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Playoff Edition Three Things to Know: Clippers comeback, Sixers third quarter make history

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The NBA playoffs are underway and there can be a lot to unpack in a series of intense games, to help out we will give you the three things you need to know from the last 24 hours in the NBA.

1) Part Clippers’ comeback, part Warriors being bored, Los Angeles comes from 31 down to win. This is the “chicken or the egg” question: Was the Clippers 31-point comeback win more about the Clippers playing better or the Warriors just getting bored, missing shots, and playing poorly?

Like nearly everything in life, it’s not black and white, one or the other, it’s a little of both.

But know this: It was the greatest comeback in NBA playoff history. Think about that for a second. Greatest. Ever.

Golden State had been in control from the opening tip and the score was 94-63 with 7:30 left in the third quarter after a Kevin Durant dunk and-1 foul. Then it started — in the final 19.5 minutes of the game Los Angeles scored 72 points on 69.2 shooting and hitting 5-of-9 threes (for comparison, Indiana scored just two more points, 74, in its entire first playoff game).

On the other end, the Warriors went ice cold, shooting 29.6 percent and going 2-of-11 from three (18.2 percent).

Warriors’ coach Steve Kerr seems to get the chicken/egg credit/blame thing right to me: It starts with his team, but don’t take anything away from the Clippers. When most teams would have rolled over, they kept fighting through adversity.

“When I say we stopped playing, we stopped playing, like defense, offense, execution-wise we were not as engaged as we needed to be,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the game. “We got exactly what we deserved. The Clippers were great. They executed, they were hungry, they stayed connected. They were together.”

NBA Twitter blamed the Warriors — and had a moment of schadenfreude watching Golden State come apart.

Lou Williams was spectacular for the Clippers with 36 points and 11 assists on the night, once he got rolling it didn’t matter if the Warriors defended him well he just hit leaners going left, every contested shot seemed to fall. Williams got help from Montrezl Harrell, who had another big game in this series with 25, while Danilo Gallinari added 24.

Kerr took some criticism for his rotations through the end of the fourth. However, this is less about who was on the floor, and more about how the players on the floor took care of business. The players stopped caring.

The Warriors are still the better team and while the series is 1-1 heading to Los Angeles we know how this will all end. The Warriors won’t be bored enough to let this happen again… probably. These Warriors do have their issues.

And now they are down a man.

2) DeMarcus Cousins leaves the game with a leg injury and he appears done for the playoffs. DeMarcus Cousins finally make the playoffs. He had a bit of a rough outing defensively in his first game, but Cousins finally was playing games after mid-April as the starting center on the team favorited to go get a ring.

Three minutes into the second quarter of his second playoff game, Cousins made a hustle play trying to chase down a loose ball, took an awkward step, and went to the ground.

That is the same leg in which he had the torn Achilles, which had sidelined him at the end of last season and most of this one.

Multiple reports now say it looks like a torn quad muscle (it’s actually better for Cousins if it’s the muscle and not the quad tendon in terms of recovery). An MRI will come Tuesday, but the Warriors are not optimistic, reports Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area.

He didn’t return, and league sources confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area that there’s fear that Cousins might have torn his left quad. One source said the center’s prospects are “not good at all.”

“There’s a pretty significant quad injury,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said after the loss. “We’ll get an MRI tomorrow. But he’s going to be out for, I’ll just say a while.”

Not only does this mean the Warriors go to center by committee with Andrew Bogut and Kevon Looney the rest of the way, but also it could be a blow to Cousins’ free agent opportunities this summer (depending on what the MRI finds).

3) Philadelphia makes history with 51-point third quarter to even series with Brooklyn. Two days before, fans in Philadelphia were booing the Sixers and streaming out of the stadium early in disgust at their team’s poor play. And those fans were right.

Two nights later, this was the reaction inside the Wells Fargo Center.

The Sixers — and Ben Simmons in particular — attacked the basket from the start, used their superior athleticism, and were aggressive… and that still wasn’t enough because the Brooklyn bench was dynamic and the team was raining threes. It was a one-point game at halftime.

Then the Sixers came out in the third quarter and dropped 51. That ties the record for most points ever scored in a playoff game quarter. It was 28 more than the Nets scored in the frame, and the game was essentially over.

After three quarters the Sixers had scored 116 points and a 155 offensive net rating (points scored per 100 possessions). By early in the fourth it was garbage time.

Simmons had a triple-double of with 18 points, 12 assists, and 10 rebounds.

Joel Embiid added 23 points and 10 rebounds and was a +26 on the night. However, all most people were talking about was his elbow to the head of Jarrett Allen that earned him a Flagrant 1 (it could have been a Flagrant 2 and an ejection).

Embiid took this foul very seriously…

The series now shifts to Brooklyn and the Sixers are far from in the clear in this series. They have some real challenges, especially if they can’t stop the Nets bench, or offense in general.

Dion Waiters shows off slimmed down physique on Instagram

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Suddenly the annual “he lost/gained 15 points and is in the best shape of his life” portion of the NBA summer is upon us.

The Miami Heat are known around the league for having one of the best conditioning programs, guys who go there almost universally get in better shape. Dion Waiters last season seemed to be the exception to the rule. Waiters wasn’t 50-year-old-suburban-dad-with-a-beer-gut out of shape, but coming off an injury where he didn’t get to train like he wanted, Waiters didn’t look like a guy in NBA shape either. Critics lit Waiters up on social media.

Waiters posted his response — he’s been hitting the gym.

View this post on Instagram

Last year when I came off 1 of the most depressing & frustrating times of my life. Coming off injury & not feeling like myself nor looking like myself I was in a dark place mentally & physically , Because the game I love so much was taken away due to season ending surgery. Now a days with this social media ran world they laughed at me made jokes etc not knowing what I was battling or going through everyday. So instead of me joining the circus I told myself you from (Philly) you’ve been through worst shit in your life than this. So I promise myself I would work my ass off & get back to where I was before the injury. I’m not done yet but I kno somebody in the world prolli needed to hear this. Stay positive block out the outside noise & grind. #Philly🧀 #stayTune

A post shared by 🔥🔥🔥🔥 (@waiters3) on

Good for Waiters.

Let the flood of NBA workout videos and shots of guys with their new physiques begin.

Philly fans will be hoping to see one from Joel Embiid.

Russell Westbrook trade to Houston official, Thunder praise him on way out door

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Whatever their long-term intentions, after Paul George was traded the Oklahoma City Thunder changed focus. General Manager Sam Presti sat down with Russell Westbrook and his agent, talked about the future, what the former MVP wanted, then worked on trading him where he wanted to go.

That was Houston.

The Westbrook to the Rockets trade for Chris Paul — with Oklahoma City picking up two first-round picks and two pick swaps — is now official.

In announcing the trade, the Thunder praised the greatest player in their franchise history on his way out the door.

“Russell Westbrook is the most important player in the brief history of the Oklahoma City Thunder. He has left an indelible mark on this team, city and state,” Presti said in a statement. “None of us could have anticipated the player he has become, and we are all deeply proud of what he has contributed to the success of the franchise and to our community. Russell and his wife Nina, their three children, his brother and his parents will always remain part of the Thunder family. We wish them nothing but happiness and success in the future.”

“I have a great deal of respect for Russell and there is no way to adequately describe our appreciation for what he has meant to Oklahomans,” said Thunder Chairman Clayton I. Bennett. “His legacy here is immense, and he will be honored by the team for all he has done. We wish he and Nina and their family all the best. While this era of Thunder basketball now comes to an end, I’m confident our talented team of people will once again position the Thunder for success in the future.”

While Presti and the OKC front office are still working on a CP3 trade, they are entering a rebuilding phase.

The Rockets are banking on Westbrook and James Harden being able to work out any fit issues — and finding a way to defend with both of them on the court — to keep them as title contenders.

Anthony Davis dances around question about re-signing with Lakers

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After the drama around his push to get to Los Angeles, league executives and other sources around the NBA expect Anthony Davis to re-sign with the Lakers on a max contract next summer.

However, Davis has paired up with LeBron James, and rule one of the LeBron contract playbook (and agent Rich Paul’s, too) is to keep the pressure on a franchise. Make the team improve and keep itself in title contention.

So it’s not a surprise that when ESPN’s Rachel Nichols asked Davis about re-signing with the Lakers, he didn’t answer the question directly.

Nichols: You’re only signed through this season. Do you think you will be a pillar of the Lakers for years and years to come?

Davis: Honestly, Rachel, I’m just focused on this season. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I have one year here, so I’m going make the best of this year. And when that time comes around in the summer or, you know, whenever the season’s over — hopefully, around, you know, mid-June, after we just had a parade, and I need a couple days to think — then we can talk about that. But until then, I’m trying to do whatever I can to help this team win this year.”

That a well-handled scripted answer hitting all the talking points.

After the NBA summer we have just gone through (and continue to see with Chris Paul), nobody sane will say Davis would never leave the Lakers after one season. Cut to Kevin Garnett screaming “Anything Is Possible.”

However, he came to the Lakers to win rings (now and in the future), to take over as the face of the franchise when LeBron steps away in a few years, to get the kind of recognition and endorsements he felt were not coming his way in New Orleans, and ultimately to have his jersey up in the rafters with Wilt and Kareem and Shaq. That’s the plan. Which means AD will re-sign with the Lakers next summer.

He’s just not going to say that right now.

Kendrick Perkins: ‘Pelicans better lock Zion in the House’ because of great New Orleans food

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Zion Williamson‘s weight became a discussion point during Summer League.

The general consensus going into the draft was that Williamson would ultimately want to play a little lighter in the NBA than he did in college (but without losing his strength). Since then Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski came out and said the No. 1 pick was not in Summer League shape and should not have played. Some broadcast analysts said he looked heavy. In the hallways and behind-the-basket defacto meeting space of Summer League there was a lot of talk among league watchers about the Pelicans needing to get Zion with their trainers and dietitians to prepare him for the 82 game grind.

Kendrick Perkins warns that’s not going to be all that easy in the Big Easy.

As a wannabe foodie, let me just say that Perkins is spot on about the food in New Orleans. It may be my favorite food city in America, it is home to the ultimate comfort foods, and the portions are not small. From muffulettas to gumbo to po’ boys to fried every-kind-of-protein-you-can-name, New Orleans cuisine is both undeniably delicious and not the foundation of a healthy diet.

It’s going to take some discipline from Williamson, who also can afford his own chef now to keep the meals at home healthy and tasty. Then gumbo can be a splurge-day treat.