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

Sports / Basketball /

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.


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

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Mac Engel: Donnie Nelson's exit from the Dallas Mavericks a case of curious timing

Sports / Basketball /

The timing is just this side of horrific and all but unintentionally confirms a damning report about the Dallas Mavericks’ front office.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Dallas Mavericks announced that long-time president of basketball operations and general manager Donnie Nelson is leaving the team.

The press release included a nice statement ...Read more

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Clippers' Kawhi Leonard won't play in Game 5 vs. Jazz because of knee injury

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard will miss Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals Wednesday night against the Utah Jazz because of a right knee sprain, the team said Wednesday morning.

Leonard sustained the injury late in the Clippers' blowout Game 4 win, which tied the series at 2-2.

There is no timetable for his return, ...Read more

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Suns guard Chris Paul in COVID-19 health and safety protocol, could miss start of Western Conference finals: report

Sports / Basketball /

Chris Paul has been sidelined.

The Suns’ All-Star point guard has entered the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocol for an indefinite period of time, according to The Athletic. Whether he will be available for the team’s opening games of the Western Conference finals is not yet known, according to the report.

How long he will be away...Read more

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Andrew Greif: How good can Clippers be without Kawhi Leonard? Much of burden falls on 'Playoff P'

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — When Kawhi Leonard was asked about his right knee Monday night following Game 4 of the Clippers’ second-round playoff series against Utah, he replied quickly, “I’m good.”

Because the answer was hard to hear through the videoconference’s feed, he was asked again.

“Yeah,” Leonard said. “Next question.”

Less ...Read more

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Kevin Durant turns in heroic performance as Nets rally to beat Bucks, take 3-2 series lead

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — Kevin Durant strapped on his cape and saved the Nets.

He saved them with an outrageous stat line, with an epic fourth quarter, and without much help from a hobbled James Harden. He scored 49 points in 48 minutes with 17 rebounds and 10 assists, an otherwordly triple-double and an otherworldy performance. Nineteen of his points ...Read more

Warriors star Curry joins Jokic, Antetokounmpo on All-NBA first team

Sports / Basketball /

Warriors guard Stephen Curry was named to the 2020-21 All-NBA first team, the league announced Tuesday.

Curry joins Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, the 2020-21 season MVP, and Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo as the leading vote getters.

Curry, who averaged a league-leading 32 points this season, received 98 first-team votes ...Read more

Michael Cunningham: Hawks head back to Philly with blueprint for limiting Joel Embiid

Sports / Basketball /

I first noticed it in the third quarter of Hawks-76ers Game 2. Joel Embiid, Philadelphia’s fantastic big man, was laboring. He’s a bruiser who no longer wanted to be physical, whether because of his bad knee or fatigue (or both). Embiid seemed to be trying harder to get foul calls than going to his deep bag of moves.

Embiid looked beaten ...Read more

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Marcus Hayes: Ben Simmons' constant refusal to shoot cost the Sixers another NBA playoff game

Sports / Basketball /

Alarming numbers told a story of a weird and wild Game 4 in Atlanta. The most significant number: Zero.

No, not the 0-for-12 field goal performance from Joel Embiid in the second half, or the 0-for-5 Embiid posted in the fourth quarter, or the 0-for-1 egg Embiid laid at the rim with 8 seconds to play, which helped the Hawks even the second-...Read more


Longtime former Miami Heat trainer Ron Culp dies

Sports / Basketball /

Ron Culp, the first athletic trainer in Miami Heat history and the longest-tenured in league history when he retired, died on June 9 in Medina, Ohio, his daughter said in a Facebook post.

He was 75. Cause of death was not disclosed.

“Ron Culp was the first basketball person I met when I came to Miami 26 years ago,” Heat president Pat Riley...Read more

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Nets' Harden upgraded a second time, now questionable for Game 5 vs. Bucks

Sports / Basketball /

NEW YORK — James Harden has played less than a minute in this second-round series vs. the Bucks because of a hamstring injury.

But on Tuesday morning the Nets upgraded him to doubtful for Game 5 Tuesday night against the Bucks at the Barclays Center. Hours later, they upgraded him from doubtful to questionable, and the expectation is now that...Read more

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Helene Elliott: Clippers appear ready to take their new act to a bigger stage

Sports / Basketball /

LOS ANGELES — The team that is infamous for folding when confronting the slightest brush with postseason pressure has learned how to thrive when the going gets toughest.

The team that never got its act together in Kawhi Leonard's first season, the team that faced the possibility its championship window would slam shut after it fell behind ...Read more

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Coby White's injury makes adding a point guard an even higher offseason priority for the Chicago Bulls

Sports / Basketball /

Addressing the point guard position was already likely near the top of the Chicago Bulls’ offseason to-do list — and that was before the surprising news late last week that Coby White required surgery on his left shoulder.

After injuring his shoulder during basketball activities away from the team, which resulted in a torn labrum according ...Read more

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Dom Amore: Former UConn Husky Sue Bird a player for the ages, and the ageless in Seattle

Sports / Basketball /

UNCASVILLE, Conn. — Early on, with a lot of the Sun’s attention on Jewell Loyd, or Breanna Stewart, or Katie Lou Samuelson, Sue Bird saw some openings and took her points, a couple of 3-pointers, a pull-up, a couple of assists. Bird had eight within the first six minutes, and the Seattle Storm had control of the game for good.

None of this ...Read more

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Clippers even series with Game 4 win, punctuated by Kawhi Leonard's dunk

Sports / Basketball /

The dunk heard across the NBA began Monday with two dribbles and violent intentions.

Standing at the free-throw line, Utah’s Royce O’Neale crouched in front of Kawhi Leonard as Leonard ripped the ball from the right side of his body to his left. By his first dribble, he had a step on O’Neale. By his second, he spotted 6-foot-9 Derrick ...Read more

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Hawks fight back to tie series as Sixers let lead slip away

Sports / Basketball /

ATLANTA — The Atlanta Hawks turned this back into a series.

The Hawks defeated the 76ers, 103-100, Monday night at State Farm Arena in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. Atlanta tied the series at two games apiece. Game 5 of the best-of-seven series is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers blew a golden ...Read more