NBA Playoffs: Grant Hill is moving on for the first time

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The Phoenix Suns, despite what they will tell you, must be feeling a sense of dread. They’ve seen this script so many times, it’s etched into their memory like a bad family movie stuck on repeat. Robert Horry. The hipcheck. The Duncan Three. Parker bloodying Nash’s nose. Michael Finley. Burce Bowen. The hipcheck. The hipcheck. The hipcheck.

Sure, there are new players, mostly new rosters. But the franchise histories remain the same. So you can understand a certain amount of dread for the Suns as they approach the Spurs.

But Grant Hill? He’s probably a pretty happy old dude.

Something lost in the Suns’ elimination of the Portland Trail Blazers and subsequent advance in the 2010 NBA Playoffs is that this marks the first time Grant Hill has made it out of the first round. After Fif.Teen.Seasons.

15 years Grant Hill’s been playing in the NBA, and he’s never made it past the first round. The reasons are ones you can probably scream out instantaneously, a laundry list of injuries always seeming to crush any chance he would have of living up to his enormous potential. But in Phoenix he’s found a home, with the best trainers in the league (seriously, what do they put in the water down there?), and he’s not just some old player, providing coaching assistance and hoping for a few minutes. He’s starting for a Western contender (as much as any non-LA team is a contender), and making huge plays.

In the Portland series, he brought a defensive intensity at age 37 that the Suns may have never had. And granted, he was part of the crew that fell to the Spurs, so he’ll know exactly what he’s up against. But the fact is that Hill is more a reason to believe in the Suns than to doubt them.

Hill is known widely as a likeable player,and a locker room leader. For him to have had at least some level of success is a feel good story for these playoffs. And if, somehow, someway, the Suns can finally get over the hill? Grant will have made himself a legend in Phoenix, and finally found the NBA home he’s been searching for and has lost so many times in fifteen years.

Old man still got game.

Evan Fournier pokes fun at his ‘NBA 2K’ likeness

OAKLAND, CA - MARCH 07:  Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic dribbles the ball against the Golden State Warriors at ORACLE Arena on March 7, 2016 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.

Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.

At least they’re having fun with it.

Report: Sixers expected to waive Tibor Pleiss after trade with Jazz

PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 30: Tibor Pleiss #21 of the Utah Jazz controls the ball in the game against the Philadelphia 76ers on October 30, 2015 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
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On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.

Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.

Jordan releases new Russell Westbrook ad, may include a shot at Kevin Durant

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder (L) and Russell Westbrook #0 look on during a press conference after the Golden State Warriors defeated the Oklahoma City Thunder 108-101 in game six of the Western Conference Finals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)
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As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”

Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.

Kobe Bryant on how teams should see Warriors: “‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go.”

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - MAY 03:  Retired NBA Champion, CEO, Kobe Inc., Kobe Bryant speaks onstage during 2016 Milken Institute Global Conference at The Beverly Hilton on May 03, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California.  (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)
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For two decades, Kobe Bryant saw everyone and everything as an obstacle to overcome: The Pacers, Sixers, Nets, Magic, Celtics, Tim Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Smush Parker, a torn Achilles. It didn’t matter. Kobe’s work ethic and drive had him rising above it all.

His focus hasn’t changed now. Kobe was on the Jim Rome show, and the topic of the new-look Warriors with Kevin Durant came up, along with the “woe is me” attitude of some players (and plenty of owners and GMs).

“I would have thought less about myself if I looked at that move and said, ‘That’s unfair,'” he said. “If you’re a real competitor, you look at that and say, ‘OK, lace ’em up. Let’s go. I don’t care how many players you have over there; we’re still going to take you down.'”

Easier said than done to make that happen, but that attitude is the only one to have if you think you have a chance. You can be sure LeBron James is thinking that way and telling his Cavaliers teammates the same.

We’re going to miss Kobe.