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Heat's coaching stability with Erik Spoelstra continues to be NBA exception. How unique is it?

Sports / Basketball /

MIAMI — As the NBA’s coaching carousel turns, the Miami Heat’s stability in this department continues to be the exception.

With the start of the NBA Finals still a few weeks away, there are already seven head coaching vacancies around the league: Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, New Orleans Pelicans, Orlando Magic, ...Read more

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's 'Fight the Power' tackles the history of protest

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — In late April, when Derek Chauvin was found guilty on charges of murder in the death of George Floyd, the moment, for Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, reinforced a theme that is at the center of his documentary "Fight the Power: The Movements That Changed America": Protest matters.

"It was a very satisfying moment to see him being taken off...Read more

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Mann oh man: Clippers make history with Terance Mann leading win over Jazz

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — The playoffs have swung wildly, like a rubber band that gets snapped instead of the smooth rocking of a pendulum. It happened sudden and fierce Friday, Utah throttling the Los Angeles Clippers before they could roar back in the second half.

First it was Donovan Mitchell. That made sense; he’s been as lethal as any scorer this ...Read more

Sixers top Hawks, force Game 7 behind a balanced attack

Sports / Basketball /

ATLANTA — Who needs style points?

The 76ers were able to get stops down the stretch while the offense was horrid. Added to that, their All-Star point guard, Ben Simmons, was either uninvolved or on the bench.

Yet that didn’t matter to the Sixers, who were in a win-or-go fishing elimination game. A win is a win.

Tobias Harris sank a pair ...Read more

Marcus Hayes: Soft Sixers shame Philadelphia, a town known for toughness

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PHILADELPHIA — The 76ers are as soft as summertime butter. They wilt like graveyard flowers. They don't want to win; they want to have won. They get ahead, then they coast, then they panic.

The "Rocky" statue hangs its head in shame.

In the latest installment of the absurd, eight-year saga that began with four years of tanking, the Sixers ...Read more

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Celtics send guard Kemba Walker and picks to Thunder

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Brad Stevens couldn’t let a single round of the playoffs go by before getting Kemba Walker out of town. The new Celtics president undid his predecessor’s last big move, trading Walker and two picks (including No. 16 in this year’s draft) to the Thunder for Al Horford, Moses Brown, and a second-round pick, according to ESPN.

Walker had two...Read more

NBA legend John Stockton appears in vaccine conspiracy documentary

Sports / Basketball /

Utah Jazz legend John Stockton seems to have bigger concerns than his former team's potential elimination from the playoffs.

With the Jazz facing a 3-2 deficit headed into Friday night's Game 6 against the Cilppers, a video of the NBA's all-time assists leader's appearance in an anti-vaccine documentary was making the rounds on Twitter.

"This ...Read more

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Nets' Game 6 loss embodied all their struggles. Now, it's win or go home.

Sports / Basketball /

The Nets couldn’t pull it together on Thursday in the 104-89 loss to the Bucks.

For the Nets to beat the Bucks with just one of their three stars healthy, one of two things needed to happen: Either Kevin Durant was going to have an all-time performance, or the Nets’ supporting cast would pick up the slack.

With no Kyrie Irving (right ankle...Read more

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Why Mizzou hoops coach Cuonzo Martin exudes confidence in his fresh-faced Tigers roster

Sports / Basketball /

COLUMBIA, Mo. — Strolling into Mizzou Arena’s main concourse Thursday afternoon brought an unfamiliar sight.

This was true in terms both figurative — the first in-person media availability with MU student-athletes since the pandemic began — and literal: Of the six Missouri men’s basketball players who sat in chairs for interviews, ...Read more

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David Murphy: Worst ever? Ben Simmons and the Sixers will struggle to live down a historic collapse in Game 5.

Sports / Basketball /

Some losses, you see them coming. You expect them. They follow a script. Reality presents itself from the first pitch, from the opening kickoff, from the drop of the puck or the jump of the ball. Joe Jurevicius runs 71 yards with everyone else in slow motion. Shaquille O’Neal settles in on the low block and starts doing business. Donovan ...Read more

Mark Bradley: The best Hawks win ever? Yep. But there's this one caveat.

Sports / Basketball /

ATLANTA — To label Wednesday's Game 5 the biggest win in Atlanta-era Hawks annals is no reach. It came in a tied playoff series. It came on the road against a favored opponent. It came after trailing by 26 points. It puts the Hawks in position to clinch the series at home Friday. It was a great, great performance.

One caveat, though. (We're ...Read more

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Bill Plaschke: 'Playoff P' arrives in time to save the Clippers' season

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — One of the most regrettable nicknames in sports was self-anointed in the spring of 2018, during an interview session in which Paul George was asked about his confidence in a particular postseason matchup.

"Y'all ain't met Playoff P yet, huh?" he asked with a smile while still a star for the Indiana Pacers.

Three years of ...Read more

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Mac Engel: Dallas Mavericks handed Luka Doncic a reason to look elsewhere. That is on Mark Cuban.

Sports / Basketball /

If Mark Cuban lets Luka Doncic walk out the door and sign with another franchise it will not only be his greatest failure as the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, but it should prompt every fan to boycott the team until he sells it.

While Doncic has intimated he intends to sign a max contract to remain with the Mavericks, the departure of team ...Read more

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John Clay: Summer fun first step toward Kentucky basketball getting back to being Kentucky

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A few media members were patiently waiting to interview Kellan Grady inside the media room at Memorial Coliseum on Tuesday afternoon when a status report arrived from UK’s media relations staff.

“Kellan has been coaching a team and wants to finish the game,” read the text message. “They have one more quarter and then ...Read more

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Where would Jalen Duren rank in the 2021 class? And does Kentucky really have a shot?

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. — A busy offseason of roster additions at Kentucky might not be finished just yet.

Late last week, the longstanding rumor in recruiting circles that No. 1-ranked prospect Jalen Duren might reclassify to 2021 and move on from high school this year went public, and the past few days have been filled with speculation regarding ...Read more

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'Playoff P' leads Clippers to Game 5 win over Jazz, brink of history

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SALT LAKE CITY — As soon as Utah learned Wednesday that Clippers star Kawhi Leonard had strained his right knee and would miss the fifth game of a second-round playoff series he had taken control of, it went to the film.

The Jazz reviewed how the Clippers’ style and substitution patterns had changed when Leonard sat. But more than strategy,...Read more

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Sixers collapse in Game 5 loss as Hawks take 3-2 series lead

Sports / Basketball /

Are the 76ers better than their recent predecessors? Or are they destined for another Eastern Conference semifinal exit?

It doesn’t look good for the Eastern Conference’s No. 1 seed. The Sixers blew a 26-point lead en route to losing 109-106 to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 5 of the conference semifinals at the Wells Fargo Center. The Hawks now...Read more

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Kristian Winfield: Nets role players need to step up in Game 6

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — The Nets' role players have been nowhere to be found. While Kevin Durant’s greatness carried the Nets to a come-from-behind victory over the Bucks in Game 5, Durant will need his supporting cast to step up if Brooklyn wants to finish its second-round series in six games on Thursday.

The supporting cast on a star-studded team is ...Read more

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Dan Woike: LeBron James on mounting NBA injuries: I told you so

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — With each cellphone chime, the day got a little crazier.

One tweet said Kawhi Leonard’s knee, which he said was “good” on Monday, was in fact not. He’d miss Game 5 and maybe more. Then one said Stan Van Gundy, the experienced coach and expert communicator hired to shepherd Zion Williamson’s ascent, was out in New ...Read more

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LaMelo Ball wins NBA Rookie of Year. Why voters stuck with him after he broke his wrist.

Sports / Basketball /

Editor’s note: This story was written and reported by Charlotte Observer Hornets reporter Rick Bonnell before his passing.

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nothing stopped LaMelo Ball’s rookie season, not even a broken wrist.

Ball was named NBA Rookie of the Year on Wednesday, The Charlotte Observer has confirmed, beating out finalists ...Read more