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.

Tacko Fall reportedly earns two-way contract with Celtics

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Internet goobers can now rejoice, Tacko Fall will be joining Boston Celtics on a two-way contract this season.

The 7-foot-6 Fall, who played college ball at USF, has quickly become an internet darling based on his sheer size. His lanky frame and ability to shoot the 3-pointer hasn’t hurt Fall’s reputation as a fan favorite, either.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Fall will be signed to a two-way contract but is expected to spend most of his time in the NBA G-League.

Via Twitter:

Who knows if Fall will spend how much time with the Celtics this season. It’s not clear whether he’s actually ready for an NBA role just yet, particularly for a team in Boston that is looking to take over the Eastern Conference in the absence of Kawhi Leonard with the Toronto Raptors.

The Celtics are looking to make an NBA Finals run in 2020, and PFallaul will be an unlikely candidate to play a factor in that goal. Still, it’s a fun story and great to see a fan-favorite make it through and earn a contract.

Jayson Tatum doesn’t think Kobe Bryant taught him any bad habits


There have been a lot of jokes about how Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum worked with Kobe Bryant two summers ago, and how that may have affected his performance in 2018-19. Tatum increased his shooting in segments between three and 16 feet by a combined 8% last season over his rookie year. Those midrange shots were largely attributed to Bryant’s influence by the social media sphere.

This regression went so far that Tim Bontemps recently wrote a story at ESPN about trying to de-Kobe-ify Tatum this year in Boston. But Tatum has heard those rumors, and he doesn’t believe that Bryant gave him any bad habits. To that end, Tatum said he’s still going to shoot the midrange jumper and he’s not putting Kobe at fault for his lack of progression last year.

Tatum’s comments were… well, just read them below.

Via MassLive:

“I’m still going to shoot the mid-range,” Tatum said after the Boston Celtics blowout of the Orlando Magic. “I seen all the people talking about the de-Kobe-ing. No, Kobe didn’t teach me anything bad. Everything we talked about and he showed me was great.”

“Last year, the jump that I didn’t make that everybody expected was not his fault,” Tatum said. “He’s one of the greatest ever. Everything he taught me was — I’m very grateful and it helped me. I gotta take responsibility for how I played last year and not being that big a jump that people thought. I’m still going to shoot mid-range.”

“I got better last year. Just not what people expected, not what I expected, and I take full responsibility,” Tatum said. “That’s why I’m excited for this year. But Kobe didn’t teach me any bad habits. I didn’t say that.”

Tatum’s problem wasn’t just his shot distribution, it was his shot selection. Not only did he shoot more buckets from three to 16 feet, but Tatum performed significantly worse from 16 feet out to the 3-point line, where he dipped by seven percentage points. He also saw a six percent drop in his 3-point shooting.

Combined with his shot distribution, Tatum’s percentages dropping in key areas made him a much less effective offensive player. Then again, if you watched any of the Celtics the last year — or paid attention to Boston pans online — you would know that they were fed up with some of the forced, Kobe-ish buckets Tatum would take at inopportune moments.

Even if Tatum ends up being a very good midrange shooter, that would cap his potential at DeMar DeRozan. That’s not what Danny Ainge and Boston are looking for, so perhaps someone can talk some sense into Tatum before it’s too late.

Leave it up to a former Laker to ruin the Celtics from within.

Spencer Dinwiddie announces date for investment in his contract


Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie wanted to create a security out of his next NBA contract. The NBA said no. But then reports surfaced that Dinwiddie was going ahead with the plan anyway. Now it appears that Dinwiddie has made that public, and he is proceeding with his plan to create a digital token and give fans an opportunity to invest in his contract.

In a series of tweets on Sunday, Dinwiddie outlined that he would go ahead and use his next contract as planned. Specifically, folks will be able to invest in Dinwiddie’s guaranteed money, giving him cash up front in exchange for a return of their principal plus interest at a later date.

For his part, Dinwiddie said that the plan is legal and does not violate the CBA.

Via Twitter:

In his tweet thread, Dinwiddie also said that the transaction is between himself and fans, and that the NBA does not have any control over a third-party transaction in this fashion.

This could be a very interesting back-and-forth between the Brooklyn star and the league. If he’s ready to go ahead with his plan, it’ll force the NBA to respond.

Jaylen Brown finally hires agent to deal with Celtics extension negotiations

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We’ve been hearing for some time that the chances Jaylen Brown in the Boston Celtics reach an extension is “pretty slim” as we get closer to the regular season. Brown has been operating up until now without an agent, speaking with Celtics management directly.

But according to a new report from the Boston Globe, Brown has now hired an agent to handle the back-and-forth between him and the team. That’s probably a smart move, particularly as he has other things to focus on with the Celtics looking to take over the Eastern Conference.

Via Boston Globe:

Forward Jaylen Brown told the Globe Thursday that he has hired agent Jason Glushon to take the lead on contract-extension negotiations with the Celtics.

“It’s just what’s best for me,” Brown said. “I don’t really want to talk about it. I think [talking] is a distraction. But I made my decision and I move on.”

Glushon also represents former Celtics big man Al Horford, who agreed to a four-year, $109 million deal with the 76ers last summer.

The Celtics are an interesting team in that they don’t really offer the extensions to players coming off of their rookie scales. You would think that would change given a core that Danny Ainge has built in Boston, one that he should want to keep around. But Ainge can be a bit of a wildcard, and doesn’t feel the need to hold onto players unnecessarily if it’s not toward his ultimate goal.

It seems like nobody can agree on what Brown’s reasonable asking price is, but you know how these things play out — the player wants more, and the team wants to get him cheap. This season could be a big one for Brown, both as he proves his worth for extension and as he tries to solidify his place in Boston’s plans.