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Heat battle back from 17 down, come up short 107-103 against Raptors

Sports / Basketball /

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- The pre-playoffs have opened for the Miami Heat at the NBA's Disney World bubble.

Monday it was a 107-103 loss to the defending NBA champion Toronto Raptors at the Wide World of Sports complex, firmly entrenching the Raptors in the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Tuesday for Erik Spoelstra's team, it's a matchup...Read more

Lack of physicality could be the Sixers' biggest hurdle

Sports / Basketball /

KISSIMMEE, Fla. – The 76ers must get tougher.

That's one of the takeaways from the 127-121 loss to the Indiana Pacers as the Sixers' season restarted Saturday.

The Pacers (40-26) were physical and more aggressive. They had JaKarr Sampson, a 6-foot-7 former Sixer, guarding 7-footer Joel Embiid. Another former Sixer, guard T.J. McConnell, came...Read more

Clippers' Montrezl Harrell continues to work through grief away from team

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Ever since Los Angeles Clippers center Montrezl Harrell left the NBA's Disney World campus to be close to an ailing grandmother two weeks ago, coach Doc Rivers keeps fielding the same question: When is Harrell, a leading candidate for the league's top reserve, coming back?

For two weeks, Rivers' standard response has ...Read more

Lakers' offense is stifled in loss to Raptors in second game of restart

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- There have been some games in the NBA's bubble that have led to conjecture about whether these gyms are easier for shooters or something about this setting aids offenses more than defenses. High-scoring games have been the norm in the restart's first weekend.

That was not the case Saturday evening when the Los Angeles Lakers ...Read more

Sixers torched by Warren, undermanned Pacers, 127-121

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Nothing changed.

The 76ers still commit too many mistakes. Their chemistry is still in question. And the Sixers still have a knack for underachieving.

On Saturday, they suffered a 127-121 defeat to the undermanned Indiana Pacers at the VISA Athletic Center in a seeding-game opener for both teams.

But the Sixers dropped to 39-...Read more

Paul George's 28 points power Clippers to rout of Pelicans in NBA bubble

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The NBA has gone to great lengths during the restart of its season to make players forget -- if even for a moment -- that they are playing inside empty gymnasiums. Music thumps during most possessions. Fans watching from home are digitally stitched onto videoboards ringing the court.

But every so often, during breaks in play, ...Read more

Heat take knee during anthem at Disney, except Meyers Leonard; Jimmy Butler wears his name

Sports / Basketball /

As was the case around the NBA during the first two days of the league's regular-season resumption, almost all of the Miami Heat players and staffers took a knee during the national anthem that preceded Saturday's game against the Denver Nuggets.

The exception was center Meyers Leonard, who has family military ties. He stood at attention during...Read more

Kofi Cockburn announces his return to Illinois for his sophomore season — just hours after Ayo Dosunmu said he's coming back

Sports / Basketball /

Illinois will have its two stars back on the court in orange and blue next season.

A day after guard Ayo Dosunmu announced he will return to Illinois for his junior year and bypass the NBA draft, Kofi Cockburn followed suit. The 7-footer will play his sophomore for the Illini in 2020-21, keeping the team's dynamic duo from last season intact.

...Read more

Heat return with 125-105 rout of Nuggets, as Adebayo, Butler lead way

Sports / Basketball /

The Miami Heat were whole. The Denver Nuggets were lacking 60% of their starting lineup. So Erik Spoelstra's team seized the moment Saturday during the NBA's quarantined restart at Disney World.

Moving within 1 1/2 games of the Boston Celtics for the No. 3 playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, the Heat opened their eight-game seeding schedule...Read more

Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu announces he will return for his junior season: 'First I need that national championship'

Sports / Basketball /

CHICAGO -- Illinois basketball's best player will be back.

In an unexpected move, Ayo Dosunmu announced Friday night that he's withdrawing from the NBA draft and will return to Champaign for his junior season.

Dosunmu's family had said after the season ended abruptly in March because of the coronavirus pandemic that he was nearly certain he ...Read more

Kings lose to Spurs despite career high 39-points from De'Aaron Fox

Sports / Basketball /

De'Aaron Fox scored a career-high 39 points, but the Kings lost their first game in the NBA bubble, falling 129-120 to the San Antonio Spurs on Friday night at the Visa Athletic Center at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.

DeMar DeRozan had 27 points on 10-of-13 shooting with 10 assists and five rebounds for the Spurs (28-36). Derrick ...Read more

Why Clippers coach Doc Rivers took a knee with players during national anthem

Sports / Basketball /

Clippers coach Doc Rivers spent several minutes answering questions from the media about how his team had lost a winnable game to the Lakers on Thursday night, his answers on point.

But as the session concluded, Rivers turned into inquisitor of the media, his question highlighting the social injustice causes the Clippers, Lakers and entire NBA ...Read more

Lakers are off to flying start with victory over Clippers

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- J.R. Smith standing in a corner with his arms raised. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope banging on the divider in front of the Los Angeles Lakers' bench. Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee leaning against it as if it were a starting block.

LeBron James leaping as he argued a call.

These were the images of the Lakers fans present -- no ...Read more

Jazz, Pelicans take knee in unity during national anthem

Sports / Basketball /

ORLANDO, Fla. -- As the sound of New Orleans musician Jon Batiste playing the "Star-Spangled Banner" on the piano filled the arena, the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz knelt along the sideline behind the words "Black Lives Matter" printed on the court.

Players wore shirts with the same message. Coaches, team staff and the referees joined ...Read more

Referee whistle covers among many changes as NBA play resumes

Sports / Basketball /

Wait a second. How much referee spit was flying around before?

In advance of the NBA's return to play Thursday night -- a return that begins with the New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz at 6:30 p.m. EDT followed by the Lakers and Clippers game at 9 p.m. -- the league released a set of new protocols. One of those? Cloth covering the ends of ...Read more

More than a Vote is more than a statement for LeBron James and other athletes

Sports / Basketball /

When LeBron James and other high-profile athletes and entertainers combined to create More than a Vote, a nonprofit organization devoted to supporting Black voters, plenty of observers took a wait-and-see approach.

Ethan Scheiner, a political science professor at UC Davis, was among them. His research focuses on the intersection of sports and ...Read more

Five reasons for optimism: The Sacramento Kings could make it to the NBA playoffs

Sports / Basketball /

After 135 days without Sacramento Kings basketball, the team took the court near Orlando recently for scrimmages against the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers.

The setting was surreal. The Kings played in a Disney World event center that appeared smaller than the average high school gym. Many players on the socially distanced...Read more

How Michael Jordan's $100 million pledge will address voting rights, legal defense

Sports / Basketball /

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- The first grants from a $100 million pledge by Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Jordan Brand will focus on the legal system and issues regarding voter suppression.

Donations of $1 million each will go to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Formerly Incarcerated & Convicted People and Families ...Read more

When arena was named for Rupp, did anyone object? Yes, but race was not the reason.

Sports / Basketball /

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- In the ongoing effort to combat systemic racism, longtime Lexington pastor C.B. Akins does not consider renaming Rupp Arena a high priority.

"I'm focusing on more important things," said Akins, a former member of Kentucky's Board of Trustees (2011 to 2017) and chair of the Trustees' University Athletics Committee (2017).

When...Read more

Anthony Davis plans to play when Lakers face the Clippers on Thursday

Sports / Basketball /

The "plan," Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis told the media during a video conference call Wednesday, is to play against the Clippers when they meet Thursday night in the NBA's restart to its season.

There was concern about Davis because had been poked in the eye by Orlando guard Michael Carter-Williams during Saturday's scrimmage at ...Read more