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Is it best for NBA to have a few superteams? Kevin Durant thinks so.

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Parity has never been an NBA thing.

Certainly not in the NFL “any given Sunday” sense — in the NBA the best teams win out, particularly over the course of a season or seven-game series. The reason isn’t complex: There are only a handful of truly elite, game-changing basketball talents at this level, and if you have a LeBron James or James Harden or Russell Westbrook you can give them the ball 70+ possessions every night. It’s basically like if the Dodgers could throw Clayton Kershaw every game (not that they need to, apparently). The team with the star will win more often than not, and if you can get two or three of them on one team, watch out.

Is that good for the NBA? That’s long been up for debate,  but not surprisingly Kevin Durant said yes. Here was his quote from a Q&A with Anthony Slater of The Athletic Bay Area, discussing the teams that seemed to load up and gun for the Warriors this summer.

“You’re just seeing a lot of these GMs buckling down and saying, you know what, let’s swing for the fences. Let’s see what we can do. Anything can happen. You gotta respect it. Before, you’ve seen GMs be conservative, try to save money or build through the draft every year. Just try to be OK. But teams aren’t just settling for that. They’re trying to win and trying to win now and they want to put the best players together.

“It’s a great league and you want to see the best players on the biggest stage. Why not see the best players? All of them on a few teams. Why not see that? That’s what this league is about. It’s star-driven and it’s good to see that the stars dictate how the league is supposed to go. Then the next group of stars will do the same and the same after that. I think that’s what we’re starting.”

That sentiment is going to piss off a lot of fans, but KD is right. Right that superteams sell, and right that what really frustrates some fans is that now players are taking control of this rather than letting guys in suits tell them where they play.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver may not be as big a fan of superteams. He and the owners have tried to take steps in the last couple of Collective Bargaining Agreements to flatten out the talent pool, but to limited success. The Warriors, Rockets, Cavaliers (for now) have formed superteams, with the Timberwolves, Celtics, maybe Sixers and other teams coming up on those ranks.

Is it bad for the NBA? I think Durant is mostly right. When was the NBA at it’s most popular? When Michael Jordan and the Bulls were dominant. Or when Magic Johnson and the Lakers, and Larry Bird and the Celtics, dominated the league. This is true going back to the 1960s Bill Russell Celtics — the NBA is a league of stars and getting a few of them together in a superteam, or whatever you want to call it, is good for the sport’s popularity.

Last year’s NBA Finals had the best ratings since the Jordan era. Because of superteams — love them or hate them, you tune in.

What has to be guarded against is the losing of hope by fan bases where the team consistently struggles, that can undercut everything. Local gate receipts and television ratings drop if there is no hope. That lack of hope is usually tied back to management and ownership, but it’s real nonetheless. Silver is right that there needs to be a path for smaller market teams to compete if well run (San Antonio is the best example, but there are others). Even if a team makes the right moves it takes some luck to get to the top, and sometimes the breaks beat the boys, but the ability to sell hope needs to be there.

But overall, the NBA sell stars. Cluster them to form a team to beat, and that is good for the league.

Fast start, LeBron James enough for Cavaliers to hold on to win, even series

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For the first time in 11 days, we had an NBA playoff game that finished with a single-digit margin. Barely.

It didn’t look like it would be early — Boston missed lay-ups and dunks all through the first quarter, LeBron James was being LeBron James, and the Cavaliers had a 16 point first quarter lead. It was 15 at the half.

But these Celtics would not go quietly.

Boston started to find it’s offensive groove — hunting Kevin Love incessantly — but in the end couldn’t get enough stops because, well, LeBron James. He finished with 44 points on 17-of-28 shooting, his sixth 40-point game of these playoffs. He got wherever he wanted on the floor all night, carving up the top-ranked regular season defense of the Celtics like a surgeon. No other Cavalier had more than 14 points (Kyle Korver), but the supporting cast played enough defensive and made hustle plays to hang on.

@realtristan13 with the swat and @kingjames with the finish!

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Cleveland got the win, 111-102, and evened the series at 2-2. Game 5 is Wednesday night back in Boston.

What Celtics fans can feel good about is their team’s resilience and grit. Down big for the second-straight game on the road in the Eastern Conference Finals, the Celtics fought back from as much as 19 down earlier in the game to get it to single digits and make the fans in Quicken Loan Arena nervous in the fourth quarter. That is something the team can carry over to Game 5, as they can some defensive tweaks that shut down opportunities for Korver and the rest of the supporing cast.

What should bother Celtics fans was another night where they struggled to generate offense in the face of more intense defensive pressure.

That came from the opening tip, with the Celtics missing a few layups and a couple of Jaylen Brown dunk attempts — all of which allowed the Cavs to get early offenses and mismatches going the other way. Those missed shots fueled a 10-0 Cavaliers run that had Cleveland up 19-10 early. The Celtics shot 3-of-10 at the rim in the first quarter, shot 26 percent overall, and trailed 34-18 after one.

The second quarter saw the Celtics start to find their offense — they scored 35 points on 50 percent shooting — but they only gained one point on the Cavaliers lead because Boston couldn’t get stops. LeBron had 22 points on 8-of-11 shooting in the first half to pace a Cleveland team that shot 61.5 percent overall and hit 6-of-11 threes. That’s why the Cavs were up 68-53 at the half.

The Celtics energy was better than Game 2, but in the first half they looked like a young team, one that made a lot of mistakes.

In the second half, the Celtics started to figure things out — they started making the extra pass, they got stops for stretches, they looked more like a young team figuring things out. They finished the night with 25 from Jaylen Brown, 17 from Jayson Tatum, and Terry Rozier had 16 points and 11 assists.

They just couldn’t completely close the gap because they couldn’t get consistent stops — the Cavaliers shot 60 percent as a team for the game, and a ridiculous true shooting percentage of 59.6. Cleveland mercilessly hunted Rozier on switches — forcing him on to LeBron or Kevin Love then attacking — and the Cavs got enough from their role players. Tristan Thompson did what he needed to bringing energy in the paint and some defense, plus he had 13 points. Korver was diving on the floor for loose balls. Larry Nance Jr. had his second good game in a row. George Hill had 13 points.

And whenever the Cavaliers needed a play, they had LeBron to turn to. He set another NBA record on Monday night, most playoff field goals made for a career.

LeBron is what needs to worry Boston most of all. The Celtics will be better at home in Game 5 — they have not lost in TD Garden all postseason — but if this thing goes seven, it’s a dangerous thing when the other team has the best player on the planet.

LeBron James passes Kareem to become all-time leader in playoff made field goals

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LeBron James is already the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer, having passed Michael Jordan last postseason.

However, LeBron racked up his buckets in the era of the three-point shot (as did Jordan, to a lesser extent), so Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was the all-time leader in field goals made in the postseason. A lot of them beautiful skyhooks that still give Celtics fans nightmares.

Monday night, LeBron made history passing Abdul-Jabar for the top spot in NBA playoff made field goals.

Just add that to the already insane resume.

Kevin Love with insane touchdown outlet to LeBron James for bucket

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Not sure what part of this was better.

Was it Kevin Love‘s length-of-the-court outlet touchdown pass that was right on the money, where only the receiver could get it?

Or was it LeBron James, with a catch in a crowd that would make Julio Jones’ draw drop?

Either way, this first quarter bucket from the Cavaliers may well be the play of the game.

Spurs disbanding all-female dance team in favor of co-ed hype team

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Is this the wave of the future?

Since then newly-minted owner Jerry Buss started the Laker Girls’ in 1979, all-female dance teams have become standard around the NBA. However, with how things are now viewed through the prism of the #metoo movement, and reports on how NFL cheerleaders were treated in places such as Washington and Miami, a lot of professional sports teams are re-thinking the concept of female dance teams.

The Spurs are apparently doing away with theirs, to be replaced by a 35-person co-ed “hype team.”

The Spurs have not said officially that this is the end of the Silver Dancers. “Lack of interest” is an odd reason to give — is there suddenly less interest now than there was five years ago? A number of teams have both female dance teams and co-ed “spirit” or “hype” teams.

Far more likely, this is about perception in what is a conservative state and marketplace.

The question is will this become a trend, both around the NBA and professional sports. As the teams try to evolve and make more dynamic their in-arena experiences, are the dance teams going to fade from view?

Just something to keep and eye on going forward.