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Five Takeaways from NBA Wednesday: Without Curry Warriors struggle, lose to Mavs


It was a big day around the NBA — we could have expanded this to seven (or more) takeaways easy. We didn’t. So you can read about Al Jefferson being out for six weeks or Derrick Rose sitting the game Wednesday out in other posts. Here are the five things you need to know from an NBA Wednesday.

1) Stephen Curry sits, and the Warriors’ offense falls apart. The Mavericks blew them out. The good news for Warriors fans is that the MRI came back negative — there is nothing structurally wrong with Curry’s left leg. Still, the Warriors are going to keep their eyes on the big prize and be cautious about bringing him back.

Even if it costs them games, as it did Thursday night. The Warriors without Curry (and Festus Ezeli and Leandro Barbosa and Harrison Barnes) lacked any flow on the offensive end. Klay Thompson couldn’t get open (eight of his 15 shots were contested), the ball didn’t move as well, the spacing was off, Shaun Livingston started for Curry but couldn’t exploit his size differential over J.J. Barea, and, in the end, the Warriors struggled defensively to stop a good Dallas team. This game wasn’t close, Dallas led by as many as 30 and won 114-91. It happens. Dallas earned an easy win, but nobody is reading anything into this game.

2) Kobe says goodbye to Boston Garden by sticking dagger in Celtics one last time. Ask Kobe what title means the most to him of his five, and he will talk about 2010 — because the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics. There was respect and it flowed both ways — something the classy Celtics showed before the game giving Kobe a piece of the parquet.

The crowd cheered him before the game and mock booed him during it. That was fun. And as it has been all season for him, what the fans wanted and what he can deliver is just a few turn-back-the-clock moments a night. So after Jordan Clarkson softened them up with 24 points, Kobe scored nine in the second half of the fourth quarter, including the dagger that sealed the Lakers’ win.

3) Cleanthony Early could play again this season, which is amazing news. The scariest news of the day in the NBA came in the early morning — Knicks’ second-year player Early was robbed at gun point after leaving a strip club in Queens, then was shot in the leg. The good news was that the bullet did not cause any serious structural damage, and Early could return to the Knicks again this season following surgery. This could have ended so much worse. It’s going to be interesting to follow this investigation — this was a robbery clearly done by pros, and it appears Early was targeted.

4) Jimmy Butler has game-winning tip-in for Bulls. No Derrick Rose for Chicago (tight hamstring), and when they got in a close, back-and-forth battle with Paul George and the Pacers the question was who would be the closer for the Bulls. Turns out they can run plays rather than just isolation sets in the final minute, and at the end of regulation and overtime it was Butler stepping up and finishing, such as hitting a crucial three in the final minute of regulation to help force OT. None of his buckets, however, was bigger than the alley-oop finish off a Pau Gasol pass to win the game.

This is the kind of win quality teams get — beating a good team without a key starter. The Bulls have strung together some quality play since Christmas and maybe, just maybe, they are starting to show the potential we saw on paper.

5) Sixers outhustle, outplay, beat Kings for another win. Philadelphia is 2-1 since Ish Smith was brought in to run the point, or since Mike D’Antoni joined the bench if you prefer. They are playing hard as they have all season; now they just have a guy at the point who understands how to run the show. That was enough to get them a 110-105 win over Sacramento Wednesday.

The Kings, on the other hand, do not bring it every night — much to the frustration of coach George Karl. One game after ending a press conference saying “I’m done, I’m frustrated“, Karl called out his team’s defense and effort after this loss. He should also call out the turnovers (22 in this game), as CSN Kings’ insider James Ham said in the PBT Podcast, this team just doesn’t value possessions. The Kings have lost three straight, and it feels like they could be falling into a downward spiral.

Victor Oladipo denies trade rumor he wants out of Indiana

Victor Oladipo
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It was a trade rumor that kind of came out of nowhere — maybe more as a thought exercise for Celtics fans hoping to move on from Gordon Hayward — but it got traction: Victor Oladipo reportedly wanted out of Indiana.

Not true, Oladipo said.

Oladipo jumped on Instagram Live with rapper Fat Joe and shot down the rumors (hat tip Clutch Points):

“I’m a Pacer. I’m a Pacer…

“Those rumors on the internet, I don’t know where they’re coming from, I’m just focused on getting my knee right for next year.”

Oladipo returned mid-season from his knee injury to a Pacers’ team that finished as the four seed in the East but got bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the eventual Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat.

Oladipo never quite returned to his All-NBA form after coming back from injury and averaged just 14.5 points a game in the 19 regular season games he did play. Oladipo is owed $21 million next season, the last year of his current deal.

Whether he wants out of Indiana or not, at $21 million and with questions about just what level of player he is post-injury, there is not much of a trade market for Victor Oladipo. Indiana more than likely runs it back under a new coach — who has yet to be chosen — and banks on a healthy Oladipo helping the team make the next step.

Adam Silver: Goal is to start next season in January, in team arenas

Adam Silver
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The NBA bubble — which has worked and gotten the league to the NBA Finals — may be a one-off.

The goal for next season is a January start with games being played in team’s arenas, even if fans are not yet filling the buildings, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in his annual address before Game 1 of the NBA Finals Wednesday.

“As for fans in seats, it’s certainly our goal, but it’s dependent on some additional advancements. Rapid testing may be the key here,” Silver said. 

Silver refused to be locked down to any details — most people around the league expect a February start, or later — and said the league might have to return to a bubble, or hybrid-bubble, for part of next season. However, he hoped testing and technology would allow NBA games in NBA buildings, with players going back to their homes at the end of the night.

This is dependent on rapid testing and where the virus is in our nation as we get into December and January than it is on a vaccine.

“Based on everything I’ve read, there’s almost no chance that there will be a vaccine, at least that is widely distributed, before we start the next season,” Silver said. “So I do not see the development of a vaccine as a prerequisite.”

The other part of starting next season is figuring out the league finances and setting a salary cap. The league’s revenue took a serious hit with around 20% of home games canceled, then the playoffs delayed and moved to a bubble. Silver said salary cap and other negotiations are taking place between the NBA and the players’ union. The league has set a date for the 2020 NBA Draft — Nov. 18 — however, the start of free agency, training camps, and the tip-off date for next season are still open and being discussed.

“I don’t have expectations of labor issues… I think while no doubt there will be issues and difficult negotiations ahead, I think we’ll work them out as we always have,” Silver said.

Those are the future. For now, Silver was clearly proud that the bubble worked and that there could be a lesson there for the nation.

“The basic protocols that we’re all following are working,” Silver said. “I mean, the testing is only needed to demonstrate that at this point. By wearing a mask, by exercising appropriate protocols, hand washing, appropriate cleanliness, et cetera, by maintaining physical distance… that’s what’s working.”

Also of note from Silver’s press conference, he was asked about there being just four Black head coaches in the NBA right now after Nate McMillan (Indiana), Alvin Gentry (New Orleans), and Doc Rivers (L.A. Clippers), all were let go (there are currently six open coaching jobs around the league).  Silver said he has had talks with teams that have had openings, making sure a diverse field of applicants is considered, but added the NBA has not thought of adding a “Rooney Rule” to the hiring process.

“I know we can do better,” Silver said.


NBA playoffs, Finals schedule 2020: Date, time, matchup for every game

2020 NBA Finals preview
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It may be five months after they were originally planned, but the NBA playoff schedule has reached the point the 2020 Finals are here.

It is down to the final two. There is LeBron James leading the Lakers against the team where he first won his ring. And then there is the gritty Miami team that nobody expected to be here — except themselves.

Here are a few notes on the NBA playoffs schedule 2020:

• The NBA is continuing to push the pace with games every other day — except for one two-day break between Game 4 and Game 5
Even more members of families for the players, coaches, and team staff are in the bubble for the Finals.

Here is the NBA playoffs schedule 2020 (all times are Eastern):


Los Angeles Lakers vs. Miami Heat

Game 1: Lakers 116, Heat 98
Game 2: Oct. 2, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Game 3: Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)
Game 4: Oct. 6, 9 p.m. (ABC)
Game 5: Oct. 9, 9 p.m. (ABC)*
Game 6: Oct. 11, 7:30 p.m. (ABC)*
Game 7: Oct. 13, 9 p.m. (ABC)*
*If necessary.

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Conference Finals

Eastern Conference Finals

No. 5 Miami beat No. 3 Boston 4-2

Western Conference Finals

No. 1 L.A. Lakers beat No. 3 Denver 4-1

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: Second Round results

Eastern Conference

No. 3 Boston beat No. 2 Toronto 4-3

No. 5 Miami beat No. 1 Milwaukee 4-1

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat Houston 4-1

No. 3 Denver beat No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers 4-3

NBA playoffs schedule 2020: First Round results

Western Conference

No. 1 Los Angeles Lakers beat No. 8 Portland 4-1

No. 2 L.A. Clippers beat No. 7 Dallas 4-2

No. 3 Denver beat No. 6 Utah 4-3

No. 4 Houston beat No. 5 Oklahoma City 4-3

Eastern Conference

No. 1 Milwaukee beat No. 8 Orlando 4-1

No. 2 Toronto beat No. 7 Brooklyn 4-0

No. 3 Boston beat No. 6 Philadelphia 4-0

No. 5 Miami beat No. 4 Indiana 4-0

Miami injuries: Goran Dragic tears plantar fascia; Bam Adebayo tweaks shoulder

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The Los Angeles Lakers physically overwhelmed the Heat in Game 1 of the NBA Finals — and it led to some Miami injuries that could dramatically impact the rest of the series.

Miami Heat starters Goran Dragic and Bam Adebayo both had to leave the game with injuries, not to return.

Dragic left the game in the first half not to return with what multiple reports have said is a torn plantar fascia. There is nothing official from the team, but this is a bad sign.

As Jeff Stotts wrote at In Street Clothes, it is possible to play through a torn plantar fascia but it is both very painful and limiting.

If he plays again this series, the Dragic that returns would be a shell of the Dragic that used his quickness to tear apart the Boston defense in the Eastern Conference Finals. Dragic’s ability to blow by his man in isolation and get into the paint helped make Miami’s offense a threat, and without this penetration they floundered against the Lakers’ length. Rookie Tyler Herro got the start in the second half for Miami Wednesday, and for the game he was -35 (tying the All-time NBA record for worst +/- with Kobe Bryant from Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals).

Another of the Miami injuries was to starting center Adebayo, who tweaked the shoulder that had bothered him in the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami.

There was no update from the team (as of this writing), but Tim Reynold of the Associated Press wrote Adebayo himself expects to play.

Adebayo is crucial for the Heat — he is their best defensive rebounder and the guy they will turn to in the crunch to cover Anthony Davis. He struggled against the length and physicality in

Having Dragic and/or Adebayo out will reduce the already-slim margin for error for Miami in this series to almost zero.

“We’re still expecting to win. We still know that we can,” Jimmy Butler said of the Heat mindset after the game. “Like I said earlier, we want [Dragic] out there with us. He’s a big part of what we’re trying to do, but until we can have him back, we got to go out there and we got to fight even harder. We got to try to cover up what he gives us and make up for it. We’re capable of it. We have to be capable of it. Moving forward with or without Goran we better hurry up and tie it up 1-1.”

The NBA continues its fast pace of games in the Bubbe: Game 2 of the NBA Finals is Friday night. Less than 48 hours away