NBA Playoffs: Philly earns itself one more game this season. One.

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If you believed in conspiracy theories, you could say that Miami is going to make a lot of extra money out of the extra home date for a Game 5 Tuesday.

We’re not that guy. We think Miami came out flat as a lot of teams do up 3-0 and let the Philadelphia hang around then at the end of the game the Sixers best players out executed the Heat’s best and they get the win.

It means there will be a Game 5 Tuesday night. And that will be the end of the series. Make no mistake the Heat will show up focused for that one at home and overwhelm the 76ers as they did the first couple games.

But for one game, the Sixers had their day. They played harder, they executed better at the end.

Philadelphia raced out to a 14-4 lead showing off one of the little secrets of this series — the Philly starters have outplayed the Sixers starters. It’s true (they were +25 for the series through the first quarter of this game). Plus Mike Bibby was taking more shots than Lebron James, and that is a bad sign.

But as you expect, the Heat crawled back and were up 6 with 90 seconds to go and you thought the sweep was on. But the Sixers played with pride — give them credit for not rolling over.

Kneejerk reaction everywhere is to climb all over LeBron for missing the game-tying shot late, but as Tom Haberstroh of ESPN’s Heat Index tweeted, you can lay this one at Dwyane Wade’s feet.

One minute left, Spoelstra runs the Wade-LeBron pick-and-roll. Wade had LeBron posted up on Jrue (Holiday), but couldn’t get him the pass…

On other end, Wade relaxes on defense and Jrue drills a 3-pointer on him…

Next play, Wade clears out, misses fadeaway J. Next play, Lou Williams pulls up for a 25-footer and drills another 3 on Wade…

Really though, Wade was the best of the big three today. Chris Bosh lived on the perimeter (where he is not effective). The Heat’s bigger problems was terrible point guard play from Mike Bibby and Mario Chalmers, which was by-and-large awful.

Holiday took advantage of that. Lou Williams had his moments. Philly played good defense and for one day, one game that was enough.

It’s will not be Tuesday. Miami will want a few days off before taking on Boston starting the following weekend. But for one day Philly showed why they were a pretty good team that made the playoffs this season.

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Rumor: Paul George told former Pacers teammates he wanted to join the Lakers

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Paul George to the Lakers is a capital-T thing.

George is from Southern California, and he keeps indicating his dissatisfaction with the Pacers. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2018. Even Lakers president Magic Johnson is talking about George.

Where do rumors like this originate?

Mitch Lawrence of Sporting News:

A SoCal native, he’s been talking about playing for his hometown team, the Lakers, for a long time. He’s never made his long-term intentions a secret within the Pacers’ locker room, according to former teammates. He wants to wear the purple and gold.

Did George say he dreamed of playing for the Lakers growing up? Did he say it’d be cool to join his boyhood favorite team if the situation presented itself? Or did he say he wanted to get the heck out of Indiana to join the Lakers as soon as possible?

There are so many ways his comments to teammates could get misconstrued as they get passed down in the game of telephone.

But the Lakers threat – to whatever degree it’s real – looms, and it’ll impact how the Pacers handle their offseason.

Jazz call deactivating Jeff Withey, who was accused of domestic violence, ‘strategic basketball-related decision’

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Jazz Center Jeff Withey was accused of domestic violence in a police report filed by his ex-fiancée.

Withey played a small role in Utah’s first two playoff games, but once the accusation over an alleged 2016 incident became public, he hasn’t seen the court. Withey received a DNP-CD in Game 3 against the Clippers, and the Jazz deactivated the center for Game 4 last night.

Ryan McDonald of the Deseret News:

The team called it a “strategic basketball-related decision.”

Withey was always going to see a reduced role with Rudy Gobert returning from injury.

Though Gobert didn’t play in Game 3, the Jazz had two injured players – Gobert and Alec Burks on the inactive list – so Withey was active but never played. But Withey was active for Game 1, which Gobert started healthy before injuring his knee 11 seconds in.

Therefore, deactivating Withey in Game 4 for Joel Bolomboy, a little-used second-round rookie who has yet to play in the postseason, is a curious choice for basketball reasons. It’s almost as if that wasn’t the reason.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.