Last night’s game between the Lakers and the Raptors was an absolute doozy. Toronto attacked, attacked, and attacked, and the once mighty Laker defense looked absolutely pitiful at times. Jarrett Jack got to the rim at will, Chris Bosh just put a stamp on his typically excellent production, and Andrea Bargnani threw in 21 points based on his ability to both space the floor and drive to the basket.
But it wasn’t enough. After a late Lakers’ rally had L.A. up by three points with just 19 seconds remaining, Chris Bosh hit a long three-pointer to even the score. The conclusion was just as predictable as you’d imagine: the Lakers got the ball to Kobe, who was defended by Antoine Wright. Kobe drove to his right, pulled up near the baseline, fired a high-arcing jumper over the outstretched arm of Wright, boom, bang, swish.
It would have been the fourth straight loss for the Lakers, but it wasn’t. Thanks to Kobe. And thanks to Lapo Elkann, a fan sitting sideline that actually influenced the sequence of a play. Jose Calderon leaped out of bounds to save a loose ball, only to find that it had already been deflected away from him…by Elkann. Watch the clip at the New York Times’ Off the Dribble Blog, and join my disbelief that a play like this even happened.
NEW YORK (AP) — Craig Sager’s fight with leukemia will prevent the basketball sideline reporter form covering the Rio Olympics for NBC.
NBC said Thursday in a statement that the 65-year-old Sager is preparing for a third bone marrow transplant at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Sager was first diagnosed with leukemia in 2014 and announced in March that he was no longer in remission.
The Rio Games would have been Sager’s fifth Olympics.
Sager has worked for Turner Sports for 34 years. At the ESPY Awards this month, Vice President Joe Biden presented Sager with the Jimmy V Award for Perseverance.
With so much focus in recent weeks being on NBA players speaking out on social issues, it’s worth remembering that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been one of the most vocal athletes in America on these things for decades. The Hall of Fame and all-time leading scorer in NBA history addressed the Democratic National Convention on Thursday evening, urging voters to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, and opened his remarks by introducing himself as Michael Jordan, because “Donald Trump couldn’t tell the difference.”
You can watch the video of his speech below:
In the weeks since Kevin Durant announced he was signing with the Golden State Warriors, we have yet to hear Russell Westbrook speak on his former teammate’s decision. This week, ESPN.com’s Royce Young indicated in a podcast interview that Durant was telling Westbrook and others in the days leading up to his decision that he was coming back to Oklahoma City. He later walked back his report, saying he misspoke. On Thursday, Durant himself told The Vertical‘s Shams Charania that he never said any such thing, or misled Westbrook or anyone else about his intentions.
“It’s false,” Durant told The Vertical on Thursday. “I didn’t say that – words about me telling Russell or Nick that I would stay or leave never came out of my mouth. We met as teammates, but no promises came out of it. In this day and age, I can’t control anything people claim out there. Someone can go out and say something random right now, and people will believe it.
“I never told Russell or Nick [Collison], ‘All right, guys, I’m coming back to the Thunder’ – and then a week later, I decide not to. Never happened. I don’t operate like that. I heard people say that story, but it’s not the truth.”
So that settles that.