NBA now offers direct access to game streams on Twitter, Facebook

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Picture it this way: You are sitting at home, checking out Twitter on your phone when you see a highlight of Blake Griffin throwing down a monster dunk against the Thunder. You think “I should be watching that game.”

Now, in just a couple taps of the screen, you can. The NBA is announcing on Friday they are making it even easier to watch individual NBA games through social media links.

At the bottom of that official NBA tweet of the dunk (or the Facebook post) there will be a “watch” link that will jump you to the game page of the NBA app, where with just a couple taps you can buy just that contest on live stream for your phone or tablet and start watching immediately (for $6.99 per game, or if you are already a subscriber you can just log in).

“We’ve spent a lot of years now cultivating an audience on social media, and when we looked at the (League Pass) packages we thought this would be a great way to add to our everyday storytelling on social (media),” Melissa Rosenthal Brenner, the NBA’s Senior Vice President of Digital Media, told PBT.

Last year during the Finals, the league announced that fans would be able to buy single games that they could stream on their phone, tablet, laptop, whatever — ala carte games. This season NBA becomes the first major sport to offer its games this way for streaming, you don’t have to buy the entire package. Just want to watch Golden State vs. Milwaukee? Then just buy that one game. It seemed a smart play for younger fans (read: Millennials) who tend to consume their media in bite-sized portions (usually on a phone or tablet). The die hards will always buy the entire League Pass package, and fans of one team can now buy just that team’s game on League Pass, but ala carte games were the next logical step.

Not long before that announcement, at the Sloan Analytics Conference last year in Boston, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver took it one step further, saying he thought the best thing would be to alert people via social media — Twitter and Facebook, specifically — and have them be able to quickly tap right into the experience. The NBA social media team took that and ran with it — they set up the plans for this direct access to live games via social media, and got it in place for this season.

Streaming is becoming big business for the NBA, and its teams and media partners. Everyone wants in. For example (as we often link to here at PBT), if you are a home-town subscriber to a Comcast regional sports network that broadcasts local NBA games — the Warriors in the Bay Area, the Celtics in Boston, the Wizards in Washington D.C., and so on — you can watch streams of every game they broadcast from those local sites.

In a world where the NFL foolishly takes steps to force GIF highlights of its product off Twitter, the NBA has always taken the opposite approach — make the game as accessible as possible. That means fans can post GIFs on Twitter or highlights on YouTube and it all has the league’s blessing.

“It’s about accessibility,” Rosenthal Brenner said. “I think we also subscribe to this notion that fan-generated content is the ultimate marketing. There’s a notion that fans either seeing tonight’s highlights, or things from each other showing their joy and love of the game, is going to compel other people to watch.”

There also is no more active major professional sport on social media than the NBA.

“It’s not just us, over 90 percent of our players — I think the exact number is 87 percent — have at least one social (media) account,” Rosenthal Brenner added. “Our teams are committed to posting great content. At the end of the day, we’re all huge fans of the game and using social to talk hoops has been a very successful strategy for us. And that includes just access.”

Which is now just a couple clicks away for any game.

Watch Celtics shooters look sharp in easy preseason win over Hornets

Charlotte Hornets v Boston Celtics
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It’s just one meanless preseason game, but for a franchise that could use some good news the Boston Celtics will take it.

The Celtics’ shooting looked in mid-season form in their preseason opener against the Hornets on Sunday — 57.1% overall and 22-of-47 from 3 (46.8%). Boston just couldn’t seem to miss, especially early.

Jayson Tatum had 16 points in 22 minutes, while Jaylen Brown was the leading scorer with 24 points in 24 minutes.

The one unexpected bright spot was a strong game from Mfiondu Kabengele, who is currently on a two-way contract with the team. He ended up with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting and showed some hustle.

Kelly Oubre led the Hornets with 17 points, while LaMelo Ball had 14 points, seven rebounds and four dimes.

It’s just one preseason game, don’t read much of anything into it. But the Celtics will take the good news where they can find it.

T.J. Warren still out for Nets; team to reassess status in November

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The Brooklyn Nets bet that the T.J. Warren from the bubble in Orlando — the one who averaged 26.6 points and 6.3 rebounds a game for the Pacers — would re-emerge and give them a quality forward they could mix into a deep rotation.

Instead, so far it has looked more like the Warren who has played just four games since the bubble due to stress fractures in his foot.

Warren is improving and the Nets are bringing him along slowly, keeping him off the court until November at least, reports Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

Small forward T.J. Warren, who has missed nearly two full seasons following multiple foot surgeries, is “doing some shooting” and “a little bit more movement the last two weeks than he was prior,” Nash said. He added that Warren will be reassessed in about a month.

The Nets can afford to be patient. They have plenty of other questions to answer as a team before worrying about what Warren can or cannot contribute. But in the dream scenario where everything comes together for the Nets this season, Warren gets healthy and becomes a valuable contributor off the bench giving the Nets more versatility, scoring, and shooting along the front line.

For now, the Nets and Warren wait.

NBA returning to Seattle for exhibition game; when will it be more?

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SEATTLE — An NBA preseason game may not seem like a benchmark moment, even in a basketball-hungry city like Seattle, but Jamal Crawford believes there’s value even in an exhibition.

“It reignites a whole new generation of kids who need to see this,” said Crawford, a Seattle native who has been a basketball ambassador for the city through a 20-year NBA career and now with a pro-am that brings in NBA players every summer. “They need to be able to dream and know that it’s real.”

The NBA is making its latest brief return to the Emerald City. The Los Angeles Clippers will play the Portland Trail Blazers there on Monday night, the first time two NBA teams will meet in Seattle since 2018, when the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings played a preseason game. That was the last sporting event inside KeyArena before it was gutted and rebuilt into the gleaming Climate Pledge Arena.

There was a warm-up act of sorts Friday when the Clippers played Israeli team Maccabi Ra’anana in an exhibition, one where the most of the Clippers’ big names – Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, John Wall and Reggie Jackson – weren’t participating.

A sell-out crowd turned out for that Warriors-Kings game four years ago, the first one in Seattle since the beloved SuperSonics left for Oklahoma City in 2008 after 41 years in the Pacific Northwest. Another big crowd is expected Monday.

“The Sonics haven’t been a team since I’ve been in the NBA. So just to go play in Seattle is cool,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “We played in Vancouver a few years back. I think like two or three years ago, we had a preseason game at the (Memorial) Coliseum. So every time we get to do something like that, I always enjoy it because I wondered what was it like when it was a real thing, when the games were played in these different arenas. So I am excited to play in Seattle.”

Someday, possibly soon, the expectations are that Seattle will reclaim its place as an NBA town.

“It’s always been a great city to me,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said Friday. “It’s unfortunate that they lost their team and the team went to OKC. This city definitely deserves a team.”

Speculation is nonstop about when the NBA will choose to expand. Thanks to the resolution of its arena situation, Seattle seems likely to be at the forefront of those expansion talks, with Las Vegas likely right behind it.

But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has been noncommittal about a possible expansion timeline, and it seems likely those talks won’t pick up steam until the league deals with the new collective bargaining agreement and television deals that are on the horizon.

The community’s commitment has never been in question. The appetite of Seattle fans hasn’t waned in the years since the Sonics left and as the region became a hotbed for NBA talent, whether it was Crawford continuing to carry the banner for the city, to Zach LaVine of Renton, Washington, to this year’s No. 1 overall pick Paolo Banchero, another Seattle native.

As if any reinforcement was needed, the summer provided a perfect example as fans camped overnight outside Crawford’s summer league venue for the chance to get inside and watch LeBron James make his first basketball visit to the city in more than a decade.

“Anyone that knows Seattle knows what a great basketball city we are,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said this summer when the preseason game was announced.

The idea for having the Blazers and Clippers meet in Seattle was the result of a brainstorm between Lue and Blazers coach Chauncey Billups. The two close friends wanted their teams to meet in the preseason and Lue noted the owners for both teams are Seattle based: Steve Ballmer of the Clippers and Jody Allen for the Blazers.

“I haven’t been back since I played there in 2008, I think it was. So just to be able to go back there and you know, Mr. Ballmer and kind of see his offices and how he lives, and (Chauncey) to get a chance to see his owner, and then to be with my best friend, I thought it would be a great common ground,” Lue said.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.