Two games on Monday night in the NBA — and we have our first closeout game.
Miami Heat at Brooklyn Nets (Heat lead series 2-1). Can the Brooklyn Nets replicate what they did to beat Miami in Game 3? The Nets hit 15-of-25 from three and hit 11-of-18 on threes above the break — that will be tough to do again. What the Nets can do again is get great play off its bench and count on Joe Johnson and Paul Pierce to make plays. The Nets can be aggressive in transition again. For Miami, someone other than LeBron James needs to show up and play like the game matters, that was not the case on Saturday night.
San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers
(Spurs lead series 3-0). The Trail Blazers look done. NBA teams have won all 108 best-of-seven series when leading 3-0, according to WhoWins. In fact, most of those series ended in sweeps. If Portland wins Game 4 at home to extend the series, that would be a nice accomplishment — one more win in front of a loyal home crowd — before bowing out in Game 5 in San Antonio. To get that bonus victory, the Trail Blazers must better defend Tony Parker, who’s averaging 26.0 points and 8.3 assists per game in the series.
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.