Blake Griffin, Chris Paul

Clippers survive everything, come from behind to beat Warriors in Game 7

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It was a week more emotional, more intense than any in Clipper history.

Yet through it all they found a way. They found a way to score 70 points in the second half of Game 7. They found a way a way to have balance and four guys scoring more than 20 points in Game 7. They found a way to dominate up front with their big men just enough.

They found a way to win and advance.

The Clippers beat Golden State 126-121 in an all-offense Game 7, giving the Clippers the series win. Los Angeles now advances to face Oklahoma City in round two starting Tuesday night in OKC.

Golden State heads into a summer with a lot of questions, among those at the top is whether coach Mark Jackson will be retained.

Going into this series the consensus was that without Andrew Bogut the Warriors were not going to be able to slow the high-flying Clippers, they would just have to outscore them. That’s basically how Game 7 went down.

The Warriors got 33 points from Stephen Curry on 7-of-17 shooting — he got to the line 16 times and made al 16 shots. The surprise was that Draymond Green became their most reliable second scorer, putting up 24 points in another start as the Warriors went small to battle the Clippers. Green was 9-of-13 shooting on the night. The Warriors didn’t play small much during the regular season but they adapted in this series and played well.

Golden State started out hot in this one, shooting 4-of-5 from three in the first quarter and finishing the first 12 minutes on a 9-1 run to lead 32-22 after one. The Warriors did that despite having 7 turnovers (they had more turnovers than missed shots, 5), part of the 18 they had for the game.

The Golden State role players kept coming up big. There was Green, there was Marreese Speights, there was Jordan Crawford who hit ridicuouls shots and had a dozen.

All of that had the Warriors up 64-56 at the half. Golden State had a true shooting percentage of 70 for the first half.

In the third quarter the Clippers guards led the comeback — J.J. Redick had 10, Chris Paul 8 in the frame and the Clippers owned the third 31-20.

The fourth quarter was entertaining because neither side could get a stop. The Clippers would get into the lane and had several alley-oops and putback dunks as their athleticism up front overwhelmed Golden State — the Clippers had 62 points in the paint on the night (38 for the Warriors). The Warriors though would just keep making shots, making plays. The Warriors role players were better but the Clippers did get 22 points out of Joran Crawford.

It wasn’t a dominant performance, it wasn’t the kind of game where when it was over you thought, “these Clippers can beat anybody.” Then again nobody in the West has played like that in the first round, all the potential contenders had their stumbles.

No team in the league faced what the Clippers did.

And if what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, the Clippers should be hard as diamonds going into round two.

LeBron James makes good on bet with Wade, dons Cubs’ uniform for game in Chicago

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Richard Jefferson and LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers react in the eighth inning in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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It was a brilliant World Series bet between Chicago native Dwyane Wade and Akron/Cleveland guy LeBron James: Loser had to show up to a game in the other team’s city wearing the uniform of the World Series champs.

As if we need to remind you, Chicago showed Cleveland what it’s like to be on the other end of a blown 3-1 championship series lead, coming back to with the World Series.

Friday night as the Cavaliers went to take on the Bulls, LeBron made good on his bet.

LeBron is wearing Ryne Sandberg’s 23 — classy.

This is one of my favorite sports bets ever.

Derrick Rose: “I want to play the rest of my life” in New York

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 28:  Derrick Rose #25 of the New York Knicks dribbles up court against the Oklahoma City Thunder during the second half at Madison Square Garden on November 28, 2016 in New York City. 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 Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
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When a player says he doesn’t want to stay in a city — *cough* Rudy Gay *cough* — it’s news. Aside from that, a player saying he want to spend the rest of his career with the team he is currently on is right out of the Crash Davis/Bull Durham book of clichés.

Derrick Rose has read that book. He’s said those words before. However, it sounds like he was sincere in telling Peter Walsh at SLAM he likes what he sees with the Knicks and wants to stay in the city that doesn’t sleep.

“We’re building the culture,” Rose said. “We’re building the foundation now. I’m under a one-year contract so of course I want to play the rest of my life here. But it takes time, it takes patience to figure out how every one is going to fit, if it is going to fit and going from there.”

Here’s the question Phil Jackson (or whoever is in charge next summer should he opt out) needs to ask with every player/personnel move made going forward:

How does this person fit with Kristaps Porzingis?

That man is the future in Madison Square Garden. Frankly, he’s the present, too — he’s better than Carmelo Anthony right now. The Knicks need to make moves going forward that highlight Porzingis’ strengths (like playing him at the five).

Rose should fit fairly well with that right now as a pick-and-roll point guard to pair with Porzingis’ ability to pop out to the arc or roll to the rim. That said, when Rose and Porzingis have been paired on the court this season, the Knicks have been outscored by 3.9 per 100 possessions, mostly because the team defense has been a disaster. That doesn’t mean it can’t work, so long as you’re not going to run a lot of triangle, Rose understands he needs to feed Porzingis a lot, and there are other shooters on the floor. Rose can be a solid point guard for the Knicks going forward. At least as long as he can stay healthy.

Whether he comes back to New York will really come down to money — the Knicks should make a fair offer for a solid starting point guard in the NBA, then if another team comes in over the top live with it.

But for Rose, he’s in a New York state of mind.

Report: Grizzlies likely to sign Toney Douglas

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - APRIL 06:  Toney Douglas #16 of the New Orleans Pelicans drives against Amir Johnson #90 of the Boston Celtics during the first quarter at TD Garden on April 6, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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The Grizzlies have searched high and low for a point guard after Mike Conley‘s injury.

It seems they’ve found one:

Toney Douglas.

Michael Wallace of Grizzlies.com:

Memphis will be eligible to add a 16th player as long as it has four players who’ve missed three straight games and will continue to miss time. Brandan Wright, Chandler Parsons and James Ennis already qualify. Conley and Vince Carter would qualify by not playing tomorrow.

Andrew Harrison has played well since Conley went down, but over a larger sample, the team has struggled with him or Wade Baldwin running the point. Douglas – who has played for the Knicks, Rockets, Kings, Warriors, Heat and Pelicans – is fine. At this point, the Grizzlies will probably take fine and drop Baldwin from the regular rotation.

Other Memphis players could get healthy before Conley returns and put the team in a roster crunch once it no longer qualifies for hardship. Drop a better player or run short on point guards? But that’s a future problem. Adding Douglas will immediately strengthen the Grizzlies – once they can officially sign him.

Report: NBA season likely to start 7-10 days earlier under new CBA

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 16:  Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the Toronto Raptors and Zaza Pachulia #27 of the Golden State Warriors contest the opening tipoff during the first half of an NBA game at Air Canada Centre on November 16, 2016 in Toronto, Canada.  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 Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
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The 2016-17 NBA season began Oct. 25 – which was the earliest start date in 36 years. Only 1985-86 even matched it.

But with a new Collective Bargaining Agreement bringing a shortened preseason, the league will begin regular-season play even sooner in coming years.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

League sources say there’s a strong likelihood that the start of the 2017-18 season will be moved up a week to 10 days

We’re hearing that opening night next season is likely to fall in the Oct. 15-20 range

With the exception of a lockout producing a Christmas opening day in 2011, the season has started on a Tuesday for the last 18 years. Assuming that continues, the 2017-18 season would begin Oct. 16.

This seems like a good change. A full season has generally been 82 games in 170 days. Fitting those 82 games into a longer span allows for fewer back-to-backs. The preseason is too long, anyway. Teams often sit their top players for those exhibitions.  As long as training camp begins the same time, this won’t shorten the offseason. Everyone will just have a less grueling regular season.

Maybe teams will even rest players during games less often.