Associated Press

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

3 Comments

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.

Minnesota signs undrafted rookie Naz Reid to multiyear deal

Getty Images
1 Comment

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Timberwolves have signed rookie center Naz Reid to a multiyear contract, upgrading the two-way deal they initially gave him before a strong performance for the team’s entry in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.

The new contract, completed Thursday, all but ensures that Reid will be on the regular-season roster, after going undrafted out of LSU.

Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic broke the story.

The 6-foot-10, 250-pound Reid averaged 11.9 points and 5.4 rebounds in 18.6 minutes over seven summer league games against other clubs largely composed of rookies and second-year players. The Timberwolves’ team reached the championship game.

Reid averaged 13.6 points and a team-high 7.2 rebounds in his lone season at LSU, which reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Bulls bring back Shaquille Harrison on one-year contract

Leave a comment

Shaquille Harrison started last season as an afterthought at the end of the Chicago Bulls’ bench. Then, because Cameron Payne was not good and Kris Dunn got injured (and was really not that good, either), Harrison got his chance — and took it. He was a defender Fred Hoiberg and then Jim Boylen could trust, and he played in the final 72 Bulls games last season at almost 20 minutes a night.

He will be back with the Bulls next season, the team announced.

While not announced, this is a one-year minimum contract. The Bulls waived Harrison back on July 6 as they remade the roster, but Harrison played one game at Summer League for the Bulls and they decided to bring him back.

Harrison is a Boylen favorite — he plays hard and defends well — and while minutes will be harder to come by behind Tomas Satoransky and Coby White, Harrison is a guy Boylen wants on the bench.

Dunn is on the roster at point guard, too, but the Bulls are rumored to be looking to trade him and his $5.4 million salary. Chicago will likely have to throw in a sweetener, like a decent second-round pick, to make that happen.

Nike countersues Kawhi Leonard over ‘Klaw’ logo

Claus Andersen/Getty Images
1 Comment

“My mind on my money and my money on my mind.”
—Snoop Dogg

Nike and Kawhi Leonard are going to court over control of his “Klaw” logo, and it’s all about money and brand.

Leonard left Nike last season, eventually signing with New Balance, and he wants to be able to market his Klaw logo as part of his line with his new company. Leonard and his representatives sued Nike for control of the logo, saying Leonard came up with it in his own drawings.

Nike has countersued and said Leonard did not design the logo. Tim Bontemps of ESPN had these quotes from the countersuit itself.

“In this action, Kawhi Leonard seeks to re-write history by asserting that he created the ‘Claw Design’ logo, but it was not Leonard who created that logo. The ‘Claw Design’ was created by a talented team of NIKE designers, as Leonard, himself, has previously admitted…

“In his Complaint, Leonard alleges he provided a design to NIKE. That is true. What is false is that the design he provided was the Claw Design. Not once in his Complaint does Leonard display or attach either the design that he provided or the Claw Design. Instead, he conflates the two, making it appear as though those discrete works are one and the same. They are not.”

TMZ posted the designs.

I’m not about to guess what a judge would decide in this case. Most likely, this gets settled one way or another.

Meanwhile, New Balance is trying to come up with a new slogan for Leonard and his gear. King of the North is now out after his move to the Los Angeles Clippers this summer.

J.R. Smith reportedly meets with Bucks to talk contract

Jason Miller/Getty Images
3 Comments

After five seasons in Cleveland, the Cavaliers waived J.R. Smith. The 34-year-old veteran wing is not part of the Cavaliers future, and by waiving him before the guarantee date they only had to pay him $4.4 million of this $15.7 million salary.

That makes Smith a free agent.

He sat down with the Bucks on Thursday, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

The Bucks can only offer minimum contracts at this point.

Smith will turn 34 before next season starts and his skills are in decline, he shot just 30.8 percent from three last season. The Bucks will likely start Khris Middleton and Wesley Matthews on the wing with Sterling Brown, Pat Connaughton, and Donte DiVincenzo behind them. They have the roster spot to make the addition. The questions are does Smith fit, does he want the small role that’s really available, and how often will he wear a shirt around the facility?