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Three Things to Know: Trae Young drops 48, Bojan Bogdanovic drains three to get teams wins

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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) Atlanta’s Trae Young drops 48 on Knicks, Utah’s Bojan Bogdanovic drains buzzer-beating three, both help their teams rack up wins. It’s time to talk on-the-court basketball again. For much of the past few weeks, the eyes of the NBA world were on the transaction wire in the run-up to the NBA Trade Deadline — and we got a real show.

Now we can turn our focus back to the games… for like four days, then we get the All-Star break.

The best shot on Sunday looked like it was going to belong to P.J. Tucker draining a corner three with 1.6 seconds left to give Houston a two-point lead over the Jazz. Except then Quin Snyder drew up a play to free up Bojan Bogdanovic, a gutsy move considering he was 1-of-6 shooting on the night prior to that. Bogdanovic rewarded his coach’s faith with this shot over Tucker and James Harden.

Utah gets a needed win (its second straight after dropping five in a row). Jazz fans can thank (or Rockets fans can blame) Jordan Clarkson, who scored 30 points, and Donovan Mitchell who added 24 points, six assists and five rebounds. If the basketball gods want to give us a Utah/Houston series these playoffs, we’re good with that.

• Next, an overlooked game of East bottom feeders ended up being the most entertaining game of the day — not a well-played game, just entertaining — when it took double overtime for the Hawks to knock off the Knicks. Trae Young looked every bit the All-Star starter with 48 points — including six 3-pointers — and 13 assists.

Also of note, Dewayne Dedmon made his return to the Hawks and came off the bench for 10 points (4-of-12 shooing), eight rebounds, and five blocks in 33 minutes, before he fouled out. Also, John Collins had 32 points and 16 rebounds on the game.

• Finally, if you need a laugh, we bring you Marcus Smart‘s epic flop.

2) Spike Lee pays tribute to Kobe Bryant at the Oscars. Los Angeles is an industry town and Kobe Bryant was its best entertainer for nearly two decades. The rich and powerful of the entertainment industry that filled the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood for the Oscars Sunday night are the same people that can be seen in the lower bowl and luxury suites of Lakers’ games, checking their phones.

Not surprisingly, there was a lot of Kobe love at the Oscars.

Most notably, as an Oscar winner — for the animated short movieDear Basketball” — Kobe was part of the In Memorium portion of the show.

Then there was Matthew Cherry, an Oscar winner for the animated short “Hair Love,” dedicating his win to Kobe with the words, “May we all have a second act as great as his was.”

However, what you’re really going to remember is Spike Lee’s tux.

3) Why did Joel Embiid “shush” home crowd after draining a big three? “Just being a good a** h***.” It wasn’t exactly a “the Sixers are breaking out of their slump” performance, but Philly did get a home win over Chicago on Sunday — and Joel Embiid was key.

The All-Star big man had 28 points (on 17 shots), 12 rebounds, four blocks, and he stepped it up with 12 points in the fourth quarter. That included this late three — which was followed by a strange reaction.

Why exactly did Embiid “shush” the home Philly crowd? Boston’s Al Horford had done the same thing to Sixers fans a few days before, but the fans had booed him. Why did Embiid do it? Here’s answer, via Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philly:

“Just talking to myself. I have not been playing up to my standards. Even tonight, you look at the night, I didn’t shoot the ball well and I didn’t play well. Just mad at myself. Just frustrated. Just got to keep trying to get better every single day.”

Um… what? You “shushed” the supportive home crowd to fire yourself up? Want to try that explanation again?

“I mean, I don’t care how it looks. I’m just playing basketball. Just getting back to myself, just being a good a–hole. Just playing basketball and just trying to dominate.”

Okay. Sure.

NBA Championship odds: Lakers, Bucks favorites as NBA plans restart

NBA Championship odds
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It’s all about LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo when it comes to NBA Championship odds.

At least for the gambling public. With the return of the NBA set for July in a 22-team format, the NBA futures odds to win the title have gone up at sportsbooks. Not surprisingly, LeBron and the Lakers, and Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, are the betting favorites. Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers are close behind, with a considerable drop off after that.

Here are the current odds (with money won on a $100 bet):

TEAM CAESARS FAN DUAL
Los Angeles Lakers +200 +270
Milwaukee Bucks +275 +240
Los Angeles Clippers +325 +340
Houston Rockets +1500 +1200
Boston Celtics +1500 +2000
Toronto Raptors +1700 +2400
Denver Nuggets +2200 +2500
Miami Heat +4000 +2700
Philadelphia 76ers +2500 +2700
Utah Jazz +6000 +2900
Dallas Mavericks +3500 +3600
Brooklyn Nets +6000 +6000
Indiana Pacers +12500 +10000
Oklahoma City Thunder +6000 +10000
New Orleans Pelicans N/A +12000
Memphis Grizzlies +50000 +21000
Portland Trail Blazers +7500 +21000
San Antonio Spurs +100000 +21000
Orlando Magic +75000 +25000
Phoenix Suns +50000 +25000
Sacramento Kings +200000 +25000
Washington Wizards +100000 +25000

A few quick thoughts on these NBA Championship odds:

• Brooklyn is only at 60/1 odds because of Kevin Durant‘s possible return to the court — except that’s not happening. Even if he could, Kyrie Irving is not recovered from his March surgery yet, and no way KD is coming back without Irving.

• Along those same lines, John Wall is not returning for the Wizards this season.

• The best bet on the board? I would say the Clippers.

• If I had to bet who will end up with the eighth seed in the West, I would take Portland. New Orleans and Memphis both have a legitimate shot, but Portland gets Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins both back, and that was a 50+ win team with those two the season before.

• I’m basing my thoughts on what happened before March 11, and all of that feels somewhat irrelevant heading into this unprecedented situation.

PBT Podcast: The NBA is back! Breaking down the restart format.

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The NBA is back!

Or will be in July, at least, when 22 teams report to Orlando to play in a format that will see eight “seeding” games followed by potential play-in games for the eighth seed. After that, it’s a regular playoffs — no 1-16 seed but still East and West — with seven-game series each round.

Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman from NBC Sports, along with our friend Keith Smith — who lives in Orlando near the Disney property and has been all over this story from the start — break down the format and whether this is a format that provides enough safety to the players and staffs in Orlando.

As always, you can check out the podcast below, listen and subscribe via iTunes at ApplePodcasts.com/PBTonNBC, subscribe via the fantastic Stitcher app, check us out on Google play, or check out the NBC Sports Podcast homepage and archive at Art19.

We want your questions for future podcasts, and your comments, so please email us at PBTpodcast@gmail.com.

Adam Silver: Older coaches may not be on bench in Orlando “in order to protect them”

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Gregg Popovich is 71. Mike D’Antoni is 68. Alvin Gentry just turned 65.

People 65 and older have proven particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus. The Center for Disease Control says 80% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States are people 65 and older.

As the NBA heads to the Walt Disney World resort complex in Orlando to resume the season, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed concern for some of the league’s older coaches during an interview on TNT.

“There are people involved in this league, particularly coaches, who are obviously older people…” Silver said. “We’re going to have to work through protocols, for example, and it may be certain coaches may not able to be the bench coach. They may have to maintain social distancing protocols, and maybe they can be in the front of a room, a locker room… with a whiteboard, but when it comes to actual play we’re not going to want that that close to players in order to protect them.”

You can guess how that went over with D’Antoni and Gentry (and, likely, Popovich).

Pretty quickly, Silver was walking his statement back. Dallas coach Rick Carlisle, president of the NBA Coach’s Association, was quickly on the phone with Silver.

The league may want to take coaches who are members of vulnerable populations and find a way to add layers of protection for them, but keeping them from coaching their teams would be an incredibly tough sell to everyone around the league.

NCAA sets August deadline for early draft entrants to withdraw

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ASSOCIATED PRESS — The NCAA has set a new schedule for early entrants to the NBA draft to withdraw and return to school.

The NCAA announced Thursday that it would give players until 10 days after the NBA scouting combine or Aug. 3, whichever comes earlier. This comes three weeks after the NCAA postponed its deadline, which was originally scheduled to fall on Wednesday.

That June 3 deadline was set to come 10 days after the completion of the combine, but the NBA postponed the combine amid the coronavirus pandemic and has yet to announce a new date.

The NBA has announced the date of the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery, now set for August 25. Traditionally the NBA Draft Combine would follow a few days after that, although there has been no official announcement.

The NCAA’s date will force players to decide whether or not to stay in the draft before the combine takes place, or even before many have found out if they are invited. Some players who might otherwise have returned to school now likely will keep their name in the draft, only to not get a combine invite.

In a statement, the NCAA said the Division I Men’s Basketball Oversight Committee worked with the National Association of Basketball Coaches on the new timeline and “believes this is the most equitable alternative available in these unprecedented circumstances.”

“This provides the utmost flexibility to student-athletes testing the waters to make the most informed decision about their future during this uncertain time,” NCAA Senior Vice President for Basketball Dan Gavitt said in the statement.