OAKLAND — I would tell you that pop star Rihanna was sitting courtside for Game 1 of the NBA Finals, but you already knew that because the ABC broadcast made sure you knew that.
She was sitting next to Warriors co-owner Joe Lacob, who midway through the game moved a couple seats down away from her, putting his fiancee in between them.
Twitter loved that and speculation came up that it was the fiancee that didn’t want her man sitting next to Rihanna. But Lacob, at an event the next day, said he moved for a different reason — Rihanna wouldn’t stop cheering for LeBron.
“She bought seats, paid a lot of money for them and she can root for whoever she wants, right? But I thought I would be a nice guy and took my two kids, who go to a lot of games and booted them down to the end of the court and moved her next to me. I said hey sit next to the owner, it is a nice thing to do. I thought I was being friendly. She was rooting for LeBron the whole game so finally I was getting irritated and I said hey I’m the owner of the Warriors. She didn’t care, she just kept going. So finally I said that’s it and I moved a couple seats down. Everyone has it that I moved my finance next to her because she got upset that I was sitting next to Rihanna which is not true.”
The Warriors are not going to be making a lot of adjustments on the court for Game 2, but one thing may be different: If Rihanna is there no way Lacob moves his kids out of the prime seats for her again.
(Hat tip to Eye on Basketball for finding the video.)
Joel Embiid injured his ankle in the 76ers’ loss to the Trail Blazers yesterday.
How serious is it?
Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia:
Joel Embiid is out for Tuesday’s game against the Suns with the left ankle injury he sustained in the first quarter Sunday vs. the Blazers. He’ll be undergoing treatment and evaluation at the team’s practice Monday night.
Brett Brown said he expected Embiid to play again before the playoffs, though characterized that view as “just one man’s opinion.”
That sounds like great news for Philadelphia, which is already without Ben Simmons.
Embiid can be dominant. With him, the 76ers still have a chance of advancing in the playoffs. It might even be easier to create space around Embiid – where Embiid can really feast – without Simmons (though the loss of the talented Simmons lowers Philadelphia’s ceiling).
However, the 76ers don’t deserve benefit of the doubt for setting accurate injury timelines, particularly with Embiid. There’s an element of “see it to believe it” here.
As J.J. Redick stared into the distance, he had to see this coming.
Redick will miss the playoffs for the first time in his 14-year career. His Pelicans were eliminated from the postseason race yesterday.
At 13 years, Redick’s playoff streak is tied for the 13th-longest in NBA history. No current player has a longer streak at any point his career. LeBron James also had a 13-year playoff streak (which was snapped last year).
Here are the longest individual postseason streaks in NBA history:
Obviously, some of Redick’s streak was out of his control. He got drafted in 2006 by the Magic, who were rising with Dwight Howard. But Redick’s competitiveness and professionalism made him a steady contributor, and he chose winning situations with the Clippers then 76ers.
But New Orleans was too flawed to make a major leap in this Western Conference.
This clears the way for Bucks wing Kyle Korver to take over the longest active playoff streak. He has played in the last 12 postseasons, and Milwaukee has already clinched a playoff berth.
Here are the longest postseason streaks that could remain active this year.
Players whose teams have already clinched a playoff berth are in blue. Players whose teams are still in the race but haven’t clinched are in gold.
Players are listed with the teams they made the postseason with during their streaks. If they haven’t reached the playoffs with their current team, that team is listed in brackets:
Another testing issue for Deandre Ayton.
This one comes at a terrible time for the Suns.
Phoenix is trying to complete a longshot run to the playoffs and playing the Thunder in a key game today. But Ayton arrived late to the arena after missing a coronavirus test yesterday.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Like many Suns, Ayton has played well in the resumption. Phoenix doesn’t have another big-man option like him, especially with Aron Baynes sidelined. The Suns started Dario Saric in a small lineup today.
Ayton arrived to the arena and is warming up on an exercise bike. He could still get into the game and make a difference.
Already locked into the 4-6 range in the Western Conference and perhaps trying to keep its top-20-protected first-round pick, Oklahoma City is playing without Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari, Steven Adams, Nerlens Noel and Dennis Schroder. None of those will players will make a late entrance into the game.
Also: It’s ridiculous this wasn’t publicly disclosed sooner. The NBA continues to tout transparency while trying to draw more gambling revenue. Yet, a major lineup issue like this remains secret? That opens the door for some bettors to get inside information, which would be so damaging to the league’s integrity.
The Kings’ 2018-19 season ended with optimism.
Facing a meager over/under of 25.5 wins, Sacramento surged to 39 wins – its best record in 13 years. Under Dave Joerger, the Kings played a fast and fun style. De'Aaron Fox made historic improvements. Buddy Hield broke out. Several other young players showed promise.
Sure, the Kings missed the playoffs for a 13th straight season – matching the second-longest playoff drought in NBA history. But they were on track to end the skid soon enough.
Except, of course that’s not how it went in Sacramento.
The Kings were eliminated from the postseason chase yesterday, ensuring a 14th straight season outside the playoffs. That alone is now NBA’s the second-longest-ever postseason drought, breaking a tie with the Timberwolves (2005-17). Only the Buffalo Braves/San Diego/Los Angeles Clippers’ 15-year non-playoff streak (1977-91) is longer.
Here are the longest postseason droughts in NBA history:
The Suns could still reach 10 straight years outside the playoffs, but they’re still in the race this season.
The Kings might not be far from climbing this list, either.
Their future looks far bleaker than a year ago. Sacramento fired Joerger to hire Luke Walton, who has underwhelmed. Buddy Hield signed a lucrative contract extension then had a rough season. Fox progressed, though he didn’t make the desired leap into stardom. Other young players had ups and downs. Luka Doncic casts an even larger shadow from Dallas. The Kings’ organizational turmoil continues.
This was a feel-bad season in Sacramento, anyway. All the preceding losing only adds to the misery.
The Kings enter next season with one last chance to avoid the longest playoff drought in NBA history, and they do have a chance. But there’s only pessimism now.