Associated Press

Three Things to Know: Dwyane Wade turns back clock, but Durant leads Warriors to win


Every day in the NBA there is a lot to unpack, so every weekday morning throughout the season we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Dwyane Wade jumped in the hot tub time machine for a night, but Kevin Durant is still clutch so Warriors win. When Dwyane Wade is inducted into the Hall of Fame, here is one thing that will not get enough discussion: He is the best shot blocking guard of all time.

Wade has 868 blocks in his NBA career, using a combination of athleticism and timing to rack up more blocks than former Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah in his career. Those blocks are one of the reasons Wade is a three-time All-Defensive Team selection (he didn’t just do it on one end).

The 868th of those blocks he added on Sunday and it was a highlight play on a nearly highlight day for the Miami Heat — Wade helped from the baseline and blocked a Kevin Durant fadeaway ,then got out in transition and finished the play to give Miami the lead over Golden State with less than a minute left.

On the ensuing play, Josh Richardson — who had a career night with 37 points, including eight threes — got the steal and the breakaway dunk to put Miami up three with :51 seconds left in the game. The Heat were in position to steal their best road win of the season…

Then Kevin Durant did this.

This was followed by a Miami miss, and with 12 seconds left everyone in the building knew that Durant was going to take the final shot (he had 39 points on the night and the hot hand). The Warriors had DeMarcus Cousins come out and set the screen to force the switch, and Durant got a clean look but missed — however, Cousins had Justise Winslow switched onto him and just overpowered the wing to get the rebound, and Cousins was fouled on the putback attempt. Cousins sank the free throws and that was the game. (Miami had the last shot with 5.4 seconds left, but Richardson went to the ground in the corner trying to get open, that left it to Dion Waiters in isolation and he missed.)

Golden State escapes with the win at home, but Miami gave them a test and us one of the more entertaining games of the season.

2) The new Philadelphia starting five is impressive, the Sixers are playing with confidence. Just ask the Lakers. It’s only been two games, but damn the new-look Sixers are turning heads.

And they are fun to watch.

The addition of Tobias Harris to the starting lineup in Philadelphia with Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, and Joel Embiid has worked very well so far. Through two games, that fivesome is +17 in 30.3 minutes, and that includes a 14-7 run against Denver late in that game that helped Philadelphia seal a win.

What’s more, Brett Brown is staggering those stars with the bench and getting some punch — The Sixers are +13 in the minutes those five are not paired through two games.

The second of those was a win Sunday against LeBron James and the Lakers on national television, where it turned into the Joel Embiid show on his way to 37 points and 14 rebounds.

The Sixers are feeling so confident Ben Simmons pulled up for the first legitimate three-pointer of his career (as in non-desperation heave). It missed, but it stunned the Sixers — “I was like, ‘Oh, s—!’” Embiid said.

Maybe the biggest beneficiary of this new lineup is J.J. Redick. Defenses can’t focus on him the same way as he comes off screen after screen and he’s getting clean looks — Redick has 55 points over the past two games, and is 9-of-13 from three.

The rest of the East should be nervous, Philadelphia looks all kinds of dangerous.

3) Damian Lillard, Luka Doncic put on a show in Dallas Sunday. Portland went into Dallas needing a win. Sure, the Trail Blazers sit as the four seed in the West, but James Harden and his Rockets are right behind them, hard-charging Utah is closing fast, and in the big picture the Trail Blazers are still just 3.5 games from falling out of the playoffs all together in the wild West.

Lillard did his part to get the win Sunday — he had 16 consecutive points for Portland in the third quarter, and scored 21 of his 30 for the game in that frame.

Then Luka Doncic took over the fourth — he had 13 of his 28 in the final frame, the Blazers’ 15-point lead was gone, and in the clutch Doncic was hitting everything.

In the final three minutes of games within three points this season, Doncic 16-of-29 shooting (55.2 percent) including 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from three. This rookie is already clutch.

Lillard was frustrated late in the game thinking he should have been sent to the line more, but Dallas hung on for the 102-101 win in another dramatic game.

Report: Dell Demps bypassed Rob Pelinka for Magic Johnson in Anthony Davis trade talks

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It appears that Anthony Davis is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The trade was announced this weekend between L.A. and the New Orleans Pelicans, but won’t be completed until July 6. Earlier this season, it was thought this trade could never happen. Tensions between the two teams were high, and negotiations had broken down.

That was perhaps due in some part to the odd back-and-forth between the teams’ front offices. According to ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, one peculiarity was that former Pelicans GM Dell Demps wouldn’t deal with Lakers GM Rob Pelinka. Demps would only discuss things with Magic Johnson.


Now, calling those discussions in February “negotiations” is a bit of a stretch. The Pelicans were never serious about dealing with the Lakers then. They didn’t like being forced into this position by Davis and his representative, Rich Paul. And they probably weren’t going to let former general manager Dell Demps make this big of a decision anyway.

So the Lakers — really just Johnson, because Demps wouldn’t talk to Pelinka — would call and Demps would write names on the board without giving them any feedback. Those names would leak publicly and do damage to the Lakers’ team chemistry. But eventually, Johnson and the Lakers got the hint and stopped banging up against what had become an incredibly self-destructive wall.

It’s possible that Demps wanted to deal with Magic simply because he thought he had ultimate authority. That, or maybe Demps thought Johnson would be easier to manipulate?

There’s also the idea that Demps could have had a poor relationship with Pelinka from when he was an agent. For example, Pelinka client Eric Gordon had a restricted free agent saga wherein he tried to leave New Orleans for the Phoenix Suns in 2012. The Pelicans matched, and the shooting guard never played more than 65 games in a season. This is conjecture of course, but it’s not as though Demps hadn’t dealt with Pelinka in the past. There’s been reports that Pelinka is unliked by some GMs around the league from his days as an agent.

I think we’re going to keep seeing information about the inner workings of the Lakers and former Pelicans front office like this over the next several months. This one is pretty odd, but it’s not entirely surprising.

Magic Johnson congratulates Lakers, Rob Pelinka, on Anthony Davis trade


Magic Johnson left the Los Angeles Lakers under inauspicious terms. Turn the last game of the season, the Lakers great announced that he would be resigning his position effective immediately. In an extended hallway interview, Johnson said that he hadn’t even informed close friend and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

Now Magic is back to his old tricks, flashing his pearly white smile on television and tweeting banal observations about the NBA.

Johnson was supposed to be part of the team that got New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis to Staples Center. He couldn’t get the deal done, and things reportedly got testy between the two organizations during the regular season.

The Lakers were able to finally trade for Davis in an agreed-upon deal on Saturday. The trade reportedly won’t be completed until July 6th, but all indications are that Davis will be a Laker.

To that end, Johnson is apparently quite happy. He took to social media to congratulate Buss and the organization on Saturday. Eventually — surprisingly — he even gave props to Rob Pelinka.

Via Twitter:

The Pelicans got a great haul for Davis, and the Lakers got what they wanted in another star to pair with LeBron James.

It’s unclear if Los Angeles will be able to build a roster around their two stars enough to contend deep into the Western Conference playoffs. That’s still up for debate, and health will be a serious question as they try to rely on an aging James and a shaky Davis.

Still, the Lakers are headed in the direction they would like and with the West now more in question than ever. We don’t know what’s happening with the Golden State Warriors, and the Houston Rockets could be in full teardown mode as they look to ditch Chris Paul.

We’re headed into the summer and there’s a bit of daylight for fans in L.A.

Report: Celtics wouldn’t include Jayson Tatum in Anthony Davis trade talks


Anthony Davis is headed to the Los Angeles Lakers. The New Orleans Pelicans got a significant haul in exchange for their beleaguered star, and LeBron James is openly happy his team finally got the player they wanted all along.

Other favorites to land Anthony Davis this offseason were the Boston Celtics and the New York Knicks. Danny Ainge had to wait until after July 1 to make a trade for Davis thanks to some special CBA rules regarding Kyrie Irving‘s contract.

But that no longer appears to be on the table, in part because Boston decided not to offer Jayson Tatum in any deal for Davis. Thought to be the crown jewel of any potential Celtics-Pelicans trade, there was also concern by Ainge that Davis would not re-sign in Beantown.

Via Twitter:

This runs contrary to everything we’ve heard about Boston going after Davis. Ainge has always been one to leverage his assets in a way that’s less conservative than other team execs. Plus, the reports have been that the Celtics were not concerned about Davis re-signing. Perhaps Davis gave them a little extra information, telling them directly that he would not re-sign? Davis’ agent Rich Paul said as much publicly, but what’s posturing and what’s negotiating isn’t one in the same.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Pelicans and Lakers will complete the deal on July 6. There’s a lot of time before we hit that date, and Pelicans leader David Griffin won’t back out of his deal with L.A. But the fact there’s still time on the table and the Celtics didn’t change their tune on Tatum tells us all the information we need to know.

Rumor: LeBron James hoping Kyrie Irving might join Lakers despite Nets talk


The Anthony Davis trade saga is finally over. The deal between the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers hasn’t been completed yet, and is expected to be done on July 6.

For now, L.A. can move its attention elsewhere to look for another star. The Lakers will have significant cap space — $23.7 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks — and they’ll need another star.

Talk recently has been that former LeBron James running mate Kyrie Irving is headed to the Brooklyn Nets. But no deal is officially in place, and free agency hasn’t started. According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there are folks in LeBron’s camp who are hopeful that Irving could still join L.A.

Via The Athletic:

Just days before the Davis deal was done, a source close to James indicated some optimism that – Nets noise be darned – Irving was still in play for the Lakers.

Remember, Irving and James had a heart-to-heart talk earlier in the season. They hashed out what happened in Cleveland, with Irving apologizing to James for how he acted as a younger man.

That sparked speculation that Irving could be looking to join LeBron with the Lakers this summer when he had the ability to opt out of his contract with the Boston Celtics.

We haven’t even reached the 2019 NBA draft yet, and already free agency is ramping up and getting crazy. This July is going to be wild, and until the music stops and the butts are in the seats, don’t count anyone as being a sure thing for any team just yet.