while playing with a dislocated left index finger. CJ McCollum reg

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Gameday Thread: Blazers vs. Lakers Game 3 – Blazer’s Edge

Gameday Thread: Blazers vs. Lakers Game 3 – Blazer’s Edge

Tip-off: 5:30 p.m. PT

Watch: ABC

The new usual rules apply:

  1. No swearing.
  2. No pictures/videos
  3. No discussions of streaming besides all the legit ones.
  4. Be cool t

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It appears that LeBron James will indeed assert himself in this postseason

It appears that LeBron James will indeed assert himself in this postseason

In his 17 seasons in the NBA, LeBron James has developed a system to prepare for the playoffs.

There is a ramp-up at some point in the last third of the NBA season, a handful of games in which he pushes himself to play more minutes than most observers would probably like him to. But he does it so that he’ll know that gear is there later, when he needs it.

Then there is a brief cooldown, when he gets his legs back under him before the playoffs begin. Then there is a shutdown, when he closes himself off to the outside world until the mission — or the season — is complete.

No social media. No extra interviews. Just total focus.

This year has not been typical.

There was no ramp-up or cooldown. There was a shutdown — of the NBA season, but not of James’ social media or interviews.

In fact, on Monday, the day before the Los Angeles Lakers‘ playoff opener, James taped an interview with Cari Champion and Jemele Hill for their new show on Vice TV, noting, “I don’t let many people see me inside my room right now.” But he wanted to support them in their new endeavor and discuss his More Than a Vote initiative.

In the bubble, it has taken James and the Lakers a while to get back to the dominant form they showed before the season was suspended. These are unlike any other playoffs in league history.

James had a 23-17-16 triple-double in Game 1, but it came in a loss that saw him miss his only two fourth-quarter free throws and make only one basket in the last seven minutes. Despite a blowout win in Game 2, James had only 10 points, with more turnovers (six) than field goals (4-of-11).

Finally, in the third game of the Western Conference quarterfinals against the Portland Trail Blazers, James seemed to find the dominant flow he has shown in 14 other trips to the postseason.

“I just think my offensive pace tonight,” James said, setting up an elaborate car metaphor that actually worked very well to describe his play, “at times I was fast, slow, medium-paced. It was like a stick shift. Sometimes I was in gear 1, sometimes I was in gear 6. Being able to read and react, depending on whether I had the cruise on or was in a residential area or the highway or I was on the straightaway. Being able to have a car that can go in different speeds and zones, depending on what the traffic is, is very key.”

James finished with 38 points, 12 rebounds and 8 assists to lead Los Angeles to a 116-108 win over Portland to take a 2-1 series lead. He did it by attacking everything in his path.

“LeBron finally got hot,” Lakers shooting guard Danny Green said. “It’s the first time. … We haven’t had a game where

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‘That’s Not My Life. That’s Not My Style.’ NBA Bubble MVP Damian Lillard on Why He Won’t Join a Superteam

‘That’s Not My Life. That’s Not My Style.’ NBA Bubble MVP Damian Lillard on Why He Won’t Join a Superteam

On Aug. 8, Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard—the MVP of the NBA’s restarted “bubble” season in Orlando—called out Los Angeles Clippers star Paul George on Instagram. “Keep switching teams,” Lillard wrote. “Running from the grind.” In recent years, George has moved from Indiana to Oklahoma City—where he was paired with a second superstar, Russell Westbrook—to Los Angeles, where he and Kawhi Leonard form a so-called “superteam.” LeBron James has engineered several moves throughout his career to join other stars and win championships: Kevin Durant famously signed with the Golden State Warriors, and Stephen Curry, in 2016 and won two titles.

Lillard insists, however, he has nothing against players who join forces to chase titles. (Lillard has spent his entire eight-year career in Portland). On Aug. 8, George and teammate Patrick Beverly taunted Lillard after he missed key free throws in a Portland loss to Los Angeles. “We just had a run in,” Lillard said in a Time100 Talks conversation on Thursday. “I came up short at the end of a game, they said what they said, I said what I said. But it a’int like no personal beef. We’re men. When a man says something, another man is going to say something back, and it’s going to be what it’s going to be. And that’s what it was … they took a jab at me, so I just took one back.”

“My only thing is, that’s not my preference,” says Lillard about joining a superteam. “I don’t have an issue with other people deciding to do it.” Why, then, would winning a title in Portland feel that much sweeter than if he would leave the Pacific Northwest in free agency and triumph somewhere else? “I think for one, because of the time invested,” Lillard tells TIME from his new Orlando hotel room (despite his MVP status, Lillard calls his new playoffs digs “a definite downgrade.”) “The time invested in growing, figuring it out, and having hard experiences, having great experiences. I feel like you have to go through the ups, sometimes you’re going to have high moments, then you’re going to have low moments. But I’ve always been about the journey. Just embracing the journey. The peaks and valleys, having it come back around, knowing you worked hard, you did stuff right, you took the good with the bad, and then you get the reward for all of that. Like Dirk did.”

In 2011, Dirk Nowitzki won a title in Dallas, the place he spent the entirely of his 21-year NBA career. “That’s the example I always think of,” says Lillard. “I’m sure that one ring of his, made his career just perfect. It may not go that way for me. But that’s what i want to see for myself.

“I feel like if I did say, ‘oh, these two guys are in New York, or in LA, or whatever,’ if I did decide I want to go play with some other guys, I feel like its a pretty good chance we’ll win it,” says Lillard. “And I’m sure that’s what a lot of guys feel like. There’s a pretty good chance that I’ll be able to win it all. But I don’t just want to win it all. I want to w

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Conservative Organization Swung for LeBron James’ Throne – and Missed

Conservative Organization Swung for LeBron James’ Throne – and Missed

Don’t come at the king.

Don’t come at the king.
Image: Getty

LeBron James found himself Friday defending his throne, which he has recently extended to not only his play on the court, but leadership on fixing our structurally racist system of casting a ballot.

James took to Twitter to fend off a misinformation campaign that started with a website called Protect My Vote, according to a The Washington Post report. The platform has been circulating ads on Facebook that paint mail-in voting as unreliable. Protect My Vote, a right-wing group that has been supported by convervative organizations like Freedomworks, made the baseless claim in direct contrast with James’ More Than a Vote initiative, founded to support Black voters in general, but also urging voters to request a mail-in ballot.

One of Protect My Vote’s now deleted June Facebook posts features a LeBron tweet in painting Kentucky gutting the number of polling places as “systemic racism.” That was in the midst of voter suppression taking place during Georgia’s June primaries.

The Facebook post intentionally flips James’ tweet suggesting that he was linking the closures to the expansion of mail-in-voting ahead of the general election.

Adam Mendelsohn, a longtime advisor to James, told The Post that the ads were “shameless,” adding that lawyers are examining the situation.

James also tweeted Friday: “Nobody should be able to use my name (or anyone else [sic] name) to lie and deceive about the election. Not sure what we can do legally but definitely trying to

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Lincoln Project Uses Trump’s Goodyear Boycott Call To Blast Him In Ohio Ad

Lincoln Project Uses Trump’s Goodyear Boycott Call To Blast Him In Ohio Ad

The Lincoln Project, led by conservative Republicans, is using President Donald Trump’s startling call to boycott Goodyear in a scathing attack ad this week in Ohio.

The ad criticizes Trump for calling for a boycott of the 122-year-old American company just as the nation is reeling from 175,000 COVID-19 deaths and record unemployment. Why call for a boycott that risks 3,300 union jobs? the ad asks. Because Trump’s “feelings got hurt.”

Trump called for the action Wednesday against one of Ohio’s largest employers after Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. banned political message attire at its plants. Trump falsely claimed the company banned “Make American Great Again” hats, but they were not mentioned in the Goodyear policy.

Trump “talks a good game, but he’s not on our side,” says a narrator in the Lincoln Project ad. “Never has been. Never will be.”

Trump’s tweet immediately sent the company’s stock down

The company dropped the policy after Trump’s tweet. Trump, meanwhile, was slammed as a “snowflake” and a “cancel culture” hypocrite.

Ohio residents, union leaders and lawmakers were stunned that Trump could cavalierly demand an economic blow to the largest tire manufacturer in the nation. Akron, Goodyear’s headquarters, is known as “Rubber City.” The boycott call in a battleground state runs the risk of jeopardizing Trump’s reelection chances.

Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan slammed Trump in a tweet for “coming to destroy the American economy and heartland jobs, adding: “Luckily, you seem to fail at everything you do.” It included a gif of NBA hometown star LeBron James in a judge’s wig. (James said

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LeBron James Fires Back at Political Ad Campaign for Misrepresenting Tweet

LeBron James Fires Back at Political Ad Campaign for Misrepresenting Tweet
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) looks on during the second half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series against the Portland Trail Blazers, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

Kim Klement/Associated Press

A digital ad campaign has been misconstruing one of LeBron James‘ tweets, and the Los Angeles Lakers star is not happy about it. 

He took to Twitter Friday to call out the ad and said he is looking into his legal options:

As ESPN explained, James was addressing a story from Isaac Stanley-Becker of The Washington Post about the website Protect My Vote created by Freedom Works, a nonprofit aligned with “causes central to [President] Trump’s reelection.” The story explained the website is circulating advertisements on Facebook saying mail-in voting is not reliable ahead of November’s election and used one of James’ tweets in the ads.

The tweet was from June and said polling closures in Kentucky were signs of racism, but the Facebook post suggested James was saying the

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BTS’ New Song ‘Dynamite’ Is a Contender for Song of the Summer

BTS’ New Song ‘Dynamite’ Is a Contender for Song of the Summer

Global superstars BTS are back with a bright and breezy new track that makes them instant contenders for “Song of the Summer” honors.

The boy band unveiled their new song “Dynamite” Friday, marking the K-pop group’s first all-English release. The shimmery, disco-lite track bounces and grooves with an infectious beat and uplifting chorus you’ll be singing back after one listen.

The three and a half minute track is one of the poppiest songs the group has released to date, and was written by David Stewart and Jessica Agombar, who most recently teamed up for the Jonas Brothers’ hit, “What a Man Gotta Do.”

The new song finds the BTS members trading verses about bringing the party while name-dropping everyone from King Kong to Lebron James. A release says the song “aims to bring a new surge of much-needed ‘energy’ to reinvigorate the global community in the midst of

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Davis, Lakers bounce back, blitz Blazers – Reuters

Anthony Davis scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds Thursday, and the Los Angeles Lakers played to their credentials as the top seed in the Western Conference playoffs, earning a 111-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of their first-round series near Orlando.

Aug 20, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) warms up before a NBA basketball first round playoff game against the Los Angeles Lakers in the 2020 NBA playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James added a modest 10 points with six rebounds and seven assists in 27 minutes as the Lakers rebounded from a 100-93 defeat to the eighth-seeded Blazers in Game 1.

It was the Lakers’ first victory in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2012 Western Conference semifinals against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Unlike Tuesday,

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NBA Draft Lottery 2020: Pelicans chasing history, change of luck for the Knicks among top six storylines – CBS Sports

NBA Draft Lottery 2020: Pelicans chasing history, change of luck for the Knicks among top six storylines – CBS Sports

The NBA Draft Lottery will take place at 8:30 p.m. ET Thursday from remote locations across the United States — on brand for 2020!. And when the Ping-Pong balls come to a stop, one franchise’s future may be changed forever. 

The Warriors, Cavaliers and Timberwolves all have the best odds of experiencing the best possible outcome, with a shared 14.0% chance of winning the lottery, and thus, the No. 1 overall pick. But as we saw last year with the New Orleans Pelicans — who had just a 7.5% chance and won the lottery — anything can happen on lottery night.

As we gear up for Thursday, here are six storylines to watch as the official lottery order gets sorted out.

1. Which player will come away as big winner?

A year ago it was obvious to anyone and everyone that the Pelicans, immediately upon winning the lottery, would select Zion Williamson with their pick. And they did.

But this year it’s still unclear who the top prospect in this class is, and scouts I’ve spoken with think it’s a three-man race between James Wiseman, LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards, with fit and need serving as a tie-breaker. (Wiseman is a center, LaMelo is a lead guard, Edwards is a shooting guard/wing.) It won’t immediately be clear which player comes away as the big winner, but we should get much more clarity with the order set in stone.

2. Can the Pelicans make history?

The Pelicans struck gold last season by moving from outside the top five into the No. 1 spot, using the pick to select Zion Williamson. But repeating



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LeBron James, Lakers Wear Crossed-Out MAGA Hats Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor

LeBron James, Lakers Wear Crossed-Out MAGA Hats Demanding Justice For Breonna Taylor

LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates made a statement Tuesday with edited “Make America Great Again” hats demanding justice for Breonna Taylor instead of supporting President Donald Trump.

The NBA star and fellow Lakers wore the bright-red hats before and after their first playoff appearance against the Portland Trail Blazers. The hat read, “Make America Arrest the Cops who Killed Breonna Taylor.”



Taylor was the 26-year-old emergency room technician shot and killed by police officers in her Kentucky home in March. Police had used a no-knock warrant to enter in search a suspect who did not live there.

Earlier in the night, the Los Angeles Lakers Twitter account shared images of the team wearing the hat, with James leading the charge.

At a news conference on Tuesday night after the game, James explained his decision to wear the hat:

You know the situation that’s going on in Louisville, Kentucky. An innocent woman being killed by the name of Breonna Taylor. A woman who had a bright future, and her life was taken away from her. There’s been no arrests. There’s been no justice, not only for her but for her family. And we want to continue to shed light on that situation, which was unjust. That’s what it’s about.

The Lakers join many high-profile people and groups calling for the arrests of the officers involved in Taylor’s death — Detective Brett Hankison, Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detective Myles Cosgrove.

Last month, WNBA players announced they would pay homage to women who have been killed by police and in episodes of racial violence wi

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LeBron James and LA Lakers teammates wear parody Make America Great Again cap to call for justice for Breonna Taylor

LeBron James and LA Lakers teammates wear parody Make America Great Again cap to call for justice for Breonna Taylor
LeBron James arrived at the LA Lakers' game against Portland wearing a parody MAGA cap: Instagram/KingJames
LeBron James arrived at the LA Lakers’ game against Portland wearing a parody MAGA cap: Instagram/KingJames

LeBron James used the LA Lakers’ opening NBA play-off game to take a powerful stand against racial inequality, with the basketball great arriving at the AdventHealth Arena wearing a red cap that read ‘Make America arrest the cops who killed Breonna Taylor’.

The cap also featured the words ‘Great Again’ crossed out in what was a clear message to President Donald Trump to call for justice for Taylor’s death at the hands of police officers, and James was also absent from the national anthem ahead of the game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

His LA Lakers teammates also wore the parody cap of Trump’s ‘Make America Great Again’ slogan, with Anthony Davis, Dwight Howard, Jared Dudley, Quinn Cook, Rajon Rondo, Danny Green, and JR Smith all seen arriving wearing it.

James also wore a T-shirt displaying the message ‘By Any Means’, with the 35-year-old posting the same words on his Instagram profile on Tuesday night and adding ‘#JusticeforBreonnaTaylor’.

Taylor was shot dead in her Louisville home on 26 March by police officers who have not faced any action for the killing. Her death was followed by the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis by police officers, with one forcing his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly nine minutes despite re

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Lillard clutch down the stretch as Blazers upset Lakers in Game 1 – TSN

Lillard clutch down the stretch as Blazers upset Lakers in Game 1 – TSN

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — After sinking a deep 3-pointer midway through the final quarter, Damian Lillard did a little dance and teammate Jusuf Nurkic pointed to his wrist.

This was Dame Time, playoff edition.

“Every game since we’ve been here has been a playoff game. So that prepared us for a game like this,” Lillard said. “It’s only one win. I’m happy to be here competing in the playoffs again, but we’ve got to move on to the next one.”

Lillard had 34 points and the Portland Trail Blazers spoiled LeBron James‘ first playoff appearance for the Los Angeles Lakers with a 100-93 victory on Tuesday night in Game 1 of the teams’ playoff series.

James had 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists, becoming the first player to have as many points, rebounds and assists in the playoffs. It was his 24th post-season triple-double and his assists were a career playoff high.

“We had a couple of breakdowns, which you can’t have down the stretch, especially against a team like Portland,” James said.

Jusuf Nurkic had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Portland, which led by as many as 16 points in the first half. The Lakers, making their first playoff appearance since 2013, narrowed the advantage to 57-56 at the break and stayed close the rest of the way.

Trailing 78-75 goi

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Lakers’ LeBron James Says He Will Campaign for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris

Lakers’ LeBron James Says He Will Campaign for Joe Biden, Kamala Harris
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) walks on the court during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is going to do what he can to prevent Donald Trump from winning a second presidential term in November’s election.

TMZ Sports noted James joined Cari Champion and Jemele Hill for the premiere of Cari & Jemele: Stick To Sports, which airs Wednesday night, and said he will campaign for Democratic nominee Joe Biden and vice president Kamala Harris.

“We are in a time where we need change,” he said. “In order for change, it’s all about leadership—and leadership starts at the top.”

James also discussed the matter with Chris Haynes on NBA on TNT:

James also campaigned for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and joined her on a stage during a rally.

I

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Bucher on Porzingis’ attempt at a statement, Embiid’s presence as ‘best’ player | NBA | THE HERD – The Herd with Colin Cowherd

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Lillard leads upstart Blazers past top seeded Lakers – Reuters

EditorsNote: adds location in lede; changes to “six of its past seven” in fourth graf; adds sentence to last graf

Aug 18, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers on the court prior to game one of the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard scored 34 points, and the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers defeated the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 in Game 1 of their Western Conference opening-round matchup on Tuesday in the NBA bubble near Orlando.

CJ McCollum had 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Blazers. Carmelo Anthony added 11 points and 10 rebounds while Hassan Whiteside collected five blocks to go along with eight rebounds and seven points.

Anthony Davis finished with 28 p

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NBA roundup: Top seeds fall in playoff openers – Reuters

Damian Lillard scored 34 points, and the eighth-seeded Portland Trail Blazers defeated the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers 100-93 in Game 1 of their Western Conference opening-round matchup on Tuesday in the NBA bubble near Orlando.

Aug 15, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers moves the ball up court against the Memphis Grizzlies during the first quarter in the Western Conference play-in game one at The Field House. Mandatory Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

CJ McCollum had 21 points and Jusuf Nurkic contributed 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Blazers. Carmelo Anthony added 11 points and 10 rebounds while Hassan Whiteside collected five blocks to go along with eight rebounds and seven points.

Anthony Davis finished with 28 points and 11 boards while LeBron James had 23 points, 17 boards and 16 assists for the Lakers. Kyle Kuzma chipped in 14 points.

Gary Trent Jr.’s 3-pointer with 1:15 remaining gave the Blazers a 98-93 edge after a dunk by Davis allowed the Lakers to close within two. A slam by Nurkic sealed it for Portland, which has won six of its past seven in the bubble.

Orlando Magic 122 – Milwauk

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The New Space Jam Has a Suitably Ostentatious Outfit

The New Space Jam Has a Suitably Ostentatious Outfit

The Tune Squad takes to the court once more.

The Tune Squad takes to the court once more.
Image: The LeBron James Family Foundation

There are arguably two vital components to making a new Space Jam. One is that the almighty clash of animated Looney Tunes enmeshes with the real-world stuff as well as our brains remember the original doing. The other is the Tune Squad must be decked out in an iconic look, and Space Jam: A New Legacy is already searing it into our eyeballs.

Last night A New Legacy star LeBron James took to social media—via Maverick Carter, in a new tease for the LeBron James Family Foundation—to give us our first look at the Tune Squad’s 2021 threads. They are…a lot.

Compared to the stark white of the kit worn by Michael Jordan and his animated cohorts in the ‘90s classic, there is a lot going on here. The only real similarities are the Tune Squad name and the concentric circle design that’s evocative of the Looney Tunes “That’s All Folks!” end titles. Except this time, that design is off-center and blown up way bigger compared to its place behind the original logo, stretching over both the jersey and onto the shorts.

And that’s even before you get to the almighty sky blue/neon orange clash of the outfit’s color palette! It’s, well, let’s say vivid. It’s a lot to take in, but then again, arguably the new look for a Space Jam movie should be kind of eye-searingly bold, right?

Space Jam: A New Legacydirected by Malcolm D. Lee, is currently expected to hit theaters in July 2021.


For more, make sure you’re following us on our Instagram @io9dotcom.

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Daily Cartoon: Monday, August 17th

Daily Cartoon: Monday, August 17th

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LeBron James Wraps Up ‘Space Jam 2’ With Inspiring Speech

LeBron James Wraps Up ‘Space Jam 2’ With Inspiring Speech

Production for the long-awaited Space Jam sequel has wrapped up, and the movie’s lead star LeBron James took the opportunity to give an inspiring speech to his fellow cast and crew, opening up about his childhood and journey to where he is now. The audio was captured and obtained by TMZ, and you can listen to the entire three-minute clip below.

The NBA star began by saying that starring in the upcoming title has been a dream come true for him. “I’m gonna be honest completely with you guys – when I found out about the project, I was like it’s Space Jam! It’s a movie that I grew up watching,” James said. “People in the movie that I idolize

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Move Over Lebron, All Hail King Kawhi

Move Over Lebron, All Hail King Kawhi

When the 2020 NBA Champs are crowned, Kawhi Leonard will be the undisputed king of the league.

When the 2020 NBA Champs are crowned, Kawhi Leonard will be the undisputed king of the league.
Illustration: Eric Barrow (Getty Images)

When the dust clears on the 2020 NBA playoffs, there will be a new king in the Association.

He will hail from L.A., the Staples Center.

His resume will be swole, on steroids, if you will — for doing what most didn’t think would be possible.

The king will be Kawhi Leonard.

And no, don’t insert that crazy Kawhi laugh that sports-talk radio stations have been playing as a drop since the day he uttered the famous chuckle that people can’t get enough of.

To the contrary, the NBA will be in tears. Leonard, the Los Angeles Clippers’ star, will have both destroyed and conquered the competition.

Enter LeBron James. The current face of the NBA will be dethroned — and on not one front, but two.

The league will be in awe of Leonard. Somehow, the soft-spoken, non-diva star will have finally made the Clippers World Champions after decades of drowning in losses and futility. Like the Washington Generals, the Clippers were never supposed to win.

But there, in the Orlando Bubble, they will be holding up the championship trophy. And Leonard will be the reason why — again.

And when it happens. It would mean that Leonard had won back-to-back titles with two different teams after winning a title with the Toronto Raptors last year.

Leonard’s feat will be even more mind-boggling when you realize that both teams had never won jack before he put on either uniform.

And the final piece, the crowning moment that won’t be up for debate is that Leonard had become the first player in NBA history to LEAD three different teams to

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When ‘Space Jam 2’ Wrapped Production, LeBron James Gave a Touching Farewell Speech

When ‘Space Jam 2’ Wrapped Production, LeBron James Gave a Touching Farewell Speech

LeBron James Space Jam 2 Speech

There’s been talk about Space Jam 2 since NBA superstar LeBron James signed a movie and TV deal with Warner Bros. back in the summer of 2015. Nearly a year later, the project started to become a reality with Star Trek Beyond director Justin Lin coming on board. The filmmaker didn’t stick with the project, which ended up being directed by Malcolm D. Lee, who replaced the previously hired Terence Nance. So it’s been a long road for Space Jam 2.

Thankfully, Space Jam 2 did end up getting in front of cameras, and now it has the title of Space Jam: A New Legacy. The film is currently set for release in the summer of 2021, but we’ll see if the coronavirus pandemic allows Warner Bros. to keep that release date. In the meantime, we have some wonderful words from producer and star LeBron James that recently surfaced from a recording of his farewell speech on the last day of production. If you’re looking for your daily dose of inspiration, here you go.

TMZ obtained an audio recording of LeBron James’ candid speech when Space Jam 2 was wrapping production (or at least when he was done shooting). James recalled how he didn’t hesitate when the opportunity to make the sequel came along. He said:

“I’m gonna be honest completely with you guys ?

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LeBron James After Kristaps Porzingis Ejected vs. Clippers: ‘BOGUS as HELL’

LeBron James After Kristaps Porzingis Ejected vs. Clippers: ‘BOGUS as HELL’
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a call against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was disappointed to see Kristaps Porzingis ejected from Monday’s game between the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.  

Porzingis picked up his second technical foul after intervening in an argument between Mavericks teammate Luka Doncic and Clippers forward Marcus Morris Sr.

James reacted to the decision, calling it “BOGUS AS HELL”:

Even Clippers head coach Doc Rivers wasn’t a fan of the call:

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Rob Pelinka Says LeBron James ‘Locked in’ to Win Title With Lakers This Season – Lakers Daily

Rob Pelinka Says LeBron James ‘Locked in’ to Win Title With Lakers This Season – Lakers Daily

Los Angeles Lakers general manager and vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka believes that LeBron James is zeroed in on leading the Lakers to their first NBA title in a decade.

Pelinka appeared on Spectrum SportsNet and spoke about the intense focus of James.

“You spend time around the great greats, not just the greats but some of the greatest to ever play, and when it gets close to playoff time, those guys get so locked in,” Pelinka said. “It’s just another level of the mental approach,

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2020 NBA play-offs: All you need to know about the first-round match-ups

2020 NBA play-offs: All you need to know about the first-round match-ups
LeBron James in action for the LA Lakers
Will LeBron James add to his three NBA titles this season?

The 2020 NBA play-offs start on Monday in what is set to be one of the most unpredictable post-seasons in years, after a regular season like no other.

The play-offs usually begin in April but the coronavirus pandemic saw the season postponed on March 11.

It finally restarted without fans inside the NBA ‘bubble’ at Walt Disney World in Orlando at the end of last month, featuring 22 of the 30 franchises still in contention for a play-off place.

Those franchises have now been whittled down to 16. Here is what to look out for as they battle it out for a spot when the NBA Finals start on 30 September.

Lakers and Bucks ones to beat

Where else to start but LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers? The 35-year-old is in his 17th NBA season and is trying to win his fourth NBA title with his third franchise, having previously lifted it with the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Lakers clinched top seed in the Western Conference, despite winning just three out of eight games in the bubble, to reach the play-offs for the first time since 2013 and face the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round.

Victory for the Lakers would also be a fitting tribute to NBA and Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash in January.

While the Lakers’ attack is led by James and Anthony Davis, they will face a man in form in Damian Lillard.

Lillard top scored with 31 points as they beat the Memphis Grizzlies in the special play-in series to secure the final play-off berth on Saturday night. Afterwards he was named player of the bubble, having averaged 37.6 points as they won six of their eight games.

The 30-year-old has enjoyed a stellar year and his 61 points in Portland’s 134-131 win over Dallas Mavericks this month also saw him become only the second player in history to score 60-plus points in three matches in a single NBA season, after the legendary Wilt Chamberlain.

Western Conference
Los Angeles Lakers (1) v Portland Trail Blazers (8)
Los Angeles Clippers (2) v Dallas Mavericks (7)
Denver Nuggets (3) v Utah Jazz (6)
Houston Rockets (4) v Oklahoma City Thunder (5)
Eastern Conference
Milwaukee Bucks (1) v Orlando Magic (8)
Toronto Raptors (2) v Brooklyn Nets (7)
Boston Celtics (3) v Philadelphia 76ers (6)
Indiana Pacers (4) v Miami Heat (5)
Conference semi-finals start on 31 August, Conference finals on 15 September and NBA Finals on 30 September

The Toronto Raptors made history last year when they became the first non-American team to win the NBA title with a 4-2 series victory over Golden State Warriors.

Despite losing two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard to Los Angeles Clippers, the Raptors secured second place in the Eastern Conference this time round and a first-round meeting with the Brooklyn Nets.

Leonard meanwhile helped his new side the Clippers secure number two seed in the Western Conference for the first time in the franchise’s history. Like James, he is bidding to win an NBA title with his third franchise, having won with San Antonio Spurs in 2014 and the Raptors last year.

The Clippers take on Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in the first round. Slovenian Doncic became just the second European player to be named NBA Rookie of the Year last season following his move from EuroLeague side Real Madrid.

Damian Lillard, James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo
Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, Houston Rockets guard James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks have starred for their teams this season

This year he is averaging a near triple-double of 28.8 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.8 assists, which has seen him enter Most Valuable Player discussions at the age of just 21.

Reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo helped Milwaukee Bucks become the team to secure a play-off spot earliest in NBA h

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NBA playoffs: Eastern and Western Conference first-round series preview – Yahoo Sports

NBA playoffs: Eastern and Western Conference first-round series preview – Yahoo Sports

With the regular season over, it’s time for business in the Orlando bubble.

The Portland Trail Blazers completed the NBA’s playoff bracket with their play-in win against the Memphis Grizzlies on Saturday.

Now, Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks, the LeBron-James led Los Angeles Lakers and Kawhi Leonard’s Los Angeles Clippers are among the teams vying for supremacy at Walt Disney World Resort.

With the postseason scheduled to start on Monday, we use STATS data to preview the first-round series.

Eyeing their first NBA championship since 1971, the Bucks head into the opening-round series struggling for form.

The Bucks, who went 52-8 from their first 60 games, recorded a 4-9 win-loss ratio from their last 13 fixtures – becoming the first team in NBA history to have more losses in their final 13 regular-season games than they did in the entire season prior to that.

Inside the bubble but in familiar surroundings, the Magic have the chance to snap a playoff drought, despite the odds being stacked against them.

Not since 2010 have the Magic won a playoff series. Orlando swept the Charlotte Bobcats and Atlanta Hawks en route to the Conference finals, before losing to the Boston Celtics. The Magic have since suffered first-round exits at the hands of the Hawks (2011), Indiana Pacers (2012) and Toronto Raptors (2019).

Defending champions the Raptors have form on their side in pursuit of back-to-back championships.

Toronto went 27-5 over their last 32 games, easily the best record in the NBA during that period – ahead of the Oklahoma City Thunder (21-10), Los Angeles Clippers (20-10), Bucks (20-11) and Celtics (21-13).

Nets star Spencer Dinwiddie has been one of the most clutch players this season, making an NBA-high seven go-ahead baskets in the final minute of the fourth quarter or overtime.

Dinwiddie’s seven for 13 is better than the Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic (five), Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell and Jamal Murray of the Nuggets (both four).

The Celtics renew hostilities with rivals the 76ers, having won the past four series between the two teams – Philadelphia have not claimed a series against Boston in the playoffs since 1982.

Philadelphia’s hopes will rest on Joel Embiid in the absence of injured fellow All-Star Ben Simmons, who is the only player in NBA history to average 8.0-plus rebounds and 8.0-plus assists per game for his career.

The 76ers are 35-22 (.614 per cent) with Simmons in the team, while they are just 7-8 (.467 per cent) without the Australian star on the court. Philadelphia also allow more opposition points per game in his absence – 113.6 compared to 107.2.

All eyes will be on Indiana’s T.J. Warren, who averaged 31.0 points per game with a .664 effective field-goal percentage this month following the restart.

Since 1985-86, the players with 30.0-plus points and a .650-plus effective field-goal percentage in a month (minimum five game played) are Charles Barkley (1990), Stephen Curry (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019), Antetokounmpo (2017 and 2019) and Karl Anthony-Towns (2019).

With Heat pair Kendrick Nunn and Duncan Robinson, Miami are the first NBA team to have two undrafted players averaging 13.0-plus points per game in the same season – minimum 70 per cent of team games played – since the Philadelphia Warriors in 1956-57 (Joe Graboski and Neil Johnston).

 

Making their first postseason appearance since 2013, the Lakers – who have a 74.6 per cent chance of winning this series using Stats Perform’s advanced simulation tool – are one of the favourites to go all the way thanks to James and Anthony Davis.

James and Davis have combined well in LA, where the former has supplied 184 assists for the All-Star recruit this season – the most to one player in 2019-20, ahead of Damian Lillard to Hassan Whiteside (132). Three-time champion and four-time MVP James is also the second-oldest player to average 10 assists or more in a season in NBA history, with Steve Nash averaging 10.0-plus assists in each of his final three campaigns.

This will be the second playoff meeting between James and Carmelo Anthony. James and the Heat eliminated Anthony and the New York Knicks in the first round in 2012. Both averaged 27.8 points in the series. James was the first overall pick in the 2003 NBA Draft, while Anthony was the third pick. Their matchups date back to high school, when LeBron was at St. Vincent St. Mary’s and Carmelo at Oak Hill Academy.

Portland’s go-to man Lillard leads the NBA in scoring inside the bubble at 37.6 per game, including the play-in clash. The Trail Blazers star is averaging 46.3 points in his past four games following a career-high 61 against the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month. He has contributed to Portland averaging a league-high 126.0 points per game at Walt Disney World Resort, while the Lakers have only managed 106.4 points per game – the second worst behind the

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Lauren London Pays Tribute to Nipsey Hussle on What Would Have Been His 35th Birthday – Entertainment Tonight

Lauren London Pays Tribute to Nipsey Hussle on What Would Have Been His 35th Birthday – Entertainment Tonight
Lauren London Pays Tribute to Nipsey Hussle on What Would Have Been His 35th Birthday | Entertainment Tonight
































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Blazers’ Damian Lillard Named Unanimous NBA Bubble MVP for Seeding Games

Blazers’ Damian Lillard Named Unanimous NBA Bubble MVP for Seeding Games
Portland Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard (0) dribbles during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Houston Rockets Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

Kevin C. Cox/Associated Press

Giannis Antetokounmpo or LeBron James can have the regular-season MVP. Damian Lillard just earned something that may never be given out again in NBA history.

The Portland Trail Blazers star was unanimously voted MVP of the league’s seeding games at Walt Disney World Resort on Saturday after thriving in the campus-like environment that was set up to resume the season after it was suspended in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press shared all of the NBA bubble award winners:

Each team played eight seeding games with playoff positioning and spots on the line, and Lillard was one of a number of players who stood out in the unusual circumstances.

There really didn’t seem to be a much competition for the MVP award. The Blazers entered the season restart with a 29-37 record, 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference. 

Lillard averaged 37.6 points and 9.6 assists during the eight seeding games, shot 43.6 percent from three-point range and led the Blazers to a 6-2 record.

Portland, which moved into the No. 8 seed, will play Memphis in the play-in-series starting on Saturday. If the Blazers win on either Saturday or Sunday, they will advance to the postseason to take on the Los Angeles Lakers

Few individuals captured the attention of the nation quite like Indiana Pacers forward T.J. Warren, who has largely been a role player or someone who didn’t get much national recognition playing on Phoenix Suns teams that underperformed throughout his career.

The Pacers traded for him this offseason, and he led the team in scoring during the season with Victor Oladipo bouncing in and out of the lineup. He took that scoring to another level in the bubble, exploding for 53 points in a win over the Philadelphia 76ers and more than 30 three other times.

Warren gives Indiana another scoring threat who can take

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Lakers’ LeBron James Comments on Missing His Family While Playing in NBA Bubble

Lakers’ LeBron James Comments on Missing His Family While Playing in NBA Bubble
Los Angeles Lakers' LeBron James warms up before an NBA basketball game against the Toronto Raptors, Saturday, Aug. 1, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

Ashley Landis/Associated Press

Many NBA players inside the league’s bubble near Orlando, Florida, have been without their families for more than a month now.

The league invited 22 teams to its restart with the catch being no one from outside could join them until later in the playoffs. With six of those teams heading home before the postseason begins Monday, those who remain are starting to feel the isolation more than ever.

Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope told the Los Angeles Times’ Tania Ganguli he misses the chaos that comes with being home in the mornings. His teammate, LeBron James, couldn’t help but agree:

“You can’t replicate actual presence when you’re waking up and you’re in the living room or you’re in the kitchen or you’re outside playing with your kids or playing with your daughter, playing video games with your boys or working out with your boys. You can’t replicate that. I’m not there.

“Savannah [James’ wife] is a beast at what she does. That’s controlling the home and being that rock for our family. So I’m not worried about that. But you definitely, you have that miss factor when you miss your fa

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NBA Playoffs 2020: Postseason Schedule, Bracket Format and Odds

NBA Playoffs 2020: Postseason Schedule, Bracket Format and Odds
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James (23) handles the ball against Indiana Pacers forward Doug McDermott (20) during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

Kim Klement/Associated Press

Lofty expectations accompany the Los Angeles Lakers into the NBA postseason. 

LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Co. have looked strong all season, but now they have to get through three potentially difficult series just to reach the NBA Finals. 

Even with a tougher road ahead compared to the Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers are viewed as the favorite to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.

The Lakers, Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers carry the three best NBA Finals odds going into the playoffs, which start Monday.

While those odds seem right at this point, there is one surprising number attached to a potential title contender that could give it the best title-winning value.  

                  

NBA Playoff Bracket

B/R

  

Odds

To Win the Championship

Los Angeles Lakers (+200; bet $100 to win $200)

Milwaukee (+300)

Los Angeles Clippers (+300)

Boston (+1100)

Toronto (+1100)

Houston (+1200)

Denver (+2000)

Portland (+3000)

Miami (+3500)

Oklahoma City (+3500)

Dallas (+4000)

Philadelphia (+5000)

Utah (+7500)

Indiana (+15000)

Orlando (+50000)

Brooklyn (+100000)

Odds via Caesars Palace.

The two Los Angeles teams and Milwaukee are worth the bet now because their prices will likely drop as the postseason goes on. 

Even though they could face tests along the way, each of the three is expected to win at least two postseason series. 

Milwaukee has the easiest path of the trio, since it opens with Orlando and then has to face Miami or Indiana. 

The Lakers could be forced to slow down Damian Lillard and James Harden in back-to-back series, which would be a tough task for their revamped backcourt. 

The Clippers have to deal with Luka Doncic in the first round, but the defens

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WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players from LeBron James’ Miami Heat championship teams

WHERE ARE THEY NOW? The players from LeBron James’ Miami Heat championship teams
  • The LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh “Big 3” with the Miami Heat made the Finals four straight years and won two championships.
  • Much of the team broke up after LeBron James left in 2014.
  • Here’s a look at where key members of those team

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Dodger Stadium To Serve As Polling Place Come November

Dodger Stadium To Serve As Polling Place Come November

Dodger Stadium, the home stadium of the Los Angeles Dodgers, has agreed the venue can serve as a polling place for the upcoming election. The move follows at least three NBA teams volunteering their arenas as voting sites in November.

NBA superstar LeBron James and his voting rights initiative More Than a Vote collaborated with the Dodgers to make the new polling place a reality.

The group congratulated the Dodgers on Thursday for becoming the first Major League Baseball team to make its stadium available as a voting location.

The Dodgers said in a statement that all registered voters in Los Angeles County will be allowed to park for free and vote at the stadium in the five days leading up to the Nov. 3 election. 

The site will follow Centers of Disease Control and Prevention guidelines regarding social distancing, the team said.  

The NBA’s Atlanta Ha

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Kings end season with victory over Lakers – Reuters.com

Buddy Hield scored 28 points and the Sacramento Kings capped their season with a 136-122 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday near Orlando.

Aug 13, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Players take a knee during the national anthem before the start of a game between the at The Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 13, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Mandatory Credit: Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Bogdan Bogdanovic had 27 points, nine assists and six rebounds, while Nemanja Bjelica contributed 15 points, 13 assists and eight boards for the Kings (31-41). Jabari Parker added 19 points on 9-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds and Cory Joseph chipped in 13 points.

Dion Waiters led the Lakers (52-19) with 19 points. LeBron James finished with 17 points and four

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Dreadful COVID ordeal is a potent reminder to stay vigilant

Dreadful COVID ordeal is a potent reminder to stay vigilant

Uploads%252fvideo uploaders%252fdistribution thumb%252fimage%252f94693%252f0336ef3a 7a27 4f98 a1a6 1e2edfe79f7f.png%252f930x520.png?signature=dntl6 odbgynkgstnz4ndbxyg1g=&source=https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws

Don’t let your guard down.

Although veteran L.A. Times sports columnist Bill Plaschke had for months vigilantly “abandoned” any group settings where the new coronavirus flourishes, he acknowledged recently letting his guard down. And COVID-19 hit him hard. In his first column in almost two weeks, Plaschke said he dined out with friends in a couple of lawful, socially-distanced outdoor environments — where the masks inevitably came off. Plaschke thinks he got infected there. 

Though the now-recovering journalist wasn’t hospitalized, Plaschke wrote his piece to share that even a healthy person without a heightened vulnerability (like older age or health conditions) can get pummeled by a disease that presently has no proven cure nor a vaccine

The microbial parasite is around. It’s part of our lives. Experts don’t expect the virus to magically disappear. And COVID-19 doesn’t just bring intense physical woes.

“Nobody tells you about the dread,” wrote Plaschke. “From the moment my doctor phoned me with the test results, to the moment I am writing this column, I have been scared out of my mind.”

While sick, Plaschke knew fatality rates were low — though experts know the rate of death is substantially higher than the common flu and the virus has killed over 166,000 Americans as of Aug. 13 — and that he was an otherwise healthy person. But that couldn’t quell the understandable anxiety.

“It doesn’t matter,” Plaschke continued. “Once you realize you have a virus that could kill you and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, you live in constant fear.”

Fear is reasonable, considering SARS-CoV-2 is still a relatively newly emerged human pathogen. That means our population has little to no natural immunity. 

 “It has everyone on the planet to attack,” Dan Janies, a professor of bioinformatics at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte who researches viruses, told Mashable in May.

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Heat’s Goran Dragic Says He Loves Jimmy Butler’s Leadership: ‘He’s Here to Win’

Heat’s Goran Dragic Says He Loves Jimmy Butler’s Leadership: ‘He’s Here to Win’
Miami Heat forward Jimmy Butler (22) dribbles against the Indiana Pacers during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Aug. 10, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)

Kim Klement/Associated Press

The Miami Heat are finishing off their best regular season since LeBron James’ final year with the team in 2013-14, and offseason acquisition Jimmy Butler has played a key role in that effort.

Veteran Heat point guard Goran Dragic praised Butler’s leadership in comments to reporters Friday, calling him one of his “favorite teammates” and adding more information for ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on the reporter’s podcast (h/t Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald).

“For me, I even talked to some guys. I said, ‘How did that even come out with the media or players that Jimmy is a bad guy?’ I don’t know. If I’m honest, I really don’t know. He wants to win.

“Jimmy is one of those players that he’s going to call you out. If you’re not doing your job, he’s going to call you out. As professional players, we need that. He’s our leader. Everybody knows that. It’s nothing personal. He’s here to win and we’re here to win. Maybe other organizations with those young fellas, they couldn’t handle that. I think they’e wrong. Everybody needs to be vulnerable and everybody needs to accept criticism, too. … That’s how Jimmy operates and I love him for that.”

The Heat entered Friday with a 44-28 record after going 39-43 the year before. Butler has averaged team highs with 19.9 points,

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NBA roundup: Lillard, Blazers claim final play-in berth – Reuters

Damian Lillard scored 42 points, and the Portland Trail Blazers escaped with a 134-133 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Thursday night near Orlando to clinch the eighth seed in the Western Conference and a berth in the play-in series against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Aug 13, 2020; Lake Buena Vista, Florida, USA; Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, (right) goes up for a shot against Brooklyn Nets’ Jarrett Allen (31) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Mandatory Credit: Ashley Landis/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Following games of 51 and 61 points, Lillard helped Portland (35-39) clinch by scoring 12 points in the fourth quarter, including a 3-pointer from the edge of the NBA logo at halfcourt. He produced his 11th game of at least 40 points this season by shooting 13 of 22, including 8 of 14 on 3-point attempts.

Portland will host the ninth-seeded Grizzlies on Saturday, needing just one win to ensure a playoff berth. If the Blazers lose, the teams will play again Sunday, with the winner claiming the final playoff spot. The winner will draw the top-seeded Los Angeles Lakers in the first round of the playoffs.

Lillard’s biggest play down the stretch actually came on the defensive end. Portland took a 134-130 lead on a jumper by C.J. McCollum with 53.4 seconds left, after Lillard poked the ball from behind while defending Caris LeVert just past midcourt. LeVert responded with a 3-point play to get within one, but his step-back attempt to win it just before the buzzer was short.

Memphis Grizzlies 119 — Milwaukee Bucks 106

Jonas Valanciunas and Ja Morant each recorded a triple-double, helping Memphis gain a spot in the NBA play-in g

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