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Three Things to Know: Dwyane Wade hits H-O-R-S-E shot game-winner to beat Warriors

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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 hits H-O-R-S-E game-winner to beat Warriors. In his 16-year career, Dwyane Wade has hit more important shots. And tougher ones.

But it was fun to watch the future Hall of Famer dust off the magic one more time.

Golden State had taken the game in Miami just seriously enough to stay fairly close, then come back in the fourth quarter to take a two-point lead heading into the final possession. With 10 seconds remaining Wade started a drive but Andre Iguodala stayed in front of him and cut him off, so Wade passed back to Dion Waiters. However, Waiters was doubled. Wade sprinted back to the arc to give Waiters an outlet, and when Wade caught the ball he looked open at the top of the arc as he lined up a three…

Then Jordan Bell blocked the shot. Wade twisted, grabbed the block and…

Wade has not had his old magic this season, but for a night he found it.

The win also moved the Heat within half a game of Charlotte (and tied in the loss column with them) for the final playoff spot in the East.

2) Celtics play better, but too much Damian Lillard gets Portland win in Boston. That’s four in a row. The Boston Celtics have come out of the All-Star break and dropped four in a row. It’s the kind of streak that could well lock them into the fifth seed when all is said and done, which means starting the playoffs on the road somewhere.

If you’re looking for a silver lining, the Celtics looked better in this loss than they did the night before in losing to the Raptors — back home, Boston showed some fight. Kyrie Irving had 31 points on 24 shots, Marcus Smart was energy and defense personified, and Jaylen Brown had 10 points and 10 rebounds.

But at this point, a loss is a loss for Boston. Blowout or close. The team just needs some wins.

Jusuf Nurkic played some bully ball for Portland and got 16 points, while Moe Harkless played good defense and outworked everyone to 17 points and 10 rebounds.

And then there was Damian Lillard, just making plays all game long on his way to 33 points.

Portland has started 4-0 on a seven-game road swing, they are the current four seed in the West just half-a-game back of three seed Oklahoma City (and the Thunder have a much tougher schedule the rest of the way). Maybe Portland finishing as the three seed last season wasn’t such a fluke.

3) We hope Marvin Bagley’s injury isn’t as bad as it looked like it could be. Sacramento’s star rookie (and No. 2 pick) Marvin Bagley has steadily improved all season and really found his groove of late. In the three games leading into Wednesday night — against the Warriors, Thunder, and Timberwolves — Bagley had a combined for 72 points and 35 rebounds (24 points and 11.7 rebounds a game).

But against the Bucks Wednesday night he banged knees on a screen and went down hard.

Here’s what’s concerning: Bagley banged his right knee on the screen, but grabbed his left knee when he went down. Watch the replay closely and you can see his left foot kind of stick and his knee twist awkwardly.

Officially, it’s a sprain with an MRI coming on Thursday.

Bagley has been a big part of the Kings push to make the playoffs for the first time in a dozen years. Sacramento fell to Milwaukee 141-140 in overtime, putting the Kings a full two games behind the Clippers and Spurs (but one back in the loss column), the teams tied for the 7/8 seeds in the West with 21 games to play. The Kings need wins, and if Bagley is out for any stretch of time those will be harder to come by.

Chris Paul: “I never asked for a trade” and says he’s happy to be in Houston

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With Golden State laid low by injuries (and maybe a defection), Houston should be the team stepping to the front of the line saying “it’s our turn” in the West.

Instead, the Rockets two stars — James Harden and Chris Paul — are feuding, ownership is turning coach Mike D’Antoni into a lame duck, and everyone without a fantastic beard hears their name in trade rumors.

The Harden/Paul feud is real, but Paul tried to downplay it at a charity event in Los Angeles over the weekend, denying a trade request and saying he was happy to be in Houston, as reported by Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

“I never asked for a trade,” Paul said. “I never demanded a trade.”

“I’ll be in Houston,” Paul said. “I’m happy about that. I’m very happy about that. I’m good.”

The report goes on to note Paul was asked if he had to work things out with Harden and he kind of danced around that question but said the issues were around a season-ending loss. Certainly, two straight years of being bounced by the Warriors has the Rockets frustrated. However, there is also a style issue: Harden dominates the ball and likes to work in isolation, Chris Paul can’t be as efficient that way anymore and prefers a more fluid offense (and more pick-and-roll for him). Coach D’Antoni gives a lot of leeway to Harden.

Harden and Paul need to work their issues out because Paul is nearly untradable (unless the Rockets want to throw in a sweetener with a pick or young player). Paul still has value on the court — a master floor general he averaged 15.6 points and 8.2 assists per game last season — but he is 34-years-old, lost a step last season, has an injury history (he played 58 games last season), and is owed $124 million fully guaranteed over the next three seasons. There simply are not teams interested in trading for Paul.

Houston could head into next season the favorites in the West. Part of that depends on how things shake out in free agency (does Kawhi Leonard come West, for example), but a lot of it is just the Rockets getting their act together. I expect Paul and Harden to figure things out, at least well enough to make it work. Mostly because they don’t have a choice. Paul isn’t going anywhere, whether he asked to leave or not.

 

Zion Williamson on Pelicans: ‘I’m ready to stay here’ (VIDEO)

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Zion Williamson is finally, officially a New Orleans Pelican. David Griffin and the Pelicans front office selected Williamson No. 1 overall in the 2019 NBA Draft on Thursday.

Now, we just have to wait for the Anthony Davis trade to be official and we can put this whole thing behind us.

Meanwhile, Williamson has been celebrating. According to TMZ, he had a big pizza party with his friends after the draft in New York. Williamson has since reported to the team in Louisiana, where he’s already saying all the right things to the media.

Speaking during a team event, Williamson said that something just hit him and that it was a gut feeling that he was glad to be in New Orleans.

“This is my home,” said Williamson. “I’m ready to stay here.”

Via Twitter:

Williamson could also be seen getting recommendations for the excellent cuisine in the Bayou.

As No. 1 overall picks and future franchise cornerstones go, Williamson already seems to have the temperament of a guy who’s willing to take over from the last one in Davis.

Watch NBA draftees try to identify pop culture from the ’90s (VIDEO)

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Millennials are the last kids to have grown up without constantly having a phone in their hands. The internet was not always available much of that generation, and that’s shifted largely for Gen Z. It’s a curiosity not just to consider the real social skill impact of mobile communication being a constant for kids born after 1996, but for how they intake media and pop culture as well.

Enter the 2019 NBA draft class.

In recent video posted by ESPN, 2019 draftees had to name pop culture items from the 1990s. Present were things like the Easy-Bake Oven, Super Nintendo, music group Destiny’s Child, and movies like “Boyz n the Hood”.

This is where my understanding of how folks intake pop culture really falls apart. Particularly because what I assumed was widespread knowledge was apparently… not.

Many of the draftees couldn’t identify the Super Nintendo system, one of the most popular video game systems of all-time and one that was re-released in miniature “classic” form in 2017. Even further, several couldn’t identify Destiny’s Child, with Beyonce standing front and center. Beyonce!

Most surprising? Nearly all shown in the video could identify “Good Burger” a Nickelodeon skit from “All That” that was turned into a movie in 1997.

For reference, just four of the first 30 players selected in the 2019 draft were older than 22. That means none of them were really old enough to have lived through the skit-into-movie phase of the Keenan Thompson-Kel Mitchell vehicle (as yours truly did).

It stands to reason — for the uninformed — that if you could identify a Nickelodeon movie from 1997 you could identify Beyonce (who headlined Coachella just last year) or a fanny pack (a very “in” fashion accessory in 2019 as a cross-body bag for men).

Via Twitter:

People on Twitter were noticeably upset, particularly with the draftees’ inability to identify Outkast. That doesn’t really surprise me, as I’m not sure Outkast is as timeless as people from my generation think it is. But how can you not identify a Super Nintendo? Andre 3000 and Big Boi sold 25 million records together. They’ve sold 49 million Super Nintendos worldwide. Haven’t these dudes been clicking around on the internet since they were six years old? It feels like a Super Nintendo should have crossed their timelines at some point.

I’m not from the ‘60s or ‘70s but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t identify a Lite Brite or a Rock ‘em Sock ‘em Robots if need be.

Pop culture and how people intake them is so interesting. This video baffles me.

Report: Kawhi Leonard ‘seriously considering’ re-signing with the Raptors

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Kawhi Leonard won another NBA championship with the Toronto Raptors this season. We are now in the thick of the offseason, with free agency fast approaching. That means we are waiting to see what Leonard will do from here on out. Will he return to the Raptors? Or will he take another suitor—potentially the Los Angeles Clippers?

As expected, Leonard has reportedly opted out of the final year of his deal and become an unrestricted free agent.

The good news for Raptors fans is that Leonard is reportedly interested in staying in Canada long-term. Toronto can offer him a 5-year, $190 million contract.

Via Chris Haynes of Yahoo:

The appeal of returning home to Southern California is enticing to the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, but with the trust the Raptors built while Leonard led the franchise to its first NBA title by upsetting the Golden State Warriors, rival executives view his current team as the favorite to land him when the free-agent negotiating period begins June 30, sources said.

What NBA stars want and do is anyone’s guess in 2019. It’s hard to predict where these players will end up signing until the moment the ink has dried on the paper.

Many felt as though it would take a championship for Leonard to remain with Toronto past the season. That’s exactly what he delivered, and the team around him appears to be poised to dominate the Eastern Conference should he stay past this year.

Chaos in the NBA is always fun, but Raptors fans have stuck in with this team for a long time and it would be nice to see the “little” guys win one for once. We have already seen Anthony Davis force his way to Los Angeles, and not every major star needs to be centered in New York or L.A.

Kawhi should stay, and I hope he does.