Thunder-Jazz have an instant classic marred by a traveshamockery

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It had everything. Everything except the ending.

The Jazz and Thunder played an overtime thriller Tuesday night, featuring an epic collapse by the Jazz, scintillating performances by Kevin Durant and Deron Williams, huge defensive plays, and in the end…

A no-call decided it.

It was a back and forth game for four quarters, but a late run sparked by C.J. Miles gave the Jazz an eleven point lead with three minutes remaining. Then Kevin Durant went off, nailing consecutive threes, including one I’m pretty sure may have been from the tabernacle. Then Durant blocked Carlos boozer, dished to Westbrook in transition, and the game was within one. Free throws led to a three point Jazz lead, and KD drew attention which led to a Jeff Green set three to tie. Deron Williams couldn’t close, and we had overtime.

Overtime was more of the same, and in the key possession, Deron got the important one to fall, off a beautiful pinch post. After Boozer misses a key free throw, Jazz lead by two. Thunder inbound, Durant catches, the defender clearly gets him on the arm as the ball goes short.

Silence from the officials. Roars from the crowd. Jazz win. (Welcome to Loud City has vid.)

Thunder could have won if they’d defended better, if Thabo Sefolosha wasn’t as overwhelmed by Deron Williams. If C.J. Miles had been managed. But in the end, after Kevin Garnett said Durant was Jordan-like with the calls he got, Durant got jobbed. And it’s a shame, because it truly was one of the better games of the season. These kinds of calls go against all teams from time to time, it’s just unfortunate to see a great performance from Durant and a great win for the Jazz overshadowed by this kind of blatant missed call. It’s bad when the Jazz announcers even say it was a foul.

The good news is that if things stay the same, we’ll get to see a full seven game series from these two in the playoffs. That would be something.

What say you? Foul, or no foul? Worthy of a call or worthy of a no-call? Should Durant get that call as a superstar, or was not bailing him out the right move?

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.